HHS, DOL and HUD Issue Joint Letter Encouraging Summer Youth Employment Efforts

Dear Colleague Letter

Publication Date: April 2, 2014

Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Labor logo

United States
Department of Health
and Human Services

United States
Department of Housing
and Urban Development

United States
Department of Labor


April 2, 2014


Dear Colleague:

Once again, as we look forward to the summer, we know many young people will be searching for summer employment.  On September 26, 2013, the President celebrated the success of his Youth Jobs + campaign and hosted mayors, business owners, youth, and non-profit leaders who led and participated in summer and year-round youth jobs initiatives at the local level.  This effort focuses on learn and earn opportunities, life skills, and work skills for youth, and aims to increase youth employment and educational attainment.  You can learn more about the community champions for this effort at: http://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/economy/jobs/youthjobs Visit disclaimer page .

Building off of last year’s success, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) share the goal of providing comprehensive services to youth by connecting them to all of the available resources within their community.  This partnership encourages our network of state and local youth service and workforce development providers along with Public Housing Agencies to develop summer jobs programs for needy and at-risk youth that provide employment, educational experiences, and essential skills such as financial literacy and time management.  We strongly encourage programs to co-enroll youth in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and applicable Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs so that participants in TANF-funded subsidized employment opportunities can benefit from additional services such as occupational skills training and other relevant services.

Human services agencies have the potential to expand job opportunities for low-income youth by allocating TANF resources to summer youth employment programs and supportive services such as job shadowing and mentoring.  Coordination with Community Action Agencies funded under the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) can strengthen local summer jobs efforts.  Local governments and states may use their funding from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for job training and mentoring programs for youth.

State and local TANF agencies throughout America play a crucial role in creating or expanding subsidized youth employment programs that operate during the summer months.  TANF agencies enter into partnerships with state and local workforce organizations in their communities, allowing for the combination of resources and effective execution of large jobs programs in a short period of time.

Over the last several summers, we have witnessed the benefits that summer youth employment programs can bring to a community: youth were connected to the labor force; community members earned needed income, and in turn, supported local economies; and businesses and non-profit organizations were provided with the resources needed to hire employees.  Research shows that summer employment programs help youth build new and valuable skills.[i]  One study of summer jobs programs funded by WIA and TANF found that nearly 75 percent of youth participants improved their work readiness skills.[ii]  Another study found that participants in a summer youth employment program were less likely than their peers to engage in risky behaviors, including drug and alcohol use and violence.[iii]  A study of subsidized employment programs found that they had a significant impact on participants’ employment and earnings, even after the programs ended.[iv]

States, Native American tribes, and territories continue to have the opportunity to use federal TANF and state Maintenance-Of-Effort (MOE) funds for the creation and expansion of subsidized summer employment programs and additional activities such as job shadowing and mentoring for low-income youth.  We provided additional guidance on allowable expenditures associated with summer employment programs including employer supervision and training costs that can be claimed as third-party MOE.  That guidance can be found at: /programs/ofa/resource/recovery/tanf-faq.

In addition, we encourage partnership efforts with state CSBG offices and local CSBG-eligible entities to identify opportunities that may exist at the state and local levels for supporting and integrating subsidized employment efforts with life and work skills programs provided by local nonprofit agencies, such as Community Action Agencies.  Where appropriate, based on identified community needs, CSBG-eligible entities may support employment opportunities directly or may offer additional supports for youth in the TANF and applicable WIA programs.  For example, CSBG participants also in TANF-funded subsidized employment opportunities can benefit from other relevant services such as financial education, mentorship, and linkage to other supportive services.

Equally as important, we encourage strong partnerships with state and local child welfare agencies.  These agencies administer the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) which is a source of dedicated child welfare funding to help current and former foster care youth obtain education, employment, financial management, and other skills.  The program is intended to serve youth who are likely to remain in foster care until age 18, youth who, after attaining 16 years of age, have left foster care for kinship guardianship or adoption, and young adults ages 18-21 who have "aged out" of the foster care system.  In fiscal year 2012, over 23,000 youth left foster care without a permanent home.[v]  Leveraging cross-agency partnerships to intervene earlier and more effectively can mitigate poor outcomes for these youth.  For example, WIA Youth formula funds can be used to support foster youth.  An example of a mutually beneficial partnership would be linking CFCIP programs with educational and employment-focused programs that have been shown to produce improved outcomes for at-risk youth such as Job Corps or JOBSTART.[vi]

Please see the Information Memorandum No. TANF-ACF-IM-2012-01, available on the Office of Family Assistance web site at: /programs/ofa/resource/policy/im-ofa/2012/im20..., for additional guidance on how to target and structure your programming to include subsidized employment and related services.

Additionally, for guidance on how to partner with the CSBG state offices and local CSBG eligible entities, the CSBG Information Memorandum No. 129 can be found on the Office of Community Services web site at: /programs/ocs/resource/csbg-information-memora....

We appreciate all that you do to help the vulnerable children and families in your states.  If you have any questions or need further information about this initiative, we offer the following resources: (1) for the TANF program, please contact the Regional Office TANF Program Manager in your area; (2) for information on the eligible uses of CDBG funds, please contact the Community Planning and Development division of your local HUD field office; and (3) for questions about workforce training for youth, please e-mail DOL’s Division of Youth Services at youth.services@dol.gov.


Mark H. Greenberg
Acting Assistant Secretary
    for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health
    and Human Services 

Mark Johnston
Deputy Assistant Secretary
    for Special Needs
U.S. Department of Housing
    and Urban Development

Eric M. Seleznow
Acting Assistant Secretary
Employment and Training
U.S. Department of Labor


[i]Rosenberg, L., Angus, M., Pickens, C., and Derr, M., Using TANF Funds to Support Subsidized Youth Employment: The 2010 Summer Youth Employment Initiative, Mathematica Policy Research, 2011. http://wdr.doleta.gov/research/FullText_Documents/ETAOP_2012_02.pdf Visit disclaimer page

[ii]Bellotti, J., Rosenberg, L., Sattar, S., Mraz Esposito, A., and Ziegler, J., Reinvesting in America’s Youth: Lessons from the 2009 Recovery Act Summer Youth Employment Initiative, Mathematica Policy Research, 2010.  http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/our-publications-and-findings/publicat... Visit disclaimer page

[iii]Sum, A., Trubskyy, M., and McHugh, W., The Summer Employment Experiences and the Personal/Social Behaviors of Youth Violence Prevention Employment Program Participants and Those of a Comparison Group, Center for Labor Market Studies, 2013.  http://skillworks.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/clms-research-paper.pdf Visit disclaimer page

[iv] Roder, A. and Elliot, M., Stimulating Opportunity: An Evaluation of ARRA-Funded Subsidized Employment Programs, Economic Mobility Corporation, 2013.  http://www.economicmobilitycorp.org/uploads/stimulating-opportunity-f... Visit disclaimer page

[v]Preliminary estimates for FY 2012: The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report #20, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, Children’s Bureau, 2013.  /programs/cb/resource/afcars-report-20

[vi]Koball, H., et al., Synthesis of Research and Resources to Support At- Risk Youth, OPRE Report # OPRE 2011-22, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 2011.  /sites/default/files/documents/opre/synthesis_youth.pdf


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