In a recent guidance letter, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) laid out its vision for a revitalizing and transforming the nation's workforce system as part of the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Congress passed this bill with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, and President Obama signed the bill into law in July of last year. According to USDOL, "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." WIOA replaces the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, which expired in 2003. Congress had been unable to reach reauthorization consensus on workforce legislation until last summer.
USDOL's vision lays out "three crtical hallmarks of excellence" for WIOA implementation, which include the need for both business and workers to driver workforce solutions, for American Job Centers (formerly One-Stop Career Centers) to provide exellent customer services to jobseekers and employers alike, and for the workforce system to support strong regional economies.
USDOL's guidance is intended to help state and local workforce board prepare for the transition from WIA to WIOA, with most provisions taking effect on July 1, 2015. Workforce boards are expected to begin strategic planning, build and strengthen partnerships, reassess the One-Stop system, enhance accountability systems, and more. Workforce boards will also have to ensure that WIOA youth service contracts meet the new requirement that out-of-school youth make up at least 75% of those served, a dramatic increase from WIA's requirement that at least 30% of youth funds be spent on out-of-school youth. WIOA also stipulates that at least 20% of youth expenditures be dedicated to youth work experience activities.
- USDOL Employment and Training Administration
- Center for Law and Social Progress
- National Skills Coalition
- National Association of Workforce Boards