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Action steps

What can advocates do?

State WIOA plans will be updated in 2020. Here are some ways to get involved:

  1. Read your state’s plan, available at the U.S. Department of Education website.
  2. Every state plan is based on a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) that describes the vocational rehabilitation needs of people in the state. Search for your state’s CSNA report online. Find out how to give input to the CSNA, and make sure the CSNA reflects the needs of people with autism in your state.
  3. States are required to obtain public input on their WIOA plans. Advocates should make a point to follow the discussions of the state’s VR council which reviews and approves the WIOA plan. Then provide public comment on the draft 2020 WIOA state plan.
  4. Ask questions to see how your state WIOA plan matches up to what is actually being implemented “on the ground.”

How can employment policy be improved?

  1. It is difficult to find public information about how VR funding is being used to meet the needs of students on the autism spectrum (through Pre-Employment Transition Services, or Pre-ETS). It is imperative that states publicly identify how these funds are being spent and devise means to evaluate effectiveness of services/programs funded with Pre-ETS dollars.
  2. States are serving as incubators for innovations emerging from WIOA. Tracking and evaluation of innovations is critical for identifying new models of service delivery that may prove more effective and efficient than current models.
  3. Build competency to serve people with autism by requiring autism-specific training to help VR counselors understand autism, including the co-occurring conditions that come with autism
  4. Provide incentives to states that provide innovative services that result in better outcomes for people with autism