Whether you identify as a full or part-time youth worker, teacher, volunteer, parent/guardian, neighbor, or a faith community member, your work with youth matters! We all have a responsibility to help young people grow and develop positively. Our role as caring adults makes a difference in their lives. Our work with youth - both volunteer and professional - needs to come from an informed, intentional way of understanding their lives and the ways we support and promote their growth.

This self-guided course gives you an introduction to using the positive youth development approach for working with young people. Each lesson is designed to give you the opportunity to think and reflect on the work you do with youth. These come from a solid grounding in research and many years of daily work with youth by youth workers across the country.

How it works

  • Go at your own pace (without a facilitator) through three modules:
    • The basic components of good programs
    • the critical role of adults in youth programs
    • the key to quality youth programs
  • Each module takes about 30 minutes to complete. Additional time spent on application activities will vary.
  • Learn on your own time. Unlimited 24-hour access to the self-guided online course.
  • Videos and activities help you take concrete ideas back to your program.
  • Certificate for completing the 3-hour training is available at the end of the course.

Technical requirements

  • High-speed internet access
  • Computer speakers


  • Learn the basic components of positive youth development programs
  • Understand the critical role of adults
  • Identify the key components of quality youth programs

Registration and fee

Suggested registration fee: $25, sliding-scale pricing available.

In order to make our programming accessible to a broader audience, we have implemented a sliding-scale fee structure. The suggested registration fee for this course is $25. We also offer a supporter rate of $50 for those who would like to contribute toward making this programming accessible to all. We do not want cost to be a barrier to participation. If you are not able to pay the registration fee, you may take the program at no cost.

Payment is accepted by credit card only (no POs, invoices, payment by check). Payment must be made at the time of registration.


  • Username or password help: HELP@umn.edu or (612) 301-4357
  • Content questions: Karyn Santl (santl001@umn.edu)
  • Center for Youth Development: cyd@umn.edu or 612-624-1999
Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Section Title
Youth Work Matters: Self-guided online course
Online, self paced
Jan 01, 2024 to Dec 31, 2024
Delivery Options
Self Paced Online  
Section Details


  • User Name or Password help: HELP@umn.edu, (612) 301-4357
  • Content: Karyn Santl (santl001@umn.edu)

Youth Work Matters: Self-guided online course home page

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