Professional Development

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. The following provides you with knowledge of how to determine the types of professional development you may specifically require and how you can bring professional development to your organization.

Core Competencies for Youth Service Professionals: Guiding Youth Toward Employment

This InfoBrief identifies the benefits to the workforce development system, youth, and the community gained through the professional development of youth service professionals. The brief includes a five-step plan for organizations interested in supporting the professional development of youth service professionals.

Developing a Professional Development System for Youth Service Professionals

This Info Brief describes the current status of and opportunities for a comprehensive cross-disciplinary professional development system for youth service professionals. It also discusses next steps for systems, professionals, and policy makers.   

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities of Youth Service Professionals: The Centerpiece of a Successful Workforce Development System

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 serves youth and employers.

KSA Assessment for Youth Service Professionals

This assessment tool allows 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.

KSA Professional Development Assessment for Organizations and Systems

This assessment allows organizations and systems to assess the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) of youth service professionals and to create a professional development agenda based on that assessment. This assessment can be used as an organizational development tool or as part of a system-wide professional development strategy.

KSA Professional Development Plan for Youth Service Professionals

This planning tool is for youth service professionals to assess their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), set professional development goals based on this assessment, and track progress towards those goals. This tool is designed to be used with the KSA Assessment but may also be used with your organization’s skill assessment tool.

KSAs of Youth Service Professionals: Youth Needs/Field & Program Benefits Jump Start

Providing training and resources for youth service professionals is a critical investment that will benefit youth, organizations, and communities. Research has shown that the professional development of staff leads to better practice with youth, improves program quality, and increases positive youth outcomes. To make the transition from school to adult life and the world of work, adolescents and young adults need guidance and encouragement from caring supportive adults. For most youth, youth service professionals (adults who work directly with youth) are the face of the workforce development system. Just as youth seek to build the competencies they need to be successful in adolescence and adulthood, the professionals working with these youth must build the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to assist them in this endeavor. Connecting youth to the workforce development system requires a mix of competencies from the youth development, education, and workforce development fields.

The KSA Study Guide

The Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities (KSA) Study Guide is a professional development tool created to help individuals, organizations, and systems build the competencies of youth service professionals, those professionals who work directly with youth in the workforce development arena.

The Workforce Development System & the Professional Development of Youth Service Professionals: Why Professional Development?

This InfoBrief identifies the benefits to the workforce development system, youth, and the community gained through the professional development of youth service professionals, including a five-step plan for policymakers interested in supporting the professional development of youth service professionals in their local areas.

Youth Service Professionals' Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities Training Modules

The Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (YSP/KSA) Training Modules are interactive, day-long training sessions designed to strengthen youth professionals’ competencies needed to connect all youth, including youth with disabilities, to workforce, educational, and independent living opportunities. This webpage provides information about all eight YSP/KSA training modules.

YSP/KSA Demo

Overview

Image of the YSP/KSA Toolkit displayed

What is the Youth Service Professionals’ YSP/KSA Training Module 1 – Knowledge of the Field: This Work That We Do

This webpage provides information about the YSP/KSA Training Module 1, Knowledge of the Field: This Work That We Do. This module focuses on the role, core responsibilities, and foundational knowledge of the youth service professional including key concepts of workforce development, theories of youth development, youth rights and laws, disability history and laws, professional ethics and boundaries, and professional development needs.

YSP/KSA Training Module 2 – Communication with Youth: The Helping Relationship

This webpage provides information about the YSP/KSA Training Module 2, Communication with Youth: The Helping Relationship. This module focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that youth service professionals need to successfully interact with and develop supportive relationships with youth, including youth with disabilities.

YSP/KSA Training Module 3 – Assessment and Individualized Planning: Charting a Course with Youth

This webpage provides information about the YSP/KSA Training Module 3, Assessment & Individualized Planning: Charting a Course for Youth. This module focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that youth service professionals need to conduct assessments, use assessment results, and develop individualized plans with youth, including youth with disabilities.

YSP/KSA Training Module 4 – Relationship to Family: Working Together

This webpage provides information about the YSP/KSA Training Module 4, Relationship to Family: Working Together. This module focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that youth service professionals need to successfully develop relationships with family members and other significant persons in young people's lives as well as to connect youth with supports and opportunities in the community.

YSP/KSA Training Module 5 – Career Exploration and Workforce Preparation: Youth Opening the Door to the World of Work

This webpage provides information about the YSP/KSA Training Module 5, Career Preparation & Exploration: Youth Opening the Door to the World of Work. This module focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that youth service professionals need to help youth, including youth with disabilities, explore a range of career options and pathways. It also focuses on strategies for preparing youth to enter the workforce from job readiness skills development to job search and interviewing to job placement and retention.

YSP/KSA Training Module 6 – Community Resources: Weaving a Web for Youth

This webpage provides information about the YSP/KSA Training Module 6, Community Resources: Weaving a Web for Youth. This module focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that youth service professionals need to develop and maintain connections and collaborative relationships with various community partners to assist youth in accessing the full range of services, support, and opportunities they need for success.

YSP/KSA Training Module 7 – Employer Relations: Beyond the Handshake

This webpage provides information about the YSP/KSA Training Module 7, Employer Relations: Beyond the Handshake. This module focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that youth service professionals need to successfully develop and manage relationships with employers to assist youth in obtaining and maintaining employment.

YSP/KSA Training Module 8 – Program Design, Delivery, and Administration: It’s All in the Design

This webpage provides information about the YSP/KSA Training Module 8, Program Design, Delivery and Administration: It's All in the Design. This module focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that youth service professionals need to design and deliver quality programs that prepare youth, including youth with disabilities, for successful transition to employment and adulthood.

Need help viewing a document? View our document help page.

Have a comment or suggestion in regard to our site? Please send us your feedback.