The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act


In a rare display of bipartisan agreement, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in the summer of 2014.

WIOA modernizes and streamlines the woefully outdated Workforce Investment Act, which had been due for reauthorization since 2003. This nearly $3 billion program funds state and local workforce initiatives and provides a comprehensive menu of job training services for adults and youth.

Before WIOA is fully implemented, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education have been seeking feedback on how to best put WIOA into action. Learn why this was an important step from our Director of Government Affairs, Melanie Anderson.

During the fall of 2015, the federal government has been collecting information about performance measures and state planning. The National Skills Commission provides helpful information to adult education and career and tech practitioners about how states can use the WIOA planning period to align human capital investments that will produce better outcomes for young adults and displaced workers and for local economies. Explore the commission’s webinars and fact sheets.

President Obama signed WIOA into law on July 22, and it stands as one of the biggest legislative accomplishments of the 113th Congress. We applaud the spirit of bipartisan cooperation and compromise that made this achievement possible and we thank our dynamic Coalition – and many other workforce, business and youth advocates – for their cross-sector help in reauthorizing this crucial piece of legislation.  

Our team worked closely with both Democrats and Republicans during the long process of reauthorizing WIA, providing data and recommendations to Congressional staff and working as thought partners with Congressional leaders. In addition to promoting reauthorization through blogs, email blasts and social media campaigns, we held briefing calls with our Coalition – including one with a key staffer – to keep our network apprised of progress and to urge them to reach out to elected officials in support of modernizing and improving this critical job skills program.

A critical component of Opportunity Nation’s call to action to restore the American Dream, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act encourages greater collaboration among employers, high schools and community colleges, and promotes innovative pay-for-performance models to ensure that funds are being spent effectively and efficiently.

Reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act is a great step forward for teens and young adults who are not currently connected to school or work, or who are at risk for becoming disconnected. Among other improvements, it expands the ages youth are eligible for services from 16-21 to 16-24 and encourages students who have dropped out to return to school and pursue post-secondary education and training.

Learn more about the importance of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and Opportunity Nation’s advocacy:

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