1.4.4 Integrating and Professionalizing the Youth-Focused Workforce Development Field

The workforce development field is comprised of a number of long-established professional fields from throughout the worlds of E&T and social services. This presents challenges in formalizing and standardizing practices (e.g., internships) and recognizing skills and capabilities (e.g., career counseling) that do not fit neatly within these disciplinary boundaries, as well as opportunities for creating new standards that are unencumbered by past practices. 2011 Conference attendees and presenters have made important strides in some of these areas—for example, CARANA’s efforts at transplanting certifications for career counselors across their USAID project portfolio, and EFE Foundation’s efforts at scaling-up comparable programs regionally. Even greater opportunities can be created by workforce development stakeholders coming together to develop “interoperable” standards for recognizing and certifying soft skills training, professional qualifications and methods of recognition for practitioners, and consensus on methods of results measurement and management.