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The passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in July 2014 had the potential of significantly improve jobseekers’ access to education, training, and support services so that they can be successful in their careers. All states are required to submit their WIOA State Plans to US Department of Labor (DOL) by April 1, 2016, after incorporating any public comment following releases of draft Plans. Once submitted to the DOL, the Plan is considered final 90 days thereafter - unless the DOL asks for changes. These lengthy and complex documents will cover States’ workforce systems for four years.

At present New Jersey is the only state which has yet to release its draft WIOA State Plan for public comment. Some states publicized their Plans as early as last November. Most states released their Plans by late February. Stakeholders in other states have had at the very least 30 days to submit comments. New Jersey stakeholders will have 8 days or less, an unreasonably short time, to review and submit public comment before the April 1st deadline.

We are requesting the immediate release of New Jersey’s draft WIOA Plan. Because the Final Plan will drive New Jersey Regional and Local Plans later this year, we want our voices to be heard at the outset of the Plan’s existence – before it begins to take on a life of its own. We are also concerned that there will be very little or virtually no time for submitted comments from stakeholders to be carefully considered and potentially incorporated into the Plan before April 1st.

Thank you for your time and attention to this urgent matter.

Board of Directors New Jersey Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst (APSE)

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