Sustaining Passion: Findings from an Exploratory Study of the OST Program Workforce


  • Georgia S. Hall National Institute on Out-of-School Time Wellesley College
  • Lisette DeSouza National Institute on Out-of-School Time Wellesley College
  • Elizabeth Starr National Institute on Out-of-School Time Wellesley College
  • Kathryn Wheeler National Institute on Out-of-School Time Wellesley College
  • Kathy Schleyer National Institute on Out-of-School Time Wellesley College



out-of-school time programs, workforce, survey, longevity, passion


It has long been understood that high-quality staffing is a major contributor to achieving positive outcomes for children and youth in out-of-school time (OST) programs. Yet, information on the current OST program workforce is outdated and understudied. The purpose of this study was to explore, via a convenience sample of OST program workers, the perceived features of the OST field and the relative importance of these features to workers in the field. The researchers were particularly interested in OST worker perception of features that may typically be associated with longevity in a profession. Improving understanding of the perceptions of the OST workforce may help employers to foster the work environments, staffing structures, compensation approaches, and professional development experiences that influence high-quality workers to stay in the field. The study findings illuminate the significance that workers in the OST field attach to passion for a field of work, and the central importance to them of building relationships with and fostering positive and healthy development for children.


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