Partnering for skill development: park and recreation agencies and university programs

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Family and Consumer Sciences

Publication Date



Park and recreation administrators indicated that the skills they desire in entry-level professionals were ‘soft skills’; not skills per se, but personality characteristics and traits that seem to reflect professionalism and the ability to meet challenges well. The desirable personality would have strong verbal and written communication skills, a people orientation, and be enthusiastic, patient, and fun. Some basic professional parks and recreation skills such as budgeting and programming appear desirable, but of more interest is a person who can multi-task, solve problems, be flexible, be creative, and be passionate about the job. From the university recreation program's viewpoint, there is a notable gap between skills and competencies identified by this research, and current accreditation and certification standards. Compatibility in standards and partnerships between universities, and park and recreation agencies, can help meet quantity and quality human resource needs. With university and agency partnerships, a more formal feedback loop could be formulated in order to articulate deficiencies in skills of interns. Academia is tasked with training future staff, and mechanisms need to be in place to ensure needed talent is available to agencies.


This article was originally published in Managing Leisure. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Managing Leisure


© 2008 Taylor & Francis