Among the country’s most populous metro areas, Bakersfield ranks near the top with some of the highest rates of disconnected youth in the nation. One fundamental indicator of societal progress and well-being is how young people are faring in their transition to adulthood. Disconnected youth are teens and new adults between the ages of 16-24 who are neither working nor are in school. This group of vulnerable youth is generally cut-off from people, institutions, and experiences that would otherwise help develop the knowledge, skills, and sense of purpose required to actively participate as adults within our societal framework.
In response, the Kern County Library, America’s Job Center of California, and the Kern Youth Partnership, are working with over ten government and community agencies to bring disconnected youth back into the societal fold. At our main library, Beale Memorial Library, this partnership has opened the EPICenter (Employment Partnership Innovation & Career Center), designed to bring teens and new adults together in a relaxed, informal space for them to develop educational and career paths, as well as experience technologies normally out of their everyday reach.
The EPICenter is a place to study, learn, mentor, play, and prepare for the FUTURE.
The center will include essential skills workshops, networking opportunities, vocational and on-the-job training, career exploration, entrepreneurial opportunities, job fairs and recruitments specific to youth, educational assistance, and other fun opportunities.