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As a 20-year organization that provides supports for out-of-school time (OST) professionals to develop programs that inspire children to be their best and allow them to thrive socially and academically, Prime Time Palm Beach County recognizes and is working with partners, funders and allys in positions of power to break down systemic barriers that impact 25 million children who aren’t able to gain access to programs in our nation, more specifically Palm Beach County.
We must first begin by taking care of our workforce who shows up every single day to ensure the lights are on afterschool for our children and youth by advocating for the pipeline of professionals ready to serve, and promote incentives and development opportunities that also create career pathways and a leadership pipeline.
The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) recently conducted a survey, OST Lanscape Supporting Equity, that found 67% of front-line staff were people of color, and only 58% of site-level directors and 34% of executive directors were people of color. One study showed 20% of staff who identify as LGBTQ+ feel bias against their sexual orientation that has impacted their career advancement.
What does this mean?
Afterschool, summer programs and organizations alike need to begin taking a closer look at recruitment and hiring practices, onboarding and professional development offerings and practices in places to set existing hires up for success in their career.
NAA has created a no-to low-cost, practical guide for OST programs to use when examining systems, elevating their practices and policies that will build and strengthen the field. Prime Time encourages OST programs in Palm Beach County and beyond to read (approximately 10 minutes) and to begin reviewing, discussing and implementing these best practices to increase equity and mitigate bias in recruitment and hiring processes.
 National AfterSchool Association, https://tinyurl.com/OSTLandscapeSupportingEquity
 Building Movement Project, www.buildingmovementproject.org