State workforce agencies are integral to the department's ability to expand employment opportunities and ensure fair and safe workplaces. On Feb. 19, representatives from many of these organizations gathered in Washington, D.C., for the National Association of State Workforce Agencies' 2015 Winter Policy Forum. Topics discussed included the president's proposed fiscal year 2016 budget and the continually improving economy and labor market. The implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act — the first major reform to federal job training programs in more than 15 years — was of particular interest to many. Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher P. Lu thanked the participants for their contributions to the economic recovery. He emphasized the importance of partnerships at the federal, state and local levels and how partnerships are essential to WIOA's success. "WIOA will modernize workforce development, building an even more integrated, job-driven system that links job seekers with local and regional employers," Lu said.