Workforce Reinvestment and Adult Education Act of 2003

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The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) is a federally funded employment and training program passed into law August 7, 1998. WIA replaced the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) that had been in place from 1982-2000. The legislation placed a new emphasis on universal access to services, sequenced service delivery, inter-agency coordination, consumer choice, service provider accountability, and local planning.

The goal of WIA is to improve the quality of the workforce, reduce welfare dependency, and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the nation's economy by providing a wide variety of career development services for individuals, including services for adults, youth and for individuals employed, underemployed, and unemployed.

WIA provides the framework for the publicly-funded workforce development system. Title I of the legislation authorizes the Workforce Investment System; Title II reauthorizes adult education and family literacy programs; Title III amends the Wagner-Peyser and related acts; Title IV reauthorizes Rehabilitation Act programs; and Title V contains general provisions. Authorization for WIA ended September 30, 2003 and is operating under an extension, awaiting action in the 109th Congress.

Universal access is one of the underlying principles of WIA. The idea is that a person needing employment assistance should be able to access, at One-Stop Career Centers, information and services from the various federal agencies that help people get jobs and advance in the labor market. The WIA legislation designates mandated partner agencies that must participate in some way in the One-Stop system, including the Department of Labor, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

WIA services are divided into three tiers: core, intensive and training. Core services are available to all job-seekers, including access to job listings, information about careers and the local labor market, and limited staff assistance with job search activities. Intensive services are only available after core service efforts are exhausted, and include life-skills workshops, case management, and comprehensive assessments leading to the development of an individual employment plan. Training services, such as employer-linked programs and classroom-based skills training leading to a specific occupation, can only be accessed by individuals who have failed to obtain or maintain employment through core and intensive services.

Title II of WIA is the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, replacing and repealing two previous pieces of adult education legislation: The Adult Education Act (Title III of ESEA) and the National Literacy Act of 1991. The goals of Title II are to assist adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment, and for those who are parents, to help them be able to be active participants in the educational development of their children. It is also designed to help adults complete a secondary school education. Accountability, coordination of services, and local planning are emphasized.

Title III amends the Wagner-Peyser Act to require that Employment Service/Job Service activities become part of the “One-Stop” system; establishes a national employment statistics initiative; requires linkages between WIA’s programs and trade adjustments assistance; and establishes a temporary commission to study issues relations to information technology in the U.S.

Title IV reauthorizes the Rehabilitation Act programs and links them to state and local workforce development systems. Title V contains genera provisions including authority for unified state plans relating to workforce development programs, incentive grants for states exceeding performance levels under WIA and Perkins Vocational Education Act, and transition provisions.

Click here to download the full text of the regulations.

Source: US Department of Labor

Updated 10/7/08

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