Congress Approves Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
On July 9, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed by a 415 to 6 vote H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bill to improve and streamline the federal workforce development system. The piece of legislation amends and reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act, a bill funding numerous programs to promote employment support for youth and adults.
Among the legislation’s provisions is language prioritizing competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities and teaching young people with and without disabilities the necessary skills and training to transition to enhanced employment opportunities. In addition, the bill applies a uniform set of accountability metrics for every federal workforce program and requires states to produce a strategic plan detailing how they plan on delivering their services in a comprehensive manner and meet the need for skilled workers in emerging growth areas. WIOA’s focus is on careers and career pathways for youth and working age adults with and without disabilities.
A legislative compromise between both Chambers of Congress and political parties, WIOA has aspects of both the previously passed SKILLS Act and Workforce Investment Act of 2013.
Prior to full consideration by the House of Representatives, WIOA was passed by the U.S. Senate (95 to 3) on June 25, 2014.