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More Information on the Workforce Investment Act of 1998

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) supersedes the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) and amends the Wagner-Peyser Act. WIA also contains the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (title II) and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 (title IV).

The Workforce Investment Act became fully effective on July 1, 2000. It passed by a wide bipartisan majority in part because it was designed to permit communities and states to build a workforce investment system that respects individual choices, reflects local conditions, and results in increased employment, job retention, and earnings of participants while increasing occupational skills attained by participants.

The Workforce Investment Act redesigned the nation's workforce system to:

  1. streamline multiple employment and training programs into an integrated One-Stop Career Center system, simplifying access to services for job seekers and employers;
  2. empower individuals to get the services and skills they need to improve their employment opportunities through qualified training programs of their choosing;
  3. universal access to services that allows any individual to access certain core employment-related services such as information about job vacancies, career options, or how to conduct a job search, write a resume, or interview with an employer;
  4. increase accountability of states, localities, and training providers for their performance based on job placement rates, earnings, retention in employment, skills gained, and credentials earned;
  5. involve local elected officials and the private sector in business-led boards for the local areas focusing on strategic planning, policy development, and local oversight;
  6. allow state and local flexibility to implement innovative and comprehensive workforce investment systems to meet the needs of their communities; and
  7. improve youth programs by creating Youth Councils that are linked more closely to local labor market needs and the community.

Partnerships at all levels-local, state, and federal-and across the system are the hallmark of the workforce investment system. All levels are required to coordinate and collaborate with agencies and entities that have not been a part of the traditional workforce development system. Accountability and responsibility for outcomes at all levels of the system now exist, with each level having unique and integral roles and responsibilities.

Note: The following text further explains what is meant by "empower individuals":

Empowering Individuals -- Eligible individuals will have financial power through the use of Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) to obtain training at qualified institutions. Second, individuals will be empowered with information on the performance of training providers, through a system of consumer reports. This information is essential to ensuring informed training choices, and will be available to all One-Stop customers. Third, individuals will be empowered through a nationwide labor market information system, the expert advice, guidance, and support available through the One-Stop system, and the activities of the participating partners.