Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Status of the WIA Reauthorization

The Workforce Investment Act, WIA, was passed in 1998 to replace the Job Training Partnership Act. The bill aimed to revamp the US workforce system using Workforce Investment Boards, WIBs, that are made up of parties with vested interests in employment, i.e. private sector employers, local community officials, etc. The bill plays an important part in funding the One-Stop Centers and programs like The Jobs Corps.

Currently, the House is working on its version on of the WIA reauthorization, H.R. 4297. The bill consolidates 19 programs into one account that will function similar to a block grant for states. The bill was voted out of committee and is awaiting floor time. House Education and Workforce committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) discussed possible scenarios for the House WIA reauthorization in an interview on C-SPAN in June.

On the Senate side, the WIA reauthorization  continues to be stalled. The Senate HELP committee released a draft version in June 2011 and a markup session was scheduled for the same month. Unfortunately, the markup was cancelled and there hasn't been any progress to reschedule the hearing during the next legislative session.

Although workforce training is an important issue, the WIA reauthorization may have to wait until the next Congress takes up the issue.

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