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WIOA

WIOA is the acronym for a federal law called the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.  It was signed into law in July 2014 to replace the portion of the Rehabilitation Act formerly called the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

WIOA Overview

WIOA creates new opportunities and responsibilities for schools in partnership with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to support students and youth with IEPs as they transition from school to college and/or competitive integrated employment in the community.  The federal WIOA includes the collaborative responsibility of the school district, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services and long-term supports to provide Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities.  In addition, WIOA aligns with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) agenda, College, Career and Community Readiness for all students. 

WIOA is an opportunity to strengthen the original intent of transition planning requirements for students.  The intent of WIOA is to enhance the services available in school for students with IEPs; however, the partnership with DVR does not replace or reduce the school district’s obligation to provide transition services as part of the IDEA.

School and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Collaboration:

 In 2014, Vocational Rehabilitation was mandated by the Rehabilitation Services Administration to reserve 15% of its service budget to provide Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities in high school.  This is a great opportunity for schools and DVR to work together, share responsibilities, and create positive postsecondary outcomes for students with IEPs.  This shift requires:

  • Increased responsibility to collaborate with the DVR. 
  • Reframe the provisions of transition services to match the Pre-ETS outlined in WIOA.

The WIOA includes use of customized employment strategies to support students with significant disabilities as well.  Customized employment is developed through an agreement between the employee and employer to meet the needs of both parties to create a positive job match.

Find more information regarding the WIOA