About the Act | What's the Issue | How Does WIA Reauthorization Impact You?
What Do We Need to Do | Act Now
Reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Title II
About the Act
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Title II, better known as the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, authorizes (establishes the structure, purpose and goals for) federally funded adult education and literacy programs. WIA is “reauthorized” every few years (amended to make it more effective). During reauthorization, legislators make key changes to legislative language to better address the needs of adult learners. You help legislators make those changes by teaching them about your community’s adult literacy issues, successes, and needs.
What’s the Issue
WIA is made up of smaller sections called “titles.” WIA has not been reauthorized mainly because of issues with Title I. Policy makers have introduced new legislation to reauthorize WIA and considered it several times. But when WIA is not reauthorized within two years (one session of Congress), the process starts over with a new Congress.
Congress has failed to understand the need to reauthorize WIA Title II (with or without changes to Title I) so that the adult education and literacy field can move forward. As such, some providers have not been able to access funds authorized under the Adult Education and Family Literacy. Once reauthorization does begin, we will need your help to move a bill forward quickly with the needed improvements to ensure that:
How Does WIA Reauthorization Impact You?
Some legislation is supposed to be reauthorized on a regular basis. As times change and our needs change, our some of our laws need to change with us. Otherwise, they can hinder individual, community, and our nation's growth.
Using the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) as an example, WIA should be reauthorized every few years. Legislators can
- amend WIA to make it more effective, but they don't have to improve it
- reauthorize it as-is or “continue” the legislation
- write new legislation to address the same needs
Congress has not reauthorized WIA even though WIA was scheduled for reauthorization in 2003. Programs currently operate under the rules of WIA Title II as authorized in 1998.
When Congress does not reauthorize WIA in a timely or effective way, this prevents states from adapting services to community needs. Local programs that do not receive federal funds cannot compete for funds, because many states do not recompete the local grants. This keeps new programs from forming or from serving more adults because they are not receiving and thus benefitting from federal funds.
When legislators propose changes to legislation, we must advocate for the changes we want. Legislators want and need to know how you think these changes will impact you. If they do not hear from you, they may assume you are OK with the changes. They will not know whether the changes could hurt your community instead of help it.
Existing programs that do receive federal funds may be hindered in adapting services to community needs. Thus, when Congress does not reauthorize WIA in a timely or effective way, much at the state and federal level is put "on hold." This creates friction for our field.
Bottom Line: Stay current on what's happening with WIA Title II reauthorization. Advocate for a consensus-driven, legislative agenda. Review the NCL proposal for WIA Title II reauthorization and advocate for Congress to move WIA Title II reauthorization forward when it is stalled. Advocate for revised legislative language that you believe will benefit you and your community. Most important—legislation often lasts five or more years; so whatever rules are enacted are with us for a while. Thus, we must help our legislators ensure that the law supports good practice.
What Do We Need to Do?
We need to raise awareness of adult education issues nationwide, increase access to adult education services reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act now, and make adult education and family literacy an integral part of the solution in addressing national priorities.
How Can You Help?
See what quick actions you can take now to support adult education: