WIOA Clears House, Moves to President’s Desk

July 17, 2014

Editor’s Note: This post includes an excerpt from the National Skills Coalition’s July 10, 2014 blog post, “WIOA Goes to President’s Desk.”

On July 10, 2014, the House passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bipartisan, bicameral legislation reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) on a bipartisan basis, 415-6. The bill focuses on streamlining programs, reporting and administration. The bill maintains the existing basic structure of the Workforce Investment Act; however, the bill amends current law in a number of ways.

Key changes include:

  • Workforce Investment: Boards maintain the current structure of state and local workforce boards, continuing to require a business majority and chair.
  • State and local plans: Requires a single, unified State plan. Local plans must be aligned to the strategy described in the State plan, and must describe how services provided at the local level will be aligned to regional labor market needs
  •  Performance measures: Creates a single set of common measures for adults. Adult measures include: unsubsidized employment; median earnings; receipt of a secondary diploma or recognized postsecondary credential; measurable skills gains toward a credential or employment; and employer engagement.
  •  Job Centers: Require local boards to assess the “effectiveness, physical and programmatic accessibility, and continuous improvement” of Job Centers at least every three years. The bill maintains current requirements for mandatory one-stop partners to reach a voluntary agreement to fund infrastructure costs.
  • Employment and Training Activities: Elimination of the original “sequence of services,” and combines core and intensive services into a new “career services” category. The bill includes use of best practices including: career pathways; industry or sector partnership (local WBBs are required to “convene, use, or implement” sector partnerships); and an increased focus on the attainment of industry-recognized certificates and credentials linked to in-demand occupations.
  • Funding levels: Specifies funding levels for each fiscal year (FY) 2015 through 2020 for the WIA Youth, Adult, and Dislocated Worker programs. The programs will be funded at post-sequester levels. Funding levels are increased each year.

 

The legislation, authored by Senators Harkin, Alexander, Murray, and Isakson and Representatives Kline, Miller, Foxx, and Hinojosa, was previously approved overwhelmingly by the Senate, 95-3. It now moves to the President’s desk for his signature.

 

Photo credit: IMCreator.com