History and Timeline

In 1973, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was introduced.

  • Increased funding for state vocational rehabilitation agencies
  • Added discrimination protection for individuals with disabilities
  • Stated that students with disabilities must receive a free and appropriate education equal to that of their peers without disabilities
  • Introduced 504 Plans for eligible students to receive appropriate services and changes to the learning environment

In 1975, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) was introduced.

  • EHA had three main provisions:
    1. Students must be provided with a Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE)
    2. Students with disabilities must be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE)
    3. Every student with a disability must receive an Individualized Education Program (IEP)

In 1983, Pilot transition services were added to The Education for All Handicapped Children Act.

  • Sought to promote a seamless transition from secondary education to adulthood

In 1990, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

  • Provided specific definitions and requirements for transition services
  • Required transition services beginning at age 16

In 1998, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was introduced.

  • Provided federal funds for employment and training assistance to develop job opportunities and increase wages for youth with disabilities

In 2004, an amendment was made to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

  • Required teachers to meet the definition of “highly qualified teacher”
  • Changed the transition planning and documentation age requirement back to 16 (many states opted to keep the age at 14)
  • Added 3 requirements that focus on accountability:
    1. Schools must complete a checklist to ensure compliance with transition requirements are met (Indicator 13)
    2. School must measure adulthood outcomes one year after students leave high school (Indicator 14)
    3. Students must exit high school with a Summary of Performance (SOP)

In 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was introduced.

  • Reauthorized WIA and amends the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Provided guidance to increase preparation/education and supports related to employment for low-income, at-risk, and vulnerable
  • Students with disabilities receive Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) in up to five areas:
    1. Job Exploration Counseling
    2. Workplace Readiness Training
    3. Work-based Learning
    4. Instruction in Self-Advocacy
    5. Counseling on Postsecondary Education