Your chance to weigh in – WIOA

by Melanie Anderson   •  

In a rare display of bipartisanship, Congress last summer passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act with overwhelming majorities in both the House and the Senate. WIOA reauthorized the woefully outdated Workforce Investment Act that sends nearly $3 billion a year to states for workforce training initiatives.

Now you have a chance to help shape the rollout of this crucial program by giving feedback and recommendations to the federal government.

The reauthorized bill has the potential to help millions of young Americans embark on meaningful education and career pathways – a key goal of our plan to tackle unacceptably high levels of youth unemployment – We Got This.

WIOA aims to modernize and streamline job-training services for both adults and youth with a focus on encouraging innovation, incentivizing collaboration and strengthening programs.

Key pieces of WIOA go into affect on July 1, 2015.

It’s a complicated bill, with many moving parts. Now begins the process of figuring out how the changes will affect existing programs and benefit new ones. Across the country, state Departments of Labor, local workforce training boards, schools and nonprofits that can benefit from WIOA will have a chance to weigh in on the new bill and learn more about how they can access this funding and how the regulations will impact their programs.

Last week, the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education took a critical next step in the implementation process by releasing a series of Notices of Proposed Rulemaking for WIOA. The U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education are seeking comments on the regulations as well as providing answers to a series of questions as stakeholders continue to implement WIOA.

We hope you will weigh in.

Input from our coalition partners is critical to the success of WIOA implementation. Beginning on April 16, you can submit comments on the proposed regulations by visiting The comment period will close on June 15.

Background on WIOA

Opportunity Nation is particularly excited about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act because it will serve students who are at risk of dropping out, as well as young adults who have already left high school and are struggling to find work.

  • WIOA can help prevent the three million students who drop out each year from leaving school, and it expands the ages youth can be helped by this program from 16-21 to 16-24.
  • The bill encourages teens and young adults to re-enter and complete high school and to enroll in higher education and jobs training programs after they graduate or receive a GED. They are encouraged to progress through a “career pathway” aligned with local employer needs, and hands-on work experience and internships are promoted.
  • WIOA incentivizes pay-for-performance by allowing local workforce boards to reserve up to 10 percent of their funding to support pay-for-performance contracts for providers that deliver results, thus ensuring the programs are effective and accountable.
  • WIOA is also requiring states to think about their overall workforce development plans by breaking down stubborn silos that have built up because of bureaucratic red tape. WIOA promotes a comprehensive state job training strategy so all agencies are working together on a unified plan that identifies the needs of employers and job seekers.

Why it matters to Opportunity Nation’s Coalition

This reauthorized bill will benefit young Americans who are served by our coalition members, several of which are highlighted on our blog series WIOA in Action. These include the Workforce Youth Program in Cambridge, Mass.; the Healthcare Careers Alliance Program in Baltimore; and the Center for Employment Opportunities, which runs programs in multiple states.

We know that it is far too easy today for teens and young adults to fall off track. Many youth struggle to complete school and find good jobs that will lead to family-sustaining wages. Right now, 5.6 million young Americans ages 16 to 24 are not in school or working, and millions more are at risk for such disconnection. The youth employment rate is twice the national average.

These problems affect all of us in lost earnings, increased social services and wasted talent.

Stay tuned for more WIOA updates, and thanks for all you do to expand opportunity in your community.

Melanie Anderson Melanie Anderson is the Director of Government and External Affairs at Opportunity Nation. She directs the campaign’s government relations and policy efforts. Read Melanie's bio.

« Back to Blog

Stay Informed