ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
U.S. Department of Education

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Arkansas Rehabilitation Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

1.1 The Arkansas Rehabilitation Services is authorized to submit this State Plan under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended [1] and its supplement under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act [2].

1.2 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, the Arkansas Rehabilitation Services [3] agrees to operate and administer the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program in accordance with the provisions of this State Plan [4], the Rehabilitation Act, and all applicable regulations [5], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Section 111 of the Rehabilitation Act are used solely for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and the administration of the State Plan for the vocational rehabilitation services program.

1.3 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for supported employment services, the designated state agency agrees to operate and administer the State Supported Employment Services Program in accordance with the provisions of the supplement to this State Plan [6], the Rehabilitation Act and all applicable regulations [7], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Title VI, Part B, are used solely for the provision of supported employment services and the administration of the supplement to the Title I State Plan.
Yes

1.4 The designated state agency and/or the designated state unit has the authority under state law to perform the functions of the state regarding this State Plan and its supplement.
Yes

1.5 The state legally may carry out each provision of the State Plan and its supplement.
Yes

1.6 All provisions of the State Plan and its supplement are consistent with state law.
Yes

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

Commissioner, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services

... has the authority under state law to receive, hold and disburse federal funds made available under this State Plan and its supplement.

1.8 The (enter title of state officer below)...
Yes

Commissioner, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services

... has the authority to submit this State Plan for vocational rehabilitation services and the State Plan supplement for supported employment services.

1.9 The agency that submits this State Plan and its supplement has adopted or otherwise formally approved the plan and its supplement.
Yes

State Plan Certified By

As the authorized signatory identified above, I hereby certify that I will sign, date and retain in the files of the designated state agency/designated state unit Section 1 of the Preprint, and separate Certification of Lobbying forms (Form ED-80-0013; available at http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/ed80-013.pdf) for both the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Robert Trevino

Title of Signatory
Commissioner, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
08/15/2012

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2013
No

Section 1 Footnotes

[1] Public Law 93 112, as amended by Public Laws 93 516, 95 602, 98 221, 99 506, 100-630, 102-569, 103-073, and 105-220.

[2] Unless otherwise stated, "Rehabilitation Act" means the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

[3] All references in this plan to "designated state agency" or to "the state agency" relate to the agency identified in this paragraph.

[4] No funds under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act may be awarded without an approved State Plan in accordance with Section 101(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR part 361.

[5] Applicable regulations include the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR Parts 74, 76, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 85 and 86 and the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program regulations in 34 CFR Part 361.

[6] No funds under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act may be awarded without an approved supplement to the Title I State Plan in accordance with Section 625(a) of the Rehabilitation Act.

[7] Applicable regulations include the EDGAR citations in footnote 5, 34 CFR Part 361, and 34 CFR Part 363.

2.1 Public participation requirements. (Section 101(a)(16)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.10(d), .20(a), (b), (d); and 363.11(g)(9))

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

The designated state agency, prior to the adoption of any substantive policies or procedures governing the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under the State Plan and supported employment services under the supplement to the State Plan, including making any substantive amendments to the policies and procedures, conducts public meetings throughout the state to provide the public, including individuals with disabilities, an opportunity to comment on the policies or procedures.

(b) Notice requirements.

The designated state agency, prior to conducting the public meetings, provides appropriate and sufficient notice throughout the state of the meetings in accordance with state law governing public meetings or, in the absence of state law governing public meetings, procedures developed by the state agency in consultation with the State Rehabilitation Council, if the agency has a council.

(c) Special consultation requirements.

The state agency actively consults with the director of the Client Assistance Program, the State Rehabilitation Council, if the agency has a council and, as appropriate, Indian tribes, tribal organizations and native Hawaiian organizations on its policies and procedures governing the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under the State Plan and supported employment services under the supplement to the State Plan.

3.1 Submission and revisions of the State Plan and its supplement. (Sections 101(a)(1), (23) and 625(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; Section 501 of the Workforce Investment Act; 34 CFR 76.140; 361.10(e), (f), and (g); and 363.10)

(a) The state submits to the commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration the State Plan and its supplement on the same date that the state submits either a State Plan under Section 112 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 or a state unified plan under Section 501 of that Rehabilitation Act.

(b) The state submits only those policies, procedures or descriptions required under this State Plan and its supplement that have not been previously submitted to and approved by the commissioner.

(c) The state submits to the commissioner, at such time and in such manner as the commissioner determines to be appropriate, reports containing annual updates of the information relating to the:

  1. comprehensive system of personnel development;
  2. assessments, estimates, goals and priorities, and reports of progress;
  3. innovation and expansion activities; and
  4. other updates of information required under Title I, Part B, or Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act that are requested by the commissioner.

(d) The State Plan and its supplement are in effect subject to the submission of modifications the state determines to be necessary or the commissioner requires based on a change in state policy, a change in federal law, including regulations, an interpretation of the Rehabilitation Act by a federal court or the highest court of the state, or a finding by the commissioner of state noncompliance with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361 or 34 CFR 363.

3.2 Supported Employment State Plan supplement. (Sections 101(a)(22) and 625(a) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.34 and 363.10)

(a) The state has an acceptable plan for carrying out Part B, of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act that provides for the use of funds under that part to supplement funds made available under Part B, of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the cost of services leading to supported employment.

(b) The Supported Employment State Plan, including any needed annual revisions, is submitted as a supplement to the State Plan.

4.1 Designated state agency and designated state unit. (Section 101(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.13(a) and (b))

(a) Designated state agency.

  1. There is a state agency designated as the sole state agency to administer the State Plan or to supervise its administration in a political subdivision of the state by a sole local agency.

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities (Option A was selected/Option B was not selected).

  1. In American Samoa, the designated state agency is the governor.

(b) Designated state unit.

  1. If the designated state agency is not primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities, in accordance with subparagraph 4.1(a)(2)(B) of this section, the state agency includes a vocational rehabilitation bureau, division or unit that:

  1. is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and is responsible for the administration of the designated state agency's vocational rehabilitation program under the State Plan;
  2. has a full-time director;
  3. has a staff, at least 90 percent of whom are employed full-time on the rehabilitation work of the organizational unit; and
  4. is located at an organizational level and has an organizational status within the designated state agency comparable to that of other major organizational units of the designated state agency.

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Arkansas Rehabilitation Services

4.2 State independent commission or State Rehabilitation Council. (Sections 101(a)(21) and 105 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.16 and .17)

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

(a) The designated state agency is an independent state commission that

  1. is responsible under state law for operating or overseeing the operation of the vocational rehabilitation program in the state and is primarily concerned with the vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities in accordance with subparagraph 4.1(a)(2)(A) of this section.
  1. is consumer controlled by persons who:
    1. are individuals with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit major life activities; and
    2. represent individuals with a broad range of disabilities, unless the designated state unit under the direction of the commission is the state agency for individuals who are blind;
  1. includes family members, advocates or other representatives of individuals with mental impairments; and
  1. undertakes the functions set forth in Section 105(c)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(4).

(b) The state has established a State Rehabilitation Council that meets the criteria set forth in Section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.17

(c) If the designated state unit has a State Rehabilitation Council, Attachment 4.2(c) provides a summary of the input provided by the council consistent with the provisions identified in subparagraph (b)(3) of this section; the response of the designated state unit to the input and recommendations; and, explanations for the rejection of any input or any recommendation.

(Option B was selected)

4.3 Consultations regarding the administration of the State Plan. (Section 101(a)(16)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.21)

The designated state agency takes into account, in connection with matters of general policy arising in the administration of the plan and its supplement, the views of:

(a) individuals and groups of individuals who are recipients of vocational rehabilitation services or, as appropriate, the individuals' representatives;
(b) personnel working in programs that provide vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
(c) providers of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
(d) the director of the Client Assistance Program; and
(e) the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.

4.4 Nonfederal share. (Sections 7(14) and 101(a)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 80.24 and 361.60)

The nonfederal share of the cost of carrying out this State Plan is 21.3 percent and is provided through the financial participation by the state or, if the state elects, by the state and local agencies.

4.5 Local administration. (Sections 7(24) and 101(a)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47) and .15)

The State Plan provides for the administration of the plan by a local agency. No

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

(a) ensures that each local agency is under the supervision of the designated state unit with the sole local agency, as that term is defined in Section 7(24) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47), responsible for the administration of the vocational rehabilitation program within the political subdivision that it serves; and
(b) develops methods that each local agency will use to administer the vocational rehabilitation program in accordance with the State Plan.

4.6 Shared funding and administration of joint programs. (Section 101(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.27)

The State Plan provides for the state agency to share funding and administrative responsibility with another state agency or local public agency to carry out a joint program to provide services to individuals with disabilities. No

If "Yes", the designated state agency submits to the commissioner for approval a plan that describes its shared funding and administrative arrangement. The plan must include:

(a) a description of the nature and scope of the joint program;
(b) the services to be provided under the joint program;
(c) the respective roles of each participating agency in the administration and provision of services; and
(d) the share of the costs to be assumed by each agency.

4.7 Statewideness and waivers of statewideness. (Section 101(a)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.25, .26, and .60(b)(3)(i) and (ii))

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

(a) Services provided under the State Plan are available in all political subdivisions of the state.
(b) The state unit may provide services in one or more political subdivisions of the state that increase services or expand the scope of services that are available statewide under this State Plan if the:

  1. nonfederal share of the cost of these services is met from funds provided by a local public agency, including funds contributed to a local public agency by a private agency, organization or individual;

  1. services are likely to promote the vocational rehabilitation of substantially larger numbers of individuals with disabilities or of individuals with disabilities with particular types of impairments; and

  1. state, for purposes other than the establishment of a community rehabilitation program or the construction of a particular facility for community rehabilitation program purposes, requests in Attachment 4.7(b)(3) a waiver of the statewideness requirement in accordance with the following requirements:

  1. identification of the types of services to be provided;

  1. written assurance from the local public agency that it will make available to the state unit the nonfederal share of funds;

  1. written assurance that state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect; and

  1. written assurance that all other State Plan requirements, including a state's order of selection, will apply to all services approved under the waiver.

(c) Contributions, consistent with the requirements of 34 CFR 361.60(b)(3)(ii), by private entities of earmarked funds for particular geographic areas within the state may be used as part of the nonfederal share without the state requesting a waiver of the statewideness requirement provided that the state notifies the commissioner that it cannot provide the full nonfederal share without using the earmarked funds.

4.8 Cooperation, collaboration and coordination. (Sections 101(a)(11), (24)(B), and 625(b)(4) and (5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.22, .23, .24, and .31, and 363.11(e))

(a) Cooperative agreements with other components of statewide work force investment system.

The designated state agency or the designated state unit has cooperative agreements with other entities that are components of the statewide work force investment system and replicates those agreements at the local level between individual offices of the designated state unit and local entities carrying out the One-Stop service delivery system or other activities through the statewide work force investment system.

(b) Cooperation and coordination with other agencies and entities.

Attachment 4.8(b) (1)-(4) describes the designated state agency's:

  1. cooperation with and use of the services and facilities of the federal, state, and local agencies and programs, including programs carried out by the undersecretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture and state use contracting programs, to the extent that those agencies and programs are not carrying out activities through the statewide work force investment system;

  1. coordination, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 4.8(c) of this section, with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services;

  1. establishment of cooperative agreements with private nonprofit vocational rehabilitation service providers, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 5.10(b) of the State Plan; and,

  1. efforts to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and entities with respect to the provision of supported employment and extended services for individuals with the most significant disabilities, in accordance with the requirements of subsection 6.5 of the supplement to this State Plan.

(c) Coordination with education officials.

  1. Attachment 4.8(b)(2) describes the plans, policies and procedures for coordination between the designated state agency and education officials responsible for the public education of students with disabilities that are designed to facilitate the transition of the students who are individuals with disabilities from the receipt of educational services in school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services under the responsibility of the designated state agency.

  1. The State Plan description must:

  1. provide for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment in accordance with 34 CFR 361.45 as early as possible during the transition planning process but, at the latest, before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting or if the designated state unit is operating on an order of selection before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting; and

  1. include information on a formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency that, at a minimum, provides for:

  1. consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to postschool activities, including vocational rehabilitation services;

  1. transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and the educational agency for students with disabilities that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs under Section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;

  1. roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and

  1. procedures for outreach to students with disabilities as early as possible during the transition planning process and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.

(d) Coordination with statewide independent living council and independent living centers.

The designated state unit, the Statewide Independent Living Council established under Section 705 of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 364, and the independent living centers described in Part C of Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 366 have developed working relationships and coordinate their activities.

(e) Cooperative agreement with recipients of grants for services to American Indians.

  1. There is in the state a recipient(s) of a grant under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near federal and state reservations. No

  1. If "Yes", the designated state agency has entered into a formal cooperative agreement that meets the following requirements with each grant recipient in the state that receives funds under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act:

  1. strategies for interagency referral and information sharing that will assist in eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment;

  1. procedures for ensuring that American Indians who are individuals with disabilities and are living near a reservation or tribal service area are provided vocational rehabilitation services; and

  1. provisions for sharing resources in cooperative studies and assessments, joint training activities, and other collaborative activities designed to improve the provision of services to American Indians who are individuals with disabilities.

4.9 Methods of administration. (Section 101(a)(6) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.12, .19 and .51(a) and (b))

(a) In general.

The state agency employs methods of administration, including procedures to ensure accurate data collection and financial accountability, found by the commissioner to be necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the plan and for carrying out all the functions for which the state is responsible under the plan and 34 CFR 361.

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

The designated state agency and entities carrying out community rehabilitation programs in the state, who are in receipt of assistance under Part B, of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and this State Plan, take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities covered under and on the same terms and conditions as set forth in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

(c) Facilities.

Any facility used in connection with the delivery of services assisted under this State Plan meets program accessibility requirements consistent with the provisions, as applicable, of the Architectural Barriers Rehabilitation Act of 1968, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the regulations implementing these laws.

4.10 Comprehensive system of personnel development. (Section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.18)

Attachment 4.10 describes the designated state agency's procedures and activities to establish and maintain a comprehensive system of personnel development designed to ensure an adequate supply of qualified state rehabilitation professional and paraprofessional personnel for the designated state unit. The description includes the following:

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

Development and maintenance of a system for collecting and analyzing on an annual basis data on qualified personnel needs and personnel development with respect to:

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

  1. The number of personnel who are employed by the state agency in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services in relation to the number of individuals served, broken down by personnel category;

  1. The number of personnel currently needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services, broken down by personnel category; and

  1. Projections of the number of personnel, broken down by personnel category, who will be needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services in the state in five years based on projections of the number of individuals to be served, including individuals with significant disabilities, the number of personnel expected to retire or leave the field, and other relevant factors.

  1. Personnel development.

  1. A list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals, by type of program;

  1. The number of students enrolled at each of those institutions, broken down by type of program; and

  1. The number of students who graduated during the prior year from each of those institutions with certification or licensure, or with the credentials for certification or licensure, broken down by the personnel category for which they have received, or have the credentials to receive, certification or licensure.

(b) Plan for recruitment, preparation and retention of qualified personnel.

Development, updating on an annual basis, and implementation of a plan to address the current and projected needs for qualified personnel based on the data collection and analysis system described in paragraph (a) of this subsection and that provides for the coordination and facilitation of efforts between the designated state unit and institutions of higher education and professional associations to recruit, prepare and retain personnel who are qualified in accordance with paragraph (c) of this subsection, including personnel from minority backgrounds and personnel who are individuals with disabilities.

(c) Personnel standards.

Policies and procedures for the establishment and maintenance of personnel standards to ensure that designated state unit professional and paraprofessional personnel are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained, including:

  1. standards that are consistent with any national- or state-approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration, or, in the absence of these requirements, other comparable requirements (including state personnel requirements) that apply to the profession or discipline in which such personnel are providing vocational rehabilitation services.

  1. To the extent that existing standards are not based on the highest requirements in the state applicable to a particular profession or discipline, the steps the state is currently taking and the steps the state plans to take in accordance with the written plan to retrain or hire personnel within the designated state unit to meet standards that are based on the highest requirements in the state, including measures to notify designated state unit personnel, the institutions of higher education identified in subparagraph (a)(2), and other public agencies of these steps and the time lines for taking each step.

  1. The written plan required by subparagraph (c)(2) describes the following:

  1. specific strategies for retraining, recruiting and hiring personnel;

  1. the specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the standards required by subparagraph (c)(1);

  1. procedures for evaluating the designated state unit's progress in hiring or retraining personnel to meet applicable personnel standards within the established time period; and

  1. the identification of initial minimum qualifications that the designated state unit will require of newly hired personnel when the state unit is unable to hire new personnel who meet the established personnel standards and the identification of a plan for training such individuals to meet the applicable standards within the time period established for all state unit personnel to meet the established personnel standards.

(d) Staff development.

Policies, procedures and activities to ensure that all personnel employed by the designated state unit receive appropriate and adequate training. The narrative describes the following:

  1. A system of staff development for professionals and paraprofessionals within the designated state unit, particularly with respect to assessment, vocational counseling, job placement and rehabilitation technology.

  1. Procedures for the acquisition and dissemination to designated state unit professionals and paraprofessionals significant knowledge from research and other sources.

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

Availability of personnel within the designated state unit or obtaining the services of other individuals who are able to communicate in the native language of applicants or eligible individuals who have limited English speaking ability or in appropriate modes of communication with applicants or eligible individuals.

(f) Coordination of personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Procedures and activities to coordinate the designated state unit's comprehensive system of personnel development with personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

4.11. Statewide assessment; annual estimates; annual state goals and priorities; strategies; and progress reports.

(Sections 101(a)(15), 105(c)(2) and 625(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.17(h)(2), .29, and 363.11(b))

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

  1. Attachment 4.11(a) documents the results of a comprehensive, statewide assessment, jointly conducted every three years by the designated state unit and the State Rehabilitation Council (if the state has such a council). The assessment describes:

  1. the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:

  1. individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;

  1. individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program carried out under this State Plan; and

  1. individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide work force investment system.

  1. The need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.

  1. For any year in which the state updates the assessments, the designated state unit submits to the commissioner a report containing information regarding updates to the assessments.

(b) Annual estimates.

Attachment 4.11(b) identifies on an annual basis state estimates of the:

  1. number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services under the plan;

  1. number of eligible individuals who will receive services provided with funds provided under Part B of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and under Part B of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act, including, if the designated state agency uses an order of selection in accordance with subparagraph 5.3(b)(2) of this State Plan, estimates of the number of individuals to be served under each priority category within the order; and

  1. costs of the services described in subparagraph (b)(1), including, if the designated state agency uses an order of selection, the service costs for each priority category within the order.

(c) Goals and priorities.

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(1) identifies the goals and priorities of the state that are jointly developed or revised, as applicable, with and agreed to by the State Rehabilitation Council, if the agency has a council, in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.

  1. The designated state agency submits to the commissioner a report containing information regarding any revisions in the goals and priorities for any year the state revises the goals and priorities.

  1. Order of selection.
    If the state agency implements an order of selection, consistent with subparagraph 5.3(b)(2) of the State Plan, Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

  1. shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

  1. identifies the service and outcome goals, and the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.

  1. Goals and plans for distribution of Title VI, Part B, funds.
    Attachment 4.11(c)(4) specifies, consistent with subsection 6.4 of the State Plan supplement, the state's goals and priorities with respect to the distribution of funds received under Section 622 of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of supported employment services.

(d) Strategies.

  1. Attachment 4.11(d) describes the strategies, including:

  1. the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities, including how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to those individuals at each stage of the rehabilitation process and how those services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis;

  1. outreach procedures to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities in accordance with subsection 6.6 of the State Plan supplement, and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program;

  1. as applicable, the plan of the state for establishing, developing or improving community rehabilitation programs;

  1. strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and

  1. strategies for assisting other components of the statewide work force investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.

  1. Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the designated state agency uses these strategies to:

  1. address the needs identified in the assessment conducted under paragraph 4.11(a) and achieve the goals and priorities identified in the State Plan attachments under paragraph 4.11(c);

  1. support the innovation and expansion activities identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) of the plan; and

  1. overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and State Supported Employment Services Program.

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

  1. The designated state unit and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state unit has a council, jointly submits to the commissioner an annual report on the results of an evaluation of the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program and the progress made in improving the effectiveness of the program from the previous year.

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

  1. provides an evaluation of the extent to which the goals identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1) and, if applicable, Attachment 4.11(c)(3) were achieved;

  1. identifies the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals and priorities;

  1. describes the factors that impeded their achievement, to the extent they were not achieved;

  1. assesses the performance of the state on the standards and indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and

  1. provides a report consistent with paragraph 4.12(c) of the plan on how the funds reserved for innovation and expansion activities were utilized in the preceding year.

4.12 Innovation and expansion. (Section 101(a)(18) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.35)

(a) The designated state agency reserves and uses a portion of the funds allotted to the state under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act for the:

  1. development and implementation of innovative approaches to expand and improve the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities under this State Plan, particularly individuals with the most significant disabilities, consistent with the findings of the statewide assessment identified in Attachment 4.11(a) and goals and priorities of the state identified in Attachments 4.11(c)(1) and, if applicable, Attachment 4.11(c)(3); and

  1. support of the funding for the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 105(d)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(i), and the funding of the Statewide Independent Living Council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 705(e)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 364.21(i).

(b) Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the reserved funds identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) will be utilized.
(c) Attachment 4.11(e)(2) describes how the reserved funds were utilized in the preceding year.

4.13 Reports. (Section 101(a)(10) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.40)

(a) The designated state unit submits reports in the form and level of detail and at the time required by the commissioner regarding applicants for and eligible individuals receiving services under the State Plan.
(b) Information submitted in the reports provides a complete count, unless sampling techniques are used, of the applicants and eligible individuals in a manner that permits the greatest possible cross-classification of data and protects the confidentiality of the identity of each individual.

5.1 Information and referral services. (Sections 101(a)(5)(D) and (20) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.37)

The designated state agency has implemented an information and referral system that is adequate to ensure that individuals with disabilities, including individuals who do not meet the agency's order of selection criteria for receiving vocational rehabilitation services if the agency is operating on an order of selection, are provided accurate vocational rehabilitation information and guidance, including counseling and referral for job placement, using appropriate modes of communication, to assist such individuals in preparing for, securing, retaining or regaining employment, and are referred to other appropriate federal and state programs, including other components of the statewide work force investment system in the state.

5.2 Residency. (Section 101(a)(12) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.42(c)(1))

The designated state unit imposes no duration of residence requirement as part of determining an individual's eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services or that excludes from services under the plan any individual who is present in the state.

5.3 Ability to serve all eligible individuals; order of selection for services. (Sections 12(d) and 101(a)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.36)

(a) The designated state unit is able to provide the full range of services listed in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the state who apply for services. Yes

(b) If No:

  1. Individuals with the most significant disabilities, in accordance with criteria established by the state, are selected first for vocational rehabilitation services before other individuals with disabilities.

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

  1. shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;

  1. provides a justification for the order of selection; and

  1. identifies the state's service and outcome goals and the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.

  1. Eligible individuals who do not meet the order of selection criteria have access to the services provided through the designated state unit's information and referral system established under Section 101(a)(20) of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.37, and subsection 5.1 of this State Plan.

5.4 Availability of comparable services and benefits. (Sections 101(a)(8) and 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.53)

(a) Prior to providing any vocational rehabilitation services, except those services identified in paragraph (b), to an eligible individual or to members of the individual's family, the state unit determines whether comparable services and benefits exist under any other program and whether those services and benefits are available to the individual.
(b) The following services are exempt from a determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits:

  1. assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology;

  1. counseling and guidance, including information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice consistent with the provisions of Section 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act;

  1. referral and other services to secure needed services from other agencies, including other components of the statewide work force investment system, through agreements developed under Section 101(a)(11) of the Rehabilitation Act, if such services are not available under this State Plan;

  1. job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services;

  1. rehabilitation technology, including telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices; and

  1. post-employment services consisting of the services listed under subparagraphs (1) through (5) of this paragraph.

(c) The requirements of paragraph (a) of this section do not apply if the determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits under any other program would interrupt or delay:

  1. progress of the individual toward achieving the employment outcome identified in the individualized plan for employment;

  1. an immediate job placement; or

  1. provision of vocational rehabilitation services to any individual who is determined to be at extreme medical risk, based on medical evidence provided by an appropriate qualified medical professional.

(d) The governor in consultation with the designated state vocational rehabilitation agency and other appropriate agencies ensures that an interagency agreement or other mechanism for interagency coordination that meets the requirements of Section 101(a)(8)(B)(i)-(iv) of the Rehabilitation Act takes effect between the designated state unit and any appropriate public entity, including the state Medicaid program, a public institution of higher education, and a component of the statewide work force investment system to ensure the provision of the vocational rehabilitation services identified in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, other than the services identified in paragraph (b) of this section, that are included in the individualized plan for employment of an eligible individual, including the provision of those vocational rehabilitation services during the pendency of any dispute that may arise in the implementation of the interagency agreement or other mechanism for interagency coordination.

5.5 Individualized plan for employment. (Section 101(a)(9) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.45 and .46)

(a) An individualized plan for employment meeting the requirements of Section 102(b) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.45 and .46 is developed and implemented in a timely manner for each individual determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, except if the state has implemented an order of selection, and is developed and implemented for each individual to whom the designated state unit is able to provide vocational rehabilitation services.
(b) Services to an eligible individual are provided in accordance with the provisions of the individualized plan for employment.

5.6 Opportunity to make informed choices regarding the selection of services and providers. (Sections 101(a)(19) and 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.52)

Applicants and eligible individuals or, as appropriate, their representatives are provided information and support services to assist in exercising informed choice throughout the rehabilitation process, consistent with the provisions of Section 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.52.

5.7 Services to American Indians. (Section 101(a)(13) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.30)

The designated state unit provides vocational rehabilitation services to American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing in the state to the same extent as the designated state agency provides such services to other significant populations of individuals with disabilities residing in the state.

5.8 Annual review of individuals in extended employment or other employment under special certificate provisions of the fair labor standards act of 1938. (Section 101(a)(14) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.55)

(a) The designated state unit conducts an annual review and reevaluation of the status of each individual with a disability served under this State Plan:

  1. who has achieved an employment outcome in which the individual is compensated in accordance with Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. 214(c)); or

  1. whose record of services is closed while the individual is in extended employment on the basis that the individual is unable to achieve an employment outcome in an integrated setting or that the individual made an informed choice to remain in extended employment.

(b) The designated state unit carries out the annual review and reevaluation for two years after the individual's record of services is closed (and thereafter if requested by the individual or, if appropriate, the individual's representative) to determine the interests, priorities and needs of the individual with respect to competitive employment or training for competitive employment.
(c) The designated state unit makes maximum efforts, including the identification and provision of vocational rehabilitation services, reasonable accommodations and other necessary support services, to assist the individuals described in paragraph (a) in engaging in competitive employment.
(d) The individual with a disability or, if appropriate, the individual's representative has input into the review and reevaluation and, through signed acknowledgement, attests that the review and reevaluation have been conducted.

5.9 Use of Title I funds for construction of facilities. (Sections 101(a)(17) and 103(b)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.49(a)(1), .61 and .62(b))

If the state elects to construct, under special circumstances, facilities for community rehabilitation programs, the following requirements are met:

(a) The federal share of the cost of construction for facilities for a fiscal year does not exceed an amount equal to 10 percent of the state's allotment under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act for that fiscal year.
(b) The provisions of Section 306 of the Rehabilitation Act that were in effect prior to the enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 apply to such construction.
(c) There is compliance with the requirements in 34 CFR 361.62(b) that ensure the use of the construction authority will not reduce the efforts of the designated state agency in providing other vocational rehabilitation services other than the establishment of facilities for community rehabilitation programs.

5.10 Contracts and cooperative agreements. (Section 101(a)(24) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.31 and .32)

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

The designated state agency has the authority to enter into contracts with for-profit organizations for the purpose of providing, as vocational rehabilitation services, on-the-job training and related programs for individuals with disabilities under Part A of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act, upon the determination by the designated state agency that for-profit organizations are better qualified to provide vocational rehabilitation services than nonprofit agencies and organizations.

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

Attachment 4.8(b)(3) describes the manner in which the designated state agency establishes cooperative agreements with private nonprofit vocational rehabilitation service providers.

Section 6: Program Administration

6.1 Designated state agency. (Section 625(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(a))

The designated state agency for vocational rehabilitation services identified in paragraph 1.2 of the Title I State Plan is the state agency designated to administer the State Supported Employment Services Program authorized under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act.

6.2 Statewide assessment of supported employment services needs. (Section 625(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(b))

Attachment 4.11(a) describes the results of the comprehensive, statewide needs assessment conducted under Section 101(a)(15)(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and subparagraph 4.11(a)(1) of the Title I State Plan with respect to the rehabilitation needs of individuals with most significant disabilities and their need for supported employment services, including needs related to coordination.

6.3 Quality, scope and extent of supported employment services. (Section 625(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(c) and .50(b)(2))

Attachment 6.3 describes the quality, scope and extent of supported employment services to be provided to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are eligible to receive supported employment services. The description also addresses the timing of the transition to extended services to be provided by relevant state agencies, private nonprofit organizations or other sources following the cessation of supported employment service provided by the designated state agency.

6.4 Goals and plans for distribution of Title VI, Part B, funds. (Section 625(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(d) and .20)

Attachment 4.11(c)(4) identifies the state's goals and plans with respect to the distribution of funds received under Section 622 of the Rehabilitation Act.

6.5 Evidence of collaboration with respect to supported employment services and extended services. (Sections 625(b)(4) and (5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(e))

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) describes the efforts of the designated state agency to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and other appropriate entities to assist in the provision of supported employment services and other public or nonprofit agencies or organizations within the state, employers, natural supports, and other entities with respect to the provision of extended services.

6.6 Minority outreach. (34 CFR 363.11(f))

Attachment 4.11(d) includes a description of the designated state agency's outreach procedures for identifying and serving individuals with the most significant disabilities who are minorities.

6.7 Reports. (Sections 625(b)(8) and 626 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(h) and .52)

The designated state agency submits reports in such form and in accordance with such procedures as the commissioner may require and collects the information required by Section 101(a)(10) of the Rehabilitation Act separately for individuals receiving supported employment services under Part B, of Title VI and individuals receiving supported employment services under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act.

7.1 Five percent limitation on administrative costs. (Section 625(b)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(g)(8))

The designated state agency expends no more than five percent of the state's allotment under Section 622 of the Rehabilitation Act for administrative costs in carrying out the State Supported Employment Services Program.

7.2 Use of funds in providing services. (Sections 623 and 625(b)(6)(A) and (D) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.6(c)(2)(iv), .11(g)(1) and (4))

(a) Funds made available under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act are used by the designated state agency only to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are eligible to receive such services.
(b) Funds provided under Title VI, Part B, are used only to supplement and not supplant the funds provided under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act, in providing supported employment services specified in the individualized plan for employment.
(c) Funds provided under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act are not used to provide extended services to individuals who are eligible under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act.

8.1 Scope of supported employment services. (Sections 7(36) and 625(b)(6)(F) and (G) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54), 363.11(g)(6) and (7))

(a) Supported employment services are those services as defined in Section 7(36) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54).
(b) To the extent job skills training is provided, the training is provided on-site.
(c) Supported employment services include placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice of individuals with the most significant disabilities.

8.2 Comprehensive assessments of individuals with significant disabilities. (Sections 7(2)(B) and 625(b)(6)(B); 34 CFR 361.5(b)(6)(ii) and 363.11(g)(2))

The comprehensive assessment of individuals with significant disabilities conducted under Section 102(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and funded under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act includes consideration of supported employment as an appropriate employment outcome.

8.3 Individualized plan for employment. (Sections 102(b)(3)(F) and 625(b)(6)(C) and (E) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.46(b) and 363.11(g)(3) and (5))

(a) An individualized plan for employment that meets the requirements of Section 102(b) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.45 and .46 is developed and updated using funds under Title I.
(b) The individualized plan for employment:

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

  1. identifies the source of extended services, including natural supports, or, to the extent that it is not possible to identify the source of extended services at the time the individualized plan for employment plan is developed, a statement describing the basis for concluding that there is a reasonable expectation that sources will become available.

(c) Services provided under an individualized plan for employment are coordinated with services provided under other individualized plans established under other federal or state programs.

Required annually by all agencies except those agencies that are independent consumer-controlled commissions.

Identify the Input provided by the state rehabilitation council, including recommendations from the council's annual report, the review and analysis of consumer satisfaction, and other council reports. Be sure to also include:

  • the Designated state unit's response to the input and recommendations; and
  • explanations for the designated state unit's rejection of any input or recommendation of the council.

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is an integral part of ARS strategic planning. The SRC meets every quarter and reviews the agency’s service planning and goals. No recommendations or input from the SRC were rejected by ARS. The following initiatives were instituted in collaboration with the SRC analysis and guidance:

*VR State Plan

*Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment June 2012 Update

*ARS Budget and re-allotment funds

*ARS EXpos

*ARS Alternative Finance Program

*ACTI rehabilitation center renovations

*Comprehensive System of Personnel Development and CRC training

*Business Relations Representative job placement activities

*ARS Business Leadership Network development plan

*RSA On-Site Monitoring and ARS Corrective Action Plan

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 2:46PM by saarparkerr

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2009 4:09PM by saarparkerr

Describe interagency cooperation with and utilization of the services and facilities of agencies and programs that are not carrying out activities through the statewide workforce investment system with respect to

  • Federal, state, and local agencies and programs;
  • if applicable, Programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture; and
  • if applicable, state use contracting programs.

ARS collaborates and coordinates services with federal, state and local agencies that contribute to the vocational rehabilitation and independent living of Arkansans with disabilities. ARS cooperates with agencies in carrying out activities including planning and coordinating services to people with disabilities in order to build capacity in communities, improve the quality and quantity of services, and avoid duplication of services. Collaborating agencies include:

* Arkansas Department of General Education, Special Education - Transition

* Centers for Independent Living

* Community Rehabilitation Programs

* Developmental Disability Providers

* Supported Employment Vendors

* A-Win Benefits Planning Project

* Social Security Administration Ticket to Work

* DHS - Division of Aging and Adult Services

* DHS - Working Disabled Medicaid Program

* DHS - Division of Behavioral Health Services

* DHS - Division of Developmental Disabilities

* Spinal Cord Commission

* Arkansas Kidney Commission

* AgrAbility Project

ARS maintains an active presence on numerous councils and committees, including:

* Interagency Steering Committee on Integrated Employment

* Arkansas Interagency Transition Partnership

* The Arkansas Independent Living Council

* The Governor’s Commission on People with Disabilities

* Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council

* Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Council

* Governor’s Taskforce on Integrated Services and Supported Housing

* Youth Leadership Forum

* Arkansas Workforce Investment Board

* Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force

* SoundStARt

ARS has no cooperative agreements with programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture, or State use contracting programs.

This screen was last updated on Aug 9 2012 5:21PM by saarparkerr

  • Describe the designated state unit's plans, policies, and procedures for coordination with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services, including provisions for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting or, if the designated state unit is operating on an order of selection, before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting.
  • Provide information on the formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency with respect to
    • consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including VR services;
    • transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and educational agency that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs;
    • roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services;
    • procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.

ARS maintains interagency agreements with the AR Department of Education-Special Education (ADE-SPED) and provides transition services to students in public schools. ARS maintains an interagency agreement with the AR Department of Higher Education (ADHE) with the objective of seamless provision of vocational rehabilitation services and access to higher education. The parties agree to participate in technical assistance and in-service training to assist educational agencies in planning. ARS, ADE-SPED and ADHE agree to coordinate services to ensure timely and appropriate supports and services are provided to eligible individuals. ARS Transition policy requires ARS counselors to engage school personnel to generate referrals of students to ARS and an IPE is developed for each eligible student. ADE is financially responsible for secondary education and ARS is responsible for taking applications, determining eligibility and providing VR services to those determined eligible for transition services. ARS participates in the state level AR Interagency Transition Partnership (AITP). AITP is a task-force made up of representatives of state agencies, including ARS, DHS-Division of Services for the Blind, AR Department of Higher Education, Special Education-Transition, AR Workforce Investment Board, DHS-Division of Behavioral Health Services and parent advocates. ARS completed an updated interagency transition agreement with ADE, ACE and ADHE. ARS also implemented post-secondary (IHE) agreements with all public colleges and universities within the state of Arkansas.

This screen was last updated on May 17 2012 4:14PM by saarparkerr

Describe the manner in which the designated state agency establishes cooperative agreements with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers.

Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers

ARS has cooperative agreements with Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) throughout the state. ARS and representatives from CRPs developed and implemented standard procedures for the referral process and outcome indicators resulting in a fee for service schedule for individuals served by CRPs.

This screen was last updated on Jun 9 2010 12:35PM by Rhonda Young

Describe the efforts of the designated state agency to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and other appropriate entities in order to provide the following services to individuals with the most significant disabilities:

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

Evidence of Collaboration Regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services

ARS maintains written cooperative agreements with all private non-profit agencies providing supported employment (SE) services and extended services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are ARS consumers. All providers of SE services to consumers of ARS agree in writing to provide extended services for the consumer as long as he/she remains employed. ARS completed an updated SE agreement Disability Determination Services designed to streamline SE services and produce more effective outcomes for consumers. ARS is in the process of completing agreements with SE service providers and Behavioral Health Services.

This screen was last updated on May 29 2012 4:27PM by saarparkerr

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Introduction A comprehensive and well-managed personnel development program is critical to Arkansas Rehabilitation Services efforts to expand and enhance customer services. The program is essential in order for individuals with disabilities to receive quality rehabilitation services from qualified professional personnel. This is accomplished through a strong commitment from ARS to provide and make available training programs to all staff, especially those providing direct services to ARS consumers. ARS maintains training records for all staff. The records are updated on an annual basis and include training request records and completed training documentation. The training documentation for each employee specifies the training source, course name, number of credit hours, and attendance date. Professional qualifications for ARS counselors are monitored to ensure that certification is current and to track educational progress for those achieving certification. The table below lists the projected total number of personnel, by category needed by agency to provide vocation rehabilitation services in the state in five (5) years based on projections of the number of individuals to be served, including individuals with significant disabilities, the number of individuals expected to retire or leave the field, and other relevant factors. ARS has developed a database to provide a menu of training opportunities and to track training that has been completed by employees. Share Point, an in-house intranet software for use by ARS employees, was implemented as of July 2012. The training database will be merged with the Share Point system and include an on-line calendar of training events and on-line registration.

 

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 VR Counselors 87 6 12
2 District Managers 10 0 4
3 ACTI Counselors 4 0 2
4 Interpreters 5 1 2
5 Support Staff 74 2 9
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

As part of the CSPD plan, ARS maintains and annually updates a list of higher education institutions in Arkansas that prepare rehabilitation professionals. ARS monitors students enrolled in vocational rehabilitation and related programs at each of the institutions by category, the number of students graduating the previous year, and certification or licensure. ARS works closely with the institutions to provide internship and practicum opportunities for students. Universities are notified when job openings become available within the agency. (Please note in the table below that of the students listed as Students Enrolled and Graduates of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) a majority are out-of-state students enrolled in the UALR on-line program.)

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 University of Arkansas Fayetteville (UAF) MRC 46 0 16 18
2 University of Arkansas Little Rock (UALR) MRC 125 0 0 70
3 Arkansas State University (ASU) MRC 12 0 0 17
4 UAF, UALR & ASU Combined Part-Time 87 0 2 2
5 Full-Time & Part Time Student totals combined. 270 0 18 107

 

ARS has implemented a plan to address the needs for qualified personnel. The plan places emphasis on rehabilitation counselors. The agency has worked diligently with the Arkansas Legislature, the state Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) to address the requirements of CSPD for ARS staff. The Arkansas Legislature authorized special language to ARS for a waiver of the Continuing Professional Education policy that prohibits state agencies from providing college courses to employees. The special language allows ARS to provide college level coursework in degree programs designed to result in an MRC for eligible employees selected by the agency. The special language assists the agency in assuring that qualified professional personnel are in place to provide quality rehabilitation services to disabled Arkansans.

During the 2009 Arkansas Legislative Session, ARS received permission to institute a graduated pay incentive to counselors who progress toward an MRC/CRC. The pay increase aids ARS in recruitment efforts to obtain the best candidates for present and future needs. Additionally ARS continues to utilize the Student Loan Forgiveness incentive program, which has resulted in enhanced counselor recruitment. Under this program newly hired VR counselors can be provided up to $2,000 per year repayment to the student loan creditor. Counselors who participate in the Student Loan Forgiveness Program agree to continue working for the agency for two years in return for each year of repayment.

The ARS Staff Development section reviews the current training levels of all personnel. Required standards, evaluation of training needs, and timeline goals are established. Staff Development develops and monitors agency policy and procedure for training and retaining qualified personnel to meet standards. All ARS staff receives an annual personnel performance evaluation from their immediate supervisor. The evaluation is reviewed and approved by their respective senior manager. The plan outlines training each employee needs to complete to fulfill his/her job duties in providing services to our consumers.

The Human Resources section tracks critical positions within the agency that need to be filled. Individuals from minority backgrounds and those with disabilities are actively recruited and hired. Staff Training tracks VR counselors’ progress in meeting CSPD standards on an annual basis. This is monitored by the Chief of Field Services who is responsible for making sure that established timelines are met within the agency’s CSPD plan.

ARS works closely with the universities to provide internship and practicum opportunities for students. The universities are notified when job openings become available within the agency. Students are recruited on an ongoing basis from the university and college programs within the state and encouraged to seek employment with ARS upon graduation. ARS recruitment efforts have been very productive. ARS maintains staff liaisons with the university programs including the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UAF), the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), and Arkansas State University (ASU). This gives the agency first-hand information regarding graduates from the MRC programs in the state.

The agency actively recruits minorities and students with disabilities from the universities. ARS also has a liaison with the undergraduate programs at Arkansas Tech and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, designated as a historical black university. Students, including minorities, are encouraged to join professional rehabilitation organizations such as the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA) and the National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns (NAMRC). The rehabilitation professional organizations provide scholarship opportunities to individuals, including minorities, that major in the field of rehabilitation. Additionally, ARS advertises its student loan payback incentive in every campus newspaper each semester and hosts receptions for prospective graduates at their schools and at the ARS Conference.

 

Policies and procedures are reviewed in all areas of personnel standards to ensure that all personnel employed by ARS including professionals and paraprofessionals receive appropriate and adequate training. Because there is no standard established by the State of Arkansas, ARS bases its personnel standards for VR counselors on the degree needed to meet the national CRC requirements through CRCC. ARS requires a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a closely related field, as defined by the CRCC eligibility criteria, and to be CRC certified, or eligible to sit for CRC certification. The ARS Staff Development section reviews the current training levels of all personnel. Required standards, evaluation of training needs and timelines are established. Staff Development implements and monitors agency policy and procedure for training or retraining personnel to meet standards.

Time Period By Which Existing State Unit Will Meet the Standards-ARS has experienced high turnover rates due to retirement and other attrition of administrative staff, VR counselors and senior management personnel due to retirement requirements mandated by state law. ARS set an effective date of October 1, 2010, that all rehabilitation counselor positions should meet the standard of having a Master’s degree and either be CRC certified, or eligible to sit for CRC certification. Those who do not meet the standard have a prescribed time period to achieve the designation. Rehabilitation counselors who do not meet the standard are cross-graded in position to the classification of C117. The counselors who do not meet CSPD requirements and as a result are cross-graded must be working towards meeting the standard. Counselors working towards meeting standard will continue to perform counseling functions.

Counselors who do not meet CSPD requirements and are not working towards meeting standard will perform limited case management functions. Counselors who are not working towards meeting standards will not be authorized to perform the following functions that must be initiated and completed by the District Manager or their designee CRC level counselor: a) A determination that the applicant requires vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment, i.e., eligibility determination and Certification of Eligibility and/or Certificate of Ineligibility. b) Development and approval of all components of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) including annual review. c) Amendments to IPE. d) Determination of a satisfactory outcome that the employment outcome is satisfactory and the individual is performing well in the employment, i.e., Closure Amendment.

During the 2009 Biennial Arkansas Legislative Session a new pay plan was adopted by the State. Effective July 1, 2009, all ARS vocational rehabilitation counselors are reclassified as either grade level C117 Rehabilitation Counselor or C119 Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. The C119 Certified Rehabilitation Counselor classification requires CRC certification. According to state Office of Personnel Management (OPM) requirements, ARS now advertises for a C117 position with the preferred qualification being a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and CRC certification. ARS was able to establish an internal salary grid with the approval of OPM. This grid allows the agency to hire VR counselors in the counselor C117 series under different salary ranges based on qualification and certification. The grid also allows for cost of living rates for counselors in the C119 classification. State hiring policy currently authorized by OPM allows ARS to consider graduates with Bachelor’s degrees in rehabilitation for C117 positions when there is no suitable applicant with a Master’s degree. A condition of employment is that the person will seek and obtain a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling within four years of employment and will meet CRC certification or become eligible to sit for CRC certification within one year of graduation.

 

Staff Development oversees the current training levels of all personnel. Required standards, evaluation of training needs and timelines are established. Opportunities for training are provided to all staff via the Annual ARA Training Conference, Special Topics Training, and Administrative Assistants Training Conference. Training is also available through the State Interagency Training Calendar, CRC training, CEU training for purposes of certification or licensure in the professions, webinars, and training provided internally by the agency in case management and compliance with policy and procedure. Internal policy and procedure are developed and monitored for the agency in terms of hiring, training, or retraining personnel to meet standards set within the agency. The universities are utilized to provide training opportunities. ARS ensures all personnel receive appropriate and adequate continuing education. The agency provides for employees to attend classes, seminars, and conferences, and disseminates information through newsletters, in-service training, workshops, and training conferences. The field program conducts district meetings in their respective districts where the latest techniques for providing service to our customers are discussed. An annual spring ARA Training Conference includes training on VR issues, case management, policy, procedure, assistive technology, and best practices. Continuing Education Credits and CRC Certification Credits are provided at the training conference. The Deputy Chief of Field Services provides best practice training in each of the Field Offices throughout the state. The Deputy Chief of Field Services also provides a seminar for CRC candidates and best practice training in periodic Special Topics Training.

 

ARS continues to employ personnel who communicate in the native languages of applicants and consumers with limited English speaking ability. ARS also provides special communication modes such as interpreters, captioned videos, specialized telecommunications services, and materials for individuals who are deaf and deaf-blind, as well as other specialized media systems for individuals with disabilities. Staff with language skills is hired and special equipment is provided. Interpreters are provided for the deaf or hearing impaired. Sign language skills are included as a minimum qualification for positions providing services to persons who are deaf or hearing impaired. Arkansas continues to experience a large influx of Spanish speaking citizens and these citizens are requesting our services. ARS promotes hiring of staff with Spanish language skills and provides access to native language interpreters. The agency provides assistance to our employees in order to help them accommodate consumer needs. ARS requested and the Arkansas General Assembly granted permission to the agency to compensate staff who demonstrate relevant foreign language skills at enhanced levels when using their skill set for the benefit of VR consumers.

 

ARS provides training opportunities for staff in transition. Staff participates in the Interagency Transition Partnership that includes State Department of Education, Special Education-Transition. ARS staff participates in regional transition coordination meetings. ARS co-sponsors a statewide annual Transition Summit. The annual Transition Summit has been very helpful in bringing all the stakeholders together that work with the high schools in transitioning disabled students from school to the world of work. ARS has restructured the field program and added counselor positions in order to effectively utilize personnel who are working with our partners in the region and area schools. ARS also sponsors transition staff participation in national training conferences throughout the year.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 10:26AM by saarparkerr

Provide an assessment of the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:

  • individuals with most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
  • individuals with disabilities who are minorities;
  • individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program; and
  • individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system.

Identify the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.

The Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) for Arkansas was completed in June 2010. ARS contracted with Dan Hopkins & Associates, Inc. who worked collaboratively with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), key stakeholders and ARS to complete a CSNA of rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities in the State, with emphasis on vocational rehabilitation services as outlined in 34 CFR Part 361. A mixed methods approach was used to collect data and information including, focus groups with stakeholders, service providers and consumers; structured interviews with consumers, counselors and ARS leadership and managers; and surveys with counselors and managers.

The assessment indicates the unserved and underserved include individuals with disabilities from the Hispanic community and minorities due to higher incidence of disability; ex-offenders; individuals with mental health disabilities; and individuals who are deaf and hearing impaired. The results of the assessment indicate the needs for services of the unserved and underserved include additional and enhanced job placement services; assistance with education, training and tuition; medical, dental needs and hearing aids; and transportation. The needs for improved service delivery from ARS include improved information, outreach and marketing, and additional staff and training concerning diverse cultures and language. Needs for services for individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system include job placement services, increased accessibility and accommodations in the Workforce Centers, and private office areas for purposes of confidentiality.

Secondary data sources include the American Community Survey (ACS), current population surveys, and employment data from the Department of Labor and RSA-911 data. Additionally, various agency materials and study results were reviewed.

The Hispanic population is the fastest growing demographic throughout the nation, and Arkansas’ Hispanic population reflects the pinnacle of that growth. For the past decade, Arkansas has had the fastest growing Hispanic population per capita than any other state in the nation rivaled only by North Carolina. This statistic reflects the growing percentage of Hispanic consumer responses and consumers receiving VR services, which are reflected in the RSA 911 data.

Because the CSNA is a vital tool for strategic planning in the VR process, ARS is committed to utilizing the information contained therein as a platform on which to provide targeted VR services to Hispanics living with disabilities within the state.

Comprehensive Needs Assessment Update

In June of 2012 an update to the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) was completed by ARS. The CSNA addressed the requirement of the State Plan to identify the need to develop, establish and improve community rehabilitation programs within the state, and specifically addressed the ARS Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI). ACTI is a comprehensive rehabilitation center owned and operated by ARS since 1960. The buildings and grounds of the ACTI campus were deeded to the State of Arkansas and ARS through the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) program to be used for educational purposes. The ACTI campus has 29 buildings with approximately 415,000 of usable square footage on 20.89 acres. The Center serves between 600-700 ARS consumers a year.

ACTI meets the definition of a publicly owned CRP and is utilized statewide by people with disabilities who are consumers of ARS vocational rehabilitation services. The results of the CSNA indicate that ACTI is an essential provider of the VR services necessary to meet the vocational rehabilitation needs of a large number Arkansas citizens. The CSNA documents that Arkansas is a state with lower socioeconomic and education levels, a high prevalence of individuals with disabilities and a limited number of service providers that offer vocational rehabilitation training services specialized for people with disabilities. The CSNA further indicates that a significant need exists to update the water system infrastructure in order to continue to deliver services at ACTI. An inspection by the city Fire Marshall reported that the water system is dated and in need of replacement. Replacment of the water system at ACTI is necessary for the security and safety of the consumers enrolled at the center. The upgrades to the water system infrastructure would constitute a service to groups under the VR program and would constitute an establishment, development, or improvement of a facility for a CRP. The total projected costs of the project are $3.5M.

In addition the acquisition of the Army Reserve building at 200 Reserve Street, across the street and adjacent to the ACTI campus would provide a much needed improvement to the facilities. The building vacated by the Army Reserve is available through the same BRAC process under which the original ACTI buildings were acquired at no cost to ARS except renovations. The costs associated with the property renovations to the Army Reserve administration building are estimated at $1.5M. The renovations are classified under two categories. The installation of an elevator and entryway renovations constitute the removal of architectural barriers and meet the definition of an administrative cost under the VR program with an estimated cost of $800,000. The remaining renovations to the armory with an estimated cost of $700,000 would constitute a service to groups of individuals with disabilities under the VR program and VR funds are allowed to support the establishment, development, or improvement of a CRP to do so.

The Jonathan Cheatham Army Reserve Center property covers a city block and is terraced, and slopes from north to south. Approximately 95% of the Site is considered impervious (asphalt parking areas, driveways, concrete walkways, building footprints, etc.), while the remainder is covered by grass. There is no evidence of erosion or excavation at the location. The property consists of three (3) buildings situated on a 1.43 acre tract. The Site has three buildings: a 34,632-square-foot Administration Building, a 36-square- foot storage structure, and a 108-square-foot hazardous materials (hazmat) storage building.

Obtaining the armory is necessary to address the fire load dangers in buildings 22 and 17. These buildings are contiguous to Ross hall, which is the primary female student residence hall. Building 22 contains the paint shop where flammable paints, stains and varnishes are used and stored. Moreover, building 17, is also contiguous to Ross Hall and the above mentioned paint shop. The State Risk Assessor in his June 29, 2010 letter to John Wright, then CFO of ARS, identified the use of these two buildings as significant hazard.

Acquisition of the Reserve building space permits ACTI to move the Automobile Service Program from Buildings 16 and 11 thus relieving the aforementioned risk. The grounds and paint shops will be moved into building 16 which is located well away from residential housing of students and it will consolidate maintenance operations of carpentry and painting into one area. This will allow for much more efficient use of maintenance resources while eliminating the fire loads next to Ross Hall. This is the only viable option for relocation of these two maintenance functions on Campus.

This move will also facilitate better training opportunities for the Automobile Service Program. Space limitation and accessibility barriers on the upper floors of building 16 limit the number of NATEF modules that can be taught in the program. It should also be noted the Automobile Service Classroom is in building 11 above one of the main heating boilers for the campus. Even in the summer this boiler is active because it provides hot water for the entire campus. Temperatures in the afternoon in the classroom space often approach 95 degrees even with HVAC. This has been addressed by limiting classroom time to the morning hours. However, the extremes in temperature and humidity have played havoc with the IT equipment and infrastructure that is required as part of the NATEF instruction modules. This should be eliminated with classroom space that will be utilized in the Army Reserve building. The additional space offered at the Army Reserve building would allow much needed relocation of the training areas and elimination of the potential fire hazard to nearby buildings on the campus. The Army Reserve building offers adequate room as well as improved training conditions and improved accessibility for consumers and the public to the training areas. The Army Reserve Building also offers enhanced accessibility to the ARS Hot Springs Field Offices which are located on the ACTI campus in an area that is located on a hillside with limited parking and requires some clients to be transported by minivan.

ARS and the State Rehabilitation Council approve and recommend the upgrades and renovations to ACTI to the water system and to the Army Reserve building acquired for ACTI through the BRAC process.

Implications and Recommendations for Planning

The following recommendations are derived from needs, concerns and issues identified from CSNA results and are presented for consideration for both short and long-range planning and further study.

1. Public Relations, Marketing, Information, Outreach and Referrals

Data from the Consumer Survey and RSA-911 data are consistent in identifying referral sources. The majority of referrals come from educational institutions or self-referral/word-of-mouth and 25% of referrals are from "other" sources. Reported referrals from the medical community, community-based programs, and One-Stop Centers are extremely low, as low as 1%. Focus group participants, family members, and most stakeholders report having limited knowledge or understanding of the nature and scope of ARS services. Thus, there remains a critical need to educate the community, programs and agencies to facilitate access and referral of appropriate individuals with disabilities to ARS, emphasizing minorities, those with developmental disabilities and chronic mental illness. New outreach strategies will be developed reflective of growing numbers in Arkansas’s Hispanic population. The Needs Assessments indicate that both ARS Field Services and ACTI would benefit from enhanced public relations and marketing that would result in an increase in employment outcomes.

2. Job Development, Placement and Employment

An analysis of data from the Consumer Survey, Counselor Survey and RSA-911 data clearly demonstrate a need in Job Development, Placement and Employment. Consumers reported the most desirable outcome of their rehabilitation program is "education and training" (80%) and "employment" (70%). Consumer respondents also said the service not provided or of insufficient quality/quantity is "employment, finding a job." Based on information from these surveys, one can assume there is a need for improving system-wide approaches to job-development, placement services and employment, including Supported Employment. System-wide improvement will include ARS Field Services and services provided at ACTI to increase employment outcomes.

3. Transition Services/Program

Presently, ARS operates two approaches to Transition services. One is a transition services pilot project operating in six school districts in Crittenden, Jefferson, Pulaski, and Washington counties. The second is a more traditional approach of Field Program services and provided by VR counselors throughout the state. The CSNA reveals some issues and concerns are being raised in regard to both the pilot project and the traditional transition programs. Services and outcomes vary from school to school. Another critical issue affecting both programs is the varying responses from different school districts. Many school districts or schools within a district do not want transition or VR counselors to provide services. Additionally, CSNA findings indicate there is a varying level of appreciation of the pilot project among ARS managers and counselors throughout the state. The need exists to improve and coordinate transition services provided by both ARS VR counselors and ACTI.

4. SSI/SSDI Needs and Issues

Focus group findings indicate older VR consumers have varying concerns and lack information regarding amount of earnings allowed. As a result, they are reluctant to seek or secure employment for fear of losing benefits. Findings also reveal younger consumers have a much stronger desire to become employed and increase their earnings even if it means not having the SSI/SSDI safety net. The data demonstrates the need to improve and increase benefits counseling services and access to information and expertise in SSA Work Incentive programs such as Individual Work Related Expenses, PASS accounts, Working Medicaid and the Ticket to Work program.

5. Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs)

The data and information relative to CRPs indicate that there is a decrease in referrals to CRPs and agency utilization of CRPs. Agency leadership and counselors stated that the CRPs are not providing services relevant to the times. CRPs continue to provide Sheltered Workshop services while more career development, job readiness, job development and placement are needed, including Supported Employment services. The decreased utilization of CRPs is consistent with the trend of VR agencies to decrease traditional Sheltered Workshop services. Respondents said there is a lack of CRP services in rural parts of the state. This is consistent with information acquired regarding ARS’s need to strengthen working relationships and collaborative efforts with key stakeholders, community providers and vendors.

The FY 2012 Update to the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment indicates that the Arkansas Career Training Institute is an essential provider of the VR services that are necessary in order to meet the vocational rehabilitation needs of Arkansas citizens. Arkansas is a state with lower socioeconomic and education levels, a high prevalence of individuals with disabilities and a limited number of service providers that offer vocational rehabilitation training services for people with disabilities. The water system infrastructure at ACTI is dated and in need of repair and maintenance. Repair and maintenance on the water system at ACTI is necessary for the security and safety of the consumers enrolled at the center. It is also necessary in order for ARS to continue to provide the services essential to assist people with disabilities to achieve employment outcomes and live independently. Acquisition of the Army Reserve building at 200 Reserve Street, Hot Springs, Arkansas across the street and adjacent to ACTI would provide a much needed improvement to the facilities. The additional space offered at the Reserve building would allow relocation of training areas with a high fire load that present a potential hazard to nearby buildings on the campus, as well as improve training conditions that limit the number of people served in those classrooms. Accessibility would be enhanced for consumers and the public to the automotive and cosmetology training areas and the ARS Field Offices.

6. Workforce Investment System (WIS)

The data and information acquired from all sources indicate working relationships between ARS and WIS partners varies by level of administration and ARS district. A few ARS districts report positive and productive working relationships. However, the majority of ARS districts report the relationship to be more symbolic than substantive. All districts have a counselor assigned to the WIS center. Counselors report there is not a place for the counselor to conduct confidential interviews for purposes of referrals and gathering intake information. ARS leadership will work with WIS leadership to ensure communication and facilitation of working models are fostered at the district manager and counselor levels.

This screen was last updated on Aug 15 2012 10:15AM by saarparkerr

Arkansas Rehabilitation Services is not under an Order of Selection for FY 2013. In Arkansas out of a total of 1,753,433 non-institutionalized population aged 18 to 64 there are 255,498 individuals with disabilities. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 American Community Survey.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Title I, Part B Title I $19,120,000 14,500 $1,318
Title VI, Part B Title VI $264,000 190 $1,389
Totals   $19,384,000 14,690 $1,319

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 9:20AM by saarparkerr

The goals and priorities are based on the comprehensive statewide assessment, on requirements related to the performance standards and indicators, and on other information about the state agency. (See section 101(a)(15)(C) of the Act.) This attachment should be updated when there are material changes in the information that require the description to be amended.

  • Identify if the goals and priorities were jointly developed and agreed to by the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.
  • Identify if the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, jointly reviewed the goals and priorities and jointly agreed to any revisions.
  • Identify the goals and priorities in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.
  • Ensure that the goals and priorities are based on an analysis of the following areas:
    • the most recent comprehensive statewide assessment, including any updates;
    • the performance of the state on standards and indicators; and
    • other available information on the operation and effectiveness of the VR program, including any reports received from the State Rehabilitation Council and findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

ARS and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) have developed and agreed upon goals and priorities. The goals were reviewed and revised by ARS and the SRC. The goals are based on the Performance Standards and Indicators and the CSNA, completed in June 2010 and updated in July 2012. Other available information was utilized including RSA recommendations from the most recent 107 on-site review. The priorities include the goal of meeting or exceeding the standards and indicators.

The goals are to:

Goal 1: Meet or exceed benchmarks for performance on the state standards and indicators.

Goal 2: Increase the availability of assistive technology (AT) for consumers statewide.

Goal 3: ARS will reserve and use a portion of the funds under Sec. 110 for the development and implementation of innovative approaches to expand and improve vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities under the state plan and for the support of the SRC and/or the SILC.

Goal 4: Increase the availability of Supported Employment (SE) services to consumers by providing technical assistance to CRPs and other vendors and increasing the number of referrals for SE services.

Goal 5: Improve public relations, marketing, information, outreach and referral as recommended in the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. Public relations and marketing activities will be initiated to increase awareness of VR services and increase employment outcomes.

Goal 6: Improve and expand job development, placement and employment as recommended in the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment which will increase employment outcomes and improve performance on the Standards and Indicators.

Goal 7: Improve and expand transition services programs as recommended in the Comprehensive Needs Assessment and RSA 107 Monitoring Review.

Goal 8: Improve services to meet issues and concerns of SSI/SSDI beneficiaries with disabilities.

Goal 9: Develop and improve Community Rehabilitation Programs including establishment activities at the ARS Arkansas Career and Training Institute (ACTI) as recommended in the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. The establishment activities will improve services at ACTI and result in an increase in employment outcomes for ARS.

Goal 10: Enhance collaboration and partnerships with the Workforce Investment System.

Goal 11: Increase and enhance services to individuals served by ARS.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 11:09AM by saarparkerr

  • Identify the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services.
  • Identify the justification for the order.
  • Identify the service and outcome goals.
  • Identify the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.
  • Describe how individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected for services before all other individuals with disabilities.

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Aug 7 2010 4:43PM by saarparkerr

Specify the state's goals and priorities with respect to the distribution of funds received under section 622 of the Act for the provision of supported employment services.

ARS has the goal to increase the availability of Supported Employment (SE) Services to consumers by providing technical assistance to vendors and to increase the number of referrals for SE services. The strategy is to provide technical assistance and develop incentives to SE providers including CRPs to increase the availability of SE services to consumers. At the same time, the agency will place greater emphasis on supported employment outcomes and traditional sheltered employment outcomes will be de-emphasized. The strategy involves an increased focus on appropriate SE outcomes as opposed to traditional sheltered employment. ARS has developed interagency agreements with the state agencies that serve individuals with the most significant disabilities including Developmental Disabilities Services, Special Education, Behavioral Health and the Division of Services for the Blind. The agreement places an emphasis on competitive employment as a desirable outcome for individuals with the most significant disabilities including those with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses. ARS is developing additional certification criteria for SE service providers. The criteria include updated requirements for certification and training for job coaches. ARS is exploring increasing fee schedules and negotiating contracts for services with providers in an attempt to increase service providers and incentives to service providers to increase employment outcomes for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 11:17AM by saarparkerr

This attachment should include required strategies and how the agency will use these strategies to achieve its goals and priorities, support innovation and expansion activities, and overcome any barriers to accessing the vocational rehabilitation and the supported employment programs. (See sections 101(a)(15)(D) and (18)(B) of the Act and Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA)).

Describe the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities.

Strategy

* ARS will increase the number of placement specialists employed within the state both in the ARS Field Offices and at ACTI to increase employment outcomes.

* ARS will continue to collaborate with other state agencies and organizations to address disability related issues as they arise.

* ARS will work with interested parties and organizations to educate employers and businesses regarding disability issues in order to create greater employment opportunities.

*ARS will acquire and make necessary improvements to the Army Reserve Building adjacent to ACTI in order to improve VR services offered at ACTI and to increase employment outcomes.

 

Identify how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities at each stage of the rehabilitation process; and describe how assistive technology services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.

Strategy

* Field Services will utilize the Assistive Technology@Work (AT@Work) program through all field offices to assess and utilize assistive technology equipment for consumers during FY2013 on a statewide basis.

* ARS will continue to collaborate and provide referrals to the Increasing Capabilities Access Network (ICAN), the state assistive technology grant, to increase awareness and utility of assistive technology on a statewide basis.

 

Identify what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities; and what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program.

Strategy

* The agency has implemented the ARS Expo program. The Expos are marketing and outreach activities that inform Arkansas citizens about the availability of ARS services. The Expos provide outreach to individuals from minority backgrounds, individuals with the most significant disabilities, and others who are unserved or underserved. The Expos take place in communities across the state and will continue from last year to cover the entire state. The Expos include representatives from Field Services, the ACTI Rehabilitation Center, Special Programs, and every service component of ARS. Employers are included to participate in mini-job fair activities. Media informs the community about Expo activities and the availability of food and refreshments. Activities are extended beyond the regular work-day hours in order to serve individuals after work hours.

 

If applicable, identify plans for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs within the state.

Strategy

* The 2012 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment Update indicates that upgrades and improvements are necessary at the Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI), a publicly owned CRP and an integral part of the ARS service delivery system. ARS will implement replacement of the ACTI water system and relocation of the Automotive and Cosmetology vocational training areas to the former Army Reserve Building at 200 Reserve St., Hot Springs, Arkansas. The former Reserve Building will be acquired through the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) process at no cost, but improvements and upgrades will be necessary. The upgrades and improvements to ACTI water system and the Armory Building will be completed as services to groups of individuals with disabilities to establish, develop or improve a CRP as outlined in the July 3, 2012 letter from RSA. This is with the exception of installation of an elevator and entryway renovations to the former Army Reserve Building which are removal of architectural barriers and meet the definition of an administrative cost under the VR program as outlined in the July 3, 2012 letter from RSA.

*Before expending funds on the establishment activities above on the ACTI water system and former Army Reserve Building ARS must have written establishment policy in place. On August 15, 2012 the Draft ARS Establishment Policy was submitted to the RSA liaison for review. After RSA review is completed, the State Rehabilitation Council will review the policy in September. The target dates for completion of the state promulgation process are: (a.) 30-day public input period – October 31, 2012; (b.) Legislative Review – November 30, 2012; and, (c.) final effective date of the policy December 15, 2012.

* ARS will implement an instrument used to monitor CRPs including the ARS Arkansas Career Training Institute to ensure that Agency and ACTI performance standards and indicators are met in response to the RSA 107 Monitoring.

*ARS will continue assignment of a rehabilitation counselor as a liaison to each CRP in each District.

 

Describe strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators.

Strategy

* ARS will make a concentrated effort - through increased referrals, enhanced job development and placement services, and recruitment of qualified rehabilitation counselors to fill vacancies - to meet or exceed past performance in employment outcomes in FY 2013.

*ARS will increase performance in Supported Employment with emphasis on serving an increased number of individuals with intellectual and cognitive disabilities.

*In response to the RSA 107 Monitoring, ARS is in the process of improving and further developing comprehensive monitoring for CRP’s including ACTI, ARS’ public CRP. The monitoring instrument will establish performance indicators including increases in employment outcomes. The monitoring will evaluate if Field Services needs are met for service provision to ARS VR clients, and result in improvement in the vocational training offered in terms of training for high-wage, high-demand jobs resulting in increased employment outcomes.

 

Describe strategies for assisting other components of the statewide workforce investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.

Strategy

* ARS will collaborate with the Workforce Center staff to increase the ability of ARS staff to conduct intake interviews and take applications in a confidential manner while located at a Workforce Center site.

* ARS District Managers will conduct follow-up contacts with Workforce Managers to increase and improve working relationships and collaborative efforts.

* ARS will assist other components of the workforce system to educate employers and businesses regarding disability issues in order to create greater employment opportunities.

 

Describe how the agency's strategies will be used to:

  • achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1);
  • support innovation and expansion activities; and
  • overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and the state Supported Employment Services Program.

Strategies to Achieve Goals and Priorities for FY 2013

Goal 1: To meet or exceed the benchmarks for state performance standards and indicators.

Strategy

* ARS will make a concentrated effort - through increased referrals, enhanced job development and placement services, and recruitment of qualified rehabilitation counselors to fill vacancies - to meet or exceed past performance in employment outcomes in FY 2013.

*ARS will increase performance in Supported Employment with emphasis on serving an increased number of individuals with intellectual and cognitive disabilities.

* In July of 2012 ARS awarded a contract to a marketing firm to increase awareness of ARS VR services to both private citizens, service providers and business and industry as recommended in the Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment. The goal of the marketing program is to increase employment outcomes as needed to improve performance on the Standards and Indicators.

Goal 2: Increase availability of assistive technology (AT) for consumers statewide.

Strategy

* Field Services will utilize the Assistive Technology@Work (AT@Work) program through all field offices to assess and utilize assistive technology equipment for consumers during FY2013 on a statewide basis.

* ARS will continue to collaborate and provide referrals to the Increasing Capabilities Access Network (ICAN), the state assistive technology grant, to increase awareness and utility of assistive technology on a statewide basis.

Goal 3: ARS will use a portion of the funds in compliance with Section 101(a)(18) for the development and implementation of innovative approaches to expand and improve vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities.

Strategy

* ARS will develop and implement ARS Expos across the state to provide marketing of ARS services and outreach to local communities targeting individuals with minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved.

* ARS will use a portion of the funds under Section 101(a)(18) for the support of the SRC and/or the SILC.

Goal 4: Increase the availability of Supported Employment (SE) Services to consumers by providing technical assistance to vendors and increasing the number of referrals for SE services.

Strategy

* ARS will provide technical assistance and develop incentives to Supported Employment (SE) providers or potential providers, including CRPs, to increase the availability of SE services to consumers statewide.

*ARS will explore revision of interagency agreements with Behavioral Health Services.

*ARS will complete policy on certification requirements for SE providers.

Goal 5: Improve public relations, marketing, information, outreach, and referrals.

Strategy

* ARS will develop outreach strategies designed to improve access to VR services for the state’s Hispanic residents living with a disability.

* ARS will develop educational and informational materials designed to inform potential referral sources about the referral process and the scope of ARS services.

* Materials and information will be provided in a variety of formats for field personnel to distribute at the local community level.

* The materials will provide special attention to strategies designed to reach and serve a growing diverse population in the state.

* In July of 2012 ARS awarded a contract to a marketing firm to increase awareness of ARS VR services to both private citizens, service providers and business and industry as recommended in the Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment. The goal of the marketing program is to increase employment outcomes as needed to improve performance on the Standards and Indicators. The marketing program will be developed and implemented in FY 2013 continuing into the future program years.

Goal 6: Improve and expand job development, placement and employment.

Strategy

* ARS will enhance and facilitate a business services component in an effort to increase quality employment outcomes.

* ARS will increase the number of placement specialists employed within the state.

* A statewide advisory group will be established composed of individuals from business and industry, counselors, job placement specialists, and other appropriate professionals to explore implementation of a Business Leadership Network in Arkansas.

*The local business advisory group at ACTI will collaborate with the statewide ARS business advisory group with the goal of expanding job placement and employment outcomes.

Goal 7: Improve and expand transition services program.

Strategy

* ARS leadership will work with the State Department of Education to insure that rehabilitation counselors have ready access to all students with disabilities.

* ARS leadership will work with the school districts throughout the state to facilitate and enhance the working relationship between the school districts and local rehabilitation District Managers and counselors.

* ARS will promote that all students reported to have a disability and an IEP will be contacted by a transition or rehabilitation counselor prior to or during their junior year of school.

* ARS will promote that all students with an IEP will be provided eligibility determination for VR services before they graduate high school.

* ARS will present opportunities for both further training and higher education as options to students and their families during transition planning for students. Additionally, students and their families will be given information and explanation of employment services and options, including information that describes and defines supported employment as one of those options. The information will be made available through ARS Field Offices and ACTI.

Goal 8: Improve services to better meet the needs concerning SSI/SSDI beneficiaries with disabilities.

Strategy

* ARS will explore the development of additional SSA benefit counselors to work with ARS consumers and potential consumers regarding SSA rules and work incentives for employment.

* ARS will collaborate with the AWIN Benefits Counseling Program, the Working Medicaid Program and Employment Networks to leverage and expand services to SSI/SSDI beneficiaries.

Goal 9: Develop and improve Community Rehabilitation Programs.

Strategy

* ARS will implement replacement of the ACTI water system; acquisition and renovations of the former Army Reserve Building at 200 Reserve St., Hot Springs, Arkansas; and relocation of the Automotive and Cosmetology vocational training areas and the Hot Springs Field Services Office to the former Army Reserve Building as recommended in the State Comprehensive Needs Assessment approved and recommended by ARS and the State Rehabilitation Council. The 2012 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment Update indicates that upgrades and improvements are necessary at the Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI), a publicly owned CRP and an integral part of the ARS service delivery system. The former Reserve Building will be acquired through the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) process no cost, but improvements and upgrades will be necessary. The upgrades and improvements to ACTI water system and the Armory Building will be completed as services to groups of individuals with disabilities to establish, develop or improve a CRP as outlined in the July 3, 2012 letter from RSA. This is with the exception of installation of an elevator and entryway renovations to the former Army Reserve Building which are removal of architectural barriers and meet the definition of an administrative cost under the VR program as outlined in the July 3, 2012 letter from RSA. ACTI provides services to applicants and eligible individuals exclusively. The improvements and upgrades at ACTI are in an effort to increase employment outcomes and improve ARS performance on the Standards and Indicators.

*Before expending funds on the establishment activities above on the ACTI water system and former Army Reserve Building ARS must have written establishment policy in place. On August 15, 2012 the Draft ARS Establishment Policy was submitted to the RSA liaison for review. After RSA review is completed, the State Rehabilitation Council will review the policy in September. The target dates for completion of the state promulgation process are: (a.) 30-day public input period – October 31, 2012; (b.) Legislative Review – November 30, 2012; and, (c.) final effective date of the policy December 15, 2012.

*ARS will implement an instrument used to monitor CRPs and the ARS Arkansas Career Training Institute to ensure that Agency performance standards are met in compliance with the FY 2011 RSA On-Site Monitoring.

*ARS will continue assignment of a rehabilitation counselor as a liaison to each CRP in each District.

Goal 10: Enhance collaboration and partnerships with the Workforce Investment System.

Strategy

* ARS will collaborate with the Workforce Center staff to increase the ability of ARS staff to conduct intake interviews and take applications in a confidential manner while located at a Workforce Center site.

* ARS District Managers will conduct follow-up contacts with Workforce Managers to increase and improve working relationships and collaborative efforts.

*ACTI has received approval to provide testing for the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services CRC candidates who are individuals with disabilities. The individuals must be VR clients. The CRC is the National Career Readiness Certificate developed by ACT. CRC is a national industry-recognized, portable, evidence-based credential that certifies essential skills needed for workplace success.

Goal 11: Increase and enhance services to clients.

Strategy

* ARS will continue to collaborate with other state agencies and organizations to address disability related issues as they arise.

* ARS will reclassify positions and request additional positions from the Legislature in order to increase the number of VR counselors and reduce caseloads.

* Counselor caseloads will be redistributed to achieve a more equitable number of cases per counselor and to reduce the number of cases per counselor.

* ARS will work with other interested parties and organizations to educate employers and businesses regarding disability issues in order to create greater employment opportunities.

* The improvements to the water system and former Reserve Building at ACTI will create a safer and more functional learning and living environment. The upgrades to the ACTI campus will increase accessibility and availability of VR services, improve the level of accreditation and licensing merited by ACTI’s VR programming and result in a larger number of successful employment outcomes for ARS’ VR consumers.

4.11 (d) Outreach

The agency has implemented the ARS Expo program. The Expos are marketing and outreach programs that inform Arkansas citizens about the availability of ARS services. The Expos provide outreach activities to individuals from minority backgrounds, individuals with the most significant disabilities, and others who are unserved or underserved. The Expos take place in communities across the state and continue from last year to cover the entire state. The Expos include representatives from Field Services, the ACTI Rehabilitation Center, Special Programs, and all services components of ARS. Employers are present for mini-job fair activities. Media informs the community about Expo activities and the availability of food and refreshments. Activities are extended beyond the regular work-day hours in order to serve individuals after work hours.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 15 2012 10:29AM by saarparkerr

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals

The goals and strategies from 4.11(c)(1) for FY 2011 are:

Goal 1: To meet or exceed the benchmarks for state performance standards and indicators.

Strategy

* ARS will make a concentrated effort - through increased referrals, enhanced job development and placement services, and recruitment of qualified rehabilitation counselors to fill vacancies - to meet or exceed performance in employment outcomes in FY 2011.

*ARS will increase performance in Supported Employment with emphasis on serving an increase in the number of individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness.

ARS Performance Standards and Indicators for FY 2011

Standard 1: Employment Outcomes

Performance Indicator 1.1 The data indicates that the number of individuals in Arkansas who achieved an employment outcome decreased from 2,670 in FY 2010 to 2,198 in FY 2011. This does not meet the federal benchmark of equaling or exceeding performance in the previous fiscal year.

Performance Indicator 1.2 The data indicates that 49.0% of the individuals in Arkansas who exited the VR program after receiving services achieved an employment outcome. This does not meet the federal benchmark of 55.8%. Performance Indicator 1.3 The data indicates that the percentage of individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, which exited the VR program in competitive, self-employment, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage is 99.4% in Arkansas, which exceeds the federal benchmark of 72.6%. Performance Indicator 1.4 The data indicates that of all individuals who exited the VR program in competitive, self-employment, or BEP employment, with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage that are individuals with significant disabilities in Arkansas is 96.2% which exceeds the federal benchmark of 62.4%.

Performance Indicator 1.5 The data indicates the result for Performance Indicator 1.5 in Arkansas is the ratio of 0.61, which exceeds the federal benchmark of 0.52.

Performance Indicator 1.6 The data indicates the mathematical difference between the percentage reporting their own income as the largest single source of economic support at exit and the percentage reporting their own income as the largest single source of economic support at application is 58.4 in Arkansas which exceeds the federal benchmark of 53.0.

Standard 2: Equal Access to Services

Performance Indicator 2.1 The data indicates the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds, as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities is 0.89 in Arkansas, which exceeds the federal benchmark of 0.80.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 1

ARS met or exceeded the minimum performance required on the standards and indicators for FY 2011 with the exception of 1.1 and 1.2. Performance on Standard 1.1, Change in Employment Outcomes, decreased in FY 2011. Some of the factors involved included a depressed economy in Arkansas and high unemployment. Regarding performance standard 1.2, Percent of Employment Outcomes, ARS purchased a new case management software system and underwent a data conversion to the new system beginning in July of 2010. The system went live Oct 21, 2010. The data conversion process included correcting and deleting many old, outdated cases which caused an unusually high number of cases to be closed affecting this standard.

Goal 2: Increase availability of assistive technology (AT) for consumers statewide.

Strategy

* Field Services will utilize the Assistive Technology@Work (AT@Work) program (formerly S.E.A.T. program) through all satellite offices to assess and utilize assistive technology equipment and devices for consumers throughout FY2012 on a statewide basis.

* ARS will continue collaboration efforts and provide referrals to the Increasing Capabilities Access Network (ICAN) to increase awareness and utility of assistive technology on a statewide basis.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 2

The Assistive Technology@Work (AT@Work) program is designed to assist the ARS client and the referring VR Counselor in selecting and obtaining the appropriate assistive technology. Services offered include evaluation/assessment, assistive technology device selection and procurement, training, and technical assistance as relates to work, school and home. The program is a collaborative effort involving Little Rock based occupational therapy and ACTI physical therapy staff. During FY 2011 the program provided services to 104 individuals. Increasing Capabilities Access Network (ICAN) is the State Grant for Assistive Technology (AT) in Arkansas. ARS continues to collaborate with ICAN to meet the AT needs of consumers in the state. Under the ICAN program in FY 2011 742 AT devices were refurbished; 872 AT devices were loaned to consumers on short-term basis; 195 AT devices were demonstrated to 511 participants; and training was provided to 402 participants.

Goal 3: ARS will use a portion of the funds in compliance with Section 101(a)(18) for the development and implementation of innovative approaches to expand and improve vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities.

Strategy

* ARS will strengthen collaboration with Independent Living Centers through meetings and conferences.

* ARS will continue to support the Arkansas Outreach to Emerging Communities Program targeting individuals with minority backgrounds with disabilities.

* ARS will use a portion of the funds under Section 101(a)(18) for the support of the SRC and/or the SILC.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 3

ARS worked with the Centers for Independent Living (CIL) through the Arkansas Independent Living Council. The Arkansas Career and Training Institute (ACTI) collaborated with the Sails CIL in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in IL and ADA training sessions with ARS consumers. The CILs and ARS participated in ARA Conference and the Rehabilitation Council. ARS held community forums, called ARS Expos, in FY 2011 in several communities. The Expos are marketing and outreach efforts to reach individuals with disabilities, parents, community leaders, schools, and businesses in the community. The Expos are a combination outreach and job fair with booth displays of ARS field services, transition services, assistive technology, Arkansas Career and Training Institute (rehabilitation center), Adult Basic Education and employers. During FY 2011 Expos were held in four cities with attendance of over 900 participants. Plans are to continue the Expos through FY 2012. Innovation and Expansion funds were utilized to fund the ARS Rehabilitation Council and the Arkansas Independent Living Council each of whom had the required quarterly meetings during FY 2011. ARS participated in both councils and collaborated with members and Centers for Independent Living.

Goal 4: Increase the availability of Supported Employment (SE) Services to consumers by providing technical assistance to vendors and increasing the number of referrals for SE services.

Strategy

* ARS will provide technical assistance and develop incentives to Supported Employment (SE) providers or potential providers, including CRPs, to increase the availability of SE services to consumers statewide.

*ARS will explore revision of interagency agreements with Developmental Disabilities Services and Behavioral Health Services

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 4

ARS increased fees and provided technical assistance to CRPs during FY 2011 in an attempt to expand and improve the availability of SE services. The availability of SE service providers is limited in Arkansas. Out of 75 counties, 22 mostly rural counties do not have service providers. Facility-based providers were reluctant to attempt to fund new SE programs during the poor economic conditions and high unemployment of the period. On October 21, 2010, the Governor’s Executive Order on Employment First initiated a mandate to make employment a priority for Arkansas agencies including Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) and Behavioral Health Services. ARS and DDS were negotiating a revised interagency agreement for increased collaboration, leveraging funds, and to utilize DDS providers of SE. A revised agreement with Behavioral Health Services is being explored.

Goal 5: Improve public relations, marketing, information, outreach, and referrals.

Strategy

* ARS will develop outreach strategies designed to improve access to VR services for the state’s Hispanic residents living with a disability.

* ARS will study the needs and emerging population trends for purposes of developing and implementing a plan designed to increase the knowledge and access of potential consumers of the scope and availability of Rehabilitation Services.

* ARS will develop educational and informational materials designed to inform potential referral sources of the scope of ARS services and of the referral process.

* Materials and information will be provided in a variety of formats for Field personnel to distribute at the local community level.

* The materials will provide special attention to strategies designed to reach and serve a growing diverse population in the state.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 5

ARS held community forums, called ARS Expos, in FY 2011 in several communities. The Expos are marketing and outreach efforts to reach individuals with disabilities, parents, community leaders, schools, and businesses in the community. The Expos are a combination outreach and job fair with booth displays of ARS field services, transition services, assistive technology, Arkansas Career and Training Institute (rehabilitation center), Adult Basic Education and employers-with applications taken for both VR services and employment, as well. Media raised awareness in the local communities about the Expos and services. During FY 2011 Expos were held in four cities with attendance of over 900 participants. Plans are to continue the Expos through FY 2012. During FY 2011 an RFP was developed to contract a firm to provide marketing and public relations services for ARS during 2012. The marketing and outreach will be directed towards consumers, the public, employers, business and industry. Brochures and other materials have been developed for outreach in different formats including the ARS Client Handbook in Spanish. The materials are made available in ARS Field Offices, various conferences and ARS Expos.

Goal 6: Improve and expand job development, placement and employment.

Strategy

* ARS will enhance and facilitate a business services component in an effort to increase quality employment outcomes.

* ARS will increase the number of placement specialists employed throughout the state.

* The Field Program will be provided training regarding role, function and responsibility of placement specialists.

* An advisory group will be established composed of individuals from business and industry, counselors, job placement specialists, and other appropriate professionals.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 6

ARS has job placement specialists to assist VR counselors in job development, placement, and job stabilization for consumers. The number of job placement specialists, Business Relations Representatives (BRR), increased from seven to thirteen during FY 2011. The BRRs work with local business and industry in their communities and are members of the local Chambers of Commerce. ARS is developing a Business Leadership Network (BLN) which in turn will participate in the national U.S. BLN. Also, ARS’s Arkansas Career and Training Institute (comprehensive rehabilitation center) has an active business advisory council. The staff of the Field Services program has received training in the appropriate collaboration with the BRRs through the District Manager’s Meetings and the Special Topics Training for Field Services staff. BRRs participate in appropriate training along with counselors and staff.

Goal 7: Improve and expand transition services program.

Strategy

* ARS leadership will work with the State Department of Education to insure that rehabilitation counselors have ready access to all students with disabilities.

* ARS leadership will work with the school districts throughout the state to facilitate and enhance the working relationship between the school districts and local rehabilitation District Managers and counselors.

* ARS will promote that all students reported to have a disability and an IEP will be contacted by a transition or rehabilitation counselor prior to or during their junior year of school.

* ARS will promote that all students with an IEP will be provided eligibility determination for VR services before they graduate high school.

* ARS will present opportunities for both further training and higher education as options to students and their families during transition planning for students. Additionally, students and their families will be given information and explanation of employment services and options, including information that describes and defines supported employment as one of those options.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 7

The ARS leadership has strengthened its partnership and collaborative efforts with the Arkansas Department of Education/Special Education Division (ADS). The ARS Transition Program (ATP) and the ADS Transition Services (ATS) teams have been very successful in their efforts to ensure that both teams have ready access to Arkansas’ students with disabilities. During FY 2011, the ATP transition counselors successfully involved the ATS consultants in 100% of the eleven high schools served by ATP. Additionally, the ATP and ATS teams worked with other transition stakeholders to increase collaboration among agencies, with a goal of improving transition outcomes in Arkansas by restructuring its state transition team, the Arkansas Interagency Transition Partnership (AITP). The initial results of restructuring AITP are: increased awareness of the various roles of the various stakeholders in the transition process; the initiation of a review of the transition process among all stakeholders to articulate and propose data-driven system improvements (policy and program); and the development of informational videos to be made available to all high schools students with IEP. The increased efforts of the ARS leadership to work with the school districts throughout the state during FY 2011 have resulted in the development of an improved process for assigning rehabilitation counselors to high schools. This new system provides that rehabilitation counselors are assigned by the ARS District Manager, which promotes increased engagement by the District Managers and serves to enhance the working relationships between the transition and rehabilitation counselor and the schools they are assigned to serve. The ARS leadership has developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to be entered into with all Arkansas high schools that promotes consistency in the application of our services and requires that the transition and rehabilitation counselors meet with special education teachers of high school students with an IEP by the end of the junior year. The ARS transition and rehabilitation counselors have increased the number of students with an IEP that are determined eligible before graduation. ARS has substantially increased the opportunities for students and their families to gain the information necessary to make informed decisions about post-secondary education and training. This increase in parental and student informed consent resulted from a multi-faceted approach by ARS: the transition counselors begin engaging the students and their families in the transition process by the beginning of the 10th grade; and the rehabilitation counselors have increased the presence and visibility at the high schools they are assigned to serve.

Goal 8: Improve services to better meet the needs concerning SSI/SSDI beneficiaries with disabilities.

Strategy

* ARS will explore the development of additional SSA benefit counselors to work with ARS consumers and potential consumers regarding SSA rules and work incentives for employment.

* ARS will collaborate with the AWIN Benefits Counseling Program, the Working Medicaid Program and Employment Networks to leverage and expand services to SSI/SSDI beneficiaries.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 8

In November of 2010 a program manager was hired to coordinate the Ticket to Work initiatives for ARS. The coordinator has a collaborative and training role statewide with Benefits Counselors, Employment Networks (EN), Social Security Administration, Maximus Ticket Program Manager, the Working Medicaid Program and ARS Field Services. Training, presentations at conferences and one-to-one meetings and discussions have taken place to improve services to SSI/SSDI beneficiaries. Partnership Plus agreements are being negotiated with employment networks (EN) to facilitate increased cooperation with ENs. Increased cooperation with ENs will potentially improve services to consumers and increase cost reimbursement to ARS for funds spent on vocational rehabilitation services that assisted beneficiaries to become employed within SSA guidelines. Benefits counselors continued to operate under the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance grant in Arkansas which provides the services in Arkansas. Additional benefits counselors were not provided by the agency.

Goal 9: Develop and improve Community Rehabilitation Programs.

Strategy

* ARS will continue assignment of a rehabilitation counselor as a liaison to each CRP in his/her District.

* ARS District Managers will assume a more active role with the CRPs for purposes of developing positive working relationships, to further assess the need to improve or expand services, and to determine if additional CRPs need to be constructed.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 9

Each CRP within the state has a VR counselor assigned as liaison to the CRP. The liaison visits at least on a quarterly basis and keeps communication flowing between ARS and the CRP. ARS District Managers along with field services staff made on-site visits to the CRPs in their communities. ARS is considering a position for coordinator to work with facility based sheltered-workshop CRPs, as well as community based and SE providers of services

Goal 10: Enhance collaboration and partnerships with the Workforce Investment System.

Strategy

*ARS will collaborate with the Workforce Center staff to increase the ability of ARS staff to conduct intake interviews and take applications in a confidential manner while located at a Workforce Center site.

* ARS District Managers will conduct follow-up contacts with Workforce Managers to increase and improve working relationships and collaborative efforts.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 10

ARS field staff act as liaisons to all Workforce Centers in the state. Each Workforce Center is visited on a regular basis by a VR counselor in the community. Workforce Centers are served mostly through itinerary points by VR counselors in their District. ARS staff attends the annual Workforce Conference and ARS Commissioner Trevino is a member of the State Workforce Board. The ARS District Managers are members of the Local Workforce Boards. The Workforce Centers have improved in providing space for confidential interviews.

Goal 11: Increase and enhance services to clients.

Strategy

* ARS will reclassify positions and request additional positions from the Legislature in order to increase the number of VR counselors and reduce caseloads.

* Counselor caseloads will be redistributed to achieve a more equitable number of cases per counselor and to reduce the number of cases per counselor.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Goal 11

ARS increased counselor positions from 70 to 90 during FY 2011. The ARS Districts were reorganized from 8 to 10 Districts creating two new District Manager positions with no more than two field offices assigned to the manager within each district with the exception of Little Rock with one field office. The increase in the number of counselors lowered the case load per counselor making additional time available for consumers and improving service provision. Increasing the number of district managers and decreasing responsibilities for field offices assists district managers in facilitating counselors in provision of services.

4.11 (d) Outreach

Goal: The agency is developing the program Arkansas Outreach for Emerging Communities. ARS is developing this program as an outreach mechanism to serve individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds by increasing employment opportunities, resources and developing leadership skills. This initiative identifies and serves individuals with disabilities who are minorities of all ages and with all disabilities.

ARS Evaluation and Progress on Outreach

The agency implemented the ARS Expo community outreach events. The Expos are marketing and outreach activities to increase disability awareness and inform Arkansas citizens about the availability of ARS services. The Expos include outreach activities to individuals from minority backgrounds, individuals with significant disabilities, and others who are unserved or underserved. The Expos were held in four communities around the state in North Little Rock, Helena, Fayetteville, and Texarkana. Over 900 individuals from the local communities participated in the Expos. The Expos included representatives from Field Services, the ACTI Rehabilitation Center, Special Programs, and all services components of ARS. Employers were present for mini-job fair activities. Media informed the community about the Expo activities and the availability of food and refreshments. The activities extended beyond the regular work-day hours in order to serve individuals after work hours. The Expos will be continued through FY 2012.

 

The goals from 4.11(c)(4) for FY 2011 were to increase the availability of Supported Employment (SE) Services to consumers by providing technical assistance to vendors and to increase the number of referrals for SE services. The strategy is to provide technical assistance and develop incentives to SE providers including CRPs to increase the availability of SE services to consumers. At the same time, the agency will place greater emphasis on supported employment outcomes and traditional sheltered employment outcomes will be de-emphasized. The strategy involves an increased focus on appropriate SE outcomes as opposed to traditional sheltered employment. ARS developed interagency agreements with the state agencies that serve individuals with the most significant disabilities including Developmental Disabilities Services, Special Education, Behavioral Health and the Division of Services for the Blind. The agreement places an emphasis on competitive employment as a desirable outcome for individuals with the most significant disabilities including those with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses. ARS utilizes a fee schedule for CRPs and other SE providers predicated on a fee-for-service model. The goal is to stimulate an increase in the number of SE providers in the state and to provide incentives for provision of SE services in rural areas that are unserved and underserved. In turn, the goal is to increase the number of referrals and individuals served and rehabilitated in the SE program. ARS is developing a revised agreement that includes the use of Medicaid waiver funds to provide support services and extended services to SE clients receiving waiver services. In October of 2010, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe issued an Executive Order, the Employment First Initiative to Increase Employment in State Government for People with Disabilities. The Employment First Initiative objectives included updating policies, staff training, reporting, and data tracking with an annual progress report to support the increased effort to employ people with disabilities. A task force was formed including all agencies that serve individuals with disabilities. Emphasis was placed on the most significant disabilities including intellectual and cognitive disabilities and chronic mental illness, and includes Developmental Disability Services, Behavioral Health Services, the Division of Services for the Blind and ARS. The task force worked on strategies for each agency to meet the objectives. The process continued through FY 2011 and strategies will be implemented in FY 2012.

 

ARS met or exceeded the minimum performance required on the standards and indicators for FY 2011 with the exception of 1.1 and 1.2. Standard 1.1 Change in Employment Outcomes decreased from 2,670 in FY 2010 to 2,198 for FY 2011. This was due to a depressed economy in Arkansas and high unemployment. Regarding performance standard 1.2, ARS purchased a new case management software system and underwent a data conversion to the new system beginning in July of 2010. The system went live Oct 21, 2010. The data conversion process included correcting and deleting many old, outdated cases. This caused an unusually high number of cases closed unsuccessfully during this reporting period.

 

Title I funds for Innovation and Expansion are reserved and used to support the SRC in the annual resource plan and, along with funds from the Division of Services for the Blind, the SILC in the annual budget. Innovation and Expansion funds supported ARS community forums, called ARS Expos, in FY 2011 in several communities. The Expos are marketing and outreach efforts to reach individuals with disabilities, parents, community leaders, schools, and businesses in the community. The Expos are a combination outreach and job fair with booth displays of ARS field services, transition services, assistive technology, Arkansas Career and Training Institute (rehabilitation center), Adult Basic Education and employers. During FY 2011 Expos were held in four cities with attendance of over 900 participants. Plans are to continue the Expos through FY 2012.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 11:33AM by saarparkerr

  • Describe quality, scope, and extent of supported employment services to be provided to individuals with the most significant disabilities
  • Describe the timing of the transition to extended services

ARS continues initiatives to expand and improve Supported Employment (SE) Services for individuals with the most significant disabilities throughout the state. An Interagency Agreement enhances collaboration among ARS, Division of Services for the Blind, Developmental Disability Services and Behavioral Health state agencies. Another Interagency Agreement is in place with SE service vendors to implement strategies to expand the SE system, including job placement services. Strategies include increasing the number of vendors offering SE and job placement statewide through enhanced incentives; utilizing a fee-for-service approach with CRPs and SE providers; revised fee schedules; and commitment from Developmental Disability Services and Behavioral Health state agencies to emphasize work as a high priority outcome as a result of the Governor’s Executive Order Work First Initiative for People with Disabilities.

ARS provides Supported Employment (SE) Services in compliance with Sec. 7 Definitions in the Act based on a determination of the needs of an eligible individual, as specified in an individualized plan for employment. To the extent job skills training is provided, the training is provided on-site. SE services include placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of individuals with the most significant disabilities. ARS identifies and makes arrangements (including entering into cooperative agreements) with other State agencies and other appropriate entities to assist in the provision of SE services. State agency partners involved in ARS SE include the Department of Human Services (DHS) Developmental Disabilities Services, DHS Division of Behavioral Health Services, DHS Division of Services for the Blind and the Arkansas Department of Education. SE providers are utilized statewide. Faulkner Co. Council on Developmental Disabilities in Conway, First Step School in Hot Springs, Easter Seals in Little Rock, Arkansas Support Network, serving northwest Arkansas, and Abilities Unlimited of Jonesboro are a few of the list of vendors for SE services. All providers of SE services to consumers of ARS agree in writing to provide extended services for the client as long as the client has the current job. The timing of the transition from employment to extended services is immediate. Extended services begin immediately after the case is closed status 26 when the employment outcome is achieved.

This screen was last updated on May 29 2012 4:21PM by saarparkerr

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 08/15/2012 at 10:34 AM

Last updated by saarparkerr

Completed on 08/23/2012 at 8:54 AM

Completed by kschelle

Approved on 08/23/2012 at 8:54 AM

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Published on 09/25/2012 at 12:42 PM

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