In a previous post, we encouraged everyone to start thinking about/take a closer look at their WIOA State Plans. But with that April 1 deadline looming, there’s more you need to know. At the Alliance, we see this as an opportunity to prioritize collaboration between workforce boards and Continuums of Care and build paths, through which to serve those experiencing or at risk for homelessness, into state plans.
We’ve posted the full set of our recommendations on our website, but here’s a snapshot of what should be top of mind.
Based on the Information Collection Request (ICR) for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Unified and Combined Plans, plan strategies must prioritize high-vulnerability populations including “public assistance recipients, other low-income individuals, or individuals who are basic-skills deficient.”
Here are the facts around state planning:
WIOA State Planning
- States must submit, at a minimum, a Unified State Plan with a four-year strategy for core programs of the State’s workforce development system.
- States may elect to submit a Combined State Plan that outlines this strategy in collaboration with one or more partner programs.
- Given the joint provisions within WIOA guidance, which require partnership with HUD-administered employment programs including Jobs Plus and the Community Development Block Grant program, combined state planning with HUD and/or other agencies can and should improve the quality and depth of service provided by all systems system.
- Regardless of the Unified or Combined nature of a State Plan, it must include strategic and operational planning elements.
- A State Plan must detail coordination of employment and training activities and relevant supportive services through state and local workforce development systems.
The following are items or concepts that homelessness services stakeholders should advocate to include in State Plans through public comment or other direct engagement in the state planning process.
Ensure that persons experiencing homelessness are included in your State Plan as a priority population.
Under Title 1-B of the Federal Requirements, each state must provide assurances within the State Plan that priority will be given to the delivery of services to “individuals who are low-income, public assistance recipients, or basic skills deficient” in accordance with WIOA sec. 134[c][E].
Detail how priority in the delivery of services is actualized.
The Alliance recommends that a State plan include a specific and actionable definition for providing services to priority populations, including outreach. The Alliance also suggests the establishment of a benchmark, like that of The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), which recommends having at least 70 percent of those served meet the definition of priority population.
Insist on appropriate and stringent performance measures and responsive technical assistance.
The Alliance recommends that, in accordance with sec. 106b3 of WIOA, criteria for determining that a local area “performed successfully” should include outcomes that reflect providing opportunity and training to homeless jobseekers.
States have already begun to release draft versions of their WIOA plans for public comment.
The Alliance strongly encourages communities and homeless service providers to review and comment on these plans, or to contribute to unfinished drafts when possible, to ensure that resources are tapped to achieve an end to homelessness.