Today, the United States Senate passed the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), legislation that improves workforce development programs to prepare American workers for the jobs of tomorrow. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai"i) voted to pass the legislation and worked with Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) to make sure funding for youth, adult, dislocated, and Native Hawaiian workforce development programs in Hawai"i were included in the bill.
"Last summer, I visited the Hawai"i Job Corps Center in Waimanalo and saw firsthand how investing in job training programs can grow our local economy and help build a stronger middle class," Senator Schatz said. "Our bipartisan legislation will give American workers the skills they need to compete in our global economy and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow."
Under the WIOA, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native programs will have access to additional funding under a new competitive grant program to address their unique needs.
WIOA reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and WIA programs, such as Job Corps. In 2012, Hawai"i Job Corps sites received $13.7 million through WIA. In 2013, the Hawai"i Department of Labor received $7.1 million for state-wide workforce development programs. Hawai"i also received $2.7 million for Native Hawaiian adult and youth workforce development programs.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will:
Streamline the workforce development system and strengthen the connection between workforce development and dynamic sectors of our economy;
Support access to on-the-job education and career-focused workforce development opportunities; and
Enable businesses to identify in-demand skills and connect workers with the opportunities to build those skills