WIOA Program Pt2

In Part One of this story, we spoke with Josh Umar, Youth and Business Resource Coordinator for The Highland Center in Monterey, about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, a federal program which offers assistance to jobseekers and employers. In Part Two, he explains more about eligibility requirements and the next steps for interested individuals and businesses.

“The goal of the program is to get people employed full-time in jobs such that they can make it on their own – that’s the main goal of the program.

“The reason the Center is getting involved is because we have spent so many years in the community developing relationships with businesses because of the Youth Employment Program. So, we have been, for a long time, trying to match job seekers up with jobsites that fit them, and kind of running that similar program, and so again, the partners at the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board and the wonderful folks at Valley Workforce in Staunton felt like this could be a natural fit for us to make sure that people can use these programs.

“I want to be very clear that this is not a “quick-fix” program, but it can be a very powerful arrow in the quiver, of both people and businesses, especially those businesses who want to take a sort of long term and strategic approach to their hiring, and want to have these programs and be prepared to participate in these programs, in case the right person comes along.

“What makes you eligible? For adults, you’re going to be someone who’s over 18, and typically, very low income. For instance, if you qualify for food stamps, also known as SNAP, you will pretty much automatically qualify for this WIOA program. But with the adults, it tends to be focused on income.

“The youth, especially the out of school youth, people between the ages of 18-24, who have dropped out of school for whatever reason – those people are going to be eligible if, for instance, they are very low income, on food stamps; if they have what the program calls a barrier: so if they are pregnant and parenting; if they are a foster child, or a former foster child; if they are an ex-offender; if they have a learning disability, or anything like that, this WIOA program is designed to help them.

“And, it can be a little bit tedious to go through the application and enrollment process, but once you do it, the benefits typically make it worth it. Because, again, it will help you in all sorts of ways with training and potential schooling , and really help you as a person be able to be self-sufficient and make a living.

“Businesses should feel free to contact me. Sometimes, because of the eligibility process, it can take a while to ramp things up, so if you feel like this is something that you’d like to have, again as an arrow in your quiver, go ahead and reach out, and I’m happy to come talk to you about details, and how the WIOA program can be good for your business, and all the benefits that it can offer, and, what we’ll do is we’ll lay the groundwork right now. Also, if you run across someone who you’re thinking about hiring for an on the job training, who you feel like might be eligible, based on what I outlined before – if you feel like you want to give someone a chance, and you know that they fall into those categories, a lot of times it’s worth reaching out to me, so that we can see if we can find ways to ease some of those training costs and training burdens on you.

“The Center is facilitating entrance into the WIOA programs for Highland and some of Bath as well, so businesses who are interested, or individuals, job seekers, who are interested in this program, feel free to reach out to me, and if I’m not the right person to get you in, I can get you in touch with the right person.

“My phone number is 540-468-1922. You can also get me on Facebook, is a good way to do it, and my e-mail is joshuaumar@htcnet.org.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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