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DOL YouthBuild Newsletter

July 2019 Edition

Table of Contents

YouthBuild programs serve participants with multiple barriers to future employment success – the lack of a high school diploma due to struggles with traditional classroom learning is one of the largest.  Universal Design for Learning is one approach to help teach learners with diverse learning styles and comfort levels.  This strategy helps to deeply engage and contextualize the teaching subject in an applied learning environment and can help to strengthen credential attainment and measurable skill gain outcomes for YouthBuild programs. ~ Jenn Smith, National YouthBuild Director, U. S. Department of Labor
Universal Design for Learning: Meeting the Needs of All Learners
YouthBuild educators and staff have become masters of flexibility in their classrooms and on vocational sites due to their focus on teaching youth who haven’t done well in traditional education settings.  Staff members often develop multiple avenues to learning to give participants the best opportunity for skill-building success.
The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework is an approach that addresses the individualized needs of all learners.  According to CAST, a nonprofit education research and development organization focused on UDL, UDL is “a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn” (CAST, This model of education practice focuses on giving all students equal opportunity to learn by creating a flexible learning environment that allows students to access and engage with the material.  This includes using multiple variations of learning materials, creating space and structures to engage students’ interests and motivations, and allowing multiple options for demonstrating content knowledge.
Benefits of Implementing UDL
The UDL Framework is designed to help educators examine their teaching strategies, while working to expand and create new learning opportunities for students and educators. Educators and vocational trainers that implement UDL practices can be sure they are creating instructional environments that are geared toward accepting learners as they are. Practitioners build practice by identifying their students’ learning barriers and then building in teacher-initiated supports to overcome them.  UDL implementation also creates natural harmony between learning objectives and student-friendly technology of the trade.
The UDL Framework is also a great tool to support directors and program leadership looking to plan staff training and professional development curriculum. The Framework is a great way to create cross-curriculum discussion between education and vocational staff.
To learn strategies to successfully implement UDL, be sure to register and join the upcoming YouthBuild webinar, Supporting Second-Chance Students Through Universal Design for Learning, on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, from 2:00 - 3:30pm EDT.  Presenter Paladin Jordan, Jr., Graduate Professor of Education and former YouthBuild AmeriCorps VISTA, will provide attendees with in-depth practices and strategies learned from years of experience both with YouthBuild USA and in the field.  There will be a question and answer period, and opportunities for engagement with attendees.
Related Resources

Education Toolkit and Universal Design for Learning Video Series

The Universal Design for Learning Guidelines
Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities

Differentiated Instruction and Universal Design for Learning
Education at a YouthBuild Program

News and Announcements

Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) Funding Opportunity
The Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has announced a funding opportunity under the Innovative Rehabilitation Training program.  Eligible applicants include states and public or private nonprofit agencies and organizations, including Indian Tribes and Institutes of Higher Education.  The Innovative Rehabilitation Training priority aligns with the OSERS framework by funding projects designed to strengthen, improve, develop, and provide training to Vocational Rehabilitation professionals and paraprofessionals serving students and youth with disabilities, parents and guardians of youth with disabilities, and adults with disabilities and to improve employment outcomes and raise expectations for all people with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the Nation.  Review the full funding opportunity solicitation here.
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Launches $10 Million Campaign to Make Manufacturing Jobs More Appealing

The National Association of Manufacturers, the industry’s main trade group, has unveiled a $10 million initiative that’s aimed at changing public attitudes about its sector to make it seem more modern and to highlight opportunities for upward mobility.  With the slogan “Creators Wanted,” the initiative entails a year-long nationwide digital campaign, a mobile road show that will visit between 20 to 25 states over 18 weeks and culminate with a large festival during September 2020 in Cincinnati, where the association was founded in 1895.  The Washington Post highlights this effort here.  For more information on the Creators Wanted initiative, and to sign up for NAM email alerts related to the initiative, see their website:
21st Century Conservation Service Corps Program National Cooperative Agreement Opportunities

The Department of the  Interior has identified $30 to $41 million to support National Park Service 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) Program National Cooperative Agreements to develop and administer 21CSC programs that focus on providing employment, education, and engagement opportunities.  The current expectation calls for the establishment of 80 agreements.  Proposals are due by September 11.  Applicants must be Section 501(c)(3) compliant.  Review the funding opportunity notice here.

Additional Information and Resources

Urban Institute Releases New Report on Registered Apprenticeship in Science and Engineering

Apprenticeship can be an effective model for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills in the modern economy; European engineers and technicians are frequently trained in apprenticeship programs. The Urban Institute released a new report in May - Registered Apprenticeship in Science and Engineering.  This report presents an overview of the current state of STEM apprenticeships in the U.S. and draws insights from the experiences and decision-making processes of program sponsors. 
The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Releases Sample Youth Individual Service Strategy

Although there is no mandated WIOA Youth Individual Service Strategy (ISS) template required, ETA has created a sample ISS template that may be used for WIOA Youth program case management. This template was developed based on 39 ISS submissions from across the country and compiles key elements, common themes, and best practices from the various submissions.  This same template can be beneficial to YouthBuild grantees as well and can help to support co-enrollment efforts.  To view the ISS template, visit:

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