Yesterday, a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers announced they have reached a deal to improve the nation’s workforce development system through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The bill, which will now be considered by both the House and Senate, modernizes and improves existing federal workforce development programs, helps workers attain skills for 21st century jobs, and fosters the modern workforce that evolving American businesses rely on to compete.
“We can’t expect a modern workforce to succeed with an outdated job training system. The current workforce development system is broken with too much bureaucracy, too many inefficiencies, and too little accountability,” said Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
WIOA represents a compromise between the SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which passed the House in March 2013 with bipartisan support, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S. 1356), which passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee with a bipartisan vote of 18-3 in July 2013.
- A one-page summary of the legislation can be found HERE.
- The statement of managers, including a section-by-section summary of the legislation, can be found HERE.
- A summary of key improvements WIOA makes to current workforce development programs can be found HERE.
- The text of the bipartisan, bicameral agreement can be found HERE.
Specific improvements included in the recently announced legislation also include a repeal of the failed, union-only green jobs training program. Additionally, the bill calls for a greater focus on in-demand industry-recognized credentials, like those provided by ABC chapters and training affiliates.
“Our legislation will simplify that maze, give governors and states more flexibility, and make it easier for Tennessee’s 13 local workforce investment boards to match job seekers with the skills employers are looking for,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.