President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system.
Every year the key programs that form the pillars of WIOA help tens of millions of job seekers and workers to connect to good jobs and acquire the skills and credentials needed to obtain them. The enactment of WIOA provides opportunity for reforms to ensure the American Job Center system is job-driven—responding to the needs of employers and preparing workers for jobs that are available now and in the future.
WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. In general, the Act takes effect on July 1, 2015, the first full program year after enactment, unless otherwise noted. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will issue further guidance on the timeframes for implementation of these changes and proposed regulations reflecting the changes in WIOA soon after enactment. Click Here To Learn More
The numbers are eye-opening. In 2007, on any given day, 2.2 percent of all males in the United States were incarcerated, including 7.9 percent of all black males. Some 2.6 percent of white males ,
7.7 percent of Hispanic males, and 16.6 percent of black males have spent time in state or federal prison at some point in their lives. And for a male child born in 2001, the likelihood of going to
prison is 5.9 percent for whites, 17.2 percent for Hispanics, and a whopping 32.2 percent for blacks.
Of those who spend time in prison, the overwhelming majority will be released back into society, thereby becoming potential participants in the U.S. labor market. But the barriers they confront as they try to gain employment are substantial: they face the lack of public assistance, poor employment prospects, the reluctance of employers to hire ex-convicts because of liability issues, and the stigma associated with being an ex-convict. This has policymakers focused on ways to facilitate reentry into the labor market for this growing population.
Universal design is the “design” of products and environments to be usable by anyone, not just individuals with disabilities, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. For the workplace, universal design is an approach that accommodates jobseekers and employees with disabilities through workplace design, while also reducing risks for employees who may develop disabilities during their career.
Universal Design is an innovative business strategy that enhances workplace efficiencies and provides the best accommodation for all employees. Universal Design stations are accessible for people who have mobility, visual, auditory, speech, learning or language needs. For more information, please go to http://www.vadrs.org.