Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the WIA Youth Program:
The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 rewrote federal statutes governing programs of job training, adult education and literacy and vocational rehabilitation. The Act was signed by the President in August of 1998 and was the first major reform in the nation's job training programs in fifteen years. What is the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)?
In addition to replacing the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), it mandates the use of One-Stop Operating Systems. The Act is designed to streamline services, eliminate duplication of services and empower individuals to obtain the services and the skills they want and need. More flexibility for the Local Workforce Development Boards to operate programs, along with more accountability for their programs, is an essential part of the Act.
The goals of the WIA are to improve the quality of the workforce, enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the nation and to reduce welfare dependency.
States were given the option to implement WIA early or wait until the mandatory date of July 2000. Florida opted to implement early and started on July 1, 1999. Florida Leaders had already addressed many of the same goals outlined in the Workforce Investment Act with the implementation of the Workforce Florida Act.
There are three categories of individuals addressed in Title I of the Workforce Investment Act, Adults, Dislocated Workers and Youth.
Youth services participants are individuals from 16 years to 21 years of age, who are low income and face one or more of the specified barriers. Youth who fall between the ages of 18 and 21 years may receive services as a youth or adult or both at the same time.
Youth must be ages 16- 21, low income, and meet at least 1 of the 6 specified barriers to employment (see below). There is a 5 percent window for non-low-income youth if they experience one or more specified barriers to school completion or employment. In addition, at least 30% of funds must be expended on out-of-school youth.
Barriers for youth are:
- Deficient in basic literacy skills
- A school drop-out
- Homeless, runaway or a foster child
- Pregnant or parenting teen
- An offender
- An individual who requires additional assistance to complete an educational program, or secure and hold employment.
Barriers for 5 percent who are not low-income are:
- Individuals who are school dropouts.
- Individuals who are basic skills deficient.
- Individuals with educational attainment that is one or more grade levels below the grade level appropriate to the age of the individuals.
- Individuals who are pregnant or parenting.
- Individuals with disabilities, including learning disabilities.
- Individuals who are homeless or runaway youth.
- Individuals who are offenders.
- Other eligible youth who face serious barriers to emploment as identified by the local board
- Youth programs include an objective assessment of each youth's skill levels and service needs, a service strategy, preparation for postsecondary educational opportunities or unsubsidized employment (as appropriate). They also demonstrate strong linkages between academic and occupational learning and effective connections to intermediaries with strong links to the job market and employers.
- The other required elements of youth programs include:
- tutoring, study skills training and instruction leading to completion of secondary school, including dropout prevention;
- alternative school services;
- adult mentoring;
- paid and unpaid work experiences, including internships and job shadowing;
- occupational skills training;
- leadership development opportunities;
- supportive services;
- follow-up services for not less than 12 months as appropriate; and
- comprehensive guidance and counseling.
In addition, each program must provide summer employment opportunities that are directly linked to academic and occupational learning, but unlike JTPA law, no separate appropriation is authorized for the summer jobs program.
To see a list of eligible training providers, click here.