The First Chapter Coffee House will open March 23 at Harald Haug Learning Center in the Curry County Public Library.

First Chapter grew in collaboration with Curry Public Library, Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board (SOWIB), Southwest Oregon Children’s Foundation (SOCF), and Rogue Roasters after library patrons requested a coffee shop to purchase snacks and beverages. Library staff thought it a great idea, but didn’t think there would be money available to pay staff.

Teen Librarian Rusty White decided to marry his need for work-experience opportunities for young people with the patrons’ desire for coffee and effectively keep staffing costs low. He was working part-time at the library and as a Career Navigator for SOWIB with young people who were disconnected from employment or education and was having difficulty finding employers to mentor young people and teach them work skills

This led to the concept of First Chapter Coffee House, where local young men and women with low skills and low experience can write the first chapter of their work or lives.

Paid training is included with the work experience using the Rethinking Careers curriculum. Rethinking Careers uses cognitive behavioral theories to help young people work through barriers and conflict at work in a constructive manner. It works to teach young people emotional management so that they can maintain employment once it is obtained.

Profit generated by First Chapter Coffee House will go directly to provide training and work experience for local youth.