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Local Area 1 Youth Programs

INTRODUCTION

The vision of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is to ensure a long-term supply of skilled workers and leaders in local communities.

WIOA  is committed to providing high quality services for youth and young adults beginning with career exploration and guidance, continued support for educational attainment, opportunities for skills training in in-demand industries and occupations, and culminating with a good job along a career pathway or enrollment in post-secondary education. 

With an estimated 6 million 16-24 year olds in our country not employed or in school, WIOA youth programs provide a continuum of services to help these young people navigate between the educational and workforce systems. 

WIOA calls for customer-focused services based on the needs of the individual participant. This includes the creation of career pathways for youth in all title I youth programs, including a connection to career pathways as part of a youth's individual service strategy in the youth formula-funded program. In addition, many services under title I youth programs are based on the individual needs of participants. WIOA also calls for this population to be intimately involved in the design and implementation of services so the youth voice is represented and their needs are being met.

This integrated vision also applies to the workforce system's other shared customer-employers. By repositioning youth as an asset to employers with a need for skilled workers, the value of employers engaging the youth workforce system and programs is enhanced. Employers are critical partners that provide meaningful growth opportunities for young people through work experiences that give them the opportunity to learn and apply skills in real-world setting and ultimately jobs that young people are ready to fill given the opportunity.

The Department recognizes that much of this alignment and integration is already happening in local areas and regions across the country. WIOA aims to build upon these existing efforts through an emphasis on system alignment, an increased focus on serving OSY and those most in need, an emphasis on the needs of individual participants, and the prioritization of connections with employers, especially through work experience opportunities. 

WIOA includes a number of significant changes for the youth formula-funded program. The biggest change under WIOA is the shift to focus resources primarily on OSY. WIOA increases the minimum percentage of funds required to be spent on OSY from 30 percent to 75 percent. This intentional shift refocuses the program to serve OSY during a time when large numbers of youth and young adults are out of school and not connected to the labor force. 

Local strategies must incorporate strong framework services which must include intake, objective assessments, and the development of individual service strategy, case management, supportive services, and follow-up services. 

In addition, WIOA includes a major focus on providing youth with work experience opportunities. WIOA prioritizes work experiences with the requirement that local areas must spend a minimum of 20 percent of local area funds on work experience. Under WIOA, work experience becomes the most important of the program elements. 

WIOA also introduces five new program elements: Financial literacy; entrepreneurial skills training; services that provide labor market and employment information about in-demand industry sectors or occupations available in the local areas; activities that help youth prepare for and transition to post-secondary education and training; and education offered concurrently with and in the same context as workforce preparation activities and training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster. 

WIOA enhances the youth program design through an increased emphasis on individual participant needs by adding new components to the objective assessment and individual service strategy. WIOA incorporates career pathways as part of both the objective assessment and development of the individual service strategy. In addition, the individual service strategy must directly link to one or more of the performance indicators. The program design under WIOA also includes effective connections to employers, including small employers, in in-demand industry sectors and occupations.

 

Need more information?

If you can't find answers to your questions here, please give our staff a call at (785) 493-8018.

 

Youth Development Initiative Workbooks

Career Success Workbook

Financial Literacy Workbook

Job Search Workbook