Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act signed into law

August 27, 2014

President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.

Congress passed the act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system.

The enactment of WIOA provides opportunity for reforms to ensure the American Job Center system is job-driven, responding to the needs of employers and preparing workers for jobs that are available now and in the future.

WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In general, the act takes effect on July 1, 2015, the first full program year after enactment, unless otherwise noted. The U.S. Dept. of Labor (DOL) will issue further guidance on the timeframes for implementation of these changes and proposed regulations reflecting the changes in WIOA soon after enactment.

WIOA requires states to produce one strategic plan on how they will provide training, employment services, adult education, and vocational rehabilitation through a coordinated, comprehensive system. It is intended to reduce the number of required members on state and local workforce boards; strengthen alignment between local workforce areas, labor markets, and economic development regions; and strengthen evaluation and data reporting requirements.

Input from the state and local workforce leaders and practitioners, as well as other stakeholders, is critical to the success of WIOA implementation. DOL, in collaboration with the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, will provide workforce system partners and stakeholders with opportunities to provide input in person and virtually throughout the implementation period.