Huffington Post on WIOA

Directions-Training-Prepare-IT-Certifications-1The federal WIA program (Workforce Investment Act) has become WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act). If this is the first time you are reading about the change, it may be because WIOA has gotten most of its media attention for unifying a divided US government (both houses passed the bill with overwhelming majority). Less is known about how the act will actually benefit America’s citizens and workforce.

WIOA builds on the popular WIA program, which was created in 1998 with the intention of funding workforce development activities. Several of WIA’s fans and critics can agree that the program, which receives over three billion dollars in annual funding, has been in need of an overhaul since 2003. The solution, WIOA, promises to provide a modern approach to equipping and enabling the long-term unemployed persons of America with advanced education and training.

Taking notice of WIOA’s benefits are several heads of nonprofit organizations, including the CEO of Goodwill Industries International. Beyond leading service-driven organizations, these leaders are contributors at the Huffington Post. As a result, the Huffington Post has been abuzz celebrating WIOA because of what it means for American citizens and federal government.

Below are brief overviews of three Huffington Post blog articles that discuss changes made to WIA, how government came together to support change, and what was involved in making the WIOA bill law.

A Rare Bipartisan Bill Passes Congress

Co-Founder of Upstream USA, Mark Edwards, writes about the degradation of the WIA program and derailment of its original intent in his blog article, “A Rare Bipartisan Bill Passes Congress.” Edwards writes about how WIA changed since its inception in 1998. “WIA has failed to keep pace with changing economic conditions and has needed an overhaul since 2003,” he says. And he goes onto explain the unexpected display of bipartisanship it took to replace outdated WIA with the improved WIOA program. “Recognizing that WIA was in desperate need of improvements, a broad cross-section of youth, education, business and workforce advocates representing the private, public and nonprofit sectors…worked with key Republican and Democratic lawmakers, pushing hard for its reauthorization.”

Edwards believes that the “…Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) represents a big step forward for job skills training — as well as a victory for a political system beset by gridlock.”

To read Mark Edwards’ complete Huffington Post blog article on “A Rare Bipartisan Bill Passes Congress,” click here:

Shouldn’t Education and Training Lead to a Career?

Judy Berman, Deputy Director of DC Appleseed and resident of the District of Columbia writes about the disparity she realizes in Washington DC’s job market. She says, “Over 60,000 District residents lack a high school diploma or equivalent degree, a significant barrier to economic security.” This fact conflicts with Berman’s belief that, “Every District resident deserves a family-supporting job with career opportunities.” Her solution calls for a paradigm shift, or rather a new paradigm all together. “The [DC] workforce system must invest strategically in our lower-skilled residents and better target the needs of District employers.”

Berman believes this can be accomplished with WIOA, but not the outdated WIA, which she calls a “…fragmented system, in which the District funds basic education programs that may not be designed to help learners get started in a career; job training programs that may not prepare participants to earn industry-recognized credentials; GED classes that may leave students unprepared to enter college.”

In Berman’s opinion, “WIOA places a high priority on upskilling youth and adults through a career pathways approach. This means not only orienting training and education programs toward industry credentials, it means accelerating learning by integrating basic skill and career training, paying as much attention to the transition between programs and systems as we currently do to programs alone, and providing supports and services necessary to assist residents as they work toward higher earning potential.”

Read Judy Berman’s entire Huffington Post blog article, “Shouldn’t Education and Training Lead to a Career?

Congrats to Congress on a Job Well Done — WIOA Passes Both Houses!

Jim Gibbons is president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. In September 2014, he published a congratulatory blog post to express how pleased he was that the WIOA bill passed in both houses – a feat for the divided federal government. However, getting the bill through both Senate and House of Representatives was not an easy task. Nevertheless, Gibbons notes, “Despite serious debates on multiple provisions in both bills, leaders were able to come together and craft legislation that will play a vital role in training millions of Americans for the modern workforce.”

After delving into ways WIOA is going to promote America’s workers, Gibbons closes by saying, “Every person deserves opportunities to gain skills training and to fulfill their potential. This legislation will enable more community program participants and workers across our nation to train for and earn meaningful work. I applaud Congress for its leadership in coming to a bipartisan agreement to update and overhaul our nation’s largest job training programs.”

Read Gibbons’ Huffington Post blog article, “Congrats to Congress on a Job Well Done — WIOA Passes Both Houses!” to learn more about what WIOA is and who was involved in making this bill a law.

WIOA at Directions Training

As WIA phases out and the new WIOA program is implemented nationwide, Directions Training remains dedicated to offering comprehensive IT training, professional development training, and certification opportunities to out-of-work individuals. Directions Training teams up with those who receive the WIOA grant to accelerate their career paths through training. To learn more about partnering with Directions Training and making the most of the WIOA program, visit the WIOA page on our website. You can also contact the Director of WIOA Programs at or call 630.303.9865 for more information.

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