The Workforce and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law two years ago and officially took effect on July 1, 2015. This month, the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Education (ED), in collaboration with other Federal partner agencies, are slated to announce the final regulations. The agencies originally submitted over 2,600 pages outlining proposed rules that that cover DOL-administered WIOA provisions, Adult Education, Family Literacy, the Rehabilitation Act, and jointly administered areas.
Draft regulations were submitted earlier this year for public comment. The DOL, ED, and partnering agencies have also provided ongoing policy guidance and updates during the interim year. While the final regulations will reflect this feedback, these previous drafts and documents should provide a preview of the major issues addressed in the new regulations.
WIOA is the first legislative reform of the public workforce system in more than 15 years. Previously, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) from 1998 created a universal access system of one-stop career centers. These centers have provided training and employment services for a wide range of individuals from low-income adults and youth to dislocated workers. WIOA builds on the success of WIA programs, reauthorizes key provisions through 2020, and implements significant updates to help modernize the public workforce system.
WIOA focuses on improving the integration of key employment education and training programs, opening the door to greater use of sector partnerships and career pathway models, and increasing accountability and outcome data reporting.
Resource for WIOA Grantees
If your agency or organization provides workforces services, chances are you’ve already seen some of these changes during the past year since WIOA has gone into effect. As you work to bring your programs into compliance with new requirements and regulations and explore opportunities for improvement, growth, and expansion, there are several resources you should keep an eye on.
The DOL WIOA Resource Page provides information and resources for states, local areas, nonprofits and other grantees, and other stakeholders to assist with the implementation of WIOA. You can find links to the proposed draft regulations as well.
ED’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) administers and coordinates programs that are related to adult education. This incorporates literacy, career education, and community colleges, including WIOA programming and oversight. ED’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) also provides WIOA-related guidance.
The WIOA Quick Start Action Planner (QSAP) is an interactive, self-paced assessment tool designed to help leaders at all levels of the public workforce system. The QSAP helps you plan for this transformation and prepare for implementation of WIOA. It will help you identify areas of strength and focused areas for improvement in your workforce system, as well as connect you to targeted resources that can help you to prepare and plan effectively.
Individual Unified or Combined State Plans are required under WIOA and should include a four-year strategy for the State’s workforce development system. Draft plans were submitted earlier this spring and are required to be finalized in July 2016.
ETO for Workforce is a highly configurable workforce solution, that includes a number of products specifically designed to meet the varying needs of workforce program. From local nonprofits to mid-level Workforce Investment Boards, ETO for Workforce supports statewide efforts that respond to WIOA performance and reporting requirements. Check out our Workforce Initiators for insights on implementing WIOA compliant data collection systems and reporting tools.
In the meantime, we’ll be keeping an eye out for the final regulations!