The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
On July 22, 2014, President Obama, with the bipartisan support of Congress, signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law, which reauthorized the Workforce Investment Act of 1988. The original law established state and local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), generally comprising representatives of labor, business, and educational institutions. The state and local WIBs direct policy and funding to workforce development programs, as well as oversee One-Stop Career Centers, which provide job training to youth, low-to-moderate income adults, and dislocated workers.
The new law recognizes organized labor’s role in creating tomorrow’s workforce. The WIOA increases labor’s representation on state and local WIBs to 20% of the board members, and includes representation from joint apprenticeship and training programs (JATCs). The WIOA includes other improvements, such as peer counseling and sector partnerships, with participation from Unions and central labor councils.
In conjunction with the new law, the White House issued an action plan entitled “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity,” promoting what Unions have known all along: To earn while you learn through Union apprenticeship programs is America’s best-kept secret. President Obama pledged $600 million in grant programs for apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Some of that grant money is already putting new Union members to work here in California.
By Kristina Zinnen | August 25, 2014