Studying the pilots of two credentials in Massachusetts was an opportunity to see the transformative power of deep engagement in a credential model framed by a core set of competencies aligned to the daily work of the OST and youth development fields. Findings show that, in a large sample of afterschool programs, staff development has a significant relationship with program quality.
Several states have made great strides in developing professional development systems. A nationally recognized credential that is grounded in a set of recognized indicators of quality programming could professionalize the OST and youth development fields and give us a solid identity. Moving this work forward toward a nationally recognized credential will ultimately yield benefits for children and youth as it provides necessary support and validation for an essential and impassioned workforce.