Program Year 2024 State Plans
As of Fall of 2023, all states and territories are operating under four-year state plans for program years (PYs) 2020-2023 (July 1, 2020-June 30, 2024). The Information Collection governing the state plans that will be in effect for PYs 2024-2027 (July 1, 2024-June 30, 2028) was published on March 31, 2023, and was jointly developed by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education. A link to the information collection can be found under the Resources section of this webpage.
This information collection provides requirements for the four-year unified and combined state plans and two-year plan modifications under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). On October 31, 2023, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) published Requirements for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Plans for Program Years (PY) 2024-2027 (RSA-TAC-24-02). This policy guidance, jointly developed by the Departments of Education and Labor, describes the Administration’s priorities, State Plan requirements, submission process, and deadline for WIOA Unified and Combined State Plans for PYs 2024 through 2027.
Through the WIOA State Plan Portal, states must submit the PYs 2024-2027 State Plan to the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education by March 4, 2024. Once submitted, the Departments will review and provide a decision within 90 days for the WIOA core programs.
In accordance with WIOA Sections 102 and 103, the governor of each state or territory must submit a unified or combined state plan to the Departments of Labor and Education that outlines a four-year strategy for the state’s workforce development system. A unified plan includes the WIOA six core programs (the Adult Program, the Dislocated Worker Program, and the Youth Program, all under Title I of WIOA; the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act Program under Title II; the Wagner-Peyser Act Employment Service program under Title III; and the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program under Title IV). Alternatively, a combined plan includes these six programs in addition to at least one partner program; a list of these additional partner programs can be found on page 3 of the information collection.
Regulatory requirements for state plans are specified in 34 C.F.R. § 361.10. All requirements regarding the submission, approval, disapproval, and duration of the VR services portion of the unified or combined state plan are governed by regulations that were jointly developed by the Departments of Education and Labor set forth in subpart D of 34 C.F.R. Part 361. To be eligible to receive vocational rehabilitation (VR) and supported employment funds for a fiscal year, a state must submit and have approved a VR services portion of a unified or combined state plan in accordance with section 102 or 103 of WIOA. The VR services portion of the unified or combined state plan must satisfy all requirements set forth in 34 C.F.R. Part 361. The VR services portion of the unified or combined state plan developed by a state agency designated to provide VR services to individuals who are blind must separately conform with all applicable requirements. The specific requirements for the VR portion of the state plan can be found beginning on page 33 of the information collection.
Prior to the adoption of any substantive policies or procedures specific to the provision of VR services under the VR services portion of the unified or combined state plan, including making any substantive amendment to those policies and procedures, the designated state agency must conduct public meetings throughout the state, in accordance with the requirements of 34 C.F.R. § 361.20. The public must be provided appropriate and sufficient notice for such meetings, as provided in state law or, absent such state law, by procedures developed by the designated state agency in consultation with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). In addition, the input of the SRC must be summarized in Description (a) of the VR portion of the unified or combined state plan. (34 C.F.R. § 361.10(c))
Requirements for VR Services Portion of State Plan
The VR services portion of the state plan was redesigned with help from a workgroup that included VR agencies from across the country. The VR services portion is now more streamlined, avoids duplication, and includes descriptions and assurances that are better aligned and organized in the plan.
Specific VR program statutorily required descriptions that must be updated and reported in the four-year submission and two-year modifications of the unified or combined state plan include:
- Description (a) - State Rehabilitation Council;
- Description (c) - Goals, Priorities, and Strategies;
- Description (d) - Evaluation and Reports of Progress: VR and Supported Employment Goals;
- Description (e) - Supported Employment Services, Distribution of Title VI Funds, and Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services;
- Description (f) - Annual Estimates;
- Description (g) - Order of Selection, as applicable; and
- Description (i) - Comprehensive System of Personnel Development.
If a VR agency needs to make updates within the VR services portion of the state plan that are required to be approved prior to being implemented, VR agencies may also need to amend the VR services portion of the state plan (only) on an off year from the four-year or two-year cycle.
In addition, the VR agency is responsible for determining which previously submitted State Plan descriptions reflect the current administration of the VR program. If the VR agency determines that an approved state plan description no longer meets the current administration requirement, then the state plan must be updated or amended accordingly. Descriptions reflecting the current administration of the VR program, which need not be submitted if unchanged, include:
- Description (b) - Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA);
- Description (h) - Waiver of Statewideness;
- Description (j) - Coordination with Education Officials;
- Description (k) - Coordination with Employers; and
- Description (l) - Interagency Cooperation with Other Agencies.
The VR portion of the state plan also contains seven assurances and nine certifications that must be reviewed with each four-year submission and two-year modification to determine whether the information accurately reflects the current status of the agency.
New GEPA Requirement
A new requirement in the state plan submission process is the completion of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) forms for each VR and supported employment grant. GEPA requires that each grant provide equitable access to program participants. Barriers based on economic disadvantage, gender, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, disability, age, language, migrant status, rural status, homeless status or housing insecurity, pregnancy, parenting, or caregiving status, and sexual orientation must be identified along with how the barriers are being addressed. Instructions for these forms are in the information collection.
- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Plan 2024 Resources Webcasts
- The information collection published on March 31, 2023, containing requirements for unified and combined state plans as well as the requirements specific to the VR program can be found on the Department of Labor website.
- The RSA training for VR agencies is available on YouTube.
- This training discusses all of the requirements for submission of the WIOA Unified and Combined State Plan for PY 2024 and includes the redesigned VR services portion of the State Plan: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Unified and Combined State Plan Training for Program Year (PY) 2024.
- The National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM) Library has the supporting PowerPoint presentation and transcript that accompany the RSA training.
- To review TAC-24-02 in its entirety, published on October 31, 2023, go to the PDF document of TAC-24-02 on the RSA website. For more information on State Plans, visit the RSA website at: WIOA State Plans | Rehabilitation Services Administration (ed.gov).