Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Janice Garfiled


Leaders of youth intervention programs provide a significant social service by redirecting at-risk youth onto a productive path. The standards for youth-serving organizations are inconsistent from 1 organization to another across a wide range of youth-worker training certification programs in the United States. A single-case study was conducted to explore the strategies that 3 leaders of a nonprofit organization located in Minnesota, use to select, collect, and analyze data to assess the effectiveness of training certification programs for youth workers. The 2017-2018 Baldrige Excellence Framework provided the structure for a systems-based evaluation of the client organization; Freeman's stakeholder theory was the conceptual lens for the study. Data were collected from conducting semistructured interviews, reviewing the participating organization's internal documents and performance outcomes, and analyzing open-source resources. Through thematic analysis, 4 key themes emerged: (a) the social return on investment analysis and the overall cost savings by investing in and supporting youth programs, (b) the opportunity to focus research on certification for youth workers, (c) the value of providing training for youth workers, and (d) the opportunity to provide a platform for the youth to share success stories with their community. Specific recommendations stemming from the research findings were to create a state or national recognition standard for youth-worker certifications and to make youth work a paid profession. Implementation of these recommendations may result in positive social change by improving the lives and trajectories of youth.

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