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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Reauthorization Proposals in the 113th Congress: Comparison of Major Features of Current Law and H.R. 803

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 FY2003. Since that time, WIA programs have been funded through the annual appropriations process. In the 108
th 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 ordered reported H.R. 4297—the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012, on June 7, 2012, by a vote of 23 to 15. This legislation would have amended and reauthorized WIA. No further action was taken on H.R. 4297 in the 112th Congress.

In the 113
th Congress, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce has ordered reported H.R. 803—the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act (SKILLS Act). This bill was introduced on February 25, 2013, by Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, the chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training. A legislative hearing on H.R. 803 was held before the full Committee on Education and the Workforce on February 26, 2013. On March 6, 2013, the committee, after considering four amendments to H.R. 803, ordered the bill reported by a vote of 23 to 0. H.R. 803 was debated in the House of Representatives on March 15, 2013, and passed by a vote of 215-202.

H.R. 803 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. Adult Education and Vocational Rehabilitation retain separate titles and funding in H.R. 803.

This report first provides a brief introduction to the four main titles of WIA and then compares the proposed provisions of H.R. 803 to the current law provisions by each of the four titles.

Date of Report: April 5, 2013
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: R42990
Price: $29.95

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