Update: The authorization for WIOA expired in 2020, and while WIOA continues to be funded on a temporary basis, reauthorization is necessary to ensure the nation’s workforce development programs remain properly funded and up-to-date. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 (H.R. 7309) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 31, 2022 by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia). It passed out of the House Committee on Education and Labor by a voice vote on April 5, 2022. The bill was brought to the House floor for a vote on May 17, 2022 and passed 220-196. There were only four Republicans that voted for the bill. The bill now awaits action by the Senate and will most likely see modifications on the Senate side.
What is WIOA?
A federal law. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) assists job seekers with accessing employment, education, training, and support services they need to meet employers’ requirements and succeed in our labor market. It is one of the most comprehensive and important skills and workforce development bills that has bipartisan support in Congress.
The law requires each state to develop a unified plan, describing strategic and operational elements across four titles of its five titles. The last title, Title V “General Provisions” addresses administrating WIOA.
- Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs administered by Department of Labor (DOL);
- Title II Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) program administered by Education Department (ED);
- Title III Employment Service program under the Wagner-Peyser Act administered by DOL; and
- Title IV Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 administered by ED.
WIOA, which replaced the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) authorized in 1998, was signed into law in 2014 and most of it provisions came into effect on July 1, 2015, it expired in 2020.
What is WIOA Title II and who does it serve?
Adult education and literacy. WIOA Title II seeks to ensure that state and local service providers offer adult education and skills development programs that accelerate achievement of diplomas and credentials among American workers, including immigrants and individuals with limited English language skills. The Title II funds can be used for activities assisting eligible adults (16 years and older) with obtaining postsecondary education, training, or employment. Specifically, the funds serve people with barriers to employment, including English language learners, low-income individuals, and immigrants.
How Does WIOA Title II Assist Immigrants?
Provides English language classes and other. One of the populations WIOA Title II serves are Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals, out of which 87 percent are immigrants. Moreover, the Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (EL/Civics) program under WIOA Title II assists immigrants with preparation for citizenship and full participation for the civic life in their community. It also encourages partnership with employers and provides funding for innovative solutions such as Integrated Education and Training programs, and paves the way for training both at the workplace and during work hours.
What are the distribution criteria for WIOA Title II funds?
At the federal level, the Secretary of Education allocates $250,000 to each eligible agency serving a state, and $100,000 to each eligible agency serving an outlying area, which is defined as American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the United States Virgin Islands; and in some case also the Republic of Palau. For Program Year (PY) 2016, the Secretary allocated a total of more than $811 million for State adult employment and training activities.
At the state level, each eligible agency receiving Title II funds must use at least 82.5 percent of the funds to provide awards to eligible providers, and no more than 12.5 percent to carry out State leadership activities, such as technical assistance, monitoring, and evaluation.
The providers are then required to use at least 95 percent of the funds to carry out adult education and literacy activities, and can use the remaining 5 percent for activities such as planning, administration, and professional development.
What innovative practices have been encouraged by WIOA Title II?
Integrated Education and Training. WIOA Title II seeks coordination of adult education activities with other WIOA core programs, including the development of career pathways. It defines and supports the use of new models, such as integrated education and training, which has been designed to provide adult education and literacy activities together with workforce preparation and training for a specific occupation, and other workforce preparation activities that are often the first step on workers’ career pathways. It is meant to help adult learners, including immigrants, gain college credits and improve basic skills faster than traditional adult education programs.
Does WIOA Title II encourage partnerships with employers?
Yes. WIOA Title II expanded the range of providers eligible for funding for adult education and literacy activities to include entities and organizations that partner with employers. It also directs states and the federal government to encourage activities that promote basic skills instruction delivered in the workplace.
What performance measures are used to evaluate WIOA Title II programs?
Six common performance measures. WIOA established six common performance measures that are mostly consistent across all of its core program areas, including Title II Adult Education and Family Literacy:
- The percentage of program participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exiting the program.
- The percentage of program participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after exiting the program.
- The median earnings of program participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exiting the program.
- The indicators of effectiveness in serving employers established by the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Education before the beginning of the second full program year.
- The percentage of program participants who obtain a recognized postsecondary credential, or a secondary school diploma, or its recognized equivalent, during participation in or within 1 year after exiting the program.
- The percentage of program participants who, during a program year, are in an education or training program that leads to a recognized postsecondary credential or to employment and who are achieving measurable skill gains toward such a credential or employment.