Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer announcement.
On Tuesday, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to support the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 – legislation to reauthorize and strengthen America’s workforce development system and help fill job openings with qualified workers. The legislation passed the House 220-196.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is the backbone of America’s workforce development system – providing training and career services that help working people across the country get the skills they need and help employers secure a qualified workforce. WIOA includes funding for job training for adults, dislocated workers, and youth, as well as supportive services to help participants complete training and join the workforce.
“The bill we passed today really matters. It matters to every employer in our region looking for workers. It matters to every worker who is working to have the tools, education, and training needed to reach their careers goals, earn higher wages, and build a better life,” said Rep. Kilmer. “I’m also proud that this bill will take strides to close the digital divide and help folks gain the digital literacy skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy. I’ll keep pushing to see it signed into law.”
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022:
- Fully funds WIOA programs by authorizing funding to allow the workforce system to train one million workers per year by 2028;
- Establishes a permanent Department of Labor program to help individuals released from incarceration transition back to employment and access sustainable career pathways;
- Expands summer and year-round jobs programs for youth;
- Strengthens the quality of the Job Corps program;
- Codifies partnerships between employers and community colleges to provide high-quality job training;
- Strengthens industry and sector partnerships to better meet the needs of both employers and job seekers; and
- Provides funding for innovative approaches to workforce development.
The legislation also included a bill and an amendment led by Rep. Kilmer. First, the legislation included Rep. Kilmer’s Investing in Digital Skills Act, which enhanced training opportunities to develop digital skills and digital literacy and recognizes these skills as critical adult education and literacy objectives. Digital skills and digital literacy are seen as increasingly important for employment and full participation in the 21st century economy. Earlier this year, Rep. Kilmer introduced the IT Service Corps Act, bipartisan legislation to support local digital equity initiatives while ensuring more people can gain experience to access jobs in the information technology sector.
“Digital skills are in high demand for workers across virtually every industry and occupation. This legislation affirms the urgency of investing in digital skill-building and the crucial role of adult education providers in preparing people for today’s workplace,” said Megan Evans, senior government affairs manager at the National Skills Coalition.
In addition, the legislation included an amendment authored by Rep. Kilmer to study how to improve accessibility to federal benefit programs for eligible job seekers. Currently, job seekers are faced with having to navigate different enrollment requirements and timelines for various federal benefit programs including job training, tuition assistance, nutrition, housing, or transit assistance. The study will analyze the impact that the varying requirements of federal benefit programs have on job seekers and their short and long-term economic self-sufficiency and recommend how the federal government can improve accessibility to these programs for eligible job seekers.
“This is about ensuring that folks can focus on getting a job and supporting their families – not on having to jump through a whole bunch of bureaucratic hoops,” said Rep. Kilmer.
A fact sheet on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 can be found here.