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A woman trains a group of youth service professionals during a professional development workshop.

Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Professional Development Initiative

To make the transition from school to adult life and the world of work, adolescents and young adults need support from caring competent adults. Youth service professionals (adults who work directly with youth) require a mix of competencies from the youth development, education, workforce development, and disability fields. Research shows the professional development of staff (attaining skills and knowledge through training or experience) leads to better practice with youth, improves program quality, and increases positive youth outcomes. Through the Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Initiative (YSP/KSA), NCWD/Youth looked at research, practice, and training across the multiple related fields to identify the necessary areas of knowledge and skill. The 10 YSP/KSA Competency Areas include:

  1. Knowledge of Field          
  2. Communication with Youth                                                                                               
  3. Assessment and Individualized Planning
  4. Relationship to Family and Community
  5. Workforce Preparation
  6. Career Exploration
  7. Relationships with Employers & Between Employer and Employee
  8. Connection to Resources
  9. Program Design and Delivery
  10. Administrative Skills

Featured professional development resources include:


Get training in the Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Competency Areas for your program, agency, or system

© 2018 NCWD/Youth