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Harry Holzer comments on Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

June 25, 2014

The Senate will likely vote today on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bipartisan effort to reauthorize the federal Workforce Investment Act. Indeed, this legislation is the best chance in over a decade to accomplish this, and the Senate should pass this legislation cleanly and with as few amendments as possible.

WIOA has a number of attractive features. It encourages demand-driven job training, to ensure that postsecondary education or training are targeted to employer needs in sectors with high-paying and growing numbers of jobs. It requires states adopt a more uniform and more sensible set of performance measures than now exists, which should improve incentives of state and local workforce boards to create high-quality programs. It consolidates the many existing federal training programs by eliminating 15 small ones, while at the same time restoring some funding that has been lost in recent years.

These goals are consistent with recent proposals by myself and others that urge higher education and training programs to be better coordinated with each other and more responsive to the local and state labor market. It creates stronger incentives than now exist for the delivery of high-quality workforce services that are in tune with local market conditions.

Accordingly, I believe the Senate should pass this legislation in its current form.

Editor's Note

The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of The Hamilton Project.

Harry Holzer is a recent author of a Hamilton Project proposal on incentivizing colleges to better prepare students for the work force. See The Hamilton Project’s recent volume for related proposals on building skills in the United States.


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