Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Program

Purpose: The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Title IB Youth Program provides services to youth ages 14-21. The main thrust of the Youth Program is to increase the focus on longer-term academic and occupational learning opportunities and provide long-term comprehensive service strategies. Youth services are provided to in-school youth ages 14-21 and out-of-school youth ages 16-21.

The Youth Program is designed to prepare Arizona’s youth to either enter post-secondary education, training or employment upon completion of their secondary education. The aging of Arizona’s workforce is an issue of concern and therefore this program can be an instrument toward meeting the future workforce demands.

Youth program elements consist of:

  1. Tutoring, study skills training and instruction leading to the completion of secondary schooling including dropout prevention strategies;
  2. Alternative secondary school services;
  3. Summer employment opportunities directly linked to academic and occupational learning;
  4. Paid and unpaid work experiences including internships and job shadowing;
  5. Occupational skill training;
  6. Leadership development opportunities;
  7. Supportive services;
  8. Adult mentoring for a duration of at least twelve months, that may occur during and after program participation;
  9. Follow up services for not less than 12 months after the participant completes the program; and
  10. Comprehensive guidance and counseling, including drug and alcohol counseling and referral to counseling as appropriate to meet the needs of the participant.

Eligibility: An individual must be between the ages of 14-21, low income and meet at least one of the following barriers to employment:

  1. School dropout (individual is no longer attending any school and has not received a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent);
  2. Basic skills deficient (individuals that have English, writing or computing skills at or below the 8th grade level on a generally accepted standardized test;
  3. Pregnant or parenting
  4. Homeless, runaway, or foster child
  5. Offenders
  6. An individual (including a youth with a disability) who requires additional assistance to complete an educational program, or to secure and hold employment. This is locally defined in each local workforce investment area.

The Workforce Investment Act requires that at least 30 percent of youth funds must be used to serve out-of-school youth. An out-of-school youth is an eligible youth who is a school dropout; or an eligible youth who has received a secondary school diploma or its equivalent but is basic skills deficient, unemployed, or underemployed. WIA allows for five percent of each youth providers participants to be non-economically disadvantaged provided they meet the other eligibility requirements.

Administration: The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) has statewide oversight responsibilities of the WIA Youth Program in Arizona. These responsibilities include fiscal controls, grant management, participant data collection and tracking, reporting to the U.S. Department of Labor, monitoring, service provider training, technical assistance and policy interpretation and development. Fifteen percent of the youth dollars allocated to the state is reserved for the governor’s set-aside and eighty-five percent of the funding is passed through to the local workforce investment boards. Youth services are provided locally through contracts between DES and local workforce investment areas.

Evaluation: There are seven performance standards for the Youth Program; four for older youth ages 19-21 and three for younger youth ages 14-18. The standards for older youth measures placements, job retention, wage changes and skills attainment; the standards for younger youth measures skills attainment, credential attainment and placement and retention in post-secondary education or advanced training, or in military service, or qualified apprenticeships. The customer satisfaction measure is the same for youth, dislocated workers, and adults and is obtained through surveys that are conducted with employers and participants to determine satisfaction with the services provided.


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auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities
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