Long-Delayed Workforce Investment Act Bill Makes Its Way Toward the End Zone

capitol 300x200Yesterday, House and Senate leadership unveiled the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bipartisan and bicameral bill that would finally reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

Advocates for the workforce system and people with disabilities will be spending their Memorial Day weekends pouring over the 811-page bill to understand its nitty-gritty details; however, a quick read confirms that priority positions advocated by Goodwill are reflected in the final deal.

While there are still hurdles left in the path to President Barack Obama’s signature, this week’s developments and anticipated outcomes are a testament to how it pays to be persistent. Enacted in 1998—before Google pulled out of the garage—WIA is long overdue for reauthorization. For many years, and as recently as last week, local Goodwill representatives have strengthened relationships with their members of Congress by going to Capitol Hill, hosting members of Congress at their agencies, sending e-mails, making phone calls and engaging in other ways. Consistently among their requests have been pleas to advance a WIA reauthorization bill that includes the above priorities.

Why? In 2013 alone, Goodwill invested 83 percent of the $5.17 billion it raised to help 9.8 million people overcome their employment barriers, and place 260,000 people in jobs.

That makes Goodwill one of the most significant partners of the workforce system, and therefore part of Goodwill’s mission is to consistently inform policymakers at the local, state and federal levels that their decisions impact Goodwill’s efforts in communities across the nation.