President Signs Law Expanding Career Training for Young Adults with LD

Written by Lindsay Jones, NCLD Public Policy and Advocacy Director | 5 years ago

This week, the President signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), expanding federal career training for young adults with learning disabilities (LD).

This is an amazing victory for NCLD’s policy team. We’ve been pushing Congress and the President behind the scenes to act on this bill for over a year. It’s also a victory for you—last month, hundreds of you sent letters to Congress telling your Senators to pass WIOA. Lawmakers heard you loud and clear. As our executive director James Wendorf has said:

    This law couldn’t have passed at a better time. Today, nearly half of all people with LD aren’t in the workforce. We can change this. This law will help young people with LD become valued members of society by helping them with career training and transition to adulthood.

Now that WIOA is law, it’s time to review why this is so important for you and your family.

Why Are Career Training Services Needed?

Nationwide, 19 percent of students with specific learning disabilities drop out of high school. Another 32 percent do not graduate with a regular diploma. Other students may graduate, but don’t have the career training and literacy support they need to navigate the workplace. Young adults with LD need access to career training. This may include your child now or in the future.

What Federal Career Training Is Currently Available?

Under current federal law, state and local workforce boards oversee “One-Stop” training centers. At these centers, people ages 14 and older can get job training, education and employment services all in one location. But unfortunately, because of the way the law was written, young adults with LD generally couldn’t get services.

How Will This Victory Change Things for the Better?

WIOA will update the law so that young adults with LD will be able to get access to federal career training. Here’s what the new law will do:

Expand federal job training. Anyone who has a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act will be able to get services at a “One-Stop” training center.

Help students who drop out of high school. Services will be available for youth ages 14 to 24 who are eligible under IDEA or Section 504 and want to transition to work.

Require states to coordinate services. States will have to coordinate transition services for youth from high school to postsecondary education.
Like any change in the law, it may take a little time for job training and workforce services to become available in your community. As we learn more, we’ll share more information with you. But if you or your child needs help right now, you can contact the “One-Stop” training center near you by visiting the CareerOneStop website.