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How Young People Can Benefit from One-Stop Centers

September 28, 2002 Publication
Fact Sheets

How Young People Can Benefit from One-Stop Centers

Are you looking for a job for the summer or year round? Is everyone asking you what you are going to do after high school? Don’t know what to tell them or where to start? Well, there is a new resource to help you get started: One Stop Centers. At One Stop Centers you will find the tools you need to build your future and enter the world of work. They offer resources and assistance to help in each stage of your road to work, including researching careers, completing resumes and applications, and practicing for interviews. This Information Brief familiarizes you with, and prepares you for, your first visit to a One Stop Center. It explains the history of One Stop Centers, who can use a Center, the services provided, and how you can get the most out of a Center.

What Is the Workforce Investment Act and What Does it Have to Do with Me?

Since the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) became law in 1998, one of its main goals has been to bring job related services under one roof in places called One Stop Centers. These Centers gather together job information and resources in one place and make them available to everyone in a simple and convenient manner.

Because of WIA, more people find out about and are linked to services they need without going to more than one place. WIA also ensures that all people are able to access Center services. Centers, according to the law, must work in ways that empower people with enough information to make good choices about their work and future job opportunities. Finally, WIA emphasizes youth. Youth activities available under WIA include tutoring and instruction leading to completion of high school, summer employment opportunities, paid and unpaid work experiences such as internships and job shadowing, leadership development activities, and mentoring. WIA specifically discusses how youth can qualify for services and what services are available to them. Center staff are familiar with jobs and opportunities in the community. They can help you not only find a job but also help you find appropriate training, return to school, develop job seeking skills, and learn about yourself and your interests.

What can One-Stops Do for Me?

One-Stop Centers can provide you with valuable resources that will assist you in:

  • obtaining information about careers in your local community and skills required for a wide variety of occupations
  • developing important work skills such as conducting job searches, writing resumes,preparing for interviews;
  • accessing information and opportunities for work-based experience through internships, summer work programs, apprenticeships and mentoring;
  • identifying community resources that can help you to plan and meet your transition goals.

Typically there are many different types of community based organizations and services located at or connected to One Stop Centers. Center staff have information about these and other resources in your community and can refer you to them as needed. Centers usually have resources such as computers, job listings, materials about education and training programs, and lots of information about different careers. Most Centers also provide a range of services, from what they call “core” services, to actual training. (See chart) The type of service you receive depends on what you qualify for and what the Center offers.

Am I Eligible to Use One Stop Centers?

Anyone 18 years of age and older is eligible for core services; however, some Centers have special programs for youth 14 years of age and older who meet certain eligibility criteria. If they do not have special programs or you do not
meet the eligibility criteria, you can still use the basic resources offered by the One Stop, even if you already receive services from another agency or your school. You are eligible for core services if you are:

  • 14-21 and are part of a group that has traditionally faced serious barriers to being employed, such as living in low-income circumstances or having a disability;
  • 18 or older and have a hard time getting a job and/or keeping one;
  • Struggling with dropping out of school or have been homeless, a runaway, in foster care, or have a child;
  • A pregnant mother or a parent;
  • An offender; or
  • In need of help completing an educational program or in securing and holding a job.

One Stop Centers Services

The chart describes the three levels of service provided at One Stop Centers. Core services may be the most useful to you. The resource library, online databanks and workshops give you a chance to prepare for work, find out more about what is out there, in terms of work, and what you may be interested in pursuing.

Finding a One Stop Center

There are centers in major population areas in every State. If there is more than one nearby, you can choose the one you want to use. Contact each Center and find out which one offers the services most appropriate for you. Sometimes locating Centers can be challenging. In many states and cities, these Centers have different names; most of them are not called One-Stop Centers. Here are three of the best and fastest ways to find the One Stop closest to you:

  1. Contact America’s Service Locator from the U.S. Department of Labor, at 877-872-5627 (toll free) or at their web site
  2. Call your State Department of Labor
  3. Ask your guidance counselor, special education coordinator, or transition coordinator at school.

Visiting a One Stop Center

Once you know which Center to use, you need to prepare for your first visit. Below are two lists of things you can do to help this initial visit go smoothly.

Three Levels of Service
Descriptions Examples
Core Services
Available to everyone for free.
Most of these services are self-directed and you decide what to use and how to use them.
However, help is available from staff.
  • Access to job banks and listings of jobs
  • Internet access
  • Access to computers and other tools available in the resource library
  • Workshops that focus on topics such as: job seeking skills, interviewing techniques, resume development
  • Work skills and interest inventories
Intensive Services
Available to people unable to become employed by using the core services, or who meet other specific eligibility for extended services.
Access to more services and special programs and training.
  • Individual and group training sessions
  • Individualized job counseling and one-on-one assistance
  • Tutoring and study skills
  • Case management
  • Intensive career counseling
Services offered to people who have not become successfully employed through core or intensive services and are eligible. May use Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) to choose training services from any approved organization.
  • Literacy or academic assistance
  • Custom training for a specific employer
  • Technical training programs (for example medical assistant or data processor)


Before you go

It’s a good idea to call a Center before your first visit and ask the following questions

  • What services are available to me and how are they provided?
  • What documents or information do I need to bring with me to the Center?
  • How do I start the process? Is there a group orientation?
  • Do I make an appointment to meet with a staff person?
  • Do I walk in and help myself?
  • Is someone available to assist me with self-directed activities, if needed?

Ask about accommodations. If you have a disability and you require any accommodations, you will need to speak up. Tell them the type of assistance you will need at your first visit. It will help if you have an idea about what accommodations help you succeed in a school setting.

  • Do you use a sign language interpreter?
  • Do you need written information in Braille, large print or a different alternative format?
  • Do you need help using equipment?
  • Do you need help filling out forms?
  • Do you use special equipment or assistive technology?

Note about disclosure:

If you have a disability, you are not obligated to disclose that you have one; however, if you will need accommodations, you will have to disclose that you have a disability in order to receive your requested accommodations. Also, disclosing may open the door to other services that could be useful to you. The decision to disclose is yours. Gather any papers or documents you are told to bring. If you need help doing this, ask someone in your family or at school to help you put things in order.

When you get there:

You may be asked to register, fill out some papers, or even enter some information into a computer. This information will help staff identify the best services for you. A question about disability may be included in the registration form. Remember that you are not obligated to disclose that you have a disability. Ask if you can meet with a staff person to develop a plan for using the Center’s services tailored to your goals and needs. This will help you make the best use of services and opportunities. If you have a transition plan at school, determine how the opportunities at the Center can help you fulfill your transition plan goals Use the resources and technology available at the Center, such as computers and fax machines, to search for job information, type and send letters or put together your resume. If you don’t know how to use a computer, or have never used the Internet, ask if they offer workshops on how to use the computer or ask a staff member for help.

NOTE: Find out if there are fees for sending faxes, making photocopies, accessing the internet, or utilizing other resources before you use them.

Participate in any activities that might help you achieve your goals, and try new things. Ask about workshops and when they are offered. The Center may offer workshops on a variety of topics, such as how to write a resume or job seeking skills.

Remember to be open and up front about what your goals are, what your interests are, and/or what you want to try – you are the best person to decide about what you want to do.

Follow-through. If you sign up for a workshop, be sure to attend. If you have a worksite experience scheduled, make sure that you go. Finish your activities and be responsible for what you need to do.

One Last Thing

One Stop Centers provide opportunities for you to explore your options and enhance your job skills. All you have to do is find out what a Center near you has to offer and get started using its services. A One Stop Center is the best place for you to get started on the Road to Work!

© 2023 NCWD/Youth