America Forward Applauds House Passage of A Stronger Workforce for America Act

America Forward applauds the House of Representatives for passing A Stronger Workforce for America Act yesterday–a bill to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the nation’s most significant workforce-related legislation.   

America Forward and the organizations that make up the America Forward Coalition have been deeply engaged throughout the development of A Stronger Workforce for America Act – developing clear recommendations, meeting with policymakers, and advocating for more effective, innovative, and equitable workforce policies. See America Forward’s support letter here.

Yesterday’s action in the House represents a key step towards reauthorization, and America Forward is excited to see several of our key priorities reflected in the legislation – changes that will shift WIOA programs towards an evidence-based, outcomes-focused orientation while cutting down on unnecessary red tape that stifles improvement efforts, including: 

  • Fundamental reforms to WIOA’s performance system to focus on equitable improvement over compliance as well as innovative systems reforms to drive dollars to the most effective providers; 
  • Significant investments in workforce data infrastructure, including enabling states to leverage national administrative data on labor market outcomes; 
  • Cutting red tape for providers and participants; introducing evidence-based strategies and addressing barriers to the use of pay-for-performance contracting; and, 
  • Authorizing key programs such as the Reentry Employment Opportunities grant. 

As consideration moves to the Senate, we encourage lawmakers to build on the strong foundation passed by the House and consider additional reforms as outlined in America Forward’s WIOA recommendations

In particular, we call on the Senate to include a Workforce Development Innovation Fund as proposed by Senator Michael Bennet’s Better Jobs through Evidence and Innovation Act (S. 4008). The Workforce Development Innovation Fund is a tiered evidence fund to support the development and scale-up of evidence-based employment and training programs that generate demonstrated, long-term improvements for jobseekers and employers, as well as high-quality evaluations. We believe this kind of investment in programmatic innovation is essential to complement the systemic reforms in the A Stronger Workforce for America Act and enable our workforce system to respond effectively to a changing labor market and the emerging needs of employers, workers, and communities. 

We are encouraged that WIOA reauthorization is making progress in Congress, and will continue to engage with policymakers to further strengthen the legislation and help propel it across the finish line.

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