One of the important activities of the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition is the presentation of Learning Academies to enhance the professional development of our YouthBuild staff members across Massachusetts. Recently, the Coalition presented a day of training focused on the integration of program components. A major focus of YouthBuild is to present the program in a unified manner so that the training that our young people experience carries across all aspects of this comprehensive program.
By drawing upon the expertise of program practitioners, we were able to focus on practical ways that staff can interact in the areas of Program Culture, Education, Construction Training, Case Management, Graduate Services and Community Service. Although each of these areas plays a critical role in the overall YouthBuild program, it is only by unifying all of them that the programs can maximize impact of the experience each of our people is offered.
The overview that was offered during the morning session was transitioned into the afternoon with smaller groups coming together to develop ideas and plan for ways to put their learning into practice back at their local programs. We have found over the years, that some of the best ideas and the most innovative practices are learned and nurtured by bringing staff members together in order to share with each other the lessons that have proven successful in the various programs. This peer sharing has been shown to strengthen the effectiveness and delivery of our services.
Our statewide Learning Academies are an innovation that was developed several years ago by the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition to meet a need of providing professional development for all of our staff members in a concise and productive manner. The feedback from the staff members has confirmed that this is an effective training method.