CHA News Article

President Obama Signs Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

This week, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). 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 passage comes after an 11-year delay in reauthorization of the original Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The new act calls for each state to have a single, unified state plan with common performance standards and metrics aligned to outcomes designed to create opportunities for long-term career pathways and the delivery of market-relevant skills. It also restores the 15-percent reserve for states’ workforce investment priorities (sometimes referred to as the Governor’s discretionary fund). Before being cut at the federal level, a portion of California’s share of the reserve had been allocated for nurse education and allied health professional training.

The act also emphasizes business engagement, incumbent worker training, on-the-job and customized training and attainment of industry-recognized credential, among other things. It has received widespread local, state and national support from businesses and labor organizations, as well as leaders in education and workforce, economic and community development. For a side-by-side comparison of WIA current law and the final WIOA, see the attached overview.