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The Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the first major reform of the nation's job training system in over 15 years, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 7, 1998 and went into effect July 1, 2000.
The purposes of WIA are to give American workers the chance to equip themselves with the skills and information needed to compete in the new economy and to help workers take responsibility for building a better future for themselves and their families.
To accomplish the goals of this new legislation, a new workforce investment system was built on the following key principles:
- Streamline Services through a system of One-Stop Centers that collects multiple job-focused support programs under one roof to make those services more useful and more findable for both individuals and businesses.
- Empower Individuals through
- Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) so that they may obtain training at qualified institutions of their choice.
- Labor market information, advice, guidance, and support available through the One-Stop Centers and their partners.
- Information on the performance of training providers through a Consumer Report Card System (CRCS). This information is essential to ensuring informed training choices and is available to all One-Stop customers.
- Provide Universal Access to services that allows all individuals to access certain core employment-related services such as information about job openings, career options, how to conduct job searches, resume writing, and employment interviews.
- Give a Strategic Role to Local Boards and the Private Sector through business-led Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) that are focused on strategic planning, policy development, and oversight. The active involvement of business and labor is critical to understanding what skills are in demand, what jobs are available, what career fields are expanding, and what types of training programs will best meet local employer needs.
- Offer States and Local Areas Flexibility to implement innovative, comprehensive workforce investment systems that meet the unique needs of their regional and local labor markets.
- Improve Youth Programs that tie activities and services more closely to labor market needs, strengthen the connection between what schools are teaching and what employers expect students to know, and provide activities geared specifically toward youth development. WIA puts an emphasis on coordinating youth activities and creating a comprehensive network of youth programs administered by a variety of agencies. To accomplish this, each LWIB (Local Workforce Investment Board) has a Youth Council that is tasked with improving coordination among youth-serving programs and organizations, overseeing and planning strategies for those youth programs, and identifying new eligible providers for youth services.
The underlying principle of WIA training services is customer choice. One-Stop Centers will provide individuals access to this website so that they can review the comprehensive list of WIA eligible training providers (ETPs) that can assist them in gaining the skills they are looking for.