3 Questions & Answers For You To Consider
Now that the government has passed the Workforce Implementation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), it’s up to the individual states to determine how to embrace this legislature. While you know it’s important and realize it needs to be done, do you know where to start? What steps toward implementation do you need to take?
What is the purpose of WIOA?
Let’s start by looking at the motivation for this Act. Simply put, its goal is to help eligible workers find suitable employment, and help employers find well-trained, reliable employees.
According to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), "It's too hard to find a job. It's too hard to create a job. We have some differences of opinion on what to do about it, but I think we agree that matching job skills to a job is a solution to millions of Americans."
With that thought in mind, WIOA's vision is to provide state and local areas with an integrated, job-driven system that links diverse talent to our nation’s businesses. With a stronger alignment of the workforce, education, and economic development systems, states can better address the employment and skills needs of current employees, jobseekers, and employers.
America’s workers need to achieve a family-sustaining wage and America’s employers need skilled workers who help them compete on a global level. To that end, the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act provides government grants to create programs that will increase employment.
This funding is available to states that provide a plan describing an overall strategy for workforce development and how the strategy will meet identified skill needs for workers, job seekers and employers. The needs of businesses and workers will drive these workforce solutions and local boards will be accountable to their communities. These boards will be responsible for enhancing communication and collaboration among employers, economic developers and service providers so they support economic growth and meet employer needs.
It will be important for the states and local boards to show that federal investments in employment and training programs are evidence-based and data-driven; and, that they are promoting employment for in-demand industries and occupations.
What does WIOA mean for states, employers and job seekers?
The WIOA is intended to help people get the education and training they need to secure long-term career placement. Its grants provide for job search and placement assistance as well as employment counseling, career planning and many support services.
It is also meant to improve services and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Local boards need to encourage proven practices in accessibility and develop strategies for using technology to better meet the needs of people with barriers to employment.
A nationwide system of “One-Stop Centers” is another key component of the WIOA. They focus on continuous improvement and provide jobseekers and employers with excellent customer service, a wide variety of work-related training and access to in-demand industry sectors and occupations.
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) said that, "The need to improve our workforce investment system has crystalized during the Great Recession... employers say they have open positions they cannot fill because they cannot find workers with the skills they need today.”
WIOA aims to help employers identify the skills their workers need and ensure workers are aided in acquiring those skills. This way employers can be matched with the skilled workers they need. Among the major goals of this act are helping businesses find skilled workers and ensuring their current workforces have access to education and training.
What do I need to do and where can I get help?
For starters, in each state, local workforce investment boards need to be appointed to: oversee strategies and services for employer engagement in workforce programs; support the needs of local employers; effectively coordinate economic development; and, implement things like workforce development, job training programs, and other business services.
There are many private sector innovative technology options who can help streamline your efforts to implement workforce innovation. For an overview of what you will need to know about WIOA before reaching out to one of them, you can also visit Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Quick Start Action Planner. This is a self-paced tool to help leaders prepare to implement WIOA.
Need Answers? At TalentCircles, we have a multisided platform to coordinate and track all data related to workforce programs, job seekers’ skills, employer needs, in-demand industry sectors, and much more. For more information about how we can help you implement workforce innovation, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 835-0202.
Oh, and remember, once you get the grant, be sure to implement your plans and meet the required goals before the grant expires!