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OSERS: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
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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.

5 Things You Should Know about WIOA

Friday, July 22, 2016 marked the two-year anniversary of President Obama signing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law. Check out the following link for five important things to know about WIOA: http://blog.ed.gov/2016/07/5-things-know-wioa/

(July 26, 2016)


Workforce Success Story

On June 30, 2016, Secretary of Education John King and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez released a video highlighting the important role American Job Centers play in meeting the needs of all job seekers under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Secretary King commented on the success of Janet Terry, who received vocational rehabilitation services and other services as a result of connecting with an American Job Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services has published a blog to share Janet Terry’s success story.

(July 11, 2016)


WIOA — Second Anniversary

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2014. This landmark legislation and its implementing regulations are designed to strengthen and improve our nation’s public workforce system and help Americans with significant barriers to employment, including individuals with disabilities, into high quality jobs and careers and help employers hire and retain skilled workers.

On June 30, 2016, the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services held a teleconference with over 1,000 stakeholders to announce that the WIOA final rules are publicly available. Read a transcript of the June 30th teleconference ( PDF, 164KB). The final rules are available on the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) website and they will be published soon in the Federal Register.

On July 5, 2016, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and RSA held a teleconference with its stakeholders to announce that the WIOA final rules are publicly available. The July 5, 2016 teleconference transcript ( PDF, 243KB) also includes information regarding the program-specific final rules related to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by title IV of WIOA.

Six months after the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) National Convening, and only weeks after WIOA Final Rules were made publicly available, leaders from Federal agencies—U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services—convened on July 19, 2016 to celebrate the second anniversary of WIOA and answered some initial questions on the joint final rule. The webinar was titled “WIOA at Year Two: Continuing the Conversation” — a video recording, a transcript, and a supporting PowerPoint are available.

(July 22, 2016)


RSA Regional Meetings Scheduled on Program-Specific Requirements under the Rehabilitation Act

The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL) (or, collectively, Departments) will publish final regulations to implement changes made by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed into law on July 22, 2014. ED will publish two sets of final regulations implementing changes to programs authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Act), as amended by title IV of WIOA, as well as implementing new provisions added to the Act by WIOA.

The Departments have developed a comprehensive plan that includes in-person and virtual technical assistance on both jointly-administered and program-specific requirements. As part of this plan, ED’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has scheduled three regional meetings to provide technical assistance on the final regulations implementing program-specific changes made to the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services program and the State Supported Employment Services program, as well as those implementing Limitations on the Use of Subminimum Wage in new section 511 of the Act. In the regional meetings, RSA will provide technical assistance on the following areas: competitive integrated employment, employment outcome, and limitations on the use of subminimum wage (section 511); transition services, including pre-employment transition services; supported employment; and fiscal requirements.

For more detail see http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/rsa/wioa-meetings-on-final-regs.html

(June 6, 2016)


WIOA Joint Policy Guidance on Data Sharing and Confidentiality

The Departments of Labor and Education are committed to providing technical assistance as State workforce and education partner agencies begin preparation for reporting under WIOA. According, the Departments of Labor and Education are issuing this joint guidance on data matching to facilitate performance reporting and evaluation. This joint guidance is a resource to provide information to assist State agencies, educational agencies and institutions, and service providers in meeting WIOA requirements. The joint guidance and any related documents may be found at http://familypolicy.ed.gov/content/joint-guidance-data-matching-facilitate-wioa-performance-reporting-and-evaluation.

(August 23, 2016)


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: 08/25/2016