Workforce Investment Act
With the challenges of the new century, preparing Oklahoma’s workforce is more important than ever. New job skills and knowledge are demanded and Oklahoma businesses and individuals want to be ready. The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) promises major reform in the way government approaches the challenges of today’s workplace. The WIA requires partnering of national and state job training programs as well as changes in the way our customers are served. This is a huge undertaking, but it promises to streamline and improve public sector employment and training services.
With the passage of the Workforce Investment Act, there is finally a federal law that recognizes the differences among the states’ needs and also addresses the diversity within each state. The WIA allows us to create an employment and training system as unique as Oklahoma. In other words, Oklahoma is designing a plan specifically for Oklahoma.
This new service delivery plan is based on the following principles:
- Streamlining services
- Empowering individuals
- Providing universal access
- Having increased accountability
- Establishing local boards with a strong private sector role
- Providing State and local flexibility to better serve customers
- Improving youth programs
Assistance is available through our Workforce Oklahoma Centers, which integrate a broad array of employment and training programs under one roof. No longer will you be required to sort through a long list of agencies for similar services. We have 52 Workforce Oklahoma Centers through out the State. These centers provide a wide range of information and services, including career counseling, skill assessments, training, job search assistance and referrals to programs and services. In practical terms, Workforce Oklahoma Centers offer services to new or current workers at all stages of their careers. We also provide Oklahoma businesses with pre-screened job seekers, labor market information, tax credit programs, and assistance tailored to your company’s specific needs. If you are unsure where your closest Workforce Oklahoma Center is, call 1-888-980-WORK, toll free, to be connected.
The Workforce Investment Act also strengthens the focus on employment statistics at the local, state, and national level, providing much-needed information about job vacancies, occupations in demand, and the skills and earnings associated with them. No business plan is complete without this information and no career plan is realistic without it.
The new century offers many exciting opportunities for Oklahoma. WIA will enhance our efforts to continue building a delivery system in which any adult interested in advancing his or her career, regardless of income, can keep on learning. Also, it provides access to high quality information and services to all. The Workforce Investment Act is business focused, contributing more than ever before to the driving forces of our economic communities.