OSERS: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
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NIDRR: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014

The President signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which replaces the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. This new law represents a renewed commitment to workforce development with an eye to the future through innovation and support for individual and national economic growth. It is aimed at increasing opportunities, particularly for those facing barriers to employment, and invests in the important connection between education and career preparation. It looks to the prosperity of workers and employers and focuses on the economic growth of communities, regions, and states to enhance our global competitiveness as a country. While some research services and resources for those with disabilities will be transferred from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we expect a seamless transition with minimal disruption, and we express our continued strong commitment to grantees and all key stakeholders.

The new law states that the amendments that it makes to the Rehabilitation Act, as well as the transfer of certain programs from ED to HHS, took effect when President Obama signed the bill. However, WIOA also gives the Secretaries of ED and HHS authority to ensure an orderly transition as they implement these changes so they are carried out in a manner that minimizes disruption. ED and HHS, after working with the Office of Management and Budget, have determined that ED will continue to administer the affected programs until the orderly transfer can be completed as soon as reasonably possible. We will continue to engage and inform grantees and key stakeholders as specific plans for the transfer of these programs are developed and implemented. We appreciate your continued support as we realign and strengthen our programs for people with disabilities.


Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Updates

  • Download the latest Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) updates:
      PDF (34KB)

Q: When will the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Notice of Proposed Rulemaking be published?

A: The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), enacted July 22, 2014, provides many opportunities to advance a customer-centered workforce investment system driven by the needs of job seekers and employers, to support strong regional economies, and to provide individuals with pathways to the middle class and beyond.

WIOA establishes an aggressive timeframe for the Departments of Labor and Education to publish a set of regulations for implementation. The Departments continue to work diligently together to develop these regulations, informed in part by outreach to outside stakeholders, as appropriate. While we continue to work toward completion of this important and complex proposal, the publication of the proposed regulations is currently anticipated to occur in Spring 2015, rather than January 18, 2015, as stipulated in WIOA.

In Spring 2015, the Departments of Labor and Education plan to concurrently publish five Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) to implement WIOA. One of these will be a joint NPRM involving jointly administered activities including unified and combined state plans, performance, and aspects of the one- stop system. Another NPRM will implement the remaining provisions of Title I and Title III that are administered by the Department of Labor. Three additional NPRMs involve Department of Education programs, including one implementing Title II Adult Education and Literacy and two implementing the Title IV Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 of WIOA. These five NPRMs will be published in the Federal Register and posted on www.regulations.gov, where public comments can be submitted following publication. The Departments of Labor and Education will analyze these public comments, and anticipate issuing Final Rules implementing WIOA in early 2016.

Because many provisions of WIOA go into effect July 1, 2015, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) also will issue operating guidance in Spring 2015 to support implementation. In addition, ETA intends to issue targeted guidance documents in the Spring, accompanied by technical assistance activities. Once issued, the guidance can be accessed at www.doleta.gov/wioa/.

To achieve successful implementation and the full vision of WIOA, ETA will continue to consult with the workforce system and strongly advises states and local areas to begin planning and taking action to prepare to implement WIOA immediately. There are legislative and technical assistance tools currently available at www.doleta.gov/wioa that can support initial WIOA transitional activities.



Additional WIOA Information and Resources

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Last Modified: 01/06/2015