Updated December 2016
This workforce development vocational rehabilitation initiative of the U.S. Department of Education seeks to better align the vocational rehabilitation arm of the workforce system with education and economic development, creating a collective response to economic and labor market challenges on the national, state, and local levels.
Title IV authorizes programs to help individuals with disabilities acquire the skills they need to be successful in the workplace, including vocational rehabilitation training services. This is primarily achieved through integrated employment opportunities which expect the same performance in a work setting of those who have disabilities as others who are not considered individuals with disabilities.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA Public Law 113 128) is the authorizing legislation for six “core programs” in the public workforce development system.
WIOA Title IV Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) calls for integrated competitive employment as a goal for participants. To help achieve this, Title IV could partner with local/regional workforce development board staff and other WIOA core programs to engage with regional employers in the design of career pathways. Both initiatives could also partner with WIOA Title II Adult Education and Family Literacy Act and postsecondary education initiatives to design Integrated Education and Training programs for employees or potential employees.
Title IV VRS could also provide the opportunity to work with high school students who have 504 Plans listing special learning accommodations as they transition to postsecondary education and/or employment.
A Roadmap for Joint Regional Planning from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office can help initiatives identify resources, tools, key questions, and regional partners in order to facilitate collaboration around WIOA and the Strong Workforce Program.