WIOA Corner: Entrepreneurial Training


Unlike WIA, WIOA provides the opportunity for local workforce systems to support youth and adults gain the entrepreneurial skills necessary to engage in work as an entrepreneur. Helping youth understand and gain entrepreneurial skills is a NEW program element under WIOA, and like other training, entrepreneurial skills training should align with a youth’s individual service strategy. Additionally, WIOA recognizes that entrepreneurship can assist low income individuals access a meaningful career pathway. Under Title II in §463.36, the Feds clarify the workforce training component of integrated education and training by referencing the training services listed in section 134(c)(3)(D) of the Act, including “entrepreneurial training.”

In reviewing section 681.560 of the final rule, the feds define entrepreneurial skills training and how is it taught?

“Entrepreneurial skills training provides the basics of starting and operating a small business.

(a) Such training must develop the skills associated with entrepreneurship. Such skills may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  1. Take initiative;

  2. Creatively seek out and identify business opportunities;

  3. Develop budgets and forecast resource needs;

  4. Understand various options for acquiring capital and the trade-offs associated with each option; and

  5. Communicate effectively and market oneself and one’s ideas.

(b) Approaches to teaching youth entrepreneurial skills include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Entrepreneurship education that provides an introduction to the values and basics of starting and running a business. Entrepreneurship education programs often guide youth through the development of a business plan and also may include simulations of business start-up and operation.

  2. Enterprise development which provides supports and services that incubate and help youth develop their own businesses. Enterprise development programs go beyond entrepreneurship education by helping youth access small loans or grants that are needed to begin business operation and by providing more individualized attention to the development of viable business ideas.

  3. Experiential programs that provide youth with experience in the day-to-day operation of a business. These programs may involve the development of a youth-run business that young people participating in the program work in and manage. Or, they may facilitate placement in apprentice or internship positions with adult entrepreneurs in the community”

The Feds recognize that more guidance is necessary, especially as it relates to capturing performance (considering income and wage gains are not often reflected early in an entrepreneur’s career), and plan to issue additional guidance in the future.


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