Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I Would Wonk 500 Miles (Just to Share the WIOA State Plan with You)

Today’s blog will focus on the youth-specific provisions of the State Plan. We hope to be a resource as you develop your feedback and recommendations before the Plan is finalized and sent to DOL. For details on how to engage in State Plan Public Engagement, skip to the end!

Two weeks ago, Mayor Bowser and her workforce team released their draft of the District’s WIOA State Plan for comments before the Plan is sent to the Department of Labor (DOL) for approval by April 1st. Beyond demonstrating the District’s plans to comply with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to the Feds, the State Plan also sets the course to better align workforce stakeholders and programs to create a comprehensive system of workforce development.

In and of itself, WIOA established some significant changes for Title I Youth stakeholders, including:
  • Requires that at least 75% of youth formula funds are spent on serving out-of-school youth (up from 30% under WIA, though the District had been spending about 65% of funding on out-of school youth as of 2014[1])
  • Expands in-school youth eligibility to include low-income youth (14-21) who are English language learners and those who have a disability.
  • Requires that at least 20% of youth formula funds be spent on paid and unpaid work experiences that incorporate academic and occupational education.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wonk This Way: Investing in DC's Data Capacity

Throughout the Performance & Budget Oversight season, DC Alliance of Youth Advocates will post captivating, moving, and/or educational testimonies to help keep you in the advocacy loop. This week we're bringing you our Performance Oversight testimony on OSSE from our own Senior Policy Analyst, Joseph Gavrilovich.

Watch full DC Council hearings here:  

Much of our daily work at DCAYA is grounded in OSSE’s rich data capacity. In the past several years, their Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (better known as the SLED database) has been a critical tool in transforming the District’s approach to decision-making in education.

As you are all aware, for the past four years and up to this point, SLED has relied on a federal grant for $1.3 million per year. That funding is set to expire, and there are significant performance risks to consider if there isn’t consistent local funding to replace it. This was forecast in testimony to this committee last year too, and we’re at a point again to make a decision about whether to invest further. We at DCAYA are concerned that some capabilities may be hindered or halted if funding isn’t held at the present level.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Black History Month Profile: Thurgood Marshall

This is a special blog by DCAYA Communications and Development Manager, JR Russ.

I'm a DC native, born and raised. I went to St. Albans and sang in the Washington National Cathedral's Boys Choir from 5th to 7th grade, 1991 to 1994. During the spring semester of my 6th grade year, Thurgood Marshall passed away on Sunday, January 24, 1993. The Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys would sing at his funeral five days later. 23 years later the significance of his achievements and the impact of his work are still affecting and informing my own life.

So for this week's blog, and as part of Black History Month, I wanted to share this profile of him.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Springing Toward Equitable Transit Access

This week we're bringing you an update and call to action on our developing transportation advocacy. Please be sure to reference the end of this blog post for ways you can get involved in advocating for expanded transportation supports this budget season!

Last spring, DCAYA set our sights on ensuring adequate access to transportation supports for District youth, advocating for both adjustments to the popular Kids Ride Free program and additional funds to cover its expansion. Our efforts stemmed from concerns raised within our membership that in addition to long and sometimes dodgy commutes to school, some of the District’s most vulnerable students still couldn’t afford to get to and from their classes. Specifically, youth pursuing their education in alternative settings—both because many are older than 21 and because their classes are intentionally held during nontraditional hours—could not access free bus rides to school through Kids Ride Free.