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Pikes Peak Workforce Center

Learn to Lead Program

Community Challenge/Problem

Leadership Development is a required element of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Program. Pikes Peak Workforce Center (PPWFC) providing this service via contracting with an outside provider, which proved to be costly and youth staff had to be chaperones at these trainings. Contract providers voiced frustration with the expectation versus reality of the population of youth served and found it difficult to engage these youth for long periods, leading to less effective leadership development. Staff realized that an in-house leadership development program would decrease the cost per participant and increase the effectiveness of the cultivation of youth potential due to the staff's familiarity and rapport with the WIA youth population.

Board Solution/Innovation

Youth staff created Learn to Lead (L2L) to develop citizenship, encourage responsibility, and teach positive social behavior. L2L is a high energy, hands-on environment that is experienced over 12 hours. L2L asks participants to step outside their comfort zones and quickly bond with one another. After an activity, participants debrief relating to concepts that were taught earlier, allowing participants to connect theory with practice, and challenging each participant to look at their identity and worldview. A volunteer service project is included that exposes participants to the intrinsic benefits of volunteerism. L2L empowers young adults to believe as though they are leaders and that leadership is a practice rather than a position.

Outcomes & Results

Since development, 32 WIA youth completed the training. The most recent L2L event cost less than $1,000 versus the $5,328 that was paid to a contract provider. L2L was delivered to 26 non-WIA youth at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind and has been enthusiastically received by the young people who attended the training. During the two iterations of L2L held for WIA youth, a total of 189 volunteer service hours were completed. Youth who completed the L2L have completed an additional 39.5 hours of volunteer service. Six months after its inception, Learn to Lead was recognized by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment as a best practice among youth Workforce Investment Act programs in the state.

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