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Professional Development: Investing in Futures

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The field of youth development faces major challenges in creating and sustaining our work force. Long treated as a component of our work that was “nice but not necessary,” professional development – the process of attracting, training and supporting youth workers – has undergone important changes over the past 15 years.

But those changes have been insufficient.

Perfect Marriage, 21st Century Style

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While the recent presidential election generated much heated discussion about the institution of marriage, the youth work field has quietly harnessed energy around the issue of institutional marriage: new kinds of committed, long-term partnerships that are changing education and youth development practice across the country.

New Schools = New Opportunities for Youth Groups

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Here’s a fact that may not have yet crossed the radar screen of most youth workers: America is involved in a major wave of new school construction – by most accounts, the largest in recent memory. This building boom creates a strategic opportunity for youth organizations to craft what researcher Milbrey McLaughlin calls “new institutional arrangements.”

Fund-Raising Advice from Both Sides of the Desk

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I remember those halcyon days when I didn’t have to worry about where money came from. I started my youth work career in the protected employ of a city government, where others were charged with securing program funds.

Forging 21st Century Partnerships

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Now that the ink is dry on the recently reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), it’s time to examine the implications of this legislation for youth work. Of particular note is the section that covers the 21st Century Community Learning Centers – a program designed to open public schools in the non-school hours, expand learning opportunities, and support partnerships between schools and community resources.

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