View this email in your browser
As everyone recovers from the summer and starts to focus again on school and work, September is a perfect time to provide a refresher on strategies and resources that should be at the forefront of your mind as you review your current grant program’s status, and maybe think about future grant cycles.  The information presented in this newsletter provides an autumnal reset for program review and the opportunity to think about your YouthBuild program model with fresh eyes and insights.  ~ Jenn Smith, YouthBuild Program Director

DOL YouthBuild Program Planning and Program Design

As you know, the daily operation of a YouthBuild program requires intentional planning and continuous quality improvement in order to meet the needs of youth participants and the demands of grant requirements.  The real-world implementation of the program proposal that won the DOL YouthBuild grant requires many diverse tools and resources.  September is a busy month for all grantees, whether you are a 2015 grantee in the close-out phase of your grant, a 2016 grantee winding down your active programming, or a 2017 grantee gearing up for a new cohort of participants.  This newsletter provides some essential reminders of best practices and resources as grantees continue to work tirelessly to provide quality YouthBuild programming to young people in communities across the country.

YouthBuild program planning and design starts off with a detailed map, the Statement of Work (SOW). The SOW is a living document! Use your SOW as a guide to ensure compliance, implementation of the program design, and day-to-day program management.  The SOW is also a key tool to ensure stakeholders understand the program and their role.  During the grant period of performance, grantees need to revisit the SOW regularly.  Knowing what the SOW states can assist grantees to consider modifications along the way (in consultation with the Federal Project Officer (FPO)) to ensure compliance and the best model for the YouthBuild program.  The FPO is a crucial resource for programs, providing guidance and technical assistance.  Additionally, there is robust technical assistance provided in conjunction with DOL’s YouthBuild technical assistance contractor, YouthBuild USA.  Peer programs are also a great resource for technical assistance, best practices for everything from program design and data management to partnerships and placement strategies.  The YouthBuild Community of Practice provides access to all of the above and should be a lynchpin of every program’s grant toolbox.  This is discussed further below in this newsletter.

There are some key program strategy reminders and questions that can guide ongoing program implementation review and improvement:
  • Recruitment and Enrollment - pay attention to your enrollment goals, the population of young people you committed to serve (age, needs, zip codes, eligibility criteria, etc.) and adjust your plans along the way to ensure you reach your goal while remaining compliant.  What is your recruitment plan?  Do you have a calendar for Mental Toughness and enrollment of cohorts?  Will you be using rolling admissions?  Do you have a “Plan B” if the program is under-enrolled based on the SOW and grant period of performance?
  • Partnership Management - program success depends on partnerships, including partners that provide core programming support, the required partnership with your local American Job Center, and employer and post-secondary partners. Partnership development is the beginning, and ongoing partner management is required for success.  Are you regularly assessing your partners, networking to connect with new partners, and reviewing existing partnership MOUs for continuous strengthening and improved leveraging of resources?
  • Staffing - hiring and onboarding of staff, as well as continuous staff development, are critical to program success.  Are all required and planned staff positions in place at your YouthBuild program?  Are program components staffed in-house or through subcontracted partners?  Every staff member and partner that is implementing core programming needs to understand the SOW, program goals, and performance measures, along with the progress gains and setbacks during the grant performance period.  In the September 2018 webinar, we will share a number of tips and resources that you can use to ensure consistent staff development using available resources.
  • Case Management and Supportive Services - these are critical elements of the YouthBuild model.  Case managers ensure that youth have the support they need to be successful in the program.  They are often the first point of contact when participants are having difficulties and ensure youth have the supportive services they need to be successful.  They also are often the staff tracking participant progress and entering or communicating the data entry for services and outcomes.  But, case managers can’t do this work alone, so programs need to leverage organizational support and partnerships to meet the complex needs of youth participants at each phase of the participants’ engagement.
  • Management Information System (MIS)/Data Management - your MIS and data management planning has to align with the program design and implementation.  Because data is how each grant demonstrates effectiveness to DOL, this is a particularly important area of focus and organization for grantees.  Further down in this newsletter, you will find specific information and reminders to ensure effective data management and accurate reporting.
  • Academics - whether the program provides an opportunity for youth to gain a high school diploma or state-recognized equivalent (i.e. GED, HiSET, etc.), it is essential that academic instruction be flexible to meet the needs of a wide range of learners.  How does your program assess students’ academic levels and measure gains along the way?  How does the program ensure the ability to instruct learners with differing levels of literacy or learning disabilities?
  • Construction - make sure the program plan and construction training aligns with the number of housing units that need to be completed, the competency goals for the vocational certification(s), and that participants are gaining transferable skills through quality training and meaningful work site experience.  Effectively managing the hands-on work site projects so that every youth has an opportunity for hands-on learning is a key area of compliance risk for YouthBuild grants.  Housing projects can fall through and leave a program near the end of their period of performance with no required work site completed if programs aren’t ensuring a strong and varied pipeline of construction projects.  How is your program mitigating this risk?
  • Construction Plus - the Construction Plus Framework was released in June 2018. If you are a Construction Plus grantee or aspire to add Construction Plus in future grant proposals, it is critical that you assess and align your Construction Plus program with the framework.  Engage with local partners, including American Job Centers, industry employers, and training partners, to maximize the opportunities available to participants in the selected in-demand industr(ies).
There are resources available on the Workforce GPS YouthBuild Community of Practice and the CareerOneStop website, among others.  Be sure to register for the September 11th webinar, Building Your Toolbox for Success: Program Design and WIOA Resource Spotlights, which will highlight a number of resources and best practices related to program planning, program management, and performance outcomes.

DOL YouthBuild and WIOA Reporting

Data is one of the most important ways a program can tell the story of their participants.  Each YouthBuild program is different, and has different resources available to them.  Data management, technology, and online reporting tools are a critical part of every YouthBuild program’s success.  
Key to this important work for 2016 and 2017 grantees is an understanding of the WIOA performance reporting process in the YouthBuild MIS. In addition to understanding these new reports and how to submit them, it is crucial that grantees also understand the performance indicators and plan program design and participant timelines for success.  Many resources and materials have been developed to support this complex area of work:

DOL YouthBuild WIOA Performance Indicators: 2016 and 2017 Grantees - This document is a cheat sheat that highlights the WIOA performance indicators, provides the definitions and context for the measures, and explains which are currently in use and which are still being implemented.

WIOA Report Templates and User Guide: The MIS Help Desk can provide grantees the most updated Median Earnings and Measurable Skill Gains report (ME+MSG) template, as well as a comprehensive user guide covering the ME+MSG and WIOA Supplemental reports. Email the MIS Help Desk at to get the latest materials. 

TEGL 10-16, Change 1 and TEGL 26-16: These Training and Employment Guidance Letters provide important guidance related to WIOA reporting and the performance indicators reported on in the Median Earnings and Measurable Skill Gains report.  Review the performance outcomes and guidance pages for each Measurable Skill and the Median Earnings below:
  • Measurable Skill Gain - EFL gains: See Page 19 of TEGL 10-16, Change 1
  • Measurable Skill Gain - HSE/HSD Attainment: See Page 19 of TEGL 10-16, Change 1
  • Measurable Skill Gain - Meeting State Unit's Academic Standards: See Page 20 of TEGL 10-16, Change 1
  • Measurable Skill Gain - Progress Towards Milestones: See Page 20 of TEGL 10-16, Change 1
  • Measurable Skill Gain - Trade Related Benchmarks: See Page 21 of TEGL 10-16, Change 1 (link below).
  • Median Earnings in Quarter 2 of the Follow-Up Period: TEGL 26-16 starting on page 7
WIOA Performance Indicators Summer E-Learning Series – DOL has released a series of 4 e-learning modules that relate to the WIOA performance indicators for credential attainment, measurable skill gains, employment rate for the second and fourth quarter, and median earnings.  These self-paced, narrated modules include definitions, detailed calculations, various real-life scenarios, knowledge checks with explanations, and related resources.

MIS Help Desk Services

In addition to phone and email support for general data entry questions, the MIS Help Desk offers trainings aimed at helping grantees understand the performance indicators, timing, and reporting processes reviewed in this newsletter.  Trainings are offered weekly at the below times:
  • Data Entry Trainings are held Tuesdays at 2PM ET and Fridays 10AM ET
  • MIS Report Trainings are held Wednesdays 3PM ET
In addition to the regularly scheduled webinar trainings, there will be a special WIOA reports training on September 12th at 3pm ET.  This training will review the new WIOA reporting processes, including building and submitting the reports, for DOL YouthBuild 2016 and 2017 grantees. Registration will go live soon and will be included in the September MIS Newsletter.  If you are not currently receiving the monthly MIS Newsletter and would like to, please reach out to the MIS Help Desk at the email below.

The MIS Help Desk also offers comprehensive data reviews for individual programs.  During these reviews, we will examine your program's reports, review measures, and investigate errors or problem areas.  Data reviews can also address any other concerns you have about data entry or effective data management.

Please reach out to the MIS Help Desk to schedule a training or review or to sign up for the MIS Newsletter.


Making the Most of WorkforceGPS

As this newsletter has made clear, the YouthBuild Community of Practice on WorkforceGPS is a vital resource to aid you in your work.  Below are some tips for utilizing WorkforceGPS and the YouthBuild Community of Practice.

Searching for Resources on WorkforceGPS

The search capability can be a bit complicated, as it sometimes requires a two-step process in order to be most effective.  You should first place your search terms in the search box located in the upper left corner of the
home page and press Enter.

If you are searching for a multi-word term, you may not find the results you expected.  In the below example, typing job description in the search field will provide results for “job” OR “description,” rather than both words. Depending on the search terms, this can return so many results that it can be difficult to wade through them to find actual job descriptions.

In order to search for the specific multi-word topic, you will need to choose the option All Words in Any Order, and press Search.

If you want to broaden your search to other ETA Workforce Development CoPs, you can use the drop down to the left of the search box to choose “All WorkforceGPS.”

Again, you will need to make sure you choose All Words in Any Order to ensure you receive the most relevant results.

The WorkforceGPS Member Directory

The Member Directory gives you the opportunity to network with your peers, reconnect with someone you met at a conference, or ask questions of an expert.  This directory can be seen only by WorkforceGPS members who have logged in.  It is accessible from multiple points, including from the top navigation of any Community of Practice or the maroon “flyout” positioned to the right of any page.

How to Make Your Profile Show up in the Member Directory

You can visit your profile by clicking your name (once you are logged in), which is located at the top of every page. 
After selecting your name, your profile page will appear and at the top will be a blue bar of text that tells you whether your profile is visible or not.  To opt in or out of the Directory, click on the words “profile setting” within this blue box and choose to remove your profile or show your profile in the Member Directory.  Depending on what you choose, the text on the page will update to inform you of the status of your profile in the Member Directory. 
Make sure your profile is rich with information about you, such as your title, organization, phone number, biography, a picture, and your grant information.  Please view this video to help you get the most out of the Member Directory.

Searching the Member Directory

Once in the Member Directory, you can narrow your search by choosing the community (in this case, YouthBuild), and then enter the last name of the person for whom you are searching.  You can also start a chat with the member from this page.

When you click on the result, you will have access to that person’s email, phone number, and other profile information.

Additional Resources

Career Outlook for the Construction Industry

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its August 2018 Career Outlook for Construction, which indicates construction is at its highest employment rate in a decade.  To read more about the career outlook for the construction industry, go

2018 STEM Equity Community Innovation Grants

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) announced 12 grants to address inequities in access to science and technology. The grants will support communities with underserved and underrepresented students and help them develop new, innovative approaches to tackle the education gap.  FIRST launched its
STEM Equity Community Innovation Grants program in 2016 to provide diverse and disadvantaged students and communities with hands-on learning opportunities and outlets for creative problem solving. Grants range from $5,000 to $50,000, with an average of $35,000, and evaluation criteria include community need, demographics, increases in diversity, execution strength, track record of reaching targeted students and the value of the activities proposed. To date, FIRST has awarded nearly $1.2 million to more than 38 communities across the United States and Canada. To see the list of 2018 award winners, go here.   Learn more about FIRST here.

Eighty Percent of Contractors Report Difficulty Finding Qualified Craft Workers to Hire as Association Calls for Measures to Rebuild Workforce

Eighty percent of construction firms report they are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce, according to the results of an
industry-wide survey released today by Autodesk.

Solar Foundation: Strategies for Workforce Development: A Toolkit for the Solar Industry

The Solar Foundation recently published a resource titled Strategies for Solar Workforce Development: A Toolkit for the Solar Industry, which “provides actionable solutions for industry-led workforce development initiatives.”  You can view the toolkit

Greenbuild International Conference and Expo

The annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is taking place in Chicago, IL November 14-16, 2018.  The Expo runs November 14-15 and the Conference is November 14-16.  YouthBuild USA will be represented at the Expo, along with local Illinois YouthBuild programs, through YouthBuild USA’s partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council.  For more information, see
Copyright © 2018 DOL YouthBuild, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp