According to the Commission for Case Management Certification, case management is defined as … a collaborative process that assesses, plans, implements, coordinates, monitors and evaluates the options and services required to meet the client’s health and human services needs.  It is characterized by advocacy, communication, and resource management and promotes quality and cost-effective interventions and outcomes.”  But in YouthBuild, it can mean even more than this.  It often means being the key mentor and caring adult in a participant’s life.  It also means helping participants transition to adulthood more resilient, supported, and skilled than they would otherwise be.  In YouthBuild, it means going beyond basic case management.  

A strong case management approach is necessary to effectively support participants with their social, emotional, and physical needs, enabling them to progress in their educational and career pathways.  Supportive services address barriers participants bring with them into the program, including past trauma, health and substance abuse issues, inadequate housing or transportation, racial inequities, criminal involvement, and childcare issues, to name a few.  Individual counseling, group support, and guided goal setting tied to an individual development plan are all integral to a strong case management component.  So is a caring case manager.

In this article, DOL YouthBuild Coach Oscar Grant interviews Kyle Knox, Development Specialist at Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) Nevadafor insight on how his previous career in the NFL prepared him for his current role, and what quality case management means to him.  Before his tenure at CPLC, Kyle played linebacker on a number of teams in the NFL, starting with the Seattle Seahawks in 2012...  He began his position as development specialist at CPLC in March 2020.

Oscar: What intangible skill sets that gave you success in the NFL do you teach your young people?

Kyle:  Going beyond being a case manager and mentoring our youth to succeed is about so much more than just explaining to them what life was like playing in the NFL. It’s about leaving them with the tools to realize that whatever dream they have, they are capable of bringing that dream to fruition with the proper work ethic, commitment, and consistency!  I learned from my mentors that setting higher expectations for myself would yield better results.

It is my role to supply our participants the necessary tools for their specific toolbox, including mock interviews, dress attire, and soft skills; and teaching them how to use them to the best of their ability. When I come into contact with new YouthBuild participants,I immediately incorporate new tools for them to practice to help them tackle everyday life experiences, showing them that they are only in competition with themselves.

Oscar:  What is one word that you learned in your NFL career that you use with your YouthBuild participants?

Kyle:  My answer is consistency I coach the youth to realize that if they’re not working towards getting better, someone else is. My NFL coaches always preached that your complacency will give the advantage to your opponent, both on and off the field. By staying consistent and committed to success, the youth can come to learn and witness that success will stay committed to them. As a development specialist, I try to reinforce commitment, consistency, humility, and respect as new tools that they can practice.

Oscar:  What is your role as a development specialist?

Kyle:  I'm here to influence positive actions that can resonate with the youth; to display to them the dexterity to bring something constructive and fruitful to life. My youth are reminded on a consistent basis what ifeels like to contribute to society and be apart of a team that will be there no matter what along life's difficult passage. So, when faced with the question "What is beyond case management,I would simply say that case management is not just a job, it is a lifestyle, a practice of preach. When the young people know the development specialist will be there for them, they sense their value and that someone cares, no matter the circumstances.

Related Resources

Tip Sheet: How do You Know if You Have a Strong Case Management System