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Workforce Innovation Act - a Long Awaited Change for Businesses and Workers

Capital Workforce Partners Applauds Bipartisan Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act

UPDATE:  WASHINGTON, DC July 22, 2014 - President Obama Signs Bill - The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 now officially reauthorized as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act  Read more here:






WASHINGTON, DC, July 9, 2014 – Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (The "Innovation" Act / WIOA), H.R. 803, by a bipartisan vote of 415 to 6. This new legislation is now heading to President Obama's desk to be signed into law.

"We believe this bill will open doors for innovation in the workforce system and better alignment with business and jobs creation strategies to produce more impactful outcomes, so that we can get people back to work, efficiently, with the skills businesses need today and in the future," says Thomas Phillips, President and CEO of Capital Workforce Partners.

Currently, Connecticut's unemployment rate is 6.9% (an even 7.0% in North Central Connecticut), which represents nearly130,000 workers in the state actively seeking employment. Nationwide, more than 13 million workers are unemployed, and more than six million have been out of work for six months or more. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's projections, the skills gap will continue to increase and result in a shortage in the United States of more than 35 million skilled workers over the next 30 years.

Just this last program year, Workforce Investment Act funding (stemming from the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and has been awaiting reauthorized until now) helped more than 12 million people nationally to enter or re-enter the U.S. labor force by providing career counseling, skills assessments, financial assistance for occupational skills training, and job matching.

The new "Act" is a compromise between the SKILLS Act, which passed the House of Representatives in March 2013, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013, which passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in July 2013. The Act's passage by both the House and Senate represents the benefits of a bipartisan approach in addressing the nation's need for a more modern workforce development system.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act does not make drastic structural changes to the system, but it does include provisions that will streamline programs, strengthen the emphasis on serving local employers, and increase the transparency of training providers. Some of the changes include:

  • Creating a single set of common measures across adult and youth programs
  • Requiring co-location of America's Job Centers with employment service offices and staff
  • Merging levels of employment and training services to allow more flexibility locally to meet participants' needs
  • Increasing emphasis on incumbent worker training, on-the-job training, and customized training
  • Increasing accountability of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding the accessibility of programs and facilities with disabilities
  • Reducing the number of required Workforce Investment Board members

The nation's workforce system is on the front lines of the United States' continued economic recovery, helping workers get the assistance and training they need to return to the workforce, while also connecting employers to skilled workers.

This new workforce "Innovation" Act is supported by a broad range of organizations representing the core components of America's workforce development system, including: the American Association of Community Colleges; AFL-CIO; American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; American Federation of Teachers; American Library Association; The Arc; Associated Builders and Contractors; Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs; Associated General Contractors of America; Association for Advancing Automation; Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs; Association for Career and Technical Education; Association of Community College Trustees; Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living; Association of University Centers on Disabilities;  Bipartisan Policy Center's Governors Council; Business Roundtable; Center for Law and Social Policy; The Nation's Workforce Boards including our Regional, Capital Workforce Partners; Commercial Vehicle Training Association; Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities; Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy; Easter Seals; Goodwill Industries; IBM; International Economic Development Council; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades; Jobs for the Future; National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities; National Association of Counties; National Association of Development Organizations; National Association of Manufacturers; National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium; National Association of State Workforce Agencies; National Association of Workforce Boards; National Association of Workforce Development Professionals; National Council on Independent Living; National Council of State Directors of Adult Education; National Education Association; National Federation of the Blind; National Governors Association; National League of Cities; National Restaurant Association; National Retail Federation; National Skills Coalition; National Youth Employment Coalition; North America's Building Trades Union; Opportunity America; Paralyzed Veterans of America; Service Employees International Union; Siemens Corporation; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Conference of Mayors, Workforce Development Council; and YouthBuild USA.

Message from President Obama:


Message from President Obama: