Costa Supports Bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday evening, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) supported H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support. The legislation, which is headed to President Obama’s desk for signature, will reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, thereby updating the nation’s workforce development system.   
“The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is crucial to getting Americans back to work and revitalizing our economy. Updated workforce development programs will ensure that our job seekers have the skills necessary to be competitive in today’s workforce,” said Rep. Costa. “I supported this bipartisan legislation because it will spur growth and encourage job creation in regions like the San Joaquin Valley.  Without this bill, organizations such as the Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board, Merced County Workforce Investment Board, and others would not be able to help our community as much as they do.”
WIOA modernizes and improves existing federal workforce development programs, helps fund on-the-job learning opportunities, and assists workers in developing skills for 21st Century jobs. It also provides support to people with disabilities to enter and remain in competitive, integrated job settings and fosters the modern workforce that evolving American businesses rely on to compete.  WIOA services range from improving adult literacy rates and strengthening programs for out-of-school youth to mentoring businesses on best practices for employing individuals with disabilities.
“The passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is very exciting because it offers us the chance to continue building on the improvements that we, in Merced County, have been able to make,” said Robert Morris, Director of the Department of Workforce Investment for the County of Merced. “Not only will we be able to develop new efficiencies, but we will be better equipped to innovate and meet the needs of our changing workforce.”
“We at the Fresno Regional WIB are ecstatic to hear of the passage of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) by the House of Representatives. This much needed legislation gives solidity to our system and reinforces our focus on meeting the needs of America’s employers,” said Blake Konczal, Executive Director of the Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board. “Unemployed workers, many of whom are returning veterans, will benefit from both added accountability metrics as well as measures to end the volatility in levels of federal spending on worker re-training.”