New Requirement: WIOA State Plans Must Describe How to Prioritize Services for High-Need Adults

As the New Year begins, states have an opportunity to set policies that will improve employment and training services for low-income adults through their Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Plans. These plans are due to the Departments of Labor and Education on March 3, 2016.

According to the updated Information Collection Request (ICR) regarding WIOA State Unified and Combined Plans, state plans must describe strategies to prioritize employment and training services for “public assistance recipients, other low-income individuals, or individuals who are basic skills deficient.” CLASP applauds this clear call for robust implementation of the priority of service provision for high-need adults. This strengthened policy, for which CLASP has advocated, will help ensure that states serve low-income people.

The Information Collection Request provides requirements for WIOA State Plans. These plans define the strategic and operational elements governing states’ implementation of six core WIOA programs as well as other employment and training programs states elect to include. Plans encompass four program years and are to be updated every two years.

Specifically, the draft ICR requires that the State Plans “describe how the State will implement and monitor the priority for public assistance recipients, other low-income individuals, or individuals who are basic skills deficient in accordance with the requirements of WIOA sec. 134(c)(3)(E), which applies to individualized career services and training services funded by the Adult Formula program.”

States are required to release draft versions of their WIOA plans for public comment, a process some states have already begun. CLASP encourages advocates to review the WIOA plan in their state and ensure it includes a robust description for implementing the priority of service provision. It’s important that the policy provides sufficient detail directing local areas on how to successfully serve low-income people. For specific recommendations, see CLASP’s WIOA Opportunities for Action memos, which are part of our WIOA Game Plan for Low-Income People.