Adult 101: Life Skills Bootcamp for Teens

A California State Library LSTA grant program intended to facilitate easy duplication of successful projects

Informational Webinar

Description: LA County Library's Adult 101: Life Skills Bootcamp for Teens is a series of programs for teens ages 13-18. The programs are designed to prepare teens for adulthood and the workforce by teaching them the soft skills necessary to be successful in life and by providing them with knowledge about staying healthy and safe in a multitude of environments. The project was initially designed as a series of 8 modules: Easy Etiquette, Healthy Living (fitness and nutrition), Financial Savvy, The Public U (public speaking and persona), Social Media and Cyber Smarts, Personal Safety 411, Managing Your Time and Workplace Know-how. Since its inception the program has expanded to include additional life skills topics such as basic home repairs, decision making, and more. The original program took place at 15 libraries across the County of Los Angeles.

Purpose: In 2012, a PEW study showed that only a little over half of young adults ages 18-24 are employed: this is the lowest this number had been since the government started collecting data in 1948. In February 2015, the PEW Research Center released a study on the skills adults reported as necessary to succeed in life. 90% of those surveyed listed communication as a priority skill. Seventy-five percent of employers said high school graduates were deficient in "soft skills," such as communication ability, a strong work ethic, ability to take initiative, and interpersonal skills. LA County Library developed Adult 101 to address these issues by teaching these and other soft skills at the library.

Target Audience: Teens ages 13-18 in the community served by the library. A frequent asked question at LA County Library is whether or not adults can participate, but just as we often limit adult presence in teen spaces, the program is designed as a safe learning space for teens only. The material in programming could, however, be modified for an adult audience.

Expected Outcomes: Teen participants will report feeling more confident and better prepared for the workforce with increased social and communication skills, a stronger work ethic, knowledge of personal financial management, and health and safety awareness.

Budget Considerations

  • Program materials
  • Program handouts
  • Library materials (additions to the collection)
  • Consultants' fees (optional)

See original application for details and in-kind staff estimates. The original program was implemented on a very large scale and the funding cap for this project is pro-rated for a smaller project (six programs).

Implementation: LA County Library has developed an Adult 101 Program Checklist (pdf format) for planning Adult 101 in their libraries, and while it is specific to their system, it will prove valuable as you consider space and scheduling, materials and equipment, publicity, evaluation and troubleshooting issues. Their Tips and Tricks for Adult 101 (pdf format) will also be useful as you plan.

Programs: The instructions provided by LA County Library for each of the programs below include an overview, time and staff requirements, materials and supplies needs, as well as program specific content and options for addition to the library collection. All linked files are in pdf format.

Publicize Programming and Recruit Participants

  • Internally, identify library staff and inform/train them about the program. Sample: ADULT 101 FAQs-library staff (pdf format)
  • Externally, publicize via the library website, local schools and community organizations, social media, via current teen programming and spaces. Sample: ADULT 101 FAQs-patrons (pdf format)
  • Recruit participants from existing teen program at library, word of mouth, social media, local middle and high schools. LA County Library learned this program can be hard to sell to teens. Once at the program, teens are enthusiastic participants, but the challenge is getting them to the life skills program in the first place. The branches that were most successful in attendance were those that already had strong teen program attendance.