The two reports from CLASP examine the provisions and opportunities under the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The new law strengthens existing workforce development and adult education programs in four ways that can benefit adults and youth with barriers to economic success. The law:
- Increases the focus on serving the most vulnerable workers—low-income adults and youth who have limited skills, lack work experience, and face other barriers to economic success;
- Expands education and training options to help participants access good jobs and advance in their careers;
- Helps disadvantaged and unemployed adults and youth earn while they learn through support services and effective employment-based activities; and
- Aligns planning and accountability policies across core programs to support more unified approaches to serving low-income, low-skilled individuals.
These positive policy developments create an opportunity for leaders, human service agencies, and advocates in states and local communities to rethink, reshape, and expand workforce systems, policies, and practices that are grounded in research and experience to improve the education and employability of low-income people. To bring these opportunities to fruition, policymakers, advocates, and practitioners must take advantage of what is available through WIOA.