The WIOA at work, bringing awareness and opportunity
The WIOA Team does work concerning Section 511 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (2014). This
team works closely with day service providers in the Metro area who have a 14c Certificate allowing them to pay individuals less than minimum wage for work. The WIOA team interviews these individuals yearly to make sure they are making an Informed Choice about their employment, and have a plan in place if they choose to pursue Competitive, Integrated Employment.
On July 22, 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.
Important new regulations under WIOA require that individuals paid less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour must be offered a meaningful opportunity at least once a year to learn about the services and supports available to assist them in securing competitive, integrated employment.
Centers for Independent Living are the organizations doing this work in Minnesota. The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) covers the Twin Cities metro area.
These conversations are designed to help an individual make an informed choice about whether or not to pursue competitive, integrated employment. In these conversations, individuals can respond in any of three ways:
- Yes: I am interested in pursuing competitive, integrated employment and earning the minimum wage or higher.
- No: I am not interested in pursuing competitive, integrated employment and earning the minimum wage or higher.
- Refusal: I do not want to participate in the informed choice process.
- **Please note** Indicating a refusal means that your person will not be able to work in a sub-minimum wage job.
Any of those three responses are acceptable. Regardless of how you respond to the conversation – yes, no, or refusal to participate – staff facilitating the conversation will respect each individual’s choice. The new regulations do require that an individual’s choice be formally documented. Entities that hold special subminimum wage certificates will request a copy of the documentation as proof of compliance with these new requirements.
The following is a list of current MCIL business partners participating in the WIOA program:
- Merrick Inc.
- New Options
- Opportunity Partners
- AccessAbility Inc.
- E-Quality, Pathways to Potential
- Opportunity Services
- Rise Inc.
- Metro Work Center
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does the guardian need to attend the meeting with MCIL?
No. While the guardian can attend the WIOA meeting with their individual, they are not required to and do not need to sign anything.
If a guardian would like to be involved but cannot attend the meeting in person, MCIL staff can call the guardian while meeting with the individual.
Does the individual need to attend the meeting with MCIL?
Yes. The individual must attend the WIOA meeting as this is the opportunity for MCIL staff to learn about the work the individual does.
If an individual does not attend, MCIL staff will not be able to complete the Career Counseling and Information and Referral Form (CCI&R)
If the individual expresses concern or anxiety about meeting with MCIL staff, staff can meet the individual where they are/where they feel most comfortable to conduct the interview (work floor, program room, etc.).
Can the form be completed over the phone?
No. The WIOA process requires MCIL to meet in-person with the individual to accurately record their thoughts about work.
I have an individual who would benefit from an interpreter during this meeting. What do I do?
MCIL does not provide interpretation services for the meeting. The provider is responsible for setting it up before MCIL meets with the individual.
If there is a staff member or family member that typically communicates with this individual, they can act as interpreter for this meeting.
What if the individual does not want to meet with MCIL?
The individual has the right to refuse to meet with MCIL but will no longer be eligible to earn subminimum wage.
I have an individual who is non-verbal and won’t be able to communicate with MCIL staff.
This is the perfect example of when a guardian should attend a WIOA meeting with their individual! If the guardian is unable to attend, a staff that is familiar with the individual’s form of communication can be in the room. We do have social stories and touch-boards that we can use as well.
More helpful information:
- Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development YouTube Video - This video provides an overview of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Section 511: Limitations on the use of sub-minimum wages.
- United States Department of Labor: WIOA
- Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
- Minnesota Department of Human Services: WIOA guidance
- Minnesota Department of Human Services: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) myths and realities
For more information, please email: email@example.com