By Mark Greenberg, Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families and William H. Bentley, Associate Commissioner, Family and Youth Services Bureau
Over five million 14-to-24-year-olds in the United States are out of school and not working. In many cases, they face the additional challenges of being low-income, homeless, in foster care, or involved in the justice system.
In response, today five federal agencies are coming together to offer a new opportunity to help communities overcome the obstacles they face in achieving better outcomes for these “disconnected youth,” as well as those at risk of becoming similarly disconnected from critical social institutions and supports.
For the next 100 days, state, tribes and municipalities can apply to become a Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies to achieve significant improvements in educational, employment, and other key outcomes for disconnected youth.
This P3 initiative, authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, enables up to 10 pilots to blend together funds that they already received for fiscal year 2014 from different discretionary programs administered by the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services and the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
P3 allows new flexibility under federal statutes, regulations and other requirements to overcome barriers and align program and reporting requirements, enabling applicants to propose the most effective ways to use these dollars. For example, a state, local or tribal government could propose to blend Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) youth formula funds and adult education funds to create a more integrated and effective job-driven training system that eliminates barriers to employment and ensures disconnected youth are equipped with the skills employers need. In addition, pilots will receive start-up grants of up to $700,000.
Government and community partners already invest considerable attention and resources to meet the needs of America’s disconnected youth. However, practitioners, youth advocates and program administrators on the front lines of service delivery have let us know that achieving powerful outcomes is still sometimes inhibited by programmatic and administrative obstacles, such as poor coordination and alignment across the multiple systems that serve youth and fragmented data systems that inhibit the flow of information. P3 responds directly to these challenges by offering broad new flexibility in exchange for better outcomes.
As an evidence-based initiative, P3 will prioritize applicants whose proposals draw on existing evidence of what works and show that they will collect and use reliable data for decision-making and accountability. Moreover, applicants that propose to rigorously evaluate at least a component of their pilot will receive competitive preference. In order to look across all pilot sites, the federal agencies will initiate a national P3 evaluation to examine implementation and build the base of knowledge of how to best serve disconnected youth.
In order to test this new authority in diverse environments across America, P3 includes priorities for applicants that propose to serve disconnected youth in rural communities, and applicants that propose to serve disconnected youth in tribal communities.
Applicants will have 100 days to submit their applications, and the federal agencies plan to announce the pilot sites in late spring 2015. Lead applicants must be a state, local or tribal government entity, represented by a chief executive. The lead applicant will submit the proposal on behalf of a partnership that involves all public and private organizations (including non-profit, business, industry and labor organizations) participating in the pilot. Although non-governmental entities are not eligible to be a lead applicant, they may still serve as key partners in designing and implementing pilots.
Please join a webinar to hear representatives from federal agencies present the details of the Notice Inviting Applications on the Performance Partnership Pilot, including application requirements and selection criteria, for potential applicants from 3:30-5 p.m., Monday, Dec. 1 (EST). Click here to register.
For more questions about the Performance Partnership Pilot, email firstname.lastname@example.org.