Last week, over 350 people attended the National Skills Coalition webinar, “Realizing Innovation and Opportunity in WIOA: A Playbook for Effective State Plans.” During the webinar, State Policy Director Bryan Wilson and State Policy Analyst Brooke DeRenzis offered recommendations on how state plans can advance strategies for sector partnerships, career pathways, cross-agency data and measurement, and job-driven investments. Amy Wallace from the California Workforce Investment Board explained how California has used its state plan to move forward these strategies, and Federal Senior Policy Analyst Angela Hanks described the federal regulatory process and how stakeholders can offer their input. Slides from the webinar may be found here.
During the webinar participants sent in questions for the presenters. Here are the questions and answers.
Q1. College and higher education system presidents that I work with want to know if WIOA supports enough credit-bearing training for them to take notice? Should WIOA be seen as relevant to mainstream higher education (colleges and universities)? If so, how, in the State Plans?
WIOA will provide significant funding for community and technical colleges, although less so for four-year colleges and universities. Funding will include, but not be limited to individual training accounts and contracted training under Title I, funding for adult education authorized under Title II, and training funded through vocational rehabilitation authorized under Title IV. Beyond such direct funding opportunities, higher education leaders should pay attention to WIOA because the state plan should provide a blueprint for all workforce development in the state, including training at institutions of higher education.
Q2. Has anyone studied the impact of the 6 Unified Plans approved under WIA? If so, what results?
Not to our knowledge.
Q3. Is there opportunity under WIOA to help parents as students with child care they might need to attend classes?
Yes, WIOA Title I funds may be used for support services, including child care, that enable participants to attend training.
Q4. Please mention some specific tools that partners across the four core programs can use to begin their planning (e.g., Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Self-Assessment Tools for states and local/regions.
In the coming months National Skills Coalition will be providing links to additional information to assist with WIOA implementation. For now, the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways materials may be found here.
Q5. What about people who are seeking employment as a stakeholder group? Especially the chronically unemployed
Job seekers including the chronically unemployed are definitely a key stakeholder group for WIOA, as are other customers of the workforce development system. It is critical that state planers include advocates for customers in the development of the state plan, and consider data (i.e., surveys, focus groups, administrative records, performance measures, evaluations) on the system’s effectiveness in serving customers.
Q6. What role if any have you seen or can you suggest for public libraries in the state plan and WIOA implementation generally?
The main roles that public libraries have played as part of the workforce development system are as a provider of adult education and as points of access to the one-stop career center system through publically available computers.
Q7. Which states are considering early implementation?
Based on responses to the webinar’s poll question, states considering early implementation include: California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Vermont. We have also heard that Texas is considering early implementation.
Q8. Which states have scorecards for all student records?
Two states that have scorecards for all students are Washington and New Jersey. Check out Washington’s Career Bridge and New Jersey’s Training Opportunities websites.
Q9. Will there be room in this plan for special needs students?
At least two places where serving special needs students should be discussed in the state plan are the operational elements for the Title I Youth Program and the operational elements for Title IV, Vocational Rehabilitation. Title IV includes substantial new language on serving special needs students. Moreover, the importance of access and service for people with disabilities should be part of the strategic portion of the state plan.
Q10. Will vocational rehabilitation be required to fill out the state plan requirements under the WIOA requirements? Or will vocational rehabilitation only be required to fill out the rehabilitation state plan section in the WIOA statute?
There will be a single state plan that will include the operational elements for vocational rehabilitation. We do not know at this time whether the planning requirements will have those elements interspersed with elements for other programs, or in a separate section.