News Release

Obama administration seeks public comment on proposed rules to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

WASHINGTON — The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed by President Obama on July 22, 2014, is the first major reform to federal job training programs in more than 15 years. WIOA is designed to improve the coordination of employment and training services across federal agencies, strengthen collaboration with state and local partners, and provide Americans with increased access to training, education and other support to succeed in the job market and in their careers. Today, the departments of Labor and Education announced five Notices of Proposed Rulemaking to implement WIOA and seek public comment.

"We are embarking on a fundamental transformation in the way we prepare people for the careers of today and tomorrow," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "More than ever before, we're taking a job-driven approach and making sure training programs connect businesses that want to grow with workers who want to punch their ticket to the middle class."

"WIOA will provide the opportunities for workers and learners to obtain the foundation skills necessary for 21st century jobs and foster a modern workforce that can compete in a global economy," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "It makes key improvements in the nation's workforce development and education system, by emphasizing the creation of career pathway programs, improved training, and streamlined service delivery to individuals — especially for underserved youth and adults."

The proposed regulations are designed to: update and improve federal workforce programs that serve workers, job seekers, and employers; strengthen accountability and transparency; increase access to work-based learning tools, such as apprenticeships; improve relationships with employers, including through sector partnerships, and foster more cohesive planning within economic regions. The proposed rules would also improve access to education and workforce services for individuals with significant barriers to employment — veterans, individuals with disabilities, disconnected youth, and other vulnerable populations — to help them find good work.

The proposed regulations align closely with principles outlined in Vice President Joseph R. Biden's Ready to Work report on developing a more evidence-based, job-driven workforce system. The vice president's report included a call for greater coordination and more strategic use of federal resources to yield better results; transparent and relevant information so job-seekers and the public know what works, and putting business front and center so our investments are directly responsive to hiring needs. WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, reauthorizes the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and amends the Wagner-Peyser Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The five NPRMs announced today include: a joint rule, issued by the departments of Labor and Education, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services, proposing to implement jointly-administered activities related to unified planning, performance accountability, and the one-stop system; a Department of Labor rule proposing to implement DOL-specific activities under Title I; and three Department of Education rules proposing to implement the requirements of Titles II and IV.

Please visit to share your comments on the specific proposed rules, in accordance with the process outlined in the NPRMs. Any comments not received through the processes outlined in the NPRMs will not be considered by the departments.

A webinar on how to provide comments on the NPRMs will be available the week of April 27. For more information, visit

Here are summaries of each proposed rule and a link for additional information:

  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity ActThis rule, proposed by Labor, would implement changes to the adult, dislocated worker and youth formula programs; the state and local workforce development boards; the designation of regions and local areas; local plans; the one-stop system; national programs, including Job Corps, YouthBuild, Indian and Native American programs; and Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker programs. The proposed rules also would implement changes related to employment services and workforce and labor market information systems and requires the Secretary of Labor to establish a Workforce Information Advisory Council.
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Miscellaneous Program ChangesThis rule, proposed by Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, would implement changes to other Rehabilitation Act programs administered by the Department of Education, including Client Assistance, American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights, Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind programs, and the discretionary grant programs authorized under Title III of the Rehabilitation Act.
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