Nurturing talent in the youth worker field

A December 2009 report, commissioned by RIASPA and PASA, found that Rhode Island’s institutions of higher learning did not offer a certificate or degree in youth development.

Professional advancement is essential to growing and retaining talented youth workers in the state. Realizing this, RIASPA spoke with local colleges about creating a youth development certificate—one with an eventual, long-term goal of a four-year degree.


RIASPA partners with Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College (RIC) responded with enthusiasm, seeing out-of-school time as an important part of a child’s education.

In 2011, RIASPA assembled a team to discuss the structure and content of such a program. After the team presented their recommendations to the Dean of Education, the faculty at RIC began building a certificate program, as well as a degree program.


The resulting success

This collaboration resulted in the state’s first Youth Development BA being debuted prior to the fall 2012 semester. It included education, social work, and electives courses, as well as courses that allow students to also receive a certificate in non-profit studies.

As of the fall 2015 semester, over 70 students have declared Youth Development as their major. Following this success, RIC has future plans to offer a 16-credit Certificate of Undergraduate Studies in Youth Services.

More information on this cohort-based program will be released soon.


For more information on these opportunities, please contact Professors Lesley Bogad or Corrine McKamey.