Welcome to South Carolina Midlands One Stop
An equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. All voice telephone numbers may be reached using TTY/TTD equipment via the South Carolina Relay service at 711.
WIA F.A.Q.

The following questions are asked by many of the customers of the Midlands SC Works Centers who are interested in finding out more about the WIA program. Please note that the responses apply to the WIA program that serves Fairfield, Lexington and Richland Counties. Other areas that also have WIA programs may operate under slightly different guidelines.



What is the WIA program? WIA is an acronym for the Workforce Investment Act. This legislation took effect in July 2000 replacing the old Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) programs and consolidating funding and activities from several other programs to be delivered through a network of SC Works Centers. The primary objective of WIA is to assist job seekers in obtaining employment.

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Can WIA pay for training or classes? Many of our customers come to us seeking financial assistance for training, but unlike its predecessor JTPA, the WIA program does not focus primarily on training. Our main mission is to help you in finding employment, and if it is determined that you need to upgrade your skills in order to be competitive in the job market, then training may be considered as an option for you. We have to assess the skills that you possess and determine whether or not you can obtain employment with your current skill set. WIA is not an entitlement program and, therefore, just because a customer wants training does not necessarily mean that he or she is going to be determined to be in need of training. WIA is not here to retrain people who just decide they want a new career when they could currently qualify for other jobs.

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Can WIA pay my bills for me? Unlike organizations such as Cooperative Ministries, Salvation Army, Lexington Interfaith Community Service, Wateree Community Action, etc., WIA does not provide emergency payments for utilities, rent, telephone or other bills. While WIA may have resources available to customers actively participating in the program, emergency needs that individuals may have for bills to be paid are not determining factors for who does or does not get registered. WIA also does not provide bus tickets or cab vouchers to people who seek general services through the SC Works centers. Any forms of supportive services provided to WIA customers require budgeting and financial counseling from one of our representatives and are not an entitlement for participating.

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What can the WIA program do for me? WIA offers a wide array of services to customers who may need a little more help in finding a job than what is available through the basic job listings and referral system provided by the Department of Employment and Workforce. WIA does not guarantee a job but pledges to assist customers in any way possible to guide them through their job search efforts. It is the ultimate responsibility of the job seeker to secure employment.

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What services does WIA provide? The WIA program can offer a variety of services that are based upon the customer's goals. Services may include goal setting, career exploration, job referrals, counseling, budgeting, training, and supportive services.

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Who is eligible for WIA? The WIA program serves individuals who are 18 years of age and older who are unemployed, underemployed or have lost their jobs due to plant closings or mass layoffs (also known as dislocated workers). WIA does give priority to serving individuals who fall into certain target groups such as high school dropouts, ex-offenders, homeless persons, disabled persons, and veterans. There are different levels of service under WIA, such as training, where eligibility may be limited based on household income and the existence of significant barriers to employment.

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How do you get into the WIA program? The initial step for individuals interested in the WIA program is to receive at least one basic or core service through any of our SC Works Centers. Core services include registration for work, getting a job referral, filing an Unemployment Insurance benefits claim, working on a resume in our resource room, or receiving any services from one of the many on-site partners in the centers. You will then need to view the Orientation to SC Works and WIA Services online at midlandsonestop.org. You may utilize the computers at any of our offices to view the orientation if you wish.  Next you can be scheduled for a certification of eligibility appointment. To more quickly expedite this process, please make sure that you bring all of the documentation listed to your appointment. After the certification is completed, your portfolio of information will be forwarded to one of our WIA representatives so they can schedule an initial review appointment.

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How long does it take to get into the program? The length of time may vary from person to person. It usually takes several weeks at a minimum from the point of eligibility certification to when an applicant is actually registered into the program because there are several steps involved in this process. You may be required to provide additional information before a final decision is made so a lot will depend on how quickly you respond to what is requested of you.

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Who decides which applicants are served by WIA? The process of determining who will be registered into WIA is a committee decision and is based upon input from the eligibility certification staff, case managers, placement and follow-up staff, the WIA Director and representatives from any of the partner agencies that may also be serving the individual. A similar process is used in determining who is appropriate for training and supportive services and when a customer will be transitioned out of the WIA program.

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If I am certified as eligible am I guaranteed services by WIA? WIA is not an entitlement program just because you meet the eligibility requirements. Because WIA is an employment program, we are seeking to assist only those individuals who are serious about obtaining a job. Our continued funding depends upon the customer and the program mutually agreeing to achieve the same performance outcomes. In other words, the goals of someone wanting to participate in the WIA program have to be compatible with the goals of the program and what WIA can provide to that individual.

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How long do I have to participate in WIA? There is no official timeframe for participating in WIA; however, our goal is to assist you in obtaining your employment goal in the shortest period of time possible. Some customers may only participate for a few months while others may be in the program for a longer period depending on whether or not they have been determined in need of training. Customers who are not actively participating for a 90-day period will automatically be transitioned out of the program, a process we refer to as being exited. Once you agree to participate in the program, you must commit to cooperating fully with the WIA staff throughout the time you are receiving services and for up to one year after you exit the program. During this one-year follow-up period you will be contacted at least once a quarter so that we may check up on your employment status and to determine whether or not you need additional services from the program.

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Why do I have to continue participating in the program once I find a job? Once you are successful in finding a job, whether through our referrals or on your own, it is critical that you share this employment information with a representative from our staff. Since WIA is a performance driven program, we must report successes of our customers finding and retaining employment in order to continue receiving funds to operate and serve others. The majority of these performance outcomes are measured during the year after customers have transitioned out of the program. This is why we have to continue contacting our customers even though they have already gotten a job and no longer need our assistance.

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Can WIA guarantee a job for me? Like any other similar service, WIA cannot guarantee anyone a job. We will commit to assisting you in any way possible in finding employment, but you, and only you, are ultimately responsible for getting the job. WIA can make a job referral, help you in preparing a resume, or coach you for the interview. However, you have to make the right impression on a perspective employer and sell yourself as the best candidate for them to hire.

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What are the qualifications for training? Training is not an entitlement service under WIA. Approval for training is generally given to those individuals who do not have marketable job skills and are determined to be in need of training in order to be competitive in the job market. WIA funds can only be used for training in occupations where the jobs are available or showing growth in the Midlands area. Customers who are assessed as needing training may select from programs on the statewide eligible training providers list. There may also be restrictions placed on who can receive training services if available funding is limited. Priority for training is then generally given to special target groups such as welfare recipients, high school dropouts, ex-offenders, veterans or other individuals who face significant barriers to getting a job without specialized training.

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What classes does WIA offer? WIA does not offer training classes itself. Instead the program may help to fund all or a portion of training programs that customers select from a list of eligible training vendors. These vendors may include technical colleges, Adult Education programs, truck driver training schools and other institutions that provide training that will lead to employment in a stable or growing occupation.

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What does WIA pay if I also receive a Pell grant? There is a limit to the amount of funding that may be paid for training so customers must demonstrate that they are able to afford the balance of the costs before a request for training can be considered. Customers are required to apply resources from other sources of financial aid such as Pell grants, scholarships, or SC Education Lottery funds whenever these resources are available.

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What does it mean when I am "exited" from the program? The term "exited" is used to describe the point at which WIA customers are transitioned out of the program and begin the one-year follow-up period where they will be contacted periodically to check on their progress and to obtain employment information that will be used in evaluating program performance measurements. The reasons that a customer may be exited include: employment and completion of all planned goals, no longer actively participating, incarceration, health or medical reasons that prohibit employment.

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Why was I released from the program? WIA does not "release" customers from the program unless they have completed all of their goals and objectives, or they have remained inactive for more than 90 days. WIA is a performance-based program that must achieve contractual outcome measures in order to continue operations. There are strict guidelines placed on the staff in terms of providing services to customers. If a customer is not actively participating on at least a monthly basis then we may be forced to transition him or her out of the program.

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How can I get back into the program? It is not the general practice of WIA to re-register individuals who have already transitioned out of the program. This is not allowed unless there were extenuating reasons why the customer left the program the first time. You are free to go back through the eligibility certification process to see if you still meet the requirements to participate, but the likelihood that you will be reconsidered is very low. Because WIA is a national and statewide program the same considerations are applied even if you were a customer in another county of South Carolina or in another state. Likewise prior participation in the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) or Economic Dislocation and Worker Adjustment Assistance Act (EDWAA) programs may lower an individual's priority in being considered for WIA.

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Columbia
700 Taylor St
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 737-JOBS (5627)
Mon-Thurs: 8am - 6:30pm
Fri: 8:30am - 5pm
Lexington
201 Duffie Drive
Lexington, SC 29072
(803) 359-6131
Mon-Fri: 8:30am - 5pm
Winnsboro
414 South Congress St
Winnsboro, SC 29180
(803) 815-0627
Mon-Fri: 8:30am - 5pm
Midlands Workforce
Development Board

100 Executive Center Dr
Suite 218
Columbia, SC 29210
(803) 744-1670