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What You Need to Know About the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law on July 22, 2014.  It is the first reform of the public workforce system since the creation of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. In addition to replacing the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, WIOA amends the following laws:

  • Adult Education and Family Literacy Act
  • Wanger-Peyser Act
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The purpose of WIOA is to increase employment opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment by increasing employment training and education programs nationwide. WIOA also has an expanded list of priority populations, which includes more specific definitions of groups facing barriers to employment. The goal of this legislation is to create long-term career outcomes for individuals and nationals in order to promote economic growth across populations.

The key focus areas of WIOA are:

  • Increasing focus on serving the most vulnerable workers—low-income adults and youth who have limited skills, lack work experience, and face other barriers to economic success.
  • Expanding education and training options to help participants access good jobs and advance in their careers.
  • Helping disadvantaged and unemployed adults and youth earn while they learn through support services and effective employment-based activities.
  • Aligning planning and accountability policies across core programs to support more unified approaches to serving low-income, low-skilled individuals.

WIOA modernizes the public workforce system by establishing new activities and requirements and expanding on existing federal regulations with promotion of:

  • One Stop Shops providing career planning, job training, job placement, resume review, and education resources.
  • Emphasizing employer driven training programs.
  • Mandating the development and adoption of flexible individualized strategies for clear pathways for job seekers to careers.  
  • Requiring the development of more comprehensive apprenticeship and career training opportunities for youth both attending and not attending school.

The priority populations defined by WIOA are as follows:

  • Low Income individuals
  • Single parents (including single pregnant women)
  • Ex-Offenders
  • Youth:
  • Eligible Youth (in school & out of school)
  • Youth who have aged out of Foster Care
  • Long-term unemployed
  • Individuals with disabilities (youth included)
  • Eligible migrant & seasonal farm workers
  • Homeless Individuals (children & youth included)
  • Individuals who are English language learners
  • Low literacy
  • Individual facing substantial cultural barriers
  • Displaced Homemakers
  • Native Peoples- Native Americans/Alaskan Natives/ Native Hawaiians
  • Older Individuals
  • Individuals with 2 years of exhaustive lifetime eligibility
  • Other groups as the governor involved determines to have barriers to employment

Register for a free webinar about WIOA

Read more:

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP ) conducted a policy analysis of WIOA titled New Opportunities to Improve Economic and Career Success for Low-Income Youth and Adults: Key Provisions for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; outlining the key provisions of the new policy and some opportunities to further improve the legislation to better serve populations in need.


WIOA Resources

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) Resources:

CLASP WIOA Game Plan      

            Opportunities for Action

            WIOA State Plans  

U.S. Department of Labor Resources:

WIOA Bill Public Law No: 113-128

WIOA Fact Sheet

WIOA Fact Sheet: Governance and Leadership

WIOA Fact Sheet: One-Stop Career Centers

WIOA Fact Sheet: Youth Program


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Jan 28
We would like to thank all of you who came out to our Chat & Chew information session this past Wednesday. For tho…
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