In order to build and maintain an effective workforce development system, it is essential to establish an effective professional development system for the youth service practitioners who are responsible for shaping the future workers and leaders of the economy. Yet throughout the field of workforce development, there seems to be little professional training available for youth service practitioners and no formal system for accessing the training that is available.
This paper reviews the current state of practice within the workforce development system in reference to the competencies — the combined knowledge, skills, and abilities — of youth service professionals. The paper looks at how and by whom: 1) required content is established; 2) training and education based upon that content are provided; and 3) credentials are given. Additionally, the paper outlines some possible action steps to build stronger connections among organizations and workforce development institutions to ensure that skilled staff serve youth and employers.