Streetworkers, many of whom are formerly gang-involved, aim to reduce community violence by intervening in the lives of youth who are most often involved in gangs and gun violence. However, given streetworkers’ integral role in reducing youth violence, surprisingly little empirical research exists on their role, strategies, and perspectives. Associate Professor of Sociology, Janese Free, works with criminology and criminal justice major, Emily Kline '22, and sociology major, Lauren Sterling '22, to code and analyze qualitative data from interviews with streetworkers.
In their current paper, ""I became the person I needed…": Streetworkers' perspectives on their job experiences," the research team explores why streetworkers chose to engage in this line of work, the obstacles they face while doing so, and how they cope with these challenges. Their findings aim to contribute to the extant research and help recruit effective streetworkers and increase their job satisfaction and retention.