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On March 26, the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA) released operating guidance regarding the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Program. The guidance is intended to assist state and local areas with the transition from the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to WIOA.
The Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) provides new guidance to states and local areas regarding the WIOA requirement that 75 percent of youth funds must be spent on out-of-school youth. ETA states that states and local areas that are not prepared to meet the requirement in program year (PY) 2015 must demonstrate progress toward meeting the requirement by increasing expenditures on out-of-school youth over the previous year. By PY16, all states and local areas must be in compliance with the 75 percent minimum expenditure requirement.
The TEGL also offers guidance on how local areas might recruit and engage out-of-school youth, including by partnering with local Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) agencies to reach out to the TANF population.
WIOA requirements must also be incorporated into existing contracts for service by amending or modifying the option years of the contract, provided the contract allows for such changes. Regarding new contracts, ETA advises that local areas should enter into one-year contracts which may contain option years, rather than competing multi-year contracts, to allow for flexibility during the transition period.
Finally, the TEGL clarifies that the WIOA requirement that 20 percent of youth formula funds must be used to support paid and unpaid work experiences must be fully implemented by PY15, and that the 20 percent should not be applied separately for in-school youth and out-of-school youth.
The program year for WIOA youth begins on April 1, 2015. While WIOA writ large does not take effect until July 1, 2015, the PY15 youth allocation disbursed on April 1 will be governed by WIOA. States and local areas may use left over PY14 funds to support existing services that are consistent with WIA.