The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act – Filling the Talent Pipeline

Terri Kaufman - Workforce Development Specialist ·

Congress and the President recognized the challenges and risks that employers face without a sufficient pipeline of workers to meet current and future needs. It is estimated that by 2022, the United States will be facing a shortfall of 11 million workers with postsecondary education.

Working together, Congress and the President introduced bipartisan legislation that will improve the nation’s workforce development system and educational services. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law last July. WIOA aligns federally-funded services to help job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and helps match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.

  • Did you know WIOA requires Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) to design and deliver services that are based on business and industry needs?

  • Did you know employer engagement is one of the key metrics that LWIBs will be evaluated against?

The challenge: how do LWIBs and employers work effectively with one another?

A solution is Industry Partnerships!

The WIOA legislation references Industry Partnerships over 74 times as a means to engage employers to identify and address their current and future needs by working with LWIBs.

Industry Partnerships bring together multiple employers from the same industry sectors to identify and address both current and future workforce needs. These partnerships can strengthen participating companies by identifying the specific needs of their current and future workforces, identifying and analyzing the gaps between the skills needed to perform jobs and the skills of incumbent workers or job seekers, and then matching skills needed to training providers.

Industry Partnerships provide a targeted approach to education and training that is data-driven, needs-based and employer-focused. Partnerships are designed not only to identify local human resource needs and skill gaps, but also to address regional skill needs. By implementing regional strategies, LWIBs can improve the skills of incumbent workers, job seekers and youth.

Industry Partnerships can help LWIBs, employers and workers to:

  • Identify skill needs
  • Align educational curriculum to meet industry needs
  • Develop cost-effective training solutions for companies
  • Increase productivity
  • Develop new career pathways
  • Help companies identify and address organizational and human resource challenges
  • Identify barriers to “entry level employment” and develop strategies to remove those barriers
  • Collaborate with youth initiatives to connect with careers in demand
  • Promote communication networks between companies, between managers and workers, and between companies and their communities and educational institutions

Your success is critical to the success of your LWIB! If you haven’t already, reach out to your LWIB and start the conversation about building your industry partnership!

If you are interested in learning more about WIOA, Employer Engagement, Industry Partnerships or working with your Local Workforce Investment Board, please contact me at

Also, please visit our website at to learn more!

Are you looking for an easy-to-implement WIOA Career Pathways Program?

We partner with workforce development boards and engage with employers and educators to build fully aligned pathways that make a huge impact on your regional workforce. Our career and industry guides are professionally designed to engage job seekers and optimize your regional career pathways.

Get Free Career Pathways Templates
Public RFP