The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was authorized in 1998. Over the past 11 years the public workforce system has long awaited reauthorization that would address the evolving workforce and economic needs as well as the limitations in WIA with respect to training, funding, and service delivery design. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) replaces WIA.
The purpose of WIOA is to better align the workforce system with education and economic development in an effort to create a collective response to economic and labor market challenges on the national, state, and local levels. WIOA continues the trend in workforce legislation by further engaging the private sector to lead local workforce development efforts and focuses on introducing increased flexibility and accountability of board members. WIOA encourages an improved response to labor market needs by connecting board performance to outcomes that require an understanding of the correlation between training investments and economic return. Changes in WIOA prompt Workforce Development Boards to be increasingly engaged in the business of collaboration, convening and partnership. WIOA may be best summarized in the following statement:
‘... to provide workforce investment activities, through statewide and local systems that increase the employment, retention, and earnings of participants, and increase attainment of recognized credentials by participants, and as a result, improve the quality of the workforce, reduce welfare dependency, increase economic self-sufficiency, meet the skill requirements of employers, and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the Nation.
Passage of WIOA is vital to the modernization of the nation’s workforce development system. WIOA introduces a renewed system which will ensure access for all individuals, of every skill level, the opportunity to pursue the skills, training, and education they need to obtain employment that will lead to financial stability and economic security for themselves and their families. Employers will also have the assurance that trained and qualified workers will be available to fill their current and future openings. Through WIOA, a more collaborative and robust service delivery system will be implemented.
The Chief Elected Officials (CEOs) have appointed West Central Arkansas Planning and Development, Inc. to be the Fiscal Agent and the Administrative Agent. The Local Board and CEOs have selected West Central Arkansas Career Development Center Systems, Inc. as the One Stop Operator and the WIOA Title I Services Provider.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act