U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210
January 28, 1997
TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE LETTER NO. 03-96
ALL STATE JTPA LIAISONS
BARBARA ANN FARMER
Program Guidance and Allocations for the Calendar Year 1997 Summer Youth Employment and Training Program (SYETP)
Purpose. To provide States with program guidance and allocations for the Calendar Year (CY) 1997 Summer Youth Employment and Training Program (SYETP).
The Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), as amended;
JTPA Final Rules, as published in the Federal Register on September 2, 1994;
Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 4-95 (February 21, 1996): "Instructions for Submission of State Plans under Title II and Title III of the Job Training Partnership Act for Program Years (PYs) 1996 and 1997; and PY 1996 Wagner-Peyser Act Program Planning Guidance".
Training and Employment Information Notice No. 33-92 (June 1, 1993): "Child Labor Restrictions Applicable to Youth Participants in Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) Funded Programs".
Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 7-95 (July 31, 1996): "Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) Intertitle Transfers of Funds".
Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 203 (m)), as amended by the Minimum Wage Increase Act of 1996.
The Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-188).
Employment Service Program Letter (ESPL) No. 5-97 (November 25, 1996): "Work Opportunity Tax Credit Administrative and Quarterly Reporting Forms".
Summer Jobs Funding Level. The Department of Labor is obligating $871 million to the States for the CY 1997 Summer Youth Employment Program under Title II-B of the Job Training Partnership Act. (State allocations are attached.) This year's funding represents a significant increase over the $625 million that was made available last year for the CY 1996 program. As was the case with last year's funds, these funds are being obligated as fiscal year, not program year funds. Notices of Obligation (NOO's) will be issued under the current PY 1996 JTPA grant agreement to obligate these funds to the States, and they will not be combined with Title II-A and Title II-C funds. As was done last summer, States will be required to submit a separate JTPA Title II-B Quarterly Status Report (JQSR) for these FY 1997 Title II-B funds, and they will not be combined with Title II-A and Title II-C PY 1997 data. Additionally, States will draw cash under the Payment Management System (PMS) for Title II-B FY 1997 funds, and these II-B funds will be accounted for separately, similarly to how the FY 1996 Title II-B funds are being handled.
Program Emphases. In this year's summer program, the Department maintains its commitment to providing the Nation's disadvantaged youth with solid work experiences, which for many youth represent the first step into the labor force.
The Department of Labor's vision of the summer program is one where new entrants to the labor force and those with limited job histories:
build and refine a strong work foundation and employment competencies, and experience the discipline of work; and,
gain an appreciation of the connection between work and learning which is critical to a long-term attachment to and success in a rapidly changing labor market.
This message regarding the connection between work and learning is consistent with the on-going School-to-Work message communicated by the Departments of Labor and Education to States, SDAs, local school systems, employers, and youth. We need to help youth acquire the knowledge, skills, abilities, and labor market information they need to make a smooth transition from school to career-oriented work or further education or training.
Program Goals and Objectives. This summer's program goals and objectives focus on the need for States and SDAs to:
Achieve at least 90 percent of local planned enrollment levels;
Maximize the number of economically disadvantaged youth participating in SYETP;
Provide educational enrichment, including life skills training for at least 67 percent of SYETP participants;
Fully utilize all available funding, including new FY 1997 monies as well as any carryover from previous years, to provide maximum opportunities for participation in SYETP;
Provide meaningful worksites with capable, trained supervisors;
Strengthen linkages between SYETP and the year-round youth program under Title II-C and the School-to-Work initiatives; and,
Work with the private sector to provide more unsubsidized employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth.
Work Experience. Work experience continues to be one of the most effective components in the summer program. However, when viewed from a system-wide perspective, it is clear that SDAs and worksites can further improve, refine and enhance this component.
All States and SDAs should ensure that worksites introduce and/or reinforce the rigors, demands, rewards, and sanctions associated with holding a job. Prior to starting on the job, participants should clearly understand basic employment rules and requirements and employer expectations, including the necessity to perform well in a structured educational setting as well as on the job. Documented learning experiences should be an integral part of the youth's work experience.
Integration of Work and Learning. Work-based learning and classroom-based learning must complement and reinforce each other so that the youth are provided with assistance in developing and refining attitudes, values, and work habits which will contribute to their success in the workplace. Many SDAs' program designs have traditionally consisted of two distinct components--work experience and classroom education--with very little interaction between the two. However, the two components need to be complementary and mutually reinforcing.
Some SDAs have integrated work and learning to the point that all learning is acquired on the job. This is an acceptable model, although program experience suggests that this approach is most useful for older youth who do not suffer from serious educational deficiencies.
On the other hand, some SDAs have a program design which provides an educational services component, but no work experience component, for either all its participants or for a defined segment, e.g., 14-and 15-year olds. ETA strongly recommends that all participants, including 14 and 15-year olds, spend considerable time on an actual job. If an SDA has an education-only program design, the SDA must provide an explanation in the job training plan as to why such a design is the most effective strategy for the youth involved. Even if such a design is approved by the State, to be consistent with SYETP's statutory purpose, such participants must receive some form of work-related experience, such as vocational exploration, job shadowing, simulated workplaces, or other similar activity.
ETA continues to advocate an approach to the summer program which goes beyond static and self-contained work experience and education components. We are encouraging the concept of the summer program as a "total learning experience", with relevant learning, including academic instruction and life skills training, taking place in any activity in which a youth participates. Thus, classrooms should be transformed into interactive, work-related environments; and worksites should be re-oriented to include rich learning experiences related to the SCANS Foundation Skills and Competencies.
School-to-Work. The components outlined in the School-to-Work Opportunities Act (STWOA) continue to serve as the framework of the Administration's strategy for meeting the education and job training needs of America's youth. SDAs should work with States and local School-to-Work (STW) partnerships in the development and establishment of the STW components, including school-based learning, work-based learning, and connecting activities, as well as skill certification and career development, so that SYETP effectively coordinates with the goals of each State's STW system.
The STWOA requires State partnerships and encourages local partnerships to include representatives of the State and local job training systems. As in previous years, the Department encourages JTPA Liaisons and SDAs to take active roles in the implementation of State and local efforts and to coordinate the activities of the SYETP with on-going STW activities.
Effective working relationships between SDAs and the local school systems are crucial to achieving the goals of enriching the quality of the education component and preserving educational gains made during the summer by providing services to youth year-round. States, SDAs, and local school systems should strive to develop productive working relationships with the goal of achieving their mutually shared objective--namely, the preparation of all youth for successful careers and lifelong learning. It is essential that SDAs and local school systems maintain open channels of communication and share information, either formally or informally.
Year-Round Services to Youth. Strengthening linkages between SYETP and the year-round youth program under Title II-C remains an ETA goal. The ability to transfer funds between Title II-B and Title II-C clearly facilitates such a strengthening of linkages. This enhanced flexibility also has positive implications for the application of School-to-Work principles and practices in the local community.
Months of Operation for SYETP. While section 254 of the Act provides that SYETP can only operate in the "summer months or in an equivalent vacation period where there is a year-round school system", we have broadened this through interpretation in the regulations to be "school vacation periods" and indicated that planning and intake can occur before school ends. The regulations also allow for concurrent enrollment of youth in Title II-B and Title II-C programs. However, there is nothing in the statute that would allow SYETP to begin employing youth before the beginning of the school vacation period. SYETP is envisioned by the statute as an in-school program which is designed to encourage youth to stay in school (secondary or post-secondary).
When the SDA wishes to serve out-of-school youth prior to the school vacation period in its area, the SDA may chose among several different approaches. The SDA can 1) run an employment program for out-of-school youth before the end of the school year under Title II-C, using existing II-C funds or transferred funds from II-A or II-B; 2) develop a program of concurrent enrollment (II-B and II-C); and/or, 3) use Wagner-Peyser or locally funded staff to do job development and placement for this group before school ends.
Objective Assessment and Individual Services Strategy (ISS). The requirements of objective assessment have been clearly specified in the JTPA statute (as amended by the Goals 2000: Educate America Act) and the final JTPA regulations. However, ETA will neither require nor recommend any particular assessment device. It is the responsibility of the SDAs to utilize effective assessment instruments. Likewise, while pre- and post-testing of educational attainment is strongly encouraged, but not required, ETA will not recommend any particular testing protocol.
SDAs are urged to consult with their local school systems to determine which measurements of educational achievement are most appropriate and useful to both the individual SDAs and the local school system(s). There is evidence to suggest that the use of portfolios is gaining increasing acceptance among school systems for measuring educational attainment, particularly in STW activities. In measuring a participant's workplace skills, ETA recommends that SDAs specifically explore the use of participant portfolios as a measurement device.
Limited Private Sector Internships/Entry Employment Experience. While the JTPA regulations provide the requirements for this activity, States and SDAs are again reminded that certain vulnerabilities are inherent. Some examples include:
occurrence or perception of favoritism shown to one employer over another;
placement of economically disadvantaged youth in unsubsidized jobs that they can obtain on their own; and,
displacement of non-economically disadvantaged youth from jobs that they normally secure in the summer.
Therefore, SDAs should maintain documentation on why particular employers were selected or not selected to serve as worksites.
States and SDAs are also encouraged to operate their internship program in tandem with their voluntary private sector summer jobs campaign so as to assure that these two initiatives complement rather than compete against each other.
Life Skills Training. The majority of SYETP participants need assistance in developing work habits and in refining attitudes, values, and behavior patterns. This assistance should be part of the educational services provided in every summer youth work experience component. Many SDAs term such individual developmental activities "life skills training". Assistance should be focused on those attitudes, values, and behavior patterns which are vital to success in educational pursuits, on the job, and as a citizen.
Many of the SCANS Foundation Skills (e.g.,"Personal Qualities") and Competencies (e.g., "Interpersonal") are geared to individual development. Thus, SDAs are encouraged to incorporate individual development activities into learning on the job and in an educational setting.
When individual development activities are integrated with learning on the job and in an educational setting, they may be properly considered part of an SDA's education component. However, stand-alone personal development activities, while allowable, are not to be considered part of the education component.
Minimum Wage. The provisions under the amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which resulted from the Minimum Wage Increase Act of 1996, apply to all participants enrolled in programs operated under JTPA. Effective on October 1, 1996, the amendments require that not less than $4.75 an hour must be paid for employment under JTPA and not less than $5.15 an hour beginning September 1, 1997.
The new Opportunity Wage created by the Minimum Wage Increase Act of 1996, $4.25 an hour for the first 90 days a youth under 20 is initially employed, does not apply to JTPA programs.
In making this determination, the FLSA amendments need to be viewed in terms of the statutory minimum wage provisions contained in JTPA. The FLSA minimum rate referred to in sections 142(a)(2) and (3) of JTPA is the currently applicable rate set forth in section 6(a)(1) of the FLSA, which is $4.75. Section 142(a)(2) of JTPA establishes that individuals in on-the-job training shall be compensated at the same rates as similarly situated employees or trainees, but in no event less than the higher of the rate specified in section 6(a)(1) of the FLSA or applicable State or local minimum wage law. Section 142(a)(3) of JTPA establishes the requirements for the payment of wages. Individuals employed in activities authorized under the Act shall be paid wages which shall not be less than the highest of the minimum wage under 6(a)(1) of the FLSA, the minimum wage under the applicable State or local minimum wage law, or the prevailing rates of pay for individuals employed in similar occupations by the same employer.
Job Safety and Health. States and SDAs are reminded to review Federal, State and local safety and job health standards and child labor restrictions to ensure that participants are not assigned to job activities which violate the standards and/or restrictions. For specific guidance, States and SDAs may refer to TEIN 33-92: " Child Labor Restrictions Applicable to Youth Participants in Job Training Partnership (JTPA) Funded Programs."
Private Sector Summer Jobs Efforts.
Private sector campaigns. States and SDAs are encouraged to seek every opportunity to involve the private sector in cooperative and creative approaches to fund community-wide summer jobs programs. Across the country, private sector summer jobs initiatives are voluntarily undertaken by community coalitions to increase the number of jobs available for young people during the summer. Private sector employers are encouraged to support summer jobs by hiring young people, making financial donations for job creation in the public sector or donating time and resources to further such efforts. The private industry council (PIC) plays a major role in most private sector campaigns, serving as the coordinator of the planning group and providing office space and staff support. Business representatives, the Employment Service, community-based organizations (CBOs), schools and local government agencies are also typically partners in this effort.
Title II-B funds may be used to support private sector programs which are not limited to just JTPA eligible youth, within the following parameters. JTPA funds can be used where States and SDAs are working with local businesses to plan these private sector programs, including planning employer outreach and recruitment campaigns, fundraising etc., as well as for recruitment, intake, eligibility determination for community-wide summer jobs programs that serve JTPA eligible and non-eligible youth. Where a local program has staff who are locally or privately funded through Wagner-Peyser monies in addition to JTPA funded staff, that program's combined staff could do job development and placement for both the JTPA eligible and noneligible youth. In order to prevent audit questions, however, the ratio of JTPA funded staff to non-JTPA funded staff should be proportionate to the ratio of JTPA eligible youth to non-eligible youth served. In other words, if there is more than one funding stream or the program, staff could, in fact, serve both JTPA eligible and non-eligible youth.
Technical assistance. Later in the Spring, ETA will transmit 1) a "how-to" manual containing an inventory of various ways the private sector can effectively participate in summer jobs programs; and, 2) a casebook profiling twenty successful private sector summer youth employment programs from around the country.
The "how-to" manual will contain different approaches for engaging small, medium, and large businesses as well as suggested marketing strategies and plans which can be adapted for local use. In addition, there will be sample marketing materials, including samples for use in print, audio and video formats.
The casebook, developed by Westat, will detail the diverse experiences of twenty SDAs in establishing and operating summer jobs programs for economically disadvantaged youth that involve private companies as employers and/orcontributors. The sites selected for this casebook represent all ten Regions; urban, suburban and rural locations; large and small programs; different organizational models; and a variety of innovative features. By showcasing such a cross-section of programs, the casebook will present a variety of successful strategies and models for involving the private sector in creating summer jobs.
Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Program. All States and SDAs are strongly encouraged to work with local business leaders in strengthening the coordination with the private sector in creating unsubsidized summer job opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth. As stated in section 4 above, one of this year's program goals is to increase the total number of these jobs identified and filled by disadvantaged youth.
States and SDAs should utilize the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program to aid them in their private sector outreach efforts. The WOTC program is authorized through September 1997 and replaces the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit (TJTC) program, which had been in operation since 1978. Under WOTC, the State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs) are responsible for the certification of eligible individuals from seven targeted groups, including certain youth obtaining unsubsidized summer employment, for the purpose of this tax credit.
To be a qualified summer youth employee, an individual must perform services for the employer between May 1 and September 15, have attained age 16 but not age 18 on the hiring date (or if later, on May 1), have never worked for the employer before, and live in an empowerment zone (EZ) or enterprise community (EC). Further, for the employer to receive the tax credit, the qualified summer youth must be employed for at least 20 days or complete 120 hours of service.
Where SDAs include an EZ/EC, they should be advised to contact the local SESA for information concerning the certification process. These SDAs should also be advised to work with the SESAs in developing agreements whereby the SDA could perform conditional certification of eligible summer youth.
Transfers. Pursuant to the information contained in TEGL No. 7-95, States have the authority to transfer unrestricted amounts of PY 1996 and PY 1997 Title II-C funds to FY 1996 and FY 1997 Title II-B and vice versa. This authorization is intended to provide States and local communities with the flexibility to design programs and allocate resources to best serve the employment and training needs of disadvantaged and at-risk youth. The intent is also to allow greater flexibility as the system moves toward an integrated workforce development approach to consolidate programs and give greater authority to State and local decision makers. However, when planning such transfers, States and SDAs need to carefully consider the programmatic impact of large shifts in funding.
Funds transferred are transferred in total (i.e., without regard to cost limits), and SDAs must use the funds in accordance with the appropriate Title II-B or Title II-C rules of the receiving Title and Part. SDAs should use the same reporting as provided for under the current transfer policy. (The amounts transferred must be identified on appropriate lines and columns of the JQSR. Expenditures against the transferred amounts are not to be reported separately, but as a part of total expenditures reported against available funds in the receiving Title and Part.)
Transfers can be made at any time during the appropriated life of the funds. However, a transfer must be made within the appropriated years and according to the transfer rules applicable to that year of appropriation. For example, FY 1996 Title II-B funds can only be transferred to PY 1996 Title II-C and vice versa, and FY 1997 Title II-B funds can only be transferred to PY 1997 Title II-C (after July 1, 1997) and vice versa.
Oversight. Specific information regarding the monitoring and reporting requirements will be forwarded separately.
Action. States should transmit this guidance to SDAs as expeditiously as possible. In addition, States should instruct SDAs to quickly provide relevant guidance to worksites and service providers.
Inquiries. Questions on this TEGL and other SYETP policy related questions should be directed to Stephanie Curtis at (202) 219-7533 and questions related to the allocations should be directed to Jess Aragon at (202) 219-5628.
Attachment. SYETP Allocations
NOTE: Attachments not available to DMS