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Michael Matthews

Legislative Director – Community, Economic & Workforce Development

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County Countdown – June 3, 2024

ACTION NEEDED

Urge your members of Congress to support increased funding for Title I  programs  under the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Funded through the Labor, Health and Human Services (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill, WIOA programs provide essential financial and other resources to support a demand-driven workforce development system.

BACKGROUND

Enacted with bipartisan support in 2014, WIOA authorizes federal employment, workforce and training programs and formula funding to states and local governments. WIOA provides the needed framework for a modernized, demand-driven workforce development system to meet business and jobseekers’ needs. In April 2024, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Stronger Workforce for Workforce Act (H.R. 6655), which would reauthorize WIOA and make several changes to the program, including expanding the use of individual training accounts and streamlining the “eligible training provider list” (ETPL).

Administered at the federal level under the DOL Employment and Training Administration (ETA), WIOA is the largest single source of federal funding for workforce development activities. WIOA is a vital funding source for workforce development that helps counties tackle and overcome challenges facing job seekers and employers.

In 2014, Congress included several measures in WIOA to help better match businesses with the skilled workers they need to grow, including:

  • Maintaining local governance authority while providing enhanced flexibility to meet the needs of businesses and job seekers
  • Maintaining a business-led majority on the Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) while reducing the number of required members
  • Establishing  a  single  set  of  common  performance  metrics  across  all  core programs  and  adding  a measure on the effectiveness of serving businesses
  • Eliminating  the  sequence  of  services  requirement  and  integrating  best  practices such  as  industry partnerships and career pathways
  • Focusing youth services on out-of-school and disconnected youth between the ages of 16-24

WIOA recognizes the importance of local elected officials’ role in the governance of workforce development activities and provides enhanced flexibility to address local workforce challenges. WIOA also establishes the one-stop center  delivery  system, which provides convenient access to job search assistance, workforce training and career services through various locations across the country.

WIOA Title I focuses on workforce development activities at the state and local level and establishes funding for three key formula grants – Adult, Dislocated Workers and Youth Programs.

While workforce development funding has declined since 2001, there was a $1.2 billion  increase in FY 2023 over FY 2022 levels. However, in FY 2024 funding was decreased by $135 million to$3.9 billion in FY 2024. Of the $3.9 billion allocated to WIOA Title I Programs in FY 2024, $885.7 million was included for Adults, $948.1 million was included for Youth and $1.09 billion was provided for Dislocated Workers.  

KEY TALKING POINTS

  • Enacted in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) authorizes federal employment, workforce and training programs and formula funding to states and localities. WIOA provides the needed framework for a modernized, demand-driven  workforce development system to meet the needs of businesses and jobseekers.
  • WIOA is a vital funding source for workforce development that helps counties tackle and overcome the challenges facing job seekers and employers.
  • Local officials play a pivotal role in the governance and administration of WIOA programs and funding.
  • Counties are involved  in 90 percent of the country’s  550  local  WDBs,  through which we partner with federal, state, other local governments and the private sector. 28 percent of WDBs are within a county department, or function as a county department.
  • Congress should provide increased funding for WIOA Title I programs in FY 2025 to meet current program demands.

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