Youth outreach workers focus on developing community service, leadership, educational and professional skills in children and high school students who hail from all types of neighbourhoods and communities. Usually these professionals work under the supervision of personnel who have educational or professional training in industries ranging from psychology and nursing, to social work and teaching. However, some youth outreach professionals are given significant autonomy and responsibility in their jobs, and oversee community projects from start to completion.
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Youth outreach workers help plan, coordinate and implement youth development programs that focus on a particular geographic region or age group. Their job is to research and secure fundraising sources from government agencies, non-profits, corporations and other sources to help sustain and fund initiatives that help children develop a plethora of life management and personal development skills. Youth outreach coordinators also work closely with parents, volunteers and community leaders to prepare and run youth development activities, as well as prepare press releases and other materials to create positive publicity and enlist public support through the media.
Most employers prefer applicants who have at least a high school education. Candidates who are interested in pursuing careers as community outreach workers can consider enrolling in programs that offer associate degrees and certificates in areas such as human services, gerontology and behavioural sciences. Since some companies require that candidates have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, students interested in human or social services should major in disciplines such as social work, counselling or rehabilitation.
In addition to being dedicated to helping others, youth outreach workers must work well with children and young adults, and have strong oral, written and interpersonal communication skills. Candidates should be responsible, emotionally stable and patient. Some youth outreach positions require leadership and project management abilities, as well as work experience in school improvement and reform, learning theories, educational practices and data analysis. Other qualifications that employers look for include a driver’s license, proficiency with computers and strategic planning abilities.
The average salary for a youth outreach worker or coordinator in the United States was £24,700 per year according to a June 2010 Indeed.com report. A June 2010 job posting by the State of Montana listed the salary range for an education youth and community outreach coordinator between £29,250 and £42,250 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted in its “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition” that jobs for social and human service assistants will grow by almost 23 per cent during the 2008 and 2018 period. Job opportunities for these professionals will be available within private social service agencies as local and state governments outsource services to these organisations to lower costs. Social and human service workers with postsecondary education are expected to have the best job prospects.
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