Search &/or Print the WIOA Policy Manual

Table of Contents

Chapter 2) The One-Stop (Job Center) Delivery System

Chapter 3) Program Funding and Grants Management

Chapter 4) Fiscal Management

Chapter 5) Non-Discrimination/Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

Chapter 6) Complaints, Grievances, and Appeals

Chapter 8) Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs

Chapter 9) Rapid Response

Chapter 12) File Documentation

WIOA Title I-A & I-B Policy & Procedure Manual
Ch. 10) Youth Program

10.5 Youth Program Elements

10.5.3 Descriptions of the 14 Youth Program Elements

Effective date: April 26, 2019

Program Element 1: Tutoring, study skills training, instruction, and dropout prevention and dropout recovery services1

The services under this program element help lead the participant towards the completion of a high school diploma, its recognized equivalent2 or a recognized postsecondary credential.3 Services are intended to keep youth in school and engaged in a formal learning or training setting. Examples include:

Depending on the service involved, local WDBs may find it appropriate to provide these services one-on-one, in a group setting, by referring participants to resources in the community, and/or through workshops.5

For ASSET reporting purposes, dropout recovery services aimed at youth who withdrew from postsecondary training/education prior to successful completion are documented under this element.6 Career planners must use element 2, "alternative secondary school services or high school dropout recovery services," to document any dropout recovery services aimed at getting a youth who has dropped out of high school back into high school or an alternative secondary school/equivalency program.7

Program Element 2: Alternative secondary school services or high school dropout recovery services

The services under this program element are intended to help youth who (a) have dropped out of high school OR (b) are currently struggling with traditional high school and would benefit from an alternative secondary school program.8 Services are aimed at reengaging youth so they pursue education that leads to the completion of high school diploma or its recognized equivalent.9 Examples of services include:

Program Element 3: Paid and unpaid work experience

The services under this program element provide planned, structured learning experiences that take place in a workplace for a limited period of time.11 Services are focused on providing participants with opportunities for career exploration and skill development.12 A participant's paid or unpaid work experience must be tied to the goals identified in his/her individual service strategy.13

Work experience may take place in the private for-profit sector, the non-profit sector, or the public sector and can be paid or unpaid, as appropriate.14 DWD-DET does not permit work experience within the local WDB or service provider's workplace. The local WDB or service providers may, however, directly provide structured work experience opportunities relating to community service projects that are outside of the organization's day-to-day operations.

The following services may constitute work experience:

Note: DWD-DET requires pre-apprenticeship programs to be approved by the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Advisory Council.

This program element also includes any activities that help the youth prepare for the specific work experience.17

Labor standards apply in any work experience where an employee/employer relationship exists, as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act or applicable state law.18 Additionally, Title I Youth Program funds may not be used to directly or indirectly aid in filling a job opening that is vacant because the former occupant is on strike or is being locked out in the course of a labor dispute, or the filling of which is otherwise an issue in a labor dispute involving a work stoppage.19

A work experience must include both academic and occupational education components.20 Academic and occupational education must be designed to provide participants with contextual learning that may occur concurrently or sequentially with the work experience and may occur inside or outside the work site.21 DWD-DET requires that both the academic and occupational education components of a participant's work experience relate to the same specific job or occupational area. While WIOA does not explicitly state this requirement, examples DOL provides in TEGL 21-16 (p. 16) show clear intent that the two work experience components will relate to the same specific job or occupational area.

Example: A work experience is at a hospital. The occupational education could be learning about the duties of a phlebotomist. The academic education could be learning about the different blood types and why it matters for blood transfusions. The participant might complete the academic component by reviewing an online module about blood types at home before hearing firsthand from a phlebotomist at the work site about his/her work responsibilities.

The work experience employer can provide the academic and occupational education, or it can be provided separately in the classroom or through other means.22 Local WDBs and/or their service providers have the flexibility to decide the appropriate type of academic and occupational education necessary for a specific work experience and who provides the education.23

Local WDBs must spend at least 20 percent of their WIOA Youth funding on services that fall under the work experience program element.24 DOL encourages local WDBs to coordinate work experiences, particularly local summer jobs programs, with other youth serving organizations and agencies, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Community Services Block Grant, and Community Development Block Grant programs.25

Program Element 4: Occupational skills training

The services under this program element involve engaging youth in occupational skills training program. Occupational skills training is an organized program of study that provides specific vocational skills that lead to proficiency in performing actual tasks and technical functions required by certain occupational fields at entry, intermediate, or advanced levels.26

Such training must meet all three of the following criteria:

Examples: Registered Apprenticeships, a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification; a commercial driver's license (CDL); a one-year Accounting Assistant technical diploma from a technical college; or a two-year Machine Tooling technical diploma from a technical college.

Local WDBs may provide occupational skills training through any of the options discussed in section 10.5.2 as well as through Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) for OSY28 or ISY who are 18 or older and co-enrolled in the WIOA Adult Program.29

Local areas must give priority consideration to training programs that lead to recognized postsecondary credentials that align with in-demand industry sectors or occupations in the local area.31 Career planners are responsible for helping youth make informed training choices.32

Program Element 5: Education offered concurrently with and in the same context as workforce preparation and training

Services within this program element reflect an integrated education and training model in which workforce preparation activities, basic academic skills education, and hands-on occupational skills training are taught within the same time frame and connected to a specific occupation, occupational cluster, or career pathway.33

Example: A youth learns how to apply basic measuring concepts using a tape measure while ensuring lumber is the correct length to meet blueprint specifications for a new building.

While a local WDB may offer basic academic skills education as part of alternative secondary school services and dropout recovery services (program element 2), workforce preparation activities as part of a work experience (program element 3), and occupational skills training (program element 4) separately and at different times, this program element refers only to the concurrent delivery of these services within an integrated education and training model.34 Common examples of services that follow an integrated education and training model are YouthBuild and Career Pathways GED/HSED programs offered by some technical colleges.

Program Element 6: Leadership development opportunities

The services under this program element are focused on encouraging responsibility, confidence, employability, self-determination, and other positive social and civic behaviors.35 Services include:

Program Element 7: Supportive services

The purpose of the services under this program element is to enable individuals to participate in WIOA activities.37 Consistent with DOL's requirements for the Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs, DWD-DET requires local WDBs to have a supportive services policy for their Youth Program.38 Supportive services include, but are not limited to:

Note on needs-related payments: WIOA regulations (20 CFR §§ 680.930-680.950) provide specific eligibility requirements for Adult and Dislocated Worker Program participants to receive needs-related payments (e.g., adults must be unemployed, not qualified for or receiving unemployment compensation, and enrolled in training services). However, as WIOA provides no similar direction on eligibility requirements for Youth Program participants, DWD-DET's interpretation is that local WDBs may set their own policies related to Youth Program participants' eligibility for needs-related payments; however, a local WDB must have appropriate policies and procedures in place before issuing any needs-related payments.

See the Supportive Services - Examples and Resource Guide for more information.

Program Element 8: Adult mentoring

This program element involves a formal relationship between a youth participant and an adult mentor that includes structured activities where the mentor offers guidance, support, and encouragement to help develop the youth's competence and character.40 While group mentoring activities and mentoring through electronic means are allowable services under this element, the youth must be matched with an individual mentor who provides some face-to-face interaction.41 This element may include workplace mentoring where the youth is matched with an employer or employee of a company.42

The mentoring services must last at least 12 months and may occur both during participation and as a follow-up service after program exit.43 To document mentoring services provided after a participant exits the program, the career planner must close the mentoring services in the ASSET Manage Services screen and add mentoring services in the Manage Follow-ups screen.

Local WDBs are responsible for having appropriate processes in place to adequately screen and select mentors.44

While DOL strongly prefers that career planners not serve as mentors, they may in areas where adult mentors are scarce.45

Program Element 9: Comprehensive guidance and counseling

Services under this program element are focused on individualized counseling for participants and include:

Services may be provided by partner programs when the resources needed do not exist within the local program.46 If the local program refers participants to outside counseling services, it must coordinate with the referral organization to ensure continuity of service.47

Program Element 10: Financial literacy education

Services under this program element are intended to help youth acquire the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make informed and effective decisions with their financial resources.48 The goal is to help youth attain greater financial health and stability by providing high quality, age-appropriate, relevant, and where possible, customized services.49 Services include:

Note: Career planners may find the Budget Planner and Self-sufficiency Calculator in CEPT useful when working with Youth Program participants. These tools are also available for registered users as a widget in My JCW.

DOL provides a link to "Incorporating Financial Capability into Youth Employment Programs," a resource guide in TEGL 21-16 for ideas about how local WDBs can partner with local financial institutions to support the financial literacy of Youth Program participants.

Program Element 11: Entrepreneurial skills training

Services under this program element provide the basics of starting and operating a small business to develop the skills associated with entrepreneurship.51 Services include developing the ability to:

Approaches to teaching youth entrepreneurial skills include, but are not limited to:

Entrepreneurial skills training, like all other program elements, is available to participants regardless of age but must align with their individual service strategy goals.54

Program Element 12: Career Awareness, Career Exploration, and Career Counseling

Services under this program element (Career Awareness, Exploration, and Counseling) help youth make appropriate decisions about education/training and careers by providing them with information, advice, and support. Examples of services include, but are not limited to:

Note: Career planners may find the Employment Plan tool in CEPT and the Career Exploration and Employment Plan widgets in MyJCW useful when working with Youth Program participants.

Program Element 13: Postsecondary preparation and transition activities

Services under this program element prepare ISY and OSY for advancement to postsecondary education and training after attaining a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent.56 Examples of services include helping youth:

Program Element 14: Follow-up services

Services under this program element are provided after program exit to help ensure the youth is successful in employment and/or postsecondary education and training.58 Some follow-up services may include other program elements; to count as follow-up services, they must occur after the participant's exit date.59 Follow-up services include:

Follow-up services may begin immediately following the last expected date of service in the Youth Program (and any other program in which the participant is co-enrolled) when no future services are scheduled.61 Follow-up services do not cause a participant's exit date to change or trigger re-enrollment in the WIOA Youth Program.62

Local WDBs must report follow-up services in a manner that clearly differentiates them from those services provided prior to exit.63 To accomplish this, follow-up services must be reported in the "Manage Follow-ups" screen in ASSET.

Local WDBs must offer all youth participants the opportunity to receive follow-up services that align with their individual service strategy.64 Local WDBs must provide follow-up services for a minimum of 12 months, unless participants decline to receive follow-up services or cannot be located or contacted.65 Local programs must have policies in place to establish when a participant cannot be located or contacted.66

Follow-up services may be provided beyond 12 months at the discretion of the local WDB. The types of services provided, and the duration of services must be determined based on the needs of the individual and therefore, the type and intensity of follow-up services may differ for each participant. Unsuccessful attempts to contact a participant or contacts made simply to secure documentation for program performance indicators do not count as follow-up services.67

Recognized Postsecondary Credential

Effective date: September 2, 2019

A recognized postsecondary credential is:

  • an industry-recognized certificate or certification
  • a Certificate of Completion of a Registered Apprenticeship
  • a license recognized by the state or federal government
  • OR
  • an associate or bachelor's degree.

WIOA Sec. 3(52)

Note: DOL has indicated a hesitation to define "industry recognized credential" because it is "an evolving term and defining it in the regulation may limit future innovation around industry-relevant training." 81 FR 56172


Effective date: April 29, 2019

An internship provides students and recent graduates with the opportunity to expand and connect classroom learning under supervision in a work-based context. An internship is grounded in experiential learning with an emphasis on self-reflection and on-the-job professional experience in an occupational career field of the intern's choice.

U.S. Department of Labor, Inclusive Internship Programs: A How-to Guide for Employers

Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Effective date: September 2, 2019

A "pre-apprenticeship program" is a program that is designed to prepare individuals for entry and success in a registered apprenticeship program. The program must include the following elements:

  • a partnership with one or more registered apprenticeship programs that helps with placing those who successfully complete the program in a registered apprenticeship program;
  • an opportunity to attain at least one industry-recognized credential;
  • training/curriculum that aligns with the skill needs of employers in the economy of the state or region involved;
  • direct or indirect access to educational and career counseling and other supportive services;
  • and
  • hands-on, meaningful learning activities that are connected to education and training activities (e.g., exploring career options and understanding how skills acquired through coursework can be applied toward a future career).

20 CFR §§ 680.330(a) and 681.480

Job Shadowing

Effective date: April 29, 2019

Job shadowing is temporary, unpaid, firsthand exposure to the workplace in an occupational area that the participant has an interest in. It is designed to help participants increase career awareness, see occupational skills in practice, and/or see the link between academic classroom learning and work requirements. It can be anywhere from a few hours to a week or more and involves a participant learning about a job by walking through the work day with a competent worker.

TEGL 21-16, p. 16

On-the-Job Training

Effective date: April 29, 2019

On-the-job training is training provided by an employer to a paid participant while engaged in productive work in a job that:

  1. provides knowledge or skills essential to the full and adequate performance of the job;
  2. provides reimbursement to the employer of up to 50 percent of the wage rate of the participant, for the extraordinary costs of providing the training and additional supervision related to the training;
  3. and
  4. is limited in duration as appropriate to the occupation for which the participant is being trained, taking into account the training content and the participant's prior work experience and individual employment plan (for participants in the Adult Program or Dislocated Worker Program) or individual service strategy (for participants in the Youth Program).

WIOA Sec. 3(44)

Public Assistance

"Public Assistance" means federal, state, or local government cash payments where eligibility is determined by a needs or income test.

WIOA Sec. 3(50)

Individual Training Account

Effective date: September 2, 2019

An Individual Training Account (ITA) is the payment the local WDB or its service provider makes, on behalf of a participant, to a training institution for training services, when the institution and the program of interest are included on the State's Eligible Training Programs List (ETPL).

20 CFR § 680.300

In-Demand Occupation

An "in-demand occupation" is:

a) an occupation in an industry sector that:

  • has substantial current or potential impact (including through jobs leading to economic self-sufficiency and opportunities for advancement) on the state, regional, or local economy, and
  • contributes to the growth or stability of other supporting businesses, or the growth of other industry sectors;


b) an occupation that currently has or is projected to have a number of positions (including positions leading to economic self-sufficiency and opportunities for advancement) in an industry sector so as to have a significant impact on the state, regional, or local economy.

The Wisconsin Governor's Council on Workforce Investment or local WDB determines if an industry sector or occupation is in-demand, using state and regional business and labor market projections, including the use of labor market information.

WIOA Sec. 3(23)

Workforce Preparation Activities

"Workforce preparation activities" are activities, programs, or services designed to help individuals acquire a combination of basic academic skills, critical thinking skills, digital literacy skills, and self-management skills, including competencies in utilizing resources, using information, working with others, understanding systems, and obtaining skills necessary for successful transition into and completion of postsecondary education or training, or employment.

WIOA Sec. 203(17)

Positive Social and Civic Behaviors

Positive social and civic behaviors focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • developing a positive attitude;
  • building self-esteem;
  • developing an openness to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds;
  • maintaining healthy lifestyles, including being alcohol- and drug-free;
  • maintaining positive social relationships with responsible adults and peers,
  • contributing to the well-being of one's community, including voting;
  • maintaining a commitment to learning and academic success;
  • avoiding delinquency; and
  • developing positive job attitudes and work-related soft skills.

20 CFR § 681.530

Career Awareness

Career Awareness means the process of developing knowledge of the variety of occupations/careers available, their skill requirements, working conditions, training prerequisites, and job opportunities across a wide range of industry sectors.

TEGL 21-16, p. 22

Career Exploration

Career Exploration means the process in which youth choose an educational path/training or a job that fits their interests, skills, and abilities.

TEGL 21-16, p. 22

Career Counseling

Career Counseling (or Career Guidance) means providing advice and support in making decisions about what career paths to take.

TEGL 21-16, p. 22

Labor Market Information

Labor market information is the body of knowledge that describes the relationship between labor demand and supply. It identifies in-demand industries and occupations and provides knowledge of job market expectations – such as education and skill requirements and potential earnings.

20 CFR § 651.10; TEGL 21-16, p. 22

Employment Opportunity

Effective date: November 1, 2019

Employment opportunity that is a planned, structured learning experience that takes place in the workplace for a limited period of time and links to academic and occupational learning that occurs either inside or outside the workplace.

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