This month we take a focused look at the role of the job developer and how best to utilize this staff member.  There are many misconceptions related to the job developer function; most prevalently, that it is a role only needed after or near exit.  However, the job functions for this role start as early as the implementation phase for your program and this staff member should be working with participants the moment they come in the door and with partners the moment the job begins.

The Job Developer position can go by several  different titles, including Career Specialist, Transition Coordinator, and Placement Coach,each of which emphasizes a different facet of this key role. The Job Developer is the role responsible for developing  multidimensional partnerships with employers, American Job Centers  (AJCs), and post-secondary institutions to support participant placement. The Job Developer develops work experience opportunities and targeted professional training, and ensures credentialing is aligned with the needs and expectations of employers or other post-exit partnersThe Job Developer also prepares and supports YouthBuild participants for post-program transitions as soon as they enter the program, through soft skills development, supportive service connections, and the use of interest and skills assessments based on competency models. The work of a job developer begins on day one and continues over the lifecycle of the grant to ensure participants are fully prepared for post-program success.


Components of a Job Developer role:


  • Works actively and consistently with both active and exited participants, as well as with partners

  • Creates meaningful work experience and placement opportunities with partners

  • Teaches, trains, and/or coordinates career pathway curriculum and associated credentialing

  • Provides ongoing follow-up and supportive services to participants

  • Provides training and best practices on career readiness and placement for other YouthBuild direct service/frontline staff

  • Develops and maintains employer engagement strategies relevant to a career pathway industry

  • Cultivates working relationships with individuals and organizations to support potential training and placements, such as local employers, Workforce Development Boards, community colleges and four-year universities, industry associations, and labor unions.

  • Stays aware of industry trends in hiring, needed skills, and new credentialing opportunities

  • Provides participant assessments for career aptitude and interests


A core function of the Job Developer is the development and implementation of meaningful work experience opportunities for participantsThese work experiences offer the participants active engagement with the skills, including specific tools and vocabulary, of the particular pathway while offering sponsoring partners the opportunity to observe, train, and develop rapport with the participants for potential placements. 

To learn more about Job Developer best practices and strategies for working with partners and participants towards successful placement in career pathways,check out the recording and related materials from our recent webinar, A Day in the Life of a DOL YouthBuild Job DeveloperPresenters from YouthBuild USA provided an overview of the Job Developer’s roles and responsibilities over the lifecycle of the DOL YouthBuild grant. Directors and Job Developer staff from two local YouthBuild programs also discussed in-depth practices and strategies learned from their active YouthBuild field experience that have supported successful post-exit placement and partnership opportunities


Related Resources


DOL YouthBuild Staffing for Placement Toolkit

DOL Placement Toolkit Supplement

Program Planner Map

Partnering with Employers Program Manual

A Guide to Effective DOL YouthBuild and American Job Center Partnerships