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The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: Obtaining And Using Your Benefits

According to its official website, the WorkforceInnovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is, “landmark legislation that is designed to strengthen and improve our nation's public workforce system and help get Americans, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, into high-quality jobs and careers and help employers hire and retain skilled workers.”

For those who have already qualified for WIOA benefits or think they might qualify, the information that follows should be of significant interest. Our purpose today is to explain how WIOA benefits work, how to qualify for them and how to use them to obtain education and training from qualified providers like CALIMT.

Qualifying For WIOA Benefits

Anyone currently legally residing in the state of California can seek WIOA benefits if they meet certain specific criteria. Qualified recipients must be defined as one or more of the following:

#1: Individuals with Barriers to Employment

This group includes people who fall into one or more of these categories:

  • Displaced homemakers
  • Low-income earners
  • Native Americans
  • People with disabilities
  • Retired or elderly
  • Ex convicts and offenders
  • Homeless
  • Youth in or aged out of foster care
  • People learning English as a second language
  • Individuals with substantial cultural barriers
  • Migrant seasonal farm workers (eligibility terms apply)
  • Individuals exhausting eligibility under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families within two years
  • Single pregnant women
  • Single parents
  • People who have exhausted unemployment benefits
  • Other groups as designated by the governor


#2 In-Demand Workers

“In demand” refers in this context to specific occupations, industry clusters or sectors, or certain career pathways. Qualified WIOA recipients must meet at least one of the below criteria:

  • They are looking for work in an industry the state currently identifies as a growing or emerging field
  • They are looking for work or training in an industry that has been identified as priority to local workforce partners
  • They have a good chance of getting hired based on the needs of the local workforce


#3: Qualified for Pre-Apprenticeship Skills Training

In California, the pre-apprenticeship qualification process is defined as a state program or list of education and training strategies  designed to prepare individuals for success in state-registered apprenticeship programs.

Pre-apprenticeship programs that are approved by the state must be able to show a strong and consistent record of enrolling pre-apprenticeship graduates in registered apprenticeship programs. This is just one of many reasons why you should choose CALIMT for training upon approval of WIOA.

Applicable Types of Training

The types of training programs under which WIOA benefits can be used include:

  • Occupational skills training
  • non-traditional employment and occupational skills training
  • Apprenticeship and Pre-apprenticeship Programs
  • English-language and math instruction needed to succeed on the job.
  • Workplace training and instruction
  • Training options within the private sector
  • Retraining and skills set upgrading
  • Entrepreneurial training

There are also a number of programs that are either exempt from the state's Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) or fall under certain other policy provisions. Exceptions include all of the following:

  • On-the-Job Training
  • Customized or adaptive training (as defined within WIOA guidelines)
  • Transitional employment
  • Incumbent worker training


State government also has the option of designating both exemptions and provisions that pertain to state-approved programs and can approve or exempt specific programs at their discretion.


CALIMT is an approved training provider on California's ETPL that is eligible to receive funding from WIOA. We have helped many students get the education and training they need via WIOA benefits through a range of vocational training programs including paralegal and hospitality training. We work closely with local, state, and federal agencies like One-Stop Career Centers and America's Job Centers to assist with job placement upon completion of the student's designated program.

Our knowledgable admissions advisors can help guide you through the entire process of arranging classes or training and making the bet possible use of your WIOA funds. We invite you to contact us at CALIMT today to learn more about our diversity of education and training programs, how to seek funding through the WIOA program, and get any other questions you might have answered.