Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






March 19, 2001















Deputy Assistant Secretary




Availability of Funds to Support Planning Projects that Enhance Youth Connections and Access to the One-Stop System


  1. Purpose. To provide guidance to local areas on how to apply for funds to support planning projects for Local Workforce Investment Boards and Youth Councils to enhance youth connections and access to the One-Stop delivery system.

  2. References. Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.

  3. Background. The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 calls for a substantial reform of the nation's job training programs and a major change in the way services are delivered. For youth programs, the WIA places new emphasis on serving youth within comprehensive State and local workforce investment systems. The WIA also requires that all customers, including youth, be able to access information and services through a One-Stop delivery system. The One-Stop system is viewed as the vehicle for bringing together numerous training, education and employment programs into a single, customer friendly system. The underlying notion of "One-Stop" is the integration of programs, services and governance structures.

    Prior to the WIA, the Department of Labor (the Department) fostered the development of One-Stop systems by providing planning and implementation funding to States. While the design and implementation of the One-Stop systems were largely left to States and local areas, the Department identified four key themes of this One-Stop initiative: universal access to services, improved coordination of services, greater customer choice, and outcomes based accountability. Most of the One-Stop Centers established through this effort focused on adult customers. A study done by Social Policy Research Associates in 1999 examined self-service systems at eight One-Stop Career Centers. This study analyzed services for youth customers in the centers and found a wide variation in the level and type of youth services available.

    The WIA takes a more uniform, comprehensive approach to One-Stop systems. The WIA requires all local areas to establish at least one comprehensive One-Stop center, specifies a wide range of required partners, and specifies the types of services that must be available. Youth programs funded under Title I, Chapter 4 of the WIA are required partners in One-Stop systems. As provided in Section 662.230 of the WIA Rules and Regulations, as a One-Stop partner, the WIA youth program is required to: a) make applicable core services available to participants; b)use a portion of its funds to create and maintain the One-Stop delivery system and provide core services; c) enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Local Workforce Investment Board (Local Board) relating to the operation of the One-Stop System; d) participate in the operation of the One-Stop system; and e) provide representation on the Local Board. The WIA also specifies a wide range of goals and requires comprehensive services to meet the multiple needs of youth. Local Boards and Youth Councils need to bring together training providers, schools, community organizations and other partners to strategically align and leverage resources to provide the ten program elements required under the WIA.

    These changes under the WIA make it imperative that youth programs develop and enhance linkages with One-Stop systems. Many of the One-Stop systems developed prior to the WIA did not reach out to youth, pursue youth program partnerships, or provide youth services because the required core partners primarily focused on adult customers. However, with the requirements under the WIA, One-Stop systems will now be looking for ways to better incorporate youth programs, develop a broader array of youth services, and reach out to a wider range of youth program partners than was typical in the past.

  4. Enhancing Youth Connections to One-Stop Systems. There are a number of ways in which local areas can enhance connections to youth and access to One-Stop systems. These include the following:

    1. Supporting Youth Through Organizational Design. One promising approach is colocating youth program staff at the One-Stop center or designating staff to coordinate outreach and services for youth at One-Stop centers. Even when staff are not co-located, cross-training of youth program and One-Stop staff can be extremely helpful. At a minimum, youth program staff should participate in tours of One-Stop centers and OneStop staff should visit youth programs.

    2. Marketing and Outreach Efforts to Recruit Youth. There are many strategies to encourage youth to use the One-Stop system. These include: establishing linkages with schools and community-based youth serving organizations; conducting outreach efforts targeting out-of-school youth; conducting special tours of the One-Stop centers for youth; and establishing linkages with School-to-Work systems.

    3. Customizing One-Stop Center Facilities and Self-Service Resources for Youth. Some One-Stop centers maintain information related to youth activities and services, have separate resource rooms and/or have resources customized for youth customers. In addition, there are ways to help make facilities more "youth-friendly" and inviting for youth. Some local areas have established separate satellite centers targeted for youth or innovative satellite centers at places where youth spend time such as secondary schools, libraries, parks and recreational facilities, shopping centers, or one of the Youth Opportunity centers funded by the Department in 36 localities across the country.

    4. Linking to Existing One-Stop Services. In order to provide the ten required youth program elements under the WIA, local areas may benefit from some of the activities and services that are already available through other funding sources at One-Stop centers. For example, some One-Stops provide vocational and GED training. In terms of supportive services, One-Stops may have referral databases for childcare providers or services such as family planning.

  5. Innovative Youth One-Stop Connections Project. The Department is committed to providing Local Boards and Youth Councils with technical assistance that helps them build effective youth development systems within their communities. The One-Stop delivery system is an important component of providing the comprehensive array of services that youth need to successfully transition to careers and lifelong learning. The Department will provide planning grants to Local Boards to encourage local areas to develop innovative strategies to enhance youth connections and access to One-Stop systems. The objectives for this project are to increase the emphasis on serving youth through the One-Stop system and to strengthen the role of Local Boards and Youth Councils in developing policies and strategies for providing quality youth services within their local areas. The project will also contribute to the Department's goal of sustaining School-to-Work systems by encouraging the One-Stop system to collaborate with School-to-Work partnerships to carry out some of the key intermediary functions and career awareness activities that are necessary to connect young people with the world of work.

    The Local Boards and Youth Councils must use these planning grants to develop a strategic plan and conduct activities that support youth connections and linkages to One-Stop systems. These strategic plans will be a management and implementation tool with specific action steps for enhancing One-Stop connections for youth. They should address the following areas: marketing and outreach strategies to recruit youth to use One-Stop systems; referral and communication systems to link youth programs to One-Stop centers; strategies and technology to enhance One-Stop connections with schools and other satellite locations; operations and staffing to support youth; enhancing One-Stop center facilities and self-help services to tailor them to youth; and creating employer and provider linkages among local youth-serving agencies and other agencies with the One-Stop system. In communities with Job Corps centers, these plans should also address strategies for linking Job Corps to the One-Stop system. Planning grant funds can be used to convene strategic planning sessions, hire facilitators, conduct resource mapping, and support other activities necessary to develop and implement effective strategies for enhancing youth connections to One-Stop systems.

    At the conclusion of the project, the Department will provide a forum for grantees to meet and exchange lessons learned and promising practices for enhancing youth connections to One-Stop systems. This forum will likely be held in conjunction with a national Employment and Training Administration conference, so applicants should allocate some funds in their budgets for travel, lodging and other expenses to participate in this two day meeting. The Department also intends to compile strategies from the grantee strategic plans into a technical assistance guidebook that will be widely disseminated to all of the WIA formula-funded grantees.

  6. Eligible Applicants. Eligibility for a planning grant is limited to a Local Board that can demonstrate 1) that it has been designated by the State as a Local Workforce Investment Board (a letter from the Governor or the Governor's designee will be sufficient to establish eligibility) and 2) that the Youth Council will develop the strategic plan for submission to the Local Board for adoption. In areas where the Youth Council is not well established, the Local Board should be able to describe how they will work with the Youth Council on this project.

  7. Grant Awards. The Department expects to award between 12-15 grants of up to $20,000 each. Grant awards will be made for a period of one-year to support these activities. A strategic plan for enhancing youth connections and access to the OneStop system must be provided to the Department by the end of the grant period.

  8. Criteria for Award. It is the intent of the Department to award at least one grant in each of the Regions and to select areas that reflect the diversity of local communities across the country. The Regional Offices will review applications and make award recommendations to the Grant Officer. The final selection will be based on quality, geographic location, and what is in the best interest of the government. Proposals will be rated based on answers to the questions presented in Attachment A. Technical guidance and the weighting factor for each question is also provided in Attachment A.

  9. Application Process. The proposal must be limited to 15 doublespaced pages and must be organized as follows:

    An original and three copies of the proposal must be submitted to the ETA Regional Administrator no later than April 25, 2001. Applications that are postmarked after that date will not be considered.

  10. Inquiries. Questions on this TEGL should be directed to your Regional Office.

  11. Attachment. Three Major Criteria for Planning Grant Award