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Workforce Investment Act

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Title: Workforce Investment Act  
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Subject: United States Department of Labor, WIA, Employment agency, United States Conference of Mayors, Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, Pinnacle Career Institute
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Workforce Investment Act

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (or WIA, United States federal law passed August 7, 1998.


The law was enacted to replace the Job Training Partnership Act and certain other Federal job training law with new workforce investment systems (or workforce development). Enacted during Bill Clinton's second term, it represented an attempt to induce business to participate in the local delivery of Workforce Development Services. The principal vehicle for this was Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) which were to be chaired by private sector members of the local community. A majority of Board members were also required to represent business interests. Today, WIA funds can be used to fund workforce education and career pathways programs.[1]


The provisions of the Act were delineated into five subchapters:

Workforce Investment Definitions

Sets forth definitions for workforce investment programs as cited by the chapter and for future legislation using this Act as basis for funding.

Statewide and Local Workforce Investment Systems

  • Directs state governors to establish and appoint the members of a statewide partnership to assist in the development of the state plan.
  • Directs state governors to designate local workforce investment areas in accordance with specified requirements.
  • Requires that local workforce investment boards, and youth councils within such boards, be established in each local area of a state.

Job Corps

  • Revises provisions for the Job Corps (formerly under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), which this title repeals and replaces.)
  • Provides for Job Corps recruitment standards, graduate readjustment allowances through local one-stop customer service centers, industry councils and management information.
  • Revises Job Corps requirements for:
    • Individual eligibility
    • Screening, selection, assignment, and enrollment
    • Job Corps Centers
    • Program activities and continued services
    • Counseling and job placement
    • Support
    • Operating plan
    • Standards of conduct
    • Community participation
    • Advisory committees
    • Experimental, research, and demonstration projects.

National Programs

  • Provides for workforce investment activities and supplemental services under programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, migrant and seasonal farmworkers and veterans (replacing similar programs formerly under JTPA.)
  • Directs the Secretary of Labor to make youth opportunity grants to eligible local partnerships to provide specified activities to increase the long-term employment of eligible youth who live in empowerment zones, enterprise communities, and high poverty areas.
  • Directs the Secretary to provide assistance to an entity to establish a role model academy for out-of-school youth in a residential center located on the site of a closed or realigned military installation.
  • Directs the Secretary of Labor to provide technical assistance to states to help with transitions, general performance improvement, and dislocated worker training improvement.
  • Directs the Secretary to publish a biennial plan for demonstration, pilot, multiservice, research, and multistate projects. Sets forth requirements for such projects under such plan, including competitive award procedures and peer review.
  • Directs the Secretary to provide for continuing evaluation of programs and activities under this title. Authorizes the Secretary to conduct evaluations of other federally funded employment-related programs and activities.
  • Authorizes the Secretary to make national emergency grants for:
    • Employment and training assistance to workers affected by major economic dislocations
    • Disaster relief employment
    • Additional assistance for dislocated workers


  • Sets forth requirements for:
    • Labor standards, prohibitions on worker displacement, and other requirements relating to use of funds
    • Prompt allocation of funds
    • Monitoring
    • Fiscal controls and sanctions
    • Reports, recordkeeping, and investigations
    • Administrative adjudication
    • Judicial review
    • Nondiscrimination
    • State legislative authority
    • Workforce flexibility partnership plans
    • Use of certain real property
    • Continuation of State activities and policies.
  • Declares that a state shall not be prohibited by the federal government from drug use testing of participants in certain workforce investment programs and sanctioning those who test positive.

Subsequent actions

The law was slightly amended by the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Amendments of 1998 and the Higher Education Amendments of 1998.


See also

External links

  • Harris, Linda Recommendations for WIA Reauthorization Legislation: Title I Youth Provisions Center for Law and Social Policy, July 19, 2007
  • Ganzglass, Evelyn Workforce Investment Act: Recommendations on Performance Accountability in the Workforce Education and Training System Center for Law and Social Policy, February 2010
  • Duke, Amy-Ellen Recommendations to Refocus WIA Title II on Career and Postsecondary Success Center For Law and Social Policy, November 11, 2009
  • Text of the Act, from
  • Workforce Investment Act Laws and Regulations U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration.
  • White Paper: Implementing the Workforce Investment Act of 1998
  • Federal Policy: Workforce Investment Act. Center for Law and Social Policy.
  • American Job Training Database. Nationwide database of WIA funded opportunities
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