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Legislation to Reorganize Workforce Development Impacts Disability Programs

July 2014 — In June, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate approved the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) [H.R. 803], a bill to amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The bill, which is expected to be signed into law this month, will reorganize the current workforce development system, which includes many provisions for people with disabilities such as education and vocational rehabilitation.  Working to streamline workforce development, WIOA will eliminate 15 current programs and create new standardized metrics to help evaluate remaining programs. Additionally, WIOA reauthorizes the Rehabilitation Act.  Under this reauthorization, Independent Living Programs, such as the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), will relocate from their current position under the Department of Education to the Administration of Community Living in the Department of Health and Human Services, aligning these programs with a department to better serve their mission. Under WIOA, a reconfiguration of the National Council on Disability will also occur, as the council will be reduced from 15 to 9 members and will receive a minor increase in funding.

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.