Bipartisan, Bicameral Proposal to Reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act Announced

Last week, a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers announced that they have reached a deal to modernize the nation’s workforce development system through new legislation, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  The bill would reauthorize and update existing federal workforce development programs, including the Rehabilitation Act which provides for vocational rehabilitation services for people with disabilities. WIOA represents a compromise between the SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which passed the House of Representatives in March of 2013, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S. 1356), which passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in July of 2013. The proposal was develop by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Representative John Kline (R-MN), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Representative George Miller (D-CA), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Representative Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX). With regard to the Rehabilitation Act, like S. 1356, WIOA focuses vocational rehabilitation outcomes on competitive, integrated employment and promotes greater emphasis on transition services for youth with disabilities. To learn more, view the one-page summary, a statement of managers and detailed summary , and the legislative text. The Senate and House are expected to consider WIOA in June. The Arc supports this bipartisan, bicameral compromise.