Terms in Definitions » Y


  • Youth
    The period in life between childhood and maturity, known as adolescence. Generally speaking, given the requirements of programs NCWD/Youth will address, the age range for youth is between 14 and 25, although it may extend as low as 12 and as high as 29. Youth can be both in and out of school.
  • Youth Cultural Competence
    A growing movement in the workforce development system to more effectively retain, engage, and educate youth by recognizing the role of youth involvement, popular culture, and positive peer influence in successful education and employment programs. (Developed by Ed DeJesus of The Youth Development Research Fund)
  • Youth Development
    A process that prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences that help them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and cognitively competent. Youth development spans five basic developmental areas in which all young people need to learn and grow: Thriving, Leading, Connecting, Learning, and Working. It includes mentoring activities designed to establish strong relationships with adults through formal and informal settings, peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities; and exposure to role models in a variety of contexts. Positive youth development addresses the broader developmental needs of youth, in contrast to deficit-based models that focus solely on youth problems.
  • Youth Leadership
    Refers to an internal and external process leading to: (1) the ability to guide or direct others on a course of action, influence the opinion and behavior of other people, and show the way by going in advance (Wehmeyer, Agran & Hughes, 1998) and 2) the ability to analyze one's own strengths and weaknesses, set personal and vocational goals, and have the self-esteem to carry them out. It includes the ability to identify community resources and use them, not only to live independently, but also to establish support networks to participate in community life and to effect positive social change. (Adolescent Employment Readiness Center, Children's Hospital, n.d.) It emphasizes the developmental areas of Leading and Connecting and includes training in skills such as self-advocacy and conflict resolution; exposure to personal leadership and youth development activities, including community service; and opportunities that allow youth to exercise leadership.
  • Youth Service Professional
    Staff who work directly with youth through the workforce development system, for the purpose of preparing them for work and the workplace, including intake workers, case managers, job developers, job coaches, teachers, trainers, transition coordinators, counselors (in schools, post-secondary institutions, or vocational rehabilitation offices, for example), youth development group leaders, and independent living specialists. (Also known as Youth Service Practitioner)
  • Youth-Directed
    Programs that involve youth taking a more active decision-making role in treatment.
  • Youth-Driven
    Programs that involve youth possessing an expert level of understanding, advocating for other young people, and initiating and implementing policies and services.
  • Youth-Guided
    Programs that involved youths that have knowledge of services, beginning to research and ask questions, and learning how to self-advocate.
  • YouthBuild Programs
    YouthBuild programs engage unemployed young men and women, most of whom have not completed high school and all of whom come from low-income families. YouthBuild enables them to serve their communities by building affordable housing and assists them in transforming their own lives and roles in society.

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