WIA Youth Services: Investing in Our Future

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) has remained an invaluable port, for those Adults, Dislocated Workers, and Youth who are embroiled in storms both economic and circumstantial, since 1998.

KRA Corporation believes that those designated as youth jobseekers are an important component of the Title I population, and as such we have placed much of our efforts and energy in offering WIA Youth Services through several of our workforce development programs.

By identifying the needs of both in-school youth (ISY) and out-of-school youth (OSY), KRA’s WIA Youth Services’ programs address many of the barriers to successful employment facing at-risk, or disadvantaged youth (defined as low-income individuals between 14-21 years of age who meet at least one of several conditions).  One obstacle is education, or more precisely the lack thereof.

Data regarding youth employment from the Child trends data bank attests to the importance of education in entering the workforce.  The non-profit research center reports that, “The education a person receives affects their employment status.” They elaborate, by stating, “Among those that did not graduate from high school (ages 16-24) 50 percent were employed, either full- or part-time. The employment rate for high school graduates with no college attainment was 61 percent.”

One of KRA’s Youth Employability & Success (YES) programs provides OSY jobseekers the means to bridge the gap in education through GED preparation and credentialing, and even goes a step further, providing intensive training in Microsoft Digital Literacy and Hospitality Services to equip young jobseekers with truly marketable certifications and workplace skills.

There are also alarming statistics on high school drop-outs (which is on the list of conditions that defines the WIA Title I youth). Released by Statistic Brain, the site reports that some 8,300 students drop out of high school every day with over three million dropping out annually.

The drop-out rates on the whole have diminished in recent years, but these numbers still represent a significant number of OSY jobseekers that are entering the workforce at a distinct disadvantage.

The importance of WIA Youth Services, therefore, cannot be understated in preparing both the ISY and OSY populations for a productive life in the workforce. In lieu of traditional pathways to successful employment, programs and services that provide both the tools and training to become more attractive in the job market are essential.

The KRA team believes that the training and educational opportunities, occupational-skills development, on-the-job training opportunities, and work-readiness classes offered through YES represent a vital investment in the youth population that will bear dividends in the future for the individual, the community, and the workforce.

We will continue to serve the youth jobseeker through our programs and employer partnerships, and give this at-risk group every opportunity to succeed in the workforce.