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Unlocking the Potential of WIA Training Services: The 5 Key Questions to Ask� and Answer!

A Workbook for the Disability Community on Employment and Skills Training Opportunities Under the Workforce Investment Act

Note: This workbook was developed by the Law, Health Policy & Disability Center at the University of Iowa College of Law. NCWD/A has excerpted the introduction here. Download the workbook in Microsoft Word.

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 formalized the creation of One-Stop Centers, the physical locations where individuals could access a wealth of employment, education and human services information, activities and resources. People with disabilities that want to start or return to work, advance their careers, or pursue entrepreneurial activities now have a broader range of employment training opportunities through their local One-Stop Centers.

Getting all the information that's needed to make informed decisions and choices about job and skills training services--and knowing what questions to ask in the first place--can be challenging for individuals with disabilities and advocates who may be dealing with the generic employment and training systems in their states and communities for the first time. This workbook is designed to make that task easier.

The workbook includes "fill-in-the-blank" worksheets that will facilitate collecting the information needed to access WIA training services. Each chapter's "plain English" descriptions are followed by questions to guide readers in gathering the specifics on training services and dollars. When completed, you will have at your fingertips the details you need to make sure that people with disabilities in your community can gain the skills they need to increase their employment opportunities and access to good jobs, and ensure long-term self-sufficiency, community participation and economic independence.

Each chapter includes Actions, stating the specific question(s) that must be answered; Comments, background information and details on how the question relates to accessing and utilizing training dollars; and Tips, additional guidance on specific issues people with disabilities might face.

In addition, most chapters include a section on Resources, with links and references to One-Stops and Workforce Investment Boards that have handled the subject being covered in a competent, promising and/or innovative way. We've also included as a resource some of the official WIA rules. When checking out how a particular federal law is implemented in your community, it can be helpful to know exactly what that federal law said. The Department of Labor enforces the Workforce Investment Act and they have rules and regulations on each of the topics covered in this workbook. When you see numbers like this "20 C.F.R.-663.150" that means the rule is printed in Volume 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations in Section 663.150. For those of you who want all the details, both the Workforce Investment Act statute and the WIA regulations are available online at www.doleta.gov/usworkforce/asp/act.cfm.

At the end of each section and chapter, you will find a worksheet to fill out. Some of the questions will be very easy to get answered. But some may take some digging around and a ton of phone calls. Once you have a worksheet filled in, transfer all the information to the end of the workbook (see Appendix). By the time you finish all the worksheets, you will have a completed resource guide to employment and skills training services, completely personalized and tailored to your One-Stop, community and state. Or, in the alternative, you�ll have a real good idea of what questions you need to be out there asking!

Before you start, many of you already know the basic WIA background and administrative structure. But for those of you who don�t, below are the basic background points you should keep in mind throughout. Happy digging!

Download the workbook in Microsoft Word.

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