Aileen Campbell launched the new blueprint, which aims to support and expand the country's 73,000 youth workers and widen access to their services, at a summit in Edinburgh.
The strategy has been drawn up by the Scottish Government, together with YouthLink Scotland, the national agency for the youth work sector, and Education Scotland.
It sets out key ambitions for the sector for the next five years, including ensuring Scotland is the best place in the world to be young and grow up.
It also aims to recognise the value of youth work, by recording the impact it has to demonstrate the true value of the sector for the first time.
Ms Campbell said: "More than half a million young Scots participate in youth work on a regular basis, giving them the chance to develop skills, self-confidence and a sense of connection with others. It widens their horizons and helps them make positive choices in their lives as they move into adulthood.
"We will build on the brilliant work being done by the thousands of volunteers and workers across Scotland to properly recognise the hugely transformative power they have on young lives."
Jim Sweeney, CEO of YouthLink Scotland, said: "This strategy marks a new chapter in the relationship of Scottish society with its young people and those who deliver youth work activities. It also values the key roles that youth work can play in delivering real and meaningful learning through challenging and exciting programmes.
"The strategy recognises the sector's contribution to a range of national outcomes and acknowledges the work and support needs of staff and the vast army of youth work volunteers."