On May 28, 15 District of Columbia youth workforce professionals graduated from the D.C. Youth Workforce Leaders Academy (YWLA), a new 10-month professional development program organized by IEL and the DC Alliance of Youth advocates and funded by DC Alliance of Youth Advocates.
YWLA supports the growth and success of staff from organizations that provide workforce development services to youth ages 16 to 24, including those with disabilities. Professionals engage in monthly live-learning sessions, expert-led webinars, web-based topical discussions, individual professional development activities, and facilitated peer-to-peer learning.
The YWLA professional development topic areas included career exploration and workforce preparation strategies; communicating with and engaging youth; assessment and individualized planning; engaging families; employer engagement; partnership and collaboration; developing and managing resources; supervising and supporting staff; organizational performance management and continuous improvement; leadership styles and strategies; evidence-based program design; using data effectively; and working with specific youth populations, such as youth with disabilities, court-involved youth, and foster youth.
Each YWLA participant completed a capstone project that applied their learning and new skills in their work environment. Capstone projects included efforts to improve youth’s postsecondary retention, connecting youth with job shadowing opportunities, community mapping as a means to develop pre-employment skills, and more.
Speakers at the YWLA graduation ceremony included Eric M. Seleznow, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman.
The YWLA session topic areas and materials were based on the IEL-led National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth’s (NCWD/Youth) Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities professional development initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
Read the NCWD/Youth blog post on the YWLA graduation and capstone projects.