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
Georgia Department of Labor - Division of Rehabilitation Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

1.1 The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services Board (GVRSB) 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 Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services Board (GVRSB) [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

Commissioner, Georgia Department of Human Services, acting on behalf of GVRSB

... 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

Commissioner, Georgia Department of Human Services, acting on behalf of GVRSB

... 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
Clyde L. Reese, III, Esq.

Title of Signatory
Commissioner, Georgia Department of Human Services, acting on behalf of GVRSB

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
07/02/2012

Assurances Certified By

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

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) emphasizes its role as a joint partner with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) 110 Program with significant responsibilities for promoting the effective delivery of 110 services provided statewide by the VR Program, Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, and the Business Enterprise Program. The SRC is dedicated to ensuring that persons with disabilities are offered the opportunity to follow unfettered paths to success in work and become productive citizens within their communities.

The members of the Council work in strategic partnership with the Georgia VR program to make certain that Georgians with disabilities receive the services and supports they need to secure gainful employment and self-sufficiency. Council members are dedicated and dynamic volunteers from diverse populations, representing individuals with disabilities, VR professionals, advocates, educators, business people and service providers, among others.

Through a purposeful planning process, the SRC established the following committees to maximize members’ expertise and to focus the work of the Council:

Native American Committee - Facilitates and coordinates intertribal concerns of Native Americans with disabilities within the VR Program.

Public Relations/Human Resources Committee - Promotes the mission, vision and services of VR. Assists VR with analyzing programs directed at educating, training, and retaining and promoting qualified VR staff, as well as assessing employment programs for VR consumers. Additionally, the committee recommends to the VR leadership ways to enhance service delivery and human resource policies and practices.

Legislative Committee - Works with state and federal legislators to maintain and secure adequate funding for VR and Rehabilitation Services (RS). Keeps SRC members apprised of legislation affecting VR and RS and advocates for disability related issues.

Policy Procedure/Monitoring and Evaluation Committee - Participates in and reviews the development of VR policies and plans, including the State Plan. Evaluates VR’s response to needs assessments and client and employer satisfaction surveys, and makes recommendations to improve service delivery.

Employer and Recruitment Committee - Partners with VR and other agencies and organizations to create a network within the business community to help people with disabilities transition into employment.

Education and Transition Committee - Assists VR with enhancing transition services for high school students with disabilities.

Sensory Committee - Works with VR to address issues related to the delivery of services to individuals with sensory related disabilities.

Annually the SRC and the VR Program jointly develop and review critical elements of the State Plan. In its assessment of the efficacy of the VR delivery system, the Council is pleased to provide input to VR for the State Plan. The SRC developed recommendations based on information gathered from feedback from customers, staff and strategic partners, and collaborative meetings with key agency members. The Council strongly believes that the following recommendations will improve the effectiveness of the SRC and the VR Program.

SRC Recommendation:

In order to provide, expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities, skilled staff are essential. The SRC recommends that VR increase its efforts to recruit, train and retain qualified staff to provide quality services that will result in people with disabilities becoming successfully employed. In addition, staff training on services and policies should be developed and provided to promote consistent communication to customers and the community.

Agency Response:

VR accepts the recommendation and will work with the SRC to implement the strategies described in Attachment 4.10 for the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development and to develop additional strategies as appropriate.

SRC Recommendation:

The SRC chairperson has been involved in the development of the GDOL service integration strategy designed to enhance customer service to VR and Career Center job seekers, and to expand services in today’s environment of diminishing resources. Additionally, the SRC is working with the GDOL committee to ensure all Career Centers and One Stops are accessible.

The service integration strategy provides broad employment assessments for individuals with disabilities earlier in the process leading to quicker services and more VR clients achieving employment outcomes with higher wages. This strategy utilizes dedicated Career Center and VR staff members who devote 100% of their time to the provision of customized vocational rehabilitation services. VR and Career Center staff members co-lead the Orientation, Ability & Service Identification Seminar (OASIS) that provides an orientation to Career Center and VR services. It also provides an assessment of the customer’s job search readiness.

The SRC supports this initiative of blending services and recommends that VR systematically track customer satisfaction and outcomes and develop a plan to increase effectiveness where indicated. The SRC further recommends that VR continue to make efforts to ensure that Career Centers meet the accessibility and confidentiality needs of people with disabilities, including the specific needs of people with sensory disabilities.

Agency Response:

VR accepts the recommendation and seeks the help of the SRC to address the accessibility and confidentiality needs of people with disabilities, and VR will enlist the aid of the SRC Sensory Committee regarding sensory disabilities. Also, VR looks to the SRC to help develop strategies to increase the number of Career Center customers who self-identify a disability and are subsequently referred to VR for assistance.

SRC Recommendation:

The SRC recommends that VR continue to provide staff training on transition, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, transition related services and Workforce Investment Act programs. Additionally, it is recommended that VR increase marketing efforts with parents, school nurses, counselors, teachers and administrators to increase referrals of Section 504 students.

Agency Response:

VR accepts the recommendations and will work with the SRC Education and Transition Committee to address them.

SRC Recommendation:

One of Georgia VR’s top priorities and objectives is to augment services for customers with sensory disabilities to increase employment outcomes. The SRC acknowledges that VR has created a Statewide Sensory Program that is lead by a VR Director of Deaf Services, VR Director of Blind Services, and a Coordinator of Deaf-Blind Services to provide leadership, quality assurance and technical assistance to the field staff and community partners.

The SRC recommends VR continue efforts to improve or maintain quality services for people who are Deaf, Blind, and Deaf-Blind. To ensure that the unique needs of students who are Deaf-Blind are met with high-quality, appropriate services and to increase transition outcomes, the SRC recommends that VR develop a program for Deaf-Blind students at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. Further, the Council suggests that VR investigate successful programs models across the country, such as the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths & Adults and solicit input from leaders and consumers in the community who have knowledge of Deaf-Blind services.

Agency Response:

VR accepts the recommendation and looks forward to the active support of the SRC Sensory Committee.

SRC Recommendation:

The mission of the VR program is to prepare people with disabilities to achieve successful employment and independence and to support businesses in meeting their workforce needs. To accomplish this, the SRC recommends that VR expand collaboration with public and private partners, including Workforce Investment Act programs, to maximize the effective use of funding for services to VR clients.

Agency Response:

VR accepts the recommendation and will depend on the assistance of the Council to develop and implement strategies to increase collaborative efforts.

SRC Recommendation:

As more of our wounded soldiers return from war, the SRC recognizes how important it is for them to have timely knowledge and access to VR services to assist in their reclamation. The SRC recommends that VR continue implementing its strategies to increase the provision of VR services to veterans, as well as seek to increase public awareness. Such strategies should include training for VR staff that focuses on common issues experienced by returning veterans including traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Agency Response:

VR accepts the recommendation and will continue implementing strategies to increase services to veterans and enhance the effectiveness of services.

SRC Recommendation:

The SRC recognizes its duty to monitor the success of the VR program through public hearings and satisfaction surveys among other methods. The SRC is committed to keeping open lines of communication with VR and most importantly the consumers of VR services. The SRC recommends that VR appoint a liaison to each of the SRC committees to assure that what is suggested does not violate or challenge any existing policies and as a source of information for the committee as it goes about its work. The SRC and VR staff will work cooperatively with appropriate involvement to develop, administer and arrange activities that increase their effectiveness.

Agency Response:

VR accepts the recommendation and will work cooperatively with the SRC as appropriate in monitoring activities and appoint a liaison to each of the SRC committees.

Amendment to the FY 12 State Plan

Georgia is amending the FY 12 State Plan to reflect substantive changes to the VR Program with the passage of House Bill (HB) 1146, signed by Governor Nathan Deal on April 19, 2012, creating the Georgia VR Agency (GVRA) as a standalone agency attached to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for administrative support purposes only. The effective date of this legislation is July 1, 2012.

The new GVRA consists of the five current rehabilitation services programs with the same federal and state laws, rules and regulations previously applicable for each program: VR (including Independent Living, Supported Employment, Older Blind Services, and the Cave Spring Rehabilitation Center); Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation; Business Enterprise Program; Georgia Industries for the Blind; and Disability Adjudication Services.

The legislation creates the Georgia VR Services Board (GVRSB) with nine members appointed by the Governor who work or have worked in the area of VR or who are part of the VR community; provided that five members shall be persons with disabilities or their family members. There will be an Executive Director of the GVRA nominated by the Governor and approved by the Board.

In compliance with federal regulations, the SRC and the Statewide Independent Living Council, Inc. (SILC) collaborated with the GDOL VR Program to hold 20 public hearings in ten locations across the state in April 2012 to allow for verbal and written comments and questions regarding HB 1146. In addition to holding onsite public hearings and providing a variety of options for the public to submit written statements, an online survey was available on the SRC Blog and Survey Monkey. These mechanisms allowed for extensive and accessible statewide input from people with disabilities and stakeholders to incorporate into this amendment to the FY 12 State Plan.

Over 250 participants signed in and provided input at the public hearings, and numerous written statements were received. The majority of the public comments supported the concept of an independent agency for VR services and the need for additional state funding for services to assist more individuals with disabilities to go to work. Other common points expressed were in the following areas: unclear justification for the move; opportunities for widespread public input occurred after the legislation passed; unknown and unbudgeted costs for the transfer and the administrative infrastructure needed for the new GVRA; and the ambitious three-month timeline to implement the legislation.

The public also expressed concerns about the composition of the nine-member Board governing the GVRA in that five of the members must have a disability or be family members of persons with disabilities. If the family member does not have a disability, there is a potential for the GVRSB to not to have a majority of members who are people with disabilities. Additionally, there were many questions regarding how the new Board will interact and collaborate with the SRC and SILC. The SRC shared pertinent comments and questions from the public hearings with the Governor.

The SRC developed the following recommendations based on feedback gathered from customers, program staff and strategic partners during the public hearings to improve the effectiveness of the new GVRSB and GVRA.

SRC Recommendation:

The SRC believes that the recommendations described above in the previously submitted FY 12 State Plan are still valid and should be continued in the new agency.

Agency Response:

VR accepts this recommendation and looks forward to working with the SRC to continue to implement those recommendations.

SRC Recommendation:

No additional state funds were provided in the FY 13 Budget for the costs associated with the creation of the new GVRA and the transfer from GDOL. The level of state funding was already insufficient to fully match the available federal VR 110 grant for Georgia. The SRC recommends that the new Board and GVRA request additional state funds for the VR Program in the FY 13 supplemental appropriation and the FY 14 state budget request.

Agency Response:

VR accepts this recommendation and will need the support of the SRC and community advocates in seeking additional funds.

SRC Recommendation:

The SRC believes that collaboration is a key to success for enhancing services to assist more people with disabilities to achieve their employment goals. Thus it recommends that the new GVRSB and the GVRA work closely with the SRC, SILC, community service providers, and other strategic partner agencies to achieve that goal.

Agency Response:

VR accepts this recommendation and will facilitate that collaboration as much as possible.

SRC Recommendation:

The SRC recommends that VR work diligently to ensure that this transition does not negatively impact clients, staff, or community service providers in the delivery of services.

Agency Response:

VR accepts this recommendation and will make every effort to ensure a smooth transition with no disruption of services. Throughout the three-month period to prepare for the transfer of programs to the new agency, the rehabilitation services leadership worked closely with the Governor’s Office, the Governor’s Transition Team, the Commissioners and staffs of the Departments of Human Services and Labor, as well as program staff to minimize any potential disruptions.

SRC Recommendation:

The GDOL/VR service integration strategy that was designed to enhance customer service to VR and Career Center job seekers and to expand services during the recession and diminishing resources is a successful venture. Customers ranked the integrated services highly in evaluation surveys, and the VR Program accessed an estimated $8.2 million in available federal VR 110 funds with state match generated through the integrated Orientation, Ability and Service Identification Seminar (OASIS) initiative. The SRC supports this initiative and recommends that VR maintain this relationship with GDOL after the transition to the GVRA.

Agency Response:

VR accepts this recommendation. While the additional state match to access more federal funds will no longer be available after the transition to the new agency, VR will explore options to continue the mutually beneficial partnership of OASIS to provide more efficient and effective services to job seekers with disabilities.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:13AM by Daronne Patterson

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

This screen has never been updated.

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

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

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency/VR Program believes that cooperation and collaboration with agencies and entities is essential to assisting people with disabilities to work in Georgia. Such ongoing collaboration maximizes resources and addresses all aspects impacting individuals’ ability to obtain, retain, and maintain employment.

VR is strongly allied with partners of the Statewide Workforce Investment System. However, the agency also maintains cooperative agreements and working partnerships with agencies and entities outside the workforce investment system.

The Georgia Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) works with VR to develop the State Plan for Independent Living. A major part of this plan is the development of a network of Centers for Independent Living (CILs); private, nonprofit, community-based corporations that assist people with significant disabilities to live more independently and reach their goals to independence.

In an effort to maintain and strengthen this partnership and to further the common goal of providing the best possible services to Georgians with disabilities, VR and the Georgia Independent Living Network (GILN), entered into a cooperative agreement. The GILN includes The Statewide Independent Living Council of GA, disABILITY Link, disABILITY Link NW, Living Independence for Everyone, Walton Options for Independent Living, Disability Connections, Disability Resource Center, Bainbridge Advocacy Individual Network, and Multiple Choices.

As a participant in a cooperative agreement with the Social Security Administration, the VR Program’s Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project, known as Georgia Rehabilitation OUtreach Program (GROUP) provides information and assistance to Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities, including transition-to-work aged youths. WIPA services help beneficiaries understand the role of work incentives and how employment will impact their Social Security and state benefits, thus allowing them to make informed choices about work.

GROUP has joined alliances with the Social Security Administration’s Area Work Incentives Coordinators, Shepherd’s Benefits Navigators and Georgia Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) to form the WIPA Network Group. These agencies collaborate on various Ticket to Work and Work Incentives initiatives across the State regarding the impact of working on social security and health care benefits.

The Albany Advocacy Resource Center/EmployAbility Program began in October 2006. This program is a collaboration between VR and EmployAbility to train and place persons with disabilities to work. The program has three steps. The first step is the referral that includes assessment, work adjustment and job readiness training. The second step includes job development. The third step is job retention and follow-up. The goal of the program is to place difficult to place clients and to open doors to employment that have not traditionally been available to VR clients in southwest Georgia.

The Muskogee Vocational Rehabilitation (MVR) program applied for and received its first 121 Project Grant in 2000. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program has maintained a cooperative relationship with the MVR Program since its inception. MVR aims to empower American Indians with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society. Through this partnership with the Lower Muskogee Creek Indian Tribe, the VR Program provides disability assessment, evaluation, and referral services to clients of the tribe. Georgia VR has several staff members who are dedicated to assisting the MVR Program with providing vocational rehabilitation services to its tribal members. The VR regional director in that area schedules regular meetings with MVR staff to ensure that interagency referral and information sharing exist to assist in eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment.

To ensure increased collaboration, VR includes MVR staff in appropriate agency training programs and VR staff is provided training on the Indian culture and its relationship to disability and work. VR staff are active members of Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR), and represent VR at annual Native American summits, conferences, and on the MVR Advisory Council. The MVR director is an active member of the State Rehabilitation Council.

VR shares a strong and effective partnership with the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE). The two agencies have established a state level cooperative agreement to assure that cooperation and collaboration exist in implementing and maintaining a system of vocational rehabilitation service delivery to eligible students with disabilities. In addition to the state level agreement, VR also establishes annual collaborative agreements between VR and local school systems (LSS) to provide dedicated rehabilitation counselors for transition students. Each involved LSS receives intensive, dedicated rehabilitation services for the purpose of earlier identification of and intervention with students with disabilities. There were 79 collaborative agreements in FY 2010. VR and the LSS share financial responsibilities under the collaborative agreement; each agency contributes monetary and in-kind services to support projects that promote transition for students with disabilities.

Georgia coordinates with GDOE, GCDD, LSS, Supported Employment Providers and local businesses to provide Project Search in several counties to special education students in their last year of eligibility for high school. After rotating through three internships with local businesses, the students secure employment with VR supported employment services.

The Department of Corrections Transitional Centers and the Vocational Rehabilitation Program have a long-standing partnership assisting offenders who have disabilities. Traditional Centers are community-based centers that are located across the state. They prepare offenders nearing the end of their prison term for life in the community and VR services help the offenders prepare for and maintain employment.

The Georgia State Use Council and the Georgia Department of Administrative Services administers the State Use law through the non-profit Georgia Enterprises for Products and Services (GEPS). Some of Georgia’s Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) are partners in GEPS, along with other non-profit partners. Some VR clients receive services from those CRPS as appropriate based on their individualized plans for employment, but the VR case management system does not specifically track information on GEPS.

The VR Program does not have a formal agreement but encourages VR field staff to develop informal relationships with the Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture staff and become knowledgeable about their programs and potential comparable benefits that those programs may offer.

To avoid duplication of effort and to enhance the number of individuals served, the VR Program and State Rehabilitation Council have developed working relationships and coordinate activities with other Georgia councils. Linkages and productive relationships exist with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, Mayors Committees on Employment of People with Disabilities, Georgia Mental Health Planning Council (MHP), Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, Inc., Georgia Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Commission, the Council on American Indian Concerns, and other Georgia rehabilitation service agencies.

VR regional programs continue to establish cooperative relationships with community organizations and businesses that affect the lives of people with disabilities. These organizations include, but are not limited to, chambers of commerce, city and county governments, criminal justice systems, urban leagues, churches, health care and social assistance services, housing authorities, and educational institutions.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:16AM by Daronne Patterson

  • 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.

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency/VR Program recognizes the critical relationship among education, employment, independence and self-sufficiency; therefore, VR makes outreach and services to students with disabilities a top priority. VR provides equal access to services to eligible students with disabilities, whether they participate in special education or in general education classes and services. Of the clients served by Georgia VR in FY 2009, 48% were students transitioning from school to post-secondary opportunities with employment as the predominant outcome. In FY 2010 over 6,200 students with disabilities received services through the VR Program and 1,056 achieved a successful rehabilitation outcome.

VR shares a strong and effective partnership with the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE). The two agencies have established a state level cooperative agreement to assure that cooperation and collaboration exist in implementing and maintaining a system of VR service delivery to eligible students with disabilities.

The current cooperative agreement between GDOE and VR became effective as of December 1, 2005, and will remain in effect for ten (10) years, unless a revised agreement is developed and signed prior to the end of that time frame. This cooperative agreement stipulates that VR shall provide the GDOE with a written statement describing the eligibility criteria for VR services; work collaboratively with local school systems to identify and locate students with disabilities who may be in need of VR services; and develop, in conjunction with the eligible student, an individualized plan for employment (IPE) prior to the student’s graduation, including the VR services that are determined to be appropriate for the student.  The cooperative agreement defines terms and specifies the roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency. In particular, GDOE is responsible for identifying and referring to VR those students with disabilities who do and do not qualify for special education and related services but who appear to meet the requirements for eligibility for VR services.

The stipulations of the cooperative agreement are detailed in the VR Client Services Policy Manual, Section 450.0.00 and related references, including consultative and technical assistance services provided by VR to the GDOE and local school systems.

In addition to the state level agreement, VR has also established a collaborative agreement opportunity with GDOE and local school systems (LSS). Each involved LSS receives intensive, dedicated rehabilitation services for the purpose of earlier identification of and intervention with students with disabilities. In FY 2010, seventy-nine (79) LSSs took advantage of this opportunity.

VR and the LSS share financial responsibilities under the collaborative agreement; each agency contributes monetary and in-kind services to support projects that promote transition for students with disabilities. The VR Counselor works with each eligible student to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE or "Work Plan") and determine the vocational rehabilitation services appropriate to the students’ goal. While the student is in school, existing resources in the school and in the community sponsor needed services. However, VR will sponsor required, employment-related services if they are unavailable through the school/community and if a student is eligible for those services under the VR Program.

A goal of the VR team is to facilitate the successful transition of students with disabilities from education and transition services in school to VR services and successful employment after graduation. VR is involved in school transition planning and Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings with students, parents, and school staffs. VR counselors participate in community resource fairs, attend parent/teacher functions, and serve on interagency transition councils to further promote the availability of VR services. In addition, VR team members share information on community resources, partner in the transition process, and provide workshops on VR services and support opportunities for groups of students, families and school personnel.

All the activities noted above are included in VR’s procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services. Collaboration with community partners is essential to identifying students with disabilities who need transition services. These relationships include: the local Workforce Investment Board, Family Connections, Local Interagency Planning Teams, local Community Service Boards, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, supported employment providers, local four-year, two-year, and technical colleges, Department of Family and Children’s Services, Department of Community Health, Brain & Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund Commission, and local employer committees.

In FY 2008,   VR joined with the Georgia Department of Education, Tools for Life and the Southeast Regional Institute on Deafness (SERID) to produce the Touch the Future/Transition and SERID Conference and Expo. The joint conference was well attended by transition-involved school staff, VR counselors who work with transitioning students in local school systems, and GDOL employees involved in workforce development.

Additional efforts are under way to strengthen ties with High School/High Tech and collaborate on services to transition students. High School/High Tech is a community based enrichment initiative for high school students with disabilities who are interested in science, engineering and technology-related careers.

The VR Coordinator of Transition Services promotes school to work activities through participation on statewide committees and relationships with strategic partners. The Statewide Transition Steering Committee is comprised of teachers and school vocational counselors, private employment representatives, other service providers, parents and advocacy groups, post-secondary and state agency representatives. The Committee meets at least three times during the year to address transition issues, share resources, and develop strategies to challenge current practices in meeting the needs of students with disabilities. This Committee developed a pilot project called Linking Discovery to Employment that will be launched in four counties in FY 2011. The collaborating partners are looking at a continuum of services and the use of the Discovery Process for students with significant cognitive disabilities as strategies to improve employment outcomes.

Members of the GDOE State Advisory Panel for Special Education include representatives from parents/parent mentors, advocates, both special and regular education teachers, school administrators and special education directors, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Corrections, and the VR Program. Through regular involvement with these groups, the VR State Transition Coordinator shares information about VR services and learns about other services and resources that may enhance transition services statewide.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:19AM by Daronne Patterson

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

Georgia VR attributes its success in part to long-standing relationships with a network of private nonprofit Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) and other community partners/programs located throughout Georgia. These programs provide a wide variety of employment and work readiness services to VR consumers that include vocational evaluation and training; work adjustment and skills training; supported employment and job coaching; job development, placement, and retention; extended/transitional employment; and specialized services for persons who have visual or hearing impairments.

The VR Program understands the need for additional service providers to maximize service efforts for unserved and underserved populations in rural areas throughout Georgia and will implement strategies described in Attachment4.11 (d) to expand those service providers.

As of FY 2010, VR has 171 service agreements, 115 collaborative agreements, 28 CRP contracts and 68 non-CRP contracts to provide services that assist people with disabilities to go to work.

Cooperative agreements (including contracts and/or memoranda of understanding) have been established with all entities from which VR purchases services. Each agreement defines the scope and nature of services provided by both agencies; establishes principles for the development of working between the two agencies; establishes criteria by which the cooperative operations may be reviewed and evaluated in order to determine their effectiveness; defines programs and establishes criteria for admission, monitoring and successful completion of services.

Each cooperative agreement includes the following information:

Purpose of the agreement that outlines program services, number of persons to be served, and timeframe for provision of services;

Legal basis for handling interagency disagreements;

Role, function, and responsibility of each agency, and referral and reporting procedures;

Consumer staffing and consumer rights to informed choice about their vocational rehabilitation program;

Financial procedures for submission of invoices for services provided, and payment amounts and schedules based on consumer outcomes;

Supervision and number of work hours for each consumer receiving services;

Outcome measurements; and

Statement of assurance of compliance.

VR reviews each provider agreement at least once annually. If needed, agreements are amended based on changes in law and/or methods for improving the provision of services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:22AM by Daronne Patterson

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.

Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency/VR Program defines supported employment (SE) as competitive employment in an integrated setting with on-going supports for the employee. Supported employment services typically include job development and placement, job coaching, specialized job training, natural support, individually tailored supervision and extended services. VR is authorized to pay for these SE services except extended services; therefore, VR coordinates with SE providers to plan for those extended supports.  VR provides SE as a bundle of services for one fee that is paid in increments to the provider at specific milestones through the client being stabilized on the job and transitioned to extended services. The service provider is then responsible for extended services.

Georgia VR establishes collaborative agreements with SE providers who agree to provide the services at the established fee rate, which includes the plan for extended services that are not funded by VR. Extended Services are those services needed to support and maintain the individual’s employment and are provided for as long as the individual is employed at the same job.  In order to have a collaborative agreement with VR, a provider must agree to provide a minimum of two contacts per month at the worksite after the employee reaches stabilization. If off site monitoring is deemed more appropriate, two face-to-face contacts plus one employer contact are required. VR cannot pay for these extended services provided after the employee reaches stabilization; therefore VR assists the provider in setting  up natural supports in the workplace  Natural supports and extended supports are individualized and include a wide variety of services tailored to the needs of the individual.   As needed, VR will also provide post employment services that are not available from the extended service provider such as job station redesign or repair and maintenance of assistive technology.

 

One of the guiding principles of SE services is the use of all available resources and strategies to meet the needs of clients and employers. VR negotiates collaborative agreements with providers to specify the roles of consumers, service providers and employers and share service provider resources. Currently there are more than 105 collaborative agreements between GDOL/VR and non-profit community based organizations.

The VR Program collaborates with a statewide network of private, non-profit Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) and Community Service Boards (CSBs) for the provision of SE services. These agencies prepare VR consumers for permanent jobs through SE and complementary services. The most common organizations that VR utilizes are described below.

The CSBs provide VR consumers with mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases a wide scope of outpatient, day and residential housing services. VR has established collaborative agreements with the DeKalb CSB, Georgia Highlands CSB, Lookout Mountain CSB, McIntosh Trail CSB, Gwinnett/Rockdale/Newton CSB, Clayton County CSB, Satilla CSB, Middle Flint CSB, and Advantage Behavioral Health Service Centers.

Easter Seals programs provide services to children and adults with disabilities and other special needs. These services include medical rehabilitation (physical, occupation, and speech-hearing therapy, and early intervention), transportation, assistive technology, and job readiness training. Collaborative agreements are established with the East Georgia, Middle Georgia, and Southwest Georgia East Seal Societies.

Goodwill Industries programs provide VR consumers with on-the-job training, employment services, and post-employment support. These services include vocational assessment, job readiness, occupational skills training and work experience, job placement and retention, and support services such as childcare, transportation, and counseling. Collaborative agreements are established with Goodwill Industries of the Chattahoochee Valley, Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, and Goodwill Industries of North Georgia.

Bobby Dodd Institute (BDI) provides VR consumers with on-the-job and work adjustment training in the areas of packaging, assembly and hand work, information technology, office essentials, food service, building trades, and janitorial services. Through the BDI Explorers Program, VR transition students in the metro Atlanta area receive half-day classroom enrichment and a half-day of paid job training opportunities.

WORKTEC offers a full range of supported employment services to assist and support consumers of behavioral health and developmental disabilities services. VR consumers receive job sampling, on-the-job training, work adjustment training, community based training, job readiness training, follow-up support, and job site analysis. Through WORKTEC, VR consumers receive on-the-job training in retail stores, grocery stores, hospitals, manufacturing plants, medical offices, research facilities, human services, and administrative services. Through the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Program, WORKTEC’s contract services division provides work opportunities for VR consumers through a variety of state and federal contracts. These services include janitorial-maintenance, grounds maintenance, landscape management/irrigation systems, mailroom operations and services, and quality control-shelf stocking.

Speech, Hearing and Rehabilitation Enterprises, Inc. (SHARE) - SHARE provides VR consumers with job readiness and work adjustment training in business and marketing, home consumer science, industrial technology, and manipulating processing and production. Supported employment participants receive training on finding job vacancies, interviewing, and job maintenance.

The Tommy Nobis Center provides comprehensive job training and employment services to VR consumers. These services include vocational evaluation and career planning, work evaluation, supported employment, employment development, and office technology training.

A network of service agencies for blind and visually impaired individuals provides necessary skills training for these individuals to function independently. VR clients with vision loss receive services from Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia, Inc., Center for the Visually Impaired and Savannah Association for the Blind, Inc. These agencies provide individual instruction in the client’s home, school, and/or place of employment. Other services include vision rehabilitation, employment assistance, support groups, visual aids, and computer training.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:24AM by Daronne Patterson

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency/VR Services Support Team, (VRSST), has the primary responsibility for the relationship with educational institutions and maintenance of the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD).

The goals of the VR Program for CSPD are to:

• Maintain the established standard that all Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors are certified by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).

• Monitor and provide support for our counseling series positions to comply with and transition into the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) position including providing preparation support to take the CRC exam.

• Actively utilize the counseling series to provide an avenue for development of non-counseling staff to move into counseling positions.

• Continue to develop, improve and implement foundational courses for direct service delivery positions with an increased emphasis on the management level to include a pre-supervisory training option.

• Expand the development and implementation of intermediate level courses for direct service delivery positions.

• Continue to provide in-service training opportunities for all VR staff members to ensure that quality services are provided by qualified VR personnel and to link that training to staff competencies.

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The VR Program collects personnel data regarding the number of positions and vacancies in each job category; the number of incumbents, years of service, credentials and certifications, education and eligibility for retirement during the next five years. VR also collects data on staff developmental performance, career plans and goals.

The Human Resource Development Team (HRDT), in cooperation with VR leadership, employs the principles of human performance improvement to expand core capacity and capabilities. Areas of specific responsibility are: workforce performance evaluation, training needs assessment, performance consulting, training structure-design-development and synthesis of post training data collected. From concept to incorporation the HRDT determine appropriate interventions to expand core capacity and capability.

The VR Program has approximately 803 allocated positions for professional and paraprofessional rehabilitation staff. During FFY 2010 VR received 14,526 applications for services; developed 7864 work plans; placed 4,278 Georgians with disabilities into competitive employment; and closed 4,463 client cases as successfully rehabilitated (status 26 closures). The total number of clients served in FFY 2010 was 37,621, and caseloads averaged 117 clients.

The overall vacancy rate for the program is approximately 17 percent. The vacancy rate for the counselor series positions is approximately 29 percent. The VR Program continually recruits to fill the CRC positions and uses the Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor position only when there are no CRC applicants. The Rehabilitation Case Work Associate position has been used to develop staff members into the CRC counselor position. Contributing factors to the vacancy rate include: competition from other employers offering higher salaries; an insufficient applicant pool of Certified Rehabilitation Counselors or those eligible to sit for certification; delays between applicant selection and job offer and limited RSA Scholarships.

Currently, six percent (6%) of all staff members are eligible to retire effective immediately if each chose the minimum of 30 years of service. Over the next five years, this figure will remain constant. Using the Individual Development Plan (IDP) for each staff member, the HRDT and the VR Leadership Team track, monitor and anticipate significant knowledge base changes due to the loss of experienced staff. Additionally, the managers use the IDP to coach for succession planning. The primary goal is to develop and maintain adequate and competent staff to provide quality services to Georgians with disabilities.

The chart below reflects information on the number of positions and expected vacancies for VR staff members who provide direct services to VR clients and their supervisors. When the vacancies are filled, this level of personnel is considered to be adequate to meet the needs of VR clients.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Regional Director 12 0 13
2 Rehabilitation Unit Manager 58 16 42
3 Certified Rehabilitation Counselor 234 60 179
4 Rehab Counselor for the Blind - 10/CRC 16 4 7
5 Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf 19 6 11
6 Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor 31 0 21
7 Rehabilitation Case Work Associate 9 0 13
8 Rehabilitation Employment Specialist 72 31 67
9 Rehabilitation Job Readiness Specialist 53 37 49
10 Rehabilitation Assistant 113 55 118

 

VR continues to maintain established relationships with Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) that can assist with meeting its CSPD requirements. VR currently collaborates with the following universities to provide graduate level rehabilitation counseling coursework that will assist counselors in meeting the CRCC Certification standard: Georgia State University, University of Kentucky, Thomas University, Auburn University, San Diego State University, University of North Texas, Georgia Southern University and Texas Tech University. Since Georgia VR counselor qualifications are tied to the CRCC Certification, the Georgia VR Program works with schools that have an accredited master’s program in Rehabilitation Counseling.

The Georgia VR Program continues to support staff development with an ultimate goal of a qualified and certified vocational rehabilitation counselor. Staff members from all job classes continue to take advantage of their eligibility to be considered for the Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling program offered by the University of Kentucky established previously through efforts of the Georgia State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). The web-based, accelerated distance education program is specifically designed for individuals who are currently working in the field of rehabilitation and can be completed in sixteen months. To graduate, candidates have the option to take and pass the CRC exam or the university’s comprehensive exit exam. During FFY 2010 the VR program had eight staff members enrolled in the Rehabilitation Counseling Program at the University of Kentucky and two individuals have attained their CRC.

Georgia State University’s (GSU) RSA training grant supports development of the Master’s program at GSU and enhances recruitment opportunities for Georgia’s VR Program. Through a close relationship, VR Program CRCs act as mentors to GSU students throughout their studies. VR CRCs also provide instructional time as guest lecturers and assist students in meeting course requirements by providing specific experiences to be conducted in the field. At the beginning of each year, VR staff members provide the GSU Master’s enrollees an overview of the Georgia VR Program. Names and contact information are collected and matches made between VR-CRC mentors and students. Each year a VR Program representative serves on a career panel for Master’s candidates and answers questions regarding employment with the VR state agency. Toward the end of the school year, VR state agency personnel provide mock interview opportunities for students soon to graduate.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Georgia State Univesity 20 0 9 7
2 Thomas University 103 0 0 29
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a personnel data collection and planning tool for the preparation and retention of qualified staff. The IDP is reviewed, at a minimum, semi-annually and serves as a record for performance development and career goals. Managers use the IDP as coaching tool during performance reviews as well as a tracking tool of the progress of staff in the counseling series to attain or maintain certification. The IDP is also used with non-counseling staff who express a career goal of VR counselor. Knowledge of this goal and progress towards it provides a built-in resource for potential employee/applicants for anticipated vacancies. New Master’s graduates provide a succession pool for counseling positions.

All VR Program staff members are encouraged to pursue advanced training and/or certifications that increase the quality of the VR services they provide. Some of the certifications the Georgia VR staff members are obtaining include Certified Resume Writer with the Professional Association of Resume Writers, Career Development Facilitator from the National Career Development Association and Employment Services and Rehabilitation Leadership Certificates from Auburn University.

Recruitment:

Efforts to promote recruiting and hiring of individuals with disabilities and from culturally diverse backgrounds are part of the VR personnel process. VR uses online and print resources such as the National Rehabilitation Association website, Deaf Digest and Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) publications to increase VR’s visibility for recruitment of persons with diverse backgrounds. The VR program maintains affiliations with disability organizations and advertises career opportunities in disability related publications. Active recruiting opportunities exist during conferences such as the Southeast National Rehabilitation Association and the Southeast Regional Institute on Deafness where Georgia participants are visible and active.

Relationships with the various programs within the Georgia state departments have yielded an experienced source of applicants with backgrounds in employment services, social services and medical knowledge. The VR Program has a positive reputation as an employer that provides individualized developmental opportunities for all staff members, very similar to the same quality of service provided to our VR clients.

Internship Opportunities:

The VR Program continues to receive requests for paid as well as unpaid internships from new counseling graduates from institutions of higher education. During this last reporting period Georgia VR hosted five paid interns from whom we hope to recruit new, CRC eligible graduates. Job announcements are posted continuously on various websites including the GDOL and the State of Georgia Job Site.

Retention:

The Georgia VR Program continues to be challenged with the high attrition rate of counselors, primarily because of salary limitations and the limited number of graduates from Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling programs. The Georgia VR Program’s counselor quality standard of the CRC sometimes leads to filling a position at the Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor level when there are no CRC applicants. VR will then use the IDP to support that Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor to attain the CRC. However, after support is provided to attain the CRC and experience gained with Georgia VR, many new counselors are finding more lucrative positions elsewhere within school systems and federal employment sites.

The On-Boarding developmental process for new staff provides an historical, in-depth, position-specific orientation and training conducted primarily through mentoring and individual instruction. Updates and refinements began this year and are expected to be completed during the next year.

During this fiscal year two statewide new employee orientation events were conducted for 100 participants. The events provide an opportunity for executive leadership staff to interact with new employees in a relaxed and supportive environment. Participants receive historical vocational rehabilitation and disability awareness information. Also, new employees have the opportunity to provide input on enhancements of those aspects of the VR Program that have provided a positive impression. After each event, participants’ evaluations provide input on improvements to the event resulting in a continuously responsive and updated event.

Succession Planning:

Changes in management and administrative leaders is a constant within the VR Program. Retirements continue to be anticipated, and the need for succession planning is a forefront issue. The process of pre-planning for departure and short-term re-hire of retired staff to provide mentoring and a bridge for information, knowledge and skills exchange has proven to be the most successful. The use of stimulus funds supported this initiative. Additionally the agency’s internal mentoring program, starting with on-boarding through promotion, serves as a tool for leadership development. The VR Program is providing specific leadership training internally as well as collaboratively with the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center.

VR initiated the New Supervisor Series training for all new supervisors during this fiscal year with 20 participants in the first class. Patterned after the RSA sponsored regional Institute for New Supervisors, the training was developed with input from the VR Program Management Development Team and delivered by TACE instructors specifically targeting Georgia management staff and issues. Initial evaluation results were extremely positive. The series will conclude during the next fiscal year.

 

The Georgia VR Program’s goal is to hire and retain staff with the competencies necessary to improve individual performance and agency outcomes. Georgia state law does not require certification or licensure for rehabilitation professionals or paraprofessionals therefore the Georgia VR Program established CSPD standards for the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor position of the CRC certification awarded by the CRCC.

The Georgia VR Program’s CSPD plan went into effect on April 1, 1999, and required all VR counselors to obtain CRC credentials by December 31, 2006. Less than 30 percent of the counselors were certified when the plan was implemented, while all counselors independently performing core services are now VR-CRCs as described above. Currently over 70 percent of VR Program leadership (staff members not in counselor roles but having impact on the quality of VR services) have the CRC credential. The VR Program leadership is comprised of two categories of management level positions, those located with direct service providers around the state (regional) and those centrally located in Atlanta (statewide). The two management level positions located regionally are Regional Director (RD) and Rehabilitation Unit Manager (RUM). The statewide level management positions are identified as the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Support Team (VRSST) and are centrally located in Atlanta.

One hundred percent (100%) of the VR-CRCs meet the CSPD standard and are eligible to independently perform core functions. There are 42 staff members who have IDPs that are guiding them towards achieving the CRC standard. Of these 42 individuals, five are on non-counselor series positions. All 42 are expected to meet the CSPD standard by 2013. Five have achieved the requisite CRCC certification, but three need further experience prior to being promoted to a CRC position. Also, 17 are ready to sit for the CRC exam this calendar year. The remaining candidates either need to complete their Masters program and/or additional coursework or need CRC supervision to sit for the exam. The Georgia VR Program is committed to providing training to assist personnel, particularly VR counselors, to meet the highest requirements in the State.

The VR Program continually recruits to fill the CRC positions and uses the Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor position only when there are no CRC applicants. The minimum qualifications that VR uses to hire on the Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor position are: Eligibility for Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Certification which requires a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Counseling or Counseling related field (Counselor Education, School Guidance Counseling, Community Counseling, Counseling Psychology, etc.) AND One (1) year of related experience OR Interns who are within 12 weeks of graduation from a regionally accredited Masters Rehabilitation Counseling Program. Note: Successful completion of Internship will be deemed equivalent to one year of professional experience and it is the requirement of the person filling this position to obtain/maintain Certification from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).

 

The VR Program monitors and manages the developmental activities as outlined by the CSPD State Plan and supported by the Federal In-Service Training Grant for Georgia VR. During this fiscal year the HRDT was reduced by one Performance Improvement Coordinator and one regional HRD Specialist. The team now totals 11 individuals. The HRDT gathers information on regional and individual developmental needs to establish the statewide plan that addresses performance improvement in the VR program. Based on that information, funds are expended for the planning, support and execution of training opportunities to meet the CSPD standard including degree programs, CRC accredited training and skills development opportunities.

Additionally, In-Service Training Grant funds directly support position-specific statewide knowledge and skills development for all unit positions through the provision of core courses for each position. Foundation courses are a mainstay for all field support staff to assure their consistent orientation on the core job competencies and capabilities necessary to perform their job duties and responsibilities. Similarly, intermediate and advanced courses are constructed to enhance proficiency and provide optimum professional development.

The Rehabilitation Unit Managers (RUMs) have major training needs in the areas of leadership, teamwork, coaching and hiring from an increasingly mobile workforce. During this past year, the HRDT Management Development Team implemented several foundational courses for managers. The focus was a comprehensive understanding of the federal requirements for service delivery and application of that understanding through the development of a target Unit Business Plan. In the development of the Unit Plan, managers conduct a comprehensive assessment of community, personnel and employment resources as well as an analysis of the local population to be served. Regional and executive leadership review, modify and support these Unit Business Plans.

Staff Performance Evaluations:

Annually, VR reviews performance standards for rehabilitation staff to determine if they are consistent with actual job functions, agency values, and Rehabilitation Act mandates. This review includes the IDPs to meet CSPD requirements. The annual Performance Management Process review for all VR staff includes activities and initiatives that are tied to improving the VR Program’s production of successful employment outcomes.

VR regularly reviews professional development training support services and resources including materials from the National Clearing House of Rehabilitation Training, RESNA, Southeast TACE center, and publications of the Institute for Rehabilitation Issues (IRI). These sources help to update and advance the staff members interdisciplinary knowledge and skills in assistive technologies, and improve upon the quality and breadth of employment outcomes.

Assistive Work Technology Support:

The VR Assistive Work Technology (AWT) Unit is comprised of internal specialists who provide continuous information and service to staff and VR clients in the area of rehabilitation technology. Teams of Rehabilitation Engineers, Rehabilitation Technologists, Rehabilitation Technicians and Occupational Therapists have the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to provide technology expertise to service delivery teams. Team responsibilities may include: providing technology assessments for consumers and businesses; making home and van modification recommendations: installing and resolving issues with computer equipment; identifying needs for specialized seating services; providing training in use and care of assistive technology, and designing and fabricating assistive technology when necessary. VR is committed to maintaining AWT staff with modern skills and knowledge of vocational rehabilitation theory and practice. The VR Program integrates the use of progressive resources to enrich AWT staff knowledge, skills and abilities.

 

VR is accessible to consumers who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing through the Georgia Relay 711 service or through videophone direct communication or Video Relay Service. Additionally VR maintains qualified team members who communicate in sign language with consumers. VR counselors and managers who provide services to Deaf clients are required to have an Intermediate or higher proficiency level in American Sign Language as demonstrated by the Sign Language Proficiency Interview(SLPI). Also, VR holds vendors who provide direct communication with clients to the same standard. The Georgia VR program contracts with agencies and private vendors to provide sign language interpreting and transliterating services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind staff.

VR provides Braille, reader service, computer disks, CDs, flash drives, data in the preferred electronic media that is compatible with assistive technology such as JAWS, large print, e-mail and other forms of assistance for individuals who have visual impairments.

VR utilizes Network Omni Translation Telephone Services to communicate with all non-English speaking consumers and constituents. Network Omni provides multilingual translation services in 150 languages. Also, VR encourages staff members to participate in academic courses to enable them to communicate with persons whose second language is English. VR staff members who are able to communicate in a second language fluently are eligible for a salary supplement. There continues to be a need for more counselors who can communicate with Georgia’s Hispanic population. VR currently has a staff person of Latino heritage in each of the geographic areas identified as having large Hispanic populations to meet communication and cultural needs. Also, Georgia VR networks with the Asian and Pacific Island Technical Assistance Center and participates in the annual Latino Summit.

 

In coordination with the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), VR is dedicated to providing quality services to Georgia’s students with disabilities under the auspices of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). VR shares a strong and effective partnership with GDOE. The two agencies have established a state level cooperative agreement to assure that cooperation and collaboration exist in implementing and maintaining a system of VR service delivery to eligible students with disabilities.

VR continues to be an active participant on the Georgia Statewide Transition Steering Committee, whose overall purpose is to bring together all interested parties statewide to provide input and participate in all possible avenues affecting the successful transition of youth with disabilities from school to work and independence. The VR Special Populations Coordinator shares appropriate and relevant committee information with the VR Field personnel, particularly VR Counselors for Transition and other Counselors working with students. VR and GDOE currently collaborate on many in-service training initiatives including the Touch the Future Expo and Transition Conference, bi-monthly webinars, a bi-annual training conference focused on ensuring that people with disabilities transition into the future with assistive technology.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:25AM by Daronne Patterson

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.

Executive Summary of the FY 2011 - FY 2013 Georgia Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA)

In collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) 110 Program conducted Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) activities from fall 2009 through spring 2010 by gathering input and information from public hearings, surveys, targeted interviews and/or focus groups of sources including but not limited to: VR Clients and their Families, Employers, Advocates, Community Rehabilitation Programs, Centers for Independent Living, Committee of Blind Vendors, Other Public and Private Partners, VR 110 Staff Members, Disability Program Navigators and Workforce Investment Staff. The CSNA also included reviews of relevant resources such as the “Model State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation of Persons who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing or Late Deafened”, American Community Survey and other census information, agency data, and rehabilitation research journals.

A unique aspect of the public hearings for this CSNA is that the VR Program and the SRC invited the Statewide Independent Living Council, Inc (SILC) to collaborate in holding joint hearings in four locations to solicit comments from a representative and diverse population. Stakeholders who could not attend the hearings on site were informed of opportunities to answer the same questions posed at the public hearings via written statements, email comments, or online surveys posted on the SRC website, the SILC website and the Parents Educating Parents and Professionals, Inc. (PEPP) website. This process identified opportunities for expanded coordination and collaboration between VR and the Georgia Independent Living Network leading to greater independence and employment for people with disabilities.

The VR 110 Program and the SRC analyzed the information and input resulting from the CSNA activities to summarize this CSNA for FY 11 – FY 13 (October, 2010 through September, 2013). Recommendations from the CSNA were incorporated into the State Goals and Priorities Attachment 4.11 (c) (1), State’s Strategies Attachment 4.11 (d), and Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Fund Attachment 4.11 (c) (4). Analysis of input from all CSNA sources resulted in the following answers to the questions specified in federal regulations at CFR §361.29.

What are the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services needs of:

(A) Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services?

• Guidance and counseling including assessments;

• Transportation;

• Mobile services especially in rural areas;

• Supported Employment (SE) with job coaches;

• Independent Living (IL) skills including self advocacy training and disability awareness training regarding personal capabilities;

• Transition services

• Work preparation training;

• Employments skills training;

• Community Work Adjustment;

• Assistive work technology and job accommodations;

• Timely and responsive VR services; and

• Outreach, information and referral, and coordination of services between VR, IL, the Older Individuals Who Are Blind Program, and other community resources.

(B) Individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved?

• Specialized services and training for VR staff to improve services to clients with traumatic brain injury, cognitive disabilities, Autism, and Asperger’s Syndrome, particularly in the areas of personal and social adjustment and IL skills training;

• Better coordination and communication between VR and Mental Health (MH) agency staff and service providers as well as specialized services and training for VR staff to improve services to clients with MH disabilities, particularly for SE services;

• Specialized services and training for VR staff to improve services to clients with sensory disabilities (Blind, Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Severe Visual Impairments, and Hard of Hearing). Specialized services should include mobile services and SE providers with specialized training to meet the unique needs of individuals with sensory disabilities;

• Interpreters and training for VR staff and service providers in multicultural influences to provide support and overcome language and/or cultural barriers, particularly for people with disabilities who are Deaf, Native American, Hispanic or Asian;

• Training for VR staff and service providers to develop resources and improve job preparation and placement services for clients with criminal backgrounds including youth served in the Juvenile Justice system;

• Enhanced transition services; and

• Outreach, information and referral to services for all underserved populations listed above.

(C) Individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system.

• Access (both physical and programmatic) to workforce training, job placement services, and other workforce services offered by those components;

• Assistive work technology and job accommodations;

• Ongoing training of local workforce staff members in disability awareness and accommodations for services to maintain competencies and enhance customer service; and

• Information and referral to all available services, cross training, communication and coordination between workforce investment system staff and VR staff.

What are the needs to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs?

• Provide specialized community rehabilitation program (CRP) staff training and expand specialized services for individuals with sensory disabilities (Blind, Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Severe Visual Impairments, and Hard of Hearing), TBI, Autism and cognitive disabilities;

• Establish more mobile services, providers and satellite offices particularly in the rural areas of the state and particularly for the specific underserved populations noted above;

• Develop more Community Work Adjustment sites with employers that lead to permanent employment with competitive wages;

• Increase CRP staff multicultural training and access to interpreters to overcome language and cultural barriers to services;

• Improve services and job placement for VR clients with criminal backgrounds;

• Increase the number of SE service providers and work with VR to improve SE policies, procedures and outcomes;

• Enhance employment skills training programs that are relevant to the current job market and projected employment trends;

• Update the VR service fee structure, policies and procedures for CRPs;

• Improve the information, referral and coordination between VR and CRPs;

• Initiate construction of a new residential facility for the Cave Spring Rehabilitation Center and provide funds for additional staffing, training, and infrastructure support to meet the needs of the increased number of students, particularly those with sensory disabilities; and

• Complete the construction of the new RWSIR VR Unit residential complex and renovate existing RWSIR facilities to meet other programmatic needs to complement the new facility. Provide additional staffing, training and infrastructure to meet the needs of the increased number of students, particularly those with sensory disabilities.

This screen was last updated on Sep 10 2010 3:12PM by Daronne Patterson

The 2009 American Community Survey estimated Georgia’s population ages 16 to 64 years to be 6,423,288, and that 12.1% or 777,218 have a disability. More specifically, 7.2% or 462,477 were estimated to have an employment disability.

The estimates below are separated into the alphabetical categories of the Order of Selection as described in Attachment 4.11 (c) (3).

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
A. Title I $98,820,000 16,200 $6,100
B. Title I $19,240,000 5200 $3,700
C. Title I $14,740,000 2200 $6,700
D. Title I $5,130,000 1900 $2,700
E. Title I $3,360,000 2100 $1,600
A. Title VI $466,473 229 $2,037
B. Title VI $203,940 103 $1,980
Totals   $141,960,413 27,932 $5,082

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:27AM by Daronne Patterson

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’S GOALS AND PRIORITIES

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency 110 Program includes the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program, the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWSIR), and the Business Enterprise Program (BEP). The VR Program includes the Cave Spring Rehabilitation Center (CSRC), a residential rehabilitation program located in northwest Georgia. The Georgia 110 Program developed priorities and defined them in the mission, vision, goals and objectives below with input from the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), RWSIR Executive Committee, BEP Committee of Blind Vendors, advocacy groups and constituents, public and private partners (including those in the Workforce Investment Act system), results of the 2010 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment that included public comment hearings, and analysis of the federal performance indicators.

This input confirmed the ongoing mission, vision and priority goals as well as the ongoing priority needs for facility improvements for Georgia’s two residential rehabilitation programs that were identified in the 2008 State Plan. This process identified refinements in the objectives to reach those goals as described below. These priorities, goals and objectives are intended for all Georgia VR clients based on their individual needs, including those with supported employment service needs. Also, this process resulted in specific strategies described in Attachment 4.11(d) to achieve these goals and objectives.

Mission:

To prepare people with disabilities to achieve successful employment and independence and to support businesses in meeting their workforce needs.

We will accomplish this by collaborating with public and private partners and providing services that:

• Assist individuals with disabilities to attain their work goals and increase self-sufficiency through assessment, rehabilitation counseling, work skills preparation, training and education, assistive technology, job placement and support services.

• Assist employers to meet their business needs through referral of qualified job applicants with disabilities to fill vacancies, support in retaining job incumbents with disabilities, training and technical assistance.

Vision:

To be the premier organization that assists people with disabilities to maximize their work potential and level of independence.

Goals and Objectives:

I. Assist people with disabilities to go to work. a. At least 55.8% (the federal performance standard) of the people with disabilities who commit to a work plan and participate in the VR Program will attain employment for a minimum of 90 days. b. The BEP and VR will increase the number of appropriate VR client referrals, and the BEP will increase the percentage of those VR referrals who achieve blind vendor licensure status and BEP careers. c. The RWSIR will increase by 10% the number of VR Unit students graduating work ready as demonstrated by the students’ achievement of 16 standard work readiness behaviors. d. The 110 Program will expand capacity for comprehensive vocational assessments in the areas of the state that have insufficient vocational evaluation resources. e. The VR Assistive Technology Unit will increase access to assistive technology devices statewide to enable clients to go to work.

II. Enhance services to unserved and underserved populations. a. The 110 Program will augment services to meet the specialized needs of customers who are Blind, Deaf or Deaf-Blind. b. The 110 Program will increase outreach and training to enhance customer service and increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities who have language and/or cultural barriers. c. The 110 Program will expand customized VR services for eligible veterans to increase employment outcomes. d. RWSIR will enhance transitional residential services, particularly for persons with autism, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries.

III. Enhance transition services for students with disabilities. a. The VR Program will increase by 5% the number of transition students who go to work during the fiscal year. b. The VR Program will collaborate with local school systems and the Department of Education to maintain the number of dedicated transition VR counselors located in the schools. c. RWSIR will expand its partnership with the Technical College System of Georgia and develop at least two new certificate skills training programs for VR Unit students. d. The BEP will create internships or mentoring opportunities for students who are blind to work with licensed blind vendors and/or explore careers in that field. e. The CSRC will implement plans to replace its facility, and the RWSIR will complete its new residential complex; both CSRC and RWSIR will enhance staffing patterns, training and program infrastructure to increase capacity and client services. f. The VR Program will increase marketing efforts with parents, school nurses, counselors, teachers and administrators to increase referrals of Section 504 students.

IV. Help employers meet their human resources needs. a. The 110 Program will increase the number of employers who hire VR clients. b. The VR Assistive Technology Unit will provide technical assistance and training to assist employers in hiring and retaining employees with disabilities. c. RWSIR will develop a new skills training program customized for at least one local employer. d. VR and BEP will work with the licensed blind vendors who operate large food service operations to assist them in hiring VR clients to fill available vacancies in those operations.

Priority Facility Needs:

The FY 2008 State Plan described the priority needs for new facilities for the two state-owned residential rehabilitation centers. These needs were identified through input received from public and private stakeholders, State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) site visits, the FY 2008-2010 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA), and internal analysis. The Georgia 110 Program has two residential rehabilitation programs in Georgia available to meet the needs of VR clients who are primarily ages 18 – 20 transitioning from high school to work or post secondary school: the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWSIR) located in rural Warm Springs, about 60 miles south of Atlanta; and the Cave Spring Rehabilitation Center (CSRC) in the mountains of northwest Georgia in Cave Spring, about 20 miles from Rome.

The FY 2011-2013 CSNA confirmed that there is an ongoing priority need for these residential rehabilitation programs that provide individualized services to prepare VR clients to be successful in post secondary education, training and employment. VR field counselors refer clients to these programs when the clients’ educational experiences did not adequately prepare them for living independently and going to work. Many clients exit the public school system with a certificate of attendance instead of a diploma; thus, they are not allowed to access post secondary educational institutions. These programs provide education and training that assist clients in achieving their high school diplomas or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Clients often need these program services for driver’s education, training and assistance in obtaining a driver’s license. A valid driver’s license is an essential key for employment and independence, particularly in rural Georgia. Also, young adults with significant disabilities benefit from the opportunity to live away from home to develop social and independent living skills that will help them make the transition from high school to adult life and enhance their ability to go to work.

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) determined the RWSIR facility was the top priority for the State Fiscal Year 2008 Bond Request. Using federal 110 funds to match that state bond, the GDOL initiated the construction of a new VR residential complex in October 2009. This state-of-the-art, 77,000 square-foot complex will house over 150 VR clients from across the state of Georgia. Scheduled for completion in December 2010, this new two-story structure will be a model for the nation in its accessibility and functionality, allowing RWSIR to serve anyone with any type of disability.

With that priority addressed, the GDOL allocated approximately $9.4 million in VR 110 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, otherwise known as stimulus funds, to begin work on the critically needed priority of a new facility for CSRC. The GDOL will provide funds from other sources as necessary to meet the estimated total project cost of $10 million. Plans for that new facility are underway with a target completion date of December 2011. Additional 110 funds will be needed to provide for adequate staffing and infrastructure of the new CSRC facility to meet the needs of young adults with significant disabilities, particularly those who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deaf-Blind. The following paragraphs provide more specific information on the CSRC and RWSIR programs and current facility plans.

Priority 1 - Cave Spring Rehabilitation Center

Program Description

As noted above, the CSRC provides individualized rehabilitation services including educational and training experiences, work preparation and community work adjustment training opportunities that may lead to full time employment for young adults. Employers throughout the Cave Spring area provide community work adjustment training opportunities that may lead to full time employment. The CSRC provides transportation, housing, counseling and support services to clients who attend the Georgia Highlands College or the Georgia Northwest Technical College. CSRC provides driver’s education services to prepare eligible clients to obtain their licenses, and specialized staff members are able to meet the special needs for driver’s education services that provide for adequate time and communication skills for Deaf or Hard of Hearing students.

CSRC is the only residential rehabilitation program in the state with an emphasis and staff skilled in serving clients who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deaf-Blind. The CSRC serves students with a variety of significant disabilities, with student who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing representing about 50% of the current students. The other major disability groups include development disabilities, autism or mental illness.

The CSRC served 103 VR clients in FY 2009, and 36 completed their programs during the year. There were 62 new clients that year. The length of a student’s program can range from 3 months to several years if the student is residing at CSRC and receiving additional CSRC services while in college. In FY 2009 the CSRC assisted 21 students to receive their drivers’ licenses and 32 to receive their learners’ driving permits.

Need for a New Facility:

As described in the 2008 State Plan, Georgia needs to replace the current facility that is almost 50 years old with multiple critical infrastructure issues including the electrical, plumbing, sewage and HVAC systems. The total infrastructure of the facility is insufficient to meet growing demand. The current maximum capacity of the existing dormitory is 34 beds, with capacity limited by staffing and support services as well as physical facility issues. Due to this limited capacity, there is an average of 25 VR referrals waiting each month for admission to CSRC.

Plans for a New Facility and Benefits of a New Facility

The current CSRC facility will be demolished to allow for construction of a new residential rehabilitation complex that will be approximately 34,000 square feet. This new complex will include appropriate, adequate, accessible space for a 68-bed dormitory with residents’ kitchens; six classrooms; a computer lab; a videophone room; a conference room, a health center, a cafeteria, eleven administrative offices, and an exterior basketball court. The current CSRC greenhouse and retail plant store that are used for work experience training will be enhanced and modernized as part of the new facility plans.

The current facility does not have food or health services that the new facility will enable CSRC to provide. CSRC also plans to provide opportunities for students to have work training experiences in those operations. The new facility will also have spaces for laundry, maintenance, and housekeeping services that will be used for job training opportunities as well.

The new complex space will allow for enhanced training and other services such as orientation and mobility, vocational evaluation, preparation to obtain the GED or high school graduation tests, drivers’ education, etc.

Benefits of the New Facility:

1. Meets accessibility needs both physically and programmatically;

2. Provides state of the art safety and health features;

3. Enhances ability for prescribed programming:

• Services to persons with sensory disabilities

• Integration of ambulatory and non-ambulatory residents and students with multiple assistance needs;

• Accessibility to health management personnel;

• Access to on campus food services; and

• Increased bed capacity.

4. Contributes a more efficient and effective student monitoring system which further addresses the overall safety and health issues.

5. Improves the location and number of accessible parking spaces.

6. Allows for the current advanced technology to improve communication and safety:

• New, improved intercom system;

• New, improved telephone system;

• New, improved cabling for computer access; and

• New, improved alarm systems that address needs for all types of disabilities.

7. Provides for increased services to underserved disability populations:

• Sensory disabilities (Blind, Deaf or Deaf-Blind)

• Autism including Asperger’s Syndrome

• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

• Multicultural

8. Enhances the ability to provide Independent Life Skills Training.

9. Promotes students’ acquisition of independent living and community living skills, including socialization and citizenship, through suite-style living quarters as in most college campuses.

Expected Results of the New Facility:

1. Eliminate or reduce the need for a waiting list for admission to CSRC.

2. Double the capacity of beds for an increase in the average daily census of students served from 34 to 68.

3. Increase the number of students graduating work ready and/or ready for post secondary school or further training by 10%.

4. Become a nationally recognized state of the art model residential program for VR customers.

5. Increase services to underserved populations particularly clients with sensory disabilities.

Funding Needs:

110 funds are needed for additional staff and training, particularly to meet the needs of students with sensory disabilities, and to complete the programmatic infrastructure to complement the new residential rehabilitation complex. Also, additional 110 funds could be needed after the new facility is completed in December 2011, as CSRC moves forward with the five-year growth plan.

Priority 2 - Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation

Program Description:

As noted above, the RWSIR Vocational Rehabilitation Unit (VRU) provides comprehensive residential rehabilitation services rehabilitation program on the historic RWSIR campus. The VRU provides individualized rehabilitation services through educational and work preparation experiences in a residential community environment. Employers throughout the area provide work training opportunities that may lead to full time employment. Recreational therapy activities are provided at the internationally renowned Frank C. Ruzycki Center for Therapeutic Recreation. Also, medical rehabilitation services including speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and inpatient hospital services are available on site as needed. The VRU provides transportation, counseling and support services for clients. An example of these individualized programs is the collaboration with the VRU to enable students to participate in the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) certificate training program at the West Georgia Technical College in LaGrange. This program has been successful in preparing VR clients to meet their vocational goals and achieve fulltime employment.

Enrollment declined from 252 in FY 2008 to 171 in FY 2009 due to flood damage to the existing dormitory. However, RWSIR provided effective services to increase the percentage of VRU students graduating as work ready by 16% from 62% in FY 2008 to 78% in FY 2009. The VRU holds four graduation ceremonies each year. The average length of a student’s individualized program is seven months. The VRU serves students with a variety of significant disabilities with the top three being Developmental Disabilities, Learning Disabilities and/or Cognitive Disorders.

As noted above, the RWSIR VR residential complex is scheduled for completion in December, 2010. The new complex is designed with beds in apartments and modern dorm rooms to meet the needs of individuals who require assistance and structure in order to develop total independence. The interactive spaces include a library, new classrooms, a coffee shop and large vending area equipped with a big screen television. These spaces will facilitate improved evening activities, including music groups, positive living experiences, and peer group opportunities all leading to a more complete rehabilitation experience. Also, meeting space has been enhanced for groups such as the Student Council, and an outdoor amphitheater will create new opportunities for individual development initiatives.

Benefits of the New Facility:

1. Meets accessibility needs both physically and programmatically.

2. Provides state of the art safety and health features.

3. Enhances ability for prescribed programming:

• Services to persons with sensory disabilities

• Integration of ambulatory and non-ambulatory residents and students with multiple assistance needs;

• Accessibility to health management personnel; and

• Increased bed capacity

4. Contributes a more efficient and effective student monitoring system which further addresses the overall safety and health issues.

5. Improves the location and number of accessible parking spaces. Parents, staff and students have made this request.

6. Allows for the current advanced technology to improve communication and safety:

• New, improved intercom system;

• New, improved telephone system;

• New, improved cabling for computer access; and

• New, improved alarm systems that address needs for all types of disabilities.

7. Provides for increased services to underserved disability populations:

• Sensory disabilities (Blind, Deaf or Deaf-Blind)

• Wounded Warriors

• Autism including Asperger’s Syndrome

• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

• Multicultural

8. Enhances the VRU ability to provide state of the art Independent Life Skills Training.

9. Promotes students’ acquisition of independent living and community living skills, including socialization and citizenship, through suite-style living quarters as in most college campuses.

Expected Results of the New Facility:

1. Increase the referrals to the VRU from 10 per week to 12 per week for about 100 additional new referrals.

2. Increase the average daily census of VRU students served by 45% from 120 to 150 clients.

3. Increase the number of students graduating work ready and/or ready for post secondary school or further training by 10%.

4. Become a nationally recognized state of the art model residential program for VR customers.

5. Increase services to underserved populations including clients with sensory disabilities, TBI, spinal cord injuries, autism, and wounded warriors returning home with disabilities.

Funding Needs:

110 funds are needed for additional staff and training, particularly to meet the needs of students with sensory disabilities, and to complete the programmatic infrastructure to complement the new residential rehabilitation complex.

Also, additional 110 funds are needed to renovate the old VR Unit facility and historic cottages to provide appropriate spaces for VRU programs and training needs. The old residential facility houses specific programs such as the Brain Injury Day Program, Drivers’ Education, and Counseling and Support Services for Persons with Autism and Asperser’s Syndrome that will be expanded and improved in the separate historic cottages when they are restored and renovated. Other programs such as specialized sensory services will be established in the cottages when staffing and specialized staff training are provided. The old facility will be renovated and retrofitted for the current and planned certificate and apprenticeship work training programs in areas such as Certified Nursing Assistant, Home Health Aide, Construction, Document Shredding, Cosmetology, Computer Recycling, Automobile Detailing and Horticulture.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:35AM by Daronne Patterson

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

Justification for order of selection

It is the intent of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency/VR Program to serve any and all persons in the state who are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. However, because of limited resources, the Georgia agency has determined that vocational rehabilitation services cannot be provided to all individuals with disabilities in the state that may apply for services. Therefore, the Order of Selection with priority categories was established.

 

Description of Priority categories

Category A. An eligible client with:

1. Permanent mental or physical impairment

2. 2 or more functional capacities affected

3. 2 or more primary services required

4. 2 or more services require provision over an extended period of time (at least 6 months)

Note: Meets criteria for Most Significant Disability

Category B. An eligible client with:

1. Permanent mental or physical impairment

2. 2 or more functional capacities affected

3. 2 or more primary services required

4. 1 service requires provision over an extended period of time (at least 6 months)

Note: Meets criteria for Most Significant Disability

Category C. An eligible client with:

1. Permanent mental or physical impairment

2. 1 functional capacity affected

3. 2 or more primary services required

4. 2 or more services require provision over an extended period of time (at least 6 months)

Note: Meets criteria for Significant Disability

Category D. An eligible client with:

1. Permanent mental or physical impairment

2. 1 functional capacity affected

3. 2 or more primary services required

4. 1 service requires provision over an extended period of time (at least 6 months)

Note: Meets criteria for Significant Disability; persons receiving SSI or SSDI will be placed in this priority category or higher.

Category E. An eligible client with:

1. Permanent physical or mental impairment

2. 1 functional capacity affected

3. 2 or more primary services required

4. No service requires provision over an extended period time (under 6 months)

Category F. An eligible client with:

1. Permanent physical or mental impairment

2. 1 functional capacity affected

3. 1 primary service required

4. Service requires provision over an extended period of time (at least 6 months)

Category G. All other eligible individuals who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities who do not meet the criteria for the above categories

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

The VR Program will serve individuals with the most significant disabilities first, those with significant disabilities next, and then all other eligible individuals in descending order of the severity of their disabilities as described in the priority categories above. Elements that relate to the severity of disability are the only elements used in Georgia Order of Selection. Five priority categories A through E are currently open.

 

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

The chart below displays services and outcome goals along with the timeframe in number of months. Please note that the VR priority categories are alphabetic rather than numeric, and there are different numbers and times for Statuses 26 and 28. So the numbers in the chart below correspond to the Georgia Order of Selection as follows:

1 is Category A for 26s, and 2 is Category A for 28s;

3 is Category B for 26s, and 4 is Category B for 28s;

5 is Category C for 26s, and 6 is Category C for 28s;

7 is Category D for 26s, and 8 is Category D for 28s;

9 is Category E for 26s, and 10 is Category E for 28s.

Priority Category Number of individuals to be served Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services Time within which goals are to be achieved Cost of services
1 15,200 1,700 0 34 $6,100
2 15,200 0 1,200 42 $2,700
3 5,000 900 0 24 $3,500
4 5,000 0 625 35 $2,000
5 2,000 325 0 26 $6,000
6 2,000 0 225 34 $2,100
7 2,200 500 0 15 $3,500
8 2,200 0 300 33 $2,800
9 2,300 1,100 0 8 $1,600
10 2,300 0 350 19 $1,000

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:36AM by Daronne Patterson

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

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency/VR Program will continue to provide supported employment services on a statewide basis through Title VI, Part B funds and Title I funds. Statewide allocation of funds allows for equitable service delivery throughout Georgia. Individuals may receive supported employment services using a combination of Title I and/or Title VI, Part B funds, and revenues generated from Social Security reimbursements, community rehabilitation partners, and other program revenues.

For FY 10, Georgia’s supported employment expenditures were $785,500 in Title VI and $39,750 in Title I funds for a total of $1,108,601. These funds provided services for a total of 456 clients with an average cost per client of $2,263. Also, during FY 10 VR closed 311 clients who had received supported employment services and were successfully employed for at least 90 days.

To meet the supported employment needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities, VR maintains collaborative efforts and working relationships with a network of 104 providers of supported employment services. VR will continue to provide these services using direct case service authorizations and collaborative agreements.

Goals:

1. VR will increase the total number of clients receiving supported employment services statewide by 5% (23) over the last complete federal fiscal year (FY10).

2. VR will increase the number of the clients who received supported employment services and were closed successfully employed for at least 90 days by 5% (16 clients) over the last complete federal fiscal year (FY10).

3. VR will expand the current number of supported employment service providers statewide by 5% (5 new providers).

Strategies to Improve Outcomes:

1. VR plans to strengthen community partnerships to increase clients’ access to supported employment services. VR will enhance access through current providers by working to expand their capacity and/or service areas and by adding new providers particularly in underserved and unserved areas of the state. Examples of activities to augment community partnerships include: expanding Project Search; developing Memorandums of Understanding with other agencies; and collaborating with providers to leverage Work Incentives Planning and Assistance/Employment Networks opportunities.

2. VR plans to utilize the results from customer and provider feedback to identify and address issues and training needs for both VR staff members and service providers. This training will include information on alternative sources of funding for extended services.

3. VR will continue to track the number and locations of clients receiving supported employment services and the number of successful outcomes to further identify underserved and unserved areas of the state. VR will continue to monitor and evaluate the supported employment program statewide, developing strategies to address areas needing additional supports in order to meet the objectives of the program.

4. VR will continue to utilize a streamlined process with payment procedures. During FY10, VR provided training on the supported employment payment process in order to clarify procedures.

5. VR will build on the success of meetings that were held with Community Rehabilitation Programs in FY 11 to discuss overcoming barriers to providing supported employment services, inform them of other funding options, and develop strategies for providing more effective placements for VR supported employment clients. As part of that collaborative process, VR will continue to review and evaluate the supported employment services policy and revise it as appropriate to meet the needs of the most significantly disabled individuals as well as service providers and employers.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:37AM by Daronne Patterson

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.

Introduction:

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency 110 Program is comprised of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program including the Cave Spring Rehabilitation Center (CSRC), the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWSIR) Vocational Rehabilitation Unit, and the Business Enterprise Program (BEP). In order to achieve its priorities as described in the mission, vision, goals and objectives in Attachment 4.11(c) (3), the 110 Program will implement a variety of strategies statewide including those described under the following categories.

These strategies were developed with input from the State Rehabilitation Council, the RWSIR Executive Committee, the RWSIR Advisory Committee, the BEP Committee of Blind Vendors, the Statewide Independent Living Council and the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment that included advocacy groups and constituents, public and private partners, and comments received at the public hearings. Some of the strategies listed under distinct categories will be more applicable to one goal than another, but ultimately all strategies will coalesce to contribute to the 110 Program successfully accomplishing these goals described in Attachment 4.11(c) (1):

• Goal I - Assist People with Disabilities to Go to Work,

• Goal II - Enhance Services to Unserved and Underserved Populations,

• Goal III - Enhance Transition Services for Students with Disabilities, and

• Goal IV - Help Employers Meet Their Human Resources Needs.

Strategies:

Expand and Improve Services to Individuals with Disabilities, including the Most Significant Disabilities:

Strategies to Enhance Services Resulting in Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities

• The 110 Program will increase its efforts to recruit, train and retain qualified staff to provide quality services that will result in people with disabilities becoming successfully employed. Leadership will work to improve the recruitment and selection process and make it as efficient as possible.

• The 110 Program will continue to provide quality training statewide that is job specific and targeted to address any deficiencies identified in quality assurance reviews, federal performance indicators results or training needs assessments.

• The VR Policy Unit will lead Quality Assurance (QA) case reviews and provide technical assistance to improve efficiency and effectiveness so that VR will be able to maximize services and employment outcomes within the available budget. The VR Program will enhance its QA System to assist managers and staff to improve services so that more people with disabilities will go to work. As part of this QA System, VR will include a consumer satisfaction survey and will ensure client involvement in the QA process.

• The 110 Program will expand capacity for comprehensive vocational assessments in areas of the state that have insufficient vocational evaluation resources, particularly in northwest and middle Georgia. The 110 Program will continue to explore options to use internal staff as well as external vendors to perform these functions and will work with Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) to further develop resources.

• As described in Attachment 4.8(b)(4), VR will continue to work with public and private, non-profit partners (including the Georgia Association of Persons in Supported Employment) to provide supported employment services to meet the needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities.

• The 110 Program will further develop relationships with the State and Local Workforce Investment Boards and will coordinate strategies to accomplish mutual goals, objectives and initiatives described in this State Plan and in the Strategic Plan for the Development of Georgia’s Workforce that was prepared by the State Workforce Investment Board.

• The 110 Program Leadership will continue to work with GDOL Field Services and Employment Services Leadership to expand service integration and enhance the continuum of employment services available to individuals with disabilities through the One Stops, Career Centers and VR Offices.

• The 110 Program will enhance services for individuals with disabilities who are minorities and for those who have been unserved and underserved and will increase outreach efforts as described below to increase the number served.

• The 110 Program will increase marketing activities to inform people with disabilities and their families, as well as potential referral sources, of the services available through VR, RWSIR and BEP.

• VR will work with employers and CRPs to expand and enhance community work adjustment training opportunities that lead to competitive employment for people with disabilities.

• VR will continue to explore ways to expand home-based work opportunities for people with the most significant disabilities who need and choose them.

• BEP and VR will collaborate to increase the number of VR referrals who are appropriate BEP candidates; enhance training through community work adjustment with licensed blind vendors; provide technical assistance and services to the VR referrals to assist them in passing the required BEP training and licensure requirements to become licensed blind vendors with BEP careers.

• BEP staff members will perform detailed site analyses and increase marketing efforts to open new facilities to provide viable employment opportunities for licensed blind vendors.

• The 110 Program will participate in planning and presenting state and regional conferences, local Career Day Workshops, etc to educate clients, (particularly transition clients), about higher paying high demand jobs and to provide training and information on services available to assist clients in obtaining those jobs.

• The VR Program will develop and implement a training curriculum for VR clients who have post secondary training as part of their approved work plans. This curriculum will provide preliminary training in budgeting, study skills, time management, etc to improve the clients’ success in post secondary training.

• The VR Program will collaborate with the Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia, Inc., and the Georgia Independent Living Network to increase referrals of consumers from VR to CILs for services leading to greater independence and employability.

• The 110 Program will use Assistive Technology (AT) to improve rehabilitation services for people with disabilities and enhance their employment outcomes.

• The VR Program will coordinate joint training for VR staff and service providers to develop resources and improve job preparation and placement services for clients with criminal backgrounds including youth served in the Juvenile Justice system.

• The 110 Program Leadership will analyze budget allocations and explore all available funding sources to determine whether case services funds could be increased to serve additional people with disabilities.

• The VR Program will continue to analyze VR Counselor caseloads and staff allocations and reallocate positions to achieve an efficient and effective service delivery system within the available budget.

• The VR Program administration will continue to work to improve the management information systems, correct coding issues, and improve the efficient and effective processing and payment of authorizations and invoices for services so that the system will provide the support needed for the field staff to assist more individuals with disabilities to go to work. This should also enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of processes between VR and the CRPs for better customer service.

Strategies to Improve Transition Services for Students with Disabilities

• The VR Program will collaborate with local school systems and the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) to continue having dedicated rehabilitation counselors located in the high schools. VR will continue efforts with GDOE to track service outcomes to determine the effectiveness of these agreements.

• As described in Attachment 4.8(b) (3) Coordination with Education Officials, the VR State Transition Coordinator will collaborate with GDOE special education and other public and private, non-profit partners to enhance VR transition services.

• VR will provide additional training to VR Transition Counselors regarding disabilities such as autism including Asperger’s Syndrome, learning disabilities, and attention deficit/hyperactive disorders to improve outcomes for students with those disabilities.

• VR will sponsor joint training with VR and school staff to enhance the understanding of federal requirements of each program and develop ways to assist each group to meet mutual goals.

• CSRC will implement plans to replace the facility and enhance staffing patterns and training to increase capacity and services for transition students.

• RWSIR will complete its new residential rehabilitation complex, enhance staffing patterns and training, and renovate the old facility to provide for classrooms and training space for the expanded VR Unit programs.

• RWSIR will collaborate with the West Georgia Technical College and the Flint River Technical College to develop new certificate skills training programs to prepare RWSIR VR Unit students for jobs that are in demand.

• BEP will collaborate with the Committee of Blind Vendors and VR to create internships or mentoring opportunities for students who are blind to work with licensed blind vendors and/or explore careers in that field.

• The High School High Tech (HS/HT) Program will cultivate relationships with employers in higher paying, technology, scientific and professional fields to increase the number of those employers who offer internships and mentoring opportunities to transition students. The HS/HT Program will continue to provide work experiences and college exploration opportunities to transition students to encourage them to pursue post secondary education and jobs in those fields.

• The VR Program will increase marketing and outreach efforts with parents, school nurses, school counselors, teachers and administrators to increase referrals of students with disabilities, including Section 504 students.

• The VR Program will work with Supported Employment providers to increase capacity and enhance services for students with disabilities transitioning from high school.

Strategies to Help Employers Meet Their Workforce Needs

• VR Rehabilitation Employment Specialists will continue to collaborate with the Employment Marketing Representatives in the Career Centers to expand relationships, avoid duplication of contacts with employers, and maximize employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

• The 110 Program Leadership will work with GDOL Field Services and Employment Services Leadership to develop a more coordinated process and consistent, integrated approach statewide for these activities as well as to develop and provide the information technology programs needed to support this effort.

• The 110 Program will cultivate relationships with the State Employer Committee and Local Employer Committees by continuing to attend their meetings, participate in their initiatives, and educate them about the potential that people with disabilities have to be great employees for their businesses. Through these relationships, the 110 Program will enlist Employer Committees’ support to increase the number of employers who hire VR clients for the first time. Usually once employers experience people with disabilities as excellent employees, they will hire more VR clients.

• BEP will collaborate with VR to facilitate having the BEP licensed blind vendors hire more qualified people with disabilities in the large food services operations.

• VR will collaborate with Georgia Industries for the Blind to refer clients who are blind and assist with job placement for those who choose to work in manufacturing and packaging jobs.

• RWSIR will participate in the Meriwether County manpower and employer coalitions and will identify the local employers who would benefit most from employing VR students in the RWSIR skills training programs. RWSIR will then develop a new customized skills training program to meet the workforce needs of each unique employer.

Provide a Broad Range of Assistive Technology Services and Devices to Individuals with Disabilities During the Rehabilitation Process:

Strategies Using Assistive Technology (AT)

• The VR AT Unit has state office managers, administrative and technical staff plus field service personnel forming a comprehensive, statewide AT team that includes Rehabilitation Engineers, Occupational Therapists, Rehabilitation Technologists, Rehabilitation Technicians and Braille Production staff who are available to all 110 Programs. Upon referrals from the VR Counselors, these staff members will provide customized services to VR clients to assist them in successfully completing their individual plans for employment. The AT team will continue to assist clients throughout the rehabilitation process, including providing services to employers for specific job placement or to assist an individual with disabilities in retaining employment.

• The VR AT team will continue to conduct continuing education sessions such as the successful lunch and learn presentations that inform VR field personnel about how AT can assist at all stages of the rehabilitation process, particularly at evaluation. In order to develop a more valid evaluation and assessment of a client’s work potential and to identify a feasible vocational goal, the AT team can provide useful recommendations, for example - first obtain a low vision evaluation and provide appropriate devices if recommended for more accurate results in other types of evaluations and assessments.

• VR will continue activities as the lead agency implementing the AT Act and two federal grants (the National Pass It On Center for the Reutilization and Coordination of AT and the Southeastern Assistive Technology Reuse (STAR) Network) to coordinate and increase reutilization of AT devices and to increase access to and acquisition of AT services and devices for individuals with disabilities who need them to achieve employment and independence.

• The VR AT Unit will assist RWSIR to develop an AT service component to complement its VR Unit services. This includes plans for establishing a lending library of AT devices, updating and upgrading computers, software and other AT devices, and an AT reutilization center to make sure a broader range of AT is available to clients. The AT Unit will also ensure that RWSIR and CSRC personnel are properly trained in using this equipment to assist clients.

• The VR AT Unit will provide technical assistance and training to BEP, including collaboration to ensure that appropriate AT devices are installed in BEP facilities and that AT services and devices are provided as needed for licensed blind vendors to be able to maintain and improve operations.

• VR will continue to use Video Interpreting technology to assist clients who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing at all stages of the rehabilitation process, as well as to alleviate potential concerns of employers who are considering hiring those clients.

Provide Assistive Technology Services and Devices to Individuals with Disabilities on a Statewide Basis

Strategies for Statewide Assistive Technology (AT)

• As described above, the VR AT team will continue to provide statewide services to all VR clients as needed upon referrals from the VR Counselors.

• The VR AT Unit Tools for Life staff members will continue to provide disability sensitivity training with an AT focus at GDOL orientation classes including all new 110 Program staff.

• The VR AT Unit will assist RWSIR and CSRC to include appropriate AT in their programs and services.

• The VR AT Unit will provide technical assistance and training to assist employers statewide in providing accommodations in order to obtain or retain employees with disabilities.

• The VR AT Unit will continue to collaborate with the VR Performance Improvement Coordinators and the GDOL Office of Training and Staff Development to use technology to streamline the delivery of staff training to meet needs of employees with disabilities.

• The VR AT Unit will maintain efforts with GDOL Information Technology and other departmental staff to identify appropriate computer hardware, software and other AT devices for upgrades and replacements statewide at all Career Centers, VR Offices, and One Stops.

• The VR AT Unit will continue to provide technical assistance to all Career Centers and One Stops statewide to promote accessibility of all programs and services for people with disabilities.

• The VR AT Unit will provide information and referrals to Credit-Able, the Georgia Assistive Technology Loan Guarantee Program, for low interest loans to Georgians with disabilities for AT devices, home modifications or vehicle modifications and to employers who want to accommodate their worksites for employees when such AT devices, modifications or accommodations are not covered under VR policy.

Perform Outreach to Identify and Serve Individuals with Disabilities who are Minorities:

Service Strategies

• VR will continue to intensify recruitment efforts for Spanish-speaking VR Counselors. Also, VR will expand opportunities for VR staff to attend four-week training sessions on basic Spanish phrases.

• The 110 Program and the Georgia Rehabilitation Association will continue to provide multicultural training and other activities to increase sensitivity and awareness, celebrate diversity and improve services for all clients.

• The 110 Program will continue to provide specialized staff training and resources to improve customer service for individuals with limited English proficiency, including those who use sign language. GDOL developed a resource manual that is updated annually listing all GDOL employees who are proficient in other languages and willing to assist other staff as needed for customer service. It lists various useful websites, ways to convert required forms into other languages, and contact information for sign language interpreters. Also, VR uses Network Omni Translation Telephone Services that provides multilingual translation services in 150 languages. The staff training will ensure all are aware that these resources are available.

• VR will continue to collaborate with the Section 121 Muscogee VR (MVR) Program in Whigham, Georgia. Through this collaboration, VR provides disability assessment, evaluation and referral services to consumers of the Muskogee Creek Tribe. VR has several staff members dedicated to assist the MVR in providing services to its tribal members with disabilities that will maximize employment, self-sufficiency and independence. Also, an Assistant VR Director has been designated to enhance relationships, facilitate coordination of these programs, and increase outreach to all Native Americans statewide.

• VR will continue its campaign with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to develop degree programs for Rehabilitation Counselors and conduct special recruitment efforts among minority students, including students with disabilities.

• VR will continue to explore innovative approaches to increase and expand program services to Georgia’s minority populations, including Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, and African American persons.

• VR will continue to provide services at the GDOL state-of-the-art Career Center in Gwinnett County which provides multi-lingual services. In addition to English, the primary languages used are Spanish, Vietnamese and Mandarin. Interpretive services for American Sign Language and other languages are also available. The Gwinnett location is particularly conducive to serve the large Hispanic and Asian workforce in the metro Atlanta area.

• The population of residents in the metro Atlanta area who are of Asian descent is estimated to be over 275,000. That population increased by 200% between 1990-2000, and the 2010 Census is expected to show another increase. The Asian culture is reluctant to apply for government services, including VR services for Asians with disabilities, so this is an underserved population. VR has a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor of Asian descent who is capable of bridging the language and cultural barriers and is actively involved with the surrounding Asian community groups. He will begin a pilot project to perform targeted outreach and deliver effective VR services to Asians with disabilities in the metro Atlanta area.

Outreach Strategies

VR will continue to conduct research to assess services to people with disabilities, who are minorities, perform outreach and develop relationships in minority communities, and coordinate the VR field outreach efforts that include the following strategies:

• Continue to identify the pockets of diverse communities based on the current Census;

• Specifically identify the number of potential clients (people known to have disabilities) within those communities through the census and through local information sources, such as community-based organizations, housing authorities, churches, temples, etc.

• Collaborate with community leader contacts through religious and civic organizations and non-profit organizations that are close to the pulse of the minority community;

• Use the above entities to distribute VR informational literature and other materials regarding potential services;

• Continue conducting various local activities such as the Hispanic Disability Awareness community job fairs or workshops that many local areas coordinate during the month of October.

• Coordinate and participate in community workshops for 110 Program representatives to educate the public on the services and programs available for people with disabilities;

• Establish and/or continue local Public Service Announcements, newspaper and newsletter announcements, Public Broadcasting System Teleconferences, and any other media opportunity to get the word out to ethnic communities about VR services.

• Place posters in places likely to be visited by members of ethnic communities such as at the Muskogee Tribal Administrative Building, Church, Tribal Workshop, and Pow-Wow sessions and many other locations.

• Participate in job fairs such as those sponsored by Metropolitan Employers Network Association, Department of Corrections, various colleges, and universities, Graduate Rehabilitation Programs, Mental Health and Rehabilitation Programs, Latino Job Fairs, and many others.

• Place informational materials in Spanish at all VR and GDOL Career Center offices, GDOL job fairs, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Income benefits sessions, public workshops, etc.

• Make presentations at GDOL Career Centers, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities meetings, Asian and Hispanic/Latino Community Organizations, religious organizations, Youth Rallies, Drug Court Programs, Job Readiness Training Programs, Physical Therapy Institutions, Statewide Transition Centers, Parent/Teacher/Student Association meetings, Ameri-Corps, Families First, Office of Aging, and AGAPE (Latino advocacy representation) meetings.

Perform Outreach to Identify and Serve Individuals with Disabilities who have been Unserved or Underserved:

The 110 Program will augment services for customers who are Blind, Deaf or Deaf-Blind (sensory disabilities) to increase employment outcomes for this population to provide a continuum of specialized services by implementing these strategies:

• Continue having the VR Statewide Director of Deaf Services, Director of Blind Services, and Coordinator of Deaf/Blind Services provide leadership, quality assurance, technical assistance and coordination to the field staff and community partners to enhance sensory services;

• Continue to fill specialized VR Counselor positions to serve specific caseloads of people with sensory disabilities;

• Provide specialized sensory disability training (such as American Sign Language, Deaf Culture and specialized service techniques) for new specialized staff as well as current staff;

• Provide specialized transition services for young adults through specialized staff working with local school systems and at RWSIR and CSRC;

• Supply AT to meet specialized sensory service needs such as specialized equipment, computers and software for learning labs at RWSIR and CSRC, augmentative communication devices, etc;

• Increase specialized services to provide more interpreters, orientation and mobility (O & M) training, rehabilitation teachers, specialized needs assessments, communication skills training, leadership and self-advocacy skills, etc;

• Work with the Georgia Independent Living Network to develop a plan to increase the availability of services for all people with visual disabilities, particularly O & M and rehabilitation teachers and especially in rural areas.

• Increase recruitment activities to attract more people to become interpreters, O & M specialists and rehabilitation teachers in Georgia. Also, perform recruitment activities to fill the specialized VR Counselor positions.

• Provide specialized training for clients: life skills assessments and training, employment training including work adjustment, job readiness, etc, and BEP specific training;

• Enhance education for students with sensory disabilities through RWSIR and CSRC and by partnering with local school systems, Technical College System of Georgia, and universities and colleges;

• Emphasize job development for clients with sensory disabilities

• Enhance residential services for education and training at RWSIR and CSRC; and

• Increase outreach and marketing as described below.

The 110 Program will design customized vocational rehabilitation services for veterans including the following strategies:

• RWSIR will expand its partnership with Fort Benning for veterans at the Martin Community Hospital.

• VR leadership will meet with the Veterans Administration (VA) to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to provide services for eligible veterans with disabilities.

• VR will designate a special VR Counselor to coordinate services with each VA Hospital.

• VR will coordinate services with GDOL Local Veteran Employment Representatives and Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialists.

• The 110 Program will participate in GDOL job fairs aimed for veterans.

The 110 Program will improve services for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injuries, and autism spectrum disorders including the following strategies:

• RWSIR will further enhance transitional residential services for persons with traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries in the renovated Options Cottage and Spencer Cottage.

• RWSIR will engage local community partners in the identification, planning and development of other community-based transitional living residences for these clients.

• The 110 Program will provide specialized training opportunities for staff members to increase their knowledge and expertise in the latest trends, technology, and techniques to improve services for clients with TBI, spinal cord injuries, and autism spectrum disorders.

Outreach Strategies

In addition to the Outreach Strategies described above, the 110 Program will implement the following strategies for outreach for these unserved and underserved populations:

• The VR State Director for Deaf Services, State Director for Blind Services, and State Coordinator for Deaf-Blind Services will provide leadership in developing and continuing relationships with advocacy groups and coalitions to identify specific ways to improve sensory services and to reach unserved potential clients with sensory disabilities.

• The 110 Program will continue to perform outreach with potential referral sources, particularly physicians, hospitals and other service providers for people who have sensory disabilities, spinal cord injuries, TBI or Autism spectrum disorders including Asperger’s Syndrome.

• The VR Program will continue to participate on the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission and conduct outreach as appropriate through that entity.

• The 110 Program will conduct outreach as part of the collaborative activities described above with the veterans programs.

• Through the Social Security Administration Work Incentive Planning Assistance Program grant, the VR Georgia Rehabilitation Outreach Program has Community Work Incentives Coordinators in 109 mostly rural counties who will provide outreach, work incentives information and benefits planning to potential clients including minorities and the underserved populations described above.

Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs:

• The VR State Office Provider Standards Unit and Regional Contract Specialists will continue to collaborate with Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) to maximize resources and ensure quality services. As part of this effort, VR will review the updated VR Program Outsourcing Manual that provides written service standards, requirements and guidelines. An example of these efforts is the subcommittee that is working on the need for interpreters to assist with clients who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing while receiving CRP services.

• The VR Program designated specific staff as contact points in each regional and local office for CRP staff to work with as needed to resolve any procedural issues that might impact the efficient and effectively delivery of services to clients. These contacts will also facilitate having new VR staff learn about CRP services, tour the facilities and develop relationships in a timely manner as part of their orientation.

• The VR Program leadership will continue to collaborate with CRP leadership to develop joint statewide training opportunities for VR and CRP staff to enhance staff skills and increase employment for VR clients. Examples of plans for joint training programs include enhancing services for people with disabilities with criminal records, learning conversational sign language to enhance services for people who are Deaf, and increasing skills to assist VR clients to go to work in this tough economy in competition with many so many unemployed people competing for jobs.

• VR leaders will continue to meet with CRP leaders to identify and resolve issues and share best practices to improve services for individuals with disabilities, including the most significant disabilities. VR has designated a VR Assistant Director to be responsible for coordinating these meetings and resolving issues as needed.

• The VR Program will work with a team of VR and CRP representatives to review and update the fee structure, policies and procedures for referrals of VR clients to CRP services to enhance customer service, efficiency and effectiveness of CRPs in assisting VR clients to become successfully employed. VR will incorporate these into the new case management system as well.

Meet or Exceed Federal Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators:

The strategies described throughout this attachment will contribute to the Georgia 110 Program meeting or exceeding the federal evaluation standards and performance indicators. VR state office and field managers will continue to monitor the Federal Performance Indicators report on a monthly basis to address deficiencies in a timely manner. Also, VR will emphasize the following specific strategies to address the performance indicator that Georgia experiences challenges to meet:

Performance Indicator 1.5: The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with earning levels equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to the State’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the State who are employed (as derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report “State Average Annual Pay” for the most recent available year).

Target Strategies:

• VR will continue to promote supported employment services and other supports to assist individuals with the most significant disabilities.

• VR will maintain collaborative relationships with corporations and government agencies in Georgia that promote equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities. As described above, VR will enhance relationships and services for employers so that more will offer jobs to people with disabilities at better salaries. VR will also implement new marketing strategies to businesses and community resources.

• VR will implement Quality Assurance procedures for proper coding of consumers’ employment wages to ensure an accurate calculation of the average hourly wage.

• As described above, the BEP will strive to open at least two new facilities, creating viable employment opportunities for people who are blind.

• VR will continue to hold Career Day workshops and conduct other activities that highlight higher paying, high demand jobs that may not require extensive academic training for clients.

• VR will continue to assist eligible individuals with post secondary training and post graduate training that allows our consumers to qualify for higher paying jobs.

Coordinate with Other Components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System to Assist Individuals with Disabilities:

As described in the strategies above, the 110 Program will continue to collaborate with partners in the Workforce Investment System to provide a continuum of services in a comprehensive service delivery system. The VR Program leadership will continue to work with GDOL Field Services and Employment Services leadership to expand service integration and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness in assisting people with disabilities to go to work. These efforts will include exploring ways to enhance customer service to employers as well.

The 110 Program provides input into the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Unified State Plan Updates. VR will continue to work with WIA partners at the local level to address specific local needs, develop integrated strategies for job seekers, and maximize resources to meet employment challenges within communities.

Support Innovation and Expansion Activities:

• The 110 Program will continue to support the functions and activities of the State Rehabilitation Council and the Statewide Independent Living Council.

• The 110 Program will establish a system to evaluate the availability of funds at the end of March each fiscal year to determine whether any funds can be set aside to improve RWSIR, CSRC and CRP infrastructure.

Overcome Identified Barriers to Equitable Access and Participation

The GDOL 110 Program has not identified or received any report of barriers to equitable access and participation in the State VR Program Services and the State Supported Employment Services Program.

 

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.

Included above

 

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.

Included above

 

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

Included above

 

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

Included above

 

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

Included above

 

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.

Included above

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:40AM by Daronne Patterson

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

Georgia’s progress toward achieving the Goals and Objectives in Attachment 4.11 (c) (1) of the FY 2008 – 2010 State Plan is described below with FY 2010 results. If the strategies contributing to success apply to more than one objective, they are summarized after each goal. Otherwise they are noted individually by objective, along with factors impeding achievement noted where appropriate.

Goal I. Assist people with disabilities to go to work.

Objectives and FY 2010 Results:

Objective a. Of the people with disabilities who commit to a work plan and participate in the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program, at least 55.8% (the federal performance standard) will obtain and retain employment for a minimum of 90 days in the fiscal year.

Results: In FY 10, a total of 7,147 individuals exited the VR Program in Georgia after receiving services and 4,463 of these individuals were closed as successfully employed resulting in an employment outcome rate of 62.45%.

Objective b. The Business Enterprise Program (BEP) will boost employment opportunities for licensed blind vendors by adding two new facilities during the fiscal year.

Results: In FY 10, the BEP increased employment opportunities for licensed blind vendors by adding three new facilities. During this fiscal year, the BEP licensed eight new vendors; three of those were selected to manage the new facilities while five were employed at existing BEP sites.

Objective c. The Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWSIR) will increase the number of work ready VR Unit student graduates by 10% (15 students).

Results: Of the 235 students discharged from RWSIR in FY 10, 153 (65%) graduated as work ready. This represents an increase of 36 students (3%) over the number of FY 09 students graduating as work ready. 

Objective d. The 110 Program will expand capacity for comprehensive vocational assessments in areas of the state that have insufficient vocational evaluation resources.

Results: RWSIR assisted a staff member to complete her education, training and examination to obtain her certification as a Certified Vocational Evaluator (CVE) to provide vocational evaluations in the underserved geographic area of middle Georgia. The VR Program reallocated a VR Counselor who is trained and qualified to provide vocational evaluations in the underserved Rome area in northwest Georgia. In FY 2010 an additional VR counselor trained and qualified to provide vocational evaluation was reallocated to provide services in the Athens/Monroe area.

Objective e. The VR Assistive Technology Unit will increase access to assistive technology devices statewide to enable clients to go to work.

Results: The VR Assistive Technology (AT) Unit received 1,328 VR client referrals from counselors and provided 11,210 individualized services (devices, home and vehicle modifications, work site accommodations, other AT recommendations, etc.) statewide in support of work goals. Also, the VR AT Unit provided job accommodations assessments for 673 of these clients. 

Strategies: Strategies contributing to overall success in achieving this goal included the 110 Program staff members’ dedication to serving people with disabilities; collaboration with the SRC, GDOL, Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) and key stakeholders; effective staff training and emphasis on improving efficiency in the VR counselor job class as well as in other staff positions; better coordination of statewide resources and employer contacts through the Business Relations Coordinator; increased collaborative efforts with other programs such as the Department of Corrections Transitional Centers and the Veterans Administration; and continued 110 Program leadership focus and direction on quality as well as quantity of employment outcomes.

Goal II.  Enhance services to unserved and underserved populations.

Objectives and FY 2010 results:

Objective a. The 110 Program will augment services for customers who are Blind, Deaf or Deaf-Blind to increase employment outcomes for this population by 5% (29 additional clients successfully employed).

Results: The VR 110 Program augmented services for clients with sensory disabilities by establishing Statewide Directors of Blind Services and Deaf Services as well as a Statewide Coordinator of Deaf-Blind Services, established specialized staff positions and provided specialized training to both specialized and regular VR staff members.  Therefore, the number of clients with sensory disabilities that VR served increased from 3,577 in FY 08 to 3,683 in FY 10; and the number closed as successfully employed decreased from 582 in FY 08 to 457 in FY 10.

Impeding Factors: The factors that impeded the achievement of this objective include the severe economic downturn and loss of jobs in Georgia; length of time to recruit and fill numerous specialized staff vacancies; insufficient specialized services providers in most areas, especially in more rural areas of the state; and lack of available qualified interpreters in many areas of the state.

 

Additionally, the nationwide shortage of certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists and Orientation & Mobility Specialists has made it very difficult for CRPs and other services providers to recruit qualified candidates. This shortage continues to make it difficult for individuals who are blind or visually impaired in rural parts of Georgia to receive quality rehabilitation which is essential for successful employment outcomes. Georgia VR continues to place priority on recruitment and retention of staff in the specialized positions and is working with key stakeholders to implement strategies for training and expand services that will result in more employment outcomes for this underserved population. 

 

Currently the Cave Springs Rehabilitation Center is being rebuilt, and the agency is working to expand the Deaf and Deaf-Blind services at RWSIR. Also, VR encourages local CRPs to accept referrals of individuals with sensory disabilities and provide quality accommodations and training programs to meet the needs.

 

Objective b. The 110 Program will provide specialized staff training and resources to improve customer service for individuals with limited English proficiency.

Results: The 110 Program participated in the GDOL project to update the list of GDOL staff members with their contact information (including Rehabilitation Services staff members) who speak, read and/or write in languages other than English and who are willing for other staff members to call them as needed to assist customers who are limited in speaking and/or understanding English. This list covers 47 languages other than English varying from Amharic (Ethiopia) to Hindustani/Hindi to Spanish to Sign Language. Staff received training on this list as well as instructions and forms to access translation resources outside the agency. This information is also posted on the GDOL website. The 110 Program continues to provide training to staff members to enhance their understanding and ability to provide better services to clients of other cultures including those with limited English proficiency.

Objective c. The 110 Program will design customized vocational rehabilitation services for veterans, including a partnership between RWSIR and Fort Benning for veterans at the Martin Community Hospital.

Results: The VR Program continues to collaborate with the Veterans Administration and the DOL Disabled Veterans Opportunity Program, especially in the Augusta and Warner Robbins areas to improve services for veterans. RWSIR established a relationship with Fort Benning and the “Warriors in Transition” Battalion which has approximately 400 injured, wounded or ill soldiers. RWSIR designed two customized services for veterans during FY 10: (1) a “wounded warrior family retreat” for soldiers with special needs and their families; and (2) a “two-phase veterans’ reintegration assessment program” for veterans in the VR Program. The first wounded warrior retreat was very successful, and the first “veterans’ reintegration assessment program” will be offered later in 2011.

 

Objective d. RWSIR will develop transitional residential services for persons with traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries.

Results: RWSIR opened two residential cottages as transitional living units on campus during FY 10 with occupancy of 4-8 persons per cottage. Since opening these cottages, 37 individuals with a variety of diagnoses including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries have been served.

Strategies:  Factors contributing to success in achieving this goal include collaboration with key stakeholders and the commitment and support of the GDOL Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, and managers of each of the VR 110 Programs.

Goal III. Enhance transition services for students with disabilities.

Objectives and FY 2010 Results:

Objective a. The VR Program will increase the number of transition students who go to work by 5% (47 additional clients successfully employed) during the fiscal year.

Results: In FY 10, VR served 6,200 active transition students and closed 1,056 as successfully employed with the percentage employed equal to those the previous year.  

Strategies: VR transition staff members used a variety of ways to involve community partners including participation in Transition Fairs, Career Expos, Post Secondary Option nights, Project Search, High School/High Tech, interagency staffings and presentations, school Parent Education Nights and Employer Scholarship Committees to expand non-traditional methods in assisting students in transitioning from the classroom into employment.

VR focused on increasing the employment outcomes for students with mental health diagnoses. A System of Care philosophy was adopted in Georgia, in which high fidelity wrap around services are provided to help transition students successfully assimilate into the community. An ongoing project to increase participation in the Local Interagency Planning Teams (LIPT’s) was convened in each county with the intention of staffing complex transition cases with local experts. In FY 10, a training video was produced through the SAMHSA Child & Adolescent Infrastructure Grant to be used to train these LIPT’s in the System of Care philosophy. VR ensures that VR personnel have access to the training video and participate in the LIPT meetings on a regular basis. These efforts are pursued in order to facilitate increased employment outcomes.

 

Objective b. The VR Program will collaborate with local school systems and the Department of Education (DOE) to increase the number of dedicated rehabilitation counselors located in the schools by at least two new cooperative agreements per year.

Results: VR established cooperative agreements with 79 local school systems in FY 10 to enhance transition services to students with disabilities, a decrease of four agreements from the previous year.

 

Impeding Factors: Considering the severe economy and education budget cuts at the state and local levels, some school systems decided not to participate with VR in cooperative agreements.

Objective c. RWSIR will expand its partnership with the Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) to develop at least two new certificate skills training programs for VR Unit students.

Results: RWSIR exceeded this objective by developing these certificate skills training programs for VRU students: Business Education Certificate, Certified Nursing Assistant and Certified Home Health Care Aide.  Note that the name for DTAE was changed to the Technical College System of Georgia in 2009.

Objective d. The BEP will create internships or mentoring opportunities for students who are blind to work with licensed blind vendors and/or explore careers in that field.

Results: In FY 08 the BEP successfully collaborated with VR, the Committee of Blind Vendors and the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) to create its first summer intern program for 11 high school students who are blind. The internship highlighted the importance of proper mobility training, timeliness, customer service, facility cleanliness, money management, product inventory management, etc. Overall evaluations indicated that this internship program was a success.  The BEP, VR, and CVI collaborated with the licensed blind vendors to succssfully repeat this summer intern program in June 2010 with another 11 students.

Objective e. RWSIR will initiate replacing the dormitory, and both RWSIR and the Cave Spring Rehabilitation Center (CSRC) will enhance staffing patterns and improve training to increase capacity and improve services.

Results: RWSIR completed the construction of the new residential rehabilitation facility and is in the processing of furnishing and equipping it for students to move in September 2011. Both RWSIR and CSRC increased specialized staff and/or specialized training to enhance services to clients with sensory disabilities.

Objective f. The VR Program will increase marketing efforts with parents, school nurses, counselors, teachers and administrators to increase referrals of Section 504 students.

Results: VR counselors and support staff are continuing their efforts during FY 10 to inform and educate partners about VR’s ability and interest to provide transition services to Section 504 students. Presentations were given to local school systems, as well as to the Georgia DOE State Advisory Panel. Webinars were provided to DOE and VR staff. Additionally, intensified community networking with other agencies serving mutual customers and shared trainings among child-serving agencies provided an increased level of marketing development. 

Strategies: Again, key factors to success in achieving this goal is the collaboration between the 110 Program and a wide variety of community partners, other agencies serving mutual customers, key stakeholders, GDOL programs, etc. Also, VR focuses attention on staff training and development and leadership support for services to transition students.  VR’s active participation in the KidsNet Georgia Collaborative, overseen by the First Lady’s Children’s Cabinet has encouraged shared learning with other state agencies/stakeholders and other states to leverage training, support, dissemination of information, and program evaluation/research to improve transition services for youth and their families.

 

Goal IV. Help employers meet their human resources needs.

Objectives and FY 2010 Results:

Objective a. The 110 Program will cultivate relationships with the State Employer Committee and Local Employer Committees to increase the number of employers who hire VR clients for the first time.

Results: The 110 Program established relationships with approximately 600 employers in FY 10. The VR Business Relations Coordinator is now an integral part of the Southeast Employers Partner Team (EPT) and the National Employment Team (NET). Georgia was recognized for the number of referral for federal positions advertised through the NET. The Business Relations Coordinator serves as the VR liaison to business groups to develop and strengthen relationships leading to employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The creation of the RES NetWork has allowed regions to share information, resources and training throughout the state so that all staff can provide a consistent approach to businesses. VR is continuing efforts to explore the collaboration with the Employment Marketing Representatives in the GDOL Career Centers to expand relationships, avoid duplication of services to employers, and maximize employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Objective b. The VR Assistive Technology (AT) Unit will provide technical assistance and training to assist employers in hiring and retaining employees with disabilities.

 

Results: During FY 10, the VR AT Unit continued to provide technical assistance and training to individual employers on assistive work technology, disability sensitivity and job accommodations upon request as well as in workshops.

Objective c. RWSIR will develop a new skills training program customized for at least one local employer.

Results: RWSIR developed the Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program to meet the needs of the local Warm Springs Nursing Home that is part of the Warm Springs Medical Center. All six VR students in the initial class of this program graduated from the VRU and are now successfully employed in this field. RWSIR was successful in this objective due to targeting the employer’s specific needs and appropriately selecting VR students who chose this vocational goal and who had the necessary skills and abilities as candidates for this program.

Strategies: The 110 Program leaders and staff collaborated with a wide variety of partners and emphasized developing relationships and giving employers excellent customer service to achieve their business goals through filling their workforce needs with qualified individuals with disabilities.

Progress in Meeting Priority Facility Needs:

The Georgia Department of Labor top priority in its Fiscal Year 2008 State Budget Request for Bond Funds was $9,932,000 in state funds to match 110 funds for a total of $19.8 million to design and construct a new VR residential program facility and campus as described in the Goals and Priorities Attachment 4.11 (c) (1).  Construction of the new state of the art residential rehabilitation complex is complete, with furnishing almost complete .  Several weather-related issues delayed completion in 2010, but the Georgia 110 Rehabilitation team continued to collaborate with GDOL, the SRC and key stakeholders to enhance programs and services provided to VR 110 customers at RWSIR. 

 

The students are expected to reside in the new 77,000 square foot facility by September 2011. This new dormitory is a two-story, state of the art, fully accessible residential complex that includes one, two, three and four bedroom apartments and suites that are able to accommodate any type of disability. The different types of living arrangements will allow for RWSIR to serve VR clients in a wider range of ages and disabilities, including those persons who need significant personal assistance to those who are fully independent. As part of the new dormitory, RWSIR will enhance staffing patterns to allocate staff resources based upon individual needs and a full schedule of service activities. This will include an integrated staff schedule 24/7 of employment development, health management, behavioral, counseling and case management, recreational and residential staff to ensure appropriate staffing levels for all services.

 

With that priority addressed, the GDOL allocated approximately $9.4 million in VR 110 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for the critically needed priority of a new facility for CSRC. The GDOL will provide funds from other sources as necessary to meet the estimated total project cost of $10 million. Plans for that new facility are underway with a target completion date of December 2011. The previous CSRC facility that was over 50 years old with multiple critical infrastructure issues has been demolished to allow for construction of a new residential rehabilitation complex that will be approximately 34,000 square feet. 

 

 

Goal: The FY 10 Attachment 4.11(c)(4) included the goal that "The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program will continue to provide supported employment services on a statewide basis through Title VI, Part B funds and Title I funds."

 

Result: During FY 10, Georgia VR provided supported employment (SE) services to 446 clients statewide with total expenditures of both Title I and Title VI funds of $785,250.

Strategies and Impeding Factors: Despite ongoing efforts to provide information and training to VR personnel, CRPs, and SE providers, VR provided SE services to fewer clients in FY 10. VR continued to work with the Georgia Association of Persons in Supported Employment (GAPSE) and the Georgia Division of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) to identify additional providers of supported employment services. Additionally, VR provided training to VR and SE providers in FY10 and developed informational sessions for regional staff regarding alternate funding options for SE services. Also, VR expanded its collaborations with the Georgia Council for Developmental Disabilities, local school systems and businesses to maintain and increase the number of partnerships that utilize the Project Search model of SE.

The barriers to expanding services include limited funding for ongoing support after VR closes the case as well as insufficient number of qualified providers. The VR Program continues to evaluate and review its SE program and policies to ensure services are available across the state. VR needs additional SE service providers in underserved rural areas of the state, so VR will continue its development efforts with key stakeholders particularly those involved with DBHDD.

 

Georgia VR passed six of the seven federal performance indicators as described below. Evaluation Standard 1: Employment Outcomes: A Designated State Unit (DSU) shall assist any eligible individual, including an individual with a significant disability, to obtain, maintain, or regain high-quality employment. Performance Indicator 1.1 reflects the number of individuals exiting the VR Program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exited the VR Program after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period. During FY 10, Georgia VR closed 4,463 individuals as successfully employed compared to the 4,302 individuals who were closed as successfully employed in FY 09. This was an increase of 161 individuals who were closed employed, thus resulting in Georgia passing this indicator. Explanation for meeting RSA standard: Factors that contributed to this increase despite unemployment rates in this state that are higher than the national average is largely due to a new initiative, the Orientation Ability and Service Identification Seminar (OASIS), within the Georgia Department of Labor, improved needs assessments for eligible clients and partnering with community rehabilitation providers. Performance Indicator 1.2 reflects the percentage of individuals who achieved an employment outcome as compared to all individuals who exited the VR Program after receiving services. In FY 2010, a total of 7,147 individuals exited the VR Program in Georgia after receiving services and 4,463 of these individuals were closed as successfully employed. This resulted in an employment outcome rate of 62.45% which exceeded the 55.8% required to pass this indicator. Explanation for meeting RSA standard: Continued quality assurance reviews and targeted training on identified areas of concern as well as targeted policy training and refreshers contributed to Georgia reaching this percentage and exceeding Indicator 1.2. Performance Indicator 1.3 shows what percentage of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome in competitive, self, or Business Enterprise Program (BEP) employment, had earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage of $7.25. Georgia VR closed 4,463 individuals with 4,200 of these individuals making at least minimum wage. This resulted in a performance rate of 94.11% and exceeded the required indicator rate of 72.6%. As a result of training, regular reviews of performance indicators and proactive community involvement by placement team members, Georgia places very few individuals earning below minimum wage including those in supported employment. Explanation for meeting RSA standard: VR worked collaboratively with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, local school systems and businesses to maintain the Project Search model for supported employment. Project Search targets high school students with significant disabilities who want to obtain employment. Performance Indicator 1.4 indicates what percentage of all individuals who exited the VR Program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least minimum wage, were individuals with significant disabilities. Georgia VR closed 4,200 individuals with competitive employment outcomes and 3,236 of these individuals had significant disabilities. This resulted in a performance rate of 77.05% and exceeded the required indicator rate of 62.4%. Explanation for meeting RSA standard: Georgia VR operates under an Order of Selection system and ensures that emphasis is placed on serving individuals with the most significant and significant disabilities. Performance Indicator 1.5 reflects the average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR Program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least minimum wage as compared to the average hourly earnings for all employed individuals in the State. The average hourly wage for VR clients with competitive employment outcomes was $9.58 and the average hourly wage for employed Georgians was $18.65. The ratio was 0 .511 which fell below the required ratio of 0.52. Explanation for not meeting RSA standard: Georgia puts emphasis on serving transitioning ex-offenders as well as transition students who typically make minimum wage when they begin their careers. Additionally, fewer jobs, lay-offs and a more competitive job market negatively impacted starting salaries. Plan for Improvement: Georgia VR will maintain and increase collaborative relationships with corporations and government agencies in Georgia that promote equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities. VR will continue to expand referral sources through implementing new marketing strategies to businesses and community resources. VR will also continue to assist eligible individuals with post secondary training and post graduate training that allows our consumers to qualify for higher paying employment. Further, VR is continuing to emphasize proper coding of consumer’s employment wages and to increase the confidence in the accuracy of the calculated average hourly wage. Performance Indicator 1.6 indicates of all individuals who exit the VR Program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who reported their own income as the largest source of economic support at exit and the percentage who reported their own income as the largest source of support at application. For FY 10, 588 clients reported their primary support was their own income at application opposed to 3,664 clients who reported this at closure. Georgia’s performance ratio was 73.24 which exceeded the required performance of 53.0. Explanation for meeting RSA standard: Georgia VR continues to serve many clients who at application were still participating in secondary education and dependent on family members, but by completion of VR services are employed and reporting their own wages as their primary means of support. Also, VR continues to make use of Work Incentive Planning Assistance (WIPA) services throughout the state which educates Social Security Administration disability beneficiaries about work incentives thereby increasing the number of beneficiaries who seek employment that provides greater income than SSA benefits. The increased number of unemployed individuals in the state seeking employment also contributed to the passing of this performance indicator. Evaluation Standard 2: Equal Access to Services: This standard measures whether individuals from minority backgrounds have been provided equal access to VR services at the same rate as non-minority individuals. Performance Indicator 2.1 reflects the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as compared to the service rate for all non-minority individuals. For FY 2010, a total of 6,168 non-minorities exited Georgia VR and 3,619 non-minorities received VR services as compared to the total of 6,387 minorities who exited the Program and 3,528 minorities who received services. This resulted in a ratio of 0.941 which exceeded the required ratio of .80. Explanation for meeting RSA standard: The state met this indicator because Georgia VR developed and maintained good working relations with referral sources and community partners who referred both minority and non-minority individuals for services.

 

Georgia spent $ 14,897 in I & E funds in FY 10 to support the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) activities. These funds provided for travel to SRC meetings and site visits, meeting rooms, meals, interpreters, Braille, publications such as the annual report and brochures, conference registration fees, and website costs. During FY 10, Georgia began using I & E funds for the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and expended $ 212,534 in support of SILC operations and activities such as quarterly meetings, public hearings, website costs, etc.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 10:30AM by Daronne Patterson

  • 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

Please note that this attachment was submitted with the Georgia 2008 State Plan, and no update has been required. It has not been revised since the 2008 submission.

The agency name was updated on June 29, 2012 to reflect the change based on legislation.

The quality, scope, and extent of supported employment services of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency/VR Program ensure that VR consumers with the most significant disabilities are integrated into competitive employment settings that are consistent with their capabilities, priorities, resources, strengths, and informed choice.

Quality of Supported Employment Services:

The supported employment concept assumes that all persons, regardless of the degree of their disability, have the capacity and should be afforded the opportunity to engage in competitive employment with appropriate support services. To ensure that supported employment services are provided according to federal regulations, the following requirements shall be met:

Most Significant Disabled. Services will be provided for individuals with the most significant disabilities who have a documented need for supported employ-ment services, including extended support services.

Competitive Employment. Employment must be full-time or part-time in an integrated setting. The individual and his/her VR Counselor will jointly establish in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) appropriate goals for the number of hours per week that will maximize the individual’s vocational potential.

Integrated Setting. The employment should provide daily contact in immediate work settings with non-disabled employees and/or the general public. The setting must allow interaction to the same extent that non-disabled individuals in comparable positions interact with others. No more than eight individuals will be clustered in any employment setting.

Wages in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Each individual in supported employment will be paid comparable wages for the same or similar work performed by non-disabled individuals. The payment may be less than minimum wage; however, the individual must be working towards minimum wage.

Extended Services. Proactive extended supports are tailored to meet each individual’s needs, and to prepare the individual for career advancement after completion of the supported employment program. To ensure the continuation of integrated employment, re-employment services oriented toward career development are provided to workers changing jobs.

The quality of supported employment outcomes is assessed individually. Such issues as consumer and employer satisfaction, earnings, benefits, the degree of integration, availability of dependable transportation, co-worker support, socialization, work environment, and provision of support services are important. On a regular basis, the supported employment administrator conducts technical assistance visits with each provider for quality assurance purposes. Each supported employment provider establishes on going strategies to measure consumer satisfaction.

Scope of Supported Employment Services:

The scope of supported employment services vary based on the amount, intensity, and kind of support needed by each individual. Supported employment offers more than just the assistance needed to obtain employment. It provides the necessary on-going support to help an individual maintain employment.

Services made available by VR Title VI, Part B funds are limited to those initial services result-ing in stable job performance in an integrated competitive work setting. As appropriate to individual needs, these services may include:

Assessment. An assessment of the individual’s need and qualification for supported employment services.

Integration. Integration into competitive employment for the maximum number of hours possible consistent with the person’s unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and capabilities.

On-the-job Training. Intensive on-the-job skills training that are based on a systematic analysis of the work to be performed, and a systematic analysis of the employer’s performance expectations and requirements. It is conducted in accordance with a written plan identifying the methods of teaching, instruction, and behavior management necessary to enable the individual to acquire skills and master the work to be performed, to regulate behavior in accordance with the employer’s requirements and expectations, and achieve stable job performance. The training provides for a systematic reduction of intensive teaching, instruction, and behavior management methods to the lowest intervention level necessary to maintain stable job performance.

VR Services. Other vocational rehabilitation services that are needed to achieve and maintain employment stability including, but not limited to:

Interpreter services for individuals with hearing impairments to permit communication between the individual and the skilled job trainer.

Occupational licenses and permits required by federal, state, and local law to perform an occupation.

Occupational tools, equipment, and uniforms required by the employer but not routinely provided to new employees, and safety shoes and other articles of clothing necessary to permit safe performance on the job.

Rehabilitation technology services including adaptations and modifications of the workplace.

Transportation from place of residence to the work site and return until the person can pay for the cost from earnings.

On-going monitoring services from the time of job placement until the transition to extended services. At a minimum, these services include an assessment of the individual’s employment stability and need for extended services to maintain stable employment.

These services are designed to maximize the individual’s employment potential.

Extent of Supported Employment Services:

As part of the eligibility determination process for vocational rehabilitation services, supported employment will be considered as a possible vocational outcome for individuals with the most significant disability. The VR Program provides supported employment services through a network of 98 approved service vendors. These services may include:

Job Development and Placement. Job development and placement services are provided to the extent necessary to place the individual into integrated competitive employment consistent with his or her informed choice, or to determine on the basis of clear evidence that an employment outcome cannot be achieved.

On-the-job Training. Intensive on-the-job and other training services are provided to the person to the extent necessary to achieve stable job performance, or to determine on the basis of clear evidence this cannot be achieved. Services are provided for a maximum of 18 cumulative months, beginning on the day the person starts the job, unless a longer period is provided in the individual written rehabilitation program of the person.

Follow-up Services. Follow-up services, including regular contact with the employer, the individual with a most significant disability, the individual’s parents, guardian or other representative, in order to reinforce and stabilize the job placement.

On-Going Support. The individual shall be provided needed on-going support services such as job site training, transportation, family support, or any service necessary to achieve and maintain the supported employment placement. On-going support must include, at a minimum, twice monthly contact with the supported employee at the work site to assess job stability unless it is determined that off-site monitoring is more appropriate for a particular individual. Off-site monitoring must consist of at least two face-to-face meetings with the individual and one employer contact monthly.

Transition to Extended Employment:

Transition to extended employment generally occurs within eighteen months of the date of placement into supported employment. Generally transition to extended employment occurs when the supported employment specialist, the VR counselor, and the consumer determine that employment stabilization has been achieved.

Stabilization is measured for each individual by considering all circumstances including support needs, consumer choice and satisfaction regarding services, and employer feedback. On a case-by-case basis, as determined in the individual’s IPE, the eighteen-month limitation may be extended in order to assist the individual with obtaining stable employment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 11:42AM by Daronne Patterson

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 07/02/2012 at 12:35 PM

Last updated by sagapattersond

Completed on 07/02/2012 at 12:36 PM

Completed by sagapattersond

Approved on 07/02/2012 at 2:57 PM

Approved by rsadoylej

Published on 07/05/2012 at 7:00 AM

Published by kschelle

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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)
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  • 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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