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
American Samoa Office of Vocational Rehabilitation State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

1.1 The American Samoa Office of Vocational Rehabilitation 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 Governor of American Samoa [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

Governor Togiola Tulafono

... 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

Pete P. Galea'i, Administrator

... 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
Mr. Pete P. Galea'i

Title of Signatory
Administrator

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
07/29/2011

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 2012
Yes

Comments:

OVR will complete the comprehensive statewide needs assessment and report the results in the FY 2013 State Plan submission, as required by Section 101(a)(15)(A) of the act and 34 CFR 361.29

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Pete P. Galea'i

Title of Signatory
Administrator

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
07/29/2011

* The signatory of the assurance with the authority to execute and submit the State Plan will maintain a signed copy of the assurance(s) with the signed State Plan.

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 not primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and includes a vocational rehabilitation unit as provided in paragraph (b) of this section (Option B was selected/Option A 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
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

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))

X This agency is 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.

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.2(c)

SUMMARY OF INPUT AND RECOMMENDATIONS PROVIDED

BY THE STATE REHABIITATION COUNCIL

The American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council (ASSRC) cooperated with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation on the implementation of programs as outlined in the Fiscal Year 2011 State Plan. The environment within which programs were implanted continue to be very challenging as the Territory of American Samoa continues to operate on a recovery mode due to the severe physical devastation perpetrated by the tsunami of September 29, 2009. Further deteriorative operating environment exacerbation was triggered by the termination of 2040 jobs attributed to the demise of Van Camp Samoa Packing; one of the two tuna fish packing operations in the territory. The global recession along with the mandated minimum wage hike by the Congress of the United States constituted key factors to the factory closure. The unemployment rate is currently estimated at 33%. Implications on the welfare of the physically challenged are overpowering. The chances for a disabled individual to find a job are slim to nothing.

Based on the above very grim scenario ASSRC attempted, in consultation with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, to pursue the identification of particular program set asides for the direct benefit of the physically challenged individual. As the custodian of public employment programs, the Department of Human Resources was the target of the inquiry. Focus was directed at the agency’s Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Program. Fortunately, the Chairperson of the ASSRC is at the helm of the government’s WIA Program. Fortuitously as well, the Administrator of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is the Chairman of the WIA Council. The Department of Human Resources was the recipient of funds from the United States of Department of Labor to retrain furloughed cannery workers and the unemployed. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is constantly keeping close ties with the Department of Human Resources WIA Program to ensure that training slots are available to be accessed by disabled individuals, particularly training programs hosted by private vendors.

The loss of 2040 jobs and general economic downturn caused the American Samoa Government to take actions which fostered the reduction of working hours, hiked minimum tax rate by 2%, along with revenue measure proposals which directly affect the socioeconomic status of disabled individuals. Of concern is the reciprocal impact of lost purchasing power to businesses. The mounting amount of accounts payable to the private businesses is forcing business to reduce workforce thus making it more difficult to secure employment for vocational rehabilitation clients under the Supported Employment Program. The government’s workforce has reached optimum levels without the capacity to create new positions. Employment options for the physically challenged population become nonexistent. This constitutes the fundamental impediment frustrating any efforts to place clients in permanent employment.

Attachment 4.2(c): Page 1 of 3 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

While the prevailing hostile environment within which vocational rehabilitation must function is preemptive with regard to addressing the needs of the disabled individuals, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation with support from the ASSRC are attempting to collaborate with private sector training vendors to build employment capacity with the goals of employment placement. Funds made available through the American Samoa Recovery and Reinvestment Act reflect the investment source. These efforts are orchestrated closely with the Supported Employment Unit of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. In less than two months since program inception one Vendor has been able to place two out of the 10 clients in permanent employment. This success is energizing efforts to move clients into employment opportunities.

The ASSRC and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation made headway in including language in the Revised Constitution of American Samoa causing proper recognition of people who are deemed to be intellectually and physically challenged. The underpinning thought is to compel the investment of locally generated financial resources to supplement federal funds to expand service coverage to the physically and mentally challenged. Regrettably, this attempt was voted down by the voters. The decision was not a referendum on the specific issue but rather the manner with which the constitutional issues were presented. Despite this setback, the ASSRC and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will seek to pursue the implementation of this constitutional change through the Legislative process. The proposed change will be recommended from the Governor’s endorsement and subsequent submission to the Legislature for a decision.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, together with the ASSRC is working collaboratively with the San Diego State University’s Rehabilitation Institute for the implementation of the Needs Survey. The ASSRC has recommended to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to inform the contractor to afford the Council the opportunity to review the survey questions before the survey is administered. Moreover, the ASSRC is recommending for the survey instrument to be translated into the Samoan language to preempt any translation bias. Technical terms will require explanation so the client fully understands the question and its intended meaning. It is being planned that this activity will be completed before the end of this current fiscal year with results available in the next year. Furthermore, comprehensive training sessions should be conducted prior to the survey execution to minimize survey errors with an addendum to include the American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council members in these training sessions. It is important and necessary for the ASSRC membership to understand the information being asked so that the responses will be easily comprehended. With the economic environment being hostile to disabled individuals it is recommended to incorporate questions to ascertain client responses.

Attachment 4.2(c): Page 2 of 3 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

In light of the continued deteriorative nature of the territory’s economic environment, new approaches in terms of strategies need to be developed to ensure that the needs of the disabled population of American Samoa are addressed. It is fortunate that American Samoa has a cultural system that ensures that the basic needs of the disabled are accommodated. Regrettably the cultural system perpetuates dependency with little effort expended to promote independence. Independence is forged by having the financial wherewithal to purchase the necessities of life without feeling obligated on others. It means having the ability of self-support. These are the goals of the current programs but economic restrictions retard efforts to create an environment that will allow the disabled to become independent and gain self worth and dignity. The ASSRC and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation are exploring other program avenues to readdress the obstacles precipitated by the territory’s deteriorative economic state. Families should become more involved in the habilitation process for their loved ones with focus on creating programs within the family setting to gain some level of independence for the disabled individual.

Much has been said about the gloom and doom economic environment which drives many of local decisions. The situation doesn’t look promising for the disabled population of American Samoa. This prognosis will not deter aggressive efforts to create opportunities for the physically challenged individuals. Small successes have been attained with respect to job placement. These tiny successes will be built on with better client profiling and realistic targeting of employment avenues reflective of the client’s physical attributes. The ASSRC and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is attempting to strengthen program bridges with other government and private entities serving the disabled population of American Samoa. Seamless relations allow for efficiency, maximum financial human resources leveraging, and ensuring that no one falls through any program gaps.

The State Rehabilitation Council was intricately involved in the review of the State Plan for fiscal year 2012 and its contributions are incorporated therein. Given the fact the territory has been operating in a crisis environment attributed to the national disaster and exacerbated by our continuing deteriorative economy, the State Rehabilitation Council has been delinquent with regard to the preparation of the required reports and performance of consumer satisfaction surveys. Nevertheless, the SRC has contacted the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Disability along with other service providers to ascertain information on the number and frequency of complaints filed against services provided for their needs. The complaints received addressed the need for the extension of program eligibility time to reflect hardship conditions faced by the territory thus retarding the effectiveness of efforts to move clients towards full independence. Funding shortage severely impact the quality and quantity of services which is also a point of contention for the disabled individuals receiving services from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and other service providers. The State Rehabilitation Council was supportive of the goals, objectives, and strategies proposed by OVR to continue the process of advancing the welfare of the physically challenged population of American Samoa. As stated in the State Plan, the SRC is collaborating closely with OVR in the planning, implementation, and evaluation processes outlined in the State Plan for fiscal year 2012. Further, the State Rehabilitation Council will collaborate with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to ensure that the appropriate consumer survey is conducted along with the preparation of its annual report.

Attachment 4.2(c): Page 3 of 3 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2011 3:51PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

Identify the types of services to be provided by the program for which the waiver of statewideness is requested.

The waiver request should also include:

  • a written assurance from the local public agency that it will make available to the designated state unit the non-federal share of funds;
  • a written assurance that designated state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect;
  • a written assurance that all state plan requirements will apply to all services approved under the waiver.

This screen has never been updated.

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.

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.8(b)(1)

COOPERATION WITH AGENCIES NOT IN THE STATEWIDE

WORKFORCE INVESTMENT SYSTEM AND WITH OTHER ENTITIES

The Territory of American Samoa’s shrinking economy, caused by weakening global economies, exacerbated by natural disasters and the automatic application of the federal minimum wage necessitates even closer cooperation with all agencies inside and outside of the statewide workforce investment system. In recognition of this absolute, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) is assuming a more aggressive approach to strengthen operating cooperation with other agencies deemed not to be in the Statewide Workforce Investment System. To improve service quality by eliminating barriers and service bottlenecks, encouragement for seamless flow of program information is paramount. Fortunately, the process continues to be made easier by the ongoing presence of the OVR Administrator as the chairperson of the WIA Board of Directors. The Program Director of the Territory’s WIA Program is the Chairperson of the State Rehabilitation Council. Through this relationship, the allied entities are invited to participate in the WIA sponsored meetings and activities. This arms length sharing of information is facilitated, thereby eliminating any chance of service gaps and providing access to programs sponsored by these allied partners. The basic aims of these collaborations will continue to be:

? Facilitate access to appropriate services which would have otherwise been impossible due to program constraints and barriers which may infringe on the consumer’s rights.

? Establish clear delineation of roles and responsibilities to avert duplication of efforts, reduce service gaps, and maximize benefits generated from each dollar spent;

? Fashion a more holistic approach towards achieving common performance goals;

? Connect consumers to appropriate and effective services;

? Foster more positive and cooperative working relationships; and

? Create opportunities for fund leveraging thereby fostering expansion and improvement of services to more disabled individuals.

Assuring consideration of needs of the disable population in the Statewide Workforce Investment System the WIA Council allowed the incorporation of the Vocational Rehabilitation State Plan in the WIA Plan in its entirety. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is continuing to assume the leadership role in the WIA organization assuring that the OVR Rehabilitation State Plan is made part of WIA’s Territorial wide workforce development program.

In return the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will be sure to include WIA representatives in all of its activities. The Vocational Rehabilitation counselors are encourage to include other agencies, not in the WIA system, as participants in the preliminary planning process and the development of the IEP for each of the transitioning clients from the Division of Special Education. Moreover, a checklist of all other partners is being maintained by the counselors thus assuring comprehensive coordination and collaboration

It is beneficial to note that some of the federal programs available in the States are not accessible to the Territory so the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation continually attempts to influence programs of non-WIA related activities on a voluntary basis. The most delimiting factor is lack of funds to affect positive promotion of collaborative activities, not only with non-WIA related programs but also with the private sector with regard to employment placement. Rural Development programs of the Department of Agriculture are almost non-existent in American Samoa. The funding goes to the State of Hawaii and accessibility of these funds is almost impossible. The same can be said about the contracting process.

Efforts continue to be energized to enhance the level of collaboration with the Department of Education’s Division of Special Education. The Department of Education’s Division of Special Education is expanding its own services for the target clientele by entering into program agreement with the American Samoa Community College for remedial classes. Moreover, the Special Education Division is collaborating with the private sector on summer employment programs. While these activities are being pursued by the Special Education Division the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation continues to engage the former in preparing realistic individuals development plans along with defining the transition process to ensure that a positive closure is attained at program expiration. The WIA program is enlisted with regard to the identification of the continuum of viable employment options matching the individual’s physical, mental, and intellectual capabilities.

The environment within which this program is carried out is very unreceptive given the present growing unemployment rate. It now takes more to prepare the client in order to secure a permanent employment placement.

Attachment 4.8(b)(1): Page 1 of 1 Page

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

This screen was last updated on Jul 11 2011 6:05PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

  • 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.

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.8(b)(2)

COORDINATION WITH EDUCATION OFFICIALS

The need for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Education’s Special Education Division to engage in mutual collaboration is underscored. Facilitation of a holistic rehabilitation process would be impossible without arms length cooperation between these two service agencies. Improved probability for positive closures for disabled individuals passing through the educational system would not be possible if an effective transitioning pathway was not in place and facilitated only by intimate relationship between the two service providers. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has made it an absolute necessity to continuously invest in building quality relationships with the Department of Education’s Special Education Division. The quality of these relationships determines the successes of transitioning clients into employment placement, secondary education opportunities, and receiving positive closure in the Independent Living Program. Accordingly aggressive efforts will continue to be energized to clearly delineate responsibilities, assess needs, and recognizing the interests of each of the transitioning client. Periodically, the Memorandum of Understanding is revised to reflect material changes in the process funding responsibility, and responsibilities.

The Memorandum of Understanding defines the types of services to be provided and the time of service intervention. Other provisions include the importance for supported services to begin when the student reaches the age of 16 and when the student is in his/her Junior or Senior high school year. Early intervention allows for full immersion into support needs in integrated work and community activities during program hours before graduation. Based on this belief, the determination is made to include the student in the integrated work activity in the junior year, and guided by the student’s IEP developed jointly by all stakeholders. It is agreed that the students will be referred to the project by their respective high schools based on established criteria set forth by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Division of Special Education of the Department of Education. It was further decreed that the majority of the elective coursework will be executed during the junior year with focus on career planning and completing graduation requirements.

The existing Memorandum of Understanding requires one employment specialist and one special education teacher to be assigned to eight (8) to ten (10) students. This technical team is assigned instruction responsibilities contained in the IEP along with integrated work activities in the community. The injection of additional staff is dependent on the decision of the Assistant Director of Special Education and the Administrator of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation predicated on the demands of the IEP.

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Page 1 of 4 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

The community integration phase of the program begins in the student’s senior year. The process begins with the involvement of the employment specialist and/or the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor collaborating with the special education instructor to review and monitor the student’s progress in the project. Classroom work is minimized with much of the activities occurring at the job site and other community locations. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation facilitates the process by supplying whatever is needed to advance the project. Cost incurred during the last year is borne by the Division of Special Education.

The Division of Special Education is assuming the major role in the community or employment emersion program for the seniors. In this capacity the Division of Special Education is placing more students in the summer employment programs outside of the collaborative realm established between the two agencies. However, if assistance is needed from the Rehabilitation Counselors of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation help will be provided.

The student’s interest and choice determines the extent and nature of community work activity to be carried out. The interest and choice of the student is determined through the planning process which is executed in the summer before the school year begins. The planning process strives to comprehensively assess employment preference, personal interests, hobbies, personal aptitudes, skills, knowledge, etc. in order to accurately determine community work activities which will produce maximum benefits for the student. It is imperative that this process be implemented at the early stage of the project to allow for concentrated focus on activities and assistance that would expeditiously move the goals of the program forward prior to graduation.

Post Graduation

The Post-Graduation Planning Team meets to develop after graduation strategies aimed to maintain the momentum of the project which began during the client’s junior year. The team is comprised of representatives from the Division of Special Education, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Developmental Disabilities Program Council case manager. This team is required to meet regularly to assess and monitor the progress of the project and to implement adjustments deemed necessary. Moreover, the meetings allow the partners to review efforts to ensure that duplication is eliminated and financial leveraging is maximized.

The goal of the Post-Graduate Service is to ensure seamless transitioning from high school to the world of work. It is vital that the process is not interrupted guaranteeing or improving the probability for a positive closure. The environment within which the client must now function is much different from the protective walls of a classroom setting. The world is less tolerant for any claim for special treatment because of physical limitations.

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Page 2 of 4 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Division of Special Education is hard pressed to quickly alter the mindset of clients transitioning from high school. The key stakeholders have increased focus on documenting case experiences to be used to improve the development of IEPs and altering the format for the planning process. The insights learned are invaluable in transforming existing programs so their chance of success is markedly improved.

Plans, Policies, and Procedures For Coordination With Educational Officials

The desired life outcomes pertinent to disabled individuals are no different from common aspirations embedded in economic freedom, independence, and a meaningful life. Due to physical or mental impairment, the attainment of these basic goals might be a bit difficult for those of us who meet the definition of physically challenged. In most part, disabled individuals aspire for financial freedom to facilitate the purchase of services to satisfy their special needs. Unfortunately, their disabilities create disparity precluding equitable competition for available jobs. Some are so severely disabled they lack the physical or mental dexterity even to negotiate normal and basic life functions. Expected outcomes might be different but the longing for independence, financial freedom and meaningful lives is still very much prevalent.

The establishment of the Supported Employment Service Program in 1987 reflects the attempt to even the playing field for the disabled population. It was necessary to enter into a number of agreements ensuring effective coordination of the SES program with all of the relevant service providers. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation capitalized on the existence of the Workforce Investment Act which makes available tax credit to companies that hire disabled individuals. The tax credit incentive prompted local companies willing to take a chance on the disabled by providing permanent job placements on their workforce rosters. This program offers job coaching intended to enhance and economize the attainment of required skills by disabled clients. The inherent concept is to demonstrate to business owners that profitability is not compromised by employing a disabled person. Job coaching therefore plays a pivotal role in program success.

A coalition has also been established with the Division of Special Education to setup the transition process for students as they try to access the Supported Employment Service Program. The tri-agency memorandum of understanding continues to exist between the Division of Special Education, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Workforce Investment Act to allow for the development of a clear pathway for students to transition seamlessly into the world of work. This instrument is amended periodically to incorporate new insights learned during the course of the program. Job coachers have been investing energies to continued training sessions to effectively hone their skills thereby adding capacity to provide quality services.

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Page 3 of 4 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

The Developmental Disability Program Council has also entered into a joint agreement with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to provide case management and supported employment services to its clients. Additionally, the Support Employment Service Program provides case management services for the disabled clients of the Developmental Disability Program Council. This arrangement has been very successful reflected in the number of positive closures. The SES is constantly amending its operating procedures to continually improve its efficacy which is planned to be manifested in the continual success in the placement of disabled clients in permanent jobs.

Reflected in OVR’s RSA 113 performance over the last operating years, there is an appreciable rise in the number of significant disabled individuals being rehabilitated. The root of this success is the collective approach in delivering services to the disabled individuals and trying to localize the services in one area. As OVR continues to gain efficiency and experience, its services to the disabled individuals have improved thus contributing to the increase in the number of significant disabled individuals being rehabilitated.

The Department of Education’s Special Education Division is working collaboratively with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in the establishment of a seamless transition pathway to ensure continued facilitation of the student’s needs when he/she leaves the school setting. One of the key collaborations is the joint development of Individualized employment plans for transitioning students. The OVR Counselors, along with Special Education’s specialists work to fashion an individualized employment plan for each departing student. The Special Educational Division is now also attempting to place seniors in summer employment experience during the senior year to give them firsthand experience in actual work setting. Accordingly, parameters are being developed to ensure that OVR will continue to pursue this employment experience until the individual is placed permanently in the field of choice. For those students who did not receive this opportunity, OVR will, through its supported employment program and other specialized services, will attempt to pursue employment placement or other avenues gravitating to achieving greater independence.

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Page 4 of 4 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2011 3:53PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

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

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.8(b)(3)

COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS WITH PRIVATE NON-PROFIT

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICE PROVIDERS

Attempts to rekindle the relationship with the Goodwill Industries in the past year have become an exercise in futility. Accordingly, while Goodwill Industries attends to redressing internal operating issues, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation explored other private sector entities interested in vocational rehabilitation development services. Until such time Goodwill Industries rectifies existing operating impediments, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will continue to focus its attention canvassing the community for new service partners.

Through the availability of the Recovery and Reinvestment Funds the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation engaged the services of Empowerment Unlimited Inc. (non-profit entity) to provide training focusing on improving employability skills of the clients with an additional program caveat reserved for clients desirous to pursue entrepreneurship. The ultimate goal of the program is employment placement whether in traditional jobs or self sufficiency employment options. The joint initiative between the Supported Employment Service Division of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is on its fourth month of the six months agreement. During this period, two (2) of the ten (10) clients have been placed in permanent employment. While the actualized success bolstered confidence with respect to expected continuing success, caution is exercised because some of the clients are severely disabled making employment placement more difficult. For some of these clients the self sufficiency options is encouraged. Empowerment Unlimited Inc. is collaborating with the Department of Agriculture and the Land Grant to setup pilot vegetable garden projects on the client’s land so that upon graduation the client will have an established operation. Technical assistance can be provided jointly by EUI, Department of Agriculture, or Land Grant. The client will gain experience and learn each phase of the business, up to the first sale and subsequent ability to sustain the operation. The staff of the Supported Employment Service Program is intricately involved in the program. Empowerment Unlimited Inc. is also offering a wide array of computer training with the goal to improve the disabled individual’s employability and self employment capacity. All of the ten (10) clients have attained confidence in computer use. Some now have the ability and skill to access the internet. Similar attempts are being pursued with other non-profit organizations aimed to expand employment horizons and personal capabilities so the probability of closure is enhanced.

Similar initiatives have been consummated with other private sector businesses possessing potential to hire the participating client full time at the end of the six (6) months training program. The Island Breeze Inc, a water processing and distribution company, is attempting to equip clients with water processing and distribution skills, not only for its future workforce but for the other three water processing and distribution companies operating in the territory.

Attachment 4.8(b)(3): Page 1 of 1 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

This screen was last updated on Jul 11 2011 8:09PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

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.

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.8(b)(4)

EVIDENCE OF COLLABORATION REGARDING SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT

SERVICES AND EXTENDED SERVICES

The small size of the island geographically and demographically warranted the existing configuration of vocational rehabilitation services placing all vocational rehabilitation programs under one agency with the inclusion of the Independent Living Services. This organizational setting is unique in relation to mainland hierarchy. American Samoa is plagued by the lack of non-profit or for profit entities offering rehabilitation services to the physically challenged population of American Samoa. While non government agencies have emerged, financial wherewithal fostered continual dependence on the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to render the bulk of vocational services along such other assistance as supported employment services. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, being the designated state agency continues to be vigilant in coordinating its efforts with the Division of Special Education of the Department of Education to build a seamless transitioning network for students. It has been stated in the Attachment 4.8(b)(3) that entering into cooperative agreements is precluded by the absence of private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers. Further, the procedure of coordinating supported employment services and extended services has already been documented in the other attachments and their replication would be redundant and of no consequence.

The Catholic Social Services Agency is gaining both financial and competency strength thus emboldening our hope that more entities will be able to supplement the services rendered by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. The Territorial Coalition on Aging achieved operational status this year and its focus is to service the needs of the elderly population. This is certainly a welcome addition because, reflective of the national trend, American Samoa’s population are aging and given the size of the baby boomers entering this age bracket, their needs will be extensive. For the older age population, disability will be more physical in nature resulting from accidents such as falling. Vocational rehabilitation resources will not be reserved for traditional rehabilitation activities. Empowerment Unlimited Inc. with its mission to empower individuals to realize the promises in stored for those willing to take risks is already collaborating with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to improve employment placement and self sufficiency successes. Island Breeze is new but there is confidence that its addition will further enhance positive closure outcomes. The common thread which binds these efforts, in collaboration with the Supported Service Program is to increase the number of disabled individuals placed in employment opportunities, or pursuing non-traditional options inherent in self-sufficiency activities.

The involvement of parents in the established initiatives is necessary and cannot be overemphasized. There is not enough allowed time for instructors in various training venues for attitudinal transformation or skills inculcation. Cultural tenets and the natural inclination to tolerate exhibited behavior by a disable child complicates efforts to

Attachment 4.8(b)(4): Page 1 of 2 Page

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

unshackle the obstructive layers built over time; the worse of it is instilling the disabled individual the perception that he/she can’t do anything for themselves. It is essential to include parents in the training programs so they know what attributes they need to practice and behavior that needs to be encouraged.

Discussions have been held with the Women’s Business Center to determine interest to provide service to disabled individuals. Obstacles do exist with regard to availing program slots because of the current number of women seeking to participate in the program. Through the American Samoa Community College Institute on Developmental Disabilities, slow progress is being experienced however there is confidence that program momentum will improve. Informal discussions are being conducted with the Development Bank of American Samoa on different fronts; ranging from assistive technology loan program to small business loan assistance to support sufficient projects deemed beneficial for certain disabled individuals. .

In spite the influx of disaster funds due to the tsunami of September 29, 2009 and supplemented by the injection of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, the economic forecast for American Samoa remains gloomy. The uncertain status of the Federal minimum wage with respect to its continued imposition contributes to the negative economic forecast. The ascending unemployment rate caused by the backlash adverse effects of the mass termination of 2,040 permanent jobs in late 2009 heightens competition for available jobs. It is feared that further imposition of minimum wage hikes will exacerbate the unemployment plight of the disabled population of American Samoa. Moreover, the able bodied unemployed residents are considered to be living in poverty and they will become even more destitute. Employment options are severely restricted and will continue to worsen. Consequently, Supported Employment Program staff must be thoroughly trained in order to combat the onslaught by able-bodied unemployed individuals.

While the American Samoa Government unfolded its commitment to the advancement of tourism, very little progress is being observed. Air transportation cost to the territory remains the major impediment. Although tremendous opportunities are inherent therein for the physically and intellectually challenged individuals, they need to receive training in services areas reflective of the varying levels of physical and mental disabilities. For example, the most basic of potential business activity is flower lei making. It requires very little cognitive and manual dexterity. The future of the physically and intellectually challenged population of American Samoa is filled with many uncertainties thus placing the burden on the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation not only to become vigilant but also aggressive in its efforts to effectively meet the needs of the special population.

Attachment 4.8(b)(4): Page 2 of 2 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

This screen was last updated on Jul 11 2011 8:12PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Retention Standards and Succession Planning

The direct correlation between quality services and workforce competence is absolute. Substantial investment in human resources development, since inception of the vocational rehabilitation program, provides testament to management’s commitment to building excellence in its workforce. This ongoing demand for human resources competency improvement precipitated the formulation of personnel retention standards only to retain quality employees but also weed out workers who fail to meet performance standards. The fundamental basis for retention is rendering quality services to the agency’s clients. Quality service is measured by responses received from clients or members of the consumers’ families registering complaints or expressing satisfaction. The supervisor of each division is required to conduct periodic evaluation for subordinate personnel in addition to the required government wide annual performance evaluation.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation relies on its Management Information System for information for retention and succession planning. The generated data is used by supervisors to monitor individual performance and to conduct intervention if it is deemed necessary. Each supervisor is tasked to develop with each of the subordinate employee’s career development programs along with preparing replacements for those employees who will retire. The development of career ladders will include the identification of training programs needed by the worker to successfully transition to next career progress stage. These individually prepared plans will generate human resources information necessary for the preparation of its annual human resources development plan.

Basic 110 program funds supplemented by other financial resources will be allocated equitably based on the goals and objectives of the human resources development plan.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is very fortunate that its turnover rate is significantly small and focusing on non-technical personnel. Professional staff turnover rate is practically zero for the past three years. While this experience is lauded, the retention of trained staff remains a struggle attributed principally due to salary disparities among government employees and the salary gap is widening. Some administrative workers make more money than counselors. Thus it is natural for the counselors to move to more financially lucrative agencies of government. This impediment will need to be addressed to ensure that professional and technical staff remains at OVR, so that services to consumers are not compromised. This issue has been addressed with the Director of the Department of Human Resources. Moreover, the proper classification of particular professional and technical positions must be implemented. The counseling personnel of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation have been victimized by this defective practice. The counselors are presently being classified as an ‘administrative assistant’ and as such, the financial compensation is greatly reduced. The responsibilities and duties of the counselor are vastly different both in technical and professional scope as well as the complexity of these duties.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation management is fully cognizant of the number of professional staff nearing the retirement age and the need to adequately plan for their replacement. Accordingly, steps are now being taken through preliminary identification of individuals from the current cadre of professional counselors with demonstrated management aptitude to be groomed as replacement candidates. While it is highly preferable to fill management vacancies from within the organization, existing personnel rules and regulations might not facilitate this desire. The position of administrator might be politicized thus negating the possibility of it being replaced by a current employee.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Counseling staff 5 0 3
2 Support staff 6 0 3
3 Administration 3 1 1
4 Supported Employment 2 1 0
5 Other staff 2 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

Training Activities For Staff Development

The schedule of services outlined in the subsequent matrix reflects the standard listing of training programs that are conducted every program year. The repetitive nature of these training sessions facilitates firm inculcation of targeted skills that they become second nature of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation staff.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor continues to remain versatile and diligent by making sure that all services at the disposal of the client are being optimally utilized. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is committed to the adoption of the holistic service approach so that all of the needs of the client are effectively addressed. For example, if assistive technology is needed, he/she must be knowledgeable about the types of assistive devices with proven records to be suggested to the client. Further, the counselor must be aware of all impediments that might preclude the use of a certain assistive device. This challenge can be overcome by forming an alliance with the assistive technology specialist to ensure that not only the best fit device is recommended, but sensitivity with regard to cost is also very important. Based on the local prevailing economic system and job availability, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is aggressively encouraging clients to pursue the self-employment option, by focusing attention on niche services.

Accordingly, additional training is being suggested to enhance the capacity of the counselors, employment mentors, and supported employment specialists to maximize the exploration of this employment option. The local private firm of PT & Associates Inc. will be utilized to conduct entrepreneurship development training as well as business feasibility determination training for counselors, supported employment specialists, and job coaches. The training will provide skills to help staff explore self-employment options for the clients, as well as skills to supply technical aid to the customer develop the self-employment option. PT & Associates Inc. presently provides these types of services to the Veterans Administration for those clients who are interested in the self-employment option and are qualified under the eligibility requirements outlined in Chapter 31 of Vocational Rehabilitation Programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Empowerment Unlimited Inc. will provide hands-on computer literacy training for staff and clients alike.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has been meticulous in making sure that the counselors receive training on assistive technology and the available assistive devices that are available in the market. Attempts are being maintained to continue to involve physicians in the service process especially in the area of prosthetics and the assessment of the nature and extent of the disability. For fiscal year 2012, training emphasis will be placed on building counselors and staff capacities to aggressively promote the concept of entrepreneurship given bleak economic forecast for the territory in the coming year.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will continue to collaborate with its partners on training fund leveraging to address the growing need for funds to finance the continuance of these needed training initiatives. These partners include the American Samoa Community College, the University Center for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities. Through this collaboration it is the plan to prepare and submit a Long Term Training Grant to RSA. The goal of the program is supported by five specific approaches dedicated to meeting the needs inherent in the promotion of a career in rehabilitation or human service delivery. These five approaches are:

1. Increase the number of qualified personnel available in the private and public sector involved with vocational and independent living rehabilitation of individuals with physical and mental disabilities.

2. Build and upgrade basic skills and knowledge of personnel employed as providers of vocational, medical, social, or psychological rehabilitation services.

3. Develop a Territorial licensure program for practitioners in the discipline of health, human, and employment services.

4. Assist practitioners become more adept in coordinating services with stakeholders in both the public and private environments.

5. Provide employment opportunities to consumers as prospective practitioners in the field of rehabilitation.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will continue to promote established goals for CSPD. It is still the contention that simplicity fosters better understanding and facilitates memorialization. The goals of CSPD are:

• Improve the employment outcomes for the disabled.

• Increase OVR’s capacity to ensure increase in positive closures.

• Increase consumer satisfaction over DVR services

• Improve program effectiveness and efficiency.

Given the evaluation sensitivities disclosed in the previous State Plan supporting the dependence on third parties evaluators to conduct program assessment, data collection remains one of the major obstacles. Information disclosure is hampered by personal concerns of privacy. Consequently, additional time is invested to allay these concerns by thoroughly addressing the intended use of the required information. Primarily, the clients are coached on the importance of this information to ensure program continuation with the possibility for additional financial support if sufficient credible data is collected to demonstrate the need. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is inclined to utilize the services of PT & Associates Inc. to conduct process and outcome evaluation to assess program efficacy and program effectiveness with regard to the outcomes and costs. The company has relevant experience to ensure that the evaluation process will be credible having engaged in similar types of program assessment activities with the other agencies of the American Samoa Government.

The evaluator will be required to assess program environment for the purpose of identifying external factors influencing program outcomes. One of these noted factors is the failure of the government’s central personnel administration office to properly align workers according to skills levels, educational attainment, difficulty of responsibilities, and the available pool of human resources in this field. Consequently, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation may stand to lose its most senior counselors caused by the ad hoc application of personnel policies of the American Samoa Government. American Samoa is short of qualified and certified counselors. It is essential for the evaluator to invest time to assess all the environmental layers within which the program must function. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will collaborate with the evaluator to develop a comprehensive scope of work for the required program evaluation.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation looks forward to the findings and recommendations presented in the evaluation report. This information will be shared with the key staff of the agency and a collaborative strategy will be developed to propose actions of corrections (POC) to address areas where weaknesses are identified. This POC strategy will be distributed to every employee of the agency after the general discussion of the findings and recommendations is completed.

The contents of the POC will be used to assess the effectiveness of the program in the next cycle of performance evaluation.

A critical part of the process is individual performance assessments given the fact that the program efficacy is intrinsically tied to personnel performance. It is imperative that management conducts these performance evaluations and try to draw parallels between individual performance and agency successes and failures.

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 0 0 0 0
2 0 0 0 0
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

Plan For Recruitment, Preparation & Retention Of Qualified Personnel

The recruitment of staff to work in the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is guided by national policy demanding maximum placement of disabled individuals in the organization. Accordingly, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is aggressively pursuing the employment of disabled individuals to the maximum extent possible without compromising the quality of services rendered to the physically challenged population of American Samoa.

Through educational and training collaborations with the Department of Education’s Special Education Division and the American Samoa Community College, disabled individuals attending post secondary education are encouraged to take administrative, counseling, and disabled rehabilitation to equip them with the necessary skills to forge their eventual employment in the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

The agency boasts of its successful capacity to train recruited employees to become proficient in the devolution of assigned duties and responsibilities. This trend was set at the outset of the establishment of the Vocational Rehabilitation program in the Territory by the grantor. Based on this mandate, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation aggressively implemented plans to raise the competence level of staff. Through this effort 60% of the staff has gained higher degrees. It is still the plan to raise the bar even higher with regard to those individuals hired to work in the vocational rehabilitation field.

Money continues to be the main retention factor, however, it can be sidestepped if the work is challenging, nurturing and motivating. A healthy work environment, leadership support, fairness and continued available opportunities to expand individual capacity may also help in retaining experienced and qualified personnel. Since salary reclassification is difficult to attain, it is crucial that efforts are directed to keep the work interesting and challenging in addition to providing an environment in which the individual’s achievements are recognized as well as rewarded. Management will also assume a more aggressive posture to rectify blatant salary disparities by engaging in the preparation of a comprehensively justifiable reclassification package to be presented to the Department of Human Resources facilitating reevaluation of all Office of Vocational Rehabilitation professional staff. Given the amount of work involved, a third party, experienced in this area, will be commissioned to perform this work for the agency.

Maintaining service quality reflects one of the agency’s key focus. This is accomplished by engaging in a comprehensive human resources building capacity and then invest in incentives to retain these skilled cadre of professional personnel. Ultimately, stable service quality will be maintained with high probability for service improvement proportional to the improved capacity of the same professional staff. Staff members without degrees are afforded the opportunity to do so. The same opportunity is made available for the attainment of high degrees above the bachelor’s level. These initiatives must be complemented by the establishment of a nurturing working environment. For example, professional staff is given more flexibility to express individuality in service process formulation. Moreover, staff is included in the discussion and the development of program and administrative policies. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will set aside time to celebrate agency and individual successes to acknowledge agency appreciation for good and exemplary work performance.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is mandated to hire individuals with disability within the agency. Moreover, it has been the unspoken policy of the agency to encourage physically and intellectually challenged individuals to pursue degrees in the rehabilitation field. While no written policy is in place, it has always been understood that every chance is afforded to the disabled individuals to work within the agency. There have been successes in this area. Those who were able to obtain associate or bachelor degrees in the rehabilitation field are now employed in the Independent Living Program.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has set the following entry qualifications for any person seeking a counselor position with the agency:

• Must have a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation or allied field;

• Must have five (5) years of minimum related experience;

• Must be fluent in English and Samoan;

• Must be able to write in English and in Samoan; or

• Master Degree in rehabilitation with 2 years of practical experience; and

• Current Certificate as a Rehabilitation Counselor certified by the Commission.

Effectove Date: October 1, 2011

 

Personnel Standards:

Personnel standards for all government employees are defined by specific duties and responsibilities incorporated in the Official Job Description approved jointly by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Human Resources. Additional personnel standards are outlined in Title 6 of the American Samoa Code Annotated and the American Samoa Administrative Code. Personnel standards for vocational rehabilitation counselors are established relevant to employment and related experiences, educational credential and work experience credentials. To respond to the demands for certified counselors, aggressive efforts are being deployed to ensure the achievement of this objective. This initiative is being discussed in detail in the subsequent section particular to the certification of counselors. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation continues to work with the San Diego State University’s Rehabilitation Institute to define personnel standards that are in line with national standards for the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). Unofficially, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has promulgated a policy requiring all rehabilitation counselors to have a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field of vocational counseling with a minimum of five (5) years practical applicable experience. There is confidence that these new personnel standards for counselors is on par with the CRCC demands, nevertheless passing the certification is the only true measure to satisfy national requirements. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is investing money and time to establish a certification protocol that is acceptable to RSA.

While the merits for CRCC insistence are laudatory systemic problems exist which retard the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation plaguing attempts to comply.

There is a very limited pool of human resources from which to build a cadre of nationally certified counselors. The counselors who are on staff cannot take time off to attain the educational credentials because of the limited number of individuals in the field. Hiring certified counselors from off-island shrinks the pool of financial resources for direct services to the disabled. The prevailing pay rate for counselors does not provide the needed incentive forging the attraction of counselors from outside. In spite of these impediments, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation continues to aggressively work towards meeting the National Standards for certification.

Personnel Standards:

With the current assistance of the San Diego State University, it is the intention to require all current counselors to sit the National Counselor Certification Exam by June 30, 2012. This will provide sufficient time for adequate preparation thus ensuring the attainment of full certification for all counselors. The total number of OVR counselors who will be sitting the National Certification Exam will be six (6) including the Administration and Assistant Administrator of OVR. The opportunity will be given to those who don’t make the first run to sit the exam again three (3) to six (6) months after the first sitting. There is only one counselor who does not have a master’s degree but she has extensive practical experience in counseling. She will be sitting the national exam along with the others. Moreover, she is also pursuing her master/s degree. At present, none of the existing counselor core is nationally certified although they have many years of practical experience having worked in the counseling field for so long. There is confidence that all of these counselors will successfully negotiate the national counseling certification exam.

Staff training is an ongoing activity with continuing in-house workshops and seminars conducted by on and off-island firms. OVR staff continually participates in training sessions conducted by the American Samoa Community College Disability Institute, Department of Human Resources, OPAD, and private local firms such as PT & Associates Inc, Catholic Social Services, and others. Staff who doesn’t have college level education is required to take courses at the Community College with time limit set for 2 years. Computer training is provided by PT & Associates Inc. depending on the level of proficiency and time availability.

New personnel undergo a regimen of training stages starting with total emersion in learning the mandate, goals, and hierarchy of the OVR organization as well understanding the relationship of OVR to the Governor’s Office and other agencies of the American Samoa Government. Moreover, the employee will be indoctrinated with all personnel rules along with his/her employment rights. Compensation, benefits, and the alignment of these perks to the performance of assigned duties and responsibilities of the job for which the employee is hired will the discussed thoroughly. The employee is also exposed to the desired employability skills and traits of being an effective and efficient employee. Skills training are provided if it is deemed necessary. AT the completion of these general training stages, the new employee is exposed to the expectations of his/her job predicated on the assigned duties and responsibilities. The mechanics of the job are taught and inculcated with opportunities provided to actualize job tasks and responsibilities. Throughout his/her career he/she will participate in training programs hosted by the agency and others held outside of the Office.

 

Staff Development Focus:

OVR’s in-service grant for fiscal year 2011 to 2014 has been approved in the amount of $18,883 per year. In light of these funds the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s efforts to improve services through its CSPD Program are predicated on the following elements:

• Focusing attention and recognizing the value and importance of counseling and guidance concepts, and engaging in activities that builds on the counselor’s current knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

• Empowering the counselor to incorporate all the available resources at his/her disposal to assist in the provision of quality and cutting edge service strategies to render quality services to the disabled population.

• Maximizing opportunities to foster collaboration, leveraging of resources, and cooperating with all other agencies or entities providing rehabilitative services to the physically and intellectually challenged population of American Samoa.

• Matching superior performance and positive outcomes to clearly define rewards, whether monetary or in-kind, that will forge performance consistency thereby guaranteeing the best quality of services rendered to the disabled population.

• Offering educational and skills improvement training to staff to facilitate perpetuation of superior performance trends which will in turn further maintain the quality consistency of services to the physically and intellectually challenged consumers.

• Improve the capacity of OVR personnel staffing the Supported Employment Program in the agency’s commitment to steadily increase the number of disabled individuals placed in permanent employment.

• Establishing an equitable system of employee recognition for superior performance that is based on clearly defined criteria and performance standards.

The most positive way to guarantee positive outcomes is to continually invest in employee development as the quality of service is proportionately tied to the ability of the counselor to comprehend new rehabilitation methods that are being promulgated, based on recent studies. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation firmly believes that its success is essentially tied to the competence of its workforce thus emboldening its continuing investment in human resources development.

 

Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation continues to maintain its resolve to ensure that all counselors and staff are bilingual to ensure comprehensive accommodation of the needs of the disabled. It is necessary that the service delivery environment bolsters the individual’s dignity and self esteem. Conversing in their native language minimizes any stress and feelings of discomfort while conducting verbal dialogue with clients. Counselors are therefore required to continually sharpen their Samoan language skills to ensure that clients served with appropriate respect. The steady proliferation in demographic diversity is compelling constant review of the number of requests received from disabled clients whose first language is not Samoan. In the event that the volume of clients rise who are not Samoans, it might be necessary to establish an interpreter program to training personnel to address these special cases involving inability to converse either in Samoan or English languages.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation contends that the current clientele roster does not necessitate pursuance of alternative measures to ensure proper accommodation of their needs.

 

The need for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Education’s Special Education Division to engage in mutual collaboration is underscored. Facilitation of a holistic rehabilitation process would be impossible without arms length cooperation between these two service agencies. Improved probability for positive closures for disabled individuals passing through the educational system would not be possible if an effective transitioning pathway was not in place and facilitated only by intimate relationship between the two service providers. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has made it an absolute necessity to continuously invest in building quality relationships with the Department of Education’s Special Education Division. The quality of these relationships determines the successes of transitioning clients into employment placement, secondary education opportunities, and receiving positive closure in the Independent Living Program. Accordingly aggressive efforts will continue to be energized to clearly delineate responsibilities, assess needs, and recognizing the interests of each of the transitioning client. Periodically, the Memorandum of Understanding is revised to reflect material changes in the process funding responsibility, and responsibilities.

The Memorandum of Understanding defines the types of services to be provided and the time of service intervention. Other provisions include the importance for supported services to begin when the student reaches the age of 16 and when the student is in his/her Junior or Senior high school year. Early intervention allows for full immersion into support needs in integrated work and community activities during program hours before graduation. Based on this belief, the determination is made to include the student in the integrated work activity in the junior year, and guided by the student’s IEP developed jointly by all stakeholders. It is agreed that the students will be referred to the project by their respective high schools based on established criteria set forth by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Division of Special Education of the Department of Education. It was further decreed that the majority of the elective coursework will be executed during the junior year with focus on career planning and completing graduation requirements.

The existing Memorandum of Understanding requires one employment specialist and one special education teacher to be assigned to eight (8) to ten (10) students. This technical team is assigned instruction responsibilities contained in the IEP along with integrated work activities in the community. The injection of additional staff is dependent on the decision of the Assistant Director of Special Education and the Administrator of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation predicated on the demands of the IEP.

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2011 3:57PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

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.

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.11(a)

RESULTS OF COMPREHENSIVE STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT

The San Diego State University’s Vocational Rehabilitation Service agency is collaborating with the American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation on the performance of the needs assessment survey. The delay in the performance of this essential element of American Samoa’s State Rehabilitation Plan is attributed to Territorial preoccupation with disaster recovery efforts coupled with attempts to debug administrative procedures consequential to organizational transitioning placing overall administrative program purview under the Office of the Governor. The Researchers from the San Diego State University Vocational Rehabilitation Service Agency has conducted survey meetings with program stakeholders. Meetings with the American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council have been scheduled with the overall goal that results of said survey will be available in the middle of fiscal year 2012.

Following the same survey format employed three (3) years ago, it is intended that 2 focus groups comprised of individuals with disabilities, one each conducted with organizations providing services to people with disabilities and one conduced with the rehabilitation agency staff will be utilized. One of the two (2) focus group meetings has been held. The same survey result format will be utilized to facilitate comparison. For purposes of this plan the results of the old needs assessment survey are again documented in the results matrix shown below. These results will be compared with the survey outcomes planned to be available this fiscal year.

A comparison of the individual survey respondents’ perceptions of the importance of receiving additional assistance to address unmet needs is shown below (4.0 = Very Important, 3.0 = Important, 2.0 = Unimportant, 1.0 = Very Unimportant).

Attachment 4.11(a) Page 1 of 3 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

While the Territory of American Samoa has experienced significant economic and financial transformation catalyzed by the global recession, natural disaster, and adverse federal laws, the needs of the disabled population have not deviated dramatically from the general demands connected with mobility, communication, self-care, interpersonal skills, work skills, and work tolerance.

It is also forecasted that demographic characteristics of American Samoa’s disabled population have not materially changed from the distribution determined three years ago when the needs survey was conducted. The composition of the disabled population as determined by the survey is provided. No surprises are expected from the new survey being conducted. The primary language used is Samoan; reflective of the 97.1% of the disabled population claimed to be Samoans.

Cultural/ethnic background

Samoan 97.1%

Tongan 00.3%

White 00.3%

Other 00.9%

Missing 01.4%

Primary language

Samoan 96.3%

English 1.1%

Tongan 0.3%

Missing 2.3%

Average Years of Work Experience and Actual Hours Worked of the Disabled

It will be interesting to note if there are any material changes in the average years of work experience and actual hours worked from the new survey. The past figures show that approximately seventeen point one percent (17.1%) claimed that they were employed at the time they completed the survey and the average number of hours per week these individuals worked was twenty four point three (24.3%).

Highest Educational Level Completed

Less than 9th grade (0-8 years): 26.0%

Some high school, but no high school diploma (9-11 years) 30.0%

High school diploma/GED/Voc Training (12 years) 27.4%

Some college (13+ years without a degree) 05.7%

Attachment 4.11(a) Page 2 of 3 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

AA degree from community college, tech or business college 09.7%

BA/BS degree 00.9%

Missing 00.3%

Primary Disabling Condition

The results of the new needs assessment survey that is currently being conducted will be highlighted in the next State Plan. In the interim the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will continue to use service demands unveiled by the previous needs assessment survey. The derived information will be compared with existing information to determine the effectiveness of current rehabilitation service programs.

This provides assurance that the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will immediately upon receipt of the findings of the Comprehensive Needs Survey conducted by the San Diego State University Rehabilitation Institute transmit said results to the Grantor. It is further assured that the findings of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment Survey will the incorporated in the Fiscal Year 2013 State Plan.

Attachment 4.11(a) Page 3 of 3 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2011 4:00PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.11(b)

ANNUAL ESTIMATES OF INDIVIDUALS TO BE SERVICED AND COST OF SERVICE

The above figures were derived based on information received during the course of the program and based on experiences related to serving individuals with disabilities. The U.S. 2000 Population Census provided the percent of individuals considered to be suffering from some form of disability. This percent was 4.8. This percent was applied to each of the annual population estimates to arrive at the number of potential disabled individuals. Based on pasts needs assessments conducted, it was determined that only 46% of the disabled population was being served. It is projected that in 2012 the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is projecting to provide services to an additional 291 individuals with disabilities. These numbers will be appropriately changed when the 2010 US Census figures are released by the American Samoa Government.

The schedule provided above attempts to determine the distribution of funds made available under two funding streams to individuals who meet the eligibility criteria. These are estimates based on the experience of the agency over the years serving the disabled population of American Samoa.

Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Cost of Services

Based on fiscal year 2011, the actual number of clients served is 286. The cost of services ($440,000) rendered in terms of assessments, vocational and educational training, rehabilitation technology, supported employment, and others, records that the cost per client served was $1,538.46. It is projected that the number of clients to be served in fiscal year 2012 will climb to 291; representing 5 more clients vying for the same amount of funding allocation. The overall effect will be that less amount of services will be provided for the total projected clientele of 291; the amount of funds to be spent on each client is $1,512.02 or $22.45 less. This is not a healthy trend and the probability of additional funds is poor. The cost of each service package will continue to decline in light of the rising inflationary cost propelled by continuing energy prices.

To supplement the transparent drop in financial resources, the Office of Vocational of Rehabilitation has dedicated its efforts on improving leveraging through closer cooperation with other existing federal programs such as the Workforce Investment Act and other U.S. Department of Labor Programs. Through this cooperation, clients have been placed in private sector industries along with quasi-government organizations like the American Samoa Power Authority, Feleti Barstow Library, and others. The agency is continuing to extend this leveraging effort to private companies such as the KFC, McDonalds, Talofa Print Shop and PT & Associates, and others.

The Governor will again be petitioned for inclusion of local match funding in this fiscal year’s budget to forge the release of $200,000 in federal funds to supplement local efforts to improve services to the disabled population of American Samoa. To some extent this initiative will be pursued with great caution mindful of the myriad of local government needs depending on local funds for survival. Inflation in American Samoa is in double figures but could not be validated because the Consumer Price Index has not been updated. Annual inflation shrinks the volume and quality of services offered to the physically and mentally challenged population of the territory. Leadership of the Department of Human and Social Services has expressed commitment in the ascertainment of local financial resources to increase the capacity of the program to provide services to eligible individuals who have been discounted from services due to the limited pool of funds provided by the Federal Government.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will strive to maximize opportunities that are made available under the Social Security initiative of “Ticket To Work”. Due to situational idiosyncrasies, the inherent benefits of the program have not been maximized.

The numbers provided in the schedule are estimates. The assumption that is being made here is that no additional funds will be provided. However, in the event efforts to ascertain local match are successful, more clients will be served. It was reported in the early part of this section that the service package for each client is $1,512.02. This number excludes the impact of inflation.

Based on the distribution of eligible individuals contained in the above table, the targeted population to be served using Title I funds is estimated to be 218 with 73 to be serviced using Title VI funds. The inflation factor however will materially influence the amount of services rendered. The price of fuel has triggered increases in the cost of utilities which in turn significantly raised the cost of living. The purchasing power of each federal dollar continues to decline thus placing pressure on the quality of delivered services.

The figures contained in the schedule reflect fiscal experience of the program relative to individuals serviced from Title I and Title V funds.

Fiscal Year 2008 2009 2010 2011

Clients Served 297 312 341 NA

Successful Closures 21 39 25 NA

Other Closures 24 11 10 NA

SD Successful Closures 20 28 15 NA

SD Other Closures 29 11 10 NA

Footnote: Severe Disabled (SD) Successful and Other Closures reflect the dichotomy of the level of disability served during each of the operating fiscal years. The number of clients served is increasing annually.

Attachment 4.11(b):

Effective Date: October 2011

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Clients to be served Title I $533,416 341 $1,564
clients to be served Title VI $32,913 15 $2,194
Totals   $566,329 356 $1,590

This screen was last updated on Aug 12 2011 9:28PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

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.

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.11(c) (1)

STATE’S GOALS AND PRIORITIES

Goals for FY 2012 and Beyond

The goals of the program for this year will be focused driven addressing the specific needs of the physically and intellectually challenged population expressed in the needs assessment survey conducted by the University of San Diego. The results of the ongoing needs assessment survey will be used to align service offerings upon receipt of the final report. Efforts will continue to focus on capacity building to address the growing population of disabled individuals. It is also the goal to increase the number of positive closures, These desired positive outcomes will not be possible unless diligent and aggressive steps are pursued to effectively address the basic daily needs categorized by general areas of mobility, communication, self-care, work skills and others which include employment opportunities, education, family and cultural relevance, discrimination, etc. The contribution of the SRC in the formulation of the goals and priorities is endemic and reflective of its required participation pursuant to the Act.

Goal 1: To improve and expand the quality of services to customers dictated by type of physical and or intellectual impairment(s).

A. Mobility Improvement:

Objective 1: Collaborate with the Office of Protection and Advocacy to launch a campaign to force public facility compliance with the provisions of the American Disability Act to provide equal access to the disabled population to use public transportation facilities and to gain access to all public facilities.

Objective 2: Petition the Governor and the Legislature of American Samoa to enact legislation to enforce compliances with all provisions of the American Samoa Disability Act and to attach monetary penalties for non-compliance and failing to have bus shelters, wheelchair ramps, elevators, appropriate bathroom facilities, access to public transportation, etc.

B. Communication Improvement:

Objective 1: Collaborate with the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority to make available technology that will allow the physically impaired to have access to communication devices that will give them self-independence especially for the visual impaired and the hearing impaired.

Objective 2: Collaborate with the American Samoa Barstow Public Library to ensure that brail literature is available for the visually and hearing impaired aimed to improve community assimilation, self-esteem, and sense of community integration.

Objective 3: Cooperate with the Department of Education’s Special Education Program to setup a sign-language program to be available to the hearing impaired, families and interested individuals to become proficient at this form of communication mode thus opening up avenues of communication for the hearing impaired.

Objective 4: Collaborate with the Assistive Technology Program to improve awareness of the existing assistive devices which could enhance communication options available to the disabled individuals.

C. Self-Care Improvement:

Objective 1: Collaborate with the Independent Living Program to provide training to family members who might be providing attendant care to ensure that the client and attendant understand expectations and responsibilities.

Objective 2: Establish a more effective infrastructure to ensure that the total needs of the severely disabled are addressed starting from self-care needs to home modification needs to maximize mobility and independence.

Objective 3: Coordinate with the Assistive Technology Program to ensure that the assistive equipment needs of the client are fully satisfied.

D. Work Skills Improvement:

Objective 1: Increase staff capacity to facilitate delivery of specialized training to improve the employability skills of the disabled.

Objective 2: Connect the interested disabled client with available computer training programs to ensure that they gain proficiency to be able to apply for a call center job or to access other computer oriented employment opportunities.

Objective 3: Collaborate with the Land Grant Program for possible training opportunities in horticulture, farming, landscaping, etc. to be accessed by interested disabled clients.

Objective 4: Continue pilot employment and self sufficient training programs being orchestrated with private sector entities to help improve placement of disabled clients in permanent employment positions.

Goal 2: Continue to invest in raising understanding and awareness within the Community regarding the challenges facing the disabled and the part they must play to improve the environment within which the physically and intellectually challenged must function.

Objective 1: Orchestrate an aggressive public awareness campaign to alter public attitude towards the disabled population, recognizing their rights to same quality of life taken for granted by the able population of the Territory.

Objective 2: Petition the Governor and the Legislature of American Samoa to establish policies which will force the recognition of the rights of the disabled thus ensuring that their basic rights in terms of access to public facilities, employment opportunities, communications, education, training, etc. are protected and safeguarded.

Objective 3: Collaborate with the Office of Samoan Affairs for attitudinal change by families to facilitate cultural and family assimilation and community integration by the disabled and to stamp out the social stigma attached to family members with disabilities.

Goal 3: Continue to increase independence for disabled individuals through raising the number of clients entering and successfully completing the supportable employment program.

Objective 1: Collaborate with the Governor’s Office for the development of legislation which will provide tax credits to private companies who participate in the Supported Employment Program as well as providing permanent employment placement for the disabled individuals.

Objective 2: Continue ongoing efforts relative to the registration of businesses willing to participate in the supportable employment program.

Objective 3: Establish a success rate of at least 5% increase entry and positive closures annually by disabled individuals in the supported employment program.

Goal 4: Continue to place focus on building and maintaining a quality Staff to assure that the service package delivered to the disabled population of American Samoa is of the best quality possible given funding limitations or government bottlenecks.

Objective 1: Actively recruit individuals with disabilities as counselors and members of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Staff.

Objective 2: Continue to promote a vigorous continuing education program to nurture staff and develop a pool of human resources to provide VR services.

Objective 3: Continue to provide an on-going comprehensive in-service training program that will cultivate cutting edge practices in the area of technology and job placement.

Objective 4: Aggressively push for higher salaries for counselors who meet CSPD standards or who are actively working towards obtaining their national certification.

Objective 5: Establish a Reward Scheme to recognize exemplary job performance.

Objective 6: Encourage staff creativity and innovation through promoting a synergistic environment with a like focus on organizational integrity.

Goal 5: To ensure that adequate funding is available to provide quality services to the disabled population of American Samoa.

Objective 1: Secure local match to obtain maximum funding award for RSA.

Objective 2: Actively increase the number of significant disabled consumers served who are Social Security recipients under the Ticket to Work Program by 10%.

Objective 3: Maximize collaborative efforts with WIA partners and other programs that service our local disabled population to share resources in providing services and/or comparable services.

Goal 6: Meet Standards and indicators set by RSA for compliance measures.

Objective 1: Reevaluate service provisions to meet the employment needs of the Territory.

1.1 This will entail the provision of adequate services to customers who sought services for self-employment and competitive employment.

1.2 Address match concerns to ensure services will continue to be provided to all individuals applying for services.

Objective 2: Maintain an adequate number of counselors to provide services to individuals who are significantly disabled.

2.1 The desired ratio of counselors to customers should be 1:50. The case load of each counselor should contain over 50% of clients with significant disability.

2.2 Review RSA 113 report and 911 reports to assess the aggregate number of disabled individuals applying for services each year, and make adjustments in the provision of services to ensure that a level of funding can meet the demands if an increase of applicants is revealed.

2.3 Increase the number of severely disabled being served by each counselor.

2.4 Engage each counselor to be more responsive to consumer choice that is consistent with consumers attaining the employment outcomes of their selection, whether it is in self-employment or competitive employment.

2.5 Incorporate assistive technology in the entire planning process of providing VR services to significantly disabled consumers to reflect the possibilities of employment in more substantially paying jobs.

The promulgated goals and objectives gravitate towards positively impacting the mission of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation with regard to securing permanent job placement and assuring community assimilation in a fashion that does not compromise the dignity of the disabled person. It is important that the OVR program is dynamic and it should evolve in concert with Territorial changes and altered dynamics of the disabled population. The growth process for OVR since 1981 has been long, tedious and extremely challenging as more able bodied members of the local communities are furloughed from jobs due to deteriorative economic conditions.

There are no major changes to the goals and objectives for this year’s State Plan given their continued relevance to the current status of the physically and intellectually challenged population of American Samoa. Limited funds preclude full satisfaction of needs at one time, hence projects are implemented in phases predicated on the availability of funds. Efforts are focused on addressing critical needs of disabled consumers to improve their level of quality of life. This has been very difficult due to the dearth of funds and exacerbated by deteriorating economic conditions.

It should be noted that implementation efforts for fiscal year 2011 were impaired by preoccupation in recovery initiatives to bring normalcy back to lives disrupted by the devastating tsunami of September 30, 2009. Moreover, degenerative economic conditions caused by the global recession and crippling federal minimum wage law contributed significantly to the much subdued program success. The recently announced five (5%) percent budget rescissions for all government agencies for fiscal year 2012 signals a much prolonged period of operational austerity. The future looks bleak.

E. Collaborative Goals with Veterans Affairs Office:

The steady rise in the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans returning home with physical and mental disabilities necessitated program mobilization to ensure that the needs of this new sector of the physically challenged population is comprehensively and effectively addressed. As a result the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has established the following goals and objectives relative to the full accommodation of their needs.

Goal 1: To Create a Vocational Rehabilitation/Veterans Affairs Unit within the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to better coordinate and improve VR Services for American Samoa’s disabled Veterans.

Objective 1: To establish a pathway to facilitate easy access by Veterans and their families to obtain Rehabilitation Services.

Objective 2: To implement systems change to foster services streamlining and ensuring collaborative approach in the provision of services for the disabled Veterans.

Objective 3: Increase cost-effectiveness of service repertoire by reducing duplication of effort thereby benefiting the Veteran with regard to money and time saved.

Objective 4: Improve access to careers and not just jobs through prudent planning with secured linkages to the American Samoa Department of Human and Social Services, Department of Human Resources’ Workforce Investment Act, Office of Veterans’ Affairs, Small Business Administration, and the private business partners.

Objective 5: Initiate Project RISE (Raising Individual Self Esteem) through provision of services to the Veterans that will include:

• Indentifying employment opportunities for disabled veterans to catalyze rehabilitation service opportunities through self-employment or entrepreneurship. Identifying vocational pathways indigenous to the local environment such as fishing, farming (diversified crops), carpentry, small village ‘mom and pops’ stores, eco-tourism, aquaculture, handicraft, florist (horticulture), and others.

• Assist in the development of a business plan. Business plans can be prepared in many formats and they will vary dramatically depending on the nature of the project. Feasibility and viability of the business plan determines the amount of funding required. All business plans targeting the self-employment program will be reviewed and approved by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Goal 2: Establish a Comprehensive Orientation, Training, and Assessment Process to economize and maximize successful transition from educational based to real life sustaining programs.

Objective 1: VR Counselors and Job Coaches host an orientation for participants and their family members to discuss the training program details and expected outcomes. A one (1) day workshop will be conducted by OVR discussion VR services and expectations of vocational training participants.

Objective 2: VR Counselors and Job Coaches will take the lead role in the transition planning, development and program implementation to include appropriate measures and interventions to meet goals and to assess success.

Objective 3: VR Job Coaches will be responsible to conduct a Task analysis for each worksite that specifies job tasks and skills required to master the task. Performance Evaluation will be completed by the Job Coaches on a monthly basis outlining achievements and areas of concern or improvement.

Goal 3: The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will secure 20 worksites in the community for 20 students participating in the transition process.

Objective 1: Basic 110 Counselors and VR Job Coaches will secure 20 worksites in the community. Students will work 6 hours each day, 5 days a week for 12 weeks earning a training stipend of $4 an hour.

Objective 2: OVR will conduct a one day workshop inviting members of the business community from both public and private sector to promote the employment of students with disabilities and the accrued inherent benefits with disclosure of the purpose of the summer program.

Objective 3: Job Coaches will conduct discussions with on-site supervisors regarding potential placements and the development of student progress reports as well as timesheet supervision and submission for assessment purposes.

Objective 4: VR will provide Job Coaching services to all participants and coordinate transportation to and from community worksites.

Objective 5: VR Counselors will provide job counseling and guidance, behavioral management, job training and assessment for job modification if necessary and overall case management throughout the duration of the program.

Attachment 4.11(c)(1

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

This screen was last updated on Jul 11 2011 8:56PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

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.

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.11(c)(4)

GOALS AND PLANS FOR DISTRIBUTION OF

TITLE VI, PART B FUNDS

Funds will continue to be earmarked to finance the activities of the Supported Employment Program. The overall thrust of the Supported Employment Program is to improve the probability of disabled individuals transitioning into permanent employment opportunities. It is important to realize that the prevailing environment under which the Supported Employment program will function continues to be very unaccommodating given the current unemployment rate of close to 40% and climbing. It is estimated that more than 4,000 able bodied individuals furloughed from their jobs are now looking for employment. Competition for available jobs is now very fierce and very disadvantageous for the physically and intellectually challenged population of American Samoa. It is anticipated that the closure rate will be much lower than projected. The documented goals and objectives are therefore deemed lofty given the present adverse economic and social scenarios.

Goals:

The Supported Employment Program will maintain its efforts gravitating towards the attainment of these outcomes:

• Expand and improve existing services to increase the number of physically and intellectually challenged individuals placed in permanent jobs having successfully completed the Supported Employment Program

• Identify and develop new programs to expand supported employment opportunities through closer collaboration with the private sector and the government in the establishment of a favorable environment that will nurture desired program expansion.

Objectives:

The following objectives have been established for the program:

1. It is necessary to continue expansion by fostering greater collaboration with other agencies and service providers in maximizing services to Supported Employment Program (SES) consumers.

2. In recognition of the impairments delimiting possibilities for the Supported Employment Program, it is the intention to provide technical assistance to eligible consumers seeking self-employment ventures as an option.

3 To foster greater support for the SES Program, it makes good sense to promote and continue to increase public awareness on SES services that include outreach activities to the outer islands and to minorities.

4 Provide in-service training activities for SES staff to ensure that the delivery of services is of the highest quality possible.

5 Increase the number of OJT contract agreements to include trial work experiences with public and private sector employers.

6 Pursue ongoing focus on intensifying job development activities to increase the number of placements and job contracts.

7 Purchase or obtain a reliable vehicle that is appropriately equipped to provide for the growing transportation needs of SES consumers and staff.

8 Maintain and update the SES Job Bank to ensure it continues to be an effective resource in providing pertinent information for obtaining job opportunities for consumers.

9 Increase the number of referrals from VRC.

Use of Funds:

The distribution of funds and identified uses is outlined in the schedule provided herein.

Number of People Served:

The current case load is approximately 35 consumers. All of these individuals are referrals from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s ongoing follow up services (trial-work services) which have been secured with the Development Disabilities Case Manager who will continue to work with the Supported Employment Program Coordinator and Coaches.

Closure Rate:

The closure rate has been determined at 7.4% annually. This rate needs to be improved upon through the attainment of greater program efficiency. Based on the existing impediments, this closure rate is comparable to other programs operating within the same restrictive environment. It is the plan and the goal to raise the closure rate by a minimum of 2% annually using fiscal year 2010 rate of 7.4% as the base. Regrettably, the closure rate for fiscal year 2011 was far below the 2% because of the tsunami and the economic downturn suffered by the Territory. The projected closure rate for fiscal year 2012 will also fall short of the targeted 2%. The contributing factor will be further erosion of the Territory’s economy. The unemployment rate will exceed 40% by fiscal year 2012.

Attachment 4.11(c)(4):

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

This screen was last updated on Jul 11 2011 9:03PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.11(d)

STATE’S STRATEGIES AND USE OF TITLE 1 FUNDS FOR INNOVATIVE AND EXPANSION ACTIVITIES

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation throughout the duration of the program since its inception has been compiling information on each client served supplemented by national statistical collection initiatives expedited by different agencies of the American Samoa Government. Based on this information and insights, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has assessed the needs of the disabled population of American Samoa in light of the associate impediments. These challenges are being used as guidelines to facilitate adjustment of program direction and to delineate pathways for service expansions to individuals deemed to have significant rehabilitation needs.

A. The Manu’a Islands remains underserved because of persistent financial and physical constraints. A territorial wide financial crisis was declared by the Chief Executive prompting the reduction of work hours for locally funded positions within the government’s workforce. This order was issued in February of 2011. On May 29, 2011, the order was rescinded however statements of caution accompanied the decision. Therefore, while the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation acknowledges the imperativeness for equal access is available to all physically and intellectually challenged population of American Samoa as ascribed in the Act, existing fiscal and physical realities continue to stymie efforts to ensure equal access. Notwithstanding the current realities, attempts are still being made to ensure that the disabled residents living on the remote island of the Manu’a group gain access to programs enjoyed by Tutuila and Aunu’u Island residents..

The ultimate vision is to ensure that all the disabled individuals of American Samoa attain the same level of quality of life enjoyed by the rest of the Territory’s population. To attain this lofty desire, each disabled individual must possess the capacity to obtain goods and services which yields the quality of life that is considered standard for the majority of the population. Consequently, it shall also be the strategy of the Territory’s program to secure opportunities allowing disabled individuals to earn money to purchase the required goods and services.

Capacity building for the disabled population requires the participation of both public and private entities with the objective of establishing an environment which will increase access to jobs. Building partnerships becomes a vital ingredient in the formation of the network with the ability to prepare disabled individuals to successfully matriculate into the private sector holding down a full-time job.

It is therefore a component of the territory strategy to engage in the process forging working partnerships which will ensure job placements for the disabled population. OVR will continue partnerships with American Samoa Community College, Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Chamber of Commerce, and others to expand employment opportunities for the disable population of American Samoa.

B. Outreach initiatives have become crucial components of the program to ensure that all individuals deemed to be disabled are aware of all the services available at their disposal. Moreover, this provides the opportunity for the community to report individuals suspected to be disabled but not being referred for help. Efforts have been extended to the Manu’a Islands to ensure that the needs of disabled individuals residing on these islands have access to rehabilitation services. Logistic poses the major obstacle to the delivery of services to the residents of the Manu’a Islands. This service impediment is exacerbated by suspension of air transportation services to the islands of Ofu and Olosega. The residents of these two islands now depend on surface transportation from Tutuila and Ta’u for the accommodation of their consumption needs.

C. American Samoa continues to suffer along with the rest of the world because of the rampant rise in energy costs and the aftermath of the global recession perpetrated by the housing and financial institutions debacles. The adverse effects of the Tri Union Samoa Packing closure continue to trigger further economic deterioration preempting the creation of new jobs. Retooling training programs funded through federal resources have done little to bolster job creation. Consequently, economic activities have drastically been scaled backward. Jobs are being cut thus creating fierce competition for the available jobs. This scenario retards initiatives aimed to increase the number of disabled working. While American Samoa is struggling to re-energize its economic development prospects, its new adopted posture of advancing its tourism development goals offers hope for the disabled population in the area of self employment. It is logical to include entrepreneurship as an important element of the strategy.

Services such as the Supported Employment Program will continue to be maximized. Nonetheless, it appears that the best option available to the disabled individuals is through the promotion of the entrepreneurship and self-employment program with focus on manufacturing handicraft to support the tourism development efforts of the American Samoa Government. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will establish partnerships with the Territory Administration On Aging, the Department of Local Government, and the Department of Commerce to develop and establish a framework to orchestrate the development arts and crafts industry with the disabled population in mind. One of the critical components of the program is training for the disabled individuals interested to enter the self-employment or entrepreneurship program. Moreover the program will contain agreements with the American Samoa Development Bank for venture capacity to facilitate the purchase of initial materials and supplies.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation launched the entrepreneurial program this fiscal year fostered by partnerships entered into with private sector entities such as PT & Associates Inc. and Island Breeze. PT & Associates Inc has been able to place two out of its 10 clients in permanent employment. There is confidence that more will be placed during and after the program.

D. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation continually seeks methods to improve the evaluation of the program predicated on performance indicators pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act. Due to the uniqueness of our cultural environment and the idiosyncrasies contained thereto, it has been very difficult to directly apply evaluation techniques which are considered common in the U.S. mainland. Consumers’ level of satisfaction varies although exposed to the same type of service with built-in indicators which are activated at closure having undergone all the required steps. Local performance standards are being developed to properly reflect our cultural setting and our operating environment. This effort is ongoing with focus on localizing performance indicators defined in Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act.

E. Assistive Technology service is part and parcel of the American Samoa’s vocational rehabilitation program. At the initial comprehensive evaluation of the client and determination of needs, assistive technology demand is an integral component of the profiling process. If it is determined that assistive technology is required, steps are taken to collaborate with the appropriate entities facilitating the provision of the tool or prostheses, whatever the need might be. In the case of the latter, collaboration is ensued with the LBJ Medical Center to assist with the medical aspect of the fitting process. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is still awaiting the receipt of a variety of assistive technology supplies to be distributed to clients of the program.

F. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation alliance with the Office of Samoan Affairs for the utilization of the Village Mayors as agents of the program with regard to the dissemination of information about the program and to report individuals who are physically or mentally challenged living within their respective villages. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is also poised to conduct presentations at the village level if a request is received from the Office of Samoan Affairs. The Village Mayors have become an integral part of the community rehabilitation program.

G. Performance standards universally established for vocational rehabilitation entities have been adopted by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Certain national standards are adjusted to reflect existing contextual program settings particular for the Supported Employment Program predicated on the Territory’s deteriorative economic climate with its mushrooming unemployment rate.

Hugh investments have been dedicated to human resources development recognizing direct and long term benefits manifested through the provision of quality services. Program outreach and awareness performance is being advanced aggressively given the remoteness of the Territory, limited funding, and the distribution of the Territory’s population to areas with minimal access.

The documented strategies and the documented activities provide the guide and format ensuring the accomplishment of the identified goals. Given the limitations placed on funding, and the embryonic nature of American Samoa’s rehabilitation program in relation to States, the short-gun approach is necessitated with little left over to target areas which might be deemed as priority. For example, the demand placed on certification of counselors compelled additional expenditures to facilitate the accomplishment of this goal due to program impact. Investments in human resources development are necessary to improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services to clients. Outreach and awareness programs are equally important with positive closures hinging on the caliber of job coaches, along with funding to ease the financial burden placed on the employer by employing a physically challenged individual.

H. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is continually trying to adopt innovative ways to economize the provision of quality services to consumers. Such aspirations are often dwarfed by insufficient funds to address the continuum of services required by consumers. Counselors are endeavoring to identify indigenous and traditional based solutions to help expand the distribution of limited federal dollars to improve vocational rehabilitation services.

Attachment 4.11(d) Page 1 of 1 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 11 2011 9:08PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

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

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 4.11(e)(2)

EVALUATION AND REPORT OF PROGRESS IN ACHIEVING

IDENTIFIED GOALS AND PRIORITIES AND USE OF TITLE 1 FUNDS

FOR INNOVATION AND EXPANSION

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation continues to exercise due diligence in conducting program evaluation to ensure that planned programs achieve proposed goals and objectives. This initiative is ongoing throughout the year. American Samoa’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program is preparing for the comprehensive review of its programs by the Regional Office early next year (2012) We look forward to the results and outcomes of the oversight review to facilitate necessary adjustment to its current programs to ensure that anticipated outcomes are achieved. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation again invested time to carefully review State Plan demands to assess the degree to which goals and objectives were accomplished during the year following recovery efforts.

A. Evaluation of the extent at which identified goals are met:

Goal 1: To improve and expand the quality of services to customers dictated by type of physical impairment.

Progress: The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation continued to improve and expand services to consumers in spite of declining resources prompted by the spiraling rate of inflation which is estimated to have quadrupled since the tsunami and the termination of 2,200 fish cleaning jobs since the close of 2009. The Department of Commerce has not provided data to determine the accurate inflation rate since 2009. The American Samoa Power Authority has recently raised utility rates by at least 8% for water with electricity cost increasing commensurate with the rise in the cost of a barrel of oil. Oil prices have maintained their upward climb with no hope for any reduction soon. Overall operating conditions for last year have been very difficult as working hours were reduced for all locally financed positions. While the office staff was not affected, operating efficiencies suffered due to rising morale problems.

In spite of bleak future operating forecasts, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation remains resolute to improve the overall quality of life for the physically and intellectually challenged population of American Samoa with overall aspiration to increase the rate at which progress is being made. Program focus will continue to be applied to improve freedom of mobility, access to public places, ability to communicate, capacity for self-care, and attaining a desired level of independence through seamless community integration. The progress has been slow, impediment riddled, and difficult.

The major contributing factors are the continued existence of weak links in the existing infrastructure or environment within which programs must function. For example, no public funds are available to make alterations to public facilities to properly accommodate the needs of the disabled. Funds to facilitate modification of homes to make them accessible are nonexistent. In spite of these financial drawbacks, OVR continues to establish partnerships with financial and human resources leveraging in mind. Collaboration is improved with the Office of Home Land Security and the Department of Human Resources primarily to devise emergency plans in times of natural disasters. Data obtained from the surveys are being analyzed and it is the hope that the resulting outcomes will foster better accommodation of the needs of the disable population especially during disasters.

Ongoing collaborations with the American Samoa Community College, American Samoa Barstow Library with regard to building individual capacity to improve employability status in the area of computers and management information systems continue. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation entered into partnerships with private sector entities to provide training and placement for clients.

Goal 2: Continue to invest in raising understanding and awareness within the Community regarding the challenges facing the disabled and the part they must play to improve the environment within which the physically and intellectually challenged must function.

Progress: Partnerships established in the past continue to be the effective path to increase understanding and awareness within the community especially on the challenges which confront the disabled population of American Samoa. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation participated in the coalition hosted by the Department of Human and Social Services which provided forums for community access within which informational distribution is executed. The support of the Department of Human and Social Services has been compelled relative to the establishment of a Territorial wide licensure program to certify all counselors and other professionals delivering services to the physically challenged.

Collaboration is also struck with relevant partners to facilitate the translation of brochures and other awareness documents for dissemination thereby expanding understanding and support for program catering to improve the quality of life for the disabled population of American Samoa.

The number of television forums has increased due to the excellent support of the government owned television station. More agencies having influence over addressing the needs of the disabled are using the television medium for program propagation.

Attachment 4.11(e) Pago 1 of 1 Page

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

 

Goal 3: Continue to increase independence for the disabled individuals through increasing the number of clients entering and successfully completing the supported employment program.

Progress: Since the Iraq and Afghan wars, there is an observable rise in the number of returning veterans with physical and mental disabilities with equal suspicion that many may have suffered post traumatic disorders. The present caseload is 34 with the expectation that more will be added next year as the middle east conflicts is deescalated with the withdrawal of troops beginning at the end of this year. The primary program thrust is the identification of potential worksites for placements. The focus will continually be on two key business establishments: McDonalds of American Samoa, the canneries, and small businesses. The relationship with the owner of McDonalds continues to be cultivated. Consequently, a few placements have been made.

The economic environment projected for the future is very challenging and not favorable for the disabled population of American Samoa. Based on the forecasted economic outlook, discussions are being conducted with potential business establishments to explore conditions at which they would be willing to place a disabled individual in the workforce. The job coaches continue to sharpen their skills to improve placement chances for the program clients.

The goal of the supported employment programs is rather clear: positive closures for as many clients entering the program as possible. This is a very aspiring goal because the unemployment rate is rising steadily as businesses implement austerity programs to address the negative financial effects of the escalating energy costs which directly affect the cost of goods as well as the utilities which continue to shrink disposal income for low income families. The competition for the few available jobs is fierce. This scenario limits options for the disabled population.

Moreover, the transitioning of disabled high school students into the workforce represents an integral part of the SES’s duties and responsibilities. These disabled students must be given realistic exposure with regard to hands on experience. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is attempting to create stronger collaborative ties with the Department of Education’s Special Education Division and OVR’s with the hope to increase the probability for positive closures.

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Page 3 of 8 Pages

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

Expected outcomes for the Supported Employment Program are not being met because of the deteriorative state of American Samoa’s economy. The worst obstacle has been the lack of jobs into which disabled individuals can be placed. Mention has already been made on the climbing unemployment rate which is currently in excess of 30% and rising. Companies are more prone to maximize investments by recruiting and employing a non disable person. The jobs which do become available are not appealing to the disabled individuals. The situation is even bleaker for the more severely disabled consumers. The companies are often times have not made infrastructural accommodation of disabled individuals. To do so means additional cost, thus the incentive is not there to improve attitudes towards the employing of disabled persons. Much more needs to be done to alter the mindset in the workplace to ensure that the disabled persons are integrated without undue prejudice. There has to be a similar adjustment to the attitudes and expectations of the disabled persons. Much work needs to be done to adjust attitudes on both sides.

Although the employment environment for disable persons is unyielding, a few has been placed in permanent jobs this program year. This has been made possible through the new initiative launched by OVR calling for the establishment of training partnerships with private sector agencies. There is hope that more will be placed in permanent jobs before these programs terminate. Two disabled individuals have been placed in jobs since the start of this initiative, three months ago. Funding to finance this endeavor was from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program. Staff of the Supported Employment Program is working closely with these private agencies to ensure that maximum assistance is provided thereby improving their chances for a job placement. There is great hope that this initiative will increase the number of positive closures for the current and next year programs.

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

 

Goal 6: Meet Standards and indicators set by RSA for compliance measures.

Progress: The focal point of all programs catering to the needs of all the disabled individuals of American Samoa is raising each person’s quality of life to a level that is possible demarcated by physical and financial limitations.

This philosophy is the cornerstone of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s service repertoire with assurance that each request for service will be addressed to the maximum extent feasible based on the physical and financial limitations. Implemented activities assumed the challenge of doing more with less through fund leveraging and soliciting partnerships for co-sponsorships. The number of disabled individuals grows steadily, along with inflationary implications on the purchasing capacity of current dollars and yet available program funding has not kept pace, and in fact decreased if inflation is considered. OVR has made it a policy that no request will be turned away without service of some kind at the level that is practical acknowledging physical and financial limitations.

Quality of service is predicated on the capacity of staff to assess, diagnose, prepare an individualized plan, and effectively implement the plan for each of the disabled individual requesting assistance. This belief prompted substantial investment in building a cadre of professional counselors to assume the above described responsibilities. In addition, it was necessary to have enough qualified counselors on staff so sufficient time is spent on each client providing some level of guarantee that the prepared treatment plans will be achieved. OVR is proud that it has been able to maintain a group of qualified counselors providing quality services for American Samoa’s disabled population.

Overall, the achievement of the established goals and objectives of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is above average however, great strides have been made in specific areas such as vocalizing the needs of the disabled and bringing attention to the serious need of continued and additional funding, not only to expand program coverage but also to enhance the quality of service provided. Great progress has been established in the area of partnership formation and joint sponsorship of activities which includes training. Partnerships have improved responses to the disabled population not only in the frequency of conducting activities, but also allows for the sharing of best practices. It is determined that this factor contributed dominantly to achievements experienced by the program.

Program success for the current program year will surpass program performance for the last two years. Part of the success is attributed to the availability of additional funds which facilitated the implementation of additional training initiatives with private sector entities which have already generated positive results with new employment placements in permanent jobs.

The termination of these new initiatives due to funding lapses will certainly cause program retraction and reduce the potential for continued success.

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

 

Using Title I funds for program expansion and innovation allows us to provide services and assess the validity of projects that work and projects that fail. Subsequently, in our effort to assure that VR dollars are spent to facilitate success, many of our yearly projects may sound similar year after year, however in essence, each year similar goals bring on new and challenging of success stories and concerns.

Program Highlights:

1. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation continues to promote efforts for expansion and innovation to rural parts of the territory by having established a permanent physical presence on two of the rural islands of Manu’a. Office space and staff presence allows OVR to provide needed services to our consumers in this remote part of the territory. OVR has one member from Manu’a sitting on the VR Council who attends quarterly meetings on the main island. It has been difficult to get another consumer from Manu’a to sit on the Council because individuals from this region refuse to attend meetings on the main island of Tutuila. However, OVR intends to increase the number of Council members from Manu’a once a viable candidate can be selected to increase representation on the board, when board membership is available.

While progress has been made on the rural areas of the Manu’a island recent transportation snags have negatively affected the quality of services. The only air carrier servicing the Manu’a islands can no longer land on the islands of Ofu and Olosega forcing reliance on surface transportation to address the needs of these rural areas. It has become a common occurrence for the air carrier to cancel flights due to bad weather or mechanical problems. The attempt to improve services to Ofu and Olosega clients have been thwarted by infrastructural impediments with no solutions seem imminent. With the episodic nature of flights to the Manu’a islands the cost of service is climbing steadily which shrinks the level of services. This predicament appears to be long term in nature because the American Samoa Government is itself facing a financial crisis.

2. With new leadership in the Office of Protection and Advocacy and the Office of Developmental Disabilities Program Council (DDPC), OVR aggressively fought to improve relationships with said agencies this past years ensure the improvement of services to consumers who are being jointly served by both programs. This action took many hours of negotiations and work from both programs to resolve overlapping of services and/or letting consumers sit in training activities too long who were job ready. OVR now provides case management services for DDPC through an agreed contact and MOU that is reviewed annually, and OVR also has entered into contracts with private companies as added appendages in providing employment related activities for our significantly disabled clients. Additionally when OVR and DDPC clients are being trained through “Job Work Experience” activities, these private companies have provided venues for on the job experiences.

3. Through ARRA funding OVR expanded its service capacity by commissioning the assistance of private sector agencies to provide training for clients inclusive of those with severe disability. This initiative is already bearing fruits with the placement of clients in permanent employment. Others are ready for placement but many of the employers’ facilities are not ANA compliant precluding the accommodation of these clients with special needs. For example, one client has obtained an AA degree and has achieved reasonable proficiency in computer use. Nevertheless the client is wheelchair bound and she would need someone to assist her when she needs to use the restroom.

4. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s success relative to accessing ARRA funding supplied an additional avenue to supplement existing programs and branching out to pursue program innovation. With the steady proliferation in the number of returning Veterans of the Middle East wars with some form of disability, OVR established a new unit to specialize in the provision of services to this new group of clients. It is anticipated that service demands will increase as the wars wage on.

5. Obligating Title I funds for staff development is pinnacle to our efforts of expanding and improving vocational rehabilitation services to our clientele. Accordingly, in this plan we have promulgated our efforts to ensure that our services always remain cutting edge and up to date by having our staff participate in training activities facilitated by OVR and outside trainers. OVR will continue to work with our local and off-island partners to maximize these training activities that are germane to the needs of our office.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is desirous to expand the partnership with private sector agencies engaging in providing training to OVR clients. Through these partnership, the capacity and ability of each client is thoroughly identified having been exposed to many of the activities which will determine dexterity and physical capacity to perform the required job tasks. Some of the clients are illiterate with basic reading and writing ability which are necessary to function within the world of work. The only realistic options for this class of individuals are manual jobs with repetitive configuration. Collaboration with private sector entities has opened up opportunities for the severely disabled clients. The training programs with the private contractors include positive attempts to find the right niche, predicated on ability, to ensure that the individual becomes a contributive family member. For example, vegetable gardening training is provided with the assistance of the Department of Agriculture and the Land Grant. The client can help the family by establishing a vegetable garden.

Total expenditures of Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities for FFY 2010 were $12,005.00, activities included:

Support of State Rehabilitation Council

1) Two day Training for SRC members-conducted by SDSU-TACE : Responsibilities of SRCs.

2) Two council members attended the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (one attended fall and one attended spring) conference.

3) Collaboratively worked on redesigning agency and individual needs assessment survey. Results of statistical data will be submitted to RSA upon completion and incorporated in OVR’s next state plan submission.

4) OVR held quarterly (5) SRC meetings in 2010.

This screen was last updated on Aug 12 2011 9:30PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

  • 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

State Plan Fiscal Year 2012

Attachment 6.3

QUALITY, SCOPE, AND EXTENT OF SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

The need for the continuation and expansion of the Supported Employment Services is never more prevalent today than ever given the grim economic environment within which the program must function. Accordingly, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will persist on utilizing the Trial Work Experience Program to maximize the potential of certain consumers through the extension of services. Based on current experience emanating from the implementation of the Trial Work Experience Program, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has observed the merits of recommending extended services through the said program. The added time has given the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation the chance to better assess the abilities, capacities, and the capabilities of the consumer to perform work in real job situations. Moreover, this added time has afforded OVR sufficient opportunity to better assess and determine needs relating to assistive devices and other support services prior to eligibility determination and IPE development. With this added help there is confidence that with greater utilization of the Trial Work Experience Program the potential for positive closures anticipated for fiscal year 2012 will improve amidst the projected economic deterioration. .

The timing of the transition to extended services is predicated on the program outcomes achieved during the initial eighteen (18) months period. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has established performance benchmarks to judge the progress of each client in the Supported Employment Program. If the client demonstrates good progress in reaching established benchmarks with good program results, but needs more time the request for the Trial Work Experience will be executed to facilitate the adjustment of the performance benchmarks to account for the additional time made possible under the TWE Program. The success of the program is dependent on the client, the coach, and developing a performance benchmark portfolio. Benchmarks reflect attainment of list skills or knowledge particular with the targeted occupation. Evaluation of the client’s progress must be conducted constantly to gauge progress and to assess the value of requesting for extended service.

Accomplishments:

The institution of new training programs with private entities has already produced positive results with clients placed in permanent jobs. OVR also continually attempts to move severely disabled consumers through the Supported Employment Program. While some success has been met, envisioned unsympathetic program environment will undermine current efforts to maintain program progress. Those severely disabled consumers in the Supported Employment Program are progressing well with their supported employment training. Despite these results, the future looks unwelcoming and it is expected that progress will be very slow and tedious.

Interest in pursuing entrepreneurship continues to climb. This interest is being facilitated by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Management Team.

Under the Entrepreneurship Program, the Marketing Specialist works collaboratively with the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to prepare the business plan reflecting the business interests of the client. The business plan contains the information acquired from the feasibility study that is conducted to assess the issues, competition, feasibleness, aptitude, and the business environment within which the business will function. During the assessment process, the need for assistive technology is also examined. With the establishment of the Business Center within the American Samoa Community College, assistance has been ascertained to support the evaluation conducted by the VR Counselor and the Marketing Specialist relative to the announced business interests of the client. If training is needed, the American Samoa Community College Business Center offers a wide array of business courses to teach every aspect of business management and business operation.

The distribution of disabled consumers by disability is shown in the schedule provided below.

Scope of Services:

Job Coaching:

These services are provided by an employment specialist who functions as a trainer, advocate, and a facilitator of the following individualized supports. Consumer services begin with a thorough assessment of the individual’s skills, work experience, and interests to determine and develop a step-by-step plan of action, to accomplish the vocational goals set by the consumer. Next, a job development is initiated to locate a competitive employment or job training opportunities in an integrated work setting in the community. Job placement and work-site training follows after an appropriate job match analysis is determined to ensure a successful employment outcome. Work-site training includes teaching the consumer how to perform the job tasks appropriately as required by the employer. Coaches also assist consumers with social interactions skills.

Progress reports are provided weekly from the work-site supervisor to ensure that work performance is satisfactory. Follow-up (extended services) is also provided as part of the ongoing support services to ensure that employment is maintained.

OJT Contracts:

These short term contracts, which include trial work experiences, have been the backbone of the services package. This mode continues to account for most of the program’s successful employment outcomes. Most of these training contracts have been with private sector employers primarily due to the continued financial problems of the local government. As mentioned before the program would be in jeopardy if it hadn’t been for the training contracts.

Collaboration:

Cooperative efforts to find job placements and training opportunities for the SES consumers involve continued collaboration with agencies such as the Job Training and Placement Act (JTPA) and the Goodwill Industries. The Supported Employment Program is a cost sharing arrangement, working in partnership with the WIA program to provide On-the-Job-Training with the support of job coaches. The Goodwill Industries is used primarily as the job-training site for consumers.

Transportation:

These services are provided on a temporary basis in conjunction with the following agencies such as the Samoa Center for Independent Living Program (mobility training), American Samoa Assistive Technology Program, Goodwill Industries, and Sisters of Nazareth. All of the above agencies have accessible vehicles. Family members and co-workers also provide consumers with transportation services at times.

Entrepreneurship Program:

Under the guidance of the OVRMT Team, this program continues to utilize the SES Marketing Specialist to conduct feasibility studies of ventures of interest to consumers to be assumed and operated as a business.

Goals and Objectives of For Fiscal Year 2012 and Beyond:

Goal 1: To facilitate the expansion of existing services and create new employment options that includes agency support and assistance of self employment opportunities for SES consumers.

Objectives: 1. Increase the number of job contacts.

2, Increase the number of client referrals from VRC.

3. Continue to assist OVRMT with self-employment options.

4. Update and expand SES Job Bank.

5. Increase the number of OJT contracts.

6. Continue collaboration with other service providers to expand SES.

7. Continue to promote and provide public awareness activities.

8. Continue to provide Trial Work Experience Option as needed.

9. Continue to work with the DD Case Manager in expanding training efforts for DD consumers.

Goal 2: Continue to provide staff development through in-service training activities.

Objectives: 1. Schedule annual SES training activities to be provided by SDSU.

2. Provide opportunities for SES staff to attend ASCC.

Based on the success of the Supported Employment Services program the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will continue to use this strategy to increase the number of disabled clients in positive closures. Substantial insights have been gained over the years of the strategy.

This knowledge is being applied to conduct assessments for the significantly disabled clients to determine rehabilitation needs prior to development of each Individual’s Plan. This is referred to as the local trial work experience program. The assessment will consist of a psychological evaluation, technical evaluation (based on vocational choices), and a functional skill survey. A minimum of five (5) situational assessments are conducted in a community job setting for short time periods.

Attachment 6.3:

Effective Date: October 1, 2011

This screen was last updated on Jul 11 2011 9:36PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

The following information is captured by the MIS.

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