ETA Announces Two Proposed WIOA Rules That Stress Collaboration and Special Needs

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By Gayle Cinquegrani

April 3 — The Labor Department April 3 announced two rules it is proposing to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, one by DOL's Employment and Training Administration and a joint rule by the ETA and the Department of Education.

The rules are designed to implement the sweeping workforce legislation that Congress passed with bipartisan support last summer updating the 16-year-old Workforce Investment Act. Both rules are scheduled for publication in the April 16 Federal Register.

WIOA reauthorizes 33 job training programs, requires state workforce development agencies to create a unified job training plan, and adopts a standard performance metric for assessing program results.

Labor Secretary Perez, in testimony before a Senate subcommittee, called WIOA “a game changer” because it provides “a clear blueprint” for building “the career superhighway.”

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on March 26, called WIOA “a game changer” because it provides “a clear blueprint” for building “the career superhighway”.

The rule proposed by the ETA (RIN 1205-AB73) would implement titles I and III of WIOA, reform the job training system and strengthen the workforce investment system. The preamble says the proposal is intended “to put Americans, particularly those individuals with barriers to employment, back to work and make the United States more competitive in the 21st Century.”

The rule proposed by the ETA would make many changes in the current workforce system. Its preamble says it would foster regional collaboration to meet the needs of regional economies and require the competitive selection of one-stop operators.

Workforce System Would Be ‘Job-Driven.'

ETA's proposed rule says it would ensure that the workforce system is “job-driven” by requiring local workforce boards to promote industry partnerships that address employers' workforce needs and require states to devise a unified plan with a four-year strategy for preparing their workforce to meet employers' needs. The proposal would reduce the size of the workforce boards but would ensure that the business sector retains its membership majority and fills the position of chair.

Furthermore, the ETA proposal would emphasize services to disconnected youth, defined as young people who are neither attending school nor working. It would more than double the percentage of youth formula program funds used for out-of-school youth, from the current 30 percent to at least 75 percent. Moreover, WIOA adds a requirement that at least 20 percent of local formula funds be spent on work-based training such as summer jobs, on-the-job training, and apprenticeships.

ETA's proposal also would consider people's personal needs. It would stress physical accessibility and accessible technology for individuals with disabilities. It also would add the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program from the Department of Health and Human Services as a one-stop partner unless a state's governor objected.

To assess whether programs are succeeding, ETA's proposed rule would create a common performance accountability system. The system would measure the following factors: entry into unsubsidized employment, median earnings, attainment of postsecondary credentials, measurable skill gains, and effectiveness in serving employers.

The rule proposed jointly by the ETA and the Education Department (RIN 1205-AB74) would implement jointly administered activities under Title I of WIOA and specify requirements for unified and combined state plans, performance accountability, and the one-stop system.

WIOA Requires Integrated Approach

“WIOA placed heightened emphasis on coordination and collaboration at the Federal, State, and local levels to ensure a streamlined and coordinated service delivery system for job seekers, including those with disabilities, and employers,” according to the joint proposed rule's preamble. Therefore, it said, “WIOA requires an integrated approach to the implementation, administration, service delivery, and evaluation of the services provided under the core programs at the Federal, State, and local levels.”

The preamble to the joint proposal says the Labor and Education departments will work with state and local boards and one-stop center operators “to achieve an integrated data system” for the various programs “to ensure interoperability and the accurate and standardized collection of program and participant information.”

The new state plans and performance accountability system would take effect July 1, 2016.

Comments on the proposed rules are due 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register. Comments for both proposed rules may be submitted through the federal e-rulemaking portal at or mailed or hand-delivered to Adele Gagliardi, Administrator for Policy Development and Research, U.S. Labor Department, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Room N-5641, Washington, DC 20210. Comments on DOL's proposed rule should be identified by RIN 1205-AB73, and comments on DOL's proposed joint rule with the Education Department should be identified by RIN 1205-AB74.

The Education Department issued separate notices of proposed rulemakings to implement WIOA's Title II—which pertains to the Adult Educational and Family Literacy Act—and to conform the rules of state Vocational Rehabilitation Services programs and the Education Department's Rehabilitation Services Administration programs to WIOA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gayle Cinquegrani in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at

The text of DOL's proposed rule is available at The text of the joint DOL/Education Department proposed rule is available at


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