In 2014, Congress enacted the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to reauthorize and modernize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998.  The WIOA provides federal investments to states to fund a variety of job training, education, and employment services for unemployed and underemployed workers and youth.  In California, WIOA-funded programs and services help provide job seekers the skills they need to gain employment, and provide businesses the skilled workforce they need to compete in the 21st Century global economy.  While WIOA largely maintains the basic local governance structure of WIA through local and/or regional Workforce Investments Boards (WIB), the measure includes a number of policy changes that aim to strengthen local and regional economic development through targeted investments in regional industry and sector-based job training and education initiatives. 

WIOA includes level funding for WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs from Fiscal Year 2015 through 2020 with year-by-year funding increases.  However, it is important to note that WIA program funding will still go through the annual appropriations process, thereby subjecting it to potential budget reductions as with any other program.

RCRC has long advocated in support of our Federal workforce, education, and training system.  Not only has WIOA been critical to strengthening local, regional, and state economies, but the investments in employment training programs and services, particularly for rural counties, are vital to developing the highly-skilled and technical workforce our businesses need to sustain, maintain, and grow our competitive edge.  RCRC works with our member county WIBs and the California WIB to ensure that WIOA implementation maintains local WIBs and their governance structure, and supports rural employment and job training programs.

Staff: Paul A. Smith