The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) youth program replaces the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 youth program. The Department of Workforce Investment Office of Employment and Training allocates the federal WIOA Title I youth funds to Kentucky’s 10 local workforce development areas (LWDAs), based on procedures defined by WIOA.

Workforce boards in each of the 10 LWDAs design programs to prepare eligible youth who face significant barriers to success, to either enter post-secondary education, training or employment upon completion of their secondary education. In-school youth programs (ISY) serve youth ages 14-21. Out-of-school youth (OSY) programs serve youth ages 16-24. 

WIOA youth programs are operated on a year-round basis.Program elements consist of:

1. Tutoring, study skills training, instruction and evidenced-based dropout prevention and recovery strategies that lead to completion of the requirements for a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent (including a recognized certificate of attendance or similar document for individuals with disabilities) or for a recognized postsecondary credential;

2. Alternative secondary school services or dropout recovery services, as appropriate;

3. Paid and unpaid work experiences that have academic and occupational education as a component of the work experience, which may include the following types of work experiences:

  • summer employment opportunities and other employment opportunities available throughout the school year;
  • pre-apprenticeship programs;
  • internships and job shadowing; and
  • on-the-job training opportunities;

4. Occupational skill training, which includes priority consideration for training programs that lead to recognized postsecondary credentials that align with in-demand industry sectors or occupations in the local area involved, if the local board determines that the programs meet the quality criteria described in WIOA sec. 123;

5. Education offered concurrently with and in the same context as workforce preparation activities and training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster;

6. Leadership development opportunities, including community service and peer-centered activities encouraging responsibility and other positive social and civic behaviors;

7. Supportive services, including the services listed in NPRM § 681.570;

8. Adult mentoring for a duration of at least 12 months, that may occur both during and after program participation;

9. Follow-up services for not less than 12 months after the completion of participation, as provided in NPRM § 681.580;

10. Comprehensive guidance and counseling, which may include drug and alcohol abuse counseling, as well as referrals to counseling, as appropriate to the needs of the individual youth;

11. Financial literacy education;

12. Entrepreneurial skills training;

13. Services that provide labor market and employment information about in-demand industry sectors or occupations available in the local area, such as career awareness, career counseling, and career exploration services; and

14. Activities that help youth prepare for and transition to postsecondary education and training.


In-school youth individuals are:

  • attending school (as defined by State law); 
  • not younger than age 14 or (unless an individual with a disability who is attending school under State law) older than age 21;
  • a low-income individual; and
  • one or more of the following:

  1. basic skills deficient;
  2. English language learner;
  3. offender;
  4. homeless, runaway or in foster care or has aged out of the foster care system youth, a child eligible for assistance under section 477 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 677), or in an out of- home placement;
  5. pregnant or parenting;
  6. youth who is an individual with a disability;
  7. individual who requires additional assistance to complete an educational program or to secure or hold employment.

Out-of-school youth individuals are:

  • not attending any school (as defined under state law)
  • not younger than age 16 or older than age 24; and 
  • one or more of the following [barriers]:

  1. school dropout;
  2. youth who is within the age of compulsory school attendance, but has not attended school for at least the most recent complete school year calendar quarter;
  3. recipient of a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent who is a low-income individual and is-
  4. basic skills deficient; or
  5. English language learner;
  6. individual who is subject to the juvenile or adult justice system;
  7. homeless, runaway or in foster care or has aged out of the foster care system youth, a child eligible for assistance under section 477 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 677), or in an out of home placement;
  8. pregnant or parenting;
  9. youth who is an individual with a disability;
  10. low-income individual who requires additional assistance to enter or complete an educational program or to secure or hold employment. 

For more information about the WIOA Youth Program, contact a designated youth career planner in your area. WIOA Youth Career Planners Map​

You may also contact any Kentucky Career Center office​.​​


Are you in high school and trying to figure out what to do with your life? Check out Career and Technical Education for videos and a lot more information about technical education and career options. 

Planning for college is just a click away at Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, which provides information about preparing, planning and completing higher education before transition into a career.

A college education is essential to get a good job, to learn new skills that lead to promotions and to ensure a good salary. A Kentucky Community and Technical College​ education will prepare students to take the next step toward a bright future whether that means a new job or continuing education at a four-year college.