Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

For nearly ten years, the U.S. Congress has been working to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).  Currently, the House has passed H.R. 803, the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Livelong Skills Act.  This legislation will reauthorize WIA and includes the following provisions:

  • Ensure the state workforce investment plan includes a description of the actions that will be taken by the state to foster communication, coordination, and partnerships with non-profit organizations – including public libraries;
  • Ensure the local state workforce investment plan includes a description of the strategies and services that will be used in the local area to better coordinate workforce development programs with employment, training, and literacy services carried out by non-profit organizations – including libraries; and
  • Authorize public libraries that carry out employment, training, and literacy services as additional one-stop partners so they can better assist with workforce development activities

Likewise, the Senate has also been working on a WIA reauthorization bill in S. 1356 had was reported from the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on July 31, 2013.  While it is unknown at this time when or if S. 1356 will be brought up to a vote on the Senate floor, this legislation includes provisions that include the following:

  • Enhance digital literacy skills (as defined in section 202 of the Museum and Library Services Act (20 U.S.C. 9101)) as part of the Unified State Plan;
  • Authorize employment, education, and training programs provided by public libraries as additional one-stop partners; and
  • Authorize the coordination of employment and training activities, and adult education and literacy activities, provided by public libraries as an Allowable Statewide Employment and Training Activity.

ALA’s Position: The ALA asks the U.S. Senate to move forward on reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and:

  • Authorize public libraries that carry out employment, training, and literacy services as additional one-stop partners; and,
  • Require inclusion of public libraries in state plans as well as descriptions of the actions that will be taken by the state to foster communication, coordination, and partnerships with non-profit organizations;  and,
  • Require inclusion of public libraries in local state plans as well as descriptions of the strategies and services that will be used in the local area to better coordinate workforce development programs with employment, training, and literacy services carried out by non-profit organizations.

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