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What is the Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Professional Development Demonstration and Evaluation? 

The Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Professional Development Demonstration and Evaluation (YSP/KSA Demo) will provide partnering organizations in three communities with four free full-day interactive training sessions covering the necessary competencies for professionals who work with youth, including pre- and post-training capacity building and support for all sites. Training will be provided by workforce, youth development, and disability experts from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), a national technical assistance center supported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).

The application deadline has passed. The three selected sites will be announced in early October. Please submit any questions to contact@ncwd-youth.info (subject line KSA Demo Application).

Why are NCWD/Youth and ODEP offering this professional development opportunity?

Youth service professionals - adults who work directly with youth during the transition to adulthood and/or play a contributing role in shaping youth-focused programs - require a mix of competencies from the youth development, education, workforce development, and disability fields. Research shows professional development leads to better practice with youth, improves program quality, and increases positive youth outcomes.

The YSP/KSA Demo is part of a multi-year Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Initiative. Initially, NCWD/Youth identified the key competencies that youth service professionals need to connect all youth, including those with disabilities, to opportunities for work, further education, and independent living. In addition, NCWD/Youth looked at the key components of a professional development system for youth service professionals. Finally, NCWD/Youth created a series of eight day-long professional training sessions to build these competencies (the YSP/KSA Training Modules). Learn more about the YSP/KSA competencies, training modules, and components of a professional development system at: http://www.ncwd-youth.info/professional-development.

ODEP has recently awarded funding to NCWD/Youth to conduct the YSP/KSA Demo along with pre- and post-training technical assistance to enhance the capacity of organizations to support the transition from school to career for youth with and without disabilities. The overarching goal of the YSP/KSA Demo is to demonstrate the value of and further grow a professional development system for youth service professionals to improve program quality and service delivery for all youth, including youth with disabilities. The objectives of the YSP/KSA Demo are:

  • To demonstrate the components of high quality professional development in the workforce development system to provide lessons that state and local systems can replicate.
  • To deliver high quality professional development training and technical assistance to youth service professionals (YSPs) across a variety of systems.
  • To evaluate the effect of professional development on YSPs’ competencies and practices, as well as the organization’s policies and professional development culture.
  • To document possible correlations between professional development of individual staff and the organization’s performance on youth outcome measures.
  • To increase alignment of professional development competencies of YSPs across youth systems.
  • To inform federal, state, and local policy development to promote an effective foundation and infrastructure for the professional development of YSPs.

Eligibility Requirements

Interested cross-system community partnerships must include a lead organization/program that offers career preparation and at least two partnering organizations/programs from other youth related systems/fields (i.e. workforce development, education, youth development, juvenile justice, foster care, child welfare, housing, etc.). The lead organization/program must be currently working with transition-age youth (ages 12 – 25) and demonstrate a commitment to ongoing professional development. Each community partnership must demonstrate existing partnership activities related to serving youth, including those in underrepresented and historically excluded communities, as well as the ability to implement and host the training, and complete the evaluation activities required.

Each site’s lead organization must commit to:

  • Provide a set of 25 - 30 YSP trainees to participate in 4 full-day modules of in-person training (1-day sessions for 4 months or 2-day sessions for 2 months). The group of trainees must include 10 to 15 YSPs from the lead organization and the remainder from two partner organizations.
  • Partner with two organizations from other systems/fields that serve youth distinct from that of the lead organization/program (for a total of 3 systems engaged for each site).
  • Identify two YSPs as Cadre Members in Training (Cadre MITs) to be trained as YSP/KSA facilitators for the four modules selected by their site. Once the 4 full-days of in-person training are completed, interested Cadre MITs may apply to join the National Cadre of Trainers. Members of the National Cadre require additional experience and will be trained in all 8 modules.
  • Work with NCWD/Youth to develop an agreement with a post-secondary institution to offer a credential or credits to YSPs who complete the training.
  • Supply the training venue and manage session logistics.
  • Participate in the YSP/KSA Demo, which may include:
    • Pre- and post-assessment of YSP trainees (baseline, at the completion of each training session, 6-month post-training follow-up, and a 1-year follow-up).
    • Pre- and post-training assignments and peer mentoring for trainees.
    • Baseline and follow-up assessments or interviews with organization staff other than trainees on professional development practices, goals, and results.
    • Baseline and 1-year follow-up data reporting on two site-specific youth outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1)    What is the cost for participating sites?

There is no cost to participating sites. In fact, a small stipend of $10,000 will be provided to cover the related administrative staff time and training logistics.

2)    What are the expectations and time commitment for organizations, training participants, and cadre members in training?

Once the site selections have been finalized, a site-specific schedule will be established based on the three partnering organizations’ availability and goals. However, the information below gives an estimate of the expected time and effort commitment for each stakeholder.

Lead Organization: The lead organization must bring together the three partnering organizations and ensure that all training and evaluation activities occur. This includes:

  • Pre-training work with: cross-system partners to assess professional development needs, develop shared goals, and recruit participants; a post-secondary partner to provide credit/a credential; and the NCWD/Youth evaluation team to complete pre-training evaluations.
  • Working with participants, cadre members in training (CMITs), cross-system partners, post-secondary partners, and NCWD/Youth to implement the training.
  • Post-training work with cross-system partners, CMITs, and NCWD/Youth evaluation team to support peer-mentoring and evaluation activities (surveys, data, focus groups, etc).

Estimated Time Commitment: 16 hours per month for 1st 7 months (3 months pre-training, 4 months of training delivery) and 8 hours per month during 1 year follow-up to training delivery (1 month immediately following training delivery, 6th month post-training data collection, and 12th month post training data collection)

Partner Organizations: The two partner organizations from other systems will be responsible for completing some pre-work to assess their staff’s professional development needs and develop shared goals for the training, identify participants for the training, and ensure the full participation of their participants. Full participation of participants includes: a brief pre-survey, attendance at all 4 trainings, peer mentoring work during and following the trainings, and post-training evaluations. In the event a training participant is unable to complete the training, partner organizations will be asked to identify a replacement participant.

Estimated Time Commitment: 8 hours per month for 1st 6 months (2 months pre-training, 4 months of training delivery) and 4 hours per month during 1 year follow-up to training delivery (1 month immediately following training delivery, 6th month post-training data collection, and 12th month post training data collection)

Training Participants (from lead and partner organizations): Training participants will be expected to complete a survey prior to the training, participate in all 4 full-day training sessions (1 per month), and complete peer mentoring and evaluation activities post-training.

Estimated Time Commitment: 1 hour pre-training (1-time survey), 10 hours per month for 4 months of training delivery (8 hour session, 2 hours outside work), and 3 hours per month for 1 year post-training (peer-mentoring activities, and immediate, 6 month, and 1 year surveys)

Cadre Members in Training: Prior to the training, CMITs will be expected to participate in webinars, conference calls, and individual preparation. During training delivery months, CMITs will assist with session facilitation and check in with peer mentoring pairs between monthly sessions. After training delivery, CMITs will follow-up with peer mentoring pairs and assist the site and NCWD/Youth with evaluation collection.

EstimatedTime Commitment: 4 hours pre-training (4 orientation webinars – 1 per module), 14 hours per month for 4 months of training delivery (1 hour conference call prior to each training, 2 hours individual preparation prior to each training, 8 hours of training delivery, 1 hour post-training debrief call, and 2 hours of follow-up with training participants) and 4 hours per month for 1 year post-training (facilitation of peer mentoring, follow-up evaluation surveys at 1 month, 6 months and 1 year post-training).

The application deadline has passed. The three selected sites will be announced in early October. Please submit any questions to contact@ncwd-youth.info (subject line KSA Demo Application).

For further information, please contact Patricia Gill (gillp@iel.org, 202.822.8405 x 154) at the Institute for Educational Leadership.

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