WIOA, The White House, Refugees and You – Resource Page

WIOA, The White House, Refugees and You PowerPoint Presentation

Recommended Resources

WIOA: What Human Service Agencies and Advocates Need to Know – CLASP Report

White House Task Force on New Americans: One-Year Progress Report

Job Development for Refugee Clients


Untapped Opportunities for Refugees Age 16-24

Learn how to access WIOA funding at NAWDP’s Annual Youth Development Symposium

Everyone should be aware of opportunities for refugees between the ages of 16-24 to access mainstream workforce funding for bad credit for Out of School Youth (OSY) who are disconnected from education and the workforce. WIOA shifted funding from 25% to 75% for this population. At least 20% of refugees could qualify.

Partnering with us accesses a pipeline of highly motivated OSY eager for training, resources and careers. Our mainstream workforce colleagues continue to struggle to identify, attract and retain urban youth and other traditional clients at the increased funding levels.

Attend NAWDnawdpP’s Annual Youth Development Symposium in Chicago 10/31 – 11/2 to connect to over 500 youth workforce professionals from across the nation. You’ll meet American Job Center Staff, Youth Build Grantees, Job Corps Professionals, Career and Guidance Counselors, Educators, Community College Representatives, Juvenile Justice Specialists, and more!

To begin learning now, check out a previous post to explore our new youth employment services resource collection.

Workforce Investment and Opportunities Act

A collection of resources from Higher and the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) from a 12/16 webinar. You can also access a recording of this webinar at Higher’s webinar archive page.

  • ORR State Letter 13-04: ORR Collaboration with the Department of Labor Click here
  • ORR August 2014 Report: Models of Collaboration between Workforce Investment and Refugee Resettlement Stakeholders Click here
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program (SC-SEP) Click here
  • Finding a One Stop, Workforce Investment Board (WIB) or State WIB Click here
  • Information on Apprenticeships
    • Background and resources: Click here
    • State and national apprenticeship offices: Click here
    • Building Apprenticeship Toolkit: Click here
  • Adult Education and Literacy Act WIA and WIOA Comparison Matrix Click here
  • Summary of Major Policies Included in Title I of WIOA from a Disability Perspective Click here

Two WIOA Opportunities Available NOW

Graphic Credit: OpportunityNation.org

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunites Act (WIOA) doesn’t go into full effect until July 2015, but it is already creating tangible new opportunities for refugee clients and agencies serving them.

Read below for new detail about a shifted focus in youth programming and a 5 year funding opportunity for healthcare career training.

Click here for additional background information about WIOA in case you missed previous Higher blog posts and a webinar.

Youth Programming:  Significant Shift in Focus to Older Youth

WIOA shifts the primary program focus of Title I youth formula programs to support the educational and career success of out-of-school youth (OSY), ages 16 to 24. A minimum of 75 percent of WIOA youth funds must be spent on OSY, an increase from the minimum of 30 percent under the former Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

With an estimated 6 million 16-24 year olds in this country not employed or not in school, WIOA youth programs will provide a needed continuum of services to help disconnected youth navigate between the educational and workforce systems.

Click here to read the entire Guidance Letter from the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (DOL-ETA) with clarification and detail about this important new emphasis in WIOA.

These two points included in a list of the possible types of clients speak directly to refugee client eligibility:

  • eligibility is based on age at enrollment, participants may continue to receive services beyond the age of 24 once they are enrolled in the program
  • …an individual [that]…is either basic skills deficient or an English language learner

The letter strongly encourages the mainstream workforce system to begin adjusting programming NOW and begin to identify sources of this newly emphasized population. Many refugees fall into this category.

How You and our Clients Can Benefit:  There are opportunities for us to offer assistance so that refugees can be considered in the planning phase.
“NOW” includes Summer Youth Employment Programs that are likely already advertising for applicants.

Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Family Assistance (OFA) is announcing a large funding opportunity supporting education and traning for occupations in the health care field,…that could also fund child care, case management and other supportive services, as appropriate.

The primary recipients of a previous round of funding (see page 2 of the announcement) were mostly mainstream workforce stakeholders and community colleges.  A possible role for resettlement agencies is outined in the announcement as follows on page 7 of the announcement:

HPOG programs can also include other partners that provide resources or expertise to better coordinate services and improve outcomes for program participants, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, legal aid, and especially services funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), such as Head Start, child care, domestic violence prevention, and refugee resettlement programs.

Download the full application here and visit the Office of Family Assistance/HPOG website for more details.

How You and our Clients Can Benefit:  This could be a great opportunity to build on existing relationships with workforce offices or begin establishing working relationships now.


May 4-6, 2015: NAWDP 2015 Annual Conference

NAWDP 2015 Annual Conference

May 4-6, 2015  Las Vegas, Nevada

Over 900 workforce professionals from across the nation are expected including: One-Stop Center/AJC Staff, Job Developers, Re-Entry Specialist, Youth Build Grantees, Community College Representatives, Job Corps Professionals, Senior Community and Employment Service Providers, Business and Employer Representatives, WIB Executive Directors, Career and Guidance Counselors, Juvenile Justice Specialists, Educators and Trainers.

Click here to learn more about this event.

5 Things a not-so-Newbie Learned

Photo credit: My Dad

…from Higher’s Intro to WIOA Webinar

Newbies like Sarah from yesterday’s post aren’t the only ones who can learn something new. Experienced employment professionals should, too.

Here are 5 things I learned from NAWDP Executive Director Bridget Brown about what’s important for refugees in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  Listen to the webinar recording and see what else you’ll learn.

1.  All workforce centers will now be called American Job Centers (AJCs).  That will help refugees know where to go for assistance if the outmigrate.  Makes it easier for us, too.

2.  Local Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) are powerful.  Local WIBs control contracts for AJC services.  Many of their meetings are open to the public.  Having contacts and context for how this works in your community is really important.

3.  Interim performance measures are designed to encourage centers to serve the hardest-to-serve.  Our clients are often included in that category.  Final performance measures are still being drafted, reviewed and finalized.

4.  75% of youth funding must be dedicated to out of school youth up to 24 years old.  This likely means more resources focused on work readiness and skill training.  Great for our clients who qualify!

5.  “Sequencing of services” has been eliminated.  Clients can access the service they need without first accepting those they don’t. Here’s a true story(mine) to illustrate why this will really benefit our clients and us.

My client Adell was offered a promotion from his employer if he obtained his commercial drivers license.  He was eligible for free short term CDL training through the local AJC.  First, he had to attend orientation, put his profile into a database, attend two intake meetings with an AJC case worker and attend a workshop.  He needed my help to navigate the system, so I did all of that, too.  Four months later, his work schedule changed before he could start the training and he couldn’t attend anyway.  (Adell is now a long haul truck driver with a CDL and his own truck.  This experience was frustrating for him, me and the AJC staff.  We all really wanted it  to work.  I’m determined to help make things easier for all of us with WIOA!)

Higher Webinar: Overview of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

New Workforce Legislation Creates Opportunities for Us!  Sign up today to find out how.

Learn about WIOA, the first new workforce legislation in more than a decade, and the new opportunities it creates for us to develop stronger linkages with American Job Centers around the country.

Keynote presenters from the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) offer decades of workforce development experience and will include practical tips you can use to begin building stronger connections to the workforce center near you.

Learn more about what’s already happening to deepen this important connection for us in a previous Higher blog post.



3 Ways to Access Mainstream Workforce Resources

We all dream about tapping into the rich resources that must exist through our national workforce support system, right? Training. Funding. Childcare subsidies. Computer labs. Job banks.

It’s like winning the lottery. But, you can’t win if you don’t play.

Here are three opportunities to stop missing out on resources for our clients and colleagues who might provide more peer support for us.

1.  Save the Date for a Higher webinar introducing the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) on Tuesday, 12/16 from 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST.

WIOA, the first new workforce legislation in almost 15 years, will create new opportunities to forge partnerships and access resources. Rules and regulations make the new legislation operational are still being developed.

The National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) will headline our next webinar with an overview of the new legislation and practical ways to begin to develop stronger relationships with your local workforce board and One Stop Job Centers.

Download a U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA) fact sheet if you can’t wait until December to learn more about WIOA.

2.  Start from a solid framework for collaboration thanks to ORR.

In 2012, ORR and ETA began collaborating on issues pertaining to refugee employment opportunities. Click here to read a State Letter highlighting some of the results of this collaboration. Download a fact sheet about the workforce system that has already been developed to provide us with a basic understanding of the system.  New legislation will change some details, but it’s still a good backgrounder.

3.  Learn from three peer programs that offer well-established models for collaboration.

Download a PDF of an August 2014 ORR report highlighting model collaborations between workforce investment and refugee stakeholders in St. Louis, MO, the state of Utah and Sacramento County, CA.