Capitol Correspondence - 01.23.17

RSA Clarifies “Integrated Location” Criteria in WIOA

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On January 18, the Rehabilitation Services Administration issued guidance to address the criteria for an “integrated location” within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act’s (WIOA’s) definition for “competitive integrated employment”. Definitions within the statute were ambiguous, so this guidance seeks to clarify requirements for competitive integrated employment. 
The guidance says that there are two criteria to be satisfied for an employment setting to be considered an integrated location: 1) typically found in the community, and 2) the employee with a disability must interact with other employees within the particular work unit and work site other people without disabilities, to the same extent that individuals without disabilities interact with those people. 
The guidance then goes on to clarify what “typically found in the community” means, saying that they are “those in the competitive labor market” and do not include settings established by community rehabilitation programs specifically for the purpose of employing individuals with disabilities (e.g. sheltered workshops)”. The reason for this is because “these settings are not typically found in the competitive labor market”. The next topic in the guidance is around the definition of “work unit”. RSA says that if individuals with disabilities are congregated together to perform work under, for example, a Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) contract, this would not satisfy the criteria for competitive integrated employment because “it is operated for the express purposed of employing individuals with disabilities…and thus is not typically found in the community.” Further, “the high percentage of individuals with disabilities employed with these entities most likely would result in little to no opportunities for interaction between individuals with disabilities and non-disabled individuals.”