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 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

Assistant Director, Employment and Rehabilitation Services

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

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

Assistant Director, Employment and Rehabilitation Services

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
James J. Apperson

Title of Signatory
Assistant Director, Employment and Rehabilitation Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/27/2012

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2013
Yes

Comments:

The Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA) assures RSA that no later than September 30, 2013, 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
James J. Apperson

Title of Signatory
Assistant Director, Employment and Rehabilitation Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/27/2012

* 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 its efforts to increase awareness and outreach of Vocational Rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities, including a broad spectrum of disability populations, while highlighting the importance of placement on the Order of Selection waiting list.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees to continue to promote awareness of vocational rehabilitation services and to conduct outreach to the general community and to specific target groups from underserved populations.  Outreach activities will stress the importance getting eligible individuals placed on the Order of Selection waiting list as quickly as possible to provide more timely services.

2. SRC recognizes and encourages the maintenance of the AZRSA collaborative efforts using protocol and school to work contracts 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.  SRC recommends the AZRSA expand collaborative efforts by having VR representatives fully participating in joint opportunities at the national, state and local level through the Arizona and National Community of Practice forums (AzCoPT), the Secondary Transition Mentoring Project (STMP), and the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center Institute which is designed to identify researched-based and emerging practices that could be utilized in Arizona.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees to maintain, enhance, and expand collaborative efforts in regards to our transition school-to-work service agreements with other secondary educational programs in the State of Arizona.  AZRSA has recently added new staff who are dedicated to promoting these efforts throughout the state.  AZRSA also agrees to continue to collaborate on other joint opportunities and to strive to enhance this participation by encouraging staff to take part specifically in STMP activity.  AZRSA recently hired a new statewide coordinator for transition that will further enhance our participation in these endeavors.  This position will be dedicated to producing a higher level of attention to other efforts such as AzCoPT and the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center Institute, as well as other similar organizations.

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

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees to provide to the SRC on a regular basis reports related to the formation, implementation, and progress of the strategic plan as it relates to the Vocational Rehabilitation program.  AZRSA will also ensure that these items are promoted to AZRSA staff to ensure they understand the direction the agency is taking, their part in the agency’s efforts, and to provide the opportunity for feedback and comment surrounding these strategies.

4. SRC recommends that AZRSA provide SRC with preliminary results of the performance report card/scorecard for providers’ within calendar year 2012.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees to provide SRC with the results and findings of performance related to providers as these become available.  AZRSA is currently compiling data, based on the efforts of our contracts unit, to measure compliance and the success of many of our contract providers.  This will be a continuing practice that will be expanded to include all contracts in the future.  This effort will serve as a basis for the initial performance report card that AZRSA will build and enhance as a tool that can be utilized by clients in making an informed choice related to the vendor they wish to work with for specific services.  AZRSA will move forward with this score card while exploring the legality of disseminating this data and continuing analysis of the appropriate way to compile this data.

5. SRC recommends that AZRSA make efforts to identify and alleviate Vocational Rehabilitation Program service provision barriers in the rural areas of Arizona in order that services are distributed equally statewide.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees to continue to assess the availability of vendors in rural areas to provide services to clients.  AZRSA will review the services available in each rural county to determine where there is need to focus efforts, and will provide the results of this review to the SRC.  AZRSA will continue to attempt to recruit vendors for contracts and service provision that are able and willing to provide these services in rural areas where deficits are noted.  AZRSA will also continue to explore incentives for vendors to expand services to rural areas and to aid in the development of service providers in rural areas.

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

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees to continue its efforts to meet the Federal Standards and Indicators.  AZRSA also agrees to report to the SRC on a regular basis the strategies and efforts being made as well as any progress or regression related to all Federal Standards and Indicators.

7. SRC recommends that AZRSA continue to maintain partnerships with current Project 121 American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs in Arizona and identify strategies to partner with those tribes that do not have existing Project 121 Programs.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees to maintain partnerships and formal agreements with the current Project 121 programs.  AZRSA also agrees to continue to develop and implement strategies to partner with other tribes in the state of Arizona in relation to vocational rehabilitation services.  AZRSA will provide the SRC with periodic reports of the progress of these efforts.

8. SRC recommends that AZRSA provide SRC with the status and implementation of the Federal Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center regional plan as it relates to training and technical assistance.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees to provide the SRC with regular status updates regarding the TACE Center regional plan as it relates to training and technical assistance.

9. 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 agrees to incorporate the SRC Client Public Input Survey with the Client Satisfaction Survey.  AZRSA will analyze the two surveys and communicate with the SRC any barriers or difficulties experienced in this effort.

(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 has continued concern about the capacity to maintain the open category 1 of the Order of Selection, and wishes to support RSA in efforts to open the remaining closed priority categories 2 and 3 in the following recommendations.

a. The GCBVI recommends that the DES/RSA, along with its stakeholders, collaborate to advocate for additional state appropriated funds to be added for FY 2014 to the RSA line item allowing for additional federal match funding.  Despite third-party contracts, RSA may need to return dollars back to the federal government.  This additional funding would allow RSA to support services to the consumers remaining on the waiting lists in closed categories 2 and 3.

b. The GCBVI additionally recommends that RSA continue efforts to increase third-party matching contracted services with other private agencies and schools to provide a wider base for matching funding to support the state-appropriated funding lacking in the FY2013 RSA budget.

Agency Response

AZRSA will continue to look for new avenues to increase third-party matching.  AZRSA will also continue to request additional state appropriations and to work toward maintaining, at minimum, the level of state appropriations currently available to utilize for federal match funding.  AZRSA will continue to work with stakeholders to further these efforts and to explore new ways of approaching these efforts.

2. The GCBVI recognizes RSA’s continued efforts to consider rural Arizona residents through its dedicated staff in the out-lying areas, and through language in best practices and policy.  The GCBVI recommends that additional steps be taken to support rural Arizona residents having equal access to services to those living in metropolitan areas through the provision of additional counselors for the blind to support rural areas so that mandated timelines can be met and referrals for services can be more readily available.

Agency Response

AZRSA recognizes the importance of serving rural Arizona residents.  In the past year, RSA SBVID has hired Rehabilitation Counselors for the Blind (RCB) in Flagstaff and Prescott, and one itinerant RCB to provide services to Districts 3, 4, 5, and 6.  The residential component of the transition and adult comprehensive adjustment programs helps address the needs of rural Arizona resident for specialized services.  Efforts have also been made to introduce services in northern Arizona to transition-age youth with visual impairments by scheduling workshops so that parents, teachers, and students have the opportunity to meet the agencies that provide comprehensive disability related services.  In addition, staffing parity rates will be established to determine if additional counselors are necessary.

3. The GCBVI recommends that RSA, in accordance with the Federal monitoring report, be moved within the DES organization to report directly to the DES Director.  This will allow for better communication with the RSA designee so the critical decisions can be directly supported.

Agency Response

AZRSA recognizes this recommendation and encourages the council to communicate their recommendations in other formats to those with decision making ability surrounding the placement of RSA within the state and the Department of Economic Security.

4. The GCBVI recognizes that there is considerable lag time for procurement functioning for services that must be procured by the RSA.  The GCBVI recommends that inclusion of disability stakeholders in discussions and best practices development between RSA and the DES Office of Procurement take place in order that timely goods and services critical to VR consumers are supported.

Agency Response

AZRSA recognizes the council’s concerns and agrees, within what is allowable by state law and state rules, to include the council in discussions with DES procurement.  AZRSA also agrees to continue to report the status of contract development to the council.

5. The GCBVI recognizes that the SBVID has begun developing best practices that supported current services provided to blind and visually impaired consumers.  The GCBVI recommends that this best practice development be a collaborative effort, as in the past, between RSA, community providers, and key stake-holders so the information that affects RSA consumers can be shared, and considered.

Agency Response

AZRSA SBVID agrees that best practice development should be a collaborative effort between AZRSA, advocates, consumers, and community providers.  AZRSA SBVID has scheduled a session to review the 2008 document and to develop any necessary revisions for August 15 and 16, 2012.  Groups will be developed to address the following areas:  Adjustment to Blindness & Visual Impairment; Informed Choice; Relationship Management; Rehabilitation Teachers; Orientation & Mobility Instructors; Assistive Technology; Supported Education; Functional Clinical Low Vision; Job Readiness; Job Placement & Development; and the Business Enterprise Program.  The best practices development will continue to focus on staff, consumers, and community providers.

6. The GCBVI recognizes and highly values that tremendous work the RSA/SBVID has implemented to support transition blind/VI consumers.  The GCBVI has continued concerns regarding the time between each RSA transition summer program.  The GCBVI recommends that a standardized MOU with schools and RSA/SBVID be developed which mandates that summer program provider IEP recommendations be discussed during the consumer’s IEP review.

Agency Response

AZRSA agrees that the IEP recommendations should be discussed during the client’s IEP review meeting.  The providers who deliver comprehensive disability skills services have been trained in writing effective IEP recommendations.  Parents or clients, though, would have to approve the Release of Confidential Information.  One of RSA’s goals is to update our MOUs with schools, and we will work to have a blindness program included in all agreements.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM 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.

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 AZRSA and the Arizona Department of Education.

There are currently 20 agreements with school districts that require a waiver of statewideness.  These agreements allow Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) a greater level of participation in serving students in schools that provide matching funds.  These agreements help facilitate a 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.  Transition students in areas of the state where no such agreements exist may not have an equal opportunity.

The school districts with current Interagency Agreements as of June 30, 2012 are:

1. Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind/Phoenix Day School for the Deaf

2. Benson USD

3. Cave Creek USD

4. Chino Valley USD

5. Deer Valley USD

6. Flagstaff USD

7. Flowing Wells USD 

8. Glendale USD

9. Humboldt USD – Yavapai County

10. Mesa USD

11. Miami USD – Gila County

12. Nogales USD

13. Page USD

14. Peoria USD

15. Safford USD

16. Snowflake USD

17. St. David USD

18. Tombstone USD

19. Vail USD

20. Valley Union USD

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

“Transfer Agreements” are used to receive from school districts the funds that are used as matches 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 IPE that has been approved, or in the process of development or approval, and has been 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 Jul 26 2012 11:44AM 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.

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 by assigning Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors to work with behavioral health clinical teams throughout the state to enhance service delivery and customer satisfaction in providing customized employment and vocational services. 

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 making referrals for and providing services to persons with developmental disabilities who can benefit from VR services, but will require ongoing employment support from DDD.

4. 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.

5. Comprehensive Blindness Adjustment: AZRSA contracts with seven vendors who provide comprehensive adjustment services to youth in transition who have visual impairments. Additionally, AZRSA contracts with seven 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, and self-advocacy necessary to a successful transition to the world of work.

6. Governor’s 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. The intent is to improve the quality of services and supports for persons with TBI for whom employment is the goal. This is accomplished through the increased knowledge and expertise of counselors.

7. Persons with Developmental Disabilities within the Foster Care System: Anticipated Memorandum of Understanding.  The purpose of the MOU is to enhance program delivery methods and provide customized employment services to mutual (DDD/RSA) clients within the foster care system.  Coordination, cooperation, and collaboration between agencies will be facilitated by dedicated staff positions to continue to provide and expand a continuum of comprehensive vocational services to effectively serve the identified population.   This MOU is currently in development and is anticipated to be implemented in the late summer of 2012.

8. Assistive Technology in Arizona: Arizona RSA contracts with Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ACBVI) in order to facilitate training and resource development for employers specific to the use of assistive technology for various disabilities and disability awareness.  Numerous training modules have been developed and are offered to employer groups at local VR offices and WIA locations. 

AZRSA has reviewed information and engaged in discussion related to programs from the Department of Agriculture such as agribility but do not currently participate in any of these programs. The agribility program is not currently available in the state of Arizona.

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM 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.

AZRSA oordinates with education officials through an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Arizona Department of Education and with the Arizona Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).  The vision of the IGA is “to ensure a smooth and successful transition of students with disabilities to meaningful, gainful, and sustained employment, education, and community living.”  The general purpose of the IGA is to encourage and facilitate cooperation and collaboration between Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), DDD, and the Public Education Agencies (PEA). 

The Intergovernmental Agreement serves to establish a statewide, interagency system of transition services in order to facilitate service provision in the following areas:

1. Technical assistance and consultation.

2. Outreach to and identifying students.

3. Referring individuals.

4. Joint planning.

5. Scope of individualized services.

6. Relationship management.

Under the umbrella of the IGA, AZRSA provides coordinated transition services as outlined above through informal agreements with PEAs.  These informal agreements are known as Protocol.  AZRSA also develops Third Party Cooperative Arrangements (TPCA), commonly known as Transition from School to Work (TSW) programs, with PEAs to provide enhanced transition services.  Enhanced transition services exceed those offered by the PEA that are available to any student.  Both the TSW and Protocol programs adhere to the vision and purpose stated in the IGA.

Technical Assistance and Consultation

AZRSA provides technical assistance and consultation throughout the transition process to identify appropriate school-to-post-school activities and services as outlined in the IGA in the following manner:

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

2. Increase the awareness of educational and social service resources and informal and formal supports, which will improve the quality of service delivery.

3. Provide networking opportunities essential to establishing, building, and enhancing interagency relationships and partnerships.

4. Encourage personnel to develop and implement consistent procedures on how they will consult with and provide technical assistance to all parties involved.

Outreach

Local AZRSA VR staff work with PEA personnel to identify students with disabilities who may need and could benefit from VR services to develop a youth transition plan prior to exit from school.  The PEAs are considered the lead agencies, but ongoing support from partner agencies will be necessary.  Outreach efforts to students may include:

1. Providing brochures, flyers, informational letters, and/or VR orientation videos to explain the VR program and the role it plays in transition planning.

2. Explaining VR referral procedures.

3. Providing information about special joint programs available.

Transition Planning

AZRSA works to engage students as early as possible within their high school experience so that an IPE can be developed before the student exits school.  Transition planning and the roles and responsibilities of AZRSA and PEA staff vary according to the program selected by the PEA for implementation.

AZRSA operates under an order of selection.  Students who are not eligible for immediate services are offered community resources and technical assistance for transition planning.

Roles and Responsibilities

1. Protocol

a. Coordinated Transition Planning-

i. Present information about VR to parents and students.

ii. Identify students who will need VR involvement to meet post-secondary goals.

iii. AZRSA will make eligibility decisions to allow proper planning and IPE development prior to school exit.

iv. Coordinate IPE development and vocational IEP with all community partners (i.e. DDD, Behavioral Health).

v. Implement IPE services will commence when appropriate for each student for a seamless transition from high school to post-secondary goals.

vi. AZRSA will not duplicate services/activities mandated by IDEA.

vii. PEA will develop plan for transition services mandated by IDEA.  AZRSA will provide technical assistance if needed. 

b. Financial Responsibilities – Funds are not transferred between PEAs and AZRSA.

2. TPCA/ TSW

a. Coordinated Transition Planning- in addition to Protocol planning activities 

i. Services provided by PEAs will help students meet AZRSA goals.

ii. Both AZRSA and PEAs have dedicated and qualified staff to provide services outlined within the TPCA.

iii. AZRSA staff will collaborate with other agencies to incorporate appropriate elements from other youth transition plans in the IPE.

iv. PEA will develop a program methodology that integrates vocational services (i.e. career exploration, work readiness, independent living skills instruction) needed to overcome disability-related barriers to post-secondary goals of students who receive services from RSA.

v. AZRSA/PEA will develop, establish, and coordinate new transition services and will expand and/or modify existing services to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities to help them achieve the objectives stated in their Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

b. Financial Responsibilities

i. PEA will provide non-federal dollars to AZRSA.

ii. AZRSA will use these funds to generate Federal Basic Support dollars to fund RSA personnel, PEA personnel, and other costs for providing vocational services that have been agreed to by both parties of the TPCA/IGA. 

All services provided by the Vocational Rehabilitation program, both in relation to the TSW programs and for protocol transition clients, are specifically vocational rehabilitation services. Any services that are a requirement of IDEA are the responsibility of the PEA to provide with other funds than those that are a part of any agreement with AZRSA.

All applicants and clients of the AZRSA Vocational Rehabilitation program, including transition clients regardless of involvement in special projects, are subject to general vocational rehabilitation eligibility determination by a qualified vocational counselor employed by the designated state unit prior to plan development and IPE services. In conjunction with this eligibility determination, assessment of functional limitations and services needs in congruence with the AZRSA’s Order of Selection is required. IPE plan development and service provision is determinate on the individual’s priority category placement in the Order of Selection. Expectations regarding eligible transition age students are that IPE’s are developed as early as possible but no later than when they exit the school setting unless precluded by their placement in the Order of Selection.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM by Christopher Deere

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

Partnership Building

AZRSA is reviewing and enhancing its relationship with local community rehabilitation program (CRP) providers as valued partners. AZRSA administration conducts meetings among state level staff, local community providers, and local AZRSA supervisory and management staff.  These meetings are intended to improve relationships/partnerships, to help identify local needs of our common clients, and to 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’s current administration.

Partners in building and maintaining a network of services and programs

AZRSA is finalizing Partnership Plus agreements within the context of the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work (TTW) program with Employment Networks (EN) throughout the state.  These agreements are designed to establish an understanding of the flow of referrals from one agency to the other in relation to TTW holders.  They are also designed to establish a basis for many CRPs that function as ENs to become involved in providing extended supports to clients/TTW holders who successfully complete the AZRSA vocational rehabilitation program, but are in need of extended supports.

Contracting

AZRSA has contracts with numerous 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 has modified its job development and placement contracts to reflect a more performance-based approach in an effort to enhance outcomes.  These new contracts were implemented in July 2011 and replaced both the traditional job development and placement contracts as well as the pilot performance-based contracts.  The new job development and placement contracts combine an hourly rate of service with two outcome payments for achieving job placement and successful employment retention.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM 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.

Supported Employment Services

AZRSA collaborates with for-profit and non-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 in the past assisted in this effort by funding program development/expansion/improvement projects. Ongoing services continue to be sustained by service contracts.

Concern over continuity of services for clients has led AZRSA to strongly encourage providers of supported employment services to also contract with agencies that are responsible for providing extended supported employment services.  To the extent possible, 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.  AZRSA is also working with many provider agencies to encourage them to become Employment Networks (EN) through the Social Security Ticket to Work (TTW) program.  This effort provides opportunities for these agencies, within the context of Partnership Plus, to provide extended supports following the conclusion of AZRSA services if the client is a TTW holder.

Extended Supported Employment Services

AZRSA collaborates with the Arizona Department of Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services (ADHS/DBHS), the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), the Councils of Government (COG), and statewide ENs to ensure that ongoing employment supports are available to successfully rehabilitated VR clients who need them. 

Collaboration with the ADHS/DBHS

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, responsibility for all employment related programming for this population shifted to AZRSA. Responsibility for ongoing employment support service needs of individuals with developmental disabilities was reassigned to DDD in 2003.  AZRSA and DDD coordinate employment-related services under a joint agreement that describes our mutual roles and responsibilities.  Local VR counselors and DDD support coordinators are responsible for coordinating services. Only time-limited VR supported employment services are the responsibility of AZRSA.

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

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

Collaboration with Employment Networks

AZRSA is formulating formal agreements with ENs throughout Arizona within the context of the Partnership Plus program to utilize TTW benefits and EN payment structures for extended supports.  These efforts are in the final formative stages.  This will be an ongoing effort to both work to promote and establish new ENs and to formulate and solidify formal agreements with these ENs related to the provision of extended supports.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM by Christopher Deere

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA) currently utilizes two sources to track personnel:  the Human Resource Information Solution (HRIS) maintained by the Arizona Department of Economic Security, and an internal AZRSA tracking system to collect personnel information.  Both systems comprise current information on AZRSA staff regarding hire dates, personnel actions, diversity information, plans to meet qualified standards if necessary, and professional certification measures.  Reports can be designed to determine the number of staff currently meeting qualified staff standards or those in the process of becoming qualified staff, assist in manpower planning, project retirement dates, and assess affirmative action criteria.

 

Currently, an average caseload size for each counselor is 93 clients per counselor. AZRSA continues its efforts to recruit and retain qualified staff with and are striving for an ideal caseload size of 70 clients per counselor. 

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Rehabilitation Services Specialists III -Counselor 200 37 36
2 Rehabilitation Program Representatives 13 6 2
3 Rehabilitation Supervisors 26 0 5
4 Rehabilitation Service Technicians 66 36 12
5 0 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

 

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 - BS Special Ed. and Rehab. 46 0 0 10
2 University of Arizona - MA Rehab. Counseling 38 0 0 21
3 University of Arizona - Phd. Rehab Ed. and Counsel 13 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

The University of Arizona (UA) is currently the only state university that offers Rehabilitation Counseling degree programs.  AZRSA continues to maintain its longstanding Intergovernmental Agreement with the UA to facilitate preparing and retaining qualified personnel.  AZRSA maintains an internal system to track the qualifications of rehabilitation professionals.  These staff provide an annual update of their personal progress toward meeting qualified staff standards, which mirror Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification requirements.  AZRSA and UA are committed to continuing this collaborative relationship to prepare and continue to educate vocational rehabilitation professionals. 

 

AZRSA coordinates with Region IX Federal Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center operated through San Diego State University (SDSU) to provide training on various subjects in an effort to continue to educate, prepare, and retain qualified staff.  Trainings were offered live statewide and via videoconferencing.  Additionally, four members of AZRSA supervisor/management team participated in the Post Employment Training in Rehabilitation Administration (PET-RA) certificate program.  PET-RA was designed by TACE Region IX at SDSU to provide professional development in content areas such as supervisory theories and procedures, organizational development, policy development and program implementation, and leadership development.

Numerous individuals attended the CSAVR conference held in Arizona in 2011.  AZRSA staff were provided with the opportunity to learn about and discuss programs and policies, and to share resources related to Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living, and Blind Visually Impaired programs on a national level.

 

AZRSA partners with the Arizona Department of Education to provide an annual transition conference.  This conference provides an opportunity for school and rehabilitation personnel to meet and discuss issues, resources, and programs related to the provision of services to the transition population.  Keynote speakers and national presenters provide educational break-out sessions throughout the conference. 

 

Recruiting individuals with disabilities and individuals from minority backgrounds continues to be an ongoing priority.  AZRSA continues to increase the number of staff with disabilities and minority backgrounds.  Strategies that encourage recruiting individuals with disabilities and those of minority background continue to be sought out and implemented when appropriate.   

 

 

The Department of Economic Security (DES) currently utilizes an online recruiting and application system that provides online access to current job openings.  AZRSA participates in job fairs statewide, conducts job fairs specific to AZRSA, and participates in national job bank postings.  Managers and supervisors encourage and recruit qualified applicants to view potential job openings at this online site.  AZRSA works closely with state personnel staff to ensure that qualified applicants are identified and placed on the certified hiring list.  The AZRSA personnel manager is responsible for reviewing all new hires and obtaining administrator approval to ensure that applicants and potential new hires meet qualified staff standards.  Before they begin work, all potential new hires are made aware of the necessity of meeting qualified staff standards within six years of their hire date.  Failure to provide documentation each year indicating progress toward meeting qualified staff standards may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. 

 

AZRSA considers it a priority to hire and retain personnel who meet national standards for rehabilitation counseling.  AZRSA has adopted the education and experience standards of the joint Committee on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) as the standard for qualified rehabilitation professionals.  All managers, supervisors, and professional staff are aware of the requirements to meet these standards.  New personnel who do not meet the requirements are upon hire expected to comply by becoming qualified and eligible to sit for the CRCC exam within six years of their initial hire date.  They must read and sign an Employee Education Agreement stating that they intend to meet qualified staff standards within six years of hire.  Survey results are compiled annually to review and assure compliance with the qualified staff standards and to assess recruitment and retention needs.

  

AZRSA and the UA have maintained an Intergovernmental Agreement since 1990 to provide both a complete Master’s degree program in Rehabilitation Counseling as well as stand-alone graduate courses for personnel who require supplemental courses in order to meet the qualified staff standards.  Additionally, several AZRSA employees are completing coursework via the online distance learning program at San Diego State University.

AZRSA supports individuals in obtaining professional certification, which reflects qualified staff standards.  AZRSA currently supports a number of certifications, including Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind Visually Impaired (AER), Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) for Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and Rehabilitation Teacher Specialists certifications as well as National Blindness Professional Certification Board certifications.   

To date, nearly half of AZRSA counselors (49.25%) meet the qualified staff standards personnel with another 20 percent currently enrolled in courses or a full Master’s program to meet the required standards. It is anticipated that 90 percent of the current counseling staff will meet or exceed the required staff standard by 2016. AZRSA anticipates all staff meeting or exceeding the qualified staff standard by 2018. AZRSA currently experiences approximately an 18 percent turn-over rate which results in roughly 10 percent of the staff may not meet the qualified staff standard at any given time.      This turn-over rate impacts AZRSA’s ability to maintain qualfied staff. 

 

Each new hire attends an in-depth Comprehensive Orientation Rehabilitation Education (CORE) training.  This training provides information specific to the position and helps acclimate the new hire to the agency and his/her job duties.  Professional and paraprofessional new hires receive extensive training spanning several weeks to learn foundational information regarding the Rehabilitation Act, state policy, appropriate service provision, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Workforce Investment Act.  Topics such as client management techniques, client informed choice, relationship management, disability awareness, and electronic case management instruction are also presented.

 

AZRSA provides conferences and in-service trainings in a number of areas which support the continued development of professional and paraprofessional staff.  Trainings in the content areas of assessment, vocational counseling, preparing your client for a job search, job placement, assistive technology, case management, case documentation, Autism/Asperger’s disorder, diabetes, traumatic brain injury, transition, and other specialty areas are provided throughout the year.  Continuing education credit is available for those who are maintaining licensure or accreditation.

 

For continued staff development, graduate level courses specific to rehabilitation counseling are available through the UA.  Limited educational assistance is provided through an Intergovernmental Agreement between AZRSA and the UA.

 

 

Several mechanisms are in place to best serve applicants with Limited English Proficiency.  The Arizona state personnel system facilitates recruiting qualified bilingual staff.  Efforts continue to increase the number of employees who speak other languages in addition to English.  Statewide, all staff have been trained via computer-based training (CBT) on a preliminary “Limited English Proficiency,” which encompasses languages other than English but excludes languages such as American Sign Language.  A supplemental CBT is currently being developed with information specific to AZRSA Limited English Proficiency policies and procedures.  AZRSA currently contracts with several vendors who are able to assist in face-to-face or language phone line translation and interpretation, and we have directly hired several sign language interpreters to assist with communication needs.  AZRSA has resources through the DSA in order to assist with converting vital documents into other languages.

 

Video phones are available in all local offices to provide Video Relay Services (VRS) and Video Remote Interpreting (VRI).  All AZRSA materials are made available in alternative formats.  Each district has access to Braille materials and the ability to provide print material in alternative format per client and staff request.  Staff are provided with accessible computers, software, note takers, ergonomic equipment, and other devices as needed for accommodations.

   

AZRSA maintains training sites throughout the state.  Each training site is equipped with accessible computers, software, and other devices as needed for accommodation purposes.  CART, ASL, transliteration interpretation, FM systems, CCTV, JAWS, ZoomText, and other accessible devices are provided upon request at all training sessions.

 

 

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.  An Intergovernmental Agreement outlines cross training opportunities between the partners.  AZRSA and the Arizona Department of Education collaborate annually to provide a transition conference to bring the community of providers together to learn about national policies and trends.  Additionally, Arizona RSA partners with the Arizona Department of Education to provide a web-based career information system, the Arizona Career Information System, that allows students, families, education professionals, and AZRSA staff to collaboratively assist students in developing appropriate and viable career goals. 

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 3:59PM 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.

Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA) last completed a full Statewide Needs Assessment (SNAP) in FFY 2009, and a full and updated SNAP for FFY 2012 has not yet been completed due to barriers presented by the procurement system in the state of Arizona in relation to contracting with a qualified agency for the development, implementation, and analysis of the SNAP. However, AZRSA has gathered current information from databases that were integrated into the framework of the FFY 2009 SNAP. The following assessment represents an update to the FFY 2009 SNAP. AZRSA anticipates the completion of a new SNAP by September 30, 2012. AZRSA is in the process of developing, implementing, and analyzing a SNAP with internal resources as opposed to utilizing a contracted agency for the service.  The SRC will be kept informed and actively involved in the process of the SNAP.

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 the most significant disabilities.  The 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 2011 (FFY 2011) study period; and

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

Primary Research

Primary research consisted of designing and implementing the triennial statewide needs assessment project (SNAP), which was conducted in late-November through mid-December 2008.  SNAP surveys elicited responses from 600 individuals, consisting 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 23,250 individuals receiving AZRSA VR and IL services during FFY 2011 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011) provided insight into populations served by AZRSA.  This group included individuals receiving VR services (20,444), post-employment (PES) services (144) or extended supported employment (ESE) services (371), and IL services (2,291).  Data sets were constructed by gender, age, education, ethnicity, primary disability, significance of the disability, and other attributes.  In addition, AZRSA aggregated data on the 1,423 clients who had participated in VR client satisfaction surveys conducted over the two years prior to the completion of the 2009 SNAP.  These data were analyzed using the same criteria as the 2009 SNAP, 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, to facilitate AZRSA discussions on improved access and inclusion of individuals with disabilities, to improve the quality of services delivered through vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs, and to 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 2011 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011). 

The Prevalence of Disability

The data presented in this report focus primarily on the prevalence of disability among individuals age five years and older, and specifically on the ages of 16 to 64 by using data from the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS).  For this study, individuals ages 16 to 64 have been identified as the AZRSA target population.  This effort attempts to correlate data between individuals aged 16 to 64 in Arizona who reported a disability in the 2009 ACS and the 23,250 individuals who received AZRSA VR and IL services in FFY 2011.  This correlative framework will help provide insights into the extent to which AZRSA has been able to effectively reach individuals with disabilities and to “paint the picture” of the population served by AZRSA.

Key Findings

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

• Of non-institutionalized individuals age five and older in Arizona, 14.6 percent reported a disability in 2009, compared with the nationwide rate of 9.9 percent. 

• Within the target population of individuals ages 16 to 64, 9.7 percent of those in Arizona reported a disability, slightly below the national rate of 9.9 percent.

2. Individuals reporting physical disability are underrepresented in the population receiving AZRSA services in FFY 2011, and those with mental disabilities are overrepresented.

• In 2009, an estimated 26.2 percent of non-institutionalized individuals with an ambulatory disability age 16 to 64 in the United States were employed (ACS, 2009).  In Arizona, this figure was a comparable 24.2 percent, but declined to 19.5 percent in FFY 2011.  This points to an underrepresentation of individuals with a physical disability in the AZRSA population.

• In 2009, an estimated 38.0 percent of non-institutionalized individuals with a visual impairment age 16 to 64 in the United States were employed (ACS, 2009).  In Arizona, this figure was a comparable 35.3 percent, and increased to 39.5 percent in FFY 2011.  This points to a slight overrepresentation of individuals with a visual impairment in Arizona.

• In 2009, an estimated 51.8 percent of non-institutionalized individuals with a hearing impairment age 16 to 64 in the United States were employed (ACS, 2009).  In Arizona, this figure was a comparable 48 percent but increased to 60.5 percent in FFY 2011.  This points to an overrepresentation of individuals with a hearing impairment receiving AZRSA services.

• In the year 2009, an estimated 24.2 percent of non-institutionalized individuals with a cognitive disability age 16 to 64 were employed (ACS, 2009).  In Arizona, this figure was a comparable 23 percent but reached 60.2 percent in FFY 2011.  Although this also includes individuals with cognitive or other mental/psychosocial disabilities, it points to an overrepresentation of individuals receiving AZRSA services.

• Recognizing that a number of factors likely contribute to these variances, including the acknowledged limitations of this comparative framework and the acknowledgement that a small variance may not be statistically significant, further study is warranted to better understand AZRSAs “reach” as it pertains to populations served.

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

Among all individuals age 16 to 64 in Arizona reporting a disability in 2009:

• 13.2 percent of American Indians and 12.3 percent of Blacks/African-Americans were identified as being a person with a disability.

• These rates are in contrast to the rates for Asians (5.1 percent), Whites (9.5 percent), and individuals of Hispanic origin (7.1 percent). 

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

• Whites represented 76.5 percent of individuals age 16 to 64 with a reported disability and 61.4 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services in 2011. 

• Individuals of Hispanic origin represented 20.9 percent of individuals age 16 to 64 with a reported disability and 21.2 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services in 2011. 

• American Indians represented 6.8 percent of individuals age 16 to 64 with a reported disability and 3.8 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services in 2011. 

• Blacks/African-Americans represented 4.4 percent of individuals age 16 to 64 with a reported disability and 8.2 percent of individuals receiving AZRSA services. 

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.

• For the VR client satisfaction surveys and the statewide needs assessment combined, minorities represented 24.1 percent of respondents.  This includes client respondents to both the AZRSA VR client satisfaction surveys conducted over the past two years and the consumer respondents to the statewide needs assessment (SNAP) conducted in 2008.

• Of the 1,423 respondents to AZRSA VR client satisfaction surveys, 362 (25.4 percent) were minorities:  14.8 percent were Hispanic/Latino, 6.4 percent Black/African American, 2.3 percent American Indian, 1.8 percent Asian, and 0.2 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.”  Researchers did not have access to AZRSA client or SSI or SSDI beneficiary data 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 2011, AZRSA VR closed 2,594 cases, where individuals whose Individualized Plan for Employment, or IPE, had been implemented. 

• 36.4 percent (945) were closed as a successful (Status 26) rehabilitation, and 63.6 percent (1,649) were closed as unsuccessful (Status 28). 

• The rehabilitation rate of 35.3 percent for minorities overall was two percentage points below the 37.1 percent rehabilitation rate for non-minorities/Whites.

• Rehabilitation rates among minority groups varied significantly.  The rehabilitation rates for Asians, 38.1 percent, and for Hispanics/ Latinos, 37.8 percent, exceeded the overall AZRSA rehabilitation rate of 36.4 percent.  In contrast, the rehabilitation rates for Blacks/African-Americans (31.7 percent) and American Indians (26.7 percent) fell below the overall AZRSA rehabilitation rate.

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.

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

• 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. 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.

In FFY 2011, AZRSA VR closed 2,594 cases, with 36.4 percent having achieved a successful rehabilitation or employment outcome.

• Young adults ages 16 to 20 accounted for 992 (33.6 percent) of the total 2,954 cases closed.  Their rehabilitation rate was 40.0 percent. 

• Working-age adults ages 21 to 64 accounted for 1,580 (53.6 percent) of the 2,954 cases closed.  Their rehabilitation rate was 36.7 percent.

• The rehabilitation rate for young adults ages 16 to 20 exceeded the AZRSA agency-wide rate of 36.4 percent by 3.6 percentage points and the rehabilitation rate for working-age adults by 3.3 percentage points.

9. AZRSA VR clients with hearing disabilities had the highest employment rates; those with mental/cognitive disabilities had the lowest.  This mirrors 2009 ACS reported data.

• The rehabilitation rate for individuals with hearing impairments in 2011 was 48.1 percent.

• The rehabilitation rate for individuals with visual impairments in 2011 was 47.5 percent.

• The rehabilitation rate for individuals with physical impairments in 2011 was 35.6 percent.

• The rehabilitation rate for individuals with mental/cognitive impairments in 2011 was 34.9 percent.

10. The employment rates for AZRSA VR clients in FFY 2011 were slightly higher than the rates reported for all working-age individuals with disabilities in Arizona, per 2009 ACS.

The employment rate for individuals ranging in age from 21 to 64 receiving AZRSA VR services was 36.7 percent and for the general population of individuals reporting a disability in the 2009 ACS was 36.0 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 slightly higher.

Earnings Data

AZRSA Employment Outcomes

• Individuals with a hearing impairment had the highest employment rate (48.1 percent).  On average, they worked 36.4 hours per week at average hourly earnings of $8.11. 

• Individuals with a mental/cognitive disability had the lowest employment rate (34.9 percent).  On average, they worked 33.64 hours per week at average hourly earnings of $10.11.

AZRSA Competitive Employment Outcomes

• Of the 945 individuals who achieved an employment outcome, 933 (98.7 percent) worked at or above minimum wage in an integrated setting, referred to as competitive employment. 

• On average, individuals worked 33.91 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 $11.27, which also exceeded the national average of $10.57 for SVRAs. 

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

Primary Research Findings

Primary research points to shared perceptions among consumers, providers, and employers regarding 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, such as Social Security Administration (SSA) cash assistance and health-related benefits, other health-insurance benefits, and other general assistance benefits were cited by ten percent of consumers). 

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

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.

Community services providers and employers reiterated concerns about the impact of the economy on job opportunities and the increasing competition 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.

12. Reliance on Supplemental Security Income/Disability (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 such as SSI/DI, which includes 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 the 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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 Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/MUP) designations, including 13 counties with MUA designations and 8 with MUP designations.  The 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 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.

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

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

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM by Christopher Deere

The estimated number of individuals eligible for services under the State Plan (ages 16-64)                    17,320

Priority Group 1                                                                                                  

Estimated number of eligible individuals to receive services: Title I 10,490  Title VI 198     

Estimated number to be rehabilitated:  Title I 728  Title VI 40

Estimated cost of all services:  $31,441,944

Priority Group 2

Estimated number of eligible individuals to receive services: Title I 1,147  Title VI N/A

Estimated number to be rehabilitated: Title I 150  Title VI N/A

Estimated cost of all services: $3,398,373

Priority Group 3

Estimated number of eligible individuals to receive services: Title I 290  Title VI N/A

Estimated number to be rehabilitated: Title I 58  Title VI N/A

Estimated cost of all services: $859,318

 

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Priority Group 1 Title I $30,859,468 10,490 $2,941
Priority Group 1 Title VI $582,476 198 $2,941
Priority Group 2 Title I $3,398,373 1147 $2,962
Priority Group 2 Title VI $0 0
Priority Group 3 Title I $859,318 290 $2,963
Priority Group 3 Title VI $0 0
Totals   $35,699,635 12,125 $2,944

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM 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 for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program are developed based on analysis of the 2009 Statewide Needs Assessment (SNAP), the 2011 Federal Monitoring Recommendations, interviews with key stakeholders, staff and advisory groups and the current DES, SRC, and State Independent Living Council (SILC) strategic plans.These goals will be modified in next year’s State Plan based on the results of the 2012 SNAP.

PRIORITY 1

IMPROVE CLIENT OUTCOMES

Goal 1: Increase the number of successful rehabilitations from 945 in FFY 2011 to 946 in FFY 2012 and 947 in FFY 2013.

Goal 2: Increase the rehabilitation rate from 36.4 percent in FFY 2011 to 55.8 percent by September 30, 2013.

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 62.9 percent in FFY 2011 to 80 percent in FFY 2013.

PRIORITY 2

IMPROVE ACCESS TO SERVICES FOR UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS

Goal 1: Increase the percentage of clients with a physical disability as a primary disability from 19.5 percent of persons served in FFY 2011 to 24.2 percent in FFY 2013.

Goal 2: Increase the percentage of American Indian clients served from 3.8 percent in FFY 2011 to 6.8 percent in FFY 2013 in VR programs within the state of Arizona.

PRIORITY 3

INCREASE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR AZRSA CLIENTS

Goal 1: In FFY 2013 establish and fill three employment specialist positions to work with AZRSA staff, clients, and community rehabilitation providers on preparing for employment, engaging employers, and other employment related skills.

Goal 2: Increase disability awareness and outreach among employers by engaging 24 new employers in targeted disability related activities in FFY 2013.

Goal 3: Implement Memos of Understanding with seven Employment Networks regarding the Ticket To Work Partnership Plus model in FFY 2013

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM 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

After consultation with the Governor’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and with the AZRSA’s executive management team, the AZRSA closed services to individuals in Priority Group III starting October 1, 2001, and continued to operate its VR services program under an OOS.  Priority Group III was opened on August 4, 2006, as a result of the AZRSA receiving a state appropriation for SFY 2007.

For FFY 2008, AZRSA had all priority categories open and all eligible clients were given the opportunity to write Individualized Plans for Employment. 

For FFY 2009, AZRSA experienced economic conditions which impacted available resources and necessitated AZRSA implementing the closure of all priority groups effective March 16, 2009.

For FFY 2010, all priority categories remained closed, although groups of people from the OOS waitlist have been removed from Priority Group I, based on priority category and application date. 

As of July 29, 2011, AZRSA opened Priority Group I of the OOS waitlist, based on the availability of funds and staff.  As a result, 1,096 individuals were released from Priority Group I.  All clients who have been found eligible and determined to be in Priority Group I after July 29, 2011, have been moved forward to Individualized Plan for Employment development and have not been subject to a waitlist.  Priority groups II and III remain closed.  It is unlikely that these two groups will be opened up or that any individuals that are assigned to them will begin receiving services in FFY 2012 due to budget uncertainty.  As of April 14, 2012, 2,325 individuals were waiting in Priority Group II and 384 individuals were waiting in Priority Group III.

Due to the State of Arizona’s budget shortfall in SFY 2008, AZRSA VR lost $500,000 in state appropriated dollars, which decreased the total VR revenue by $2,347,418.  In SFY 2009, a state funding reduction of $1,200,000 decreased the federal match for vocational rehabilitation services by $4,605,982.  Budget requests have been submitted each year but due to the critical demand for funds for other programs, these requests were not advanced. 

The budget for the upcoming SFY 2013 has not yet been approved and as such it is uncertain what impact funding reductions and or changes in allotments within that budget will have on the ability of AZRSA to meet the federal match and continue the level of services being provided to clients. AZRSA is exploring a variety of potential third party match opportunities at this time. In 2013 AZRSA is anticipating a loss of discretionary funding due to a change in priorities on the part of the DSA in relation to the allotment of these discretionary funds. This will impact AZRSA’s ability to provide services to clients   The full impact of this cannot yet be assessed although financial projection models indicate that AZRSA will not be able to service all new eligible applicants in any of the three categories if the expected diversion of funding occurs.

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 justifications for hiring critical staff were approved.  This resulted in an ongoing hiring effort for staff to provide service to AZRSA clients.  In FFY 2012, the restrictions on hiring staff have been reduced further, leading to an increase in the hiring of vocational rehabilitation counselors, support staff, and administrative staff.

 

Description of Priority categories

The Order of Selection (OOS) is an organized, equitable method for serving groups of individuals with disabilities in a priority order when 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

 

As of July 29, 2011, AZRSA opened Priority Group I of the OOS waitlist, based on the availability of funds and staff.  As a result, 1,096 individuals were released from Priority Group I.  All clients who have been found eligible and determined to be in Priority Group I after July 29, 2011, have been moved forward to Individualized Plan for Employment development and have not been subject to a waitlist.  Priority groups II and III remain closed.  It is unlikely that these two groups will be opened up or that any individuals that are assigned to them will begin receiving services in FFY 2012 due to budget uncertainty.  As of April 14, 2012, 2,325 individuals were waiting in Priority Group II and 384 individuals were waiting in Priority Group III.

 

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

Priority Group 1   

Estimated number to receive services: 10,688

Estimated number to be rehabilitated: 768

Estimated timeframe from IPE implementation to closure: 28.6 Months    

Priority Group 2

Estimated number to receive services: 1,147

Estimated number to be rehabilitated: 150

Estimated timeframe from IPE implementation to closure: 35.7 Months    

Priority Group 3

Estimated number to receive services: 290

Estimated number to be rehabilitated: 58

Estimated timeframe from IPE implementation to closure: 38.3 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 10,688 768 1,676 28.6 Months $3,144,194
2 1,147 150 422 35.7 Months $3,398,373
3 290 58 122 38.3 Months $859,318

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 4:31PM 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.

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 2011.

Number of individuals identified as needing extended supported employment services during the IPE planning process: 252

Number of individuals closed as rehabilitated in extended supported employment services: 117

Priority:  Increase Employment Opportunities for Individuals requiring Supported Employment

Goal 1: AZRSA will serve 254 individuals utilizing Title VI Part B funding during FFY 2013.

Goal 2: AZRSA will successfully rehabilitate 120 individuals during FFY 2013.

Goal 3: In FFY 2013, Implement Memos of Understanding with seven Employment Networks regarding the Ticket To Work Partnership Plus model.  These MOUs will allow the Employment Networks to act as long term supports for supported employment clients who are successfully closed from the AZRSA vocational rehabilitation program and who are Ticket To Work holders.

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 to better ensure continued success following closure from the VR Supported Employment program.

In addition, AZRSA will continue to investigate and develop further service delivery options through the “Partnership Plus” opportunities found in the Ticket to Work regulations. This option may provide consumers with additional avenues for maintaining success.   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. AZRSA partners with the Department of Behavioral Health Services and the Division of Developmental Disabilities in order to serve mutually eligible clients in the VR Supported Employment program.  

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM 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.

• Continue cooperative programs with regional behavioral health authorities, tribal entities (including Native American programs), the Department of Education and other 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, advocacy groups, 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.

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

• Expand services to youth, including transition students in foster care.

 

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.

• Throughout the VR process, evaluate and provide Assistive Technology (AT) training and devices to VR clients as necessary to help them 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 multiple 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 that include both training and providing AT necessary for employment.  Three of these 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).

• Explore new innovation and technology that can be used as AT and integrate these into the VR process.

 

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.

• 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, is posted on the AZRSA internet site, and can be accessed via the internet through YouTube. Other marketing materials which include the AZRSA Vocational Rehabilitation brochure are also available in Spanish.

• A promotional video has been completed and is in use to educate transition youth on the benefits of VR and to encourage them to take advantage of VR services.  The video is available in Spanish, American Sign Language (ASL), open captioning, and descriptive video for the blind and visually impaired.  This video is available in DVD format.

• 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.

• Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) have been established by the AZRSA with five of the Section 121-VR Grant projects 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 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.

 

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

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: 

• The 2009 Triennial Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities;

• The Governor’s State Rehabilitation Council Customer and Provider Satisfaction Surveys; and

• 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.

 

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

• 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 the number 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.

• Explore the successes of other vocational programs and determine if there are areas AZRSA can borrow from regarding their tactics and experience.

 

 

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

 

• 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.

• 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.

 

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.

• achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1);

 Priority 1: Improve Client Outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13. Monitor and provide support to assist VR counselors in developing and implementing IPE within the 120 day time requirement.

14. Utilize the computer based DB101 benefits calculator to assist clients in understanding how employment decisions will impact benefits throughout the vocational rehabilitation process.

Priority 2: Improve Access to Services for Underserved Populations

1. Target outreach to community groups serving underserved populations.

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

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

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

5. 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

1. Expand AZRSA’s involvement with Council for State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) Sponsored National Employment Team.

2. Provide disability awareness trainings to employers.

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

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

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

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

7. Increase activity with community service providers to provide more outreach to employers. 

8. Engage Employment Networks and other community resources to act as a source of long term supports for clients who need them to remain employed.

9. Provide training focused on preparing clients for employment for AZRSA staff.

10. Implement job clubs in vocational rehabilitation offices.

11. Enhance relationships with WIA partners to ensure potential shared resources are being utilized to their maximum extent.

• support innovation and expansion activities;

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. 

 • 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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM by Christopher Deere

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

Priority 1: Improve Client Outcomes

Goal 1:  Increase the number of successful rehabilitations from 1,372 in FFY 2009 to 1,454 in FFY 2010 with subsequent increases of one percent each FFY.

• Extent Achieved: During FFY 2011, 945 individuals were successfully rehabilitated by AZRSA, less than the goal of 1,469 successful rehabilitations.

• Strategies Used:

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Develop a pilot project to provide more internal job development and placement services, evaluate, and expand as appropriate.

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

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

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

11. Refocus policy and expectations for employment outcomes to be more client centered and to allow for client choice in relation to hours worked related to a successful outcome.

• Impediments to Achievement:  During FFY 2011, AZRSA experienced significant staffing shortages resulting from the agency’s general turnover rate and heightened by several years of a hiring freeze which precluded AZRSA from filling vacant positions in most situations.  This contributed to very largecaseloads for counselors.  The effects of this were compounded by the general economic situation in the state of Arizona, evidenced by a generally high unemployment rate and a lack of job opportunities for all individuals residing in the state.

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

• Extent Achieved:  During FFY 2011, the rehabilitation rate was 36.4 percent, less than the goal of 55.8 percent and a decrease from the previous year.

• Strategies Used:

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Develop a pilot project to provide more internal job development and placement services, evaluate, and expand as appropriate.

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

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

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

11. Refocus policy and expectations for employment outcomes to be more client centered and to allow for client choice in relation to hours worked related to a successful outcome.

• Impediments to Achievement:  During FFY 2011, AZRSA experienced significant staffing shortages resulting from the agency’s general turnover rate and heightened by several years of a hiring freeze which precluded AZRSA from filling vacant positions in most situations.  This contributed to very large caseloads for counselors.  The effects of this were compounded by the general economic situation in the state of Arizona, evidenced by a generally high unemployment rate and a lack of job opportunities for all individuals residing in the state.  The staff shortages and client disillusionment with the lack of jobs, among other factors, contributed to heightened disengagement and loss of contact with clients which in turn led to a large number of unsuccessful closures.

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

• Extent Achieved:  During FFY 2011, 62.9 percent of IPE’s were developed within 120 days of eligibility determination or activation from the OOS, a decrease from FFY 2009 of 8.1 percent. 

• Strategies Used:

1. Continued emphasis in training for vocational counselors related to the expectations that IPE’s be developed within 120 days.

2. Special focus on counselors serving transition age populations regarding the need to develop IPE’s with transition age youth within the 120 day time frame established by AZRSA.

3. Monitoring of time frames for IPE development with tools available in the electronic case management system.

• Impediments to Achievement:

1. The dynamics of transition-age youth still formulating their ideas surrounding employment, and the challenges associated with developing a realistic and full plan with this population within 120 days has created significant challenges in meeting the 120 day criteria, especially for this population.

2. Large caseloads for vocational rehabilitation compounded with large influxes of clients released from the OOS waitlist has created a situation where counselors are experiencing difficulty managing their time and maintaining contact with their clients.  This in turn led to difficulties completing IPE’s within the expected time frame of 120 days.

3. A large number of clients were released from the OOS waitlist during FFY 2011.  Many of these clients had been assessed several years previously.   Upon release from the waitlist, these clients required time to re-engage with AZRSA and often required reassessments to determine their current needs, which contributed to an extended time frame for the development of IPEs.

Priority 2: Improve Access to Services for Underserved Populations

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

• Extent Achieved: During FFY 2011, 19.5 percent of our clients had physical disabilities.  This was less than the goal of 28.0 percent, but is an increase over the 18.3 percent for 2007.

• Strategies Used:

1. Target outreach to community groups serving underserved populations.

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

3. 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.

• Impediments to Achievement:  The overall fiscal and personnel situation has hindered outreach efforts in general.

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

• Extent Achieved:  During FFY 2011, 3.8 percent of clients served by AZRSA VR self-identified as American Indian.  This was below the goal of 4.5 percent but was a slight increase over the 3.5 percent reported in FFY 2007.

• Strategies Used:

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

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

• Impediments to Achievement:

1. A large number of American Indians in the state of Arizona are served by tribal VR programs and may not need services from AZRSA.

2. Cultural factors may play a role in both the outreach from AZRSA and the acceptance of outreach efforts by some tribal communities.

3. The overall fiscal and personnel situation has hindered outreach efforts in general.

4. There is the possibility that not all individuals who are American Indian are reporting such and as a result are not being coded by AZRSA, which may be skewing the statistics related to this goal.

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

• Extent Achieved:  During FFY 2011, Hispanic/Latino clients were 21.2 percent of vocational rehabilitation clients served by AZRSA.  While this was below the desired level of 27 percent, it does show a significant increase over the 15.1 percent served in 2007.  It also represents an increase over more current data which show that 20.9 percent of individuals of Hispanic origins in the general population report a disability.  From this, individuals of Hispanic origin are overrepresented in the Arizona vocational rehabilitation program.

• Strategies Used:  Target outreach to community groups serving underserved populations.

• Impediments to Achievement:  The overall fiscal and personnel situation has hindered outreach efforts in general.

Priority 3: Increase Employment Opportunities for AZRSA Clients

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

• Extent Achieved: During FFY 2011 AZRSAs worked as part of a team with the Untapped Arizona project, the state partner of the Think Beyond the Label campaign, to engage a total of eight new employers to participate in the project.  This was an increase from the previous year but below the goal of 15 employers.

• Strategies Used: 

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

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

• Impediments to Achievement:  Changes in personnel, for both AZRSA and other partner organizations, provided some barriers to the momentum of this project, and reduced the impact with employers.

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.

• Extent Achieved: During FFY 2011, two employers were engaged by AZRSA in targeted disability related activities. These revolved around activities specifically concerning the Blind/Visually Impaired population.

• Strategies Used:

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

2. Provide and increase disability awareness trainings to employers.

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

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

• Impediments to Achievement:  AZRSA has noted the lack of necessary staff and infrastructure to adequately and effectively provide this type of outreach to employers.  During FFY 2011, AZRSA was unable to establish positions or modify the infrastructure to accommodate this need.  

Goal 3: Engage 10 Employment Networks in discussions involving Ticket to Work Partnership Plus Memos of Understanding in FFY 2011 and 10 Employment Networks in FFY 2012.

• Extent Achieved: During FFY 2011, AZRSA met with numerous Employment Network agencies identified by Maximus to educate them about Partnership Plus and to discuss the potential of a Partnership Plus agreement.  AZRSA developed a draft version of an agreement but did not implement it; there were no official agreements finalized.

• Strategies Used: 

1. Providing training and technical assistance to Employment Networks listed by Maximus as operating in the state of Arizona.

2. Coordinating and networking with the employment network consortium in the state of Arizona.

• Impediments to Achievement: 

1. Outdated and inaccurate information from Maximus made it difficult to identify Employment Networks who were actually active in the state of Arizona.

2. Loss of key staff responsible for this initiative and a lack of personnel to take over the responsibilities.

 

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.

• Extent Achieved: 252 individuals with supported employment needs served during FFY2011.

• Strategies:

1. Continued collaboration and outreach with DDD and BHS agencies to effectively serve individuals with supported employment needs.

2. Provided periodic training for RSA staff thereby increasing staff knowledge of collaborative efforts between RSA and DDD/BHS and service availability.

3. Periodic analysis of use of Title VI, Part B, funds and identification of trends and needs in order to best serve clients and/or identify additional opportunities. 

• Impediments to Achievement:

1. Order of Selection (OOS) continued to remain in effect and had a negative impact on the number of clients served.

2. AZRSA received fewer referrals from DDD and BHS.

3. BHS experienced programmatic changes in eligibility requirements for extended supports which negatively impacted the number of clients served.

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

• Extent Achieved:  117 individuals with supported employment needs were rehabilitated.

• Strategies Used:

1. Continued efforts to retain qualified vendors who provide effective supported employment services. 

2. Encouraged vendors to continue to advocate for supported employment services to employers.

3. Continued strong collaborative efforts with DDD and BHS to ensure seamless transition to extended support services.

• Impediments to Achievement:

This goal was achieved and exceeded.

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.

• Extent Achieved: Two trainings regarding supported employment regulations and processes were provided during FFY 2011. 

• Strategies Used:  Coordinated with TACE to provide training, reviewed curriculum, and provided recommendations for topics based on local trends and needs.

• Impediments to Achievement:  Goal has been achieved for FFY 2011 and will be pursued ongoing each year.

 

Indicator 1.1:   Change in Employment Outcomes

At the end of FFY 2011, AZRSA missed the goal of indicator 1.1 by 188 cases.   Factors affecting this were the number of counselor vacancies within the program, being on an order of selection with all priorities closed since 2009, and the general economic condition in the State of Arizona. 

Indicator 1.2 - Percent of Employment Outcomes

At the end of FFY 2011, AZRSA missed the goal of indicator 1.2 by 19.4 percent.  Factors affecting this were the number of counselor vacancies within the program, the general economic condition in the State of Arizona, and the lack of job opportunities in rural areas. 

Indicator 1.3 – Competitive Employment

At the end of FFY 2011, AZRSA exceeded the goal of indicator 1.3 by 25.1 percent, based on Arizona’s minimum wage of $7.35 compared to the federal minimum wage of $7.25.  AZRSA has consistently achieved this indicator.  The average wage for AZRSA clients closed successfully from the vocational rehabilitation program was $11.15.

Indicator 1.4 – Significant Disability

At the end of FFY 2011, AZRSA exceeded the goal of indicator 1.4 by 33.5 percent.  This equates to 881 individuals with significant disabilities being closed successfully into competitive employment.  Factors affecting this goal were the Order of Selection with all priorities closed and the presumption of eligibility based upon Social Security benefits; VR historically serves a higher proportion of these individuals.  AZRSA has consistently achieved this indicator.

Indicator 1.5 – Earnings Ratio

At the end of FFY 2011, AZRSA did not meet the goal of indicator 1.5. AZRSA’s performance on the indicator was 0.517, .003 under the minimum performance requirement of .0520.  This indicator is based on individuals who successfully close out of VR with average earnings of at least 52 cents per every dollar that all individuals in the state earn. The average wage for individuals successfully closed from the vocational rehabilitation program in Arizona in 2011 was $11.09. The state average for the population in general in 2011 was $21.44.  

Indicator 1.6 – Self Support

At the end of FFY 2011, AZRSA exceeded the goal of indicator 1.6 by 18.9 percent.  The majority of applicants had been unemployed due to the downturn in the state’s economy in 2008-2009, based upon the average case length of 26.5 months.   AZRSA has consistently achieved this indicator.

Indicator 2.1 – Ratio of Minority to Non- Minority Service Rate

At the end of FFY 2011, AZRSA exceeded the goal of indicator 2.1 by 14.0 percent.  AZRSA has consistently achieved this indicator.

 

I & E funding was used, in accordance with federal regulations, to provide funding for allowable activities for the Governor’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and the Governor’s Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC).  During FFY 2011 the SRC utilized a budget of $5,439.79 from I & E funding to carry out their allowed-for activities.  During FFY 2011, the SILC utilized $163,959.91 of I & E funding to carry out their allowed-for activities.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 4:25PM 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

The Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA) coordinates with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and the Department of Health Services (DHS).  Both DDD and DHS provide financial resources for long term-extended supported employment services to individuals who are determined eligible to receive Arizona Long Term Care Services (ALTCS).

Through the use of limited Social Service Block Grant (SSBG) monies, separate from Title I funding, AZRSA supports a limited number of individuals who require extended supported employment services.

QUALITY OF SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

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. AZRSA provides a tiered outcome-based system to reward community rehabilitation program providers for successful integrated, competitive, fulltime placements that provide medical and/or hospitalization benefits.

2. AZRSA works with Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) providers to improve the service delivery systems as follows:

a. CRP staff receive extensive technical assistance and training 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.

b. AZRSA has designated training staff to assist in the training needed by community providers. In addition, AZRSA collaborates with Region IX Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program (RCEP) and the University of Arizona (UA) to plan and implement continuing education to community rehabilitation providers.

c. 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. AZRSA also assists CRP providers in developing new integrated and competitive programs and service methodologies by advertising and awarding services to groups for establishment, development, or improvement projects.

The management of AZRSA’s contracts not only ensures compliance with 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 are eligible for services and who have been identified as requiring extended employment supports to maintain employment. Services include:

• Development of and placement in jobs;

• Time-limited 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.

Existing resources, including Plan to Achieve Self Sufficiency/Impairment Work Related Expense (PASS/IRWE) are explored for every individual and, if available, are used to pay for extended supported employment. AZRSA is also working with Employment Networks in Arizona to utilize the Partnership Plus model to solidify avenues for Employment Networks to provide long term support for Ticket to Work holders.   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 but makes exceptions as allowed and appropriate.

Arizona RSA has found that the majority of individuals who require supported employment services fall into the following disability categories:

• Individuals with developmental disabilities;

• Individuals with serious mental illness; and

• Other individuals with significant disabilities.

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 or supports are identified and available, the individual will be served in the VR program.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 26 2012 11:44AM by Christopher Deere

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 09/26/2012 at 3:00 PM

Last updated by saazdeerec

Completed on 09/26/2012 at 3:00 PM

Completed by saazdeerec

Approved on 09/27/2012 at 2:49 PM

Approved by rscomillerb

Published on 01/07/2013 at 7:32 AM

Published by kschelle

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