DOL’s Workforce Training Rules Slated for June

By Roy Maurer May 24, 2016
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Final regulations transforming the nation’s public workforce system by improving the links between diverse talent and the nation’s employers are scheduled for June 2016, according to the Department of Labor.

The rules finalize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed by President Barack Obama on July 22, 2014.

The law streamlines the coordination of employment and training services, strengthens collaboration with state and local partners, and provides Americans with increased access to work-based learning, including on-the-job training and registered apprenticeships.

WIOA reauthorized 33 job training programs overseen by the Department of Labor. The act also:

  • Requires state workforce development agencies to create a unified job training plan based on local needs.
  • Adopts a standard performance metric for assessing program results.
  • Modernizes the federal workforce development system’s expansive network of one-stop centers, which help employers meet their talent pipeline needs by posting job openings, screening applicants, and coordinating education and training for job seekers.
  • Improves relationships with employers through industry partnerships.
  • Improves access to education and workforce services for individuals with significant barriers to employment, including veterans, individuals with disabilities, disconnected youth, and other vulnerable populations.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez described the reforms as a “fundamental transformation in the way we prepare people for the careers of today and tomorrow,” by “taking a job-driven approach and making sure training programs connect businesses that want to grow with workers.”

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) approved of the provisions promoting more engagement and industry-sector strategies between employers and local workforce boards, retaining employer-majority membership on both state and local workforce boards to reinforce a demand-driven system and offering greater flexibility for the delivery of training services available to employers.

The law generally took effect on July 1, 2015, but the state plans and performance accountability provisions take effect on July 1, 2016. These measures require:

  • Each state to prepare a four-year plan identifying a strategy for achieving the strategic vision and goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce and for meeting the skilled workforce needs of employers. Plans must cover the six “core” formula grant programs authorized under WIOA, including adult, dislocated worker and youth programs, adult education activities, employment services and vocational rehabilitation.
  • States to establish a common performance accountability system applied across the core programs. The law aims to ensure that federal investments in employment, education and training programs are evidence-based, data-driven and transparent. Programs will be measured by workers’ entry into unsubsidized employment, median earnings, attainment of post-secondary credentials, measurable skills gains, and the programs’ effectiveness in serving employers.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him @SHRMRoy

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