American Job Centers (AJCs, also known as One-Stop Centers) are the cornerstone of the public workforce system. As noted in TEGL 16-16:
Strategic partnerships are necessary for the American Job Centers to provide all job seekers and workers with the high-quality career, training, and supportive services they need to obtain and maintain good jobs.
Read the full TEGL
The American Job Center network offers workforce partners a menu of services that can be leveraged to compliment or expand in-house services. For DOL YouthBuild grantees, charged with implementing a comprehensive youth development model that leads to positive placement outcomes, a partnership with the American Job Center network is invaluable.  Partnering with the network provides an opportunity for YouthBuild grantees to “increase the number of eligible applicants, have greater access to local employers, and develop the ability to directly access information regarding changes to local workforce needs and respond with program changes accordingly.” (
YouthBuild WIOA FAQ Sheet, 2016)
The YouthBuild-American Job Center network partnership is in alignment with the goals of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA); namely, to build integrated, high-quality, non-duplicated services among youth-serving providers. In fact, WIOA requires DOL YouthBuild grantees to be American Job Center network partners. (See Section 121(b) of WIOA for a list of the 19 required and additional partner programs.) One of the key requirements of being an AJC partner is providing access to the YouthBuild program through the American Job Center.  Access must be provided in one of three ways:
  1. Physical presence at the American Job Center;
  2. An appropriately trained staff member from a different partner program who can speak to the YouthBuild program; or
  3. A technology-based direct linkage to the American Job Center by YouthBuild staff.

In order to design a solid service delivery plan and meet the WIOA requirements, DOL YouthBuild grantees must:
  • Provide access to their programs or activities through the American Job Center network, as described above;
  • Use a portion of DOL YouthBuild grant funds, to the extent required, to:
    • Provide applicable career services, and
    • Work collaboratively with the State and Local Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) to establish and maintain the AJC network.
  • Enter into an memorandum of understanding (MOU) and infrastructure funding agreement (IFA) with the Local WDB relating to the operation of the AJC network, with the following requirements:
    • The MOU should address roles and responsibilities, terms, and partner expectations.
    • The IFA should address the cost that the YouthBuild program will pay based on its proportionate use and benefit of space, Federal cost principles, and WIOA local administrative cost requirements.
  • Participate in the operation of the AJC network consistent with the terms of the MOU and IFA, requirements of authorizing laws, the Federal cost principles, and all other applicable legal requirements; and
  • Provide representation on the State and Local WDBs as required and participate in board committees, as needed.
Key Components to Meaningful Partnership

As noted above, meaningful partnership includes three components:
  1. YouthBuild participant access;
  2. YouthBuild program participation in the AJC network; and
  3. A solid MOU and IFA.
The YouthBuild program’s success in fulfilling each of these components hinges on the program staff’s ability to develop a solid partnership with their AJC.  Review the newly-released “A Guide to Effective Department of Labor YouthBuild and American Job Center Partnerships” for Valuable tips and negotiation strategies on building a solid partnership with your AJC.  Keep reading to learn how one grantee developed a meaningful partnership with their AJC prior to securing a DOL YouthBuild grant, and how that partnership has benefitted YouthBuild participants since.