July 25, 2014
The Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law on July 22, 2014. As the first legislative update to the Workforce System in 15 years, it introduces many reforms, including changes intended to improve services to jobseekers with disability. Here are some highlights:
- American Job Centers s will provide physical and programmatic accessibility to employment and training services for individuals with disabilities.
- Youth with disabilities will receive extensive pre-employment transition services so they can successfully obtain competitive integrated employment.
- State vocational rehabilitation agencies will set aside at least 15 percent of their funding to provide transition services to youth with disabilities.
- A committee will advise the Secretary of Labor on strategies to increase competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities.
- VR state grant programs will engage employers to improve participant employment outcomes.
WIOA also limits the use of sheltered workshop employment by introducing new requirements for youth transitioning from high school to work. Individuals with disabilities age 24 and younger will no longer be allowed to work for less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour unless they first receive pre-employment transition services at school and try vocational rehabilitation services.