Last year in December, the House Education and Workforce Committee voted to advance the A Stronger Workforce for America Act (H.R. 6655) to the House floor.

The bill seeks to comprehensively reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) with significant changes to its core components. It aims to foster skills development and strengthen the relationship between employers and the broader workforce system by envisioning a more robust and adaptive framework to meet the evolving requirements of today’s workforce landscape.

Why Is This Important?

In short, WIOA is widely accepted as landmark legislation and is the largest source of federal funding for workforce development services that empower local jobseekers and employers nationwide. More than $2.7 billion was allocated to state and local workforce development boards through WIOA in 2023. Enacted in 2014, WIOA has made critical improvements that strengthened federal workforce development programs and increased accountability. Nearly a decade later, there is a need for WIOA to be modernized to meet the needs of jobseekers and employers in a post-pandemic world.

Here are 4 key takeaways from the WIOA reauthorization bill.


1. The Bill Dedicates 50% of Adult and Dislocated Worker Funding to Upskilling

One of the cornerstone provisions within H.R. 6655 centers on the strategic allocation of resources. By mandating a substantial 50% of adult and dislocated worker funding towards individual training accounts (ITAs), the bill commits to upskilling workers by providing them with dedicated resources for personalized training.

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2. The Bill Aligns Eligible Trainer Provider Lists (ETPL) with Employer Demand

In tandem with this funding reallocation, the legislation introduces a streamlined approach to eligible training provider lists (ETPL). The emphasis shifts from a broad spectrum to a results-oriented focus, aligning eligible programs with employers’ dynamic skill and hiring demands. This adjustment aims to enhance the effectiveness of workforce development programs by ensuring that they are relevant and aligned with the unique needs of jobseekers and employers.

An image of five people sitting in a row in front of a table writing in notepads using blue pens.

3. The Bill Introduces Demonstration Authority for Creative Solutions to Unique Regional Challenges

Beyond these pivotal shifts, H.R. 6655 introduces an innovative demonstration authority, granting select states and local workforce boards the flexibility to revamp their workforce systems, empowering them to explore creative solutions, and fostering adaptability to unique regional challenges and needs. Establishing this demonstration authority marks a significant departure from traditional approaches, allowing for localized strategies tailored to the diverse workforce landscapes nationwide.

Six coworkers sitting in a conference room having a meeting.

4. The Bill Promotes Skills-Based Hiring

Lastly, the bill takes a decisive step in promoting skills-based hiring practices. It validates workers’ competencies gained through prior experience, acknowledging individuals’ diverse paths to acquire valuable skills. It encourages local workforce boards to provide technical assistance to employers on how to implement skills-based hiring practices. This provision reflects a commitment to inclusivity and allows employers to recognize and leverage the diverse talents and experiences of potential employees.

An over the shoulder view of a older gentleman wearing a suit looking at a young lady with long dark wavy hair wearing a blue blouse and smiling.

In reshaping the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the “A Stronger Workforce for America Act” introduces groundbreaking provisions to meet the dynamic needs of a contemporary workforce.

At TPMA, our workforce and WIOA experts are constantly working with clients to ensure their policies and operations support their strategic vision and the needs of local jobseekers and employers.

Past clients include the New Hampshire Office of Workforce Opportunity, Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, Colorado Workforce Development Council, Indiana Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board, Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development, Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, Rhode Island Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Iowa Department of Education, South Dakota Department of Education, and the Virginia Community College System.

Check out our recent webinar below on Innovating and Modernizing the Public Workforce System.

Author: Steven Gause, Director of Strategy and Growth Initiatives, TPMA