1Effective implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

WIOA made important changes to a system that was in many ways outdated and inefficient. Implementation activities and the regulatory process have been underway for a number of months, but there is still much the Department and Labor and Congress could do to support states and localities as they assess and determine how to modify their practices and integrate the changes made by WIOA across all elements of their workforce development systems.

2Support "bridge building" work experience through social enterprise, internships, and national service

An important way that young people and adults with limited work experience step into the workforce is through work-based learning that provides real job experience while providing training and supports, also known as “bridge building” work. Creative strategies to encourage the development and sustainable funding streams for these “bridge building” jobs are necessary to connect individuals with significant barriers to employment to successful career pathways.

3Connect skills and experience with job placement

It is critical that institutions of higher education, other post-secondary providers, and workforce system players recognize the realities facing students and workers and consider the core competencies employers seek. As part of this effort, it is important that post-secondary providers and workforce agencies work together to create and support innovative credentialing and certification opportunities that reward the development of in-demand skills that apply directly to areas of need in the economy, no matter where the learning and skills development takes place.

4Improve data access and utilization and emphasize accountability

The federal government should prioritize the creation of data systems that connect across silos (such as workforce development, elementary and secondary education, higher education, and employment) and increase access by providers, as well as state and local public agencies so data can be used to improve outcomes.

5Allow for flexibility and continued system reform

Policies should specify the desired employment and education-related outcomes (as well as benchmarks along the career pathway) and allow flexibility regarding how these targets can be met, making sure these targets are reasonable and achievable. Competitive grants, Pay for Success structures, and innovation fund-style programming are all tools available to states and communities that are likely to improve results.

Workforce Development Taskforce