CSBG DCL Information About the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

Publication Date: April 20, 2015

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Community Services
Division of State Assistance
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20447


Community Services Block Grant
Dear Colleague Letter

Re: Information About the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

Date: April 20, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was signed into law on July 22, 2014, supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) and is the first legislative reform of the public workforce system in 15 years.

WIOA and the Community Services Block Grant

WIOA is an extraordinary opportunity to improve job and career options for our nation’s jobseekers through an integrated, job-driven public workforce system.  The new law encourages state and local leaders to work together to reimagine and reshape a workforce system that serves the needs of our most vulnerable citizens - low-income youth and adults living in high poverty areas.  The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) is a natural and important partner within this system, and, indeed, CSBG has a long history of collaborating with workforce partners under the previous WIA law.

A few key provisions of the law demonstrate a renewed focus on serving youth and adults who have limited skills, lack work experience and face barriers to economic success.  For example, WIOA requires that at least 75% of available statewide funds and 75% of funds available to local areas be spent on workforce services for out-of-school youth, which is a 30% increase from the requirements under WIA.  For adults, an increased emphasis on career pathways approaches and bundled service strategies that support postsecondary education and training is now required of both state and local workforce investment boards.

WIOA also incorporates CSBG in two significant ways.

  1. CSBG employment and training activities are included as a “required partner” for WIOA One-Stop Career Centers.  Under WIOA, the One-Stop Centers system continues to align workforce, education, and economic development investments to jobs, with a greater emphasis on achieving results for jobseekers and businesses.
  2. CSBG employment and training activities may be included, at the option of the state, in a WIOA Combined State Plan.

WIOA Resources

Several websites at the U.S. Department of Labor may help you learn more about WIOA.

Implementation and Comment Opportunities

WIOA generally goes into effect July 1, 2015.  In the coming months, the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education will be providing guidance and technical assistance to implement the new law.  In addition, state and local workforce partners are beginning to plan to put WIOA into operation across the country.  We encourage the CSBG Network to engage with your workforce partners as soon as possible, at the state and local levels, to take advantage of opportunities under the law to better serve low-income people seeking employment and skill development.

In particular, please take note of the opportunity to comment on five WIOA-related proposed rules, three from the Department of Education and two from the Employment and Training Administration.  These proposed rules were published in the Federal Register on April 16 and are currently available on the Federal Register website.  The proposed rule on the “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; Joint Rule for Unified and Combined State Plans, Performance Accountability, and the One-Stop System Joint Provisions” (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/16/2015-05528/workforce-innovation-and-opportunity-act-joint-rule-for-unified-and-combined-state-plans-performance Visit disclaimer page ) will be of particular interest to the CSBG Network.

In addition, the proposed WIOA state plan information collection instrument also involves CSBG training and employment activities and will be published in the Federal Register soon.

Thank you for your partnership, innovation, and dedication in service to low-income people and communities.

Jeannie L. Chaffin                                                 Seth Hassett
Director                                                                 Director, Division of State Assistance
Office of Community Services                               Office of Community Services

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