March 18, 2018

HB 16-1302: Aligning Colorado Work Force Investment Act with Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

On February 26, 2016, Reps. Crisanta Duran & Brian DelGrosso and Sen. Linda Newell introduced HB 16-1302Concerning the Alignment of the Colorado Statutes with the Federal “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act” through the “Colorado Career Advancement Act.” The bill was introduced in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee, where it was amended and referred to the House Committee of the Whole. The bill passed Second Reading in the House, amended, and passed Third Reading unamended. The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Business, Labor, & Technology Committee.

The bill changes the title of the “Colorado Work Force Investment Act” to the “Colorado Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act” and aligns the current state statute with the federal “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act” (stated herein as “federal act”). Passage of the federal act in July 2014 created inconsistencies between Colorado statutes and the federal law with respect to workforce development activity, and this bill updates the language of the previously named “Colorado Work Force Investment Act” to comport with federal law.

First, this bill adds a number of definitions for programs, boards, individuals and geographical regions that are used throughout the bill (and referenced herein).

Second, this bill clarifies the roles that specific entities within Colorado play in work force development programs.

Regarding the work force development program (newly defined), counties are now responsible for determining any expenditure of TANF funds for the cash contributions to infrastructure of the one-stop delivery system or delivery contracts. Beginning July 1, 2017, the one-stop operator (newly defined) must be selected in accordance with the federal act and local policy in the work force development area (newly defined), and if no qualified one-stop operator responds to the procurement process, the local elected officials (newly defined) of that area may designate a one-stop operator.

Local elected officials of a local work force development program area shall appoint a work force board (newly defined) to oversee the one-stop operator, one-stop career center, and local workforce development programs.

A work force development board (newly defined) may designate standing committees that include work force development board members, experienced members of the public, and other listed individuals. The standing committees may be formed to assist with issues related to compliance with federal law dealing with individuals with disabilities, or for any purpose the boards “deem necessary.”

In accordance with federal law, every two years the state work force development council, in consultation with local elected officials, shall conduct a process to identify planning regions (newly defined). The state council shall encourage development programs and areas to enroll individuals in educational programs related to industries that are in demand in that development area. The state council shall work with local communities and their representatives to market and outreach to the public about the opportunities available in the development areas.

Third, the bill removes a number of requirements that existed under state law that no longer apply to due changes in federal law, and instead, the bill requires compliance with federal law. The material state law requirements removed include: (1) the details of the local plans (newly defined); (2) the details of the state plan (newly defined); and (3) establishment of youth council as a subgroup within the work force boards and rural consortium development boards (newly defined).

Fourth, the bill reduces from five years to four years the plan of administering the work force development program with respect to the submission by: (1) each sub-area board (newly defined) of a local plan for its work force development sub-area (newly defined), to be approved by the rural consortium development board; (2) each local work force development area of a local plan to be approved by the governor; and (3) the governor of the state plan to the federal government.

Fifth, the bill allows any county, municipality, city and county, or combination thereof, on an annual basis, to petition the governor to form a new work force development area, and, subject to the governor’s approval, any combination of state localities may operate a development area as a single unit.

Max Montag is a 2016 J.D. Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

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