The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Becomes Law; Potential Game Changer for Low-Income Youth
On Tuesday, July 22, President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), enacted by large bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate, after 11 years of debate to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
At a time of sustained unemployment in many communities, the programs in WIOA are designed to help young people and adult workers prepare for work or further education, find jobs, and build the skills employers need. We applaud Congress for acting with near unanimity in taking this important step to create a workforce development system that better enables states and communities to connect low-income youth and adults to employment and training opportunities that lead to economic prosperity for themselves and their families. And we thank President Obama for moving so quickly to enact this law.
Students who leave school without obtaining a high school diploma are often stigmatized. Preconceptions about the lives, circumstances, work ethic, and abilities of these students make it more difficult to access resources that will help them get back into school and complete a high school credential. The negatively charged term “dropout,” used to describe students who do not complete school, was the central theme of Don’t Call Them Dropouts, a report from America’s Promise Alliance. To gain an understanding of youth’s barriers to success, study authors held focus groups and interviews with youth across the country, including youth from Communities Collaborating to Reconnect Youth (CCRY) member communities. CCRY Network communities are dedicated to developing cross-system policy and practice solutions on behalf of youth who are disconnected from work and school.
College and Career Readiness is being acknowledged as a solution to providing a pathway out of poverty. In the report released by the Center on Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Uneven Ground, presents the data and solutions surrounding the scope of this problem. Rhonda Bryant, Director of Youth Policy at CLASP and the report's author, sat down with Spotlight's Jodie Levin-Epstein to discuss the statistics and scope of the issues and some solutions to the problems being faced in the U.S. educational system. Yohance Maqubela, Executive Director of Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, joins the discussion to present a successful model that prepares students for college and helps these students become ready for careers.
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