A Youth Council is a team of community leaders that care about young adults. Youth Councils provide an opportunity for the local community to create, through a common vision, a system of activities and services that will enable youth to be successful in education and the workplace, and to become leaders in their community. Twenty-three Youth Councils across North Carolina are working to establish local youth development systems and to make youth policy recommendations to local Workforce Development Boards.
The membership of the Youth Council must include individuals who represent:
- The local Workforce Development Board and who have special interest or expertise in youth policy;
- Service agencies, such as juvenile justice and local law enforcement agencies;
- Local public housing authorities;
- Parents of eligible youth seeking assistance under Workforce Investment Act (WIA);
- Organizations that have experience relating to youth activities;
- Job Corps Centers, if a Center is located in the Local Area; and
- Other individuals, including former participants.
Many Youth Councils include young adults as well as representatives from business and education. The input of youth is a vital component in the development of a system that most directly affects them. Ongoing efforts ensure their active participation, as well as that of parents.
The Youth Council identifies both duplication and gaps in the services and activities offered to area youth, works to address the needs of the youth population as a whole, and emphasizes the importance of continuity of service in appropriately meeting the complex needs of youth who are enrolled in school or who have graduated, as well as those who have dropped out of high school.
The Youth Council is actively engaged in planning and managing Workforce Investment Act (WIA) youth funds received in their Local Area, as well as:
- Building community awareness and demonstrating leadership by addressing key development, education and employment issues affecting youth;
- Facilitating the coordination of youth activities in the community;
- Influencing and leveraging other community youth funds and services; and
- Allowing for and encouraging input from youth is a vital component in the development of a system that most directly affects them.