A community development worker is a professional who seeks to improve a community through the creation, management, and operation of community assistance and outreach programs. There are many different job categories for a person in this position; the tasks of the job vary based on the region, type of organization, and available programs. Working in community development is a possible career path for anyone who wants to use communication skills and an organized mind to help benefit local people.
The educational background of a community development worker may vary. Some have bachelor's degrees in social work, business, political science, or communications. In some cases, development workers may have a master's degree or PhD in a related field. Community development workers may also have specialty licenses that allow them to provide unique services to an organization, such as lawyers, doctors, and accountants. Jobs with higher salaries and more responsibilities may require greater education, but some less-educated development workers may rise to high positions through talent and tenacity alone.
The day-to-day tasks of a community development worker will depend largely on where he or she is employed. Community service organizations may be governmental, non-profit, religious, or even based out of educational institutions. Different organizations offer very different services, with everything from low-cost meals for disabled and elderly citizens to free legal advice for people facing eviction. The goal that most community development organizations have in common is to make noticeable changes that benefit all citizens, but the means to achieving that goal can be very unique to each organization.
Some tasks that a community development worker might have include working directly with clients of the organizations, writing grant proposals and working on fund raising, compiling and analyzing research on community issues so as to create targeted programs, and hiring or managing volunteers. Development workers may also need to liaise with other organizations and local governments, so that resources can be pooled and applied in the most effective way possible. The multitude of possible job opportunities means that the field is wide open to those with a passion for helping the local community.
People who go into the field of community development often have a passion for social justice, politics, and helping others. Skills that may be useful in this field include the ability to work in teams, excellent communication, strong leadership qualities, and belief in the organization's mission. Armed with these skills, a community development worker can be a powerful force for change in their work.