A new report makes a case for creating a professional-development system and clearer career pathways for the estimated 1 million people who work in after-school programs.
The brief was published this month by The After-School Corporation, or TASC, a nonprofit group based in New York City. It argues that, while workers in after-school programs are required by law to undergo on-the-job training, the informal preparation they receive typically does not lead to portable certification and is rarely tied to universities that could offer degrees or certificates that are recognized from state to state. The after-school field also lacks standard training requirements, definitions, or job titles, the report says.
“An entry-level worker should be able to continue to work part time and receive only the informal training required for licensing purposes,” the brief argues. “However, for those who wish to move ahead in the field, there should be an easily navigable system that links training and education with higher wages.”
To build a promising career path for those more-committed workers, TASC calls on leaders in the after-school and workforce-development fields to join forces to create credit-bearing courses and degrees in after-school and youth development; articulate sequenced, informal trainings that can be aligned with more-formal training programs; support staff development with public and private funding; develop common job titles and educational requirements; collect data on wage trends; and demonstrate how enhanced professional training translates to better program outcomes.
A version of this article appeared in the January 06, 2010 edition of Education Week as Plan Outlined for Upgrading Career Pathways of After-School Field