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HELP Committee Passes Reauthorization of Workforce Investment Act


This week, the Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The WIA Reauthorization has been over due since 2003. The bill passed through committee by an 18-3 vote, and will now be considered by the full Senate.

In the bill, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) will be moved to the Administration on Community Living (ACL) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). NIDRR is renamed the National Institute on Disability and Independent Living Research (NIDILR), and is where the TBI Model Systems are located. There are 16 TBI Model Systems throughout the United States that provide care and collect information on individuals with traumatic brain injury during the acute hospital stay and in the community after discharge.

Title V of the WIA reauthorizes the Rehabilitation Act, including vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs. According to the committee press release the updates to the Title V are aimed at making sure that young people with disabilities have increased preparation and opportunities for competitive, integrated employment. The bill requires state VR agencies, in conjunction with local educational agencies, to make "pre-employment transition services" available to students with disabilities. Updates to the bill also focus on creating better alignment of government programs at the national level that are focused on employment and independent living for people with disabilities.

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