The work of youth service professionals is cross-disciplinary, requiring knowledge and skills that cut across the fields of workforce development, youth development, education, counseling, and disability services. As a result, programs of study and existing professional certifications in any one of these fields can equip youth service professionals with some, but not all of the competencies they need to be effective. For this reason, it is necessary to develop a comprehensive career pathway and professional development system that specifically addresses the training needs of our nation’s youth service professionals.
This assessment was developed by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth to allow youth service professionals to assess their own knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) and set professional development goals based on that assessment. This tool can be used as an individual development tool (in conjunction with the KSA Professional Development Plan or as part of an organization-wide professional development strategy. The KSAs are organized into ten Competency Areas which were compiled from a review of over 70 initiatives offering training and/or identifying competencies for the fields of youth development, workforce development, education, and disabilities. These ten areas were validated by youth service professionals, program managers, and stakeholders from the field through focus groups, conference calls, meetings, and an online questionnaire of relevancy, proficiency, and available training.