House WIOA Reauthorization Makes Important Strides, but Additional Improvements Needed
By Sapna Mehta and Emily Andrews
On May 17, 2022, the House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the Workforce and Opportunity Act (H.R. 7309). First enacted in 2014, WIOA is the primary law governing the public workforce system—the myriad of policies and programs that aim to assist jobseekers with education and training opportunities; labor market information; career navigation; and other work-related support services.
Reauthorization is an opportunity to reform the workforce system to better serve unemployed and underemployed workers—especially Black, Indigenous, and Latinx workers, as well as immigrants, youth, and individuals impacted by the criminal legal system. Data indicates that these communities experience challenges accessing and benefiting from the current workforce system. Moreover, the system is actually reinforcing and replicating systemic racism and sexism in the labor market by steering workers of color into low-wage jobs. As the country continues to recover from a devastating pandemic and economic recession, it is critical that the workforce system creates training and development opportunities that help workers of color enter into quality, family sustaining jobs.
This brief describes some of the critical updates the House bill makes to WIOA. It also offers CLASP’s recommendations for Congress to build toward a workforce system that empowers workers and helps create broadly shared prosperity.