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Square One has helped 170 individuals in our community
Mandel Public Library Square One Program Making A Difference 
Young adult program expands age group and services with free Career Online High School
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (Jan. 17, 2017)   Last year, the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach opened its Square One program, created to help disconnected young adults who are unemployed and not attending school to engage and reconnect to economic opportunities and advance their education.  Since its opening in January 2017, Square One has helped 170 individuals in our community.  At Square One, located on the 2nd Floor of the library, young adults can find help with any challenges they may face through a variety of FREE services including mentoring, technology, career development and training, academic advancement, hands-on skills and experience, and connecting with community resources.  
After just nine months of operating the program, the library recognized a greater need within the target population, and has now expanded the program age group.  Originally created for 16- to 24-year-olds, the program will now service 15- to 29-year-olds, offering assistance to even more young adults in West Palm Beach.  
We have learned how vast the need is for these services, and how to truly make a difference with those seeking help, said William Hollis, Mandel Public Library Associate Librarian.  Being responsive and flexible is key.  We not only provide personalized attention, we tailor our services based on the individuals needs and goals. 
During its anniversary month, Square One is also launching Career Online High School (COHS), a scholarship-based program that covers 100% of costs for qualified selected students.  The program, brought to public libraries by Gale, a Cengage company, offers qualified community members an opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma (rather than a GED equivalent) and a credentialed career certificate in one of eight high-growth, high-demand career fields (across a wide spectrum from child care and education to certified transportation and hospitality).  Part of the worlds first accredited, private online school district, Career Online High School is specifically designed to reengage adults into the education system and prepare them for entry into post-secondary career education or the workforce.
Earning a high school diploma is a life-changing achievement, said Chris Murray, Mandel Public Library Director. By offering Career Online High School, were empowering our residents to seek new opportunities and transform their lives with a diploma in hand and real-world career skills.
The Mandel Public Library will award a limited number of scholarships for the Career Online High School to qualified learners looking to earn a high school diploma and advance their careers. The scholarships are funded through a grant provided under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services. The scholarships completely cover all costs for the COHS program allowing the library to offer this program free to qualified students wanting to realize their education and career goals.
Once enrolled, Career Online High School pairs each student with an Academic Coach, who assists with developing an individual career plan, offers ongoing guidance and encouragement, evaluates performance, and connects the learner with the resources needed to demonstrate mastery of the course material. Classes are supported by board-certified instructors and students have 24/7 access to the online learning platform. Coursework begins in their chosen career fields (Certified Protection Officer, Commercial Driving, General Career Preparation, Office Management, Child Care and Education, Food and Hospitality, Homeland Security and Retail Customer Service), before progressing to the core academic subjects.  Students are able to graduate in as few as six months by transferring in previously earned high school credits but are given up to 18 months to complete the program.
The Mandel Public Library will hold a Square One anniversary celebration on Wednesday, January 31 at 10:00 a.m. and officially launch the Career Online High School.  The library will celebrate the achievements of current and past participants of the Square One program by sharing various success stories, and have an open house for those interested in the young adult program and to demonstrate the new Career Online High School
Residents can learn more about Square One and the new Career Online High School at the Mandel Public Library or visiting the website at http://wpb.org/Departments/Library/NEW!-SQUARE-ONE.  For more information or questions, please contact Square One by phone at 661-868-7707 or by email at cohs@mycitylibrary.com.
About the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach
Founded in 1895, the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach has evolved from a modest Reading Room along the waterfront to an innovative and cutting edge facility located in the heart of Downtown West Palm Beach. The Mandel Public Library provides a wide range of programming for kids, teens, and adults focused on creating inspired lives by connecting people with information and ideas. Today, the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach welcomes over half a million visitors annually and loans over 800,000 items to 100,000+ library cardholders.  For more information, visit mycitylibrary.org or call 561-868-7700.