President Obama has signed into law the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which is designed to streamline the federal workforce training system.
In conjunction with this new law, Vice President Biden announced an action plan called “Ready to Work,” an outgrowth of the president’s State of the Union address.
Both initiatives are aimed at improving job training at the local level. The new law helps job seekers secure training, education and employment, and thus helps employers get the skilled workers they need.
Among other things, the law will:
- Eliminate 15 existing federal programs
- Apply a single set of outcome metrics to federal workforce programs
- Create smaller and more strategic state and local workforce development boards
- Empower local boards to tailor services to their region’s employment and workforce needs
- Support access to real-world education and workforce development opportunities through on-the-job, incumbent worker, and customized training; pay-for-performance contracts; and sector and pathway strategies.
The vice president’s plan gathered input from relevant stakeholders, including employers, and encourages more collaboration with business as well as using data to match job needs to training and performance measurements to ensure the most efficient programs are used.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the new law “provides much needed streamlining of skills certification programs and directs the necessary funding to ensure manufacturers have the workforce they need to compete in a globally competitive environment.”