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

Published September 4, 2014.   Print   Print preview   Export to MS Word   Export to Excel  

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
American Samoa Dept of Human Resources - Division of Vocational Rehab State Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 (submitted FY 2013)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

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 SignatoryPete P. Galea'i

Title of SignatoryExecutive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/27/2013

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 2014No

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.

Preprint - Section 2: Public Comment on State Plan Policies and Proceduress

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.

Preprint - Section 3: Submission of the State Plan and its Supplement

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.

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of 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))

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 5: Administration of the Provision of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

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.

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

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.

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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.

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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.

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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 2014

Attachment 4.2(c)

SUMMARY OF INPUT AND RECOMMENDATIONS PROVIDED

BY THE STATE REHABIITATION COUNCIL

The American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council continues to work collaboratively with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to be nurtured through seamless exchange of information made possible through planned meetings. While the economic backlash caused by the closure of one of the biggest employers continues, the State Rehabilitation Council and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Council worked diligently to ensure that the needs of the disabled population were met. The American Samoa Government invested heavily in orchestrating and retooling training programs reflective of the kinds of jobs that are available with simultaneous hope of attracting new industries incentivized by the presence of the required skill pool. Regrettably, these retooling initiatives have been restricted to able bodied individuals leaving the disabled population further neglected with gravitation towards the exacerbation of the current plight of joblessness. The unemployment rate is currently estimated at 33%. Implications on the welfare of the physically challenged are overshadowing. The chances for a disabled individual to find a job are slim to nothing.

In spite the bleak employment environment for the disabled, the American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) through its membership explored agencies of the American Samoa Government the possibility of availing job opportunities within their respective organizations. Efforts were also intensified with the Department of Human Resources but more from the perspective of earmarking funds to facilitate the establishment of training programs for the disabled mirroring the general government retooling initiative. The Chair of the SRC, who is the Program Director for the Work Investment Act Program located within the Department of Human Resources, was changed with the responsibility of following up with this effort. 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 resident agency for all retooling funds from the US Department of Labor.

One of the SRC’s major accomplishments was working with the new administration to commit to supporting the programs catering to addressing the needs of the disabled population of American Samoa. Specifically, the State Rehabilitation Council collaborated with the Chief of Staff of the Office of the Governor to implement a more effective process to ensure that all issues pertaining to the programs of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation are considered promptly. The new review procedure has been put in place establishing a 2 days turn-around review and approval or denial of requests. This new procedure has facilitated the advancement of programs and services to meet the needs of the intellectually and physically challenged residents of American Samoa.

The disclosure by the Regional Office for American Samoa to reimburse the federal government for disallowed cost moved the State Rehabilitation Council to find funds to liquidate this obligation which could affect the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s current fiscal year allocations. The Governor’s Office was alerted on this notification and meetings were held to explain the reason for the disallowed costs which amounted to $52, 000. It was explained to the Governor and his staff that the local government failed to provide the required match in 2008 so the excess spending was disallowed. Fortunately, the Governor, through the recommendation of the State Rehabilitation Council forged the inclusion of $52,000 in the Fiscal Year 2013 Fiscal Year Supplementation Budget to liquidate this debt. The supplemental budget was approved and the $52,000 disallowed costs have been settled with the issuance of the check to the federal government for the above amount.

The State Rehabilitation Council has been frustrated over its inability to compel the Governor to set aside at least $50,000 to provide local match which would yield $200,000 in extra federal program funds. Along with the $52,000 to reimburse the federal government for disallowed costs, the State Rehabilitation Council was able to impress upon the new Governor that it was to the government’s advantage to provide local match so more funds will be available to expand and improve programs to the disable residents of the territory. Consequently, the State Rehabilitation Council’s request for $50,000 to match fiscal year 2013 funds was approved by the governor and placed in the supplemental budget. The $50,000 local match was approved and now available to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to help improve services to the disabled people.

One of the plan goals of building the capacity of the American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council was achieved with training conducted by the San Diego State University Technical Assistance Continuing Education (TACE), Program Director Dr. Chaz Compton. These training opportunities were invaluable given exposure to strategies improving our abilities to be more effective members of the State Rehabilitation Council. Differentiating governance and management was most useful to preclude unnecessary interference of the work for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. The American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council voted unanimously for the hosting of the capacity building program for the members.

Through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, the SRC approved the pilot program engaging the services of a private company to conduct employability training for 10 of the disabled clients. The project was to run for six months. At the end of the program 2 were placed in permanent jobs with other needing extra time for additional training. The program was suspended after six months due to lack of funding although the program was deemed highly successful because of its 20% closure rate. The SRC and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation would like to resurrect the program.

The Department of Human and Social Services picked up the program pioneered by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation using the same contractor. This program is for one year and 10 disabled individuals identified by the agency are enrolled in the training program. Program content includes indoctrination in employability skills as well as being exposed to entrepreneurship and life sustaining skills. For example, participants will be exposed to farming, sewing, silk screening, aquaculture, hydroponics farming, and social skills. The ultimate goal of the program is job placement or self-election to participate in a self-employment enterprise.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is presently negotiating with the contractor to “piggy back” on the Department of Human and Social Service Program with the addition of new clients. Given the success of the program for the OVR clients, it seemed profitable to engage the same contractor to sufficiently prepare disable clients for permanent placement or self-supporting activities. It is imperative, given the prevailing unemployment rate to establish hands-on programs to afford the disabled higher probability for success. This effort is supported wholeheartedly by the American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council.

The American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council raised the issue of greater collaboration and coordination of activities with other organizations and committees dealing with disability issues. While there is membership on the SRC for many of these organizations, fragmentation still exists and fund leveraging is not maximized. Episodic forums are held but the content of said forums does not lend themselves to the discussion of issues that might appear to threaten the loss of influence or power for some of these organizations. Collaboration among these various institutions and agencies addressing some of the disabled issues is more acute now as the government struggles to find money to fill the rapidly growing gap between revenues and expenses; with government unable to defray all of its operating expenditures. The American Samoa State Rehabilitation Council will spearhead orchestration of forums among all disabled related organizations to fashion a cost effective approach to satisfying the growing needs of the physically challenged population during the times of severe fiscal austerity and economic deterioration.

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 SRC are focusing on the continuation of the program referenced above in which a 20% closure rate was attained. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has identified funds from its budget to resurrect the program with third party contractor with the same expected outcome of employment placement or engagement in a self-employment activity.

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 SRC 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.

Attachment 4.2 (c) Effective Date: October 1, 2013

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 8:53PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.7(b)(3) Request for Waiver of Statewideness

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen has never been updated.

Attachment 4.8(b)(1) Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment System

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 2014

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 disabled 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.

One bright note is that this fiscal year OVR has been afforded the opportunity to increase the number of youths with disabilities to be trained under WIA’s summer youth program. This year we have selected ten candidates from our transition program to be included in the WIA’s summer youth training program. OVR is very excited that we were able to have this many trainees to be included in WIA’s summer program.

Attachment 4.8(b)(1):

Effective Date: October 1, 2013

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 11:16PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials

  • 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 2014

Attachment 4.8(b)(2)

COORDINATION WITH EDUCATION OFFICIALS

The Memorandum of Understanding agreement established by the Department of Education identifies and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation outlines the delivery of Transition services to students with physical and mental disabilities as promulgated in CFR 361.22. This agreement deals with mutual provision of Transition services by both OVR and the American Samoa Department of Education/Special Education Division. Thus, OVR and SPED will provide an array of services to all students who follow under this category. No student will be turned away from receiving Transition Services once they have met the eligibility requirements of SPED and OVR.

As identified in OVR’s revised 2012 Policy Manual; the age limit for eligibility for a VR client is 18 years or when a student is in their senior year of secondary education (whatever comes first). However, this does not negate OVR working together with SPED prior to their senior year. Also referrals to OVR will be accepted from SPED at anytime of the individual student’s education tenure. Before a student completes their secondary education a vocational rehabilitation plan will have been developed and put into place prior to their graduation time. This will help ameliorate the student’s transition process from secondary education to work and/or their post secondary education.

Transition services will include but not limited; to training and placement, coupled with supported employment if needed, advocacy, assistive technology, counseling and guidance, independent living services and community integration and recreation. American Samoa OVR is not under any Order of Selection. This also includes any student who is in the Transition Program or referred to the Program.

Attachment 4.8(b)(2)

Effective Date: October 1, 2013

This screen was last updated on Aug 13 2013 8:48PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.8(b)(3) Cooperative Agreements with Private Nonprofit Organizations

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

State Plan Fiscal Year 2014

Attachment 4.8(b)(3)

COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS WITH PRIVATE NON-PROFIT

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICE PROVIDERS

The dysfunctional status of the Goodwill Industries prompted exploration of other avenues to supply on-the-job training for disabled individuals. Consequently, several pilot projects were implemented comprised of non-profit and for profit establishments placing disabled clients in their respective workforces for six months. The ultimate goal is for the training agency to absorb as a fulltime employee the trainee. Prior to execution of this alternative, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will collaborate with the contractor to determine if the individuals is ready for fulltime placement or an extension of the training period is necessary to improve work skills.

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. This was the pilot project which is now being utilized by the department of Human and Social Service to train its mental health clients. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is in the process of again placing clients in the program. It has been determined from the first round of the program that participants’ capacity to learn varies significantly thus the investment of training time is directly proportional to their abilities to assimilate concepts and mastery of motto skills. The closure rate could have been higher if more time was available to others who came to the program with very limited skills. The refined program provides a broadened array of activities to which the participant will be exposed thus expanding the options for selection predicated on physical intellectual capacity. Given the limited number of permanent employment or short term employment for that matter, the new training program will expand its focus on promoting entrepreneurship and self-employment activities. Participants of the program are given hands on experience in hydroponics and aquaculture activities. The same emphasis is placed on food production such as vegetable gardening. The concept is for the participant to be self-sufficient with regard to his/her ability for self-nurturing. Moreover, the participant through his/her labor can provide food for the family thus giving them a sense of achievement and an integral contributive member of the family. Thus family integration is attained and self-esteem is emboldened.

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. These innovative approaches will be pursued and continued in this fiscal year.

Attachment 4.8(b)(3):

Effective Date: October 1, 2013

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 11:16PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services

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 2014

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 disabled 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 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 continued 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. .

While the American Samoa Government unveiled 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 disabled 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):

Effective Date: October 1, 2013

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 11:16PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Personnel Development Environment

The success of any organization is intrinsically tied to the professional quality of its workforce and management team. Success is measured by the quality and sufficiency of services rendered to the targeted consumers. This mantra continued to supply the needed impetus and unwavering commitment to ensure that sufficient resources are invested in personnel development. Consequently, one of the more noted success stories for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is the returns it has received from the investments it made in human resources development as reflected in the matrix presented later in this section. The success is also reflected in the quality of services delivered to the physically and intellectually challenged consumers because of the improved competencies of staff. Such positive and tangible outcomes continued to fuel the Office’s desire to continue its human resources development initiatives.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation continues to implement its human resources development plan. The established goals and objectives remain relevant and will continue to be pursued to full fruition. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will also maintain its dependence on the technical assistance from the San Diego State University TACE for more advanced training of professional and paraprofessional staff . Positive results actualized from this partnership emboldened decisions to continue this collaboration. The office has also explored human resources capacity building training programs with the Department of Education and the American Samoa Community College. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has been fortunate to have a very low staff turnover rate. Part of this success is attributed to the investments made in all of the employees and the realization by them of this benefit. Lamentably, it is being feared that trained staff exodus is looming precipitated by salary disparities. This is definitely a blow to the capacity of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to provide the quality of services needed to improve the quality of life the disabled population of the Territory of American Samoa. There is also a silent human resources crisis that is looming caused by the high number of management staff approaching retirement. Succession planning and requisite training is critical. Attention is therefore placed on ensuring that leadership succession is assured thereby guaranteeing that service quality will not be compromised.

In addition to extending the partnership with the San Diego State University TACE Program, new partnerships have been developed with the American Samoa Community College and the Department of Education to ensure that the new entrants and existing employees without degrees will be able to take courses leading up to receiving an Associates of Arts Degree in the social fields.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will continue to petition support from the Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA) to secure possible opportunities to provide cost leveraging to the American Samoa Community College in the area of compensation for professional staff for the counseling program. More aggressive collaborative efforts are being pursued with the American Samoa Community College Institute for Developmental Disabilities envisioning the establishment of new effective strategies to better address prevailing service demands.

In light of the existing human resources development policies particular to improving professional credentials, coordination with the American Samoa Community College is strengthened. The paraprofessional training will continue. Graduates of the program are continuing their capacity building program with enrollment in the SDSU Bachelors of Vocational Education Program.

The Associates of Arts Degree Program launched in 2001 with the American Samoa Community College is ongoing. This initiative reflects the collaboration among ASCC, OVR, DSE, and DDPC. It is the plan that after the two years at ASCC, the person will move on to either the University of Hawaii or the San Diego State University where a Bachelors of Rehabilitation or Social Services will be attained.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Counseling staff 4 0 0
2 Support staff 7 0 0
3 Administration 6 0 0
4 Supported Employment 2 0 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 2013, 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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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.

Existing standards within the territory are not based on the highest requirements in the state applicable to vocational rehabilitation counselors, the steps that American Samoa OVR will take 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 American Samoa’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitations definition of a “Qualified Rehabilitation Professional” See definition below. 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 demands. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will invest money and time to establish an acceptable plan for local certification protocol that is acceptable to RSA.

While the merits for CRCC insistence are meritorious, 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 demand for counselors is rising steadily thus widening the gap for more 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 seek alternatives towards meeting an acceptable form of licensure or certification. "Qualified Rehabilitation Professionals" in American Samoa are defined as:

- the degree needed to meet the national CRC requirements

- a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or another

master’s degree that meets CRC specifications.

OVR has five vocational rehabilitation counselors and none of them meet the standard. The five vocational rehabilitation counselors are on a plan to meet the standard by 2015.

The requirements for the position of Qualified Rehabilitation Professionals have been developed in consultation with the State Rehabilitation Council and are the approved requirements for the position in the Territory of American Samoa.

 

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 2014, 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 continues to be struggle with the problem properly aligning 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.

Attachment 4.10:

Effective Date: October 1, 2013

 

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 1 2013 11:16PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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 2014

Attachment 4.11(a)

RESULTS OF COMPREHENSIVE STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT

The American Samoa Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (ASOVR), the State Rehabilitation Council and the Interwork Institute at San Diego State University jointly conducted an assessment of the vocational rehabilitation needs of persons with disabilities residing in American Samoa. The purpose of the assessment was to provide planners with information pertinent to the allocation of resources, to provide a rationale for the development of ASOVR’s State Plan, and to comply with the needs assessment mandate in the Rehabilitation Act.

The needs assessment process and survey instruments were developed through a review of relevant literature and consultation with ASOVR staff, faculty and staff at the Interwork Institute, research staff at the Social Science Research Laboratory at San Diego State University, and groups of persons with disabilities. The final structure of the surveys designed for individuals and representatives of organizations that provide services to persons with disabilities was organized around the following six categories: mobility, communication, self-care, interpersonal skills, work skills, and work tolerance.

Surveys were conducted with persons with disabilities and representatives of organizations that serve persons with disabilities. Focus groups in American Samoa were conducted with persons with disabilities, representatives of agencies that provide services to individuals with disabilities and ASOVR staff.

One-hundred forty individual surveys were completed and returned. Survey respondents were asked to indicate the presence or absence of unmet need on forty-seven separate topics representing six different areas of function. Responses were identified as coded values of “Yes” and “No”. Percentages of respondents reporting unmet needs were then utilized to prioritize each of the needs.

Survey Items with the Highest Reported Unmet Need N "Yes"

Finding out where you can get the mobility accommodations that you need 140 72.1%

Understanding benefits, such as SSI, SSDI, food stamps, Medicare/Medicaid, MIP, etc. 139 70.5%

Getting information about the mobility accommodations that could help you meet your mobility needs 140 70.0%

Getting information about your health insurance benefits 139 69.1%

Learning how to meet your medical needs while at work or training 139 69.1%

Determining how computers or other technology might help you at work. 139 66.2%

Getting access to a computer 140 64.3%

Communicating on the internet (e-mail, chat rooms) 140 63.6%

Learning about the work settings that would be best for you 139 61.9%

Getting or using assistive devices at work or training, such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc. 139 60.4%

Thirty-four survey responses were received from representatives of agencies that serve individuals with disabilities in the community. Community agency representatives were asked to evaluate their clients’ needs on the same forty-seven items and six areas of function utilized in the version of the survey designed for individuals with disabilities. It is interesting to note that there are a number of needs identified by large proportions of respondents to both groups as being unmet, including:

• Understanding health and income benefits

• Getting information about health benefits

• Determining how computers or other technology might help individuals at work

• Getting access to computers

• Communicating on the Internet

• Learning about work settings that would be best for individuals with disabilities

Agency Survey: Items with the Highest Reported Unmet Need N "Yes"

Preparing resumes, work histories, or work experience applications 34 79.4%

Preparing for job interviews 34 76.5%

Asking for help with their work or training needs 34 76.5%

Getting access to a computer 34 76.5%

Getting information on how to progress in their careers 34 73.5%

Getting or using wheelchairs 34 70.6%

Communicating on the internet (e-mail, chat rooms) 34 67.6%

Determining how computers or other technology might help them at work 34 67.6%

Getting or using assistive devices at work or training, such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, hearing aids, vision aids, etc. 34 67.6%

Actually planning or organizing activities, such as job tasks 34 64.7%

Learning about the work settings that would be best for them 33 63.6%

Focus groups were conducted with persons with disabilities, representatives of agencies that provide services to individuals with disabilities, and ASOVR staff. A total of 43 persons participated in the focus group meetings. Twenty-two individuals attended the focus group intended for persons with disabilities; 10 individuals attended the focus group designed for representatives of agencies that provide services to persons with disabilities; and 11 participants contributed to the focus group designed for ASOVR staff. Consensus was observed between the three groups with respect to the following areas of unmet need:

• Accessible public transportation

• Assistive technology providers and trainers

• Services for individuals with psychiatric disabilities

• Streamlining government services in order to better serve persons with disabilities

The needs assessment in American Samoa is the result of a cooperative effort between ASOVR and the State Rehabilitation Council. The needs assessment efforts solicited information concerning the needs of persons with disabilities from a broad spectrum of persons with disabilities, service providers and ASOVR staff for the purpose of providing ASOVR with direction for addressing current and future structure and resource demands.

The results of the needs assessment provide valuable strategic planning tools and present persons with disabilities and other stakeholders with a means of communicating their needs and educating service providers. The data resulting from the needs assessment effort suggests agreement between individuals with disabilities and service agencies with regard to perceptions of need. It is therefore incumbent upon ASOVR personnel, as well as the SRC and cooperating service providers in the community to use this information in a strategic manner that results in collaborative planning that includes persons with disabilities and educates employers and other constituents in the community.

Demographics of the Responders:

• The average age of the respondents was 48.2 years

• Females comprised 49.3% of the respondent group, while males comprised 48.6% of respondents and 2.1% did not indicate their gender

• With respect to cultural/ethnic background, 97.1% of respondents described themselves as ”Samoan”

• 52.9% indicated that they could speak English fluently

• 50.7% indicated they could read English fluently

• 47.9% indicated they could write English fluently

• The average amount of work experience for the group was 11.0 years

• 5.7% stated they were currently employed

• 12.9% had completed some form of education beyond high school

• 15.7% reported that they were currently participating in training

• 55.0% reported that they were married

• 39.3% indicated that they had never used the services of ASOVR

Survey Findings:

Mobility, Individual Survey N "Yes"

Finding out where you can get the mobility accommodations that you need 140 72.1%

Getting information about the mobility accommodations that could help you meet your mobility needs 140 70.0%

Modifying a vehicle to make it accessible for you 140 53.6%

Using existing public transportation 140 51.4%

Getting transportation to and/or from work or training 140 47.1%

Moving around at your home 140 40.0%

Moving around in the community 140 38.6%

Getting or using a wheelchair 139 35.7%

Learning how to drive 140 27.1%

Getting or using a service dog 140 20.7%

Getting or using a white cane 140 18.6%

Mobility: “How important is it for you to receive help with any mobility needs that are not currently being met?”

The responses to the question about the importance of receiving help with mobility needs indicate that respondents placed a moderately high degree of importance on receiving additional assistance with mobility. The survey responses shown in Figures 1 and 2 take on additional meaning when cross-referenced with the information pertaining to mobility that was shared by the community agency respondents and participants in the focus groups. Figure 3 illustrates the responses to the mobility section of the survey by the community agency representatives.

Mobility, Agency Survey N "Yes"

Getting or using wheelchairs 34 70.6%

Using existing public transportation 34 58.8%

Moving around in the community 34 58.8%

Getting transportation to and/or from work or training 34 55.9%

Moving around at their homes 34 44.1%

Finding out where they can get the mobility accommodations that they need 34 41.2%

Getting information about mobility accommodations that could help them meet their mobility needs 34 38.2%

Modifying vehicles to make them accessible 34 35.3%

Learning how to drive 34 32.4%

Getting or using a seeing-eye service dog 34 29.4%

Getting or using canes for the blind 34 26.5%

Mobility: “How important is it for you/your clients to receive help with any mobility needs that are not currently being met?”

Survey Findings on Communication Needs:

Communication, Individual Survey N "Yes"

Getting access to a computer 140 64.3%

Communicating on the internet (e-mail, chat rooms) 140 63.6%

Asking for help with your work or training needs 137 51.4%

Getting information on how to progress in your career 138 50.7%

Using information from television and the radio 140 45.7%

Preparing for job interviews 138 41.4%

Communicating face-to-face 140 39.3%

Getting or using communication aids or supports 140 39.3%

Preparing a resume, work history, or work experience application 138 38.6%

Using information from printed materials and signs 140 38.6%

Communicating by telephone 140 35.7%

Getting a reader 140 32.1%

Getting an interpreter 140 31.4%

Communication: “How important is it for you to receive help with any communication needs that are not currently being met?”

A comparison of the responses to questions two and four indicates that the respondents as a whole placed a slightly higher degree of importance on receiving additional help in the area of mobility than communication. The issues of communication deemed to be of greatest unmet need were those related to electronic communication.

Communication, Agency Survey N "Yes"

Preparing resumes, work histories, or work experience applications 34 79.4%

Preparing for job interviews 34 76.5%

Asking for help with their work or training needs 34 76.5%

Getting access to a computer 34 76.5%

Getting information on how to progress in their careers 34 73.5%

Communicating on the internet (e-mail, chat rooms) 34 67.6%

Getting interpreters 34 52.9%

Getting readers 34 47.1%

Getting or using communication aids or supports 34 41.2%

Using information from printed materials and signs 34 41.2%

Communicating by telephone 34 38.2%

Communicating face-to-face 34 35.3%

Using information from television and the radio 34 29.4%

In contrast to the survey responses from individuals, agency representatives most frequently identified communication needs related to employment, with percentages of respondents identifying needs generally higher than the percentages evident in the individual survey.

Regarding survey question four, agency respondents appeared to assign a great deal of importance to meeting the communication needs of their clients. The mean score for this item was 3.35, as compared to a mean score of 2.98 for individuals’ response to this question. Approximately 58.8% of agency respondents indicated that meeting unmet communication needs was “Very Important”. Figure 8 below provides a comparison of the community agency responses to the responses of individuals regarding the importance of receiving additional communication assistance.

Communication: “How important is it for you/your clients to receive help with any communication needs that are not currently being met?”

Focus Group Findings

Communication: Communication technology devices and service.

There were no communication needs that were identified with consensus across two or more of the focus group. However, in one group a considerable amount of time was devoted to describing the need for assistive communication technologies for individuals who are deaf or blind. These needs are illustrated through participants’ statements, which are paraphrased below:

• We need communication devices for individuals who are deaf or blind, we can’t access these devices on-island.

• Individuals must be referred off-island for assistive communication devices.

• Getting communication devices repaired is difficult; getting them maintained is also a challenge. Parents don’t know about communication technology and what is possible.

Self-Care

Survey Findings

There were seven survey items pertaining to issues of unmet need in the general area of self-care. Figure 9 contains the individual survey responses to these survey items, which are organized in descending order by the percentage of individuals that indicated an unmet need.

Self Care, Individual Survey n "Yes"

Understanding benefits, such as SSI, SSDI, food stamps, Medicare/Medicaid, MIP, etc. 139 70.5%

Getting information about your health insurance benefits 139 69.1%

Managing your finances 138 58.0%

Getting clothes for work or training 138 47.8%

Doing daily activities such as feeding, dressing and bathing yourself 139 35.3%

Getting an attendant 139 30.9%

Supervising an attendant 139 28.1%

Income and healthcare concerns were among the top unmet self-care needs. Respondents were also asked to indicate how important it was to receive additional help to address self-care needs that they perceived as not currently met.

Self-Care: “How important is it for you to receive help with any self-care needs that are not currently being met?”

Self Care, Agency Survey N "Yes"

Understanding benefits, such as SSI, SSDI, welfare, state disability, etc. 34 61.8%

Getting information about their health insurance benefits 34 61.8%

Managing their finances 34 52.9%

Getting attendants 34 47.1%

Doing daily activities such as feeding, dressing and bathing themselves 34 47.1%

Getting clothing for work or training 34 44.1%

Supervising attendants 30 40.0%

Regarding survey question six, agency respondents in particular assigned a great deal of importance to meeting the self-care needs of clients they serve. The mean score for this item was 3.36 – the highest mean importance score for the agency respondent group. This mean compares to a value of 3.06 for individuals’ response to the same question. Among both individuals and agency representatives, unmet needs associated with income and health benefits were the top concerns. Figure 12 provides a comparison of the community agency responses to the responses of individuals regarding the importance of receiving additional assistance in this area.

Self-Care: “How important is it for you/your clients to receive help with any self-care needs that are not currently being met?”

Focus Group Findings

Very few self-care needs were discussed in the focus groups and none were addressed with consistency across groups or extensive emphasis within a single focus group. The majority of the focus group findings are reported in the section detailing additional focus group findings that appears at the conclusion of the discussion of the six functional capacity domains.

Interpersonal Skills

Survey Findings

There were three survey items pertaining to issues of unmet need in the general area of interpersonal skills. Figure 13 contains responses to these survey items, which are organized in descending order by percentage of need score.

Interpersonal Skills, Individual Survey N "Yes"

Getting along with people, such as coworkers, classmates, supervisors, doctors, or therapists 138 50.7%

Giving instructions to others 138 47.8%

Receiving instructions from others 138 47.8%

As indicated in the survey results, each of the interpersonal skills items was identified by approximately half of the respondents as an unmet need.

Interpersonal Skills: “How important is it for you to receive help with any interpersonal skills needs that are not currently being met?”

The respondents expressed a moderate degree of importance concerning receiving additional assistance with interpersonal skills.

Interpersonal Skills, Agency Survey N "Yes"

Receiving instructions from others 34 61.8%

Giving instructions to others 34 61.8%

Getting along with people, such as coworkers, classmates, supervisors, doctors, or therapists 34 44.1%

The mean “Importance” score rating by agency representatives for interpersonal skills was 3.32, neither the highest nor the lowest of the mean importance scores. Interestingly, the mean “importance” rating assigned by respondents to the individual survey 2.93 was the lowest among the six functional capacity domains. Figure 16 below provides a comparison of the community agency responses to the responses of individuals regarding the importance of receiving additional assistance in this area.

Interpersonal Skills: “How important is it for you/your clients to receive help with any interpersonal skills needs that are not currently being met?”

Consistent with several other ratings of the importance of meeting unmet needs in the different functional capacity domains the most frequently selected response by individuals was “Important” while the most frequently selected response by agency representatives was “Very Important”.

Focus Group Findings

Very few interpersonal skills needs were discussed in the focus groups and none were addressed with consistency across groups or extensive emphasis within a single focus group. The majority of the focus group findings are reported in the section detailing additional focus group findings that appears at the conclusion of the discussion of the six functional capacity domains.

Work Skills

Survey Findings

There were seven survey items pertaining to issues of unmet need in the general area of work skills. Figure 17 contains individual responses to these survey items, which are organized in descending order by the percentage of individual survey respondents indicating unmet needs.

Work Skills, Individual Survey N "Yes"

Keeping your job once you become employed 138 55.8%

Actually planning or organizing activities, such as job tasks 139 54.7%

Learning how to complete activities, such as job tasks 138 54.3%

Learning how to plan or organize activities, such as job tasks 139 54.0%

Actually starting activities, such as job tasks 138 50.7%

Actually completing activities, such as job tasks 138 48.6%

Learning how to start activities, such as job tasks 139 46.0%

Respondents were asked to indicate how important it was to receive additional help to address work skill needs that they perceived as not currently met.

Work Skills: “How important is it for you to receive help with any work skills needs that are not currently being met?”

The respondents placed a high degree of importance on receiving additional assistance with work skills.

The following table contains the survey items pertaining to work skills, which are organized in descending order of need as reflected by the percentage of agency respondents indicating unmet needs.

Work Skills, Agency Survey n "Yes"

Actually planning or organizing activities, such as job tasks 34 64.7%

Learning how to plan or organize activities, such as job tasks 34 61.8%

Learning how to start activities, such as job tasks 34 58.8%

Actually starting activities, such as job tasks 34 55.9%

Keeping their jobs once they become employed 34 55.9%

Actually completing activities, such as job tasks 34 52.9%

Learning how to complete activities, such as job tasks 34 50.0%

Agency survey respondents had a tendency to identify unmet work skills needs at a slightly higher rate than respondents to the work skills section of the individual survey. Regarding survey question 10, agency respondents assigned a moderate degree of importance to meeting the unmet work skill needs of clients they serve. This “importance” score (3.21) was tied with work tolerance for the lowest importance mean score among the six functional capacity areas. It should be noted, though, that 50.0% of agency respondents rated the importance of meeting unmet work skills needs as “Very Important”. The mean “importance” score for respondents to the individual survey was 2.99. The Chart below provides a comparison of the community agency responses to the responses of individuals regarding the importance of receiving additional assistance in this area.

Work Skills: “How important is it for you/your clients to receive help with any work skills needs that are not currently being met?”

Focus Group Findings

Very few work skills needs were discussed in the focus groups and none were addressed with consistency across groups or extensive emphasis within a single focus group. The majority of the focus group findings are reported in the section detailing additional focus group findings that appears at the conclusion of the discussion of the six functional capacity domains.

Work Tolerance

Survey Findings

There were six survey items pertaining to issues of unmet need in the general area of work tolerance. Figure 21 contains responses to these survey items, which are organized in descending order by the percentage of respondents indicating unmet needs.

Work Tolerance, Individual Survey N "Yes"

Learning how to meet your medical needs while at work or training 139 69.1%

Determining how computers or other technology might help you at work. 139 66.2%

Learning about the work settings that would be best for you 139 61.9%

Getting or using assistive devices at work or training, such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc. 139 60.4%

Maintaining or increasing your performance at work 138 56.5%

With employer accommodations for you to achieve the essential functions of the job 139 55.4%

Work Tolerance: “How important is it for you to receive help with any work tolerance needs that are not currently being met?”

The respondents placed a very high degree of importance on receiving additional assistance with work tolerance.

The matrix contains the agency survey items pertaining to work tolerance, which are organized in descending order of need as reflected by the percentage of agency survey respondents that indicated unmet needs.

Work Tolerance, Agency Survey N "Yes"

Determining how computers or other technology might help them at work 34 67.6%

Getting or using assistive devices at work or training, such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, hearing aids, vision aids, etc. 34 67.6%

Learning about the work settings that would be best for them 33 63.6%

Maintaining or increasing their performance at work 34 61.8%

With employer accommodations for them to achieve the essential functions of the job 34 58.8%

Learning how to meet their medical needs while at work or training 34 47.1%

The responses from agency personnel reflect a degree of appreciation for clients’ understanding of the most appropriate work environments and on the job performance. Regarding survey question 12, an interesting discrepancy is apparent. The mean “Importance” score for agency survey respondents was 3.21, which along with work skills was the lowest agency importance score among the functional capacity domains. The importance score for respondents to the work tolerance section of the individual survey was 3.10, the highest among the six functional capacity domains.

Work Tolerance: “How important is it for you/your clients to receive help with any work tolerance needs that are not currently being met?”

Focus Group Findings

Very few work tolerance needs were discussed in the focus groups and none were addressed with consistency across groups or extensive emphasis within a single focus group. The majority of the focus group findings are reported in the section detailing additional focus group findings that appear below.

Additional Focus Group Findings

The majority of unmet needs discussed by participants in the focus groups did not fit neatly into the six functional capacity areas described previously (mobility, communication, self-care, interpersonal skills, work skills and work tolerance). The following additional needs were identified by focus group participants.

Underserved Groups

Individuals with psychiatric disabilities

When asked to identify groups that may be under-served by vocational rehabilitation programs, individuals with mental health disabilities were identified as an underserved group by participants in all three focus groups:

• Psychiatric disabilities may be underserved

• Homeless people with psychiatric disabilities need mental health care.

• Mental health is becoming a big issue in the schools.

• People with mental health disabilities, this is a difficult population to place.

The Rehabilitation Counselors and other staff at ASOVR, as well as individuals from the community indicated that there is a growing demand for knowledge and training regarding service provision to people with significant mental health impairments. These consumers are growing in number and provide the greatest challenge to ASOVR staff and to other programs in the community with respect to achieving sustained success on the job. ASOVR counselors indicated that they need further training to be effective in working with this population, and there is a need for more community programs that serve these individuals.

The mental health service system in American Samoa is very limited in size and scope, and ASOVR is the only vocational program available to people with mental health impairments. Consequently, they have identified a need to ensure that they are prepared to effectively work with this population.

Individuals who are deaf or blind

Persons who are deaf or blind were identified as underserved groups by participants in two of the focus groups:

• Individuals who are deaf or blind are under-served – they need assistive technology, books, and teachers.

• Individuals who are deaf or blind are underserved when they become adults and exit the school system. There is no Braille for the blind, no interpreting for deaf adults, no readers for adults.

Other groups identified as underserved (though without a high degree of consensus) were the following:

• Individuals with autism

• Residents of Catholic Homes

• Residents of the outer islands

• Individuals who are poor

• Persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

• Individuals with substance abuse disabilities

• Persons on the ASOVR wait list

Supported Employment

Supported Employment services in American Samoa are provided solely by ASOVR staff. There are no community programs that are funded to provide supported employment services, so it is not surprising that the group that identified the need for expanded services was the ASOVR focus group. The staff at ASOVR identified the following needs:

• A need for expanded supported employment services

• A need for services to help people with the most significant disabilities retain employment

• Training for supported employment staff at ASOVR

There are two job coaches/job developers and one supervisor at ASOVR. The job coaches are relatively new to their positions and would benefit from extended training on the history, philosophy and values that inform the supported employment program, How to provide effective job coaching, how to establish and nurture relationships with employers in American Samoa, and how to facilitate the provision of reasonable accommodation on the job.

Service Provision

Assistive technology providers and trainers

Focus group participants in every group discussed unmet needs related to provision of assistive technology and training on the use of assistive technology. The lack of equipment and service providers, located on-island, was identified as a primary source of this need.

• There are no assistive technology providers on island; they purchase off-island, but the procurement process is very cumbersome and long.

• There are no assistive technology trainers on-island.

• There is a need for more assistance with mobility accommodations such as scooters and wheelchairs for people who are elderly or have disabilities.

Streamlining provision of services to persons with disabilities

Participants in all three focus groups described a desire to streamline provision of services and to eliminate systemic barriers to efficient service provision. Bureaucratic “red tape” and a complicated procurement system were singled out as opportunities to streamline processes leading to more efficient service provision.

• The purchasing process needs to be streamlined.

• Need to streamline the rehabilitation process – there should be more efficiency and transparency.

• There is a need to expedite procurement – paperwork and funding issues delay provision of services.

• “Some people die while waiting for services.”

• “We could serve our clients faster.”

Funding for vocational rehabilitation services

Participants in two of the focus groups described a need for additional funding for vocational rehabilitation services; implying that with more funding more individuals with disabilities could be served.

• Need for funding for vocational rehabilitation services in order to provide services to more people.

• Need additional funding for vocational rehabilitation – the legislature passed funding, but the governor vetoed funding allocation.

Interagency collaboration

This theme was discussed with notable frequency within one of the focus groups. Comments reflection the idea that improved collaboration between organizations would lead to better services provided to individuals with disabilities.

• There is a need for government agencies and schools to work together to develop processes that effectively and efficiently meet the needs of students with disabilities and other people with disabilities.

• Teamwork among agencies and organizations is needed to help effectively meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Knowledge of available services

This theme was discussed with a degree of frequency within one of the focus groups. Comments reflection the idea people in American Samoa may be unaware of the services that may be available to persons with disabilities.

• People with disabilities need to know how to go through the process of requesting and applying for accommodations.

• The issue is perhaps knowing how to navigate the system rather than a lack of resources.

• Parents of children with disabilities are under-served – they need to know about resources and how to access them. They need access to multiple programs. Kids are under-served as a result of lack of parent knowledge

Individuals Served Through other Components of the Workforce Investment Act System

ASOVR works cooperatively with the One-Stop, or WIA funded system in American Samoa, but the relationship consists primarily of the One-Stop sending people with disabilities to ASOVR for services, rather than connecting with ASOVR to provide joint or collaborative services. There have not been any instances of jointly-funded training programs or job placement activities between the two agencies according to ASOVR staff. The service model is an “either/or” one presently. There is a need for the One-Stop and ASOVR to collaborate more fully on service provision to people with disabilities in American Samoa. This collaboration might be developed and nurtured through the following activities

:

• Regular meetings between staff from both agencies

• Cross-training on the mission, values, goals and processes of each organization

• Provision of joint services to one or more identified consumers.

The provision of joint services to ASOVR and One-Stop consumers can take the form of joint enrollment, provision of separate services to the same person enrolled in both programs, or joint funding of a training program where partial tuition and training costs are funded through an Individual Training Account (ITA) paid for by the One-Stop and partial funding provided by ASOVR.

Survey Aggregate Scores

Survey Items with the Highest Percentage of Need Scores

A comparison of the need scores for the 47 separate items reviewed above reveals that across all six categories, the 10 needs most often mentioned by individuals with disabilities as being unmet are listed in descending order by the percentage of respondents who indicated unmet needs. Each of these needs was identified as unmet by more than 60% of the individual survey respondents.

Survey Items with the Highest Reported Unmet Need N "Yes"

Finding out where you can get the mobility accommodations that you need 140 72.1%

Understanding benefits, such as SSI, SSDI, food stamps, Medicare/Medicaid, MIP, etc. 139 70.5%

Getting information about the mobility accommodations that could help you meet your mobility needs 140 70.0%

Getting information about your health insurance benefits 139 69.1%

Learning how to meet your medical needs while at work or training 139 69.1%

Determining how computers or other technology might help you at work. 139 66.2%

Getting access to a computer 140 64.3%

Communicating on the internet (e-mail, chat rooms) 140 63.6%

Learning about the work settings that would be best for you 139 61.9%

Getting or using assistive devices at work or training, such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc. 139 60.4%

Interagency collaboration

This theme was discussed with notable frequency within one of the focus groups. Comments reflection the idea that improved collaboration between organizations would lead to better services provided to individuals with disabilities.

• There is a need for government agencies and schools to work together to develop processes that effectively and efficiently meet the needs of students with disabilities and other people with disabilities.

• Teamwork among agencies and organizations is needed to help effectively meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Knowledge of available services

This theme was discussed with a degree of frequency within one of the focus groups. Comments reflection the idea people in American Samoa may be unaware of the services that may be available to persons with disabilities.

• People with disabilities need to know how to go through the process of requesting and applying for accommodations.

• The issue is perhaps knowing how to navigate the system rather than a lack of resources.

• Parents of children with disabilities are under-served – they need to know about resources and how to access them. They need access to multiple programs. Kids are under-served as a result of lack of parent knowledge.

Individuals Served Through other Components of the Workforce Investment Act System

ASOVR works cooperatively with the One-Stop, or WIA funded system in American Samoa, but the relationship consists primarily of the One-Stop sending people with disabilities to ASOVR for services, rather than connecting with ASOVR to provide joint or collaborative services. There have not been any instances of jointly-funded training programs or job placement activities between the two agencies according to ASOVR staff. The service model is an “either/or” one presently. There is a need for the One-Stop and ASOVR to collaborate more fully on service provision to people with disabilities in American Samoa. This collaboration might be developed and nurtured through the following activities

:

• Regular meetings between staff from both agencies

• Cross-training on the mission, values, goals and processes of each organization

• Provision of joint services to one or more identified consumers.

The provision of joint services to ASOVR and One-Stop consumers can take the form of joint enrollment, provision of separate services to the same person enrolled in both

programs, or joint funding of a training program where partial tuition and training costs are funded through an Individual Training Account (ITA) paid for by the One-Stop and partial funding provided by ASOVR.

It is important to note that four of these items, which include items in the areas of mobility, communication, self-care, and work tolerance, pertain directly to issues of obtaining and maintaining gainful employment. None of the survey items in the areas of interpersonal skills or work skills were ranked among the top ten items.

A comparison of the individual survey respondents’ perceptions of the importance of receiving additional assistance to address unmet needs is shown in Figure 26. As the bar chart illustrates, the mean score. It is important to note that four of these items, which include items in the areas of mobility, communication, self-care, and work tolerance, pertain directly to issues of obtaining and maintaining gainful employment. None of the survey items in the areas of interpersonal skills or work skills were ranked among the top ten items.

A comparison of the individual survey respondents’ perceptions of the importance of receiving additional assistance to address unmet needs is shown in Figure 26. As the bar chart illustrates, the mean scores as a group were relatively close to one another. The functional capacity domain that was assigned the highest average degree of importance by respondents was “Work Tolerance” (3.10) followed closely by “Mobility” (3.09). The functional capacity domain with the lowest mean importance rating was “Interpersonal Skills” (2.93).

A comparison of the need scores for the 47 separate items reveals that across all six categories, the eleven needs most often mentioned by agency representatives as being unmet are listed in descending order by the percentage of respondents who indicated unmet needs:

Agency Survey: Items with the Highest Reported Unmet Need N "Yes"

Preparing resumes, work histories, or work experience applications 34 79.4%

Preparing for job interviews 34 76.5%

Asking for help with their work or training needs 34 76.5%

Getting access to a computer 34 76.5%

Getting information on how to progress in their careers 34 73.5%

Getting or using wheelchairs 34 70.6%

Communicating on the internet (e-mail, chat rooms) 34 67.6%

Determining how computers or other technology might help them at work 34 67.6%

Getting or using assistive devices at work or training, such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, hearing aids, vision aids, etc. 34 67.6%

Actually planning or organizing activities, such as job tasks 34 64.7%

Learning about the work settings that would be best for them 33 63.6%

As previously indicated, the percentage of agency representatives indicating unmet needs in each area was usually higher than individuals with disabilities. The five needs identified as unmet most frequently by agency representatives are all associated with the “Communication” functional capacity domain. A comparison of all (individual and agency) survey respondents’ perceptions of the importance of receiving additional assistance to address unmet needs is shown in Figure 28. As the bar chart illustrates, each of the areas is rated more highly by community agency respondents, with the highest agency ratings assigned to Self-Care and Communication. Work Tolerance and mobility were assigned the highest average importance scores by individual respondents. Of interest is the relatively large gap between the average Interpersonal Skills importance ratings by individuals (2.93) and agency representatives (3.32).

Demographic Information

The mean age of the individual respondent group was 48.2 years. Approximately 49.3% of respondents reported being female and 48.6% reported being male; 2.1% did not identify their gender. The ethnic composition of the respondents is shown in Figure 29.

Which of the following terms best describes your cultural/ethnic background?

Frequency Percent

Valid Samoan 136 97.1

Tongan 1 .7

Other 2 1.4

Total 139 99.3

Missing 1 .7

Total 140 100.0

What is your primary language?

Frequency Percent

Valid Samoan 136 97.1

English 1 .7

Tongan 1 .7

Sign Language 1 .7

Other 1 .7

Total 140 100.0

What is the highest level of education you have completed to date?

Frequency Percent

Valid less than 9th grade (0-8 years) 35 25.0

some high school, but no high school diploma (9-11 years) 36 25.7

high school diploma/GED/Voc Training (12 years) 40 28.6

some college (13+ years without a degree) 9 6.4

AA degree from Community College, Tech or Business College 5 3.6

BA/BS Degree 4 2.9

Total 129 92.1

Missing 11 7.9

Total 140 100.0

Please indicate your primary disabling condition

Summary

The needs assessment in American Samoa is the result of a cooperative effort between the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the State Rehabilitation Council. These efforts solicited information concerning the needs of persons with disabilities from a range of persons with disabilities, service providers, and vocational rehabilitation staff for the purpose of providing the ASOVR with direction for addressing current and future resource demands.

The results of the needs assessment efforts provide strategic planning information and presented persons with disabilities and other stakeholders with a means for communicating their needs and educating service providers. The following summary is based upon an analysis of the needs assessment data. These considerations are not the only priority areas of need that can be derived from the data, but they are topics which were identified in surveys and focus group discussion as areas of considerable need.

The following survey items identify areas where (a) a substantial proportion of respondents indicated that there were unmet needs, and (b) a degree of consensus was observed between respondents to the individual and agency survey respondents.

• Understanding benefits, such as SSI, SSDI, food stamps, Medicare/Medicaid, MIP, etc. (70.5% of individual respondents, 61.8% of agency respondents)

• Getting information about your health insurance benefits (69.1% of individual respondents, 61.8% of agency respondents)

• Determining how computers or other technology might help you at work (66.2% of individual respondents, 67.6% of agency respondents)

• Getting access to a computer (64.3% of individual respondents, 76.5% of agency respondents)

• Communicating on the internet (e-mail, chat rooms) (63.6% of individual respondents, 67.6% of agency respondents)

• Learning about the work settings that would be best for you (61.9% of individual respondents, 63.6% of agency respondents)

The following items were themes of unmet need that had the greatest degree of inter-group consensus in the focus groups. Each of these needs was voiced by participants in all three focus groups; each of the following needs is also described in greater detail earlier in the report narrative.

• Accessible public transportation

• Assistive technology providers and trainers

• Services for individuals with psychiatric disabilities

• Streamlining government services in order to better serve persons with disabilities

The data resulting from the needs assessment effort suggests agreement between individuals with disabilities and service providers with regard to perceptions of need. It is therefore incumbent upon the ASOVR planners, the SRC, and cooperating service providers in the community to use this information in a strategic manner that results in collaborative planning that includes clients and educates employers and other constituents in the community.

It is the focus of OVR this fiscal year to prepare for our next island wide needs assessment for fiscal year 2014. We are anxious to identify our successes and failures from the past three years.

Attachment 4.11(a)

Effective Date: October 1, 2013

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 11:16PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

State Plan Fiscal Year 2014

Attachment 4.11(b)

ANNUAL ESTIMATES OF INDIVIDUALS TO BE SERVICED AND COST OF SERVICE

The above table projections were revised downward predicated on the results of the 2010 US Census which pegged the territory’s population at 55,917 reflecting a 3.4% reduction from the 2000 US Census count. 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. The percent is deemed to be representative distribution in the 2010 US Census. 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 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 through the two funding streams to individuals who meet the vocational rehabilitation 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 2012, the actual number of clients served is 232. 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 $1,896.55. It is projected that the number of clients to be served in fiscal year 2013 will climb to 236; representing 4 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 236; the amount of funds to be spent on each client is $1,864.40 or $32.15 less. This discounts the effect of inflation of price of goods and services. 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 disabled population of the territory. Leadership of the Governor’s Office 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 $1,896.55. This number excludes the impact of inflation.

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

Attachment 4.11(b):

Effective Date: October 1, 2013

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 Jul 1 2013 11:16PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.11(c)(1) State Goals and Priorities

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 2014

Attachment 4.11(c) (1)

STATE’S GOALS AND PRIORITIES

Goals for FY 2014 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 disabity.

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.

Objective 3: Collaborate with Territorial Office on Aging on leveraging resources on the purchase of special buses that will both accommodate the needs of the elderly and disabled individuals to improve mobility and community integration for these neglected residents of American Samoa.

B. Communication Improvement:

Objective 1: Collaborate with the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority to make available technology that will allow individual with disabilities 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.

Objective 4: Collaborate with the Department of Health on its village outreach program to provide training for home care providers for severely disabled individuals.

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 they 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: Increase collaboration with non-profit entities providing training for the disable for expanded opportunities to increase enrollment.

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 disabled individuals in 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 our challenged disabled 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, 2013

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 10:41PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.11(c)(4) Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

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 2014

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. 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 36 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 2013 will also fall short of the targeted 6%. The contributing factor will be further erosion of the Territory’s economy. The unemployment rate will exceed 40% by fiscal year 2013.

Attachment 4.11(c)(4):

Effective Date: October 1, 2013

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 10:45PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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 2014

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. The territory continues to operate in a crisis environment with estimated 5,000 lost since the closure of one of the canneries. Therefore, while the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation acknowledges the imperativeness for equal access is available to all disabled individuals 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.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 10:53PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

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

State Plan Fiscal Year 2014

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

Expansion and innovation of Title I and Title VI (b) funds:

Since Governor Lolo Moliga has taken office in January one of his main platform issues in getting elected was to expand government services to all the outer islands of American Samoa. This includes, Aunu’u and the three islands of Manu’a (Ofu, Ta’u and Olosega). In June 2013 a Government Office was opened on the island of Ta’u, Manu’a that houses the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and serves the entire island of Ta’u. In the near future Government Offices will open on the islands of Aunu’u and the Manu’a Islands of Ofu and Olosega.

Now that OVR has a solid base in providing VR services on the island of Ta’u we have been getting a steady stream of applicants. OVR took an active role in the expansion efforts of the Governor to ensure that OVR is well represented in providing services to individuals who are located on the outer islands.

Additionally, Governor Moliga is requiring the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) Office to improve communication efforts with the islands of Manu’a. Thus, our Government has allocated monies to improve our telecommunication system with the outer islands so that individuals who reside in Manu’a will be given internet and phone services comparable to their counterparts on the main island of Tutuila.

Goal 1: To improve and expand the quality of services to consumers.

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 and government bottlenecks.

Strategies:

A. Intensify our efforts to retain and hire qualified VR staff by:

- providing professional development programs that strengthen the knowledge, skills

and abilities of our VR staff.

- advertise for two counseling positions, interested candidates must have a Master’s

degree or willing to work toward a Master’s and have experience working with

individuals with disabilities.

B. Manage our caseload system so that consumers will not be unserved due to staff

vacancies.

C. Continue implementation of initiatives to strengthen our senior management in

providing leadership to our direct VR service staff.

D. Support Business Development initiatives to identify career track employment for our

consumers. This will include a collaborative effort with our local government to

support the hiring of VR consumers and curtail stringent commerce policy (i.e.

business permit, land use permit, etc.).

E. Update and maintain a quality assurance and accountability system that includes

ongoing case reviews addressing such issues as consistency with policy, timeliness,

effective counseling and guidance, effective use of resources and employment

outcomes.

Outcome:

Director Chaz Compton Ed. D. San Diego State University – Region IX TACE co-

developed a training project with ASOVR, “Supported Employment Program

Enhancement Project”, the project’s aim was to enhance the Supported Employment

program in American Samoa and ensure that SE (2) and VR (8) counseling and

administrative staff was well trained on the history, philosophy, policies and procedures

of the program. ASOVR Staff received training on the principles and practices of job

coaching and job development with the intent of increasing placement of people with the

most significant disabilities in competitive employment and helping them to retain their

employment.

Region IX TACE and ASOVR jointly initiated an assessment of staff development needs in May and June of 2012, that covers Goal 1 – Strategies A-E . This staff training needs assessment approach is founded on research that inventories the competencies of a variety of rehabilitation professionals. For the purposes of this analysis and in the interest of identifying training needs the research team elected to prioritize development needs according to an aggregate “need for training” score for each competency. The results of the staff training needs assessment indicate that rehabilitation personnel in American Samoa have identified a number of professional development priorities. The results of this needs assessment are one step in outlining a cohesive work plan for the professional development of ASOVR’s personnel during 2012 and 2013. The next consideration is to convene ASOVR staff and Region IX TACE staff to further process the results of the needs assessment and to plan training and technical assistance activities and strategies best suited to address the identified needs. The outcome of this process will result in the collaborative development of an annual work plan for Region IX TACE continuing education activities in American Samoa.

Goal 2: Continue to invest in raising understanding and awareness within the

community regarding the constant challenges facing individuals with disabilities.

Outcome: ASOVR developed a Memorandum of Understanding with Departments of Human Resources - WIA and the Territorial Office on Aging for a cooperative effort through its employment initiatives to improve service options and results for individuals with disabilities served through the one-stop centers.

VR also developed an MOU with the ASCC-UCEDD program to comply with the Unified State Plan, Sect. III., Certifications and Assurances, and Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended.

Developed cooperative agreement with ASDOE-SPED to ensure a coordinated, comprehensive system is in place focused on youths with disabilities as they transition from secondary school to post-school activities.

This year ASOVR had ten consumers from our transition program participate in the Summer Youth Program facilitated by the Department of Human Services, Division Workforce Investment Act. The opening of the Summer Youth Program had in attendance Lt. Governor Lemanu Mauga who was the guest speaker. The program moderator was the Director of the Department of Human Services, Mr. Le’i Sonny Thompson and key invitees was the Executive Director of OVR who is also the Chairman of the WIA Commission.

Goal 3:

Continue to increase independence for our consumers through our Supported

Employment Program.

Outcome: In fiscal year 2012 Supported Employment placed eight severely disabled individuals within private sector to be trained as computer data processors (2) (one individual works with the Hope House inputting data for their day care program as well as assisting the Sisters with other tasks. The second individual was hired by PT & Associates to update their data base of customers served. The individual has since left to continue their education stateside.

The other six were assisted by SE to establish vegetable farming through hydroponics. They are currently supply the local market with their produces.

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

Outcome: (This is an excerpt from the Governor’s letter attached to our FY 2014 State Plan) Since the inception of the new administration taking over the leadership reigns of our government is creating a sense of excitement and confidence that the current bleak local trends will be turned around. It has only been five months since the new administration took office but it has made significant positive impact on the operation of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Programs.

Based on past audits, the local Office of Vocational Rehabilitation was notified that it must reimburse disallowed cost in the amount of $52,000. These disallowed costs were from the 2008 operating year because the American Samoa Government failed to provide required match. Moreover, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has been unable over the past years to obtain local match which would have meant $200,000 more in federal dollars.

With the entry of the new administration, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is given the support that it needs manifested with the provision of local match for the current fiscal year along with the appropriation of funds to reimbursed the Federal Governor for disallowed costs. The position of administrator for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has been elevated to the Executive Director level thus providing recognition of the importance of this agency and the reciprocal commitment to address the needs of the disabled population of American Samoa.

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

Outcome: The office of Vocational Rehabilitation has submitted to the Department of Human Resources to advertise for two counseling positions, screening of the applicants will begin September 3, 2013. We had advertising that interested individuals must have at least a Bachelors Degree with experience working with individuals with disabilities and willing to work towards obtaining a Master’s degree or have a Master’s degree with prior experience working with individuals with disability(ies)

Attachment 4.11(e)(2)

Effective Date: October 1, 2013

 

 

Performance Indicator 1.1 — Change in Employment Outcomes

The number of individuals exiting the ASOVR program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exit the VR program after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period.

The OVR sets an annual goal each year to increase the total number of individuals who achieve a successful employment outcome. The OVR achieved the FFY 12 goal by exceeding the FFY 11 successful employment outcome level by an increase of 8 individuals.

FY 2009 - 39

FY 2010 - 25

FY 2011 - 24

FY 2012 –32

The OVR has met this federal performance standard in FFY12 and has set a goal of 45 for FFY 13. We will continue to monitor efforts to meet and exceed this indicator.

Performance Indicator 1.2 — Percent of Employment Outcomes

Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage that are determined to have achieved an employment outcome.

FY 2009 - 78%

FY 2010 - 71%

FY 2011 - 80%

FY 2012 – 66%

The Federal performance standard is 55.8%. OVR FFY12 performance was 66%.

OVR has continued to improve in this measure and has now been able to achieve it. OVR will continue to track client progress to inform counselors of their progress.

Performance Indicator 1.3 — Competitive Employment Outcomes

Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentage who exits the VR program in competitive, or self-employment with earnings equivalent to at least the American Samoa’s minimum wage. OVR has not met the federal performance standard of 72.6%.

Performance Indicator 1.4 — Significance of Disability

Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, or self-employment with earnings equivalent to at least American Samoa’s minimum wage, the percentage who are individuals with significant disabilities.

Performance Indicator 1.5 — Earnings Ratio

The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, or self-employment with earnings levels equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to the State’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the State who are employed based on US Bureau of Labor Statistics report "State Average Annual Pay’’ for the most recent available year; OVR has not met the federal performance standard of 52%.

Performance Indicator 1.6 — Self-Support

Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, or self-employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage that report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services.

FY 2009 - 100%

FY 2010 - 100%

FY 2011 - 100%

FY 2012 - 100%

Performance Indicator 2.1 — Minority Background Service Rate

 

Program Highlights:

Section 101 (a)(18) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended requires the State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency to reserve and use a portion of the funds for the development and implementation of innovative approaches to expand and

improve the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities, with an emphasis on services to individuals with the most signifcant disabilities? and to support the funding of the State Rehabilitation Council.

OVR reserved a budgeted amount for the utilization of the Innovation and Expansion. These funds were used for the following activities:

• Supported the costs of the Council. This includes staff costs, accommodations and other direct costs involved in Council activities.

• Supported initiatives approved by the Council to expand and improve the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities, particularly individuals with the most significant disabilities, consistent with the findings of the statewide assessment and goals and priorities of the State.

• Areas of emphasis include the provision of assistive technology services and devices, improving community rehabilitation programs, and optimizing employment opportunities and outcomes for individuals served by OVR.

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2013 3:30PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

Attachment 6.3 Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services

  • 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 2014

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 2013 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 WIA Employment Training Program and National Employment Program. 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.

Transportation:

Transportation service is 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, Territorial Agency on Aging 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 2013 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, 2013

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 11:08PM by Donnalynn Alalamua

System Information

System information

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on:08/20/2013 3:31 PM

Last updated by:saascalalamuad

Completed on: 08/20/2013 3:31 PM

Completed by: saascalalamuad

Approved on: 08/21/2013 11:31 AM

Approved by: rscomartint