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ADA Blog #46

During the June 28 White House Call on Disability, the ongoing Reauthorization of Workforce Investment Act was mentioned. WIA has been up for reauthorization since 2003. A bill is expected to be introduced today. This is especially important to the continued efforts by the Federal Government to hire and promote people with disabilities because WIA reauthorization also reauthorizes the Rehabilitation Act (Title V).

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) provides the framework for a unique national workforce preparation and employment system designed to meet both the needs of our nation’s businesses and the needs of job seekers and those who want to further their careers.  The most important aspect of the Act is its focus on meeting the needs of businesses for skilled workers and the training, education, and employment needs of individuals.

Enactment of WIA in 1998 marked the first significant attempt to retool the nation's workforce development programs since the early 1980s. The current economic downturn and rising unemployment highlight the need for states to have a 21st century workforce system in place that can provide workers with the necessary training and employers with the highly skilled employees they need. In its current form, WIA is not ready to meet these challenges. Outdated, overly focused on process and administratively burdensome with a myriad of reporting requirements and performance standards, WIA has become a barrier to innovation in the states.

WIA has been successful in engaging workers; however, more work remains to fully engage businesses in the workforce system. Continued involvement by business will provide strong public/private partnerships and guide each state’s Governor about best practices needed to build and enhance these partnerships.

Shelley

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.