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LEAD Partner: Virginia’s Accessibility Taskforce

March 28, 2018

LEAD Center has been participating in and offering technical assistance to Virginia’s Accessibility Taskforce, which was created in 2016 as recommended in the State’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Combined State Plan. The goal of this cross-partner group is to enhance accessibility of the Virginia One-Stop delivery system and the customer’s experience. WIOA’s Title I Administrator at the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) has taken on the lead role alongside Vocational Rehabilitation. The group is composed of staff across 14 workforce programs and partners. For the first time, Virginia is convening a widely diverse representation of State agencies to focus on accessibility. This includes Departments for the Blind and Vision Impaired, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Centers for Independent Living. It is also the first time the state Equal Opportunity Officers for WIOA Title I and Title III have been invited to the table for this type of planning.

To help this diverse Taskforce get on the same level of understanding, all members participated in training by LEAD Center on WIOA from a Disability Perspective: Implementing Section 188's Equal Opportunity Provisions, which focused on key provisions of WIOA, many of which are different from provisions in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which preceded WIOA. In addition, Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) staff were invited to share promising practices that support effective programmatic accessibility that leads to better employment outcomes for people with disabilities. This Taskforce has developed a shared vision and mission focused solely on accessibility, with input from workforce partners. They are committed to working together as a team to focus on priority areas that include Universal Access for ALL Workforce System Facilities, Policies and Procedures, Training for ALL Workforce Partners, and Communication and Outreach.