Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Promoting Workforce Skills and Growing Your Own Staff


By Sam Piha

We know that when asked, older youth say they are most interested in acquiring the skills needed to get a job. As youth program leaders, it is our job to help prepare young people for success in adulthood, which includes creating opportunities to explore careers and gather work-based skills, and we are well positioned to help older youth to acquire these skills. 

We also know that afterschool programs are experiencing a worker shortage, and one way to address this is “Growing Your Own” by creating a pipeline for young people to move into youth work. 

To explore these issues we hosted a webinar on June 30, 2022 entitled Preparing Youth in Afterschool for the Workforce and Building Your Own Youth Worker Pipeline. This webinar was hosted by Bill Fennessy (California Afterschool Network) and several youth work professionals who have developed these kinds of programs.

We highly recommend you view the recording of this webinar and review the very informational Powerpoint that accompanied the presentation. To access, click on the images below.

Webinar Recording


Powerpoint Presentation

Additional Resources:
Engaging Youth as Workers Within High School Afterschool Programs: A Briefing Paper
This paper (50 pages) offers experiences that build workforce and career skills, create leadership roles and opportunities for service. These experiences also create career pathways to professions such as teaching and social work, and ensures the program is more relevant to other youth. The purpose of this paper is to inform and encourage expanded learning programs to engage youth as workers in these programs.

Engaging Youth as Workers in Afterschool Programs 
The purpose of this paper (12 pages) is to clarify guidelines regarding the employment of youth and to share strategies that are currently being used by After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) programs to engage high school age youth through work within their afterschool programs.





Program leaders are now thinking about using a “hybrid” model for professional development - a mixture of recorded/online training offerings and written briefing papers that can be shared with local staff, followed by on-site discussions facilitated by in-person leaders. This hybrid model can be tailored to the needs of the local program, to be more relevant, intimate, inexpensive, and COVID safe.

In this guide we identify “Basics” professional development resources with links for free, easy access (recorded videos, briefing papers, blogs, etc.). These were developed by Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation (HKLF). Also included are worksheets, discussion guides and other resources to support programs in leading their own professional development and reflection activities.

To download and read the full guide, click here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

An Interview with Outgoing PCY Founder, Jennifer Peck


By Sam Piha

“After 21 years of incredible service, Jennifer Peck, Partnership for Children & Youth (PCY) founding CEO, will step down from her leadership role in the organization on June 30th." - Partnership for Children & Youth

I've had the pleasure of working with Jennifer on promoting access to quality afterschool programs for over 20 years. She has partnered with Temescal Associates on several projects throughout the years and has proved to be an incredible leader and innovator. I interviewed Jennifer recently about her career and accomplishments and we share her responses below. To read comments from afterschool leaders who share their thoughts on Jennifer's impact on the field of afterschool, click here.

Q: What has influenced you to focus your energies on young people’s well-being?  
A: It’s been multiple things – one is that I came from a family of educators so that was sort of ingrained in me, though my career path was very unplanned and really a series of opportunities that I took advantage of at different moments. I started my career in politics and after working on a presidential campaign, found myself at the U.S. Department of Education which was an incredible learning experience and where I became inspired to pursue the career I’ve had.

Q: Why did you think it was necessary to found a new non-profit organization to promote this mission?  
A: When the federal government and California first began investing in afterschool, a lot of communities in great need for these resources couldn’t or didn’t access them, because the funding and policies didn’t  reflect the realities of running programs on the ground. There was a need for an entity to better communicate those realities and improve how public funding and policies served kids, so we dove in.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of? 
A: It’s such a hard question to answer, there’s a lot I’m proud of, but right now I’m feeling immensely proud that there’s so much more attention to and investment in summer learning. PCY’s staff and partners over a lot of years did so much to raise up summer as a critical time and opportunity for young people, and it feels like it’s really arrived.

Q: What accomplishment was the most difficult? 
A: Also hard to answer, a lot of things were difficult! But I’d say winning an increase to the daily rate for ASES and 21st CCLC -- it’s a tough sell in a political environment to be fighting for more money to serve the same number of kids, but that’s what was needed.

Q: What do you see as the greatest challenge for the afterschool movement? 
A: The biggest challenges on my mind, are figuring out how to build systems to recruit, train and adequately pay the workforce, and how to sustain the positive attention on afterschool and summer right now. Both will take really focused and smart policy, communications and system-building work – and PCY’s new leadership is ready and able to take these things on!

Q: Looking ahead, what do you see as the greatest opportunities for the afterschool movement? 
A: The big one in my opinion, is to really solidify a change in the public education mindset from one that saw learning as happening primarily from 8-3 and between September and June, to one that sees learning as happening all day and all year, with a diverse set of adults facilitating. I also can’t help but be really, really excited about summer and the opportunity to expose so many more kids to amazing, fun, life-changing summer experiences.

Q: Looking back, what do you think you will treasure most? 
A: Most definitely the people and the relationships I’ve developed over all these years. There’s so many amazing people in this work – like my old friend Sam Piha. 

Q: What did you learn most from being a parent to Emilia?  
A: Wow – so many things, and an interesting moment to think about it as Emilia is headed off to college in a month. If I had to pick one thing, it’s that you have to meet kids where they are – my daughter is really different from me in some ways, and I had to learn how to adjust my parenting over time to support her in the way that best helped her grow. It has made me think a lot about the work of educators and how important it is to know and care about every kid -- at the end of the day, it’s the most important thing.


Jennifer Peck
MORE ABOUT... Jennifer Peck led Partnership for Children & Youth since its founding in 2001. During her tenure she developed and implemented initiatives to build high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs, access to meals and health care for students, and integration of social and emotional learning in the education system across the state. Prior to forming PCY, Jennifer spent eight years as an appointee of President Bill Clinton at the United States Department of Education, where she supported implementation of initiatives including student loan reform, School-to-Work, and 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Jennifer is the proud mother of Emilia.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Effects of the COVID Pandemic According to a Survey of School Counselors

Source: Photo by Manny Becerra via Unsplash

By Sam Piha

During the last year we have posted many LIAS blogs on the impact of the COVID pandemic on afterschool programs but we have not written about how young people’s behaviors have revealed the impacts of the pandemic.

We want to call your attention to a survey published by the New York Times in April that polled 362 school counselors nationwide who described many students as “frozen, socially and emotionally, at the age they were when the pandemic started.” 

“American schoolchildren’s learning loss in the pandemic isn’t just in reading and math. It’s also in social and emotional skills — those needed to make and keep friends; participate in group projects; and cope with frustration and other emotions. Nearly all the counselors, 94 percent, said their students were showing more signs of anxiety and depression than before the pandemic. Eighty-eight percent said students were having more trouble regulating their emotions. And almost three-quarters said they were having more difficulty solving conflicts with friends.” – authors, Claire Cain Miller and Bianca Pallaro, New York Times

Below we share quotes from the survey. We invite you to share your comments on what you are seeing in the afterschool setting. Send your comments to info@temescalassociates.com.

        
        “The number of students with chronic attendance issues is much higher than pre-pandemic.” - Jess Firestone, Buckman Elementary School, Portland, Or. 

        “Cyberbullying behaviors are through the roof! We deal with this almost on a daily basis.” - Amy Riley, Mercer County Intermediate School, Harrodsburg, Ky.

        “So much self-harm and suicide ideation.” - Briana Smith, Everett High School, Everett, Wash. 

Source: Photo by Callum Skelton via Unsplash

        “Kids are struggling to make friends, and when there is a conflict, they aren’t sure how to work through it.” - Jennifer Schlatter, Southeast Elementary, Brighton, Colo. 

        “Teamwork skills are almost nonexistent.” - Emily Fain-Lynch, Green Magnet Academy, Knoxville, Tenn. 

        “Students are less bought in to school, less excited about life after high school.” - Ria Ferich, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, Texas 

        “Kids are more impulsive, less controlled, and struggle with emotional regulation.” - Joy Sparrey, Gilbert Intermediate School, Gilbert, Iowa

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

A Shout Out to PCY Founder, Jennifer Peck



By Sam Piha

“After 21 years of incredible service, Jennifer Peck, Partnership for Children & Youth (PCY) founding CEO, will step down from her leadership role in the organization on June 30th. Jennifer will assume the role of Senior Advisor during the transition to support the organization and its new leadership.” 
- Partnership for Children & Youth

I've had the pleasure of working with Jennifer on promoting access to quality afterschool programs for over 20 years. She has partnered with Temescal Associates on several projects throughout the years and has proved to be an incredible leader and innovator. I interviewed Jennifer recently about her career and accomplishments and we will share her responses in a future blog post. Below we hear from afterschool leaders who share their thoughts on Jennifer's impact on the field of afterschool. 


Michael Funk
The creation of a new Division at CDE in 2011 can be entirely credited to Jennifer. The After School Division was created then under the newly elected SSPI Tom Torlakson and Jennifer co-led his Transition Team. I would have never considered serving as the Director of this new division if Jennifer had not twisted both of my arms off to do so! (Thank you, Jennifer.) I have now been in this position for over 10 years and Jennifer (and countless others, have been with me for every step of this amazing journey.) California's communities, schools, families and students owe an incalculable debt of gratitude to Jennifer Peck. Her vision, leadership and tenacity are "hall-of-fame" caliber.” – Michael Funk, Director, Expanded Learning Division, California Department of Education

Jodi Grant
“Jennifer Peck did remarkable work to create, build and strengthen the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which is today a major success that has improved the lives of millions of children and families. After leaving Washington, D.C., Jennifer remained a passionate advocate, working at the local, state and national levels to create after school and summer learning opportunities for students across the country. She had a powerful, holistic vision for out-of-school-time programs that engaged not only with schools, but also with local community organizations. It was a privilege to work with Jennifer for almost two decades. The entire afterschool community will miss her, and her legacy will carry on.” - Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance

Eric Gurna
“Jennifer is an amazing leader for our field, and an inspiring colleague for so many of us. I learn so much from working with her. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that without Jennifer's leadership and vision, the field of expanded learning in California would not have the depth, quality and scale that we see today - that means that she has had a profound impact on so, so many children and families and an entire workforce. And she made that long-term impact with a joyful spirit and great humor! Jennifer you will forever have our gratitude and appreciation.” - Eric Gurna, former Director of LA’s BEST

Margaret Brodkin
“Jennifer understood the combined importance of practice, policy and politics. She created an organization that excelled at all three, and each enhanced the other.  Her leadership particularly lifted the quality, visibility and progressive policies in youth development, summer learning, afterschool and community schools. She has been one of the most influential people in California’s children and youth arena. Her legacy is alive and well at the organization she founded.”Margaret Brodkin, Nationally recognized children’s advocate and policy pioneer

Rebecca Goldberg
“Jennifer Peck has left an indelible mark on the California education landscape. Because of her perseverance, foresight, strategy, and leadership, California continues to lead the nation in its investments in kids and serves as a model for all other states that aspire to dedicate significant, ongoing funding for expanded learning and summer learning opportunities. While she will be missed in her role at PCY, I know she will continue to advocate for kids in new and great ways. With California poised to once again realize the largest expansion of publicly funded expanded learning programs in the country, Jennifer should feel nothing but pride in all that she has done to help get the field to where it is to be ready for this type of unprecedented expansion. Thank you, Jennifer!”
– Rebecca Goldberg, Non-profit & philanthropy consultant; Board Member at Forum for Youth Investment, MENTOR California, and Playworks Northern California

Aaron Dworkin
Thank you, Jennifer, for your partnership, leadership and tireless efforts on behalf of young people, families and communities across California and the country. You set a high bar for what is possible, and our field and leaders and partner programs are all stronger for your efforts, passion and wisdom. I personally thank you for helping me grow and learn over so many years. You will be missed but your organization will continue on your legacy.” – Aaron Dworkin, CEO, National Summer Learning Association

Brian Lee
“Jennifer has been an impactful leader in the after school and summer field. With her vision and dedication, she has helped transform California into the national leader on after school and summer, through both her (and her stellar staff’s) close collaboration with California policymakers and her empowerment of voices from the field.”Brian Lee, Policy Advocate previously with Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California


"Millions of professionals and volunteers work with young people every day in the many settings where youth play, learn, and grow outside of the school day. Yet, we have little collective information about this essential workforce. You can help change this!"- California Afterschool Network

Take the survey today, click here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

A "Hybrid" Model for Professional Development



By Sam Piha

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic afterschool programs were hit hard. Many had to close their youth programs and transition to serving their communities during the COVID shutdown. Many programs lost staff, and later suffered from a staffing shortage. They saw their budgets and attendance shrink and professional development efforts disrupted. 

The silver lining in all of this was the abundance of new distance/online professional development resources. According to many program leaders they are now seeking to hire many new staff that will need training on “youth work basics” - trainings that are foundational to youth work.

Program leaders are now thinking about using a “hybrid” model for professional development - a mixture of recorded/online training offerings and written briefing papers that can be shared with local staff. This is followed by on-site discussions facilitated by in-person leaders. This hybrid model can be tailored to the needs of the local program, be more relevant, intimate, inexpensive and COVID safe. 

Source: Spotlight: Girls

To support a hybrid approach we are developing a guide which identifies “youth work basics” training and other resources (recorded webinars, video presentations, briefing papers, blogs, etc.) with links for easy access. Topics include history of afterschool in America, youth development guide 2.0, learning in afterschool & summer learning principles, youth work fundamentals & literature reviews, social emotional learning and others. These were developed by Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation. Also to be included are worksheets, discussion guides and other resources to support programs in leading their own professional development and reflection activities. We will release this new guide shortly.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Youth Work Basics


By Sam Piha

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc with afterschool programs. The one silver lining was the abundance of online professional development resources that were created and made available online.

According to many program leaders, they are now working to refill staff positions. This will require training drawing on “youth work basics.” Below we offer one such “youth work basic”- the Learning in Afterschool & Summer (LIAS) Learning Principles, as well as discussion questions and some assessment tools. 

I think that the Learning Principles in the Learning in Afterschool and Summer Project really get at the core of learning for students starting in early childhood going through the university.” – Dr. Deborah Vandell, former Dean of the School of Education, UC Irvine, and leading afterschool researcher

We invite you to view this short video which reviews the importance of the LIAS Learning Principles taken from interviews with afterschool and educational leaders and The LIAS Learning Principles Position Statement which details each of the 5 LIAS Learning Principles and serves as an excellent handout for program staff, parents and other stakeholders. 


About the LIAS Learning Principles
We know that most afterschool youth programs are dedicated to promoting the learning and healthy development of young people. Several years ago, we conducted a literature review specifically focused on young people’s learning. We distilled what we learned into 5 Learning Principles. They are designed to guide the development of quality afterschool programs. 

We believe that these principles are both universal and evergreen. Thus, we were pleased to read the article in the Signal Tribune entitled, LBUSD Will Expand After-School Programs Districtwide, Asks for Parent Input. The article quoted Cindy Young, LBUSD senior director of Early Childhood and Extended Learning, in which she cited the LIAS Learning Principles as the standard undergirding their afterschool programs. 

OTHER LIAS RESOURCES: The LIAS Learning Principles are foundational to anyone designing and implementing youth programs. These additional resources below can be shared with all program staff and stakeholders.

VIDEOS: 
Dr. Pedro Noguera
OST Leaders Discussing the LIAS Principles (compilation)
Out of School time leaders discuss the importance and impact of the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Principles in and out of the classroom. This video (18 min) features interviews with leaders Tom Torlakson, former Superintendent of Public Instruction for the California Department of Education; Dr. Deborah Vandell, Professor of Education and Psychology and former Dean of the School of Education at UC Irvine; Andi Fletcher, Afterschool and Educational Consultant for the Center for Collaborative Solutions; Carol Tang, Director of The Coalition for Science After School; Jennifer Peck, Executive Director of Partnership for Children and Youth; Dr. Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education at USC; Paul Heckman, Associate Dean and Professor at UC Davis; Steve Amick, Director of School District Partnerships at THINK Together; and many more! 

Dr. Deborah Vandell
Individual Interviews with OST Leaders Discuss the LIAS Principles
On our LIAS Youtube channel are 21 individual video interviews (3-17 min) with OST leaders (see above) sharing their thoughts on the LIAS Learning Principles.



WRITTEN DOCS/PAPERS: Afterschool Programs that Reflect the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Learning Principles
This paper (49 pages) describes the practices of actual afterschool programs that exemplify the learning principles promoted by the Learning in Afterschool & Summer (LIAS) Learning Principles. This paper offers some background and a full description of the Learning in Afterschool & Summer project and its five learning principles that should define quality afterschool programming. 

A Crosswalk Between the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Learning Principles and Afterschool Quality Measurement Tools
This paper (8 pages) identifies the overlap between the LIAS Learning Principles with items in six program quality measurement tools that serve as good examples of measurement tools for afterschool programs.

Summer Programs That Reflect the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Learning Principles
This paper (16 pages) highlights the wide variety of ways in which California summer learning programs are using the LIAS principles to engage and inspire learning in young people.

LIAS BLOGS: These blogs focus on the issues regarding the LIAS Learning Principles.

Millions of professionals and volunteers work with young people every day in the many settings where youth play, learn, and grow outside of the school day. Yet, we have little collective information about this essential workforce. You can help change this!”- California Afterschool Network

Take the survey today, click here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Preparing Youth for the Workforce in Afterschool and Building Your Own Youth Worker Pipeline (Part 2)

Source: USC

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha

We know that when asked, older youth say they are most interested in acquiring the skills needed to get a job. Also, we know that as youth program leaders, it is our job to help prepare young people for success in adulthood, which includes creating opportunities to explore careers and gather workforce skills. Afterschool, sometimes referred to as Expanded Learning (ExL), is well positioned to help older youth to acquire these skills. 

Bill Fennessy is a Program Specialist for Workforce Initiatives at the California AfterSchool Network (CAN). We recently invited Bill to lead a How Kids Learn Speaker’s Forum webinar entitled, Preparing Youth for the Workforce in Afterschool and Building Your Own Youth Worker Pipeline.  To learn more and register, click here.



In preparation of this webinar, we asked Bill a few questions on the importance of youth workforce development in afterschool programs. You can read Part 1 of the interview here and we continue with Part 2 of his responses below.

Q: Do you think that the expanded learning setting is a good place for youth workforce preparation?  
A:
Absolutely! The ExL setting is where young people can feel comfortable to learn and practice the skills they want to experience, in this case “Employability Skills Workshops”.   Work is something many of them are curious about or are already very interested in, so it is a very relevant activity for them. For those high school students that will serve at the elementary school ExL programs, the relationships they have with their own ExL program staff gives them the great opportunity to watch someone they trust model what would be expected when they work with elementary students. They also are implicitly introduced to the thought of an actual ExL job after high school, and they will likely need a job if they plan to attend college.

Source: A World Fit for Kids

Q: What does youth workforce preparation have to do with the ExL worker shortage?
A: We see that we can be part of a “grow your own” workforce approach, because one of the largest pools of potential Exl Staff is the current class of high school seniors, which is a source that is replenished annually. (High school students 16 years and older might also be considered). Therefore, focusing on the implementation of strategies that will work to make HS students aware of, or have experience in this potential field of ExL employment will begin the creation of a highly desirable pipeline.  Additionally, ExL programs and participants, particularly high school students, can be partnered with to also create pathways to multiple careers in education and other human services. This because the competencies that make an ExL staff person or site coordinator successful in their position are similar to the competencies that might be needed to implement restorative practices, community schools, teaching, counseling, social work, and a whole host of other professions. Therefore, we know this workforce can be part of a variety of career paths, including and especially in the field of expanded learning itself.


I do like participating as a staff assistant in the middle school program. I just love it when you have someone that looks up to you, running to you asking what class you’re helping that day. It feels good helping others. I also enjoy this role because they’re not the only ones learning from me; engaging with them helps me learn more about other things.” - HS youth, Richmond Village Beacon Center, SF, Ca 


Q: What form does workforce preparation usually take in ExL programs for older youth?  
A:
It usually first shows up as an “Employment Skills Workshops” program (see graphic below). This is typically offered to all ExL participants. Other students may be recruited for the elementary school ExL “Work Experience Program”. Students may later use the skills learned to get a job on their own, which is clearly of great benefit to them.  




Bill Fennessy
is a Program Specialist for Workforce Initiatives at the California AfterSchool Network (CAN) since February 2022. After a successful professional motorcycle road-racing career, Bill began his new career in education in 1998 with the Pasadena Unified School District as a Campus Aide.   

Early in his career Bill worked at Blair IB School serving as a School Security Officer, a 3 sport Varsity Coach, Athletic Director, and later as the Site Coordinator for Blair’s 7th-9th grade ASES Program. He later developed one of California’s first ASSETs pilot programs. The success of the program was recognized early on, and it also provided the opportunities for him to become a pioneer, innovator, exemplary practitioner, and thought leader in High School Expanded Learning nationwide. Bill was then hired by Think Together in 2009, as its first Director of High School Programs. Once there, he successfully opened 14 ASSETs Programs across 4 Counties and 7 Districts, which all attained greater than 100% ADA in their first year of operation.  

Before leaving Think Together, Bill also led a highly successful CBO/EXLP/CTE collaborative effort to significantly increase student internships with Santa Ana USD. Bill recently served as the Director of High School Programs for A World Fit For Kids!, based in Los Angeles, and as a Consultant for the Los Angeles and Tulare Counties Offices of Education. 

Summer Fundraiser:
The How Kids Learn Foundation is hosting a summer fundraiser to support our work in 2023. Learn more here!


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Preparing Youth for the Workforce in Afterschool and Building Your Own Youth Worker Pipeline (Part 1)

Source: Alexandriava.gov

By Sam Piha

We know that when asked, older youth say they are most interested in acquiring the skills needed to get a job. Also, we know that as youth program leaders, it is our job to help prepare young people for success in adulthood, which includes creating opportunities to explore careers and gather work-based skills. Afterschool, sometimes referred to as Expanded Learning (ExL), is well positioned to help older youth to acquire these skills. 

Bill Fennessy
Bill Fennessy is a Program Specialist for Workforce Initiatives at the California AfterSchool Network (CAN). I first met Bill years ago when he innovated a new high school afterschool program in Pasadena, CA. Bill was part of the first round of ASSETs (After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens) program funding. He subsequently joined Think Together as their first Director of High School Programs and continued this role later at A World Fit for Kids. We recently invited Bill to lead a How Kids Learn Speaker’s Forum webinar entitled, Preparing Youth for the Workforce in Afterschool and Building Your Own Youth Worker Pipeline. To learn more and register, click here.



In preparation of this webinar, we asked Bill a few questions on the importance of youth workforce development in afterschool programs, and his responses are below.

Q: What do you mean by workforce preparation?   
A: Preparing older youth for the workforce is giving students both the skill building instruction, practice and experience to prepared them for the employment process, and then provide additional specific preparation previous to an actual workplace environment to provide a truly beneficial experience and real context for working. Starting to expose and prepare older youth to serve in afterschool or expanded learning (ExL) elementary programs can be a significant help to developing and finding potential quality staff, thereby creating your own ExL program staffing pipeline.

Q: What do we hear from the business community in regard to preparing youth for the workforce?
A: Businesses and corporations are looking for a diverse workforce of young employees that can assimilate into the workplace smoothly, quickly, and carry themselves in a professional manner. Being able to thrive in a team environment and/or on team projects is also a highly sought ability. They are also looking more now at what an employee can actually do, rather than what level of education they have attained. Then once employed, advancing in the workplace also has far more to do with an employee’s “people-skills” than the volume of work completed. In addition, Community Colleges are considering giving credits for employment completed in general. Resumes are very important in demonstrating what skills potential employees possess, and ExL employment provides an opportunity to acquire a vast number of skills and competencies.


Q: Why is preparing youth for work and career success important for young people from low-income neighborhoods? Is there an issue of equity that we should seek to address?  
A: Preparing young people from low-income neighborhoods is absolutely critical for their success in both education and the workforce. Results from a Gallup Poll showed that 65% of underserved and youth of color will take their educational and career advice from someone in the workplace, over their parent, teacher, or counselor combined. Thus, it is incredibly clear that preparing and placing our underserved and youth of color in the workforce is a MUST.  

Our ExL youth participants are the diversified workforce we are looking for in our ExL programs. Having students serving in elementary ExL programs, can also be a start towards an education pathway, which should then help provide the diversified Exl workforce and potentially continuing on to the diversified teaching workforce desired.  

I would tell the other afterschool programs that it is an excellent idea to bring student youth workers to their program because it is giving them a chance to succeed in life, and they won't be just in the streets doing nothing. Instead, they will be in the programs learning about new experiences and how to be better in the future.” – HS youth, Richmond Village Beacon Center, SF, Ca 
 
Q:  Is this an appropriate concept for elementary, middle and/or high school?  
A: This is most appropriate for high school students, as they are old enough to get a work-permit from their school district. Employing high school youth in elementary school ExL programs does have a positive effect on those programs. Also, older youth students serving in our elementary school ExL programs do not require a Work-Permit, so the opportunity is open for ALL high school students. (We do avoid high school students working with middle school students to avoid potential over-identification issues.) 


Bill Fennessy is a Program Specialist for Workforce Initiatives at the California AfterSchool Network (CAN). Bill was part of the first round of ASSETs (After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens) programs funding. He subsequently joined Think Together as their first Director of High School Programs and continued this role later at A World Fit for Kids, before joining CAN.

Summer Fundraiser:
The How Kids Learn Foundation is hosting a summer fundraiser to support our work in 2023. Learn more here!


Promoting Workforce Skills and Growing Your Own Staff

By Sam Piha We know that when asked, older youth say they are most interested in acquiring the skills needed to get a job. As youth program ...