Strengthen, Incentivize, Prioritize: Workforce Innovation & Opportunity•
As we’ve been telling you over the past two weeks, Opportunity Nation is thrilled that a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives announced they had reached a deal to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Learn more about the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act from our Opportunity Nation Fact Sheet and the proposals that we support.
Opportunity Nation will be hosting another briefing call for Coalition members over the next few weeks with congressional staff and providing additional resources. If you are not already a member of the Opportunity Nation Coalition, sign up here.
WIA is a $3 billion program that funds state and local workforce initiatives and provides a comprehensive menu of job training services for adults and youth. WIA was last updated in 1998 and has been stuck in political gridlock since the law came up for reauthorization in 2003.
If passed by the Senate and House, Opportunity Nation is particularly excited that the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) would:
- Strengthen youth services by focusing on both at-risk students and those who have dropped out
- Prioritize career pathways with a focus on work-based learning opportunities designed to build stronger connections between job training programs and local employer needs
- Incentivize pay-for-performance by allowing local workforce boards to reserve up to 10 percent of their funding to support pay-for-performance contracts
- Support the development of alternative, evidence-based programs that encourage youth to:
- Re-enter and complete secondary education
- Enroll in postsecondary education and advanced training
- Progress through a career pathway
- Enter into employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency
- Promote a more strategic state job training strategy by streamlining planning reporting so all agencies are working together on a unified plan
- Support partnerships by organizing key stakeholders in an industry cluster that focuses on shared goals and human resources needs of the cluster
- Create a set of common performance metrics across individual programs
The House passed its version of WIA reauthorization this last Spring and the Senate HELP Committee passed a version last Summer. The bipartisan compromise is an attempt to reach middle ground between those two both bills. The Senate is expected to take up the bipartisan compromise when they return from the Memorial Day recess with the House following immediately after.