Federal agencies release WIOA unified and combined state plan requirements

By Kermit Kaleba, August 17, 2015

On August 6, the Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development released a request for comments on a proposed Information Collection Request (ICR) that outlines the required elements for unified and combined state plans under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Under WIOA, states are required to submit either a unified state plan or a combined state plan to federal agencies not later than March 3, 2016. A unified state plan must cover the six “core” formula grant programs authorized under WIOA – the adult, dislocated worker, and youth programs under Title I; adult education activities under Title II; Wagner-Peyser Employment Service activities under Title III; and vocational rehabilitation services under Title IV – and must outline the state’s vision and strategy for carrying out activities under each program. A combined plan includes all of the required elements for a unified plan, plus one or more of eleven eligible partner programs identified under WIOA, including Perkins Act career and technical education programs, TANF, and SNAP E&T programs.

The proposed information collection provides a detailed description of the overall strategic and operational elements that must be included in either a unified or combined plan, as well as program-specific requirements for both core and partner programs. In general, the requirements outlined in the ICR track with the statutory requirements under WIOA and the authorizing statutes for partner programs, though the agencies have made an effort to identify elements within the plan where combined plan partner programs should be included, even where WIOA does not explicitly mention combined plan partners.     

The agencies are accepting comments on the draft ICR through October 5, 2015. National Skills Coalition will provide additional analysis on the proposed planning requirements in the coming weeks, and will make our public comments available once they have been submitted.