Through its collaborative work, the Department of the Interior (DOI) has learned the following lessons:
The Office of Youth, Partnerships, and Service and its partners actively adapt the YouthGo.gov website based on constructive feedback from youth and their families. At the inception of the collaboration, the office quickly established an online presence in order to begin connecting with and serving young people. Based on feedback, they are thinking strategically around the most helpful content to feature and the best way to represent this information for users. As part of this strategic approach, the Office is working to place an increased focus on youth employment opportunities through the information and resources available on YouthGo.gov as it is an area that is of interest to both youth and the DOI. The ability to try new things and then adapt based on user feedback has contributed to the evolution of the collaboration’s web-based youth engagement efforts.
Attempting to coordinate youth involvement efforts across multiple bureaus of the DOI, each of which has a distinct mission, proved challenging because staff were used to operating within their individual silos and addressing their individual goals. The establishment of the Youth Council, the Youth Taskforce, and the Office of Youth, Partnerships, and Service helped to create a structure that brought the bureaus together to share information, develop integrated goals and plans, and work together to engage youth throughout the Department.
One way the DOI has been able to enhance the collaborative effort of engaging youth in programs and efforts across the Department has been to focus on the commonalities and shared goals across the different bureaus. One common goal that was identified as an area of interest was creating a vital and growing workforce. Engaging youth in volunteer efforts, educational opportunities, and employment programs supported by DOI has become an avenue to help support this.
For example, as a result of their collective focus on employment and youth engagement, DOI was able to create a hiring authority cooperative agreement to recognize the service that young people have given to Public Land Corps projects. This recognition process creates an innovative pathway to expanding employment opportunities