Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.
Afterschool Workforce Development
A high-quality workforce is essential to providing afterschool programs that lead to positive outcomes for children and youth. The afterschool workforce includes a diverse group of afterschool workers, youth workers, credentialed teachers, social workers and other professionals, with varying levels of education and experience.
- The workforce is generally well-educated. Two-thirds of afterschool staff have a 2-year college degree or higher and 55 percent have a 4-year degree or higher.
- Many afterschool staff work part-time and hold multiple jobs. Twenty-seven percent of full-time and 53 percent of part-time staff hold a second job.
- Eighty percent of afterschool staff report that they are happy with their job and find the work fulfilling.
- Many see a job in afterschool as supplemental or temporary, and yearly turnover may be as high as 40 percent.
- Pay is the primary factor that causes afterschool staff to leave the field.1
States and communities have worked to build and strengthen professional development systems for the afterschool workforce by:
- Providing scholarships for education and training
- Establishing training registries
- Defining core knowledge and competencies for afterschool workers
- Offering credentials and certifications for staff that further their education
It is also essential to take a more collaborative approach that leverages existing professional development opportunities within the community instead of trying to organize by themselves. Additionally, websites such as the Department of Education’s You for Youth site provide online training and resources to afterschool professionals.
You for Youth
This website from the Department of Education provides free online professional learning and technical assistance for 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant programs.
National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE)
This website provides training and technical assistance to the state, territory, and tribal agencies and their networks. The goal of NCASE is to ensure that school-age children in families of low income have increased access to high-quality afterschool and summer learning experiences that contribute to their overall development and academic achievement.
1 Yohalem, Pitman, & Edwards, 2010
Other Resources on this Topic
Tools & Guides
Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people
Statistics reflecting the number of youth suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders highlight the necessity for schools, families, support staff, and communities to work together to develop targeted, coordinated, and comprehensive transition plans for young people with a history of mental health needs and/or substance abuse.
Nearly 30,000 youth aged out of foster care in Fiscal Year 2009, which represents nine percent of the young people involved in the foster care system that year. This transition can be challenging for youth, especially youth who have grown up in the child welfare system.
Research has demonstrated that as many as one in five children/youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Read about how coordination between public service agencies can improve treatment for these youth.
Civic engagement has the potential to empower young adults, increase their self-determination, and give them the skills and self-confidence they need to enter the workforce. Read about one youth’s experience in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).