Professional Development

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Promoting Equity in the OST Workforce

Wednesday, 05 July 2023 12:50

A recent webinar hosted by the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) and featuring NAA’s Director of Advocacy and Workforce Initiatives, Angelica Portillo, discussed strategies for promoting equity in the out-of-school time (OST) workforce. OST programs play an essential role in supporting the growth and development of children in their out-of-school hours. However, many challenges face the OST workforce, including inadequate compensation, inconsistent schedules, and limited professional development opportunities. These challenges are especially acute for workers from historically marginalized communities.

The webinar offered practical strategies that OST leaders can use to create more equitable environments and promote workforce development. The presentation centered on three main strategy areas: hiring and recruitment, professional development, and retention.

Regarding hiring and recruitment, the webinar suggested that OST leaders prioritize hiring from historically excluded communities and candidates with relevant lived experience. Additionally, leaders can promote equitable hiring practices by examining the language used in job listings and compensation packages, providing cultural responsiveness training for hiring teams, and more ideas from the National AfterSchool Association’s Guide to Equitable Hiring and Staff Development Practices. 

The webinar suggested that leaders promote professional development and prioritize investing in ongoing training and opportunities to recognize employees’ unique experiences and skills. Leaders can also leverage networks within historically marginalized communities to develop and facilitate relevant professional development opportunities. For example, partnering with local community-based organizations or universities can offer accessible and relevant resources such as apprenticeships, paid internships, and mentorship opportunities.

Finally, to promote retention, leaders can offer competitive wages, provide opportunities for advancement, and ensure that the workplace culture is inclusive. Equity can be further fostered by promoting professional networks within the OST field, empowering employees to engage in advocacy and leadership.

The bottom line is, promoting equity requires a multifaceted approach that addresses hiring and recruitment, professional development, and retention. Through these strategies, OST leaders can create workplaces that support the growth and development of all their employees while providing equitable opportunities for all young people.

 Access the webinar recording here and the presentation slides here.