Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and what it means for Person Served

We had sent a letter to all legal representatives in November about the recent changes related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  Included with that letter was a consent form that allowed TSE to share your contact information with the Metro Council on Independent Living (MCIL).  (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FORM AGAIN) MCIL is responsible for providing career counseling training for individuals who are over the age of 25 or who had already been receiving services at TSE.  The purpose of the counseling is to ensure that each person is informed about the benefits of competitive independent employment.  For any individual who wants to opportunity to work on any task that is paid at less than minimum wage (as much of our in-center contract work is paid on a piece-rate basis), they must attend a meeting with MCIL.

 Since the letter went out, there has been a change in the interpretation of what is considered an acceptable response that allows for continued work at less than minimum wage.  I stated in the past letter that a person could say “no” to competitive employment or refuse to participate in the process and continue working at less than minimum wage.  THIS HAS CHANGED!  We have now been instructed that if a person checks off “refusal to participate”, they WILL NOT be allowed to continue working at less than minimum wage.  If you have signed a form with “refusal to participate”, you will need to revise that statement for this work to continue.

Of course, if any person is interested in competitive independent employment, TSE will be happy to explore those options, as we always have.  You will still need to attend an MCIL meeting if you want the availability of piece-rate work while employment is sought for the person.  A “yes” on the MCIL form will document this choice and a plan for employment will be developed, if there has not already been one.

In order to facilitate the process for those who have not yet met with MCIL, or for those who need to meet again to revise their forms, we have scheduled a meeting for TSE participants and their guardians.  The meeting will be held at TSE-Roselawn (1983 Sloan Place, Suite 13, Maplewood) on Thursday, Jan 12 from 6:00 till approximately 7:30 pm.   A representative from MCIL will provide you with information on employment options, and you will have an opportunity to indicate in writing what that choice is.  To emphasize: you must document with a “yes” or a “no” for less than minimum wage to continue to be an option.  A “refusal to participate” will take that option away.  (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FORM AGAIN)

If you are unable to attend this session, we have included a flier with other public meetings to be held by MCIL in January (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE MEETING LIST).  You are free to attend any of these that work for your schedule.  We will otherwise forward the contact information for those whom we have received a signed consent to do so.  At that point, MCIL will contact you directly to schedule a meeting with you.

We are asking that you RSVP for the January 12 meeting so that we can have the necessary seating and materials available.  You can do so by emailing Dan Rietz, our Vice President,  at drietz@tse-inc.org or calling 651-489-2595 x0.

Please feel free to call Dan at 651-489-2595 x214 if you have any questions.