WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Debt Education and Certification Foundation (DECAF), a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, provides high-quality financial education and counseling, with nationwide outreach throughout the U.S. DECAF is HUD-approved, and recognized as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in Texas.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Harry Hunter, MSW, MBA, Ph.D.

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Peer Reviewer for the month of January 2013, Dr. Hunter has been volunteering for COA since 2005, conducting five site reviews.
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Purpose

Children and youth who participate in Out-of-School Time programs gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood.

PA-OST 14: Programming and Activities: College and Career Readiness

Youth receive support and assistance that prepare them to enter and succeed in college and the workforce.
 

Note: Please note that the more general expectations included in PA-OST 9 also apply to the activities addressed in this core concept.  See PA-OST 9 for more information.  Please also note that providing youth with the academic support covered in PA-OST 12 and 13 can also play an important role in preparing youth for college and the workforce.

NA College and career preparation is not a core element of the programs run by the agency.

Rating Indicators
1
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
2
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. 
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.  
3
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  
  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.   
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner. 
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.   
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
4
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.  
Please see Rating Guidance for additional rating examples. 

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
No Self-Study Evidence
    • Curricula (for previous quarter)
    • Programming/activity plans (for previous quarter)
    • Daily schedules for past month
    • Attendance records (showing totals for each day and weekly averages)
    • Logic model (or equivalent framework)
    • Qualifications of personnel (or others) providing activities (e.g., in personnel records)
    • Interview:
      1. Program Administrator
      2. Site Director
      3. Program Personnel
      4. Youth and families
    • Observe program activities
    • Review files of youth

  • PA-OST 14.01

    The agency motivates youth for success by:

    1. helping them examine and discover their individual strengths, interests, values, and aspirations;
    2. explaining the potential impact that higher education and career readiness can have on life outcomes;
    3. providing opportunities to learn about different options and paths related to higher education and employment; and
    4. helping them understand the steps involved in pursuing a particular path, including how instruction and activities at school or the program can contribute to progress toward goals.

    Interpretation:  Different agencies may provide different opportunities to learn about options related to higher education and employment.  For example, while one agency might invite guest speakers and take youth on field trips to visit workplaces or college campuses, another agency might arrange mentorships, internships, or apprenticeships for youth. Agencies may also differ in the breadth of their focus.  For example, while one might strive to expose youth to a wide range of careers across fields, another might be more specifically focused on STEM disciplines.  

    Note: Agencies that use mentors to help youth learn more about different life options should also complete PA-OST 15.


  • PA-OST 14.02

    Youth are helped to:

    1. gain a better understanding of college and workplace norms, cultures, and expectations; and
    2. develop the interpersonal skills needed to successfully communicate and collaborate with others at school and work.

    Interpretation: Youth should be helped to develop the interpersonal skills they need to demonstrate global awareness; understand social norms and cues; treat others with fairness and respect; listen actively and deeply, without interrupting; effectively convey their points of view; and resolve conflicts and disagreements.  Learning to regulate emotions and empathize with others supports the development of the interpersonal skills needed to get along and collaborate effectively with others, as noted in PA-OST 5.07.  

    Note: The interpersonal skills referenced in element (b) of the standard will likely be developed through practices such as those covered in PA-OST 5.  


  • PA-OST 14.03

    The agency helps youth develop and practice the soft skills that can help them to succeed in college and the workforce, including skills related to:

    1. managing time;
    2. setting goals and making plans;
    3. accessing needed information and resources;
    4. solving problems;
    5. thinking critically;
    6. making decisions; and
    7. evaluating their own work and progress.


  • PA-OST 14.04

    Youth interested in higher education are helped to:

    1. identify institutions that meet their needs and interests;
    2. take steps that may increase their chances for admission; and
    3. complete the application process.

    Interpretation: Youth may need assistance with many aspects of the application process, from meeting deadlines, to taking the SATs, to gathering recommendations, to obtaining financial aid or scholarships.

    Note: When youth develop and strengthen the soft skills addressed in PA-OST 14.03 they will also be better equipped to navigate the college application process.


  • PA-OST 14.05

    Youth have opportunities to participate in activities that allow them to develop and practice technical skills in particular fields.

    Interpretation:  Opportunities to develop and practice technical skills may be provided either on-site (e.g., through project-based activities such as those addressed in PA-OST 9) or off-site (e.g., through arrangements such as internships, apprenticeships, or job-shadowing opportunities).

    NA The agency does not offer opportunities to develop and practice technical skills in particular fields.


  • PA-OST 14.06

    Youth receive the assistance and social support they need to navigate the transition to college or the workforce.
     

    Interpretation: While practices addressed throughout both this core concept and PA-OST as a whole are intended to prepare youth for success in college and career (e.g., by promoting social-emotional development, academic advancement, and knowledge of college and career opportunities), this standard is intended to address the support provided during the transitional period when youth actually enter college or the workforce. Some agencies may even provide ongoing support in an effort to help youth persevere through obstacles and accomplish their goals.

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