Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) is designed to assist individuals in achieving their educational and employment goals. If eligible, participants work with a Workforce Development Specialist to create a personalized plan for a successful future.
WIOA enables counties and local communities to explore cross-regional approaches that tackle unemployment and low educational attainment among disconnected youth and low-skilled, low-income adults and parents. Developing a collaborative and unified approach at the local, regional and state level is an important consideration for counties moving forward with WIOA implementation. These multi-level partnerships help create quality jobs and develop a skilled workforce ready to meet industry demands. Under WIOA, each state must identify workforce development regions within the state, and these designations will require Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs) to work together to develop a regional plan that coordinates with other regional economic development plans, develop sector strategies for in-demand occupations, analyze regional labor market data and identify and coordinate underutilized supportive services in the region. This new scheme provides counties and other local leaders with an opportunity to align services and leverage resources among regional businesses and industry, community colleges, local governments and economic development agencies, to name a few.
WIOA creates an opportunity to create systemic change across the currently disconnected education and training systems to more closely align workforce and economic development goals. Counties play a key role in funding and facilitating workforce and economic development programs. WIOA gives local leaders a greater opportunity to sync workforce development programs with industry needs, address unemployment and job training, bridge the gaps among education, economic development and community quality of life. To help fill skills gaps for local employers, counties and their partners can provide industry-specific training programs that prepare workers for skilled positions and connect them with employers that have vacant job opportunities. A strong workforce system will increase investments and resources for quality training and help to ensure that localities and states can continue to meet the needs of jobseekers and employers.