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Mentoring Frequently Asked Questions

Grants: WorkAbility I Vocational Education Project - PCA: 23011.

WorkAbility I (WAI) Home | WAI Meeting Agendas | WAI Regions and Contact Information | WAI Resources | WAI Mentoring Frequently Asked Questions | WorkAbility I Array of Services Definitions

Expand the sections below to review frequently asked questions regarding the WorkAbility I (WAI) Vocational Education Project.

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Q: Does every program receive equal funding?

A: No. Programs serving 17 or fewer students receive a flat funding amount. Programs serving 18 or more students receive a base sum plus additional funding per student.

Q: How much carryover is my program allowed?

A: None. WAI does not allow carryover funding.

Student Eligibility

Q: How long is a student eligible for WAI?

A: A student is eligible as long as the student is on an active individualized education program (IEP) and meets the local program requirements.

Program Application

Q: How does a site apply for a grant?

A: The California Department of Education (CDE) is not currently accepting applications for new grants. If additional funding becomes available, application information would be posted on the CDE Web site and distributed through various list serves.

Program Administrator

Q: How many hours does a student need to work to qualify as a placement?

A: Any student who has received the minimum or learners wage payment for work is considered a placement.

Q: If the program coordinator does not work during the summer, who should be the contact person?

A: Each site must designate a grant contact. The grant contact must be someone who is available and able to address any questions the CDE may have.

Q: Who issues work permits?

A: Work permits are required in California for any minor student who has not yet graduated and who would like to work. School districts and county offices of education designate their own work permit officials.

Q: How much student information should an employer receive?

A: Student information is confidential. Programs must have written permission from a parent or guardian or, if the student is eighteen years or older, from the student before discussing a student’s situation with employers. Employers should receive enough information that they can assist the student with his or her needs on the job.

Q: Can projects use student learner’s wage?

A: Yes, the wage is 85 percent of the minimum wage rounded to the nearest nickel during the first 160 hours of employment in occupations in which the student has no previous or related experience.

Q: What documentation must be kept at the site level and for how long?

A: Each program must collect data documenting services provided to each student. A dated service log must be kept for each student served. All programmatic documents must be kept for seven years.

Q: What are allowable expenses under this grant?

A: WAI funds must supplement, not supplant existing transition programs/services for students with IEPs. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Staff and student wages
  • Mandated employment benefits
  • Job training
  • Student and staff transportation to WAI activities
  • Clothing and tools necessary for student employment
  • Supplemental curriculum materials
  • Supplies for program operation, office supplies
  • Duplication costs
  • Participation at required WAI trainings
  • Indirect costs
  • Unless specifically approved by CDE, capital purchases such as computers are not allowed

Q: What is the last date for a budget revision?

A: The budget revision period is open from April 1 through May 15.

CDE Role

Q: How does a program know if it is out of compliance?

A: CDE will notify programs by mail and email when they are found out of compliance with the assurances of the grant. A program that has become noncompliant may have conditional status placed on their grant for not adhering to the statement of assurances through one of several ways. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Timely Submission of Required Paperwork (Conditions of the Grant Award item number three)
  • Timely Submission of Required Reports (Conditions of the Grant Award item numbers five, 12, and 13)
  • Achievement of at least “Basic/Developing” on the Annual Program Requirements Report (Conditions of the Grant Award item number nine)

Q: Who is the CDE contact for local WAI programs?

A: Prior to state level contact, the project should contact their mentor representative, or their regional manager. Questions for the CDE should be sent to the WorkAbility I inbox at: Please use the following naming convention within the subject line when submitting a question: [project number], [project name], [subject]. For example, 258-05, Apple Valley USD, 2020–21 Final Expenditure Report.

The CDE WAI Team Regional Assignments:

  • Nick Wavrin, Education Programs Consultant
    • Region 1
    • Region 3
    • Region 5
  • Michelle Bello, Education Programs Consultant
    • Region 2
    • Region 4
  • Jaime Dempsey, Associate Governmental Program Analyst
Program Infrastructure

What is the WAI program infrastructure?

The WAI program is funded and administered by the CDE and grantees are assigned to five geographic regions throughout the state. The WAI Regional managers oversee each region and are responsible for providing guidance to the WAI site directors who in turn provide guidance to the local program and community partners. The WAI Mentors provide mentor-based trainings within their local regions, offer support, collaborate with regional teams, assist in the special conditions process, and provide responses to frequently asked questions.

The WAI program also has a State Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from local WAI projects to ensure ongoing communications. The WAI State Advisory Committee consists of one Advisory Chair, one Advisory Chair Alternate, two Regional Managers from each of the five WAI geographic regions, and one Committee Chair from each of the WAI Standing Committees.

A description of each of the WAI Standing Committees can be found below:

Business, Education, and Labor (BEL) – Promote and recognize partnerships between business, education, and the labor force for WAI programs at the local, regional, and state levels.

Family Transition Network (FTN) – Provide transition information, training, and resources to parents, students, and families to assist the student through the process of transition to quality adult life.

Government Relations Committee (GRC) – Research, correlate, and disseminate information related to legislative process and policy at the federal, state, and local levels as it relates to the WorkAbility I program.

Human Support Services (HSS) – Research, and disseminate information regarding interagency support for key stakeholders in the WAI program at the state, regional, and local levels.

Mentor – Provide/facilitate mentor-based trainings within local region. Offer support, collaborate with regional teams, assist in the special conditions process, and provide responses to frequently asked questions.

State and Regional Training (SRT) – Facilitate quality professional development and training opportunities to all key stakeholders of the WAI program.

Technology, Education, Communication (TEC) – Provide technical support to key partners related to the statewide WAI data collection system. Assists with research of WAI database content.

Wage, Labor, and Safety (WLS) – Provide information, resources, training, and support to key stakeholders regarding wage, labor, and safety.


WorkAbility I Fiscal and Program Handbook (PDF)

The WorkAbility I Fiscal and Program Handbook provides guidance and instruction for WAI grantees on the following: how to administer the WAI grant, overview of the WAI Array of Services, allowable and unallowable expenditures, reporting requirements, annual due dates, and resources pertinent to the WAI grant.

WorkAbility I Program Due Dates

As part of receiving the annual WAI grant, the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), local educational agency (LEA), County Office of Education (COE), or Nonpublic School (NPS) must complete, sign, and submit the following forms to the CDE on or before the corresponding due dates indicated on the table below:

Form Due Date and Submission Information

Grant Funding Application

Due June 15

Submit Via WAI Database External link opens in new window or tab.

Initial Grant Budget

Due June 15

Submit Via WAI Database External link opens in new window or tab.

Annual Program Requirements Report

Due June 15

Submit Via WAI Database External link opens in new window or tab.

Grant Award Notification (GAN)

Return hard copy with original wet signature via mail to the CDE within 10 days of receipt

Programs and Partnership Unit
Special Education Division
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Room 2401
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

Email a scanned, signed copy to:

Final Budget

Due January 31 or 30 days from the date the GAN was mailed out, whichever comes first

Submit Via WAI Database External link opens in new window or tab.

Interim Expenditure Report

Mid-year expenditure report due February 27

Special Education State Grants: Expenditure Report (PDF; 1 MB)

Submit via email to:

Budget Revision

Opens April 1

Submit Via WAI Database External link opens in new window or tab.

Submit via email to:

Annual Program Report, Student Baseline and Follow-up Data

Due June 15

Submit Via WAI Database External link opens in new window or tab.

Actual Expenditure Report

Due August 1

Submit Via WAI Database External link opens in new window or tab.

Final Expenditure Report

Due August 10

Special Education State Grants: Expenditure Report (PDF; 1 MB)

Submit via email to:


Questions:   WorkAbility I | | 916-327-0878
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, November 07, 2023
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