The Workforce Investment Act was passed by Congress in 1998 and replaced the previous legislation created in the 1980s called the Job Training Partnership Act. WIA grants are just a portion of the WIA regulations designed to assist adults needing employment opportunities. The grants are designed to retrain people who require new skills in order to be employed and can include money to take certification exams, learn new software products or gain basic skills. WIA grant money is sent directly to training providers through a voucher system and is never handled by the applicant.
Finding Training Grants
WIA training grants are designed to assist adults making career changes, unemployed workers needing additional training and dislocated workers without skills. WIA grants are managed at the state level through a local One Stop Career Center location. The United States Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration manages a website called Career One Stop that provides links to One Stop Career Center locations by state.
Grant Application Process
Visiting or calling a One Stop Career Center to make an appointment begins the application process. Appointments may not occur the same day as the visit or call but may be scheduled for several days later. Applicants are assigned workforce caseworkers during their appointment. Caseworkers assist the applicants to identify their skill set and assess their work history. Caseworkers will begin to build the applicants' files by requesting documents such as Social Security cards, drivers licenses, resumes and proofs of unemployment if applicable. Each approved WIA applicant receives her own Individual Training Account from which grant money is accessed.
Training Grant Opportunities
The Workforce Investment Act requires each state to determine what industries and occupations need trained workers. Training needs will vary from state to state, and not all types of training may be approved. For instance, Alabama's Region 1 is targeting the automotive, bio-technology, energy, distribution and service-related industries. Alabama's Region 2 is focused on aerospace and defense, manufacturing, information technology, health science, construction and energy. Applicants can ask caseworkers what occupations and industries are being supported by the WIA grant program.
Finding Training Providers
Once an applicant is approved to receive a WIA training grant, the applicant chooses an approved training provider offering the needed courses. Training providers are usually offered throughout the city or area, and applicants can choose the one most convenient for them. The caseworker will usually provide a list of schools to the applicant. Training providers also can be found by visiting a local Career One Stop via web or by visiting the Department of Labor's Career One Stop website and searching by state for approved training programs.