Youth work practitioners have direct contact with youth. Giving young people the best opportunities to thrive and learn means a need for continuing professional development for youth workers.
Comments on this page? Curator: Kate Walker, PhD, associate Extension professor and Extension specialist
Reports & journal articles
In the past decade there has been an emergence of research and policy arguments about the importance of naming, defining, and attending to the profession of youth work. The purpose of this book is to compile and publicize the best current thinking about training and professional development for youth workers. 2016.
In the early 1970s Dr. Gisela Konopka was asked by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to write a paper articulating the fundamental requirements for healthy adolescent development. This seminal piece helped set the state and national agenda for promoting the health and well being of young people.
Teaching us a great deal about the norms, conventions, continuities, and discontinuities of youth work, this practical book reveals essential dimensions of the profession and contributes to a practice-based theoretical foundation of youth work. 2015.
Understanding youth development from the practitioner’s point of view: A call for research on effective practiceApplied Developmental Science
This article calls for research on the expertise of youth development practitioners. It presents a framework focusing on the challenges practitioners face and the strategies they use to address them, and offers case studies in three areas (designing programs, youth's motivation, and ethical dilemmas). 2015.
Journal article about noteworthy growth in youth development making youth work a recognized field. (PDF) 2013.
Captures and documents multiple perspectives and ideas from the field about accreditation issues and approaches. The primary audience for this issue brief is funders and policy makers. (PDF) 2012.
Journal of Youth Development
This study examines the ability to appraise and respond to the dilemmas of practice encountered in youth programs. Although preliminary, the findings have implications for how youth workers are trained. (PDF) 2012.
What does it take from a systems-level perspective to prepare and develop youth development practitioners to create and sustain quality youth programs? This paper argues that current core competency frameworks in youth work are necessary but ultimately insufficient for capturing the practitioner expertise required to achieve quality in practice and programs. (PDF) 2010.
To create and sustain high quality youth development programs it is important to understand the challenging situations and dilemmas that emerge in program leaders’ daily work with youth. In this research the experiences of leaders in 12 programs were followed over a 2–9 month period, which led to the identification of 250 dilemma situations. 2010.
The author puts forth a theory of developmental intentionality, proposing that "when there is a good fit between young people and the intentional supports and opportunities they take part in, engagement is high, and the chance of positive outcomes for learning and development are greatly improved." 2006.
A diet-and-exercise analogy is proposed to provide a new way of understanding the complexity of youth development and the increased role of youth in shaping that development during the middle years. 2006.
Minnesota Commission on Out-of-School Time
At the request of University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks, several members of our faculty examined Minnesota youth needs and produced a blueprint for ensuring Minnesota’s young people have engaging opportunities to learn and develop during the non-school hours. (PDF) 2005.