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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Breaking News! Senate Passes WIOA 95-3; House Action Will Follow

Congratulations NCIL Advocates!

Today NCIL staff and advocates watched from the Senate Gallery as we witnessed the Senate pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) by a vote of 95-3.

Unfortunately, we were unable to gain a unanimous vote because Lee, Coburn, and Johnson voted in opposition. Regardless, with passage in the Senate, the House is expected to vote very shortly. We will keep you updated.

The Rehabilitation Act is contained in WIOA. Specifically, improvements to Independent Living in this bill include:

  • Independent Living Programs will move to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • A fifth core service will be added: transition
  • SILC activities will be improved and include resource development
  • SPIL sign-off will now include CIL Directors
  • States will choose their ‘designated state entity’ (formerly known as the DSU)

Again, congratulations on a big win! Your advocacy has paid off. NCIL will be keeping you informed on this bill as it progresses.


  1. Cindy Malzan says

    Hidden in the WIOA is a provision to lower the quality of services provided to persons with disabilities. Specifically, persons can be considered rehabilitation counselors without the expertise, knowledge or experience that rehabilitation counselors previously had to attain. If this passes the House as is, a person with a disability could receive services from someone who never heard of the Valpar, Reynold’s, McCarron Dial, Jevs, Dragon or has only a passing understanding of multidisability groups and the psychosocial ramifications of having a disability, as well the ADA and it’s application in employment and public accessibility. Counseling is another speciality of rehabilitation counselors and is a critical service to help some persons with disabilities accept their disability and recognize what they have to offer the world and how much they are capable of doing. It is a clinical skill that most at the BA level have not been trained.
    Tell your Congress person that,prior to passing it, this bill needs to be amended to require the same level of training for rehabilitation counselors as previously required. Specifically, a rehabilitation counselor has always been and should continue to be required to achieve at least a Masters’ degree in rehabilitation counseling. Without it, persons with disabilities could be provided inappropriate services, placed in jobs that are not right for them because the disability is not adequately considered or could miss out on positions because services and technology that would enable employment are not provided. Persons with disabilities could actrually end up hurt if placed inappropriately.
    In full diosclosure, I should note that I am a Masters level rehabilitation coulselor and Certified as such by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor certification. This bill will not effect me, however, because I am in the sunset of my career. Still I feel an ethical obligation to oppose the provision lowering the standards of people charged with helping persons with disabilities. They deserve better.

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