ETA releases second round of WIOA youth transition guidance

By Katie Spiker, November 17, 2015

ETA releases second round of WIOA youth transition guidance

Earlier today, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) released Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 8-15, providing operating guidance on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Program. The TEGL is part of a broader series of guidance letters issued by the agency to support state and local implementation of WIOA prior to the issuance of final regulations in spring 2016.

ETA had issued an earlier  youth TEGL in March clarifying how local areas would be expected to meet new out-of-school youth (OSY) expenditure requirements under WIOA, and providing guidance on how to provide transitional services for in-school youth being served under WIA-funded grants and contracts You can read NSC’s analysis of TEGL 23-14 here

Today’s TEGL clarifies changes in OSY eligibility under WIOA, including an increased age limit to age 24, and the removal of the requirement that OSY be low income in order to qualify for WIOA programming, except when the youth already has a secondary certificate or when low-income status would be the only qualifying attribute of the WIOA youth. WIOA also extends OSY designation to all youth of school age who have not attended school in the most recent quarter, and clarifies that Title II adult education programs, YouthBuild, and Job Corps programs are not considered “schools” within this definition.

The TEGL sets out requirements for states and local areas to make certain definitions: states and local areas may define a “youth living in a high-poverty area” until ETA publishes final regulations in which DOL will provide a definition for the term; and states and local areas must define when an individual requires additional assistance “to enter or complete an educational program or to secure or hold employment” when plans use the terms as a qualifying standard. 

Today’s guidance also emphasizes the impact cooperation across programs could have on increased opportunities for youth workforce system. For example, expanded Adult Education and Family Literacy Act services under Title II could offer opportunities for Title I youth programs to coordinate on workforce preparation and integrated education and training, to concurrently enroll OSY in education programs combined with workforce preparation and training, and leverage resources effectively to implement career pathways under WIOA.  This guidance is particularly important as it illustrates that cooperation between Title I Youth and other programs may help local areas fulfill their statutory requirements to develop and implement career pathways.

The TEGL further clarifies an apparent conflict in previous guidance, indicating that funds from Program Year (PY) 2014 that carry over to PY 2015 are subject to WIA minimum OSY expenditure requirements rather than the higher minimums required under WIOA.