One of the most important features of the one-stop career center system is the network of support services and the focus on career advancement opportunities it provides to low-income individuals.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), in strengthening the one-stop system and the workforce services it delivers, offers more potential to better serve low-income job seekers, youth, and workers.

Opportunities for Serving the Low-Income under WIOA

In September 2014, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) released their "WIOA game plan for low-income people."  

Titled "New Opportunities to Improve Economic and Career Success for Low-Income Youth and Adults," this brief provides a summary of important provisions in the Workforce Investment Opportunities Act (WIOA) and explains why change is needed for low-income youth and adult populations.

This summary of key provisions focuses on opportunities to improve services in select WIOA core programs:

  • Title I, the primary source of federal workforce development funding to prepare low-income adults, youth, and dislocated workers for employment and to help them continue to build skills once they are employed; and
  • Title II, the main source of federal adult education and literacy funding, including English language services.

Although they are critical components of the workforce development system, this summary does not address reforms to:

  • Title I's Chapter 4 – General Workforce Provisions (including Jobs Corps and National Programs),
  • Title III – Wagner-Peyser, or
  • Title IV – Vocational Rehabilitation” (p.3).

This report also provides a chart of new WIOA provisions that create opportunities for success for low income workers.

              teacher helping student

Multi-Generational Poverty

Breaking the cycle of poverty from one generation to the next requires investment in human capital.  To create pathways out of poverty for low-income individuals, basic education, skill remediation, work experience and occupational training are all needed.

Improving career success for low-income individuals translates into self-sufficient wages, and a boost to the community's overall prosperity.  In fact, it is usually one strategy among many for a region's economic development plan.