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 PEPNet Quality Standards: Category 1 - Management for Quality

 Category 2 - Programmatic Approach | Category 3 - Youth Development Competencies | Category 4 - Focus on Youth Results


  1. Mission
  2. Leadership
  3. Staff
  4. Financial Management
  5. Performance Accountability
  6. Information Management
  7. Continuous Improvement
  8. Sustainability

Category 1 - Management for Quality

Management for Quality addresses standards for program management: the foundation for program direction, systems and operations.

Quality management of a youth program is not that different from quality management of a business. The standards in this category encourage program operators to apply practices usually associated with the private sector -- planning, review, analysis, accountability and quality assurance -- to their youth program.

For more details on the Standards, see the PEPNet Guide to Quality Standards for Youth Programs.

1.1 Mission

  • 1.1.1 The program has a written mission statement that accurately reflects the initiative's purpose as it relates to the needs of target youth and the community.
  • 1.1.2 Staff, youth participants and other stakeholders can easily articulate the purpose of the program.
  • 1.1.3 All aspects of the program form a coherent strategy for supporting and accomplishing the mission.
  • 1.1.4 The allocation of the budget and other resources supports the mission.
  • 1.1.5 Staff, youth and other appropriate stakeholders revisit the mission every three to five years to ensure its continued relevance.

1.2 Leadership

  • 1.2.1 The program creates a management structure that is appropriate to its purpose and needs.
  • 1.2.2 The program ensures that roles and responsibilities of senior staff and any responsible boards are clearly defined.
  • 1.2.3 The program consistently evaluates the performance of its leadership, including senior staff and board and seeks ways to improve leadership effectiveness.
  • 1.2.4 The program hires senior staff with the experiences and credentials needed to achieve the program's mission.
  • 1.2.5 The program seeks to have board membership reflect a diversity of backgrounds and skills relevant to achieving the program's mission.
  • 1.2.6 The program encourages members of its responsible board to actively participate in organizational activities, to support both the initiative and its youth participants.
  • 1.2.7 Program leaders inspire and motivate staff to contribute, learn and innovate.
  • 1.2.8 The program implements an effective internal system of two-way communication and feedback between leadership and staff.
  • 1.2.9 Program leaders take responsibility for succession planning, that is, planning for turnover of leadership over time.

 1.3 Staff

  • 1.3.1 The program ensures that position descriptions and qualfications for staff positions are clearly defined and reflect competencies (knowledge, skills and abilities) needed to perform each position effectively.
  • 1.3.2 The program invests in staff development as part of a management strategy to build staff capabilities, reduce staff turnover and achieve program goals.
  • 1.3.3 The program involves staff in setting and regularly assessing staff performance goals.
  • 1.3.4 The program maintains a safe workplace climate that emphasizes respect and teamwork.
  • 1.3.5 The program implements personnel policies and practices that reward high performance.
  • 1.3.6 The program provides opportunities for staff  advancement.
  • 1.3.7 The program intentionally seeks to hire staff of diverse backgrounds relevant to supporting the program's mission, including individuals with backgrounds that reflect those of  youth participants.

1.4 Financial Management

  • 1.4.1 The program operates on an annual budget projecting income and expenditures and regularly monitors its performance against the budget.
  • 1.4.2 The program follows generally accepted accounting procedures, including internal .nancial controls and maintenance of records.
  • 1.4.3 The program considers cost-effectiveness when designing and reviewing services.
  • 1.4.4 The program or parent organization has adequate amounts and types of insurance for all aspects of its operations.
  • 1.4.5 The program or parent organization obtains an annual audit or independent financial examination based on the accounting requirements to which it is subject.

1.5 Performance Accountability

  • 1.5.1 The program establishes strategic organizational goals and creates action plans for how it will achieve its goals.
  • 1.5.2 The program engages members of any responsible advisory or governing board, staff, youth and other appropriate stakeholders in goal setting, planning and evaluation.
  • 1.5.3 The program defines how the program operates and why.
  • 1.5.4 The program sets goals and measurable objectives for organizational and program performance.
  • 1.5.5 The program compares its organizational and programmatic performance to relevant comparative data, i.e., benchmarks, where available.
  • 1.5.6 The program solicits external evaluations when feasible.
  • 1.5.7 The program communicates information internally and externally about the results of its activities.

1.6 Information Management

  • 1.6.1 The program has a user-friendly and effective system for collecting and sharing data on individual youth and program activities.
  • 1.6.2 The program collects data that is relevant to documenting progress and measuring performance outcomes.
  • 1.6.3 Staff can easily and accurately describe who the program serves, the kinds of activities and services each youth is receiving and what these services accomplish.
  • 1.6.4 The program implements procedures to collect data on youth progress for at least one year during youth transition from full program participation to independent engagement in positive activities.
  • 1.6.5 The program collects, uses and reports organizational performance data.

1.7 Continuous Improvement

  • 1.7.1 The program bases improvement efforts on facts, including performance data and feedback from staff, youth and other stakeholders.
  • 1.7.2 The program executes regular cycles of planning, implementation and evaluation.
  • 1.7.3 The program shares stakeholder feedback, performance data and information about resulting decisions throughout the organization.

1.8 Sustainability

  • 1.8.1 The program has both long- and short-term funding plans to support the mission and goals of the program.
  • 1.8.2 The program seeks to have multiple sources of financial and in-kind support.
  • 1.8.3 The program has sufficient resources, including staff, equipment and supplies, to meet its goals and objectives.
  • 1.8.4 The program builds a broad base of community support.
  • 1.8.5 The program takes advantage of new opportunities and develops effective responses to potential challenges.
  • 1.8.6 The program is able to adapt to meet shifting needs of the community while remaining true to its mission.
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