What Is WIOA?

Learn about the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act.

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Creating a Nationwide Workforce Development Network

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is federal legislation designed to expand and strengthen the workforce, particularly supporting marginalized, low-income and youth job seekers with significant barriers to employment. To meet compliance with WIOA standards, state workforce programs must coordinate services to address the needs of both job seekers and employers in their region. 

Education

WIOA connects individuals to foundational educational resources such as GED prep, English language & literacy and other basic skills education.

Employment Services

Through one-stop career centers, WIOA service providers support job seekers in attaining high-quality careers that align with their needs and interests.

Training

WIOA service providers help connect job seekers with the training they need to meet their career goals, including on-the-job training like apprenticeships.

Support Services

WIOA helps remove barriers to employment by providing certain support services, such as funding transportation, child care, books/supplies and work attire.

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The 4 Components of WIOA

States are required to develop and implement strategic programs for each title of WIOA. Programs are administered through each state's One-Stop center and local partners such as community colleges.

Title I

Workforce Development Activities

Job training and employment services for unemployed & underemployed adults, youth & dislocated workers

Title II

Adult Education and Literacy

Post-secondary education for eligible adults as well as programs that emphasize basic skills & English language skills for low-literacy adults and immigrants

Title III

Amendments to the Wagner-Peyser Act

Integrates the U.S. Employment Service with WIOA's One-Stop career center system (American Job Centers)

Title IV

Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act

Integrates programs that help individuals with disabilities attain employment & independent living into the One-Stop system

The History

of WIOA

WIOA was signed into law in 2014 by President Barack Obama, replacing its predecessor, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA). WIA initially established the One-Stop system, requiring that various employment services and required partners colocate in centralized offices across the nation.

WIOA reauthorized these programs and introduced several significant changes:

  • States were required to develop a unified plan to incorporate all WIOA programs

  • All adult programs were to be tracked & reported on using a single set of common performance measures

  • Increased the focus on serving individuals with significant barriers to employment, such as low income or low literacy

WIOA expired in 2020 and has been due for reauthorization since. It passed the House in the spring of 2022 and is currently under review in the Senate. WIOA funding continues to be distributed on a temporary basis, but reauthorization is critical to maintaining the strength of the nation's workforce.

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