The BEST Initiative (Building Exemplary Systems of Training) for Youth Workers

Status: Current
Year: 1999
Location: National
Client: Nonprofits, Educational institutions
Services Provided: Training and Technical Assistance
Technical Expertise: Youth Development, Mental & Behavioral Health

HRiA is a recognized leader in the out-of-school time community. HRiA operates the BEST (Building Exemplary Systems for Training) Initiative, the only region-wide professional skills training and credentialing system for youth workers and their supervisors. BEST provides beginning, advanced, and specialized training; follow-up support services; and technical assistance to youth agencies to help them incorporate a consistent strategic youth development approach in their programming. BEST graduates can receive college credits for the BEST Youth Worker Certificate Program once they enroll in a degree program at several identified higher education institutions in the Boston, MA area. As of December, 2015, BEST has trained more than 10,000 youth workers and provided technical assistance to their agencies, which serve more than 80,000 youth.

BEST Initiative Trainings:
• Youth Worker Certificate
• Supervisor Training
• Supporting Girls Training
• Advance Training in Youth Development Principles
• Youth Work Intensive (2-day conference)

HRiA is engaged in advocacy through national, regional and state partnerships including the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership and the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative; HRiA supports local networks of youth work professionals such as the South End Lower Roxbury Youth Workers Alliance; and, HRiA in engaged in several field-building initiatives including Achieve Boston, and Boston After-School and Beyond, whose work is to implement a professional development infrastructure for out of school time. HRiA staff present workshops and panel presentations nationally to federal, state and local groups and HRiA has worked nationally in several states and internationally in Ontario, Canada; Bermuda and Singapore to build the skills of youth serving organizations.