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Friday, August 24, 2012

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Reauthorization Proposals in the 112th Congress: Comparison of Major Features of Current Law and H.R. 4297

David H. Bradley
Specialist in Labor Economics

Benjamin Collins
Analyst in Labor Policy

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA; P.L. 105-220) is the primary federal program that supports workforce development activities, including job search assistance, career development, and job training. WIA established the One-Stop delivery system as a way to co-locate and coordinate the activities of multiple employment programs for adults, youth, and various targeted subpopulations. The delivery of these services occurs primarily through more than 3,000 One- Stop career centers nationwide.

The authorizations for appropriations for most programs under the WIA expired at the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2003. Since that time, WIA programs have been funded through the annual appropriations process. In the 108th and 109th Congresses, bills to reauthorize WIA were passed in both the House and the Senate; however, no further action was taken. In the 112th Congress, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) released discussion drafts in June 2011 of legislation to amend and reauthorize WIA. While markup of this legislation was scheduled, it was ultimately postponed indefinitely. No legislation has been introduced.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, however, has ordered reported H.R. 4297—the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012. This bill was introduced on March 29, 2012, by Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, the chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training (for herself, Representative Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, and Representative Joseph Heck of Nevada). A legislative hearing on H.R. 4297 was held before the full Committee on Education and the Workforce on April 17, 2012. On June 7, 2012, the committee, after considering 23 amendments to H.R. 4297, ordered the bill reported by a vote of 23 to 15.

H.R. 4297 would maintain the One-Stop delivery system established by WIA but would repeal numerous programs authorized by WIA and other federal legislation, and it would consolidate other programs into a new single funding source—the Workforce Investment Fund. In addition, H.R. 4297 would increase the role of business representatives in the state and local governance structure of WIA and would increase the ability for states to propose further program consolidation in the funding and delivery of workforce services. Adult Education and Vocational Rehabilitation retain separate titles and funding in H.R. 4297.

This report first provides a brief introduction to the four main titles of WIA and then compares the proposed provisions of H.R. 4297 to the current law provisions by each of the four titles. 

Date of Report: August 10, 2012
Number of Pages: 25
Order Number: R42658
Price: $29.95

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