It has long been understood that high-quality staffing is a major contributor to achieving positive outcomes for children and youth in out-of-school time (OST) programs. Yet information on the current OST program workforce is outdated and understudied.
The purpose of this study by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time was to explore the perceived characteristics of the OST field and the relative importance of these characteristics to workers in the field. The researchers were particularly interested in how workers perceived characteristics that may typically be associated with longevity in a profession, including fair pay, opportunities for advancement, and benefits.
Improving understanding of the perceptions of the OST workforce may help employers to foster the work environments, staffing structures, compensation approaches, and professional development experiences that influence high-quality workers to stay in the field. The study findings illuminate the significance that workers in the OST field attach to their passion for this work, and the central importance to them of building relationships with and fostering positive and healthy development for children.