Youth Program

  • The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title IB Youth Program provides services to in-school youth ages 14-21 and out-of-school youth ages 16-24. The main thrust of the Youth Program is to increase the focus on career pathways, longer-term academic, and occupational learning opportunities and provide long-term comprehensive service strategies. Youth services are provided to in-school or out-of-school youth ages 14-24. The Youth Program is designed to prepare Montana’s youth to either enter post-secondary education, training or employment upon completion of their secondary education. The aging of Montana’s workforce is an issue of concern and therefore this program can be an instrument toward meeting the future workforce demands.
    • Tutoring, study skills training and instruction leading to the completion of secondary schooling including dropout prevention strategies;
    • Alternative secondary school offerings;
    • Paid and unpaid work experiences that have academic and occupational education as a component of work experience;
    • Occupational skill training;
    • Education offered concurrently with and in the same context as workforce preparation activities and training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster;
    • Leadership development opportunities;
    • Supportive services;
    • Adult mentoring for a duration of at least twelve months, that may occur during and after program participation;
    • Follow up services for not less than 12 months after the participant completes the program;
    • Comprehensive guidance and counseling, including drug and alcohol counseling and referral to counseling as appropriate to meet the needs of the participant;
    • Financial literacy education;
    • Entrepreneurial skills training;
    • Services that provide labor market and employment information about in-demand industry sectors or occupations such as career awareness, career counseling, and career exploration services; and
    • Activities that help youth prepare for and transition to post-secondary education and training.
  • Eligible in-school youth may not younger than 14 or older than 21 at the time of enrollment and must be:

    • Attending school, including secondary or post-secondary school;
    • Low-income and one or more of the following:  
      • Basic skills deficient;
      • An English language learner;
      • An offender;
      • A homeless individual, including runaway youth;
      • Youth in foster care or aged out of the foster care system;
      • Pregnant or parenting;
      • An individual with a disability;
      • Requires additional assistance to:
        • complete an educational program; or
        • secure and hold employment.

    Eligible out-of-school youth may not be younger than 16 nor older than 24 at the time of enrollment. They are not attending any school and must be one or more of the following:

    A school dropout;

    • Within the age of compulsory school attendance, but has not attended school for at least the most recent complete school year calendar quarter;
    • A recipient of a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent who is a low-income individual and is either:
      • Basic skills deficient; or
      • An English language learner;
      • An individual who is subject to the juvenile or adult justice system;
      • A homeless individual, including runaway youth:
      • Youth in foster care or aged out of the foster care system or a youth in an out-of-home placement;
      • Pregnant or parenting;
      • Individual with a disability;
      • Requires additional assistance to:
        • complete an educational program; or
        • secure and hold employment.

    The intent of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act's youth program is to serve the out-of-school youth who are disconnected from school and employment and requires states to spend at least 75 percent of WIOA youth funds on services to out-of-school youth.

    WIOA allows for five percent of each in-school youth to be enrolled using the barrier of an individual who requires additional assistance.

  • Montana Department of Labor & Industry's Workforce Services Division has statewide oversight responsibilities of the WIOA Youth Program. These responsibilities include fiscal controls, grant management, participant data collection and tracking, reporting to the U.S. Department of Labor, service provider training, technical assistance, and policy interpretation and development.

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