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Youth Eligibility Requirements

Eligible youth are those individuals that fall in the age group of 14 to 21 and that meet established economic requirements and that possess barrier(s) to employment or high school completion. In accordance with the WIA, an eligible youth must meet the following criteria:

*Age 14 to 21
*Meets one of six elements of the Low Income Individual Act:
  1. Cash public assistance
  2. Family income at or below the poverty line or 70% of the Lower Living Standard
  3. Has received or was eligible to receive food stamps in the last six months
  4. Homeless
  5. Publicly supported foster child
  6. Individual with a disability and income at or below poverty line or 70% of the Lower Living Standard
*Is within one or more of the following categories:
  1. Basic skills deficient
  2. School dropout
  3. Homeless, runaway or foster child
  4. Pregnant or parenting
  5. Offender
  6. Is an individual (including youth with a disability) that faces an additional barrier to complete an educational program or to secure and hold employment

The following youth eligibility qualifier requires LS WIB approval prior to enrollment

Additional Barrier:

The definition for WIA-Eligible youth that require additional assistance to complete an educational program or to secure and hold employment as defined by the L/S WIB is:

  1. Youth at risk of dropping out of school (as certified by a school counselor); or
  2. Youth who receives or whose dependent has received a medical card in the last six months (certified with a copy of the card); or
  3. Youth certified as lacking significant work history, (self certified or pay stubs that indicate employment of less than thirty hours per week at minimum wage)
*A United States Citizen or eligible non-citizen; and if
*A male has reached his eighteenth birthday, is registered for Selective Service; and
*Meets residency requirements such that the youth is a resident of one of the counties in the WIA

The following youth eligibility qualifier requires LS WIB approval prior to enrollment

*Not more than 5% of participants assisted in each local area may be individuals who do not meet the minimum income criteria, if such individuals are within one or more of the following categories:
  1. School dropout
  2. Basic skills deficient – English reading or computing skills at or below the 8th grade level
  3. Behind grade level
  4. Pregnant or Parenting
  5. Individual with disabilities including learning disabilities
  6. Homeless or Runaway youth
  7. Offender
  8. Serious barriers to employment as defined by the L/S WIB as:
    Youth who lacks significant work history (defined as being employed less than thirty hours per week at minimum wage, or unemployed for more than fifteen weeks of the last six month.

Required Levels of Service to In School and Out of School Youth

The WIA legislation mandates levels of services for youth as follows:
  1. In School Youth (age 14-18 in school) cannot receive greater than 70% of the expenditures (not enrollment) of the funds
  2. Out of School Youth (out of school through age 21, generally 18-21) cannot receive less than 30% of the expenditures (not enrollment) of the funds.

Workforce Investment Act Requirements

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 mandates that WIBs implement Youth Development systems that leverage funds and resources appropriately and addresses the long-term employability needs of youth. The intent of the WIA is to provide eligible youth with intensive case management and access to ten core program elements designed to reduce barriers to educational and employment success. They are:

  1. Tutoring, study skills and instruction leading to completion of secondary school, including dropout prevention strategies.
  2. Alternative secondary school services, as appropriate.
    • Alternative secondary school services include coordination with the secondary school corporations located in the workforce service area. Services may be provided to eligible youth including those at risk of dropping out of traditional school settings; pregnant or pregnant youth; youth no longer attending any school and who have not received a secondary diploma or its recognized equivalent; and youth who learn through nontraditional teaching methods.
  3. Summer employment opportunities directly linked to academic and occupational learning.
  4. Paid and unpaid work experiences are planned structured learning experiences that take place in a workplace. Work experience workplaces may be in the private, for-profit, nonprofit, or public sector. Work experiences are designed to enable youth to gain exposure to the working world and its requirements. Work experiences should help youth acquire the personal attributes, knowledge, and skills needed to obtain a job and advance in employment. The purpose is to provide the youth participant with opportunities for career exploration and skill development and is not to benefit the employer, although the employer may, in fact benefit from the activities performed by the youth. WIA funds may be used to pay wages and related benefits for work experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. However, it is important to note that the L/S WIB Youth Council highly favors unsubsidized employment for youth. In addition, the objective assessment and individual service strategy must indicate that work experiences are appropriate.
  5. Occupational skills training as appropriate.
    • Occupational skills training includes training for an occupation that leads to employment in the area or the area to which the youth wants to relocate, and for which the youth has been assessed.
  6. Supportive services (may include transportation, childcare, need-related payments that are necessary to participate in activities).
    • Supportive services are services that are necessary to enable the youth to participate in activities under the Workforce Investment Act and may include: technology for youth with disabilities; linkages to community services; assistance with transportation costs; assistance with childcare and dependent care costs; assistance with housing costs; referrals to medical services; assistance with uniforms and other appropriate work attire and work-related tool costs, including such items as protective eye gear. Every effort should be made to leverage or subcontract “core element” activities, therefore supportive services should be geared toward services not provided under the core elements.
  7. Leadership development opportunities, which may include community service and peer-centered activities encouraging responsibility and other positive social behaviors during non-school hours as appropriate.
    • Leadership development opportunities may include the following: exposure to post-secondary educational opportunities; community and service learning projects; peer-centered activities, including peer mentoring and tutoring; organizational and team work training, including team leadership training,; training in decision-making, including determining priorities; citizenship training, including life skills training such as parenting, work behavior training and budgeting resources; employability; positive social behaviors or soft skills which focus on positive attitudinal development, self-esteem building, cultural diversity training, and work simulation activities.
  8. Adult mentoring for the period of participation and subsequent period, for a total of not less than twelve (12) months.
  9. Follow-up services for not less than twelve (12) months after the completion of participation. (Activities such as alumnae groups or career planning, as well as connection to supportive services and counseling).
    • Follow-up services by conducting timely and appropriate follow-up services, youth customers continue in the comfort zone of program support and guidance. Follow-up services will be provided for not less than twelve (12) months after completion of participation. Expected follow-up will occur quarterly during the minimum follow-up period. Follow-up services extended to former participants must be determined on the needs of the individual. These services include but are not limited to: leadership development and supportive services; regular contact with a youth’s employer, including assistance in addressing work related problems as they arise; assistance in securing better paying jobs, career development, and further education; work related peer support groups adult mentoring; and tracking the progress of youth in employment after training.
  10. Comprehensive guidance and counseling, which may include drug and alcohol abuse counseling and referrals, as appropriate.
    • Comprehensive guidance and counseling is personal counseling provided by a licensed professional and may include drug and alcohol abuse counseling and referrals as appropriate.

While the Youth Contractor is primarily responsible for guiding youth customers through the Youth Development System, it is not anticipated that they will be responsible for directly providing all of the core program elements. The ideal is for the Youth Operator to leverage partnerships or sub-contract with other service providers for some of the core element services. Other service providers engaged through a leveraged partnership must complete a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Other service providers to be engaged through a sub-contract must obtain prior approval from the Youth Council.

Youth Committee Information

The Youth Committee provides a forum for stakeholders to collaborate on establishing a pipeline of a future workforce into the region’s key industries. All stakeholders are interested in promoting the academic and career readiness of youth located in Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties. The committee is comprised of representatives from business, K-12 and post-secondary education, PA CareerLink, county government, youth serving organizations; community services agencies, and juvenile justice. The Youth Council recommends to the L/S WIB, Inc., eligible youth providers based on a competitive bidding procedure.

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