Youth Work Matters Online

University of Minnesota

The Youth Work Matters Online course takes an in-depth exploration into the foundational research and theories of positive youth development. It allows participants to interact with other youth development professionals from around the state, region and nation! Activities include synchronized group time and individual exploration.

Participants will interact with an online community to explore, wrestle and produce resources and skills for working with young people. The content comes from real youth work experience and strong research-based material, including the basic youth needs, ecological context, assets and resiliency, and experiential learning. 

Over a four-week period, including an introductory week, participants can expect to spend 4-8 hours/ week and up to 24 hours total on this course. Past participants report that they wish they had planned ahead and designated more time to devote to the course. Setting aside intentional time devoted to online work is required to have the full professional development experience. Both interactive and self-paced learning will be experienced by:

  • Interacting with module presentations
  • Participating in live webinars
  • Engaging in forum discussions with other youth workers
  • Exploring articles, videos and websites supporting positive youth development work

How it works:

Participants will engage with an online community to:

  • explore the field of youth development,
  • wrestle with foundational research and theories, and
  • produce ideas of how to apply the course content to working with youth AND develop networks with other youth workers.

Cohort-based course:

This online course is designed and delivered as a cohort-based, professional development opportunity in which the participants learn, apply and share the information together. Participants work through the same material (2-3 modules) each week as a group. This includes live (same time) webinar experiences and pre-recorded presentations, forum discussions, etc that are completed on their own time during that week.  There is an expectation of completing 2-3 modules and interacting with the coinciding forum discussions and activities as outlined by the course schedule on a weekly basis. This is different than an asynchronous, self-paced course that you experience individually on your own time, without interaction with others.

Synchronized activities(learning together!)

Although the majority of content in the course can be navigated on your own time, we will have three live 90 minute webinars on dates and times to be determined. Dates will be posted as soon as they have been decided. Try to set aside this time to participate in the webinars. All webinars are recorded to view later in case you need to miss one.

What you’ll have when you walk away:

  • A working understanding of how to weave positive youth development into your practice with youth
  • An understanding of how positive youth development reframes how we work with young people

Technical Requirements:

  • Telephone
  • High-speed internet access
  • Current version of Flash Player
  • Computer speakers
  • Mozilla Firefox is the recommended browser

Who should attend:

Youth development program direct-service providers, part-time or short-term staff, and volunteers


$100 (Participants who complete the entire course may receive 2.0 (20 hours) of Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) for an additional $10).

Organizations that register five or more people for this course at the same time may receive a group discount of 25%. Contact the course facilitator for the promotion code to be applied at group registration.