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Federal Alert

May 30, 2014

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Dear Economic Developer,

Last week, Congress introduced the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (PDF). The legislation will replace the current federal workforce development system under WIA. The new legislation is bipartisan and bicameral, which means it was introduced with the full support of both the chairs and ranking members of the committees with oversight in both chambers of Congress – giving it very good odds of passing and passing quickly.

What does this mean for economic developers?

Workforce development has been identified as an area of critical importance by the IEDC board, members of the Economic Development Research Partners program, and members of the Public Policy Advisory Committee. Our members need a trained workforce to fill and create in-demand jobs today and in the future, and the federal government plays a vital role in making that happen.

What does the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act do?

The legislation replaces WIA and ties in some additional corresponding legislation related to adult education and literacy, services for disabled workers, other employment services, and youth employment programs. A sampling of highlights from the legislation:

• Reduces the number of required seats on State and Local workforce boards, promoting greater efficiency in meeting evolving needs of labor markets and economic development strategies
• Eliminates the ‘sequence of services' delivered by one-stop centers that are currently required under WIA, allowing for a more tailored approach to meeting the needs of job and training seekers
• Emphasizes the use of career pathways and sector strategies specific to the goals of local and regional economies
• Requires state boards to include direct local input in the development of the state strategic plan for workforce development
• Promotes the inclusion of economic developers at the national, state and local levels for workforce development planning and execution, including a greater emphasis on aligning state and local workforce strategies with regional economic development strategies

What happens next?

The legislation is currently being circulated in the Senate as an amendment to a House-passed workforce bill (HR 803). The goal is to proceed to a final vote without delays that could easily kill the effort in an already busy election-year legislative calendar. The process here is designed for speedy movement through both Chambers and would only be possible with the level of bipartisan support the legislation currently has – but it is not a done deal and we need your help.

What should economic developers do right now?

We are urging economic developers to reach out to their Senators and Representatives as soon as possible to let them know you support the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. IEDC is supporting the legislation here in Washington, but nothing motivates Members of Congress like hearing from you, their constituents. Timing is critical here, so don't delay. Here are a few options for how to get involved:

• Contact your district office by phone and/or email
• Contact your Members' offices here in Washington by phone and/or email
• Use this template letter to email and/or fax to your Members' offices here in Washington

Remember: this is a bipartisan, bicameral effort so be sure to reach out to ALL of your Senators and Representatives. The support of IEDC and our members has played a vital role in passing key legislation in the past and we need you once again to help us push this important effort across the finish line.

Please direct questions to Matt Mullin,, Director of Public Policy & Strategic Engagement

Additional background and resources

One-page summary:

Bill manager's statement:

Summary of bill manager's improvement highlights:

Bill text:

Senate Directory:

House Directory:

734 15th Street NW, Suite 900 | Washington, DC 20005 | Phone: (202) 223-7800

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC's members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.