NCD Recommendations: Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization
March 17, 2005
SCOPE AND PURPOSE:
In 1998, Congress passed the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), creating authority for the Workforce Development System, a federal employment services program, which provides assistance through One-Stop Centers across the nation. This system replaced a number of smaller federally supported employment programs, consolidating the funds into what was intended to be a more user-friendly, universally accessible system of employment services. The Rehabilitation Act was included as a separate program with separate funding under the new Act. Title IV of WIA now carries the authority for the Rehabilitation Act in its entirety and throughout the Act creates a number of opportunities for interaction between the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) system and the One-Stop Centers. For example, the State VR program is identified as one of several “partners” in the One-Stop system. The Act also makes clear that One-Stop Centers are to be available and accessible to individuals with disabilities and includes non-discrimination language that specifically references disability.
Originally slated for reauthorization in 2003, WIA now appears to be on track in both the House and Senate to move forward in 2005. With so much of importance to the disability community in the Act, the National Council on Disability (NCD) offered to the 108th Congress detailed recommendations. NCD observations and input are included in the following recommendations, which are offered as a guide to disability-related issues for the current reauthorization process.