As President Obama readies to sign the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law, following overwhelming, bi-partisan approval last week from the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in June, here are 4 key provisions that impact individuals with disabilities:
1) Emphasis on competitive employment by providing career counseling services and information about alternatives to subminimum wage employment.
2) Expands access to pre-employment services including job exploration counseling, work-based learning experiences, counseling on post-secondary education programs, workplace readiness training and self-advocacy. States must use 15% of its vocational rehabilitation services funding to support these services.
3) Strengthens transition-to-work for youth with disabilities by requiring states to coordinate pre-employment services with services provided by IDEA (see CEC’s FAQ on IDEA here).
4) Bolsters disability services in some 3,000 one-stop career centers nationwide.
WIOA updates the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and maintains a focus on supporting the nation’s workforce development, job training and employment services system while expanding the role of state and local workforce boards to better match job-seekers with employment needs.
With the current unemployment rate of individuals with disabilities more than twice that of those without disabilities, CEC applauds Congress for passing WIOA and strengthening workplace opportunities and transition services. (More info on that here).