Strengthening the Youth Development/After-School Workforce
Despite major advancements in the field, staffing – everything from recruitment, retention, supervision, to performance – remains a major challenge. There is a need to reexamine currently held assumptions about what it will take to build a strong, stable, committed workforce. What incentives? What opportunities? What requirements? For whom? In what combination? This brief report by Nicole Yohalem, Karen Pittman and Sharon Lovick Edwards highlights lessons learned over the past six years by the Forum for Youth Investment, Cornerstones for Kids and the Next Generation Youth Work Coalition, with an eye toward implications for funders. We summarize what is known about youth workers, why investments in this workforce matter, and what funders (private and public) can do to spark and support these investments. The goal is to support discussions about how focused attention on workforce development can be a part of funders’ individual and collective efforts to strengthen and expand after-school and youth development programs and systems.