CHN: Senate Passes Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
On Wednesday, in a rare act of bipartisanship, the Senate overwhelmingly passed (95-3) legislation to update the federal workforce development system. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) would replace the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which was originally passed in 1998 and has been overdue for reauthorization for over a decade. WIOA (H.R. 803) will provide job training and career services to youth and adults to help them prepare for work or additional education, find and keep jobs, and build the skills necessary for the 21st century. It will provide a wide range of services for low-skill, low-income people and individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment, improving access to high-demand, higher-paying jobs and career pathways out of poverty for many. For more specifics on the bill, see the June 17 Human Needs Report.
Two amendments offered by Republican senators addressing local workforce boards and evaluation reports were rejected before the bill was passed. While some advocates had hoped that an extension of unemployment benefits would be added on to the legislation, it was not. The bill will now move to the House, where it also enjoys bipartisan support and is expected to pass relatively quickly. The White House also expressed support for the legislation through a Statement of Administration Policy issued on Wednesday.