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Building Capacity for Effective Youth Work

This three-year project aims to improve the capacity of Cornell Cooperative Extension community educators who work directly with youth to apply current research and best practices in youth development (YD). Youth workers are especially in need of professional development opportunities since many enter the field lacking formal education and gain their knowledge on the job. Unfortunately, professional development for youth workers in New York State has become increasingly rare. While the NYS Advancing Youth Development (AYD) Partnership provided foundational training introducing youth workers and extension educators to YD concepts, principles, and practices for 13 years, its closing left New York without state-wide YD training. This project will develop a YD training for new educators, and build a YD facilitator network supported through a virtual learning community that will offer online coaching and resources.

The project’s objectives are to:

  1. Increase the knowledge of YD best practices for 4-H and other extension educators who work directly with youth (including nutrition, family, and community educators).
  2. Increase educators’ capacity to apply YD principles in their programs and engage with young people.
  3. Increase educators’ knowledge of and access to YD research and resources.
  4. Increase educators’ knowledge and participation in community collaborations and networks, and build a facilitator network to sustain local training in the youth development approach and language.