Supported Employment grant programs, which were reauthorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) rewrite, will include provisions to improve the employment chances of youth with the most significant disabilities.
The Labor and Education Dept’s final regulations are now effective. Under the Supported Employment program, the Education Dept. (DoEd) provides grants, in addition to the rehabilitation program grants, to assist states in developing employment services for individuals with the most significant disabilities. Youth programs are a priority.
Significant changes via the WIOA include an time-frame extension for the provision of supported employment services from 18 months to 24 months and a requirement that supported employment be in competitive integrated employment or, if not in competitive employment, in an integrated work setting in which the individual is working toward competitive integrated employment on a short-term basis.
The most significant change is the mandate that funding be set aside for providing extended services to youth with the most significant disabilities. Specifically, states must reserve 50% of their SE program funds for supported employment services and at least 10% must be set aside for youth services. The rule also cuts the amount of funds that may be spent on administrative costs.
Prior to WIOA, agencies were not permitted to expend Supported Employment or program funds for extended services. Now, WIOA mandates that the agency make available extended services for youth with the most significant disabilities for a period not to exceed four years. Youth are eligible for services from the age of 14 to 24. Although the agency must discontinue funding extended services once a youth reaches age 25, it should explore the availability of funding from other sources, under the rule.
States may use Supported Employment program or funds to provide extended services only to youth with the most significant disabilities. And, the reservation of funds for the provision of supported employment services for youth with the most significant disabilities is a state decision. State officials must decide on the awards of funding to competing programs, the rule said.
States must provide a match of at least 10% in non-federal expenditures for the total amount of expenditures incurred with the half of the allotment reserved to provide supported employment services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. Total expenditures means both the federal reserved funds and the non-federal share incurred for the provision of youth supported employment services.
The non-federal share is only applicable to the 50% reserved funds for youth with the most significant disabilities and must be spent on supported employment services, including extended services, to that group.
Under the rule, youth are treated slightly different when they are discharged from the program. For a youth with a most significant disability who is receiving extended services the service record will be closed when the youth ages out, gets a job, is no longer eligible or has received extended services for a period of four years.
Info: http://goo.gl/WzyNbF (DoEd website).