After 10 years of continuing resolutions on the Workforce Investment Act, it finally looks like reauthorization is going to happen! 

They said that the devil is in the details–Well, the full text of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is 811 pages worth of details! I’m just excited to see that a focus has been placed on workforce development in Washington. The bipartisan, bicameral deal should be voted on in June and enacted in 2015. 

The following summary was prepared by the US Conference of Mayors and highlights the significant changes:

 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Bill Details:
Overall, the bill maintains local control and the basic structure of the local workforce system but adds provisions to modernize and improve efficiencies.  

The funding formulas follow current law, but there will be a 90% hold harmless provision for adult and youth programs to help protect against wide variations in annual funding levels due to the formula. 

The bill also provides for 100% transferability between local adult and dislocated worker programs to ensure that local needs are being met. There is also a stronger emphasis on regional planning and service, career pathways, consistent reporting, and the effective use of technology as a part of WIOA business services.

Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) will still be business-led, but will shrink in size to 33 required partners at the State WIB and 19 on the Local WIB. The bill requires a unified state plan and creates common performance measures across all programs serving adults and common performance measures across all programs serving youth.

The sequence of service requirements has also been eliminated and 15 workforce programs have been consolidated.  

 Consolidated programs include:

  • WIA Veterans Workforce Investment Program
  • WIA Workforce Innovation Fund
  • WIA Incentive Grants
  • WIA Pilots and Demonstration Projects
  • Youth Opportunity Grants
  • 21st Century Workforce Commission
  • National Institute for Literacy
  • Health Care Cap Coverage for Trade Adjustment Assistance
  • Community-Based Job Training Grants
  • Green Jobs Act
  • Projects with Industry under Rehabilitation Act Amendments
  • Recreation Programs under Rehabilitation Act Amendments
  • In-service Training under Rehabilitation Act Amendments
  • Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Program under Rehabilitation Act Amendments
  • Grants to States for Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Individuals under the 1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act

In addition to strengthening the role of industry-recognized credentials and sector strategies, the measure places an emphasis on using work-based training options, customized training, and incumbent worker training.

Other General Funding Provisions
The State set-aside is restored to 15%; 75% of youth funding must be used to serve out-of-school youth; Under the Adult Education Title, the current provision requiring 82.5% of funds be directed to local adult education providers is maintained; and States may increase funding for corrections education up to 20%.
WIOA, which is now an amendment to the SKILLS Act, has been presented to the full Senate for review, and it is expected that the Senate will vote on the bill in June. As soon as it passes in the Senate, the bill will go back to the House for approval, where it is expected to pass without issue. Once signed into law, WIOA will go into effect in 2015.

 It is an exciting time in the workforce development world! More details to follow upon passage! 

~Marla W. Rye, President

Workforce Essentials, Inc.