Workforce Investment Act Disadvantaged Youth
Total ARRA Appropriation: $1.2 billion
New Jersey’s Portion: $20.8 million
Allocation Method: The funds are allocated by federal formula for local distribution. More than $17 million is to be distributed in this method to local workforce areas, with the remaining funds reserved for the administration of the program and for statewide programs.
Program Overview
The WIA Disadvantaged Youth Program funds job-preparation initiatives to help income-eligible youth as defined by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL). The stimulus package provides increased training and employment opportunities through the One-Stop Career Center System. By law, funds designated for local areas are distributed based upon formulas included in the Workforce Investment Act. In each of the local areas, the Chief Elected Official establishes a Workforce Investment Board. Together they designate a One-Stop Operator which is the focal point of service in the respective areas. While State staff is at the One-Stop Career Centers, the operation is overseen in every case by a locally designated One-Stop Operator. Locally, decisions are made regarding selection of service providers.

Federal Requirements and Restrictions
The ARRA funds use a more expansive definition of youth than under the regular WIA program, raising the upper age limit from 21 to 24 years of age. The ARRA also permits these funds to be used for subsidized wages in summer youth employment programs.

Program Eligibility
Individuals are eligible for the ARRA WIA Disadvantaged Youth Program if they are:
  • Age 14 through 24
  • Citizen or legal alien
  • Registered for Selective Service Registration (Males 18 and over)
  • Low-income eligibility with one of the additional barriers required: (a) deficient in basic literacy skills; (b) school dropout; (c) homeless, runaway, foster child; (d) pregnant or parenting; (e) offender; or (f) requires additional assistance to become employable.
Project Prioritization:
  • Summer Youth Employment: LWD estimates that the program could provide as many as 4,000 young people with subsidized job opportunities in the summer of 2009.
  • Youth Targeted in Governor’s Public Safety Plan: The Governor’s Public Safety Plan, through its Prevention and Re-entry components, identifies individuals in need, and those prevention programs that specifically reach young people include youth who are re-entering society from incarceration. Because the ARRA uses a broader definition of youth (ages 14 to 24), summer jobs and other services provided using these funds will be available to a broader group of youth who may be having extreme difficulty in finding job opportunities.

 
Important Program Dates
The ARRA requires that the funding must be spent by June 30, 2011. Federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor requires 80% of funds to be obligated by June 30, 2009. As required by the U.S. Department of Labor, New Jersey will submit a State Plan for the use of these ARRA funds to ensure the quickest and most effective use of these funds.

To find your local One-Stop Center, please visit the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s website at: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wnjpin/findjob/onestop/services.html