A National Professional Development System for Youth Workers


  • Barbara Stone USDA
  • Pam Garza National Collaboration for Youth/National Human Services Assembly
  • Lynne Borden University of Arizona




A persistent challenge in the youth development field is the lack of a systemic approach to attracting, developing and sustaining its workforce, particularly direct service workers. While serious efforts to address workforce development have dotted the youth work landscape, especially over the last 15 years, much of this progress has been organization-specific rather than across the field or systemic (Quinn, 2004). In 2004, 30 individuals who were knowledgeable about the issues came together to address the challenge of attracting, developing and retaining youth workers. They represented diverse sectors of the field, including direct service workers, national youth-serving agencies, local and national intermediary organizations, federal agencies and corporate and foundation philanthropies. They took the bold step of designing an initial framework and strategy for a coordinated national professional development system for youth workers. They also agreed to pursue the next steps to collectively create the system (Stone, Garza, & Borden, 2005).






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