U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210
April 23, 2001
TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE LETTER NO. 18-00
ALL STATE WORKFORCE LIAISONS
Wendy L. McConnell for
Program Guidance For Implementation of Comprehensive Youth Services Under the Workforce Investment Act
Purpose. To provide guidance to States and local areas for Program Year 2001 youth services under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, (Pub. Law 105-220, 29 USC 2801 et seq.); http://www.usworkforce.org/asp/act.asp
Final WIA Regulations; 20 CFR parts 652, 660-671 (published at 65 Fed. Reg. 49294, August 11, 2000); http://www.usworkforce.org/asp/act.asp
WIA Implementation Questions and Answers; http://www.usworkforce.org/asp/qanda.asp
Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) No. 3-99, January 31, 2000, Program Guidance for Implementation of Comprehensive Youth Services Under the Workforce Investment Act During the Summer of 2000; http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives
TEGL No. 7-99, March 3, 2000, Core and Customer Satisfaction Measures for the Workforce Investment System; http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives
TEGL No. 9-00, January 23, 2001, Workforce Investment Act 1998, Section 129-Competitive and Non-Competitive Procedures for Providing Youth Activities Under Title I; http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives
TEGL No. 12-00, March 6, 2001, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Allotments for Program Year (PY) 2001; Wagner-Peyser Act Preliminary Planning Estimates for PY 2001; and Reemployment Service Allotments for PY2001; http://www.wdr.doleta.gov/directives
Integrating Year-Round and Summer Employment and Training Services for Youth Under the Workforce Investment Act, Technical Assistance Guide, June 2000; http://www.doleta.gov/youth_services/techassistance.asp
Recipes for Success: Youth Council Guide to Creating a Youth Development System Under WIA, Technical Assistance Guide, July 2000; http://www.usworkforce.org/resources/pdf/recipes-ycouncil.pdf
Conducting a Community Audit: Assessing the Workforce Development Needs and Resources of Your Community, Technical Assistance Guide, August 2000; http://www.doleta.gov/layoff/wdp01.asp
The WIA Youth Program RFP Guide, Technical Assistance Guide, January 2001; http://www.doleta.gov/youth_services/techassistance.asp
Background. Program Year (PY) 2000 marked the first year that all States and local areas have operated youth programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. This transition from the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) to WIA called for substantial reforms for youth employment and training programs. WIA shifted the youth program's focus from short-term training and job placement to long-term, comprehensive youth services that provide the education, skills, work experience, and support that youth need to successfully transition to careers and productive adulthood.
Highlights of these reforms include requirements that local areas must:
establish new governance systems that include Local Workforce Investment Boards (Local Boards) and Youth Councils to guide youth policy and coordinate youth services in local areas;
provide year-round youth services that integrate activities previously offered through the summer youth employment program as one of the ten required program elements (WIA eliminates stand-alone funding for summer youth employment and integrates those activities into year-round service delivery);
provide a minimum of 12 months of follow-up services for all youth;
spend at least 30 percent of youth program funds on out-of-school youth (the definition of out-of-school youth has changed from JTPA); and
adopt new performance measures that are based on a youth's age at registration and are required for all youth who receive WIA youth services.
We recognize that most States and local areas have focused on making the transition to the new WIA provisions during PY 2000. In Fall 2000, our Regional Offices assessed the readiness of States and their local areas in implementing services, including youth services, under WIA. These assessments identified the progress and challenges that States and local areas are experiencing in implementing WIA, as well as best practices and technical assistance needs. A number of the challenges identified through the Regional Office assessments are addressed in this document.
Overall, PY 2001 offers the opportunity for States and localities to build on the foundation for WIA that they now have in place. Steps that will enhance the effectiveness of youth services in PY 2001 include: initiating planning activities early, increasing service levels, improving the quality of services, and monitoring and adjusting spending to ensure that available funds are fully and efficiently used. It is critical that Local Boards and Youth Councils establish their vision, goals, and priorities early in the planning process to drive the strategies and activities that need to be conducted. In addition, Local Boards and Youth Councils need to focus efforts on leveraging both financial and programmatic resources in the early stages of the program year. This issuance offers suggestions for State and local areas to consider when developing strategies to enhance the effectiveness of youth programs and identifies information and resources that are available during the second full year of WIA implementation.
Program Goals Under the Government Performance and Results Act. The Employment and Training Administration has identified three PY 2001 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) goals for the WIA Title I Youth Program:
53 percent of the 14-18 year old youth will be in employment, post-secondary education, advanced training, apprenticeships or in the military in the third quarter after program exit;
63 percent of 19-21 year-old youth will be employed in the first quarter after program exit; and
77 percent of 19-21 year old youth employed in the first quarter after program exit will remain employed in the third quarter after program exit.
To successfully achieve these goals, States and local areas face the challenge of making the system for serving youth fully operational. These goals are directly linked to the agreed upon performance levels for States and local areas. Specifically, States and local areas need to consider how to:
Promote effective Youth Councils to coordinate and bring together WIA-funded youth services and other youth activities and services in the community to provide a network of youth services that meet community needs.
Enhance program quality to ensure a steady expenditure of funds throughout the year and to increase both service levels and the quality of services provided.
Fully integrate summer employment opportunities and year-round services.
Enhance assessment strategies.
Enhance completion of individual service.
Expand and further develop follow-up services.
Increase performance management and data quality to ensure appropriate documentation and validity of outcomes reported.
Enhance youth connections to the One-Stop System.
Developing Effective Youth Councils. While nearly all Local Boards have established the required Youth Councils, most are still in the process of becoming fully operational. Since Youth Councils need further development, we will continue providing technical assistance to States and local areas on implementing WIA youth programs in PY 2001.
When we made youth funds available on April 1, 2000, local Youth Councils in many areas were not yet established. Nevertheless, most States and territories (40 of the 54), elected to access their youth funds in early April. This meant that for most local areas, funding decisions were made without the benefit of having an established Youth Council. In addition, most Youth Councils were too new to be extensively involved in coordinating area-wide youth activities, identifying effective service providers, or overseeing operational programs. Consequently, few, if any, Youth Councils contributed to the development of local youth plans and now find themselves trying to manage multiple responsibilities which they likely had little part in shaping.
We encourage States to provide technical assistance to help local areas develop strategies to help Youth Councils build capacity and become actively engaged in planning and managing the youth program. This can include supporting training and technical assistance sessions with staff from multiple workforce areas. States may want to provide dedicated staff to work primarily or exclusively with local Youth Councils and staff, including operators. An innovative approach of one State is the establishment of a State Youth Council that provides technical assistance to local Youth Councils. Each member of the State Youth Council adopts a local Youth Council and provides ongoing guidance and assistance.
We also encourage States to ask Local Boards to review their Youth Council membership to insure that it is truly representative of youth employment and development interests within the local community. Local Boards may find it appropriate to add or change membership of their Youth Councils to enhance expertise, build capacity and increase effectiveness. In the case of an "alternative entity" serving as a Local Board, there are several options for fulfilling the functions of a Youth Council. Local Boards may elect to establish a Youth Council which includes Local Board members, but is not limited to Local Board members. Membership on the local Youth Council may be expanded without jeopardizing the status of the Local Board as an alternative entity by adding individuals who are nonvoting members of the Local Board. These individuals can, of course, serve as voting members on the Youth Council (see preamble to the Final Rule 65 Fed. Reg. 49302). At a minimum, the alternative entity must develop a process for ensuring that the broader youth representation envisioned in WIA is fully afforded the opportunity to participate in carrying out the responsibilities of the Youth Council.
The main functions of the Youth Council have been grouped into four categories (strategic planning, leveraging resources, identifying eligible service providers, and program oversight) and are discussed below.
Strategic Planning. Local Youth Councils are expected to increase awareness of the importance of youth issues, leverage funds for youth programs, and motivate communities to improve the quality and effectiveness of youth services. With the appropriate authority from Local Boards, Youth Councils can serve as architects in designing and building comprehensive youth services at the local level. The Youth Council may develop the youth portion of the local plan, as determined by the Chairperson of the Local Board. Since many local plans were developed before the appointment of the Youth Council, local areas may wish to more fully develop the youth portion with guidance and leadership from the Youth Council. In any case, Youth Councils should (be authorized to) review the youth plan and provide suggestions for its improvement to the Local Board.
States should encourage Local Board chairpersons to authorize Youth Councils to engage in a strategic planning process that brings together WIA-funded services and other partner services and programs to build a comprehensive youth development system in their communities. The strategic planning process includes establishing goals and objectives, developing strategies and articulating the roles and responsibilities of partners. To implement the strategic plan, a timetable and action plan for the WIA-funded services and other leveraged partner services should be developed.
Most local areas have data and resources available from a variety of government agencies and organizations which can help Youth Councils develop their planning strategies. Examples include: demographic data on needs of the youth population in the community, drop-out rates, occupational demand for new entrants to the labor market, etc. Local areas also include a wide variety of organizations that serve youth in some capacity. A survey of such organizations will yield information on existing resources and services and can include data on past performance of service providers. Community resource mapping offers a useful tool to help identify existing services and gaps in service to meet the needs identified in the demographic analysis of the youth population. Information derived through resource mapping and gap analysis can serve as the foundation for setting goals and objectives.
For more information and resources on the planning and management role of Youth Councils, State and local areas may refer to the technical assistance guide developed by the Department, Recipes for Success: Youth Council Guide to Creating a Youth Development System Under WIA, July 2000. It can be found at: http://www.usworkforce.org/resources/pdf/recipes-ycouncil.pdf. Another resource for Local Boards and Youth Councils is "Conducting a Community Audit: Assessing the Workforce Development Needs and Resources of Your Community," which was prepared by the Department's Office of Adult Services http://www.doleta.gov/layoff/wdp01.asp). Community audits bring together information on economic and labor market trends to support both strategic planning and program operations.
Leveraging Resources. One of the priorities for Youth Councils is to leverage both financial and programmatic resources early in the program year. Local Boards are required to make all ten program elements available and States should encourage Local Boards and Youth Councils to be creative in leveraging both WIA and other available funds and services to achieve maximum impact. Under current allocations, WIA youth program funding is very limited in some areas, especially sparsely populated rural areas. Therefore, it is very important for local Youth Councils to identify the extent to which the ten program elements are available and/or already being provided in the local area, through methods as discussed above, such as resource mapping. To fill any gaps identified, the Youth Council can then develop its strategy to use either competitive selections or community partnerships to address these unmet needs. Local grant recipients need not provide all ten program elements with WIA funds if certain services are already accessible for all eligible youth in the local area. Additionally, some of the required program elements might be available at little or no cost to the WIA Program, as in the case of an adult mentoring program using community volunteers. However, when WIA funds are used, the competitive selection procedures must be followed. If a required program element is not funded with WIA title I funds, the local area must ensure that those activities are closely connected and coordinated with the WIA system.
One approach for maximizing resources could include identifying service providers who already offer services that meet one or more of the program elements and are accessible to all eligible youth. In a competitive selection process, those service providers could be assigned more weight or scored higher if they agree to match WIA-funded services with some additional non-WIA funded services that address the ten program elements, as long as it is clearly stated in the Request for Proposal (RFP). Examples of the types of existing resources that can be tapped to complement youth programs under WIA include the local education system, public housing agencies, and programs such as Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) and Welfare-to-Work. Further information on linking to these and other funding resources may be found in TEGL 3-99, dated January 31, 2000, which offers program guidance for providing comprehensive youth services under WIA during the summer of 2000 (http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives).
Identifying Eligible Services Providers. With approval from the Local Board, two key responsibilities of Youth Councils can be recommending eligible providers for youth services and conducting oversight of service providers (WIA section 117(h)(4)(B), 29 USC 2832). WIA requires Local Boards to select providers using a competitive process based on recommendations of the Youth Council. Section 123 of WIA states the requirements for identifying eligible providers of youth activities.
Assessments by Regional Office staff revealed that a number of local areas have been slow in implementing their youth programs and in selecting their service providers due to WIA's requirement to competitively select youth services. Many program activities were delayed until after the summer program was completed. In addition, local areas struggled with developing a RFP process that incorporated the new WIA requirements. Regional assessments also found that some States are confused about the requirements and criteria for establishing a youth service provider list (WIA section 129(b)(2)(A), 29 USC 2854). To address these concerns, we have issued guidance that addresses questions related to the competitive selection requirement (see TEGL No. 9-00, dated January 23, 2001, http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives). We also distributed a technical assistance guide entitled, The WIA Youth Program RFP Guide, on January 3, 2001 to assist Local Boards and Youth Councils in developing effective RFPs for youth services (www.doleta.gov/youth_services/techassistance.asp).
As part of the planning process, we envision that Youth Councils (if they have appropriate authority from the Local Board) will focus on improving the process and criteria for selecting service providers. Selection criteria may include factors such as past performance, the management capacity of the proposed vendors (including staff credentials), fiscal controls, data collection procedures, and stable and committed leadership. Since WIA requires youth services to be delivered differently than under JTPA, many local areas may have difficulty finding eligible providers. One strategy to address this is to conduct a bidders' conference that targets nontraditional service providers such as community and faith-based organizations.
To address the issue of developing a State eligible youth service provider list, it is important to look at the requirements under WIA. Section 129(b)(2)(A), 29 USC 2832) of the Act requires that States disseminate a list of eligible providers of youth activities, described in section 123 (29 USC 2843). As noted earlier, Section 123 requires Local Boards to identify eligible providers of youth activities through a competitive selection process. The State eligible provider list simply includes the individuals or organizations that have been selected through the competitive process within each local area. Therefore, the State's eligible provider list is a compilation of all the locally selected providers in the State. It is important to note that the youth eligible provider list is separate from and does not have the same requirements as the adult services eligible provider list.
Program Oversight. For Youth Councils to be effective in the oversight role assigned to them by the Local Board, it is essential to have well established monitoring systems in place. These systems include: accounting and reporting processes, performance benchmarks, a performance review process, corrective action plans, and mechanisms for ongoing feedback and continuous improvement. To accomplish this, staff from the Youth Councils may need to work jointly with staff from the Local Board that may already have many of these monitoring systems in place. In some cases, Youth Councils may have their own staff to perform monitoring responsibilities.
During PY 2000, WIA youth programs have been reporting low expenditure rates. This makes it even more critical for Youth Councils and program operators to put effective program management and accounting practices in place. It is critical to ensure that financial reporting is complete and accurate and that available resources are fully used with the maximum number of eligible youth benefitting from these programs. It is equally important that performance measures established for service providers be monitored on an ongoing basis to detect and address potential problems. As the system moves from transition to full implementation during PY 2001, these monitoring systems should be a priority. We encourage States to provide technical assistance to Local Boards and Youth Councils to help them establish program management and monitoring systems. The next section provides further information about program quality. Additional information about performance management may be found in section 6.F., below.
Program Design. Local Boards and Youth Councils can provide direction and leadership to assist local youth programs in improving the quality and effectiveness of year-round youth services during year two of WIA. States should encourage local programs to implement quality and continuous improvement practices during PY 2001. Another priority is to fully integrate summer activities into year-round services. Programs should focus on enhancing assessment strategies and keeping youth attached to services until they complete their individual service strategies. Other aspects of effective programs include: fully developing follow-up services, establishing performance management systems, and enhancing youth connections to One-Stop systems. All of these aspects of program design are addressed in the following sections.
Enhance Program Quality. States should encourage Local Boards, Youth Councils, and local programs to utilize quality practices as they plan and design a comprehensive and effective year-round youth services strategy. Principles that define quality programming for youth include:
Designing program activities to reflect program goals;
Ensuring the ongoing participation of caring adults;
Continuously improving the program based on data collection and analysis; and
Guaranteeing long-term follow-up to all youth participants.
There are a number of existing tools and resources to assist Local Boards, Youth Councils, and local programs to develop quality practices and processes. We believe that the Promising and Effective Practices Network, known as PEPNet, provides a wealth of resources for developing quality youth programs. PEPNet is managed by the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC). One such resource is the "PEPNet's Index to Effective Practices" that is available on their website at www.nyec.org. The website also provides examples of specific practices such as connecting youth with adults, conducting follow-up services, developing education and training approaches and connecting with employers. The Workforce Excellence Network is a local, State, and Federal partnership formed to promote continuous improvement and recognize excellence throughout the workforce development system. While the Workforce Excellence Network focuses on the whole workforce development system and not specifically on youth programs, their website offers information and resources that would be useful for States and local areas (www.workforce-excellence.nte/html/product.htm). The National Leadership Institute for Workforce Development is dedicated to building the leadership capacity of State and local Workforce Investment Boards and their executive staff. They have resources available at: www.wibleadership.com.
One of the key steps that many organizations take to begin implementing quality practices is conducting a self-assessment. Organizations may choose to conduct an entire assessment or may conduct the self-assessment incrementally, focusing on one or more categories at a time. Conducting a self-assessment of last year's program operations can provide information to enhance service delivery and improve results during the second year of WIA implementation. Examples to illustrate how the various self-assessment categories can assist Local Boards, Youth Councils, and youth programs include:
Organization and Management. This category addresses critical elements of quality management. Some local areas have used these sections to improve their own organization as well as to help local programs examine their effectiveness in this area (for example, see PEPNet's self-assessment tool at the NYEC website above or the Self Assessment System developed by Simply Better! which can be found at the Workforce Excellence Network website listed above).
Workforce Development. This category addresses career awareness, employer engagement, work experiences and education, and helping youth gain needed and relevant competencies. These categories can help local areas develop effective practices for providing the ten program elements under WIA (for example, see PEPNet's self-assessment tool at the NYEC website above).
Local Boards and Youth Councils may also consider incorporating quality criteria into their RFP and/or monitoring process to help ensure the quality of the programs they select. For additional information and resources, refer to the websites listed above.
Fully Integrate Summer Activities and Year Round Services. The summer of 2000 was the first year since 1964 that a stand-alone summer program was not authorized or funded and the first summer that youth programming was conducted under WIA for most States and local areas. Overall, participation in and expenditures on summer employment activities in PY 2000 were, as expected, significantly lower than the stand-alone summer jobs program under JTPA.
Since summer employment opportunities are one of the ten required program elements, it is important for States to ensure that these services are available and are provided in all local workforce investment areas. Summer employment opportunities can be an important strategy in helping local areas achieve the requirement that a minimum of 30 percent of the youth funds be used to provide services to out-of-school youth. We also expect that the linkages and integration of summer employment opportunities to year-round youth services will continue to be strengthened in PY 2001. For more guidance on integration strategies, see TEGL 3-99, Program Guidance for Implementation of Comprehensive Youth Services Under the Workforce Investment Act During the Summer of 2000 (http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives) and the Technical Assistance Guide, Integrating Year-Round and Summer Employment and Training Services for Youth Under the Workforce Investment Act (http://www.doleta.gov/youth_services/techassistance.asp). There are also additional examples of successful strategies presented in the attachment.
Enhance Assessment Strategies. The objective assessment is a process that identifies service needs, academic levels, goals, interests, skill levels, abilities, aptitudes, and supportive service needs, as well as barriers and strengths. It includes a review of basic and occupational skills, prior work experience, employability potential, and developmental needs. For younger youth (14-18 years old), the assessment of basic, occupational, and work readiness skills is necessary to establish goals for the required WIA skill attainment performance measure. The youth provider may set between one and three skill attainment goals for the 14-18 year old. If a youth is deficient in basic skills, one basic skills goal, at a minimum, must be set for the individual (a work readiness and/or occupational skills goal may also be set, if appropriate).
To determine whether a youth has met the skill attainment goals requires a pre-assessment and post-assessment of skill level. There are a wide range of tools that can be used to measure skill attainment goals for youth. Local assessment strategies should include some type of standardized assessment procedure such as a written test or a performance-based assessment with a standardized scoring method. See TEGL 7-99, which provides guidance on the WIA performance measures, for examples of the types of tests that may be used (http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives).
In some cases, a standardized test or a performance-based assessment may not be available (such as for work-readiness skills). The assessment methods used must be objective, unbiased and conform to widely accepted, clearly defined criteria, be field tested for validity, consistency, and accuracy, and provide for the training/preparation of all raters/scorers. Progress toward skill attainment goals can be tracked through case management or follow-up services if the goal attainment occurs during the exit quarter. While WIA allows flexibility, assessment strategies should include methods for documentation. Since participant records are subject to audit, States and local programs will want to ensure that staff receive training on how to document individual skill achievement and goal attainment.
Improve Recruitment Efforts, Enhance Retention and Completion of Individual Service Strategies. The youth development emphasis in WIA calls for effective strategies to recruit youth and then to engage and retain participants until they receive all needed services to successfully transition to adulthood and careers. Experience has shown that enrolling youth in occupational skills training and retaining them until completion of the program leads to better results. There are a number of steps that local programs can take to effectively recruit youth and then engage and retain youth in services.
First, it is important to make a positive connection with a young person from initial recruitment. This includes engaging youth who can talk positively about programs as peer advocates and recruiters; collaborating with community and faith-based organizations that already work with disadvantaged youth, especially out-of-school youth; and offering staff and youth incentives for recruiting new participants. Outreach and recruitment strategies can also tap into youth culture, such as public service announcements on local radio stations that appeal to young people.
A youth development approach recognizes that the young people who participate in WIA youth services will have diverse backgrounds and experiences and different types of developmental needs. It is important to recognize that most of these young people live in communities marked by poverty, violence, and illness. Not all youth mature at the same rate. Starting with their first visit to a program and the orientation process, youth want to understand how they "fit in." Some may want to immediately start skills training or a GED class; others might just be looking for somewhere to hang out for a few hours a week. In both cases, youth are "testing" how much they can trust the staff and the program. Local programs should be prepared to accommodate the wide variety of needs that youth bring during the early stages of their emerging relationship with the staff and program. Just like a new friendship, as the trust levels grow, so can the expectations that are placed on the youth.
The most effective youth programs promote a sense of membership and affiliation and a safe alternative to the streets. This includes strategies such as providing participants with membership cards, t-shirts, and opportunities to participate in planning activities, all of which contribute to retention. Programs that are co-located or connected to community centers that offer a range of recreational and cultural activities may be more successful in attracting and engaging young people, especially out-of-school youth. An effective individual service plan can play a critical role in ensuring that a young person stays engaged and completes the program. Adult mentorship, one of the ten required program elements, is key to the engagement and retention of youth during their enrollment. Other strategies that help programs to retain youth and maintain contact with them as part of follow-up are presented in the next section.
Expand and Further Develop Follow-Up Services. Follow-up services, one of the ten required program elements, will need more attention in PY 2001 as more young people complete and exit program services. We discussed this issue extensively in last year's Summer Guidance (TEGL 3-99, http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives). Since PY 2000 was a transition year under WIA, local areas may have provided limited follow-up services to participants enrolled in summer employment opportunities. However, we expect that as the system develops, so too will the provision of follow-up services.
While local areas may conduct a broad range of follow-up activities under WIA (see TEGL 3-99), many face the challenge of developing and implementing a structure and/or system for follow-up. Indicators of a systematic approach to follow-up may include assigning follow-up activities to specific staff and developing a computer generated tickler file or some other type of system to ensure regular check-in with youth. In cases where partner organizations are conducting follow-up activities, local areas need to have a structure in place to monitor these activities. A systematic approach also entails using follow-up data and information to assess program effectiveness and improve program quality.
As local areas develop strategies for follow-up, they may find the operating principles listed below useful. These principles are drawn from "best practices" in the field of youth development.
(1) Develop a close mentoring relationship before and after placement. Structure staff assignments, schedules, and activities in a manner that will facilitate the establishment of a strong personal bond between the young person and the staff member providing follow-up services before the youth completes/leaves the program.
(2) Develop a systematic approach for maintaining contact and interaction with the young person during follow-up services. Since job loss or other set backs generally occur early in the post-program time period, it is important to provide intensive support and mentoring during the first part of the follow-up period. One successful model entails contacting the youth by phone:
each day before or after work/school/training for the first 5 days of placement in a job or advanced education/training. It is important to talk over everything that happened during work/school/training.
once a week for the next six months of employment/school/training.
once a month after the first six months of employment/school/training unless a personal crisis requires intensive contact.
(3) Provide engaging follow-up activities to help keep young people interested and connected. This could include: evening and weekend social, recreational, and cultural activities for informal support; meeting for a business lunch during the workday; skills upgrading classes and workshops in the evening (e.g., computer skills, GED); peer tutoring and mentoring; or support group meetings.
(4) Meet physical and emotional as well as vocational needs. It is important to maintain a network of services that support the whole person and help youth access those services. This network should include: medical services, housing, transportation, child care, and workplace clothing supplements.
(5) When the youth is employed, maintain a non-intrusive contact with employers. Follow-up staff should visit the job site as soon after the youth starts a job as possible and meet the employer and/or supervisor. During this visit, the follow-up staff should describe his/her role to the employer and provide a phone number. The follow-up staff should contact the employer again at the end of four to six weeks of employment for an update and periodically thereafter as needed.
Follow-up services can not only contribute to more successful long-term outcomes, but also allow for the ongoing data collection that is required to measure performance for youth under WIA. Without required follow-up services, local operators would face the burden of paying for costly follow-up surveys to track performance outcomes.
Enhance Performance Management and Data Quality. WIA places an increased emphasis on a performance accountability system. It is important for Local Boards and Youth Councils to develop a good understanding of the required youth performance measures under WIA and to establish other types of performance measures to assess other local goals, monitor service providers, and implement continuous improvement practices. We encourage States to provide training and technical assistance to local areas on developing performance management systems and ensuring data quality.
(1) Required Core Measures. WIA established seven core performance measures for individuals participating in the youth program. These measures are divided into two categories based on a youth's age at registration: (1) older youth 19-21 years old and (2) younger youth 14-18 years old. The older youth measures are more employment-oriented but recognize the value of further education. This group of measures includes: entered employment rate, retention in employment, earnings change, and credential attainment rate. The younger youth measures focus more on skills development. This group of measures includes: skill attainment rate, high school diploma/GED attainment rate, and retention rate.
In addition to the seven measures listed above, both older and younger youth participating in WIA youth services, and employers working with youth programs are included in the two WIA customer satisfaction measures. There is one WIA customer satisfaction measure for participants and one for employers. These customer satisfaction measures cut across youth, adults, and dislocated worker WIA programs. On the State level, the customer satisfaction measures will be based on samples drawn from participants and from employers across all WIA funding streams.
(2) Developing Other Program Measures. Most of the required WIA core performance measures look at accomplishments after a youth completes/leaves the program. Data for these measures are generally not available on a timely enough basis for program monitoring and management. Therefore, it is important for local youth programs to develop additional program management and continuous improvement processes and measures to track progress on a real-time basis.
With WIA's focus on a holistic youth development approach, it is important to be able to measure the support and leadership activities that are necessary to help young people grow into healthy adults and successfully transition to careers and lifelong learning. While there are some outcomes, such as improving grades and reduction in truancy, that can be quantified and documented, other qualities, such as developing a positive sense of self are more difficult to quantify. One way to measure the more qualitative aspects of youth development is to track participation in certain activities such as: participating in a community service one or more hours per week or providing two or more hours of tutoring per week.
The WIA skill attainment rate looks at goals attained compared to goals set. On a local program level, there are other aspects of this measure that would be useful to track. Program managers can look at how many youth attained each type of goal (basic skills, occupational skills or work readiness) as well as how much of a skill gain was achieved. Examples include: the percentage of participants who participated in basic skills activities, the percentage of participants who completed a basic skills activity, and the percentage of basic skill learning participants who progress to the next level. While we do not require reporting on the level of skill attainment achieved, this information is important for program managers who want to determine the effectiveness of skill training activities.
There are other types of process measures that are important for tracking progress and assessing service delivery. These include measures such as: the number of youth who participate in each program activity, the number of youth who complete one or more program activities, and the number of youth who complete all youth activities in their individual service strategy. Some performance measures can help Youth Councils and Local Boards assess their progress in building youth development systems in their communities. Examples include: successful referral to partner services, the number of employers providing internships, and the number of partners with a commitment of funds or in-kind contributions.
(3) Enhancing Data Quality Efforts. In PY 2001, data quality and validation is a top priority for the Department. States should work with local areas to include outcomes data validation as part of their monitoring and service provider certification programs. This means that all outcomes must be documented and are subject to audit. Local programs should follow the data validation guidelines established in TEGL 7-99 on the WIA performance measures. In addition, States should provide technical assistance on the importance of documenting not only reported outcomes but other required data for program reporting such as: eligibility for specific services provided, dates services were provided, and actual program exit date (date of last activity before follow-up services).
Enhancing Youth Connections to One-Stop Systems. WIA requires each local area 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 WIA (title I, chapter 4) are required partners in One-Stop systems. Many existing One-Stop systems were established before WIA, under the Department's One-Stop initiative. Most of these One-Stop systems did not have outreach efforts to attract youth, pursue youth program partnerships, or provide youth services because the required core partners for that initiative primarily focused on adult customers. However, since youth programs are required partners under WIA, States should ensure that local One-Stop systems look 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.
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 co-locating 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 One-Stop 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, community-based organizations, and faith-based organizations; conducting outreach efforts that target out-of-school youth; conducting special tours of the One-Stop centers for youth; and establishing linkages with School-to-Work systems. In addition, coordinating referrals with Youth Opportunity Grant (YOG) programs may help recruit out-of-school youth.
(3) Customizing One-Stop Center Facilities and Self-Service Resources for Youth. Some One-Stop centers maintain information about 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 to young people. 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 YOG 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.
Job Safety and Health. States should provide local areas with training and/or written material on workplace safety rules and regulations and advise Local areas to share safety information with work site supervisors before youth are placed at designated work sites. States and local areas need to review Federal, State, and local safety standards and child labor restrictions. This will help to ensure that participants are not assigned to job activities which violate those standards and/or restrictions. For additional information, consult the following websites:
For applicable laws from your State:
For guidance regarding safety/health on the job:
Inquiries. Questions on this TEGL should be directed to your appropriate Regional Office.
Attachment A: Model Practices
Attachment B: Regional Offices of Youth Programs and Job Corps