Lessons from the Front Lines: Factors that Contribute to Turnover among Youth Development Workers

Helena Laroche, Jonathan D. Klein


Motivated, competent Youth Development Workers (YDW’s ) are essential to effective youth outreach programs. This study explores factors affecting job turnover among Youth Development Workers (YDW’s) through detailed direct observation and interviews of six YDW’s in four organizations and a group interview with eight different YDW’s. YDW stressors included few resources, high need among youth, paperwork, excessive responsibilities, burnout/cynicism, miscommunication with supervisors, personal financial strain and lack of job security. Workers identified needs for appreciation, support from superiors, opportunities to advance, experienced mentors, resources and role definition. For programs to be effective and minimize turnover, YDW’s require resources, mentorship, role definition and appreciation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2008.331


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