Amplify Blog

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July 24, 2015

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Just one year ago, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law. This transformative and innovative piece of legislation made significant changes to our federal workforce and job training programs. As America Forward noted at the time of its passage, WIOA was the first major update to the workforce development system since 1998. America Forward was directly involved in developing, advocating for, and ensuring its ultimate passage. Below we recap our '10 Greatest Hits of WIOA’ and share the steps that have been taken since passage of the Law on its first anniversary.


Ten Greatest Hits from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)


  1. WIOA incentivizes Pay for Success (referred to as “pay-for-performance” in the law) by allowing local workforce boards to reserve up to 10 percent of their funding to support pay-for-performance contracts, or close to $300 million total around the country. In addition, Governors are given the authority to use their full reserve allocation for pay-for-performance funding and support. This provides the potential for over $600 million in targeted pay-for-performance activity.


  2. WIOA prioritizes and supports career pathways strategies to build stronger connections between job training programs and local employer needs.


  3. WIOA supports the development of alternative, evidence-based programs that encourage youth to re-enter and complete secondary school; enroll in postsecondary education and advanced training and progress through a career pathway.


  4. WIOA promotes better coordination by aligning workforce development programs with economic development and education initiatives.


  5. WIOA incorporates more effective statistical techniques, such as regression analyses, that can help minimize disincentives for delivering services to populations who face more significant barriers to employment.


  6. WIOA includes new opportunities to utilize prior learning assessments.


  7. WIOA includes a priority for the provision of work-based learning experiences, such as internships, for youth.


  8. WIOA permits funding of transitional jobs programs.


  9. WIOA ensures individuals with disabilities are eligible for training and support.


  10. WIOA continues support for the U.S. Department of Labor’s YouthBuild program to engage low-income opportunity youth in a comprehensive full-time education, job training, and community service program.


Since passage, America Forward has been at the forefront of educating Governors and local workforce boards about the changes made by WIOA. The America Forward team has held meetings with leaders across various states and presented at conferences on the changes in WIOA and how states and locals can effectively implement many of the evidence and innovation-focused changes. The Department of Labor also released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and America Forward submitted specific comments and suggestions for how to ensure effective implementation of the changes in the law. We anticipate final regulations in early 2016.


WIOA stands as an example of bipartisan Congressional effort to update an important federal system with a focus on incentivizing and supporting innovation, evidence, and what works.


Happy Anniversary WIOA!

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