New Directors Training
Since 1994, the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators (CJJA) has conducted the annual New Directors Seminar for newly appointed youth corrections chief executive officers. Originally sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The seminar is supported by funding from the Center for Coordinated Assistance to the States (CCAS). The New Directors Seminar, a proven training vehicle for new directors, uses a peer-to-peer training forum that connects veteran administrators with newly appointed administrators. An average of ten new directors have attended each year. The seminar usually runs over two-and-a half days and addresses pertinent topics such as:
- New Directors Issues and Expectations
- Creative Leadership Strategies
- Managing Change
- Maintenance of vital programs with diminishing resources
- Creating positive outcomes for youths
- Communications and Media Relations
- Implementing Evidence-based Programs
- Implementing PREA
- Managing Crises in Youth Corrections
Each topic is introduced by a veteran administrator and usually includes personal experiences as case studies. The veteran trainer then facilitates a group discussion. The seminar also includes segments on contemporary issues and topics facing youth corrections. A featured presentation each year at the kick off dinner on the first evening has been “Ready to Lead” by Phil Harris, CJJA Advisor and Professor of Criminal Justice, Temple University.
Prior to the seminar, each veteran director is paired with new administrator a as a mentor. The mentor is expected to maintain the relationship for at least six months through conference calls and in person meetings at one of the semiannual CJJA meetings. Many directors have continued the working relationship far into their respective tenures. One of the principal goals of the founders of CJJA was to overcome the sense of isolation a youth corrections director feels in individual jurisdictions. The New Directors Seminar and mentor program has helped build relationships and camaraderie among the CJJA members.