Crossing paths with the juvenile justice system kicks off a complex web of bias, racial discrimination and structural barriers that can prevent young people from living healthy and productive lives.
One powerful difference maker? Workforce development, and — in particular — approaches that blend education with occupational training while also offering support services, paid work experiences and opportunities to connect with caring adults.
Against this backdrop, the National Youth Employment Coalition, with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has created a tool kit to foster meaningful collaboration between professionals in the federal workforce development system and the juvenile justice system.
This resource offers readers: 1) evidence-based practices in youth workforce development; 2) an overview of the workforce system funded under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; 3) advice on improving WIOA-funded services for youth with justice involvement at the local level; and 4) guidance on forming effective interagency partnerships.
After using this tool kit, practitioners in both sectors will have the information and steps they need to partner effectively, use public dollars efficiently and help justice-involved youth pursue both economic self-sufficiency and a brighter future.
The charge is crystal clear: bolster the academic and employment prospects of youth in need
Findings & Stats
A Boost for Out-of-School Youth
WIOA requires local workforce boards to spend at least 75% of its youth allocations on out-of-school youth, with no more than 25% going to in-school youth.
Officials in Action
The tool kit identifies six steps that juvenile justice officials can take to advance their partnership with the workforce development sector. One example: Get to know your local workforce development board.
Room for Improvement
One way that the workforce development system can better serve youth who have crossed paths with the justice system? Allow for self-attestation — rather than requiring documentation — to help identify youth who are eligible for WIOA services.
Statements & Quotations
Collaboration among workforce partners, courts, and the various agencies that make up the juvenile-justice system can create an ecosystem of alternatives that keep young people safe in their community.
Positive youth development is grounded in the idea that young people are most likely to thrive when we see them as assets to be nurtured rather problems to be fixed.