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U.S. Congress Passes Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The House of Representatives passed the bill yesterday with a vote of 415-6. The Senatepassed WIOA with a 95-3 vote on June 25. WIOA now heads to President Obama to be signedinto law. When final, the bill will reauthorize WIA for six years (2015-2020).

“I am proud of the important services the Workforce Services Division of Will Countyprovides to our residents,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh, who oversees the agency.“The passage of this legislation will ensure these essential services continue to be available toour residents who are seeking employment and/or additional skills training.”

The passage of WIOA by both the House and Senate represents the benefits of abicameral and bipartisan approach in addressing the nation's need for a more modern workforcedevelopment system.

“Passage of WIOA is a big victory for both employers and job seekers,” says Pat Fera,Director of the Workforce Investment Board of Will County. “The new Act builds upon thesuccess of the Workforce Investment Act and promises new efficiencies and the ability toinnovate in order to meet the needs of our rapidly changing economy.”

In the last program year, WIA funding helped more than 5,000 Will County residents toenter or re-enter the labor force by providing career counseling, skills assessments, financialassistance for occupational skills training, and job matching. In addition, the Workforce ServicesDivision of Will County has worked with nearly 200 employers to assist them in meeting theirworkforce needs.WIOA does not make drastic structural changes to the system, but it does include provisions that will streamline programs, strengthen the emphasis on serving local employers,and increase the transparency of training providers.

Workforce Investment Board of Will CountyThe Workforce Investment Board of Will County plays a key role in the economic developmentof Will County. The Board brings together a myriad of employment, training, and educationalservices, transforming them into a comprehensive and easily accessed system that supports thedevelopment of a world-class workforce.

The Board builds the workforce system to develop quality employees for employers andto develop quality opportunities for employees. This system makes it easy for business to makeconnections with a qualified pool of applicants and to access other workforce developmentservices. This system is also intended to make it easy for people to learn about and access abroad range of employment, education, and related services.

There are 35 business and public sector executives that make up the WorkforceInvestment Board. They represent a diverse group of stakeholders in sectors such as health care,manufacturing, government, and education. The members share a vision to ensure the economicvitality of the County and are advocates for an integrated workforce development system.

For more information, visit: www.willcountyworkforceboard.com or contact Pat Fera at(815) 727-5673.

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