July 22

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Today the President signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which amends and reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA). This historic bipartisan, bicameral bill provides an increased number of opportunities to prepare people for available jobs and skilled careers.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) makes significant changes to the nation’s workforce development system.  Of greatest relevance to the MSSC Community are the following provisions (emphasis added):

1.WIOA provides the definition of a `recognized postsecondary credential’ as “a credential consisting of an industry-recognized certificate or certification, a certificate of completion of an apprenticeship, a license recognized by the State involved or Federal Government, or an associate or baccalaureate degree”.  With this definition, WIOA gives priority consideration to training that leads to industry-recognized credentials.

2. WIOA requires that states to develop a single comprehensive state plan to improve access to activities leading to a recognized postsecondary credential (including a credential that is an industry- recognized certificate or certification, portable, and stackable).  This requirement is supportive of the NAM-endorsed skill certification system of stackable, industry-recognized, nationally portable certifications, of which MSSC is a Founding Partner.

3. WIOA emphasizes the creation of Career Pathway systems through improved integration and coordination of education and training services.  MSSC is pleased to see that WIOA highlights what we have always believed, that the use of a common language–such as those provided by MSSC national, industry-defined skill standards– between industry and education will offer a more efficient and cost-effective way of preparing individuals with the higher skills needed by industry.

4. WIOA expands opportunities for local or national community-based organization or intermediary, community college, or other training provider to participate in federal workforce programs by providing the ability to have training services funded through contractual arrangements.

5. The restoration of the 15 percent discretionary funds for Governors will now give state agencies and state Workforce Investment Boards the flexibility to fuel job creation with state-led job training initiatives.  In the past, several states have used these funds to enhance the use of MSSC training and certification in the state.

Taken together this new bill opens up major new opportunities to incorporate MSSC into state plans, WIB programs and community college training.

-Leo Reddy, Chairman & CEO (MSSC)


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