Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 amends the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to strengthen the United States workforce development system through innovation in, and alignment and improvement of employment, training, and education programs in the United States, and to promote individual and national economic growth.  The Departments of Education and Labor, in close collaboration with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development, have provided leadership in the implementation of WIOA.

The purpose and intent of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 is to:

  • Provide individuals in the United States, particularly those individuals with barriers to employment, the training, and support services they need to succeed in the labor market;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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.

Services: All Montanans 18 and older are eligible for basic career services. Individualized career services may be provided to individuals that have been determined to be in need of these services in order to obtain and/or retain employment that allows for self-sufficiency.

Training services are available to employed and unemployed adults and dislocated workers who have met program eligibility requirements and have been determined: (1) unable or unlikely to obtain or retain employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency or wages comparable to or higher wages from previous employment; (2) in need of training services to obtain or retain employment leading to economic self-sufficiency or wages comparable to or higher than wages from previous employment; (3) Have the skills and qualifications to participate successfully in training services; and have selected a program of training services that is directly linked to employment opportunities in their area or in another area to which the individuals are willing to commute or relocate.

Economic Development: The program is intended to help Montanans make wise career choices and educational/training decisions. Workforce development plus educational development equals economic development. Business and industry must have access to a highly skilled workforce in order to compete globally. The complete Workforce Investment Act (all five titles) is designed with this in mind.

Administration: The Workforce Services Division in the Montana Department of Labor and Industry provides statewide program oversight and also acts as the fiscal agent and administrative entity for the State Workforce Innovation Board (SWIB). Division functions include fiscal tracking, participant data tracking, reporting to the U.S. Department of Labor, monitoring the Workforce Investment Board and local service providers for compliance and quality issues, providing training and technical assistance to the system and policy interpretation and development. A portion (15%) of the funding for each program (adult, youth and dislocated worker) allocated to states is reserved for the Governor's Set-aside and the remainder (85%) of the adult and youth funds are passed through to the local areas. Montana reserves 25% of the dislocated worker funds allotted to the state for rapid response activities provided by Job Service Workforce Centers, 15% is reserved for the Governor's Set-aside and 60% is passed through the local areas. On behalf of the SWIB, The Division Management Services Bureau, within the Workforce Services Division, contracts with local providers who then provide services to adults, youth and dislocated workers.