With the strong support of U.S. Senator Susan Collins, today the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), job training legislation that would replace the Workforce Investment Act with targeted reforms that aim to improve services for unemployed and underemployed workers.
"Despite our nation's unemployment rate remaining unacceptably high, job openings in high-growth industries remain unfulfilled. This bill would streamline federal job training programs and narrow the "skills gap' by helping those seeking work to learn the skills that are required for the jobs that are available," Senator Collins said. "It would reform and improve programs that I have long supported while eliminating others that are ineffective or duplicative, establish new public-private partnerships, and put in place new tough financial responsibility requirements at the Department of Labor to protect effective programs like Job Corps and YouthBuild. The bill would also set standard performance measurements for all programs, with a focus on employment outcomes, employer satisfaction, and increased accountability for taxpayer dollars."
A summary of the legislation can be found below:
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act would improve the workforce development system by:
Eliminating 15 existing duplicative programs;
Creating nimbler and more strategic state and local workforce development boards;
Strengthening program evaluations;
Streamlining services and providing additional program flexibilities so local areas can better meet the unique needs of individuals;
Empowering local boards to tailor services to their region's employment and workforce needs; and
Supporting access to real-world education and workforce development opportunities.
WIOA would achieve better coordination by:
Better aligning workforce development programs with economic development and education initiatives;
Enabling businesses to identify in-demand skills and connecting workers with the opportunities to build those skills; and
Ensuring individuals with disabilities have the skills necessary to be successful in businesses that provide competitive, integrated employment.
And it would improve outreach to disconnected youth by:
Focusing youth program services on out-of-school youth, high school dropout recovery efforts, and attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials; and
Providing youth with disabilities the services and support they need to be successful in competitive, integrated employment.