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

Published September 4, 2014.   Print   Print preview   Export to MS Word   Export to Excel  

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 2014 (submitted FY 2013)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

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 SignatoryRichard L. Sorey

Title of SignatoryDirector

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/26/2013

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 2014No

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.

Preprint - Section 2: Public Comment on State Plan Policies and Proceduress

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.

Preprint - Section 3: Submission of the State Plan and its Supplement

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.

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of 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

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.

Preprint - Section 5: Administration of the Provision of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

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.

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

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.

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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.

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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.

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

This agency is an independent commission.

This screen has never been updated.

Attachment 4.7(b)(3) Request for Waiver of Statewideness

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

Attachment 4.8(b)(1) Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment System

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 with numerous regional and community agencies and organizations 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:

  • Albia Housing Authority
  • American Indian Council
  • California Indian Manpower Consortium
  • Children & Families of Iowa
  • Community Action Agency of Siouxland
  • Community Action of Southeast Iowa
  • Elderbridge Area on Aging
  • East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA)
  • Experience Works
  • Fort Dodge Municipal Housing Authority
  • Generations Area Agency on Aging
  • Goodwill Industries
  • Job Corps
  • Iowa Northland Regional Housing Authority
  • Iowa Services Network
  • ISED (Iowans for Social and Economic Development) Ventures
  • League of Human Dignity
  • Link Associates
  • Mainstream Living Inc.
  • MATURA Action Corporation
  • Municipal Housing Agency of Council Bluffs
  • New Iowan Centers
  • New Opportunities
  • North Iowa Community Action Organization
  • North Iowa Vocational Center, Inc.
  • Northeast Iowa Planning and Development Commission
  • Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission
  • Ottumwa Housing Authority
  • Polk County Family Enrichment Center
  • Primary Health Care Inc.
  • Proteus Inc.
  • Safer Foundation - Youth Empowerment Program
  • Sioux City Housing Assistance
  • Sioux City Aging Services
  • Southeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging, Inc.
  • Southern Iowa Economic Development Association
  • Southern Iowa Regional Housing Authority (SIRHA)
  • Southwest Iowa Planning Council
  • Upper Des Moines Opportunity (UDMO)
  • Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission
  • Vocational Development Center
  • West Central Action Community

     

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’s Developmental Disability Council, the Office of Persons with Disabilities – Department of Human Rights, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Department of Human Services, Workforce Development, Department of Education and the Department for the Blind. The Department on Aging will join this partnership in 2012.

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, Iowa’s Economic Development Authority, and Social Security’s Work Incentives Planning and Assistance grant program.

Joint Transition Projects. Together with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Office 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; learn about the history of disability culture; use assistive technology for independence; identify existing barriers to personal and professional success; develop a "Personal Leadership Plan" to deal with barriers; and interact with peers.

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.

Iowa Coalition for Integrated Employment (ICIE). The Iowa Coalition for Integrated Employment (ICIE) is an initiative to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders that represent all levels of service and interest. The goal of the Coalition is to improve existing state systems so that Iowa youth with disabilities have increased opportunities and resources for fully integrated, competitive employment, regardless of where they live in the state. One of the Department’s Youth Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors represents the Department in the Coalition. This effort is funded by a grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

National Federation of the Blind of Iowa. The Department contracts with the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa to make more than 330 local and 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 and national job listings, magazines, TV listings, and information from government agencies and organizations of and for the blind.

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 preserving 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 Aug 27 2012 2:02PM by Carol Dobak

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials

  • 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

Since 2006, the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB), the Iowa Braille School, and the Iowa Department of Education (DE) have been working collaboratively under the Statewide System for Vision Services. This system ensures collaboration in 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 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 Directors verify the referral information and forward it to the Department’s VR Counselor Supervisor. The VR Counselor Supervisor 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 forwarded to Center for Disabilities & Development at the University of Iowa.

When students are referred to the Department, the Department’s Youth Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselors contact them and begin to participate in the development and implementation of their IEPs. The Youth 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 Stilwill, Director

Iowa Department of Education

Date: 6/20/03

 

Allen Harris, Director

Iowa Department for the Blind

Date: 6/18/03

This screen was last updated on Aug 27 2012 2:02PM by Carol Dobak

Attachment 4.8(b)(3) Cooperative Agreements with Private Nonprofit Organizations

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 Aug 27 2012 2:02PM by Carol Dobak

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services

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 collaborates with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) to define supported employment services, outcomes, and costs. When appropriate, supported employment services and extended services are paid for through county services under the Medicaid Waiver programs. By working together, the Department and IVRS 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 Aug 27 2012 2:02PM by Carol Dobak

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

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. The Iowa Department for the Blind management staff collects and compiles data from several 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, and employer contacts. 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. Management staff use these reports to predict caseload activity and personnel needs. By rule, all employees are to 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. Annual surveys are conducted with staff to ascertain their training needs. In March, 2013 a Department-wide survey provided the opportunity for staff to express individual and group needs for training and development opportunities. Responses identified needs for training related to the following topics: transition planning; provision of VR services generally; I Have a Plan Iowa and its use in schools; Medicare and Medicaid; assessments and inventories to determine career goals and interests; assistive technology; services to people with head injuries; basic training regarding Windows 8; social security; computer network training; Randolph Sheppard; and research tools. Direct vocational rehabilitation services are provided by the field operations unit and by the orientation and adjustment center. In addition, the library has 22 employees who provide prevocational, educational, and vocational materials or services to clients. Three employees administer the Randolph-Sheppard program.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 supervisors 2 0 1
2 vocational rehabilitation counselors 9 0 4
3 youth vocational rehabilitation counselors 2 0 0
4 rehabilitation teachers 10 1 3
5 deaf-blind specialists 1 0 0
6 rehabilitation technology specialists 3 0 1
7 support personnel 4 0 1
8 orientation center program administrator 1 0 1
9 orientation center teachers 6 0 1
10 0 0 0

 

In Iowa, the University of Iowa and Drake University offer programs in vocational rehabilitation counseling and placement. According to the University of Iowa, 26 students were enrolled in the rehabilitation counseling program during calendar year 2012. Twelve students graduated, including two sponsored by stipends from the Rehabilitation Services Administration. Eighteen students were enrolled in the rehabilitation counseling PhD program. Eight students graduated, including five sponsored by RSA stipends. The Department has requested similar data from Drake University.

One year ago the data from Drake included 56 enrolled in the rehabilitation counseling and placement program, including 18 sponsored by the agency or RSA. Sixteen students at Drake were enrolled in the rehabilitation administration program, and nine of them were sponsored by 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 University of Iowa - rehabilitation counseling 26 0 2 12
2 University of Iowa - PhD in rehabilitation couns. 18 0 5 8
3 Drake University - rehabilitation couns/plcmnt. 0 0 0 0
4 Drake University - rehabilitation administration 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

One orientation center teacher was hired in April, 2012 and is participating in the Department’s certification process as defined in subrule 111-2.1(2), Iowa Administrative Code. All remaining 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.

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:

1. Employment announcements are circulated internally for one week to current employees and if no decision to fill the vacancy with an internal candidate is made most are then posted on Iowa’s state employment opportunities web site. Exceptions can occur with regard to steps required by the collective bargaining agreement or in the event the position is merit exempt.

2. Promotion of experienced and qualified personnel from within the agency, including personnel who are blind.

3. Participation in internship opportunities for students of rehabilitation counseling.

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.

 

In accordance with 34 CFR 361.18(c) the Department for the Blind has defined and implemented personnel standards for vocational rehabilitation counselors based on state approved and recognized certification requirements promulgated under the Iowa Administrative Procedure Act. The following standards for VR counselors are based on the highest entry-level degree needed under the existing state certification requirements codified in subrule 111-2.1, 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 positive 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 job analysis.

6. Knowledge and development of alternative techniques of blindness.

7. Knowledge of rehabilitation technology services.

8. Knowledge of disability and related issues.

9. Advocacy.

10. Case management.

11. Adjustment to blindness counseling.

12. Assessment of consumer needs.

13. Public education and outreach.

14. Teamwork and problem solving.

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.

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 becomes 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 services 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 actively assesses the training needs of all employees. The employee performance evaluation document is used to review an employee’s performance and to identify training needs. In addition to annual individual performance reviews, the Department surveys the staff annually to determine the training or resources they require to perform their duties more efficiently and effectively. 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 cognitive motivational training, diseases of the eye, and interpreting medical eye reports.

• 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.

• The Great Plains Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center courses and conferences on disability issues, employment services, 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 personnel development seminars available to staff including management certifications and continuous quality improvement certification courses. Several management staff have attended the National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute. Two staff persons are currently enrolled in a master’s degree program in rehabilitation counseling. 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.

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 value of the conference to their work, and an evaluation of whether the conference would be beneficial 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.

 

The Department uses 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 locates qualified outside interpreters.

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

 

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. (see attachment 4.8(b)(2)).

• 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. This system ensures collaboration in 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 before the development of the student’s transition IEP or no later than age fourteen. The regional directors verify information and forward to the Department’s VR counselor supervisor. The VR counselor supervisor 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.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2013 10:17AM by Bruce Snethen

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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.

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 monitor its programs to ensure they meet the needs of its customers and the changing socioeconomic conditions.

In 2011-2012, 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 those 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;
  • Seven years of the Department’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) case closure data;
  • Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) data;
  • Survey results; and
  • Public comments.

Population and Demographic Data. The profile of Iowa’s population is based on data from American Community Surveys, U.S. Census Bureau reports, Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program data, the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium: 2011, and other federal reports. Additional data was collected from Iowa’s State Data Center, Veteran’s Administration, and Workforce Development Department. Staff compared this data with the Department’s VR closure data collected by its case management system (eFORCE). Population data was collected for these demographic categories: gender, age, race, educational attainment, location of residence, secondary disability, and veteran status.

Case Closure Data. Staff collected and analyzed its VR case closure data from federal fiscal years 2005 through 2011 to determine whether the Department’s VR clients were demographically proportionate to Iowa’s population. This data was also analyzed to determine outcomes for the demographic categories defined above. Closure outcome data was reviewed to determine employment and service trends. The following closure statuses were used in this analysis:

  • 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. The Rehabilitation Services Administration maintains a web site with outcome data for all 80 Vocational Rehabilitation agencies. The site contains several years of data from the VR agencies’ RSA-2: Annual VR Program/Cost Report; RSA-113: Quarterly Cumulative Caseload Report; RSA-911: Case Services Report; state plans, and standard & indicators. Data from this site was also used to assess the Department’s outcome and service trends.

Survey Results. In 2011, the Department completed two client surveys. One survey was aimed at active clients whose case had not progressed toward employment for an extended period of time. The other survey was sent to closed and active clients who had attended the Department’s Orientation Center in the previous five years. Information from these surveys appears under the "Client Surveys" heading below.

In addition, responses from eight 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 self-confidence following case closure. An analysis of survey results is under the "Client Surveys" heading below.

Public Comment. The Department receives consumer input regarding their needs from a variety of on-going activities. Consumer organizations routinely provide input to the Department and to the Iowa Commission for the Blind. 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 the state plan was held on June 5, 2012. Questions regarding outreach activities and referrals were addressed in this hearing. (Responses to questions were based on information provided in attachments 4.11(d) and 4-11(e)(2).)

Assessment Results

A review of data provided on the RSA web site showed that the Department achieves high performance in several areas compared to other blind agencies. The Department’s employment rate remains among the top five of blind agencies. The Department also performs better than most blind agencies in these categories:

  • Average wage at closure compared to average state wage;
  • 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 has also consistently performed 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.

Potential VR Population

Since 2008 the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) has included the following question on its annual survey: Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses? Based on responses to this question from Iowans, the ACS estimates that 23,725 Iowans between the ages of 18 and 64 have visual difficulties.i This number represents 1.43 percent of the total population of Iowans aged 16 and over in the labor force.ii

Of the 23,725 Iowans with visual difficulties, the ACS estimates that 11,947 are employed, 1,559 are unemployed, and 10,219 are not in the labor force for an employment to population ratio of 50.35% percent.iii In February 2012, Iowa’s unemployment rate was reported at 5.4 percent compared to 4.9 percent reported in February 2009 when the previous needs assessment was completed.

Data from the Social Security’s Ticket to Work program show that 1,975 Iowans with a Ticket to Work have blind/visually impaired as their primary diagnostic code. (A ticketholder is a person receiving a cash benefit from Social Security Disability and/or Supplemental Security Income and is between the ages of 18 and full retirement age.)

While not all 23,725 Iowans estimated to have visual difficulties will require or be eligible for the Department’s VR services, this estimate can be used as a potential VR population.

Percentage of Potential VR Population Served

The results of the 2009 needs assessment showed that the Department had experienced a diminished presence in the state. Applications for VR services dropped from 74 per million in FY2003 to 36 per million in FY2008. The Department initiated several outreach efforts using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds in order to reverse the trend and address the needs of blind and visually impaired Iowans. Since that time, applications for VR services have increased to 50 per million in FY2010. In addition, referrals to the Department increased from 1,227 in FY2008 to 1,467 in FY 2011. Between 2005 and 2011, the Department closed the cases of 1,301 individuals.iv

While the outreach efforts initiated in 2009 have resulted in an increase in the number of Iowans receiving services, the unemployment and not in labor force estimates suggest that more individuals than those who are being served may benefit from VR services. This data indicates that the Department needs to continue its 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 FY2005 - 2011

The closure data from federal fiscal years 2005 through 2011 shows that, in many ways, the demographic profile of the Department’s VR clients mirrors that of Iowa’s population. An analysis of the closure data by demographic group also showed that certain demographic groups are more successful than others. For instance, blind and visually impaired Iowans over the age of 45 experience successful outcomes at a higher rate than those younger.

Population Profile by Gender

This section examines whether males or females with visual impairments are an unserved or underserved population. A comparison was made of the proportion of males and females in the state and estimates of males and females with visual difficulties to the number and percentage of males and females in the Department’s case closure data. In addition, measures of employment success between males and females were reviewed.

The 2010 census data shows that females make up fifty-one percent of Iowa’s population. Females age 16 and over represent 47.73 percent (790,210) of individuals in the labor force. The ACS estimates that 1.32 percent (12,140) of the male population between the ages of 18 - 64 have visual difficulty compared to 1.26 percent (11,585) of females aged 18-64 with visual difficulty.

The Department has been serving male and female Iowans in relative proportion to their representation in the state. The seven year average shows that fifty-two percent of closed cases were males and forty-eight percent were female. In FY2011, 52.10 percent of closed cases were males and 47.90 percent were female. These percentages are consistent with male and female representation in Iowa’s labor force.

Employment Outcomes by Gender

In terms of employment outcomes, women tend to close more successfully than men. The employment rate after receiving services for men was seventy-six percent; the rate for women was eighty-three percent. In FY2011, the employment after services rate was seventy-three percent for men and eighty-six percent for women.

Men are also more likely to close before they receive services than women (status 30 closures). Eleven percent of men who closed in FY2011 closed in this status compared to five percent of women.

A review of all closed cases from FY2005 - FY2011 show that increases in average hourly earnings among men and women who are employed at application is nearly identical.v

Table 1: Closure Wage by Gender - Employed at Application

 Average Hourly Wage at ApplicationAverage Hourly Wage at ClosurePercent Change
Women - All Cases Closed Status 26 FY2005-FY2011$13.32$15.0112.72%
Men - All Cases Closed Status 26 FY2005-FY2011$14.99$16.9212.91%

The average hourly wage at closure for men and women who were not employed at application was also nearly equal at $11.19 for men and $11.53 for women. However, the closure wage data shows that since FY2009 men who were not employed at application have experienced a decrease in their average wage at closure. In FY2011, women who were not employed at application earned $11.14 on average compared to $8.44 for men.

Table 2: Closure Wage by Gender - Not Employed at Application

 Average Hourly Wage at Closure
Women - All Cases Closed Status 26 FY2005-FY2011$11.84
Men - All Cases Closed Status 26 FY2005-FY2011$11.06
Women - Cases Closed Status 26 FY2011$11.14
Men - Cases Closed Status 26 FY2011$8.44

Recent economic data shows that the recession that began in Iowa in December 2009 impacted men more than women - particularly men aged 25-54. The Iowa Policy Project’s report titled "The State of Working Iowa 2011" shows that the unemployment rate for men in Iowa rose from 3.6 percent in 2007 to 6.6 percent in 2010; the rate for women went from 3.8 percent to 5.5 percent. In addition, the underemployment rate for men increased by seventy-nine percent compared to fifty-six percent for women. Men also experienced an increase in part-time employment compared to women.vi

While the recession is one factor in explaining the differences in employment outcomes for men and women, it is not the only factor as the 2009 needs assessment also showed that women tend to close more successfully than men. Another factor may be the influence of public supports in seeking employment and hours and wages received. (Refer to the "Trends in Employment, Earnings, and Hours" heading below for more information.)

Population Profile by Age

This section examines whether persons in a particular age group are an unserved or underserved population. Comparisons were made between the representations of age groups in Iowa to the representation of age groups in the Department’s closure data. Employment outcome measures by age group were also reviewed.

Among the working population in Iowa, persons aged 14-24 represent the largest age group (18.94%), followed closely by 45-54 age group (17.71%). The median age in Iowa is 38.

Iowa’s Statewide Vision System, which coordinates the work of Teachers of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialist itinerant services, reports that 515 students were being served.

The ACS survey estimates for visual difficulties in Iowa by agevii are as follows:

Table 3: ACS Estimates of Visual Difficulties by Age

Age GroupEstimated with Visual DifficultyPercentage of Total Population
5 - 172,8790.55%
18-344,6460.69%
35-6419, 0791.03%

Persons aged 45-54 represent the largest age group in the VR case closure data, followed by persons aged 35-44 and then 14-24. Older individuals are represented a bit higher in the Department’s VR caseload in comparison to their representation in the state. As the ACS survey data shows, blindness and vision loss occurs more frequently among the older population groups. Therefore, the Department’s case closure data shows that it is serving the age groups in proportion to Iowa’s population.

Employment Outcomes by Age

A review of data from cases closed between FY2005 and FY2011 shows that young adults are not closing as successfully after receiving services as their older counterparts.

Table 4: Employment Rate after VR Services by Age

Age at ApplicationTotal Cases Closed After Receiving Services (FY2005 thru FY2011)Percentage Employed After Receiving Services
14-2416265.43%
25-3415374.51%
35-4420878.85%
45-5424784.62%
55-6412786.61%
65-744297.62%
75+7100.00%

As recent unemployment data shows the experience of younger clients seeking work is similar to that experienced by their sighted peers. Data from the 2010 Current Population Survey show that young Iowans experience more difficulty in finding employment than older adults.

Table 5: Iowa Unemployment Rate by Age

Age GroupUnemployment Rate
16-1916.4%
20-249.2%
25-346.4%
35-444.7%
45-545.1%
55-644.2%
65+2.7%

Many factors contribute to the employment status of young adults, including work experience, availability of entry-level jobs, educational attainment, and skills. Certainly, the impact of the recession on this population as well as the 45-54 age group has been greater than on other age groups.viii One positive sign is that those clients aged 14 - 24 at application tend to be placed in full time jobs at a higher rate than other age groups. Clients aged 45 - 54 at application have seen a steady decrease in percentage of full-time employment since 2008. (Refer to the heading "Trends in Employment, Earnings, and Hours" below for more information.) However, the Department needs to continue focusing on young adults to ensure they attain the work experience they need in order to be successful later in life, particularly in this difficult and competitive labor market.

Population Profile by Race

This section examines whether blind or visually impaired Iowans who are minorities are an unserved or underserved population. Comparisons were made between the representations of minorities in Iowa to the representation of minorities in the Department’s closure data. Employment outcome measures comparing minority clients to non-minority clients were also reviewed.

As the following table shows, the Department’s client population is somewhat more diverse than Iowa’s population.

Table 6: Representation by Race/Ethnicity - Iowa & Dept. for the Blind

Race / EthnicityIowa’s PopulationCase Closures (FY2005-2011) PercentagesCase Closures (FY2005-2011) Counts
White91.3%89.33%1,063
Black/African American2.9%5.97%71
Hispanic or Latino5%2.27%27
Asian1.7%1.76%21
American Indian or Alaska Native0.1%0.67%8

As the percentages above show, the Department’s seven-year closure data shows an under-representation of Hispanics given Iowa’s population. However, representation among Hispanics in closure data increased from 1.44% in FY2009 to 4.65% in FY2010 and 5.04% in FY2011.

Employment Outcomes by Race

Establishing employment trend data for minorities who have applied for VR services from the Department is made difficult by the small numbers they represent in the caseload. For example, while clients of Hispanic or Latino origin make up 2.27 percent of the case closures, the total number of these clients closed in seven years is 27. 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 closures 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). In addition, trend data was established using seven years of closure data (FY2005-FY2011). The total number of minority cases closed is 127; the total number of non-minority cases closed is 1,063.

The rate of employment after services for non-minority clients is 80.07 percent compared to 73.56 percent for minority clients. In addition, minorities have a higher rate of status 30 closures (closed after being found eligible with no plan or no services provided) and a higher rate of status 08 closures (closed prior to eligibility rate) than non-minorities.

Table 7: Closure Outcomes by Minority / Non-Minority Status

 Rehabilitation RateStatus 30 RateStatus 08 Rate
Minorities73.56%17.46%13.49%
Non-Minorities80.07%12.04%7.15%

While the rehabilitation rate for minorities is lower, the unemployment rate for minorities in Iowa show that minorities do experience unemployment at a higher rate than non-minorities in the general population. The three-year ACS survey showed that the unemployment rates for African American Iowans at 14.9 percent, Hispanics at 9.1 percent, American Indian or Native Alaskan at 13.9 percent, and Asians at 4.5 percent compared to 5.2 percent for white Iowans.ix The Department’s rehabilitation rate for minorities also exceeds the standard set for this indicator by the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration. The Department seeks to ensure that all clients, regardless of race or ethnicity, achieve an employment outcome that is commensurate with their skills, abilities, and choice.

Of greater concern may be that minority clients are closed before eligibility or before a plan or services are delivered at a higher percentage than non-minorities.

Population Profile by Educational Attainment

This section examines whether individuals with specific educational backgrounds are an unserved or underserved population. Comparisons were made between the representations of individuals by educational attainment in Iowa to the representation of individuals by educational attainment in the Department’s closure data. Employment outcome measures by educational attainment were also reviewed.

The percentage of Iowans aged 25 and over whose highest level of educational attainment is a high school degree is 33.6 percent, followed by some college with no degree (22.1%). The percentage of Iowans who have a high school degree or higher is 90.4 percent and those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher is 24.8 percent.

Like Iowa’s population, those whose educational attainment is a high school degree or equivalent represent the highest percentage in the Department’s closure population at 28.74 percent. The percentage of those with a high school degree or higher is 90.76 percent and those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher is 28.32 percent, slightly higher than Iowa’s population.

Table 8: Educational Attainment Percentages - Dept. for the Blind Closures

Educational Attainment

Total Closures (FY2005 - 2011)Percentages
High school Grad/Equiv34228.74%
Post-secondary, no degree25921.76%
Bachelor’s degree22919.24%
Associate degree or Voc/Tec14211.93%
Master’s degree or higher1089.08%
Secondary education564.71%
Elementary education282.35%
Special education252.10%
Info not available10.08%

Employment Outcomes by Educational Attainment

The Department’s closure data shows those with a higher educational attainment close more successfully after receiving services than those with less education. Clients whose educational attainment is greater than a high school diploma close successfully at a high rate: Associates degree 77.88 percent; Bachelor’s degree 93.91 percent; and Master’s degree: 92.71 percent. The employment rate after services for those with a high school education is 70.52 percent.

Clients with an elementary, secondary, special education, or Bachelor’s degree are more likely to close without a plan developed or service provided than closed without employment after services.

As the table below shows, the median income for clients is lower than their counterparts in Iowa’s general population. A client’s work experience, type of employment, and the presence of public support all impact the weekly earnings the client achieves.

Table 9: Median Earnings by Educational Attainment

Educational AttainmentIowa ACS EstimatexiDept. for the Blind Status 26 Closures (2005-2011)
High school graduate (includes equivalency)$26,606$12,428
Some college or associate’s degree$31,038$17,316
Bachelor’s degree$42,147$28,496
Graduate or professional degree$55,245$38,116

Population Profile & Employment Outcomes by Location of Residence

According to the 2010 U.S. Census data, 56.52 percent of Iowans live in a metropolitan area and 43.48 percent 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 66 counties in Iowa are considered rural areas.

The Department’s data shows slightly more representation from metro areas than Iowa’s population with 58.25 percent of cases showing a metropolitan address at closure. On average, thirty-three percent of closed cases were from a rural or micropolitan area and fifty-eight percent were from a metropolitan area. (The remaining closed residing out of state or residence unknown.)

Trend data shows that while the Department tends to draw more applicants and clients from the metropolitan areas, outreach efforts have reversed a trend of declining cases from micropolitan areas, like Boone, Burlington, Fort Dodge, and Newton. Census trend data also shows that more Iowans are living in metropolitan areas.

VR clients living in metropolitan areas close successfully more often than those living in non-metro areas. The rate of successful closures after services for metro areas is 85.01 percent compared to 72.17 percent for non-metro. The successful closure rate for those living in rural areas is 76.06 percent compared to 66.12 percent for those living in micropolitan areas.

Closure data suggests that the Department’s efforts to increase outreach activities have resulted in more referrals from the micropolitan areas. However, the Department recognizes the need to improve employment outcomes for residents living in these areas.

Services to Veterans

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs reports that 26,454 veterans in Iowa receive monthly disability compensation.xii Currently Iowa’s Veterans Administration has a record of 395 veterans that are legally blind. The majority of those veterans (82%) are aged 64 and older. Since FY2005, the Department has closed the cases of twenty-seven veterans. Of those, twelve closed successfully after services, seven closed unsuccessfully after services, four were closed before eligibility, and four were closed before plan development or before services were provided.

Co-Disabilities

Because secondary disabilities can have an impact on the client’s VR services and employment, an analysis of incidences of secondary disability among closed clients was conducted for this needs assessment. The data showed that 63% percent of eligible clients had a secondary disability. The four most frequently listed secondary impairment categories are listed in the table below.xiii Due to the incompleteness of secondary impairments codes available for federal reports, Other Physical Impairments is the most frequently cited co-disability.

Table 10: Representation of Secondary Impairments among Closed VR Cases (FY2005-2011)

Secondary Impairment CategoryPercentage of Eligible Individuals
Other Physical Impairments37%
Cognitive or Mental Impairment Related25%
Mobility / Orthopedic Related22%
Hearing or Communication Related11%

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. In addition, reporting is allowed for two impairments. If an individual has additional health concerns, these are not recorded in the closure data.

Data trends from FY2005 to FY2011 show that clients with a secondary disability tend to close successfully at a lower rate than those who do not have a secondary disability. The employment after services rate for those with a secondary disability was 77 percent, compared to 84 percent for those without a secondary disability.

Individuals whose secondary impairment is hearing or communication related had employment success rate of 85 percent. Those listed as having "Other Physical Impairments" had an employment success rate of 78 percent. The remaining two categories both had an employment success rate of 70 percent. Individuals with a cognitive or mental impairment, however, are more likely to close status 30 (closed after eligibility but before plan or services) than status 28 (closed unsuccessfully after services).

Trends in Employment, Earnings, and Hours

Since 2005, clients closed successfully are increasingly closed in part-time employment.xiv In FY2005, sixty-five percent of cases closed in full-time employment. In FY2011, forty-nine percent closed in full-time employment. The average hourly wage has vacillated between $13 and $15 per hour over this time period.

As with the Department’s clients, employed Iowans have experienced an increase in part-time employment. Iowa Workforce Development data shows that the percentage of part-time employment rose from 19.6 percent in 2008 to 22.4 percent in 2010.

Table 11: Full-Time and Part-Time Employment of Iowans in the Labor Forcexv

Employment Status20062007200820092010
Full-Time1,286,0001,286,0001,302,0001,227,0001,220,000
Part-Time333,000317,000318,000354,000352,000
% Part-Time20.6%19.8%19.6%22.4%22.4%

Additional factors contributing to part-time employment among the Department’s clients include the receipt of public support and employment status at application. Among those who are employed at application, sixty-seven percent close in full-time employment compared to thirty-eight percent of those who are not employed at application. Public support in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) has perhaps the greatest impact on successful case closure, weekly earnings, and hours worked.

Public Support

On average, forty-nine percent of eligible individuals indicate receiving public support at application compared to fifty-two percent indicating receiving public support at closure.

Among eligible clients, males receive public support at a higher rate than females.xvi Those eligible individuals with secondary disabilities are almost twice as likely to be receiving public support at closure as those without. Sixty percent of those eligible individuals with a high school degree receive public support at case closure and seventy-eight percent of those with some college or an Associate’s degree receive public support. Thirty-three percent of those with a Bachelor’s degree receive public support.

Employment Outcomes

Just over seventy-one percent of all unsuccessful closures were receiving public support at case closure. Those not reporting public support at case closure represented only eighteen percent of unsuccessful closures.

Individuals reporting receipt of public support close in full-time employment at a substantially lower rate than those not receiving public support.xvii The increase in the Substantial Gainful Activity amount for blind individuals receiving SSDI appears to have no impact on the full-time employment rate.

Table 12: Percentage of Full-Time Employment by Public Support

Fiscal YearNo Public Support Percentage Closed Full-TimePublic Support Percentage Closed Full-Time
200583.33%22.22%
200684.31%19.61%
200767.31%36.73%
200872.88%24.32%
200978.38%21.21%
201085.71%30.30%
201169.44%22.58%

Regardless of a person’s educational attainment, public support negatively impacts their full-time employment status. For instance, among those individuals with a Bachelor’s degree who closed in employment, forty percent of those with public support closed in full-time employment compared to eighty-seven percent of those without public support.

Individuals receiving public support achieve substantially lower weekly earnings and work fewer hours per week than those who do not. However, they experience a substantial increase in weekly earnings and hours worked from application to close. The end result is that they have more economic resources after receiving VR services.

Table 13: Average Weekly Wage at Application & Close by Public Support

 Average Weekly Wage at ApplicationAverage Weekly Wage at ClosurePercent Change
No Public Support - All Cases Closed Status 26 FY2005-FY2011$496.84$647.7130.36%
Public Support - All Cases Closed Status 26 FY2005-FY2011$120.85$275.43127.92%
No Public Support -Cases Closed Status 26 FY2011$557.71$679.7421.88%
Public Support -Cases Closed Status 26 FY2011$116.25$263.50126.67%

Table 14: Average Weekly Hours at Application & Close by Public Support

 Average Weekly Hours at ApplicationAverage Weekly Hours at ClosurePercent Change
No Public Support - All Cases Closed Status 26 FY2005-FY2011293728.24%
Public Support - All Cases Closed Status 26 FY2005-FY20111325101.71%
No Public Support -Cases Closed Status 26 FY2011293418.80%
Public Support -Cases Closed Status 26 FY20111023133.33%

Client Surveys

Satisfaction with VR Services

Client satisfaction surveys are sent at case closure to clients who received services, including those whose case closed successfully or unsuccessfully. Seven years of closure surveys were analyzed to determine client satisfaction with services and the level of effectiveness of training. The review showed that the results remained fairly consistent from the previous needs assessment completed in 2009. The average response rate is thirty-six percent. On average, eighty-eight percent of respondents indicated they were currently employed in either a paid job, as a volunteer, or as a homemaker, nine percent were not, and two percent did not answer.

Overall, survey respondents were satisfied with the services they received. More than ninety percent of respondents indicated that they understood the VR process and the services available. Most felt the services that they received were timely (93%) and helpful (86%). Nearly ninety percent of respondents indicated that they felt better about themselves and their future after receiving services. Eighty-nine percent responded positively to the statement "I am 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.

Perceived Barriers

The purpose of the Perceived Barriers survey was to determine the employment barriers identified by active clients whose case status was listed as Ready for Employment. Sixty-one clients were identified as potential survey respondents; thirty-two clients responded. Among those clients who responded, the length of time in this status ranged from 2 to 84 months. Almost sixty percent of respondents indicated they had ten or more years of work experience and nearly half had some post-secondary education or college degree. Identified barriers were as follows:

Fifty percent of respondents alluded to "self-confidence" issues as barriers in getting a job, such as concerns whether they can "do the job" up to a supervisor’s expectations.

  • Two-thirds of respondents listed lack of transportation as a barrier in getting a job.
  • One-third of respondents listed health concerns as an issue in either obtaining or retaining a job.
  • One-third of respondents listed the need for more technology skills training or assistive technology equipment to be able to get or retain a job.

Post Orientation Center

The purpose of the Post Orientation Center survey was to determine whether specific follow-up activities or services should be provided when a student completes training at the Orientation Center to maintain momentum in confidence gained and skills learned. Survey interviews were conducted with twenty-six students who had attended the Center in the previous five years. Based on survey results several recommendations were made involving the development of a formalized process where an individualized exit plan is created at least one month before a student completes Center training. Such a plan should address individualized training needs based upon the student’s post-Center training activities, procurement of necessary equipment for the student’s post-Center training activities, and a schedule of follow-up visits by the counselor or rehabilitation teacher within five to ten days of leaving the Center. This issue and the recommendations continue to be studied by a special project team.

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, few of the Department’s clients are placed in supported employment. Between FY2005 and FY2011, a total of thirty-nine cases were closed in supported employment. Several clients who received supported employment services close in employment without supports. The FY2011 closure data shows that thirteen clients had supported employment services on their plan. Of those, four closed successfully in supported employment, five closed successfully in employment without supports, and four closed unsuccessfully. Data trends show that, while few clients receive supported employment services, those who do close successfully at a high rate in either supported employment or employment without supports.

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

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 Office 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, IVRS, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Small Business Administration, Department of Human Rights - Office of Persons with Disabilities, Workforce Development, and the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant program. Members of this group have presented to more than 20 employers and employer organizations throughout the state.

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 Iowa 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 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. The WIPA program provides information to approximately 600 Iowans each year. (This number does not include assistance provided to providers, including the Department for the Blind staff.) The funding for this program will expire in June 2012.

Data from Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) shows that 11% of Iowans enrolled at the One Stop centers between July 2009 and December 2011 reported a disability. IWD feels that many job seekers using services do not self-disclose their disability. Department Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors encourage clients to utilize the services offered through the workforce partners. IWD data from March 2012 showed that 209 of the Department’s VR clients were registered with a One Stop center. Most of those individuals participated in job clubs, resume preparation, and job interviewing skills through the Wagner-Peyser programs.

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.

Assessment of the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs 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 approach to be the most effective and expeditious manner in delivering these services. The Department utilizes CRPs throughout Iowa when necessary for job coaching, assessments, training, or placement in supported employment. Program data shows that since 2008 the Department has used the services of twenty CRPs to provide supported employment services to thirty-four clients.

A review of outcomes for those cases in which CRPs were engaged shows that of those thirty-four cases, eleven have closed successfully in employment and three have closed unsuccessfully. The remaining clients’ cases are open.

The Department has discussed using CRPs to provide services the CRPs traditionally have not provided in the past, such as technology training. We have also approached CRPs about establishing Ticket to Work Partnership Plus agreements where the CRP, acting as an Employment Network, would track and provide support to clients who were placed in stable employment but could benefit from long-term follow up. Lastly, we explored partnering with CRPs in conducting local employer outreach activities based on the Random Calling / Job Placement techniques developed by Allen Anderson. However, as the data shows, a small percentage of clients requires the use of CRP services. Of the twenty CRPs used since 2008, ten served only one client. Our small pool of clients makes it difficult to build models of on-going collaboration. Developing individualized services with the CRP as the need arises is the approach the Department has found works best for the client and the CRPs.

The Department will continue to work with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services to develop a fee structure and service requirements. To promote consistency, the Department utilizes the service delivery model developed by Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

i Margin of error on estimate is +/-1,503. 2008-2010 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, table S1810; http://factfinder2.census.gov. Previous estimates of 6,769 blind and 39,050 visually impaired Iowans between the ages of 16 and 64 were based upon data from the 1994-1995 National Health Interview Survey on Disability. The ACS data will be used here as it is more current.

ii Iowa’s total population aged 16 and over in the labor force in December 2011 was 1,659,000.

iii 2008 – 2010 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, table B18120: Employment Status by Disability Status and Type. The employment to population ratio of Iowans without a disability is 82.37%.

iv This number reflects distinct individuals. It does not reflect the total number of cases closed, which is higher as an individual may have had more than one case open and close within the time period.

v A total of 678 cases closed in employment (status 26) between FY 2005 and 2011. Of those, 415 reported wages at application. Of those 415 cases, 203 were women and 212 were men.

vi Noga O’Connor, Colin Gordon, and Peter S. Fisher, “The State of Working Iowa 2011”, http://www.iowapolicyproject.org/SOWI_2011.html

vii 2008 – 2010 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, table B18103: Sex by Age by Vision Difficulty

Information from The State of Working Iowa 2011 report shows that those most impacted by the recession that began in 2009 were men, persons aged 25-54, and those with only a high school degree.

viii 2008 – 2010 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, table S2301: Employment Status.

ix 2008 – 2010 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, table S1501: Educational Attainment.

x 2008 – 2010 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, table B20004: Median Earnings in the Past 12 Months (In 2010 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars) By Sex By Educational Attainment for the Population 25 Years and Over

xi U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “State Summary: Iowa and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” Office of Public Affairs – Media Relations, November 2010. www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/ss_iowa.pdf.

xii More secondary impairment codes are available than those listed in table 10. For instance, the Mental Impairments category includes Psychosocial Impairments, Autism, Intellectual Development Disabilities, Mental Illness, Personality Disorders, and more. The impairments were categorized in order to provide a better understanding of the type of secondary impairment impacting the Department’s VR clients with the recognition that each impairment requires individualized adaptations.

xiv Here, full-time employment is considered to be 32 hours or more per week. Cases closed as Homemaker were removed from this data analysis.

xv IWD Data (ann.wagner@iwd.iowa.gov)

xvi A review of all FFY2005 – FY2011 closed cases of eligible individuals shows that 53.41% of women did not indicate receiving public support at application or closure compared to 46.59% of men. Forty-six percent of women indicated receiving public support at application and closure compared to fifty-four percent of men.

xvii Public support data represents only those clients who reported public support at both application and closure and those who reported not receiving public support at both application and closure.

This screen was last updated on Aug 27 2012 2:02PM by Carol Dobak

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s three-year American Community Survey, Iowa has an estimated 23,725 Iowans between the ages of 18 and 64 who have visual difficulties.

The Department estimates approximately 514 individuals will receive services under title I of the Act in 2014. 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 $8,000,000. Costs for supported employment services under Title VI, Part B of the Act are estimated at $57,000.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Title I $8,000,000 514 $15,564
Title VI $57,000 30 $1,900
Totals   $8,057,000 544 $14,810

This screen was last updated on Jun 13 2013 11:57AM by Bruce Snethen

Attachment 4.11(c)(1) State Goals and Priorities

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 2012 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 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.

While the Department experienced an increase in applications and individuals served after focused outreach efforts began in 2009, the numbers have not recovered from the decline which began in 2003. Indeed, the number of applications in FY2011 decreased slightly from FY2010. With an estimated 23,000 Iowans with visual difficulties between the ages of 18 and 64 and with an estimated 50% employment to population ratio for those with visual difficulties, more Iowans could benefit from the services provided by the Department.

One area of focus should be on outreach to minorities. While the representation of individuals who are Hispanic has increased in the last year, they have been underrepresented in all previous years. In addition, employment outcome data shows that Hispanic individuals who are eligible for services are more likely to close before a plan or services are implemented than to close unsuccessfully after receiving services. Both of these factors indicate that the Department needs to connect with Iowa’s Hispanic community and put in place strategies to strengthen services once an individual has been found eligible for services.

Strategies to continue outreach efforts throughout Iowa and to improve representation and outcomes of those who are Hispanic 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.

A review of the Standards and Indicators and the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment demonstrate that the Department achieves 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 five year average for Indicator 1.3: Competitive Employment Outcomes as a Percentage of all Employment Outcomes is 91%; 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 86%. 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 achieve the highest quality of employment outcome that is commensurate with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

Since 2005, the full-time employment rate for successful closures has fallen from sixty-five percent to forty-nine percent in fiscal year 2011. The economic downturn that began in Iowa in late 2009 may have had an impact on recent closures. However, the data shows that the decline in full-time employment began 2006 and therefore suggests that additional causes need to be addressed, such as the impact of public support and presence of secondary disabilities. Strategies to address the decline of full-time employment for blind and visually impaired Iowans 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 showed that the supported employment services that the Department provides result in good outcomes for those individuals who receive them. The lower success rate among those individuals with a secondary disability suggests that those who could benefit from supported employment services may not be receiving them.

Approximately 63% of the clients who closed in the last five years had a secondary disability. Data trends from that period show that clients who have a secondary disability are less likely to close successfully than those who do not. Further, those who experience a co-disability related to mental or cognitive impairments or mobility impairments experience a 70% success rate after services. While this success rate exceeds the federal standard (68.9%) for this measure, efforts to provide better supports may increase the employment outcomes for these individuals.

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 21 2012 10:46AM by saiasassers

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

  • 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

Attachment 4.11(c)(4) Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

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 expects to receive $57,000 in title VI, part B funds in 2014. 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 thirty individuals will receive supported employment services in 2014.

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 Jun 5 2013 10:06AM by Bruce Snethen

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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.

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 work to expand and improve services to blind and visually Impaired Iowans by engaging in several activities. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2011, five specialty teams have been charged with researching and developing solutions to identified issues. Each team has representatives from field and orientation center staff. Over the course of two years, the specialty teams have focused on these issues: outreach, staff training, Social Security benefits planning and asset development, transition from Orientation Center training, success stories, and barriers to employment for the long-term unemployed. These teams have completed the following activities:

  • Organized training on addressing mental health and substance abuse issues and on utilizing cognitive motivational techniques in counseling;
  • Provided information to staff on asset development options;
  • Conducted client surveys to identify barriers to employment;
  • Made recommendations for changes to procedures regarding completion of Orientation Center training;
  • Held several successful outreach events;
  • Created a series of success stories for outreach and educational efforts; and
  • Conducted two Orientation on the Road camps.

Through these specialty teams, management and field staff collaborate to produce solutions to identified issues.

The Department will also be developing a new assistive technology training program. The Department has long understood the important role assistive technology tools and devices play in achieving successful employment, and staff routinely evaluates current technology training practices. The technology staff will be researching new models of technology training delivery to ensure that the Department’s VR clients are receiving the best possible training to make them successful at work and school.

 

 

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.

 

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 standard technology assessment tool that helps the VR 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.

In addition to technology skills assessments, technology staff are responsible for providing training and technical support on the worksite. They provide one-on-one training to clients on software and devices the client requires for employment or to prepare for employment. They 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. In order to provide timely and accurate information, the technology staff attend conferences and training courses to maintain knowledge of emerging assistive technology and mainstream technology used in the workplace.

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, Microsoft Windows and Office Suite, and Apple products. 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 where they live in the state 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.

 

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.

 

Outreach

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

In 2009, the Department utilized American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to develop a long-range marketing and outreach plan. The plan outlines an outreach approach to promote the Department’s services and to educate the general public, including newly blind persons, regarding the capabilities of persons who are blind.

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. Therefore, outreach events must be varied and frequent. The Department’s Information Specialist coordinates marketing, outreach, and public education efforts. These outreach activities include traditional approaches such as 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 6,000 people annually. In addition to these traditional outreach approaches, the Department utilizes social media such as its web site, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook to promote its services and philosophy of blindness.

As part of its marketing efforts, new materials were developed for these target populations: Families & Friends, Service Providers, Healthcare Professionals, Community Organizations, Businesses, Educators, and Volunteers. The brochures contain information that is relevant to its intended audience. The information developed for these audiences is also available on the Department’s web site.

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.

One added component to the marketing effort will be the development of new outreach strategies to reach minority groups in Iowa, specifically the Hispanic community. The Department will make the newly developed marketing materials available in Spanish and seek out reliable and timely interpreting services.

 

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

 

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

The Department utilizes CRPs throughout Iowa when necessary for job coaching, assessments, training, or placement in supported employment. As the Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment demonstrated, a small percentage of the Department’s clients require services from the CRPs. Our small pool of clients makes it difficult to build models of on-going collaboration. Developing individualized services with the CRP as the need arises is the approach the Department has found works best for the client and the CRPs. Also, because few CRP personnel have extensive experience in working with blind individuals, the Department works closely with CRP staff as necessary to ensure the client receives training and other services that appropriately addresses any additional impairment the client may have as well as the client’s blindness or vision loss.

 

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

 

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 09 Outcome

FFY 10 Outcome

FFY 11

Outcome

1.1: Number of Individuals with Employment Outcomes

Performance Standard: Level or equal

87

83

77

1.2: Individuals Receiving Services under an Individualized Plan for Employment and Percentage with an Employment Outcome

Performance Standard: 68.9%

76.99%

76.15%

79.38%

1.3: Competitive Employment Outcomes as a Percentage of all Employment Outcomes

Performance Standard: 35.4%

91.95%

90.36%

89.61%

1.4: Competitive Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Significant Disabilities as a Percentage of all Individuals with Significant Disabilities

Performance Standard: 89.0%

100%

100%

100%

1.5: Ratio of Average VR Wage to State Wage as a Percentage

Performance Standard: 59.0%

82.01%

86.52%

83.15%

1.6: Percentage of Individuals Achieving Competitive Employment Outcomes Reporting Own Income as Primary Source of Support at Application and Closure

Performance Standard: 30.4%

20.00%

10.67%

24.64%

2.1: Access to Services for Minorities

Performance 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.

69.67%

114.52%

82.34%

The Department routinely performs well on the Standards and Indicators. However, the Department has not met Indicator 1.6 in the last three years. This Indicator measures the difference in the percentage of individuals who at application reported their income as the largest single source of support, and the percentage that reported their personal income as the largest single source of support at closure. This measure looks only at those clients who closed successfully. As the Rehabilitation Services Administration notes, those agencies with a high number of individuals entering the VR program employed at application have difficulty in meeting or exceeding the standard for this indicator. On average, fifty-eight percent of the Department’s successful closures indicated they were employed at application. Among the 77 individuals who closed successfully in FFY2011, nearly sixty percent were employed at application.

The number of clients receiving public support also influences Indicator 1.6. On average, forty-nine percent of eligible individuals indicate receiving public support at application compared to fifty-two percent indicating receiving public support at closure. 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 and the recession that began in 2009 caused wages to fall further. Research on jobs added to the economy since the start of the recession show that the average annual pay for those jobs dropped by $5,000 compared to the annual pay for jobs that were lost during the recession. Meanwhile cost of living research has shown that in Iowa each parent in a two-parent, two-child household must earn a minimum of $12.44 per hour to cover very basic needs. This hourly wage is an increase over the $10.62 per hour needed to cover costs in 2008. A single person with no children must earn $11.48 per hour to meet the cost of basic needs. 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 2011 and The Cost of Living in Iowa (2010), The Iowa Policy Project.)

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. The Department will be implementing new procedures to give all clients receiving Social Security benefits the opportunity to receive individualized benefits counseling so that they make informed decisions about working and earnings.

 

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

 

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 sixteen Regional Workforce Investment Boards and through its participation in the Governance Group.

The Governance Group includes administrative personnel from the Iowa Developmental Disability Council, the Office of Persons with Disabilities – Department of Human Rights, 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. Department staff will continue to participate in joint efforts such as the Employers Disability Resource Network (EDRN) which seeks to increase employment of persons with disabilities by pooling agency resources and providing technical expertise to employers throughout the state.

A Department staff person has participated in the planning and oversight team for Iowa’s Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program since 2006. The funding for this program will expire in June 2012. Staff from Iowa Workforce Development, Department of Human Services, IVRS, and the Department for the Blind are currently seeking ways to continue this important service to Iowans with disabilities.

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.

 

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

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

 

Strategies 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: Continue utilizing the long-range marketing and outreach plan developed in 2009 to increase awareness of and referrals to the Department.

Timeline: On-going

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

     

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.

Strategy: Utilize part-time employment placements as performance measures for Youth VR Counselors and provide Job Seeking seminars designed specifically for clients attending post-secondary school.

Timeline: Develop Job Seeking Seminars by end of FFY2013. The employment placement measures have appeared on the Youth VR Counselors’ Individual Performance Plan and Evaluation since FFY2011.

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

  • Percentage of individuals aged 14-24 at application who close successfully employed after services.
  • Number of transition age youth and young adults placed in part-time employment for the purposes of obtaining work experience. (In these instances, the case will remain open until the employment goal has been achieved.)

VR Goal 3: All blind and visually impaired Iowans achieve the highest quality of employment outcome that is commensurate with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

Strategy 1: Provide a longer period for job stabilization before closure in cases where a client is working toward achieving more hours, and require additional documentation for cases closing in employment at less than twenty hours per week.

Strategy 2: Ensure all clients receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income have the opportunity to receive individualized benefits counseling from a certified Benefits Planner.

Timeline: Implementation of strategies by 10/1/2012. 

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

  • Percentage of Full-time Closures (32 Hours or more per week).
  • Average Hours Worked per Week at Closure.
  • Average Hourly Wages at Closure.
  • Percentage of SSI & SSDI beneficiaries receiving benefits planning services.

 

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

Strategy: Research new procedures for managing supported employment cases and develop strategic plan for supported employment services.

Timeline: Initiate strategy in FFY2013.

Measures: The following measures will be used to gauge progress toward this 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
  • Percentage individuals with identified secondary disabilities who close successfully employed after services.

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.

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

Pursuant to the existing state plan for independent living the Department allocated $ 9,000 from title I funds and $ 8,089 from part B funds for each of the three years ending September 30, 2013.

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.

All staff are encouraged to participate in training programs designed to expand knowledge and awareness of diversity issues. In addition, the Department addresses potential language barriers by providing interpreters, as needed, at no cost to the applicant or client. The Department will be investigating the translation of written marketing materials into Spanish.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 21 2012 4:25PM by saiasassers

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

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

The Department identified four goals to address needs identified in the FY 2012 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, outreach plan to increase awareness of and referrals to the Department.

Below are the performance results on defined measures for years 2009 through 2012, respectively:

Number of referrals: 1,273; 1,461; 1,471; and 1,458.

Number of referrals compared to previous year: +46; +188; +10; and -13.

Percentage of new referrals: 55%; 59%; 62%; and 59%.

Percentage of referrals aged 14-64: 30%; 39%; 29%; and 28%.

Total number of VR applications: 122; 151; 141; and 162.

Number of applications compared to previous year: +14; +29; -10; and +21.

Data source: case management system.

What happened: As the data above show, referrals remained nearly the same as the previous year and the number of applications increased. The Department continues to focus on outreach 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 in 2009.

The Department’s information specialist, who resigned in July 2011, was replaced in February 2012 and completed training in May 2012. This individual is now dedicated full time to outreach activities. It is anticipated that referrals will increase with the information specialist focusing attention on these efforts once again.

A focus group conducted among ophthalmologists and optometrists 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. Since that time, staff have made presentations to nurse technicians at the Iowa Ophthalmology Association. For the last three years, optometric assistants attending the Iowa Optometric Association conference in Des Moines have toured the Department and learned about the Department’s services. In addition, all field staff (VR counselors and rehabilitation teachers) visited the ophthalmologists and optometrists in their territories.

In addition to reaching out to ophthalmologists and optometrists, IDB has a cooperative relationship with Des Moines University (DMU), a school of osteopathic medicine. Fourth-year 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 who are blind. Normally, a medical student would see patients in a medical setting, supervised by an attending physician. Rotating through the Department provides the students with a view into the lives of patients outside the medical setting. Sixty medical students have completed this rotation as of June 2013. (http://idbonline.org/publications/white-cane-magazine-fall-2010/newsmolding_medical_minds; Orientation Center records)

As a matter of routine, the Department conducts and tracks 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 listed below have reached over 6,000 Iowans.

In 2012, the Department conducted 87 tours, 24 community based training events, 16 in-service training events, 98 speaking engagements, ten career seminars, eight booths, and 22 interviews with radio and TV stations.

VR goal 2: All blind and visually impaired youth and young adults 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 for years 2009 through 2012, respectively:

Percentage of individuals aged 14-24 at application who close successfully employed after services: 64%; 71%; 67%; and 59%.

Percentage of individuals aged 25 and older at application who close successfully employed after services: 80%; 77%; 81%; and 82%.

Number of participants in pilot program: 5; 11; n/a; and n/a.

Percentage of pilot program participants in employment: 0; 3; n/a; and n/a.

Data source: case management system (closure type by age at application; closure status 26 and 28).

What happened: Ten transition age individuals closed cases in FFY 2012. Of those who received services, seven achieved a competitive employment outcome. The percentage of clients aged 14-24 who close successfully after services continues to lag behind those who are older at application. Because many transition clients apply for and receive services while in high school, new approaches to providing services to younger clients can take years to show results. The Department will continue, however, to focus on part-time employment for students as a path to future success.

In October 2009, the Department implemented a pilot youth employment program. A total of sixteen 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 were 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 were incorporated into the VR program. 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 is an important component of the youth VR counselors’ 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 achieve the highest quality of employment outcome that is commensurate with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

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.

Below are the performance results on defined measures for years 2009 through 2012, respectively:

Percentage of individuals with identified secondary disabilities who close successfully employed after services: 75%; 71%; 77%; and 74%.

Percentage of individuals without an identified secondary disability who close successfully employed after services: 81%; 85%; 84%; and 85%.

Data source: case management system (closure types 26 and 28 with secondary disability reported and closure types 26 and 28 with no secondary disability reported).

What happened: The successful closure rates for individuals with and without secondary disabilities who received services have remained relatively constant. Thirty-four of forty individuals who did not report a secondary disability closed successfully. Of the individuals who reported a secondary disability, forty-eight out of sixty-five closed successfully.

Several 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 Department of Public Health, Powell Chemical Dependency Center, and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Strategies Contributing to Performance:

The Department’s priority remains the provision of high-quality 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 the number of library staff has decreased. This change has meant a heavier reliance on volunteers to produce materials in alternative media and the sharing of duties among library staff. The Department is facing a budget crisis, which has led to the termination of four full-time and two temporary staff. We will continue to promote our services to the public and support our hard-working staff as much as possible in FFY 2014.

To ensure quality of services, the Department reviews numerous performance measures monthly and yearly to identify performance trends and areas for improvement. Management staff review processes and procedures regularly to ensure that work is completed in the most efficient manner possible. Management teams and work groups study identified issues and recommend solutions. The goal is to ensure all staff are working toward the Department’s mission and priorities.

The results on the standards and indicators demonstrate that this approach results in consistency of high performance in key areas. Outreach activities and strategies to improve the employment outcomes for transition-age youth and those with secondary disabilities will continue. All of these identified needs will require a sustained effort in order for positive performance trends to continue.

 

Supported employment 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 use new supported employment resources throughout Iowa.

Results: Below are the performance results on defined measures for years 2009 through 2012, respectively:

Number of individuals closed who had supported employment services on their individualized plan for employment: 8; 9; 13; and 6.

Percentage of individuals who close successfully employed after receiving supported employment services: 63%; 89%; 69: and 83%.

Data source: case management system.

What happened: Five out of six individuals who closed after receiving supported employment services attained employment. Currently, thirty-one clients have supported employment services on their employment plans compared to thirty-three 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.

 

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 exceeded most standards and indicators during FFY 2012.

Performance indicator, standard, and result:

1.1 - Number of individuals with employment outcomes.

Standard: meet or exceed previous year. Result 82; exceeded standard.

1.2 - Individuals receiving services under an individualized plan for employment and percentage with an employment outcome. Standard: 68.90%. Result: 78.10%; exceeded standard.

1.3 - Competitive employment outcomes as a percentage of all employment outcomes.

Standard: 35.40%. Result: 85.37%; exceeded standard.

1.4 - Competitive employment outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities as a percentage of all individuals with significant disabilities.

Standard: 89%. Result: 100%; exceeded standard.

1.5 - Ratio of average VR wage to state wage as a percentage.

Standard: 59%. Result 101%; exceeded standard.

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%. Result 28.57%; did not meet standard.

2.1 - Access to services for minorities.

Standard: 80%. Result: met standard*.

*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 two requirements.

 

Iowa Self Employment (ISE) Program - $14,361

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)

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 ($11,269).

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, using effective job search strategies, developing resumes, and practicing interviewing techniques. They meet with employers to learn about their needs and participate in mock interviews ($7,386).

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

Statewide Independent Living Council - $9,000.

Pursuant to the state plan for independent living the Department allocated $9,000 from title I funds to the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and $8,089 from part B funds for each of the three years ending September 30, 2013.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 2:52PM by Bruce Snethen

Attachment 6.3 Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services

  • 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 Aug 27 2012 2:02PM by Carol Dobak

System Information

System information

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on:08/07/2013 3:55 PM

Last updated by:saiabsnethenb

Completed on: 08/07/2013 3:55 PM

Completed by: saiabsnethenb

Approved on: 08/08/2013 2:16 PM

Approved by: rscodobakc