State Seeks Public Comments on Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act Unified Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 29, 2016 

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor and the State Workforce Development Board have posted the new workforce development state plan for public comment. The plan will guide workforce development in the state for the next five years. 

The plan is a requirement of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)-federal legislation that directs each state's workforce system to develop regional, service-delivery strategies with its Adult Education and Vocational Rehabilitation programs and replaces the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. 

The premise of the new plan is that the success of Maine's economy will ultimately be determined by the strength and quality of its workforce and the ability of employers to fill their need for skilled labor. It outlines the steps needed to address the state's workforce needs and identifies tasks and duties of each agency and core partner

In December 2014, the Maine State Workforce Development Board convened the core programs authorized under WIOA-Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth training; Wagner-Peyser employment services; Adult and Basic Education; and Vocational Rehabilitation programs-to assess the challenges confronting Maine's workforce development system and identify measurable ways to align programs and activities to better serve residents and employers, and to develop a unified plan.

Although the plan is called the "Unified Plan" per the WIOA guidelines, this does not mean that any functions or structure of the current workforce development system, to include department, bureau or division structures, would be physically unified or combined; rather the term "unified" refers to the vision, coordination, and commitment to working to develop Maine's workforce to be ready to meet the needs of employers now and in the future. 

The State Workforce Development Board is seeking public comments for the plan. The plan is available athttp://www.maine.gov/swb/wioa_unified_plan.shtml.

Comments will be accepted from January 29 through February 12, 2016 at swib.DOL@maine.gov or by mail to State Workforce Board, Attn: WIOA Unified Plan, 54 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333. Comments sent through traditional mail must be postmarked by February 12, 2016. Comments received after February 12, 2016 without an earlier postmark date will not be accepted.

The federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was signed into law by the president on July 22, 2014. The federal legislation reauthorized the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act. In Maine
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