The Workforce Innovation and Opportunites Act (WIOA) doesn’t go into full effect until July 2015, but it is already creating tangible new opportunities for refugee clients and agencies serving them.
Read below for new detail about a shifted focus in youth programming and a 5 year funding opportunity for healthcare career training.
Click here for additional background information about WIOA in case you missed previous Higher blog posts and a webinar.
Youth Programming: Significant Shift in Focus to Older Youth
WIOA shifts the primary program focus of Title I youth formula programs to support the educational and career success of out-of-school youth (OSY), ages 16 to 24. A minimum of 75 percent of WIOA youth funds must be spent on OSY, an increase from the minimum of 30 percent under the former Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
With an estimated 6 million 16-24 year olds in this country not employed or not in school, WIOA youth programs will provide a needed continuum of services to help disconnected youth navigate between the educational and workforce systems.
Click here to read the entire Guidance Letter from the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (DOL-ETA) with clarification and detail about this important new emphasis in WIOA.
These two points included in a list of the possible types of clients speak directly to refugee client eligibility:
- eligibility is based on age at enrollment, participants may continue to receive services beyond the age of 24 once they are enrolled in the program
- …an individual [that]…is either basic skills deficient or an English language learner
The letter strongly encourages the mainstream workforce system to begin adjusting programming NOW and begin to identify sources of this newly emphasized population. Many refugees fall into this category.
How You and our Clients Can Benefit: There are opportunities for us to offer assistance so that refugees can be considered in the planning phase.
“NOW” includes Summer Youth Employment Programs that are likely already advertising for applicants.
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Family Assistance (OFA) is announcing a large funding opportunity supporting education and traning for occupations in the health care field,…that could also fund child care, case management and other supportive services, as appropriate.
The primary recipients of a previous round of funding (see page 2 of the announcement) were mostly mainstream workforce stakeholders and community colleges. A possible role for resettlement agencies is outined in the announcement as follows on page 7 of the announcement:
HPOG programs can also include other partners that provide resources or expertise to better coordinate services and improve outcomes for program participants, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, legal aid, and especially services funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), such as Head Start, child care, domestic violence prevention, and refugee resettlement programs.
How You and our Clients Can Benefit: This could be a great opportunity to build on existing relationships with workforce offices or begin establishing working relationships now.