The Professionalization of Afterschool: A Conversation with Ellen Gannett
June 5, 2016
NIOST Director Ellen Gannett spoke with Youth Today about the professionalization of the after-school field and what it will take to unify its fragmented sectors.
She advised, "We need to embrace common competencies, common research and practices to elevate the field overall. We need to create a career path for those who choose to stay in the field. The definition of the job needs to be changed so it crosses over settings and ages and stages. You can’t make a profession around work that is limited to a time of day.... We need to think about multiple pathways so that people can stay in the work."
Gannett remains "extremely optimistic" about the field, however, observing, "I think that we have many of the pieces of the puzzle that are necessary to create a continuous quality improvement system for the field of youth development. We have a set of core competencies and knowledge, a research base, and quality program standards. They’ve been embraced and adopted by numerous states and cities and youth-serving organizations."
To move forward, she said, "We need to get more organizations to adopt this common body of knowledge. Then we need to create incentives or requirements for doing it."