The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) final rule as perpetuated by the Department of Education effectively disqualifies AbilityOne nonprofits, such as Skils’kin, from consideration from Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) referrals. Through the years we have created strong relationships to create job opportunities for individuals with disabilities. However, this has been diminished as WIOA regulations disqualify companies such as ours because of our AbilityOne partnership. Current guidance prevents individuals with disabilities seeking services from VR from having the option of working for an AbilityOne nonprofit. A key concern is around the definitions of “competitive integrated employment” and “integrated setting.” AbilityOne provides services to the Federal Government through contractors such as Aramark in food service. Individuals with disabilities can be referred to Aramark but not Skils’kin even though the person would be doing the exact same job. This in turn prevents Skils’kin from sharing in the VR resources that allow them to assist these individuals to be successful in the workplace.
We are proud to be a part of the SourceAmerica network with multiple AbilityOne contracts. In 2016 the AbilityOne program employed almost 50,000 individuals nationwide in a wide variety of jobs and worked 42 million hours, at an average wage of $13.27, providing products and services to their Federal government customers. These are good jobs that are paying higher than minimum wage yet we now struggle to find employees due to the WIOA final rule.
Please join us in encouraging our elected officials to contact Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and urge:
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