Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






March 22, 2000















Deputy Assistant Secretary




Availability of Funds to Support Exemplary Youth Activities Peer-to-Peer Learning Projects

  1. Purpose. To provide guidance to local workforce investment areas on how to apply for funds to support technical assistance projects for those Local Workforce Investment Boards (Local Boards) that are on the cutting edge of implementing the new youth system envisioned under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) and are interested in showcasing their system and programs.

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

  3. Background. The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) brings new emphasis and substantive reform to how youth are served within the workforce investment system. It presents an opportunity to better prepare our young people and offer them a comprehensive array of services so that they are able to successfully transition to the workforce and to continued education and training. The Department expects that the reform of workforce training and related activities will be driven by youth service needs within individual communities, will redefine current local youth program offerings, and will build upon innovative methodologies and experiences.

    The Act challenges local communities to achieve a level of collaboration that brings together local workforce training providers, schools, community organizations, and others, in an effort to strategically align and leverage resources and to create community youth assistance strategies. Local youth programs will be linked more closely to local labor market needs and will be based on an overall assessment of the strengths and challenges experienced by area youth. The Act's reforms of youth services and activities can be summarized under four major themes: the establishment of the local Youth Council as the driver for systemic reform; comprehensive services that meet the needs of out-of-school youth in their local area and include an individual assessment and 12 months of follow-up services; youth connections and access to the One-Stop service delivery system; and performance accountability.

    By emphasizing these four themes, local youth systems are encouraged to fully realize the Act's expectations and to provide youth with skills that include a knowledge of the work world, academic skills linked to occupational learning, and both employability and attitudinal capabilities that will enable them to adjust to life's inconsistencies.

  4. Exemplary Youth Systems Technical Assistance Project. Since all local workforce investment areas are required to transition fully their JTPA youth system to a WIA system by July 1, 2000, the Department is committed to providing Local Workforce Investment Boards (Local Boards) with technical assistance that helps Local Boards and more specifically their Youth Councils to smoothly transition their youth system. One way the Department will accomplish this is by sharing the experiences and knowledge gained by Local Boards which are on the cutting edge in terms of moving towards fully implementing the new youth vision under WIA and have demonstrated effective practices for serving their youth. Competitive grants will be made to Local Boards whose youth systems are able to demonstrate: how their local Youth Council is effectively governing the shift to the WIA's vision for serving youth; how they are effectively providing the youth program elements envisioned in the WIA, and transitioning to emphasize a year-round, comprehensive approach to providing youth services that include 12 months of follow-up; and how their system and programs are connected to the local One-Stop system and to the Job Corps.

    Funds from this grant will be used by grantees to plan for and to host a forum showcasing their community's workforce investment system for youth. Since this is a peer-to-peer approach for providing technical assistance, the potential audience for the forums will be other local workforce investment area staff, Local Board members and particularly Youth Council members. We envision that this forum will on an average be a two-day practical learning experience. Specifically, forums will serve two primary purposes:

      (1)  To expose forum participants to comprehensive in-school and out-of-school youth programs and how they connect to local One-Stop service delivery systems by demonstrating what their community has done in their local area to implement the WIA youth vision. Forum participants will visit effective and innovative programs that comprise the local area's required menu of services and One-Stop Career Centers. This component will be the primary focus of the two-day forums and will enable participants to get a hands-on perspective of successful programs and One-Stops that provide connections to the youth serving system.

      (2)  To showcase and share effective system building practices and innovative policies or practices, either through key-note speeches, panel discussions, or small group workshops. This component should complement the hands-on component.

    Each grantee will be responsible for implementing the forum, including planning the agenda, providing training materials, and carrying out all of the forum's activities. A separate organization will be contracted with to compile and document information delivered by grantees into a technical assistance guidebook that will be widely disseminated to all WIA formula-fund grantees. Exemplary Youth Systems Technical Assistance Project grantees will be required to work with the contractor to assist them with their information collection efforts.

  5. Eligible Applicants. Applicants eligible for these grants are Local Workforce Investment Boards. To be eligible, a Local Board must be able to demonstrate that it has been, or will be before July 1, 2000, designated by the State as the Local Workforce Investment Board. A letter from the Governor or the Governor's designee will be sufficient to establish eligibility. Since WIA youth system building is in its early stages, with full-transition to WIA not required until July 1, 2000, we do not expect that all Local Workforce Investment Boards will have a fully developed and operationalized WIA youth system, including their Youth Councils. However, we do expect that Local Workforce Investment Boards that apply for this grant will have made significant progress towards implementing all aspects of their WIA youth system, particularly around the provision of quality program elements and connections to their One-Stop system.

  6. Grant Awards. We expect to award between 10 and 12 grants. As indicated below, up to $15,000 may be used for technical assistance activities or program enhancement. Remaining funds may be used to reimburse the costs of developing and conducting the forums, including both staff and material costs. We expect that the maximum award amount will be $55,000. Grant awards will be made for a period of one-year to support the planning and implementation of the forum. The forum must be held within one-year upon receiving the grant award. The scheduling of each forum will be done in consultation with the appropriate ETA Regional Office. The Regional Offices will assist in promoting the forums in order to ensure the greatest possible level of participation.

  7. Criteria for Award. It is the intent to award at least one grant in each of the six regions. The Regional Offices will review applications and make award recommendations to the Grants 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 below. Technical guidance and the weight of each question is also provided below.

    1. What is the role of the Youth Council in building the new youth serving system? (15 Points)

      Central to implementing this new vision for serving youth is the establishment of the Local Youth Council, an integral part of the Local Workforce Investment Board. Youth Council members are called upon to serve as advocates for local area youth and to ensure the provision and coordination of workforce training activities available to youth in a local area and address the overall delivery and coordination of services from across all local, State and Federal funding streams. You must describe the composition of your Youth Council and how it brings together individuals from a range of local program and policy areas which can affect the success of young people in the labor market and beyond. Describe your strategy for involving parents and for educating the community about the availability of youth services. What is your Youth Council's vision, goals and objectives and long-term plan? Describe how local providers of School-to-Work, apprenticeship, and the Job Corps have played a part in the establishment of local Youth Councils and how they continue to be involved. How has the Youth Council worked to address the needs of the youth population as a whole, in-school as well as out-of-school, and how will it emphasize the importance of continuity of services in appropriately meeting the complex needs of your youth? How is your Youth Council staffed? Are there additional responsibilities designated to the Youth Council by the Board Chair that go beyond the legally required responsibilities of Youth Councils? How has the Youth Council engaged in resource mapping to improve the efficiency and quality of youth services? What has your Youth Council done to leverage, pool and coordinate scarce youth resources?

    2. Are exemplary programs being provided to both in-school and out-of-school youth through a year-round comprehensive strategy? (40 Points)

      Program Elements: Local areas are called upon to create opportunities for youth that move beyond traditional employment and training services, and that infuse such principles as preparation for postsecondary opportunities, linkages between academic and occupational learning, connections to the local job market, and appropriate follow-up services into their youth systems for in-school and out-of-school youth. A number of programmatic elements included in the Act will foster inclusionary strategies for integrating workforce training, School-to-Work, education, and other community offerings to local youth. Describe how your youth system effectively provides the ten program elements identified in the Act and how they are integrated to form an effective youth serving system, including linkages with middle school programs that complement your overall WIA youth strategy. In describing the programs you should provide a range of program opportunities and highlight some of the programs by including what makes them successful and how they may contribute to building the knowledge base about which programs work for young people. You should include specific evidence of success for each program you describe.

      Comprehensive and Year-Round Strategy: Under WIA there is a single funding stream for youth services and activities. This strategy relies upon the abundance of data that demonstrate the need for youth programs to move from one-time, short-term interventions to a systematic offering of services connected to individual goals for serving a particular youth. Summer employment opportunities, for example, are to be viewed as one of many ways in which the workforce and employability needs of youth may be met, but by no means the sole strategy for exposing young people to the work world. This single funding stream approach will not only serve to administratively connect what were formerly termed "year-round" and "summer" activities, but will encourage the integration of other youth funding streams in order to create the most complete menu of services and activities available to youth in a local area. Describe how your youth serving system supports a year-round strategy. Describe how your system will incorporate the traditional "stand-alone" summer program into the comprehensive year-round strategy.

    3. How does the youth serving system connect to the One-Stop system including Job Corps? (15 Points)

      The One-Stop service delivery system created under WIA will effectively connect the broad range of workforce services available in a local area. Describe how your One-Stops are positioned to become a place for youth to begin to navigate their way into the world of work. Describe how you are using strategies for serving youth that may include: creating employer and provider linkages among local youth-serving agencies and other agencies, working to support the sharing of service strategies between youth program operators and other One-Stop partners, and providing needed services to youth depending upon individual needs assessments. Since many youth are already accessing job information through the local One-Stop or through the Employment Service, and other partner programs, describe how your One-Stop system goes beyond promoting access to basic job finding services through such things as: establishing linkages with schools, community-based youth serving organizations, and school-to-work systems; conducting outreach efforts targeting out-of-school youth; conducting youth tours of One-Stop centers; and creating separate youth resource areas and designating specific staff to work with youth. Additionally, you should describe how your system connects to the Job Corps particularly in terms of strategies for serving out-of-school youth. Discuss the involvement of the Job Corps' representative on the Youth Council and how they are working to build a local youth system that leverages available Job Corps resources.

       What is the overall plan for delivering the forum to showcase the youth serving system? (30 Points)

      In planning your forum you need to consider how you will manage both the program's content and its logistics. Your plan should consider ways to effectively showcase quality programs, including many on-site program visits, and how to appropriately balance showcasing with other workshops and speakers. Your Youth Council should have a prominent role in both planning this activity and participating in the forum. Your plan should include: a 2-day agenda that describes each of the forum's program sessions; what group or individuals will be responsible for the presentations; what outcomes you hope to achieve through each session; and how you will do outreach to enlist participation (in addition to Regional Office support). Your plan should detail all expenses covered by the grant. Your plan should be based on approximately 50 attendees. Up to $15,000 may be used to provide technical assistance to your local programs and/or enhance your youth One-Stop Career Centers' activities or facilities. These enhancements should promote your ability to showcase your youth programs and youth One-Stops and provide a richer educational experience.

  8. Application Process. The proposal must be limited to 15 double-spaced pages and must be organized as follows:

    An original and three copies of the proposal must be submitted to the ETA Regional appropriate Administrator by April 26, 2000. Applications that are postmarked after that date will not be considered.

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

  10. Attachments.

    Appendix A - "Application for Federal Assistance"

    Appendix B - "Budget Information Sheet"