ASTD has advocated for the reauthorization of the Workforce
Investment Act (WIA), the landmark legislation originally passed in
1998 to streamline and coordinate workforce training programs at
the U.S. federal level, for several years.
While WIA reauthorization has not succeeded recently, there is new
momentum behind it this year. Just before the 2011 holidays, the
House of Representatives’ Education and Workforce
Committee introduced two bills that would address and update WIA.
HR 3610: "Streamline Workforce Development Act of 2011" This
legislation, introduced by Virginia Fox (R-NC), amends WIA, would
consolidate 30 and eliminate three of the 47 federal workforce
training programs and create four funding streams. Here are the
four funding streams and the proposed allocations recommended to
the Appropriations Committee:
• Workforce Investment Fund: $4.3
• Veterans Workforce Investment Fund: $218
• Targeted Populations Workforce Investment
Fund: $518 Million
• Youth Workforce Investment Fund $1.9
The Workforce Investment Fund would consolidate eight programs,
mostly from the Department of Labor; the Veterans Workforce
Investment Fund would consolidate five programs specifically
designed to help veterans; the Targeted Population Workforce
Investment Fund would consolidate eight programs many from Health
and Human Services; and the Youth Workforce Investment Fund would
consolidate three programs. The remaining 14 programs would
continue as they are, with some in the Department of Education.
The big change here (along with consolidation) is that these four
funding streams would be directly allocated to the states; and then
the three adult funding streams would be directly allocated to
local Workforce Boards. This is different than the current model of
allocation to local government. Some states would need to change
their processes to accept and allocate these funds
This legislation would also change the required membership of the
state workforce boards. It would make the mandatory business
membership on the state board be a two-thirds majority. It would
also make some changes to the requirements of the
state’s unified workforce plans.
HR 3611: "Local Jobs Opportunities and Business Success Act of
2011" This legislation, introduced by Joe Heck (R-NV), amends WIA
at the local level, following many of the guidelines in HR 3610. It
makes the same changes to the membership of the local board to a
two-thirds business representation requirement. And it would
eliminate the requirement of partner programs on the local board.
ASTD has met with staff of the House Education and Workforce
committee and will continue to monitor Congressional activity on
the Workforce Investment Act and provide members with updates on it
and other policy initiatives through this blog and the quarterly
ASTD Policy Brief at www.astd.org/publicpolicy.