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What is Integrated, Community-Based Employment?

Integrated employment is a paid job within the community that a person wants, and can perform with (or without) accommodations and support.

Integrated community-based employment means:

  • Regular or customized employment in the workforce;
  • On the payroll of an employer;
  • At minimum or prevailing wages;
  • With benefits, when applicable;
  • Where integration and interaction with coworkers without disabilities and customers are ensured;
  • An individual job (i.e., not a group or enclave setting);
  • Employment takes place in a work place in the community where the majority of individuals do not have disabilities, and which provides opportunities to interact with individuals without disabilities, to the same extent that individuals employed in comparable positions would interact;
  • And/or the person is self-employed. Self-employment is defined as earning income directly from one’s own business, profession, or trade and not as an employee of a business owned by someone else

Why is Employment Important?

Employment and income mean a lifestyle with value, choice and empowerment.

Employment provides an individual with the opportunity to:

  • Use a paycheck to maximize self-determination, choice, control, and independence.
  • Build competencies with opportunities to maintain skills and learn new ones.
  • Experience personal growth with the opportunity to teach and learn from others.
  • Expand integration, relationships and social connections in the community.
  • Work in a safe place that, if needed, can make accommodations.
  • Obtain the job of one’s choice.
  • Exercise a basic human right under Article 23 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Explore new ways to define oneself: “I’m a cook … a customer service representative … a mechanic … an administrative support professional, etc.”.

What is WIOA?

President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market, and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority and it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system.

Every year the key programs that form the pillars of WIOA help tens of millions of job seekers and workers to connect to good jobs and acquire the skills and credentials needed to obtain them. The enactment of WIOA provides opportunity for reforms to ensure the American Job Center system is job-driven—responding to the needs of employers and preparing workers for jobs that are available now and in the future.

WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In general, the Act takes effect on July 1, 2015, the first full program year after enactment, unless otherwise noted. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will issue further guidance on the time frames for implementation of these changes and proposed regulations; reflecting the changes in WIOA soon after enactment.