On July 1, 2015, the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) went into effect.  The emphasis of this reworking of WIA is to provide new opportunities for the public workforce and adult education systems to work together. 

To accomplish this, the law requires states to develop a unified plan, due March 31, 2016, that describes strategic and operational elements across WIOA’s four titles: Adult, Youth and Dislocated Worker services (WIOA Title I), Adult Education (WIOA Title II), Wagner-Peyser (WIOA Title III), and Vocational Rehabilitation (WIOA Title IV).  In an effort to promote better alignment between workforce programs and employers’ needs, many changes to WIA were introduced.  To this end. WIOA’s workforce (Title I) and adult education (Title II) activities will be the focus areas in creating the key alignments to bring this effort forward. 

WIOA provides opportunities for the public workforce and adult education systems to work together in key areas where alignment can occur such as:  Planning, One-Stop Centers, Career Pathways, Integrated Education and Training, Employer Engagement, Labor Market Information, and Performance Measures.  Below are details regarding these key areas where such alignments can occur, outlined by the National Skills Coalition (Aligned by Design, WIOA and Adult Education, June 2015). 

Planning: the role of adult educators is well-documented in the state’s strategic priorities and operational activities to ensure that local development boards have the necessary capacity and technical expertise in adult education to be able to assess whether adult education funding proposals align with local plans.

One-Stop Centers:  provide opportunities for adult educators to collaborate with workforce system partners to establish effective referral, co-enrollment, and handoff process for participants who need both Title I workforce and Title II adult education services

Career Pathways:  to align and integrate education (including Adult Basic Education and English for Speakers of Other Languages), job training, counseling, and support services.

Integrated Education and Training:  career pathways include education offered concurrently with and in the same context as general workforce preparation and training for a specific occupation

Employer Engagement:  The creation and use of industry sector partnerships by local workforce boards to ensure that workforce investment activities meet the needs of employers and to facilitate effective employer utilization of the local workforce development system.

Labor Market Informationextensive information about workforce skill and needs in the state disseminated by state and local workforce development boards

Performance Measurescommon performance measures included WIOA for the six core programs in WIOA; four of the measures also apply to training providers that want to serve students funded by WIOA Title 1