HCWDB Applauds New Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

(Boone, NC) The High Country Workforce Development Board (HCWDB) applauds the recent signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) by President Obama. This new federal legislation, a bi-partisan effort, reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act and was approved by the U.S. Senate on June 25, approved by the U.S. House on July 9, and signed by the President on July 22, 2014.

“We are thankful to receive such broad support for our efforts to connect job seekers with local employers. This new legislation will streamline our services and allow us to help our community get back to work more quickly,” said Adrian Tait, director of the High Country Workforce Development Board.

The HCWDB’s workforce centers assisted more than 10,000 customers across its seven-county region (Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey) with job search, resume and interview prep, financial aid, and training and education workshops during the fiscal year that ended June 30th. The centers also assisted more than two hundred businesses in the region with job listings, recruitment, referrals, and trainings.

WIOA is the first legislative reform of the public workforce system in more than 15 years and will take effect July 1, 2015. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Highlights include the following:

  • Aligns federal investments to support job seekers and employers at the state level;
  • Strengthens the governing bodies that establish state, regional, and local workforce investment priorities;
  • Helps employers find workers with the necessary skills;
  • Aligns goals and increases accountability and information for job seekers and the public;
  • Fosters regional collaboration to meet the needs of regional economies;
  • Targets workforce services to better serve job seekers;
  • Improves services to individuals with disabilities; and
  • Supports access to services at workforce centers.

“The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is just one of many positive things happening in workforce development right now. The law will help us continue to design innovative ways to help employers find the right people and help more people gain the skills and knowledge needed in today’s economy,” Tait said.

U.S. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (N.C. Fifth District) served on the bi-partisan House Education and the Workforce Committee and was the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training – both of which were instrumental in the work done on the WIOA.