In the new few weeks each of the 50 states will be releasing their Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act plans for the public to review and comment on.
Last year, a new law called the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was passed. This new law is vital for the 1-in-5 Americans who have a disability because it requires the entire workforce system to become accessible for people with disabilities. This law can help people with a wide range of differences to get the skills and training they need in order to pursue the American dream, just like everyone else. However, because every state can make their own plan, whether WIOA really works depends on state and local organizations and individuals getting involved and making your voices heard!
Every state must create a “Unified integrated state workforce plan” before March 2016. When a state has completed their plan, they have to publish it online. Organizations that work to empower people with disabilities can and should review their state plan and write public comments about ways the plan can help people enter the workforce. As a community, we want each state to move forward a state plan that will be inclusive of the most integrated job opportunities for people with disabilities.
FREE HELP So You and/or Your Organization to Submit Public Comments, Which Will Help People with Disabilities Get Jobs
Submitting public comments on state economic plans can seem daunting. However, getting the workforce system to understand what barriers keep people with disabilities from employment depends on making your voices heard. RespectAbility can help by sending information about what references to disability and youth are included in each plan.
It is critical that state plans reflect proven best practices and cost-effective models.
RespectAbility, has created a toolkit which can help you to know what to write about in your comments. Our Disability Employment First Planning Toolkit reflects data driven insights and practical solutions for empowering people with disabilities. We also have extensive data available about disability and employment in each and every state. You can freely use this data to educate state leaders and inform them about the needs of your state community. We also have a list of webinars about proven models that your state can follow in order to achieve win-win-win solutions for people with disabilities, employers and taxpayers alike.
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is President and CEO of RespectAbility and Philip Pauli, Policy and Practices Director of RespectAbility. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream. We works regularly with national, state and local policy leaders, workforce development professionals, media and employers, as well as with disability and faith-based organizations in order to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. We already have met with teams from all 50 states, including 40 governors, on WIOA implementation.
Special thanks to JP Morgan Chase for making this webinar with live captioning available for free.