Youth Engagement as Workers

Freechild Project youth in Seattle

When organizations, businesses, agencies, and other groups hire youth, they can be staff members in programs for adults, other youth, children, or for the community at large. Engaging youth as workers can be an empowering opportunity for them, and an enriching activity in the workplace.

To many a man, and sometimes to a youth, there comes the opportunity to choose between honorable competence and tainted wealth. The young man who starts out to be poor and honorable, holds in his hand one of the strongest elements of success. 

Orison Swett Marden

Ways Youth Engagement as Workers Happens

Business Owners — Youth can start and operate businesses of all kinds. Practical, positive and successful endeavors can teach youth countless skills, build communities through economic impacts and positive interactions, and other great outcomes.

Out of School Time Staff — When youth have opportunities to lead, teach, direct and partner with their peers and children, they can grow in the afternoons when school is out, on weekends, and over the summertime.

Youth as Program Directors — Leading youth programs requires a high degree of responsibility; the ability to learn from doing; and the desire to make a difference in the lives of other people. Youth as program directors can learn powerful skills while changing peoples’ lives.

Needs for Youth Engagement as Workers

Inspiration — In a world that generally relies on youth being passive consumers of adult-made decisions, youth as paid staff sometimes require inspiration and motivation to get involved and sustain their efforts.

Opportunities — Once they’re inspired, youth need opportunities to take action! Creating workforce development opportunities, or career and technical education activities is essential, especially when focusing on youth engagement as the outcome.

Training — Rather than simply “throwing them into the fire”, employers need to train young people in how to become engaged in their workplace. Additionally, adults who work with youth need to learn how to engage youth, too.

You Might Like…

Elsewhere Online


Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how Freechild Institute can support youth + social change through youth workers in your community or organization, contact us.

Special thanks to Edward DeJesus for his contributions to this page!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s