In 1998, Congress passed the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), replacing the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) as the largest single source of federal funding for workforce development activities. WIA was to create a universal access system of one-stop career centers, which would provide access to training and employment services for a range of workers, including low-income adults, low-income youth, and dislocated workers.

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress made substantial, badly-needed new investments in WIA. As Congress looks to reauthorize WIA in 2013 it will be an opportunity to help ensure our nation’s workers receive the services and supports they need to go back to work and begin rebuilding our economy. Ensuring that every U.S. worker has at least an industry certification, vocational degree or two years of college should be a national priority.

This page contains overview materials on WIA, as well as analysis and recommendations for reauthorization developed by National Skills Coalition.

National Skills Coalition Platform and Overview

Current Law

House Reauthorization

Democrats and Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have introduced separate legislative proposals to reform and reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act – HR 798 and HR 803 respectively. The committee is currently scheduled to mark-up HR 803 on Wednesday, March 6, and the House may vote on the bill shortly thereafter. It is unlikely that the Senate will take up any House-passed bill, but will likely conference their own version of a WIA reauthorization bill with the House passed bill during this Congress. As a result, the House bill will serve as an important starting point for any future congressional WIA reauthorization negotiations.

NSC Analysis:

Workforce Stakeholders Group Statement on Reforming Job Training Programs in America | March, 2013
NSC Letter in Opposition of the SKILLS Act (HR 803) | March 4, 2013
NSC Letter in Support of the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (HR 798) | February 14, 2013

Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (HR 798)

SKILLS Act (HR 803)

Note: NSC Executive Director Andy Van Kleunen testified in opposition to HR 4297, now HR 803, at a House Education and Workforce Committee hearing during the 112th Congress. As the bill has been changed only very slightly, this testimony still speaks to the current legislation introduced in the 113th Congress.
NSC Testifies at House Legislative Hearing on WIA Bill (HR4297) | April 17, 2012

Senate Reauthorization

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) released discussion drafts of each Title of the proposed Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization bill in June 2011. This is the product of a two year bipartisan effort to renew and improve the nation’s primary workforce system. Although a mark-up of the bill was originally scheduled for June 29, the committee was unable to reach a bipartisan agreement on how to proceed and the process stalled. It now seems unlikely that the Senate will take up WIA reauthorization in the current Congress. Click below to download discussion drafts of each individual Title.

NSC Analysis:

NSC Letter to Senate HELP Committee on WIA Draft | June 17, 2011

NSC Detailed Recommendations for Improving the WIA Draft | June 17, 2011

Below is the most recent draft legislation (current as of June 2013) for Titles I through VI of the Workforce Investment Act. They are subject to change as the reauthorization process moves forward. Importantly, it is our understanding that certain key issues -- including potential consolidation language -- are still being negotiated (and may or may not be included in a final draft of the committee bill).

There are some differences between the 2011 and 2013 drafts but, as far as National Skills Coalition is able to determine, the new staff draft has generally remained relatively similar to the 2011 draft. The 2011 NSC Summaries should generally provide adequate descriptions of the current drafts, although there may be some differences of which readers should be aware.

Title I: To support a comprehensive and coordinated workforce development system, Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 2011 streamlines governance provisions such as boards and plans and establishes common performance indicators across the four core WIA programs.

Title II: One stop delivery system, job training formula programs, and national programs.

Title III: Adult Education

Title IV: Amendments to the Wagner-Peyser Act

Title V: Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act
Note: This Title is being negotiated separately by Chairman Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Alexander (R-TN) from the rest of the bill. 

Title VI: General Provisions

HELP Committee Resources: (not written or advised by NSC)

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