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Youth Services


What is the WIOA Youth Program?

Title I of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) affirms the Department of Labor's (DOL) commitment to providing high-quality services for youth beginning with career exploration and guidance; continuing support for educational attainment, opportunities for skills training in in-demand industries and occupations, and culminating with a good job along a career pathway, enrollment in postsecondary education, or a Registered Apprenticeship.

Who does WIOA Youth Serve?

WIOA Youth serves eligible participants who are 14-24 years of age facing specific barriers to employment or school completion. WIOA places a priority on serving out-of-school youth by providing work-based experience and improving services to youth with disabilities. WIOA promotes career pathways, increased attainment of recognized credentials and post-secondary certificates or degrees. Youth must meet eligibility requirements to participate in the WIOA Title I Youth Program.

Who is an eligible Youth under WIOA?

In-School Youth (ISY) and Out-of-School (OSY) are eligible for WIOA Youth program.

ISY must be:

a. 14-21 years of age
b. Attending secondary or post-secondary school
c. Low-income

OSY must be:

a. 16-24 years of age
b. Not attending secondary or post-secondary school

And one or more of the following:

  1. Basic skills deficient*
  2. An English language learner*
  3. An offender (any touch point with the justice system)
  4. Homeless
  5. An individual in foster care or aged out of foster care
  6. Pregnant or parenting
  7. Individual with a disability
  8.  A school dropout
  9. Within age of compulsory school attendance, but has not attended for at least the most recent complete school year*
  10. Requires additional assistance to complete an education program or to secure or hold employment*

*Basic skills deficient and English language learner: An OSY youth must also be a recipient of a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent and a low-income individual.
* Requires additional assistance: An OSY youth must also be low-income and meet the requirements for barrier set by the local area. 
*Compulsory school attendance: School year calendar quarter is based on how a local school district defines school year quarters.

Services Provided

  • Paid and unpaid work experience, which may include the following types of work experiences:
    • Summer employment opportunities and other employment opportunities throughout the year
    • Pre-apprenticeship programs
    • Internships and job shadowing
    • On-the-job training opportunities
  • Tutoring, study skills training, and dropout prevention
  • Alternative secondary school services, or dropout recovery services
  • Occupational skill training, which leads to recognized post-secondary credentials that align with in-demand industry sectors or occupations in the local area involved.
  • Education offered concurrently with and in the same context as workforce preparation activities training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster
  • Leadership development opportunities
  • Supportive Services (Linkages to community services, transportation assistance, legal aid services, etc.)
  • Adult mentoring
  • Follow up services
  • Comprehensive guidance and counseling (which may include drug and alcohol abuse counseling)
  • Financial Literacy education
  • Entrepreneurial skills training
  • Career awareness, career counseling, and career exploration services
  • Activities that help youth prepare for and transition to post-secondary education and training.

Service activities are based on the 14 programs required under WIOA

For more information or participate in any of these services, visit your local American Job Center.


YouthBuild is a community-based alternative education program that provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16-24. Youth learn construction skills while constructing or rehabilitating affordable housing for low-income or homeless families in their own neighborhoods. Youth split their time between the construction site and the classroom, where they earn their high school diploma or equivalency degree, learn to be community leaders, and prepare for college and other postsecondary training opportunities. YouthBuild includes significant support systems, such as a mentoring, follow-up education, employment, and personal counseling services; and participation in community service and civic engagement.

Work-Based Learning

Work-Based Learning (WBL) is a proactive approach to bridging the gap between high school and high-demand, high-skill careers in Tennessee. Students build on classroom-based instruction to develop employability skills that prepare them for success in postsecondary education and future careers. Through experiences like internships, apprenticeships, and paid work experience, juniors and seniors (16 years or older) may earn high school credit for capstone WBL experiences. 

For more information on WBL click here