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
Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation Program State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

1.1 The Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation Program 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 Bureau of Rehabilitative 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

State Treasurer

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

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

Director of Education and Rehabilitation, Services for the Blind

... 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
Brian S. Sigman

Title of Signatory
Director of Education and Rehabilitation, Services for the Blind

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
09/01/2011

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2012
No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation Program

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council; Response of the Designated State Unit; and Explanations for Rejection of Input or Recommendations

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind continues to be a valuable and active contributing partner to the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program and the organization as a whole. Over the course of the past fiscal year, the Council members have participated in many activities on behalf of the Program, as well as continuing their existing responsibilities as identified in the Rehabilitation Act. The following information summaries the recommendations and initiatives of the State Rehabilitation Council and incorporates the agency response to each item.

SRC Recommendation:

Include a Vocational Rehabilitation Client Success Story into each meeting of the Council

Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind’s Response:

The agency agrees with this recommendation. During the 2010 fiscal year, the State Rehabilitation Council continued its initiative for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program whereby a standing agenda item for every Council meeting consisted of a “VR Success Story”, in the form of a presentation by a client who had achieved an employment outcome, together with their employer. Typically explaining the type of work they are involved in and how the Program’s support helped them with that work, both the agency and clients continued to respond positively to this initiative, as it provided the SRC with an opportunity to hear value-added and diverse perspectives on the Program’s ability to support clients and employers in the workplace. In addition to being a valuable resource to the organization, these client presentations were also very uplifting and inspiring.

SRC Recommendation:

Conduct a Consumer Satisfaction Survey and Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment

Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind’s Response:

The agency agreed with both recommendations. The SRC commissioned the Center for Public Policy and Social Research (CPPSR) at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) to conduct a customer satisfaction survey of Vocational Rehabilitation service recipients for fiscal year 2010. Similar surveys have been conducted in previous fiscal years. The purpose of these surveys is to evaluate the services that clients received from the Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the agency.

Per the survey, in 2010 the Vocational Rehabilitation Program continued to receive high marks for their Vocational Rehabilitation Services and counselors. More than nine out of ten clients (94%) reported that they would recommend Vocational Rehabilitation Services to a friend. This figure represents the highest rate in the history of this survey.

The SRC recommended and approved using Central Connecticut State University’s CPPSR for the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment as well. The agency agreed with this recommendation, recognizing the excellent work that CPPSR had done with the consumer satisfaction surveys in prior years. The results of this survey were delivered to the SRC for discussions in fiscal year 2011.

SRC Recommendation:

Support the activities of the SRC in advocacy initiatives

Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind’s Response:

The agency agreed with this recommendation and has continued to provide support to the State Rehabilitation Council in regards to matters that directly impact on public vocational rehabilitation, voting to continue sponsorship of numerous statewide mentoring initiatives, membership in a statewide transportation advocacy organization, and maintaining membership in national vocational rehabilitation organizations.

SRC Recommendation:

Support initiatives the develop leadership qualities in transition-age youth who are blind

Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind’s Response:

The agency fully concurred and supported this important recommendation. The State Rehabilitation Council continued to sponsor two programs that focus on providing leadership and educational opportunities to transition age youth with disabilities:

• The Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is an annual week-long leadership training program for transition age youth with disabilities. The SRC is a co-sponsor of this program and considers both its co-sponsorship and continued funding to be very important and worthwhile.

• The Governor’s Coalition for Youth with Disabilities, which awards scholarships every spring to high achieving students with disabilities.

SRC Recommendation:

Participate in the development of policies governing the Vocational Rehabilitation Program and also in the development of the State Plan annual updates

Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind’s Response:

The agency agrees with this recommendation and has actively engaged the SRC in all policy development initiatives, which has included modifications to the equipment ownership policy, and refinement of the policies that govern small business ventures. The SRC has a standing subcommittee that works closely with the Vocational Rehabilitation Program every year to develop the initial draft of the State Plan to bring before the full SRC for discussion, revision and endorsement. The SRC approved the draft state plan to proceed to public hearing.

Comments received through the public hearing process included the following:

Public Comment:

While the economic climate was recognized as a contributing factor to the number of part-time job opportunities that are being presented to clients, it is hoped that the Vocational Rehabilitation Program can develop more full-time job opportunities with employers over the coming year.

Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind’s Response:

The Program agrees with this priority and has committed to continue utilizing the paid-internship model in combination with On-the-Job Training incentives where applicable in fiscal year 2012 to encourage employers to provide job opportunities for clients served. As these financial incentives to employers are greater for full-time jobs, the Program will market these incentives extensively, seeking to create more full-time job opportunities in the coming fiscal year.

Public Comment:

Appreciation was expressed that the vocational rehabilitation program for individuals who are blind was maintained as a separate and distinct program in the new Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, with dedicated funding and staff to continue the provision of services that were previously available in prior years.

Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind’s Response:

The designated state unit structure identified in the state plan illustrates the commitment to maintain the high quality of services to individuals who are blind.

Public Comment:

CRIS Radio broadcasts weekly programming that includes interviews with employers, job specialists, state and nonprofit agencies, and Connecticut employees with disabilities. CRIS Radio also reads job announcements and the “Help Wanted” sections of internet based career services and statewide newspapers. It was recommended that Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind consider offering innovation and expansion funding to promote the continuation and expansion of vocationally related programming at CRIS Radio.

Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind’s Response:

The innovation and expansion goals for fiscal year 2012 have been modified to consider the provision of funding for career and vocational related programming at CRIS Radio.

The State Rehabilitation Council supports the submission of this state plan and looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program in the upcoming fiscal year.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 3:14PM by Brenda Lamarre

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 4:14PM by Brenda Lamarre

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

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

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities

(b)(1): Cooperation with Agencies That Are Not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities

Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind Program (BESB Program) works very closely with a variety of Federal, State, and local agencies and programs.

The Services for the Blind Program continues a Memorandum of Understanding with the Connecticut Radio Information System, Inc. and the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut for the National Federation of the Blind’s Newsline service in Connecticut. Newsline provides access by using a touchtone telephone to over 200 newspapers and periodicals for registered users. This service offers clients who are blind a variety of resources for accessing news and related information.

Through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Labor, the BESB Program’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Division is able to access wage data for clients of the Agency. Through an additional agreement with the Social Security Administration, the agency is able to obtain beneficiary status information for clients who are recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). This information is necessary for verifying the successful achievement of substantial gainful earnings for recipients of agency services. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program is able to seek funding reimbursements from the Social Security Administration for clients who have transitioned off of SSDI or SSI benefits as a result of employment achievement. This has proven to be a very beneficial arrangement. In Fiscal Year 2008, the agency received $23,723 in Social Security funding from this process.

For individuals who are deaf and blind, the BESB Program works closely with the Connecticut Department of Social Services and the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Program (BRS Program) for the coordination of services, through a cooperative agreement. Individuals who are deaf and blind can receive coordinated services from both public vocational rehabilitation programs, and a determination is made as to which program will assume lead case management responsibilities. For clients who are receiving case management services through BRS Program, the BESB Program offers orientation and mobility services, rehabilitation technology and rehabilitation teaching assistance.

For clients who are blind and mentally retarded, the VR Division coordinates services with the State Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to bring about successful job placements with long-term supports. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors work closely with DDS to establish a strong working relationship.

The Services for the Blind Program’s Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors also coordinate services with the State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) for individuals who are blind and have a mental health diagnosis and/or addiction.

Additionally, the program has signed a cooperative agreement with the other Vocational Rehabilitation State Units within the New England Region that allows for the provision of services, such as mobility training, for clients of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program who are attending training programs or college in those states.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 3:29PM by Brenda Lamarre

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

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities

(b)(2): Coordination with Education Officials

The VR Division at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind is actively involved in a variety of transition school-to-work initiatives.

Collaboration with education officials is present in the participation of the State Department of Education (SDE) on all activities of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), with an appointed member serving on the Council. This involvement includes reviewing policies for the VR Division, and offering recommendations on priorities for the program. A Memorandum of Understanding between this agency and the Department of Education details the responsibility of the SDE to be the lead agency for assuring the right of students with disabilities to access a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), with the intent of improving the preparation of students with disabilities to move into the workplace and/or post-secondary education. The agreement provides for the Vocational Rehabilitation counselors from this agency to be members of Planning and Placement Teams (PPT) as early as the fourteenth birthday of students who are legally blind. Rehabilitation technologists, mobility instructors and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors from this agency provide recommendations to the Planning and Placement Teams on blindness related topics that are relevant to the transition activities of the students. This agency offers mentoring and summer work experiences to students as part of the transition process to provide opportunities to experience the world of work, and to gain insight from successfully employed adults who are blind. These collaborative services are geared toward assisting the student in selecting a career goal that is detailed in an Individualized Plan for Employment by the time of high school graduation.

Staff members from Vocational Rehabilitation and the Children’s Services Divisions at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind have developed a Technology Committee that reviews issues and advances in the field of adaptive technology for people who are blind. The committee offers training programs on adaptive devices and related technology topics to local education agencies, where continuing education credits have been provided to school district staff that participated.

Within the higher education area, the Agency has a cooperative agreement with the State University System that addresses the services available in the university setting for students with disabilities. This cooperative agreement includes the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Program and describes the responsibilities of the universities as well as the responsibilities of public vocational rehabilitation to ensure that students with disabilities achieve equal access to classroom instruction, internships, and school-sponsored activities.

At the direct service level, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors participate in Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meetings and assist in the development of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for students. The Vocational Rehabilitation program’s involvement begins as early as age 14, with referrals to the program initiated by the Education Consultants of the Agency Children’s Services Division, or the school district’s teacher of the visually impaired. To facilitate this process, the electronic case management system for the Agency has a built in tracking system for identifying when clients who are legally blind turn age 14. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors work with the students, in collaboration with their Education Consultants, or the school district’s teacher of the visually impaired, to identify careers of interest. Training opportunities for the students to develop independent living skills are coordinated between the Children’s Services and Vocational Rehabilitation staff at the Agency. Furthermore, opportunities for the students to learn from mentors who are blind are also jointly developed between the two programs.

The Program’s Educational Projects Coordinator serves as the Transition School-to-Work Coordinator for the division. The Transition Coordinator has been involved in collaboration with the Department of Labor to develop opportunities for transition age youth from BESB to access summer employment through the Workforce Development Boards through funding they have received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The Transition Coordinator is also an active member of the Board of Directors of the Youth Leadership Project that oversees the Youth Leadership Forum (YLF), as well as being an active member in Connecticut Kids As Self Advocate’s (CT KASA). The Youth Leadership Forum is a yearly event that teaches students with disabilities leadership and self-advocacy skills. CT KASA is a support group for students to foster self-advocacy, leadership, and employability. The Transition Coordinator also works on planning the yearly event and recruiting students who are blind for participation, both as delegates and for mentoring staff positions.

The BESB Program continues to conduct career seminars for high school students who are visually impaired or legally blind. This has included events at Connecticut State University System institutions as well as community colleges. These events focus on encouraging the students to prepare for college and to consider careers in science and computer technology. These events have also included professional development activities for university staff to educate them on the support services available through Vocational Rehabilitation for students with visual disabilities.

Vocational Rehabilitation Program staff continues to participate and present information at in-service training programs organized by the Agency for public school teachers and guidance counselors on issues affecting students who are blind. The Transition Coordinator each year presents to a group of private school personnel, through the Connecticut Association of Professional Special Education Facilities, about transition opportunities for students with visual disabilities. This is a collaborative effort, with representatives from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Special Education Resource Center (SERC), and BRS Program also presenting on related topics.

BESB Program’s Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and the Transition Coordinator, through ongoing case conferencing with Educational Consultants of the Children’s Services Division coordinate the necessary services to prepare students for employment and higher education. Much of these efforts consist of enrollment in a variety of summer programs offered by this Agency. These opportunities consist of computer training; activities of daily living training; orientation and mobility training; an overnight summer program at Camp Harkness for career exploration and mentoring; a weeklong intensive residential program (LIFE program) that provides training in preparation for secondary school and work; and a career exposure program, with a mentor component and a stipend for the student provided.

The Transition Coordinator and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors have also assisted students in experiencing job-shadowing opportunities in career fields that they have shown an interest in. Efforts have expanded to now include opportunities for real work experiences during the summer for transition age students. This effort not only benefits the specific students, but also creates employer relationships that benefit future students.

The Agency mentoring program has continued affording students the opportunity to discuss career options and transition issues with former recipients of services who have personal experiences to share. An individual training is conducted for any new mentor and a “How to Be a Mentor” manual is given to each new mentor. Mentors are prescreened in the same method as volunteers to assure safety for all participants. Additionally, mentoring is imbedded into the summer programs, with opportunities available for students to interact with adult mentors who have achieved success in their chosen career. This is most prominently evident in the career exposure program, which places students into a Business Enterprise Program location to gain work experience under the supervision of an entrepreneur who is blind.

Through these comprehensive activities, BESB Program will continue to take an active approach to transition school-to-work activities to prepare students for the world of work.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 3:36PM by Brenda Lamarre

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

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities

(b)(3): Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-Profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers

The Services for the Blind Program (BESB Program) uses the wide range of cooperative agreements with accompanying fee schedules that have been established in collaboration with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Program (BRS Program). This provides a statewide comprehensive list of programs and services to choose from. More than 90 non-profit community-based rehabilitation programs are available through these agreements for clients to select from. The services that are offered through the community rehabilitation programs in the state include job development, job coaching, and working evaluations and working interviews, among a variety of other services to enable clients to prepare for and enter into employment.

Additional agreements have been established with private non-profit service providers both in-state and in other states where it is identified that these programs offer specific vocational and independent living services for persons who are blind. These agreements include non-profit rehabilitation providers in Louisiana, Colorado, Maryland, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, which provide work training programs as well as adjustment to blindness training.

The Agency is always exploring additional options to best meet service delivery needs for clients. For example, agreements have been developed with the Puerto Rican Forum and with the Native American Vocational Rehabilitation Program. These agreements have been developed to help with the program’s efforts to provide services to individuals from traditionally underserved populations. To maximize collaboration, a representative of the Native American Vocational Rehabilitation Program serves as an appointed member of the Services for the Blind Program’s State Rehabilitation Council, and a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor from BESB Program represents the Agency on the Native American Vocational Rehabilitation Council.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 3:41PM by Brenda Lamarre

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities

(b)(4): Evidence of Collaboration Regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services

The Services for the Blind Program (BESB Program) has been actively involved in cooperative working relationships with other public and private agencies for many years with regard to supported employment and extended services. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors identify individuals who have a significant disability along with legal blindness who can benefit from long-term supports through supported employment. A cooperative agreement between BESB Program and the State Department of Social Services (DSS), Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Program (BRS Program) allows for the sharing of fee schedules and information that assists in the identifying of training providers and third party funding sources that are essential in supported employment placements. Representatives of both agencies routinely communicate on the identification of new providers and fee schedules that have been established.

This Agency continues to have an active working arrangement with the State of Connecticut, Department of Developmental Services (DDS). This cooperative agreement assists in the coordination and identification of training providers that have specific expertise when a client with mental retardation and legal blindness could benefit from supported employment services. This working relationship also involves the utilization of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) as a long-term third party provider of funding.

In addition to the collaborative relationship with DDS, Services for the Blind Program has developed a strong working relationship with the State of Connecticut, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). Through this arrangement, individuals who have a mental health diagnosis, acquired brain injury, or an addiction diagnosis along with legal blindness can access supported employment opportunities, with DMHAS providing the third party funding.

Beyond the collaborative arrangements for third party funding with other state agencies, the Vocational Rehabilitation Program continues to identify and work with a growing number of Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) throughout the state. Working relationships have been established with a number of private Community Rehabilitation Providers as well as state agencies that offer vocational training and job support services. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors provided training to CRP staff on Agency services and techniques for assisting clients of the Agency to access training and employment opportunities. Staff from 18 private community rehabilitation programs, in addition to staff from two state providers (DDS and DMHAS) were trained through this process. As a result of these training sessions, Southeastern Employment Services, CW Resources, SARAH, Camp Horizons, Seabird Enterprises, Marrakech, Kuhn Employment Opportunities, the Institute of Professional Practice, Birmingham Group, Easter Seals of Greater New Haven, and the Manchester Association of Retarded Citizens all signed agreement to provide extended services to clients of the BESB Program to ensure long-term stability of job placements within supported employment settings.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 3:44PM by Brenda Lamarre

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

All staff members working as Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and the Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program meet the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development. These staff members meet these requirements by having a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, or a closely related field, as specified by the criteria for certification as a rehabilitation counselor by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). In addition, the State Director for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program also meets the CRCC standard and holds the credential of Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.

There is one staff member working in the job classification of Assistant Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. This staff member does not meet the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development requirements of a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation or a closely related field. The Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor, who meets this highest standard, approves all eligibility decisions, Individualized Plans for Employment, and case closures for the Assistant Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor consistent with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act.

During the Fiscal Year 2010, the Program did not have any vacant Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor positions.

At the present time, the Program has two vacant positions. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Coordinator retired from the agency on April 1, 2011, and the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who carried a bilingual caseload left to pursue other employment on April 8, 2011. The agency is anticipating an opportunity to fill these vacancies in the coming months.

It is projected that within the next five years, the need for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors due to attrition and retirement will be two. With the relatively high starting salary for Master’s level Rehabilitation Counselors compared to the private rehabilitation sector within the state, it is anticipated that recruitment efforts would again result in a large applicant pool of qualified individuals, when a Counselor vacancy occurs.

The current composition of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program includes one State Director, one Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor, one Quality Control Reviewer, one Education Project Coordinator, eight full-time Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, one Vocational Rehabilitation Assistant Counselor, one Orientation and Mobility Instructor, four Rehabilitation Teachers (two of these staff members are Rehabilitation Technologists), one Administrative Assistant, one Office Assistant, and three Special Assistants to the Blind.

With this staffing level, the staff to client ratio breaks down as follows:

Administrative Assistant 1/981

Education Projects Coordinator 1/981

State Director 1/981

Office Assistant 1/981

Orientation and Mobility Instructor 1/981

Quality Control Reviewer 1/981

Rehabilitation Teacher 1/491

Rehabilitation Technologist 1/491

Special Assistant to the Blind 1/327

VR Counselor 1/109

VR Counselor Coordinator 1/981

VR Supervisor 1/981

Purchasing Assistant 1/981

In terms of years of service, the breakdown for staff is as follows:

1 – 4 years of service 4/24 or 17%

5 – 9 years of service 6/24 or 25%

10 – 14 years of service 8/24 or 33%

15 – 19 years of service 2/24 or 8%

20 - 29 years of service 4/24 or 17%

The service delivery to the clients is divided into five regions throughout the state, matching the five State Workforce Board regions. At least one Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor is assigned to each of the five regions. The state is divided in half (East and West) for rehabilitation technology services, with one technologist covering each region. There is currently one Rehabilitation Teacher specializing in independent living skills training and adaptive technology training with screen readers, and one Rehabilitation Teacher specializing in computer training with screen readers and/or magnification software. Each of the Rehabilitation Teachers covers the entire state.

There is one Orientation and Mobility Instructor covering the entire state. This Instructor explores transportation options with clients who are in need of solutions to participate in training or employment. Additionally, the Instructor also provides assessments and travel training with the use of long white canes.

The service delivery model also includes one Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who works primarily with college students. This Counselor has established close working relationships with the offices of Disability Services at the institutions of Higher Education. Through this approach, consistent coordination of support services can be achieved. The assignment of a specific Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to the college students also ensures consistency and timeliness with the financial aid application process.

There is also a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Coordinator position (currently vacant), who works on a statewide basis assisting the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors with outreach and case management activities. The Counselor Coordinator has also been working with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, Department of Labor, and other state agencies regarding the implementation of job creation initiatives through funding made available under the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Education Project Coordinator serves as the Program’s Transition School-to-Work coordinator, overseeing the statewide mentoring initiative, recruiting, training and matching mentors with students who are blind. The Education Project Coordinator also is responsible for the development and implementation of programs that provide students with opportunities to work through summer employment and internships, as well as providing career exposure experiences through job shadowing, employer tours and mentor activities.

Job Title -- Total positions -- Current vacancies -- Projected vacancies over next 5 years

Administrative Assistant -- 1 -- 0 -- 0

Education Projects Coordinator -- 1 -- 0 -- 0

State Director -- 1 -- 0 -- 0

Office Assistant -- 1 -- 0 -- 0

Orientation and Mobility Instructor -– 1 -– 0 -- 0

Quality Control Reviewer -– 1 -– 0 -- 0

Rehabilitation Teacher -- 2 -– 0 -- 0

Rehabilitation Technologist -- 2 -– 0 -- 0

Special Assistant to the Blind -- 4 –- 1 -- 1

VR Counselor -- 10 -– 1 -- 2

VR Counselor Coordinator -– 1 -– 1 -- 1

VR Supervisor -- 1 -- 0 -- 0

Purchasing Assistant -- 1 -– 0 -- 0

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Please see above 0 0 0
2 0 0 0
3 0 0 0
4 0 0 0
5 0 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program continuously monitors the number of students enrolled in Masters of Rehabilitation Counseling programs at colleges throughout the region by contacting the educational institutions to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of candidates to address future anticipated recruitment needs. In the past year, Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts had 72 students enrolled, with 9 expected to graduate; Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut had 77 students enrolled with 12 expected to graduate; Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts had 48 enrolled with 16 expected to graduate; and Salve Regina in Rhode Island had 42 enrolled with 11 expected to graduate. The number of Master’s degree candidates is more than sufficient to address the projected recruitment needs over the next fiscal year.

 

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

 

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program remains in contact on an annual basis with all of the institutions of higher education in this region that offer Master’s degree programs in Rehabilitation Counseling to ensure that an adequate flow of graduates is anticipated for projected vacancies. When positions are available, recruitment efforts are conducted through job announcements that are placed in local newspapers, the Department of Administrative Services web site, news publications of minority-based organizations, and colleges in the area. The Program also distributes the job vacancy announcements to client groups and organizations of and for individuals who are blind within the state, as well as advertising nationally through Rehabnet, which is a list-serve that connects all 80 public vocational rehabilitation agencies. The list-serve and community partner list for the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB) are also utilized to distribute job announcements to ensure the widest possible distribution.

 

All the staff members who work as Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and the Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor meet the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development requirements and have a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation, or a closely related field, as specified by the criteria for certification as a rehabilitation counselor by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). In addition, the State Director for the Program also meets the CRCC standard and holds the credential of Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. When vacancies occur, the Program recruits for individuals who meet the highest standard in the state (CRC eligibility). The competitive salary offered by this agency has resulted in the ability to hire individuals who possess this level of credentialing.

 

Collaboration among staff members is encouraged within the Program. Staff members share ideas with each other on successful strategies that can assist clients in achieving their career goals. These practices are shared in regular staff meetings and on a weekly basis on the day all staff report to the office. This approach is very evident in the teaming of counselors for employer outreach and the exchanging of job development information. The staff members meet with the other staff in their region while in the field to discuss job leads, or to team up to meet with employers and participate in job fairs. There is also an emphasis on collaboration between other Programs within the organization, such as Adult Services where independent living services are provided, Children’s Services, and Business Enterprises.

There is also collaboration with the Business Enterprise Program. A committee made up of both Vocational Rehabilitation and Business Enterprise Program staff meets to review technology needs, facility job openings, promotional opportunities for clients to advance in their careers at larger vending facilities, and to discuss any new client referrals to the program.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program makes available a full range of training programs offered through public and private entities. Program staff continues to participate in training programs offered by the Region I Technical Assistance Center, many of which are available at no cost to the state.

As part of their yearly goals, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors work directly with their supervisor to identify areas for professional growth and development. Each employee of the program receives at least one written evaluation per year, which is consistent with collective bargaining agreements. The Supervisor of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program meets with staff members regularly to assist with any areas of their job performance that could benefit from further development and to provide feedback on best practices that have proven to be effective in service delivery. Technical assistance on policies and procedures is also provided during individualized meetings and during staff meetings. If an employee is found to need additional assistance and training in order to meet the job requirements, then a plan for improvement is developed. This may include the use of weekly reviews, additional written performance evaluations, and increasing the opportunity for the employee to participate in formalized training programs to increase skills and competencies.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program’s training goals for the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors continue to have job development and assistive technology as the highest priorities.

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors continue to utilize an employment outreach model that was implemented in fiscal year 2006. This model was presented in an extensive training by Employment Management Professionals, Inc. in collaboration with the Region I Continuing Education Program and Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. This training taught new approaches to job development with a goal of increasing employment outcomes. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors continue to work on a goal of delivering a minimum of two hours of employer outreach activity per week, using the outreach techniques taught through this model.

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors have participated in a number of trainings in the past year, as well as attending many job fairs throughout the state.

The Program has placed a high priority goal on the training of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Rehabilitation Teachers on the most current rehabilitation technology through national and statewide trainings and technology demonstration seminars. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program has set a goal that each of the Counselors, Rehabilitation Teachers and the Education Projects Coordinator will participate in at least two trainings on adaptive technology during the fiscal year. This goal was attained by all the staff in last fiscal year.

The entire VR Counseling staff, VR Supervisor and Education Projects Coordinator attended “Telling is not Selling” presented by Career TEAM. Three VR Counselors and the VR Supervisor attended the national employment conference in September, sponsored by Rehabilitation Services Administration.

One of the Rehabilitation Technologist’s attended a national conference on technology at California State University at Northridge (CSUN). The Rehabilitation Technologist brings back all the information they learned and provide an in-service training to program staff on the latest technology available to individuals who are blind. In addition, the interagency technology committee conducted two different trainings, one on the daisy player talking book device and one on the latest video magnifiers and CCTVs.

In order to maintain the highest level of professional standards amongst the program staff, all of the members participated in an online ethics training through the Commission of Certification for Rehabilitation Counselors. This webinar addressed the new Code of Ethics as established by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

The Education Project Coordinator (Transition Coordinator) organizes programs for transition age school-to-work clients of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. This includes opportunities that are available through the Business Enterprise Program for transition age students in a paid work experience to learn from entrepreneurs who are blind. This program is in the fifth year and continues to grow.

The Transition Coordinator works in collaboration with the Connecticut Institute for the Blind to plan an annual overnight summer camping opportunity for transition age students, that has a strong mentoring focus. The agenda for the camp is to visit worksites in the area that employ individuals who are blind, and to learn more about the careers these mentors are employed in. There is also a week-long overnight camp held at a local college. This camp has a focus on technology training, worksite visits, rehabilitation teaching and orientation and mobility. The Transition Coordinator also oversees the Agency mentoring program that was formalized three years ago.

 

There is one Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (currently vacant) and one Vocational Rehabilitation Assistant Counselor who are bilingual in English and Spanish, and who work with Spanish-speaking clients throughout the State. Part of their duties includes outreach to community-based organizations to distribute information about services offered by the organization. The agency also provides information to clients in large-print, Braille, electronic, and audio formats to ensure that materials are accessible.

 

Collaboration through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) occurs on a continual basis through joint training programs and initiatives. Staff members from Vocational Rehabilitation and Children’s Services Programs have developed a Technology Committee that reviews issues and advances in the field of adaptive technology for people who are blind. The committee offers training programs on adaptive devices and related technology topics to local education agencies, where continuing education credits have been provided to school district staff that participated. Additional collaboration between the Children’s Services and the Vocational Rehabilitation Program has resulted in the provision of parent education and family day programs that included activities and information on transition from school to work.

There is a summer program committee with members from both Vocational Rehabilitation and Children’s Services that meet on a regular basis to plan for the different summer programs offered to the transition-age students of both Vocational Rehabilitation and Children’s Services.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 11:50AM by Brenda Lamarre

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

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

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

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

The State Rehabilitation Council to the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program for individuals who are blind commissioned the Center for Public Policy and Social Research (CPPSR) at Central Connecticut State University to conduct a comprehensive statewide needs assessment to assist the agency with establishing goals and priorities. The full report as issued by CPPSR appears immediately below. Further into this document, after the presentation of the CPPSR report appears the Program’s observations and strategies for addressing the needs that are identified in the report.

CPPSR Full Report:

I. Overview

In accord with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind is required to conduct a needs assessment of individuals with disabilities living within the state. This needs assessment complies with the evaluative objectives outlined in the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) Guide dated November 30th, 2009. As noted in the Guide, this analysis is valid for three years. In conducting this analysis, Central Connecticut State University’s Center for Public Policy and Social Research (CPPSR) gathered information from consumers, an advisory council, the Internet, and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) staff.

II. Methodological Approach

In conducting the assessment, The Center for Public Policy and Social Research examined and/or conducted:

• An analysis of population statistics for Connecticut that describe disability, minority, and education status;

• A description of VR participation rates of minority individuals in comparison to individuals in the overall population in Connecticut and to national VR statistics;

• An analysis of VR services to individuals with the most significant disabilities,

• An analysis of agency improvements since the previous VR assessment;

• The results of a focus group discussion held with the Agency Consumer Advisory Committee (conducted summer 2010);

• The results of the consumer satisfaction survey for individuals served during FY 2010;

• Comparative longitudinal data analysis based off of the consumer satisfaction survey from FY 2003-2010;

• The results of in-depth interviews with BESB Program’s Vocational Rehabilitation counselors (conducted October 2010).

III. Clientele Assessment

A. Overview

At the end of fiscal year (FY) 2008, BESB Program’s registry comprised of 11,907 legally blind individuals. The agency’s registry for FY 2009 accounted for 12,166 legally blind individuals, revealing that their clientele increased by just over 2%. Data for FY 2010 reveals another registry increase of approximately 2%. While an increase of 2% is not statistically significant, it is still notable that the growth rate of BESB Program’s registry remains steady. No state blind population statistics are available at this time, so it is difficult to ascertain whether this rate of increase indicates growth within the visually impaired community or success on BESB Program’s behalf at reaching more of its potential clientele.

B. Minorities

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent “American Community Survey,” Connecticut’s minority population mirrors that of the national population. One-third of Americans (33%) self-identified their race or ethnicity in a minority group. Of those individuals who associated with one race, 15% were Hispanic or Latino, 12% were African American, 4% were Asian, 0.8% were Native American, and 0.15% were Pacific Islander. Similar to the national statistics, one-in-three (30%) of Connecticut survey respondents likewise identified themselves as a minority. Certain minority group statistics for Connecticut reflect those seen in national figures. In order of frequency, state minorities are accounted for as follows: Hispanic/Latino 12%, African American 9%, Asian 3%, Native American .2%, and Hawaiian/Pacific Islander .1%.

Comparing BESB Program, state, and national statistics, we find that the agency’s Vocational Rehabilitation program appears on face to be successful at engaging Connecticut’s legally blind minority community. Overall, agency clientele who self-identify their race or ethnicity reflect both the state and national minority population at roughly 30%. Sub-groups are similarly represented. For fiscal year 2008, BESB Program reported the following of program enrollment: African American 15%, Hispanic/Latino 12%, Asian 2%, and Native American/Pacific Islander less that 1%. As previously noted, participation in BESB Program’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program decreased by approximately 3.8% between 2008 and 2009. Notably, minority enrollment in the program, increased by about 4%, indicating the agency has enjoyed increased success at reaching underserved populations.

It is important to note that there is currently no reliable data that measures the incidence of blindness in the minority communities within the state of Connecticut, so this assessment approximates information based on general minority population statistics. In 2008, Hispanics and Latinos comprised roughly 15% of the national population and 12% of Connecticut’s total population. African Americans comprised 12% of the national population and 9% of the state’s population. Though Hispanic/Latino representation in BESB Program’s VR program was equal to their statewide frequency of 12%, African Americans were disproportionately represented (at a higher rate) at 15%. Statistics for 2009 reveal a similar trend. Thus, while African Americans comprise less of Connecticut’s overall population than Hispanics/Latinos, they appear to be more represented in BESB Program’s VR program. This high rate of coverage may partially be attributed to the fact that BESB Program hired its first African American VR counselor in 2008. This higher rate may also be attributed to increased outreach efforts.

Since the last VR assessment was issued, BESB Program has taken numerous steps to improve outreach to the minority community. BESB Program employs two bilingual counselors, and pays for interpreters on an "as needed" basis. BESB Program also continues outreach to specific minority groups through local meetings and events. Such outreach efforts include attending the Puerto Rican Forum and working with other agencies that offer ESL (English as a Second Language) classes.

C. Youth

It is difficult to compare BESB Program’s success at reaching minority and child populations with other states because reporting practices vary. Many agency websites, for example, do not divulge statistics for race, ethnicity, or age. The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is an excellent resource for comparative state disability agency data, but only provides measures for employment outcomes, funding, advocacy, etc. It appears that agencies are not required to submit statistics relating to children or minorities.

Despite the lack of comparative data, it is apparent that BESB Program is actively engaging blind youth in the state of Connecticut. In fiscal year 2008, the agency’s registry accounted for 11,907 blind individuals, of which 1,190 were children. The following year’s report reveals that 1,071 out of 12,166 individuals on BESB Program’s registry were children, reflecting a 10 percent drop in their enrollment. For fiscal year 2010, the registry grew 2 percent to 12,426. The number of children in the registry likewise grew, up 2.4 percent to 1,097. While it is difficult to ascertain the reason behind the fluctuation of children registered with BESB Program simply by looking at numbers, a possible explanation is that some children entered adulthood.

IV. Vocational Rehabilitation Outcomes

BESB Program appears to be successful at helping its legally blind clientele who are eligible to work obtain employment. The most recent data available for analysis is derived from state vocational rehabilitation agency data made available to the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) for FY 2009. Compared to peer agencies with similar grant amounts, BESB Program ranked the highest (83.74%) for closing cases based upon favorable employment outcomes. Of the 5 state agencies included in this comparison, South Dakota ranked second at 74.67% and Idaho third, with 62.22% of its VR clientele achieving employment. Maine ranked fourth at 59.66% and Nebraska fifth, with 43.81% of its VR registrants obtaining employment.

Employment outcomes reported to the RSA by BESB Program correspond to customer satisfaction survey results collected by the Center for Public Policy and Social Research (CPPSR) at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) for fiscal year 2010. More than nine out of ten survey respondents (94%) reported that they would recommend BESB Program VR services to a friend. This figure represents the highest rate in the history of this survey.

Overall, BESB Program clients that participated in the survey reported high levels of satisfaction across all services, and many VR services saw increases in mean satisfaction. Low Vision and Skills Training services, for example, both experienced notable increases in satisfaction from the previous year’s survey data. The satisfaction score for Low Vision Services rose to 8.25, a .46 percentage point increase, while Skills Training Services saw its mean score increase to 8.87, the second-highest satisfaction mark out of all of BESB Program’s services (8.87, up .95 percentage points).

Counselors, much like VR services, continue to rate highly in 2010. Comparable to 2009 survey results, the professionalism of counselors stands out (mean of 9.16; up .04). Furthermore, of the nine mean ratings measuring various aspects of counselors, eight saw increases in satisfaction over the past year. The only aspect that saw a decrease in satisfaction was the ability of counselors to help clients understand the process for complaint resolution (mean of 7.64; down .18 percentage points); however, this decrease is statistically insignificant.

Our analysis reveals that BESB Program may need improvement in helping its VR clients obtain employment at 35 hours per week or more. Compared with other agencies included in this analysis, BESB Program ranked fourth with 38.83% of its VR participants obtaining employment at 35 hours or more per week. Other rankings in this grouping are as follows: South Dakota 65.18%, Nebraska 60.87%, Idaho 57.14%, and Maine 20%. BESB Program’s struggle in helping clients to obtain employment opportunities at 35 hours per week or more may partially be attributed to the economic recession. When BESB Program does place VR clients in positions, these individuals make competitive salaries. It should be noted that the average hourly rate for BESB Program VR participants is significantly higher ($18.99) than the other agencies in this grouping, which range from $10.32 to $15.86.

V. Focus Group Summary

As part of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, the Center for Public Policy and Social Research conducted a focus group with members of the Agency Consumer Advisory Committee (ACAC). The purpose of this focus group was to understand how ACAC members felt about BESB Program services, needs that should be addressed in the near future, and how BESB Program could increase outreach efforts to the unserved and underserved.

Overall, ACAC members expressed satisfaction with services provided by BESB Program, mirroring findings of the customer satisfaction survey. Participants of the focus group felt that services offered by the agency met their expectations and considered them necessary and relevant. All participants responded that their confidence at performing daily activities has improved as a result of services provided by BESB Program, particularly after receiving Orientation and Mobility training. It should be noted that it is difficult to make an accurate comparison between the level of satisfaction expressed by ACAC focus group participants with Orientation and Mobility training and consumer satisfaction survey results. Respondents for the latter survey were not directly asked their opinion about this particular service, which encompasses training for safe and independent travel. Perhaps the most relevant survey section to address this service fell under “Skills Training Services,” which received an 87% high satisfaction mark in the 2010 survey.

Most focus group participants felt that BESB Program staff did whatever they could to meet the needs of clients. This is consistent with previous surveys, in which counselors repeatedly received a high satisfaction rating. Services were generally considered to be offered in a timely manner; however, call-backs tended to be inconsistent. Some clients reported waiting many months for a call-back. As with Orientation and Mobility training, call response time was not offered as a specific question in customer satisfaction surveys, nor was it rated in the Counselor Satisfaction section. Because focus group participants did not indicate which service they found lagging with regard to call-back time, it is difficult to make an accurate comparison.

In the final portion of the discussion, participants were asked to make suggestions about how BESB Program could improve services. The panel agreed that services could be augmented in numerous ways; however, they recognized that some may be difficult or infeasible to provide due to budgetary constraints. Counselors, for example, often work a limited schedule, leading to a lag in responsiveness. In another example, the panel mentioned that uniformity of equipment among clients might improve their orientation.

Of those issues which may be considered independent of financial limitations, three were highlighted by the group. The first relates to technical support. Most of the panel considered computer training of extreme importance. Unfortunately, the gap between training sessions is apparently substantial enough that it is often difficult to recall everything clients learned in previous sessions. Furthermore, they cited the fact that The Independent Living Services Program has no dedicated technical support. Perhaps some arrangement can be made between community partners or universities to provide voluntary computer support. For technical issues about other equipment, like Braillers, it would be beneficial if BESB Program had a dedicated person to call who could either offer advice or had a list of support providers.

When asked if they felt that any groups were underserved by BESB Program, the panel responded that the elderly and visually impaired people in outlying areas of the state probably experienced the greatest impact in service provision. BESB Program should thus address how it can improve its outreach methodology.

Contract pricing was another issue highlighted by the panel. When BESB Program is unable to provide a particular service due to ineligibility, a list of subcontractors is provided to clients. While aware that budgetary limitations may be a hindrance, panel members felt that prices charged by such providers are often quite high. Perhaps a discount can be arranged for BESB Program clients, where none previously exists.

To summarize, the focus group revealed that BESB Program services are considered relevant and necessary. This is corroborated by the results of the FY 2010 consumer satisfaction survey. While some areas, like response timeliness or technical support, have room for improvement, clients are generally pleased with the quality of services with which they are provided. Most expressed concern that lack of agency funding may result in decreased services.

VI. Interview Summary

In October of 2010, The Center for Public Policy and Social Research conducted semi-structured, in-depth interviews with three counselors working in BESB Program’s Vocational Rehabilitation division. Here are several recommendations that were made by the staff members who participated in the interview process:

• Increase technical support. There are currently only two VR technology specialists on staff at BESB Program.

• Help clients understand what technology is job-specific. Clients expected services that were outside the scope of VR, falling more in line with IL (independent living) needs.

• Boost agency name identification. Other state agencies, as well as employers, do not know what BESB Program stands for. BESB Program should create a marketing strategy to address this.

• Apply for the Connectability Infrastructure Grant. Use grant money to hire single points of contact to direct people to right direction (2-3 people to work a central phone line). Have something like an info line where someone can direct people to the correct agency. Disability agencies need a single point of contact to help streamline services.

• The economic downturn is having a noticeable, negative effect on BESB Program. Counselors reported seeing an increase in employers trying to negotiate for increased incentives.

• If financially possible, continue with the internship program. The program led to some permanent job placements, as well as work experience for those just coming out of school.

• Look for opportunities to secure "clunker" computers. These could be distributed based on financial need.

• Make sure that Adult Services is giving the VR division all of the referrals that they receive.

Agency Response and Strategies:

Based upon the results of this comprehensive statewide needs assessment, the State Rehabilitation Council identified several priorities to implement in the coming year. In the category of outreach to underserved populations, the Program has implemented a strategy of inviting representatives from community based organizations that primarily serve individuals from minority backgrounds to attend organizational functions. The first such invitation will be for an adaptive technology fair. The second strategy for outreach to underserved populations will be for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program staff to seek an invitation to be a presenter and/or exhibitor at a statewide or regional conference or meeting of a faith-based organization. The goal of this two-pronged outreach strategy is to welcome these community based organizations to participate in events to learn about services available for people who are blind, and to also conduct education and outreach to these organizations by participating in their events and conferences.

The State Rehabilitation Council has also identified the need for clients to have access to competitive pricing for repairs of adaptive devices that are no longer owned by this organization. Toward that end, the organization will be developing a price guide for repairs to distribute to clients, using a pricing structure that is available to the organization for similar repairs. Vendors who do business with bureau programs will be encouraged to honor these same repair prices for clients who seek repairs directly through the vendors.

Additionally, the State Rehabilitation Council and the Vocational Rehabilitation Program have mutually identified a priority for shortening the length of time it takes for a client to move from referral to eligibility status, with a goal of engaging clients in the vocational rehabilitation process as soon as possible. Although Vocational Rehabilitation Program policy permits a total of 120 days from referral to eligibility (60 days from referral to application and 60 days from application to eligibility), the program has set a goal of shortening this by 25 percent in total, or 90 days instead of 120 days. Using this approach, it is likely that more clients will be deemed eligible for services in much shorter timeframes.

Lastly, the State Rehabilitation Council and the Vocational Rehabilitation Program share the concern noted in the statewide comprehensive needs assessment pertaining to full time employment outcomes. The use of funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made it possible for the Program to develop a paid internship model that was an effective tool to market to employers. It is recognized that without new funding, the paid internship model will not be sustainable in the current format. However, the Program is nonetheless fully committed to marketing a model to employers that will encourage the hiring of BESB Program referrals. Therefore, the State Rehabilitation Council has recommended the establishment of a goal that will modify the paid internship model in the coming year, where it will be offered in situations where employers anticipate job openings in the near future, even if a job opening does not exist at the time of the internship placement.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 12:04PM by Brenda Lamarre

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Services

The Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind is a comprehensive service delivery organization, providing a wide range of rehabilitative services to adults who are legally blind, and children who are legally blind or visually impaired within Connecticut. Presently the bureau has identified approximately 12,700 individuals who meet these criteria and are listed on the Bureau’s registry. Of that number, approximately 11,613 of these individuals are adults and 1,090 are children. Through outreach efforts, the Bureau is actively working to assure that all individuals who are legally blind have access to and knowledge of the services provided by this organization.

Of the total number of individuals on the Bureau’s registry, 973 clients are presently registered with the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, 83.6 percent of whom have been found eligible for services. The majority of the remaining 16.4 percent of individuals are in referral status, reflecting a current outreach initiative to identify individuals who are legally blind, and who may be interested is seeking employment. Three (3) individuals were found eligible for supported employment services under Title VI, Part B of the Act in Fiscal Year 2010. Currently there are 14 individuals identified as receiving supported employment services from the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program provides a wide range of services to eligible individuals. Guidance and counseling, mobility training, rehabilitation technology, adaptive equipment, rehabilitation teaching, job coaching, on-the-job training, low vision services, as well as a variety of skills assessments, are among the services provided.

In fiscal year 2010, there were a total of 969 participants in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program expended $2.16 million in purchased services during the fiscal year. The cost of purchased services in 2010 included On-the-Job Internships that were available to clients through funding provided under ARRA. Total program costs, including purchased client services, staffing and administrative operations were approximately $4.99 million for the year. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, budget projections indicate that approximately $5.62 million will be expended on combined program costs, including an estimated $1.85 million in purchased services to serve approximately 1,000 clients, and $3.77 million in administrative operational costs. This estimate includes inflationary adjustments and the inclusion of indirect cost charges to the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Based upon these projections, and factoring in anticipated carryover funds from FY 2011, at this time the Program is not projecting the need for an Order of Selection in FY 2012.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Please see above 0
Totals   $0 0

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 12:04PM by Brenda Lamarre

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

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

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

State’s Goals and Priorities

The following goals and priorities have been identified with the participation of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind, and reflect the commitment of the Agency to increase employment opportunities for people who are legally blind through the provision of vocational rehabilitation and supported employment services. These goals and accompanying objectives include those activities that will utilize Innovation and Expansion funds, as well as those goals and objectives that will be addressed with the use of basic allotment funds and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.

These goals and objectives further emphasize expanded approaches that utilize collaboration with Workforce Investment System partner agencies to maximize access to job openings, paid internships, and vocational training. The overarching theme of these goals and objectives is to provide for timely, quality services that will result in increased job placements into careers, as measured by the federal Standards and Indicators.

The Program will commit no less than 1.5 percent of the Title I funds received during FY 2010 for these initiatives.

GOAL A (the desired outcome)

EMPLOYMENT GOAL: Individuals who are blind obtain or retain quality jobs.

Objectives (the reasons the goal is of high importance):

1. Due to the economic conditions, individuals who are blind are experiencing fewer opportunities to access and maintain employment.

2. With these economic conditions, available job opportunities are requiring a greater diversity of skills and flexibility in adapting to employer circumstances.

3. Individuals who are blind desire to be contributing members of society.

4. Employment is an important avenue to self-sufficiency.

5. For individuals who are losing vision or whose job duties change, assistance to maintain employment is often necessary.

6. Entrepreneurial opportunities offer individuals who are blind the option for customizing employment to meet individual needs and circumstances.

7. Career advancement is an important aspect of career development, resulting in greater prospects for self-sufficiency.

8. For individuals who are blind and who experience multiple barriers to employment, on-the job training and long-term job supports enable for the achievement and maintenance of employment.

Strategies (the methods for achieving the objectives):

1. Services for the Blind Program (BESB Program) and the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Program (BRS Program) will collaborate on a statewide on-the-job training model to market to employers.

2. Title I and ARRA funds will be utilized to develop and disseminate an Employer Toolkit that includes information and incentives for hiring and retaining individuals who are blind.

3. BESB Program, BRS Program and the State Department of Labor (DOL) will collaborate on distributing a statewide flyer containing employer incentive information.

4. BESB Program and BRS Program will collaborate to design an incentive package utilizing Title I and ARRA funds to engage Temporary agencies for job matching.

5. BESB Program and BRS Program will collaborate in designing and implementing a durational job model using Title I and ARRA funds that enables clients to acquire vocational skills and saleable experience.

6. Each Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor will engage in active employer outreach.

7. BESB Program, BRS Program and DOL collaboration with the five regional workforce development boards will result in access to ARRA funded Summer Youth jobs for BESB transition age students.

8. Utilizing the new Employment Network model through the Ticket to Work program, employers will be encouraged to become providers of long-term support for clients who experience multiple barriers to employment.

9. BESB Program will utilize paid internships as an option to provide clients with work experiences to market to employers.

Measures (the activities that will be achieved in FY 10):

1. A marketing packet for On-the-Job Training incentives will be developed and distributed to at least 100 employers.

2. A Toolkit that includes materials on adaptive technology, tax incentives, ADA regulations and Ticket to Work incentives will be distributed by Counselors to employers.

3. On behalf of BESB Program and BRS Program, Department of Labor will distribute 25,000 incentive outreach flyers to employers in the state.

4. Two Temporary Agencies will be contracted with for the provision of job placement services.

5. Using the Durational job model, ten clients acquire durational employment.

6. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors conduct two hours per week of employer outreach.

7. Thirty transition age students engage in paid work experiences/internships in Fiscal Year 2010.

8. Through the utilization of ARRA funds, as a supplement to Title I and Title VI-B funds, 125 clients will work in FY 2010.

GOAL B (the desired outcome)

INNOVATION AND EXPANSION: Expand and promote vocational services to groups of individuals who are legally blind who want to obtain, retain or advance in employment, utilizing at least two percent of Vocational Rehabilitation federal funding allotted for Fiscal Year 2010.

Objectives (the reasons the goal is of high importance):

1. There are individuals who are legally blind who are unaware of the BESB Program and the Program’s vocational rehabilitation services that are available to assist with obtaining, retaining, or advancing in employment.

2. There is a broad range of vocational rehabilitation services that benefit whole groups of individuals who are legally blind, who want to obtain, retain, or advance in employment.

Strategies (the methods for achieving the objectives):

1. Maintain sponsorship of NFB Newsline and expand the service to include a web-based option.

2. Update community-based adaptive technology centers to maintain state of the art adaptive technology for people who are blind to engage in vocational preparation and job seeking activities.

3. Support State Rehabilitation Council activities that promote active member participation in the field of blindness rehabilitation.

4. Conduct a statewide needs assessment and a client satisfaction survey to determine what specific additional services can improve the opportunities for people who are legally blind to increase access to employment.

5. Co-sponsor and implement leadership development opportunities for transition school to work students who are legally blind.

6. Utilize Web-based job search and job lead services to locate and circulate job openings to clients of the Agency and organizations of and for the blind in Connecticut.

7. Conduct statewide outreach activities and follow up contacts to eye doctors, intermediate care clinics and hospitals to ensure that mandatory referral requirements to BESB Program are understood and implemented.

Measures (the activities that will be achieved in FY 10):

1. BESB Program enters into a contract with the National Federation of the Blind for NFB Newsline, that includes expanded internet services, as documented by the written contract on file.

2. BESB Program provides technical assistance and purchases updated equipment, as requested, for two community-based technology centers, as documented in a written report.

3. BESB Program funds State Rehabilitation Council participation in two training programs/conferences, and the SRC cosponsors two rehabilitation events during the fiscal year. Documentation of these activities is on file.

4. A needs assessment is conducted by a professional surveying organization, and the result of the assessment is posted on the Agency website. A client satisfaction survey is also conducted and results are posted on the Agency website (www.ct.gov/besb).

5. Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind cosponsors two leadership development programs operated by other entities, and directly funds client participation in five leadership development programs for transition age students.

6. BESB Program enters into written agreements with The Net and GettingHired.com for job distribution activities, and for job seeking clients to access employer job leads.

7. BESB Program conducts outreach activities, in person, and/or via teleconference with 25 mandatory reporting entities in the state (doctors, hospitals, clinics).

8. BESB Program cosponsors the Connecticut Community Providers conference, as documented by agendas for each event.

Analysis of the Standards and Indicators:

In reviewing the agency performance on the federal standards and indicators in the past year, the results indicate that overall employment outcomes were up from the prior year. Standard 1.1 showed a significant reversal in the 2008 data (up by 14 outcomes), compared to the 2007 data (down by 21 outcomes). The percentage of program completers in Standard 1.2 also increased from 80.46 in 2007 to 86.24 in 2008. The average hourly wage for clients who achieved employment also increased for 2008, compared to 2007 ($17.45 versus $16.42). These indicators reflect the priority of the agency to provide for quality employment opportunities for clients. Goals for the new fiscal year reflect a continuation of this priority, adding a broader approach to job creation with the addition of federal stimulus funds.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 3:54PM by Brenda Lamarre

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen has never been updated.

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

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

It is the primary goal and priority of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program to consider supported employment as an option in all circumstances where the provision of these services will increase the likelihood of placement success for people with significant, multiple barriers to employment.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program for individuals who are blind received $45,000 in Title VI, Part B funds for fiscal year 2010. All of these dollars were available for the provision of direct services. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, three clients achieved employment outcomes in supported employment settings, with one of these placements utilizing Title VI, Part B funding. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds were utilized in the second placement, and Title I case service funds were utilized in the third placement. The provider of long-term support funding for two situations was the Department of Developmental Services, with a community rehabilitation program providing the direct job coaching and long-term support in both cases. In the third placement situation, the Department of Social Services, Employment Opportunities Program was used as the long-term funding source, with a community rehabilitation program providing the direct job coaching and long-term support.

Three new clients were found eligible for supported employment services during the fiscal year. A total of 15 clients who were eligible for supported employment received services during this time period. There were 10 individuals in a training status, 1 individual in guidance and counseling status, 1 individual in eligibility status, and 3 individuals in employment status, working toward an employment outcome. Of this total number of eligible individuals, Title VI, Part B funds have been utilized for 3 individuals. One additional individual received a supplemental evaluation with Title VI, Part B funds to determine eligibility for supported employment services during the year, but had not yet proceeded into supported employment eligibility status when the fiscal year came to a close.

As noted above, community rehabilitation programs continue to be utilized as the providers of extended services for the employment programs coordinated in the past year. In the current and upcoming year, this approach will continue to be utilized. This is based on assessment of job placement outcomes from preceding fiscal years that has continually demonstrated the proven ability of community rehabilitation providers to employ job coaches and vocational instructors necessary for the provision of long-term employment supports, combined with their willingness to periodically assume the cost of providing extended services when other public funding options are not available. This arrangement is especially important, given the limited availability of third party funding from other public agency providers.

While the Vocational Rehabilitation Program was encouraged by the option for Partnership Plus under the Ticket to Work Program in order to locate providers of long- term supports for supported employment clients, it was found that the individuals who require long-term supports either do not work sufficient hours or do not earn wages at or above Substantial Gainful Activity levels to qualify an Employment Network for a payment under the Ticket to Work program. Therefore, there is no incentive under this program for an Employment Network to become a provider of long-term supports under a Partnership Plus agreement.

In order to facilitate the identification of supported employment options for transitioning high school students, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors participate in Planning and Placement Teams (PPTs) and work in cooperation with the Children’s Services Program. The number of students who are legally blind who are age fourteen and older continue to be tracked by the Vocational Rehabilitation Program to ensure that services are offered and made available.

It is the primary goal to identify all possible providers of long-term funding for extended services. In addition to seeking out community rehabilitation providers who can financially assume the role of becoming the provider of extended services, the Vocational Rehabilitation Program will continue to encourage employers to offer natural supports. The Program will also continue to contract with community rehabilitation providers who can access public and private funds for people with multiple disabilities in order to secure supported employment placements.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program will continue to distribute funds to providers and employers who can offer the long-term assurances that supports will be in place to enable people with the most significant disabilities to participate in competitive, integrated employment. Vocational Rehabilitation Program staff will continue to participate in Planning and Placement Team meetings early in the transition process to identify the need for supported employment services, and to identify providers, both private and public, that may offer services while a student is preparing to transition from public or private education into employment. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors will also utilize supplemental evaluations through community rehabilitation providers to identify the need for supported employment services prior to the development of Individualized Plans for Employment in situations where it is uncertain if long-term supports will be necessary to ensure a successful placement outcome.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 12:26PM by Brenda Lamarre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

State’s Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

The following goals and objectives have been identified with the participation of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), and reflect the commitment of the Agency to increase vocational training and employment opportunities for people who are legally blind through the provision of vocational rehabilitation and supported employment services. These goals and accompanying objectives are also outlined in State Plan Update 4.11(c)(1).

This summary document restates these goals and objectives, and additionally identifies the specific strategies and activities that the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Division at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind will utilize and undertake to achieve these outcomes.

These strategies further identify how the Agency will utilize partnerships to maximize access to training, paid internships and job opportunities for individuals who are blind. Furthermore, the strategies identified in this document reflect the areas where the Agency will utilize new funding made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to supplement Title I and Title VI-6B funds to increase employment opportunities for clients served by the Agency.

GOAL A (the desired outcome)

EMPLOYMENT GOAL: Individuals who are blind obtain or retain quality jobs.

Objectives (the reasons the goal is of high importance):

1. Due to the economic conditions, individuals who are blind are experiencing fewer opportunities to access and maintain employment.

2. With these economic conditions, available job opportunities are requiring a greater diversity of skills and flexibility in adapting to employer circumstances.

3. Individuals who are blind desire to be contributing members of society.

4. Employment is an important avenue to self-sufficiency.

5. For individuals who are losing vision or whose job duties change, assistance to maintain employment is often necessary.

6. Entrepreneurial opportunities offer individuals who are blind the option for customizing employment to meet individual needs and circumstances.

7. Career advancement is an important aspect of career development, resulting in greater prospects for self-sufficiency.

8. For individuals who are blind and who experience multiple barriers to employment, on-the job training and long-term job supports enable for the achievement and maintenance of employment.

Strategies (the methods for achieving these objectives):

1. Services for the Blind Program (BESB Program) and the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Program (BRS Program) will collaborate on a statewide on-the-job training model to market to employers.

2. Title I and ARRA funds will be utilized to develop and disseminate an Employer Toolkit that includes information and incentives for hiring and retaining individuals who are blind.

3. BESB Program, BRS Program and the State Department of Labor (DOL) will collaborate on distributing a statewide flyer containing employer incentive information.

4. BESB Program and BRS Program will collaborate to design an incentive package utilizing Title I and ARRA funds to engage Temporary Agencies for job matching.

5. BESB Program and BRS Program will collaborate in designing and implementing a durational job model using Title I and ARRA funds that enables clients to acquire vocational skills and saleable experience.

6. Each Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor will engage in active employer outreach.

7. BESB Program, BRS Program and DOL collaboration with the five regional workforce development boards will result in access to ARRA funded Summer Youth jobs for BESB Program transition age students.

8. Utilizing the new Employment Network model through the Ticket to Work program, employers will be encouraged to become providers of long-term support for clients who experience multiple barriers to employment.

9. BESB Program will utilize paid internships as an option to provide clients with work experiences to market to employers.

GOAL B (the desired outcome)

INNOVATION AND EXPANSION: Expand and promote vocational services to groups of individuals who are legally blind who want to obtain, retain or advance in employment, utilizing at least two percent of Vocational Rehabilitation federal funding allotted for Fiscal Year 2010.

Objectives (the reasons the goal is of high importance):

1. There are individuals who are legally blind who are unaware of BESB Program and the Vocational Rehabilitation services that are available to assist with obtaining, retaining, or advancing in employment.

2. There is a broad range of vocational rehabilitation services that benefit whole groups of individuals who are legally blind, who want to obtain, retain, or advance in employment.

Strategies (the methods for achieving these objectives):

1. Maintain sponsorship of NFB Newsline and expand the service to include a web-based option.

2. Update community-based adaptive technology centers to maintain state of the art adaptive technology for people who are blind to engage in vocational preparation and job seeking activities.

3. Support State Rehabilitation Council activities that promote active member participation in the field of blindness rehabilitation.

4. Conduct a statewide needs assessment and a client satisfaction survey to determine what specific additional services can improve the opportunities for people who are legally blind to increase access to employment.

5. Co-sponsor and implement leadership development opportunities for transition school to work students who are legally blind.

6. Utilize Web-based job search and job lead services to locate and circulate job openings to clients of the Agency and organizations of and for the blind in Connecticut.

7. Conduct statewide outreach activities and follow up contacts to eye doctors, intermediate care clinics and hospitals to ensure that mandatory referral requirements to BESB Program are understood and implemented.

GOAL C (the desired outcome)

OUTREACH TO MINORITY AND UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS: Expand and promote vocational services to individuals who are blind from minority or underserved populations to ensure they are afforded equal access to the full range of vocational rehabilitation services to obtain, retain or advance in employment.

Objectives (the reasons the goal is of high importance):

1. There are individuals who are legally blind from minority or underserved populations who are unaware of BESB Program and the Vocational Rehabilitation services that are available to assist with obtaining, retaining or advancing in employment.

2. There is a broad range of vocational rehabilitation services available to benefit individuals from minority or underserved populations to assist with obtaining, retaining, or advancing in employment.

Strategies (the methods for achieving these objectives):

1. Develop and maintain community partnerships in cities and towns with large minority or typically underserved populations to ensure that individuals from minority backgrounds are educated and exposed to programs and resources that will allow for an overall healthy development.

2. Track individuals from underserved populations to ensure that they are engaged in services and fully understand the scope of available services that can be provided.

3. Perform Supervisor case review prior to an unsuccessful closure for a person from minority or underserved populations to ensure that they were provided every opportunity to engage in vocational services.

GOAL D (the desired outcome)

IMPROVE PERFORMANCE ON THE STANDARDS AND INDICATORS: The Vocational Rehabilitation Program at the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Services for the Blind will show improvement with regards to performance on the Federal Standards and Indicators.

Objectives (the reasons the goal is of high importance):

The Federal Standards and Indicators measure the performance of the VR agency during a fiscal year and can be used to determine the degree to which individuals served by this agency achieve quality employment and achieve self-sufficiency.

Strategies (the methods for achieving these objectives):

1. Provide Supervisory guidance to Vocational Counselors to ensure that individuals who achieve an employment outcome have been provided with guidance and counseling to understand the full range of vocational services available and given opportunities to maximize their employment potential.

2. Provide Supervisory guidance to Vocational Counselors to ensure that individuals who receive Social Security Benefits are provided with information on the availability of Benefits Counseling to assist them in making informed decisions about returning to work or advancing in employment.

3. Perform case closure review to ensure that case documentation supports that individuals closed after IPE development but without an employment outcome had been given every opportunity to remain engaged in vocational services.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 4:02PM by Brenda Lamarre

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

State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program received $3,274,506 in federal Title I Funds during Fiscal Year (FY) 2010. Of that amount, the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind Program (BESB Program) reserved 2 percent and expended $74,179 for innovation and expansion activities. The following summary details the efforts during FY 2010 to utilize these funds to address the goals and objectives established in consultation with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC).

FY2010 GOALS WERE:

GOAL A (the desired outcome)

EMPLOYMENT GOAL: Individuals who are blind obtain or retain quality jobs.

Objectives (the reasons the goal is of high importance):

1. Due to the economic conditions, individuals who are blind are experiencing fewer opportunities to access and maintain employment.

2. With these economic conditions, available job opportunities are requiring a greater diversity of skills and flexibility in adapting to employer circumstances.

3. Individuals who are blind desire to be contributing members of society.

4. Employment is an important avenue to self-sufficiency.

5. For individuals who are losing vision or whose job duties change, assistance to maintain employment is often necessary.

6. Entrepreneurial opportunities offer individuals who are blind the option for customizing employment to meet individual needs and circumstances.

7. Career advancement is an important aspect of career development, resulting in greater prospects for self-sufficiency.

8. For individuals who are blind and who experience multiple barriers to employment, on-the job training and long-term job supports enable for the achievement and maintenance of employment.

Strategies (the methods for achieving the objectives):

1. The Services for the Blind Program (BESB Program) and the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Program (BRS Program) will collaborate on a statewide on-the-job training model to market to employers.

2. Title I and ARRA funds will be utilized to develop and disseminate an Employer Toolkit that includes information and incentives for hiring and retaining individuals who are blind.

3. BESB Program, BRS Program and the State Department of Labor (DOL) will collaborate on distributing a statewide flyer containing employer incentive information.

4. BESB Program and BRS Program will collaborate to design an incentive package utilizing Title I and ARRA funds to engage Temporary agencies for job matching.

5. BESB Program and BRS Program will collaborate in designing and implementing a durational job model using Title I and ARRA funds that enables clients to acquire vocational skills and saleable experience.

6. Each Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor will engage in active employer outreach.

7. BESB Program, BRS Program and DOL collaboration with the five regional workforce development boards will result in access to ARRA funded Summer Youth jobs for BESB Program transition age students.

8. Utilizing the new Employment Network model through the Ticket to Work program, employers will be encouraged to become providers of long-term support for clients who experience multiple barriers to employment.

9. BESB Program will utilize paid internships as an option to provide clients with work experiences to market to employers.

Measures (the activities that will be achieved in FY 10):

1. A marketing packet for On-the-Job Training incentives will be developed and distributed to at least 100 employers.

Summary of Activities: A marketing packet was developed that included guidelines for the On-the-Job Training models offered by the agency. These materials were distributed to 104 employers.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

2. A Toolkit that includes materials on adaptive technology, tax incentives, ADA regulations and Ticket to Work incentives will be distributed by Counselors to employers.

Summary of Activities: In collaboration with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, with funds available through the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, employer toolkits were developed. These toolkits include a new brochure on BESB Program services, marketing items such as magnifiers and mouse pads with BESB Program contact information, as well as one-page inserts with information on resources, the ADA, Ticket to Work, Connect-Ability, and job retention assistance.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

3. On behalf of BESB Program and BRS Program, Department of Labor will distribute 25,000 incentive outreach flyers to employers in the state.

Summary of Activities: Through collaboration with the Department of Labor, a total of 39,000 incentive flyers were distributed to employers within the state. In addition to this outreach activity, the agency also collaborated with the Office of the State Comptroller to develop an incentive announcement to be sent to vendors that do business with the state. In total, more than 90,000 vendor statements were sent out by the State Comptroller’s office that included this hiring incentive announcement. These two initiatives were accomplished at no cost to BESB Program, and the agency wishes to express appreciation to the Department of Labor and the State Comptroller for their assistance that made these outreach projects possible.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

4. Two Temporary Agencies will be contracted with for the provision of job placement services.

Summary of Activities: Staff of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program met with representatives from Blackwood Associates and Adecco Staffing to discuss the hiring incentives available through BESB Program. In both situations, the Temporary Agencies agreed to forward job openings to BESB Program for distribution to the Counselors. No contract was required in order to secure this arrangement. The sharing of job leads has been ongoing.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

5. Using the Durational job model, ten clients acquire durational employment.

Summary of Activities: The Vocational Rehabilitation Division was very enthusiastic about the possibilities that opened for clients under the durational employment model. Sixty clients participated in temporary employment opportunities as a result of this new model, with seven placements transitioning into permanent jobs.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

6. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors conduct two hours per week of employer outreach.

Summary of Activities: For the fifty-two weeks in the federal fiscal year, the counselors assigned to outreach activities achieved 1,040 collective hours of employer outreach, averaging 2.4 hours per week per counselor.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

7. Thirty transition age students engage in paid work experiences/internships in Fiscal Year 2010.

Summary of Activities: Thirty-one transition clients participated in paid work experiences through the Vocational Rehabilitation program at locations that included Business Enterprise facilities, and other community based employers.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

8. Through the utilization of ARRA funds, as a supplement to Title I and Title VI-B funds, 125 clients will work in FY 2010.

Summary of Activities: A total of 161 clients participated in paid work during the fiscal year. Of this number, ARRA funds were utilized in 92 placements. A total of 85 clients achieved paid employment outcomes during the fiscal year, with ARRA funds utilized in 16 of these outcomes.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

GOAL B (the desired outcome)

INNOVATION AND EXPANSION: Expand and promote vocational services to groups of individuals who are legally blind who want to obtain, retain or advance in employment, utilizing at least two percent of Vocational Rehabilitation federal funding allotted for Fiscal Year 2010.

Objectives (the reasons the goal is of high importance):

1. There are individuals who are legally blind who are unaware of BESB Program and the Agency vocational rehabilitation services that are available to assist with obtaining, retaining, or advancing in employment.

2. There is a broad range of vocational rehabilitation services that benefit whole groups of individuals who are legally blind, who want to obtain, retain, or advance in employment.

Strategies (the methods for achieving the objectives):

1. Maintain sponsorship of NFB Newsline and expand the service to include a web-based option.

2. Update community-based adaptive technology centers to maintain state of the art adaptive technology for people who are blind to engage in vocational preparation and job seeking activities.

3. Support State Rehabilitation Council activities that promote active member participation in the field of blindness rehabilitation.

4. Conduct a statewide needs assessment and a client satisfaction survey to determine what specific additional services can improve the opportunities for people who are legally blind to increase access to employment.

5. Co-sponsor and implement leadership development opportunities for transition school to work students who are legally blind.

6. Utilize Web-based job search and job lead services to locate and circulate job openings to clients of the Agency and organizations of and for the blind in Connecticut.

7. Conduct statewide outreach activities and follow up contacts to eye doctors, intermediate care clinics and hospitals to ensure that mandatory referral requirements to BESB Program are understood and implemented.

Measures (the activities that will be achieved in FY 10):

1. BESB Program enters into a contract with the National Federation of the Blind for NFB Newsline, that includes expanded internet services, as documented by the written contract on file.

Summary of Activities: BESB Program, in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut, entered into a contract with the National Federation of the Blind to provide Newsline services to Connecticut clients for fiscal year 2010. More than 1,000 clients in Connecticut receive this service. In total, 423,000 minutes of news and information were delivered to Connecticut subscribers of this service in fiscal year 2010.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

2. BESB Program provides technical assistance and purchases updated equipment, as requested, for two community-based technology centers, as documented in a written report.

Summary of Activities: In addition to the adaptive technology laboratory that is located at the agency, BESB Program has been supporting the adaptive technology laboratories located at the Southeastern Connecticut Community Center of the Blind and Gateway Community College. The agency has been providing updates to the adaptive software as well as the Microsoft software that is installed on the computers at these two locations. No costs were incurred to maintain these locations in fiscal year 2010.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

3. BESB Program funds State Rehabilitation Council participation in two training programs/conferences, and the SRC cosponsors two rehabilitation events during the fiscal year. Documentation of these activities is on file.

Summary of Activities: The agency renewed the annual memberships in the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind and the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, but due to the out of state travel ban, no member of the State Rehabilitation Council was able to attend the training conferences of these organizations. BESB Program staff were able to attend these rehabilitation conferences (two in the Fall, 2009 and two in the Spring, 2010) through the Inservice Training Grant.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was only partially achieved due to the out of state travel ban precluding members of the State Rehabilitation Council from participating in the conferences of these two rehabilitation organizations.

4. A needs assessment is conducted by a professional surveying organization, and the result of the assessment is posted on the Agency website. A client satisfaction survey is also conducted and results are posted on the Agency website (www.ct.gov/besb).

Summary of Activities: The State Rehabilitation Council commissioned the Center for Public Policy and Social Research (CPPSR) at Central Connecticut State University to conduct a comprehensive statewide needs assessment and a consumer satisfaction survey to assist the agency with establishing goals and priorities. Both reports as issued by CPPSR were posted on the agency website. The Council is utilizing the recommendations contained within the statewide needs assessment as well as the results of the consumer satisfaction survey as a basis for developing goals and priorities in the new state plan.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

5. BESB Program Vocational Rehabilitation cosponsors two leadership development programs operated by other entities, and directly funds client participation in five leadership development programs for transition age students.

Summary of Activities: The Vocational Rehabilitation Division as well as the State Rehabilitation Council were cosponsors of the Youth Leadership Forum, with 8 clients participating. The success of this leadership development program is evident in that 3 of the 8 BESB Program students who attended this summer camp were given mentoring assignments. BESB Program also cosponsored the Governor’s Coalition for Youth with Disabilities, a coalition of agencies, employers and organizations that award scholarships to college-bound students with disabilities. Additionally, the agency directly funded and provided leadership development opportunities to three students to serve as paid camp assistant counselor interns at the Camp Abilities program, one client to serve as a program development facilitator in a paid internship, and another client to serve as a paid counselor intern at the Youth Leadership Forum. Two other leadership development programs included team building activities in the LIFE program operated through the agency Children’s Services Division, and facilitation of the Student Advisory Council, which is a student-run body of students with vision impairments that performs community services.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

6. BESB Program enters into written agreements with The Net and GettingHired.com for job distribution activities, and for job seeking clients to access employer job leads.

Summary of Activities: BESB Program entered into a written agreement with The Net and job announcements from this organization are routinely received and distributed to the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors to share with job seeking clients on their caseloads. Additionally, BESB Program entered into a written arrangement with GettingHired, whereby Connecticut job seekers who are blind could register for this service through a dedicated web-link. The agency conducted outreach phone calls to all job seeking clients to make them aware of this job matching service.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

7. BESB Program conducts outreach activities, in person, and/or via teleconference with 25 mandatory reporting entities in the state (doctors, hospitals, clinics).

Summary of Activities: BESB Program conducted telephone outreach to more than 175 eye doctors in the state to educate them about agency services and to further remind the doctors about the statutory reporting requirements when declaring a patient as legally blind. The agency then followed up with an information packet mailing to 140 of these doctors who desired to receive brochures and posters on agency services to share with patients and staff.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was achieved.

8. BESB Program cosponsors the Connecticut Community Providers conference, as documented by agendas

Summary of Activities: The Connecticut Community Providers Association opted to not hold this conference in 2010.

Evaluation of Progress: This objective was not achieved as the conference was not held.

GOALS FOR NEW YEAR

All goals and objectives carry equal weight and are not listed in a priority order.

The Program will commit no less than 1.5 percent of the Title I funds received during FY 2012 for these initiatives.

GOAL A (the desired outcome)

EMPLOYMENT GOAL: Individuals who are blind obtain or retain quality jobs.

Objectives (The reasons the goal is of high importance):

1. Due to the economic climate, individuals who are blind continue to experience fewer opportunities to access and maintain employment, requiring a greater diversity of skills and flexibility in adapting to employer needs.

2. Employment provides individuals who are blind the opportunity to be contributing, self-sufficient members of society.

3. Career advancement is an important aspect of career development, resulting in greater prospects for self-sufficiency.

4. For individuals who are losing vision or whose job duties change, assistance to maintain employment is often necessary.

5. For individuals who are blind and who experience multiple barriers to employment, on-the job training and long-term job supports enable for the achievement and maintenance of employment.

Strategies (The methods for achieving the objectives):

1. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program will continue to market job placement and job retention services to employers.

2. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program will utilize paid internships as a phase-in option for employers who anticipate job openings.

3. Job seeking skills classes will prepare clients to seek employment.

4. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors will engage in community outreach activities with employers and community rehabilitation providers to facilitate job placement, career advancement and job retention services offered through the Program.

Measures (the activities that will be achieved in FY 12):

1. Vocational Rehabilitation staff market services to at least 100 employers.

2. Paid internships are secured for 20 clients.

3. Two Job Seeking Skills classes are conducted, each culminating in attendance at a job fair.

4. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program develops an information sheet for clients that lists accessible websites for job seekers.

5. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors engage in a minimum of two hours a week on outreach activities to employers/community rehabilitation providers.

GOAL B (the desired outcome)

INNOVATION AND EXPANSION: Expand and promote vocational services to groups of individuals who are legally blind who want to obtain, retain or advance in employment.

Objectives (The reasons the goal is of high importance):

1. There are individuals who are legally blind who are unaware of Vocational Rehabilitation services that are available to assist with obtaining, retaining, or advancing in employment.

2. There is a broad range of Vocational Rehabilitation services that benefit whole groups of individuals who are legally blind, who want to obtain, retain, or advance in employment.

Strategies (The methods for achieving the objectives):

1. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program will sponsor NFB Newsline and career-related programming at CRIS Radio for clients of the agency to access educational, career and occupational outlook information.

2. Community-based adaptive technology centers will receive updated adaptive technology for people who are blind to engage in vocational preparation and job seeking activities.

3. Support State Rehabilitation Council activities that promote awareness of services and supports available to people who are blind.

4. Cosponsor and implement leadership development opportunities for transition school-to-work students who are legally blind.

5. Utilize web-based job search and job lead services to locate and circulate job openings to clients and organizations of and for the blind in Connecticut.

6. Clients for whom English is not their primary language are connected with community based organizations that provide assistance.

Measures (the activities that will be achieved in FY 12):

1. The Bureau enters into a contract with the National Federation of the Blind for NFB Newsline and CRIS Radio, as documented by written contracts on file.

2. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program provides technical assistance and purchases updated equipment, as needed, for at least one community-based technology center, as documented in a written report.

3. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program funds two SRC initiatives that promote awareness of services and supports available to people who are blind. Documentation of these activities is on file.

4. The results of the client satisfaction survey are reviewed with the SRC and two measureable strategies for improving on the delivery of services are implemented.

5. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program cosponsors two leadership development programs for clients.

6. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program distributes internet-based job leads from The Net and Connect-Ability to clients and partner organizations of and for the blind in Connecticut.

7. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program creates and distributes a “Client Success Stories” portfolio to the public.

 

It is the primary goal and priority of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program for individuals who are blind to consider supported employment as an option in all circumstances where the provision of these services will increase the likelihood of placement success for people with significant, multiple barriers to employment.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, three clients achieved employment outcomes in supported employment settings, with one of these placements utilizing Title VI, Part B funding. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds were utilized in the second placement, and Title I case service funds were utilized in the third placement. The provider of long-term support funding for two situations was the Department of Developmental Services, with a community rehabilitation program providing the direct job coaching and long-term support in both cases. In the third placement situation, the Department of Social Services, Employment Opportunities Program was used as the long-term funding source, with a community rehabilitation program providing the direct job coaching and long-term support.

Three new clients were found eligible for supported employment services during the fiscal year. A total of 15 clients who were eligible for supported employment received services during this time period. There were 10 individuals in a training status, 1 individual in guidance and counseling status, 1 individual in eligibility status, and 3 individuals in employment status, working toward an employment outcome. Of this total number of eligible individuals, Title VI, Part B funds have been utilized for 3 individuals. One additional individual received a supplemental evaluation with Title VI, Part B funds to determine eligibility for supported employment services during the year, but had not yet proceeded into supported employment eligibility status when the fiscal year came to a close.

Community rehabilitation programs continued to be utilized as the providers of extended services for the employment programs coordinated in the past year. In the current and upcoming year, this approach will continue to be utilized. This is based on assessment of job placement outcomes from preceding fiscal years that has continually demonstrated the proven ability of community rehabilitation providers to employ job coaches and vocational instructors necessary for the provision of long-term employment supports, combined with their willingness to periodically assume the cost of providing extended services when other public funding options are not available. This arrangement is especially important, given the limited availability of third party funding from other public agency providers.

While the Vocational Rehabilitation Program was encouraged by the option for Partnership Plus under the Ticket to Work Program in order to locate providers of long- term supports for Supported Employment clients, it was found that the individuals who require long-term supports either do not work sufficient hours or do not earn wages at or above Substantial Gainful Activity levels to qualify an Employment Network for a payment under the Ticket to Work program. Therefore there are limited incentives under this program for an Employment Network to become a provider of long-term supports under a Partnership Plus agreement.

 

In reviewing the Standards and Indicators for FY 2010, the Vocational Rehabilitation Program for individuals who are blind is providing this assessment. For Standard 1, calculating the number of employment outcomes in fiscal year’s 2008 and 2009, and comparing these outcomes to 2009 and 2010, the Program experienced a drop in the overall number of employment outcomes for this two-year period (from 233 to 202), reflecting the continuing challenges of the severe economic climate that has swelled the unemployment rates for the nation and this state. Standard 2 addresses the rate at which individuals who have an employment plan complete services and achieve their career goal. The Program achieved a ratio of 76.8%, exceeding the minimum standard of 68.90%. For Standard 3, that reports on the number of individuals that achieved an employment outcome with earnings, compared to outcomes such as homemakers, the agency achieved a percentage of 82.18%, exceeding the minimum standard of 35.40%. Standard 4 focuses on the percentage of individuals with significant disabilities whom achieved an employment outcome in comparison to individuals whom did not have significant disabilities. The Program achieved 100% in this category, exceeding the minimum standard of 89%. Standard 5 addresses the percentage of individuals achieving an employment outcome for whom their average hourly wage exceeds 59% of the state’s average hourly wage. For the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, the average hourly earning was $18.98, achieving 68%, exceeding the minimum standard of 59%. Standard 6 addresses the ratio of the number of individuals who report self-supporting earnings at application as a comparison to those who report self-supporting earnings at closure status. While the raw number of individuals increased from 88 to 113, reflecting a positive ratio change of 15.66%, the minimum standard of 30.40% ratio change was not achieved.

 

During the fiscal year, Innovation and Expansion funds were utilized to cover the cost of the State Rehabilitation Council’s co-sponsorship of the Youth Leadership Forum. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program also was a separate co-sponsor of this leadership development camp for transition age students. The State Rehabilitation Council renewed membership in the Connecticut Association for Community Transportation (CACT), an organization that promotes public awareness and advocacy for transportation initiatives. Innovation and Expansion funding was also utilized to cover the cost of the NFB Newsline. Additional uses of the Innovation and Expansion funding included co-sponsorship of the Governor’s Coalition for Youth with Disabilities Project, and conducting of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment and consumer satisfaction survey.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 12:26PM by Brenda Lamarre

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

State of Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program

Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services

The Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Services for the Blind Program is committed to providing competitive employment opportunities in integrated settings to all clients of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. To ensure that individuals with the most significant disabilities are provided with the necessary long-term support in order to access the competitive labor market, the Program is able to supplement basic program funds with supported employment grant funds. Through the use of Title VI, Part B funds, in addition to the use of federal Vocational Rehabilitation Program funds and state matching funds, client placement into competitive employment with the provision of long-term support is available. For this placement option to occur, the following circumstances must apply:

• The client will have been found eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation Services and will be an individual with a disability that includes legal blindness and is considered to be most significant in its scope. This individual will have a disability that constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment. It will be further determined that the client can benefit from vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment. The need for supported employment, ongoing support services, and extended services to ensure long-term placement success will be documented in the client’s case record of services. The individual will have not traditionally accessed competitive employment as a person with a significant disability, or the individual will have a history of intermittent or interrupted employment in competitive settings as a result of a significant disability.

• The preliminary assessment to determine eligibility shall be initiated utilizing Vocational Rehabilitation Program funds and shall consider the potential benefits that supported employment and long-term supports could have in assisting the individual in obtaining an employment outcome. Immediately following a decision of eligibility, and to the extent necessary to gather information for the development of an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), a comprehensive assessment shall be initiated. This assessment shall include the unique strengths, resources, priorities, interests and needs of the individual, including the need for supported employment services. Supplemental evaluations, utilizing Title VI, Part B funds may occur to assist in identifying the specific needs, support services, and priorities of the individual in order to access the competitive labor market.

• The job placement will be within an integrated work setting. There will be opportunities during the work day to interact with non-disabled co-workers and the public, to the same extent that non-disabled workers performing the same type of job are able to interact with co-workers and the public. The employment must be considered permanent, and the client will be paid a wage that is consistent with the prevailing wage normally paid by the employer for that type of work. If the client is part of an enclave, employed by a community rehabilitation provider, who has a sub-minimum wage agreement with the Department of Labor, the client will be paid the appropriate wage based on a time studied rate in an integrated community setting. The specific number of hours worked by the individual, per week, will be the maximum number of hours possible and shall be based upon the unique strengths, resources, interests, concerns, abilities and capabilities of the individual with a most significant disability, and will be incorporated into the Individualized Plan for Employment of the individual.

• Specific ongoing support services necessary to maintain the individual in a supported employment setting during the rehabilitation process will be identified and included in the Individualized Plan for Employment. The need for extended services, including ongoing support, after transition to the provider of long-term funding will also be identified in the Individualized Plan for Employment and will include at a minimum, at least two follow-up visits per month with the client at the worksite to ensure and assess job stability. Or, if appropriate and especially if desired by the individual, two off-site monitoring visits per month directly with the client may be substituted.

• Ongoing, third party funding support will be secured through written agreement and be available prior to the initiation of the actual placement at the worksite. However, the lack of immediate third party funding support will not impede the exploration of supported employment options, or the development of an Individualized Plan for Employment that identifies supported employment as a necessary service in the obtaining of an employment outcome. Providers of ongoing third party support shall include agencies, organizations, programs within organizations, employers, families, and other resources and providers that can provide the necessary training, follow-up and long-term placement support. The use of natural supports within the work place will be considered and encouraged in the exploration of a third party funder.

• The specific number of months for Agency support and sponsorship will have been agreed upon. This time period will be 18 months or less, except that periods in excess of 18 months will be permitted if necessary in order to stabilize an individual’s job placement prior to a transition to the provider of long-term support.

• Specific criteria for the measurement of placement success for an individual will be identified and in place prior to the transition from supported employment services to extended services and ongoing support services provided by third parties. Prior to the transition to the provider of long-term funds, this Agency will monitor the placement for a period of no less than 90 days to confirm that the necessary supports are being provided and that the client, employer, and third party funding source are in agreement that the job placement is stable.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2011 5:07PM by Brenda Lamarre

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 08/31/2011 at 5:08 PM

Last updated by sactlamarreb

Completed on 08/31/2011 at 5:10 PM

Completed by sactlamarreb

Approved on 09/26/2011 at 1:14 PM

Approved by rsamitchells

Published on 09/27/2011 at 10:52 AM

Published by jack

The following documents have been identified as being related to the information you are viewing.

  • Monitoring Report for Connecticut - Blind — as of January 23, 2013
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  • "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities" — A blueprint for Governors has been issued by the National Governors Association (NGA).
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  • TAC-14-02 — Submission of the FY 2015 State Plan for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and Supplement for the Supported Employment Services Program. (May 28, 2014)
    DOC (247KB) | PDF (233KB)

  • ED-80-0013 - Certification Regarding Lobbying — 34 CFR 82.110(b) requires each State VR agency to submit for approval a signed certification regarding lobbying for each program for which federal funds are requested. In other words, one certification must be submitted for the VR program and another for the Supported Employment program.
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