President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system.
WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In general, the Act takes effect on July 1, 2015, the first full program year after enactment, unless otherwise noted. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will issue further guidance on the timeframes for implementation of these changes and proposed regulations reflecting the changes in WIOA soon after enactment.
WIOA brings together, in strategic coordination, the core programs of Federal investment in skill development:
WIOA also authorizes programs for specific vulnerable populations, including the Job Corps, YouthBuild, Indian and Native Americans, and Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker programs as well as evaluation and multistate projects administered by DOL. In addition, WIOA authorizes other programs administered by DoED and the Department of Health and Human Services.
WIOA replaces the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and retains and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Requires States to Strategically Align Workforce Development Programs: WIOA ensures that employment and training services provided by the core programs are coordinated and complementary so that job seekers acquire skills and credentials that meet employers' needs.
Promotes Accountability and Transparency: WIOA ensures that Federal investments in employment and training programs are evidence-based and data-driven, and accountable to participants and tax-payers.
Fosters Regional Collaboration: WIOA promotes alignment of workforce development programs with regional economic development strategies to meet the needs of local and regional employers.
Improves the American Job Center (AJC) System: WIOA increases the quality and accessibility of services that job seekers and employers receive at their local AJCs.
Improves Services to Employers and Promotes Work-Based Training: WIOA contributes to economic growth and business expansion by ensuring the workforce system is job-driven, matching employers with skilled individuals.
Provides Access to High Quality training: WIOA helps job seekers acquire industry-recognized credentials for in-demand jobs.
Enhances Workforce Services for the Unemployed and Other Job Seekers: WIOA ensures that unemployed and other job seekers have access to high-quality workforce services.
Improves Services to Individuals with Disabilities: WIOA increases individuals with disabilities' access to high quality workforce services and prepares them for competitive integrated employment.
Makes Key Investments in Serving Disconnected Youth and Other Vulnerable Populations: WIOA prepares vulnerable youth and other job seekers for successful employment through increasing the use of proven service models services.
Enhances the Job Corps Program: WIOA increases the performance outcomes and quality of Job Corps.
Streamlines and Strengthens the Strategic Roles of Workforce Development Boards: WIOA makes state and local boards more agile and well-positioned to meet local and regional employers' workforce needs.
In general, the Act takes effect on July 1, 2015, the first full program year after enactment, unless otherwise noted. For example, the amendments to the Rehabilitation Act in title IV take effect on the date of enactment. The WIOA state unified and local plans and the WIOA performance accountability provisions take effect on July 1, 2016. DOL will issue further guidance on the timeframes for implementation of the provisions related to the programs administered by the Department.
DOL, in coordination with DoED and the Department of Health and Human Services, is working diligently to ensure that states and local areas, other grantees, and stakeholders are prepared for implementation of WIOA. Stakeholder input is critical to the successful implementation of WIOA. Opportunities to provide input in-person and virtually will be communicated through the following WIOA Resource Pages.
DOL will provide technical assistance, tools, and resources to States and local areas through the WIOA resource page (https://www.doleta.gov/WIOA), Webinars, and virtual and in-person discussions. DOL will issue proposed regulations reflecting the changes in WIOA soon after enactment. Please email questions regarding WIOA implementation to DOL.WIOA@dol.gov or the appropriate ETA regional office.
The Department of Education has established two WIOA Resource Pages: