CILs deserve a 21st Century Investment
A National Project by the Association of Programs For Rural Independent Living
As Centers for Independent Living go about our daunting work seeking to change the world into a place where each of us can participate fully in all that it means to be a full, equal citizen, we often crash abruptly into the reality that the resources available to us do not align with our collective mission.
Whether we represent centers edging up to their 40th birthday, or centers that came of age in the era of ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), few of us have what we need to fulfill both our vision for an equitable world, to ensure the quality provision of services federal law demands of us.
For more than 20 years, there has been a consistent and coordinated—and periodically successful— national effort to convince policy makers to increase the level of funding, or public investment, which centers receive. Read More
Historic moment for Independent Living
On July 9, 2014, the US House of Representatives passed a bill reauthorizing workforce education law by a vote of 415-6.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which governs billions in federal spending on job training, passed the Senate last month and now heads to President Barack Obama's desk. It was carefully negotiated by Democrats and Republicans in both chambers prior to being introduced.
The bill reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act, which was enacted in 1998 and has not been updated since. It eliminates several programs, gives governors more flexibility to use federal funding and aims to boost participation in the workforce for young people with disabilities.
The Rehabilitation Act is contained in WIOA. Specifically, improvements to Independent Living in this bill include:
- Independent Living Programs will move to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
- A fifth core service will be added: transition
- SILC activities will be improved and include resource development
- SPIL sign-off will now include CIL Directors
- States will choose their ‘designated state entity’ (formerly known as the DSU). The DSUs will remain the same for the “723 states” of Massachusetts and Minnesota.
Praise for Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Improve America’s Workforce Development System
WASHINGTON, D.C. | June 5, 2014 -Since a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators announced a deal to improve the nation’s workforce development system through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act(WIOA), a broad array of labor, business, and workforce development leaders, as well as governors and mayors from around the country, has expressed support for the proposal.
Read a summary of the bill here. Excerpts from letters of support sent to the bipartisan, bicameral group are immediately below, and a full list of supporters is included at the bottom of this release.
“The nation’s governors applaud the introduction in Congress of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Job creation, job retention and business expansion are top priorities for governors. The National Governors Association (NGA) has long called on Congress to reauthorize the existing Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and restore the 15 percent WIA set-aside for governors to create jobs, spur economic growth, grow family incomes and get people back to work…This legislation will help get Americans back to work, upgrade workers’ skills and create jobs. The nation’s governors urge the House and Senate to pass WIOA as soon as possible.” -- National Governors Association
Harkin Leads Bipartisan Effort to Update Workforce Development Bill, Improve Employment and Training Opportunities for People with Disabilities
May 21, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate’s HELP Committee, has led a bipartisan, bicameral effort to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, which will update workforce development systems in states, including Iowa, as well as dramatically improve employment training and opportunities for people with disabilities. Agreement on the legislation was announced today by a key group of Democratic and Republican legislators in the Senate and the House, including Harkin, and will now go before both houses of Congress for approval.
“Access to training, education, and employment services opens doors to the middle class for workers in Iowa and across the country and helps strengthen the economy. This bipartisan, bicameral reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act will help ensure that all workers—including those with disabilities—can access these opportunities, while providing for better coordination and value to our workforce development system,” said Harkin.
“This bill also makes groundbreaking changes that will raise prospects and expectations for Americans with disabilities, many of whom, under current law, are shunted to segregated, subminimum wage settings without ever receiving the opportunities and skills to succeed in competitive, integrated employment,” added Harkin, who was the Senate author of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. “It will stem the flow of young people into segregated employment by requiring that they be given experience in integrated settings, and require state Vocational Rehabilitation programs to work with individuals to develop an individual employment plan and support them in integrated work settings. This bill truly represents the spirit of bipartisan compromise and cooperation, and I applaud my colleagues on the HELP Committee and on the Education and Workforce Committee for their perseverance and commitment to updating this critical law. I urge senators on both sides of the aisle to support this bill.”