Preliminary Review of Proposed Federal Regulations

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Logo

We are hoping that our partners, stakeholders, and consumers find this preliminary review helpful in beginning the process of preparing their own comments to the proposed regulations.

On May 20, 2015, the Rehabilitation Services Administration will be taking comments at DOR's office, 721 Capitol Mall, from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. in Sacramento, in room 242, and receiving written comments on and before June 15, 2015. We believe that comments from our diverse community can help shape the law and avoid unintended consequences of fewer individuals with disabilities going to work because of overly restrictive regulations.

After a more detailed review of the proposed regulations, DOR will be hosting a Public Forum on May 11 to share highlights of the proposed regulations based on our review and to provide an opportunity for our partners, stakeholders, and consumers to share comments and concerns for us to consider before we finalize our written comments. DOR will also be engaging with our advisory bodies to learn their priorities and concerns before we finalize our written comments. More information about how you may call in to this Public Forum will be posted on our web page shortly. In the meantime, please email us at WIOA@dor.ca.gov to alert DOR to any provisions to which we should pay particular attention, and for any questions about our approach to developing comments on the regulations.

General Comments:

  1. Most of the language in the proposed regulations is no different than the language in WIOA; the regulations do not provide additional guidance, impose additional obligations, or prescribe additional limitations not found in WIOA.

  2. Several regulations in the joint U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Department of Education (DOE) package refer to joint guidance that will be developed and released at a later date. It is unclear if the guidance will include additional requirements and if the public will have an opportunity to comment on this guidance.

  3. WIOA requires DOR to submit written reports but the regulations are unclear about some of the deadlines, instead, requiring the reports to be submitted as determined by the Secretary. It is unclear whether the public will have an opportunity to comment on these specifics at a later date.

  4. The statements made by DOE and DOL in the "Significant Proposed Regulations" section appear inconsistent with the actual text of the proposed regulations in some areas or in WIOA.

  5. The DOE explains that some regulatory changes are made to "improve the fiscal administration of the VR program;" however, these changes are not specifically required in WIOA.

  6. The Federal Agencies invite comments on particular areas and interpretations.

Significant Changes Proposed:

  1. WIOA requires state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, such as DOR, to use 15% of its federal grant to provide pre-employment transition services for "students with a disability" which could include students with a disability, age 16 through 21 that are in college or not currently in high school. However, the DOE's interpretation of the definition of a student with a disability, as explained in the section titled, Significant Proposed Regulations, appears inconsistent and is more restrictive. Further, the DOE interprets the term, "potentially eligible" to include all students with disabilities, which is broader than the population of students educational agencies are able to serve under IDEA.

  2. Additional administrative requirements are proposed to apply to the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program (The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements, contained in Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, part 200).

  3. The definition of "employment outcome" is proposed to change to require all outcomes be in competitive integrated employment or supported employment. Through this definition and by proposing to delete Appendix A to Part 361, homemakers and unpaid family workers no longer meet the definition of an employment outcome that may be funded through our VR grant.

  4. Our placement of individuals in integrated, non-competitive employment is limited to a "Short-term Basis," which is proposed as six months or shorter, whereas WIOA did not limit to six months.

  5. VR-specific standards and indicators are substituted for the common performance indicators in WIOA.