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How Do We Create a Thriving Workforce?

Monday, 18 April 2022 15:23

Over the last 20 years, progress has been made in research, practice, and policies related to program quality, yet workforce stability, recruitment, and retention of direct service workers continues to be a challenge. As the professional association for the field, NAA’s mission is to create a strong and valued profession.

Afterschool leaders from across the country gathered in Las Vegas for a two-day session on creating a thriving OST workforce.

First, the group worked on creating a collective “why” resulting in a Proclamation on the Profession. The principles of the proclamation articulated a shared why and provided a mutual purpose as the basis for the creation of a  path toward a thriving OST workforce–a path that starts with job quality.

What is job quality?

While there is no single definition, job quality is based on several factors, including pay, benefits, schedule, working conditions, agency, and respect. Job quality does not categorize jobs as either good or bad. Jobs land on a spectrum; like program quality, jobs can be at various levels of quality.

Why is job quality a critical starting point?

Guaranteeing job quality creates stability in our workforce, allowing afterschool professionals to deliver high-quality programs, ultimately leading to positive youth outcomes. This concept, shown visually below, has been coined The Quality Connection. 


How do we create quality jobs?

We need to design them! D g uring the work sessions, leaders began customizing a framework to support the creation of high-quality, equitable jobs and the tools necessary to develop and sustain our workforce. They identified recommendations for various ways stakeholders such as policymakers, systems-builders, funders, researchers, and school and organizational leaders can help the field achieve job quality. These recommendations will continue to guide NAA’s collaborative thriving workforce initiative. 

Commitment to Quality Jobs

In conclusion, leaders in the room, and NAA22 Convention participants made a commitment to quality jobs, by taking the Pledge to the Profession:

We pledge to take the necessary steps to create quality jobs, ensuring that we build a strong, valued profession--a thriving workforce--that benefits kids, families, and communities. 

An upcoming NAA commitment to quality jobs campaign will provide an opportunity for organizations and individuals to sign the pledge and provide resources for creating quality jobs. Be on the lookout for more information soon.

In the meantime, check out these additional supports from NAA: