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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 conditions placed on their grant for not adhering to the statement of assurances through one of several ways. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Failing to serve all students for which funding was received.
  • Failing to place at least 15 percent of the students which a program is funded to serve into paid work experience opportunities.
  • Failing to meet all reporting deadlines.
  • Failing to attend all mandatory meetings.
  • Failing to follow the Budget Expenditure guidelines.
  • Failing to comply with all California Education Code requirements.

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:

Program Infrastructure

What is the WAI program infrastructure?

The WAI program is overseen by the CDE at the state level. The WAI program has an advisory committee the consists of: the WAI Advisory Chair, WAI Alternate Chair, 2 Regional Managers for each region (10 total), and 7 committee chairs for a total of 19 members. The WAI program is split into five regions. There are a total of 262 WAI projects within the five WAI regions. Each project has a grant contact.

What committees exist, and what do they do? Let's find out!

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

Mentor – Provide/facilitate mentor 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 WorkAbility I program.

Technology, Education, Communication (TEC) – Provide technical support to key CDE stakeholders related to the statewide WorkAbility I, data collection system. Assists with research and review of WorkAbility I Web site 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.


Questions:   WorkAbility I | | 916-327-0878
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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