The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 (WIOA) (H.R. 7309) is moving its way through Congress with new trauma-informed provisions that CTIPP advocated for to maximize the legislation’s positive impacts.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7309 with robust support.
WIOA is landmark legislation (2014) 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.
Authorization for WIOA expired in 2020, and, as a result, workforce development services are frequently unavailable to the people who need them most. Reauthorizing would revive the workforce development system to ensure that more workers have access to high-quality opportunities, particularly dislocated workers and those from communities historically underrepresented in high-quality jobs, including young, rural, and/or justice-involved individuals.
There is a strong, documented correlation between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and impaired worker productivity. A higher number of ACEs is linked to greater absenteeism, serious financial problems, unemployment, and serious job problems for individuals. This is the result of ACE-related health problems like relationship problems, mental health and behavioral health challenges, and physical pain.
Trauma and stress are on the rise in the workplace, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and with global borders closing, workplaces shuttering, and jobs being cut, workers’ daily stress has reached a record high, increasing from 38% in 2019 to 43% in 2020.
“The growing emotional trauma in the workplace manifests itself as absenteeism, poor presenteeism, task avoidance, employee conflicts, accidents, or loss of motivation. Additional red flags include heightened anxiety, fear, and anger or rising levels of uncooperativeness or forgetfulness. Beyond these signs, employees suffering from workplace trauma have difficulty reaching their full potential, which has profound implications for organizational performance.” – Garen Staglin
The Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) is happy to report the following trauma provisions that we support have been included to help America’s workforce:
Training for state and local workforce development providers and staff: Includes new requirements for those tasked with helping individuals who face barriers to employment to be trained in trauma-informed practices and approaches to career counseling and other support.
Youth Workforce Investment Activities shall include comprehensive guidance and counseling for youth, including trauma-informed approaches.
“The trauma-informed additions to WIOA acknowledge the tie between trauma and barriers to employment and will go a long way in disrupting this correlation,” said Jesse Kohler, CTIPP’s executive director. “By boosting training in trauma-informed practices and approaches, providers will be better equipped to support such people in overcoming barriers, obtaining and maintaining good jobs, and being set up for success. As we recover from the pandemic, many people return to work with new trauma incurred because of the loss, financial instability, and uncertainty of the pandemic. We must support workers as the whole people they are – with lived experiences that, without support, can prevent career success.”
The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate.
See also: Workforce & Investment Needs in Communities with High Rates of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)