On Jan. 26, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) regarding Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA, signed into law in July 2014, replaced the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and is the country’s most significant vehicle for providing public funding aimed at promoting job readiness and increasing the participation of youth and adults in the American workforce, including those youth and adults with disabilities.
Section 188 of WIOA protects equal access to the programs provided by WIOA to ensure that all eligible individuals (regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or other factors) can benefit from the supports aimed at yielding positive employment outcomes. The updates to the regulation governing Section 188, found in the NPRM, work to better align the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity regulations and articulate those provisions as they relate to the current workforce development system.
It is imperative that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from the state and federally-funded supports designed to increase opportunities to be included in the American workforce and economic mainstream. DOL solicited public comment concerning the Section 188 NPRM for a 60-day period (ending 3-28-16) and will take those comments into consideration when developing final rules and regulations.