Reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act: Is There Hope? the Battle to Reinstate the Momentous Legislation May Be Ongoing, but It Certainly Isn't out of the Question

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To help members and learning professionals stay current on activity at the U.S. federal level, ASTD tracks and reports on legislation and regulations that affect training and workforce development.

One of the largest pieces of legislation of interest to the field is the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the landmark legislation originally passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1998 to streamline and coordinate workforce training programs at the federal level. Although the bill has been introduced for reauthorization in the House and Senate by the last three Congresses, it has not passed.

While WIA reauthorization has not succeeded in recent years, there is a great deal of momentum behind it this year. ASTD is engaged in discussions with staff from the committees responsible for this legislation: the Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and its Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety; and the House of Representatives' Education and Labor Committee and its subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness.

In December, Representative Brett Guthrie (R-Kentucky), ranking member of the House subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness, introduced a WIA reauthorization bill. And at a recent hearing of the Education and Labor Committee during which Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis testified, reauthorization of the bill was raised several times.

ASTD continues to advocate for WIA reauthorization and suggests that several key points be considered in the legislation: streamline workforce investment boards so they are smaller, more flexible, and responsive to the needs of employers; ensure that training and workforce development programs are measured by comprehensive performance metrics; and ensure better coordination and collaboration with partners in the system to provide worker preparation and training services. …