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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

1.1 The Department of Economic Security 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 Department of Economic Security [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

Director of the Department of Economic Security

... 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

Director of the Department of Economic Security

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Clarence H. Carter

Title of Signatory
Director, Arizona Department of Economic Security

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/30/2011

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2012
Yes

Comments:

The Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA) assures RSA that no later than September 30, 2012, it will:

• continue to maintain membership in the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) that meets the criteria set forth in Section 105 of the act, as required in Section 101(a)(21)(ii), so that AZRSA can work with the SRC to fulfill the responsibilities listed in Section 101(a)(21)(ii).

• complete the remaining interagency agreements or other mechanisms for interagency coordination with public institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the state for the provision of VR services in accordance with Section 101 (a)(8)(B) and 34 CFR 361.53(d).

AZRSA also assures RSA that it will provide quarterly reports of progress on the activities related to the completion of these assurances.

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Clarence H. Carter

Title of Signatory
Director, Arizona Department of Economic Security

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/30/2011

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is not primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and includes a vocational rehabilitation unit as provided in paragraph (b) of this section (Option B was selected/Option A was not selected)

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

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

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. There is in the state a recipient(s) of a grant under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near federal and state reservations. Yes

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) The designated state unit is able to provide the full range of services listed in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the state who apply for services. No

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC); Response of the Designated State Unit; and Explanations for Rejection of Input or Recommendations For 2011-2012

1. SRC recommends that AZRSA continue to focus their efforts to increase awareness and outreach of Vocational Rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities highlighting the importance of placement on the Order of Selection waiting list.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees with this recommendation. AZRSA continues to speak with stakeholders, partner agencies, schools and other consumer groups to increase awareness of the Vocational Rehabilitation program. AZRSA continues to participate in job fairs and information fairs throughout the state. These practices will continue in the next fiscal year.

Information regarding the Order of Selection (OOS) is currently being provided by our counselors and on our website. The importance of applying for services and receiving a priority category is continually stressed to all potential applicants as well as to community groups and partner agencies. AZRSA will explore more detailed methods of posting information for the public related to the OOS to provide a fuller picture of how the OOS and releases from the OOS have impacted the state as a whole and also how it has impacted different segments of the state.

To provide a quick guide to information concerning the Order of Selection in general, the brochure “Understanding the Order of Selection” has been posted on the AZRSA internet site. RSA has also posted on the Department’s internet site a breakdown of the number of people that have been released from Priority Category 1 of the OOS waitlist since all categories of the OOS were closed in March 2009.

2. SRC continues to strongly recommend that AZRSA emphasize collaborative efforts regarding youth transitioning from school to work as it relates to the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, Department of Education, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Department of Behavioral Health, and American Indian Programs with a consistent protocol for working with schools. SRC also recommends the AZRSA allocate funding to send VR representatives to cross stakeholder opportunities such as the secondary transition mentoring program which does not have RSA representation.

Agency Response

AZRSA remains active in its role of collaborator with Arizona Community of Practice on Transition. AZRSA continues to work with the Arizona Department of Education Exceptional Student Services in planning the annual Statewide Transition Conference where best practices in transition are discussed. Various AZRSA staff present at, as well as attend this conference. This practice will continue.

The AZRSA Statewide Transition Coordinator is very active in promoting the Vocational Rehabilitation Program and collaborative efforts with partners. As a part of this overall effort the AZRSA Statewide Transition Coordinator is a member of the Arizona Children’s Executive Committee; a state committee comprised of representatives of state agencies that focus primarily on children and youth. Other representatives include individuals from the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, Division of Children, Youth, and Families, Pascua Yaqui tribe, and various state and contracted behavioral health agencies.

AZRSA continues to partner with local community providers to provide comprehensive adjustment services to youth in transition who have visual impairments.

In some areas of the state, vocational rehabilitation counselors work in collaboration with American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors to serve individuals from American Indian nations. Many of the co-managed cases involve youth.

AZRSA remains committed to being involved with the American Indian Disability Summit. The Summit has a youth component as part of its program.

AZRSA will explore the opportunities available for further collaboration regarding transition including but not limited to the possibility of providing funding for VR representation to the secondary transition mentoring program.

3. SRC recommends that AZRSA communicate the revised Arizona RSA Strategic Plan goals, objectives and action steps to SRC and RSA staff at all levels.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees that communication of the finalized RSA Strategic Plan goals, objectives and action steps are important for both SRC and RSA staff at all levels. AZRSA will provide such communication when the revised RSA Strategic Plan is developed and finalized.

4. SRC recommends that AZRSA provide SRC with preliminary results of the ‘performance report card/scorecard for providers’ within State Fiscal Year 2012.

Agency Response

AZRSA continues to discuss this topic and plans to implement it at some time in the future. AZRSA is currently examining scorecards from other states, the methodology used to assess accurate and meaningful scores regarding provider’s performance, and the capability of RSA’s current data resources to provide accurate data in a report/score card. RSA is focusing efforts on developing and implementing a scorecard as a pilot for a new contracted service methodology that will be in place in late FFY 2011. AZRSA will use the lessons learned from this pilot to expand the score card to other services and providers.

5. SRC continues to recommend that AZRSA outreach to other disability populations, such as individuals that are deaf/blind and individuals with Asperger’s Disorder.

Agency Response

AZRSA recognizes and agrees with the need for continued outreach to a full spectrum of disability populations including but not limited to deaf/blind individuals and individuals with Asperger’s Disorder.

AZRSA continues to recognize the challenges faced by deaf/blind individuals in Arizona. AZRSA continues to explore methods to further provide outreach to this population and to integrate services that will be beneficial in assisting deaf/blind individuals in increasing their independence and achieving vocational goals.

AZRSA will actively participate in community information events that pertain to individuals with Asperger’s Disorder and explore other methods of outreach to this population. AZRSA also recognizes the benefit that further and more in-depth training for AZRSA staff related to Asperger’s Disorder and other specific disabilities will be beneficial in the provision of services that will best assist the clients of AZRSA.

6. SRC recommends that AZRSA continue to explore and specifically identify alternative funding sources with SRC, particularly in rural areas of the state, in order that Vocational Rehabilitation services are distributed more equally statewide.

Agency Response

AZRSA remains committed to continually exploring methods to more evenly distribute Vocational Rehabilitation services and recognizes many of the challenges associated with service provision in the rural areas of the state. AZRSA will continue to seek additional match funds which, among other things, may assist in this endeavor.

7. SRC recommends that AZRSA meet Federal Standards and Indicators and inform SRC of strategies being implemented to meet the rehabilitation rate.

Agency Response

AZRSA remains committed to providing the resources for all federal standards and indicators to be met or exceed expectations.

Ongoing data analysis is conducted to monitor the Department’s efforts in this area and to assist AZRSA in developing strategies to meet or exceed these indicators. The AZRSA Administrator has recently implemented a strategy for motivating staff regarding successful closures. Goals for successful closures have been set for all counselors and a weekly update reports their progress towards that goal. AZRSA has further set a standard that all unsuccessful closures must be reviewed and approved by a supervisor prior to closure to ensure that all avenues have been fully explored so far as engaging clients in their services.

AZRSA agrees that communicating to the SRC the strategies and the outcome of these strategies related to meeting Federal Standards and Indicators should occur on a regular basis.

8. SRC recommends that AZRSA increase partnerships with all tribes in the state of Arizona, including those without an American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Program, in an effort to maximize Vocational Rehabilitation services in all communities.

Agency Response

AZRSA has developed relationships with the five American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs in Arizona. AZRSA collaborates on many different levels with the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs. These efforts include inviting American Indian VR staff to training sessions, which include counselor CORE training, as well as stand-alone trainings. Additionally, counselors from the public program and the American Indian program jointly work together on client cases. AZRSA participates in various Disability Awareness Tribal Programs and has consistently been involved with the Native American Summits in Arizona. The AZRSA Administrator is a member of the Fort Mojave Advisory Committee. AZRSA is committed to continuing and strengthening this collaboration through increased interaction and joint planning with American Indian VR Programs.

AZRSA also recognizes the challenges that tribes throughout the state encounter with access to services. AZRSA does outreach to these groups in order to explore further the needs of each group. AZRSA also partners in finding methods to provide services that are accessible and relevant to these groups. AZRSA, in conjunction with the already established 121 programs, will explore the provision of technical assistance to tribes and 121 programs in relation to vocational rehabilitation services and the infrastructure that surrounds vocational rehabilitation services.

9. SRC recommends that AZRSA involve SRC in the ongoing enhanced training implementation plan of the Federal Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center.

Agency Response

AZRSA continues to partner with the TACE Center in relation to the enhanced training for staff and for the agency as a whole. During the last state fiscal year the TACE Center provided a variety of trainings designed to meet the needs of AZRSA staff. These needs were identified in the 2010 Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration Staff Training Needs Assessment.

Since August 2010 TACE has provided 18 trainings for AZRSA staff ranging from specific trainings for small groups of staff experiencing a deficit to trainings available to larger groups of AZRSA staff targeting specific subjects related to the 2010 Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration Staff Training Needs Assessment. Further analysis of the need for training and technical assistance will be assessed as a result of the Federal Review in May 2011. The SRC will be included in the development of the next training plan.

10. SRC recommends that the 2011 SRC Client Public Input Survey questions be considered for inclusion in the AZRSA Client Satisfaction Survey and Vocational Rehabilitation clients be surveyed throughout the rehabilitation process.

Agency Response

AZRSA will explore this concept with the SRC to determine the feasibility of integrating these surveys.

(b) Summary of Input and Recommendations of the Governor’s Council on the Blind and Visually Impaired (GCBVI); Response of the Designated State Unit; and Explanations for Rejection of Input or Recommendations For 2011-2012

1. The GCBVI recommends that marketing and outreach by RSA include development of an information and referral process for the blind and visually impaired.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees with this recommendation.

2. The GCBVI recommends an approach be developed by RSA to expand programs and funding in order to serve a larger client population and include collaboration with advocacy groups, providers, and other stakeholders.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees with this recommendation.

3. The GCBVI recommends RSA work in partnership with the GCBVI, the Department of Education, and other stakeholders to develop best practices and standards for blind and visually impaired students.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees with this recommendation.

4. The GCBVI recommends RSA explore all potential resources (personnel and funding) in order to adequately provide the necessary services and equipment to individuals entering the VR Program once they are removed from the Order of Selection waiting list.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees with this recommendation.

5. The GCBVI recommends RSA continue their outreach efforts to all American Indian tribes to ensure that those individuals have equal access to VR services.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees with this recommendation.

6. The GCBVI recommends that the best practice for individuals entering the VR Program is to receive a comprehensive assessment of their needs and skills.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees with this recommendation.

7. The GCBVI recommends that the Services for the Blind, Visually Impaired, and Deaf Unit within RSA continue to make their own recommendations for purchases of services and equipment that are specific to the blind and visually impaired client population.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees with this recommendation.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 2:52PM by Christopher Deere

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

WAIVER OF STATEWIDENESS

Transition Services

The Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA) requested and obtained a Waiver of Statewideness in July, 2002. This waiver was necessary to honor commitments made in an Interagency Agreement between the AZRSA and the Arizona Department of Education.

There are currently 32 agreements with school districts that require a waiver of statewideness. These agreements provide a greater level of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) participation in serving students in schools that provide matching funds. The purpose of this agreement is to facilitate seamless transition of students with disabilities from high school to the world of work in order to maximize their employability and integration into the workforce and community. This creates unequal opportunities for transition students in areas of the state where such agreements do not exist.

Services provided under this agreement include work readiness projects such as career awareness, career exploration and preparation, development of skills essential to success in the workplace, development of job seeking skills, resume and cover letters, and the creation of work and school opportunities that provide resources and hands-on experiences.

“Transfer Agreements” are used to receive funds from school districts that are used as match for federal dollars. The Interagency Agreement includes an assurance that the funds made available to AZRSA from the school districts will be non-federal funds. AZRSA commits to the schools that a predetermined amount of the resulting resources will be used to initiate VR Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) services to students who have been certified VR eligible while they are still in high school.

All services provided under this waiver are provided under an approved or in the development of an approved IPE and authorized by the responsible VR counselor. This Interagency Agreement includes a written assurance that state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect.

The Interagency Agreement contains assurances that all State Plan requirements, including the Order of Selection, will apply to all services approved under the waiver.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 3:00PM by Christopher Deere

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.

COOPERATION WITH AGENCIES

THAT ARE NOT IN THE STATEWIDE WORKFORCE INVESTMENT SYSTEM

The Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA) has the following cooperative agreements with agencies NOT in the Statewide Workforce Investment System:

1. Persons with Serious Mental Illness (SMI): Intergovernmental Agreement between AZRSA and the Arizona Department of Health Services/Division of Behavioral Health Services.

This agreement coordinates services to mutual clients, assigning Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors to work with behavioral health clinical teams throughout the state.

2. Native Americans: Memorandums of Understanding with the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Program - American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Program of the Navajo Nation, the Tohono O’odham Nation, the White Mountain Apache, the Fort Mojave tribe, and the Hopi.

These agreements are for coordination and cooperation between AZRSA and these Section 121 recipients for vocational rehabilitation services.

3. Persons with Developmental Disabilities: Agreement with the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).

This agreement provides for the cooperation and coordination in the referral and provision of services to persons with developmental disabilities that can benefit from VR services, but will require ongoing employment support from DDD.

4. Foster Children in the Young Adult Program: Agreement with the DES Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).

This agreement provides for the cooperation and coordination in the referral and provision of services to young adults who are preparing for independent living. These young adults are involved with the foster care program in the Division of Children, Youth and Families and are in need of vocational services as part of their transition to adulthood.

5. Veterans Administration: Agreement with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program.

This agreement provides for the cooperation and coordination of service between AZRSA and the Veterans Administration for disabled veterans.

6. Comprehensive Blindness Adjustment: AZRSA contracts with five vendors who provide comprehensive adjustment services to youth in transition who have visual impairments. Additionally, AZRSA contracts with five vendors who provide comprehensive adjustment services for adults with visual impairments.

Comprehensive Transition Blindness Adjustment Programs include training in mobility, communication, personal and home management, use of assistive technology, plus self advocacy necessary to a successful transition to the world of work.

7. Project Search: Project Search is a collaborative program with the following: Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, DES Division of Developmental Disabilities, SAGE Employment and Community Services, Tucson Unified School District, JTED and University Physicians and is for high school VR transition students to learn skills to be used in the workplace. The students learn employability skills in a classroom setting and complete three or four business internships to build employability skills during the program year.

9. Arizona Department of Education: Arizona Career Information Services is an online tool that provides career assessment and exploration tools, in depth and current information on educational programs, information on Arizona schools, civilian and military occupations and comprehensive financial information. This planning tool is utilized by AZRSA counselors and AZRSA clients in exploring and selecting career paths and educational programs.

10. Governors Council on Spinal and Head Injury: The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Specialist Project creates and implements seamless transitions for clients with TBI from RSA’s Independent Living Rehabilitation Services program or from other referral sources (providers, hospitals, other VR counselors, etc.) to the VR program. Its intent is to improve the quality of services and supports for persons with TBI for whom employment is the goal. This will be accomplished through increased knowledge and expertise of its counselors.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 3:09PM by Christopher Deere

  • 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.

COORDINATION WITH EDUCATION OFFICIALS

I. The AZRSA is a partner on the Arizona Community of Practice on Transition. The Memorandum of Understanding between state agency partners includes the following principles for services to youth with disabilities who are in transition:

PRINCIPLES FOR COOPERATION/COORDINATION

The following are principles that we, representing our respective state agencies, agree to as ways to achieve improved successful outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities:

- Transition starts where the youth is:

Transition does not start at any one place. No agency or school “owns” the transition process or the youth who is in transition. Transition is a joint responsibility for schools, for children/youth/family services, for the juvenile probation and correction systems, for the behavioral health system, for child protective services, etc. All transition planning must start with recognizing where the youth is at any particular point in time. Any agency involved with a youth must take the responsibility to convene and marshal the resources of all the partner agencies (as appropriate and necessary) that can impact the individual’s successful transition. The word “youth” will be used as much as possible to avoid pigeon-holing the individual as “student,” “delinquent youth,” “offender,” etc. or to identify the individual as a client of a specific agency.

- All transition efforts will significantly involve the youth, his/her family, and significant others:

Transition efforts must consider the empowerment and ability of youths to take control and responsibility for their own lives as a starting point. This includes, not excludes, families and significant others. The partner agencies agree that, as possible and appropriate, coordinated efforts will always include the active involvement of family, friends, and others who play a significant role in the youths’ lives.

- Agencies agree to have a flexible approach to writing and implementing program policies:

In developing and implementing rules and policies affecting youth in transition, the parties to this statement of intent will consult with and use each other’s expertise to ensure that parents, schools, clients, etc., have the most flexible and useable policies to achieve the vision and mission stated in this statement of intent.

- Agencies agree to support local control and management of transition efforts whenever possible:

Although a lot of important activities happen at the state level, immediate responsibility and control for obtaining successful outcomes for youths can only happen through the interaction, support and decisions made by persons working directly with youth. Success comes only one person at a time as a result of cooperation and coordination between the local resources which surround that youth.

- Agencies agree to require that all transition projects are cross-agency coordinated team efforts:

All partner agencies to this statement of intent are committed to supporting, encouraging, and requiring that any funding of projects affecting youth shall always involve an element of cross-agency coordination.

- Agencies are committed to create cross-agency funding to support and encourage exemplary grassroots transition projects:

To enable and encourage cross-agency coordination, each of the partner agencies agrees to continuously look for ways to create shared funding programs and projects when developing projects affecting youth transition.

- When appropriate and useful, agencies will develop written protocols for their relationships between one another:

Protocols for coordination, as well as clear statements of policies relating to transition, will be included as appendices to this document as agencies and program entities sign this statement of intent. Each agency is committed to evaluating their internal policies and approaches in light of this statement of intent. It is agreed that all agency policies and protocols will address cross-agency involvement and coordination.

- Relationships will be based on mutual respect and support of each other’s mandates:

Relationships between agencies (and agency staff) will be developed and maintained within an environment of mutual trust, the open and free sharing of knowledge and ideas, creatively looking for win-win solutions and placing a high value on new knowledge and new learning.

It is the Department’s belief that adherence to these principles will provide a framework for accomplishing our common vision and mission.

II. The AZRSA also works within the context of a separate Intergovernmental Agency Agreement with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE)/Exceptional Student Services (ESS) and the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), which outlines the cooperative relationships between AZRSA, the ADE and DDD to assist youth in their transition to adult life.

A. VISION AND PURPOSES

The vision for the Intergovernmental Agency Agreement is “to ensure a smooth and successful transition of students with disabilities to meaningful, gainful, and sustained employment, education, and community living.” This vision is achieved through mutual cooperation and an understanding by all parties of each party’s role in achieving this vision.

The Intergovernmental Agency Agreement serves to establish a statewide, interagency system of transition services to serve as a framework for bringing together the resources of the three systems in order to:

1. Provide guidance and ongoing training necessary for service coordination to VR and Division of Developmental Disabilities’ staff and school personnel involved in the provision of transition services.

2. Develop and implement procedures for outreach and identification of students with disabilities who may need services and provide consultation and technical assistance for the purpose of joint planning.

3. Identify each party’s roles and responsibilities, including provisions for financial responsibilities for the purpose of efficient and effective utilization of agencies’ resources, minimizing duplication, and delineating a basis for continuous effective working relationships.

B. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND CONSULTATION

Public Education Agencies (PEA), local AZRSA and Division of Developmental Disabilities’ staff agree to:

- Provide guidance and training to enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities of personnel involved in providing transition services at both state and local levels.

- Increase the awareness of resources and informal and formal supports, which will improve the quality of services delivery.

Provide networking opportunities essential to establishing, building and enhancing interagency relationships and partnerships, including linkages to the educational and social service systems required to plan and provide transition services.

- Encourage personnel at local levels to develop protocols on how they will consult and provide technical assistance to each other, and to students with disabilities and their parents in their respective areas of expertise, for effective transition planning.

C. OUTREACH AND IDENTIFICATION OF STUDENTS

Beginning at age 16 (or younger, if determined appropriate by the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team), a statement of needed transition services for the student (including, if appropriate, a statement of the interagency responsibilities or any needed linkages) becomes part of the student’s IEP.

Local VR and DDD staff and PEA personnel work together to develop protocols for reaching out to students with disabilities who may need and could benefit from VR and/or DDD services. These entities inform students and their parents (or legal guardians) about available services and resources.

Brochures, flyers, informational letters and/or VR orientation videos are made available to students and their parents to explain the AZRSA Vocational Rehabilitation program’s mission, the role the VR program plays in the transition process and IEP development, the VR referral policies and procedures, and information about the existence of any special joint programs available through the school as part of the IEP process.

Local schools, VR, and DDD staff discuss and agree on:

- Who the VR, DDD and school contacts are for all students with disabilities.

- The VR counselor’s planned visitation schedule.

- How VR and DDD contact(s) will be informed of planned IEP meetings and circumstances under which separate VR and DDD input is sufficient or when actual attendance is expected.

- Planning for specific joint outreach activities within the school.

D. REFERRALS OF INDIVIDUALS FOR SERVICES

Students with physical or mental impairments that result in substantial impediments to employment and who require VR services to prepare for or enter employment, which is integrated and competitive, should be referred to the VR program.

The involvement of both VR and the Division of Developmental Disabilities is normally requested for students who are eligible for services from DDD and who are planning to participate in work upon school exit.

1. Timing of referrals

Students are given an opportunity for referral to a VR counselor or the DDD support coordinator early enough to allow for the development of an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and/or Individualized Service Plan (ISP) prior to school exit. The result is a seamless transition to work or to post school activities (or in enough time to allow students timely access to VR-sponsored programs or services under school agreements).

The appropriate time to make a referral to the AZRSA Vocational Rehabilitation program is when the IEP Team, including the VR counselor, and the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ support coordinator begin to identify transition services needed to identify a specific vocational goal and services needed to achieve a vocational outcome. Students should be referred when they are ready to begin this transition process. Referrals are usually made some time within the last two years of school - unless the IEP team, including the VR counselor and/or DDD support coordinator, determines it appropriate to make a referral earlier.

2. Process for making referrals

The VR or DDD program accepts referrals using the IEP process, as well as referrals initiated directly by school staff, students themselves, family members, or other agencies working with the students.

a. Referrals to the VR program

Pertinent school information accompanies a referral to the VR counselor. Schools and the DDD staff are also expected to provide information for students who are referred to the VR by other means. All parties agree to exchange pertinent student records relevant for eligibility determination, needs assessment, planning of services, and service implementation.

VR counselors accept the school’s and the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ documentation that a disability exists. Additional assessments may be necessary, however, to determine an individual’s need for VR services and to develop an IPE for the individual. Assessments are not done by AZRSA to assist the PEA to determine an individual’s needs/status within the school system in order to determine eligibility for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

b. Referrals to DDD

Pertinent school information accompanies a referral to the DDD support coordinator. Schools and VR program staff are also expected to provide information for students who are referred to the DDD by other means.

c. Referrals to, and involvement of, VR partner programs/agencies

The AZRSA has developed partnerships with the Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (RBHA) statewide. These agencies are important resources for a student’s transition and must be included in transition planning and IEP/IPE development.

A referral to the VR program may also involve a referral to (and involve) another partner agency. The following circumstances highlight two examples of possible involvement by other partner agencies:

- A number of agencies help to fund VR services by matching the federal VR grant. In order to use the resulting resources, students must be joint clients and eligible under the rules for both programs.

- For individuals with very severe disabilities, maintaining successful employment often depends on the availability of an ongoing support system. Agencies which provide such ongoing supports (i.e., day treatment and training services, residential services, ongoing mental health and medication management services, probation or parole services) must be involved in planning VR services.

E. JOINT PLANNING

1. Youth Transition “Plans”

For students eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), public educational agencies use the IEP planning process to prepare students for transition from school to work or post-school activities. The written Individualized Education Plan documents the results of such planning.

The VR program uses the IPE planning process to determine the student’s employment goal, intermediate objectives for reaching that goal, and VR services to be provided, and records these on the Individualized Plan for Employment.

The Division of Developmental Disabilities uses the Individual Support Plan to: document the needed services identified by an interdisciplinary team; direct the provision of safe, secure and dependable active treatment areas that are necessary for individuals to achieve full social inclusion, independence, and personal and economic well-being; and document the extended employment services and supports needed by the person upon exit from a Vocational Rehabilitation program.

2. Processes

- Each party has a different service planning process. It is important that there is coordination and collaboration with regard to plan goals, objectives, and identified services at the point the three processes intersect.

- Schools do not presume VR or Division of Developmental Disabilities’ involvement in either planning IEPs or in providing services without the active involvement, knowledge, and consent of assigned VR and Division of Developmental Disabilities’ staff.

- In order to plan and develop an IPE or ISP, VR counselors and DDD support coordinators need access to information available from the school such as: evaluations (psycho-educational, medical, vocational, mobility); Individualized Education Plan (IEP); Individualized Vocational Education Plan (IVEP), Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (MET) reports; school transcripts; and other school records, as appropriate. All parties agree to exchange pertinent student records required for service planning.

- In addition, the VR counselor needs access to information available from the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ support coordinator such as the Individual Support Plan, accompanying evaluations and progress reports, and other documents as appropriate.

- Copies of the IEP, IPE, and Individual Support Plan are shared. Plans are consistent with each other to the extent possible. Staff include appropriate elements from each other’s plans in their own plan. This encourages coordination and collaboration.

3. Plan development, completion, changes, problem resolution

For the VR counselor, a copy of the IEP and Individual Support Plan is required for VR case record documentation.

a. Division of Developmental Disabilities and VR staff participation in IEP meetings

With timely notice from the PEA and with parental permission of the responsible party, VR and the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ staff participate in an IEP meeting if VR and Division of Developmental Disabilities’ involvement has been determined to be necessary and appropriate. If a VR and/or Division of Developmental Disabilities’ staff person is not able to attend, VR and/or Division of Developmental Disabilities’ staff make contact and provide appropriate input before the meeting, if at all possible.

Public educational agency staff is responsible to develop alternative ways (including written correspondence and conference calls), to enable the VR and the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ staff to participate in an IEP meeting when participation is necessary.

b. Timeframe for completion of an IPE or ISP

The IPE or ISP is completed early enough to allow a seamless transition to work or to post-school activities (or to allow the student timely access to VR-sponsored programs or services under school agreements).

c. IEP/IPE/ISP problem resolution

Staff from the PEA, VR, and the Division of Developmental Disabilities and other participating agencies attempt to resolve disputes among each other. The Interagency Agreement is used as a tool for resolving conflicts.

If not resolved at the counselor, PEA, or Division of Developmental Disabilities support coordinator level, issues are elevated to the Special Education Director, the VR office supervisor and/or the DDD support coordinator supervisor.

F. SCOPE OF INDIVIDUALIZED SERVICES

The scope of VR/DDD services that are available to an individual student during the transition process, as needed, are:

- Information and referral services;

- Assessments needed for IPE/ISP planning; and

- Vocational counseling and guidance.

All other VR services are provided under an IPE (referred to as “IPE services” elsewhere in the agreement).

IPE/ISP services are available to eligible students upon their exit from school, or earlier if necessary, for a successful and seamless transition. Each party is financially responsible for the services it provides under its own laws and rules.

The Division of Developmental Disabilities provides services to maximize independent living, employment, and community participation for individuals who need long-term support. These services may include, but are not limited to: attendant care, employment services (including ongoing, on-the-job supports), habilitation, transportation, and others. Extended employment services through the Division of Developmental Disabilities are available upon exit from the VR program or when a referral to the Vocational Rehabilitation program is not appropriate. Employment service supports for non-long term care eligible adults are dependent upon available state funding.

G. RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

The Intergovernmental Agency Agreement provides the general parameters of the relationship between a public educational agency, the local VR office, and the local Division of Developmental Disabilities’ support coordinator. Both school, VR and division staff are encouraged to discuss and develop their unique relationships within this overall context.

Mutual cooperation and collaboration enhances relationships, improves services to mutual students/clients, and expedites the transition of students with disabilities to meaningful and gainful employment. Under the authorization of federal and/or state statutes to provide transition services, all parties agree to support the following mutual state and local level goals:

- Identify each party’s roles and responsibilities, including provisions for financial responsibilities, to provide a basis for effective working relationships.

- Provide guidance and ongoing training for service coordination to those local PEAs, VR, and DDD personnel who provide transition services.

III. Within the context of the Waiver of Statewideness, the AZRSA makes a clear distinction between:

A. The general responsibilities each agency has under IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, for transition; and

B. The special programs with schools (authorized under the Waiver of Statewideness), which involve the use of third party match funding agreements, as follows:

- Agreements which allow the AZRSA to hire additional staff and to develop and fund specific work transition projects for VR clients while they are still in school. These contracts typically involve funding school staff to plan and provide specialized services not available to the general student population and funding work projects (supplies, equipment, transportation, etc.).

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 3:09PM by Christopher Deere

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

COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS WITH PRIVATE NON-PROFIT VR SERVICE PROVIDERS

AZRSA relates with community rehabilitation program (CRP) non-profit providers in three major ways:

- Partners in the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities;

- Partners in building and maintaining a network of services and programs critical to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities including the establishment, development, and improvement of community programs and services; and

? Contracts with AZRSA.

Partnership Building

AZRSA is reviewing and enhancing its relationship with local community rehabilitation program (CRP) providers as valued partners. AZRSA administration has initiated meetings between state level staff, local community providers, and local AZRSA supervisory and management staff. These meetings are intended to improve relationships/partnerships, help identify local needs of our common clients and provide a cooperative base from which to move forward to achieve common goals. These meetings will remain a priority and an ongoing feature of AZRSA current administration.

Partners in building and maintaining a network of services and programs

AZRSA is currently in the development stages of two establishment projects which will focus on working with private non-profit service providers to expand or enhance the availability of services within the state of Arizona. The two focal areas for these establishment projects are transportation and support services. It is anticipated that these establishment projects will begin in FFY 2012.

Contracting

AZRSA has contracts with over 150 private, non-profit community rehabilitation program providers in the state. Many of these contracts are for job development and placement, work adjustment training, and supported employment services.

AZRSA completed a pilot project to change the way it purchases job development and placement, work adjustment training, and supported employment services during this reporting period. As a result of lessons learned from this pilot project, AZRSA has modified its overall job development and placement contracts to reflect a more performance based approach. These new contracts take effect July 2011 and will replace both the traditional job development and placement contracts as well as the pilot project contracts.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 3:13PM by Christopher Deere

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

EVIDENCE OF COLLABORATION REGARDING SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES AND EXTENDED SERVICES

Supported Employment Services

AZRSA collaborates with profit and not-for-profit Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) providers to ensure that the capacity to serve Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) clients who need supported employment services is available within the community. This collaboration includes assisting existing programs to be as integrated and productive as possible. AZRSA has assisted in this effort by funding program development/expansion/improvement projects. Ongoing services continue to be sustained by service contracts.

Concern with continuity of services for clients has led the AZRSA to strongly encourage providers of supported employment services to also contract with agencies who are responsible for providing extended supported employment services. To the extent possible, the AZRSA works to create a seamless transition from VR-supported employment services to extended supported employment services paid by/or through these other agencies. Title XIX waivers allow the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) and the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) to pay for such services. This combination of funding has permitted a much greater number of joint clients to benefit from services.

Extended Supported Employment Services

Collaboration exists between the AZRSA and the Arizona Department of Health Services/Division of Behavioral Health Services, the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities, and the Councils of Government (COG) to ensure ongoing employment supports available to successfully rehabilitated clients of the VR program who need them.

Collaboration with the ADHS/DBHS

The AZRSA has an ongoing intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the ADHS/DBHS to serve individuals with serious mental illnesses (SMI). This IGA contains joint vision and mission statements and sets overall policy for services to clients of both agencies. It emphasizes the relationship between mental health and work and the need for both agencies to integrate the concept of work into everything that is done for, and with, clients.

Collaboration with the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities

Collaborative efforts have been ongoing for well over 20 years with the DDD to meet the employment needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. In 1993, the responsibility for all employment related programming for this population shifted to the AZRSA. Responsibility for ongoing employment support service needs of individuals with developmental disabilities was re-assigned to DDD in 2003. Employment related services are coordinated with the DDD under a joint agreement that describes mutual roles and responsibilities. Coordination of services is handled at the local VR counselor/DDD support coordinator level. Only time-limited VR supported employment services are the responsibility of AZRSA.

Collaboration within DES and with the Councils of Government (COG)

The AZRSA works within the Department of Economic Security (DES) and with the COGs in planning for the use of Social Security Block Grant (SSBG) (Title XX) resources. The AZRSA assists the DES and the COGs with plans on how to best use their portions of the SSBG resources. AZRSA has managed such resources to pay for the extended employment support services needed by VR consumers with the most significant disabilities who are successfully rehabilitated in the VR program. AZRSA contracts with community rehabilitation programs to provide extended support services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 3:15PM by Christopher Deere

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

PROCEDURES AND ACTIVITIES REGARDING THE ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF A COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM OF PERSONNEL DEVELOPMENT

Attachment 4.10 describes the Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA) procedures and activities used to establish and maintain a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD). This will ensure an adequate supply of qualified state rehabilitation professional and paraprofessional personnel for the designated state unit.

The Governor’s State Rehabilitation Council had the opportunity to ask questions or give input into CSPD activities and has reviewed and approved the CSPD Plan.

(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.

The AZRSA uses two data systems to collect personnel information including the Human Resource Information Solution of the Arizona Department of Economic Security and an AZRSA CSPD ACCESS database. Both contain up-to-date information on all employed individuals. Ad hoc reports can be generated for each classification category to provide information regarding affirmative action information, assist in manpower planning, track academic degree level, identify major areas of study and qualified staff data, provide information to projected retirement dates, and diversity information.

The staff development and training manager maintains additional records and documentation related to staff training, individual staff CSPD plans and updates for retraining to meet the qualified rehabilitation staff standards, and professional certification records. An updated spreadsheet lists all staff that do and do not meet qualified rehabilitation standards, their hire date, and if they had any CSPD-related activity during the past and current year, and who resigned and retired.

(1) Qualified Personnel Needs

The available data provide the following information about current status of qualified staff.

(A) Total Number of Staff:

The AZRSA believes that the current staffing pattern is correct to meet the needs of current clients. The number of clients served per Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor for planning purposes is 75.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Rehabilitation Services Counselor III 258 39 38
2 Rehabilitation Instructional Services Specialist 11 4 2
3 Rehabilitation Program Representatives 13 2 5
4 Rehabilitation Supervisor 26 3 6
5 Rehabilitation Services Technician 30 13 3
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

(2) Personnel Development

(A) A list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing VR professionals, by type of program:

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 University of Arizona - B.A. Rehab Counselint 172 0 0 4
2 University of Arizona - Masters in Rehab Counselin 118 28 14 51
3 University of Arizona - Doctorate Rehab Counseling 64 0 0 64
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

(b) Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel.

The development, updating, and implementation of a plan to address the current and projected needs for qualified personnel are as follows:

The AZRSA goal ensures all staff providing professional services to the public rehabilitation clients meet the “qualified” rehabilitation personnel standards established for the AZRSA. The achievement of this goal is possible only when all current staff have achieved qualified rehabilitation standards and there are enough new qualified candidates available to meet the current and future needs of the AZRSA.

In keeping with the assurance letter dated September 30, 2007, AZRSA has taken the necessary steps to ensure that the functions of a qualified VR counselor will only be performed by staff that meet the agency’s selected personnel standards, or are engaged in a CSPD update plan to achieve the qualifications required under the standards within a defined period or time.

Specifically, the current CSPD plan has the following objectives reviewed and updated annually:

CSPD OBJECTIVES:

Set CSPD standards: completed

Improve RSA’s personnel data system: completed

Compile database of professional staff and their degrees database: ongoing

Update and report annually on CSPD status: completed

Obtain professional development plans from all staff who do not meeting AZRSA CSPD standards: ongoing a. Update plans annually: completed b. Obtain plans for new staff: ongoing

Provide training options for staff to obtain a masters degree: ongoing a. Provide sponsorship of a 2-year Masters Degree program in Rehabilitation through the University of Arizona: ongoing

Provide CSPD graduate rehabilitation classes, from University of Arizona to prepare for masters degree or to meet rehabilitation standards: ongoing

Commit funds to support CSPD plan: ongoing

Review transcripts to provide guidance to staff regarding meeting qualified staff standards: ongoing

Reimburse staff for CRC exam and renewal fees: ongoing

Provide CRC Exam Prep class and study materials for the On-line University of Wisconsin-Stout Prep Class: ongoing

Increase counselor salary: completed

Provide internship sites for paid interns: ongoing

Develop new strategies for recruitment and retention: ongoing

Change minimum qualifications to reflect qualified rehabilitation standards: completed

Establish salary incentive for staff who currently have or obtain qualified rehabilitation standards

*Due to the State Budget reductions, the educational stipend was terminated effective February 7, 2009: completed

Increase new hires who meet qualified rehabilitation standards: ongoing

Monitor progress of CSPD plan: ongoing

Review transcripts of new hires to determine if they meet qualified staff standards: ongoing

AZRSA works closely with the University of Arizona which has the only Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling program in the state. There has been a longstanding Intergovernmental Agreement to facilitate the preparation of personnel to meet the qualified staff standards. Additionally, AZRSA works closely with San Diego State University, formerly functioning as the Region IX RCEP, to prepare and retain qualified staff.

Two AZRSA staff serve on the University of Arizona Advisory Committee providing input regarding rehabilitation education curricula and its relevancy to the State VR program, as well as opportunities to discuss strategies for recruitment of graduates.

Paid internship positions provide Master’s students an opportunity for an internship with the public VR program. This may encourage students to intern in rural areas, leading to employment with the AZRSA. Presentations for on-campus students by AZRSA staff occur so as to increase the awareness of the public vocational rehabilitation program as a career choice. Due to the State Budget reductions, paid internships were not hired during this year.

AZRSA has established positions for internships and in the upcoming year intends to pursue utilizing these positions.

The Arizona Rehabilitation Association (ARA) is a small organization, but one with whom the state agency has a long relationship. Joint conferences have been held for many years, staff have attended “brown bag training sessions” and registration is paid for counselors to attend ARA seminars and workshops.

Recruitment of individuals with a disability and individuals from minority backgrounds remains an ongoing priority.

The AZRSA has continued to increase the number of individuals with disabilities and minority staff hired over the past few years. AZRSA will continue to seek out strategies that encourage the recruitment of individuals with disabilities and those of a minority background.

 

(c) Personnel Standards

(1) Standards which are consistent with any national or state approved or recognized certification, licensing, and registration.

The AZRSA considers it a priority to retain and/or hire personnel who meet national standards for rehabilitation counseling. The National Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) education and experience standards has been adopted by Arizona as the CSPD qualified rehabilitation standards. Counselors are not being required to take the CRC examination itself, but they must meet CRCC’s eligibility criteria for the exam.

(2) Steps that the State plans to take in accordance with the written plan see (b), to retrain or hire personnel within the designated state unit to meet the standards.

The AZRSA continues to recruit and retain staff that meets the standards and to retrain those who do not meet the qualified staff standards. All managers, supervisors and professional staff are knowledgeable about the CSPD standards and its requirements. New personnel not meeting the qualifications are required to read and sign an Employee Education Agreement that they will meet the qualified staff standards within six years of hire.

Since 1990, University of Arizona and AZRSA have had an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that provides for a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling for AZRSA employees. Additionally, the University of Arizona offers stand alone graduate classes for those staff that need to supplement their current Master’s Degree so as to meet qualified staff standards.

AZRSA also works with the Distance Learning Program at San Diego State University to offer additional opportunities for staff to meet the qualified staff standards. Several AZRSA staff are enrolled in this online program.

(3) The written plan to hire and retrain personnel within the designated state unit to meet the qualified staff standards.

(A) Specific strategies for retraining, recruiting and hiring personnel:

Personnel Process: The AZRSA works closely with state personnel staff to ensure qualified applicants are placed on hiring lists when direct hire is not in effect. District managers and supervisors are encouraged to increase their efforts to recruit qualified applicants locally. The personnel manager works closely with supervisors regarding staffing needs. The DES has an online recruiting and application system which simplifies the application process and provides online access to current job openings. The personnel manager reviews all new hires with administrator approval ensuring applicants meet the qualified rehabilitation standards. As previously mentioned, there is an Employee Educational Agreement for staff who do not meet the standards. Failure to provide documentation each year that they are working toward this goal may result in disciplinary action including dismissal.

Salary and Incentives: The AZRSA continues to work with the DES Human Resources Administration on strategies to assist in the recruitment and retention of qualified employees. An education/certification stipend was established for current and new Rehabilitation Services Specialists III, Rehabilitation Instructional Services Specialist III, Rehabilitation Program Representatives, and Rehabilitation Supervisors who meet the qualified rehabilitation standards. During February of FFY 2009, the certification stipend was suspended due to budget reductions. It is hoped that at a future time the stipend will be reinstituted.

Individuals are supported in obtaining professional certification that reflects the qualified staff standards by having AZRSA pay for the exam fees upon notice of passing, and for renewal fees. The certifications that are supported include Certification for Rehabilitation Counseling (CRC), certification by the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) for Rehabilitation Instructional Services Specialist III (includes: Orientation and Mobility Specialist and Rehabilitation Teachers); and for Orientation and Mobility Specialists certification by AER, ACVREP and National Blindness Professional Certification Board are accepted.

Recruitment: The AZRSA, along with other rehabilitation state agencies and the national AZRSA office, continues to identify and implement strategies to improve recruitment and hiring practices. Participating in job fairs statewide including campuses, holding our own job fairs, advertising in newspapers, participating in the national job bank and minority-focused employment sites, as well as listing openings on the AZRSA website are some current strategies. Staff will continue to participate in on-campus job fairs in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff and other rural areas.

Recruitment and retention is part of the AZRSA’s current strategic plan. Objectives and strategies include increasing the retention rate of VR counselors, assessing current recruitment practices, and strategizing steps for improvement. Other strategies in development include employee recognition, mentoring, and professional leadership opportunities.

Retention: AZRSA worked closely with the Region IX RCEP to develop opportunities for training and staff development that encouraged employee retention.

Job Simplification/Restructuring: The AZRSA has addressed the complexity of the counselor’s job as part of the agency’s five-year strategic plan. The difficulty and complexity of the rehabilitation counselor’s job, combined with low salaries, has been identified as a reason for counselors leaving for other jobs. Additionally, work groups have worked on revising and streamlining policies, procedures and forms as part of the ongoing efforts to update the AZRSA Business Model.

(B) The specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the qualified staff standards.

This agency is projecting that this criteria will be met by 2016.

(C) Procedures for evaluating the designated state unit’s progress in hiring or retraining personnel to meet applicable personnel standards within the established time period.

The AZRSA conducts an annual analysis using the CSPD database to compare progress in meeting the rehabilitation standards.

(D) The identification of initial minimum qualifications that the designated state unit will require of newly hired personnel who do not meet the qualified staff standards and the identification of a plan to train such individuals to meet the applicable standards.

The State of Arizona has identified the following minimum qualifications [knowledge, skills and abilities]:

Counselors: A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in a non-related field, plus three years of related human service work experience, a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, plus two years of human service work experience, or a Master’s degree in a non-related field plus one year of human service experience, or a Master’s degree in a related field, including Rehabilitation Counseling or CRC certification.

Supervisors: A Master’s Degree with a major in Rehabilitation Counseling plus two years of related Human Service work experience; or Any Master’s Degree and Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Certification plus two years of related Human Service work experience; or Master’s Degree with a major in a related field or a Master’s Degree in a non-related field plus three years of related Human Service work experience; or Bachelor’s Degree with a major in a related field plus three years of Human Service work experience equivalent to a RSS II or III; or Any Bachelor’s Degree plus four years of related Human Service work experience equivalent to a RSS II or III.

Individuals who do not meet the qualified rehabilitation standards must complete a CSPD professional development plan that outlines their course of study to meet the standards within 6 years.

 

(d) Staff Development

(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.

AZRSA provides conferences and in-service trainings offered in the following areas: assessment, vocational counseling, preparing your client for job search and job placement, assistive technology, rehabilitation technology, case management, case documentation, working with returning military, autism/asperger’s disorders, diabetes, other medical specialty areas, and transition.

Training is provided on the Rehabilitation Act, regulations and state policy. There is a focus on relationship management and client informed choice throughout all of the core curriculum modules. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Workforce Investment Act are also covered in CORE. Rehabilitation Technicians attend the CORE in addition to their Rehabilitation Technician CORE. The majority of in-service trainings have CRC continuing education credits available for those who are applicable to maintain their CRC.

During the past fiscal year, AZRSA offered numerous specialty and targeted trainings. They included Domestic Violence and Individuals with Disabilities, Counselor Counseling Practicum series, Supervisor Leadership Development series, Managing and Leading Generations in the Workplace, Rehabilitation Counselor for the Blind targeted trainings, Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf targeted trainings, and Transition related trainings.

In the area of trainings related to individuals with serious mental illness, AZRSA sponsored joint trainings with the Arizona Department of Behavioral Health Services on the Boston University Psychiatric Rehabilitation Model. Further, AZRSA is sponsoring a project in FFY 2010, which will involve staff attending trainings and inservices in relationship to psychiatric rehabilitation. This will provide a foundation for their certificate as a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Professional.

Three graduate level courses are available for staff development. Graduate courses include: Medical Aspects of Disabilities, Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disability, and Principles of Rehabilitation (Delivery of Rehabilitation Services). A program of educational assistance, career counseling, and use of educational plans assists staff in obtaining academic credit to facilitate career advancement and/or to meet qualified staff standards. The DES educational assistance policy provides prepaid tuition and books. Unfortunately, during FFY 09 the Education Assistance Program was suspended due to budget reductions. It is unknown if this program will be reinstituted at a later date.

AZRSA continues work with the Region IX Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center. The TACE continues to be a valuable partner by assisting with several ongoing annual trainings as well as some specialty trainings. AZRSA staff attend the Community Rehabilitation Provider Institutes that are provided by the University of Arizona in conjunction with TACE. In addition, TACE and AZRSA offered a counselor practicum that was very well received by participating staff. TACE assisted AZRSA in developing, administering and analyzing a Staff Training Needs Assessment.

The items of the survey that included the highest “Very strong need” and “Strong need” ratings include:

- Knows and understands the implications of multiple disabilities or dual diagnosis and the options available for serving individuals with these conditions.

- Knows and is able to use various training and placement techniques, such as on the job training (OJT), work experience, job coaching and other supported employment strategies.

- Is able to use the Internet and other technology to access employment resources.

• Knows the impact of mental impairments and has the ability to work with individuals with mental impairments.

- Understands the purpose and use of trial work experiences with appropriate supports, if necessary to demonstrate ability to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services.

- Is able to prepare clients with effective interviewing skills for the job search, including methods of dealing with the client’s disability.

A work plan is being developed to address these needs.

AZRSA implemented an electronic case management system during FFY 2009. Over the course of this fiscal year, there were numerous trainings and workshops to acclimate staff to the new system and its unique features. These trainings were statewide and involved several steps to implementation of the system. They were held in local offices and in the training center computer lab for both individuals and small groups. Additionally, iLinc sessions were held for specific topic areas that related to case management. The training involved the policy manual, case note documentation, the case management process and pre defined queries (PDQ) that are available to staff. PDQ’s assist supervisors, counselors and support staff in tracking data relevant to their caseload.

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

To support staff development and other training activities, the AZRSA maintains a library of training resources and materials including videotapes, results of research, and best practices. Materials are disseminated to staff in training sessions, and by making resource materials available in local offices. Employees have access to the internet as a resource, and have been provided training and a resource manual for using the Internet in Rehabilitation.

 

(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.

The Arizona state personnel system facilitates recruitment of qualified staff that are bilingual. Efforts continue to increase the number of employees who are bilingual. A salary stipend is paid to staff that use a second language at least 20 percent of their time. During FFY 2009, the salary stipend for employees who use a second language, was suspended. It is unknown if the stipend will be reinstituted at a later date. If a bilingual staff member is not available, the AZRSA purchases the needed interpreting service from established contracts. All staff will be trained during FFY 2010 on working with individuals with “Limited English Proficiency.” AZRSA has the resources of the department from which to utilize language interpreters and to assist with the conversion of vital documents.

AZRSA has video phones at all offices. The video phones provide two services: Video Relay Services (VRS) and Video Remote Interpreting (VRI).

All AZRSA materials, including training materials, are made available in alternative media. Each district has access to Braille materials and the ability to provide print in alternative media per client and staff request. DES has translated materials into other languages. Staff are provided with accessible computers, note takers, ergonomic key boards and other devices as needed for accommodations.

 

(f) Coordination with Personnel Development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

AZRSA works closely with the Arizona Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services, to provide opportunities for staff to remain current in transition policies and procedures. There is an Intergovernmental Agreement that outlines cross training between the partners. Additionally, staff are encouraged to attend the Annual Transition Conference, which highlights changes and updates in the area of transition.

This screen was last updated on Aug 1 2011 1:21PM by Christopher Deere

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.

RESULTS OF 2009 COMPREHENSIVE STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT OF THE REHABILITATION NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

This report highlights findings from a comprehensive study designed to provide Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA) with a synthesized view of individuals with disabilities in Arizona, individuals receiving AZRSA vocational rehabilitation (VR) and independent living (IL) services, and insights on the service delivery systems supporting the needs of individuals with most significant disabilities. Research components included:

• Primary research conducted with consumers, community services providers, and employers through the triennial statewide needs assessment project (SNAP).

• Analysis of aggregated data on individuals receiving AZRSA services during the federal fiscal year 2007 (FFY 2007) study period.

• Secondary research that culled data from over 100 state and federal sources.

This Executive Summary expands upon the SNAP data, integrating key findings from the other two research components, for the purpose of providing AZRSA with insights to aid and assist in strategic planning.

Research Approach and Methodology

To build upon existing knowledge and ensure the relevancy and usefulness of research findings for multiple audiences, this study utilized a process and methodology that elicited the input and involvement of external and internal AZRSA stakeholders.

Primary Research

Primary research consisted of the design and implementation of the triennial statewide needs assessment project (SNAP), which was conducted in late November through mid-December 2008. SNAP surveys elicited responses from 600 individuals, comprising of 221 consumers, 346 community services providers, and 33 employers. Research objectives and findings are noted in the main narrative of the report and focused on:

• Identifying the vocational rehabilitation needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities.

• Assessing the vocational rehabilitation needs of minority individuals with disabilities.

• Assessing the vocational rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program.

• Assessing the vocational rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system.

• Assessing the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) within the state.

Database Analysis

Aggregated demographic and outcome data on the 30,051 individuals receiving AZRSA VR and IL services during FFY 2007 (October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007) provided insight into populations served by AZRSA. This group included individuals receiving VR services (24,592), post-employment (PES) services (626) or extended supported employment (ESE) services (879), and IL services (3,051). Data sets were constructed by gender, age, education, ethnicity, primary disability, significance of disability, and a host of other attributes. In addition, aggregated data on the 1,423 clients who had participated in VR client satisfaction surveys conducted over the past two years was analyzed using the same criteria, including data on authorized and purchased services provided to this population.

Secondary Research

To provide a context for the findings from the primary research, secondary research examined the prevalence of disability on the national and state levels, barriers to employment and self-sufficiency, the vocational rehabilitation and independent living needs of individuals with disabilities, and other relevant statistical and qualitative information. Numerous data sources were referenced to help identify key points of convergence and divergence in findings and acquired learning resulting from this study.

Background

The key findings presented in this report provide strategic insight into the in-the-field perceptions and experiences of consumers, community services providers, and to a limited extent, employers. The value of this undertaking is reflected in both the requirement to conduct a triennial statewide needs assessment and the practical advantages of providing AZRSA with a current snapshot of service delivery needs (from agency and system-wide perspectives). The purpose is to give voice to stakeholder perceptions and to facilitate AZRSA discussions on improved access and inclusion of individuals with disabilities, quality in services delivered through vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs, and increase the number of successful employment outcomes.

Key findings center on a number of critical research issues, the first of which is to better understand the prevalence of disability in the U.S. and in Arizona. This is followed by a discussion of how this data correlates to the population of individuals receiving AZRSA services in FFY 2007 (October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007).

The Prevalence of Disability

The data presented in this report focus primarily on prevalence of disability among individuals ages 5 and older, and more specifically on individuals ages 16 to 64 using data from the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS). For this study, individuals ages 16 to 64 have been identified as the AZRSA target population. While many challenges are presented by the effort to correlate data between individuals ages 16 to 64 in Arizona who reported a disability in 2007 (ACS) and the 30,051 individuals who received AZRSA VR and IL services in FFY 2007, this correlative framework serves to clarify and provide insights into the extent to which AZRSA has been able to effectively reach individuals with disabilities and helps to “paint the picture” of the population served by AZRSA.

The Arizona Community Survey

The Arizona Community Survey (ACS) taken from the 2000 United States Census comprises a portion of the data used in this assessment. There are some differences that exist in the categorization of disabilities between the ACS and the categories used by Federal RSA for reporting purposes. These are:

• ACS Sensory disability includes both vision and hearing impairments.

• Mental/Emotional disability includes cognitive, psychosocial (SMI – severe mental illness), and other mental impairments.

• Self-care disability, Go-outside-home disability, and Employment disability are not reported by the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) or AZRSA as “disability types,” but rather as reported limitations in major life areas/activities (MLAs). (Note: ACS only asks individuals ages 16 and older the question pertaining to Go-outside-home and Employment disability).

Key Findings

1. The prevalence of disability in Arizona is comparable to national prevalence rates.

• 14.3 percent of non-institutionalized individuals ages 5 and older in Arizona reported a disability in 2007, as compared with the nationwide rate of 14.9 percent.

• Within the target population of individuals ages 16 to 64, 11.4 percent of individuals in Arizona reported a disability, slightly below the national rate of 12.1 percent.

• With regard to the impact of disability on work, 59.8 percent of individuals in Arizona and 58.1 percent nationwide reported that their disability made it difficult for them to work at a job or business (defined as employment disability in the American Community Survey).

Table 1: Prevalence Data by Disability Type -- U.S. and Arizona

Individuals Ages 16 to 64 with Disability (2007 ACS)

Sensory:

U.S. 22.3%

AZ 23.3%

Physical:

U.S. 59.4%

AZ 59.8%

Mental:

U.S. 39.1%

AZ 38.9%

Self-care:

U.S. 17.7%

AZ 18.2%

Go-outside-home:

U.S. 26.4%

AZ 27.9%

Employment:

U.S. 58.1%

AZ 59.8%

2. Individuals reporting physical disability are underrepresented in the population receiving AZRSA services in FFY 2007, and those with mental disabilities are overrepresented.

• In 2007, 59.4 percent of individuals with a disability (ages 16 to 64) in the U.S. reported having a Physical Disability (2007 ACS). In Arizona, this figure was a comparable 59.8 percent. In FFY 2007, 38.0 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services had a physical disability, presented here to include individuals with a sensory disability (detail on individuals with sensory disability presented below). This 21.8 percentage point variance for persons with Physical Disability points to an underrepresentation of individuals with physical disability in the AZRSA population.

• In 2007, 22.3 percent of individuals with a disability (ages 16 to 64) in the U.S. reported having a Sensory Disability (2007 ACS). In Arizona, this figure was a comparable 23.3 percent. In FFY 2007, 19.7 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services had a sensory disability (RSA primary disability that includes individuals with visual or communicative disabilities). This 3.6 percentage point variance points to a slight underrepresentation of individuals with Sensory Disability in the AZRSA population.).

• In 2007, 39.1 percent of individuals with a disability (ages 16 to 64) in the U.S. reported having a Mental Disability (2007 ACS). In Arizona, this figure was a comparable 38.9 percent. In FFY 2007, 49.5 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services had a mental disability (RSA primary disability that includes individuals with cognitive or other mental/psychosocial disabilities). This 10.6 percentage point variance points to an overrepresentation of individuals with mental disabilities in the AZRSA population of individuals served.

• Recognizing that a number of factors likely contribute to these variances (including the acknowledged limitations of this comparative framework), further study is warranted to better understand AZRSAs “reach” as it pertains to populations served.

Table 2: U.S. & AZ Reported (2007 ACS) & AZRSA Served FFY07

Individuals Ages 16 to 64 with Disability

Sensory:

U.S. Reported 22.3%

AZ Reported 23.3%

AZRSA Served 19.7%

Physical:

U.S. Reported 59.4%

AZ Reported 59.8%

AZRSA Served 38.0%

Mental:

U.S. Reported 39.1%

AZ Reported 28.9%

AZRSA Served 49.5%

3. American Indians and Blacks/African-Americans had the highest prevalence rates for disability among the population at large

Among all individuals ages 16 to 64 in Arizona reporting a disability in 2007:

• 16.9 percent were American Indians and 14.6 percent were Blacks/African-Americans.

• These rates are in stark contrast to the rates for Asians (5 percent), Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (9.5 percent), Whites (11.4 percent), and individuals of Hispanic origin (8.3 percent).

4. AZRSA VR appears to underserve Whites, American Indians, and individuals of Hispanic origin and overserve Blacks/African-Americans

Data on the number of individuals within the Arizona population at large, ages 16 to 64, that reported a disability in 2007 is presented in Table 3 by ethnic group. Table 3 also shows the representation of each ethnic group within the population of individuals with a reported disability and within the population of individuals receiving AZRSA VR and IL services in FFY 2007.

• Whites represented 76.5 percent of individuals ages 16 to 64 with a reported disability and 68.5 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services in 2007.

• Individuals of Hispanic origin represented 20.9 percent of individuals ages 16 to 64 with a reported disability and 15.1 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services.

• American Indians represented 6.8 percent of individuals ages 16 to 64 with a reported disability and 3.5 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services.

• Blacks/African-Americans represented 4.4 percent of individuals ages 16 to 64 with a reported disability and 6.9 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services.

Table 3

Est. AZ Population of Ethnic Group Ages 16 to 64 (2007ACS)*

White: 3,049,000

Hispanic Origin: 1,144,000

American Indian: 183,000

Asian: 107,000

Black/African American: 136,000

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander:6,000

Percent of Ethnic Group Reporting Disability 2007

White: 11.4%

Hispanic Origin:8.3%

American Indian: 16.9%

Asian: 5.0%

Black/African American: 14.6%

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander:9.5%

Ethnic Group as Percent of AZ Population with Disability N=455,000

White: 76.5%

Hispanic Origin: 20.9%

American Indian: 6.8%

Asian: 1.1%

Black/African American: 4.4%

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.1%

Ethnic Group as Percent of AZRSA-Served Clients, FFY 2007 N=30,051

White: 68.5%

Hispanic Origin: 15.1%

American Indian: 3.5%

Asian: 1.0%

Black/African American: 6.9%

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.2%

Variance between Percent of Population and Percent Served by AZRSA

White: 8 percentage points underserved

Hispanic Origin: 5.8 percentage points underserved

American Indian: 3.3 percentage points underserved

Asian: 0.1 percentage points underserved

Black/African American: 2.5 percentage points underserved

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.1 percentage points underserved

*Estimated Arizona population does not include individuals self-identified as “some other race” and “two or more races” in the total shown in Column 1.

5. The minority versus non-minority distribution of individuals served by AZRSA is consistent with survey data indicating that non-Whites comprise more than one-quarter of individuals in the U.S. reporting a disability.

• Minorities represented 24.1 percent of the study group that included client respondents to AZRSA VR client satisfaction surveys conducted over the past two years and consumer respondents to the statewide needs assessment (SNAP) conducted in 2008.

• Of the 1,423 respondents to AZRSA VR client satisfaction surveys, 362 (25 percent) were minorities – 58 percent were Hispanic/Latino, 25 percent Black/African American, 9 percent American Indian, 7 percent Asian, and less than 0.5 percent Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander.

• Of the 221 consumer respondents to the statewide needs assessment, 34 (15 percent) were minorities – 6 percent Hispanic/Latino, 5 percent Black/African-American, and 3 percent American Indian. The under representation of minorities in this component of the statewide needs assessment is a limitation of this study and a widely acknowledged problem in “open surveys.” (It should be noted that researchers did not have access to AZRSA client or SSI or SSDI beneficiary data in order to conduct targeted surveys with appropriately weighted minority and non-minority groups).

6. Minorities overall have a slightly lower rehabilitation rate than non-minorities. However, significant differences exist among minority groups, with American Indians showing the highest rehabilitation rate and Blacks/African-Americans the lowest.

In FFY 2007, AZRSA VR closed 3,974 cases (individuals whose Individualized Plan for Employment, or IPE, had been implemented).

• 52.7 percent (2,095) closed as a successful (Status 26) rehabilitation, and 47.3 percent (1,879) closed as unsuccessful (Status 28).

• The rehabilitation rate of 51.3 percent for minorities overall was two percentage points below the 53.3 percent rehabilitation rate for non-minorities/Whites.

• Rehabilitation rates among minority groups varied significantly. The rehabilitation rates for American Indians at 56.0 percent and for Hispanics/ Latinos at 54.9 percent exceeded the AZRSA rehabilitation rate of 52.7 percent. In contrast, the rehabilitation rates for Blacks/African-Americans (42.5 percent), Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (42.9 percent), and Asians (47.2 percent) fell below the AZRSA rehabilitation rate.

Table 4: AZRSA VR Rehabilitation Rates for FFY07 by Ethnic Group

American Indian: 56.0%

Hispanic/Latino: 54.9%

White: 53.3%

Overall VR Rehabilitation Rate: 52.7%

Asian: 47.2%

Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 42.9%

Black/African-American: 42.5%

7. The disparity between the rehabilitation rates for American Indians and Blacks/African Americans, the two groups with the highest prevalence rates for disability, warrants further investigation and study.

• The two ethnic groups of American Indians and Blacks/African-Americans represent the top two prevalence rates for disability among Arizona’s population at large, yet their rehabilitation rates show significant variance.

• The rehabilitation rate for American Indians was 56.0 percent, 3.3 percentage points above the AZRSA rehabilitation rate of 52.7 percent. In contrast, the rehabilitation rate for Blacks/African-Americans was 42.5 percent, 10.2 percentage points below the AZRSA rehabilitation rate of 52.7 percent. The disparity in employment outcomes is 13.5 percentage points.

• While the need to examine and study differences in outcomes among all minority groups is important, these findings warrant particular attention and further study.

8. Fifteen percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services in FFY 2007 had their cases closed during the early stages of application and eligibility. This is especially true for Hispanics/Latinos and Blacks/African-Americans.

Table 5: Early Case Closure Activity

Data on the number of individuals, by ethnic group, who had their cases closed early (Status 08 – closed at application; Status 09 – closed after a period of extended evaluation, but prior to eligibility determination; and Status 30 – closed after development, but prior to implementation of their IPE). Caution should be taken when interpreting findings for ethnic groups with low case counts.

Status 08

Asian: 4 (0%)

Black/African-American: 93 (11%)

Hispanic/Latino: 172 (20%)

American Indian/Alaskan Native: 34 (4%)

Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 2 (0%)

White/Non-minority: 559 (65%)

Total: 864 (100%)

Status 09

Asian: 0 (0%)

Black/African-American: 4 (5%)

Hispanic/Latino: 6 (8%)

American Indian/Alaskan Native: 1 (1%)

Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 11 (0%)

White/Non-minority: 63 (85%)

Total: 74 (100%)

Status 30

Asian: 27 (1%)

Black/African-American: 286 (10%)

Hispanic/Latino: 574 (21%)

American Indian/Alaskan Native: 105 (4%)

Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 11 (0%)

White/Non-minority: 1,742 (63%)

Total: 2,745 (100%)

Total Individuals with Early Case Closure

Asian: 31 (0.8%)

Black/African-American: 383 (10.4%)

Hispanic/Latino: 752 (20.4%)

American Indian/Alaskan Native: 140 (3.8%)

Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 13 (0.4%)

White/Non-minority: 2364 (64.2%)

Total: 3,683 (100%)

Total Individuals Served FFY 2007

Asian: 264

Black/African-American: 1,867

Hispanic/Latino: 3,970

American Indian/Alaskan Native: 906

Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 47

White/Non-minority: 16,251

Total: 23,305*

Early Closures as Percentage of VR Individuals Served FFY2007

Asian: 11.7%

Black/African-American: 20.5%

Hispanic/Latino: 18.9%

American Indian/Alaskan Native: 15.5%

Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 27.7%

White/Non-minority: 14.5%

Total: 15.8%

*Count of individuals receiving VR services (23,305) reflects individuals with known ethnicity (versus the total count of 24,592). None of the 1,277 individuals with ethnicity “unknown” had early-stage case closure activity.

These findings raise some interesting questions about the factors driving early-stage case closure activity and the impact that this may have on the variance in rehabilitation rates experienced by minority groups. Additional study, e.g., to examine the VR client experience of individuals from different ethnic and cultural groups and the critical success determinants that shape and influence successful employment outcomes, may prove helpful to AZRSA in addressing these issues.

9. The AZRSA rehabilitation rate for youth ages 16 to 20 was slightly higher than the rehabilitation rate for AZRSA as a whole and for working-age adults ages 21 to 64.

As noted, 3,974 cases closed in FFY 2007, with 52.7 percent (2,095) having achieved a successful rehabilitation or employment outcome (Status 26 closure).

• Young adults ages 16 to 20 accounted for 1,031 (25.9 percent) of the total 3,974 cases closed. Their rehabilitation rate was 54.6 percent (563 of the 1,031 cases closed as a successful rehabilitation).

• Working-age adults ages 21 to 64 accounted for 2,871 (72.2 percent) of the 3,974 cases closed. Their rehabilitation rate was 52.2 percent (1,498 of the 2,871 cases closed as a successful rehabilitation).

• The rehabilitation rate for young adults ages 16 to 20 exceeded the AZRSA agency-wide rate of 52.7 percent by 1.9 percentage points and the rehabilitation rate for working-age adults by 2.4 percentage points.

10. AZRSA VR clients with communicative disabilities had the highest employment rates; those with mental/psychosocial disabilities had the lowest. This mirrors 2007 ACS reported data.

Table 6: Employment Rates by Disability Type for working-Age Individuals, Ages 21 to 64 ACS Reported Rates and AZRSA FFY 07 Rehabilitation Rates

AZRSA Mental: 43.6%

AZRSA Cognitive: 61.9%

ACS Mental: 26.4%

AZRSA Physical: 52.3%

ACS Physical: 30.5%

AZRSA Communicative: 63.7%

AZRSA Visual: 60.0%

ACS Sensory: 41.2%

11. The employment rates for AZRSA VR clients in FFY 2007 were higher than the rates reported for all working-age individuals with disabilities in Arizona, per 2007 ACS.

The employment rate for individuals ranging in age from 21 to 64 receiving AZRSA VR services was 52.2 percent and for the general population of individuals reporting a disability in the 2007 ACS was 35.4 percent. While it is not known how many individuals reporting a disability would have qualified for VR services (or how many received employment services), the employment rate for VR clients is significantly higher, by 17.3 percentage points.

Earnings Data

AZRSA Employment Outcomes

• Individuals with a communicative disability had the highest employment rate and were the highest paid. On average, they worked 35.48 hours per week at average hourly earnings of $12.03.

• Individuals with a mental disability had the lowest employment rate and were the lowest paid. On average, they worked 31.36 hours per week at average hourly earnings of $9.16.

AZRSA Competitive Employment Outcomes

• Of the 2,096 individuals who achieved an employment outcome, 1,996 (95.2 percent) worked at or above minimum wage in an integrated setting (referred to as competitive employment).

• On average, individuals worked 33.27 hours per week, exceeding the national average of 32.61 hours per week for general/combined State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs).

• Individuals were paid average hourly earnings of $10.65, which also exceeded the national average of $10.57 for SVRAs.

12. The current economic crisis will challenge AZRSA to proactively identify and implement strategies to safeguard employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

AZRSA Rehabilitation Rates

• AZRSA’s rehabilitation rate in FFY 2007 (52.7 percent) was 6.6 percentage points below the national average of 59.3 percent for general and combined SVRAs.

• The rate was also 24.6 percentage points below the 2007 employment rate (77.3 percent) for Arizona individuals without disabilities.

Primary Research Findings

Primary research points to shared perceptions among consumers, providers, and employers about barriers to employment, service needs, and the impact of the economy on job opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Barriers to Employment

• Lack of transportation and/or access to reliable transportation.

• Impact of personal health problems on ability to work.

• Consumer fear of losing benefits (SSA cash assistance and health-related benefits, other health-insurance benefits, and other general assistance benefits that were cited by 10 percent of consumers).

• Lack of education, skills training, and work experience for desired job.

Table 7: Major Barriers to Employment and Independence Cited by SNAP 2009 Consumer and Provider Survey Respondents

Transportation: Provider 38% Consumer 35%

Health Problems: Provider 34% Consumer 35%

Loss of SSA benefits: Provider 36% Consumer 32%

Lack of education/training: Provider 29% Consumer 25%

Lack of work experience: Provider 29% Consumer 23%

Employer attitudes: Provider 23% Consumer 24%

Loss of health ins/benefits: Provider 32% Consumer 24%

Service Needs

VR service needs most widely identified by consumers were aligned with barriers to employment and included the following, identified as “services to help me.”

• Find the job I want.

• Find transportation to and from work.

• Learn new skills to get the job that I want.

• Take classes or go to school to prepare for the job that I want.

• Identify my job interests and skills.

• Learn about how going to work will affect my Social Security benefits (work options).

• Decide on a job goal.

Table 8: Top Service Needs Identified by SNAP 2009 Consumer Survey Respondents N=221

Find desired job: 38%

Transportation: 37%

Skills training: 35%

Education: 33%

Identify skills: 33%

Work options: 31%

Job goals: 31%

Community services providers and employers reiterated concerns about the impact of the economy on job opportunities and the increasing competitiveness for a highly trained labor force.

Providers

• 73 percent of providers reported lack of employment opportunities and slowdown in the job market as a “barrier” or “major barrier” for individuals with disabilities.

• 60 percent of providers reported that the need for assistance with work skills training was “almost always” or “very frequently” cited by consumers as a prevalent or unmet need.

Employers

• Current downsizing and cost-cutting measures, the resultant high unemployment rates among highly skilled and qualified workers, and increased competition for jobs were identified as having a major impact on employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

• Employers reiterated the need for a well trained, technology savvy, and qualified workforce of individuals with disabilities.

• Feedback on “wave of the future” job opportunities for individuals with disabilities focused on the anticipated demand for skilled healthcare support services personnel (e.g., personal assistant, home health care aides) as well as computer- and technology-literate employees.

• Information on AZRSA services and employment supports that was of interest to employers included: (1) recruitment (job fairs, postings of open positions, referral of qualified applicants); (2) job training to meet the needs of employers and training supports/retraining to promote retention; (3) financial incentives for hiring individuals with disabilities; and (4) vocational training assessments.

Table 9: Interest in AZRSA Services and Support SNAP 2009 Employer Survey Respondents N=33

Applicant referrals: 61%

Job training: 55%

Retention/training/support: 52%

Job Fairs: 48%

Open position postings: 48%

Financial incentives: 45%

Vocational assessments: 45%

13. Reliance on SSI/DI. Public health insurance, and/or other federal or state benefits underscores consumer concerns about the short-term and long- term implications of an employment option and highlights the importance of a system-coordinated approach to benefits counseling services.

• The majority of consumers depend on SSA benefits (SSI/DI, which include access to Medicaid and Medicare), public health insurance benefits, and other types of benefits.

• This finding correlates with data presented on consumer- and provider-reported barriers to employment (personal health issues impacting ability to work and consumer fear of losing benefits).

• While we do not know how many consumers reporting AHCCCS Medicaid benefits were enrolled in the Arizona Freedom to Work Medicaid Buy-In program (versus standard Medicaid program), it is interesting to note that 40 percent reported that they were currently working. It is likely that some of these consumers were enrolled in the Medicaid Buy-In program, a program that allows individuals with disabilities who are employed to buy in to the state-administered Medicaid program.

Table 10: Identification of Benefits Received by SNAP 2009 Consumer Survey Respondents N=221

AHCCCS: 40%

SSDI: 35%

SSI: 31%

ALTCS: 24%

Other: 17%

None: 17%

Food: 14%

Utilities: 7%

VA: 1%

TANF: 0%

General: 0%

As shown in Table 11, feedback from providers on AZRSA’s benefits counseling services and other services designed to help consumers navigate through the service delivery system point to the need to improve these services. Service providers were asked to rate the importance of AZRSA services on a 4-point scale (very important, important, somewhat important, or not important). Providers were then asked to rate the effectiveness of these services using a 6-point scale (very effective, effective, somewhat effective, neither effective nor ineffective, ineffective, or very ineffective).

Table 11: Importance and Effectiveness of ervices SNAP 2009 Provider Survey Respondents N=264

Outreach and marketing: Important 95% Effective 45% Ineffective 21%

Information and referral services: Important 96% Effective 39% Ineffective 18%

Intake and eligibility: Important 95% Effective 50% Ineffective 17%

Benefits counseling: Important 96% Effective 50% Ineffective 20%

14. Transportation remains the single most pervasive service need of individuals with disabilities.

Consumers and providers consistently cited access to affordable and reliable transportation as a major barrier to employment and a critical service need. Lack of transportation was reported to hinder: (1) access to and utilization of VR and IL services, (2) access to health care and social services programs, (3) efforts to secure and retain employment, and (4) participation in the community (i.e., social, recreational, and civic programs). Transportation service needs are also widely acknowledged by state and federal agencies as a pervasive need.

15. Socialization and participation in recreational and community activities represent the top IL service need of individuals with disabilities.

• 39 percent of the 221 consumers participating in the statewide needs assessment cited the need for social and recreational activities. Other IL service needs included: adjustment to disability (34 percent), IL skills (33 percent), self-care training (20 percent), medical and health care services (17 percent), and vehicle or home accessibility modifications (11 percent).

• 71 percent of consumers reported problems with self-care when “out in the community.” Concerns about tending to self-care needs were also cited in secondary research sources as a barrier to participation in social and recreational activities.

Table 12: Independent Living (IL) Service Needs SNAP 2009 Consumer Survey Respondents N=221

Social Activity: 39%

Adjust Disability: 34%

IL Skills: 33%

Self-Care Training: 20%

Medical Care: 17%

Car/Home Modification: 11%

16. Gaps in the service delivery system for individuals with disabilities include provision of basic needs, availability and access to services (capacity issues), and lack of coordinated and integrated service model that provides linkages to needed services in a timely and efficient manner.

Fifty-six percent of providers (194 of 346) reported gaps in the service delivery systems that assist persons with disabilities and those with the most significant disabilities to overcome barriers to employment and/or independence. In addition, consumers themselves identified many of these same gaps, which included:

• Transportation.

• Lack of a comprehensive and coordinated information and referral system to ensure that basic needs for housing, nutrition, medical care and services, and financial assistance are met.

• Gaps in communications within/across agencies that result in the failure to identify, leverage, and coordinate services (e.g., co-enrollment opportunities, delivery of targeted services).

• Gaps in the level of assistance offered to individuals who do not meet eligibility criteria but are in need of services and support.

• Structural and resource issues identified in the AZRSA system, including (1) lengthy processing time from application and eligibility to start of service; (2) lack of continuity in services due to case reassignments; and (3) provision of service in rural or remote areas of the state (including capacity-building needs).

17. The challenges in meeting the service needs of individuals with disabilities residing in rural communities are reflected in stakeholder feedback on barriers to employment, unserved and underserved populations, and gaps in service delivery systems.

Issues related to meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities residing in rural communities emerged as a consistent theme throughout this study. Limited availability of and access to services, compounded by transportation issues, resource and capacity constraints, and economic factors were viewed as barriers to employment and independence. In addition, the economies-of-scale challenges that community service providers face when attempting to meet the diverse service needs of these populations led many providers to identify individuals with disabilities residing in rural areas as unserved or underserved populations.

The environmental, societal, and economic challenges that impact life in rural and remote areas of the state are real. The need for a collaborative, integrated, and multi-disciplinary approach to meeting the service needs of individuals with disabilities living in these areas warrants further study and evaluation.

• Of the 15 counties in Arizona, all but Maricopa and Pima are designated as rural counties.

• As of January 2009, 45 areas in Arizona have federal MUA/MUP designations, including 13 counties with MUA designations and 8 with MUP designations. The Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/MUP) designations identify areas or populations as having an unmet need for medical services on the basis of demographic data.

• In addition, 63 areas and 72 facilities in Arizona are designated as Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA). This federal Health Professional Shortage Area designation identifies an area or population as having a shortage of dental, mental, and primary health care providers. HPSA designations are used to qualify for state and federal programs aimed at increasing primary care services to underserved areas and populations.

• Data on the number of individuals served by AZRSA in FFY 2007 points to the predominance of individuals residing in Maricopa and Pima counties, the two most densely populated areas of the state.

Table 13: Total AZRSA Individuals Served FFY2007 by County of Residence N=30,051

Apache: 0.4

Cochise: 3.1

Coconino: 3.3

Gila: 1.3

Greenlee: 0.1

Graham: 0.8

La Paz: 0.1

Maricopa: 50.9

Mohave: 2.7

Navajo: 2

Out-of-state: 0.8

Pima: 21.6

Pinal: 3.2

Santa Cruz: 0.4

Yavapai: 5.3

Yuma: 4

Unknown: 0

Areas with 0 percent population counts indicate that less than 1 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services in FFY 2007 resided in these counties.

• Close to 70 percent of individuals receiving services resided in AZRSA districts 1A or 2A, which are Maricopa and Pima counties, respectively.

• 9.1 percent of individuals resided in District 3A (Yavapai, Coconino, Apache, and Navajo counties); 5.4 percent in District 4A (Mohave, La Paz, and Yuma counties); 4.2 percent in District 5A (Gila and Pinal counties); and 3.5 percent in District 6A (Graham, Cochise, Santa Cruz, and Greenlee counties). Data was not available on 9.3 percent of individuals served (blankfield).

Table 14: Total AZRSA Individuals Served FFY2007 by District N=30,051

(blank): 9

1A: 48

2A: 20

3A: 9

4A: 5

5A: 4

6A: 4

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 6:17PM by readonly

ANNUAL ESTIMATES OF INDIVIDUALS

TO BE SERVED AND COST OF SERVICES

Estimate of the number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services under the State Plan in FFY 2012

The estimated number of individuals eligible for services under the State Plan (ages 16-64): 18,744

Estimate of the number of eligible individuals who will receive services with funds provided under Part B of Title I and Part B of Title VI of the Act, including estimates of the number of individuals served and costs of services for each priority category within the order of selection for FFY 2012 are as follows:

Priority Group 1

Estimated number of eligible individuals to receive services:

Title I: 6,839

Title VI: 1137

Estimated number to be rehabilitated:

Title I: 254

Title VI: 76

Estimated cost of all services: $26,723,735

Priority Group 2

Estimated number of eligible individuals to receive services:

Title I: 873

Title VI: N/A

Estimated number to be rehabilitated:

Title I: 145

Title VI: N/A

Estimated cost of all services: $3,125,065

Priority Group 3

Estimated number of eligible individuals to receive services:

Title I: 186

Title VI: N/A

Estimated number to be rehabilitated:

Title I: 31

Title VI: N/A

Estimated cost of all services: $572,235

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Priority Group 1 $26,723,735 7,093 $3,767
Priority Group 2 $3,125,065 873 $3,579
Priority Group 3 $572,235 186 $3,076
Totals   $30,421,035 8,152 $3,731

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 4:17PM by Christopher Deere

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.

GOALS AND PRIORITIES

Goals and Priorities for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program are developed based on analysis of the 2009 Statewide Needs Assessment (SNAP), the 2008 Federal Monitoring Recommendations, Interviews with key stakeholders, staff and advisory groups and the current DES, SRC, and SILC strategic plans. In conjunction with the VR goals and priorities, AZRSA developed a new strategic plan. The State Rehabilitation Council was involved in the development of the strategic plan and its ensuing goals and priorities. The goals and priorities in this attachment were presented to the SRC as a part of the overall review of the State Plan update during which the SRC had the opportunity to provide guidance, recommendations, and input.

The priorities and goals listed below begin with the FFY 2011 State Plan. Progress in achieving the new goals listed below will be described in future submissions of Attachment 4.11(e)(2).

Progress in achieving the priorities and goals from previous State Plan submissions will be reported in the current Attachment 4.11(e)(2).

PRIORITY 1

IMPROVE CLIENT OUTCOMES

Goal 1: Increase the number of successful rehabilitations from 1372 in FFY 2009 to 1454 in FFY 2010 with subsequent increases of 6% each FFY.

Goal 2: Increase the rehabilitation rate from 47.6% in FFY 2009 to 55.8% by September 30, 2011.

Goal 3: Increase the percentage of clients who have their IPE developed within 120 days of eligibility determination or activation from the OOS waiting list from 71 percent in FFY 2009 to 80 percent in FFY 2011.

PRIORITY 2

IMPROVE ACCESS TO SERVICES FOR UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS

Goal 1: Increase the percentage of clients with a physical disability as a primary disability served from 18.3% of persons served in FFY 2007 to 28 percent in FFY 2011.

Goal 2: Increase the percentage of American Indian clients served from 3.5 percent in FFY 2007 to 4.5 percent in FFY 2011.

Goal 3: Increase the percentage of Hispanic/Latino clients from 15.1 percent in FFY 2007 to 27 percent in FFY 2011.

PRIORITY 3

INCREASE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR AZRSA CLIENTS

Goal 1: Increase employer participation in the state level Think Beyond the Label campaign from 3 employers in FFY 2010 to 15 employers in FFY 2011 and 30 employers in FFY 2012.

Goal 2: Increase disability awareness among employers by engaging in 12 employer targeted disability related activities in FFY 2011 and 18 employer targeted disability related activities in FFY 2012.

Goal 3: Engage 10 Employment Networks in discussions involving Ticket to Work Partnership Plus Memos Of Understanding in FFY2011 and 10 Employment Networks in FFY 2012.

This screen was last updated on Aug 9 2010 4:47PM by Christopher Deere

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

Justification for order of selection

The OOS is an organized, equitable method for serving groups of individuals with disabilities in a priority order if all eligible individuals who apply cannot be served. The criteria used to establish this order of selection are: the number and degree of functional limitations to employment, caused by one or more disabling conditions in combination with the number of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services needed, to address these limitations, and the amount of time necessary for completion of service.

 

Description of Priority categories

The OOS is an organized, equitable method for serving groups of individuals with disabilities in a priority order if all eligible individuals who apply cannot be served. The criteria used to establish this order of selection are: the number and degree of functional limitations to employment, caused by one or more disabling conditions in combination with the number of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services needed, to address these limitations, and the amount of time necessary for completion of service.

(A) Order of priority for provision of services to individuals with disabilities:

Priority Group I - Eligible individuals with the most significant disabilities

An individual with the most significant disability has a severe physical or mental impairment that seriously limits three or more functional capacities (such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; and whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time. Individuals in Priority Group 1 are selected for services before all other individuals with disabilities.

Priority Group II - Individuals with significant disabilities

An individual with a significant disability has a severe physical or mental impairment that seriously limits one or more functional capacities (such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time.

Priority Group III - All other eligible individuals

Other eligible individuals with disabilities whom do not have a disability which seriously limits one or more functional capacities and do not require multiple services over an extended period of time.

Definitions

Extended period of time: Needing VR services for a duration of six months or more with a 90-day-follow-up after achieving a successful rehabilitation outcome.

Multiple services: Two or more primary services needed to achieve a successful employment outcome.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

For FFY 2009, AZRSA experienced economic conditions, which impacted available resources and necessitated AZRSA implementing the closure of all priority categories effective March 16, 2009. As of May 2011, all priority categories were still closed.

For FFY 2010 all priority categories remained closed although groups of people from the OOS waitlist, based on priority category and application date, have been removed from priority category 1. AZRSA is presently reviewing fiscal resources to determine the status of the priority categories for FFY 2011 and FFY 2012.

Due to the State of Arizona’s budget shortfall in SFY 2008, AZRSA VR lost $500,000 state appropriated dollars, decreasing the total VR revenue by $2,347,418.

In SFY 2009, there was a budget reduction of $1,200,000 in state funding thereby decreasing the federal match. No budget requests have been initiated at this time.

Additionally, a hiring freeze for all positions was instituted in February 2008 with exceptions for mission critical positions. This hiring freeze remained in effect during FFY 2010. During FFY 2011, the hiring freeze was less stringent and critical justifications for hiring a variety of staff were approved which resulted in an ongoing hiring effort for staff to provide service to AZRSA clients.

It is anticipated that all of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds will be used to reduce the OOS waiting list. The State of Arizona is in the process of finalizing the budget for 2012; therefore, it is unknown how much of the ARRA funding will be needed for the waiting list.

AZRSA will have further information concerning the removal of individuals from the waiting list once a new budget becomes available.

AZRSA will be submitting a budget request to the Arizona Legislature to restore funding levels to those equal to SFY 2007.

During FFY 2010, AZRSA had an opportunity to study the priority categories, review other state’s categories and meet with stakeholders and councils. It was determined that AZRSA will eventually change its priority category structure, but will wait until such time that at least the priority one category is opened. AZRSA is also in discussions with personnel from the Department of Economic Security to determine how the current State Administrative Rules affect AZRSA’s ability to modify the structure of the priority categories.

During FFY 2010, AZRSA was able to release 4,438 people off of the priority category one waiting list. As of May 2011, AZRSA has removed an additional 2410 people off of the priority one waiting list. Currently, individuals remain on waiting lists in all three priorities. As of April 25, 2011, 1,798 individuals remained on the priority category one waiting list, 2,077 individuals are on the priority category two waiting list and 368 individuals are on the priority category three waiting list. It is anticipated that during the remainder of FFY 2011, more individuals will be removed from the priority category one waiting list with the eventual goal of opening and serving all priority one clients. Funding for the Individual Plans for Employment came from a variety of sources, which included American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, third party cooperative agreements and Title VI funding. The ARRA funding was instrumental in the removal of individuals from the priority category one wait list.

 

Service and outcome goals and the time within which the goals will be achieved

(C) 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.

Priority Group 1

Estimated number to receive services: 7,093

Estimated number to be rehabilitated: 1137

Estimated timeframe from IPE implementation to closure: 25.8 months

Priority Group 2

Estimated number to receive services: 873

Estimated number to be rehabilitated: 145

Estimated timeframe from IPE implementation to closure: 28.8 months

Priority Group 3

Estimated number to receive services: 186

Estimated number to be rehabilitated: 31

Estimated timeframe from IPE implementation to closure: 28.4 months

Priority Category Number of individuals to be served Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services Time within which goals are to be achieved Cost of services
1 7,093 1,137 0 25.8 months $26,723,735
2 873 145 0 28.8 months $3,125,065
3 186 31 0 28.4 Months $572,235

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 4:28PM by Christopher Deere

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.

GOALS AND PLANS FOR DISTRIBUTION OF TITLE VI, PART B FUNDS

The goal of Supported Employment is to provide a full range of vocational and rehabilitation services to individuals with significant disabilities to assist them to achieve permanent, integrated, and competitive employment consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. These services are customized according to each individual’s needs and goals.

The following data represents the supported employment activity for FFY 2010.

Number of individuals identified as needing extended supported employment services during the IPE planning process: 280

Number of individuals closed as rehabilitated in extended supported employment services: 146

Priority Increase Employment Opportunities for Individuals requiring Supported Employment

Goal 1 AZRSA will serve 254 individuals utilizing Title VI Part B funding during FFY 2012.

Goal 2 AZRSA will successfully rehabilitate 76 individuals during FFY 2012.

Goal 3 AZRSA will provide two staff trainings in an effort to enhance staff knowledge of supported employment regulations and processes during FFY 2012, which will result in increased access of supported employment services.

In an effort to increase employment opportunities, AZRSA promotes and enhances collaboration with stakeholders and partners. AZRSA works closely with the partners to provide a seamless delivery system for supported employment services and extended supported employment services by creating a network of mutual providers.

In addition, AZRSA will continue to investigate and develop further service delivery options through the “Partnership Plus” opportunities found in the new Ticket to Work regulations. This option may provide consumers with additional avenues for extended supported employment supports.

Funds received under Title VI, Part B are distributed for client services in an equitable manner to districts and caseloads statewide. Adjustments to district or caseload allocations are made as needed based on management/counselor input.

The Supported Employment program is integrated into the VR process. Title VI, Part B monies are available to all staff for use with individuals who will need ongoing, long-term employment support services in an integrated setting earning at least minimum wage. Many of those individuals will be receiving their extended supported employment services through other community partners such as the Department of Behavioral Health Services or the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 4:29PM by Christopher Deere

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.

STRATEGIES

(1)(A) The methods AZRSA uses to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities, including how a broad range of assistive technology (AT) 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:

As part of a previous innovation and expansion project, AZRSA used monies to develop and expand resources within the state including the area of assistive technology. These projects expanded: a) Client and staff resources; b) Technical assistance available to staff; c) A statewide website with resource information; and d) Procedures and protocols for the delivery of assistive technology.

The AZRSA continues to provide leadership in these areas.

Strategies:

• Continue cooperative programs with regional behavioral health authorities, tribal entities (including Native American programs), the Department of Education, as well as public education agencies.

• Provide transition-related information for students, their families and pertinent school personnel through conferences, job fairs, and educational fairs.

• Foster collaboration with private and public agencies, employers, and advocacy and community groups.

• Continue service integration activities with other Arizona Department of Economic Security (AZDES) agencies statewide.

• Continue participation in the yearly Arizona Disabilities Exposition for networking with disability organizations, advocacy groups, and businesses in the community.

• Utilize an updated, comprehensive and efficient electronic case management system.

• Continue and increase outreach and marketing to community partners, high schools, colleges, advocacy groups, and the public statewide.

• Continue coordinated case planning with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Jobs clients.

• Work with partners to develop pre-vocational services and guidelines regarding the timeliness of referrals.

• Expand services to youth, including transitioning students and foster care.

Assistive Technology (AT):

• Throughout the VR process, evaluate and provide AT training and devices to VR clients as necessary to benefit from VR services.

• Provide AT equipment such as power-adjustable tables, fully-adjustable ergonomic chairs, computer systems with products such as JAWS, ZoomText, TextHelp, Dragon Naturally Speaking and alternative keyboards and mice, as well as FM systems, TTY, amplified phones, video phones in two sites and CCTVs to One-Stop Career Centers across the state.

• Continue to educate employers on the benefits of AT and provide technical assistance in the work setting.

• Co-sponsor “AT in the Saguaros,” a comprehensive assistive technology conference that educates staff and clients in new advances in AT.

• Support a computer lab, as part of AT in the Saguaros, for training in the use of the Arizona Virtual One-Stop Internet-based registration and job search database, using AT products typically found in One-Stop locations.

• Offer five comprehensive adjustment programs serving adults who are blind or visually-impaired which include both training and provision of AT necessary for employment. Three of those programs also serve transition-age students. The comprehensive adjustment programs also provide other necessary training and evaluation services needed to address the full range of rehabilitation needs for clients.

• Increase availability and use of assistive technology devices to VR clients through the Arizona Technology Access Program (AzTAP).

(1)(B) Outreach procedures AZRSA uses to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities, and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program:

Strategies:

• An orientation to VR video, which casts minorities with disabilities, is complete. The video is available in Spanish, American Sign Language (ASL), open captioning, and descriptive video for the blind and visually impaired. The video is widely distributed in DVD format to the AZRSA’s community stakeholders, such as Centers for Independent Living, behavioral health agencies, schools, and others. The video is also available on VHS tape and is posted on the AZRSA internet site. Other marketing materials which include the AZRSA Vocational Rehabilitation brochure are also available in Spanish.

• A marketing plan has been implemented for optimal visibility and outreach to engage individuals with disabilities, significant disabilities and who are of various minority backgrounds.

• Statewide focus groups have been held and will be planned for communities in which the AZRSA offices are located. Vocational Rehabilitation clients, advocates, local agencies, and members of the community with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds are represented. The AZRSA provides interpreters for various languages, including Spanish and American Sign Language.

• AZRSA partners and collaborates with the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Employment Administration through their Migrant Seasonal Farm Workers Outreach Program. The Yuma Farm Worker Coalition/Vocational Rehabilitation Task Force is working on developing a model project to increase farm worker accessibility to VR program services. Functions for the Yuma Farmworker Coalition include coordination of programs, outreach and support to farmworkers with disabilities, and feedback to stakeholders. The coalition is focusing on improving outreach to underserved populations, utilizing the “promotores” model for delivering information and promoting involvement.

• Memos of Understanding (MOUs) have been established by the AZRSA with five of the Section 121-VR Grant projects with Native American tribes as follows: Fort Mojave, Navajo Nation, Tohono O’odham, White Mountain Apache, and Hopi. The MOUs coordinate VR programming for eligible American Indians with disabilities residing within or near the boundaries of each respective tribal entity. MOUs permit both the Native American VR tribal programs and state VR programs to serve Native American clients under both federal grants when necessary. The increased collaborative activity between AZRSA and the Native American tribes will continue.

• The AZRSA will continue collaborative efforts with One-Stop Career Centers to outreach to non-traditional clients into the VR program.

(1)(C) As applicable, the AZRSA’s plan of the state for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs:

In order to meet the needs of Arizona’s diverse client population, AZRSA plans to continue identifying needs and funding programs to meet those needs. The plan will incorporate the results of: a) 2009 Triennial Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities; b) Governor’s State Rehabilitation Council Customer and Provider Satisfaction Surveys; and c) The AZRSA Strategic Plan.

Strategies:

• Develop an efficient vendor/provider procurement system to ensure qualified suppliers are available to assist the AZRSA in providing effective VR services.

• Evaluate performance-based contracts to improve efficiencies in the delivery of employment services.

• Redevelop priorities for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs.

(1)(D) Strategies AZRSA uses to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Act:

Strategies:

• Provide on-going training and discussion regarding AZRSA policies and evidence-based best practices.

• Adopt continuous improvement principles and quality management processes to increase the rehabilitation rate and to improve the quality of employment outcomes.

• Ensure quality services by conducting quarterly case reviews, and offering ongoing training to continually improve timeliness and delivery of services to clients.

• Promote VR success stories via the media to increase intake of new clients.

• Conduct studies of unsuccessful closures and develop strategies to decrease numbers of unsuccessful closures.

• Provide quality vocational counseling and vocational planning to VR clients for optimal employment outcomes.

• Continue to address training and educational needs of AZRSA VR staff to improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities in serving clients with various types of disabilities.

(1)(E) Strategies used by AZRSA for assisting other components of the statewide workforce investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities:

AZRSA anticipates continued partnership with the Statewide Workforce Investment Agencies utilizing the following strategies:

Strategies:

• Ensure that the One-Stop Career Centers are fully accessible in all aspects for persons with disabilities.

• Make training materials, labor market information, and other print media available in alternative formats such as Braille, large print, or electronic means as requested by the individuals.

• Equip all One-Stop Career Centers with a TTY or TTD device and train staff on its use.

• Familiarize staff with the telephonic relay service for the deaf and with sign language interpreters on call.

• Develop a comprehensive training program for One-Stop Career Center staff to increase disability awareness and improve service accessibility.

• Encourage all local and state WIA staff and One–Stop partners to participate in disability awareness training sponsored by the Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration to ensure that programs and services are accessible to persons with disabilities through the use of assistive technology.

• Ensure that each One-Stop Career Center will have, at a minimum, a computer available to customers containing common accessibility devices such as JAWS, Zoom Text, enabled sticky keys, modified keyboards and other input devices.

• Train staff on the maintenance and operation of available assistive technology devices.

• Develop coordinated projects with WIA partners to improve the employability, employment, and career advancements of persons with disabilities.

• Institutionalize and expand the Disability Navigator program so as to ensure that each One-Stop Career Center will have at least one Disability Navigator to assist persons with disabilities to access One-Stop services.

• Maintain an active partnership with the Employer’s Disability Resource Network, a coalition of employment and rehabilitation organizations who are available to provide information and resources.

• Co-locate VR staff within One-Stop Career Centers.

(2)(A) Strategies to address the needs identified in 4.11(c)(1):

(1) Strategies to address the findings of the SNAP:

• AZRSA will continue its outreach efforts to all Arizonans with disabilities through increased marketing and collaborative partnerships.

• Public awareness, outreach to community partners, and publicizing the VR program are among the various marketing strategies.

• Monitor third party agreements to ensure equitable access to all individuals with disabilities.

• SNAP findings within specific areas of need are listed in Attachment 4.11(a). Strategies to address the following issues are listed in 4.11(d).

(2) Strategies to achieve the Goals and Priorities identified in the State Plan.

PRIORITY 1

INCREASE STATE-APPROPRIATED MATCH

AZRSA’s strategies to increase state-appropriated match:

• Prepare decision packages and policy issues for additional dollars for the VR match request.

• Increase the Arizona Legislature’s and general public’s knowledge of AZRSA’s client successes through councils, consumer and advocacy groups, and other constituency groups.

• Partner the Governor’s State Rehabilitation Council with the AZRSA and other councils to prepare a VR Fact Sheet for legislative distribution.

• Work with the Arizona Disability Advocacy Coalition along with other advisory councils and advocacy groups to prepare news releases and information related to VR and the lack of state match issue.

• Continue development of an ongoing portfolio of successful VR clients for public relations purposes.

• Share successful closure stories with local legislators.

• Promote VR success stories via the media to increase intake of new clients.

PRIORITY 2

STABILIZE THE WORKFORCE

AZRSA’s strategies to stabilize the workforce:

• Provide regular feedback via performance evaluations, recognition, mentoring, and professional leadership opportunities for staff.

• Decrease time to hire employees.

• Recruit additional VR counselors to increase services to VR clients statewide.

PRIORITY 3

ESTABLISH AND IMPLEMENT A QUALITY MANAGEMENT PROCESS

AZRSA’s strategies to establish and implement a quality management process are:

• Streamline the vendor qualification process.

• Utilize an updated, comprehensive, and efficient electronic case management system.

• Obtain feedback from consumer focus groups regarding systemic issues requiring action.

• Develop strategies to cover vacant caseloads within 30-days of the vacancy.

• Utilize the new case review instrument and implement a new case review process.

• Review current contract monitoring practices and/or revise or develop new contract monitoring practices where necessary.

• Utilize the information from contract monitoring as indicated in the quality management process.

• Provide feedback to individual counselors and their supervisors from VR Consumer Satisfaction Surveys and utilize this input for recognition and need for continuous improvement.

• Develop an efficient vendor/provider procurement system to ensure qualified suppliers are available to assist the AZRSA in providing effective, efficient, VR services.

• Evaluate performance-based contracts to improve efficiencies in the delivery of employment services, which include job development and placement services.

• Adopt continuous-improvement principles and quality-management processes to increase the rehabilitation rate and to improve the quality of employment outcomes.

• Ensure quality services by conducting quarterly case reviews, and offering ongoing training to continually improve timeliness and delivery of services to clients.

PRIORITY 4

INCREASE VR SUCCESS RATE

AZRSA’s strategies to increase VR success rate:

• Provide transition-related information for students, their families and pertinent school personnel through conferences, job fairs, and educational fairs.

• Continue coordinated case planning with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Jobs clients.

• Work with partners to develop pre-vocational services and guidelines regarding the timeliness of referrals.

• Evaluate and provide AT training and devices to VR clients as necessary to benefit from VR services throughout the VR process.

• Utilize benefits counseling to enable clients to make an informed choice regarding going to work.

• Increase availability and use of assistive technology devices to VR clients through the Arizona Technology Access Program (AzTAP).

• Offer comprehensive adjustment programs serving adults who are blind or visually-impaired that includes both training and provision of AT necessary for employment.

• Assess, redesign, and standardize the AZRSA’s VR orientation process so that it clearly communicates employment as the goal of the VR program.

• Provide quality vocational counseling and vocational planning to VR clients for optimal employment outcomes.

• Address ongoing training and educational needs of AZRSA’s VR staff to improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities in serving clients with various types of disabilities.

PRIORITY AREA 5

ENHANCE SERVICE AVAILABILITY

AZRSA’s strategies to enhance service availability:

• Expand services to youth, including transitioning students, and foster care.

• Utilize the “Orientation to VR” video which showcases minorities with disabilities.

• Allocate resources based on an updated established formula.

• Partner and collaborate with the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Employment Administration (EA) Migrant Seasonal Farm Workers Outreach Program (MSFW) to further develop outreach efforts in Yuma County.

• Redevelop priorities for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs.

PRIORITY AREA 6

INCREASE CLIENT ACCESS TO OTHER DES AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

AZRSA’s strategies to increase client access to other DES and community services:

• Continue cooperative programs with Regional Behavioral Health Authorities, tribal entities (including Native American programs), the Department of Education, as well as public educational agencies.

• Foster collaboration with private and public agencies, employers, and advocacy and community groups.

• Continue service integration activities with other AZDES agencies statewide.

• Provide AT equipment to One-Stop Career Centers across the state.

• Ensure that the One-Stop Career Centers are fully accessible in all aspects for persons with disabilities.

• Equip all One-Stop Career Centers with a TTY or TTD device and train staff on its use.

• Provide a comprehensive training program for One-Stop Career Center staff to increase disability awareness and improve service accessibility.

• Develop coordinated projects with WIA partners to improve the employability, employment and career advancements of persons with disabilities through the integration of persons with disabilities as One-Stop staff.

• Institutionalize the Disability Navigator program and have at least one Disability Navigator to assist persons with disabilities to access One-Stop Career Center services.

• Maintain an active partnership with the Employer’s Disability Resource Network, a coalition of employment and rehabilitation organizations who are available to provide employers information and resources.

• Co-locate VR staff within One-Stop Career Centers.

PRIORITY AREA 7

MARKETING AND OUTREACH

AZRSA’s strategies to do marketing and outreach:

• Continue participation in the yearly Arizona Disabilities Exposition for networking with disability organizations, advocacy groups, and businesses in the community.

• Continue and increase outreach and marketing to community partners, high schools, colleges, advocacy groups and the public statewide.

• Continue to educate employers on the benefits of AT and provide technical assistance in the work setting.

• Continue collaborative efforts with One-Stop Career Centers to outreach non-traditional clients into the VR program.

• Target individuals with disabilities from minority and disability populations who may be unserved or underserved, including individuals with most significant disabilities and individuals with disabilities in need of supported employment.

• Utilize the marketing plan for optimal visibility and outreach to engage individuals with disabilities, significant disabilities and more of various cultural backgrounds.

Strategies to achieve the new goals and priorities identified in the FFY 2011 State Plan.

Priority 1: Improve Client Outcomes

• Continue ongoing policy training and discussion highlighting Policy Roundtables and Policy Predicaments Newsletter.

• Increase outreach and coordination with employers to provide quality job placements.

• Provide ongoing training focused on specific elements of the IPE process.

• Develop and utilize a new instrument for the case review process.

• Coordinate with local employer collaborative programs such as Linkages and Project Search.

• Increase cooperation with One Stop Career Centers to gain access to a wider employer network.

• In coordination with the Medicare Infrastructure Grant, coordinate the state’s efforts in the “Think Beyond the Label“ campaign.

• Train consumers on the use of internet resources to expand and enhance their job search skill set.

• Develop a pilot project to provide more internal job development and placement services. Expand as appropriate.

• Provide training based on strong needs identified in the training needs assessment.

• Coordinate trainings with Arizona Coalition for Military Families to understand the unique needs and culture of service members in relationship to employment.

• Explore job development and placement practices in an effort to increase successful rehabilitations.

Priority 2: Improve Access to Services for Underserved Populations

• Target outreach to community groups serving underserved populations.

• Increase collaboration with the Section 121- VR programs and reach out to initiate collaborative efforts with other American Indian tribes.

• Increase training opportunities for AZRSA staff to expand their knowledge, skills and abilities in delivering vocational rehabilitation services to clients with various disabilities.

• Work with Tribal Regional Behavioral Health Authorities to identify potential applicants of the VR program.

• Work cooperatively with branches of the armed forces to identify potential applicants of the VR program. Attend their Welcome Home Events, Community Re-integration Events and their Stand Down events.

Priority 3: Increase Employment Opportunities for AZRSA Clients

• Expand AZRSA’s involvement with CSAVR Sponsored National Employment Team.

• Provide and increase disability awareness trainings to employers.

• Target outreach to employers, Chambers of Commerce and other employer organizations throughout the state.

• Investigate the possibility of re-establishing the Business Leadership Network.

• Increase cooperation with One Stop Career Centers to gain access to a wider employer network.

• In coordination with the Medicare Infrastructure Grant, coordinate the state’s efforts in the “Think Beyond the Label“campaign.

• Increase activity with Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired to provide more outreach to employers.

(2)(B) Strategies to support the innovation and expansion activities identified in subparagraph 4.12(a) (1) and (2) of the Plan:

The development and implementation of strategies to improve and expand the provision of vocational rehabilitation services is an ongoing process. As the AZRSA Strategic Plan becomes more viable, strategies will be identified to meet those new and innovative goals. Future priorities and goals with their accompanying strategies will be set as a result of further input from community rehabilitation program providers, councils, stakeholders, and other interested parties.

(2)(C) Strategies to 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:

See “Strategies” above, and Attachments 4.8(b) (4) and 6.3.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2010 11:15AM by saazherbergi

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

EVALUATIONS AND REPORTS OF PROGRESS

This is the last year which the goals and objectives established in the FFY 2008 State Plan will be reported. In an effort to more clearly quantify goals and objectives as well as to bring the goals and objective in line with the most current SNAP; AZRSA developed new goals and objectives for the State Plan in FFY 2011. These were originally reported in the State Plan update for FFY 2011. Progress on these new goals and objectives will be reported in the State Plan update for FFY 2013. The original goals and objectives which were in place for FFY 2010 are being reported on and also being closed out in this evaluation and report of progress.

PRIORITY 1: INCREASE STATE APPROPRIATED MATCH

Goal 1.1: Obtain increased state match for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program.

1.1. A Extent Achieved

Due to the State of Arizona’s budget shortfall in SFY 2009, AZRSA VR lost $1,246,600 state appropriated dollars, decreasing the total VR revenue by $5,852,582. No budget requests have been initiated at this time due to the economic downturn and the State of Arizona’s significant budget deficit.

1.1. B Strategies Used

AZRSA did not prepare a VR decision package requesting additional state appropriated monies for SFY 2010 because of the major funding deficit for the State of Arizona. A new request has been submitted in SFY 2011.

1.1. C Impediments to Achievement

Arizona’s significant budget crisis in state revenue in SFY 2010 impeded this goal’s achievement.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 201,0 this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 1.2: Increase communication and knowledge of AZRSA VR client successes to the Arizona Legislature and general public through councils, consumer and advocacy groups, and other constituency groups.

1.2. A Extent Achieved

AZRSA has maintained collaborative efforts with all parties related to communication and public relations activities of VR.

1.2. B Strategies Used

The collaboration with councils and various consumer, constituency, and advocacy groups to develop and prepare information related to the VR program and the services it provides continues as an important community education tool.

AZRSA continues to prepare, on a monthly basis, a statewide programmatic report entitled the AZRSA Agency Accomplishments Report, which summarizes positive agency accomplishments for the Department and highlights VR Success Stories featuring former VR clients who are working. This report goes to the Governor’s office and is shared with legislators, the media, other departments of state government, as well as with other community stakeholders. VR Success Stories have been included on a monthly basis, as well as other AZRSA outreach and community activities. AZRSA’s VR client Success Stories are included in the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) Annual Report, in the DES Newsletter, and in other Councils’ newsletters and publications.

1.2. C Impediments to Achievement

Due to recent budget and travel reductions, hiring freeze and loss of staff in FFY 2010, community outreach and other public relations activities have not reached the levels expected.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 1.3: Demonstrate accountability by serving more individuals with disabilities who achieve their employment goal in relation to increased state match.

1.3. A Extent Achieved

Individuals with IPE’s decreased by 75 percent during FFY 2010 and AZRSA’s FFY 2010 successful closures resulted in meeting 79 percent of the FFY 2010 goal of 1,374 cases.

Table 1.3 Employment Outcomes

AZRSA FFY 2008 FFY 2009 FFY2010 FFY2010 Goal

Individuals with IPE’s FFY 2008: 3,978 FFY 2009: 5,504 FFY010: 1,374 Goal: N/A

Employment Outcomes FFY 2008: 1,925 FFY 2009: 1,373 FFY2010: 1,131 Goal: 1374

Referrals FFY 2008: 10,329 FFY 2009: 8,010 FFY 2010: 5,845 Goal: N/A

Applicants FFY 2008: 8,693 FFY 2009: 7,359 FFY 2010: 4,922 Goal: N/A

1.3. B Strategies Used

AZRSA continued its outreach efforts with various community agencies, community rehabilitation service providers, and other organizations and advocacy groups which included American Indian Tribal Nations. Community rehabilitation provider forums were held quarterly in various locations statewide utilizing AZRSA’s Videoconferencing capabilities. These AZRSA hosted meetings provided participants with an opportunity to interact with other provider agencies, as well as with DES/AZRSA agency representatives. Subject areas covered included: contract discussions related to Rehabilitation Instructional Services; i.e., Rehabilitation Teaching, Orientation and Mobility, and Orientation and Adjustment services; Neurorehabilitation involving the group team approach which included both evaluation and treatment; Order of Selection (OOS) and OOS Wait List; Procure AZ; and other provider specific roundtable discussions related to VR services. Performance Based Contractor (PBC) meetings continued to be held statewide to discuss the ongoing pilot of the PBC and employment services delivered through the PBC method.

1.3. C Impediments to Achievement

Effective March 16, 2009, AZRSA closed all priority categories in an Order of Selection (OOS) due to resource issues and all referral sources were notified accordingly. AZRSA, as part of the Departments, experienced and continues to be subject to the agency-wide hiring freeze. The following list is of the number of individuals who have been released from the OOS waiting list and moved forward with the intent of providing Vocational Rehabilitation services since AZRSA closed all priority categories on March 16, 2009. All individuals that have been released from the OOS waiting list for this purpose were chosen based on their priority category and the date they applied for services through the Vocational Rehabilitation program. At this time all individuals that have been released from the waiting list with the intent of providing Vocational Rehabilitation services are from priority category 1. The following chart displays the number of individuals released from the waiting list by month and year.

Month of Releas Number Released Application Date

November/December 2009 601 February 2, 2009

January 2010 682 March 19, 2009

March 2010 1000 August 19, 2009

April 2010 1000 December 21, 2009

May 2010 556 February 16, 2010

June 2010 589 April 12, 2010

October 2010 202 April 19, 2010

November 2010 184 May 31, 2010

January 2011 540 June 30, 2010

March 2011 559 August 31, 2010

April 2011 944 November 30, 2010

Total 6857

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

PRIORITY 2: STABILIZE THE WORKFORCE

Goal 2.1: Develop strategies to increase the retention rate of VR counselors.

2.1. A Extent Achieved

The following AZRSA initiatives and actions were employed to increase the retention rate of VR staff:

- Upgraded AZRSA staff computers and software and increased availability of Information Technology assistance to VR staff.

- Refinements continued to be made to the Libera System 7, the AZRSA web-based case management and reporting system.

- Updates to VR Policies and Procedures continued to be made through the electronic VR Policy Manual.

- Provision of professional leadership opportunities.

- Provision of educational opportunities, including the University of Arizona Master’s Degree Program in Rehabilitation Counseling, and other courses for CSPD requirements.

2.1. B Strategies Used

Professional leadership opportunities are afforded to AZRSA VR counselors increasing skills and knowledge, and providing incentives for career advancement and higher education. In 2011, four staff from AZRSA were accepted into the Post Employment Training – Rehabilitation Administration, State-of-the-art technology and additional availability of Information Technology assistance, continues to be provided to AZRSA VR Counselors as a tool to be more effective and efficient in performing their duties.

2.1. C Impediments to Achievement

The statewide budget crisis and hiring freeze continued to impact VR Counselor positions. Recruiting and maintaining VR Counselor staff who meet the State of Arizona’s VR qualified staff standard is difficult, often necessitating on the job training for many. Given the length of new employee training, demands of the position and the decrease in availability of staff, retention of VR counselors remains a significant issue for AZRSA.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 2.2: Improve AZRSA recruitment practices.

2.2. A Extent Achieved

In 2010, AZRSA recruitment efforts have been curtailed due to the state budget crisis, which resulted in a hiring freeze.

2.2. B Strategies Used

AZRSA continued local area recruiting at the One-Stops, and participation at community events and fairs since statewide job fairs were curtailed during this time period. The booklet Careers in Vocational Rehabilitation has continued to be distributed to community colleges and the universities.

2.2. C Impediments to Achievement

The state budget crisis required furloughs and wage reductions impacting recruitment. The State of Arizona also remains on a hiring freeze which requires a lengthy process related to presenting critical justifications to fill any position that is vacant. This continues to present challenges in relation to adequately filling positions although hiring of a variety of staff positions was approved in the early spring of 2011.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 2.3: Cover vacant caseloads within a 30-day time frame of the absence.

2.3. A Extent Achieved

AZRSA strived to ensure that vacant VR caseloads were covered.

2.3. B Strategies Used

VR supervisors worked toward assigning vacant caseloads to other existing counselors and supervisors, to ensure that VR client services are uninterrupted.

2.3. C Impediments to Achievement

Substantial turnover in VR counselors coupled with the limited hiring ability continues to be an impediment for achievement of this goal.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 2.4: Increase the overall job satisfaction of the AZRSA direct service employees from 64 percent to 69 percent by 2006, and increase to 75 percent by 2007.

This goal was achieved and closed out in FFY 2010.

PRIORITY 3: ESTABLISH AND IMPLEMENT A QUALITY MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Goal 3.1: VR counselors will comply with AZRSA policies and procedures at or above 90 percent of the time, based on case reviews.

3.1. A Extent Achieved

AZRSA continues to work with VR counselors to adhere to AZRSA policies and procedures at or above 90 percent of the time based on case reviews.

3.1. B Strategies Used

VR case reviews were conducted during FFY 2010 utilizing both a tool in the online Libera Case Management System in addition to manual review.

3.1. C Impediments to Achievement

The loss of experienced VR supervisors through staff turnover and the inability to fill VR positions continues to detract from the ongoing consistency of case reviews.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010 this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 3.2: Establish a baseline compliance measure of quality standards for contracted services.

3.2. A Extent Achieved

As new contracts are developed and solicited, the new scopes of work contain measureable objectives to ensure compliance with contract terms, conditions, and service delivery. AZRSA remains in a continuous contracting cycle allowing for ongoing review and refinement of performance objectives.

AZRSA’s Performance-Based Employment Services Pilot continues to address the following evaluation deliverables; client satisfaction, employer satisfaction, AZRSA staff satisfaction, contractor satisfaction, placement rates and quality of placements, cost and results comparisons.

3.2. B Strategies Used

AZRSA continues to educate all staff and providers in the policies and procedures related to each specific contract. Additionally, new contract monitoring procedures were developed, including a contract monitoring analysis instrument.

3.2. C Impediments to Achievement

Due to the statewide hiring freeze, numerous contract positions remain unfilled affecting the ability to implement the newly developed contract monitoring procedures.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010 this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 3.3: Establish a quality management process to continually improve the agency’s effectiveness and efficiency.

3.3. A Extent Achieved

1. A Performance-Based Contracting System to pilot the service delivery of Employment Services to improve client outcomes in employment.

PERFORMANCE BASED CONTRACTING (PBC) PILOT

Overall PBC continued in its third year to outperform traditional hourly compensated contracts as measured by the associated rehabilitation rates. Additionally, no bias was detected in the data with respect to the types of disabilities served by Pilot contractors – clients with all levels of case complexity were accepted and served with consistent result. It should be noted that all contracted employment services (traditional and PBC) showed improved rehabilitation rates and significantly better rehabilitation rates as compared to RSA overall.

Table 3.3A PBC Successful Rehabilitation

PBC

Total Closed SFY 2008: 129 SFY 2009: 475 SFY 2010: 233

Total Successful SFY 2008: 94 SFY 2009: 298 SFY 2010: 177

Rehab Rate SFY 2008: 73% SFY 2009: 63% SFY 2010: 76%

JDP and SE (Traditional)

Total Closed SFY 2008: 1437 SFY 2009: 620 SFY 2010: 303

Total Successful SFY 2008: 688 SFY 2009: 313 SFY 2010: 205

Rehab Rate SFY 2008: 49% SFY 2009: 50% SFY 2010: 68%

2. Development/customization of a new web-based case management system to update and improve the AZRSA case management system.

LIBERA

AZRSA Libera System 7 has been operational since May 2009. Modifications had to be made to Libera System 7 to complete not only critical aspects related to daily work activity for field staff, but also to incorporate into the system critical accessibility for all staff whether using screen reading software such as JAWS or Screen enhancement software such as Zoomtext. Other benefits of this system which are continually being improved to allow for more integration of all programs and program elements of AZRSA include but are not limited to case management, payment processing, reporting, and case reviews.

3.3 B. Strategies Used

PERFORMANCE BASED CONTRACTING PILOT

The Performance Based Contracting Pilot (PBC) was originally conceived as a two-year project but was extended for two additional years due to AZRSA’s implementation of a new case management system (Libera) and state budget impacts experienced during FFY2009 and FFY2010. The Libera implementation and state budget issues required considerable organizational resources as AZRSA staff adjusted to the sweeping system changes required in response. Given, these large scale system changes, it was decided to delay the conclusion of the PBC Pilot and any changes to contracting for job development and placement (JDP) and supported employment (SE) that might be indicated, based upon the lessons learned, until RSA had time to more fully adjust to the changes required by Libera and state budget cuts.

LIBERA

AZRSA and Libera are currently utilizing a bimonthly development and testing procedure for resolution of technical issues. The process begins most often from an idea or a suggestion from the field users for improvement to the methodology. This may also be initiated by regulated requirement as structured through governmental processing. A variety of safeguards, testing environments, and review are used to assess both the need for a resolution and the effectiveness of any intended resolutions. This process presents as cumbersome due to layers of technical teams that must work to resolve and implement all resolutions.

3.3 C. Impediments to Achievement

PERFORMANCE BASED CONTRACTING PILOT

Issues related to information system changes made evaluation of PBC more difficult in the third year due to questions of data reliability. Additionally, state budget shortfalls created more challenge for PBC contractors as job placements took longer to achieve and contractor cash flow hardships were reported. Despite the added challenges, only one contractor left the Pilot during year three (contractor participation in the Pilot is voluntary).

LIBERA

An impediment to the success of the AZRSA electronic case management system has been the budget crisis and its impact on AZRSA’s ability to hire a systems team to fully implement and manage the Libera Project. This budget crisis has not only affected AZRSA, but has had ramifications on the Libera staff, as there was a shortage of staff to meet the demands of the agency desires and changes.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010 this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 3.4: Develop a VR counselor feedback system using consumer satisfaction surveys

3.4. A Extent Achieved

AZRSA consumers whose cases closed during SFY 2010 reported high levels of satisfaction with AZRSA services, with 76 percent of respondents indicating they were satisfied or very satisfied with services received. This is a 1 percemt increase from SFY 2009. Between SFY 2009 and SFY 2010, clients expressing satisfaction with the last job obtained as a result of receiving VR services shows a 4 percent increase. For clients currently working, SFY 2010 reflects a decrease of 8 percent. For those individuals working, satisfaction with their current jobs shows a significant 25 percent increase for the same time period. The average hourly salary of successful VR closed cases (26’s) are as follows: for SFY 2008----$11.95; for SFY 2009----$12.24; and for SFY 2010----$11.71.

Table 3.4A Satisfaction Response Rates

SFY 2007 Responses SFY 2008

Overall satisfaction with services provided by VR staff directly, especially your VR Counselor

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2007: 77%

Percent Neutral SFY 2007: 8%

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2008: 79%

Percent Neutral SFY 2008: 11%

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2009: 75%

Percent Neutral SFY 2009: 10%

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2010: 76%

Percent Neutral SFY 2010: 8%

Satisfaction with the last job obtained as a result of receiving VR services

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2007: 53%

Percent Neutral SFY 2007: 16%

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2008: 64%

18%

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2009: 47%

Percent Neutral SFY 2009: 10%

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2010: 51%

Percent Neutral SFY 2010: 32%

Currently working Y/N SFY 2007: 64% Y SFY 2008: 69% Y SFY 2009: 59% Y SFY 2010: 51% Y

If yes, satisfaction with this job?

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2007: 60%

Percent Neutral SFY 2007:9%

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2008: 77%

Percent Neutral SFY 2008: 14%

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2009: 50%

Percent Neutral SFY 2009: 5%

Percent Satisfied and Very Satisfied SFY 2010: 75%

Percent Neutral SFY 2010: 6%

3.4. B Strategies Used

AZRSA reports the results of the VR Consumer Satisfaction Survey in the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) Annual report.

3.4. C Impediments to Achievement

AZRSA has had a significant staff shortage in the Program Evaluation area, which impacts the ability to provide the VR counselor with more timely feedback as to the results of the survey.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

PRIORITY 4: INCREASE VR SUCCESS RATE

Goal 4.1: Reduce the number of unsuccessful closures.

This goal was achieved and closed out in FFY 2010.

Goal 4.2: Improve the effectiveness of the AZRSA VR service delivery process for all individuals, especially individuals with the most significant disabilities and individuals who are minorities.

4.2. A Extent Achieved

AZRSA continues to strive to improve the effectiveness of the AZRSA VR service delivery process in this area by conducting outreach activities that target ethnic and racial minority populations.

Table 4.2 A. Persons with the Most Significant Disabilities

AZRSA

Referrals FFY 2008: 4,346 FFY 2009: 4,080 FFY 2010: 3, 536

Applications FFY 2008: 4,351 FFY 2009: 4,289 3,562

Eligibility determinations FFY 2008: 4,198 FFY 2009: 5,695 FFY 2010: 3,544

IPE development FFY 2008: 2,260 FFY 2009: 3,520 FFY 2010: 1,370

Employment outcomes FFY 2008: 1,001 FFY 2009: 704 FFY 2010: 619

Rehabilitation rate FFY 2008: 44% FFY 2009: 42% FFY 2010: 33.5%

Avg. time (days) to implement IPE FFY 2008: 141.43 FFY 2009: 29.5 FFY 2010: 112.2

Table 4.2 B. Persons who are Minorities

AZRSA FFY 2008 FFY 2009 FFY 2010

Referrals FFY 2008: 3,612 FFY 2009: 2,842 FFY 2010: 2,154

Applications FFY 2008: 3,441 FFY 2009: 2,729 1,915

Eligibility determinations FFY 2008: 2,848 FFY 2009: 1,973 FFY 2010: 1,628

IPE development FFY 2008: 1,449 FFY 2009: 1,983 FFY 2010: 479

Employment outcomes FFY 2008: 681 FFY 2009: 425 FFY 2010: 388

Rehabilitation rate FFY 2008: 43% FFY 2009: 44% FFY 2010: 39%

Avg. time (days) to implement IPE FFY 2008: 93.49 FFY 2009: 30.2 FFY 2010: 109.4

4.2. B Strategies Used

VR counselors receive education and training in cultural diversity through AZRSA and its partners such as the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center and the University of Arizona Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling Program.

AZRSA continued participation in the Annual Campesino Sin Fronteras fair (day of the migrant seasonal farm worker) where information about VR was provided to farm workers and their families. AZRSA continues to work with the Employment Administration staff under the State of Arizona Wagner-Peyser Agricultural Services Plan and the Migrant Farm Worker Coalition. AZRSA continues their focus on improved outreach to minority populations, and assisting in empowering migrant and seasonal farm workers with career and labor market decisions which are consistent with their strengths and abilities to obtain employment. AZRSA continues to have cooperative agreements with five American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs in Arizona to provide vocational services to tribal members living outside or near the Nation to provide employment-related services. They include the Tohono O’odham, Fort Mohave, Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. AZRSA District Program Managers are actively working with each Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation “121 Programs” to coordinate and provide VR case planning with the tribal nation and its members which is an ongoing process.

4.2. C Impediments to Achievement

Resources affecting this area include staff shortages (especially in rural communities) and the limited availability of service providers; as well as the limited array of services.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010 this goal is being discontinued. Although three separate goals related to improving services for underserved populations have all been identified under Priority 2, Improve Acess to services for Underserved Populations in the FFY 2011 VR State Plan.

Goal 4.3: Improve VR performance as measured by the Federal Standards and Indicators.

Table 4.3 Federal Standards and Indicators

AZRSA

Indicator 1-Number of Successfully Employed Outcomes FFY 2008: 1,925 FFY 2009: 1,371 FFY 2010: 1,131

Indicator 2-Percent Employed (rehab rate) FFY 2008: 44.3% FFY 2009: 47.6% FFY 2010: 38.5%

Indicator 3-Employed Competitively FFY 2008: 94.3% FFY 2009: 98.0% FFY 2010: 99.4%

Indicator 4-Employed Competitively-Significant Disability FFY 2008: 92.2% FFY 2009: 92.5% FFY 2010: 95.4%

Indicator 5-Earnings Ratio FFY 2008: 0.63 FFY 2009: 0.60 FFY 2010: 0.58

Indicator 6-Self-Support FFY 2008: 64.5% FFY 2009: 65.6% FFY 2010: 67.7%

Standard 2-Equal Access to Services FFY 2008: 0.89 FFY 2009: 0.85 FFY 2010: 0.89

4.3. B Strategies Used

Staff meetings and trainings emphasize best practices for special target populations, i.e., blind and visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, and individuals with serious mental illness. AZRSA has established a baseline for VR counselors to meet specific standards related to Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) successful rehabilitation closures, and community outreach activities. These standards are in each VR counselor’s Annual Employee Performance Evaluation. Training in the areas of Vocational Counseling and Guidance, Career Assessment and AT has been provided to VR counselors to better understand a client’s interests, skills, aptitudes, and values.

4.3. C Impediments to Achievement

Arizona’s severe budget deficit combined with the current economic crisis affects AZRSA’s ability to meet the Federal Standards and Indicators.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010 this goal is being discontinued. Although Indicator 1 Number of Successfully Employed and Indicator 2. Percent Employed (rehabilitation rate) have been identified as separate Goals 1 and Goal 2 under Priority 1, Improve Client Outcomes the FFY 2011 VR State Plan.

Goal 4.4: Expand and improve the availability of assistive technology (AT) services and devices for effective participation in the rehabilitation program.

4.4. A Extent Achieved

AZRSA has continued expanding Assistive Technology (AT) in the following areas: client and staff resources areas; technical assistance available to staff; the maintenance and expansion of a statewide website with resource information; procedures and protocols for the delivery of AT; and AT specialized programs. These areas continue to remain viable and sustainable for individuals with disabilities.

AZRSA continues to support the innovative "Think Accessibility" booth that provides direct AT accommodations to job seekers at job and career fairs. AT training activities for AZRSA staff and One-Stop partners have continued to include an extensive array of hands-on AT trainings and technical assistance. The following AT accommodations have been provided: mobility equipment such as scooters and wheelchairs; sighted guides for blind and visually impaired persons; Ubi Duo devices to bridge communication for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing who may not sign; resume review with AT supports i.e., screen reading/screen magnification/refreshable Braille,;and other technology examples have been well received by various stakeholders.

Table 4.4 AT Outcomes

AZRSA

AT Assessments FFY 2008: 688 FFY 2009: 314 FFY

2010*: 435

AT Services FFY 2008: 2,771 FFY 2009: 2,214 FFY

2010*: 2,223

*The increase in AT assessments from FFY2009 to FFY2010 is due to the number of individuals released from the OOS Waitlist since assessment is the first step in the rehabilitation plan.

4.4. B Strategies Used

- AZRSA evaluates and provides AT training, devices, and support services to VR clients as necessary to benefit from VR services.

- AZRSA continues to offer four Comprehensive Adjustment Programs serving youth who are blind and visually impaired, which include both training and provision of AT for employment purposes.

- Employers continue to be educated on the benefits of AT and are provided with technical assistance during training seminars, including "hands-on applications."

- AZRSA continues to hold training for VR clients, VR staff, employers, and others as supported by the co-sponsorship of “AT in the Saguaros,” a comprehensive AT conference that educates VR staff and VR clients in new advances/applications in AT.

- The Master’s Level Certificate Program at Northern Arizona University offers AZRSA employees a Certificate in AT.

- AZRSA supports a computer lab for training at Arizona Virtual One-Stops Internet based registration and job search database, using AT products typically found in One-Stop Career Center locations.

- Contracts in the areas of adaptive driving evaluation, home modifications, and vehicle modifications have improved services for VR clients in need of specialized services in those areas.

- Specialized programs serve adults who are blind and/or visually impaired, including both training and AT provision for employment purposes.

- Increase availability and use of AT devices to VR clients through Arizona Technology Access Program (AzTAP) as well as awareness of loaner AT devices, AT equipment exchange and AZLAT, a specialized financial loan project for AT equipment.

- AZRSA utilizes the federal Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center for Region lX program twice a year to conduct intensive three day AT training for VR counselors entitled "Demystifying AT.” Dr. Caren Sax introduces VR counselors to the "Matching Persons with Technology" (MPT) model of AT service delivery and relates the process to the different statuses in the VR program.

4.4. C Impediments to Achievement

Optimal service provision is severely affected by a shortage of community providers in the area of AT. Low fee schedule rates do not provide for the development of community service AT providers to serve consumers. The lack of availability of credentialed AT professionals in the field (especially in rural areas) to provide AT consultation, evaluations, training, and installation creates further service delivery impediments.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 4.5: Improve referrals and increase collaboration within local communities for youth with disabilities in transition

4.5. A Extent Achieved

AZRSA referrals from School to Work and Youth Transition Programs (YTP) statewide from FFY2009 through FFY 2010 show a 24 percent decrease. Applications decreased by 31 percent for the same period. The decrease is a result of the implementation of the Order of Selection for all three Priority Categories.

Table 4.5 Transition Outcomes

AZRSA

Transition Youth Referrals FFY 2008: 1,557 FFY

2009: 2,917 FFY 2010: 2,231

Transition Applications FFY 2008: 1,554 FFY

2009: 2,836 FFY 2010: 1,963

4.5. B Strategies Used

AZRSA maintains an IGA with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) which allows for the provision of VR services to youth in transition from school to work. It reinforces the working relationship between the ADE, Exceptional Student Services, and AZRSA. It provides guidance to both parties related to the VR transition program and available services and reconfirms the roles and responsibilities of each party.

AZRSA participated in a presentation on Interagency Transition Services with the ADE; the Division of Developmental Disabilities; the Navajo Nation Vocational Rehabilitation Program, the Department of Health Services, Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs; and the Division of Behavioral Health Services at the annual Statewide Transition Conference. The presentation included a discussion about the services each agency provides to help educators and other agency personnel understand the referral process and services it provides to school-age youth with disabilities as part of the transition service cadre. Co-sponsorship of the annual Statewide Transition Conference the ADE, AZRSA, and others is an annual event which helps bring VR counselors, high school teachers, students, parents, and other transition stakeholders together to bridge the gap between professional staff members serving this population. AZRSA continues its commitment of assigning a VR unit supervisor as a point of contact for every high school, statewide, in order to increase communication and ease of referral to VR.

A total of 28 students participated in the AZRSA Comprehensive Adjustment service summer program for blind and visually impaired high school students in June and July 2010. This program is available starting the summer after the student’s freshman year to better prepare students for transition to the world of work and higher educational opportunities. AZRSA contracted with four comprehensive service programs serving students who are blind and visually impaired to provide orientation and mobility, rehabilitation teaching, adjustment to disability, AT assessment and training, career exploration, and other vocational related activities

4.5. C Impediments to Achievement

The difficulty in recruiting, hiring, and retaining experienced School to Work VR Counselors continues to affect this goal. High turnover in the schools demands AZRSA to continually train and re-educate school personnel. General caseload VR Counselors serve both general caseload clients, as well as cover school programs especially in the rural areas. In addition the lack of other community services and community service providers in rural areas impacts the schools and needed services.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010 this goal is being discontinued.

PRIORITY 5: ENHANCE SERVICE AVAILABILITY

Goal 5.1: Identify gaps in service availability and develop strategies for innovation, expansion, or improvement, including the need for establishing, developing and improving community rehabilitation services.

This goal was achieved and closed out in FFY 2010, although the Governor’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) continues to utilize a budget of $10,000 per SFY from Innovation and Expansion (I&E) funds to carry out the activities of the SRC according to their Strategic Plan. The Governor’s Statewide Independent Living Council received I&E funds in the amount of $233,190 for SFY 2010 and in SFY 2011 their budget ceiling was reduced to $202,795 as delineated in their contract with AZRSA which details out their contractual expectations and expenditures.

Other activities that relate to this closed goal and which will be incorporated into Priority 2, Improve Access to Services for underserved populations of the goals and priorities established in the FFY 2011 State Plan include two establishment projects. These projects, which are currently in the formative stage, focus on:

- Transportation Services

- Support Systems

The intent behind these proposed establishment projects is to promote the development of needed services in underserved areas, particularly rural areas, of the state.

Goal 5.2: Allocate resources based on updated established formula

5.2. A Extent Achieved

AZRSA allocates financial resources based upon district prior year expenditures in all AZRSA programs. The AZRSA finance manager provides a copy of budget information for all VR Program funding.

5.2. B Strategies Used

Current allocation baselines for VR are identified and prioritized, taking into consideration the following factors per District: client population and caseload growth; staff and organizational configuration. District budgets are allocated on a yearly basis, with quarterly adjustments made based on actual and planned expenditures, thereby allowing the shifting of the allocations based on District needs.

5.2. C Impediments to Achievement

Impediments are due to staff shortages and a lack of service providers statewide.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 5.3: Expand and improve the range of assistive technology devices and services at each stage of the rehabilitation process throughout the state.

Refer to Goal 4.4, which covers extent achieved, strategies, and impediments

Goal 5.4: Overcome barriers in access and participation of individuals with the most significant disabilities for opportunities to employment using ongoing employment supports.

5.4. A Extent Achieved

Title VI, Part B monies are available to all VR counselors for use with individuals who will need ongoing long-term employment support services. AZRSA continues to obtain commitments from the Department of Health Services, Behavioral Health Services to provide ongoing employment supports for VR clients who are seriously mentally ill. Clients who are also eligible for Title XIX funding through the Division of Developmental Disabilities are provided with long-term supports. AZRSA has also been able to utilize Title XX funds for a small number of physically disabled clients to provide ongoing employment supports. A smaller number of VR clients use the “Natural Supports” concept, utilizing alternative measures of obtaining supports.

Table 5.4 Extended Supported Employment Outcomes

AZRSA

Individuals requiring extended supported employment. FFY 2008: 269 FFY 2009: 289 FFY 2010: 280

Individuals receiving extended supported employment successfully rehabilitated. FFY 2008: 188 FFY 2009: 176 FFY 2010: 146

Individuals waiting for extended supported employment supports. FFY 2008: 168 FFY 2009: 110 FFY 2010: 115

5.4. B Strategies Used

AZRSA continues to advocate for the use of Natural Supports, Impairment Related Work Expense plans, Plan to Achieve Self Sufficiency plans, and other options that may be available to expand the network of employers and community providers who offer Extended Supported Employment Services.

5.4. C Impediments to Achievement

Limited resources for ongoing employment supports has resulted in a decrease of individuals closed as rehabilitated with supported employment. Additional state dollars have not been available for ongoing employment supports for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

PRIORITY 6: INCREASE CLIENT ACCESS TO OTHER DES AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

Goal 6.1: Increase VR client access to other DES and community services.

This goal was achieved and closed out in FFY 2010.

Goal 6.2: Increase use of Navigators located in WIA One-Stop Career Centers statewide to bridge the gap between VR and local community resources

The AZRSA Disability Program Navigator (DPN) Program was discontinued when the Department of Labor funding for the DPN Program expired June 30, 2010.

PRIORITY 7: MARKETING AND OUTREACH

Goal 7.1: Develop and implement an ongoing strategic marketing plan.

7.1. A Extent Achieved

AZRSA has implemented a strategic marketing plan that includes the statewide circulation of AZRSA banners/posters, programmatic brochures, and the VR Orientation Video in alternative formats.

7.1 B. Strategies Used

AZRSA continues to participate in community events, job fairs, and summits in an effort to market and expand knowledge related to the VR program.

7.1 C. Impediments to Achievement

Phase 1 of AZRSA’s marketing plan was achieved. Phase 2 remained curtailed due to the state of Arizona’s budget shortfall.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

Goal 7.2: Improve the image of the AZRSA VR within Arizona communities.

This goal was achieved and closed out in FFY 2010.

Goal 7.3: Increase outreach to individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities.

This goal was achieved and closed out in FFY 2010.

Goal 7.4: Increase marketing and outreach activities to employers.

7.4 A. Extent Achieved

AZRSA continues marketing and outreach activities. AZRSA continues to work with employers advertising their job openings statewide and distributes employer job postings through the AZRSA distribution list.

7.4 B. Strategies Used

Networking relationships inform VR Counselors of employment opportunities statewide through the AZRSA distribution list. Collaborating with employers and with employment networks continues to increase communication and linkages related to the Ticket to Work program and other employment programs.

AZRSA is developing new marketing material and attempting to hire for several positions designed to outreach to employers.

7.4 C. Impediments to Achievement

Due to recent State of Arizona budget reductions for 2010, Phase 2 of AZRSA’s marketing and outreach plan have been curtailed. Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010 this goal is being discontinued, although three separate goals related to increasing employment opportunities for VR Clients have all been identified under Priority 3, Increase Employment Opportunities for AZRSA Clients in the FFY 2011 VR State Plan.

 

Goal 5.4: Overcome barriers in access and participation of individuals with the most significant disabilities for opportunities to employment using ongoing employment supports.

5.4. A Extent Achieved

Title VI, Part B monies are available to all VR counselors for use with individuals who will need ongoing long-term employment support services. AZRSA continues to obtain commitments from the Department of Health Services, Behavioral Health Services to provide ongoing employment supports for VR clients who are seriously mentally ill. Clients who are also eligible for Title XIX funding through the Division of Developmental Disabilities are provided with long-term supports. AZRSA has also been able to utilize Title XX funds for a small number of physically disabled clients to provide ongoing employment supports. A smaller number of VR clients use the “Natural Supports” concept, utilizing alternative measures of obtaining supports.

Table 5.4 Extended Supported Employment Outcomes

AZRSA

Individuals requiring extended supported employment. FFY 2008: 269 FFY 2009: 289 FFY 2010: 280

Individuals receiving extended supported employment successfully rehabilitated. FFY 2008: 188 FFY 2009: 176 FFY 2010: 146

Individuals waiting for extended supported employment supports. FFY 2008: 168 FFY 2009: 110 FFY 2010: 115

5.4. B Strategies Used

AZRSA continues to advocate for the use of Natural Supports, Impairment Related Work Expense plans, Plan to Achieve Self Sufficiency plans, and other options that may be available to expand the network of employers and community providers who offer Extended Supported Employment Services.

5.4. C Impediments to Achievement

Limited resources for ongoing employment supports has resulted in a decrease of individuals closed as rehabilitated with supported employment. Additional state dollars have not been available for ongoing employment supports for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010, this goal is being discontinued.

 

Goal 4.3: Improve VR performance as measured by the Federal Standards and Indicators.

Table 4.3 Federal Standards and Indicators

AZRSA

Indicator 1-Number of Successfully Employed Outcomes FFY 2008: 1,925 FFY 2009: 1,371 FFY 2010: 1,131

Indicator 2-Percent Employed (rehab rate) FFY 2008: 44.3% FFY 2009: 47.6% FFY 2010: 38.5%

Indicator 3-Employed Competitively FFY 2008: 94.3% FFY 2009: 98.0% FFY 2010: 99.4%

Indicator 4-Employed Competitively-Significant Disability FFY 2008: 92.2% FFY 2009: 92.5% FFY 2010: 95.4%

Indicator 5-Earnings Ratio FFY 2008: 0.63 FFY 2009: 0.60 FFY 2010: 0.58

Indicator 6-Self-Support FFY 2008: 64.5% FFY 2009: 65.6% FFY 2010: 67.7%

Standard 2-Equal Access to Services FFY 2008: 0.89 FFY 2009: 0.85 FFY 2010: 0.89

4.3. B Strategies Used

Staff meetings and trainings emphasize best practices for special target populations, i.e., blind and visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, and individuals with serious mental illness. AZRSA has established a baseline for VR counselors to meet specific standards related to Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) successful rehabilitation closures, and community outreach activities. These standards are in each VR counselor’s Annual Employee Performance Evaluation. Training in the areas of Vocational Counseling and Guidance, Career Assessment and AT has been provided to VR counselors to better understand a client’s interests, skills, aptitudes, and values.

4.3. C Impediments to Achievement

Arizona’s severe budget deficit combined with the current economic crisis affects AZRSA’s ability to meet the Federal Standards and Indicators.

Due to changes in the Goals and Priorities as stipulated in the VR State Plan 2010 this goal is being discontinued. Although Indicator 1 Number of Successfully Employed and Indicator 2. Percent Employed (rehabilitation rate) have been identified as separate Goals 1 and Goal 2 under Priority 1, Improve Client Outcomes the FFY 2011 VR State Plan.

 

Goal 5.1: Identify gaps in service availability and develop strategies for innovation, expansion, or improvement, including the need for establishing, developing and improving community rehabilitation services.

This goal was achieved and closed out in FFY 2010, although the Governor’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) continues to utilize a budget of $10,000 per SFY from Innovation and Expansion (I&E) funds to carry out the activities of the SRC according to their Strategic Plan. The Governor’s Statewide Independent Living Council received I&E funds in the amount of $233,190 for SFY 2010 and in SFY 2011 their budget ceiling was reduced to $202,795 as delineated in their contract with AZRSA which details out their contractual expectations and expenditures.

Other activities that relate to this closed goal and which will be incorporated into Priority 2, Improve Access to Services for underserved populations of the goals and priorities established in the FFY 2011 State Plan include two establishment projects. These projects, which are currently in the formative stage, focus on:

- Transportation Services

- Support Systems

The intent behind these proposed establishment projects is to promote the development of needed services in underserved areas, particularly rural areas, of the state.

This screen was last updated on Aug 1 2011 1:21PM by Christopher Deere

  • 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

QUALITY, SCOPE, AND EXTENT OF SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

The Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA) coordinates with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) who provide financial resources for long term-extended supported employment services as needed.

Through the use of limited Social Service Block Grant (SSBG) monies, separate from Title I funding, the AZRSA supports a limited number of individuals who require extended supported employment services.

QUALITY OF SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

The AZRSA has been involved with supported employment since receipt of the Supported Employment Systems Change Grant in 1985. Efforts over the years have consistently focused on maintaining options for individuals with significant disabilities and promoting the move of individuals from more restrictive to less restrictive and more integrated environments.

Strategies to promote more integrated and less restrictive employment environments for clients of the VR program are as follows:

1. The AZRSA provides an incentive system to reward community rehabilitation program providers for successful integrated, competitive, fulltime placements which provide medical/ hospitalization benefits.

2. The AZRSA works with Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) providers to improve the service delivery systems as follows:

- Extensive technical assistance and training is provided to CRP staff in the areas of supported employment philosophy, job coaching, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), hiring qualified staff, marketing, and technological assistance based on needs identified by CRP providers.

- The AZRSA has designated training staff to assist in the training needed by community providers. In addition, the AZRSA collaborates with Region IX Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program (RCEP) and the University of Arizona to plan and implement continuing education to community rehabilitation providers.

- Clients are offered opportunities to move to less-restrictive settings in the community. Many community rehabilitation programs offer support group activities for individuals who are working and receiving supported employment services in either the Vocational Rehabilitation or the extended Employment Support Services program.

3. Another strategy has been to assist CRP providers to develop new integrated and competitive programs and service methodologies by advertising and awarding services to groups, establishment, development or improvement projects.

The AZRSA’s management of its contracts not only ensures compliance with minimum standards, but also helps to achieve goals and objectives for supported employment services in the State of Arizona.

SCOPE

Supported employment services are provided to all clients of the VR program who have the need for such services, are eligible for such services, and for whom extended employment supports are necessary for the individual to maintain employment. Services include: development of and placement in jobs; time-limited, on-going support, such as on-the-job training, job coaching, supportive intervention and guidance counseling; follow-up services; and post-employment services following transition from VR to extended supported employment services. The use of existing resources, including Plan to Achieve Self Sufficiency/Impairment Work Related Expense (PASS/IRWEs) is explored for every individual and, if available, is used to pay for extended supported employment. If other resources are not available, funds for long-term supports are identified before proceeding with a VR Individualized Plan of Employment.

AZRSA follows the timelines found in Federal Regulations for this program making exceptions as appropriate.

The AZRSA serves the following three groups of clients:

Individuals with developmental disabilities

Time-limited VR supported employment services are the responsibility of the AZRSA. Responsibility for the ongoing employment support service needs of individuals with developmental disabilities continues with the Division of Developmental Disabilities. Employment-related services are coordinated with the Division of Developmental Disabilities under a joint agreement that describes mutual roles and responsibilities. Coordination of services is handled at the local VR counselor/DDD support coordinator level.

Individuals with serious mental illnesses

Individuals with serious mental illnesses are also served extensively by the AZRSA through its VR program. The AZRSA’s agreement with the Behavioral Health Services (DHS/BHS) calls for the AZRSA to provide time-limited VR supported employment services and for DHS/BHS’ contractors to provide the needed extended employment supports. An Interagency Agreement (IGA) Advisory Committee meets quarterly to evaluate the effectiveness of the agreement, to monitor the progress being made by mutual clients needing extended supported services, and to plan for the training needs of all parties in the agreement.

Other individuals with significant disabilities

Through its collaboration with the Councils of Governments in some areas of the state, the AZRSA is responsible for managing Title XX Social Services Block Grant funds to provide for the employment needs of individuals with severe disabilities. The AZRSA currently uses these funds to pay for extended employment support needs of approximately 100 individuals.

EXTENT

The VR eligibility process includes consideration of supported employment as an option to assist individuals with significant disabilities to attain employment outcomes. If long-term funding/supports are available, the individual will be served in the VR program.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 4:40PM by Christopher Deere

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