Legislation Introduced to Update Nation’s Workforce Development Programs

Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Higher Education Workforce Investment Subcommittee Chairwoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24) introduced the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022, legislation to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), H.R.7309, and expand America’s workforce development system.

WIOA provides training and career services that help working people across the country get the skills they need and help employers secure a qualified workforce. Unfortunately, the authorization for WIOA expired in 2020 and federal investment in workforce development has fallen markedly over time. While the U.S. labor force has grown by roughly half over the past four decades, federal spending on workforce development has fallen by two-thirds. Since 2002, workforce formula programs have seen a roughly 45 percent decline in enacted federal funding, when adjusted for inflation. As a result, essential workforce development services are frequently unavailable to the people who need them most.

This reauthorization would secure significant levels of funding for the workforce development system to ensure that more workers, particularly those from historically underrepresented communities, can access high-quality workforce development opportunities.

“For decades, WIOA programs have strengthened our economy and helped workers find more sustainable and better-paying jobs. Now, as Americans across the country are getting back to work, it is more critical than ever that we expand access to high-quality job training opportunities,” said Chairman Scott. “This legislation would finally invest serious federal funding in our nation’s workforce development and help ensure that all workers—including women, people of color, and justice-involved individuals—have access to the resources they need to find rewarding careers.”

“The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is the backbone of our nation’s workforce development system and provides critical supports to dislocated workers, opportunity youth, justice-involved individuals, and others who are seeking quality employment opportunities. As Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee, I was proud to hold three hearings on WIOA reauthorization last year, and as a long-time champion of Job Corps, I am especially proud of the significant improvements this legislation makes to the life-changing program,” said Higher Education and the Workforce Subcommittee Chairwoman Frederica Wilson.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 would reauthorize WIOA and expand the workforce development system. The legislation:

  • Fully funds WIOA programs by authorizing $74 billion over six years, which will allow the workforce system to serve one million workers per year by 2028;
  • Establishes a permanent Department of Labor program to help individuals released from incarceration transition back to employment and access sustainable career pathways;
  • Expands summer and year-round jobs programs for youth;
  • Strengthens the quality of the Jobs Corps program;
  • Codifies partnerships between employers and community colleges to provide high-quality job training;
  • Strengthens industry and sector partnerships to better meet the needs of both employers and job seekers; and
  • Provides funding for innovative approaches to workforce development.

For the fact sheet of the WIOA Act of 2022, click here.

For the section-by-section of the WIOA Act of 2022, click here.

For the full text of the WIOA Act of 2022, click here.