AbilityOne Jobs at Risk!
The Department of Education/Rehabilitation Services Administration (DoEd) has recently put forth regulations related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which has ended state VR referrals to AbilityOne jobs in at least 13 states, probably with more to come. This denies people with disabilities access to great jobs, great wages and great benefits. This type of regulation, which is contrary to Congress' desire to expand good employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, is a huge step backwards when 80% of people with disabilities remain outside of the workforce.
Public Comment and Request for Input
The extended public comment opportunity has passed and the Department of Education – Rehabilitation Services Administration is currently reviewing comments provided. *
Without referrals from the state's Vocational Rehabilitation Services, many AbilityOne programs will close and good jobs for persons with disabilities will be lost. We still don't believe that that was the intent of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. If so, I'm sure you will agree that it was quite inappropriately named.
Our fear is that the next target will be elimination of the AbilityOne program altogether. This would forced thousands more persons with disabilities out of their current jobs at self-supporting AbilityOne programs.
Please take this opportunity to contact your Congressman and express your concern. You may use the links from this page for additional information, and to identify your congressmen by referencing your ZIP Code.
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AbilityOne Jobs at Northern Transitions Inc.
Call to Action Bullets
* RSA has informed state vocational rehabilitation agencies that employment at a community rehabilitation organization, particularly for AbilityOne jobs, cannot count as an employment outcome - meaning that VR counselors will no longer refer people with disabilities to these jobs. This seems to be attempting to use the criteria of employment "typically found in the community" to exclude an entire class of employers, specifically the mission driven businesses referred to as community rehabilitation programs - rather than focusing on employment settings, which was the intent in both prior guidance and WIOA.