Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is designed to develop a skilled workforce that meets the needs of business and industry to compete in a global economy by helping jobseekers access training, education and employment.

WIOA is a federal program administered in South Carolina through the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce and the 12 Local Workforce Development Areas (LWDAs). Policies pertaining to WIOA programs are guided by the State Workforce Development Board.

LWDAs have SC Works centers located throughout the state to provide a full range of assistance to jobseekers under one roof. In addition to the 12 LWDAs, South Carolina is also defined by four planning regions. Because these areas share labor market information, economic development, education and training institutions, commuting patterns and industry composition, workforce and policy development is a collaborative effort, while fulfilling the WIOA requirements of regionalism.

The programs and services available through WIOA vary by the LWDA, but can be split into three main categories:

  • Case Management
  • Training
  • Supportive Services

Individuals must be eligible to receive these programs and services. Determining eligibility of services is the responsibility of the LWDA; however, WIOA Title I programs consist of Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth funding streams. Basic eligibility requirements of these services as defined by WIOA are defined below.


Under WIOA, Adult services are provided to jobseekers who are at least 18 years old. Priority of service is given to individuals who are also low income, on public assistance or lacking basic work skills.

Dislocated Worker

Adults are considered a Dislocated Worker if they have lost their job through no fault of their own and are unlikely to return to the previous industry or occupation usually due to outdated skills, layoff from a unique employer in the area or competition or shift of production outside of this country. Most individuals must be eligible for or have already exhausted their Unemployment Insurance benefits.

Dislocated Workers may also include the following:

  • Military service members who will be or have separated from the military providing the discharge is not dishonorable.
  • Military spouses who have lost employment as a direct result of a relocation to accommodate a permanent change in duty station of the spouse.
  • Homemakers, whose primary job has been homemaking, who have lost their main source of income.
  • Self-employed individuals who become unemployed as a result of local economic conditions or natural disaster.
  • Farmers who have lost their farm.


Youth, as defined by WIOA, are separated into two categories: Out-of-School Youth (OSY) and In-School Youth (ISY). OSY receive priority of service over ISY.

OSY are 16-24 years of age and are not attending any school whether they have dropped out or are a High School Graduate or Equivalent, and any of the following:

  • Low income, basic skills deficient or an English language learner.
  • Subject to the juvenile or adult justice system.
  • Homeless.
  • In foster care or have aged out of the foster care system.
  • Pregnant or parenting.
  • An individual with a disability.
  • Low-income person who requires additional assistance to enter or complete an educational program or secure and hold employment.

ISY are 14-21 years of age, attending school, low income, and must meet the following requirements to receive services:

  • Basic skills deficient or English language learner.
  • Ex-offender.
  • Homeless or runaway.
  • In foster care or have aged out of the foster care system.
  • Pregnant or parenting.
  • Individual with a disability.
  • Requires additional assistance to complete an educational program or to secure and hold employment.

To learn about jobseeker programs that are available through WIOA, click here.

To contact your LWDA for more information about WIOA, click here.

Federal Resources Regarding WIOA