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WIOA’s requirement that YouthBuild grantees be American Job Center network partners is a key step toward integrating YouthBuild programs further into the public workforce system.  Many YouthBuild programs had already built relationships with their Local Workforce Development Boards and AJCs so the WIOA requirement just solidifies the work that was already happening.  But for others, this is a new and unexplored area of connection.  In these instances, the WIOA requirement is a valuable tool for these programs to leverage to connect with the resources of the AJCs and better serve youth in need.  This month’s newsletter highlights best practices in developing AJC partnerships.  ~ Jenn Smith, National YouthBuild Director, U.S. Department of Labor

Partnering with the American Job Center Network

American Job Centers (AJCs, also known as One-Stop Centers) are the cornerstone of the public workforce system. As noted in TEGL 16-16:
Strategic partnerships are necessary for the American Job Centers to provide all job seekers and workers with the high-quality career, training, and supportive services they need to obtain and maintain good jobs.
Read the full TEGL
The American Job Center network offers workforce partners a menu of services that can be leveraged to compliment or expand in-house services. For DOL YouthBuild grantees, charged with implementing a comprehensive youth development model that leads to positive placement outcomes, a partnership with the American Job Center network is invaluable.  Partnering with the network provides an opportunity for YouthBuild grantees to “increase the number of eligible applicants, have greater access to local employers, and develop the ability to directly access information regarding changes to local workforce needs and respond with program changes accordingly.” (
YouthBuild WIOA FAQ Sheet, 2016)
The YouthBuild-American Job Center network partnership is in alignment with the goals of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA); namely, to build integrated, high-quality, non-duplicated services among youth-serving providers. In fact, WIOA requires DOL YouthBuild grantees to be American Job Center network partners. (See Section 121(b) of WIOA for a list of the 19 required and additional partner programs.) One of the key requirements of being an AJC partner is providing access to the YouthBuild program through the American Job Center.  Access must be provided in one of three ways:
  1. Physical presence at the American Job Center;
  2. An appropriately trained staff member from a different partner program who can speak to the YouthBuild program; or
  3. A technology-based direct linkage to the American Job Center by YouthBuild staff.

In order to design a solid service delivery plan and meet the WIOA requirements, DOL YouthBuild grantees must:
  • Provide access to their programs or activities through the American Job Center network, as described above;
  • Use a portion of DOL YouthBuild grant funds, to the extent required, to:
    • Provide applicable career services, and
    • Work collaboratively with the State and Local Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) to establish and maintain the AJC network.
  • Enter into an memorandum of understanding (MOU) and infrastructure funding agreement (IFA) with the Local WDB relating to the operation of the AJC network, with the following requirements:
    • The MOU should address roles and responsibilities, terms, and partner expectations.
    • The IFA should address the cost that the YouthBuild program will pay based on its proportionate use and benefit of space, Federal cost principles, and WIOA local administrative cost requirements.
  • Participate in the operation of the AJC network consistent with the terms of the MOU and IFA, requirements of authorizing laws, the Federal cost principles, and all other applicable legal requirements; and
  • Provide representation on the State and Local WDBs as required and participate in board committees, as needed.
Key Components to Meaningful Partnership

As noted above, meaningful partnership includes three components:
  1. YouthBuild participant access;
  2. YouthBuild program participation in the AJC network; and
  3. A solid MOU and IFA.
The YouthBuild program’s success in fulfilling each of these components hinges on the program staff’s ability to develop a solid partnership with their AJC.  Review the newly-released “A Guide to Effective Department of Labor YouthBuild and American Job Center Partnerships” for Valuable tips and negotiation strategies on building a solid partnership with your AJC.  Keep reading to learn how one grantee developed a meaningful partnership with their AJC prior to securing a DOL YouthBuild grant, and how that partnership has benefitted YouthBuild participants since.

Valencia College and One-Stop Partnerships

Valencia College began partnering with the AJC network in 2013, as a result of a Transitional Age Community Treatment (TACT) grant from their Local Workforce Development Board.  The YouthBuild program at Valencia College, or “YouthBuild Osceola,” which began at the college in 2016, offers participants training opportunities in industries ranging from daycare, social services, and culinary arts to plumbing, auto mechanical, medical assistance, and construction.  The program partners with Habitat for Humanity, among others, and will serve 62 youth with its current DOL YouthBuild grant.  YouthBuild Osceola offers students a high school diploma and internship opportunities as part of its overall program design. 
The local AJC, Career Source Central Florida, is a key partner for Valencia College. This partnership includes assistance from the AJC with recruitment and funding of the program’s Advanced Manufacturing training. This support is provided through WIOA funding.  In addition, the grantee is leveraging AJC resources to establish work-based learning opportunities.  Participants are connected with paid work experience from the AJC and via Valencia College’s database of local employers.  The AJC will pay $10-$12 per hour for up to three months for participants to get hands-on experience.  For YouthBuild participants, training opportunities must be followed by employment opportunities. The job developer function is mandatory for DOL YouthBuild grantees. CareerSource also provides support in this area.
YouthBuild Osceola’s partnership with the local AJC has resulted in the inclusion of a full-time Job Developer in the MOU. The expectations and scopes of work of the Job Developer are clearly identified and ensure the consistency and continuity of the Job Developer role for the YouthBuild program throughout the agreement period. The Job Developer is hired and funded by the AJC, and only works with YouthBuild Osceola’s program. This position reports directly to the YouthBuild Program Director.  The Job Developer and YouthBuild Project Director collaborate with the program’s Case Manager to develop a cohesive career pathway plan for each youth participant.  This aspect of the MOU leverages the resources available at the AJC for YouthBuild participants’ placement, readiness, and follow-up support.
Valencia College’s Lashon Henderson, Grants Manager, and Michelle Sanchez, YouthBuild Project Director, have noted that the way in which they developed the MOU with their local AJC has been an essential part of the growth and success of that partnership. The MOU development process for Valencia College included the following:
  • Specifics on roles and responsibilities;
  • Clarity of terms used in the MOU; and
  • Expectations of each partner pre- and post-grant award.
Delineating pre- and post-grant award expectations was especially important as Valencia College was operating a number of grants with multiple partners. The College, for example, was awarded two subsequent TACT grants for which it had to manage several partnerships including one with the AJC.
In addition to clearly outlining expectations and scope of services, best practices in developing an MOU with your local AJC include: 
  • Avoiding duplication of services, and
  • Formalizing the existing partnership to ensure compliance with the requirements.
You should also work with your FPO and use the TEGLs and other resources as guidance to strengthen the partnership.
For Valencia College, their existing partnership was a huge part of the early success they’ve had with the WIOA-required partnership work. The solid foundation of the Valencia College-AJC partnership was in place already when the college was awarded a DOL YouthBuild grant in 2016. By that time, Valencia College had been working with the AJC for three years. The success of the TACT grant proved critical for the college. That partnership allowed the college to establish credibility, a working relationship, and processes with the AJC prior to winning the YouthBuild grant.
Valencia College was featured on the DOL YouthBuild April 2018 Webinar, “Partnering for Success: YouthBuild and the One-Stop System.” To learn more about Valencia College’s work with the American Job Center network and to learn valuable best practices for the AJC partnership process, view the webinar
Learn more about Valencia College and its success below:

Additional Information

DOL Reentry Funding Announcement

The U.S. Department of Labor has released a Funding Opportunity Announcement for investments to help Americans successfully transition from Incarceration into the workplace.  Click
here for more information.

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day is April 22nd, and there are many service opportunities in which YouthBuild programs across the country can engage.  In past years, our young people have participated in projects to support Earth day, such as collecting trash, weeding gardens, building a community greenhouse, and even starting an urban tree farm!
If your program has plans to celebrate or organize a project for Earth Day this year, please register your action with the
Earth Day Network.

April is Financial Capability Month!
April is financial capability month.  This is a great time to reinforce the importance of financial literacy and capability with your YouthBuild participants.  There are weekly themes related to financial capability that you can use for focused conversations or activities:

Weekly Themes

  • April 1-7: Planning
  • April 8-14: Savings
  • April 15-21: Protect (Insurance)
  • April 22-30: General Financial Preparedness
The Financial Literacy and Education Commission, headed by the Treasury Department, has also put together several digital and social media activities for the month.  Please consider engaging in these activities with your youth and/or as staff development opportunities:

Digital and Social Media Activities

Below are digital and social media activities happening throughout April 2018:


  • April 26 at 2 PM ET: A webinar for non-profits, churches, financial counseling agencies and other community leaders to help people become financially ready, “Be Strong Financially:  Resources to Help Individuals and Families with Financial Preparedness.”  Register here.

Additional Resources

Infrastructure Funding Agreements – Cost Sharing Mythbuster Available
The Innovation and Opportunity Network (ION) Community of Practice has added a new mythbuster to their ongoing WIOA mythbuster series. This one tackles common myths about the Infrastructure Funding Agreement that is required as part of the Memorandum of Understanding between required American Job Center network partners and the Local Workforce Development Boards.  You can check it out
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