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The Comprehensive Youth Development Evaluation Report: 2003.doc

  1. 1. Georgia Regional Comprehensive Youth Development Initiative Assessment of Progress Report Under Contract with Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education, Office of School-to-Work The Occupational Research Group College of Education The University of Georgia Athens, Georgia September, 2003 Dr. Richard L. Lynch, Principal Investigator Dr. Dorothy Harnish, Project Coordinator Dr. Ann Peisher, Research Consultant Jana Thompson, Data Analyst 1
  2. 2. GEORGIA REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE: ASSESSMENT OF PROGRESS REPORT SEPTEMBER, 2003 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY∗ The State Office of the Georgia School-to-Work (STW) Initiative contracted with the Occupational Research Group (ORG) at the University of Georgia to assess the state’s progress in building federally funded school-to-work systems through local partnerships. The Year Two STW assessment focuses on the school-to-work implementation strategies employed by the 41 Partnerships during Year Two and includes information about the Regional Comprehensive Youth Development System (CYDS) Initiative begun in 2002 and continued through Fiscal Year 2003. PURPOSE OF CYDS INITIATIVE ASSESSMENT The Regional Comprehensive Youth Development System (CYDS) Initiative was funded by Georgia School-to-Work to support the integration of youth services and activities across a broad range of state-level agencies with planning and implementation at the regional and local levels throughout Georgia. Using the Definitions, Guiding Principles, Purposes, Goals, and Strategies developed by Georgia’s newly formed State Level Partners Group, the CYDS concept was introduced to key youth providers at the regional and local levels and regional champions were identified. Regional teams were formed to consider how the concept of a CYDS and partnership with a broader range of partners could best serve the youth in their regions. School-to-Work planning and implementation grants funding were made available to 12 economic development regions. (See attached map of the 12 economic development regions.) These regional efforts were the focus of this 2002-2003 CYDS assessment. The CYDS evaluation of progress report sought to address questions in the following six major focus areas: • Vision and Goals • Partners and Partnerships • Capacity Building • Organizing, Planning, and Implementing • Outcomes • Sustainability DATA SOURCES AND ISSUES  This summary and the original report were prepared by the Occupational Research Group at the University of Georgia under contract with the Georgia School-To-Work office, Department of Technical and Adult Education. Principal investigator was Richard L. Lynch; project managers were Ann Piesher and Dorothy Harnish; and data analyst was Jana Thompson. i
  3. 3. Data Sources Information and data for answering the evaluation questions for this assessment came from the following sources: • three archive files with records from the School-to-Work office, the State Partners Group, and the School and Main training staff • grant applications, meeting notes, and quarterly reports from each of the 12 economic development regions • interviews with six members of the State Partner Group, including the School-to- Work state staff • customized April quarterly report from regional lead contacts in each of the 12 regions • CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcomes Assessment survey developed by ORG and distributed to all regional and state partners in April 2003 Data Quality Issues Time and budget constraints limited the interviews to six individuals who represented the organizing state agencies and the key state staff responsible for funding the Regional Comprehensive Youth Development Initiative. A number of regions were late in submitting the April quarterly report and data were inconsistent on some reports, which limited analysis. The CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment survey was distributed to 214 regional partners in 10 regions (two regions had not been active enough to warrant completing the Assessment) and 21 state partners affiliated with the Comprehensive Youth Development System Initiative for a total N of 235. Seventy regional partners, representing 10 regions, and 8 state partners returned the Assessment for a 33.2 % overall response rate. This response rate was lower than desired for a statewide survey. ASSESSMENT FINDINGS VISION AND GOALS The Regional CYDS Initiative is perceived to have: • Provided a Youth Development framework, philosophy, goals, and definitions which are shared by relevant partners. • Promoted a common set of desired outcomes which are shared by partners. • Focused on both outcomes for youth and on system outcomes to support positive youth development. • Made decisions about communities and youth with community and youth involvement at regional (not state) level. ii
  4. 4. PARTNERSHIPS • State partners saw increased linkages for both state-level efforts and for regional efforts. • Regional partners did not perceive increased linkages as positively as state partners for either state or regional efforts. • Regional partners agreed that the Regional CYDS Initiative complemented and enhanced previously existing linkages and collaborative efforts in communities and the region. ORGANIZING, PLANNING, AND IMPLEMENTING • Regional respondents felt positive about their approach to organizing, planning, and implementing the regional initiatives. OUTCOMES • Regions are perceived to be making more progress than the state on achieving outcomes. • State-level partners perceive system outcomes at the regional level. • Regions with greater tenure of collaborative effort and having given significant attention to relationship building and structure formation perceive more progress on outcomes related to both state-level and regional efforts. SUSTAINABILITY • Regions perceive the system being established through their Regional CYDS Initiatives is sustainable and will allow them to more adequately ensure that youth in the regions will become healthy, educated, employable, and connected through participation in family and community life. DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS There was, and is, potential in positioning regions for more efficient acquisition and utilization of resources and more integrated delivery of services, opportunities, and supports for youth. If this concept of regionalization is to happen throughout Georgia, it seems imperative that the State Partners Group, as the visionary leadership, immediately provide support and nurturing of this fledgling effort. Several things must happen. • Although not necessarily emanating from the data gathered for this assessment, there needs to be developed and disseminated a white paper or analysis of conditions and data that might lead policy groups and stakeholders to understand the need for development and nurturing of a Regional Comprehensive Youth Development Initiative. In effect, what problems or challenges is a collaborative, at the regional level, trying to solve? Why is a regional, interagency approach in collaboration with iii
  5. 5. the private sector a viable solution to enable all Georgia youth to become educated, healthy, connected, and employable? • The State Partner Group must be re-energized and new leadership identified. The state group should consider expanding membership to include private sector, legislative, and other governance involvement. Both Family Connection Partnership and Workforce Investment Boards need to be engaged or re-engaged, as they represent public and private partnerships with broad vested interests in the outcomes of youth. • Attention must continue to be focused on the necessary work of supporting the collaborative process at the state and regional levels. Potential funding, leadership, facilitation, support, and direction to continue the work might come from some state- level blended funding as envisioned and hoped for at the regional level. This would be an excellent opportunity for the state level to model and lead the way for the regions. • Regions must be engaged in determining the next steps for their own individual efforts and in shaping the future of the Georgia State Comprehensive Youth Development Initiative. • If the Initiative is to continue, strong effort should be expended in maintaining and fostering state-to-regional communication and support during its continual development. While even this current level of assessment may have been premature, it has provided a snapshot of some significant work in process and some good progress on regional collaboration and functional capacity. Continuing to study the collaborative process of the Regional CYDS Initiative, even beyond STW funding, with an appropriate collaborative leadership model as a reference would be an appropriate and scholarly endeavor. It is far too early to evaluate the effectiveness of the Regional Comprehensive Youth Development Initiative in changing outcomes for youth or in developing a system capable of changing outcomes for youth. It has been only two years since the first formal meeting of the State Partners Group in June, 2001. It has been only eighteen months since the first meetings were held with key youth providers during January, 2002. It has been only one year since the twelve regions submitted their first planning grants and six months since they were awarded the continuation grants. It is important to note that the stakeholders do agree with the overall framework, vision, goals, proposed outcomes, and general desire to improve conditions for youth in Georgia. Participants in the Regional CYDS Initiative all want to ensure a better quality of life and outcomes for all youth than is currently thought to prevail for so many in Georgia. Further, those involved with the Regional CYDS Initiative thus far seem to support the collaborative or partnership systems approach to problem solving relative to Georgia’s iv
  6. 6. youth development. They are committed. They want state leadership. They want more communication and information. Group formation, cohesion, planning, implementing, and just getting things done within a collaborative take time. Education and training in the collaborative process may need to occur. Turf issues need to be resolved. Public educators at a policy level need to be included and engaged in the Initiative. Based on our assessment of the data, participating in various meetings, and conducting interviews with relevant stakeholders, we believe the development of the Initiative needs more time, leadership and coordination, and the process of its development more study. Concomitantly, attention should be given to assessing measurable outcomes and progress toward achieving them. The process, the study of the process, and the outcomes of the process are deserving of more time. v
  7. 7. Table of Contents Executive Summary............................................................................................................i Background and Context .................................................................................................1 Assessment Questions and Sources of Data ....................................................................1 Records of State Partner Group, School to Work staff, and School and Main...............3 Interviews with Key State Partners.................................................................................3 April 15, 2003 Quarterly Reports...................................................................................4 CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment.......................................................4 Vision and Goals ...............................................................................................................5 Assessment Questions.....................................................................................................5 How did the Regional CYDS Initiative come about?.....................................................5 What was the vision for the Regional CYDS Initiative?................................................7 What were the desired outcomes of the Regional CYDS Initiative?..............................8 Broad Purposes and Outcomes.......................................................................................8 System Purposes.............................................................................................................8 System Outcomes............................................................................................................9 Guiding Principles..........................................................................................................9 To what extent did the regions embrace the vision of the Comprehensive Youth Development System Initiative?...............................................................................9 CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment.......................................................9 April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report...................................................................................12 Partners and Partnerships .............................................................................................12 CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment.....................................................12 April 15, 2003 Quarterly Reports.................................................................................13 March 10-11, 2003 Regional Meeting Notes................................................................14 Capacity Building ...........................................................................................................16 What approaches were utilized to develop the capacity of Regional CYDS teams? .........................................................................................16 To what degree were these approaches seen as relevant and effective? ......................17 Organizing, Planning, and Implementing ....................................................................19 What were the bases for planning in each region? ......................................................19 What approaches were chosen for implementing regional strategies? ........................19 What issues were addressed by each Regional CYDS Initiative? ...............................22 What challenges were faced by the regions in implementing the Regional CYDS Initiative? ....................................................................................23 To what degree do regions perceive their approach to organizing, planning, and implementing have been effective? .................................................23 vi
  8. 8. Outcomes .........................................................................................................................24 To what degree do regional and state participants perceive CYDS desired outcomes are being achieved? ....................................................................24 Sustainability ...................................................................................................................28 To what degree are School to Work funds being leveraged into additional funding for youth development initiatives? ...........................................28 To what degree do regional partners feel the Regional CYDS Initiative is sustainable? ..............................................................................28 Future of the CYDS Initiative and Recommendations.................................................29 Discussion of Findings ....................................................................................................31 Vision and Goals...........................................................................................................32 Partners and Partnerships..............................................................................................33 Capacity Building.........................................................................................................34 Organizing, Planning, and Implementing.....................................................................35 Outcomes......................................................................................................................35 Sustainability.................................................................................................................36 Regional Difference......................................................................................................36 Summary of Key Findings..............................................................................................37 Discussion and Recommendations ................................................................................38 Tables Table 1: Assessment Questions and Sources of Data Table 2: Means for Questions 1, 2, 8, and 9 on the Perceived Outcome Assessment Table 3: Sector Selection Table 4: Sectors Represented in Regional CYDS and Level of Involvement Table 5: Means for Questions 11 and 12 on the Perceived Outcome Assessment Table 6: Means for Questions 14 on the Perceived Outcome Assessment Table 7: Means for Questions 13 on the Perceived Outcome Assessment Table 8: Means for Questions 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 10 on the Perceived Outcome Assessment Table 9: Means for Questions 15 on the Perceived Outcome Assessment Table 10: Summary of Means for Perception of State and Regional Effort on the Perceived Outcome Assessment vii
  9. 9. APPENDICES Appendix A Georgia Economic Development Regions Map. Appendix B Interview Questions for the State-Level Partners Group Appendix C CYDS April 2003 Quarterly Report Content and Format Regional Lead Contact’s Perception of Participant’s Level of Involvement Appendix D CYDS Perceived Outcome Assessment Survey Packet including Cover Letter, CYDS Background Information, and Perception Survey Appendix E CYDS Perceived Outcome Assessment Survey Return by Region Respondent Data (Position Related to CYDS and Sectors Represented) Appendix F CYDS Perceived Outcome Assessment Survey Results Appendix G Respondent Comments Recorded on the CYDS Perceived Outcome Assessment Survey viii
  10. 10. Georgia Regional Comprehensive Youth Development Initiative Assessment of Progress Report September, 2003 Background and Context The regional Comprehensive Youth Development System (CYDS) Initiative is a major project of the Georgia School-to-Work (STW) initiative, administered by the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) with funding from the federal School-to-Work Opportunities Act (STWOA) of 1994. In June of 2001, the State of Georgia sent a team to the Southeastern Regional Summit: Creating a Comprehensive Youth Investment Strategy – a Community Centered Approach. At this conference, the participants explored the potential feasibility and benefit of integrating youth services and activities across the range of state-level agencies, as well as at the regional and local levels throughout Georgia. It was recognized that in order for a Georgia CYDS Initiative to proceed, a broader base of partners would need to be established at regional and state levels. Following the conference, the state team interacted with the state-level Community Youth Development Learning Resource Team, in existence and facilitated by Family Connection since October 2000 and the Youth Services and School-to- Work Committee of the Georgia Workforce Investment Board (WIA), housed in the Georgia Department of Labor. These three independent efforts (Family Connection, WIA, and STW) merged to launch a comprehensive youth development system for the benefit of children and youth in Georgia. By January 2002, this State Level Partners Group had articulated Definitions, Guiding Principles, Purposes, Goals, and Strategies and moved to introduce the CYDS concept to key youth providers at regional and local levels and to identify regional champions. Four regional meetings were held between March and June 2002 to provide regional teams with their first substantive opportunity to consider how the concept of a CYDS, with a broader range of state- level partners, could best serve the youth in their regions. Following this series of meetings, DTAE’s School-to-Work initiative made substantial funding available ($75,000) to each of Georgia’s 12 economic development regions to support the concept of a comprehensive youth development system. (See Appendix A for a map of the state’s economic development regions.) For funds to be released, each region was required to submit a plan which specified how the work would be continued after the School-to-Work seed money expires. Upon successful completion of a planning process and submission of a continuation grant, each regional team was awarded an additional $75,000 to implement the plan it had developed. By May 2002 each region had been awarded a planning grant; by January 2003 each region had been awarded an implementation grant. In March 2003, the State School to Work Office finalized a plan with the Occupational Research Group (ORG) at the University of Georgia to conduct a statewide assessment of the progress made in developing comprehensive youth development systems in the state’s 12 economic development regions. This report documents the progress being made on developing a regional CYDS in Georgia through June 30, 2003. Assessment Questions and Sources of Data Questions were developed related to six major focus areas including vision and goals, partners 1
  11. 11. and partnerships, capacity building, planning and implementation, outcomes, and sustainability. Information and data for answering the questions came from the following sources: • three archive sources, including records of the School to Work office, the State Partners Group, and the School and Main training staff; • grant applications and quarterly reports; • Six interviews with members of the State Partners Group and School to Work staff, conducted on March 14, 2003 and March 20, 2003; • customized quarterly report from regional lead contacts due April 15, 2003; and • CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment survey instrument distributed to all regional and state partners April 2, 2003 with a requested return date of April 21, 2003. Table 1 summarizes key questions and related sources of data. Table 1. Assessment Questions and Sources of Data Questions by Focus Area Sources of Data Vision and Goals • How did the Regional CYDS Initiative come • Records of the State Partners Group and about? School and Main facilitator/trainers • What was the vision of the Regional CYDS • Interviews with State Partners Group and Initiative? School to Work staff • What were the desired outcomes of the • April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report Regional CYDS strategy? • To what extent did the regions embrace the vision of the CYDS Initiative? Partners and Partnerships • What partners affiliated with the regional • Grant applications and quarterly reports, efforts and what sectors did they represent? especially April 15, 2003 quarterly report • To what degree were various sectors • Respondent Sector analysis of 2002-2003 represented and to what extent were they Perceived Outcome Assessment. involved? • To what degree did the Regional CYDS Initiative increase regional-to-state and state- to-regional linkages? • To what degree did the Regional CYDS Initiative complement and enhance previously existing linkages and collaborative efforts in communities and the region? Capacity Building What approaches were utilized to develop the • School to Work and School and Main capacity of Regional CYDS teams? records and session evaluations To what degree were these approaches seen as • CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome relevant and effective? Assessment Organizing, Planning, and Implementing • What were the bases for planning in each • April 15, 2003 Quarterly Reports region? • Records of School to Work and School • What approaches were chosen for and Main facilitated events 2
  12. 12. Questions by Focus Area Sources of Data implementing regional strategies? • CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Survey • What issues have been addressed by each Regional CYDS Initiative? • What challenges did the regions face in implementing the Regional CYDS Initiative? • To what degree do regions perceive their approach to organizing, planning, and implementing have been effective? Outcomes • To what degree do regional and state • Interviews with School to Work staff and participants perceive desired outcomes are State Partners Group being achieved? • CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome • What accomplishments and outcomes are Assessment cited by regional partner groups? • April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report Sustainability • To what degree are School to Work funds • April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report being leveraged into additional funding for • CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome youth development initiatives? Assessment • To what degree do regional partners feel the • Interviews with School to Work staff and Regional CYDS Initiative is sustainable? State Partners Group • What do state and regional partners see as the future of the CYDS Initiative and what recommendations do they offer for insuring the vision of the CYDS Initiative and insuring that youth become healthy, educated, employable, and connected through successful participation in family and community life? Each planned source of data will be discussed individually below, followed by a discussion of the data and information used to answer the assessment questions. Records of State Partners Group, School to Work staff, and School and Main Excellent records exist for the State Partners Group and all meetings facilitated by School and Main for both the State Partners Group and several regional summits. The regional summits, held in March and June of 2002, were the first opportunity for the members of regional and local youth development initiatives to network and further their individual efforts by joining together. Later regional summits were used to provide training for regional partners on implementing a Regional Comprehensive Youth Development System. Interviews with Key State Partners A short list of partners playing key roles in planning and initiating the Regional Comprehensive Youth Development System Initiative was presented to the Georgia School to Work Office as potential candidates for individual interviews. (See Appendix B for the questions presented to the state partners that guided the interviews.) Some additions were made to the list, and each partner in turn suggested others to interview. Time and budget constraints limited the interviews to the following individuals who represent the key organizing agencies and organizations of the 3
  13. 13. Regional Comprehensive Youth Development Initiative. • Marilyn Akers – State Consultant for the Georgia School to Work Office, responsible for coordinating the Regional Comprehensive Youth Development System Initiative. • Becky Winslow – Division of Family and Children’s Services and formerly assigned to Family Connection Partnership, one of the original conveners of state partners interested in youth development. • Patt Stonehouse – Director of Workforce Development and Education Initiatives within the Department of Technical and Adult Education and responsible for the School to Work Initiative which, in turn, provided $1,800,000 in direct grants to the regions to support the Regional CYDS Initiative. • Sue Chandler - School to Work Manager of the Georgia School-to-Work Office • Carolyn Aidman - Division of Public Health, Department of Human Resources where youth development was a primary focus on a parallel course with School to Work youth development initiatives. • Gloria Kuzmik – Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report The original review of archive records, including grant applications and earliest quarterly reports, indicated archive data would be highly individual by region and provide little consistent information helpful in answering assessment questions. To facilitate the collection of uniform information, the School to Work Office agreed the content of the April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report could be customized to meet the needs of the Regional Comprehensive Youth Development assessment. The format and content of the April 15 report was disseminated March 18, 2003. (See Appendix C.) The report was designed to be completed by the lead contact for each region and provide consistent information across all twelve regions regarding vision and goals of the Comprehensive Youth Development System Initiative; how the region organized to do the job; and its approaches to planning and implementation, emerging outcomes and the respondents’ thoughts about sustainability. The report had nine questions requiring narrative answers. Additionally, the report asked each lead contact to provide a list of all regional partners, indicating the sector they represented (i.e., Education, Health, Juvenile Justice, etc.) and their level of involvement in the regional collaborative effort (i.e., member only with little actual involvement (M), member somewhat involved (S), or member heavily involved (H). A detailed analysis of the lead contacts perceptions of participant’s level of involvement, statewide and by regions, is provided in Appendix C. By June 1, 2003, only seven of twelve regions had submitted the April 15 Quarterly Report in the requested format, or in any way which responded to the specific questions of interest. Following an administrative reminder on June 5, 2003, regions responded. By July 1, 2003, all twelve regional reports had been submitted. Three regions, however, identified level of involvement by sector rather than by individual participants, thus affecting subsequent sector analysis (Appendix C). CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment The purpose of administering the Perceived Outcome Assessment survey was to determine the extent to which respondents perceived the Regional Comprehensive Youth Development System (CYDS) Initiative has achieved CYDS desired outcomes and purposes. The assessment survey 4
  14. 14. included 15 items. Respondents were asked to indicate the degree to which they agreed with each of 15 statements, providing one response related to the State-Level Effort and another response related to Regional Effort. They could respond Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree. (Cover letter, background information on the CYDS Initiative, and the survey instrument are provided in Appendix D.) The assessment survey was distributed to 214 regional partners in 10 of the 12 regions (Regions 3 and 9 had not been active enough to warrant completing the survey) and 21 state partners affiliated with the Comprehensive Youth Development System Initiative for a possible N of 235. Seventy regional partners, representing 10 regions, and 8 state partners returned the Perceived Outcome Assessment survey for a total of 78 or a 33.2 % overall response rate. The regional response rate was 32.7% and the state response rate was 38.1% (Appendix E). Response rates from the various regions ranged from 14.3% (Region 8) to 64.3% (Region 12). The number of responses for each region and their self-identified role within the regional partnership is provided in Appendix E. It is noted that the return rate is not particularly impressive. This is despite repeated attempts to encourage return from both state and regional level partners. It is further noted (and will be discussed again with the results) that the number of those who responded to each item varied. For example, 17 of the total N of 78 did not respond to Question 1 about the framework, philosophy, goals, and definition of CYDS. On other questions (e.g., 4 and 12) 33 or more than 40% of those returning surveys did not respond. Some did return the survey and were counted in the overall response rate, but did not actually answer the questions; rather they provided a comment about not being knowledgeable enough about the particular item or the entire initiative. Across all survey questions, on an average, more respondents provided rankings for regional level efforts than for state-level efforts. However, as could be anticipated, the state- level team responded more frequently to questions about state-level efforts than about regional efforts. Detailed respondent data for state- and regional-level partners are provided in Appendix E. These sources of data were used to answer the assessment questions within the following six categories: • Vision and Goals • Partners and Partnerships • Capacity Building • Organizing, Planning, and Implementing • Outcomes • Sustainability Visions and Goals Assessment Questions • How did the Regional CYDS Initiative come about? • What was the vision for the Regional CYDS Initiative? • What were the desired outcomes of the Regional CYDS Initiative? • To what extent did the regions embrace the vision of the Regional CYDS Initiative? How did the Regional CYDS Initiative come about? Interviews with members of the State Partners Group and archive records indicate the 5
  15. 15. Comprehensive Youth Development System Initiative resulted from unique timing and the confluence of several situations and sets of needs: • The School-to-Work Opportunities Act, which was passed by Congress in 1994 and sunset in 2001, was jointly administered and funded through the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education. The Georgia School-to-Work Initiative now receives its funds through the U.S. Department of Labor. Grants were made to individual states in the mid to late 1990s to develop business/education partnerships that support the education and workforce needs of young people. Among other purposes, funds from the STWOA could be used to promote the formation of local partnerships that are dedicated to linking the worlds of school and work, including secondary and postsecondary schools, public and private employers, labor organizations, government, community-based organizations, parents, students, state education agencies, and training and human service agencies. Throughout the STWOA, verbiage speaks to the importance of helping to motivate all youth to strive to succeed, obtain good jobs, and continue their education. As a pre-K – 16 initiative, states were given great flexibility in addressing the needs of their communities. The funding was intended as “venture capital” to do the one thing or set of things necessary to assist students in their education and career development. In Georgia, the federal funding for the initiative will end in late 2003 or be extended through 2004 subject to U.S. Department of Labor approval. Based on the work of Georgia’s 41 School-to-Work Partnerships, Georgia’s strategy evolved into four focus areas: Student Achievement, Career Awareness, Employer Involvement in Education, and Youth Development. • The federal Workforce Investment Act defined ten youth program elements that addressed areas similar to those in the School-to-Work Opportunities Act. These elements are the responsibilities of Regional Youth Councils, a private/public partnership that should include youth. The elements include: tutoring/study skills training, alternative school services, employment connected to academic/occupational learning, employment opportunities – paid and unpaid, occupational skills training, leadership development, supportive services, follow- up services, adult mentoring, and comprehensive guidance/counseling. Throughout much of Georgia, community representatives and leaders are being involved in both the School-to- Work Partnerships and the Youth Councils of the Workforce Investment Boards. • The Georgia Division of Public Health, Office of Adolescent Health and Youth Development, recognized in the late 1990s to 2000 that adolescent health-related issues nested within a larger framework of youth issues and embraced the asset approach to youth development as a philosophy which could undergird total youth development. While federal money flowed to fix problems of youth, leaders recognized more positive youth outcomes could be achieved with a different approach. This office contracted for the development and testing of a competency-based curriculum to (a) increase skills of staff of youth-serving agencies and organizations, and (b) to promote integration of youth development practices into the day-to-day work of agencies and communities. In 2002, the curriculum Strategies for Success, Competency and the Asset Approach: Nurturing Assets, Producing Achievement, Building Accomplishments, debuted. Thus, Adolescent Health, with major funding, became a significant player in the youth development arena. • Family Connection, a statewide network of community collaboratives, provides funding to local communities to collaborate, assess community needs and assets related to families and 6
  16. 16. children, and develop a strategic plan. In 2000, because youth development was one of the most frequently targeted goal areas for communities, Family Connection convened key local Family Connection coordinators and community partners to create a Learning Resource Team for Youth Development. The goal was to create a learning environment that could result in more coordinated local planning around youth development issues. As the communities pursued strategic planning around youth development with some areas creating regional learning resource teams, they encountered the vast array of “players” in the field and experienced the rigidity of autonomous systems they felt were unresponsive to integrated planning and service delivery. • Local community feedback to Family Connection requested that the state-level agencies “get their act together,” thus making it easier for them to do integrated programming for youth in ways that meet youth needs. Local communities expressed frustration about rigid funding streams and guidelines that made it difficult to integrate service delivery and programming for the same target groups. Multiple and duplicative reporting requirements were burdensome. This feedback was flowing to state-level Family Connection from its Community Youth Development Learning Resource Teams. The Georgia Division of Public Health was also hearing the same feedback related to its Adolescent Health and Youth Development initiative. In 2001, Family Connection was already convening a group of interested state partners, loosely known as the State Learning Resource Team, to begin the state-level conversations around youth development. • In June 2001, a Georgia team representing the WIA Youth Services Committee with additional state, regional, and local level participation (e.g., from the School-to-Work initiative) attended the Southeast Youth Development Institute in Kissimmee, Florida. Following this meeting, their group merged with the work of Family Connection Partnership Learning Resource Teams for Youth Development. Thus, the State Partners Group was formed from this merger. The merged state-level group decided the locally perceived disconnect and dysfunction was a result of vertical misunderstanding unintended by the state partners. The State Partners Group realized the conduits for local information were the regional and district entities and decided a strategy was needed to involve the regional level in a way that modeled a partnership. Additionally, state-level leadership in the School to Work initiative recognized a growing trend toward regionalization of federal and state funding streams and wanted to position Georgia for responding appropriately. This need for modeling a regional partnership, along with the growing trend in funding to regional entities, triggered the concept of developing a regional “intermediary.” Thus, the vision of a regional comprehensive youth development system was born. What was the vision for the Regional CYDS Initiative? The convening partners of the State Partners Group all envisioned a regional youth development system that would set the stage for more efficient acquisition and utilization of resources and more integrated delivery of services, opportunities, and supports for youth. Documents of the State Partners Group reveal significant time spent between June 2001 and January 2002 framing the concept of a Comprehensive Youth Development System and building a rationale. The first question that arose in this process was: “What is Youth Development?” The following definition emerged. Youth Development is an ongoing process of building skills, knowledge, personal attributes, and positive attitudes though services, opportunities, and supports whereby youth and families are 7
  17. 17. engaged as partners to ensure that youth become healthy, educated, employable, and connected through successful participation in family and community life. The next major question addressed by the group was “What is a Comprehensive Youth Development System?” School and Main, the organization that provided design work and facilitation of the CYDS process at the state and national levels, developed the following description which was accepted by state, regional, and local partners. A Comprehensive Youth Development System (CYDS) focuses on supporting youth in their preparation to lead healthy, productive lives in ways that meet their needs, the needs of their families, and the needs of the community. Comprehensive youth development systems are typically created as broad based partnerships among youth serving organizations including, but not limited to, PK-12 and post secondary educational institutions, community based organizations, businesses, economic development agencies, other appropriate governmental agencies and initiatives (e.g., juvenile justice, public health, social services, faith based organizations, etc.) The basic premise of the CYDS is that organizations provide detailed information about the services they provide and then engage in an active and ongoing process of matching those services and available resources to the needs of youth and their families in their particular communities. What were the desired outcomes of the Regional CYDS Initiative? The State Partners Group developed the broad purpose and outcomes envisioned for the Comprehensive Youth Development System, the system purposes and desired system outcomes given below. Broad Purpose and Outcomes Enable all of Georgia’s youth to achieve their highest potential by becoming: • Educated Youth – ready for and succeeding in school, graduating from high school, attending higher (post secondary) education and training. • Healthy Youth – physically fit, diplomas before diapers, drug free, crime free, tobacco free. • Connected Youth – engaged in positive after school activities, in healthy relationships with adults and with peers, contributing positively to their communities. • Employable Youth – able to be successfully employed. System Purposes • Create a holistic, focused, and coordinated system of opportunities, supports, and services for Georgia’s youth. • Model collaborative leadership and shared responsibility for accomplishing the work of other professionals and with youth. • Acquire more and better evidence of what positively impacts youth. • Create a change capable system (i.e., able to change focus and activities with changing needs). • Provide a wide and diverse range of activities and services for youth. • Enable all youth to feel valued, to be engaged, and to achieve their highest potential. System Outcomes • Shared Youth Development framework and models for state and local planning and decision- 8
  18. 18. making. • Shared set of philosophy, outcomes, goals, and definitions. • State partners’ decision-making supports achievement of respective missions/mandates. • Jointly trained/developed staff. • Youth Development services/resource matrix to guide/simplify planning and resource allocation. • A directory of Youth Development services, opportunities, and supports. • Comprehensive Youth Development calendar of activities, events, and grants training. • Blended funding. Guiding Principles • Focus on outcomes for youth in addition to system changes to support youth outcomes. • Work products have meaning in communities. • Decisions affecting youth and communities are made with youth and community participation. • Partners at the state table share responsibility for accomplishing the work. To what extent did the regions embrace the vision of the Comprehensive Youth Development System Initiative? There were two sources of data for responding to this question: (1) 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment, and (2) April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report. CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment Four items (Questions 1, 2, 8, 9) on the 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment survey addressed this question. Respondents were asked to indicate the degree to which they agreed with the four separate statements that are discussed below. They could respond Strongly Agree (4.0), Agree (3.0), Disagree (2.0), or Strongly Disagree (1.0). There were 78 respondents to the survey representing 10 regions and the state-level team. (Responses for each question on the survey by region and for the state-level team are detailed in Appendix F.) Not all 78 responded to each survey item. The results for these four questions, including the n responding to each is shown in Table 2. Table 2. Means for Questions 1, 2, 8, and 9 on the Perceived Outcome Assessment State-level Effort Regional Effort Overall State Regional Overall State Regional Mean Team Members Mean Team Members 1. The CYDS Initiative has provided a Youth Development framework, 2.97 3.00 2.96 3.10 3.40 3.08 philosophy, goals, and definitions which are shared by relevant partners for (n=61 ) (n=7 ) (n=54 ) (n=68 ) (n=5 ) (n=63 ) planning and decision making. 2. The CYDS Initiative has promoted a 2.88 3.00 2.87 3.04 3.00 3.05 common set of desired youth outcomes which are shared by the relevant partners. (n=60 ) (n=7 ) (n=53) (n=68 ) (n=5) (n=63) 9
  19. 19. State-level Effort Regional Effort Overall State Regional Overall State Regional Mean Team Members Mean Team Members 1. The CYDS Initiative has provided a Youth Development framework, 2.97 3.00 2.96 3.10 3.40 3.08 philosophy, goals, and definitions which are shared by relevant partners for (n=61 ) (n=7 ) (n=54 ) (n=68 ) (n=5 ) (n=63 ) planning and decision making. 8. The CYDS Initiative has focused on both desired outcomes for youth and on 2.91 3.29 2.85 3.08 3.40 3.05 system changes to support youth outcomes (n=53) (n=7) (n=46) (n=66) (n=5) (n=61) 9. Within the CYDS Initiative, decisions affecting youth and communities have 2.42 2.29 2.44 2.92 3.40 2.89 been made with youth and community (n=50) (n=7) (n=43) (n=66) (n=5) (n=61) participation. Question 1: “The CYDS Initiative has provided a Youth Development framework, philosophy, goals, and definitions which are shared by relevant partners for planning and decision making.” Overall, both regional and state partners answering this question tended to agree that the CYDS Initiative has provided a Youth Development framework, philosophy, goals, and definitions that are shared by relevant partners for planning and decision making. The overall mean response for all responding regions and the state regarding state-level effort was 2.97, between Disagree (2.0) and Agree (3.0). The overall mean related to regional effort was 3.10, between Agree (3.0) and Strongly Agree (4.0), indicating a slightly more positive perception related to regional efforts than state-level efforts. The state response for the regional effort was 3.40 compared to a mean of 3.00 for their own efforts. The regional response for the regional effort was 3.08 compared with the state-effort mean of 2.96. Of note is that the state and regional respondents have similar perceptions about relevant partners sharing framework, philosophy, goals, and definitions. As displayed in Appendix F, the highest regional means for state-level effort are Regions 6 and 10 with 3.33 and 3.29 respectively, and Regions 2, 5, 7, and 11, all with a mean of 3.00. Highest regional means for regional effort are Regions 10, 1, and 2 with 3.56, 3.43, and 3.40 respectively and Regions, 6, 7, and 8, all with a mean of 3.00. Question 2: “The CYDS Initiative has promoted a common set of desired youth outcomes which are shared by the relevant partners.” Overall, both regional and state partners answering this question tended to agree that the CYDS Initiative has promoted a common set of desired youth outcomes which are shared by the relevant partners. The overall mean response for all responding regions and the state regarding state-level effort was 2.88, between Disagree (2.0) and Agree (3.0). The overall mean related to regional effort was 3.04, between Agree (3.0) and Strongly Agree (4.0). Again, this difference seems to indicate more positive perceptions related to regional efforts than state-level efforts. Means for state respondents for both regional and state efforts were the same (3.00), while regional respondents gave the regional effort a higher rating, 3.05, as compared with a 2.87 for state-level efforts. 10
  20. 20. As shown in Appendix F, the highest regional means for state-level effort are Regions 10, with a mean of 3.50 and Regions 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7, all with a mean of 3.00. Highest regional means for regional effort are Regions 1, 10, and 2 with means of 3.71, 3.44, and 3.20 respectively, and Regions 5, 7, and 8, all with a mean of 3.00. Question 8: “The CYDS Initiative has focused on both desired outcomes for youth and on system changes to support youth outcomes.” Seventy-eight surveys were returned, representing 10 regions and the state. For state-level effort, 25 of the 78 respondents (32%) did not provide a rating. Sixty-six (all but twelve) respondents provided a rating for regional level efforts. Again, both regional and state partners answering this question tended to agree that the CYDS Initiative has focused on both desired outcomes for youth and on system changes to support youth outcomes. The overall mean response related to state-level effort was 2.91, between Disagree (2.0) and Agree (3.0) and for regional effort was 3.08, between Agree and Strongly Agree. Thus, the regional effort was perceived more positively. The mean regional response related to state-level effort was 2.85 compared to the state response of 3.29, with the regional respondents perceiving state-level effort less positively than did the state respondents. The mean regional response related to regional effort was 3.05 compared to a state response of 3.40, with the state respondents perceiving regional efforts more positively than did the regional respondents. As shown in Appendix F, the region with the highest mean related to state-level effort was Region 10 with a mean of 3.40. The Regions with the highest means related to regional effort were Regions 10 (3.44) where five of nine respondents Strongly Agreed with the statement and Region 1 (3.43) where three of seven respondents Strongly Agreed with the statement and Region 2 (3.40) where two respondents Strongly Agreed. Question 9: “Within the CYDS Initiative, decisions affecting youth and communities have been made with youth and community participation.” Seventy-eight surveys were returned, representing 10 regions and the state. Of the returned surveys, 50 respondents answered this question for state-level effort and 66 respondents answered for regional effort. In this case, regional partners answering the question came closer to agreeing than did state partners that, within the CYDS Initiative, decisions affecting youth and communities have been made with youth and community participation. The overall mean response related to state-level effort was 2.42 and for regional effort 2.92, between Disagree (2.0) and Agree (3.0). Thus, respondents disagreed that state-level efforts included youth and community participation, but tended to agree that regional efforts did so. The mean regional response related to state-level effort was 2.44 compared to the state response of 2.29, with the regional respondents perceiving state-level effort more positively than did the state respondents. The mean regional response related to regional effort was 2.89 compared to a state response of 3.40, with the state respondents perceiving regional efforts more positively than did the regional respondents The region with the highest mean related to state-level effort was Region 10 with a mean of 3.33. The regions with the highest means related to regional effort were Regions 1 (3.86) where six of seven respondents strongly agreed with the statement and Region 2 (3.80) where four of five respondents strongly agreed with the statement, Region 8 (3.50) where one respondent Strongly 11
  21. 21. Agreed and Region 10 (3.33) where four of nine respondents Strongly Agreed. Overall, eight of the ten regions had a mean rating showing agreement to strong agreement for the statement related to decisions being made with youth and community participation. April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report On the April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report, regions were asked to respond to the question “What have you understood to be the vision and goal of the Comprehensive Youth Development System Initiative?”(Appendix C - Question 1) Content analysis shows that six of the twelve regions used words like “system, structure, infrastructure”; nine used terms like “resource maximization – avoiding duplication, active and ongoing process of matching services and resources to meet needs of youth and families”; eight used the terms “team, partnership, and collaboration.” Nine regions specifically mentioned a youth focus or implied meeting the needs of youth, while three regions specifically talked of broader policy arenas like “community development” and “economic development” and “workforce development.” None of the regions actually mentioned the possibility of being an intermediary, but eight wrote of resource allocation, matching, and maximization. One wrote of “leveraging resources.” Since the word “intermediary” was never written in documents used for training and the development of regional teams, it might be assumed the “intermediary” vision is a long-term outcome of shorter-term outcomes identified in written materials. All regions seemed to be embracing the need for and act of collaboration at some level. Partners and Partnerships Assessment Questions • What partners affiliated with the regional efforts and what sectors did they represent? • To what degree were various sectors represented and to what extent were they involved? • To what degree did the Regional CYDS Initiative increase regional-to-state and state-to- regional linkages? • To what degree did the Regional CYDS Initiative complement and enhance previously existing linkages and collaborative efforts in communities and the region? What partners affiliated with the regional efforts and what sectors did they represent? To what degree were various sectors represented and to what extent were they involved? Three sources of information provided data for answering these two questions. CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment There were 78 regional and state partner responses to the CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment survey. Respondents were asked to indicate the sector(s) they represented, marking all that apply. Of the 78 respondents, 74 marked a total of 123 sectors. Four respondents did not indicate a sector. Over half (46) of the respondents selected one sector; 28 respondents selected more than one sector. (See Appendix E – Sector Analysis.) 12
  22. 22. Table 3 includes information on the sectors selected by the respondents to the Perceived Outcome Assessment. Family Connection and School to Work were the most frequently selected sectors. Table 3. Sector Selection Number of % of Sectors Selections Respondents Family Connection 17 13.8% School to Work 17 13.8% Other 11 8.9% Workforce Investment Act Area Representative 11 8.9% Youth Council Representative 10 8.1% Department of Technical and Adult Education 9 7.3% Public Health 7 5.7% Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/ Addiction Disorders 6 4.9% Tech Prep 5 4.1% Department of Juvenile Justice 4 3.3% Department of Family & Children Services 4 3.3% Regional Development Center 4 3.3% Community Employer 3 2.4% Department of Human Resources 3 2.4% Department of Education 2 1.6% Department of Labor 2 1.6% Chambers of Commerce 2 1.6% Communities in Schools 2 1.6% Rehabilitation Services 1 0.8% Department of Community Affairs 1 0.8% Boys and Girls Clubs 1 0.8% Youth Apprenticeship Program 1 0.8% April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report Lead contacts providing the April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report were asked to provide a list of current CYDS regional partners and assign two codes for each name: one code to indicate the sector represented and a second code to indicate their level of involvement (M – Member Only, S – Member Somewhat Involved, and H – Member Heavily Involved.). Three of the twelve regional quarterly reports provided the level of involvement information for each sector represented, rather than for each individual partner. Thus, when frequencies for each sector were compiled in those three regions, each sector represented received a count of one--rather than the actual frequency likely represented in the regional group (i.e., if Family Connection was marked, it would receive a count of one, regardless of the number of Family Connection representatives actually participating with the regional group.) Because of this inconsistency, conclusions about sector representation and level of involvement may be skewed. Overall, the lead contacts listed 277 regional partners and perceived almost 60% of their partners 13
  23. 23. to be heavily involved, with 21.3% being somewhat involved and 19.5% being members only. (Appendix C provides a detailed analysis of the regional lead contact’s report on sector and level of participant involvement.) Twenty-four separate sectors were identified for coding and all were used for at least 2 partners. Additionally, the code for “other” was used for 33 partners and included predominately private non profit organizations. Table 4 presents, in order of frequency, the sectors identified for the 277 regional partners, along with the percentage of each sector perceived by the lead contact to be Heavily Involved, Somewhat Involved, or Member Only. Table 4. Sectors Represented in Regional CYDS and Level of Involvement Level of Involvement Heavily Somewhat Member Only Sector # Involved Involved # % # % # % Family Connection 39 21 53.8 9 23.1 9 23.1 Other (e.g., private, nonprofit) 33 15 45.5 4 12.1 14 42.4 Youth Council Representative 29 20 69.0 8 27.6 1 3.4 Workforce Investment Act Area 19 15 78.9 3 15.8 1 5.3 Representative Public Health 18 12 66.7 3 16.7 3 16.7 School to Work 17 11 64.7 6 35.3 0 0.0 Technical Colleges 15 4 26.7 8 53.3 3 20.0 Department of Education 14 5 35.7 5 35.7 4 28.6 Department of Juvenile Justice 13 8 61.5 2 15.4 3 23.1 Mental Health/ Dev. Disabilities/ 11 10 90.9 0 0.0 1 9.1 Addictive Disorders Regional Development Center 8 8 100.0 0 0.0 0 00.0 Department of Family & 8 7 87.5 0 0.0 1 12.5 Children’s Services Department of Labor 8 3 37.5 1 12.5 4 50.0 Tech Prep 7 4 57.1 2 28.6 1 14.3 Department of Community Affairs 5 3 60.0 1 20.0 1 20.0 Certified Literate Community 4 3 75.0 1 25.0 0 00.0 Program Department of Industry, Trade & 4 2 50.0 1 25.0 1 25.0 Tourism Community Employer 4 2 50.0 0 0.0 2 50.0 Regional Educational Services 4 2 50.0 1 25.0 1 25.0 Agency Chamber of Commerce 4 2 50.0 1 25.0 1 25.0 Communities in Schools 4 1 25.0 2 50.0 1 25.0 Rehabilitation Services 3 2 66.7 0 0.0 1 33.3 Boys and Girls Clubs 2 2 100.0 0 0.0 0 00.0 Department of Human Resources 2 1 50.0 1 50.0 0 00.0 Youth Apprenticeship Program 2 1 50.0 0 0.0 1 50.0 TOTALS 277 164 59.2 59 21.3 54 19.5 14
  24. 24. March 10-11, 2003 Regional Meeting Notes At the March, 2003 meeting of regional teams, there was significant discussion about the difficulty in getting local education officials involved in the regional collaborative effort. The issue was seen as important enough to warrant a discussion session devoted to Involvement of Education, which was attended by five of the twelve regions. The discussion centered on reasons the problem existed – perhaps because there are not many educational partners with a regional scope – and suggestions for obtaining their involvement. Data in Table 4 suggests the Department of Education has one of the higher frequencies in Sector Representation. However, closer examination of sectors by region as detailed in Appendix C shows that six of the fourteen Department of Education partners are all in one region, Region 5. CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment Two items (Questions 11 and 12) on the 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment survey addressed partners and partnerships, increased linkages, and collaborative relationships. Respondents were asked to indicate the degree to which they agreed with the two separate statements that are discussed in the remainder of this section. They could respond Strongly Agree (4.0), Agree (3.0), Disagree (2.0), or Strongly Disagree (1.0). The results are shown in Table 5. Table 5. Means for Questions 11 and 12 on the Perceived Outcome Assessment State-level Effort Regional Effort Overall State Regional Overall State Regional Mean Team Members Mean Team Members Q. 11 As a result of the CYDS Initiative thus far, there have been increased 2.83 3.00 2.80 2.81 3.00 2.79 regional-to-state and state-to-regional n=53 n=7 n=46 n=63 n=5 n=58 linkages Q. 12 The Regional CYDS Initiative has complemented and enhanced previously 2.84 3.17 2.79 3.18 3.20 3.18 existing linkages and collaborative efforts n=45 n=6 n=39 n=66 n=5 n=61 in communities and the region Question 11: “As a result of the CYDS Initiative thus far, there have been increased regional-to-state and state-to-regional linkages.” Of the 78 respondents who returned the survey, 67% rated state-level efforts and 80% rated regional level efforts to Question 11. Overall respondents tended to agree that there have been increased regional-to-state and state-to-regional linkages. The overall mean response related to State-level effort was 2.83 and for Regional Effort was 2.81, between Disagree (2.0) and Agree (3.0). (See Table 5.) The region with the highest mean related to state-level effort was Region 10 (3.50) where three of nine respondents strongly agreed with the statement. The regions with the highest mean related to regional effort were Region 10 (3.33), where four of nine respondents Strongly Agreed with the statement and Region 1 (3.14) where one respondent Strongly Agreed with the statement. 15
  25. 25. Question 12: “The Regional CYDS Initiative has complemented and enhanced previously existing linkages and collaborative efforts in communities and the region.” Forty-five of the 78 respondents rated the state-level effort and 66 respondents rated the regional effort. Overall, both state and regional partners tended to agree with the statement for the regional effort that the regional CYDS Initiative has complemented and enhanced previously existing linkages and collaborative efforts in communities and the region. The overall mean response related to state-level effort was 2.84, between Disagree (2.0) and Agree (3.0), and for regional effort was 3.18, between Agree (3.0) and Strongly Agree (4.0). (See Table 5.) The mean regional response related to state-level effort was 2.79 compared to the state team response related to the state effort of 3.17. State respondents rated their effort higher than did the regional respondents. There was little difference in the way the two groups responded to the regional effort with the regional mean of 3.18 and the state mean of 3.20. There are obviously some differences here between how the respondents perceive the state-level effort in complementing and enhancing previously existing linkages and collaborative efforts in communities and the region versus how they see the regional effort to do so. Team members from the regions were less positive about state-level efforts to complement and enhance previously existing linkages in the communities and region through this CYDS Initiative. The region with the highest mean related to state-level effort was Region 10, where two of nine respondents strongly agreed with the statement. However, out of the ten regions with survey respondents, only four regions had a mean regional rating of 3 or greater for state-level effort. In rating regional effort, seven of the ten regions had a mean of 3 (Agree) or greater. The regions with the highest means related to regional effort were Regions 1, (3.71), 10 (3.56), 8 (3.50), 5 (3.33), and 2 (3.20), where 71.4%, 55.6%, 50.0%, 28.6%, and 40.0% of the respondents respectively strongly agreed with the statement. Capacity Building Assessment Questions • What approaches were utilized to develop the capacity of Regional CYDS teams? • To what degree were these approaches seen as relevant and effective? What approaches were utilized to develop the capacity of Regional CYDS teams? After the vision, purposes, and desired outcomes were developed by the State Partners Group, six significant events were led and facilitated by staff from School to Work and from School and Main, the consulting group which provided design work and technical assistance to the process. The purpose of these events was to introduce the concept of a Regional Comprehensive Youth Development System, allow regional representatives to explore the benefits of forming a regional CYDS partnership, and assist regional representatives in the first steps of asset mapping. Event One – Introducing the CYDS concept to key youth providers at the regional and local levels. A session was held in Macon on January 30, 2002 bringing together youth development practitioners from the 41 School to Work Partnerships within the state, Youth Councils under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA). Regions participated as teams and explored the concept of a CYDS. The outcomes of 16
  26. 26. this event included the initial development of regional support for the CYDS concept, the initial identification of interested parties from the regions, and the identification of individuals willing to serve as “regional champions” who were charged with the task of expanding regional team representation and participation. Event Two – “Mini-Summit” of state-level partners and potential and actual regional champions. A session held in Atlanta on February 13, 2002 provided an opportunity for state- level partners and regional representatives to explore areas of common interest, appropriate roles, and potential collaboration in moving forward the youth development initiative across Georgia. Outcomes of this event were a clearer understanding of the definition of youth development by state and regional partners and identification of potential roles for collaboration and resource sharing. Event Three – The Regional Sessions. Four regional sessions for teams of youth development professionals were held in four varying locations in March and June 2002. These sessions were intended to provide regional teams with their first substantive opportunity to consider how the concept of a CYDS could best serve their region’s youth. The sessions also provided the opportunity to use a tested asset or resource mapping tool to begin this process or build on any similar efforts already begun. Additionally, the sessions provided the opportunity for regions to consider an appropriate convening entity for the initiative. Outcomes of these sessions were detailed, substantive planning and goal setting by twelve of twelve regions and broad-based dissemination of the CYDS concept and specific benefits to be gained regionally and in partnership with state-level partners. Event Four – The Statewide Summit. The purpose of this culminating event was twofold. First it provided an opportunity for state-level partners and regional teams to share their work and experiences to date in building a CYDS within their jurisdictions. It also provided the opportunity to identify specific shared priorities that could be built upon in future months. The event was attended by 100 participants when only 60 were expected. The outcomes of the summit were the identification of specific progress made by regional teams, specific barriers, and innovative and concrete ideas for ongoing and focused areas of work. Event Five – Sustainability Institute. Held September 23-25, 2002, the Youth Development Institute was designed to address skill building, tools, and strategies needed to sustain the youth development system approach. Event Six – CYDS Regional Team Meeting. This session, held March 2-3, 2003, provided the first opportunity for regions to collectively share and discuss their work. Regional Teams were asked to present their Comprehensive Youth Development strategies and challenges regarding implementation and the progress to date. The regional partners in attendance from each region made a report about their region’s work, including a description of the strategy, reason for focusing on that strategy, identification of the system building and sustainability aspects of the strategy, tangible outcomes expected, and the biggest challenges they were facing. The most frequently expressed challenges and opportunities were then addressed in “Open Spaces” discussion groups. All participants had the opportunity to attend two different sessions to discuss their challenges and possible solutions, or to share successful strategies. 17
  27. 27. Question 14: To what degree were these approaches seen as relevant and effective? Regional member respondents to the CYDS 2002-2003 Perceived Outcome Assessment survey were asked to indicate the degree to which they agreed with the following statement: “Our region was fully prepared for the Regional CYDS Initiative through the various regional and state meetings offered by the State School to Work Office and School and Main.” They could respond Strongly Agree (4.0), Agree (3.0), Disagree (2.0), or Strongly Disagree (1.0). Fifty-seven out of a possible 70 respondents (81%) provided ratings. The mean and number responding to this question are shown in Table 6. Table 6. Means for Questions 14 on the Perceived Outcome Assessment State-level Effort Regional Effort Overall State Regional Overall State Regional Mean Team Members Mean Team Members 14. Our region was fully prepared for the Regional CYDS Initiative through 2.54 2.54 the various regional and state meetings -- -- -- -- n=57 n=57 offered by the State School to Work Office and School and Main. Responses indicate that regional partners could go either way on agreeing or disagreeing with the statement that the individual regions were fully prepared for the regional CYDS Initiative through the various regional and state meetings that were offered. The overall mean response for all responding regions was 2.54, between Disagree (2.0) and Agree (3.0). The three regions with the highest means - Region 10 (3.25), Region 4 (3.25), and Region 1 (3.14) - had 33.3%, 50.0%, and 42.9% strongly agreeing with the statement. Six of the remaining regions had an average mean between Agree (3.0) and Disagree (2.0), and one region had a mean between Disagree (2.0) and Strongly Disagree (1.0). One of the regions with the highest means, Region 1, had 7 responses to the question. Five of the seven respondents wrote additional comments regarding their strong previous collaboration efforts. They indicated their prior collaboration had prepared them for the experience, and the efforts of the School to Work Office and School and Main were helpful and provided support. Three of the five partners responding from Region 2 provided additional comments. Two indicated their level of preparation related to their prior collaborating experience; one acknowledged the helpfulness of state resources, and one respondent had very negative reactions to the role of School and Main. In Region 6, where four of six respondents provided a response, all four indicated they disagreed and provided additional comments that their region was not prepared “… not enough partners were able to attend the meetings - a few partners were ready but not the region – don’t think this happened in our region…” Three of nine respondents from Region 10 (a region with the highest mean response) provided comments questioning whether they were prepared. One indicated “not fully prepared, but it helped.” 18
  28. 28. Interestingly, Region 11 had the highest response rate, 16 respondents, and also had the lowest mean, indicating they didn’t feel the efforts of School to Work and School and Main had fully prepared them. Five of the 16 provided additional comments. Four of the five were generally displeased: • “coordinating with no money, no guidelines...short implementation time frames...learned by trial and error…guidance to the state and region were minimal.” • “We did it, but with mostly local efforts and without guidelines in a timely manner.” • “Regional effort seemed to flounder.” • “Region still struggling to catch up and/or implement due largely to the lack of adequate preparation.” Organizing, Planning, and Implementing • Assessment Questions • What were the bases for planning in each region? • What approaches were chosen for implementing regional strategies? • What issues were addressed by each Regional CYDS Initiative? • What challenges did the regions face in implementing the Regional CYDS Initiative? • To what degree do regions perceive their approach to organizing, planning, and implementing have been effective? What were the bases for planning in each region? On the April 15, 2003 Quarterly Report, regions were asked to respond to a question: “What was the basis for planning in your region (e.g., data on youth, a vision, target audiences focus, School and Main)?” (Appendix C - Question 3). Five of the twelve regions responding indicated an analytical approach collecting either quantitative or qualitative data and/or studying data. Three regions mentioned a vision created in conjunction with one of the March 2002 regional meetings facilitated by School and Main. Three other regions discussed a collaborative process of developing a vision fueled by the collective experience of group members who have previously attended meetings and apparently been influenced by other sets of information. Region 5 discussed a systemic way of approaching a seamless Comprehensive Youth Development System, which is based on the mutual interests of community development, economic development, workforce development, and youth development. Two other regions, 7 and 10, have similar philosophies, but did not discuss it as a part of their response to this question on the April 15 Quarterly Report. What approaches were chosen for implementing regional strategies? Marilyn Akers, STW consultant, provided the following summary descriptions after the regional teams met in Dublin, Georgia, March 2-3, 2003. Regions were asked to report on their regional CYDS strategy, why they chose the strategy, and the system building and sustainability aspects of the strategy. Summaries are included for eleven of the twelve regions. At this point, Region 9 had not developed region strategies. 19
  29. 29. Region 1 Youth Council Strategic Plan/Youth Summits/Leadership & Training The region established a regional partners group representing 15 counties and meets once a month to consider interagency planning, capacity building, training, and networking opportunities. The leadership team is working with the existing county Youth Councils (councils of young people, not WIA) to develop youth leadership and allow feedback from youth regarding regional plans/strategies. The results from a previous youth summit were incorporated into the regional work plan for the WIA Youth Council. A region-wide plan was developed based on an analysis of county-level Family Connection Partnership plans within the region. Common strategies and ideas were pulled out that relate to youth services and priorities. These priorities are high school/GED completion, increased post-secondary enrollment, expanding career awareness, and reducing substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco, and drugs). The immediate goal is to get service providers on the same page regarding youth development through cross training and promoting the same goals, values, and outcomes. Recently, joint training of 93 people was held for Juvenile Justice, Mental Health, Public Health, and other partners who do not regularly train together. Region 1 is also supporting youth leadership through mini-grants to county Youth Councils and supporting young people to attend the Georgia Teen Institute during summer 2003. Youth summits will continue to be held to elicit perceptions from youth and the results will be incorporated into partner decision making. Region 2 Sustained Regional Infrastructure and Youth Asset Approach The region established a 501(c)3 organization including partners from Public Health, K-12 education, Family Connection Partnership, and others. Each county has a youth/adult partnership focused on asset development (Search Institute 40 Developmental Assets). The regional team is planning an adult/youth summit – planned and organized by young people – in April 2003. The region is also providing small mini-grants to counties to assist in the communication and development of the regional infrastructure. Region 3 Youth Summits The region is planning county-level youth summits to identify perceptions, assets, and gaps in youth services (focusing on careers/substance abuse/healthy behaviors) to be followed by a regional youth summit to develop a region-wide plan and strategies. Leadership in the region will be provided by WIA, Family Connection Partnership, and Public Health. Region 4 Regional Infrastructure Thirty-two partners have formed a regional infrastructure to look at how to sustain a system that supports youth development for the long term. The regional partnership includes leadership from the Regional Development Council, WIA, Juvenile Justice, Mental Health, Family Connection Partnership, Labor, Community Affairs, the technical college, Department of Family and Children Services, non-profit organizations, faith-based community, youth organizations, and business. Region 4 recognizes the need for a long-term infrastructure and communication regarding youth. Prior to the CYDS concept, the region already had the vision for getting organized around youth services. Funding served as a catalyst to jump-start planning efforts. Wellsys Corporation is the contractor providing strategic analysis and technical support for Region 4. To date, the region has established a governance structure by forming an executive committee (leadership team), outlined financial policies, compiled existing strategic plans, conducted focus groups to identify assets and gaps in services working with existing events, and worked with youth to distribute surveys. A Regional Youth Advisory Council is planning a youth retreat. 20
  30. 30. Region 5 GA Academy for Economic Development and Youth Council Leadership Region 5 has expanded membership of the WIA Youth Council to include new partners and has focused on developing strategies that support the connection between education, workforce development, and economic development. The region has been focusing in all areas on improvement, but was not working together systemically. In partnership with the Georgia Academy for Economic Development, a region-wide summit for system building will be conducted with the intent of developing a long-term process for communicating and focusing on youth development. Representation will include 15 person teams from the 12 counties in the region with an expected attendance of 250 people. The summit is a relationship building effort to increase regional partner leadership, ensure involvement of families and youth, and communicate regarding the CYDS effort and outcomes. The CYDS Initiative has given regional partners an opportunity to think differently and work together differently. The regional team has used CYDS financial resources to pull together existing strategic plans to analyze common elements. The region plans to use the WIA Youth Council as the long-term vehicle for sustainability. Region 6 United Way 211 System Enhancement Region 6, which represents an eleven county area, is building a system that brings together the common elements between education, workforce development, and economic development. The CYDS Strategic Plan includes an assessment of youth services, the development of a resources inventory, and a partner directory. The region is using this information to enhance the existing United Way 211 system in Macon/Bibb to cover the entire region. Wellsys Corporation is the contractor providing strategic planning, research, and technical support. Partners include Public Health, Communities in Schools, Family Connection Partnership, United Way, Middle Georgia Technical College, Volunteer Macon, and others. Ford Motor Company provides sponsorship and maintenance of a website that was developed in partnership with America’s Promise. An asset-based survey is in the process of being conducted to focus on positive aspects of community and to identify demographics, challenges, services used, and barriers to the use of existing services. The survey will include responses from 100 participants from each of the eleven counties. Mini-grants are being provided to the each county through the Family Connection Partnership to conduct the survey. Following the data collection and analysis, a youth summit for regional adult partners and youth will be conducted to promote results, develop a strategic plan, and launch actions. Region 7 Geographic Information System – Tool for Community Decision Making Region 7 is a diverse region, which includes five of the poorest counties in the state and one of the top five wealthiest counties in the state. The regional philosophy includes the belief that youth development equals community development equals economic development. In collaboration with the Regional Development Center, partners are working to develop a region- wide Geographic Information System (GIS) to analyze needs and gaps in services, target resources in high need areas, and develop collaborative solutions to common issues. Region 7 has developed a website and brochure to market availability of this tool in the community. Family Connection Partnership will provide leadership in conducting sessions with families, youth, and local leadership (elected and service providers) using maps to explain the GIS system and how it can be used to identify and address community assets and assist in future decision making. Region 7 is also conducting a survey of 8,000 youth in school systems across the region using the established Search Institute 40 Developmental Assets Youth Survey. Distribution of these surveys will be stratified based on each county’s student population. Region 8 IMPACT Youth Leadership 21
  31. 31. This sixteen county region already had an established youth council (young people, not WIA) called IMPACT, which provides youth leadership opportunities. This group has provided the leadership for CYDS in Region 8 and has expanded to cover the entire region. Partners in this regional collaborative include WIA, Family Connection Partnership, Mental Health, Public Health, DFACS, Juvenile Justice, New Horizons, and others. Through the CYDS effort, the region has conducted an asset mapping process to analyze the existing strategic plans of regional partners for the purpose of identifying common goals and needs. The region, through the Youth Council, is focusing on high school completion and support for healthy behaviors. The region is working to meet the challenges and address the differences that exist between the smaller, rural counties and the larger counties, including Muscogee, which includes the city of Columbus. Region 10 Certified Literate Community Program Region-wide Region 10 built upon an existing health services task force, which expanded to include agencies that represent additional community services and education. The group has changed its name to the Regional Partners Network and has grown to include 40 partner organizations. The Regional Development Center is coordinating and hosting monthly meetings, has established a communications listserve and link to partners, and is the conduit for providing information to local governments regarding CYDS implementation. The group is focusing on community development strategies that include education, workforce development, and economic development goals. The Regional Partners Network has established a long-term goal to develop a region-wide Certified Literate Community Program (CCLP), the first in the State of Georgia. The region has developed a logo and motto – Believe. Read. Succeed. Three of the counties in the region are already CCLP certified and will provide support and mentoring to the surrounding counties. The Regional Partners Network has established a formal governance structure based on the CCLP program and has also developed short-term goals to achieve during the longer-term CCLP process. To further build relationships and capacity, a region-wide assessment will be conducted and a web-based resource inventory will be developed. The Regional Partners Network is also conducting focus groups in each county to identify needs, gaps, and services. In addition, the partners will analyze youth perceptions of services based on the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets Youth Survey. A region-wide newsletter has been developed to inform local elected officials and other partners regarding CYDS implementation. Region 11 211 Information and Referral System and Regional PALS Prior to CYDS, Region 11 recognized the need for a region-wide youth development initiative and had formed an informal governance strategy. With the implementation of CYDS, the group has expanded and formed a regional network, called PALS (Partners and Agency Leaders). The group has established formal governance policies and works together on budgeting, strategic planning, communication, and implementation issues regarding services for youth in the region. The PALS network has conducted an asset mapping process and analysis that is being used to develop a region-wide 211 System and Information and Referral System (website) for the region. The PALS network has also supported the formation of a youth leadership coalition and will send teams to the Georgia Teen Institute. These youth teams will lead local county youth summits that will culminate with a regional youth summit. Region 12 Website and Services Matrix Region-wide Region 12 is focused on the development of a regional infrastructure to support and sustain youth development. The first priority is on the development of a service matrix and region-wide website that identifies programs, resources, and services available for youth and families. Through the regional partner leadership, community outreach and training will be conducted to 22

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