Lagging State Direction, Cities Implement Workforce Investment Act -
Summer Program At Risk
By Joan Crigger and Josie Hathway
Workforce Development Act (WIA), which was enacted in August 1998, will
become effective July 1, 2000. It replaces the Job Training Partnership
Act (JTPA) which has provided adults, youth and dislocated workers a
second chance to make it in the real world since it was enacted in 1982.
significantly changes how services are provided to those who live in
cities and local areas. Some cities have already begun implementation of
WIA because they are located in states, which chose to become "early
implementation states." In many of these areas, state plans were
submitted and approved as early as July 1, 1999, so cities in these states
have "a leg up" in getting the program underway before July 1 of
some cities, however, WIA implementation is a disaster because states have
just begun to move towards forming their State Workforce Investment Boards
which is the first step, under WIA, in determining which cities and local
areas will provide services and how these services will be delivered.
The result of this delay will be a serious impact on the youth
program for summer of 2000 because summer program staff generally begins
planning now or in early January in order to begin hiring young people in
April. In fact, guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) indicates
that local Youth Councils must be in place by January 1, 2000, in order to
draw down WIA funds in April that would be used in the summer program.
(Another option is for states to submit an abbreviated plan and receive 25
percent of their allotment.) In other states, implementation of WIA is
moving along at a fairly good pace but cities still face a major change in
how the summer program will be operated.
Program At Risk
issue is the transition from JTPA to WIA because the Act calls for radical
restructuring of youth programs and ends the summer jobs program as mayors
know it. The Summer Jobs Program that has provided summer employment and
work experience for our nation's at-risk youth since the 1960s will face
serious reductions for summer 2000. Some
cities are facing an almost two-thirds reduction in the number of youth
who will be served under the program. As cited in the New York Times on
December 3, in an article by David M. Herszenhorn, New York City may only
serve 5,000 youth this summer. Last summer they served 40,000. Although
this is probably the most extreme case, there is no question that the
summer program in 2000 will serve fewer people.
most significant change is that WIA requires the year-round youth program
which was funded last year at $130 million, to be combined with the Summer
Youth Employment Program (SYEP), funded at $871 million, into one youth
block grant. Of this block grant now totaling $1,001 billion, 15 percent
is reserved for governors to give them flexibility in their administration
of these funds. In the past, 100 percent of the SYEP funds went directly
to cities and other localities. Also, thirty percent of the entire youth
program must serve out-of-school youth, while most summer youth are 14 -
15 year olds in school.
addition, WIA requires that all youth who are enrolled in the program must
be served year round and does not allow a stand-alone summer program. WIA
requires that year-round activities with employment outcomes be part of
the plan for each youth which will significantly raise the cost of serving
each participant. The
year-round activities are as follows:
have strongly supported systemic change in the nation's workforce
development system, which includes a systemic approach to serving youth.
Summer jobs are an important component because they provide a window to
the world of work for at-risk youth who would not otherwise have an
opportunity to earn a paycheck and learn real job skills - especially for
14 and 15 year olds.
WIA, mayors and local elected officials are designing and building a
revised system. The first year of implementation involves the
establishment of many new services and procedures. Congress intended to
create a flexible, evolving system where long-term effectiveness and
customer satisfaction determine the success of the system. The first year
of the implementation of WIA is viewed as a continuation of the transition
period to a comprehensive workforce development system that evolves
according to lessons learned during implementation.
the Congressional intent of the law - to provide more comprehensive
services for youth - locals are building and implementing a different kind
of a system particularly when it comes to summer youth activities. The
issue is how cities manage the transition process from JTPA to summer jobs
under WIA when systems are not fully in place and with fewer dollars
available at the local level.
these constraints, mayors are providing solutions to deal with this
transition. Los Angeles is using TANF surplus to serve approximately the
same number of youth as last summer. In other cities, community based
organizations are providing the one-year of follow-up service required for
summer jobs participants. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is seeking ideas
and information on what mayors are doing to handle the transition to
summer jobs under WIA.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) acknowledges that there continue to be
issues related to transitioning individuals from JTPA to WIA and has
offered to assist cities and counties deal with the transition through
technical assistance. The Conference is working closely with DOL over the
next few months to define transition opportunities for summer youth
activities in summer 2000.
below is a portion of a memo, which was approved by DOL, which includes an
important transition opportunity regarding the summer jobs issue. This
memo is a summary of a conference held with DOL officials and city
workforce development directors. We
have asked DOL to put this information on their website, .
Response to Issues
acknowledges that there continue to be issues related to transitioning
individuals from JTPA to WIA, and ETA continues to examine the issues and
explore options for resolving them. Some information has been made a
available to the system in Q & A's that are posted on the <usworkforce.org>
website, and one of those items was referenced for the group is a
transition opportunity in the following provision. For the purpose of
customer service, all summer youth participants who started under JTPA may
complete their JTPA service strategy without interruption. JTPA tracking
and performance apply - even though WIA funds may be used to complete the
JTPA service strategy. Consistent with the legislation, Local Boards are
encouraged to provide follow up service for existing participants to
improve retention and advancement on the job. WIA service provision
applies to new enrollments.
summer youth participants who have been assessed, have a service strategy
developed and have not yet started an activity may start this activity as
a JTPA participant if they were enrolled as JTPA before July 1, 2000. JTPA
tracking and performance apply. Once
a state fully implements WIA either in PY 99 of PY 2000, all new
participants are subject to WIA requirements including follow-up, tracking
and performance provisions.
concern is that as locals use WIA funds to complete JTPA summer youth
service strategies for this summer, the WIA funds available to meet WIA
requirements including the 30 percent focus on out-of-school youth (OSY)
during the remainder of the Program Year are reduced. The 30 percent WIA
OSY youth requirement is not waived in the transition process from JTPA to
WIA, and WIA performance may be impacted. Locals may be at risk of not
meeting overall performance because the balance of funds will be focused
on 30 percent OSY. WIA funds spent on the summer youth activities - even
though the participants are held to JTPA standards - are included in the
30 percent OSY calculation.
consideration here is the new definition under WIA of OSY. As opposed to
JTPA, a youth participant who is attending alternative school at time of
enrollment in WIA is not an OSY though alternative schools are clearly a
service strategy available for serving WIA out-of-school youth. In the
transition, JTPA participants who were counted as OSY will continue to
count as OSY for JTPA or WIA reporting purposes. Yet, Local Boards will
not meet the WIA OSY requirement by serving at-risk youth who were in
alternative schools at the time of enrollment in JTPA or WIA, and the WIA
funds used to support the OSY activity for a participant that begins and
ends under JTPA, impacts the total amount of money available to serve
contact Joan Crigger of the Conference staff for questions or further
information at (202) 861-6726.