After over 15 years, Congress reauthorized the Workforce Investment Act in 2014, calling it the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA will help job seekers and workers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market. This legislation now recognizes the part libraries can play in assisting these job seekers and be integrated into the state and local plans to deliver these crucial services.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act would strengthen the capacity of public libraries to support workforce investment in local communities by including the following provisions:
- Ensure State Workforce Development Boards develop strategies for technological improvements to facilitate access to, and improve the quality of, services and activities provided through the one-stop delivery system, including improvements to enhance digital literacy skills (as defined in section 202 of the Museum and Library Services Act) under section 101(d)(7) – Functions of the State Workforce Development Board.
- Ensure Local Workforce Development Boards develop strategies for using technology to maximize the accessibility and effectiveness of the local workforce development system by increasing access to services and programs of the one-stop delivery system, such as improving digital literacy skills under section 107(d)(7)(C) – Functions of the Local Workforce Development Board.
- Authorize employment, education, and training programs provided by public libraries as additional one-stop partners under section 121(b)(2)(B)(vii) – Additional One-Stop Partners.
- Prohibit any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the selection of library resources under section 129(c)(6) – Prohibitions.
- Authorize adult education and literacy activities provided by public libraries as an Allowable Statewide Employment and Training Activity under section 134(a)(3)(A)(viii)(II)(dd) – Allowable Statewide Employment and Training Activities.
- Authorize a public library as an eligible provider of adult education and literacy services under section 203(5)(F) – Definition of Eligible Provider.
- Include a definition of “workforce preparation activities” that specifically includes digital literacy skills under section 203(17) – Definition of Workforce Preparation Activities.
- Authorize technical assistance activities related to the development and dissemination of proven models for addressing the digital literacy needs of adults, including older adults under section 242(c)(1)(C) – National Leadership Activities.
- Encourage support for national, regional, or local networks of private nonprofit organizations, public libraries, or institutions of higher education to strengthen the ability of those organizations to meet various performance requirements under section 242(c)(2)(B) – National Leadership Activities.
ALA Key Communications
- Comments before the Departments of Labor and Education on implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (June 15, 2015)
- Communications and Correspondence Archive
- WIOA on District Dispatch
- WIOA bill summary
- ALA's May 2014 congressional letter on WIOA
- IMLS: Public Libraries and the Workforce
- E-Government Toolkit