Foundations for the Future: Building an Integrated, Cohesive Field of Youth Development


  • Lynne M. Borden University of Minnesota
  • Jaime Ballard University of Minnesota
  • Louisa Michl-Petzing University of Minnesota
  • Michael Conn Student Research Foundation
  • Casey D. Mull University of Georgia Extension
  • Michele Wilkens NAA Board of Directors



youth development, youth workers, youth programs


The field of youth development continues to evolve and grow, as many professionals (e.g., social workers, health care workers, public health workers, etc.) have begun to recognize the role youth development plays in their daily work. However, the challenge now is to properly identify the youth development-related work of these professionals, in order to appropriately support and resource the workforce to ensure their success with youth. The current article concludes this special issue on the Youth Development Workforce, with insights from key leaders in the field of youth development on the strengths and challenges that the field will face as it transforms. This article, in combination with the prior articles in this special issue, reflects the current efforts of the youth development workforce that acts as a foundation for the future of the field.


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