The WIOA legislation is intended to develop, strengthen, and improve the U.S. workforce by connecting people to jobs and careers and helping employers find, hire, and retain employees with the appropriate skills. WIOA funds flow from DOL to state agencies and then down to the local level. WIOA requires at least 75% of the youth program funds to be allocated to out-of-school youth at the local level and not less than 20% to provide in-school and out-of-school youth with paid or unpaid work experience. However, because only a fraction of the billions of dollars in grants awarded annually are appropriated for youth, funds must be spent wisely and leveraged when possible. WIOA Formula Youth Program funds cover case management and offerings in fourteen program elements.
The overarching goals for the meeting were to:
1. Increase understanding of federal programs that serve opportunity youth,
2. Explore opportunities for collaboration across programs, and
3. Develop preliminary recommendations to strengthen partnerships across programs.
This report is organized by the goals above and summarizes the topics discussed and ideas shared by federal partners, including:
1. Ways agencies are working with opportunity youth,
2. Immediate and potential areas for cross-sectoral collaboration to support youth served by WIOA,
3. How to more effectively leverage resources,
4. Steps needed at the federal level to establish and sustain high-quality integrated services for this priority population,
5. Needs or gaps in knowledge and practice, and
6. Recommendations for next steps to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration.