AUCD Summary of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Provisions Related to Persons with Disabilities Under Title IV of the Rehabilitation Act

July 10, 2014

  • The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) remains within the Department of Education (a proposal to move RSA to Dept. of Labor was in the prior Senate bill but was removed during bipartisan, bicameral negotiations).
  • Section 419 - The state's vocational rehabilitation is now required to maintain 15% of its allotment for youth transition services.
  • Section 433 - The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (adds "independent living" to the name) and moves the Institute from the Department of Education to the Department of HHS, Administration for Community Living.
  • Section 472 - The bill moves the Independent Living Program from the Rehabilitation Services Administration within the Department of Education to the Administration for Community Living within the Department of HHS and establishes an Administration on Independent Living.  This change was advocated by the Centers for Independent Living.
  • Eliminates 15 Programs to further streamline existing programs (some of these programs have not received appropriations and were no longer working programs)
    • Youth Opportunity Grants, 21st Century Workforce Commission, National Institute for Literacy under Adult Education, Health Care Gap Coverage for Trade Adjustment Assistance participants, WIA Incentive Grants, WIA Pilots and Demonstration Projects, Community-based Job Training Grants, Green Jobs Act, Projects with Industry under the Rehabilitation Act amendments, Recreation Programs under the Rehabilitation Act amendments, In-service Training under the Rehabilitation Act amendments, Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Program under the Rehabilitation Act amendments, WIA Veterans Workforce Investment Program, WIA Workforce Innovation Fund, Grants to States for Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Individuals under the 1998  Amendments to the Higher Education Act

Detailed summary of provisions related to Subminimum Wages

Section 458 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, creates a new Section 511 (the section related to Rights) that limits the use of subminimum wage.

Employers may not pay wages below the Federal subminimum wage to anyone under the age of 24 (under 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act) unless one (1) of the following conditions are met:

  1. The person is currently working at subminimum wage with an employer holding a valid 14 (c ) Fair Labor Standards Act certificate.
  2. Before taking a job with subminimum wage, the individual has met the following conditions
    1. He (or she) must have received pre-employment transition services as prescribed under the Rehab Act or IDEA.
    2. He has applied for vocational rehabilitation services but:
      1. was found ineligible and given a description of the client assistance program (P&A); or
      2. was determined eligible for VR services and has an individualized plan for employment  (IPE) and working toward that plan with appropriate supports and services (including supported employment) for a reasonable period of time without success; and his VR case is now "closed"; AND
      3. has been provided career counseling, information and referrals to programs and other resources that offer employment-related services and supports designed to enable the individual to explore, discover, experience, and attain competitive integrated employment, NOT resources that lead to subminimum wage jobs.
  3. Construction
    1. Rule - nothing in Section 511 shall be taken to mean:
      1. A change in the purpose of the Rehab Act, which is to promote employment of individuals with disabilities, especially those with the most significant disabilities and to assist states and providers to fulfil the aspirations for meaningful and gainful employment and independent living.
      2. This section must comply with the amendments within this Act that strengthens the monitoring and implementation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
    2. Contracts - schools may not make contracts or other arrangements with subminimum contractors to develop programs for students under the age 24.
  4. During Subminimum Wage Employment
    1. The employer may not continue providing subminimum wage to the individual (regardless of age) unless he is provided career counseling and other information in a way that helps him make an informed choice about employment and career advancement; and
    2. He is informed about local self-advocacy, self-determination, and peer mentoring training opportunities (that are provided by programs with no financial interest).
    3. Timing - these two services above must be provided once every 6 months for the first year and annually thereafter.
  5. Documentation
    1. VR and the State educational agency must develop a new process to document the completion of transition services that are legally required under WIA and IDEA
    2. If a student completes transition services, it must be documented by school official responsible for transition services and the designated state unite must provide the final documentation of the completion of pre-employment transition services in a reasonable amount of time.  Documentation must be provided to the individual.
  6. Verification
    1. Before an individual begins working at subminimum wage, the hiring entity must verify that the individual received all the services described above.
    2. The designated state unit and Department of Labor must review individual documentation.
  7. Effective Date - This new policy will only take effect two (2) years following enactment of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

For more information contact Kim Musheno, AUCD Director of Public Policy