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WIA Waiver Authority:
Increased Flexibility and Improved Programmatic Outcomes

The general statutory and regulatory waiver authority granted to the Secretary of Labor is a continuing authority granted by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) at section 189(i)(4), Public Law 105-220, and provides increased flexibility to states and local areas in implementing reforms to the workforce development system in exchange for state and local accountability for results, including improved programmatic outcomes.

There are three waiver authorities contained in WIA that have the potential to make a significant contribution to promoting innovative changes to the nations workforce development system. Each provision authorizes waivers, as well as limits eligibility for such waivers.

The three waiver authorities are:

  • General Statutory/Regulatory
    Waiver authority to the Secretary of Labor to grant to States limited statutory and regulatory waivers of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the Wagner-Peyser Act (WIA sec. 189(i)(4).
  • Workforce Flexibility Plan (Work-Flex)
    A Workforce Flexibility Plan under which authority to grant certain WIA, Wagner-Peyser Act and Older Americans Act statutory and regulatory waivers to local areas is delegated by the Secretary to the Governor (WIA sec. 192).
  • Native American Program Waivers
    Authorizes the Secretary to grant requests submitted by bonafide Native American Grantees to waive certain statutory and regulatory requirements of WIA Title I that are inconsistent with the specific needs of such entities (WIA sec 166(h)(3).

WIA Key Principles for Further Reform

  • Streamlining services
  • Empowering individuals
  • Universal access
  • Increased accountability
  • Strong role for local workforce investment boards and the private sector
  • State and local flexibility
  • Improved youth programs

General Waiver
Native American Program Waivers

Legislation and Implementing Regulations


WIA and Wagner-Peyser Waivers

For Further Information

Created: March 27, 2004
Updated: January 30, 2009