As the Department shapes more guidance and technical assistance for successful YouthBuild implementation under WIOA, expect to see continued attention to this important aspect of WIOA. By requiring YouthBuild to be a required partner, WIOA is signaling the important role that One-Stops should play in ensuring successful placement outcomes for YouthBuild participants. As part of the partnership process, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) must be developed that describes the roles of all One-Stop partners as well as the role of the One-Stop in supporting and collaborating with partners. It is expected that this MOU will create more alignment and communication across the workforce system and more clearly outline how partners can work together.
As a One-Stop delivery system partner, there are some initial steps that YouthBuild programs can take to ensure they are familiar with the offerings of their local One-Stop and services that can be beneficial to YouthBuild participants. In this article, the Department of Labor highlights some of these steps for One-Stop partnerships, particularly as they relate to the increased focus on employer engagement and placement success, by drawing from its guide Partnering with Employers: Effective Practices for YouthBuild Programs. The two steps described below can help to lay the foundation for One-Stop partnership success:
- Sign up for e-newsletters and notices.
- Get to know individuals handling WIOA eligibility.
- Individuals handling WIOA eligibility. Once you identify the person, be sure to have an introductory meeting with them. This person will be enormously helpful in providing students access to WIOA resources.
- Job Developers or Business Account Representatives. Because American Job Centers have varying job placement approaches, it is important to get to know these individuals and understand the process the local American Job Center follows. The Center may be able to support program employer engagement and/or placement efforts through provider-only sessions with employers, job fairs designed for job seekers, or via one-on-one job seeker career counseling and placement assistance. YouthBuild program staff should consider the aspects of program placement services that would be best complimented by One-Stop Center services, and build Center partnerships accordingly.
As you consider the development or enhancement of your own One-Stop partnerships, consider including an assessment of One-Stop Center case management capacity, presence of youth case managers, and ability to address an array of student needs in your partnership planning. You may need to identify the right students to receive case management (thus a portion of students may ultimately receive One-Stop case management versus a full cohort). Referral-based case management may be more appropriate in your partnership than co-case management depending on the One-Stop Center’s capacity. Additionally, use an individualized approach as you co-enroll youth and determine if it’s feasible to engage your One-Stop to co-enroll youth into the youth or adult formula systems, where they can take advantage of additional services, such as Individualized Training Accounts and other individualized services that layer over YouthBuild services to provide more intensive and directive training opportunities in specific career pathways. Take the time to structure the right parameters for the collaboration in order to develop a partnership that offers your young people the best of your local One-Stop Center’s services while complementing your YouthBuild program and make sure you are aware of ALL the services across WIOA funding streams that may benefit your participants. Don’t be afraid to be creative and aim high when discussing the MOU parameters with your local One-Stop.