Advocacy Alert: take action to oppose proposed WIOA rules today

In response to indications that final Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Regulations that will be published in June, Rauch is encouraging self-advocates, families, and providers to share their concerns pertaining to the draft WIOA regulations with their congressional representatives. This Act contains provisions that would substantially limit employment opportunities for people with disabilities at programs like Rauch Industries.

We have provided a template letter (linked and below) that you can copy and paste into the contact section on your member of Congress’ webpage. Feel free to personalize it with your own words and anecdotes. The more details you give about how this rule affects you and/or people you care about, the more compelling your message will be. 

We need your help to carry the message to Members of Congress by April 15, 2016. 

The links to your elected officials are below. Please let us know which Members of Congress you contact and forward any response you receive to Teressa Jackson at

Letter Template


[Representative or Senator XXXX]
[District Office Address]
[District Office Address]
[District Office Address]

Dear [Representative or Senator XXXX],

I am writing in support of Rauch, Inc., a not-for-profit organization located in New Albany, Indiana, dedicated to providing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities who live or work in your district. I am very concerned about the Department of Education’s proposed rules for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and ask you to urge the Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Labor (DOL) to delay implementation of the rules for that portion of the WIOA intended to go into effect on July 22, 2016.

I am concerned that good jobs available to our citizens with disabilities are endangered by the DOE’s expansion of Congress’ definition of “competitive integrated employment” in WIOA. Specifically, the definitions of integration and a sub-definition of “work unit” are unreasonable and would require unrealistic integration to take place in the work unit and across the work site.

This “work unit” sub-definition will have a profound effect on the current and future employment of people with disabilities. DOE further narrows Congress’ intent by mandating that Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) like Rauch are not sufficient to meet the criteria of integrated settings. This infringes on the civil rights of people with disabilities to decide for themselves the type of employment and environment in which they would like to work. 

CRPs gain important work for the individuals with disabilities they employ through preferential contracts such as AbilityOne or State Use programs. This valuable work would no longer be an option due to the overreaching regulations imposed by the Act.

People with disabilities would no longer be referred to these good jobs by state vocational rehabilitation and other WIOA agencies. These actions would result in the loss of a vital and proven method for people with disabilities to get training that helps prepare them to pursue jobs and career paths at other employers in the community.

Not surprisingly, the dignity of a job and a paycheck has been shown to contribute to physical and mental health, and bolsters every person’s ability to live independently. I ask that DOE and DOL keep this in mind when writing final rules related to employment for people with disabilities, and write the rules to maximize employment opportunities for our constituents with disabilities. 

I understand that the final regulations will be made available publicly in June 2016 for implementation on July 22, 2016. This schedule leaves rehabilitation providers, state and federal contractors, and advocacy organizations virtually no time to educate individuals with disabilities and their families/caregivers on the implications and to implement required changes. If the DOE and DOL cannot make the changes to the proposed regulations in a timely manner, I respectfully request that you call for the delay of the implementation of these rules and advocate for a study which, I am confident, will prove that these proposed regulations will negatively impact employment of people with disabilities.

Thank you for your consideration and action.


[Your Name]
[Your Title]