The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Youth program consists of the following 14 elements that will be provided to all youth participants:
- Tutoring, Study Skills Training, Instruction, and Dropout Prevention activities that lead to completion of a high school diploma or recognized equivalent
- Alternative Secondary School Dropout Recovery Services assist youth who have struggled in traditional secondary education or who have dropped out of school
- Paid and Unpaid Work Experience is a structured learning experience in a workplace and provides opportunities for career exploration and skill development
- Occupational Skills Training is an organized program of study that provides specific skills and leads to proficiency in an occupational field
- Education Offered Concurrently with Workforce Preparation is an integrated education and training model combining workforce preparation, basic academic skills, and occupational skills
- Leadership Development Opportunities encourage responsibility, confidence, employability, self-determination, and other positive social behaviors
- Supportive Services enable an individual to participate in WIOA activities
- Adult Mentoring is a formal relationship between a youth and an adult mentor with structured activities where the mentor offers guidance, support, and encouragement
- Follow-up Services are provided following program exit to help ensure youth succeed in employment or education
- Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling provides individualized counseling to participants, including drug/alcohol and mental health counseling
- Financial Literacy Education provides youth with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve long-term financial stability
- Entrepreneurial Skills Training provides the basics of starting and operating a small business and develops entrepreneurial skills
- Services that Provide Labor Market Information offer employment and labor market information about in-demand industry sectors or occupations
- Post-Secondary Preparation and Transition Activities help youth prepare for and transition to postsecondary education and training
What's my next step?
An In-School Youth is an individual between the ages of 16-21, low income, and meets at least one of the following barriers to employment:
- Attending school (as defined by State law), including secondary and postsecondary school;
- Not younger than age 16 or (unless an individual with a disability who is attending school under State law) older than age 21 at time of enrollment;
- A low-income individual; and
- One or more of the following:
- a. Basic skills deficient;
- b. An English language learner;
- c. An offender;
- d. A homeless individual, a homeless child or youth, or a runaway;
- e. An individual in foster care or who has aged out of the foster care system or who has attained 16 years of age and left foster care for kinship guardianship or adoption, a child eligible for assistance under sec. 477 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 677), or in an out-of-home placement;
- f. An individual who is pregnant or parenting;
- g. An individual with a disability; or
- h. An individual who requires additional assistance to complete an educational program or to secure or hold employment.
An Out-of-School Youth is an individual between the ages of 16-24, low income, and meets at least one of the following barriers to employment:
- Not attending any school (as defined under State law);
- Not younger than age 16 or older than age 24 at time of enrollment; and
- One or more of the following:
- a. A school dropout;
- b. A youth who is within the age of compulsory school attendance, but has not attended school for at least the most recent complete school year calendar quarter;
- c. A recipient of a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent who is a low-income individual and is either basic skills deficient or an English language learner;
- d. An offender;
- e. A homeless individual, a homeless child or youth, or a runaway;
- f. An individual in foster care or who has aged out of the foster care system or who has attained 16 years of age and left foster care for kinship guardianship or adoption, a child eligible for assistance under sec. 477 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 677), or in an out-of-home placement;
- g. An individual who is pregnant or parenting;
- h. An individual with a disability; or
- i. A low-income individual who requires additional assistance to enter or complete an educational program or to secure or hold employment
Six Key Areas
Soft Skills to Pay the Bills consists of hands-on curriculum with engaging activities and fun games that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism. Read more below about each of the six key skill areas.
- Communication Skills: Learning when and how to communicate in a business setting is an important soft skill. Most youth only experience communication as it is at home, school, or with their friends and peers. However, communicating in the workplace is very different. Youth must learn how to communicate with supervisors, co-workers, and customers and /or clients. In addition, listening is a big component of communicating effectively.
- Enthusiasm and Attitude: It is important for all to be enthusiastic and have a positive attitude in the workplace. Within the curriculum, youth learn how to turn negative thinking into positive thinking and displaying and discussing enthusiasm during an interview and on the job.
- Teamwork: Successful businesses rely on team players and teaching youth the elements of teamwork is another essential soft skill. In the workplace, knowing how and when to lead and follow takes practice, as does knowing how to avoid unnecessary conflict. Further, knowing how to resolve conflicts, negotiate and compromise are all important skills for everyone to develop.
- Networking: Networking is essential to career growth and advancement. Networking is the process or practice of building and maintaining informal relationships or exchanges of information that are supportive of professional or career goals. Teaching youth the skills of making those connections about employment goals, interests, and desires through contacts from friends, family members, and acquaintances is an important soft skill.
- Problem Solving and Critical Thinking: Problem solving and critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve workplace problems, as well as knowing how to use these skills in a variety of settings, including working with teams and working with disgruntled clients or customers. The curriculum teaches youth how to solve problems in a variety of ways and settings.
- Professionalism: Professionalism contains many elements, including: resume creation, how to dress properly for work, attendance and timeliness, and appropriate use cell phones and computers. Further, being professional is also knowing how to communicate with supervisors, peers, customers, and / or clients. This section in the curriculum focuses on the five previous skills, but in a broader framework, teaching youth how it is important to know and use every skill for workplace success.