New Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Kathy Achenbach, Kate Cole, & Michelle Ryan, Transition Coordinators

President Barack Obama signed WIOA into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is landmark legislation that is designed to strengthen and improve our nation’s public workforce system and help get Americans, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, into high-quality jobs and careers and help employers hire and retain skilled workers (US Dept. of Labor). This law mandates that schools and Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) jointly develop a system of supports so that students achieve competitive integrated employment and do not work for a Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) at sub-minimum wage.

Potentially eligible students include any student with a disability who is currently on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or covered under a 504 Plan, regardless of whether the student has applied for or been determined eligible for IVRS. Potentially eligible students can participate in Pre-Employment Transition Services which can be provided in collaboration with the school district and IVRS. Through collaboration and the provision of Pre-Employment Transition Services, local teams will be able to identify which students require more intensive supports and services for integrated employment. Pre-Employment Transition Services can include:

  1. Job exploration counseling
  2. Work-based learning experiences, which may include in-school or after school opportunities, or experience outside the traditional school setting that is provided in an integrated environment in the community
  3. Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary education programs at institutions of higher education
  4. Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living
  5. Instruction in self-advocacy (including instruction in person-centered planning), which may include peer mentoring

Legislation prohibits state and local educational agencies from entering into contracts or agreements with CRPs to transition youth into segregated programs.  Schools currently contracting with entities holding subminimum wage certificates will no longer be able to do so.  School and IVRS can use CRPs to provide services in integrated settings in the community.  If the student has a need for job coaching, as a result of his/her disability, job coaching should be provided. When the student is still in high school, the job coaching is considered to be an instructional component of the IEP which is the responsibility of the school.  The school can either provide this service themselves or they can contract with another entity to provide job coaching. If it is necessary for job coaching to be provided outside of the typical school day, it is still the school’s responsibility to provide this service.

For additional information please refer to:

Iowa Department of Education -> Secondary Transition:
Frequently Asked Questions
WIOA Presentation (Webinar Recording)

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