Professional Development

Do you work with youth in Saint Paul? These trainings and network discussions are for you!

Quality program features

Quality youth programs are the intersection of quality program features, engaged youth, and youth worker expertise. Professional development opportunities are designed to support these three elements.

Workshops marked with are sponsored by Sprockets and are no cost to those working with St. Paul Youth.  Others are on behalf of other organizations.  If fees apply, that will be noted near the registration link. See bottom of page for partners providing additional training not listed. Believe it. Build it (bibi) is a resource that includes 6 core building blocks of effective program practices designed by Ignite, MN's Statewide Afterschool's. Number designations note trainings that align with bibi building blocks.

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019
Baker Center

Register Here

Outputs, Outcomes, and The Value of A Good Theory of Change

Audience: Program leaders with their front line staff who want to create learning loops between strategy, evaluation, and real outcomes. *This workshop is only open to Sprockets partners.  

Everyone wants to maximize outcomes (the impact) and minimize outputs (the effort), but unless you are clear about the difference between the two, and how to measure them, it’s unlikely to happen. We grow what we pay attention to.

If program teams and their leaders only measure and pay attention to outputs like # program hours, # of workshops offered, # of marketing materials distributed, etc.  they are likely to work harder, do more, and stay busy. But staying busy does not guarantee outcomes. Until you get explicit about the outcomes you are after, the lines of logic between goals, stakeholder value, program impact, and the work you do will remain disconnected.

A theory of change (or logic model) is a practical tool that connects the big picture to program delivery by describing how action (outputs) will logically lead to value and impact (outcomes) in a measurable way. This sets the stage for experimentation and continuous improvement that result in youth-centered outcomes.

Through interactive case studies and hands-on practice, this workshop will explore the why, how, when, and who of crafting a dynamic theory of change that actually matters.

Participants will walk away with

  • A visual map of your program’s real life theory of change
  • Practical tools to co-create meaningful and measurable short, mid-range, and far-reaching outcomes that matter to youth
  • Actionable ideas to measure and improve outcomes AND evaluate the assumptions present in your theory of change
  • Strategies to get more value out of a theory of change by integrating it into existing program design, evaluation, continuous improvement, and strategic planning efforts
  • Resources to engage the rest of your team in creating and using actionable theory of change practices.

Facilitator: Brandi Olson, CEO,The Olson Group: Agile Strategy + Organizational Design

Brandi Olson is the founder and principal at The Olson Group ( ), a collective of leaders and practitioners who build the capacity of mission-driven organizations to change the world through strategic planning, organizational design, and practical evaluation. With a Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota, Brandi combines her expertise in education and human - centered design along with 15 years of experience in organizational learning and change to partner with social sector leaders in using agile practices to solve complex social challenges with more effectiveness and less burnout every step of the way. 

e-studies are FREE and accessible on YOUR schedule!

NorthStarYouth Worker Fellowship e-studies now available

For the past three years, NorthStar has partnered with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota to create free, open-source learning materials through the Hubert Project. Past fellows have been invited to transform the ideas from their paper into a deeper set of content that can train youth workers, inform policy-makers, and advance the field.

The newest e-study, Taking Action Toward Equity in Youth Work, is now available! We invite you to explore both this, and previous e-studies, on the new website:



Partner Trainings

More training opportunities from the community: