The purpose of WIOA, as written in the bill (HR 803), is just six sentences:
“(1) To increase, for individuals in the United States, particularly those individuals with barriers to employment, access to and opportunities for the employment, education, training, and support services they need to succeed in the labor market.
“(2) To support the alignment of workforce investment, education, and economic development systems in support of a comprehensive, accessible, and high-quality workforce development system in the United States.
“(3) To improve the quality and labor market relevance of workforce investment, education, and economic development efforts to provide America’s workers with the skills and credentials necessary to secure and advance in employment with family-sustaining wages and to provide America’s employers with the skilled workers the employers need to succeed in a global economy.
“(4) To promote improvement in the structure of and delivery of services through the United States workforce development system to better address the employment and skill needs of workers, jobseekers, and employers.
“(5) To increase the prosperity of workers and employers in the United States, the economic growth of communities, regions, and states, and the global competitiveness of the United States.
“(6) For purposes of subtitle A and B of title I, to provide workforce investment activities, through statewide and local workforce development systems, that increase the employment, retention, and earnings of participants, and increase attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials by participants, and as a result, improve the quality of the workforce, reduce welfare dependency, increase economic self-sufficiency, meet the skill requirements of employers, and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the nation.”
WIOA was designed to meet needs of the current economy. In general, it includes the same core programs as WIA, maintains separate funding streams, creates common measures across programs for youth and adults, and requires a unified state plan for programs. It is intended to streamline program services, reporting, and administration, and encourages strategic alignment and coordination to strengthen and improve the broad workforce development system. Transition to WIOA requires strong partnerships at the state and local level.
WIOA retains and expands the purposes of AEFLA in assisting adults to become literate and achieve the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and economic self-sufficiency. Helping adults achieve high school equivalency level is critical, but is not the end goal. In addition to addressing transition from adult education to post-secondary education and training in performance measures, the purpose of the Act has been expanded to include transition to postsecondary education and training through career pathways.
Additionally, services to immigrants and English language learners is expanded from reading, writing, speaking and comprehending English language to include improving math skills and understanding American government, individual freedoms, and responsibilities of citizenship.