What is important to a young adult today? Perhaps at the top of the list is a desire to be self-sufficient. They want to have a job that will enable them to have their own place, buy their own vehicle, pay their own bills, and enjoy a fun and eventful social life.

What is important to a young adult today? Perhaps at the top of the list is a desire to be self-sufficient. They want to have a job that will enable them to have their own place, buy their own vehicle, pay their own bills, and enjoy a fun and eventful social life. Young adults want to make strides toward a career path of their choice that will enable them to live the lifestyle they foresee in the future.

Many young adults are well on their way to achieving those goals. They are striving to get the best grades in school, researching and applying to colleges and working part-time. Others are gaining new skills at a full-time job or are enrolled in college or a trade school. These young adults are considering a variety of career paths, probably more than any other generation has faced, and whatever path they choose, they’re on track for a successful career.

Unfortunately, for other young adults that path to a bright future is not as evident. Some are struggling to find a job and are unsure where they see themselves in the not-too-distant future. Some have not yet obtained their high school diploma or GED, or have not received any education or training beyond high school and are not currently employed.

Young adults are a priority at the Southeast Colorado Workforce Center. We administer the landmark federal legislation called the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Designed to strengthen and improve our nation's public workforce system, WIOA takes a big step forward in helping our most vulnerable workers, among them out-of-school youth between the ages of 17 and 24 who are not moving forward on a path to success.

These young people are a priority population and eligible for the WIOA Program. The program has identified several challenges that make it more difficult to achieve their goals. Some youths

• Have parenting responsibilities or are pregnant
• Have a disability
• Have dropped out of high school
• Are in foster care or have aged out of foster care
• Have an offense in their background
• Are not proficient in Math or English
• Are homeless
• Are learning English as a second language

Under the WIOA Youth Program, young adults receive one-on-one services from a career coach. The Workforce Center assists young adults in creating a résumé to market their skills. They may qualify for a paid work experience that will open the door to a full- or part-time job. They may gain valuable skills and work experience that will help advance their career goals. On-the-job training is also available, or they may qualify for short-term training including assistance with tuition, books, testing fees and training-related expenses, work clothing, or minimal assistance with transportation costs.

Young adults are encouraged to utilize their local Workforce Center and build their confidence with the support and assistance available from a friendly and helpful staff. With each positive step a young adult takes, it leads them down their road to success.

The Southeast Colorado Workforce Center’s WIOA Youth Program serves youth between the ages of 17 and 24 in Otero, Crowley and Bent County. Please contact the Southeast Colorado Workforce Center at 308 Santa Fe Avenue in La Junta, or call (719) 383-3191 to ask about the WIOA Youth Program.