Office of Systems Planning

Urban Youth Corps (UYC) Program

Program manager

Stacy Lentsch
Phone: 515-239-1686

*NOTE: It is anticipated that $80,000 will be available for this year's program; however, the allocation has not yet been finalized by the Iowa Transportation Commission. In anticipation that this award does become final in January 2018 and in order to allow successful applicants to begin projects on time during the project period, applications will be due Feb. 2, 2018.



For more information, see Federal Highway Administration's Q&A for Youth Services and Conservation Corps.
  • Offering meaningful, full-time work for individuals between the ages of 16 and 25 in a transportation setting.
  • Give participants a mix of work experience, basic and life skills, education, training and support services.
  • Provide participants with the opportunity to develop citizenship values and skills through service to their communities and the United States.

Eligible Activities

For more information, see FHWA's Title 23 United States Code.
  • Pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
  • Safe routes for non-drivers projects and systems.
  • Conversion and use of abandoned railway corridors including for pedestrian and bicycle trails.
  • Construction of turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas.
  • Community improvement activities including:
    • Inventory, control or removal of outdoor advertising.
    • Historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities.
    • Vegetation management practices in transportation rights-of-way to improve safety, prevent against invasive species and provide erosion control.
  • Environmental mitigation activities.
  • Projects eligible under Safe Routes to Schools, Transportation Alternatives, and Federal Recreational Trails.

Applicants are encouraged to be creative and innovative in their program design.

Ineligible Activities:

  • Safety and educational activities for pedestrian and bicycle.
  • Acquisition of scenic easements and scenic or historic sites.
  • Scenic or historic highway programs (including visitor and welcome centers).
  • Historic preservation as an independent activity unrelated to historic transportation facilities.
  • Operation of historic transportation facilities.
  • Archeological planning and research undertaken for proactive planning.
  • Transportation museums.


Participating agencies

Nonprofit private and public agencies are chosen through an application process. The application form must be submitted by close of business Feb. 2, 2018.

Youth served

To be eligible to participate in the Urban Youth Corps, an applicant must be at least 16 years of age but no older than 25 years of age at time of application. Program sponsors are encouraged to seek youth who are unemployed, possess a minimum level of work skills, and face specific barriers to employment. Sponsors must identify the specific employment barriers that their program will address.

Grant awards

A total of $80,000 in federal funds will be available. These funds may be awarded to one or more applicants at the discretion of Iowa DOT and must be matched with local cash and/or in-kind contributions equaling 20 percent of the total budget.

Project period

Projects will be funded for all or part of a five-month period beginning each year on May 1 and ending Sept. 30.

Selection system

Three persons designated by the Iowa Department of Transportation's director will independently score each application using a 100-point system. The scores are averaged and the applications receiving the highest scores are recommended for funding.

The program has two primary objectives upon which the scoring will be based.

  • To provide transportation-related employment and training opportunities to youth between the ages of 16 and 25.
  • To accomplish meaningful and productive improvements to transportation facilities.


Youth safety

Under the Iowa Child Labor Law, Iowa Code 92, minors under the age of 18 are prohibited from working in certain occupations, performing certain duties and from using certain equipment.

Local matching requirement

Twenty percent of the total project costs must be provided from local sources. Matching funds can consist of cash and/or in-kind contributions for which a value can be documented. For information on in-kind contributions, please read Iowa DOT's Instructional Memorandum 3.050.

Program requirements

  • This is a reimbursement program. All contracting agencies must submit supporting documentation (receipts) of expenditures to the Iowa DOT for reimbursement eligibility and to confirm amount expended. Examples of relevant receipts include wage and benefit summaries for employees, tool and safety supplies, materials, food (with overnight stay), lodging, transportation costs, as well as anything else relevant to the UYC Program in which the agency wishes to be considered for reimbursement. Any costs that will be reimbursed with grant funds cannot be incurred before receiving federal authorization.
    * The Iowa DOT requires that cancelled checks need to be submitted with the receipts to show verification of the payment.
  • When recruiting participants, sponsors must make a good faith effort to ensure that all eligible persons have equal opportunity to apply for positions available.
  • Participants must be paid at least the prevailing minimum wage per hour for a maximum of 40 hours per week.
  • Participants must be provided a minimum of five hours per week for training and education in job search techniques, resume writing, life skills, work ethic, etc. These five hours are part of the 40-hour weekly maximum.
  • Contracting agencies assume responsibility for any tort claim related to their project and must maintain workers’ compensation and liability insurance covering their operations.
  • Participants are not eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.
  • Participants who are no longer enrolled in school and have not graduated from high school should be strongly encouraged to enroll in and attend GED classes.
  • Applicants must provide participants with appropriate supportive services designed to facilitate their entry into the workforce. Such services may include, but not be limited to, individual counseling, diagnostic services, job search techniques and job retention skills.
  • Project locations must be owned by the applicant.

Allowable costs

  • Participant wages must be at or above the minimum wage level for an average of 40 hours per week.
  • Participant fringe benefits include FICA, workers’ compensation insurance and liability insurance.
  • UYC staff pay and fringe benefits include FICA, workers’ compensation insurance, IPERS, health and life insurance, and other benefits as provided by the contracting agency. (Full-time sponsor staff not allowed).
  • Work-related travel.
  • Equipment items necessary for the completion of work projects.
  • Supplies, including safety equipment.
  • Educational costs.
  • Other direct costs, including fiscal administration and other costs deemed necessary for the efficient operation of the program.

Program reporting

Contracting agencies may submit monthly reimbursement claims, but must submit a final reimbursement claim and final report. These forms can be found under the forms section on this web page.

A field inspection will be conducted by the Iowa DOT approximately halfway through the program period. The participants work will be reviewed, as well as UYC documents.

A final audit will be performed by the Iowa DOT before final payment will be released. The audit will include a review of all submitted documents and a field review for some of the projects that have been completed.