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Funding Resources - Welfare to Work Vouchers

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Job Training Resources: Workforce Investment Act Funds

Developing relationships with local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), One-Stop career centers, and service providers will strengthen the programs offered by housing authorities. The following summary of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) will provide housing authorities with an overview of job training resources available in their communities.

As of July 1, 2000, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) replaced the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), which for nearly two decades governed the flow of job training funds from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for at-risk and low income populations.

WIA Funding Process. WIA authorizes funding of three distinct groups: adults, dislocated workers, and youth. Funds are distributed in the following manner:

  • For adults, 85 percent of the funds will be allocated to local communities. The remainder will be reserved for statewide activities designated by the state WIB and the governor.

  • For youth, 85 percent of funds will be allocated to local communities. The remainder will be reserved for statewide activities. The first $1 billion in funding will serve at-risk youth (age 14-21) and at least 30 percent of those funds must be spent on "out-of-school" youth. Any funds appropriated in excess of $1 billion will be used by DOL to fund Youth Opportunity Grants.

  • For dislocated workers (e.g., those who lose jobs resulting from a plant closing or company layoff), 80 percent will be used for state and local efforts and 20 percent will be reserved by the Secretary of Labor for National Emergency Grants' dislocated worker demonstration efforts and technical assistance.

Three Tier Service Delivery System. "One-Stop" career centers provide job seekers with information about and access to a wide array of training, education and employment services at a single neighborhood location. WIA establishes the following three-tiered structure of service delivery through One-Stop career centers:

  • Level 1: A core set of services is available to all eligible individuals. These services may include: an initial skills assessment along with job search and placement assistance; information about available services and labor market conditions; and follow-up services to help customers who have been placed to retain their jobs.

  • Level 2: Unemployed individuals who cannot find a job and low income workers who have not achieved self-sufficiency are entitled to extensive services including individualized assessments, diagnostic testing, counseling, pre-vocational services (soft skills) and job placement referrals.

  • Level 3: Only those who still cannot obtain or retain employment are entitled to actual training services. While the law requires universal access to One-Stop core services, states with limited funds must prioritize welfare recipients and individuals with multiple barriers to employment for receipt of more extensive training and placement services. To learn more about the One-Stop system or to find contact information for your community, visit DOL's One-Stop page at http://usworkforce.org/onestop/.

Governance. State and local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) will govern services, funding requirements, and certification of training providers under WIA. WIBs will replace the JTPA's Private Industry Councils (PICs). WIBs will not be allowed to provide direct training or services, but will be responsible for administration and oversight of the local workforce development system, including the performance of the One-Stop centers.

The law mandates representation of community-based organizations on WIBs. By applying for membership to local WIBs, housing authorities could provide input on how local funds are spent to support disadvantaged clients and begin building a network of community partners.

State Unified Plans. Each state was required to submit a Unified Plan by April 1, 2000 that explains how the state intends to coordinate funding for various populations under WIA and how grants will be awarded. Housing authorities should contact their local WIB to get a copy of their state's Unified Plan. Some Unified Plans are available at the Workforce Investment Act information site.

Provider Certification. Under WIA, training providers must submit a request for certification to their local WIB to be eligible to provide training to all eligible clients, including TANF recipients. Certification will be based on the provider's previous performance outcomes, including job placement and retention rates, clients' increases in earnings after six months, and attainment of training credentials.

Individual Training Accounts. Under WIA, direct contracts with training vendors will be replaced by Individual Training Accounts (ITAs). ITAs are essentially vouchers given to individuals deemed eligible for training services. While vouchers are intended to give customers a greater sense of consumer choice and promote competition among training providers, it places the onus on recipients to find the best quality training and services to meet their needs. Housing authority staff-particularly WtW case managers-can play an important role in helping voucher recipients research and locate high quality training providers that meet their needs.

 
Content current as of 31 October 2001   Follow this link to go  Back to top   
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