Ch 5_Opportunity 5

5. WIOA provides meaningful support for students with disabilities as they transition to postsecondary employment.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) became law in 2014.37 This law, which seeks to maximize job opportunities for youth and adults with and without disabilities, demonstrates a major federal commitment to strengthening the important connection between education and career preparation. It supports students with disabilities during their transition in several ways:

  • Requires state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to set aside at least 15% of their program funds to provide pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) to help high school students with disabilities make the transition to postsecondary education and employment
  • Requires that these transition services be made available to all students with disabilities, including those with 504 plans
  • Requires states to coordinate services including those for youth transitioning from high school to postsecondary education
  • Improves access to job training, education and employment services for young adults with learning disabilities and other people who have traditionally faced barriers to employment
  • Ensures—through nearly 2,500 American Job Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Labor—that employment and training services are accessible to people with disabilities

The law also expands services to high school dropouts ages 14 to 24 who are eligible under IDEA or Section 504, and focuses on the need for all youth with disabilities to have more opportunities to practice and improve their workplace skills, to consider their career interests, and to get real-world work experience.