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Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department

WIA Questions and Answers - Eligibility

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The WIA Eligibility questions and answers (Q&A) may include areas such as documentation, residency requirements, selective service registration, and more.

Note: For technical assistance regarding determination of applicant eligibility for the WIA Title I-B adult, dislocated worker, and youth programs, refer to the WIA Eligibility Technical Assistance Guide (PDF) [263k]).


There is no federal or state definition of "dropout" that incorporates a time period of absence from school. Any such condition would be part of a local school district policy. For purposes of WIA eligibility, the Act defines a "school dropout" as, "…an individual who is no longer attending any school and who has not received a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent." Furthermore, youth enrolled in alternative schools are not considered dropouts for the purposes of WIA eligibility. A youth’s dropout status is determined at the time of application and remains in effect throughout her or his participation. Local Workforce Investment Areas should develop a definition of school dropout and determine relevant documentation based on local school district standards. [7/05]

Title 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 663.320 does require you to coordinate WIA training funds and other "grant assistance," although it does not define "grant." According to the Veterans’ Administration Educational Benefits web site,, you are correct in thinking that GI educational assistance is a service benefit (analogous to health care benefits), not a grant.

Under WIA, your Local Workforce Investment Area must establish service priority criteria, and need is among those criteria. Section 663.320(a)(2) of the CFR specifically limits the use of WIA training funds to those who "require assistance beyond that available under grant assistance from other sources...," (i.e., those who need the funding). As long as you are consistent and fair to all potential clients, you may take into consideration the availability of GI educational assistance in determining an individual’s need, but you cannot require a client to apply for that or any other such assistance.

Additionally, there are several forms of military and veteran educational assistance, the Montgomery GI Bill being just one. Some forms seem more like grants than others, e.g., the "Tuition Top-Off" funds, but according to the Veterans’ Administration, educational benefits may be used for any purpose, e.g., living expenses, as long as the veteran meets the eligibility requirements. The WIA funds are more restricted.

We recommend that you approach your determination from a perspective of client need as you would for any other client. [12/04]

No. The State does not have a standard form or sets of policies and procedures. However, there are technical assistance guides and samples online that might assist you in developing your own forms and strategies. Such guides include: Department of Labor - Office of Youth Services, Technical Assistance Resources; and Sar Levitan Center for Social Policy Studies. [5/04]

It depends on what occurs during the "intake" process. For example, if it consists of a determination of eligibility for Title 1B services, an orientation to an America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM (AJCC), formerly known as One-Stop Career Centers, or access to job listings, etc., then it would be considered a core self-service and no registration would be required. If it consists of a staff-assisted core, intensive, or training service, then the individual must be registered. For example, staff-assisted core services requiring registration would include job search and placement assistance, career counseling, job search workshops and job clubs, and other such activities. For more extensive guidance, refer to the Department of Labor Training and Employment Guidance Letter 17-05. [10/06]

All individuals must receive some level of core services prior to enrollment. Once the participant is enrolled, he/she may receive core and/or intensive services concurrently. For example, a participant could be enrolled in training and receive core and/or intensive services at the same time. These services may be offered by the different providers in your area. [5/04]

If an individual is not currently using drugs illegally and substance abuse has physically or mentally impaired one or more of an individual’s major life activities (including but not limited to employment), the individual is an individual with a disability. Individuals currently using drugs illegally are not disabled even if their substance abuse impairs one or more of an individual’s major life activities. The disability must be documented in accordance with the Local Workforce Investment Area’s (LWIA) documentation and verification policy and the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. [3/06]

The primary objective of the Veterans Program is to develop and support programs that increase opportunities for veterans to obtain employment and job training in California. Eligible veterans are entitled to receive priority services in job referrals and referrals to training by Employment Development Department (EDD) staff, as well as other employment-related services. [5/04]

No. There is universal access to core services. [5/04]

Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIB) establish the core gateway activities leading to intensive services. The WIA requires that individuals receive at least one core service prior to receiving Intensive services, and be individuals:

  1. Who are unemployed and are unable to obtain employment through core services, and Who have been determined by a Job Center operator to be in need of more intensive services in order to obtain employment; or
  2. Who are employed, but who are determined by a Job Center operator to be in need of such intensive services in order to obtain or retain employment that allows for self-sufficiency. [5/04]

No. The adult program uses a tiered approach to deliver services." An adult must be determined eligible for intensive services before he/she may be provided work experience, and the determination to provide work experience must be based on an assessment or individual employment plan. [5/04]

There is no residency requirement in WIA. Consequently, with the approval of the second LWIA, a WIA participant can move to another LWIA without exiting the previous LWIA’s program and co-enroll in the other LWIA’s program without (1) a break in service, (2) needing to be redetermined eligible, or (3) repeating core and intensive services. The participant’s successful transition from one LWIA to the other will depend on how well the LWIAs cooperate in working out the details for the participant’s transition. If the participant is receiving training prior to moving, there is nothing to prohibit the participant from continuing training in the LWIA of relocation. Again, the details will need to be worked out among the LWIAs, the training provider(s), and the participant. [5/04]

Individuals 18-21 years old are eligible for both the adult and youth WIA programs as stated in WIA Section 101(1) and (13). The activities should be appropriate for the funding source. [5/04]

While Department of Labor guidance states in part that the use of a standardized test or a performance-based assessment with a standardized scoring is "encouraged," assessment techniques must be objective, unbiased and conform to widely accepted, clearly defined criteria, be field tested for utility, consistency, and accuracy, and provide for the training/preparation of all raters/scorers. Information on achievement of skill attainment goals should be derived from case management or follow-up services. This language sets a higher standard of measure than subjective assessments. [4/04]

While the individual would have to be enrolled in WIA, an ITA would not have to be established since in this case the ETPL is not the central issue. The Local Workforce Investment Area (LWIA) could pay for supportive services to continue their training as long as it is not otherwise prohibited locally, consistent with their own policies and procedures, a WIA benefit is derived from this training (documented in case files, etc.) and that there is available funding. The WIA supports leveraging resources as described to improve a WIA client’s training objectives as long as reasonable and appropriate measures are taken to document the LWIA’s actions. [3/04]

If you have been laid off because of a plant closure, you are potentially eligible for services under WIA as a "dislocated worker." Eligibility determinations and access to services are provided by America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM, formerly known as One-Stop Career Centers. Contact information and locations for all California Job Centers may be accessed by using the EDD Office Locator. You should be prepared to provide evidence of the plant closure (such as a newspaper notice) and proof that you were employed at the particular entity at time of the closure - a layoff list or individual layoff notice, recent pay stub/other payroll records, or other documents connecting you to the employer. If you do not have any such documents, the One-Stops may accept a signed statement from you. In addition to the services for dislocated workers, the One-Stops provide a variety of services for adults and youth, funded by the WIA and other fund sources. [4/03]

Yes. There is a difference between the two terms and how they are used in determining eligibility for WIA services. In order for a youth to be determined eligible for services under WIA, they must: (1) be not less than age 14 nor more than age 21; (2) be a low-income individual (as defined by the Act); and (3) meet one or more specific at-risk barriers, of which "deficient in basic literacy skills" is one.

"Deficient in basic literacy skills" may be defined by a Local Workforce Investment Area (LWIA) as long as the definition includes deficiencies in computing or solving problems, reading, writing or speaking English at or below the 8th grade level as determined by a standardized test (or similar criterion-based test) or so deficient in those skills so that they would be unable to function on the job, in their family or in society.

While "basic skills deficient" [Section 104(4)] may not be defined by a LWIA, the California WIA Eligibility Technical Assistance Guide offers guidance on items to consider regarding basic skills deficiency. To meet this test, the youth must have English reading, writing or computing skills at or below the 8th grade level as determined by a standardized test (or similar criterion-based test). Up to five percent of the youth receiving services in a WIA program do not have to meet the income test as stated above if they meet the age test and are basic skills deficient. [10/03]

No. An H1-B visa holder does not have a general right to work in the United States and therefore does not fall into the category of "lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens, refugees, asylees, and parolees, and other immigrants authorized by the Attorney General to work in the United States (WIA Section 188[a][5])." [8/01]

No. Telephone verification with a qualified and knowledgeable professional is adequate. A record of the telephone verification (e.g., by using a locally developed Telephone Verification Form) must be kept in the individual’s case file. The term "offender" means anyone who has been subject to any stage of the criminal justice process as well as individuals who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. [6/01]

Unless the Local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB) determines that funds are not limited in the Local Workforce Investment Area (LWIA), the priority for intensive and training services must be given to recipients of public assistance and other low-income individuals. The priority does not necessarily exclude individuals who are not recipients of public assistance or low-income individuals from intensive and training services. The LWIB determines how the priority is applied. [6/01]

There is no federal or State limit to the amount of time that must elapse between the exit date and a subsequent re-enrollment date. This is a matter for local discretion. Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIB) should establish policy or guidelines for their areas. Before re-enrollment, a new application form needs to be completed, and, as applicable, eligibility redetermined. [6/01]