Research has shown that it pays off in the form of:
- staff retention
- improved health and safety
- reduced stress
- leadership succession
- improved program quality
- reduced hiring and orientation costs
- improved job satisfaction
- faster more successful organizational change
We know that professional development is beneficial and can be delivered in a variety of settings, but to be effective, there are some key elements that need to be included:
- Presenting background information, theory, philosophy, and values of the program or practice to staff
- Introduce and demonstrate important aspects of the new practice or skill
- Provide opportunities to practice new skills and receive feedback
- Provide ongoing support and follow up training
- Allow sufficient time for training
When I started my career in Extension, I found the national conferences to be the best opportunities for me to learn and to network with others. It was always a week that re-energized me for the rest of the year and gave me many memories. As my role changed and I gained experience, my needs for professional development have changed. My options for accessing it have also changed.
As I have had time to reflect on the 2014 NAE4-HA Conference held here in Minnesota recently, I am once again re-energized. I am also excited that our organization is committed to adding virtual professional development offerings on a regular basis. Members will have more options for professional development, which will strengthen our youth programs. It is a wise investment that will return dividends to youth serving organizations in the future.
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