Workforce Investment Act of 1998: Its Application to People with Disabilities
The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), which became effective July 1, 2000, establishes a national workforce preparation and employment system (America's Workforce Network) to meet the needs of businesses, job seekers and those who want to further their careers. Customers will have easy access to information and services through the One-Stop Career Center system. Customers with disabilities must be served alongside customers without disabilities.
Q. What is America's Workforce Network and how does it relate to the One-Stop System?
America's Workforce Network (AWN) is a nationwide system of workforce development organizations that help employers find qualified workers and help people manage their careers. The One-Stop approach provides a single point where customers can access a wide array of job training, education and employment services. It also provides a single point of contact for employers to provide information about current and future skills needed by their workers, and to list job openings. WIA requires the participation of relevant programs administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Departments of Agriculture, Education (including Vocational Rehabilitation), Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development and encourages participation by additional partners. By bringing these partners together under one roof, One-Stop simplifies the process for accessing services from multiple partners.
Basic information and the location of One-Stop Centers may be accessed by calling the toll-free telephone help line at 877-US2-JOBS (877-872-5627). TTY users may dial 877-TTY-JOBS (877-887-5627), and Internet users can gain access through America's Service Locator at <http://www.servicelocator.org/nearest_onestop.asp >.
The One-Stop System's Internet service strategy, its electronic backbone, has appeal because it offers ease of access from any location at any time: home, school or One-Stop Center. America's Career Kit, which consists of America's Career InfoNet <www.acinet.org > and America's Learning eXchange <www.alx.org > provides information on job vacancies, employment trends, and availability of training respectively.
Q. What is the governance structure for the Workforce Investment Act?
Title I of WIA authorizes the new Workforce Investment System. State Workforce Investment Boards (State Boards) are established and help the Governor develop a five-year strategic plan describing statewide workforce development activities, explaining how the requirements of the Act will be implemented and outlining how special population groups will be served. The State Board advises the Governor on ways to develop the statewide workforce investment system and a statewide labor market information system. The State Board also helps the Governor monitor statewide activities.
Governors designate local workforce investment areas and oversee local workforce investment boards. New youth councils are set up as a subgroup of the Local Board to guide the development and operation of programs for youth. The Local Board is composed of employers, representatives of education, labor unions, economic development agencies, One-Stop partners, and community-based organizations.
Q. What are some key guiding principles of the Workforce Investment Act?
- Streamlining services: Programs and providers co-locate, coordinate and integrate activities and information, so that the system as a whole is coherent and accessible.
- Empowering individuals: Eligible adults are given financial power to use Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) at qualified institutions and individuals are empowered through the advice, guidance and support available through the One-Stop system, and the activities of One-Stop partners.
- Universal Access: All individuals have access to core employment-related services. This includes information about job vacancies, career options, student financial aid, relevant employment trends, and instruction on how to conduct a job search, write a resume or interview with an employer.
Q. A key reform element of the Workforce Investment Act is the Individual Training Account (ITA). What is the ITA?
Eligible customers, in consultation with their case manager, can purchase training services under WIA through an Individual Training Account (ITA). If a person is determined eligible for training services, an ITA will be established for that individual by the One-Stop Center. To assist individuals in selecting a training provider, the One-Stop system provides information on each approved provider's performance.
Q. What do WIA title I Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs provide for people with disabilities through the One-Stop System?
- Core Services include outreach, intake and orientation, initial assessment, determination of eligibility for additional services, job search and placement assistance, career counseling, information on the availability of supportive services such as child care and transportation, labor market information and followup services. These services are available to all.
- Intensive Services are provided to eligible individuals. Intensive Services include comprehensive assessment of skill levels and service needs, development of individual employment plans, individual counseling and career planning, group counseling, case management, and short term prevocational services such as development of learning, communication and personal maintenance skills.
- Training Services are provided to eligible individuals. Training services may include occupational skills training, on-the-job training, training programs operated by the private sector, skill upgrading and retraining, entrepreneurial training, job readiness training, adult education and literacy activities and customized training.
Q. What services are available to people with disabilities through the One-Stop System?
There is a wide range of services available at One-Stop Centers provided by disability-specific organizations. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a required partner of the One-Stop system; therefore, eligible people with disabilities can access the full range of services provided by VR through the One-Stop system. There are also other disability-specific organizations that provide services in One-Stop Centers.
Q. Which programs are identified as required partners in the Act?
- Programs authorized under title I of WIA serving adults, dislocated workers, youth and veterans, as well as Job Corps, Native American programs and migrant and seasonal farmworker programs
- Programs authorized under the Wagner-Peyser Act
- Adult education and literacy activities authorized under title II of WIA
- Programs authorized under parts A and B of title I of the Rehabilitation Act
- Welfare-to-Work programs authorized under the Social Security Act
- Senior community service employment activities authorized under title V of the Older Americans Act of 1965
- Postsecondary vocational education authorized under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technological Education Act
- Trade Adjustment Assistance and NAFTA Transitional Adjustment Assistance authorized under the Trade Act of 1974
- Local veterans' employment representatives and disabled veterans outreach programs
- Employment and training activities under the Community Services Block Grant
- Employment and training activities of the Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Programs authorized under State unemployment compensation laws
Q. Where can I get more information on WIA?
For general information on WIA contact: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Division of One-Stop Operations at 202-693-3045 (V); or visit ETA's WIA website at <www.usworkforce.org >
For general information on WIA and people with disabilities, contact ETA's Disability Employment Policy Unit at 202-693-3840 (V) or 202-693-2871 (TTY); or visit <http://www.doleta.gov/usworkforce/ >
For information on WIA's nondiscrimination provisions, and on the legal rights of people with disabilities under that law, contact: U.S. Department of Labor, Civil Rights Center (CRC) at 202-219-8927 (V), or 202-219-6118 or 800-326-2577 (TTY) or visit its website: <http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/ >
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