Following an hour of debate and the adoption of two en bloc amendments considered during floor deliberations; H.R. 7309 – The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022, as amended, passed by a vote of 220-196 – with four (4) Republican joining two hundred and sixteen (216) Democrats. Now that the bill, which proposes revisions to the underlying statute Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.).
The legislation seeks to update and make revisions to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act last reauthorized in 2014. The key components of the WIOA legislation include Department of Labor oversight and implementation of career and technical education programs such as youth and adult education and literacy programs. Democrats are pushing for swift passage of the legislation to help provide the skilled workforce education of individuals in blue collar occupations that are necessary to achieve many of the goals contained in The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Public Law No: 117-58).
H.R. 7309 now proceeds to the U.S. Senate where the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions is now responsible for the development of their own bill.
We have already spoken with Senate HELP Committee staff, and at the present time there is no set schedule for the Senate’s presentation and consideration of a separate bill to reauthorize WIOA.
Following is a section by section summary of the bill as it was presented on the House floor at the start of the debate.
H.R. 7309, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022
Sec. 1. Short Title
- Short title of the bill, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022.
Sec. 2. References.
- Technical amendments to note that the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is the Act being amended throughout the bill.
Sec. 3 Transition Provisions
- Gives the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Education the authority to determine appropriate actions for the orderly transition of the amended Act.
- Requires the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Education to publish proposed regulations relating to the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 in the Federal Register no later than 180 days after the enactment of the Act. Additionally, requires the Secretaries to issue final regulations not later than 18 months after enactment.
- Allows current fund recipients to expend the funding before the date of enactment to plan and implement WIOA programs and activities. Requires that no more than 2 percent of allotment for FY22 be used to carry out planning activities allowable under this Act.
Sec.4 Effective Date
- This Act, including amendments, shall take effect on the first day of the first full program year after enactment.
- Sections 102, 103, and 108, as amended, shall apply to plans for the second full program year after enactment, including the development, submission, and approval of plans during the first year.
Sec. 5. Table of Contents.
- Creates a table of contents for this Act
TITLE I – DEFINITIONS AND OTHER GENERAL MATTERS
Sec. 101. Definitions.
- Adds new definitions and revises current law definitions, most notably removing for-profit institutions from the definition of “institution of higher education.”
Sec. 102 WIOA Table of Contents
- Amends the table of contents in section 1(b) of WIOA by striking the item relating to section 172, and inserting sections related to community college partnerships, reentry opportunities, industry and sector partnerships, workforce data quality, and authorizations of appropriations.
TITLE II – WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
Subtitle A—System Alignment
CHAPTER 1—STATE PROVISIONS
Sec. 201. State workforce development boards.
- Amends section 101 in several ways, including to increase labor representation on state workforce boards from 20 percent to 30 percent and require that diverse demographic representation on the board take into consideration gender, race, age, and individuals with barriers to employment.
- Requires the board to identify and disseminate best practices for the following activities:
- Using digital tools to improve services for job seekers and workers,
- Providing employment and skills development opportunities reflective of regional economic priorities,
- Assessing previous experience to reduce the time required to attain a postsecondary credential or complete reskilling, and
- Ensuring individuals with barriers to employment have access to technology and professional development opportunities.
Sec. 202. Unified state plan.
- Adds additional requirements to the unified state plan, including a description of the joint planning and leveraging funds between core WIOA programs, career and technical education programs under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, and other federal programs.
- Adds a 60-day public comment period for stakeholders to submit comments regarding how the potential impact of the unified state plan on the workforce development system in the state, including how the plan takes into account collective bargaining agreements.
Sec. 203. Combined state plan.
- Adds registered apprenticeships to the list of core programs that may be part of the unified state plan to achieve the state’s strategic vision.
CHAPTER 2—LOCAL PROVISIONS
Sec. 206. Workforce development areas.
- Requires state economic development agencies and state apprenticeship agencies to be consulted in the process of designating state regions for purposes of developing state plans and requires governors to consider the availability of registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships when designating local areas.
- Requires state economic development agencies, chief elected officials, and local board members to provide consultations requested by the Governor in a timely manner and allows for the combination of local areas if all chief elected officials and local boards in the affected areas agree to such re-designation.
- Requires regional analysis of in-demand skills and competencies and corresponding wages offered for such skills and competencies.
Sec. 207. Local workforce development boards.
- Increases labor representation on state workforce boards from 20 percent to 30 percent and requires each local board to reflect the demographic diversity of the area, taking into consideration factors such as age, gender, race, and individuals with barriers to employment.
- Allows standing committees designated by the local board to provide information related to work-based learning and registered apprenticeships and to assist with responding to rapid changes in the economy.
Sec. 208. Local Plan.
- Adds additional requirements to the comprehensive four-year strategic plan each local area must submit to the state, including a description of how registered apprenticeships and adult literacy programs contribute to the success of the state’s strategic goals and a description of how one-stop operators and partners will work with employers to support the hiring of individuals with barriers to employment to ensure equitable service delivery and participant outcomes.
CHAPTER 3—PERFORMANCE ACCOUNTABILITY
Sec. 211. Performance Accountability Measures.
- Expands primary indicators of performance to include the earnings of participants who are in unsubsidized employment and allows the Secretary to identify additional indicators of performance related to a participant’s job quality after they exit a program, including:
- Availability of paid time off.
- Health and retirement benefits.
- Workplace safety and nondiscrimination.
- Predictable and stable work schedules.
- Stackable credentials and advancement opportunities.
- Revises the performance negotiations process that occurs between the secretaries of Labor and Education and the states and adds additional requirements to the state performance reports.
- Requires each state to produce a “State Equity Report” containing information on how programs are achieving equitable levels of performance.
- Expands primary indicators of performance to include the earnings of participants who are in unsubsidized employment and allows the Secretary to identify additional indicators of performance related to a participant’s job quality after they exit a program, including:
Subtitle B—Workforce Investment Activities and Providers
CHAPTER 1—WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACTIVITIES AND PROVIDERS
Sec. 221. Establishment of one-stop delivery systems.
- Revises infrastructure agreements and funding in the one‐stop delivery system, allows local boards to serve as one-stop operators with Governor approval, and expands access to virtual workforce services. Expands the network of affiliated sites involved in service delivery.
Sec. 222. Identification of eligible providers of training services.
- Revises the criteria governors must consider when establishing an eligible training provider list (ETPL), encourages online learning opportunities, requires additional third-party validation to be eligible to participate as a provider, and increases the frequency with which provider eligibility and renewals are conducted.
- Adds new enforcement requirements and penalties for skills development providers, including termination of eligibility for 1-2 years for failure to report certain information or offering a program that “results in employment with wages below the median earnings for the occupation in the state or local area due to insufficient quality of training provided under the program.”
CHAPTER 2 – YOUTH WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACTIVITIES
Sec. 231. State Allotments.
- Changes funding allocations for section 167 youth workforce investment and increases the allotment for Native American youth workforce investment.
Sec. 232. Within State Allotments.
- Allows local boards to transfer funds between youth workforce investment activities and the new youth summer-and-year-round employment program created in this bill.
Sec. 233. Use of funds for youth workforce investment activities.
- Requires local boards to complete or update a comprehensive local needs assessment as part of their local plan to determine the subpopulation of eligible youth they can best serve and requires providers to consult additional stakeholders in the process.
- Makes clear that funds authorized under section 128(b) can be used to subsidize paid work-based learning opportunities for youth and transitional jobs aligned with career pathways. Removes the prioritization of out-of-school youth and replaces it with prioritization of in-school youth and increases funding for pay-for-performance contract strategies for youth activities from 10 percent to 15 percent.
Sec. 234. Summer and year-round employment for youth.
- Authorizes the Summer and Year-Round Employment for Youth program, which allocates funds to states for local boards to increase the number of summer or year-round jobs for eligible youth, which must include subsidized employment opportunities. The program will prioritize year-round employment in existing high-skill, high-wage or in-demand industry sectors or occupations or programs that meet community needs and must include coaching and mentoring, career and college readiness services, and supportive services such as health care, among additional program elements. This section also implements performance accountability measures and reporting requirements for this new program.
CHAPTER 3 – ADULT AND DISLOCATED WORKER EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ACTIVITIES
Sec. 241 Within State allocations.
- Makes technical amendments to section 133.
Sec. 242 Use of funds for employment and training activities.
- Adds required statewide activities related to providing ongoing professional development for one-stop operators staff on certain strategies and for providing technical assistance to local areas that fail to meet performance accountability measures. Further amends the section to include new allowable uses of funds for statewide employment and training activities, including bringing evidence-based programs to scale to help serve individuals with barriers to employment and to provide older individuals with opportunities to enhance skills. These funds can also be used to ensure digital information on employment services is easily accessible.
- Expands the required local employment and training activities to require all one-stops to use funds to provide supportive services to adults and dislocated workers, require career services to include assessments of digital literacy, and to provide workforce and labor market employment and statistics information to job seekers. Further clarifies that training services can be offered in-person and/or virtually and by requiring one-stop partners and operators to make adult education and literacy activities available to an individual that has been determined to not have the skills and qualifications necessary to participate in a selected program of training services. Adds a new priority selection, requiring at least 75 percent of adult and dislocated worker funds to be used for certain groups, including individuals with barriers to employment.
- Increases the amount a governor or local board may reimburse an employer for on-the-job training from 75 to 90 percent if the increase is tied to measures related to “quality jobs” and adds new enforcement mechanisms related to on-the-job training. Requires funds for local areas to be used to provide supportive services and making changes to eligibility for needs-related payments.
- Adds new permissible local employment and training activities and increasing the amount a local board may reserve and use to pay for the federal share of the cost of providing training services through a program for incumbent workers. Allows for an increase in the reservation of funds for incumbent worker training if certain criteria related to “job quality” are met and adds new enforcement provisions if an employer does not meet certain requirements. Increases the amount that may be reserved for transitional jobs from 10 percent to 40 percent.
CHAPTER 4 – GENERAL WORKFORCE INVESTMENT PROVISIONS
Sec. 251 Authorization of Appropriations.
- Youth Workforce Investment Activities are authorized at $1,026,450,000 for FY2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $1,653,100,000 in FY 2028.
- Summer and Year-Round Employment Activities are authorized at $926,650,000 billion for FY2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $1,492,450,000 in FY 2028.
- Adult and Employment Training Activities are authorized at $1,555,600,000 billion for FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $2,505,400,000 in FY 2028.
- Dislocated Worker Employment Training Activities are authorized at $2,486, 300,000 billion for FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $4,004,100,000 in FY 2028.
SUBTITLE C – JOB CORPS
Sec. 261 Amendments Relating to Job Corps.
- Weakens accountability in the Job Corps program while expanding eligibility. Low-income status is changed to an optional criterion for eligibility and individuals are permitted to self-attest to their eligibility for the program. This section also amends provisions around recruitment, screening, selection, and assignment of enrollees, including by removing a prohibition on the Secretary making payments to individuals or organizations solely as compensation for referring the names of applicants to Job Corps.
- Changes the competitive bidding process for selecting Job Corps center operators, weakening the standards an operator must meet in order to be re-selected to run a center. Replaces the existing requirements for entities to be considered an operator of a high performing campus. Additionally, this section allows students to remain at a center for an additional month following program completion and extends the time former enrollees may receive employment services from three months up to 12 months.
- Removes the Department’s standards around the zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use and instead permits Job Corps centers to establish their own such policies, implement a behavioral management plan to address disciplinary issues on campus, and enter into agreements with local law enforcement. Requires the Secretary to convene an advisory group that includes stakeholders to review their own policies and outcomes on behavioral management and to propose “equitable behavioral policies.”
- Limits current law demonstration authority, inhibiting innovation and flexibility and cutting out current Job Corps programs such as Job Corps Scholars and YouthChallenge. Requires staff salaries to be subject to prevailing wage rate under the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act of 1965.
- Weakens performance metrics for the Job Corps program and gives special treatment to graduates of Civilian Conservation Centers, permitting the Secretary of Agriculture to waive civil service requirements normally required by federal law for individuals who apply to work at the Department of Agriculture. Additionally, this section removes transparency requirements related to safety and security incidents on Job Corps campuses.
- The Job Corps program is authorized at $1,809, 857, 925 billion for FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $2,149,543,473 in FY 2028. Requires over $117 million of such amounts each year to be used for construction, rehabilitation, and acquisition of Job Corps Campuses.
SUBTITLE D – NATIONAL PROGRAMS
Sec. 271. Native American Programs.
- Removes a requirement that grants for Native American programs be made on a competitive basis and requires workforce development activities and supplemental services in this section to be evidence-based, to the extent practicable
Sec 272. Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Programs.
- Adjusts the funding obligation period for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Programs.
Sec. 273 Technical Assistance.
- Adds new requirements to the technical assistance the Secretary must provide to one-stop centers, including the professional development of staff and educating staff at one-stop centers on “trauma-informed approaches, gender and racial biases, and the unique safety challenges faced by survivors of gender-based violence.”
Sec 274. Evaluations and Research.
- Updates references to the House committee name throughout the section from “Education and the Workforce” to “Education and Labor.”
- Amends the studies and reports subsection by replacing the studies on Resources Available to Disconnected Youth, Effectiveness of Workforce Development System in Meeting Business Needs, Participants Entering Nontraditional Occupations, Performance Indicators, Job Training for Recipients of Public Housing Assistance, Improving Employment Prospects for Older Individuals, Prior Learning, Career Pathways for Health Care Providers and Providers on Early Education and Child Care, and Equivalent Pay with a study on Correctional Education and Training.
- Authorizes a new Workforce Development Innovation Fund, a program that authorizes the Secretary to award competitive workforce development innovation grants to state workforce boards, local workforce boards, Indian tribes, tribal organizations, Alaska Native entities, Indian-controlled organizations serving Indians, or certain Native Hawaiian organizations. The grants are to be used to create, implement, replicate, or take to scale programs and services that improve the design and delivery of workforce development services and the outcomes of such services. Requires the secretary to reserve up to 5 percent of funds to provide technical assistance and disseminate evidence-based best practices. The program is authorized at “such sums” for FY 2023 through FY 2028.
Sec 275. National Dislocated Worker Grants.
- Limits the entities eligible for national dislocated worker grant and adds a new focus on the eligibility of national or regional intermediaries that provides employment and training activities to dislocated workers.
Sec. 276. YouthBuild Program.
- Adds a reservation of funds to help programs in rural areas and programs operated by an Indian tribe in years when the appropriated amount exceeds $125 million.
- Makes changes to the allowable activities, including removing language explicitly allowing for English language instruction, extending the availability of supportive services from one year to two years, and adding new allowable activities.
Adds a provision allowing YouthBuild funds to be used to meet matching funds requirements under the National and Community Service Act of 1990.
- Adds a provision requiring the Secretary to consult at least annually with grantees in establishing expected levels of performance to ensure such levels of performance account for the workforce and postsecondary experiences of youth served by such programs.
- Adds requirements for the Secretary to announce, to the greatest extent practicable, new grant competitions during the same time period each year, and for states to facilitate access to wage data of program participants.
- Updates and increases the authorizations of appropriations for YouthBuild.
Sec. 277. Community College and Industry Partnership Grants.
- Re-designates section 172 as section 176.
- Creates a new program that provides grants to community colleges to be used for education, skills development, career pathway, or work-based learning programs that lead to postsecondary credentials and to prepare participants for employment in related in-demand industry sectors or occupations. Grantees proposing to serve individuals with barriers to employment or incumbent workers who need to improve their skills to enhance their employability will be prioritized. At least 15 percent of funds from each grant must be spent on supportive services. The program is authorized at $100 million FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $161 million in FY 2028.
Sec. 278. Reentry Employment Opportunities.
- Codifies the Reentry Employment Opportunities program, a competitive grant program funded through the appropriations process designed to serve participants that have interactive with the criminal justice system. Grants must be used to create reentry programs for eligible adults, eligible youth, or both that provide one or more of supportive services, career services, employment and training services, or a variety of other activities. Requires the Secretary to work with grantees to establish performance levels for several performance indicators. The Secretary must annually evaluate each grantee and provide technical assistance and a performance improvement plan for grantees who fail to meet the performance levels. The program is authorized at $250 million in FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $500 million in FY 2028.
Sec. 279. Sectoral Employment Through Career Training for Occupational Readiness (SECTOR) Program.
Authorizes the Sectoral Employment Through Career Training for Occupational Readiness (SECTOR) program through which the Secretary uses 80 percent of available funding to award formula grants to each state for the development, convening, or expansion of industry or sector partnerships, and uses 20 percent for competitive grants to industry or sector partnerships that meet certain criteria for the purposes of expanding workforce development and employment opportunities for high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand industry sectors or occupations as determined by the Secretary. The program is authorized at $1 billion in FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $1.61 billion in FY 2028.
Sec. 280. Workforce Data Quality Initiative Grants.
- Authorizes the Workforce Data Quality Initiative Grants through which the Secretary is authorized to award competitive grants to states to create workforce longitudinal administrative databases and associated resources. The program is authorized at $40 million in FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $15 million in FY 2028.
Sec. 281. Authorization of Appropriations.
- Authorizes funding for the national programs that exist under current law. Native American Programs is authorized at $66.4 million in FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $106.8 million in FY 2028. The Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Programs is authorized at $109.1 million in FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $139.2 million in FY 2028. The Technical Assistance program is authorized at $3.6 million in FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $4.6 million in FY 2028. The Evaluations and Research program is authorized at $116.7 million in FY 2023, with authorization levels increasing each year to $148.9 million in FY 2028.
Sec. 285. Nondiscrimination.
- Adds an immigration status provision to clarify that it is not a violation to exclude any individual from participation or employment in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance where an individual does not meet requirements for participation or access that are imposed due to the national security interests of the United States. Also, updates the requirement in current law for the Secretary to issue nondiscrimination regulations within one year of this bill’s enactment.
Sec. 286. Secretarial Administrative Authorities and Responsibilities.
- Extends the incremental funding authority of current law that applies to certain national programs to the Workforce Development Innovation Fund, strikes the provision mandating the Secretary to ensure that participants under Title I are in compliance with requirements to register for the military draft under the Military Selective Service Act, and expands waiver authority to include all sections of the Wagner-Peyser Act. Current law limits the waiver authority to sections eight through 10 of that law. However, the provision expands the list of provisions that cannot be waived to include the colocation of employment services offices with one-stop centers and the designation of a cooperating State agency.
Sec. 291. Prohibition of National Database Management.
- Eliminates the current prohibition on a national government database of personally identifiable information of individuals receiving services under Title I. Eliminates language from current law stating that the prohibition against a national database shall not be construed to impact program administration for certain national programs under Title I or programs under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Title III—ADULT EDUCATION AND FAMILY LITERACY
Sec. 301. Family Literacy.
- Changes the Title II heading from “Adult Education and Literacy” to “Adult Education and Family Literacy.”
Sec. 302. Purpose.
- Changes a reference to “literacy activities” to “family literacy activities,” expands the purpose by explicitly including “digital skills” and “full participation in all aspects of adult life,” and adds “digital sills” to the list of skills the program should improve for immigrants and other English language learners.
Sec. 303. Definitions.
- Amends the definition of “integrated education and training” to require such education and training to be applied to a specific high-wage, high demand occupation or occupational cluster.
- Updates the definition of “integrated English literacy and civics education” in several ways, notably by replacing language requiring “instruction on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and civic participation” with language requiring that instruction prepare individuals “for United States citizenship and the naturalization process.” Adds language requiring that instruction enable individuals to apply for federal and other student financial aid and enroll in postsecondary education or other further learning.
- Inserts a new definition for “universal design for learning” that applies the definition of that term in section 103 of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
Sec. 304. Authorization of Appropriations.
- Updates and increases the authorization levels.
Sec. 305. Performance Accountability System.
- Maintains the application of the common performance indicators under section 116 to these programs, but also authorizes the Secretary to allow one or more eligible entities under Title II to implement an “innovative performance accountability system” that uses alternative primary indicators of performance. Outlines several criteria for the innovative systems, defines the time period of the demonstration authority, and requires an application meeting several criteria. Requires an evaluation and reporting process for participating entities and states and requires the Secretary to identify best practices for innovative performance accountability system based on the results of the demonstration authority.
Sec. 306. State Distribution of Funds; Matching Requirement.
- Adds a provision mandating that eligible agencies maintain, on a publicly accessible website, information documenting the non-federal contributions made available to Title II programs.
Sec. 307. State Leadership Activities.
- Includes pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs as required types of education states must provide technical assistance about to eligible providers of Title II activities.
Makes additional changes to the permissible uses of funds.
Sec. 308. Grants and Contracts for Eligible Providers.
- Amends the criteria by which state agencies should award grants to include the degree to which providers apply the “principles of universal design for learning.”
Sec. 309. Local Administrative Cost Limits
- Reduces the amount required to be spent on adult education and family literacy activities from 95 percent to 85 percent and adds a requirement that an amount not to exceed 10 percent be spent on professional development for adult educators.
Sec. 310. National Leadership Activities.
- Updates language requiring funds be spent on program accountability to include assistance to states to ensure that data is reported in a timely and accessible manner, is reported consistently across states, and is reviewed for quality and consistency by the Department of Education. Adds additional allowable activities.
Sec. 311. Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education.
- Expands the uses of grant funds awarded under section 211(a)(2), making technical changes to existing uses of funds, and by expanding eligibility for these funds to the outlying areas.
Sec. 312. Technical Corrections to Other Laws.
- Amends section 9215(c) of the Every Student Succeeds Act to change the reference to “Adult Education and Literacy Act” to the “Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.”
Title IV—AMENDMENTS TO THE WAGNER-PEYSER ACT
Sec. 401. Inclusion of Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa.
- Amends the Wagner-Peyser Act by making several changes to add the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa as eligible entities under the program.
Sec. 402. Workforce and Labor Market Information System.
- Amends the authorization of appropriations for the Act to reauthorize the program for FYs 2023 through 2028 and increases the authorization levels.
Title V – AMENDMENTS TO THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973
Sec. 501. Authorization of Appropriations.
- Amends the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to reauthorize the programs of the Act for FYs 2023 through 2028 and increases the authorization levels.