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
Iowa Department for the Blind State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

1.1 The Iowa Department for the Blind 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 Iowa Department for the Blind [3] agrees to operate and administer the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program in accordance with the provisions of this State Plan [4], the Rehabilitation Act, and all applicable regulations [5], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Section 111 of the Rehabilitation Act are used solely for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and the administration of the State Plan for the vocational rehabilitation services program.

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

Director

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

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

Director

... 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
Karen A. Keninger

Title of Signatory
Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/21/2011

Assurances Certified By

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

Comments:

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Karen A. Keninger

Title of Signatory
Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/21/2011

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is 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
Iowa Department for the Blind

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 A was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) The designated state unit is able to provide the full range of services listed in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the state who apply for services. Yes

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

This agency is an independent commission.

This screen was last updated on Jun 24 2009 10:46AM by saiasassers

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Jun 24 2009 10:46AM by saiasassers

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.

4.8(b)(1) Cooperation with Agencies that are not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities

The Iowa Department for the Blind cooperates extensively with agencies that are not required partners of the statewide Workforce Investment system. Many of these regional and community agencies have entered into Memoranda of Understanding(MOU) with the Workforce Investment partners, including the Department. These regional and community partners include:

- City of Cedar Rapids Housing - Children & Families of Iowa - Community Action Agency of Siouxland - Elderbridge Area on Aging - Four Oaks - Young Parents Network - Goodwill Industries - Hawkeye Community Action Program - Heritage Agency on Aging - ISED (Iowans for Social and Economic Development)Ventures - Link Associates - Mainstream Living Inc. - Muscatine's Center for Social Action - New Iowan Centers - Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation - Polk County Family Enrichment Center - Primary Health Care Inc. - Safer Foundation - Youth Empowerment Program - Spectrum Industries - United Way - West Central Development Corporation

Cooperative activities include:

- Providing and receiving training regarding eligibility and services. - Making and receiving referrals and providing follow-up. - Sharing applicable information regarding mutual clients.

In addition to the activities with the agencies listed above, the Department also participates in the following efforts:

Governance Group. The Iowa Department for the Blind is a signatory of the Governance Group Memorandum of Agreement. The Governance Group, organized in 1998, includes administrative personnel from the Iowa Governor's Developmental Disability Council, the Division of Persons with Disabilities, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Department of Human Services, Workforce Development, Department of Education and the Department for the Blind. The purpose of the Governance Group is to ensure that partner agencies deliver quality employment services to individuals with disabilities by addressing the barriers to collaborative efforts that their varying policies and procedures can create.

Through projects sponsored by this group, Department staff have worked collaboratively with staff from the Veteran's Administration, Iowa's Medicaid Buy-in program known as the Medicaid for Employed Persons with Disabilities Program, the Promise Jobs employment component of Iowa's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Social Security's Work Incentives Planning and Assistance grant program.

Joint Transition Projects. Together with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Division of Persons with Disabilities, the Department sponsors and participates in these events:

The Youth Leadership Forum. The Youth Leadership Forum is a five-day leadership training program for Iowa high school youths with disabilities. Held every summer on the Iowa State University campus, it gives participants an opportunity to share information on choosing careers, history or disability culture, assistive technology for independence; identify existing barriers to personal and professional success and develop plans to deal with those barriers; develop a "Personal Leadership Plan"; and interact with others.

The College Leadership Forum. The College Leadership Forum is a three-day training for graduating college students with disabilities. This annual program trains participants on writing effective resumes, developing interviewing skills, Americans with Disabilities Act, and addressing their disability with prospective employers.

National Federation of the Blind of Iowa. The Department contracts with the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa to make 250 national newspapers, including the Des Moines Register, available to Iowans through a telephone based interface with a computerized system. This project provides ready access to local job listings and related business information.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Programs. The USDA Rural Development office in Iowa administers business-cooperative, housing, and community programs. These programs provide grants, loans, and technical assistance to rural residents and businesses targeting rural communities. These programs are aimed at creating or reserving jobs; promoting a clean rural environment; improving access to decent housing and community facilities; and ensuring essential community facilities are available to rural residents, such as health care clinics, fire and rescue facilities, and more. As part of their technical assistance efforts, the Iowa Rural Development office provides information to disabled Iowans. The Department will provide technical assistance to the Rural Development staff in Iowa as necessary.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2009 4:54PM by saiasassers

  • 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.

4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials

In 2006, the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB), the Iowa Braille School, and the Iowa Department of Education (DE) began working collaboratively under the Statewide System for Vision Services. These agencies established this system in order to streamline and improve service delivery to children and youth who are blind or visually impaired. Under this system, staff can exchange information about their services and approaches in order to create effective working relationships.

Referrals

A standard referral procedure was developed as a result of this collaboration. In Iowa, Area Education Agencies (AEAs) coordinate all services for children with disabilities. AEA personnel and local school district personnel participate in developing Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for students with disabilities and in providing the specialized services those students require. Itinerant Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) provide vision related IEP services to those students who are blind or visually impaired.

The TVI must refer all students who are receiving vision-related services to the Iowa Braille School's Transition Coordinator 90 days prior to the development of the student's transition IEP or no later than age fourteen. The Transition Coordinator reviews referrals made by the TVIs to determine whether the student should be contacted by Department staff for follow-up or whether the referred student's information should be sent on to Center for Disabilities & Development at the University of Iowa.

When students are referred to the Department, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselors contact them and begin to participate in the development and implementation of their IEPs. The VR Counselor is thus able to assist in planning the student's services and in providing preliminary counseling on pre-vocational issues. At that time, Department personnel also determine whether an application for vocational rehabilitation services is appropriate. If so, the student is encouraged to complete an application and become a recipient of vocational rehabilitation services.

The Department coordinates its services with the Iowa Braille School and AEAs to provide seamless transition from school, where all services are provided by the educational agencies (AEAs and local school districts), to vocational rehabilitation.

Children who are Deaf Blind

The Department cooperates with the Department of Education through a special education committee established to meet the needs of deaf-blind children. Committee members, including Department personnel, work to develop identification and registration materials; training resources for AEA personnel, classroom teachers, and parents; and, to meet all other needs of deaf-blind children.

Expanded Core Curriculum

In 2008, the Iowa legislature passed and the Governor signed into law a core curriculum for educating students in Iowa. The Core Curriculum defines essential concepts and skills that K-12 students should be taught. An Expanded Core Curriculum was included in this legislation for students with disabilities. The Expanded Core Curriculum is not an alternative to the Core Curriculum. Instead, the Expanded Core Curriculum identifies additional concepts and skill sets that students with disabilities must be taught in conjunction with the core curriculum. These additional areas are accessing assistive technology, career education, compensatory skills, independent living skills, orientation and mobility skills, recreation and leisure skills, self-determination skills, social interaction skills, and visual efficiency skills.

Several of the Department's transition programs are designed to support the student's IEP in respect to the Expanded Core Curriculum. For example, a summer program for transition clients focuses on career readiness by having participants talk with a Human Resources supervisor, tour different businesses, and learn job-seeking skills, such as appropriate appearance for the workplace. A program on college preparation will have clients residing on a college campus and learning how to hire drivers and readers, work with the registrar's office and disability services, order books in alternative media, and more.

Interagency Agreement

The Department has a formal interagency agreement with the Iowa Department of Education. This agreement indicates that the Department is available for consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of blind and severely visually-impaired students from school to post-school activities, including vocational rehabilitation services. State education agencies, including local school districts and AEAs, are responsible for the costs they incur in carrying out this agreement. The Department will provide materials describing available programs and services that it provides for use by the state education agencies, including local school districts and Area Education Agencies. Local school districts and AEAs are responsible for identifying blind and severely visually-impaired students in need of transition services and notifying the Department of their needs. The formal agreement is included in this attachment.

Interagency Agreement Between the Iowa Department of Education (DE) and The Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB)

The Iowa Department of Education, hereafter referred to as DE, and the Iowa Department for the Blind, hereafter referred to as IDB, for the purpose of implementing the requirements of 34CFR 361.22(b), enter into the following interagency agreement. The DE and the IDB are designated state lead agencies in executing the provisions of this agreement.

The DE and the IDB agree to collaborate in providing:

- Consultation and technical assistance to assist local education agencies (LEAs) and area education agencies (AEAs) in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including vocational rehabilitation services.

- Support for transition planning provided by LEAs, AEAs, and the IDB for students with disabilities including the development and completion of their individualized education programs (IEPs) under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. IDB staff will develop an individualized plan for employment (IPE) for each IDB eligible individual prior to the individual's graduation. The individual, parents, educators and IDB staff will collaborate so that the goals of the IEP and the IPE will be consistent with each other. The individual's preferences, interests and skills will serve as the basis of employment goals.

- Coordination to ensure that transition services are provided by qualified personnel as defined in Iowa Administrative Code 281-41.8(256B,34CFR300), Iowa

Administrative Code 111-2.1(216(B), and other relevant state requirements.

- Support for early outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who are in need of transition services. Outreach efforts will include a description of the purpose of the vocational rehabilitation program, eligibility requirements, application procedures, and the scope of services that may be provided to eligible individuals. The DE will assist in the dissemination of written materials developed by IDB. Outreach to students who are blind or visually impaired should occur as early as possible during the transition planning process.

Financial responsibilities. The DE and IDB shall be responsible for the costs they incur in carrying out this agreement. The IDB agrees to provide for the costs of materials describing available IDB programs and services.

Amendment. This agreement may be amended in writing upon mutual consent of the DE and the IDB.

Term of the agreement. This agreement is effective upon execution by the DE and the IDB and shall remain in effect until it is terminated by either party upon written thirty (30) day notice to the other party.

Ted Stillwell, DirectorIowa Department of Education

Date: 6/20/03

Allen Harris, DirectorIowa Department for the Blind

Date: 6/18/03

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2009 12:25PM by saiasassers

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

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

The Department does not have long-term cooperative agreements in place with private non-profit VR service providers. However, the Department has utilized such entities on a case by case basis. For instance, Blind Inc. in Minneapolis, MN and the Colorado Center for the Blind in Littleton, CO have provided orientation and adjustment training to our clients. While the Department has its own Orientation Center, the needs of some clients may be better addressed at an alternative center.

The client and VR Counselor may identify a private provider that best addresses his or her specific VR needs. In these instances, the Counselor issues an authorization for the services. The provider is required to submit periodic reports on progress to the Counselor. The Counselor may continue to authorize for services until the services have been completed, the provider demonstrates progress is not being made, or the client finds that services are not addressing needs. Evidence of these arrangements can be found in individual case files.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2009 12:26PM by saiasassers

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.

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

Because the number of blind and visually impaired Iowans who utilize services from Community Rehabilitation Programs is both small and widely dispersed, the Department has collaborated with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) to identify and develop service agreements with Iowa's CRPs. By July 2009, the Department and IVRS will have signed agreements with 82 CRPs throughout the state. These agreements detail the types of services the CRP will provide and methods for payment of services. The new agreements call upon county services to cover costs under Waiver programs when appropriate. By working together, the Department and IVRS will ensure that CRPs receive consistent information and direction from the VR agencies in Iowa.

The Department may also make arrangements with other private entities to provide supported employment and extended services as the need arises. Other private entities may include employers, family members, and individuals contracted to provide these services. Natural supports and county services are the most often used services for extended support services.

This screen was last updated on Sep 11 2009 4:45PM by saiasassers

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The Iowa Department for the Blind has in place a comprehensive system of personnel development designed to ascertain and meet the training needs of its professional and paraprofessional staff, as well as new employees.

(1) Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The Iowa Department for the Blind management staff collects and compiles data from numerous sources to review personnel needs and to plan training and development activities for all staff. Managers review monthly reports that identify caseload activity related to referrals, applications, services, cases open and closed, employer contacts, technical assistance, and more. Managers also have access to several automated reports generated by the Department’s case management system to review case costs, pending referral and interview activities, and progress toward agency goals.

 

These reports are used to predict caseload activity and personnel needs. In addition, all employees receive an annual performance evaluation from their supervisor. Any need for remedial training is discussed at that time, and the employee is encouraged to offer recommendations and address concerns.

 

Finally, annual surveys are conducted with staff to ascertain their training needs. In FFY 2011, a Department-wide survey provided the opportunity for staff to express individual and group needs for training and development opportunities.

 

(a) Personnel Employed (by Category) in Relation to Individuals Served

At the Department, direct vocational rehabilitation (VR) services are provided by Field Operations and the Adult Orientation and Adjustment Center. Staffing in these two areas is as follows:

Field Operations

PositionNumberVacanciesProjected Vacancies over the Next 5 Years
Public Service Executive100
Supervisors200
Rehabilitation Consultant100
VR Counselors1000
Youth VR Counselors200
Rehabilitation Teachers1000
Deaf-Blind Specialist100
Rehabilitation Technology Specialists300
Support Personnel400

Orientation Center

PositionNumberVacanciesProjected Vacancies over the Next 5 Years
Program Administrator100
Rehabilitation Referral Specialist100
Orientation Teachers600

In addition to the Field Operations and Orientation Center staff, the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has twenty-one staff to provide prevocational, educational and vocational materials or services to clients. The Department’s Randolph-Sheppard program has three staff to serve clients in the Business Enterprises Program.

Ratio of Personnel to Applicants and Eligible Individuals Served

The Department expects to process approximately 150 applicants and serve 468 eligible individuals during FFY 2011. The ratio of all Field Operations and Orientation Center staff to individuals served is 42 to 468 or approximately 1 to 11. The ratio of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to individuals served is 12 to 468 or 1 to 39.

 

(b) Current Staffing Requirements

In FFY 2010, the Department experienced several staffing changes as a result of the Iowa State Employee Retirement Incentive Program (SERIP). Under this program, seven staff retired and were replaced by five staff, two at lower job classifications. Notably, the VR Counselor Supervisor position and a Rehabilitation Teacher position were filled with new staff. All vocational staff currently meet the qualifications and requirements for their job classification.

 

(c) Projected Requirements to Meet Staffing Needs Over the Next 5 Years

A total of nine Field Operations staff in critical positions meet eligibility criteria for Iowa’s Public Employee’s Retirement System (IPERS) retirement plans in the next five years. The following table has a breakdown of staff who will be eligible for retirement in the next five years.

PositionRetirement Year
VR Counselor2013 (1)
Rehabilitation Teacher2013 (1); 2015 (1)
Rehabilitation Teacher Supervisor2015
Orientation Center Teacher2010 (1) 2011 (1); 2012 (1);
Orientation Center - Rehabilitation Referral Specialist2009
Orientation Center - Program Administrator2011

No Field Operations staff have indicated they plan to retire in the next five years. However, with such a high number of IPERS eligible individuals, the Department is following a Succession Plan that defines anticipated knowledge and skills gaps and strategies to address those gaps.

Because of new hiring restrictions, the Department does not anticipate a need to increase or reduce the number of personnel required to provide vocational rehabilitation services in the next 5 years.

 

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

 

In Iowa, the University of Iowa and Drake University currently offer programs in vocational rehabilitation counseling and placement. The following table shows the number of students who are currently enrolled in the programs, the number of students who graduated last year, and the number of students currently enrolled sponsored by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 U of I Voc. Rehab. Counseling (Masters) 25 15 0 12
2 U of I Rehab. Counselor Education (Doctorate) 22 6 0 1
3 Drake Univ Rehabilitation Counseling & Placement 56 53 0 18
4 Drake Univ Rehabilitation Administration Program 16 16 0 9
5 0 0 0 0

 

(2) Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Personnel

(a) Analysis of the Staffing Needs

All staff, including all VR Counselors, meet the highest requirements in the state applicable to their profession. No significant factors exist which adversely affect the Department’s ability to hire qualified staff. Therefore, no short-term or long-term strategies are necessary to address such factors. Because all Department staff already meet the highest standards in the state, no funding is necessary to implement a retraining plan.

 

(b) Coordination of Recruitment and Retraining Efforts with Institutions of Higher Education and Professional Associations

Recruitment

The Department’s plan for recruitment and training of qualified personnel is based on the highest standards in the state for VR Counselors. The Department actively recruits persons who are blind or disabled, and persons from minority backgrounds. Recruitment efforts include:

  • Participation in internship opportunities for students in the Rehabilitation Counseling and Placement programs at the University of Iowa and Drake University.
  • Job opening announcements are posted on the Iowa State employment system and are sent to the Rehabilitation Counseling and Placement programs at the University of Iowa and Drake University. They are also submitted to individuals with contacts to large and diverse web distribution systems. Finally, job postings are sent to the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa and the Iowa Council of United Blind. 
  • Promotion of experienced and qualified personnel from within the agency, including personnel who are blind.
  • Participation in an Equal Employment Opportunity & Affirmative Action training session offered by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Topics covered included definition of discrimination, overview of the Civil Rights Commission, definition of Affirmative Action, and the State of Iowa’s Affirmative Action plan.

Retention

The Department’s plan for retention of qualified personnel includes ongoing training opportunities for all staff; provision and support of assistive technology for staff who are blind or disabled; encouragement and support for personnel desiring advanced degrees; and opportunities for advancement within the organization. 

The Department does not discriminate in any way in its recruitment and hiring practices or in its administration and supervision practices against individuals who are from minority backgrounds or who have disabilities.

 

(3) Personnel Standards

(a) State Approved Personnel Standards

In accordance with 34 CFR 361.18(c) of the Act, the Department for the Blind has defined and implemented personnel standards for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors based on state approved and recognized certification requirements, which were duly promulgated under the Iowa State Administrative Procedures Act. The following standards for VR counselors are based on the highest entry-level degree needed under the existing State certification requirements codified in Chapter 2, Section 2.1(2) of the Iowa Administrative Code:

 

2.1(2) Service Specialist for the Blind 2 and Senior Service Specialist for the Blind 1 (vocational rehabilitation counselor). Certification shall be required of all Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors employed by the Department.

 

a. At the time of hire into the position, an individual holding at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and one year of work experience shall be granted provisional certification. Exceptions regarding education and experience can only be made by the Commission for the Blind upon the recommendation of the Director. Provisional certification shall be recognized for a maximum period of 18 months.

 

b. An individual may obtain full certification as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor by demonstrating competency in the following areas.

 

  1. Knowledge, understanding, and implementation of the Department’s philosophy of blindness.
  2. Knowledge of the Department’s programs. 
  3. Skills in career planning and development. 
  4. Knowledge of placement techniques and practices.
  5. Knowledge of occupational information, job site evaluation, and analysis.
  6. Knowledge of and ability to develop alternative techniques of blindness.
  7. Knowledge of rehabilitation technology services.
  8. Disability knowledge and issues.
  9. Advocacy role.
  10. Case management.

c. An individual holding at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, who has been employed by the Department as a Service Specialist for the Blind 2 or Senior Service Specialist for the Blind 1 (Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor) for a minimum of six months on the date this rule is finalized, shall be considered to be a fully certified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, as long as the individual maintains unbroken employment with the Department in that classification.

 

These standards, which are the highest in the state, ensure that the professional personnel needed within the Department to carry out the vocational rehabilitation program are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained. All of the professional staff at the Department meet these standards. To maintain standards, personnel must participate in ongoing training through the Department.

 

(b) Plan to Retrain or Hire Personnel to Meet Standards

Evaluation of recruitment practices is based on the Department’s ability to hire and train qualified personnel. These practices will continue to be evaluated as additional hiring is necessary. Since all staff currently meet the highest standards within the state, no retraining program is in place.

 

As a general practice, the Department does not hire individuals who do not meet the established personnel standards for the Service Specialist for the Blind 2 or Senior Service Specialist for the Blind 1 (Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor) positions. In the event an individual is hired who does not meet the Department’s personnel standards that individual would be expected to meet those standards within a mutually established time period. The Department would devise a schedule by which the individual must report on progress and by which time period he or she must meet the standards. Failure to meet the standards within the established time period would result in termination or reassignment. The Department would use training grant funds to pay for the training and / or education the individual would require in order to meet the standards for that position.

 

(4) Staff Development

(a) System of Staff Development

The Department actively assesses the training needs of all employees. The state approved Individual Performance Plan and Evaluation (IPPE) document is used to review an employee’s performance and to identify training needs. Training grant funds are used to cover training costs. In doing so, the Department maintains compliance with CSPD and its own administrative rules related to the certification of professional staff members.

 

In addition to annual individual performance reviews, the Department issues a survey annually to all staff to determine the training or resources they require to perform their duties more efficiently and effectively. A new training plan is developed based upon the results of the survey. This plan provides training for all vocational rehabilitation staff and is intended to increase the general competencies of the staff.

 

Vocational rehabilitation staff have participated in the following training activities:

  • Quarterly in-service training activities focus on improving knowledge and understanding of rehabilitation topics, development and demonstration of new skill levels and organizational change projects that enhance achievement of employment outcomes for blind individuals. Topics have included: Asset Development (IDAs, PASS, EITC), Diseases of the Eye and Reading Eye Reports, Addressing Mental Health in an IPE, and Addressing Substance Abuse Issues in an IPE.

     

  • Staff have attended these professional conferences and trainings: IA Dept. of Education’s Vision Conference; RSA 2010 Employment and Disability Conference; California State University at Northridge (CSUN) Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference; Iowa State Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference; National Council of State Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB); Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR); Iowa Rehabilitation Association; Autism Works: National Conference on Autism and Employment; Abilities in Action; and Social Security Work Incentives.

     

  • Performance and Development Solutions (PDS) courses are provided by the Iowa Department of Administrative Services / Human Resources Enterprise on a wide range of general topics and transferable job skills.

  • Great Plains TACE Center courses and conferences on disability issues and Rehabilitation Management training are also made available to staff.

  • In-house training in classroom settings and one-on-one is made available to all staff depending upon the need.

Retention of qualified personnel is addressed through CEU credit for staff training, as well as opportunities for expanding skills and knowledge in a variety of areas.

 

Leadership development and capacity-building opportunities are offered through a wide variety of personnel development seminars available to staff including management certifications and continuous quality improvement certification courses. Three management staff will be attending the National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute. One staff person completed a graduate Certified Public Management program from Drake University. Staff are encouraged to participate in professional organizations such as the National Rehabilitation Association and National Council of State Agencies for the Blind in leadership roles.

 

(b) Procedure for Acquisition and Dissemination of Research

Staff acquire information about current research by participating in professional conferences, attending training on a variety of topics, and through professional publications, such as the Journal of Rehabilitation, the Journal of Visual Impairments and Blindness, and Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (IRI) publications. Staff are required to submit reports on conference findings to the Department’s Deputy Director and their supervisor. These reports include summaries of significant issues or findings, assessments of the conference’s information to their work, and an evaluation of the value of conference to other staff. Further, staff who have attended conferences or training sessions provide updates on results of research or new information to others at the in-service meetings.

 

(5) Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs

This plan supports the use of training funds for courses in foreign languages and in sign languages. However, the Department’s policy is to hire outside interpreters for individuals who are not proficient in English or who use sign language. Staff are routinely counseled on how to locate interpreters. The Deaf-Blind Specialist is a valuable resource in locating qualified outside interpreters and in negotiating contracts with them.

Braille is an integral part of the training that all professional personnel receive.

 

(6) Coordination of Personnel Development Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA)

The Department pursues the following activities to coordinate the system of personnel development with personnel development activities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): 

  • Maintains an interagency agreement with the Iowa Department of Education (DE) which defines the roles and responsibilities of both agencies regarding transition activities. (Refer to attachment 4.8(b)(2) for details.)

     

  • The Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB), the Iowa Braille School, and the Iowa Department of Education (DE) work collaboratively under the Statewide System for Vision Services. These agencies established this system in order to streamline and improve service delivery to children and youth who are blind or visually impaired. Under this system, staff exchange information about their services and approaches in order to create effective working relationships.

    A standard referral procedure was developed as a result of this collaboration. Area Education Agencies (AEAs) personnel and local school district personnel participate in developing Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for students with disabilities and in providing the specialized services those students require. Itinerant Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) provide vision-related IEP services to those students who are blind or visually impaired.

    The TVI must refer all students who are receiving vision-related services to one of two Statewide Vision System’s Regional Directors prior to the development of the student’s transition IEP or no later than age fourteen. The Regional Director reviews referrals made by the TVIs to determine whether the student should be referred to the Department for follow-up or to the Center for Disabilities & Development at the University of Iowa.

    Through this collaborative effort and referral system, the Department is able to effectively coordinate its services with the Iowa Braille School and the AEAs to provide seamless transition from school, where all services are provided by the educational agencies (AEAs and local school districts), to vocational rehabilitation.

     

  • VR Counselors and Supervisors participate in an annual statewide VISION conference sponsored by the DE and attended by special education professionals, families of children who are blind or visually impaired, and other service providers.

     

  • Participates in Drake University’s and the University of Iowa’s Rehabilitation Education advisory boards.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 25 2011 10:08AM by saiasassers

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.

4.11(a) Results of Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities and Need to Establish, Develop, or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs

The Iowa Department for the Blind's mission is to be the means for persons who are blind to obtain for themselves universal accessibility and full participation as citizens in whatever roles they may choose, including roles that improve Iowa’s economic growth. The Department understands that, in order to realize this mission, it must continuously modify its programs to meet the needs of its customers and changing socioeconomic conditions.

In 2009, the Department completed its mandated triennial comprehensive assessment to determine the current needs of Iowans who are blind or visually impaired and to assess the services provided by Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP).

Methodology

The Department's comprehensive assessment was designed to determine the rehabilitation needs of Iowans who are blind or visually impaired; identify and serve these individuals who are minorities or who are unserved and underserved by the vocational rehabilitation system; evaluate the methods used to provide supported employment services under 34 CFR part 363; and identify the needs of Iowans who are blind or visually impaired served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system. The assessment also sought to identify the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.

The results of the needs assessment are based on an analysis of information obtained from these sources:

• Iowa's population and demographic data;

• 4 years of the Department's Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) case closure data;

• Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) monitoring tables;

• Survey results; and

• Public comments.

Population and Demographic Data.A profile of Iowa's population was built using data from the National Eye Institute, several American Community Surveys, U.S. Census Bureau Interim Population Projections reports, and other federal reports. Additional data was collected from Iowa's State Data Center, Veteran's Administration, Department of Human Services, and Workforce Development. Staff compared this data with the Department's VR closure data collected by its case management system (eFORCE). Population data was collected for these categories: gender, age, race, educational attainment, location of residence, and veteran status.

eFORCE Case Closure Data.Staff collected and analyzed its VR case closure data from federal fiscal years 2005 through 2008 to determine whether the Department's VR clients were demographically proportionate to Iowa's population. This data was also analyzed to determine employment trends for the population categories defined above. Data was collected for the following categories to determine employment and service trends:

• Closed while an applicant but before eligibility determination (Status 08).

• Closed after employment outcome achieved (Status 26).

• Closed after services initiated without employment outcome (Status 28).

• Closed after determination of eligibility but before services under Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) initiated (Status 30-5).

• Closed after determination of eligibility but before IPE developed (Status 30-7).

Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Monitoring Tables.In February 2009, Rehabilitation Services Administration staff completed its on-site visit to the Department as part of the Section 107 Monitoring Review. Prior to the on-site visit, Department staff received and reviewed 38 data tables related to the VR program and 25 data tables related specifically to the transition population. Data from these tables were also used to assess service trends.

Survey Results.In April 2009, the Department sent a survey to Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) throughout the state. The survey's questions related to the number of blind and visually impaired Iowans served, a self-assessment of the organization's ability to provide employment-related services to blind and visually impaired Iowans, and referrals to and collaboration with the Department. The survey also presented the CRP with the opportunity to request training or information from the Department. The results of that survey can be found under the assessment of CRPs section below.

In addition, responses from five years of client satisfaction surveys were reviewed. This fourteen-question survey asked clients to indicate their understanding of the VR process, satisfaction with service delivery by Department staff, knowledge of other resources, identification of the services they found most helpful, and an assessment regarding their attitude toward blindness, independence, and confidence following case closure. An analysis of survey results is under the "Satisfaction with VR Services" heading below.

Public Comment.The Department receives input from consumers regarding their needs from a variety of on-going activities. The consumer organizations are very active in Iowa, and they routinely provide input to the Department and to the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Indeed, Department staff are invited to present and participate in the consumer organizations' annual statewide conventions. Resolutions from these conventions that pertain to the Department are presented to the Director and the members of the Commission. In addition, the Commission holds four to six board meetings each year. These meetings are open to the public and time can be reserved on the agenda for any Iowan who wants to bring an issue before the board. Finally, staff obtain information at the local level by participating in support group meetings around the state.

A public hearing to obtain feedback on the results of this needs assessment and on other topics was held on April 18, 2009.

Consumer feedback from these sources was utilized in formulating goals for the next three years.

Assessment Results

The data provided by RSA staff for the monitoring review showed that the Department achieves high performance in several areas compared to other blind agencies. The Department's employment rate remains in the 80% range, compared with the low 70% range for other blind agencies. The Department also performs better than most blind agencies in these categories:

• Average wage at closure;

• Average hours worked per week;

• Percentage of clients closed working at Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level at 35 hours or more per week; and

• Percentage of clients closed with employer-provided medical insurance.

The Department consistently performs well on the federal Standards and Indicators. (The Department's, as well as all VR agencies', performance data can be found on RSA's web site at http://rsamis.ed.gov.)

The Department is proud of its achievements, yet we seek ways to improve performance. The needs assessment revealed areas where the Department excels and areas where improvements can be made.

Percentage of Potential VR Population Served

The 2008 population projections estimate Iowa's total population is 2,997,608. Of that number, 66% of Iowans are between the ages of 14 and 64. The total population age 16 and over in the labor force is 1,611,994. In March 2009, Iowa's unemployment rate was 5.2%, which is 1.3% higher than March 2008.

A precise number of blind and visually impaired Iowans does not exist. The National Eye Institute (NEI) estimates that 48,944 Iowans age 40 and older are blind or have a visual impairment, of that total, 26,897 are blind. The NEI put the prevalence rate for visual impairment, including blindness, among Iowans 40 and older at 3.73%. Alternatively, projections from the National Health Interview Survey on Disability estimate that the number of Iowans who are blind or visually impaired will be 69,422 by 2010, of that number 10,256 represent blind Iowans. (The term "visually impaired" here means has difficulty seeing even with eyeglasses or contact lenses.)

The number of Iowans who may require VR services from the Department is estimated to be 45,819, including 6,769 (blind) and 39,050 (visually impaired). These estimates were derived by multiplying the National Health Interview Survey on Disability data by the percentage (66%) of Iowans who are between the ages of 14 and 64 (i.e. 10,256*.66 = 6,769; 59,166*.66 = 39,050). The National Health Interview Survey data was used for this estimation because its data looked at the population as a whole, not at an age specific data set. NEI's data shows that the prevalence of vision loss, including blindness, dramatically increases after age 75. Therefore the NEI's 3.73% prevalence rate would be an overestimation for a younger, VR potential age group. (The Department has and will continue to provide VR services to Iowans over the age of 64 who require them.)

The Department has experienced a diminished presence in the state. While the state's population as a whole has increased at a rate of 2% since 2003, the Department has seen a steady decrease in referrals and applicants per million since FY2003. Applications for VR services have dropped from 74 per million in FY2003 to 51 per million in FY2008 (RSA 107 Monitoring Table 1: VR Case Flow Information). According to caseload data from FY2008, the Department is serving about 6.5% of the estimated pool of potentially VR-eligible Iowans who are blind. This data indicates that the Department needs to increase outreach efforts in order to reach those Iowans who are blind or visually impaired and require VR service to obtain or maintain employment.

Demographic Representation and Outcomes in VR Case Closures FFY2005 - 2008The closure data from federal fiscal years 2005 through 2008 shows that, in many ways, the demographic profile of the Department's VR clients mirrors that of Iowa's population.

GenderFemales make up 51% of Iowa's population, males 49%. Females age 16 and over represent 47.33% (762,903) of individuals in the labor force. The Department has been serving male and female clients in relative proportion to their representation in the state. The four year average shows that 52% of closed cases were males and 48% were female. In FY2008, 49% of closed cases were males and 51% were female.

In terms of employment outcomes, women tend to close more successfully than men. The four year average shows that men closed successfully (status 26) 60% of the time; women closed successfully 66% of the time. Men closed unsuccessfully (status 28) at a rate of 17%; women closed unsuccessfully (status 28) at a rate of 14%.

AgePersons aged 45 to 54 represent the largest age group in Iowa (14.65%), followed closely by 14-24 (13.50%) and 25-34 year olds (13.16%). The median age in Iowa is 38. The Department's closure data again shows that it is serving Iowans in proportion to their representation in the state. Persons aged 45-54 represent the largest age group in the VR case closure data, followed by persons aged 35-44 and 25-34. Older individuals are represented a bit higher in the Department's VR case load in comparison to their representation in the state. This higher percentage is likely due to blindness and vision loss being age-related conditions.

Closure status data shows that young adults are not closing as successfully as their older counterparts. The percentage of clients closed between ages 14-24 who close successfully (status 26) has been dropping; on average 43% of these clients close successfully. Only 29% closed status 26 in 2008 as compared to 53% in FY2006. On average, they closed Status 28 - Unsuccessful 27% of the time. (The remainder accounts for cases closed ineligible or before an IPE was developed or services began.)

Clients aged 25-34 fared better. On average, they achieve a successful (status 26) closure 57% of the time. They close Status 28 - Unsuccessful 21% of the time.

Clients aged 45-54 closed successfully 66% on average and close unsuccessfully 11% on average. The average age of a status 26 closure is 45; average age for a status 28 closure is 37.

Many factors contribute to the employment status of young adults, including work experience, availability of entry-level jobs, and skills. A report titled "The State of Working Iowa 2008" by the Iowa Policy Project shows that Iowa has only slowly recovered from the last recessionary period of 2001 to 2003. Not only were fewer jobs added to Iowa's economy following this recessionary period, but those jobs offered low wages and few if any benefits. Indeed, the authors found that the last recession-recovery period made Iowa's low wage problem worse. This study also found that younger (18-34) and less educated workers sustained the greatest losses in terms of opportunities for high-wage entry level jobs. The impact of the current recession has not yet been determined. Nonetheless, the Department needs to focus efforts on young adults to ensure they attain the work experience they need in order to be successful later in life.

Services to MinoritiesIowans are primarily white, with 94% reporting white as their race. Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin represent 4% of Iowa's population with black persons representing 2.6%. A small percentage of Iowans are Asian (1.6%) or American Indian or Alaska Native (.4%). A 2007 Labor Force Study by Iowa Workforce Development lists the unemployment rate for minorities as 9.2%.

The Department's closure population is somewhat more diverse than Iowa's population. However, we tend to have an under-representation of Hispanics given Iowa's population. The following list contains the average representation in VR closures by race:

• White: 90.11%

• Black/African American: 5.98%

• Hispanic or Latino: 1.59%

• Asian: 1.46%

• American Indian: 0.86%

Outreach efforts targeted at the Hispanic population may yield a higher representation on the caseload.

Establishing employment trend data for minorities is made difficult by the small numbers they represent in the caseload. For example, while clients of Hispanic or Latino origin make up 1.59% of the case closures on average, the total number of these clients closed in four years is thirteen. With such a small population, the slightest change in numbers can cause a significant change to percentages. To obtain trend data, staff aggregated the minority categories into one group. Therefore, employment trend data was examined by comparing the non-minority population (White) to the minority population (Black/African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, and American Indian).

Employment data for minorities shows an upward trend in successful employment outcomes. Successful closures for minorities have been on a steady increase since FY2003 when the success rate (status 26) was 36.4%. In FY2008, the successful employment rate for minorities was 58.8%, compared to 65.7% for non-minority clients.

Educational AttainmentThe percentage of Iowans whose highest level of educational attainment is a high school degree is 35.60%, followed by some college with no degree (20.4%). The percentage of Iowans who have a high school degree or higher is 89.60%.

Like Iowa's population, the percentage of clients whose highest level of educational attainment is a high school degree or equivalent is the highest percentage in the Department's closure population at 29.83%. On average, clients with some post-secondary education with no degree represent 21.44% of the closure population and those with a Bachelor's degree represent 19.18% of the closure population. The average percentage of closed clients with a high school degree or higher is 91.4%.

The Department's closure data shows those with more education close more successfully than those with less education. Clients who have a degree higher than a high school diploma close successfully at a high rate: Associates degree 69.47%; Bachelors degree 78.01%; and Masters degree: 75.54%. Those with a high school education closed successfully (status 26) on average 60% of the time. However, the data shows a downward trend in employment success for these clients. Individuals with a high school degree or equivalent were closing more successfully than those with a post-secondary, no degree education until FY 2008. Clients with a post-secondary, no degree education are on an upward trend for successful closures (status 26); they are also on a downward trend for unsuccessful closures (status 28).

Location of ResidenceAccording to Census and U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimates from 2006, 55.2% of Iowans live in a metropolitan area and 44.8% live in non-metropolitan areas (comprised of rural and micropolitan areas). A micropolitan area is an urban area based around a core city or town with a population of 10,000 to 49,999. Iowa has nine metropolitan areas consisting of twenty counties in Iowa and eleven out-of-state counties, and it has six micropolitan areas consisting of seventeen Iowa counties and two out-of-state counties. The remaining 62 counties in Iowa are considered rural areas.

On average, 30% of closed VR clients were from a rural or micropolitan area and nearly 60% were from a metropolitan area. The Department's client representation from metro areas is above that of the distribution of Iowa's population: 55.2% from Metro and 44.8% Non-Metro. (The Department also closed a small number of clients who are residing out of state or whose residence was unknown.)

Trend data shows that the Department is increasingly drawing clients from the metropolitan areas. In FY 2008, 63.21% of closed clients lived in a metropolitan area. At the same time, the percentage of clients coming from the micropolitan areas, like Boone, Burlington, Fort Dodge, and Newton, has been dropping. In FY2005, 16% of closed clients lived in a micropolitan area compared to 9.84% in FY2008. The number of closed clients from rural areas has remained fairly steady at an average of 30%.

Using data from four years, the average closure rates for these areas are:

• Metro: Closed Status 26 - Successful 68%; Closed Status - 28 Unsuccessful 19%

• Rural: Closed Status 26 - Successful 62%; Closed Status - 28 Unsuccessful 18%

• Micro: Closed Status 26 - Successful 53%; Closed Status - 28 Unsuccessful 25%

VR clients living in metropolitan areas close successfully more often than those living in non-metro areas. Clients living in rural areas close successfully more often than those living in micropolitan areas. Clients living in micropolitan areas have the highest Closed Status - 28 Unsuccessful percentage.

Closure data suggests that the Department needs to focus efforts both in terms of increasing referrals from the micropolitan areas and in seeking ways to improve employment outcomes for residents living in these areas.

Services to Veterans

The 2007 American Community Survey estimates that veterans comprise 11% of Iowa's population. Currently Iowa's Veterans Administration has a record of 275 veterans that are legally blind. The majority of those veterans (80%) are aged 70 and older. Only 8% or 22 veterans are younger than 60 years old. The Department has closed the cases of twelve veterans in the last four years; six of those were in FY2008.

Co-Disabilities

Because secondary disabilities can have an impact on the client's VR services and employment, staff reviewed the incidences of secondary disability among closed clients for this needs assessment. The data showed that an average of 43.4% of closed clients had a secondary disability. Data trends from FY2005 to FY2008 show that clients with a secondary disability are less likely to close successfully than those who do not have a secondary disability. Employment outcomes showed that those with a secondary disability close successfully 56.2% of the time on average, compared to 68.3% for those without a secondary disability. In FY2008, 55.1% of clients with a secondary disability closed successfully compared to 70.4% of those without a secondary disability. The unsuccessful (status 28) rate for clients with a secondary disability averages to 18%; it was 14% for those without a secondary impairment.

Predicting the impact of secondary disabilities on client outcomes and developing strategies to address them is difficult for several reasons. First, the list of disability codes available for recording a secondary disability is both long and incomplete. The most frequently selected secondary impairment option for our VR clients is "Other Physical Impairments (not listed above)". This option is selected because the list of valid options does not include an option that best describes the client's impairment. Second, a client may have multiple impairments. However, the Counselor may only select a primary and secondary impairment. Third, the presence of an additional impairment is often made through client self-report or the Counselor's observation. Additional medical data is requested when significant conditions are reported, such as diabetes, heart conditions, cancer, stroke, brain injury, etc. However, some conditions may not be reported or observed. Despite these difficulties, the closure data indicates the Department may need to look at ways of improving employment outcomes for those clients whose record reflects the presence of a secondary impairment.

Satisfaction with VR Services

Five years of closure surveys were analyzed to determine client satisfaction with services and the level of effectiveness of training. Client satisfaction surveys are sent at case closure to clients whose case closed successfully and unsuccessfully. The average response rate is 41%. On average, 90% of respondents indicated they were currently employed in either a paid job, as a volunteer, or as a homemaker, 8% were not, and 2% did not answer.

Overall, survey respondents were satisfied with the services they received. More than 90% of respondents indicated that they understood the VR process and the services available. Most felt the services that they received were timely (87%) and helpful (77%). Nearly 90% of respondents indicated that they felt better about themselves and their future after receiving services. Eighty-nine percent indicated that they felt they were a "more competent and independent person because of the rehabilitation services I received."

The purchase of training or occupational tools was cited most frequently as the most valuable service received, followed closely by guidance from the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor or Teacher.

Supported Employment

Supported employment is defined as "competitive employment in an integrated setting or employment in integrated work settings in which individuals are working toward competitive employment consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individuals with ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities."

Traditionally, a small percentage of the Department's clients receive supported employment services. Many of those clients who receive supported employment services close in employment without supports. The FY2008 closure data shows that twelve clients had supported employment services on their plan. Of those, three closed successfully in supported employment, six closed successfully in employment without supports, and three closed unsuccessfully. Data trends show that, while few clients receive supported employment services, those who do receive these services close successfully at a high rate in either supported employment or employment without supports. Because these intensive services are successful for those who require them, the Department plans to enhance its supported employment program to ensure that those clients who could benefit from supported employment services receive them.

Recently, the Department began working with staff from Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) to implement the IVRS supported employment model. This model is designed to increase successful supported employment outcomes by ensuring that staff from the VR agencies and CRPs understand their roles and are clear about the training objectives and services to be provided.

Assessment of Services to Individuals with Disabilities Provided by Other Components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System

The Iowa agencies in the statewide workforce investment system, including the Department and Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, have a strong, collaborative relationship. Attachment 4.11(d) details a number of joint activities designed to improve the employment outcomes of all Iowans with disabilities. Data from Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) estimates that 11.2% of exiting clients had a disability in program year 2008. IWD feels that many job seekers using services do not self-disclose their disability. A recent comparison of Social Security Ticket to Work ticket-holder data to IWD data showed that more individuals with disabilities utilized services than was reported.

Department staff have been encouraging more clients to utilize the services offered through the workforce partners, such as participation in job clubs, resume preparation, job interviewing skills, and Wagner-Peyser programs. Traditionally, the Department has served as a technical assistance resource for the One-Stop Centers in Iowa.

Potentially, both One-Stop Center staff and our VR clients would benefit from increased usage of the Workforce services. Our clients would benefit from the job seeking expertise the One-Stops offer. One-Stop Center staff would gain experience in working with job seekers who are blind or visually impaired and would be able to report provision of services to these individuals. IWD data from March 2009 showed that 7% of the Department's open VR clients were also registered with at least one of their programs.

Iowans with disabilities who work also have the option of receiving Medicaid coverage from the Medicaid for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MEPD) program (Iowa's Medicaid Buy-in program). The MEPD program is operated by the Iowa Department of Human Services. March 2009 data from the MEPD program show that 21% of the Department's current VR clients participate in this program.

Assessment of the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs in Iowa

By July 2009, the Department and IVRS will have signed agreements with 82 Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) throughout the state. These agreements detail the types of services the CRP will provide and methods for payment of services. By working together, the Department and IVRS will ensure that CRPs receive consistent information and direction from the VR agencies in Iowa.

In most instances, Department staff provide assessments, training, and job seeking services to blind and visually impaired clients who require supported employment services, as we have found this to be the most effective and expeditious manner in delivering these services. However, the Department uses CRPs throughout Iowa when necessary for job coaching, client assessments, training, or placement in supported employment.

In spring 2009, surveys were sent to 66 CRPs throughout the state. This survey had a 39% response rate. Fifty-two Iowans who are blind or visually impaired received services from eighteen of the responding organizations in the 2008 calendar year. The majority of survey respondents assessed their organization's ability to provide employment related services to blind or visually impaired individuals as either good (36%) or adequate (40%). Of those indicating that their organization needs improvement in this area (24%), all requested training from Department staff. (Arrangements to provide training have been made.) Most of the respondents indicated that they had worked with either VR or Independent Living staff from the Department, and several provided positive comments regarding the collaboration. Unfortunately, only a few (20%) indicated that they had made referrals to the Department.

Based on survey results, the Department feels that it has good working relationships with the CRPs with which we have worked. However, we would like to have more referrals from these community resources. New outreach efforts are designed to make both the general public and service providers aware of the Department's services and therefore increase referrals. Lastly, while the response rate was satisfactory, we were not able to assess the services of 61% of the CRPs identified in the state. With the implementation of IVRS's supported employment model, we hope to obtain more information about these providers.

This screen was last updated on Sep 11 2009 4:41PM by saiasassers

Using 2008 population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau and data from the National Health Interview Survey, the number of Iowans who are blind and who may require vocational rehabilitation services from the Department is 6,769. The estimated number of Iowans who are visually impaired is 39,050. (Visually impaired means has difficulty seeing even with eyeglasses or contact lenses.)

The Department estimates approximately 468 individuals will receive services under Title I of the Act in FY2012. Approximately 30 individuals will concurrently receive services under Title VI, Part B of the Act.

 

The Department is not under an Order of Selection and will be able to serve all applicants and eligible individuals.

 

Costs of services provided under Title I of the Act are estimated at $7,814,308. Costs for supported employment services under Title VI, Part B of the Act are estimated at $57,000.

 

The Department received $1,085,985 from American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funds for basic support and has spent $1,079,281 of those funds. The Department used the ARRA funds to improve its outreach and direct services to blind or visually impaired Iowans. Funds were used to employ staff; implement a pilot youth employment program; develop and implement a five-year public education and outreach plan; and redesign the Department’s website. This approach has directly created and funded jobs as well as addressed the Department’s state plan goals.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Title I $7,814,308 468 $16,697
Title VI $57,000 30 $1,900
Totals   $7,871,308 498 $15,805

This screen was last updated on Jul 25 2011 10:08AM by saiasassers

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.

4.11(c)(1) Goals and Priorities of the State in Carrying Out the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs

The goals listed below were developed based on the results of the 2009 comprehensive statewide needs assessment and a review of the Department's performance on the federal standards and indicators. Priorities were determined both on severity of need and on staff capacity.

The Department does not have a State Rehabilitation Council. However, the three-member Commission for the Blind has reviewed the goals below.

Vocational Rehabilitation Goals

The needs assessment and monitoring tables revealed three areas in which the Department will focus on as priorities.

VR Goal 1: All blind and visually impaired Iowans who require Vocational Rehabilitation services to obtain or retain employment receive them.

Perhaps the most important finding from the needs assessment is that blind and visually impaired Iowans across the state may be underserved by the Department's VR services. Currently, the Department is serving about 6.5% of the estimated pool of potentially VR-eligible Iowans who are blind. Data from the Section 107 monitoring review (Table 1: VR Case Flow Information), the RSA-113, and the Department's internal reports on referrals and applications show that referral, application, and caseload numbers have been in decline for several years. Recent performance on Indicator 1.1 reflects the drop in number of blind and visually impaired Iowans served.

Strategies to both address staffing capacity and outreach have been devised to ensure that all blind and visually impaired Iowans who require Vocational Rehabilitation services to obtain or retain employment receive them. (Refer to attachment 4.11d.)

VR Goal 2: All blind and visually impaired transition age youth and young adults experience employment outcomes that are commensurate with those of older blind and visually impaired Iowans.

The Department's performance on the Standards and Indicators and data from the Section 107 monitoring review (Table 30: Quality of Competitive Employment Outcomes) and the Department's own reports demonstrate that we achieve high quality employment outcomes for our clients overall. We routinely exceed the performance levels for established indicators, particularly on the three primary indicators 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5. The three year average for Indicator 1.3: Competitive Employment Outcomes as a Percentage of all Employment Outcomes is 90.05%; the result for Indicator 1.4 Competitive Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Significant Disabilities as a Percentage of all Individuals with Significant Disabilities is 100%; and the average for Indicator 1.5: Ratio of Average VR Wage to State Wage as a Percentage is 88.23%. Our average VR wage to state wage ratio remains among the highest of all VR agencies. However, the needs assessment revealed that transition age youth and young adults are not achieving employment outcomes at the same rate as those clients who are aged 35 or older. Strategies to address the low successful closure rate for blind and visually impaired transition age youth and young adults have been developed. (Refer to attachment 4.11d.)

VR Goal 3: All blind and visually impaired Iowans with identified secondary disabilities achieve employment outcomes that are commensurate with blind and visually impaired Iowans who do not have an identified secondary disability.

Approximately 43% of the clients who closed in the last five years had a secondary disability. Data trends from that time period show that clients who have a secondary disability are less likely to close successfully than those who do not. As with younger clients, the Department seeks to improve services to this potentially underserved group to ensure that they both close successfully and achieve quality employment. Strategies to address the lower success rate for blind and visually impaired Iowans with secondary disabilities have been developed. (Refer to attachment 4.11d.)

Supported Employment

SE Goal: All blind and visually impaired Iowans who require supported employment services to obtain or retain competitive employment receive them.

The needs assessment and monitoring tables showed that the supported employment services that the Department provides result in good outcomes for those individuals who receive them. In FY2008, the average hourly wage for those who received supported employment services was $9.56 and the average hours worked per week was 14. However, relatively few clients receive supported employment services. Strategies to ensure that any Department VR client who needs supported employment services receives them have been developed. (Refer to attachment 4.11d.)

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2009 5:01PM by saiasassers

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2009 5:01PM by saiasassers

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 Department will receive $57,000 in Title VI, Part B funds in FY2012. These funds are intended to be used solely for supported employment services. The Department’s supported employment goal is that all blind and visually impaired Iowans who require supported employment services to obtain or retain competitive employment receive them. Approximately 30 individuals will receive supported employment services in FY2012.

Funds will be distributed according to the needs of eligible individuals for whom supported employment services are deemed to be appropriate. Services will be purchased on an individual basis and customized for each individual’s situation. Because the need for supported employment services is likely to exceed the funds allocated for them under Title VI, Part B, funds from Title I will be used to supplement the costs of supported employment services that are listed on an individual’s supported employment Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). A lack of Title VI, Part B funds will not restrict or prohibit the inclusion of supported employment services on an IPE or the purchase or delivery of such services when they are needed.

This screen was last updated on Jul 25 2011 10:10AM by saiasassers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.11(d) Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities to Address Needs Identified in the Comprehensive Assessment and to Achieve Identified Goals and Priorities

Methods to Expand and Improve Services to Blind and Visually Impaired Iowans

The Department will expand and improve services to blind and visually Impaired Iowans in several ways. First, the Department will increase staffing capacity. The Department has been understaffed in field positions, particularly in VR services, in eastern and northwestern Iowa. Currently, the Department's eight VR Counselors are either based in Des Moines or Waterloo. The Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area is the second most-populous region in the state. The Sioux City micropolitan area is located in the otherwise rural region of northwest Iowa. Hiring VR Counselors in these locations ensures that blind and visually impaired Iowans residing in those areas will receive timely service visits. We also anticipate that these staff additions will increase referrals from those areas and result in a better representation of Iowans from micropolitan areas, which has seen a decrease in recent years.

Second, the Department plans to add a more robust employment component to its transition programs. Our transition programs have focused on peer interaction, recreational activities, education, and job seeking skills. These activities are important to our youth population, who tend to have little or no interaction with blind or visually impaired peers or role models. Learning about the job market and developing job seeking skills are also important facets of the program. However, early employment experience is key to future success. Therefore, the Department plans to implement a pilot program on youth employment to augment the employment piece of our transition program.

Finally, the Department will work with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services on the agreements with the Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) in the state. This collaboration will result in useful resources for our supported employment clients, increased referral sources, and consistency in the partnerships between the vocational rehabilitation programs and the CRPs.

Assistive Technology

Methods to provide a broad range of assistive technology services and devices to blind and visually impaired Iowans at each stage of the rehabilitation process

The Department has three staff providing assistive technology services. Technology staff use a formalized, standard technology assessment tool that helps our counselors identify the technology needs of their clients and appropriate equipment. Every client who seeks assistance in purchasing technology undergoes a rigorous technology skill assessment to determine (1) how proficiently the client can use technology and (2) in what areas the client may need extra training. The technology assessments ensure that funds are spent on appropriate technology and that clients know how to use the technology productively. To ensure that clients use the equipment to its greatest potential, the assessment allows staff to provide training that is customized to the needs of the individual. These assessments are generally completed at the beginning of the VR process; however they can be done at any time that a need for assistive technology is identified.

The technology staff also support employers through the performance of worksite assessments and through training and technical assistance that is customized to their employment situation. Our technology staff offer information and advice on assistive technology and accessibility to employers through seminars, e-mail, telephone calls, and in-service demonstrations.

The Department's Orientation Center includes a class on computer and assistive technology. All students enrolled in the Orientation Center are required to take this class. This class is individualized to meet the needs of each student based upon an initial assessment. As needed, training covers the areas of keyboarding, screen access software and hardware, Windows, and the Microsoft Office Suite. Other communications devices, such as note takers and digital recorders, may also be covered.

Finally, the Department's Technology Resource Center offers clients the opportunity to evaluate and learn to use a wide variety of assistive technology, including screen access software, screen magnification software, note takers, Braille displays, and more. The Loaner Pool provides equipment to clients whose equipment at work has failed or who require an extended period of technology evaluation.

Provision of assistive technology services and devices on a statewide basis

All clients regardless of location receive a technology assessment and appropriate assistive technology when it has been determined that such technology will be needed for employment or education. The technology staff travel across the state to provide individual technology assessments and worksite assessments, and they are available for technical support via e-mail and telephone.

OutreachOutreach procedures for identifying and serving blind and visually impaired Iowans who are minorities or who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program

Staff engage in a variety of outreach activities around the state both to promote the Department's services and to educate the general public, including newly blind persons, regarding the capabilities of persons who are blind. Currently, we are consolidating outreach efforts across all divisions to ensure quality and consistency in message and materials. An Information Specialist has been hired to coordinate all future marketing, outreach, and public education efforts. Recent outreach activities have included open house events, community based trainings, print and radio interviews, distribution of informational materials, tours of the Department, and presentations to employers, community services organizations, schools, self-help groups, and more. These events reach over 10,000 people annually. Like other blind agencies, self-referral is the most commonly recorded referral source. Many applicants have heard about the Department through community organizations and family or friends who have attended a presentation.

In addition to direct contact with the public, we utilize other providers throughout the state to assist us in promoting the Department. Through its involvement with statewide Workforce System partnerships and the statewide Governance Group, the Department has established a network of referral sources to tap into populations who may not be directly contacted by the Department or may not initially believe or realize the Department is a resource for them.

Plans for Establishing, Developing, or Improving Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP), if applicable

Based on the results of the recent comprehensive needs assessment, the Department does not currently have plans to establish, develop, or improve the CRPs in the state. Most respondents to our CRP survey indicated that they had a good working relationship with the Department and rated their ability to provide employment related services to blind and visually impaired individuals as good or adequate. The Department has arranged training for those who rated their ability as poor.

The lack of referrals from the CRPs is a cause for concern. Both the survey and data from the Section 107 monitoring review (Table 15: Referral Sources for Individuals Closed Who Received Services) reveal that CRPs are not a significant source of referrals. Service providers are a target audience in our outreach effort, and we anticipate an increase in referrals from all sources across the state as a result.

Strategies to Improve Performance on Standards and Indicators

The following table shows the Department's performance on the Standards and Indicators for the last three years.

Performance Indicator FFY 06 Outcome FFY 07 Outcome FFY 08 Outcome
1.1: Number of Individuals with Employment OutcomesPerformance Standard: Level or equal128.5 124124
1.2: Individuals Receiving Services under an Individualized Plan for Employment and Percentage with an Employment OutcomePerformance Standard: 68.9% 81.08% 82.12% 77.50%
1.3: Competitive Employment Outcomes as a Percentage of all Employment OutcomesPerformance Standard: 35.4% 89.50% 87.90% 92.74%
1.4: Competitive Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Significant Disabilities as a Percentage of all Individuals with Significant DisabilitiesPerformance Standard: 89.0%100%100%100%
1.5: Ratio of Average VR Wage to State Wage as a PercentagePerformance Standard: 59.0% 88.18%81.89%94.61%
1.6: Percentage of Individuals Achieving Competitive Employment Outcomes Reporting Own Income as Primary Source of Support at Application and ClosurePerformance Standard: 30.4% 22.61%25.69%15.65%
2.1: Access to Services for MinoritiesPerformance Standard: 80%

Because the Department served fewer than 100 individuals from minority backgrounds, it has submitted a document to RSA describing the Department's policies and steps taken to ensure that individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds have equal access to VR services, in compliance with Standard 2 requirements.

 92.64%85.43%76.43%

The Department routinely performs well on the Standards and Indicators. However, the Department has not met Indicator 1.6 in the last three years. While the Department encourages self-sufficiency, a number of local factors cause barriers to self-sufficiency. Recent reports show that achieving self-support in Iowa is difficult both because of wages and the quality of jobs in the state. Iowa is a low-wage state, ranking 34th nationally for our median wage and 7th in our nine-state region. Wages have stagnated since 2001. Cost of living research has shown that in Iowa each parent in a two-parent, two-child household must earn a minimum of $10.92 just to cover very basic needs. The 2006 median wage in Iowa was $13.77 per hour; one-third of jobs in Iowa paid less than $10.92. Further, the percentage of jobs offering health benefits has from fallen from 73% in 1998 to 58% in 2007. Without employer provided health coverage, many clients need social support programs to obtain that coverage or go without. Earnings limits for public medical coverage programs and other support programs encourage clients to keep monthly earnings low in order to maintain eligibility. Many clients rely on a combination of earnings, income from a spouse or family member, Social Security benefits, and other public supports to meet their basic needs. (The State of Working Iowa 2008 and The Cost of Living in Iowa (2008), The Iowa Policy Project and Making Work Pay for Iowa's Families (2008), National Center for Children in Poverty)

The Department recognizes that reliance on public support is not an ideal situation, but is necessary for many Iowans, including those who are blind or visually impaired. Discussions across Iowa are beginning to coalesce into a united effort to address the disincentives to work that are part of Iowa's public support programs.

Assisting Other Components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System in Assisting Iowans who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Iowans with disabilities, including those who are blind or visually impaired, have access to a number of employment-related services through the statewide workforce investment system. To ensure that blind job seekers have full access to the employment services they need, the Department has maintained working relationships with other state agencies providing employment services to Iowans through its partnerships with the 16 Regional Workforce Investment Boards and through its participation in the Governance Group.

The Governance Group, organized in 1998, includes administrative personnel from the Iowa Governor’s Developmental Disability Council, the Division of Persons with Disabilities, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS), Department of Human Services, Workforce Development, Department of Education and the Department for the Blind. The purpose of the Governance Group is to ensure that partner agencies deliver quality employment services to individuals with disabilities by addressing the barriers to collaborative efforts that their varying policies and procedures can create. Several joint efforts have come from this group:

Employers Disability Resource Network (EDRN). This employer development team seeks to increase employment of persons with disabilities by pooling agency resources and providing technical expertise to employers throughout the state. Members of this group include staff from the Department for the Blind, IVRS, Veteran's Administration, Small Business Administration, Division of Persons with Disabilities, Workforce Development, and the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant program. Members of this group have presented to 20 employers and employer organizations throughout the state.

Disability Program Navigators. The Governance Group applied for and received the Department of Labor's Disability Program Navigator grant in 2003. This program is administered by Workforce Development and members of the Governance Group, including a staff person from the Department for the Blind, provide program oversight. Recently, Iowa's One-Stop centers became Employment Networks (EN) through the Social Security's Ticket to Work program. In addition to their other duties, the Disability Program Navigators provide information to ticketholders about the Ticket to Work program and about the Employment Networks in the state that provide employment-related services. The Department for the Blind and IVRS have a memorandum of agreement in place with the One-Stop EN that outlines referral procedures for the EN and the Department and IVRS. Staff from the Department and IVRS meet routinely with Workforce Development staff and the Disability Program Navigators to ensure that ticketholders are directed to the most appropriate services.

Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program. The Governance Group applied for and received Social Security's Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) grant in 2006. This program is administered by Workforce Development and members of the Governance Group, including a Department staff person, provide program oversight. The WIPA program provides benefits analysis and planning to Iowans with disabilities who are interested in returning to work or increasing earnings from employment. Accurate information on the impact earnings have on Social Security benefits is crucial in ensuring those individuals are able to make informed decisions about working. Since 2006, the WIPA program has provided information and/or benefits plans to 1,265 Iowans with disabilities, including 41 Iowans who are blind or visually impaired. The grant period for this program will expire in 2010, and a new funding award will be issued by the Social Security Administration. The Governance Group plans to submit an application for this funding in order to continue the WIPA program in Iowa.

Promise Jobs - Disability Specialists Initiative.Promise Jobs is the employment component of the Family Investment Program (FIP), Iowa's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program. In 2007, the Promise Jobs program implemented an initiative to work with case managers in identifying participants with disabilities that present a barrier to employment and self-sufficiency. Those participants are referred to a Disability Specialist. The Disability Specialists provide enhanced assessment, intensive case management services, and networking with and referrals to partner agencies as needed. Blindness or visual impairment has recently been added as a disability category to the Disability Specialists report form. In the future, data on the number of blind or visually impaired Iowans served by this program will be available.

The Department is actively engaged in working with the workforce system partners. These efforts ensure that our VR clients have access to all employment services available and that the partner agencies have access to Department staff when technical assistance or information is needed.

Strategies to Achieve Goals and Priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1)

VR Goal 1: All blind and visually impaired Iowans who require Vocational Rehabilitation services to obtain or retain employment receive them.

Strategy: Develop and implement a comprehensive, long-range marketing and outreach plan to increase awareness of and referrals to the Department.

Timeline: Plan will be developed and implemented by October 1, 2010. Revisions will be on-going.

Measures: The following measures will be used to gauge progress toward goal:

        - Number of Referrals Compared to Previous Year        - Percentage of New Referrals to Re-referrals        - Percentage of Referrals Aged 14 to 64        - Number of Applications Compared to Previous Year

FFY2008 Baseline Data for Selected Measures Total Number of Referrals: 1,227 Number of Referrals Compared to Previous Year: - 180 Percentage of New Referrals to Re-referrals: 67% Percentage of Referrals aged 14 to 64: 31% Total Number of VR Applications: 108 Number of Applications Compared to Previous Year: -44

VR Goal 2: All blind and visually impaired transition age youth experience employment outcomes that are commensurate with those of older blind and visually impaired Iowans.

Strategy: Develop and implement a pilot youth employment program to expand the Department's transition programs.

Timeline: The pilot program will be developed, implemented, and completed by October 1, 2010. Evaluations regarding the pilot program's effectiveness and feasibility of expansion of the program will determine future timelines for this initiative.

Measures: The following measures will be used to gauge progress toward goal:

        - Percentage of individuals aged 14-24 at application who close successfully employed after services        - Number of participants in pilot program        - Percentage of pilot program participants in employment

FFY2008 Baseline Data for Selected Measures Percentage of individuals aged 14-24 at application who close successfully employed after services: 57% Percentage of individuals aged 25 and older at application who close successfully employed after services: 81% Number of participants in pilot program: N/APercentage of pilot program participants in employment: N/A

VR Goal 3: All blind and visually impaired Iowans with identified secondary disabilities achieve employment outcomes that are commensurate with blind and visually impaired Iowans who do not have an identified secondary disability.

Strategy: Develop and implement new training and procedures for staff on identifying and assessing secondary disabilities and on case planning for VR clients with identified secondary disabilities.

Timeline: New procedures and training will be completed by October 1, 2010. Revisions will be on-going.

Measures: The following measures will be used to gauge progress toward goal:

        - Percentage of individuals with identified secondary disabilities who close successfully employed after services

FFY2008 Baseline Data for Selected MeasuresPercentage individuals with identified secondary disabilities who close successfully employed after services: 68%Percentage of individuals without an identified secondary disability who close successfully employed after services: 84%

SE Goal: All blind and visually impaired Iowans who require supported employment services to obtain or retain competitive employment receive them.

Strategy: Develop and implement new supported employment training and procedures for staff and utilize new supported employment resources throughout Iowa.

Timeline: New procedures and training will be completed by October 1, 2010. Revisions will be on-going.

Measures: The following measures will be used to gauge progress toward goal:

        - Number of closed individuals who had supported employment services on their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).        - Percentage of individuals who close successfully employed after receiving supported employment services

FFY2008 Baseline Data for Selected Measures Number of individuals closed who had supported employment services on their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE): 12 Percentage of individuals who close successfully employed after receiving supported employment services: 75%

Strategies to Support Innovation and Expansion Activities

The Department will utilize the following strategies in the development and implementation of innovative approaches to expand and improve VR services to blind and visually impaired Iowans under the State Plan and for the support of the Statewide Independent Living Council.

Marketing and Outreach Effort. The Department has contracted with Essman/Associates to develop a long-term marketing plan. Essman/Associates will develop an effective, identifiable image or "brand" for the Department, which will include a memorable logo, tag line, and platform message. They will also develop Public Service Announcements for television and radio. Finally, they will develop strategies for reaching targeted audiences including blind and visually-impaired Iowans and their families, employers, service providers, and minorities. Once developed, the plan will be utilized by staff in outreach activities for the next several years.

Web Site Redesign. The Department's web site layout and formatting has not changed in over 9 years. The site requires a complete redesign to convey a more professional appearance and create a more useable experience for site visitors. The target audiences for the site are blind and visually impaired individuals, families, employers, and other service providers. The Department contracted with OJC Technologies to assist in this redesign work. OJC Technologies will ensure that the site is accessible to cross-platform technology, including assistive technology. They will also employ online marketing strategies to increase traffic to the site. The web site redesign will coordinate with the Department's overall marketing and outreach effort.

Iowa Self Employment (ISE) Program for Persons with Disabilities. The Iowa Self Employment program for Persons with Disabilities is a collaborative effort between IVRS and the Department. The purpose of this program is to provide technical and financial assistance to qualified individuals with disabilities whose desired vocational outcome is self employment.

Statewide Independent Living Council. The Iowa Department for the Blind and Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services provide a combined total of $50,000 in innovation and expansion funds to the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). The Department's share of that $50,000 is $10,000 (20%).

Strategies to Overcome Barriers Relating to Equitable Access to and Participation of Blind and Visual Impaired Iowans in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program and the Supported Employment Program

The Department for the Blind does not discriminate in eligibility for VR services or in the provision of VR services or programs based on gender, race, national origin, color, disability, or age. Demographic information collected at application is used in aggregate for internal monitoring as well as for mandatory reports.

Each year, all staff are required to participate in a 4-hour training session designed to expand knowledge and awareness of diversity issues. In addition, the Department addresses potential language barriers by providing interpreters and materials in other languages, as needed, at no cost to the applicant or client.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2010 11:00AM by saiasassers

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

Performance on Past Goals

The Department identified four goals to address those needs identified in the FY 2009 comprehensive needs assessment. Progress on achieving those goals is detailed below.

 

VR Goal 1: All blind and visually impaired Iowans who require Vocational Rehabilitation services to obtain or retain employment receive them.

 

Strategy: Develop and implement a comprehensive, long-range marketing and outreach plan to increase awareness of and referrals to the Department.

 

Results: Below are the performance results on defined measures:

 

MeasureFFY 2008FFY 2009FFY 2010
Total Number of Referrals1,2271,2731,461
Number of Referrals Compared to Previous Year- 180+46+188
Percentage of New Referrals67%55%59%
Percentage of Referrals aged 14 to 6431%30%39%
Total Number of VR Applications108122151
Number of Applications Compared to Previous Year-44+14+29

 

Data Source: eFORCE

 

What Happened. As the table above shows, referrals and applications continue to increase from previous fiscal years. Together with the FFY 2009 data, the FFY 2010 numbers reflect the reversal of a trend of declining referrals and applications that the Department had experienced beginning in FFY2003.

 

The Department continues to focus on outreach and marketing efforts that began in calendar year 2009 to increase the Department’s visibility in the state. These efforts became a priority due to the declining referrals and applications the Department experienced and from a recommendation in the section 107 monitoring report issued by the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

 

One recommendation from RSA and the long-range marketing and outreach plan was to target individuals in the medical profession. To that end, the Department conducted focus groups of ophthalmologists and optometrists to determine their level of awareness of the Department and its services. Results showed that few of these professionals were aware of the Department, especially among younger doctors. Of those who know about the Department, most were unaware of the full range of services offered. Participants suggested that the Department distribute more literature and give presentations at their professional conferences. On April 1, 2011, Karen Keninger, IDB Director, presented to the optical technicians at the Iowa Optometric Association, and on April 30 she presented to the nurse technicians at the Iowa Ophthalmology Association. In addition, all field staff (VR Counselors and Rehabilitation Teachers) were assigned a number of ophthalmologists and optometrists to visit in their territories.

 

In addition to reaching out to ophthalmologists and optometrists, IDB has developed a cooperative relationship with the Des Moines University (DMU), a school of osteopathic medicine. DMU medical students can elect to complete a two-week rotation at the Department’s Orientation Center. The rotation exposes these future physicians to a new population and a new perspective on blindness. They also become familiar with the many services available to Iowans with significant vision loss. Normally, a medical student would see patients, supervised by an attending physician. Rotating through IDB provides the students with a view into the lives of patients outside the medical setting. Approximately 24 medical students will have completed a rotation by the end of the 2011 fiscal year. ([ahref="http://idbonline.org/publications/white-cane-magazine-fall-2010/news#molding_medical_minds">http://idbonline.org/publications/white-cane-magazine-fall-2010/news#molding_medical_minds">http://idbonline.org/publications/white-cane-magazine-fall-2010/news#molding_medical_minds">http://idbonline.org/publications/white-cane-magazine-fall-2010/news#molding_medical_minds[/a])

As a matter of routine, the Department tracks and conducts a variety of outreach events designed to improve the understanding of the general public, including newly blind persons, regarding the capabilities of persons who are blind. Not including radio and television interviews, the outreach events below reached over 30,000 Iowans.

FFY2010 EventsTotal # of Events
Department Tours33
Community Based Trainings15
Open Houses25
Speaking Engagements168
Career Exploration6
Booths14
Radio or TV Interviews9

 

VR Goal 2: All blind and visually impaired transition age clients experience employment outcomes that are commensurate with those of older blind and visually impaired Iowans.

 

Strategy: Develop and implement a pilot youth employment program.

 

Results: Below are the performance results on defined measures:

 

MeasureFFY 2008FFY 2009FFY 2010
Percentage of individuals aged 14-24 at application who close successfully employed after services57%64%71%
Percentage of individuals aged 25 and older at application who close successfully employed after services81%80%77%
Number of participants in pilot program-511
Number of pilot program participants in employment-03

 Data Source: eFORCE (Closure type by age at application; closure status 26 and 28.)

What Happened. Fourteen transition age individuals closed cases in FFY2010. Of those, ten achieved a competitive employment outcome. The percentage of clients aged 14-24 who closed successfully after services continued to show improvement. Several of those individuals had been on the caseload for many years, opening their cases while high school students. The Department is working to emphasize part-time employment for students as a path to future success.

 

In October 2009, the Department implemented a pilot youth employment program. As of May 2010, eleven students were involved with the program. Three of those students secured part-time employment in their community, one student expanded his responsibilities at work, and another student who had a part-time job left that employment to focus full-time on college courses. Due to staffing changes caused by retirements and a hiring freeze, the timelines and parameters originally set for this program needed to be changed.

 

The Transition Employment Specialist who was hired with ARRA funds to manage the program was promoted to VR Counselor Supervisor following a retirement. As originally envisioned, the practices and strategies developed in the pilot program would be incorporated in the VR program as a whole. Since a full-time staff person was no longer devoted to the pilot program, the Department’s two transition specialists were changed to Youth VR Counselors with new duties. Originally, these positions were responsible for developing summer and weekend transition programs that focused on confidence building and peer networking. Now, these positions are assigned VR caseloads of transition age students (14 to last year of high school). They are responsible for attending Individual Educational Plan (IEP) meetings and assisting students with career exploration and in finding employment in the local community. Once the student enters his or her last year of high school, the student is reassigned to a new VR counselor who will assist them as they move from secondary education to work or to post-secondary or vocational education.

 

Assisting these clients in obtaining part-time employment will be an important focus of their efforts. The Department strongly believes that employment experience as a student or young adult contributes significantly to achieving full-time, gainful employment as an adult.

 

VR Goal 3: All blind and visually impaired Iowans with identified secondary disabilities achieve employment outcomes that are commensurate with blind and visually impaired Iowans who do not have an identified secondary disability.

 

Strategy: Develop and implement new training and procedures for staff on identifying and assessing secondary disabilities and on case planning for VR clients with identified secondary disabilities. 

Results: Below are the performance results on defined measures:

MeasureFFY 2008FFY 2009FFY 2010
Percentage individuals with identified secondary disabilities who close successfully employed after services68%75%70%
Percentage of individuals without an identified secondary disability who close successfully employed after services84%80%86%

 

Data Source: eFORCE (Closure type (26 & 28) with secondary disability reported & Closure type (26 & 28) with no secondary disability reported)

 

What Happened. The successful closure rate for individuals with secondary disabilities who received services decreased from the previous fiscal year. Thirty-six of forty-two individuals who did not report a secondary disability closed successfully. Of the 67 individuals who reported a secondary disability, 47 closed successfully. A total of seven individuals whose secondary impairment is related to a cognitive, psychosocial, or mental health impairment closed a case after receiving services; six of those individuals closed successfully. Efforts to address the needs of this group continue.

Several focused staff training events have been held to address the needs of clients who are blind and experiencing mental health and/or substance abuse issues. In March and June 2011, VR staff participated in a twelve-hour, interactive training on mental health issues and four hours on substance abuse. They spent an additional four hours of training on effective methods for addressing these issues in the Individualized Plan for Employment. Training was conducted by staff from the Iowa Dept. of Public Health, Powell Chemical Dependency Center, and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Strategies Contributing to Performance

As with other state agencies the Department has been impacted by reductions in the general fund appropriations during the last few years. One result has been a violation of the maintenance of effort (“MOE”) requirement. Staff briefed the governor’s office about the MOE implications of reduced general fund appropriations when the Department’s budget request for 2012 was submitted in the fall of 2010 and the Department’s chief financial officer briefed a legislative appropriations committee regarding MOE on January 26, 2011. In December the Department submitted to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) a request for a waiver of the MOE requirement for the year ended September 30, 2010. The general fund budget leaves the Department well short of matching formula grant funds from RSA this year and for the foreseeable future. The budget as passed by the Iowa House of Representatives on April 5, 2011 will fail to match at least $593,000 in formula grants for the year ending September 30, 2011 and likely a larger amount in 2012. An Iowa senate committee has passed an appropriation bill providing a significantly larger budget than the house version, however. Leadership in the senate differs with the governor regarding appropriation levels generally and the passage of a two-year budget.

 

Current projections show that the Department will also fail to satisfy its MOE requirements for the year ending September 30, 2011 and for 2012.    

 

Current operations can be sustained through 2012 and possibly 2013 due to a combination of program income funds already received from the Social Security Administration; greater general fund budgets in prior years that enabled matching higher levels of formula grants; the ARRA; the authority granted by the Rehabilitation Act to carry unspent funds over into a second year; and lower spending trends. The need, if any, to adjust the Department’s cost structure in future years depends especially on congressional action regarding appropriations as well as on future decisions by the Iowa legislature about the general fund operating budget, spending during the interim, and the extent to which the Department receives the relief sought in its MOE waiver request.

 

Despite these fiscal challenges, the priority remains the provision of direct services to blind and visually impaired Iowans. Concerted outreach efforts have resulted in increased referrals and use of services at a time when departmental resources have been reduced. Personnel changes have been made to increase the number of field staff traveling the state while decreasing the number of Library staff. (This change has meant a heavier reliance on volunteers to produce materials in alternative media and sharing of duties among Library staff.) We will continue to promote our services to the public and support the hard-working staff as much as possible in FFY2011.

To ensure quality of services, the Department utilizes a team approach to deliver services and develop new processes to address identified needs. The results on the Standards and Indicators demonstrate this approach results in consistency of high performance in key areas. Improvements to referrals and outcomes for transition age and supported employment clients shows that focused efforts on identified needs results in success. Efforts to improve employment outcomes for those with secondary disabilities will continue. All of these identified needs will require a sustained effort in order for positive performance trends to continue.

 

SE Goal: All blind and visually impaired Iowans who require supported employment services to obtain or retain competitive employment receive them.

Strategy: Develop and implement new supported employment training and procedures for staff and utilize new supported employment resources throughout Iowa.

 

Results: Below are the performance results on defined measures:

 

MeasureFFY 2008FFY 2009FFY 2010
Number of individuals closed who had supported employment services on their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)1289
Percentage of individuals who close successfully employed after receiving supported employment services.75%63%89%

 Data Source: eFORCE

 What Happened. Eight out of nine individuals who closed after receiving supported employment services attained employment. Currently, thirty-one clients have supported employment services on the employment plans compared to twenty-four in the previous fiscal year. Increasing the number of clients with supported employment services on their plan is one way we are seeking to address the needs of clients who have significant secondary disabilities.

 

According to RSA requirements, the Department must meet four of six Performance Indicators 1.1 through 1.6 and two of three Performance Indicators 1.3 through 1.5. The Department met the RSA standards and indicators during FFY 2010.

The following table lists the Department’s performance average of FFY 2009 and 2010 for the defined RSA Standards & Indicators:

   

Performance Indicator & StandardOutcomeResult
1.1 - Number of Individuals with Employment Outcomes Standard: Meet or exceed previous year85Did not meet
1.2 - Individuals Receiving Services under an Individualized Plan for Employment and Percentage with an Employment Outcome Standard: 68.90%76.57%Met
1.3 - Competitive Employment Outcomes as a Percentage of all Employment Outcomes Standard: 35.40%91.16%Met
1.4 - Competitive Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Significant Disabilities as a Percentage of all Individuals with Significant Disabilities Standard: 89%100%Met
1.5 - Ratio of Average VR Wage to State Wage as a Percentage Standard: 59%84.26%Met
1.6 - Difference in the percentage of individuals who report their income as the largest source of support at application and the percentage that report their personal income as the largest source of support at closure Standard: 30.40%15.33%Did not meet
2.1 - Access to Services for Minorities Standard: 80% *Because the Department served fewer than 100 individuals from minority backgrounds, it has submitted a document to RSA describing the Department’s policies and steps taken to ensure that individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds have equal access to VR services, in compliance with Standard 2 requirements.Refer to *NoteMet

 

Expenditures for innovation and expansion activities for FFY 2010 included:

Marketing and Outreach Effort - $27,413

The Department contracted with Essman/Associates to develop a long-term marketing plan. This plan was completed and implemented in fall 2009. In FY 2010, a series of focus groups with ophthalmologists and optometrists were conducted to gauge awareness, knowledge, and opinion of the Department’s services. The results of these focus groups guided our marketing strategies and outreach activities, including office visits and speaking engagements at professional conferences.

 

Iowa Self Employment (ISE) Program - $31,626

The Iowa Self Employment program for Persons with Disabilities is a collaborative effort between IVRS and the Department. The purpose of this program is to provide technical and financial assistance to qualified individuals with disabilities whose desired vocational outcome is self-employment.

 

Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) & College Leadership Forum (CLF) - $6,854

The YLF is a five-day leadership training program for Iowa high school youths with disabilities. The forum gives participants an opportunity to learn about different careers, use assistive technology for independence, identify existing barriers to personal and professional success, develop plans to deal with those barriers, develop a Personal Leadership Plan, and interact with peers.

 

The CLF is a three-day program aimed at college-age students and adults with disabilities. Participants in this program learn about addressing their disability and accommodations with an employer, learn effective job search strategies, develop resumes, and practice interviewing techniques. They meet with employers to learn about their needs and participate in mock interviews.

 

The YLF and CLF programs are jointly financed by the Department, IVRS, and the Department of Human Rights – Division of Persons with Disabilities

 

Statewide Independent Living Council - $5,905.

The Iowa Department for the Blind and Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services provide a combined total of $45,000 in innovation and expansion funds to the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC).

This screen was last updated on Jul 25 2011 10:08AM by saiasassers

  • 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

6.3 Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services

The Department provides supported employment services to an eligible individual with a most significant disability for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred, or for whom competitive employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a significant disability.

Supported employment is competitive employment in an integrated setting or employment in integrated work settings in which individuals are working toward competitive employment consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individuals with ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

The eligible individual, the counselor, and when appropriate, other extended service providers will jointly plan supported employment services. Extended supported employment services shall be provided by other agencies, organizations, employers, or other available sources with whom cooperative arrangements will be made. Comparable services and benefits will be used to the maximum extent appropriate. Services will be provided in the most integrated setting possible consistent with the individual's informed choice.

The Department will provide intensive supported employment services and extended services after transition, as well as transitional employment for individuals with the most significant disabilities due to mental illness.

Supported employment services may include:

   - An assessment of the need for supported employment;

   - The provision of skilled job trainers who accompany the individual for intensive job skill training at the work site;

   - Job development and placement;

   - Social skills training;

   - Regular observation or supervision of the individual;

   - Follow-up services including regular contact with the employers, the individuals, the parents, family members, guardians, advocates or authorized representatives of the individuals, and other suitable professional and informed advisors in order to reinforce and stabilize the job placement;

   - Facilitation of natural supports at the work site; and,

   - Any other service necessary to achieve an employment outcome.

These services will be provided for a period of time that will not exceed eighteen (18) months, except for special circumstances when the counselor and the eligible individual jointly agree to extend the time to achieve the employment outcome identified in the Individualized Plan for Employment.

Vocational rehabilitation counselors and their supervisor closely monitor the quality of services throughout the duration of their provision to insure that services are appropriate, timely, cost-effective, and of the same quality as those services provided under Title I.

This screen was last updated on Sep 11 2009 5:42PM by saiasassers

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 07/25/2011 at 10:11 AM

Last updated by saiasassers

Completed on 07/25/2011 at 10:14 AM

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Approved on 07/28/2011 at 1:39 PM

Approved by rscomillerb

Published on 09/07/2011 at 10:18 AM

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  • Monitoring Report for Iowa - Blind — as of February 19, 2010
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