Virginia enacts WIOA-related legislation

By Brooke DeRenzis, May 19, 2015

As states get ready for WIOA to take effect this July, some are adopting state legislation to drive implementation of the new federal workforce law. Virginia got an early start by enacting House Bill (HB) 1986 and Senate Bill (SB) 1372 in March. Virginia’s new laws demonstrate the opportunity that WIOA provides for states to pursue job-driven training, sector strategies, career pathways, and cross-program information.

The new laws underscore sector strategies and career pathways as key local workforce development approaches. Under HB 1986 and SB 1372, workforce development boards must develop and execute strategic plans that support these two strategies. In addition to meeting the skill needs of workers and employers, sector partnerships and career pathways are two strategies that the state can use to advance the Governor’s goal of helping more Virginians earn industry-recognized postsecondary credentials.

HB 1986 and SB 1372 support job-driven training that leads to industry-recognized postsecondary credentials. Specifically, the laws require each local workforce board to allocate a minimum of 40 percent of WIOA adult and dislocated worker funds to training that leads to such credentials. They also require that 30 percent of WIOA’s statewide set-aside funds be used to incent postsecondary institutions to more quickly increase the number of people earning workforce credentials.

HB 1986 and SB 1372 also include a provision that supports the collection of information across different programs and agencies. The laws require each agency administering publicly-funded career and technical education and workforce development programs to submit an annual performance report to the Governor and state board, starting November 1, 2016. Program performance will be measured against state metrics developed by the state board and Chief Workforce Development Advisor.

While the new laws set out specific requirements for WIOA implementation in Virginia, the Commonwealth will take additional steps to fully execute WIOA. Virginia is currently in the process of developing a state plan that will detail the workforce development strategies the state will pursue under WIOA.