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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Announces WIOA Guidance on Priority of Service for Americans in Need

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor released a Training and Employment Guidance Letter today announcing its vision for a priority of service in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult program and explaining how the Department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) expects states to implement the priority requirement. 

As outlined in the guidance, the Department will work with states to strengthen state and local policies and procedures that enhance workforce development services to recipients of public assistance, low-income individuals, and individuals who are deficient in basic skills. This follows the Department’s announcement of a tri-agency initiative with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work with states to better coordinate employment assistance programs across WIOA, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) services at the local, state, and Federal levels.

WIOA requires that certain individuals receive priority in the provision of individualized career and training services in the WIOA Adult program. The WIOA Adult program enables workers to obtain good jobs by providing them with employment services such as job search assistance and career guidance, along with training opportunities. Recipients of public assistance, individuals who are deficient in basic skills, or those who are low-income can receive priority for these services (in addition to veterans and eligible spouses), ahead of other jobseekers. These populations represent the workforce system’s most in-need participants, and today’s guidance will help ensure individuals in these groups are able to access the services they need to rejoin the workforce.

“Re-engaging the American workforce is of utmost importance to the Trump Administration,” said John Pallasch, Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training. “Today’s guidance is another example of this Administration working to ensure Americans who need job training and other important assistance receive the services they need to rejoin the workforce and find a rewarding job.”

Under today’s guidance, states are strongly encouraged to ensure that at least 75 percent of the state’s participants receiving individualized career and training services in the Adult program are from at least one of the priority groups mentioned above, and expects this rate will be no lower than 50.1 percent in any state. ETA expects states and local boards to review and update their policies and procedures, including the monitoring of the implementation of these policies and procedures in American Job Centers, as necessary. ETA will provide technical assistance to states to ensure priority of service is being implemented, including that at least 50.1 percent or more of the individuals receiving WIOA Adult-funded individualized career or training services in a given state are from a priority population. 

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Employment and Training Administration
November 27, 2020
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Media Contact: Megan Sweeney
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