The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), is the largest source of federally funded employment and training services. The program services, provided by state and local WIA agencies, involve many statutory and regulatory requirements applied uniformly across the country. Due to state and local area differences, WIA allows states to apply for waivers of WIA regulations, providing greater flexibility in serving the specific needs of local populations. These waivers may affect how resources are allocated or the types of employment and training services available to various groups.
Between 2008 and 2010, DOL approved more than 750 state-requested waivers of statutory and regulatory requirements. To learn more about the possible effects of waiver implementation, the Employment and Training Administration at DOL has contracted with Mathematica to conduct an evaluation of selected waivers approved in Program Years 2008 through 2010. In the first phase of this study, Mathematica reviewed federal and state documentation related to waiver use for 20 selected states and conducted telephone interviews with state and local-level administrators in those states. This report describes the reasons for waiver requests and the implementation of waivers at the state and local level, and explores how waiver implementation may have affected the workforce system and the services delivered.