Our Mission

Empowerment Through Education

Resources & Publications

Workforce Preparation Activities and Lessons

You can use the lesson below with youth to help them identify the workforce skills they have already developed in 4-H or other programs and translate them into language that “counts” to employers when they make hiring decisions.  Through these lessons, youth can discover areas in which they may need more experience and strategies for getting it through their experiences this year and discuss other ways they can capitalize on their experiences for the future.

Beachball Lesson Plan

Grafitti Wall Lesson Plan

Showcasing Your Skills Lesson Plan


School Success

School Success Brochure Key to Ohio’s success in the Knowledge Economy is successful education from pre-school through
college or other post-secondary education. Successful schools mean that Ohio’s youth will have the preparation they need for jobs in the Knowledge Economy, for a high quality of life, and to take citizenship responsibilities in our society.

KnowHow2Go -This great site that offers step-by-step guidance in college planning  and financial aid from a child’s middle school days until they step foot on a college campus. If you’re a parent, guardian, teacher, mentor or other caring adult, chances are there’s a teen in your life who wants to go to college, and this site can help your teen succeed.

College 101 assists high school seniors to make a positive transition to college.

Science Education for Teachers – is being developed to assist elementary and middle school teachers achieve strong science outcomes in their classrooms.

Successful Schools Successful Communities facilitates stronger engagement of communities and schools for their mutual benefit.

Financial Education

Real Money, Real World– An active, hands-on experience, the program gives young people the opportunity to make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those they will make as adults. Real Money, Real World programs are designed to be a partnership of the county Extension Office, the school, and the business community.

NEFE High School Financial Planning Program – An advanced, student centered personal finance program geared towards the high school grades. Also visit the OSU Extension webpage on the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program for more information about the use of the program in Ohio.

Knowledge Economy

Knowledge Economy Power Point


Preparing youth for the 21st century knowledge economy: Youth programs and workforce preparation.

By emphasizing work-based learning, youth programs can not only meet their youth development goals but also prepare young people for success in the knowledge economy of the 21st century.

Cochran, G., & Ferrari, T. M. (2009).  Afterschool Matters. Issue Number 8, Spring 2009.  Available at: http://www.robertbownefoundation.org/pdf_files/2009_asm_spring.pdf 

Preparing teens for success: Building 21st century skills through a 4-H work-based learning program

There is widespread concern that youth lack the skills essential for job success and are entering the workplace unprepared. To address issues of workforce preparation, Extension educators at an urban 4-H education center created the Job Experience and Training (JET) program, a work-based learning program for teens. Overall, the experience appears to have produced improvements in teens’ workforce skills, as evidenced by their own self-assessment and that of their supervisors. We conclude with implications for conducting work-based learning programs.

Ferrari, T. M., Arnett, N. E., & Cochran, G. R. (2008) . Journal of Youth Development.3(1)  Article 080301FA001. Available at: http://www.nae4ha.org/directory/jyd

Action Briefs

Ohio 4-H Workforce Preparation Overview

Skills for Success – Action Brief May 2008

Conference/Presentation Materials

2007 NAE4-HA Poster Session: All in a Day’s Work: Teens’ Development of Workforce Skills in the Job Experience and Training Program (JET)- 2007NAE4HA_JET_Poster_Session.pdf

Developing applied skills for the workforce is crucially important for at-risk youth. To address issues related to workforce preparation, Extension Educators at an urban 4-H education center created the Job Experience and Training (JET) program for teens. JET takes place in the context of a comprehensive youth program based at an urban park facility that includes after-school, summer day camp, parent engagement, and teen programming. This poster session discussed the program’s components and defined work-based learning in the context of youth development. The poster also shared program evaluation results and suggested recommended practices for replication of a similar work-based learning program.

2007 NAE4-HA Poster Session: Ohio 4-H Workforce Preparation Initiative – 2007NAE4HA_WFP_Poster_Session.pdf

Preparing youth for the workforce is a major concern. The Ohio 4-H Workforce Preparation Initiative was developed to strengthen and expand programs that are developing job skills for youth. Participants gained an understanding of the current skills emphasized by employers and the current literature and what the Ohio Initiative has been doing to address workforce preparation concerns. In addition, this poster session highlighted important principles, program components, evaluation strategies, and resources to enhance or start new programs.

2008 CYFAR Conference Program Showcase: Are Teens Ready for the World of Work? How Ohio’s Workforce Preparation Initiative Addresses Skills for Success – 2008_CYFAR_are_teens_ready_for_the_world_of_work.pdf

This Ohio 4-H Workforce Preparation Initiative program showcase focused on the accomplishments and research based information generated over the last 12 months. The Ohio Initiative was developed to strengthen and expand programs that are developing job skills for youth. The showcase highlighted current concerns about employees entering the workforce with a lack of twenty-first century skills needed for success.

2008 Galaxy III Conference Post Session: Preparing Teens for the 21st Century Workforce: Work-Based Learning as a Strategy to Bridge the Skills Gap – 2008GalaxyIIIPreparingTeens.pdf

Extension professionals across program areas have an opportunity to address the “skills gap” through work-based learning experiences. Through this poster session, participants learned about the skills young people need, work-based learning as a model for engaging teens, key ingredients, and evaluation strategies that will make the work experience a learning experience for teens.

Suggested Curriculum & Resources

4-H 101: The Basics of Starting 4-H Clubs. Rebecca Davis (Ed.).The newly revised 4-H 101 is designed to be a general overview and resource guide for youth development staff or volunteers who are starting new 4-H clubs or working with existing clubs.  4-H 101 merges the basic concepts and principles of effective youth development delivered in a non-formal (out of school) setting with the “nuts and bolts” information needed to manage a 4-H program. Visit http://www.4-hdirectory.org/view.asp?ID={3B469C63-9875-4EA4-BBAE-84F9DB1B74DD}&C=1

Leeds, C., & Archer, T. (1994). Teen Leadership on the Job (Ohio 4-H 373). Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Extension.

Maxa, E. L., Arnold, M. E., Baker, D., Cahill, S. Choksi, K., Dennis, L., et al. (2003). Heads-on, hands-on: The power of experiential learning (4-H CCS DH-07900). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Moving Ahead: Preparing the youth development professional (4-H CCS MI-7515). The Army School Age and Teen Project. 4-H CCS MI-7515 (youth-adult partnership lessons)

Workplace Development Fact Sheets. Alabama Cooperative Extension http://www.aces.edu/crd/workforce/pubs.html 

Other Reading

Ferrari, T. M. (2003). Working hand in hand: Community youth development and career development. In F. A. Villarruel, D. F. Perkins, L. M. Borden, & J. G. Keith (Eds.). Community youth development: Programs, policies and practices (pp. 201-223). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills. (1991). What work requires of schools: A

SCANS report for America 2000. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved from http://wdr.doleta.gov/SCANS/whatwork.