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Reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act: A Down Payment on a Workforce Development System for the 21st Century

Jobs for the Future

The federal government last reauthorized its investment in the nation’s workforce system in 1998 with the Workforce Investment Act. As Congress and the Obama Administration move forward with reauthorizing WIA, building on the successes of the current system gives us a head start. WIA is also an important vehicle for aligning incentives and strategies across economic development, secondary and postsecondary education, and the employment and workforce systems, and for doing so at the federal, state and local levels.

JFF provides these recommendations to help Congress revisit the act as part of a broader push for coherent, comprehensive, and effective support of workforce and economic development in the nation. JFF envisions a modernized workforce development system that is: powerful enough to build and maintain a 21st century workforce; multifunctional, to meet the needs of youth, workers, employers, and communities; and flexible, to adapt to a dynamic, competitive global economy.

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