OSERS: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
   Current Section

RSA: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The President signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which replaces the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. This new law represents a renewed commitment to workforce development with an eye to the future through innovation and support for individual and national economic growth. It is aimed at increasing opportunities, particularly for those facing barriers to employment, and invests in the important connection between education and career preparation. It looks to the prosperity of workers and employers and focuses on the economic growth of communities, regions, and states to enhance our global competitiveness as a country. While some research services and resources for those with disabilities will be transferred from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we expect a seamless transition with minimal disruption, and we express our continued strong commitment to grantees and all key stakeholders.

The new law states that the amendments that it makes to the Rehabilitation Act, as well as the transfer of certain programs from ED to HHS, took effect when President Obama signed the bill. However, WIOA also gives the Secretaries of ED and HHS authority to ensure an orderly transition as they implement these changes so they are carried out in a manner that minimizes disruption. ED and HHS, after working with the Office of Management and Budget, have determined that ED will continue to administer the affected programs until the orderly transfer can be completed as soon as reasonably possible. We will continue to engage and inform grantees and key stakeholders as specific plans for the transfer of these programs are developed and implemented. We appreciate your continued support as we realign and strengthen our programs for people with disabilities.

To obtain a printed copy in the form of a paperback book from the House Legislative Resource Center, send an e-mail to: info.clerkweb@mail.house.gov, or call: 202-226–5210, or write to:

B-106 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-6612

Ask for Public Law 113-128.

Q and A's

The Departments of Education and Labor have jointly developed the following questions and answers concerning the funding of one-stop infrastructure costs.

Q. Will the specific WIOA requirements for local agreements for funding the one–stop infrastructure costs apply in PY 2016?
No. The specific requirements for the local funding agreements, which are related to how the shared and infrastructure costs of the one–stop service delivery system will be paid by the one–stop partners, need not be satisfied in the funding agreements for PY 2016. States and local areas may continue to negotiate local funding agreements as they have been doing so under WIA for purposes of PY 2016. However, the local funding agreements must satisfy the requirements of section 121(h) of WIOA for purposes of funding the one–stop system in PY 2017.

Q. What happens if the local areas fail to reach an agreement for funding the one–stop system in PY 2016?
In the event of failure to reach an agreement for funding the one–stop system in PY 2016, the State funding mechanism will not yet be applicable as the alternative, as it will not be implemented until PY 2017. Therefore, if a local area fails to reach an agreement for funding the one–stop system in PY 2016, the one–stop partners must continue to use whatever process they have been using under WIA to resolve disputes for purposes of funding the one–stop system during PY 2016.

Q. What can States do now to prepare for implementation of the funding requirements in PY 2017?
The Governor and the State Board should begin developing the guidance to be used by the local areas in negotiating agreements for the funding of the one–stop service delivery system. This guidance should also include the development of a State funding mechanism that will be used in the event that a local area fails to reach an agreement.


The following two Q and A’s provide information regarding the issuance of final regulations jointly developed by the Departments of Education and Labor and the submission of the Unified and Combined State Plans under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, enacted July 22, 2014 (WIOA).

Q: When will the final regulations for WIOA be published?
The Departments of Labor and Education, in collaboration with other Federal partner agencies, published five Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) in April 2015. In addition, the Departments and other Federal partner agencies published several proposed new Information Collection Requests (ICRs) in summer 2015 to inform stakeholders of new data elements that would need to be reported under WIOA. As a result of these publications, the Departments received thousands of public comments, all of which must be considered in the development of final rules and ICRs. The Federal agencies have been diligently working on the analysis of all comments in order to develop final regulations, ICRs, and policies that are consistent with the requirements of WIOA, as well as other authorizing laws for the affected programs. Given the complexity of these issues, the Departments are working toward making the final regulations publicly available in June 2016. The Departments intend to provide necessary information about the requirements imposed by WIOA and the forthcoming regulations as soon as possible through guidance, notification of information collection requirements, and technical assistance, and by making the regulations available on their websites when they are sent to the Federal Register.

Q: When must States submit the first WIOA Unified or Combined State Plan?
WIOA Sections 102(c)(1)(A) and 103(b)(1) require States to submit the initial Unified or Combined State Plan no later than 120 days prior to the commencement of the second full program year after the date of enactment (i.e., July 1, 2016), making the statutory submission date March 3, 2016. However, pursuant to the orderly transition authority in section 503 of WIOA, the Departments of Labor and Education will consider as timely an initial Unified or Combined State Plan that is submitted by April 1, 2016.



Comments being accepted on the Unified State Plan

The Department of Labor, in coordination with the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development, is soliciting comments concerning a collection of data that will be used for Unified and Combined State Plans under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The WIOA Unified and Combined State Plan Requirements is a consolidated information collection that would implement sections 102 and 103 of WIOA (P.L. 113-128). WIOA requires that, no later than March 3, 2016, each state, at a minimum, submit a Unified State Plan as a condition of receiving funds for core programs subject to the Unified State Plan requirements. In the alternative, states may submit a Combined State Plan as a condition of receiving funds under certain named programs subject to the Combined State Plan provisions. See 29 U.S.C. §§ 3112 and 3113. The Unified or Combined State Plan requirements are designed to improve service integration and ensure that the publicly-funded workforce system provides a range of employment, education, training, and related services and supports to help all jobseekers secure good jobs while providing businesses with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. To that end, the Unified or Combined State Plan would describe how the state will develop and implement a unified, integrated service delivery system rather than discuss the state's approach to operating each program individually.

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act, we are seeking comment through January 22, 2016 on the proposed WIOA State Plan information collection request (ICR). A copy of the Federal Register Notice for this collection, proposed ICR and supplement, and supporting statement may be accessed at: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201503-1205-020.

The Departments published an earlier version of this ICR for a 60-day comment period that closed on October 5, 2015. The Departments responded to comments received during the 60-day comment period and are re-publishing the ICR for a final 30-day comment period as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act. This comment period is open for 30 days and closes on January 22, 2016. Any comments not received through the process outlined in the Federal Register (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-12-23/pdf/2015-32278.pdf) will not be considered.



Vision. Policy. Strategy. January 26-28, 2016 in Washington DC

Mark Your Calendars for the National Convening of Workforce Leadership: A conference on Innovation and Opportunity to be held January 26-28, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Download the flyer (PDF 502KB).


Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed by President Obama on July 22, 2014, is the first major reform to federal job training programs in over 15 years. WIOA is designed to streamline and improve the coordination of employment and training services across federal agencies and strengthen collaboration with state and local partners. To ensure the most effective and efficient delivery of these services, on April 16, 2015 the departments of Labor and Education announced five new proposed rules to fully implement WIOA. The five proposed rules include a joint Department of Labor and Education rule, a Department of Labor rule, and three Department of Education rules to implement the requirements of titles II and IV of WIOA

Here are summaries of each proposed rule and a link to read the comments provided by the public.

Please visit www.regulations.gov to share your comments on the specific proposed rules, in accordance with the process outlined in the NPRMs. Any comments not received through the processes outlined in the NPRMs will not be considered by the departments.

Transfer of the Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living programs

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act of 2014 transfers the Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living programs from the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Education, to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ACL has posted a news release regarding the transition of these programs.

Read Submitted Comments on Implementation of Title II and Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

OSERS and the Office Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) thank all the contributors who submitted comments on the implementation of WIOA Title II and Title IV. We received 277 comments by the closing on August 29, 2014.

This thoughtful feedback will be reviewed by the Offices and considered as we prepare the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on proposed regulations.

Please watch for the next opportunity to submit comments in January 2015 when the NPRM is released in the Federal Register.


Additional WIOA Information and Resources


To learn more about RSA—or use tools and download data—visit our Web portal at https://rsa.ed.gov or click on one of the links below.

Last Modified: 01/28/2016