Dear County and District Superintendents, Special Education Local Plan Area Directors, Special Education Administrators at County Offices, Special Education Program Directors, Nonpublic School Directors, and Workability Program Coordinators:
WorkAbility I 2022–23 Program Guidance
Recently, local educational agencies (LEAs) have reported to the California Department of Education (CDE) that the amendment to California Education Code Section 45125.1(a) impacts LEAs that participate in the WorkAbility I (WAI) state-funded grant program managed by the CDE, Special Education Division. In response to this potential impact, the CDE will provide WAI grantees in fiscal year (FY) 2022–23 the flexibility needed to meet the requirements of the WorkAbility I (WAI) grant program to serve and place students with disabilities in work experience.
This letter addresses the temporary waiver of three of the grant conditions and a temporary expansion of on-campus placement opportunities. Any WAI grantee seeking clarification or interpretation of EC Section 45125.1(a) should consult their local counsel.
Education Code Section 45125.1(a)
Effective January 1, 2022, EC Section 45125.1(a) requires any entity that has a contract with an LEA to ensure that any employee of that contractor who interacts with students outside the immediate supervision and control of the student’s parent or guardian or a school employee, is required to have a criminal records summary as described in EC Section 44237. The law specifically states:
(a) Any entity that has a contract with a local educational agency shall ensure that any employee who interacts with pupils, outside of the immediate supervision and control of the pupil’s parent or guardian or a school employee, has a valid criminal records summary as described in Section 44237. When the contracting entity performs the criminal background check, it shall immediately provide any subsequent arrest and conviction information it receives to any local educational agency that it is contracting with pursuant to the subsequent arrest service.
WorkAbility I Work Experience Placement Opportunities
The option of paid community-based work experience is an integral component of the WAI grant, and grantees receive funding specifically allocated for student wages per EC Section 56471(e)(6). The employment portion of transition services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act help facilitate movement towards competitive integrated employment and should be provided in the Least Restrictive Environment. The LEAs placing students in WAI work-based experiences should be mindful of the employer’s location and ensure that participating students are provided with opportunities for interaction with non-disabled peers and customers.
Recently, WAI grantees contacted the CDE to report that they were unable to consistently place students in community-based work experience placements due to the change to EC Section 45125.1(a). In response to this possible impact, the CDE is providing waivers for FY 2022–23.
Fiscal Year 2022–23 Waivers to Grant Conditions and On-Campus Placements
To address the concern that WAI grantees may be placed on fiscal grant conditions for FY 2022–23 due to the potential impact of EC Section 45125.1(a), the CDE will temporarily expand on-campus placements and waive three of the grant conditions.
The CDE is allowing for an increase in the number of on-campus work experience placements offered through student business enterprise opportunities to temporarily increase from five percent of the total number of required placements for which a grantee receives funding to 15 percent for FY 2022–23.
To that end, the following conditions are temporarily waived:
- All approved project funds must be expended within the designated award period.
- The WAI FY 2022–23 Budget Revision period opens April 1, 2023, and will remain open for 45 days. Grantees who do not anticipate utilizing all of their funds should submit a Budget Revision during this period of time.
- Serving all students for which funding was received.
- If grantees are unable to serve students for which funding was received, they will submit expenditures for the actual amount of funding used.
- Placement into employment at least 15 percent of the students funded to serve.
This waiver is offered to provide flexibility to WAI grantees in their implementation of the WAI program.
Although the three above grant conditions are being waived for FY 2022–23, WAI grantees remain bound by the remaining Conditions of the Grant Award as set out in the FY 2022–23 WAI Grant Award Notification.
The CDE reminds WAI grantees receiving state grant funds that they are required per EC Section 41010 to follow the definitions, instructions, and procedures in the California School Accounting Manual (CSAM). Operating agencies and districts are mandated to follow CSAM guidelines for conformity with generally accepted accounting principles, which are essential for consistency and comparability in financial reporting. The CSAM is to be used for classifying, developing, and recording all revenues and expenditures for the WAI program.
The CSAM may be viewed and downloaded at the CDE’s Definitions, Instructions, & Procedures web page. Please refer to the CSAM website to view the object classification codes. It is the responsibility of WAI grantees to review the complete listing of object classification codes in the CSAM and to check for updates to this document.
If you have additional questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact Nick Wavrin, Education Programs Consultant, by email at NWavrin@cde.ca.gov.
Heather Calomese, Director
Special Education Division