By Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Relations, Goodwill Industries International
The WIOA of 2022 passed along party lines 220-196. Four Republicans voted for the bill, along with every Democratic member. All Democratic and bipartisan amendments were approved on the floor, and amendments offered solely by Republicans were defeated.
First passed in 2014 as a replacement for the Workforce Investment Act, WIOA is the law that governs our nation’s workforce development system, providing funding and setting policy. The bill, HR 7309, makes a significant investment by authorizing $78 billion over six years, which will allow the workforce system to train one million workers per year by 2028. The bill also includes a new Sectoral Employment Through Career Training for Occupational Readiness (SECTOR) program to develop or expand industry or sector partnerships, as well as expand support for training costs and support services. SECTOR is authorized at $1 billion in FY2023 and would provide funds to ensure stakeholders can regularly convene and form, expand, and improve training programs.
The bill instructs industry partnerships to prioritize those training programs that include attainment of industry-recognized credentials that address specific workforce issues and needs of groups of workers, and that prioritize individuals who face challenges to employment.
A bill summary notes the legislation:
- Fully funds WIOA programs by authorizing roughly $80 billion over six years, which will allow the workforce system to train one million workers per year by 2028.
- Establishes a permanent Department of Labor (DOL) program to help individuals released from incarceration transition back to employment and access sustainable career pathways.
- Expands summer and year-round jobs programs for youth.
- Strengthens the quality of the Jobs Corps program.
- Codifies partnerships between employers and community colleges to provide high-quality job training via the Strengthening Community College Training Grant program, which is a successor of the TAA Community College and Career Training Grant program (TAACCCT).
- Strengthens industry and sector partnerships to better meet the needs of both employers and job seekers.
Provides funding for innovative approaches to workforce development.
Among the amendments included, the legislation:
- Enables up to 5% of local Title I adult and dislocated worker funds to be used for supportive services without demonstrating that the participants could not obtain supportive services through other programs, as long as the worker is participating in a training program.
- Ensures that relevant subject matter experts, professionals and community leaders may be included as members of local workforce development boards.
- Clarifies eligibility and encourages inclusion of community-based out-of-school-time organizations operating youth workforce readiness programs in the federal workforce development system.
- Ensures that veterans are eligible for career and training services.
- Directs states to make publicly available their performance accountability indicators and performance measures for each recognized post-secondary credential that is obtained by any program participant of a core program; and instructs the DOL and Department of Education to develop and disseminate an objective statistical model based on actual state economic conditions, which will be used to amend the state-adjusted levels of performance.
- Adds transportation to the allowable uses of funds for YouthBuild program participants with disabilities.
- Adds “provide access to broadband internet service, including for rural communities” to the list of programs, services and activities that one-stop centers provide.
Next steps for the House-passed bill remain uncertain. The bill is unlikely to be a catalyst for action in the Senate, as it is a partisan bill and any Senate action will require bipartisan consensus in order to avoid a filibuster. The Senate has also lagged far behind the House in reauthorization discussions. That said, Goodwill will continue to engage in conversations with lawmakers as negotiations continue.