What Are Pre-Employment Skills and How Does My Child Get Them?
Aside from the schools and home, where can my child learn pre-employment skills? Congress passed the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) in 2014. This is a transformative piece of legislation, particularly for transition aged youth (14-26 years of age) with disabilities. It’s important for parents to know the ins and outs of this legislation because it defines the rules around pre-employment transition services and is the source of funding. The legislation defines what are pre-employment transition activities, which one-stop partner programs are allowed to provide services, and outlines how this act works with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) along with a half dozen other pieces of legislation. As a result of the passage of WIOA State employment agencies generically referred to as Department of Vocational and Rehabilitative Services must now allocate 15% of their budgets toward transition aged youth. Each state refers to this agency by a different name or acronym (e.g. Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, [MRC]). Contact your local office of Vocational and Rehabilitative Services to find out what services they offer. Ask them which social service agencies and colleges have been awarded a contract as a one-stop partner through the Request for Funds Proposal (RFP) process to locate a pre-employment training program near you.
The one-stop partners defined in this Act provide career services including, but not limited to:
(1) Comprehensive and specialized assessments of skill levels and service needs…which may include:
- Diagnostic testing and other assessment tools; and
- In-depth interviewing and evaluation to identify employment barriers and appropriate employment goals;
(2) Development of an employment plan, to identify the employment goals, appropriate achievement objectives…
(3) Group counseling;
(4) Individual counseling;
(5) Career planning;
(6) Short term pre-vocational services including the development of learning skills, communication skills, interviewing skills, punctuality, personal maintenance skills, and professional conduct services to prepare individuals for unsubsidized employment or training; [emphasis added]
(7) Internships and work experiences that are linked to careers
(8) Workforce preparation activities
(9) Financial literacy services… (Fed. Reg. 81, pp-56012-56013).
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