Meeting WIOA Requirements: Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance

WINTAC logo

For National Disability Employment Awareness Month, check out the many resources available in the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM), funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). Bookmark the NCRTM RSA Technical Assistance & Other Resources page for quick access to the RSA portal, RSA TA centers and funded projects, Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) federal partners, other resources and research databases.

In this final blog of a three-part blog series from NCRTM, we offer ways to stay current with employment trends related to the workforce and people with disabilities. View first blog and second blog from NCRTM.


Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC)

The WINTAC helps state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency staff, rehabilitation professionals and service providers develop the skills and processes needed to meet the requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The WINTAC provides technical assistance and training in five topic areas that include:

You can find links to all of these topic areas with resources and information at WINTAC.

 

The Career Index logo

The Career Index Plus

The Career Index Plus (TCI+) includes state and local salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job trends and projections, current job openings, license requirements and certifications, education and experience requirements, and 200,000 training programs.

TCI+, offered through WINTAC, is a career information system that collects labor market information from a host of resources and deposits the information onto a single, user-friendly site. Access to TCI+ is free and the data is the most recent available.

The people behind TCI+ have spent almost 20 years specializing in labor-related data and are constantly combing a large array of sources to give VR professionals actionable labor market information for better, more informed career choices.

The following resources are presented through a collaboration between WINTAC and TCI+ and are intended to provide a comprehensive approach to training on this valuable resource.

  • Short Training Videos
    • Short training videos, each under 10 minutes in length
    • Provide VR professionals with short, direct, and relevant training materials on using features from TCI+
  • TCI+ Recorded Webinars 
    • Recorded from live webinars
    • Provide in-depth, comprehensive information and training on using The Career Index Plus.
  • TCI+ Resources
    • Provide VR agencies with training and informational materials on adopting The Career Index Plus as a labor market information tool.
  • Labor Market Information Resources
    • Provide VR agencies with comprehensive information on labor market data.

Do you want to keep up-to-date with new VR resources as they are added to the NCRTM? Follow them on Twitter @RSA_NCRTM and subscribe to their monthly New from NCRTM newsletter.


Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy.

Successful Work Experiences

Alaska and Nevada VR Websites

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.


The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) assists state and local education agencies and VR agencies and service providers, and it keeps close contact with these agencies and providers in order to share real stories of real youth being supported in transition programs. Alaska and Nevada are just two of the states that are creating programs to help youth with disabilities transition into a work environment.

Alaska Division of Vocation Rehabilitation

Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) provided pre-employment transition service—a requirement of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) activities to 802 Alaskan students this year through a number of statewide initiatives including Transition Camps and its Summer Work programs.

Transition Camps

Transition Camps help students develop a vision for what their future can be by exposing them to career exploration and the resources they may need to successfully transition from school to work. These camps, located in predominantly rural areas of the state and juvenile justice facilities, served 236 students. Transition camps are a partnership between DVR, Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), and the Department of Education.

Summer Work Programs

Summer Work, a partnership program between DVR and DEI, focused on providing students with disabilities with a chance to have a paid 160-hour work experience to become work ready. Summer Work served 182 students in 2018, and 99 Alaskan businesses provided work sites for students engaged in the program. Summer Work programs are implemented by school districts and community agencies in rural and urban areas. This year’s big success was the Cordova School District summer program. Eight of the 14 students who participated transitioned to competitive integrated employment at the end of their work experience!

Nevada Department of Education

The Nevada Department of Education hosts and organizes the annual Nevada Student Leadership Transition Summit (NSLTS). The summit provides a forum for high school students with disabilities to participate in sessions focused on disability awareness, self-advocacy, resources for career and college planning, and networking events with providers and other teens across the state.

NSLTS can have a lasting impact on people’s lives.

Kascia Tognoli attended the NSLTS in 2008 and 2009 as a student from Lyon County School District’s Yerington High School.

NSLTS helped Kascia realize what she wanted to do for a career. When she reflected on her time at NSLTS to the summit’s organizer Jennifer Kane, Kascia said:

I knew from then on what I really wanted to do which is what I am doing now, helping adults and students with disabilities. I remember going to my mom and telling her what they were talking about at the conference, and that I was going to do that one day. You [NSLTS] are the main reason why I started doing what I do… At the conference I came to terms that I needed to love my disability because it makes me who I am!… I just want to tell you thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting on that conference, it changed my life!

Kascia is employed currently with K.E.T. Consulting, LLC—a provider of Pre-Employment Transition Services in the state.


The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT), funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), assists state and local education agencies, state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and VR service providers in implementing evidence-based and promising practices to help ensure students with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, graduate prepared for success in postsecondary education and employment.


Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy.

The National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM): Finding Promising and Effective Resources in the Clearinghouse Library

For National Disability Employment Awareness Month, check out the many resources available in the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM), funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).

We offer pointers for finding up-to-date resources in the NCRTM library and showcase a few products from the RSA-funded technical assistance (TA) centers.


National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM) Homepage

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) supports a vision that people with disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, can work in competitive and integrated employment.

The NCRTM is one of the first places you should go to find promising and effective practices that have been shared by RSA-funded projects and TA centers so that vocational rehabilitation (VR) personnel, employers, families and individuals with disabilities can improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

What Do These Icons Stand For

We constantly add new resources to the NCRTM library, which you can search for by keyword or topic. You can also quickly search the library by clicking on icons that link to RSA information and guidance, products developed with RSA funding, RSA-funded TA centers, peer reviewed products and sign language interpreter resources.

Whether you are a person with a disability, a VR professional or service provider, an educator, interpreter, or in business, the NCRTM contains useful, interesting and accessible resources to learn more about a topic or share ideas and resources with others.

The following resources from three RSA-funded TA centers demonstrate the type of information you can check out as you explore ways to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

ExploreVR logo

Job-Driven Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center (JDVRTAC)

JD-VRTAC has identified, adapted, embedded and sustained job-driven practices in order to lead to improved employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Their lasting contributions include toolkits such as:

  • Business Engagement Toolkit
    • Useful information and tools to optimize interactions between employers, VR, and other organizations
  • Employer Supports Toolkit
    • Useful information and tools for services provided by VR in response to businesses’ needs
  • Labor Market Information Toolkit
    • Useful information and tools to use labor market information to assist job-seekers and understand employer hiring trends
  • Customized Training Toolkit
    • Useful information and tools for programs and partnerships to meet employer or industry needs for skilled workers
    • Contains the Paid Work Experiences Toolkit that explains internships, pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships and includes case studies and highlights models across the U.S.

Though funding for this JDVRTAC ended September 2018, the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC), in partnership with the Institute for Community Inclusion and the University of Washington, will continue to provide technical assistance to VR agencies in the topic areas covered by the JDVRTAC through September 2020.

Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities (VRTAC-TC) (Project E3TC) logoVocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities (VRTAC-TC) (Project E3TC)

Project E3TC provides technical assistance so state VR agencies and their community-based partners can address barriers to VR participation and competitive integrated employment of historically underrepresented and economically-disadvantaged groups of individuals with disabilities.

  • Project E3TC Poverty Resources
    • Collects resources on targeted populations representing high-leverage groups who are underserved or achieved substandard performance with needs in economically-disadvantaged communities across the country
    • Highlights poverty research and resources that are updated regularly.
  • The Forerunners (30-minute film)
    • Tells the stories of people with disabilities working successfully as information technology professionals in Chicago
    • Helps reduce stigma around hiring people with disabilities through use of a 30-minute, award-winning MIND Alliance film funded by Hunter College – City University of New York and developed jointly with Southern University of Baton Rouge
    • Has helped change employer attitudes against people with disabilities in the workplace

Rehabilitation Training and Technical Assistance Center for Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance (PEQATAC) logoRehabilitation Training and Technical Assistance Center for Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance (PEQATAC)

PEQATAC helps state VR agencies improve performance management by building their capacity to carry out high-quality program evaluations and quality assurance practices that promote continuous program improvement.

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance Program
    • Certification program intended to increase state VR agencies’ evaluators and quality assurance specialists numbers and qualifications
    • PEQA Evaluation Studies Certificate Program’s fifth cohort started the online certificate program Oct. 1, 2018
    • PEQA Certificate Program has 34 individuals from 29 states actively participating in the coursework and capstone projects to date
  • 11th Annual Summit Conference on Performance Management Excellence
    • VR professionals from 50 states attended September 2018 summit in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
    • Attendees collaborated and shared resources for quality employment outcomes from state-federal vocational rehabilitation services to people with disabilities.
    • Attendees learned evaluation results and research outcomes from practitioners and researchers and gained insight on VR agencies’ strategies for internal controls, program evaluation, skills gains, and other workplace integration processes.
The first PEQA graduate, Margaret Alewine from South Carolina VR, presented her Capstone project, which designed to enhance the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) related to services for youth and students, at the Summit Conference. She received her certificate at the completion of the conference.

The first PEQA graduate, Margaret Alewine from South Carolina VR, presented her Capstone project, which designed to enhance the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) related to services for youth and students, at the Summit Conference. She received her certificate at the completion of the conference.


Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy.

Join a Webinar: Education – A Key Service in WIOA

This is a cross-post from the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education’s Blog Post.


Logo from 2016 WIOA National Convening

March 1, 2:45-4:00pm ET

Join at this link, with password DeptofED1! 

Call in to 888-790-4881, participant code 9552347#.

Education: A Key Service in WIOA. All national survey and economic data points to the importance of youth and adults gaining strong foundation skills, completing high school equivalence, and earning industry-recognized certificates and degrees in order to gain economic stability and self-sufficiency. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) offers multiple coordination points and opportunities with educational institutions at every level to get clients moving ahead.

Panelists include:

  • Janet LaBreck, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration
  • Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
  • Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services

This panel discussion was cancelled at the WIOA National Convening in January to accommodate delayed arrivals due to weather. The webinar is open to public participation. Please plan to join and invite colleagues to do so as well.

Find resources from the WIOA National Convening, including PowerPoints, the participant list, etc., here.


 

Posted by
Information Technology Specialist, U.S. Department of Education

July 1, 2015 — Making a Shift in the Public Workforce System

This article is cross-posted on the:


Today, July 1, 2015, marks the day that many of the provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) take effect. This new law has the potential to make a tremendous difference for tens of millions of workers, jobseekers and students across this country. WIOA’s transformation of our publicly-funded workforce system means that all of us—federal and state partners, governments, non-profits and educational and training institutions, must be pressing for innovations to ensure:

  • the needs of business and workers drive our workforce solutions
  • one-stop centers, also known as American Job Centers (AJCs) provide excellent customer service to both jobseekers and employers and focus on continuous improvement; and
  • the workforce system supports strong regional economies and plays an active role in community and economic development.

July 1st is about “opportunity.” It’s about implementing strategies to help workers and jobseekers achieve their full potential. Through our AJCs and other service locations, the public workforce system will meet people where they are, whether they’re young adults just starting out, or experienced workers whose need to retool their skills to succeed, whether they are a person with a disability or someone who faces other barriers to a job. Our aligned services need to help each of them build a meaningful career and achieve economic independence.

Now is the time for action among all workforce partners. It is truly a new day for the American workforce system.

Some states and local areas are already hard at work implementing the law and laying the groundwork for big changes and big ideas. Some have formed new partnerships and are creatively aligning workforce resources. Others are redesigning customer service strategies at the nearly 2,500 local AJCs.

But we still have much work to do to realize the full vision of WIOA.

Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

Through town halls and virtual stakeholder events, we listened to you. The U.S. Departments of Education and Labor, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, incorporated your feedback into proposed regulations and will continue to do so as we review comments and develop final regulations. We have released early Operational Guidance and technical assistance tools, including a set of Quick Start Action Planners, to help you assess your readiness to implement WIOA and identify areas of strength and focused areas for improvement. And we will continue to issue program guidance throughout the year to operationalize WIOA.

Now that most of WIOA is in effect, we will continue to support the public workforce system as state and local officials transform their systems. Here are the steps we’ll be taking this year to implement WIOA and provide assistance for states and local areas across the country:

  • Providing states opportunities and information to develop State Implementation Teams that will allow workforce system programs to share specific challenges, conduct in-person planning, and connect more directly to the right resources.
  • Rolling out the Innovation Opportunity Network (ION) (workforce3one.org), an online learning and teaching community which is a partnership of programs and services, designed to help all levels of workforce development professionals, stakeholders, and partners connect with peers throughout the public workforce system who are working to implement WIOA. ION will provide training and technical assistance, focused on themes the partners have identified as a priority: change management, strategic boards, regionalism, customer-centered service delivery, talent development strategies, system alignment and other topics. Tools include an Act Now webinar series, Voices of Experience videos and podcasts, a community of practice site, virtual events related to WIOA operating guidance. Get engaged by visiting ion.workforce3one.org

Our work has never been more important, and we want to make sure every partner and every region has what you need to succeed. We look forward to working with you to realize the vision of WIOA!

WIOA Updates and Resources

For WIOA updates and resources, please visit OSERS’ WIOA Web page.

Additional information can be found on the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education’s (OCTAE) WIOA Web site and the Department of Labor’s WIOA Web site.

 


Contributing Authors:

  • Portia Wu, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education
  • Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education
  • Janet LaBreck, Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, U.S. Department of Education
  • Mark Greenberg, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Administration of Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Posted by
Assistant Secretary, Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

OSERS Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rules to Implement Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

NOTICE: Comment Period is Now Closed.
(June 15, 2015 closing date)

The departments of Education and Labor announced recently that they are seeking comment on five Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs), proposing rules that would implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The act, signed by President Obama on July 22, 2014, is the first major reform to federal job training programs in more than 15 years. It’s designed to streamline and improve the coordination of employment and training services across federal agencies and strengthen collaboration with state and local partners to increase access to and opportunities for the employment, education, training, and support services for individuals to succeed in the labor market.

OSERS encourages comments on all proposed regulations, and is particularly interested in receiving comments in the following areas:


State VR Services program, State Supported Employment Services program, and provisions contained in new section 511 (Limitations on the Use of Subminimum Wages) that fall under the purview of ED
[Docket ID ED-2015-OSERS-0001]

  • Employment Outcome:
    • Definition of EMPLOYMENT OUTCOME in proposed §361.5(c)(15) would mean, with respect to an individual, entering, advancing in, or retaining full-time or, if appropriate, part-time competitive integrated employment, as defined in §361.5(c)(9) (including customized employment, self-employment, telecommuting, or business ownership), or supported employment, that is consistent with an individual’s unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.
    • This definition would eliminate uncompensated outcomes, such as homemakers and unpaid family workers, from the scope of the definition for purposes of the VR program.
    • To allow agencies to complete the VR process for these individuals, we are considering a transition period of six months following the effective date of the final regulations to implement the proposed definition. We are particularly interested in receiving comment on the proposed six-month transition period.
    • We are interested in receiving comments about providing such a transition period.
  • Performance Accountability Measures:
    • In the ED—only NPRM, we propose to replace the current standards and indicators for the VR program under current §361.80 through §361.89 with a cross-reference in proposed §361.40 to the joint regulations for the common performance accountability measures.
    • We ask that you provide only comments specific to the VR program with respect to this section.
    • Any comments regarding the common performance measures or data requirement, applicable to all core programs, should be provided in connection with the relevant provisions of the joint proposed regulations.
  • Limitations on Use of Subminimum Wage: Proposed Educational Agencies Requirements:
    • Proposed §397.31 would prohibit a local educational agency or a State educational agency from entering into a contract with an entity that employs individuals at subminimum wage for the purpose of operating a program under which a youth with a disability is engaged in subminimum wage employment.
    • With regard to this proposed provision, the Secretary specifically seeks comments regarding the Department’s role and jurisdiction.

Provide your comments on docket ED-2015-OSERS-0001 at www.regulations.gov.


Unified and Combined State Plans, Performance Accountability, and the One-Stop System Joint Provision
[Docket ID ETA-2015-0002]

  • Performance Accountability Measures:
    • Section 116(b) of WIOA requires common performance accountability measures for the core programs of the workforce development system, including the VR program, which are set out in proposed joint regulations (Joint NPRM—Ed and DOL), which, once final, will reside in subpart E of 34 CFR 361. The joint NPRM can be found at the Federal Register (www.federalregister.gov).
    • Any comments regarding the common performance measures or data requirement, applicable to all core programs, should be provided in connection with the relevant provisions of the joint proposed regulations.
  • One-stop Delivery System:
    • As a required partner in the one-stop service delivery system, the designated State unit must satisfy all requirements set forth in proposed joint regulations (Joint NPRM—Ed and DOL), which, once final, will reside in subpart F of 34 CFR 361. The joint NPRM can be found at the Federal Register (www.federalregister.gov).
    • We ask that you submit any comments regarding the VR program’s role in the one-stop delivery system in conjunction with related provisions contained in the joint proposed regulations.

Provide your comments on docket ETA-2015-0002 at www.regulations.gov.


Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: Miscellaneous Program Changes
[Docket ID ED-2015-OSERS-0002]

  • Proposed §386.40(b)(1) (Long-term training program):
    • We have proposed to add the following: §386.40(b)(1)” allowing scholars who are in multi-year programs of study and who are currently employed or are seeking employment to start satisfying the service obligation after completion of at least one year of study. This provision would also prohibit scholars who do not complete the program of study from performing the service obligation, except for scholars who complete at least one year of a multi-year program.
    • We request specific comments on this proposal.”
  • Proposed §396.4(c) (Interpreter Training)
    • We propose to add the following definition in §396.4(c): “an individual who has a hearing impairment such that, in order to facilitate communication, the individual depends upon visual modes, such as sign language, speech reading, and gestures, or reading and writing, in addition to any other auditory information.”
    • We particularly encourage the public to comment on the appropriateness of this definition in the context of this program.

Provide your comments on docket ED-2015-OSERS-0002 at www.regulations.gov.


NOTICE: Comment Period is Now Closed.
(June 15, 2015 closing date)

Please visit www.regulations.gov to share your comments on these above, and all of the proposed rules, in accordance with the process outlined in the NPRMs. Comments to this OSERS blog are not accepted and have been turned off.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Any comments not received through the processes outlined in the NPRMs will NOT be considered by the department.

Posted by
Information Technology Specialist, U.S. Department of Education