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!


The Holidays, Gratitude and the Youth Vote

All of us at Temescal Associates, the How Kids Learn Foundation, and the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Project wish you a peaceful an...