As you are aware, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services is responsible for ensuring individuals who earn subminimum wages (SMW) receive career counseling and information and referral services as required under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Since the 2014 enactment of WIOA, many Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) have discontinued their practice of paying SMW, although Iowa still has around 30 CRPs with 14(c) certificates who pay SMW.

The semi-annual or annual career counseling and information/ referral information requirement for SMW earners is satisfied through on-line webinars. You can go through the webinar information and the following steps should be followed.

Individuals Not Known to VR Earning SMW

  1. CRPs hosting career counseling webinars must have a designated proctor to record and submit each participant's name and verify their attendance. A proctor should review Session and Proctor Instructions.
  2. Every SMW earner should participate in one of the Career Counseling Webinars depending on their individual need(s), whether they've viewed a prior webinar, and when they entered SMW employment.
  3. Once a SMW earner participates in a webinar, CRP staff email a copy of the Sign-In Sheet for Proctoring Employers (Career Counseling Sign-In Sheet) to Amy Desenberg-Wines at The Follow-Up Information Referral and Discussion Form is completed by CRP staff for each participant who views a webinar. This sheet is maintained at the CRP; however if the individual is being referred to VR, it should be provided along with the referral form. Individuals who are interested in exploring opportunities to work in the community or make more money in their job, should be referred to VR. Individuals who are referred to VR:
    • should want to work in a competitive integrated setting and should not be sent to VR in a batched list of names.
    • should ensure their guardian is on board with them pursuing community employment.
    • should have their needs identified and level of care addressed in a comprehensive Individual Service Plan (ISP).
    • should include a discussion about ICF/ ID discharge planning, Home and Community Based Waiver Services,  and the institution's responsibilities in arranging needed services, including transportation and long-term supports.
  4. Upon submission of a webinar participant's name to Jess Kreho, the individual's signed certificate will be issued by the VR state office. The certificate is copied and hand-delivered by local VR staff to the individual at the CRP. The individual receiving a certificate can provide the second copy of their certificate to the CRP to maintain on file. The only involvement VR staff have in these cases is delivering signed Certificates to the CRP unless the individual has been referred to VR.

Individuals Known to VR

  1. A CRP should not accept a person age 24 or younger into a program that pays SMW unless the person received Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS); applied for VR and was found ineligible; or was eligible for VR but not successful AFTER receiving services for up to 24 months. These three provisions are outlined in WIOA since individuals age 24 or below must complete certain activities before working at SMW.
  2. In cases where VR has an OPEN case and the job candidate (JC) works at a CRP earning SMW, VR should provide the CRP a copy of the Individual Plan for Employment (IPE-2). VR is responsible for providing career counseling and information/referral services to individuals who case is open/known to VR. The documentation that an VR JC received WIOA's required services is reflected on the IPE-2, which the CRP can copy and retain.
  3. If the JC chooses to enter SMW employment, their case is closed by VR. In these cases, VR provides career counseling and information/referral services for two years; after which is the responsibility for the CRP to provide for as long as the individual earns SMW.

CRPs Should Know:

  • If a SMW earner refuses to participate in the required WIOA career counseling, information/referral webinars, they are not able to continue to work in subminimum wage jobs.
  • Employers who pay subminimum wage need to maintain documentation that SMW earners are receiving the required career counseling, information/ referral under WIOA at least annually. ADDITIONALLY, a CRP also has to provide the person with information annually about:
    • Self-Advocacy
    • Peer Mentoring 
    • Self-Determination