Program Quality News: January 2022

Good Afternoon,

My New Year’s imagination was sparked by a tweet from Angelique Power, president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation:

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today. This Chinese proverb is how I’m starting 2022. Excited to seed & nourish & stretch and braid roots with so many of you.

I’ve started the year thinking about the seeds of the youth development field planted more than 20 years ago, and the seeds that we are planting today to build and strengthen the field; leveraging science and lived expertise to support young people to thrive. I too am excited to “seed and nourish and stretch and braid roots” together this year as we continue our work to change the odds that young people are ready for college, work, and life.

We know that one of the ways that the Weikart Center plants seeds and builds the field is through our capacity-building training workshops and retreats. We are thrilled to announce that we are finalizing plans for two long-anticipated, in-person, Weikart-hosted events in Spring 2022. The first is a Youth Work Methods Training of Trainers (TOT) at Eagle Crest Resort in Ypsilanti, Michigan on April 26-28, 2022, to prepare participants to lead our ten Youth Work Methods workshops. The second is the first public offering of our Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Training of Facilitators Retreat to prepare seasoned trainers to facilitate our ten SEL Youth Work Methods workshops. This retreat-style workshop will be held in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan on May 23-27, 2022. Registration will be posted to our events page on January 20 – be on the lookout for an additional email from us this month once registration for these events opens!

We are excited to offer these immersive learning experiences to the field while prioritizing everyone’s health and safety. Our safety protocols and other important details will be outlined on the registration pages. If you have any questions in the meantime, please reach out to our Capacity Building team at

Best wishes for a happy and healthy start to the New Year,

Kimberly H. Robinson, Ph.D. | (she, her, hers)
Managing Director, David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality
Executive Vice President, The Forum for Youth Investment

Mark your calendar

  • In addition to the Youth Work Methods TOT and SEL Training of Facilitators being posted later this month, our public training calendar is full of opportunities to attend live virtual workshops. Visit our events page to sign up for PQA Basics, External Assessor Reliability Trainings, SEL Essentials, and an Emotion-Centered Practices Learning Community Series.
  • The American Camp Association’s Camp Program Quality Initiative is offering a half-day workshop on leading a Continuous Improvement Process at Camp on February 8, 2022, from 8:00 AM-12:00 PM PT in Portland, OR, as a pre-conference workshop to the ACA National Conference. The session will focus on responsive management practices that support social and emotional learning and continuous improvement, and there is space available for participants to join at no cost. To express interest, please fill out this form.
  • Join the Readiness Projects at 12:30 PM ET on January 25, 2022, for an online session on Stories of Belonging: Strengthening Our Ecosystems Approach to Learning & Development. This Making the Invisible Visible session will lift up three stories that demonstrate the powerful impacts of othering and belonging across multiple systems within the learning and development ecosystem – schools, child welfare, and juvenile justice.
  • Our schools and students need SEL now more than ever before. As a seasoned educator and a boundary-spanning policy expert, CASEL’s new president and CEO, Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel, is a visionary leader for SEL. Join Dr. Samuel in conversation with moderator Timothy Shriver, CASEL co-founder and board chair, at 12:00 PM ET on January 28, 2022, for the State of Social and Emotional Learning in 2022.
  • On March 1, 2022, young changemakers will host the second Young People Address the Nation, a national day of action hosted by to elevate the voices and priorities of young changemakers during this pivotal turning point in the United States. The Forum is a founding partner in Youth Action Hour, a national initiative led by young people of color. Learn more and sign up for future events.

Resources from the field

  • A new blog, Creating Equitable Developmental Ecosystems for Marginalized Youth, reflects on how the current science on learning and development intersects with an “awakened” understanding of racial and social justice and the ecosystems within which our youth develop, compelling us to call for a change in how youth programs are set up to support the thriving of youth, especially Black and other marginalized youth. This blog was written by Horatio Blackman, National Urban League, and Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom, Forum for Youth Investment, and is the third in a series from the editors and authors of It Takes an Ecosystem: Understanding the People, Places, and Possibilities of Learning and Development Across Setting.
  • The current staffing crisis in public schools is taking center stage in communities throughout the country. The Learning Policy Institute’s recent blog, Tackling Teacher Shortages: What Can States and Districts Do? is the first of three in a series that will explore the state of teacher shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic and evidence-based solutions for addressing immediate needs and building a strong and diverse teaching workforce.
  • Youth Engagement in Practice, a new brief from American Institutes for Research (AIR), highlights youth engagement strategies utilized by youth development organizations in Chicago. The organizations featured in this brief provide examples of how they engage youth in authentic, practical ways.

Job Opportunities

  • Our team at the Forum for Youth Investment is continuing to grow! We are seeking an Executive Vice President, Cross-System Consulting who will lead cross-sector, cross-system coalition building and strategic consultation to state and local jurisdictions for the Forum. Visit our job openings page to learn about our open positions.
  • Public Profit (Oakland, CA) is hiring for an Associate who will coordinate data collection and analysis for evaluation engagements with philanthropy, nonprofits, and government.

Our Vision

All young people reach their fullest potential - in education, work, and life.

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