WIOA Advisory Committee Meeting Held July 13-14
The Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities, established under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in 2014, held its fourth meeting on July 13-14, 2015 in Washington, D.C. During the meeting, the committee’s four subcommittees reported out on their work on draft chapters for the interim report. Additionally, committee members heard from expert panels that addressed issues with provider transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment and a provider panel discussed sheltered workshops.
During the meeting, ODEP presented findings of state Employment First efforts and challenges states implementing cross-systems change efforts to improve integration outcomes for people with disabilities are facing that require Federal policy changes based upon the agency’s work within the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP). The EFSLMP provides funding and technical assistance from national subject matter experts on developing and implementing policies and practices that prioritize employment as a prerequisite for quality of life for people with disabilities. In order to participate, states must require collaboration among at least six state agencies receiving federal funding, such as the state educational agency, the intellectual and developmental disabilities services agency, the state Medicaid entity, the mental health agency, and vocational rehabilitation or workforce investment entity. At present, 15 states are core states receiving technical assistance through this state leadership program, and over 1,000 state government officials, providers, and direct support professionals across 43 states participate in ODEP’s National Employment First Community of Practice.
In addition to information presented by the EFSLMP, community rehabilitation providers (CRPs) of community-based integrated services, as well as CRPs operating 14(c) special wage certificates, identified barriers in service delivery across service systems that require Federal policy change. For example, potential barriers in some state Medicaid programs may include funding transportation for group or center-based services; allowing funding for sheltered work under both prevocational services and other service categories; or maintaining day reimbursable rates that impede individuals from transitioning to individual supported employment or competitive integrated employment.