Last week, the House Committee on Education and Labor passed a bill reauthorizing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the authorizing statute for America’s workforce development system. Known as H.R. 7309, the reauthorization would make notable changes to WIOA including an increased focus on equity, job quality, and funding to expand and improve workforce services.

“Now is the perfect time for us to rethink how we provide services so we are implementing long-term solutions, not temporary fixes. We must consider strategies to build and maintain a steady talent pipeline of people with relevant skills, while encouraging business and industry to prioritize job quality and how workers are treated, incorporating a human centered approach to workforce development” –Nithya Pramekumar, Senior Manager, TPMA 

The authorization for WIOA expired in 2020 and federal investment in workforce development has fallen markedly over time. The reauthorization of WIOA establishes formidable funding to foster a modernized, robust workforce development system where jobseekers are provided with adequate opportunities for career development that correlates with industry demand. 

In particular, the reauthorization sets the stage for individuals that have been historically underrepresented to receive funding that supports development of new skills to remain gainfully employed throughout the ensuing decades. The legislation:

  • Fully funds WIOA programs by authorizing $74 billion over six years, which will allow the workforce system to serve one million workers per year by 2028;
  • Establishes a permanent Department of Labor program to help individuals released from incarceration transition back to employment and access sustainable career pathways;
  • Expands summer and year-round jobs programs for youth;
  • Strengthens the quality of the Jobs Corps program;
  • Codifies partnerships between employers and community colleges to provide high-quality job training;
  • Strengthens industry and sector partnerships to better meet the needs of both employers and job seekers;
  • Provides funding for innovative approaches to workforce development

TPMA is following the proposed legislation as the entirety of the House reviews in the months ahead.