The law was enacted to replace the Job Training Partnership Act and certain other Federal job training law with new workforce investment systems (or workforce development). Enacted during Bill Clinton's second term, it represented an attempt to induce business to participate in the local delivery of Workforce Development Services. The principal vehicle for this was Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) which were to be chaired by private sector members of the local community. A majority of Board members were also required to represent business interests. Today, WIA funds can be used to fund workforce education and career pathways programs.
The provisions of the Act were delineated into five subchapters:
Workforce Investment Definitions
Sets forth definitions for workforce investment programs as cited by the chapter and for future legislation using this Act as basis for funding.
Statewide and Local Workforce Investment Systems
Directs state governors to establish and appoint the members of a statewide partnership to assist in the development of the state plan.
Directs state governors to designate local workforce investment areas in accordance with specified requirements.
Requires that local workforce investment boards, and youth councils within such boards, be established in each local area of a state.
Provides for Job Corps recruitment standards, graduate readjustment allowances through local one-stop customer service centers, industry councils and management information.
Revises Job Corps requirements for:
Screening, selection, assignment, and enrollment
Job Corps Centers
Program activities and continued services
Counseling and job placement
Standards of conduct
Experimental, research, and demonstration projects.
Provides for workforce investment activities and supplemental services under programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, migrant and seasonal farmworkers and veterans (replacing similar programs formerly under JTPA.)
Directs the Secretary of Labor to make youth opportunity grants to eligible local partnerships to provide specified activities to increase the long-term employment of eligible youth who live in empowerment zones, enterprise communities, and high poverty areas.
Directs the Secretary to provide assistance to an entity to establish a role model academy for out-of-school youth in a residential center located on the site of a closed or realigned military installation.
Directs the Secretary of Labor to provide technical assistance to states to help with transitions, general performance improvement, and dislocated worker training improvement.
Directs the Secretary to publish a biennial plan for demonstration, pilot, multiservice, research, and multistate projects. Sets forth requirements for such projects under such plan, including competitive award procedures and peer review.
Directs the Secretary to provide for continuing evaluation of programs and activities under this title. Authorizes the Secretary to conduct evaluations of other federally funded employment-related programs and activities.
Authorizes the Secretary to make national emergency grants for:
Employment and training assistance to workers affected by major economic dislocations
Disaster relief employment
Additional assistance for dislocated workers
Sets forth requirements for:
Labor standards, prohibitions on worker displacement, and other requirements relating to use of funds
Prompt allocation of funds
Fiscal controls and sanctions
Reports, recordkeeping, and investigations
State legislative authority
Workforce flexibility partnership plans
Use of certain real property
Continuation of State activities and policies.
Declares that a state shall not be prohibited by the federal government from drug use testing of participants in certain workforce investment programs and sanctioning those who test positive.
The law was slightly amended by the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Amendments of 1998 and the Higher Education Amendments of 1998.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803; 113th Congress), if passed, would consolidate job training programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) into a single funding stream. It also would amend the Wagner-Peyser Act, reauthorize adult-education programs, and reauthorize programs under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The various job programs would be authorized for six years with a requirement that they record and report on how many people get new jobs through their participation in the programs.