In 2014 President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law. If you are a DC youth between the ages of 16 and 24 then you might be able to benefit from programming and resources funded through this law. Here is a brief overview of the youth portions of the law.
WIOA Title I (Adult, Dislocated Worker and youth Formula programs) lays out a vision for the delivery of workforce training to youth and young adults ages 16-24 across the country. DC workforce leaders created a plan for a district-wide youth employment system. The law officially went into effect July 2015. Through this law youth who are often left out of workforce programming will have special consideration and targeted outreach.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
WIOA Target Youth Populations: One of the main goals of WIOA (Title I) is to provide targeted outreach and programing to youth ages 16 to 24 in special populations. If you fall into one of these populations, then you are eligible to participate in WIOA funded programs. Please reach out to the DOES-Office of Youth Programs staff to discuss how you can be included in their WIOA employment programming.
Examples of WIOA target populations are:
- Youth who exited high school before completion—including those who might struggle with reading and math
- Foster Youth
- Court involved youth (juvenile or adult court system)
- English language learners
- Youth with a disability
- Homeless and runaway youth
- Youth who are pregnant and parenting
Work Experience: WIOA places a renewed focus on work experience in addition to vocational training and education. This means that in addition to classroom instruction and training you should have opportunities to actually work.
Out-of-School Youth & Adult Education (GED): WIOA requires that DC provide increased programming targeted at youth who are not attending school. You will be able to participate in workforce development/vocational training and work toward your GED or high school diploma at the same time. This increase in programming for youth who are out-of-school was made with the understanding that there will be an increase in employment programming through DC Public Schools and the University of the District of Columbia.
Youth with Disabilities: If you have a mental or physical disability that is a barrier to employment then there will be special programming just for you. Through WIOA the DC Department of Disability Services (DDS)-Vocational Rehabilitation Service (VR) program will partner with DOES and other agencies to create employment and job training opportunities for youth with disabilities. You will be matched with a case manager who will assist you with finding employment and job training programs.
Support Services: With the new focus on special populations of youth and young adults, WIOA requires that there be additional support services in place to support youth. Programs help to address your barriers to employment. This means that when you participate in WIOA programming you might receive support with housing, child care, transportation or food.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN DC WIOA PROGRAMMING
To learn more about how you can participate in WIOA employment programming please contact the agencies/individuals listed on our DOES-Office of Youth Programs page (OYP Resource PAGE LINK). You can also contact staff at the DC Workforce Investment Council (WIC). Contact information for WIC staff can be found here.