Approximately 4.6 million youth ages 16 to 24 were neither in school nor employed in 2016. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA), enacted in July 2014, provides, in part, grants to states and local areas to assist youth—particularly out-of-school youth—in accessing employment, education, and training services. It also emphasizes the provision of work experiences to in and out-of-school youth.
The General Accounting Office (GAO) was asked to review how states and local areas are using WIOA grants to serve youth. This report examines (1) what is known about states’ and local areas’ progress in meeting WIOA spending requirements for serving out of-school youth and for providing youth with work experiences; (2) how local areas are addressing WIOA’s emphasis on serving out-of-school youth and any challenges, and (3) how local areas are addressing WIOA’s emphasis on youth work experiences and any challenges. GAO reviewed relevant federal laws, regulations, and guidance; interviewed DOL officials; analyzed DOL state level WIOA youth program expenditure data from program years 2015 and 2016, the most recent data available; surveyed a nationally representative sample of local workforce development areas; and visited nine local workforce development areas in three states selected for their relatively large WIOA Youth funding allotments and relatively high rates of out-of-school youth.
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