Today the House passed H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This is the same bill that was passed by the Senate in June, and was developed and agreed upon through a bipartisan and bicameral process. Jobs for the Future commends the House on the passage of this legislation, which provides valuable updates and improvements to the law that authorizes the nation’s workforce development system.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) makes significant changes to the nation’s workforce development system, incorporating the latest evidence-based knowledge and strategies that are known to help Americans attain the education, skills, and credentials that enable them to find good jobs in high-demand industries and occupations. The bill emphasizes the attainment of industry-recognized postsecondary credentials, the development of sector-based training strategies, and the creation of career pathways systems, especially for underprepared youth and adults. It also supports the expansion of work-based learning opportunities and the use of prior learning assessments that recognize the importance of worker competencies.
For youth, the bill increases services for out-of-school youth. It emphasizes work-based learning and longer-term solutions that encourage young people with multiple barriers to education and employment to make their way to postsecondary credential attainment that leads to employment in high-demand jobs as well as economic self-sufficiency.
The bill also works to align and streamline the nation’s multiple employment and workforce-related education and training systems—requiring unified strategic planning and service delivery, performance measurement, and data collection and utilization. And it encourages state and local workforce systems to align with regional economic development efforts to ensure that workforce education and training is relevant to the needs of regional economies and employers.
With the passage of this legislation by both the House and Senate, we look forward to its enactment by the President. We applaud both the content of the bill and the bipartisan spirit through which it was developed. We look forward to the implementation of this important legislation and to its impact on the skilling of America’s workers, as well as its contributions to the U.S. economy.