Parks and recreation has positive impacts on the lives of millions of people every day. Local park and recreation agencies provide a diverse set of essential amenities and services that include not only valuable infrastructure, such as parks, trails, recreation centers and nature preserves, but also vital services that help meet the challenges facing every city, town and county across our nation.

Workforce development and career exploration programs — which include entry-level jobs, internships and specialized skills-based training programs — expose youth and young adults to a wealth of career possibilities within the field of parks and recreation. Youth and young adults participating in such programs gain valuable work experience, build self-confidence, develop foundational skills and learn how rewarding a park and recreation career can be.

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Key Findings

  • One in three park and recreation departments currently offer a workforce development or career exploration program targeted to teenagers, young adults and other people entering the labor force for the first time
  • One in five park and recreation leaders look to establish workforce development programs at their agencies within the next two years
  • Fifty-seven percent of survey respondents indicate that the key goal of their agencies’ workforce development program is to develop future professionals and leaders
  • Nearly nine in ten park and recreation agencies with a workforce development or career exploration program collaborate with partner

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