Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act


The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a significant federal law for workforce development because it funds support programs at the local, state, and national levels to help people get ready for work and enhance their chances in the job market. It was first passed in 1998 and was updated in 2014.

These programs offer a mix of education and training services, including job search support, career advice, skill training, classroom learning, and on-the-job training. The goal is to boost employment and earnings for workers. Additionally, WIOA renews the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which focuses on assisting individuals with disabilities in seeking employment.

Why It Matters

WIOA focuses on helping people who face challenges in finding a job, especially those with disabilities.

The State Vocational Rehabilitation program is essential to the state workforce development system for individuals with disabilities. It strongly emphasizes getting individuals ready for jobs where they earn competitive wages, above minimum wage, in workplaces that are not separate from others. Even though some employers and programs can get certificates to pay employees with disabilities less than the minimum wage under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, WIOA has rules to limit this practice. The goal is to help individuals with disabilities secure jobs where they earn regular wages and are integrated into the workforce.

Deeper Dive

Deeper Dive

The fine details of any law are often complicated and specific. For more in-depth information on the WIOA, see our Learn the Law breakdown. This PDF document takes a much deeper dive into the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

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