For the first time in more than twelve years, the United States Senate and House of Representatives have overwhelmingly passed a new version of the Workforce Investment Act. The new legislation, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) modernizes and improves existing federal workforce development programs.
There are multiple provisions in the new WIOA that focus on financial literacy for youth and adults with and without disabilities. Allowable statewide youth activities supporting financial literacy include:
- Supporting the ability of participants to create household budgets, initiate savings plans, and make informed financial decisions about education, retirement, home ownership, wealth building, or other savings goals;
- Supporting the ability to manage spending, credit, and debt, including credit card debt effectively;
- Increasing awareness of the availability and significance of credit reports and credit scores in obtaining credit, including determining their accuracy (and how to correct inaccuracies in the reports and scores) and their effect on credit terms;
- Supporting the ability to understand, evaluate, and compare financial products, services, and opportunities; and
- Supporting activities that address the particular financial literacy needs of non-English speakers.
Local youth activities also include within the menu of services to be provided the support of financial literacy.
At an adult level, statewide employment and training activities must improve the coordination of employment and training activities at a local level for individuals with disabilities that also includes financial literacy activities. Required services at a local level must include “career services,” which requires the provision of information understandable to One-Step customers on assistance through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Listed as one of the purposes of the Act is not only the support of a “comprehensive, accessible, and high quality workforce development system” but also includes the goals of “increasing the prosperity of workers and employers” and “increas[ing] economic self-sufficiency.”
NDI will be working with the U.S. Department of Labor to help the workforce investment system implement these provisions to advance financial literacy and capability.