August 2014
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TD Magazine

U.S. Congress Reauthorizes Workforce Investment Act

Friday, August 8, 2014

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

Showing overwhelming bipartisan support, both chambers of the U.S. Congress voted to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). This development comes with the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA modernizes and improves existing U.S. workforce development programs and replaces WIA, originally passed in 1998, which has been awaiting reauthorization for 11 years.

WIOA passed the U.S. Senate on June 25 by a near-unanimous vote of 95-3. The House of Representatives voted on July 9, passing the measure by a vote of 415-6. The new legislation reauthorizes the program for six years. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law, although as of press time the timing is unknown.

The Association for Talent Development, formerly ASTD, has advocated for reauthorization of this legislation for several years, participating in a coalition of organizations involved in workforce development. Tony Bingham, ATD president and CEO, and Bill Docalovich, chairman of ATD's Public Policy Council, sent a letter of support for WIOA to the eight representatives and senators who co-sponsored the bill. In the letter they noted, "Regardless of the economic climate, it is critical that organizations of all sizes recruit, develop, and retain their human capital to achieve and sustain a competitive advantage. To do this, employers must have access to a workforce development system that helps them invest in developing their employees."

"The reauthorization of WIA via this new legislation is important for our members who possess critically needed expertise in training and talent development," says Jennifer Homer, vice president of communications for ATD. "We look forward to providing more information to our members and other talent development practitioners about how they can help local workforce investment boards address critical skills gaps in their local communities."

About the Author

Kristen Fyfe-Mills is the director of employee development and engagement at Farmer Focus, an innovative organization with the fastest-growing poultry brand in the US. In her role, she supports nearly 900 team members, from front-line hourly associates to the executive team. Before joining Farmer Focus, Kristen served in many roles at the Association for Talent Development, culminating in her position as director of marketing and strategic communications.

Kristen holds two master’s degrees, one in pastoral and spiritual care from Marymount University and the other in journalism from Northwestern University. She serves on the advisory board for Shenandoah University’s Transformative Leadership program. She is the mom of two exceptional humans, and she and her husband Doug live in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

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