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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Kentucky Office for the Blind State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

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

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

State Treasurer

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

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

Executive Director

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Christopher H. Smith

Title of Signatory
Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/27/2011

Assurances Certified By

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

Comments:

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Christopher H. Smith

Title of Signatory
Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/27/2011

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is not primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and includes a vocational rehabilitation unit as provided in paragraph (b) of this section (Option B was selected/Option A was not selected)

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
The Kentucky Office for the Blind

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.2(c): Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council; Response of the Designated State Unit; and Explanations for Rejection of Input or Recommendations

The agency’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is established under Kentucky Revised Statutes 163.470 and meets the requirements of 34 CFR 361.29. The SRC is a valued partner with the Office for the Blind (OFB) participating in the administration of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The Council meets quarterly to review policies, program information, and other pertinent issues. As a part of the agency’s commitment the Office for the Blind provides funding support for the SRC with a FFY 2010 budget of $ 48,100, FFY 2011 budget of $84,500, and a projected budget of $84,500 for 2012 to be used to reimburse the expenses of Council members and, the publication of the SRC Annual Report for the conducting of the Satisfaction Survey through the University of Kentucky. The 2011 and 2012 budget was increased to include the overall operational expenses of the Council and the costs of contracting the Satisfaction Survey of all closed cases with the University of Kentucky and the design, development and publication of the annual report.

The Office for the Blind works with the SRC and makes every effort to seek input for needed improvements and recommendations. This occurs through formal and informal communication, as well as the committee work of the SRC members. The OFB works in partnership with the SRC in ensuring that individuals served receive the needed services and supports to gain independence through employment and increased skills acquisition. The State Rehabilitation Council and its sub-committees guide OFB operations: Bylaws, Business Opportunities, Legislative, Nominating, Public Relations and Special Projects.

OFB staff gave performance and program operation updates at each SRC quarterly meeting in 2010. The Kentucky Office for the Blind (OFB) reported its performance measures on the standards and indicators, satisfaction surveys and numbers served and outcomes for the various programs offered to consumers for 2010 at the November 19, 2010 quarterly meeting. The University of Kentucky Research Program and the Human Development Institute conducted the 2010 Satisfaction Survey and the results were presented at the May 20, 2011 meeting.

This attachment is Kentucky’s State Rehabilitation Council’s input to the State Plan. A copy of the 2012 State Plan attachments in draft form was distributed to the SRC for review and approval.

Input was received and recorded in the written minutes of the Committee Reports and of the Council that met on November 20, 2009, February 26, 2010, May 21, 2010, August 20, 2010 November 19, 2010, and February 18, 2011. The Kentucky Office for the Blind did not reject any recommendations from the SRC during the past year. Summaries of the Council’s activities and recommendations as well as the OFB responses are listed below.

SRC Recommendations for Gaining Input for the State Plan

At the February 2011, SRC quarterly meeting the Council discussed the methods for obtaining input from the public for the 2012 State Plan. The Special Projects Committee discussed the possibility of holding forums and sending out a survey to the advocacy organizations across the state. The Committee noted that there would be focus groups held in the upcoming months in connection with the Comprehensive Needs Assessment. The decision was made not to hold forums in connection with the State Plan. Since work will begin in March for the 2012 Comprehensive Needs Assessment trying to hold groups now poses a conflict and potentially could cause confusion for individuals. Additionally, the Council clarified that there were no major changes to OFB policies and procedures that would merit holding additional open forums.

The committee discussed the type and scope of questions to be considered for gaining input. The committee members made the decision that the questions used last year were still relevant. The full Council did not have any additional input for the areas to be addressed or the formulation of questions at this meeting. Based on the decision of the Council the following questions were used to gain input for the 2012 State Plan:

1. Please rate the following areas on how helpful they are in providing assistance to individuals in order for them to obtain employment?

2. Please provide any feedback on how the agency can improve or expand our vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs and services for the blind and visually impaired?

3. How can the agency improve outreach and marketing to underserved populations and to rural areas across the state? Mark all that apply.

4. Do you have any suggestions for how the agency can partner with other organizations in order to expand services for the blind and visually impaired? Mark all that apply.

5. Given the current economic climate and anticipated budget cuts how can the agency develop innovative service approaches in order to continue to provide the same quality programs?

6. How can the Office for the Blind improve upon or best meet the ever-increasing technology needs of our consumers? Mark all that apply.

The survey was prepared in Survey Monkey containing questions formulated to yield quantitative data based on a rating scale for given items. An option for participants to make comments was available as well.

Again, the Council took into consideration the history of forums and the low attendance in relation to transportation needs of the blind and visually impaired they decided to utilize other methods for obtaining input. The Council members indicated they would assist in getting the information out in the different advocacy chapter groups across the state regarding the survey and the need for input on the 2012 State Plan. A statewide press release was sent out on March 11, 2011. Individuals were also given the option to call the toll-free number and give their input verbally, via email or to go to our website and complete the survey online. Public comment was taken through April 30, 2011. Information was gathered, summarized and shared with the full Council for a decision at the May 2011 meeting.

OFB Response: OFB followed all of the above recommendations for gaining input for the 2011 State Plan. Information regarding needed input was sent through different media venues and organizations such as disability list serves, statewide press releases through the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, the state chapters of the different advocacy organizations, the Kentucky School for the Blind, Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Special Education Cooperatives, VI teachers, university disability coordinators, consumers, Eye Physicians, staff and the American Printing House for the Blind. A summary of the input was provided to the Council at the May 20, 2011 meeting.

SRC Recommendations for the State Plan Goals and Priorities

There are five concise and measurable goal areas set based on the 2009 Statewide Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. The Special Projects Committee reviewed the input received for the 2012 State Plan in relation to the existing five goals, strategies and innovation and expansion activities existing in the plan at the February 18, 2011 meeting. A motion was made by Gerry Gordon-Brown, Special Projects Chair to approve the set goals, strategies and priorities for the 2012 State Plan and seconded by Joey Couch. The motion was passed by the full Council.

The established goals are as follows.

Goal 1: Increase the number of quality employment outcomes by providing services to ensure that individuals who are blind and visually impaired secure employment and achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Goal 2: Expand and increase services for transition age youth.

Goal 3: Maximize consumer access to affordable assistive technology in order to increase their independence in their homes, schools, and communities and remove barriers to employment.

Goal 4: Maximize the operational management of programs in order to insure efficiency and effectiveness of agency processes.

Goal 5: Maximize Independent Living Services (IL) and Services for Older Individuals who are Blind (OIB) increasing the number of individuals who are blind and visually impaired that live independently, work competitively, and are active in their community.

Under Goal 5 of the State Plan one of the action steps was the development of a Resource Guide. At the February 26, 2010 meeting the Special Projects Committee of the SRC decided to undertake this project. Gerry Gordon-Brown committee chair asked the Council for ideas and suggestions for the resource guide for the blind and visually impaired. The committee determined that information on resources for the deaf-blind would be included. Information was gathered from the Council members and at the May 21, 2010 meeting a sub-committee was formed of Council members and OFB staff. Nine subject areas were identified as resource categories for the directory. OFB staff worked collaboratively with SRC members in the design and development of the resource directory over the next six months. A draft of the guide was distributed in November of 2010 to the full Council for editing and corrections. At the February 2011 meeting Ms. Gordon-Brown, committee chair reported that the statewide resource directory was completed and asked for a motion to accept the directory. A motion was made my Mike Freholm and seconded by Joe Couch. The full Council voted on acceptance of the motion and it passed.

OFB Response: The agency accepted the Council recommendations for the goals and priorities and the innovation and expansion activities for the 2012 State Plan. The Council has begun the development and conducting of the 2012 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. Upon completion of the 2012 assessment, the Council stated that they will consider revising the State Plan goals based on the results of the assessment. The agency accepted the recommendations of the Council for the development and distribution of a statewide resource guide for the blind and visually impaired and deaf blind. A copy of the resource directory is available on the website at http://blind.ky.gov and in alternate formats upon request.

SRC Recommendations for the Satisfaction Survey Process

A copy of the 2009 Satisfaction Survey Executive Summary was distributed to SRC members via email in January of 2010. The full survey was distributed at the Feb 26, 2010 meeting. At the May 21, 2010 meeting Christina Espinosa, from the University of Kentucky made a presentation to the Council for the 2009 survey results. Ms. Espinosa informed the Council that the information obtained through a phone survey from the KY Survey Research Center was interpreted by UK’s Human Development Institute. Ms. Espinosa distributed handouts and covered data through a power point presentation reporting an overall 86.3% response rate. 88% of consumers indicated a high degree of satisfaction with the Office for the Blind. Two hundred and three (203) people participated in the 2009 survey. Respondents were asked to rate the overall quality of services received from the Office for the Blind, using a 1-5 scale where 1 = excellent and 5= poor. Overall 87.5% of consumers rated the quality as either a 1 which is excellent (75.9%) or a 2 (11.6%). The mean score is 1.49 and the median is 1.0.

A copy of the 2010 Satisfaction Survey Executive Summary was distributed to SRC members via email in January of 2011. At the May 20, 2011 meeting OFB staff, presented a power point overview that HDI staff, Kathy Sheppard Jones and Christina Espinosa created to the Council for the 2010 survey results. Due to a scheduling conflict, HDI staff could not be present to give an overview of the results of the 2010 survey. The presentation was given in the exact form and interpretation that HDI staff from UK had produced. Any questions could be directed to Ms. Jones or Ms. Espinosa at UK regarding the data and the report summary. There was a 84.3% response rate which was a slight decrease from 2009. Overall, 82.3% of consumers rated the quality as either a 1 which is excellent (72.6%) or a 2 (9.7%).

In the prior year, UK Research unit staff recommended that a more balanced rating scale should be used. For example, asking consumers to provide a rating on a scale of 1 – 5 instead of the current survey scale that provides them word rating choices (i.e. below average, average, above average). The Council in 2009 made the decision to make the change as recommended by UK staff. As expected by UK staff, with the change to the rating scale there was a slight drop (4%) in the overall satisfaction 2010 results.

The Council made the decision to renew the contract for 2011. Some of the Council members asked for further clarification on some of the data sets from the 2010 survey results and questions were submitted to UK staff for response by the August 2011 meeting. The Council did express concern over the fact that UK did not have staff available to make the presentation on the scheduled Council meeting date. Council members wanted to assure that a UK Staff member could make a presentation “in Person” on the survey results in the future and asked agency staff to contact UK regarding this matter.

OFB Response: OFB accepted all of the Council’s recommendation regarding the satisfaction survey process. OFB contacted HDI to come and make a formal presentation of the data and any service trends identified through the survey and answer any of the Council’s questions regarding the satisfaction survey results for 2010. A presentation occurred on May 20, 2011 by OFB staff in the absence of UK staff due to scheduling conflicts. The contract with HDI and the UK Research Department at the recommendation of the Council went through the approval process with the Cabinet and UK. Questions regarding some of the data sets were submitted to UK staff for response by the August 2011 meeting. OFB staff will contact UK regarding the request of the Council to assure a UK staff member can make a presentation “in person” on the data results of the survey each calendar year.

SRC Recommendations for the By-laws Committee

There were no recommendations for the Office for the Blind from the Bylaws Committee. The only action of the Bylaws committee was to review the geographic makeup of the membership assuring compliance with the Bylaws. The committee made the determination it was in compliance with the set Bylaws.

SRC Recommendations for the Statewide Needs Assessment

At the November 19, 2010 Council meeting the Special Projects Committee discussed the process for conducting the 2012 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. A competitive RFP would be distributed for the work of the assessment. The members discussed the need for more quantitative data (research based) for the needs assessment. The committee felt that the Council along with OFB did an excellent job on the 2009 Needs Assessment with the resources available. The decision was made to utilize stimulus funds for this project. The RFP was developed and based on the Vocational Rehabilitation Needs Assessment Guide established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. The Special Projects Committee of the SRC began the process of working on the 2012 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment in 2011 with the selected vendor Analytic Insight and Dr. Amy Flowers.

SRC Recommendations for Increasing Employment Outcomes

At the November 20, 2009 quarterly meeting the Business Opportunities Committee asked that OFB continue to work on building small business opportunities separate from the Randolph-Sheppard Blind Vendors program.

The committee emphasized again that they requested OFB to stay abreast of openings at the American Printing House for the Blind and the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville. They asked that job leads be shared them with the counselors and the full Council.

OFB Response: The Executive Director and the Director of Kentucky Business Enterprises researched options regarding the recommendation from the committee exploring other possibilities for the small business program. OFB staff gave a report of progress at the quarterly meeting in February of 2010. OFB staff met with OVR, our sister agency staff to discuss their provision of services on February 12, 2010. On February 16, 2010 a meeting occurred with Cabinet for Economic Development, Small Business Services Division staff to discuss in depth all aspects involved in developing a small business enterprise. On February 23, OFB staff met with the SRC Business Opportunities Committee chairperson, Charles Allen on this subject. At the May 21, 2010 meeting of the SRC, OFB reported that in 2009 13 OFB consumers inquired about self employment. Those individuals were referred by the vocational rehabilitation counselor to the Self-Employment Business Development Center (KSBDC). At that time 7/10 or 70% of those individuals had not followed through with KSBDC. The agency developed a brochure specific to self – employment.

Job leads are shared agency wide that are sent by the Council and staff. All vacancies that the agency shares with staff are also sent to the full Council including those at the American Printing House for the Blind and the Kentucky School for the Blind. At the February 18, 2011quarterly Council meeting a special presentation was given by OFB staff regarding employer initiatives with Best Buy and Humana and the National Industries for the Blind.

To follow up on recommendation made by the Council in 2008 to re-establish a work experience program as reported in last year’s Attachment 4.2 (c). In FFY 2010, two (2) FFTL positions funded through the American Reinvestment Recovery Act (ARRA) funding were established whose duties focus on developing employer relationships and establishing work experience opportunities. One individual was housed at the Charles W. McDowell Center focusing on consumers participating in the residential program and the Region I area of the state. The other individual was housed in the Lexington field office covering Region II area of the state. Year to date there have 31 work experience sites established and ten individuals have achieved employment through this re-established program.

SRC Recommendations for the Area of Public Relations

The Public Relations Committee gave input in 2010 on the revamping of the website, the annual report and on marketing events the agency was represented at. A survey was circulated to the Full Council via Survey Monkey gaining input on changes to the website. The SRC felt that they should have section for the SRC on the new website.

At the November 19, 2010 meeting the Public Relations Committee decided upon the “Partnering for Success” theme for the annual report. The 2010 SRC Annual Report focused on partnerships that contribute to the mission of OFB.

OFB Response: In the design for the new website a tab was assigned to the SRC. The Council has their own section allowing for information regarding the work of the Council and other items to be featured. OFB accepted the recommended theme for the 2010 SRC Annual Report and worked with the Council Members on compiling the report.

SRC Recommendations for the 2009 OFB Monitoring Report

As reported last year, at the November 20, 2009 SRC meeting Council members expressed their disappointment that they were not more involved in the monitoring response. They felt that among the members there is a lot of knowledge and experience and the agency would have benefitted from their expertise in formulating a response. The Council expressed fully their dissatisfied with the closing of SEE World. At the February 26, 2010 meeting, Christopher Smith, Executive Director reported to the Council that the final monitoring report from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) was received on January 21 and is available on the federal website at ed.gov. Member Kay Mathis reiterated at this meeting that the SRC members should have been included in the monitoring response. Mr. Smith asked the Council for input and suggestions in formulating a corrective action plan especially surrounding the issues of the closing of the store.

OFB Response: To affirm what was reported in last year’s attachment, the SRC participated in a conference call with RSA prior to the monitoring site visit. The Executive Committee Members met with RSA representatives in Louisville in March during the on site monitoring visit. Executive Committee Council members were invited to both the entrance and exit interviews for the monitoring site visit. Due to scheduling conflicts for the Executive Committee Council members there was no representation from the Council at the entrance or the exit conference held by RSA. This is unfortunate as all issues were reported on in depth from RSA representatives and this was inclusive of SEE World. If some of the SRC representatives were in attendance this would have provided a clearer explanation regarding the findings in the final monitoring report. The agency apologized for not distributing copies of the report to the Council prior to formulating a written response. The agency did take into account the feedback that was received from the Council at the quarterly meetings when formulating their response. The agency reported that there was no disrespect meant to the Council. Given the time constraints and the levels of approval for the monitoring response with the Cabinet Secretary and legal counsel the agency did not have a lot of time to formulate a response. The monitoring report was distributed to the Council via email February 2, 2010. Mr. Smith emphasized the importance of complying with the federal regulation. He asked the Council to work with the agency on coming up with solutions to these issues and most importantly to work with OFB and the staff in carrying out our mission of working with consumers in becoming self-sufficient and finding gainful employment. The February 26, 2010 SRC meeting was dedicated mainly to discussion of the monitoring report and the closing of SEE World to assure open communication with the Full Council. This meeting gave the Council members an opportunity to ask questions and share information pertinent to resolving issues surrounding the report.

SRC Recommendations for SEE World

As reported in last year’s state plan attachment at the November 14, 2009 meeting the SRC made the recommendation that OFB consider whether or not it is feasible for “a vendor” to operate SEE World under Randolph-Sheppard. Another recommendation was to explore housing SEE World at an Independent Living Center. The SRC requested that we get a list together for distribution that lists catalogues and vendors used for purchasing products previously sold at the store.

At the February 26, 2010 quarterly meeting SRC Council members had a lot of questions surrounding the monitoring report.

1) Were current consumers still able to purchase from SEE World?

2) If it were earmarked in the state legislative budget, would OFB be allowed to run the store?

3) How much would it cost to run SEE World for a year?

4) What is being done with the SEE World space and can people see the products even if they cannot be purchased?

5) Are there enough consumers and sales that a vendor could make a living?

SRC Council Members, Sharon Fields, Kay Mathis, and Kenny Jones voiced agreement that upon reading the report that this will be a lengthy process and it doesn’t appear that it will be easily resolved. Charles Allen indicated that he would still like to see information on sales in order to propose that it could be resolved through the Kentucky Business Enterprise Program of through self-employment of a vendor.

Public Comments were received at the November, February, May and August quarterly meetings in FFY 2010 in support of resolving the issue of the store operation in a positive manner so that SEE World could be reopened.

Agency Response: The Executive Director, Chris Smith at the November 20, 2009, February 26, 2010, May 21, 2010, and the August 20, 2010 quarterly meetings of the Council gave a full report on SEE World including the status of the monitoring report recommendations and findings.

At the November 20, 2009 meeting, Mr. Smith explained that SEE World was closed on April 3, 2009 at the recommendation of RSA fiscal monitoring staff during the onsite monitoring visit. Mr. Smith acknowledged that the agency was taking into consideration the ideas given by the Council as possible solutions. This will be a lengthy process that will involve many individuals and the agency respects and values fully the input and expertise of the Council. The agency must identify other ideas, methods and funding options for the operation of SEE World. Mr. Smith emphasized with the Council Members the need for them to contact him regarding any ideas and suggestions that they may have to resolve the issue of the store.

A list of catalogues and vendors was compiled of products previously sold at the store was compiled and distributed via email and made available in Braille and large print upon request.

At the February 26, 2010 meeting Mr. Smith responded to the questions as stated below.

1) Were current consumers still able to purchase from SEE World?

OFB Response: Mr. Smith clarified that the store is closed and no one is purchasing any items. Items needed for consumers determined eligible with an IPE are purchased directly from vendors through their counselor.

2) If it were earmarked in the state legislative budget, would OFB be allowed to run the store?

OFB Response: This is an option; however, the store would have to be sustainable on 100% state money.

3) How much would it cost to run SEE World for a year?

OFB Response: Reports are available for estimated costs.

4) What is being done with the SEE World space and can people see the products even if they cannot be purchased?

OFB Response: Mr. Smith indicated that the store cannot be open to the public for any purpose.

5) Are there enough consumers and sales that a vendor could make a living?

OFB Response: Mr. Smith indicated that Council Members need to remember that an eligible consumer does not purchase goods.

On 7/7/2010 and 7/26/2010 Christopher Smith, OFB Executive Director communicated through email to the Full Council a request for recommendations or suggestions regarding viable options for solutions to the issues surrounding the operation of the store. Six responses were received for consideration.

SRC New Member Orientation

At the August 30, 2010 quarterly meeting there was much discussion regarding how to orient new members to the Council. The Council strongly encouraged new and existing members to participate in the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) Online Training Series, developed by the Rehabilitation Services Administration in cooperation with the National Rehabilitation Continuing Education Programs. Three Council members completed the SRC Online training series in 2010. The Council also discussed holding a tour of the McDowell Rehabilitation Center preceding the quarterly meeting to be held in February of 2011 that would allow new members to receive an overview of the Center and OFB services.

This screen was last updated on Aug 11 2011 10:15AM by Cora McNabb

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 3:08PM by Cora McNabb

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.

ATTACHMENT 4.8 (b)(1): Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities: Cooperation with Agencies That Are Not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities

The agency will assure that the Governor of the State, in consultation with other appropriate agencies, will have in place interagency agreements or other mechanisms for interagency coordination between any appropriate public entity including the state Medicaid Program, public institutions of higher education and a component of the statewide workforce investment system. This will ensure the provision of vocational rehabilitation services described in subparagraph (A) other than those specified in paragraph (5) (D), and in paragraph (1) through (4) and (14) of Section 103 (a) of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, that are included in the individualized plan for employment of an eligible individual, including the provision of such vocational rehabilitation services during the duration of any dispute. Such agreements shall include the following:

(i) A description of a method for defining the financial responsibility of a public entity for providing such services, and a provision stating the financial responsibility of such public entity for providing such services.

(ii) Information specifying the conditions, terms, and procedures under which the office shall be reimbursed by other public entities for providing such services.

(iii) Information specifying procedures for resolving interagency disputes under the agreement.

(iv) Information specifying policies and procedures for public entities to determine and identify the interagency coordination responsibilities of each public entity to promote the coordination and timely delivery of vocational rehabilitation services (except those services specified in paragraph (5)(D) and in paragraphs (1) through (4) and (14) of Section 103 (a) of the Act.

Responsibilities of Other Public Entities

If any public entity other than the office is obligated under Federal or State law, or assigned responsibility under State policy or under regulations set forth in the 1998 Amendments to the Act, to provide or pay for any services that are also considered to be vocational rehabilitation services (other than those specified in paragraph (5) (D) and in paragraphs (1) through (4) and (14) of Section 103 (a), such public entity shall fulfill that obligation or responsibility, either directly or by contract or other arrangement.

1. If a public entity other than the office fails to provide or pay for the services for an eligible individual, the office shall provide or pay for such services to the individual. The office may claim reimbursement for the services from the public entity that failed to provide or pay for such services. Such public entity shall reimburse the office pursuant to the terms of the interagency agreement or other mechanism described in the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, according to the procedures established in such agreement or mechanism pursuant to the established conditions, terms and procedures of reimbursement.

2. Signed agreements between respective officials of the public entities that outline and identify the responsibilities of each public entity relating to the provision of services shall be in place.

The Office for the Blind has developed collaborative relationships with several agencies and entities within and without the statewide workforce investment system both private and public agencies and programs. OFB works cooperatively with the following agencies to avoid the duplication of services and enhance the service delivery process for consumers who are blind and visually impaired.

• 176 school districts statewide consisting of 1,249 schools inclusive of 458 Visually Impaired Students

• Eleven special education cooperatives networks across the state created to enhance educational opportunities for Kentucky’s children providing technical assistance, training; professional development, specialized services and research.

• Department of Behavioral Health, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilites through their fourteen (14) Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Centers for supported employment

• The Correctional System in assisting consumers with visual disabilities who are offenders

• The Kentucky Business Leadership Network, which is affiliated with the U. S. Business Leadership Network, is to promote enduring partnerships between business and industry and agencies that provide vocational support services for Kentuckians with disabilities.

• Community rehabilitation providers in the provision of employment services

• Kentucky Association of Persons in Supported Employment whose mission is to “promote the improvement of Supported Employment services for persons with significant disabilities experiencing barriers to employment through education, advocacy, collaboration, policy change, elimination of barriers, empowerment and community participation”.

• Department of Medicaid Services –OFB has representation on the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant Task Force and the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant Steering committee collaborating with the Department for Medicaid Services, Department for Mental Health and Mental Retardation and the Department of Protection and Advocacy.

• Department of Community Based Services-Public Assistance Programs

• Local Ophthalmologists and Optometrists and their respective professional associations in accessing needed services for consumers. These are key collaborative relationships that OFB has established. Staff attend state conferences, distribute marketing materials and maintain working relationships with local offices and the area ophthalmologists and optometrists (patient referral and services).

• American Printing House for the Blind, the world’s largest source for adapted educational and daily living products.

• Kentucky School for the Blind, K-12 public school serving Kentucky students who are blind and visually impaired; Short Course program (1-12 weeks) of specialized instructional is also available to students throughout the school year; and summer school programs are offered in June and July

• Kentucky Federation of the Blind an advocacy organization that improves blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. OFB is involved through representation at their state and national conventions and representation of this advocacy organization sit on the State Rehabilitation Council.

• Kentucky American Council of the Blind strives to improve the well being of all blind and visually impaired people by serving as a representative national organization of blind people. OFB is involved through representation at their state and national conventions and representation of this advocacy organization sit on the State Rehabilitation Council.

• Local Chambers of Commerce –OFB staff represent the agency across the state on local chamber organizations

• International Centers specializing in advocacy and services to the foreign born and serve refugees, asylees, and immigrants (Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green).

• The Veterans Administration-A representative of the Veterans Administration sits on the State Rehabilitation Council. Currently OFB is talking with VA in planning for needed services due to an increase in visual impairments as a result of injuries associated with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

• Area Employers in the development of working relationships increasing the number of successful employment outcomes for consumers

• University of Kentucky Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute is a University Center of Excellence established by federal legislation to promote team-based approaches to provide services for individuals with disabilities and their families.

• Other community based organizations such as Health clinics, HUD, Diabetes Foundation, The Lions Club and other community resources for consumers

• The Kentucky Assistive Technology Service (KATS) operate within the Office for the Blind its lead agency. This allows for increased collaboration between OFB and KATS. KATS is a statewide network of organizations and individuals connecting to enhance the availability of assistive technology devices and services to improve the productivity and quality of life for individuals with disabilities.

• Visually Impaired Preschool Services offering service to infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers who are visually impaired; and to maximize each child’s developmental potential through direct services, advocacy, and community education

• Kentucky Outreach and Information Network (KOIN)- Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services/Department of Public Health planning committee for communication and message distribution to special populations during a public health emergency or other disastrous event.

OFB staff are integral members of many statewide councils and their respective subcommittees such as the SILC, Developmental Disabilities Council, Transition and the Interagency Council.

Coordination with the Statewide Independent Living Council and Independent Living Centers

The Office works in coordination with the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). A member from SILC sits on the Agency State Rehabilitation Council. The Office for the Blind Independent Living Program Manager represents the Agency on the SILC. As outlined in the SILC state plan OFB provides monies for costs associated with the statewide independent living conference. OFB staff work collaboratively with the Independent Living Centers across the state in the service delivery process for consumers with visual impairments.

State Use Contracting

Under the state procurement code, administered by the Finance and Administration Cabinet, there are preferences to be given by governmental entities and political subdivisions in purchasing commodities or services from specified entities. Specifically, first preference is given to the products made by the Department of Corrections and Division of Prison Industries. Second preference shall be given either to: (1) the Kentucky Industries for the Blind or any other nonprofit corporation with which the Office for the Blind contracts to further its statutory purposes; or (2) qualified nonprofit agencies for individuals with severe disabilities i.e., Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP). This means that state and local governmental agencies are to purchase directly from Correctional Industries or an Industries contracted with by OFB and/or a CRP without having to utilize the competitive procurement processes. The Finance and Administration Cabinet is to publicize/distribute a list of those products and services. OFB confers its statutory state use preference upon LC Industries to afford them the preferential procurement opportunities for their products and services, which may expand employment opportunities for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. A LC Industries representative sits on the Office for the Blind State Rehabilitation Council.

Requirements related to the Statewide Workforce Investment System

As a partner of the One-Stop service delivery system the office shall carry out the following functions consistent with the Act, Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and the regulations in 20 CFR part 662:

1) Make available to participants through the One-Stop service delivery system the core services (as described in 20 CFR 662.240) that are applicable to the program administered by the office under this part;

2) Use a portion of funds made available to the program administered by the office under this part, consistent with the Act and this part, to:

i) Create and maintain the One-Stop service delivery system; and ii) Provide core services (as described in 20 CFR 662.240)

3) Enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Local Workforce Investment Board under section 117 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 relating to the operation of the One-Stop service delivery system that meets the requirements of section 121c) of the Workforce Investment Act and 20 CFR 662.300, including a description of services, how the cost of the identified services and operating costs of the system will be funded, and methods for referrals.

4) Participate in the operation of the One-Stop service delivery system consistent with the terms of the MOU and the requirements of the Act and this part.

5) Provide representation on the Local Workforce Investment Board under section 117 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.

Cooperation and Collaboration within The Workforce Investment System

In the summer of 2009, the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board began a process to develop a strategic plan to transform Kentucky’s workforce development system to meet the challenges of a changing global economy and address the most immediate concerns of the current financial crisis. In May of 2010, the

Kentucky KWIB Strategic Plan, “WorkSmart Kentucky” was implemented. There are five action areas: System Transformation, Education Alignment, Economic Development Alignment, System Simplification, and Customer Service. The Workforce Development Programs including the Office of Employment and Training, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office for the Blind Staff are involved on teams and work groups for each of these five action areas. Additionally all the One Stop partner program staff is a part of the collaborative work teams and committees. This has brought the entire partner program staffs of One Stop Service Delivery System together sharing in the roles and responsibilities of implementation. As a result on a statewide level there is increased knowledge, better work relationships and a broader understanding of the One Stop system. This will build in 2011 as the action steps for each area are implemented and training in multiple areas for all staff will occur in a more unified system. Reporting will occur for 2011activities specific to these initiatives in the 2013 State Plan.

Reciprocal referral services with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation: The Office for the Blind and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation have established reciprocal referral services which allow for more efficient services to individuals with disabilities. The two agencies have a memorandum of agreement and jointly plan activities to improve services in the state for individuals with multiple impairments, including individuals with dual sensory loss.

The office may enter into agreements with other entities that are a component of the statewide workforce investment system and replicates those agreements at the local level between the individual offices of the office and the local entities carrying out the One-Stop service delivery system. These agreements may provide for the provision of inter-component staff training and technical assistance that may include, but is not limited to the following areas:

i. the availability of benefits of and information on eligibility standards for vocational rehabilitation services; and

ii. the promotion of equal, effective, and meaningful participation by individuals with disabilities in workforce investment activities in the State through the promotion of program accessibility, the use of nondiscriminatory policies and procedures, and the provision of reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids and services and rehabilitation technology for individuals with disabilities.

Said agreement may also provide for:

The use of information and financial management systems that link all components of the statewide workforce investment system, that link the components to other electronic networks, including non-visual electronic networks, and that relate to such subjects as employment statistics and information on job vacancies, career planning, and workforce investment activities.

The use of customer service features such as common intake and referral procedures, customer databases, resource information and human service hotlines.

The establishment of cooperative efforts with employers to:

• Facilitate job placement; and

• Carry out any other activity that the Office and the employers determine to be appropriate.

The identification of staff roles, responsibilities, and available resources, and specification of the financial responsibility of each component of the statewide workforce investment system with regard to paying for necessary services (consistent with State law and Federal requirements); and

Specification of procedures for resolving disputes among such components.

Kentucky implemented an electronic data system as part of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) planning of Kentucky improving common data collection on consumers with self-service functions including registration and assessment. The system is currently under refinement The Office for the Blind and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation are currently building a new case management system that will interface with the EKOS system to better capture the participants in the program for WIA reporting purposes. A statewide directory of resources and services us available on the Internet, with links to a geographic information system providing specific local points of services. Electronic connectivity among state agencies, educational institutions, military installations, economic development organizations and employers will increase access points, improve the quality of information for staff and consumers, and help provide workers for jobs and jobs for workers.

Since the implementation of the Workforce Investment Act, the office continues its collaboration, cooperation and commitment to these centers and the other partners. The office has established relationships with other entities within the Workforce Investment System and works jointly in the service delivery process.

The office secures yearly a grant through the Office of Adult Education that provides testing and other educational opportunities for adults at the Charles McDowell Center.

The office participates in the ten Workforce Investment Act System local boards throughout the state as well as serving on different committees of those boards.

The office has access to job orders through an agreement with the Office of Employment and Training. Counselors can access job orders from their computers through EKOS. The Office for the Blind works with the local offices in obtaining vocational training for consumers eligible under the Dislocated Workers program. OFB provides informational materials to the one stops as to services the agency provides allowing for self-referral of customers.

The office participated with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office of Employment and Training establishing electronic networks linking employment and employer information together, and establishing an Internet system whereby consumers can post resumes` and employers can access job seekers through this network system. The Kentucky Tele-linking Network provides the infrastructure for the delivery of interactive television classrooms and video-conferencing capability. This fiber-optic network links universities, community colleges, public schools, agencies, and libraries in the state. Centralized data collection and information access is possible through a mainframe computer housed by the Office of Information Systems.

The office will identify and delineate staff roles, responsibilities and available resources and specification of the financial responsibility of each component of the statewide workforce investment system with regard to paying for the necessary services that are consistent with State law and Federal requirements. The office will specify procedures for resolving disputes among such components.

The office shall provide for the development of Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) at local levels between the office and local entities carrying out activities through the statewide Workforce Investment System.

Information and Referral Assurance

The office has implemented an information and referral system to ensure that individuals who have visual disabilities will be provided accurate vocational rehabilitation information and guidance using appropriate modes of communication, to assist such individuals in preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining employment. The office assures the referral of these individuals to other appropriate Federal and State programs if it is unable to serve them.

Appropriate referrals made through the system shall:

(i) be to the Federal, State or local programs, including programs carried out by other components of the statewide workforce investment system in Kentucky that is best suited to address the specific employment needs of an individual with a disability; and

(ii) include, for each of these programs, provision to the individual:

(I) a notice of the referral by the designated State agency to the agency carrying out the program;

(II) information identifying a specific point of contact within the agency carrying out the program; and

(III) information and advice regarding the most suitable services to assist the individual to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment.

All applicants and eligible individuals or, as appropriate, the applicants’ representatives or individuals’ representatives, will be provided information and support services to assist the applicants and individuals in exercising informed choice throughout the rehabilitation process, consistent with Section 102 (d) of the Rehabilitation Act Amendment of 1998. The Client Assistance Program is available for additional assistance and advocacy during the entire rehabilitation process.

The USDA Rural Development obligations of $5,901,018,067 in Kentucky from 2001 through 2008 for the areas of Community Facilities, Housing, Water and Environmental, Business Cooperative Programs. Agency staff are aware of these programs and provide information and referral to consumers for these programs to meet their individual needs.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2011 11:03AM by Cora McNabb

  • 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.

ATTACHMENT 4.8 (b) (2): Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities: Coordination with Education Officials

Coordination with Education Officials and Outreach Activities

The Kentucky Transition Collaborative is an interagency collaborative effort between 21 different state agencies. OFB participates with OVR, The Department of Education and other state agencies in this federally funded, collaborative effort to provide training and sub-grant assistance to school districts. The mission of the Kentucky Transition Collaborative is to assist students with disabilities and their families in making a successful transition from school to adult life.

The Office participates with the Department of Education and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in the Community Based Work Transition Program. The program is administered by individual school districts that hire employment specialists to provide students with community-based evaluation, work experience and job placement during the final two years of high school.

The Office participates with the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) to provide transition services to students attending KSB. The Office monitors progress of the program and students through attending regularly established IEP and ARC meetings. OFB Charles W. McDowell Rehabilitation Center provides vocational assessments and career exploration activities for students statewide and those attending KSB during the summer between their junior and senior year in high. OFB Transition Coordinators work directly with Kentucky School for the Blind staff responsible for implementation of this program. A collaborative effort is made to assist in Community Based Work Transition Program, vocational assessments, and annual Individual Employment Plans and Individualized Graduation Plan. A KSB coordinator is designated to work with individual OFB Counselors, students and families. KSB provides an outreach teacher consultant to each of the eleven (11) Special Education Cooperatives. KSB consultants coordinate and provide training and professional collaboration for co-op faculty. KSB publishes a quarterly newsletter, “Parent to Parent Newsletter” of which OFB transition coordinator contributes articles relevant to transition.

The Office participates with the Kentucky Deaf-Blind Transition Project, which helps promote cooperative transition services for youth who are deaf-blind, and who are students at the Kentucky School for the Blind, the Kentucky School for the Deaf, or any other school the student may be attending. The Office has a DeafBlind Coordinator who is responsible for helping to facilitate these services for youth.

Workforce Investment Boards: OFB VR counselors actively participate on local WIA Board’s Youth and One Stop committees to enhance and make accessible programs and services for youth in transition.

KY AHEAD is a professional organization whose purpose is to promote communication among professionals in post-secondary education in order to improve the development and implementation of services for persons with disabilities. On campus disability centers are an essential resource for students with disabilities attending post-secondary educational institutions. VR counselors are encouraged to develop relationships with disability center staff and should strongly encourage college students to utilize the services available at the centers. Every effort is made to arrange for a student to meet with staff at the disability center prior to entry into a post secondary program in assuring a smooth transition for the individuals.

Kentucky Special Education Cooperative Network: The Kentucky Special Education Cooperative Network consists of eleven (11) special education cooperatives located across the state. These cooperatives were formed to better meet the needs of the multiple school systems across Kentucky’s 120 counties. All 176 local school districts, and the Kentucky Schools for the Blind and Deaf are members of a special education cooperative. Each cooperative has VI teachers and an AT specialist to assist students with visual needs and they employ other specialty service providers such as Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Physical Therapist, and Speech Therapists. OFB works collaboratively with each cooperative network across the state in the provision of information and referral for students of all ages. OFB works with others in assuring that every resource is available to students in their formative years in order for them to access needed services and acquire needed skills preparing them for the world of work.

INSIGHT – Post-secondary Preparation Week for Students Who Are Blind or Significantly Visually Impaired is a collaborative project between Big East Educational Cooperative, Kentucky School for the Blind, Kentucky Office for the Blind, Morehead State University and the University of Louisville. INSIGHT is a unique program designed to provide college bound students an opportunity to experience some of the challenges encountered when entering a university or community college. Participants gain an increased awareness of the educational, recreational, and social challenges of the post secondary environment.

The Office’s Executive Director, Director of Consumer Services and Transition Coordinators work directly when needed, with the Department of Education official serving as chairman of the Kentucky Interagency Executive Transition Council. These involvements help facilitate the Department of Education’s understanding of the unique transition needs of students with visual impairments and assist the Office in understanding the educational process of public schools in the State.

The Agency provides Orientation and Mobility, Assistive Technology and Independent Living Services to school systems on a cost reimbursement basis when staff time is available.

Information on Formal Interagency Agreement

The Agency in conjunction with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has agreements with all public institutions of higher learning in the state to meet the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Title IV of the Workforce Investment Act) 29 W.S.C. Section 721 (a) (*) (B), to develop agreements between the state vocational rehabilitation agencies and public institutions of higher education who serve mutual individuals with disabilities.

The Office participates with the Kentucky Department of Education and 21 other state agencies on the Kentucky Interagency Executive Transition Council. This Council’s agreement, entitled “The Kentucky Interagency Agreement on Transition Services” provides for a statewide system of coordination among agencies in the delivery of transition services.

These agreements are designed to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from the receipt of educational services in school, to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services and including provisions for:

(i) consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including vocational rehabilitation services;

(ii) transition planning by Office staff and staff from the educational institution for students with disabilities that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs.

(iii) the roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities of each agency, and including provisions for determining State lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and

(iv) procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need the transition services.

Provision for Development and Approval of Individuals Plans for Employment

Under IDEA, schools are responsible for initiating transition planning at the age of 16 for each student identified with a disability. Since school faculty and staff are academic specialists, it is very important for the VR counselor to have early influence on the student’s vocational future helping to avoid weak or unrealistic vocational training. The VR counselor acts as a vocational specialist forging the educational and future vocational needs of the child realistically together. The VR counselor is educated on the federal and state laws associated with transition and acts as an advocate for the student and parents. VR counselors may attend transition related meetings as early as the 7th grade and act as a consultant in the student’s IEP. Early contact and intervention not only saves the VR counselor considerable time and effort, it allows the student and parents the opportunity to plan a realistic vocational path that will lead them to the vocational goal of their choice.

OFB maintains agreements with other agencies and schools to provide for mutual collaboration in the development of an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) for each student. Transition planning begins in the IEP meetings in the school setting. Participants should include the student, parents or guardians of the student, appropriate school officials, an OFB VR counselor or designee, appropriate professionals from other agencies and other interested parties.

VR counselors should attend student IEP meetings during the 10th through the 12th grades and take an application at the beginning of their junior year. The VR counselor will be responsible to use their professional judgment to determine the appropriate time. The school system will continue to have the primary responsibility for accommodations and student’s educational needs. Once the student graduates OFB will become the primary agent. It is mandatory that the IPE be developed with the student prior to graduation.

Prior to graduation, an IEP is developed for each student determined eligible and meets the current order of selection for vocational rehabilitation services. The IEP should address the student’s transition service needs, as applicable, in the areas of instruction, related services, daily living, community, work experience, and/or assessment. Prior to the student’s graduation, an Individual Graduation Plan should be developed that outlines the student’s projected course of study and the responsibilities of the school and each participating agency.

The Kentucky School for the Blind provides OFB an annual number census of visually impaired students broken out by county and school system across Kentucky. When VR counselors receive the census they should be proactive in contacting school officials about transition planning for the students in their area of responsibility.

OFB recognizes that it is the primary responsibility of Kentucky schools to coordinate and provide transition planning and services for students with disabilities. The VR counselor will provide consultation and technical assistance to assist the school. If a school is unable or unwilling to provide essential transition services, OFB may become actively involved to ensure responsible educational planning for the student. Under certain conditions, with the approval of the Regional Manager, the VR counselor may directly assist schools in their responsibilities. OFB developed an agreement for the provision of specialized equipment for students. The agreement allows for that equipment to remain with the student upon graduation when an assessment determines this is in the best interest of the individual. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and AT staff determine the students postsecondary needs upon graduation taking into consideration technology changes and the need for upgraded or more advanced technology.

Post-secondary transition is driven by the student’s vocational goal. The student should go to work or attend advanced education to prepare to go to work. During high school transition the VR counselor should consider the post-secondary vocational goal and proactively encourage activities for the student that will promote a smooth transition to work. Such activities should be considered an investment in the student’s future:

A. High school classes that directly or indirectly supports the student’s vocational goal;

B. Work transition or summer employment related to the student’s vocational goal;

C. Prep programs that help the student gain insight into work or

the post-secondary educational environment.

OFB recognizes that transition planning is an ongoing process and that a student may choose to go in a different direction requiring a change in their vocational goal. Ongoing evaluations, vocational interest inventories and counseling will be provided to assist students in the decision making process.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 3:08PM by Cora McNabb

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

ATTACHMENT 4.8 (b)(3): Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers

The Office for the Blind works collaboratively with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in maintaining agreements with providers of private, non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers to support achievement of successful competitive employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The Office works with Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) through a vendor application process to ensure quality services to Office consumers. The Community Rehabilitation Provider must submit a Vendor Application form. All vendor applications forms are submitted to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for review and approval of the agency as a provider.

The process for approval of a vendor as a supported employment provider is more involved and is outlined below:

• Vendor requests or obtains an application from OVR or

OFB

• Upon completion of the application it is returned to the OVR branch

• OVR Branch staff review the application and obtain needed clarification if needed. Staff may meet with the provider for further technical assistance

• Application is approved and vendorship is established

• OVR Branch assists the provider with training and other information

• All vendors are required to participate in the Supported Employment training provided through the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute.

• Monitoring occurs for all vendors during the year by OVR Branch staff

• All vendorships are reviewed for continuation yearly

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 3:09PM by Cora McNabb

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.

ATTACHMENT 4.8(b)(4): Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities: Evidence of Collaboration Regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services

The Office for the Blind has collaborative relationships with other state agencies in the provision of supported employment and extended services for individual with the most significant disabilities. The agency participates with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, the Kentucky Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Interagency Council, the Kentucky Interagency Transition Council, Kentucky Association for Persons in Supported Employment, the University of Kentucky Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute and the Office of Special Instructional Services in the Department of Education, the Center for Independent Living and other public and private not for profit agencies, to provide a network of supported employment service providers.

Major objectives of this collaboration, are to promote best practices in supported employment, to expand the number of qualified supported employment service providers in various regions of the state where services are few, and to expand and enhance extended services which follow the termination of supported employment services provided by the two State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies.

The Office for the Blind works collaboratively with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in maintaining agreements with providers of private, non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers through a vendor application process for supported employment services. In 2008, the Office for the Blind worked with staff from the University of Kentucky Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute and KYAPSE in the development of training tracks for the area of vision impairments. Additional training at the KY 2009 APSE is in the planning stages for the purpose of increasing community rehabilitation providers staff skills in the provision of supported employment services to OFB consumers.

The agency participates with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the University of Kentucky Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute and the Department of Education in the Community Based Work Transition Program (CBWTP). The student considered appropriate for this program will require the unique services of a job trainer in order to obtain and maintain employment. The goal of this program is for each student to be job placed in the most integrated setting prior to graduation, with necessary supports in place to maintain that employment. In this program each school district employs a student employment coordinator who supports students in determining appropriate types of work, securing desired positions, learning the job, and maintaining employment. The employment coordinator works closely with students and their families/guardians, teachers, VR counselors, adult service providers, and other interested parties.

EXTENDED SERVICES

Extended services are available throughout the Commonwealth from the 14 Regional Mental Health/Mental Retardation Boards that operate with funds provided by the Department for Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Individuals with visual disabilities who have developmental disabilities and who also have mental disabilities may meet the criteria for extended services funding from the centers.

Extended services are also available from providers of supported employment services who receive funding from organizations such as Easter Seals and United Way.

Extended services may also be arranged through systems of natural supports whereby employers, volunteers, and family members and friends of individuals with disabilities may provide supports for the duration of employment of these individuals. Documentation is required in the Individualized Plan of Employment (IPE) when this occurs.

Extended services are arranged for each individual in supported employment at the time of the development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The type and source of extended service depends on the needs of the individual. In order to be approved to be a supported employment vendor for the agency, the supported employment agency must make extended services available using a funding source other than the agency.

Kentucky like other states faces the challenge of securing adequate funding for ongoing extended support services. The Office for the Blind along with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and several other state and public agencies are working in cooperation with the Kentucky Association for Persons in Supported Employment (KY APSE) in order to locate further funding sources for extended services and to expand supported employment services to areas of the state in which these services are lacking.

ASSURANCE OF CONFIDENTIALITY

The Office for the Blind assures that information submitted in reports will include a complete count, except as provided in subparagraph (E) of Section 103, of the applicants and eligible individual, in a manner permitting the greatest possible cross-clarification of data and that the identity of each individual for which information is supplied to other agencies of public entities will be kept confidential.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 3:09PM by Cora McNabb

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

ATTACHMENT 4.10: Comprehensive System for Personnel Development

Data System

The Kentucky Office for the Blind maintains a system to collect and analyze on an annual basis data on qualified personnel needs and personnel development. Information is analyzed on an annual basis for the number of personnel employed in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for the blind and visually impaired. This ensures that the provision of quality services is consistent throughout the Commonwealth. In addition, the number of personnel, category, and qualifications of personnel needed by OFB, and a projection of the numbers of personnel that will be needed in five years are calculated. These calculations are based on projections of the number of individuals to be served. Personnel training files are maintained that contains records of each individual’s training activities. Assessments are conducted annually and utilized in the development and maintenance of their official career development plans as well as training, certification and educational activities.

OFB has developed and maintains a system for review of all staff assignments, based on demographic data such as population, geographic area, caseload sizes and labor market analyses. In addition, the office solicits input from field management staff in identifying areas of understaffing, or of specific need.

Sixteen individuals or 16% left the agency during FFY 2010. Of these 16 staff only two were lost to retirements (2%). There were 16 new hires or 16% during the fiscal federal year. The following table denotes the length of experience of existing staff for the agency.

Years of Service with the Agency Percentage of Staff

20 Years Or Higher 12%

15 – 19 Years 13%

10 – 14 Years 9%

5 – 9 Years 23%

4 Years or Less 43%

For Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling staff currently 72% have been in their position ten (10) years or less. Only 28 percent (28%) have been with the agency 11 years or longer. The Agency placed an emphasis on the professional development, educational advancement and skills acquisition for all OFB staff in 2010.

OFB must work within the constraints of a state personnel cap. Currently the personnel cap is set at 105 full-time. The following tables show the number of personnel, categories, vacancies, and projected personnel needs for the Administrative and Program Staff, Business Enterprises, KATS, IL/OIB and the Charles W. McDowell Center

Central Office Administrative = 11

Job Title Vacancies Projected Staff

Vacancies Ratio

(1) Executive Director 0 0 1/3,469

(1) Program Directors 0 0 1/3,469

(1) Executive Staff Advisor 0 0 1/3,469

(1) Internal Policy Analyst II 0 0 1/3,469

(0) Resource Management Analyst 1 0 1/3,469

(2) Rehabilitation Administrator 0 0 1/1,735

(4) Administrative Assistants 0 1 1/867

VR and IL/OIB Field Program Staff = 57

Job Title Vacancies Projected Staff

Vacancies Ratio

(3) VR Rehab

Administrators 0 1 1/519

(17) VR Counselors 1 2 1/87

(9) IL/OIB Counselors 2 2 1/86

(1) Deaf/Blind

VR Coordinator 0 0 1/55

(2) O & M Specialist 0 1/44

(3) AT Specialist 0 1 1/67

(2) Bioptic Driving

Instructors 0 0 1/29

(17) Admin Assistants 0 3 1/92

Business Enterprises = 11

Job Title Vacancies Projected Staff

Vacancies Ratio

(1) Director 0 1 1/57

(1) Int Policy Analyst 0 1 1/57

(1) Assistant Director 0 0 1/57

(1) Admin Assistant 0 1 1/57

(3) Program Admin 0 1 1/19

(4) Vending Technicians 0 1 1/14

McDowell Center Staff = 24

Job Title Vacancies Projected Staff

Vacancies Ratio

(1) Facility Admin 0 1 1/115

(2) Rehab Admin 0 0 1/58

(4) Admini Assist 1 2 1/23

(2) Rehabilitation Aide 0 0 1/58

(2) O & M Specialist 0 1 1/26

(2) AT Specialist 0 1 1/37

(2) Voc Evaluator 0 0 1/38

(one of these is a licensed psychologist)

(5) Rehab Instructor 0 2 1/19

(1) Recreational Ther 0 0 1/115

(1) Maintenance 0 0 1/115

(1) Nurse (yearly count) 1 0 1/115

KATS = 2

Job Title Vacancies Projected Staff

Vacancies Ratio

(1) Director 0 1 1/23,166

(1) Admin Assistant 0 0 1/23,166

*Reporting of KATS personnel is for the purpose of establishing the of staff currently on the OFB personnel roster. KATS is the state assistive technology project operating within OFB, but funded through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998.

The total number of personnel is 100 with five vacancies. All open positions will be filled with the most qualified candidates following all established procedures as soon as candidates can be recruited, hired and approved by the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and State Office of Personnel. All attempts will be made to employ rehabilitation professionals certified in their areas of expertise.

In 2010, there were three federally funded time limited staff positions (FFTL) positions funded through the American Reinvestment Recovery Act (ARRA). Two of those positions were established whose duties focus on developing employer relationships and establishing work experience opportunities. One individual was housed at the Charles W. McDowell Center focusing on consumers participating in the residential program and the Region I (western) area of the state. The other individual was housed in the Lexington field office covering Region II (eastern) area of the state. Year to date there have been 31 work experience sites established and ten individuals have achieved employment through this re-established program. One position was an Independent Living/Older Blind Counselor positioned in Northern Kentucky out of the Florence field office meeting a service need for that area. These positions are not included in the VR and IL/OIB Field Program Staff grid.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Central Office Administrative Staff 11 1 1
2 Vocational Rehabilitation Program Staff 46 1 7
3 Independent Living Older Blind Staff 11 2 2
4 Business Interprises Staff 11 0 5
5 Rehabilitation Center Staff 24 1 6
6 Kentucky Assistive Technology Network 2 0 1
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

Institutions of Higher Education

The University of Kentucky is the only institution in the state that offers a Master’s of Rehabilitation Counseling (MRC) program. This is a comprehensive accredited graduate program in rehabilitation counseling. The on line Accelerated Distance Learning Masters program can be completed in sixteen months without on-campus attendance and at in-state tuition rates. Participants in the program are eligible to test for rehabilitation counselor certification after completing 75% of their course work in their final semester. A compressed video site is located at the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville. OFB partners with this agency so that a large number of individuals throughout the state have direct access to rehabilitation courses. This provides the opportunity for staff to fulfill their Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) requirements and move up in the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor series. When individuals enroll in other masters level programs out of state, those programs are evaluated to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor examination prior to being approved for tuition assistance. Two out of state distance learning programs OFB considers for staff are Auburn and Wisconsin Stout.

OFB staff participate on the University of Kentucky Advisory Council. Three OFB staff attended the annual Advisory council meeting held December 1, 2010. Dr. Ralph Crystal PHD., CRC Program Coordinator presided over the meeting. The role of the advisory board members was reviewed along with program activities. This included an overview of the year and the State of the Program, Recruitment, Trends, and Changes, RSA Training Grants, Distance Learning Program Updates, Student Activities and Goals, Directions and Faculty Research and Activities. UK staff detailed the development of a doctoral program with an emphasis on rehabilitation education and research.

OFB obtains information from The University of Kentucky annually regarding the number of students enrolled and the number graduating from the program with certification or licensure and /or with credentials to qualify for certification or licensure. The following information was obtained regarding the number of students enrolled in the MRC through the University of Kentucky. Two (2) OFB staff completed the UK MRC program in 2010. One (1) of the two (2) or 50% obtained their CRC certification and the other individual is preparing to take the test again.

In the 2010 University Calendar Year there were a total of 209 students enrolled with a total of six OFB Staff were enrolled in the program.

The University of Louisville currently has suspended enrollment for the Master’s Level Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Program with a Master of Education (non-teaching) degree leading to ACVREP certification in O&M. They have indicated a commitment to assuring that all staff currently enrolled will be given ample ability to complete the required coursework in order to complete their degree work.

In January a meeting was held at U Of L to discuss the issues the program is facing. The full – time credentialed staff person that had oversight of the O & M program is no longer with the University. The initial discussions were around the standing of the program. U of L Staff expressed the intent to keep the program in operation however financial considerations must be taken into account. U of L is supportive of the program however with past and the upcoming budget cuts they are facing they are looking closely at all of the low performing programs. Much discussion was focused on sources and ideas about the potential configuration of support and minimum aspects of the programs support needs. In May, U of L staff shared that a decision had been made to suspend enrollment in this program. This was a difficult decision for the University based on budget cuts, program efficiency and effectiveness.

In 2010, OFB did not have any staff enrolled in the program. Currently, there are four certified orientation and mobility instructors on staff. OFB will continue to support staff ass needed to pursue this field of study in keeping with its staff/consumer ratios and the personnel cap. There is a severe shortage of individuals in the field to cover the needs of eligible applicants.

 

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 Kentucky 209 6 2 4
2 0 0 0 0
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

Recruitment And Retention Of Qualified Personnel Including Staff From Minority Backgrounds And Individuals With Disabilities

The Kentucky Office for The Blind shall aggressively recruit, equip, train and work to retain qualified professionals through coordination with institutions of higher education, professional and paraprofessional associations including personnel from minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities. OFB recognizes our staff as our greatest resource and is committed to the provision of training state personnel in assuring the provision of quality services to individuals resulting in positive employment outcomes. OFB will remain current on rehabilitation trends and best practices in the field for the purpose of developing and maintaining its internal training program and securing external training opportunities for its personnel.

OFB utilizes the state of Kentucky’s Personnel Career Opportunities System (COS) an on-line recruitment system in recruitment efforts. OFB strives to achieve a more diverse workforce by recruiting and hiring individuals from protected classes. Recruitment of individuals with disabilities and those from minority backgrounds enables the agency to have highly competent individuals from all segments of society to accomplish its mission. The University of Kentucky’s Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Counseling has partnered with Kentucky State University (a historically black liberal studies public institution) and the two state rehabilitation agencies to create an endorsement curriculum at Kentucky State to recruit students into the field of rehabilitation counseling. UK has a “University Scholars Program” with Kentucky State University. In 2010, OFB contacted Kentucky State regarding the State Co-Op/Internship Program. There were no students in 2010 that stated an interest in participating in an internship with the Kentucky Office for the Blind. Potential applicants are identified through recruitment, posting, and advertising according to the cultural diversity initiative and the agency’s Affirmative Action goals. When applicants are needed, OFB must request applications from Kentucky Department of Personnel registers. Individuals must be on the register identifying as qualifying for the position. OFB works to leverage its successful performance in recruiting individuals who are minorities or with disabilities in the following ways:

Work closely with consumer groups, attending local chapter meetings, national meetings.

Hires the most qualified individual realizing that as an agency OFB strives to promote cultural diversity in recruiting disabled or minority candidates inclusive of bilingual candidates.

Encourage existing minority staff to play an active role in policy and program development, service delivery and program monitoring activities.

Ensure that programs are accessible to minorities.

Follow EEO guidelines and Affirmative Action Procedures.

Utilize Division of Consumer Services demographic and population data to determine the number of minorities and individuals with disabilities in regions, and develop strategies to increase recruitment from these regions.

Encourage minorities and individuals with disabilities to play an active role in the Office for the Blind’s State Rehabilitation Council, participate in forums and provide input into policy and procedures.

The OFB acknowledges the difficulty of recruiting and hiring individuals who are Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. In this narrow occupational field of qualified individuals who hold their certification there is a shortage and competitive salary expectations of graduates usually exceeds salary constraints of the OFB. Additionally, OFB has found it difficult to hire and maintain staff in the rural areas throughout the state because candidates from outside these areas are often unwilling or unable to acclimate to the cultural differences.

The Kentucky Office for the Blind has a personnel classification system in place that enables salary competitiveness with other states. States surrounding the northern and western borders of Kentucky offer higher entry-level salaries based on state demographics and wage studies. There are certain expectations for Masters Level, Masters with Certification, and a Masters Certification with Limited Managerial Responsibilities for existing staff. The system allows for higher entry-level wages for new hires based on their education, certification and experience levels. OFB works with the University of Kentucky in providing student’s of the MRC program opportunities to complete their practicum and internship hours with the agency. This is a benefit to the student giving them hands on field experience as well as a potential recruitment tool for OFB. In 2010, the agency had three UK/MRC (3) practicum/internship students fulfilling their required hours with the agency.

The Governor’s Office of Minority Empowerment has a Minority Management Trainee Program (GMMTP). This is a recruitment and development tool to increase the representation of minority managers in state government that consists of classroom training, on-the job experience and special programs. Individuals must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the program: 1) be an ethnic minority, 2) Have one (1) year of state government service, 3) Qualify for a grade 10 or higher job classification and 4) Aspire to be a manager and demonstrate exceptional management potential. The Governor’s Office of Minority Empowerment produces a newsletter that is distributed to all personnel monthly and holds a statewide conference annually.

OFB offers financial incentives to encourage staff retention and promote the achievement of CSPD requirements M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling and or C.R.C. The office offers educational tuition assistance, payment of initial certification and maintenance fees, study time allowance per week for staff enrolled in school, alternate hours access to distance learning through state buildings, technology upgrades across the state to allow access to distance learning and training opportunities for maintaining certification requirements through training seminars and professional development conferences.

 

Personnel Standards

The Office for the Blind is committed to improving the qualifications of its staff and achieving higher standards in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services. The office is committed to achieving 100% qualified rehabilitation staff by 2016, taking into consideration vacancies created by turnover, retirements and upward mobility of staff.

OFB has set standards that are consistent with any national or state approved or recognized certification, licensing or registration requirements. In the absence of these requirements, other comparable requirements (including state personnel requirements) that apply to the profession or discipline will be considered.

Those certifications currently utilized are in the disciplines of:

Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist (CRCC/CVE)

Certified Work Adjustment Specialist (CRCC/CWA)

Certified Career Assessment Associate (CRCC/CCAA)

Certified Rehabilitation Counseling (CRCC/CRC)

Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (ACVREP/CVRT)

Certified Low Vision Therapist (ACVREP/CLVT),

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (ACVREP/COMS),

Assistive Technology Professional (ATP/RESNA),

Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP/CSUN)

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS),

Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (ADED/CDRS)

Certified in Literary Braille (NCLB/NBPCB) .

The agency shall pay initial certification and maintenance fees for employees and will provide opportunities for continuing education courses in areas required for employees to maintain appropriate professional certification. OFB will take steps to re-train and hire personnel to ensure that such personnel meet appropriate professional standards in the state. Immediately following the passage of the 1992 Rehabilitation Act Amendments the state agency informally implemented hiring policies that provide a preference to individuals with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, or individuals who are eligible to hold a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Status. This procedure was formalized with the enactment of the federal standards for the Comprehensive System for Personnel Development in 1997.

Currently OFB has eighteen (18) rehabilitation counselor positions. There is at this time one vacancy. Sixty-five percent (65%) or eleven hold their MRC/CRC. Eighty – two (82%) percent of OFB’s existing counselors (14) hold their Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling. Two staff have a Master’s Degree in a related field and the one (1) remaining counseling staff is enrolled in the University of Kentucky’s Rehabilitation Graduate Program (graduation date of December 2011). Two of the counseling staff that have their MRC but do not hold a CRC are preparing to take the exam.

The Director of Consumer Services is a MRC/CRC and there are two Regional VR Administrators of which one is a MRC/CRC and the other holds a Master’s in Clinical Psychology who is preparing to take the CRC exam. There are two (2) central office administrators and 1 of 2 or 50% holds the MRC/CRC.

VR Counselor

(17/1 vacancies)

MRC/CRC - 11

MRC/Non CRC - 3

Other Masters Degree/Non CRC - 2

Bachelors/Non CRC - 1

Field Administrators - 3

MRC/CRC-1

MRC/Non CRC -1

Other Masters Degree Non CRC -1

Central Office Administrators -3

MRC/CRC - 2

Bachelors/Non CRC -1

Within the Office for the Blind, other employees hold a Doctorate, Master’s Degrees, Bachelors, or are currently enrolled in a Masters Program or hold other certifications. There is diversity in the type and scope of educational levels and experience of the OFB personnel. Seventy percent (70%) hold a bachelors degree, fifty-nine percent (59%) hold a master’s degree and thirty-eight percent (38%) of the staff hold a certification in a specialized area (CRC, CDRS, RESNA, LSW, COMS). Two (2) of nine (9) or 22% of the Independent Living (IL) counselors hold a MRC/CRC and six (6) of nine (9) or 66% have a Master’s Degree. The following table shows the different degrees and numbers of personnel for the OFB.

Doctorate - 2

Masters - 59

Bachelors - 70

Associate or Coursework Toward a Degree - 11

Enrolled or Planned Enrollment - 9

Certification (O & M, CVE, AT, CDRS CRC) - 38

CRC - 28

• 100% of Orientation and Mobility Staff hold Certification (4) four hold a Masters

• 65% of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors hold MRC/CRC and 82% hold MRC

• 100% Deaf Blind Coordinator holds a MRC and CRC

• 100% of Bioptic Instructors also hold MRC and CRC, one (1) or 50% CDRS and the other instructor is preparing to take the exam in August.

• 60% Vocational Rehabilitation Administrators hold MRC/CRC and 80% hold a Masters

• 66% of IL Counselors holds a Masters and 22% hold CRC

• Two (2) certified CVE on Staff & one (1) holds CRC as well as a doctorate in Psychology (licensed)

• 80% of AT staff have a Masters Degree with three (3) CRC, one (1) RESNA

• 83% (5) Rehabilitation Instructors have a Masters Degree and one (1) hold the CRC

• 28% of staff in the agency hold their CRC.

STRATEGIES FOR ATTAINING AND MAINTAINING THE HIGHEST ENTRY LEVEL STANDARDS; TIME FRAMES

To ensure that professionals providing services are appropriately and adequately trained and prepared in accordance with standards that are consistent with national certification standards that apply to the profession or discipline in which staff are employed, or standards sufficient to ensure the provision of quality vocational rehabilitation services, the Office for the Blind has established standards and objectives for each personnel classification and makes every attempt to provide activities to attain and maintain these standards. The OFB shall not discriminate on the basis of disability with regard to training and hiring. Based on the Rehabilitation Act Amendment of 1998 recommendations and the professionalism valued by the Office for the Blind, the agency has set the following standards for hiring Professional Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists and training current Professional Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists. These standards are in agreement with Kentucky’s statutes and regulations.

A. Hiring New Employees. OFB will hire the best possible candidate based on the following priority list:

1) Master’s Degree in appropriate discipline (Rehabilitation Counseling, Orientation and Mobility, Education) with national certification from the appropriate Certification Commission.

2) Currently enrolled in an accredited Master’s Degree program in Rehabilitation Counseling, have successfully completed 40 graduate program hours, and will be eligible to hold CRC certification within two

years of hire.

3) Master’s Degree from an accredited college or University in a related field and will be eligible to hold CRC certification within three years of the date of hire.

4) Bachelors Degree in a qualifying acceptable discipline that would allow acceptance into the graduate program and a commitment that they will enroll within one year of their initial probationary period.

Preference in hiring and promotion will be given to those individuals who are the most qualified candidates meeting national certification standards from minority backgrounds or individuals with disabilities. There are cases in which the state agency is unable to recruit individuals who meet the national standard. In those instances, the positions will be filled with an individual who has a Bachelor’s Degree, and the new employee is expected to meet the national standard within three years of the date of hire. OFB financially assists with the provision of training for those individuals who are current employees working toward obtaining a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and provides other benefits such as time to attend class or work on assignments. OFB offers opportunities for maintaining certification requirements through training seminars and professional development conferences.

B. Advancement of Current Office for the Blind Employees. OFB promotes acceptable candidates who are current employees when they are the best-qualified applicants for the position. OFB has established a career ladder that is based on the achievement of a Master’s Degree with certification as the highest level on the ladder.

1) Current employees with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation or appropriate area of discipline with certification supplemented by six (6) years of experience in counseling, assessment, employer relations or rehabilitation technology.

2) Current employees with a Master’s Degree in appropriate area of discipline supplemented by two (2) years of professional experience in rehabilitation counseling, assessment, employer relations or rehabilitation technology. Certification will be required within three (3) years.

3) Current employees with a Bachelor’s Degree in appropriate area of discipline supplemented by two (2) years experience in a state vocational rehabilitation agency and the completion of a rehabilitation core curriculum met through in-service training or other strategies. Certification appropriate to the job will be required within six (6) years.

Employees will be required to obtain a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation or the appropriate discipline and obtain certification with the highest level of any national or State approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration, or other comparable requirements that apply to the area in which they are providing vocational rehabilitation services.

The following professional personnel classifications are included in the above standards:

1. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

2. Independent Living Counselor

3. Rehabilitation Instructor

4. Vocational Evaluator

5. Assistive Technology Specialist

6. Orientation and Mobility Specialist

 

Policies And Procedures Relating To The Establishment And Maintenance Of Standards To Ensure That Personnel Are Prepared And Trained

OFB shall ensure that personnel in all classes of positions are adequately trained and prepared through a system of individual Career Development Plans. Personnel are referred to available on-line approved training programs through Universities, TACE and other training sources. Rehabilitation technology and significant research and information from studies of consumer needs and satisfaction surveys shall be emphasized in individual plans and in training programs. Funding for all training for human resource development activities including tuition, books, in-service training programs and individual career development plans is supported from the money received for the agency In-Service training grant. In FFY 2010 the funding available was $18,883. The funding for FFY 2011 is $18,883 under the basic award and $85,000 under the quality award.

Staff Development

The HRD components of training, organizational development and career development form the basis of the Human Resource Development Plan. Staff career development is a combination of education, training and experience related to their specific professional disciples. In order to adequately meet HRD needs of staff, OFB utilizes a variety of training resources and opportunities throughout the Region. OFB works with the general agency OVR and the Southeast TACE for our region identifying available resources to meet the training needs of staff.

Through a system of Individual Human Resource Development (HRD) OFB has developed procedures and activities to ensure that all employed personnel are appropriately and adequately trained and prepared. This includes standards that are consistent with national or state approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration or other comparable requirements that apply to the area in which such personnel are providing vocational rehabilitation services.

OFB utilizes internal and external resources for training. Numerous specialized training seminars and programs are available throughout the state. When it is cost effective, the agency participates in national training opportunities. Employees participate in training, based on individual needs and career development plans. Employees then are asked to share the information with others as appropriate. OFequirements that apply to the area in which such personnel are providing vocational rehabilitation services.

OFB utilizes internal and external resources for training. Numerous specialized training seminars and programs are available throughout the state. When it is cost effective, the agency participates in national training opportunities. Employees participate in training, based on individual needs and career development plans. Employees then are asked to share the information with others as appropriate. OFB continues to provide training on the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 as well as training on the ADA, Workforce Investment Act and the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA).

Central office and other support staff as well as members of the State Rehabilitation Council will be included in all appropriate HRD activities. OFB is vested in using technology and is actively identifying potential web-based training programs that will allow staff the opportunity to utilize these alternative training methods for increased professional development. The agency does not have an existing infrastructure in place for the provision of on-line learning. Currently, OFB staff access e learning through webinars and courses through outside educational and training sources. Information is circulated to staff from Region IV Southeast TACE Serving Individuals with Most Significant Disabilities Network News Flash (MSD Network News Flash) publication, Calendar Updates through RSA’s Community for Technical Assistance Network and other list serves. In 2011, OFB under the Quality Award will begin the development, design and implementation of an on-line learning system.

Implementation, planning and coordination of HRD training activities are the responsibility of the HRD Unit. Currently, upon approval tuition assistance is available for all OFB staff if the course of study is directly related to their position. Priority is given to staff in crucial CSPD positions that are eligible for scholarship opportunities enabling them to work toward their Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling or other specialty areas such as Orientation and Mobility and Assistive Technology. In addition, The University of Kentucky has available RSA-CSPD Training Scholarships to employed state rehabilitation counselors to pursue a masters’ degree.

Career development allows employees the opportunity to develop and expand their career goals. At the new employee orientation, a training track on career development is conducted stressing that a career is a combination of education, training and experience related to a specific occupation. Staff are apprised that career development is the responsibility of each employee and his/her immediate supervisor and that career planning is managed and addressed in conjunction with the employee evaluation system. Individual career plans are developed for employees in conjunction with their initial performance plan that will provide opportunities for OFB personnel to upgrade their skills and qualifications and to advance within the agency to higher level paying positions. Career Plans are reviewed at the annual performance review in January and revised as needed.

The Office for the Blind conducts an annual training needs assessment used to provide appropriate in-service training programs; as well as provide information to update individual career development plans to meet identified needs. In 2010, a thorough assessment occurred for the purposes of submitting grant applications for the Basic and Quality Grant Awards. The following resources and data sets were utilized to identify the individual training needs of staff to formulate the project design. Surveys were developed and conducted specific to the following target audiences to assess the training needs of staff across the agency: 1) agency leadership, 2) agency staff, 3) consumers of services and advocacy organizations for the blind and visually impaired and 4) the State Rehabilitation Council. By surveying different target populations the agency was able to obtain information on training needs from different viewpoints across varying aspects. Training plans are based upon: (1) the findings of the needs assessment; (2) the agency’s specific goals and directions, and its continuous improvement initiatives; (3) training updates on the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998; (4) staff input regarding OFB issues; (5) State Rehabilitation Council and consumer input; (6) Federal priorities and (7) the Workforce Investment Act.

OFB is supportive of staff in keeping current with up to date best practices and makes sure that staff receive current research and practices. This is done through shared information through workshops, conferences, presentations, publications (Braille Monitor, Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, and National Federation of the Blind) as well as internet site resources.

There were several effecting factors in the implementation of activities for the area of leadership development and succession planning over the past four years. First, was the change that came about in 2008 nationally with the changes RSA incorporated in the existing structure of the RCEP’s. There was a transition period with the Southeast TACE, which was further complicated with changes with the TACE subcontractor through the Burton Blatt Institute. As a result, there was a delay in accomplishing the goals the agency had for this area. Secondly, Kentucky initiated a freeze on it’s Certified Public Manager Program administered through Kentucky’s Governmental Services Center. Currently that freeze is in place and they are not accepting new applicants at this time. A third factor and the one that had the greatest impact on the agency’s performance for this objective was the wave of mass retirements were already looming on the horizon. Succession Planning did not occur quickly enough to equip the agency for the loss of veteran staff many of whom were in key leadership positions. The process for succession planning should have been implemented much sooner in order to prepare for the mass retirements and the gaps in leadership that occurred. Technically, what happened was staff that were key in implementing a leadership development program for succession planning retired prior to the design and implementation of a plan. Since 2005, 71% (8/13), administrative staff and 83% 5/6 Field Services managers left the agency.

This resulted in a very young workforce (years of service) for the agency. Given these circumstances, there was little progress in this area over the past 4 years.

On a positive note, it is anticipated that the loss of veteran staff to retirements has leveled off and OFB is positioned at this time with a young workforce. This is a prime opportunity for the agency to continue working on this area over the next five years. There is a specific goal in the Basic Training Grant Award related to leadership development and capacity building that will be implemented over the next five years with technical assistance from TACE. Goal 2: To develop, design and implement a professional development leadership program for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning has four training objectives to accomplish under the grant. OFB is working with TACE on the identification of technical assistance for this area.

In order to disseminate information on rehabilitation best practices, research and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, the Office for the Blind staff received and participated in the following trainings for 2010.

a) Rehabilitation Technology: OFB will continue to support and provide training relevant to rehabilitation technology. At the new employee orientation, OFB staff receive training regarding Kentucky Assistive Technology System (KATS), as an agency that is an expert in accessibility and disability research. OFB Assistive Technology (AT) staff participated in the DBTAC Great Lakes ADA center Accessible Technology webinar series. Two (2) AT staff attended the National Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA in Orlando, Florida in January of 2010. OFB AT staff attended the 7th Annual Summer Workshop on AT sponsored by UK and OVR June 10 and 11. b) OFB makes every effort to have representation at and participate in national and regional training events. OFB Director of Consumer Services attended the 2010 SERNRA/NCRA 55th Annual Conference in Asheville, NC September 7 – 10 and the Third Annual Program Evaluation: Quality Assurance Summit Conference through the University of Washington in Vancouver, WA September 21-22. OFB staff attended the 49th Annual American Council of the Blind Conference July 9 -17 in Phoenix, AZ keeping abreast of national issues. OFB staff attended the 70th National Federation of the Blind in Dallas, TX, July 3-8. OFB Executive Director and Administration staff represented the agency at CSAVR/NCSAB Fall and Spring Conference. The Deaf Blind Coordinator attended the NIU Deaf-Blind Certificate Program in Sands Point, NY on February 20 – 28 and the National Training Conference for Coordinators for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind in Baltimore, MD in August of 2010. One OFB Rehabilitation Administrator responsible for employer relationships attended the 2010 National Employment and DisAbility Conference in Arlington, VA in September of 2010. Two Bioptic Driving Instructors attended the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists 34th Annual ADED conference in Kansas City, MO in July of 2010. Two staff attended the Southeast TACE Region IV conference held in Atlanta, GA in January of 2010. Two staff attended the Social Security Administration (SSA) Training on Employment Support Programs training in Baltimore, MD in June of 2010. One staff attended the 13th Annual RSA Project Director’s Conference, “Creating Opportunities in Challenging Times: in Arlington, VA in August of 2010. One OFB Orientation and Mobility Specialist attended the Orientation and Mobility AER Regional Conference in Cleveland, OH in November. c) Dissemination of Knowledge from Research and Other Sources: Current information and research in the field of rehabilitation received by the Office for the Blind is distributed to staff statewide or if applicable posted on our website as a document or as a link to obtain pertinent information. IRI journals, The Braille Monitor, The Braille Forum, Future Reflections, the Journal of Vision Impairments, and other journals and publications specific to the field are distributed to staff. Staff can make specific requests for information and research is done in the area for specific needed information to determine the need to subscribe to a publication or purchase books or materials for the staff. Information on Webinars are distributed to all staff via email on a weekly if not daily basis. d) OFB has representation on the Region IV Employment Partner’s Team. This allows state agency personnel from the Southeast and across the Nation to enhance their skills and share resources. OFB is able to leverage regional employer relationships and enhance our strategies for achieving successful employment outcomes for people with disabilities. e) A three-day training was held for all field staff in Region I (June 16 & 17) at Barren River and Region II (June 14 & 15) at Natural Bridge for all VR Counseling, IL/OIB Counseling, AT, O & M, Bioptic and their support staff. Staff received training on Transition, Social Security, Kentucky Employee Assistance Program, Deaf Culture, Ticket to Work, Ethics/Professionalism and Workforce Development through the Office of Employment and Training. CRC credits were awarded to certified counselors attending this training for the area of Rehabilitation Services (approved for content). Independent Living Services/Older Blind held their annual 3-day Professional Training Conference in April of 2010 at the Charles W. McDowell Center. The training topics covered were “Verbal De-Escalation Skills”, Tracking ARRA Funds, Coordination of Mini-Trainings and Improving Customer Service. Staff at The Charles W. McDowell Rehabilitation Center received Ethics training in July of 2010 conducted by Dr. Debra Harley from the University of Kentucky. In August of 2010 Rehabilitation Center Staff participated in “An Overview of Diabetes” conducted by Baptist East Hospital Health Professionals and Traumatic Brain Injury, by Melissa A. Stover, OTR/L NeuroRehab Program at Frazier Rehab Institute. A refresher training occurred for Assistants in May of 2010 covering, authorizations, expenditure codes, case file order, SSI and SSDI and staff provided services. Orientation and Mobility Staff participated in a training conducted by Lab Computers on the “Trekker Breeze” in August of 2010. f) Based on staffing patterns, orientation for new employees occurred in March of the FFY 2010 federal fiscal year with a total of 8 staff participating in the training. New employee orientation gives a comprehensive overview of the agency history and current organization, with modules on agency structure, cultural diversity, rehabilitation and blindness, informed choice, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and amendments, Workforce Investment Act, State Plan, consumer services, The ADA, disability awareness, sexual harassment, and workplace violence, eye diseases and terminology, assistive technology and low vision devices, Kentucky Business Enterprises, deaf blindness, standards and indicators, career development, marketing, confidentiality and the Client Assistance Program. New Employee Orientation will be held in the fall and spring of each federal calendar year based on staff hiring patterns. g) In October of 2010, vocational rehabilitation field staff received training on Order of Selection, Eligibility Determination and Individual Plans and AARA funding (processes, coding, and planned activities). h) OFB staff also participated in several in house and other state trainings offered in 2009. OFB staff attended the following 2010 in state conferences: 1) Kentucky 2010 APSE, held in Bowling Green 2) Kentucky Association of Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (KAER), “Immediate KAER Treatment and Remedies for Your Professional Aches and Pains”, in March of 2010 3) Kentucky Rehabilitation Association (KRA) 2010 Conference “We are KRA”, in May of 2010 in Lexington 4) KY National Federation for the Blind State Conference in September of 2010 in Louisville 5) KY American Council for the Blind State Conference in November of 2010 in Louisville , 6) Kentucky Association Gerontology Convention, 7) the Kentucky Association on Higher Education and Disability ( KYAHEAD) Conference “Evolving Service Delivery” in May in Louisville held at the Brown Hotel, 8) IL staff participated in the 27th Annual Summer Series on Aging in Lexington hosted by the University of Kentucky and the 2010 Mental Health/Elder Abuse Conference in Owensboro . OFB staff attended the CORE training through the University of Kentucky Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute Training under the Supported Employment Training Project (SETP). Staff participated in teleconferences, webinars and online trainings through TACE, Virginia Commonwealth University the Hadley School for the Blind Lecture Series (Blindness Basics, Contracted Braille), ATIA, ATAP-NISAT, and the DBTACT –Southwest ADA Center at ILRU. Staff participated in other trainings and seminars such as, “Disabilities and Civil Rights: Past & Present”, “Understanding Your Child’s Autism Diagnosis”, “Rehabilitation Counseling “Good Judgment in Everyday practice – A Guide to the Revised CRC Code of Ethics”, and “Ticket to Work” Seminars. Staff participated in trainings provided through the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Office for Employee and Organizational Development at Kentucky State University for the areas of: Ethics, Work Place Violence, Sexual Harassment, the Communications, Customer Service Spanish I, Safety, and the ADA. Finance Staff participated in training through the KY Finance and Administration Cabinet (Chart of Accounts, Webi Overview and Budget Execution Training). i) OFB Kentucky Business Enterprises staff along with members of the Blind Vendor Committee for Kentucky Business Enterprises attended the 2010 Randolph-Sheppard National Training and Leadership Conference in Crystal City, Arlington, VA. Two Vending Staff completed the multi-session Seminar for the Full Line of Crane Merchandising Systems Merchandisers in Williston, SC in September. Other trainings attended by KBE staff were “Changes in Kentucky Food Codes conducted by the Department of Public Health, an ED webinar on “Equipment & Property Management” and the National Safety Rest Area Conference in Louisville. j) In May of 2010 vocational rehabilitation counseling staff received training on “Assessment and the Rehabilitation Process” conducted by Dr. Lee Ann R. Rawlins, University of Tennessee through Region IV TACE. All vocational rehabilitation counseling staff are trained in the area of assessment at hire. The comprehensive training at hire for all counseling staff is inclusive of: conducting an assessment in the most integrated setting possible with the individual’s needs and informed choice for the area of Eligibility Requirements. Staff receives training on the process of assessment to ensure the counselor gathers as much information as possible about the individual’s work history, education and training, abilities and interests, rehabilitation needs, and possible career goals through existing information or the need for the provision of additional assessment services to gather the needed information. The training stresses the importance of presumptive eligibility as well as information gathered in this assessment phase of the VR process and its application to the development of Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The IPE identifies the individual’s desired employment outcome, among other things, the steps necessary to achieve the individual employment outcome; the services needed to help the individual achieve the outcome, and evaluation criteria used to determine progress toward the employment outcome. An emphasis is placed on trial work experiences for individuals with significant disabilities.

 

Communication with Diverse Populations

OFB staff works with the Assistive Technology Unit and the Accessible Textbook Services to ensure that all materials are presented in the most accessible mode of communication that the consumer requires. The Accessible Textbook Unit also assists with producing training manuals and other job related information (personnel manuals, safety information) for consumers and their employers. All agency counselors are involved in an inter-agency project with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) for Deaf-Blind intervention and receive extensive training in techniques for working with individuals who are Deaf-Blind. OFB has one individual designated to function as the Deaf-Blind Coordinator who has her MRC and is a CRC that works with the OVR in this area. The Deaf-Blind Coordinator provides training at the annual regional staff meetings to VR field staff. On-going training opportunities ensure that skill levels are maintained or increased.

OFB utilizes a Williams Sound FM system for consumer and staff usage. The system will accommodate ten (10) individuals who are hard of hearing. The FM system is utilized for consumer meetings, trainings, conferences, counseling and other service activities. The FM system works for one speaker and several listeners. Counselors have access to Pocket Talkers utilized for conversing one on one with individuals who are hard of hearing. In order to accommodate consumers with different levels of hearing loss, OFB has a variety of headphones for use such as head earphones, mon/bi/ in the ear, and neck loops for hearing aids that work with the FM system and Pocket Talker.

ASL and Foreign Language Interpreters are contracted as necessary to ensure that individuals who are deaf or who are from diverse cultural backgrounds and need interpreters to access services will be able to communicate in their native languages. Certified interpreters shall provide interpreter services for the deaf. Voice Description is provided for any videos and classroom teaching techniques. All materials utilized and distributed by the OFB are available in an accessible format, including large print, cassette tape, CD ROM, disc, audio recordings, Spanish or Braille with respect to the individual’s informed choice. In an effort to assist staff with communication in a foreign language with consumers as needed Language Line is available as a resource.

 

Coordination Of Comprehensive System Of Personnel Development Under The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

OFB shall coordinate its CSPD plans within the Kentucky Personnel System, to match the standards and qualifications of our personnel with personnel development under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, and the standards under the Rehabilitation Act, as amended.

The Kentucky Interagency Transition Council meets on a quarterly basis to address continued fulfillment of the Kentucky Interagency Agreement on Transition Services for Youth With Disabilities. The Office for the Blind, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Education are three of the twelve state agencies that are parties to the agreement. One of the provisions of this agreement is cooperative training and staff development concerning transition issues. OFB staff attend Community Based Work Transition training offered by the University of Kentucky‘s Institute for Human Development (HDI). In addition, staff attend the statewide annual Kentucky Association of Blind Educators Conference each year receiving valuable training and resources.

Rehabilitation counselors work collaboratively with the special education cooperatives, high school education teachers, local directors of special education, and job coaches for students transitioning from high school into employment. OFB Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors attend IEP and ARC meetings working with the team in establishing a vocational goal. This assures the development of the students IPE in conjunction with the vocational rehabilitation IEP. OFB provides support to teaching instructors, school staff and job coaches regarding blindness issues and other areas of expertise such as Orientation and Mobility and Assistive Technology to ensure successful placements. Often rural schools do not have the needed resources; therefore OFB staff offer their expertise based on the individual needs of the student working closely with all staff involved with IDEA.

The State Rehabilitation Council

Members of the State Rehabilitation Council participate in planning and implementation of HRD activities, marketing and public relations, satisfaction of services annual reporting and they are involved in professional development conferences as part of the planning process and as participants. The State Rehabilitation Council had the opportunity to give input, review and comment on the development of the plan and related policies and procedures at the quarterly meetings held in October, February, May and November. The Council’s Special Projects Committee works directly with the agency for this purpose as well as the Business Opportunities and Public Relations committees.

This screen was last updated on Aug 11 2011 10:15AM by Cora McNabb

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.

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

In FFY 2007, 2008 and 2009, the agency developed and conducted a statewide needs assessment in collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council. This information was used in formulating the stated Goals and Priorities of Attachment 4.11 (c) (1) of this FFY 2010 State Plan. The assessment was conducted for the purpose of identifying the needs of individuals who are blind or significantly visually impaired in the State of Kentucky specifically for:

• Individuals with the most significant disabilities,

including the need for supported employment services;

• Individuals with disabilities who are minorities and

individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or

underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program

• Individuals with disabilities served through other

components of the statewide workforce investment system

• An assessment of the need to establish, develop, or

improve community rehabilitation programs within the

State

The agency utilized existing internal data as well as external data obtained through different methods to determine the needs of individuals who are blind and visually impaired across the Commonwealth.

Design and Methodology

The design of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment began in August of 2007. The Special Projects Committee of the SRC began the process of working on the design of the assessment that would target RSA priority areas. Dr. Ron L. Milliman, Professor of Marketing at Western Kentucky University a committee member played a key role in the design of the project. The committee came up with the following project design for obtaining information for the Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment.

Identification of Potential Clients

Target Population

Individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired

Viable stakeholders and partners

Age Categories

Preschool

Elementary

Middle School

High School

College

Adults

Determination of the Best Methods to Reach Potential Clients

What medium will we utilize?

surveys

forums

focus groups

state chapter affiliates and conferences

mailings

newsletters

media

Stakeholders and collaborative partners

Visually Impaired Preschool Services

Visually Impaired Teachers

Talking Book Library

Central Radio Eye.

Independent Living Centers

Employers

LC Industries

OFB Staff

Kentucky School for the Blind

American Council for the Blind

National Federation for the Blind

Public School Systems

Ophthalmologists & Optometrists

Constituent Services

CAP & P & A,

One Stops

Developmental Disabilities Council

Deaf – Blind Services

Disability Coalition

Community Rehabilitation Providers

Create an instrument or Design Other Medium Formats

Topic Areas to be covered

Adaptive Devices

Housing

Employment

Areas of Independent Living

Access to Mainstream Education

Design of Medium Formats

Survey Development

Focus Groups held via advocacy organizations

facilitated by SRC members

Statewide Press Release through the Cabinet

Other PR Media forms: postcards, newsletter

articles, & disability list serves

In addition to compiling the information gathered from external sources identified above the committee along with agency staff comprised a list of existing and internal data sources to be included in the assessment.

Internal Data Sources

Agency Performance on the Standards and Indicators

Consumer Satisfaction Surveys

RSA Monitoring Data Reports

Strategic Plan

The following sources of information, organizations and partners were targeted in order to assure that the RSA target priority areas were addressed.

Individuals with the Most Significant Disaiblities

Statewide Press Release regarding the Needs Assessment

Deaf/Blind Services

Protection & Advocacy

Client Assistance Program

Announcement through the different disaiblity list serves

Agency Staff

Il Centers

Review of data

Individuals who are blind and visually impaired

Developmental Disabilities Council

Individuals from Minority Backgrounds

Statewide Press Release regarding the Needs Assessment

Deaf/Blind Services

Protection & Advocacy

Client Assistance Program

Announcement through the different disability list serves

Agency Staff

IL Centers

Review of data

Individuals who are blind and visually impaired

Individuals Served by Other Components of the Workforce Investment System

Statewide Press Release on Needs Assessment

One Stop Managers

Protection & Advocacy

Client Assistance Program

Announcement on different disability list serves

Agency Staff

IL Centers

Review of data

Individuals who are blind and visually impaired Individuals who are blind and visually impaired Individuals who are blind and visually impaired

Media Outreach

The Committee and agency staff determined that a variety of methods and approaches would be utilized to inform the public at large, advocacy organizations and other

partner organizations of the conducting of the statewide needs assessment. Statewide press releases were sent that encompasses all Kentucky newspapers in both small (weekly) and large (daily) areas plus all cities surrounding Kentucky such as Cincinnati. The announcement also went to all TV and radio stations across the state.

The outreach would be estimated at about 350 outlets. Newsletters of partnering agencies were utilized as well as the the advocacy groups for the blind and visually impaired as sources to get information circulated regarding the Needs Assessment.

In September of 2008, a statewide press release was sent out informing the public of the conducting of the needs assessment. The link to the agency website was contained in the press release in order to direct individuals to the survey that targeted specifically individuals who are blind and visually impaired. In addition, the toll free number as well as staff contact information was contained in the release for individuals who did not have access to a computer. The press release was also circulated through the different advocacy and disability organizations list serves that has a direct outreach to unserved and underserved populations (Kentucky Developmental Disabilities, Kentucky, Kentucky Disability Coalition).

Agency staff participated in two radio interviews regarding the conducting of the needs assessment from stations in Bowling Green and Louisville. These stations then ran brief excerpts from the interview throughout the week informing the public of the purpose of the needs assessment and giving instructions on how to participate in the assessment. Central Kentucky Radio Eye a non-profit organization specific to broadcasts tailored to people who are blind, or have limited vision, or other disabilities making reading difficult ran spots about the assessment.

A second statewide press release was distributed in February of 2009 informing the public of one of four focus groups to be held in Louisville at the Kentucky School for the Blind. This release also contained a link to the website for individuals desiring to participate in the survey as well as agency staff contact information.

The following partnering agencies ran articles in their monthly publications or newsletters.

1) Kentucky School for the Blind

2) American Printing House for the Blind

3) Visually Impaired Preschool Services

A post card “What are Your Needs?” was developed and distributed through a mass mailing campaign. The cards contained information about the needs assessment and directed individuals to the website or gave them the option to call agency contact staff through the toll free number to give input. Sets of the cards were distributed to the following sources.

1) Eye physicians to place in their offices for

placement in kiosks for Patients.

2) Agency staff to distribute to consumers

3) Kentucky School for the Blind

4) American printing House for the Blind

5) Visually Impaired Preschool Services

6) Disability Coalition

7) Advocacy Organizations

8) Deaf Blind Project Surveys

The Comprehensive Needs Assessment utilized different surveys designed by the SRC through the Special Projects Committee in collaboration with agency staff. They were as follows:

The Consumer Survey Instrument was designed by the Special Projects Committee along with agency staff. The committee utilized the expertise of Dr. Ron Milliman in the design of the survey instrument. SurveyMonkey is an accessible online survey tool for creating surveys quickly and easily. The tool is very user friendly and it compiles the data allowing for the user to compile reports on different levels in order to analyze the results.

The survey had seven sections with a total of thirty-nine (39) questions. The sections were as follows: 1) Demographics (#1-14), 2) Adaptive Equipment and Devices (#15 -17, 3) Housing (#18-21), 4) Employment (#22-25), 5) Independent Living (#26-29), 6) Mainstream Education (#30-35), and 7) A set of open-ended questions (#36-39).

All the questions allowed for open ended remarks that were captured and analyzed. The link for the survey was posted on the agency website and sent out through different mediums making it available to the public, consumers and other stakeholders.

Agency Staff Surveys were designed to be more specific to service delivery. There were two surveys similar in nature with one distributed to all staff for participation and one specific to VR Counselors.

The VR Counselor survey contained three questions that were specific to: 1) Community Rehabilitation Providers and Supported Employment, 2) Services provided to consumers through the One Stop System and 3) the three top services requested by consumers based on their needs.

The all agency survey contained three questions that were somewhat different in nature. They are as follows: 1) List the three top services requested by consumers based on their needs, 2) identification of primary concerns facing the consumer population, and 3) identify one single action the agency could take to improve services to meet the needs of consumers.

The One Stop Manager Survey was developed jointly by OFB and OVR staff in Survey Monkey. The survey consisted of six questions that addressed the following:

1) perception of gaps in services for persons with disabilities, 2) number of persons with disabilities seeking services, 3) training needs of staff, 4) knowledge of differing disability topics, and 4) partner relationships with OVR and OFB.

The Eye Physician Survey targeted Optometrists and Ophthalmologist across the state. This was a pen and paper survey sent via regular mail that included copies of the needs assessment cards for placement in the offices across the state. The survey contained five pertinent questions for the areas of 1) the doctors’ awareness of the agency services and field office location, 2) their needs for information regarding OFB services, 3) their method for referring patients to the agency for needed services, and 4) identification of the greatest unmet needs of their patients.

The Community Rehabilitation Provider Survey was distributed through the VR Counselors with the objective of that yielding a higher return rate. This survey was a short pen and paper survey containing four (4) questions that was distributed via email and regular mail. The questions on the survey were for the following areas: 1) the provision of services to individuals who are blind and visually impaired, 2) consumer referral process, 3), specialized training areas for the blind and visually impaired, and 4) areas of concern in serving this population.

Focus Groups

A sub-committee was formed from the SRC to work on the design and conducting of the focus groups. Four of the SRC members volunteered to steer this committee. Historically, attendance at open forums, public meetings or focus groups has been very low. The decision was made to engage state and local chapters of the advocacy organizations to increase participation. Four focus groups were decided upon. Three would be held in conjunction with other activities of the advocacy organizations as outlined in the grid below. The State Conventions were selected as a format for the focus groups as individuals from all areas of the state would be in attendance at their respective organizational conferences. Another location chosen was the Kentucky School for the Blind for its proximity to the American Printing House for the Blind as well as the large community of blind residents in that area.

Focus Group Location

Kentucky NFB State Convention Louisville /September 2008

Kentucky ACB State Convention Louisville/November 2008

Kentucky School for the Blind Louisville/February 2009

Blue Grass Council for the Blind Lexington/March 2009

The sub-committee came up with a design for the sessions and designated two SRC members as facilitators. The objective of each session was: “To gather information regarding the needs of individuals who are blind and visually impaired” for the five target areas decided upon by the Council. They were: 1) housing, 2) Adaptive Equipment and Devices, 3) Independent Living, 4) Mainstream Education and 5) Employment. The facilitators would introduce the topic areas and invite discussion using questions from the survey design. The facilitators would then carefully reflect back a summary of what was discussed assuring accuracy in capturing the information. One of the SRC members would record the session or capture it on paper while the other was the main facilitator of the session. The information was then put in an electronic format and shared with agency staff.

(i) Results of Comprehensive Statewide Assessment

Data Analysis Summary

External Data Sources

The Consumer Survey Instrument

The survey was specific to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. It was to be filled out by an individual who was blind or visually impaired or answered by a parent, family member or friend on behalf of the individual.

Demographics

There were 54 respondents to the survey with 52% of individuals filling out the survey reporting that they were blind or visually impaired 48% were a parent, family member or friend completing the survey on behalf of an individual. Sixty-six (66%) of the individuals that the survey pertained to who were blind and visually impaired were forty years of age or older. Fifty-eight (58%) were female and 42% were males for the gender reported of the individual who is blind or visually impaired.

Ninety-eight percent reported their race/ethnicity as White, Non-Hispanic with 4% reporting Asian/pacific Islander or other. Fifteen percent (15%) of the respondents were Veterans.

Thirty-six (36%) of the respondents reported living alone, 30% with a spouse or partner, 16% with a spouse, partner and children. Only 2% reported being a single parent. Sixteen percent (16%) reported living with parents or friends. Respondents represented 31 of the 120 counties in the state (25%).

Thirty-three percent (33%) reported having some useable eyesight but not enough to read even large print. Twenty-seven (27%) reported be able to read large print and 12% although they were legally blind could read regular sized print. Ten percent (10%) were totally blind and 12% reported limited eyesight being able to see only shadows and light and dark. The other 6% of respondents reported having what is generally considered normal eyesight.

Sixty percent (60%) of the respondents reported the cause of their vision loss for the “other” category that included various causes such as Retinitis Pigmentosa, Toxoplasmosis, Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, and war related injuries. Twenty-two (22%) reported the cause as Macular Degeneration while the other 20% indicated

Cataracts, Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy. These numbers are not exact numbers as often the respondent would report the cause for one category choices and then would choose the “other” category where they made detailed comments regarding the cause of their vision loss. As a result there were duplicate counts in this section.

For the area of age of onset of vision loss the highest age range was Birth to 20 years at 49%. Second highest area for age of onset was the 60 -80 years and above age bracket at 24%. Forty (40) to sixty (60) years of age was at 16% and twenty (20) to forty (40) years was 11% of the respondents. Sixty-eight (68%) of the respondents indicated that their vision loss was likely to deteriorate while 32% indicated that it would not. One effecting factor to take into consideration when looking at these numbers is that an individual who are blind are included in the 32% reporting their vision loss was not likely to deteriorate.

Forty-six percent of the respondents reported having a High School Diploma or below. Forty – eight percent (48%) report having some course work toward a college degree or a bachelors or doctorate degree.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of the respondents report an income of $29,000 or less. Eighteen percent (18%) reported having an income between $30,000 - 49,000 and fourteen percent (14%) between $50,000 - $75,000. Only 6% of respondents indicated they had an income above $75,000.

Adaptive Equipment

There were for questions for the area of adaptive equipment, tools and devices. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of the respondents indicated they had a need for adaptive equipment in the past year. Twenty-three percent (23%) indicated they did not. Of note is the fact that within that 23% reporting they did not have a need for adaptive equipment many of the respondents indicated they did not have knowledge of that this type of resource existed. Forty–seven percent (47%) indicated they had no difficulty in obtaining needed devices. Forty percent (40%) indicated that they did have difficulty in obtaining needed devices with 13% indicating this category was not applicable for them.

Costs associated with equipment were cited by forty-five (45%) of respondents as the major reason for not being able to obtain needed equipment. Of note is the lack of knowledge of resources for this need area at 31%.

Housing

There were four questions for the area of Housing. Sixty-five percent (65%) of respondents reporting that they are either currently purchasing or they own their home.

Twenty percent (20%) are rent a house duplex, or townhouse and 15% an apartment. Of these 75% reported that they are happy with their current living situation.

Twenty-five percent (25%) reported that they are not happy citing issues that are common to individuals that rent such as affordability, noise level, and location.

Seventy-six percent (76%) indicated their homes were accessible and 25% indicated they were not accessible due to transportation or home modification needs (accessible ramp). When asked what hindered accessibility for them 37% indicated affordable costs, 25% stated the location of their residents with 51% indicating they were not knowledgeable of resources in regards to housing assistance, or in solving problems with landlords or utility companies.

Employment

Forty-six percent (46%) of individuals responding to the survey indicated that they were not currently employed. Twenty-nine percent (29%) were employed with 22% of them working full time and 7% part time. Twenty-four percent (24%) of the respondents were retired and 12% were enrolled in school. When asked how many had looked for vocational services in the past year to assist them in becoming employed 76% reported no and only 24% reported yes. For the 24% that answered yes to this questions 60% of them were working with the Office for the Blind, 30% were working with Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, 10% an Independent Living Center and 10% through the One Stop System.

Eighty-two percent (82%) indicated that assistance with Job Placement as the highest need defined as help with referral to and hiring by an employer. Eighty percent (80%) indicted On the Job Training as a need areas defined as learning how to apply your skills in your new job setting. The third highest area was Job Search Assistance as indicated by 79% of the respondents defined as resume writing, identifying job openings, interviewing skills and making employer contacts. Sixty-seven percent found the areas of Occupational/vocational Classes, On the Job Supports (such as a job coach) and Transition Services equally important. College or University (getting the right degree for the job you want) was indicated as a need area by 56% of the respondents.

Independent Living

There were four questions for the area of Independent Living. Sixty-four percent of them indicated that they had not used public transportation in the past year.

Thirty-six (36%) indicated that they had used public transportation. Fifty-six (56%) indicated that the most common form of transportation for them is a friend or relative (not paid).

When asked if there are adequate programs, services and supports in place to assist you in living independently in your home and community 59% of the respondents indicated no while 41% said there were adequate resources. Most of the comments in this area dealt with access to transportation in order to be more independent in the community. There were 22 comments for this question and of those 13 or 59% were related to lack of transportation.

Mainstream Education

There were six questions for the area of Mainstream Education. There was a lower response rate for this area of the survey as the results showed a high percentage of

individuals skipped these questions finding them not applicable to their situation. Due to the low response rate this section does not yield strong data.

For the area of assessing whether or not the public school systems are accommodating to students who are blind and visually impaired 71% of the respondents marked not applicable. Twenty-seven percent (27%) indicated yes and 3 % indicated no. Respondents were asked if they responded no to indicate in what way they were not accommodating. Ninety percent (90%) of the respondents marked no applicable. For those answering this question 8% indicated services were difficult to obtain, 4% indicated that the appropriate services are not provided, 4% felt staff were not qualified or trained, and 4% felt the appropriate services were not provided.

For the question on transition from high school to college and the provision of adequate supports 82% of the respondent marked not applicable. For those answering 13% indicated their needs were not met and 5% said adequate supports were in place. Forty-five percent (45%) indicated they had pursued education after high school, 10% did not and 45% marked non applicable. When asked if higher educational institutions had been accommodating to them 33% said yes and 12% replied no to the question. Fifty –five percent (55%) marked not applicable. For those answering no to this question 17% indicated services are difficult to obtain, 8% indicated there are no enough trained or qualified staff, 8% felt that there is a lack of appropriate services and 8% indicated they are not sensitive to issues.

Seventy-five (75%) marked not applicable for this area.

Open Ended Needs Questions

The last part of the survey contained four open ended questions. These questions received a variety of responses and were answered by 70% of the respondents.

Approximately 30% of individuals completing the survey skipped the open ended response questions. The results are outlined below.

Question # 1: What do you think are the top three concerns facing individuals with a vision impairment over the next five years?

The top three areas of need indicated were: 1) Employment, 2) Transportation, and 3) Assistive Technology.

Question #2: What is the most significant unmet need in your life at this time relating to your vision loss?

The top five most significant unmet needs identified were: 1) Transportation, 2) Employment, 3) Unable to Read, 4) Self–Sufficiency and 5) AT, Social Isolation and

Home Management (3 areas had equal scoring). Most of the open ended responses for this area dealt with areas of life that effect an individuals independence such as social isolation and a lack of available resources.

Question #3: What has been the most significant impact your vision loss has had on your life?

The top four areas identified as having a significant impact on the individual’s life were: 1) Social Isolation (29%), 2) All areas of my life (20%), 3) Not being able to drive (15%) and 4) Not being able to read as well as the area of self-sufficiency (18%).

In looking at the individual responses for these areas they are further broken out and defined for the overall life areas and self sufficiency in the chart below.

Question #4: What role has your culture, religion, race or ethic background played in helping or hindering you in meeting your needs in regard to your vision impairment?

Thirty-five percent (35%) of individuals that answered this question indicated that religion and their faith played an active role in how they dealt with their vision loss.

Thirty-five (35%) indicated that none of the factors had an impact on them and 21% marked this as not applicable to them. Three (3%) of the respondents indicated that all of them had a positive impact on them, 3% indicated that their family was an influential factor and 3% indicated that socio economic status was more of a factor than culture, religion, race or ethic background.

Agency Staff Surveys

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Survey

Staff were surveyed by the two regions. Results were tabulated by Region I and Region II and then jointly for a combined result. For some areas there were two services with an equal amount of tabulated votes. Three questions were asked in the survey. Seven (7) responses were tabulated from Region I and 8 from Region II (83% of Counseling staff responded).

Question #!: What are the top three services requested by individuals?

Region I

Assistive Technology

Educaitonal Assistance

Orientatin and Mobility

Job Placement

Region II

Assisitve Technology

Medical/Educational Assistance

Job Placement

Combined Regional Results

Assistive Technology

Educatinal Assistance/Medical

Job Placement

Question #2: How would you rate the level of services provided to consumers through Community Rehabilitation Providers in the provision of Supported Employment? How many CRP’s do you refer to on a regular basis?

Region I

63% rated good to very Good

37% rated poor

71% referred to an average of 2-3 CRP's

Region II

75% rated good to very good

25% rated poor

88% referred an average of 3 or more

Combined Regional Results

73% rated good to very good

27% rated poor

80% an averge of 3 or more

Question #3: How would you rate the level of services provided to consumers through the local One Stop? What services available do your consumers access or take advantage of?

Region I

67% rated good to very good

17% rated poor

16% no answer

Region II

63% rated good to very good

25% rated poor

12% no answer

Combined Regional Results

60% rated good to very good

20% rated poor

20% no answer

Counseling staff reported that the following services are typically accessed:

Employment Opportunities/Register EKOS

Testing for Employment

College Information

Child Care Services

Resume Services

Workshops for Employment Education

Veteran Services

Agency Wide Staff Survey

Survey Monkey was used for the agency wide survey of staff that contained three questions. Forty-two (42%) of staff responded.

Question #1: What would you say are the top three services requested by individuals?

1. Medical Restoration

2. Job Placement

3. Assistive Technology

Orientation and Mobility, Educational Assistance and Independent Living Services were the next three services staff scored as requested.

Question #2: What do you think are the primary concerns facing individuals who are blind and visually impaired over the next five (5) years?

1. Employment

2. Transportation

3. Assistive Technology

Affordable Medical Care, a lack of resources and services and the needs of the aging population “Baby Boomers” were the next three primary concerns staff noted.

Questions #3: What single action could the Office for the Blind take to improve services in our state?

Sixty-three percent of the tabulated scores indicated the following top three categories:

1. Increased Marketing and Outreach (24%)

2. Recruitment, Training, and Leadership Development of

Staff (20%)

3. Increased funding for Services (9%)

One Stop Managers Survey

This survey was done jointly with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. The survey contained ten (10) questions. For reporting purposes three of those questions will be omitted from this report that pertains specifically to Vocational Rehabilitation. There were eighteen (18) respondents from across the State.

Question #1: Do you feel there are gaps in services for persons with disabilities in the One Stop?

Eighty-three (83%) of respondents indicated no and 17% felt there were gaps in services.

Question #2: In your experience over the past three years, have you seen more or fewer individuals with disabilities seeking services at your One-Stop Center?

Eleven (11%) indicated there are more, 28% fewer and 61% reported more.

Question #3: What kinds of training needs would your staff have related to serving persons with disabilities? Check all that apply

Sixty-seven percent (67%) indicated the need for training for the area of employer resources or tax credits, sixty-one (61%) indicated training on the ADA and fifty-six (56%) identified Assistive Technology as a need area. Fifty-five percent (55%) indicated needed training for the area of Social Security and Work Incentives and fifty percent (50%) indicated the area of Deaf & Hard of Hearing as a training area. Other topics identified for training were different disability populations and more information overall concerning service delivery and vocational rehabilitation.

#Question #4: Rate your knowledge of the following topics.

Assistive Technology

Excellent - 0%

Good- 33%

Fair- 61%

Poor- 6%

Employment Outcomes/Strategies for Customers with Disabilities

Excellent - 0%

Good- 61%

Fair- 33%

Poor- 6%

Job Accomodations

Excellent - 11%

Good- 45%

Fair- 45%

Poor- 0%

Materials in Alternate Foramts

Excellent- 11%

Good- 39%

Fair- 50%

Poor- 0%

Self-disclosure Regarding Disability/Employers

Excellent- 6%

Good- 55%

Fair- 28%

Poor- 11%

Information about VR Services

Excellent- 17%

Good- 78%

Fair- 5%

Poor- 0%

Social Security/Impact on Working

Excellent- 0%

Good- 28%

Fair- 44%

Poor- 28%

Question #5: How would you rate your center’s working relationship with local staff of the Kentucky Office for the Blind?

Twenty-two (22%) reported the relationship as excellent, 61% good and 17% fair. Comments for this area were: 1) good working relationship, 2) good communications with partnering agency, and 3) excellent working relationship.

Question #6: If you rated the relationship with the Office for the Blind ‘fair’ or ‘poor,’ do you have any suggestions for improving the relationship.

Comments for this area were: 1) More contact needed as to services that are in the local area and 2) better sharing of services, presentation to staff on what you do.

Eye Physician Surveys

A survey was designed for the Optometrists (150) and Ophthalmologist (150) across the state. This was a pen and paper survey sent via regular mail to 300 offices across the state. The survey contained five pertinent questions.

Question #1: Are you aware of the services the office for the Blind can provide to your patients?

Question #2: Do you need more information regarding services?

Question #3: Are you aware of the closest location of our field offices in your area?

Question #4: In order to ensure that you can refer patients to us with the least amount of difficulty what can our staff do to easily facilitate that process?

Question #5: What are the greatest unmet eye care needs in your community?

Forty-eight surveys were returned by the Optometrists (32%) and 63 from the ophthalmologists (42%). The results are as follows.

Question

#1 Aware of Services

Optometrist-62% Yes 38% No Ophthalmologist-79% Yes 21% No

#2 Need for Services Optometrist-62% Yes 38% No Ophthalmologist-68% Yes 32% No

#3 Aware of field office locations

Optometrist-55% Yes 45% No Ophthalmologist-64% Yes 36% No

For questions 4 and 5 the answers varied widely for the two different groups.

The following outlines the results of question four and the preference of the offices for materials for patients.

Information Processes for Patient referral

Business cards & brochures

Optometrists 43%

Ophthalmologists 20%

Directions/Maps

Optometrists 16%

Ophthalmologists 0%

List of Services

Optometrists -19%

Ophthalmologists -17%

Patient paperwork & referral forms

Optometrists-21%

Ophthalmologists -0%

Addresses/contact numbers to offices

Optometrists-13% Ophthalmologists-30%

Explanation of processes

/screening/eligibility

Optometrists-8% Ophthamologists-0%

Other

Optometrists-22% Ophthalmologists-60%

Comments given in the ‘Other’ category mainly indicated that current processes for referral were very good and worked well for most of the physicians. They cited the user friendly web-site and professional staff that make the process easy for patients. Some physicians asked for follow up with them on referrals sent to the agency.

The following outlines the responses for question #5 on the greatest unmet eye care needs in their communities.

Low Vision

Optometrists Percentage- 37% Ophthalmologists percentage -15%

Financial Needs

Optometrists Percentage-29% Ophthalmologists percentage-33%

Routine Exams

Optometrists Percentage-15% Ophthalmologists percentage-3%

Cataracts

Optometrists Percentage-5% Ophthalmologists percentage-6%

Diabetes

Optometrists Percentage-10% Ophthalmologists percentage-0%

Aids/Devices

Optometrists Percentage-5% Ophthalmologists percentage-12%

Glaucoma

Optometrists Percentage-7% Ophthalmologists percentage-6%

Training/Education

Optometrists Percentage-7% Ophthalmologists percentage-6%

Other

Optometrists Percentage-44% Ophthalmologists percentage-64%

Comments given in the ‘Other’ category were on a variety of themes. They are as follows: 1) preventative care and early diagnosis, 2) transportation needs, and 3) the needs of the aging population (available resources).

Community Rehabilitation Provider Survey

Eighteen (18) Community Rehabilitation Providers were surveyed. The surveys were distributed through email and regular mail by the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors. Eight of the eighteen or 44% returned surveys. This was a small sampling of CRP’s. This survey contained four questions specific to the CRP and service delivery to the blind and visually impaired.

Question #1: Does your organization provide community employment services for individuals who are blind and visually impaired? If yes, please list any and all.

All eight agencies indicated that they provided services for the areas of: Supported Employment, Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation, Work Adjustment, and Job

Placement Services.

Question #2: Have you received a consumer referral from our organization for employment services within the past year?

Seventy-five percent or 6 of the 8 respondents indicated they had received 1 -3 referrals in the past year.

Question #3: If you answered yes what specialized training have you had specific to serving the blind and Visually Impaired?

Six of the eight (75%) reported some type of specialized training through the Core Training at UK under the Supported Employment Project, college coursework or just "basic knowledge".

Question # 4: List three training needs you feel your organization or agency needs in order to provide employment services (supported employment) to this specific disability population.

There were seven respondents for this area. Specialized Training CRP's indacted as a need area were: 1)Braille Related Training, 2) Orientation and Mobility, 3) Basic Knowledge or Blindness 101 Skills Characterisctic/Cultural Differences, 4) Assistive Technology, and 5)Supported Employment and working with individuals who are blind and visually impaired.

For the area of other concerns in serving the blind and visually impaired providers reported a poor economy, a tightening job market, adjustment to blindness and the need for transportation supports.

Focus Groups

As stated in the methodology section there were four focus groups held across the state. The objective of each session was: “To gather information regarding the needs of individuals who are blind and visually impaired” for the five target areas decided upon by the Council. They were: 1) housing, 2) Adaptive Equipment and Devices, 3) Independent Living, 4) Mainstream Education and 5) Employment. State Rehabilitation Council members Kenny Jones and Charles Allen facilitated at this session. They led discussion around questions pertaining to the five focus areas for the needs assessment as well as a couple of open ended questions. The same questions were used at each focus group. They were as follows:

Housing

1. What are the most critical areas of need in regards to housing?

2. Has anyone encountered any obstacles such as discrimination in regards to renting or owning your own home.

Adaptive Equipment and Devices

1. Are you able to obtain needed adaptive equipment and devices? If not, why not?

2. What needs in the area of adaptive equipment and devices do you have that are not being met?

Independent Living

1. In what areas are you lacking supportive services that would allow you to live more independently in your homes? In your Community?

Mainstream Education

1. What areas in the public school system and postsecondary educational settings do you feel you or a child experiences gaps in services?

2. Are there any educational needs that you or a child has that are not being met?

Employment

1. Identify what you feel are the primary barriers to employment?

2. What current unmet needs do you have or what vocational service areas could you benefit from in assisting you to achieve your employment goals?

Open Ended Discussion Questions

1. What do you think are the primary concerns facing individuals who are blind and visually impaired over the next five (5) years?

2. What single action could the Office for the Blind take to improve services in your community?

The information gained through the four focus groups for needs in the five focus areas and through the open ended questions is summarized below. The focus groups

were well attended with a total of 138 participants for the four different groups.

For the area of Housing the ongoing theme from all four of the focus groups was the need for accessing information and resources for housing (44%). Individuals shared that often they are not aware of available resources that would assist them in finding housing or purchasing a home. Thirty-one percent (31%) indicated that housing that was accessible and affordable was important to them. When citing accessibility transportation was included in this assuring that an individual can access needed resources and be able to get around in their communities. Twelve percent (12%) indicated that a personal finances course would be helpful for many new home buyers.

For the area of Adaptive Equipment and Devices 22% of those individuals participating indicted the need for ongoing training, technical support and upgrades to their equipment and devices. Seventeen percent (17%) indicated that a lending library or “trade swap” for equipment would be helpful along with an inventory of catalogue containing various types of AT equipment available through the agency. This would include various products that an individual could try out. Thirteen percent (13%) shared that affordability of products or that the cost of products hindered their ability to have what is needed for them to be more independent in their homes.

For the area of Independent Living 22% of individuals indicated that transportation was a need area for them. Individuals noted that the lack of transportation resources, the cost of transportation and having access to transportation in their communities was a need area. Twenty-two percent (22%) felt that training for consumers is needed on AT equipment, social appropriateness instruction, and organizational skills and planning and that training of staff for the area of multiple disabilities was needed. A reoccurring theme in all groups was connecting individuals with a mentoring program for different life skills areas. Peer supported mentoring in order to connect consumers with other individuals who can share their experiences and serve as a role model.

For the area of Mainstream Education forty percent (40%) felt that there was a need for more information sharing or knowledge of agency services for the transition population. This was the most prominent theme from the focus groups the need for transition resources to assist the students transitioning from school to work and post secondary educational settings. Participants in the focus groups indicated the need for increased outreach and assistance to students that will enable them to learn more about the agency at an earlier age. This includes having a greater awareness and knowledge of assistive technology and how that will allow for greater access to instruction. Tuition assistance for students was indicated as a high need area. Not only for those attending full time but for part time students as well. In addition the agency should make sure there is consistency of services provided to students for tuition and for the area of AT equipment.

For the area of Employment there were a variety of responses. One area that stood out was an increased need for developing employer relationships and soft job skills training for consumers. Twenty-eight (28%) of the focus group participants highlighted these two areas of need as well as a focus on the use technology in the workplace and additional training for the consumer. Suggestions for training topics for consumers included, interviewing skills, information regarding self employment, the importance of educational and vocational studies, assistive technology, Braille studies, Workplace etiquette, the ADA, and career development that promotes upward movement on the career ladder.

The open ended questions yielded the following responses. The top two primary concerns identified by the participants in the focus groups were: 1) assistive technology keeping up with changes and advances in the field of blindness and 2) the shrinking economy and job market. For the question regarding what single action the agency could take to improve services there was not a theme that came from the responses. The following input was given: 1) offer a grant writing course, 2) establish a resource database that a newly blinded individual or consumer can access through a website or by telephone for resources to address their specific needs, such as a job bank, adaptive equipment, 3) obtain increased funding, and 4) recognize consumer choice.

Internal Data Sources

Standards and Indicators

The agency will not meet indicator 1.1 in 2008 with a performance level of -31. In 2007 the agency had a -39. Although there was an increase in 2008 over the prior

year of 17 positive employment outcomes the average over the two years still yielded a negative 31. The agency has consistently met the remaining indicators for the

calendar years of FFY 2003 through 2008.

2008 Satisfaction Survey

Consumer satisfaction is considered an important component of service quality. The Kentucky Office for the Blind (OFB) sought to determine the satisfaction level of people who have received services. At the request of the State Rehabilitation Council to the Kentucky Office for the Blind, the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky coordinated a telephone survey with people who had cases closed with the OFB in fiscal year 2008 (October 1, 2007 through September 30,

2008). The University of Kentucky Survey Research Center contacted individuals between August 15 and August 27, 2008, as well as December 5, 2008 through January 6, 2009 using the survey instrument that had been developed by the Council and the OFB.

A total of 320 people from around the state participated in the survey. This represented a 92.8% response rate. Individuals were considered ineligible under several circumstances, including: disconnected phone number, incorrect phone number, no new phone number, and person deceased. The response rate for this telephone survey is considered high. Overall results are presented only for the global item of overall satisfaction. The results are also presented in a variety of ways in this report: by narrative text, bar and pie charts, tables of frequencies (percentages), and means. The results are organized by item and are given in a variety of ways in recognition that people take in information in different ways.

Overall, the results of the study indicate that consumers expressed high degrees of satisfaction with their experiences. Eighty-four percent of all participating consumers felt that services they received through the Office of the Blind were “excellent” or “very good”. Over 90% felt that their needs were met through the services they received. There was no statistically significant difference between the Regions of the state in terms of overall satisfaction with services.

Generally, participants had positive regard for their counselors and other staff at OFB. Additionally, satisfaction with specific services (McDowell Center, assistive technology, orientation and mobility, computer training and career development) was also high. As might be expected, those whose cases were closed successfully were somewhat more satisfied, on the whole, with all aspects of the OFB.

At the time of the survey, a little over half (52.8%) of all participating consumers reported that they were currently working in paid competitive employment status, with an additional 7.8% being self-employed. Approximately 13% were unemployed and currently seeking employment and about 17% reported that they were unemployed and not seeking employment. Those with cases closed successfully had the highest competitive employment percentage at almost 60%. This was followed closely by those in the post-employment group with 57.7% being competitively employed.

RSA Monitoring Data Reports

The data report received from RSA through the monitoring process was reviewed for significant findings or trends. The agency felt that some of the data findings were internal coding issues. As a result, coding issues were identified and staff received instruction on how to correctly code certain areas such as information and referral. There was a significant amount of data for review. The following areas were identified for review for the purposes of the comprehensive needs assessment.

For the area of disability characteristics Kentucky had a higher percent with a sensory disability at 6.3% than the U.S. average of 4.3%.

In looking an individuals served by impairment codes for the area of blindness and other visual impairments the results for Kentucky were almost in reverse of other blind agencies with a higher incidence of coding for the area of “other visual impairments”. At this time it is difficult to identify what factors are affecting this; however it does identify a need for the agency to place an emphasis on this in reviewing the data to determine what is impacting the numbers in this area.

Referral sources for individuals closed who received services showed numbers for the agency in relation to other blind agencies were higher for physicians or medical personnel or medical institution and lower for self referral. This may be due in part to an increased marketing effort over the past two years to area eye physicians.

Given this referral relationship has increased there may be a need to assure that the eye physicians are knowledgeable regarding eligibility and services offered through the agency.

Employment status at application and closure for individuals showed a ten percent (10%) variance with the agency having a higher number for those employed at application than other blind agencies. The relevance of this is unknown at this time; however it may be an area of concentration for the agency in assuring new applicants to the agency.

For the area of transition there were some areas of need identified. The agency performance was not in keeping with the average of most blind agencies for transition students for the area of employment status at application for both with and without employment. There is the need for the agency to look at these variances and identify and service area needs.

Staffing Patterns in view of other blind agencies indicate the need for additional counseling and counseling support staff and administrative staff.

VR Case Flow numbers overall show a decrease in the number of new applicants and those determined eligible over the past five years. However, of note the agency numbers for this area of the RSA-113 are higher on an average than other blind agencies. In addition, for the area of Employment Outcomes there is a 6.2% increase and a 6.4% decrease in closures without an employment outcome.

For the area of Services Provided the agency is 15% higher for the area of “diagnosis and treatment of impairments” than most blind agencies which translates into costs that are 28% higher. There is the need to assess these services and the costs associated with them in looking at how these monies are expended and for what types of diagnosis and treatment.

Reasons for Closure showed a higher amount of individuals than other blind agencies exciting as an applicant with no impediment to employment and exiting without an employment outcome, after eligibility, but before an IPE was signed. These numbers have a direct correlation with performance and caseload expectations.

The question arises here as to the need to look an internal expectations set and their impact on these numbers. In looking at employment status at closure for transition-aged individuals the agency has a higher number of homemaker closures as indicated by a 8.7% difference. The agency performance for closure as employed with supports in an integrated setting is lower than other blind agencies by 5.1% (however this only reflects services for one individual). Average hourly earnings for SSDI beneficiaries and transition aged youth showed a wage of $5.10 less than the average of all blind agencies.

Although a formal monitoring report has not been received at the time of this report input received during the site visit indicated the need for the development and implementation of an improved outcome and performance measurement system for the agency across programs inclusive of a centralized location for program data.

Strategic Plan

In 2006 OFB began the Strategic Planning Process. A SWOT analysis was conducted for planning purposes to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the agency. In 2007, agency work teams were formed to work on the focus areas of the plan derived from the SWOT analysis. Target date for implementation of the plan was January 2008. The implementation of the plan is in the early stages. Based on the SWOT analysis the following identified focus areas are the framework areas for the 3-year plan:

Staff Retirement

• Prepare for the 2008 retirement exodus and the depletion

of experienced staff and management positions

• To promote and train the next generation of managers for

the OFB

Personnel

• Staff recruitment, leadership development, and retention

will encompass mentoring and skills building for

existing staff- emphasizing management and leadership

• Managers will train new staff and continue to work with

their staff to support decision-making.

• Managers in the field will be open-minded to new ideas

and encourage creativity within the work environment

• Hire qualified staff, teach them skills to do their job,

support as needed.

• Encourage Teamwork

• Focus on upgrading Staff Education, Training, and

Qualifications in a standardized manner

Funding

• Budget cuts – so much of our success is based on dollars

• Lack of State Funding and “other funding sources”

• Increase funding sources

• Need to develop plan to maximize value of AT Act program

to KY expansion of use of state contracts, grants and

state funding opportunities with design

that will benefit OFB and its consumers

Communication within the Agency

• Increase communication for building agency-wide cohesion

• Utilization of Central Office staff in working to find

solutions-relative answers. Being a small agency we all

wear many hats but we must all work together

• Development of a common knowledge across the agency on

how funds are being used.

• Increase Communication of Steering Committee-Solve

Problems and identify clearly the Role-Function of the

group

Growing OFB programs in Alignment with National Trends

• OFB will grow nationally respected programs as the

demand for our services grows in accordance to the

impending populations trends

• McDowell Land Project

Relationship with Partners

• To increase opportunities for collaboration with other

state agencies in programmatic and funding areas

• Good working relationships/partnerships with

employers/business

To build relationships with employers/businesses for

placement, PR, and funding opportunities to always

ensure we provide specialized services by

maintaining an agency with qualified staff.

• Support of consumer constituent groups statewide

• To better utilize our committees – SRC as problem

solving versus reporting

McDowell Center

• The McDowell Center will become a national leader in

training facilities, etc.

• Maximize utilization of staff and resources of the

McDowell Center

• Revamp the Charles W. McDowell center’s curriculum and

others programs, such as employment programs.

Summary of Findings

The agency gathered data and information from multiple sources and stakeholders. The following is a synthesis of common-themed findings from all the information

gathered for the purpose of identifying key needs, concerns and issues in making recommendations for setting goals, strategies and priorities for the agency for the

areas of:

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

(B) Identified Needs of Minority Populations and the Underserved and Unserved Populations

(C) Identified Needs of the Statewide Workforce Investment System

(ii) Need to Establish, Develop, or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs.

The findings of the needs assessment yielded a theme throughout all of the data sources identifying the top areas of need as: assistive technology, employment, medical restoration, educational assistance and the area of independent living or self sufficiency.

The very fact that 98% of the respondents to the Consumer Survey Instrument were white, non Hispanic indicates the need for outreach to Minority Populations.

Although the agency and the SRC made every effort through different venues to reach minority populations there was limited information gleaned for the needs of this population group.

The Blind and Visually Impaired and the Deaf Blind population are an underserved and unserved population especially in the rural areas of the state. This was reflected in the open ended responses for the Consumer Survey Instrument that dealt with areas of life that effect an individuals independence such as social isolation and a lack of available resources. The assessment showed an overall lack of knowledge about available resources and services for the areas of independent living.

The Eye Physicians indicated a lack of proper preventative care and the availability for low vision services for individuals as a need area as well as the lack of financial resources for individuals to access proper eye care. There is a higher percentage of individuals with sensory impairments in certain areas of the Eastern part of the state (5% - 11%). This may be due in part to the lower social economic conditions in this area resulting in a lack of resources for preventive care and treatment for eye related diseases. The percentage rate of unemployed individuals with Sensory Disabilities in this area of the state ranges from 65% to 90%.

The results of the Needs Assessment show that overall Office for the Blind and the Office of Employment and Training staff feels that a good collaborative working relationship exists. Some staff indicated a need for improvement in resource sharing and there were several areas of training identified that staff could benefit from.

The Needs Assessment showed that community rehabilitation providers lack the needed knowledge, training and experience in working with this specific disability population. This is due in part to the fact that CRP’s statewide have a focus on the MRDD population. This is understandable given that long term follow along funding and supports for Supported Employment is linked to individuals with a MR/DD diagnosis. CRP’s indicated they have a lack the experience and expertise to work with the Blind and Visually Impaired and they lack the monetary resources to develop programs specific to serving the Blind and Visually Impaired. As a result there is a narrow service field for consumers of the OFB outside of the State Agency’s own program design, services and expertise of the regionalized teams that provide categorized services.

Information gained through the assessment regarding the needs of individuals who are blind and visually impaired and deafblind centered on the following three focus areas:1) Service Delivery, 2) Adequacy of Resources, and 3) Effectiveness and Efficiency of Operations.

Adequacy of Resources

Availability and knowledge of resources to meet the needs of individuals who are blind and visually impaired for the area of independent living was a prevalent need area across all data sources.

This area was very personal for many of the respondents citing social isolation and the need for the very basic right to self-sufficiency in life.

Service Delivery

Adaptive equipment, tools and devices was the number one emerging and critical need though out the needs assessment from all data sources. A lack of resources, affordability, technological advances, maintenance and repair of devices and ongoing training needs associated with use of equipment.

Employment for individuals with disabilities in a struggling economy where individuals are competing with a highly skilled workforce The provision of adequate training and opportunities for skills acquisition for individuals to obtain and maintain employment is a primary area of need. Sixty-two percent of the respondents for the consumer survey indicated an income of $29,000 or less. Although the sampling was a small number of respondents these statistics are staggering if they are reflective of most of the population across the Commonwealth. High need areas across all data sources were the areas of job placement, on the job training, job search assistance and soft skills acquisition for the areas of resume writing, identifying job openings, interviewing skills and making employer contacts.

Transition Services for individuals exiting high school as they enter employment or post secondary educational settings, training or technical schools.

Educational Supports for individuals was an area of need given that forty-six percent of the respondents reported having a High School Diploma or below. This also indicates a need for early intervention and counseling supports for students.

Medical Restoration services assuring that an individuals medical needs are met in order to assure the feasibility of employment.

Development and Expansion of Community Rehabilitation Provider relationships for supported employment services. Providers expressed additional training needs for service delivery of the blind and visually impaired.

Increased Participation with One Stop Service Delivery System utilizing existing partnerships and the provision of information sharing and training initiatives.

Effectiveness and Efficiency of Operations

Design and Implementation of an internal performance measurement system with efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction goal areas. The agency does not have a formal system or method in place in looking at agency performance. Certain practices occur and managers have oversight of the performance of staff and service outcomes but there is not a standardized performance measurement system.

Maximize the current Case Management System (CMS) to collect data for all service operations. The new CMS start up date was October 1, 2008. At this time there are still kinks in the new system. The agency is working with the general agency in making needed corrections and adding additional modules to capture all program data.

Professional Development opportunities for staff for the area of continuing education and training in order to hire and retain qualified staff. The needs assessment indicated that in making sure staff received the necessary supports, training and skills acquisition is the most important thing the agency can do in assuring quality consumer services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 3:10PM by Cora McNabb

ATTACHMENT 4.11(b): Annual Estimates of Individuals To Be Served and Costs of Services

Kentucky’s population based on U.S. Census 2009 data is 4,262,400. Prevent Blindness America reports that of that population 3,046,951 aged 18 years and older have vision impairments or an age-related eye disease. There are 14,624 or 3% of the population aged 40 and older who are blind. For FFY 2011 the Kentucky Office for the Blind will have three categories out of four open in Order of Selection.

The following charts give data that represents estimated performance for FY 2012 under this State Plan based on historical data from prior years. The estimated service and category numbers are reflective of the average number of new applicants that we expect to receive in 2011 and it is inclusive of the carry over of consumers from the prior year. The costs are reflective of the actual direct service cost to consumers for the current year to date 2011 and the prior service costs for 2010.

They are not inclusive of indirect costs associated with those services. These goals are reflective of rising cost in tuition (ranging from 4% - 6% across the state), medical care, and additional state funding cuts. According to an April 28, 2011 press release through The Council on Postsecondary Education tuition rates at state institutions in Kentucky were increased to balance the needs of the campuses to offset the $9.9 million reduction in net funds for the coming fiscal year beginning July 1. Tuition increases will also offset an estimated $63.4 million increase in institutional fixed costs for FY 12. Again this year the Council approved a 4 percent increase for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, a 5 percent increase at the comprehensive institutions and a 6 percent increase at the two research institutions—University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.

Kentucky, like many other states, will more than likely face health care spending hikes, as a result of retiree benefits and the expanding Medicaid population. Budgets will continue to tighten as fiscal resources decrease while the aging population and health care costs increase. There is an uninsured population of 16 percent (668,000) in the Commonwealth. Diabetes, a leading cause of eye problems in Kentucky population rates are at 11.5%. Kentucky is ranked number one in the nation for the percentage of Blind & Disabled SSI recipients at 4.4 % of the state population.

While the recession officially ended in June 2009, job growth and economic recovery have been painstakingly slow. During 2010, Kentucky’s unemployment rate stood at 10.5 percent, the ninth highest unemployment rate in the nation. Kentucky’s unemployment rate registered 0.9 percent above the US unemployment rate of 9.6 percent for 2010. This marks the eighth consecutive year Kentucky’s unemployment rate has exceeded the national rate.

2012 ESTIMATED OUTCOME GOALS AND TIMEFRAMES

Time Frame

10/1/11 through 9/30/12

Category One

Estimate to be Served -1,070

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 184

Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,000

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $2,140,000

Category Two

Estimate to be Served -500

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 169

Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,500

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $1,250,000

Category Three

Estimate to be Served -40

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 10

Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,500

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $100,000

Category Four - Closed

Total Estimate to be Served - 1,610

Total Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 363

Total Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,333.33

Total Estimated Associated Costs Per Category -$3,490,000

Projected Performance for FY 2012 under Title VI, Part B

Estimate of to be served - 25

Total Estimated Associated Costs - $62,000

Average Estimated Cost Per Person - $2,480

Employment Outcomes Estimates - 6

*Expenditures exceeding the Title VI-B 2011 allotment ($44,841) will be covered with funds from the 110 program.

CATEGORY DEFINITIONS:

Priority Categories means the following rank of categories of eligible individuals to be followed in the order of selection:

A. Priority Category One Eligible individuals with the most significant disability whose severe impairment seriously limits three (3) or more functional capacities in terms of employment outcome; and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over an extended period of time.

B. Priority Category Two - Eligible individuals with a significant disability whose severe impairment limits two (2) functional capacities in terms of an employment outcome and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over an extended period of time.

C. Priority Category Three - Eligible individuals with a non-significant disability whose impairment seriously limits one (1) functional capacity in terms of an employment outcome and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over a period of time.

D. Priority Category Four – All other individuals. (This category is closed).

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
One Title I $2,140,000 1,070 $2,000
Two Title I $1,250,000 500 $2,500
Three Title I $100,000 40 $2,500
Totals   $3,490,000 1,610 $2,167

This screen was last updated on Aug 11 2011 10:15AM by Cora McNabb

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.

ATTACHMENT 4.11 (c)(1): State’s Goals and Priorities

The Kentucky Office for the Blind’s mission is: To provide opportunities for employment and independence to individuals with visual disabilities. This attachment identifies the goals and priorities of the State in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs. Identified in this section are the revisions in the goals and priorities outlined in the 2010 State Plan that was developed collaboratively with the State Rehabilitation Council based on the 2009 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, the monitoring visit that occured in March of 2009 and the agency performance on the Standards and Indicators in 2008. The council voted on and accepted the revision of the following goals and priorities on May 26, 2009..

In 2010, the Council reviewed the input received in relation to the existing five goals, strategies and innovation and expansion activities existing in the plan at the February 26, 2010 meeting. The Council and Agency leadership felt the five goals and outlined strategies stated in Attachment 4.11 (d) 1 State's Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities fully addressed:

1) the performance of the state in 2009 on the standards and indicators;

2) the observations, recommendations (5) and the corrective actions (4) outlined in the FFY 2009 Monitoring Report received on January 21, 2010; and

3) the 2009 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment.

A motion was made by Gerry Slusher to approve the set goals, strategies and priorities for the 2011 State Plan and seconded by Mike Freeholm. The motion was passed by the full Council.

Goal # 1: Increase the number of quality employment outcomes by providing services to ensure that individuals who are blind and visually impaired secure employment and achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Goal #2: Expand and increase services for transition age youth.

Goal # 3: Maximize consumer access to affordable assistive technology in order to increase their independence in their homes, schools, and communities and remove barriers to employment.

Goal # 4: Maximize the operational management of programs (in order to insure efficiency and effectiveness of agency processes).

Goal #5: Maximize Independent Living Services (IL) and Services for Older Individuals who are Blind (OIB). (Increasing the number of individuals who are blind and visually impaired that live independently, work competitively, and are active in their community).

The following Priorities were established:

• Increase the number of quality employment outcomes

• Maximize consumer access to affordable assistive

technology

• Expand and increase services for transition age youth.

EVALUATION ASSURANCE

The agency in collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council shall conduct an annual evaluation to determine the extent to which these priorities have been achieved, and if not achieved, the reasons that they were not achieved, and a description of alternative approaches that will be taken. The annual evaluation shall be conducted at such time as to permit the consideration of findings in the development of the State Plan and its annual updates.

If the annual evaluation determines that specific goals have not been achieved, alternative plans shall be developed, with the advice of the State Rehabilitation Council and from findings of the evaluation, focus group surveys, consumer satisfaction surveys, public forums and consumer planning workshops.

This screen was last updated on Jul 16 2010 8:50AM by Cora McNabb

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

Justification for order of selection

ATTACHMENT 4.11 (c)(3): Order of Selection

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires an Order of Selection of individuals to be served, ensuring that individuals who have the most significant disabilities will be given first priority whenever all eligible individuals who apply cannot be served. The State Rehabilitation Council will be consulted regarding the need to establish the priority categories and the administration of Order of Selection consistent with 34 CFR 361.36. OFB monitors services and expenditures on an ongoing basis to determine the need to open or close categories.

The following list includes factors that are considered in making the determination for changes to or the continuation of Order of Selection:

1) Availability of state general funds to match available federal VR funds

2) All Fiscal Resources carryover funding, program income, ARRA funds

3) Annual imposed state fiscal budget cuts

4) Staff capacity in relation to the set personnel cap

5) Application, referral and caseload trends including I & R and the Waiting List

6) Costs associated with the purchase of services (tuition, medical restoration)

7) Estimated costs of services identified in the individual plan for employment

8) SRC, Consumer and Stakeholder Input

The order of selection gives first priority to those individuals with the most significant disabilities as defined by the OFB. The criterion to determine individuals with the most significant disabilities and the subsequent order of categories to be followed in selection of individuals to be provided services, is based on a refinement of the criteria set forth in the definition of individual with a significant disability, specifically, the degree by which an individual’s impairment seriously limits his or her functional capacities and the number of rehabilitation services needed by an individual.

Justification of Order of Selection

The Kentucky Office for the Blind is operating under a statewide Order of Selection due to budget constraints and a significant decrease in state funding.

The initial date for implementation of Order of Selection was January 1, 1995. There were Five Priority Categories with only eligible individuals in Priority Categories One through Four being served. The effective date was May 4, 2007 for additional changes to Order of Selection. During the 2003 site monitoring with RSA, OFB staff consulted with RSA representatives on the Order of Selection and the need for regulatory changes. Category Five was removed and definition changes were made to Categories One through Four refining the criteria to be closely aligned with the federal policy.

In 2009 the agency identified that individuals were not being properly coded for the waiting list and for information and referral. As a result there were no individuals identified in CMS in 2009 on the waiting list. During the monitoring visit in March of 2009, data shared by RSA showed some inconsistencies for the area of closure type and reasons for closure specifically for the areas of “exited as an applicant” with “no disabling condition” or “no impediment to employment”. Upon further review in this area during the months following the review, agency administrative staff discovered improper coding. Given that this was not discovered until we were already ten months into the 2009 fiscal year there was not sufficient time to correct these practices so that it would have an impact on the reporting for the 2009 fiscal year in this state plan.

Issues identified for the area of assignment of priority categories, order of selection, information and referral and coding for the waiting list were addressed with staff. All counseling staff and the assistants received training in October of 2009 on Order of Selection inclusive of priority categories, eligibility determination, case management system coding and information and referral. The training specifically addressed proper coding and tracking of information and agency procedures in assuring that a written record of all individuals is maintained. In May of 2010, counseling staff received a follow up training on order of selection and assessment to assure that proper identification in priority categories and individuals are properly coded in the case management system.

FFY 2010 Review

Proper coding procedures and tracking are now in place allowing for efficient and accurate data on numbers served, numbers placed on a waiting list, and fiscal resources. Year to date 2011 FFY was reviewed by the agency and the State Rehabilitation Council. The Executive Director, Director of Consumer Services, Regional Managers, and Fiscal staff met on June 2, 2010 and conducted a complete review of OOS. Based on the information the decision was made to open Priority Category 3, effective October 1, 2010. Priority Category 4 will remain closed. The full council was informed of the results of the review and consulted regarding the decision to open Priority Category Three. The decision was made based on a thorough review of the following information regarding services and expenditures:

• Consumers determined eligible for services for the Priority Category 3 and 4 that were placed on a waiting list and those that made a decision not to be placed on a waiting list and requested that their case be closed.

• Administrative expenses (cost savings due to staff vacancies) and lower costs of services (lower caseloads) the projected carry forward into FFY 2011 is expected to be around $3,000,000.

• Current average caseload size is around 61 allowing for counseling staff to effectively manage serving additional consumers that are currently on the waiting list in Priority Category Three.

The agency followed the procedure outlined in this Attachment for re-opening Priority Category Three. The date of application was utilized as a criterion for opening and serving individuals within Priority Category Three. The Executive Director issued an implementing memorandum to staff, with instructions that outline how the appropriate services delayed under the order of selection may be provided effective October 1, 2010 for the FFY 2011 State Plan year.

FFY 2011 Review

In June of 2011, the Executive Director, Director of Consumer Services, Regional Managers, and Fiscal staff met and conducted a complete review of OOS. Based on the information the decision was made not to make any changes to the categories for OOS. Categories one, two and three will remain open and Category 4 will remain closed for the FFY 2012. The full council was informed of the results of the review and consulted regarding the decision. The timeline for this will be a year, unless the agency’s financial situation changes as a result of increased referrals or there is a loss of funds utilized to serve these individuals. In 2011, agency staff and the SRC will review on a quarterly basis data on numbers served, the number placed on a waiting list, and agency fiscal resources to determine the need to open or close categories.

• In 2010 there were 90 consumers determined eligible for services for Priority Category 3 and Priority Category 4.

• Forty-three of the 90 (48%) made the decision not to be placed on a waiting list and requested that their case be closed. Of these 67% were eligible for Priority Category 3 (29/43) and 33% for Priority Category 4 (14/43).

• Forty-seven of the 90 (52%) made the decision to be placed on a waiting list. 24/47 or 51% were eligible for Priority Category 3 and 23/47 or 49% were eligible for Priority Category 4.

• Year to date for FFY 2011 there are a total of 28 consumers determined eligible for services in Priority Category 4. Four (4/28) made the decision to be placed on a waiting list or 14%. 86% made the decision not to be placed on a waiting list and requested that their case be closed.

• Year to date Administrative expenses in 2011 are slightly higher due to higher number of staff. The carry forward into FFY 2012 is expected to be lower at approximately $2,000,000. The carry forward dollars will be lower given the inability of the agency to match federal funds due to state general fund cuts.

• Revenues are lower in FFY 2011 with an overall decrease in program income.

• Current average caseload size is around 89 a 31% increase over the average of 61 in FFY 2010. In 2011, Category Three was opened. Caseloads increased in 2011 with the opening of Priority Category Three allowing more consumers to be served.

 

Description of Priority categories

Order of Selection Priority Categories

Currently the agency has four priority categories with Priority Category One, Two and Three Open and Priority Category Four Closed. They are as follows:

A. Priority Category One Eligible individuals with the most significant disability whose severe impairment seriously limits three (3) or more functional capacities in terms of employment outcome; and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over an extended period of time. (Open)

B. Priority Category Two - Eligible individuals with a significant disability whose severe impairment limits two (2) functional capacities in terms of an employment outcome and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over an extended period of time. (Open)

C. Priority Category Three - Eligible individuals with a non- significant disability whose impairment seriously limits one (1) functional capacities in terms of an employment outcome and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over a period of time. (Open)

D. Priority Category Four – All other individuals. (This category is closed).

DEFINITIONS

1. Applicant means an individual who has submitted an application for vocational rehabilitation services. An individual is considered to have submitted an application when the individual, or the individual’s representative, as appropriate, has filled out and signed an agency application form or has otherwise submitted a signed written request for services, and the individual is available for an assessment to determine eligibility and priority for services.

2. Legally Blind, as defined in Kentucky Revised Statutes 163.460 (2), means a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correction or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

3. Visually Impaired, as defined in Kentucky Revised Statutes 163.460 (3), means a condition of the eye with correction, which constitutes or progressively results for the individual in a substantial disability to employment.

4. Eligible Individual means an individual with a primary impairment of blindness or another visual impairment, who the Office for the Blind (OFB) has determined is an individual with a disability who requires vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, enter, engage in, retain or advance in employment.

5. Functional Capacities means the following:

A. Orientation and Mobility: The ability to travel independently to and from destinations in the community;

B. Self-Care: means the ability to engage in activities of daily living including: personal grooming; home management; health and safety needs;

C. Communication: The ability to comprehend, respond, and exchange information through: spoken words; written words, sign language, Braille, concepts, gestures or another means;

D. Work Skills: The ability to do specific tasks required for a particular job;

E. Work Tolerance: The ability to sustain required levels of functioning in work related activities with or without accommodations;

F. Interpersonal Skills: The ability to make and maintain personal, family and community relationships; and

G. Self-Direction: The ability to independently plan, initiate, problem solve, organize and carry out goal-directed activities.

6. Individual With a Significant Disability, as defined in Section 7 (21) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998, means:

A. An individual with a disability as defined under Section 7 (20) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998;

B. Who has a significant physical or mental impairment, which for such individual constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment; and seriously limits one or more functional capacities (such as mobility, communication, self care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome;

C. Whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time; and

D. Who has one or more physical or mental disabilities resulting from amputation, arthritis, autism, blindness, burn injury, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, deafness, head injury, heart disease, hemiplegia, hemophilia, respiratory or pulmonary dysfunction, mental retardation, mental illness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, musculo skeletal disorders, neurological disorders (including stroke and epilepsy), paraplegia, quadriplegia, and other spinal cord conditions, sickle cell anemia, specific learning disabilities, end stage renal disease, or another disability or combination of disabilities determined on the basis of an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs to cause comparable substantial functional limitations.

7. Individual With The Most Significant Disability means an eligible individual with a significant disability whose severe impairment seriously limits three (3) or more functional capacities in terms of employment outcome; and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over an extended period of time.

8. Presumption of Eligibility for Social Security Recipients and Beneficiaries means that an individual who has been determined eligible under Title I or Title XVI of the Social Security Act is:

• Considered to be an individual with a significant disability; and

• Presumed to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services under Title I (provided the individual intends to achieve an employment outcome consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual) unless the office can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that such individual is incapable of benefiting from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of employment outcome due to the severity of the disability of the individual.

9. Order Of Selection means the order to be followed in determining which priority categories of eligible individuals shall be provided vocational rehabilitation services when the Office for the Blind does not have funds to provide such services to all eligible individuals ensuring that first priority for services is given to those individuals who have the most significant disabilities.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

ORDER OF SELECTION SERVICE

DETERMINATION AND ADMINISTRATION

1. If the Executive Director and State Rehabilitation Council determine that the agency lacks available funds to serve all consumers, the office shall follow an order of selection to give priority for services according to a ranking of categories of consumers based on the severity of the disability. The Executive Director of the Office for the Blind shall direct the order of selection by designating in written memorandum, the priority categories to be served.

2. Order of Selection will not use any of the following factors in determining eligible individuals:

• Residency duration;

• type of disability; age, gender, race, color, or national origin;

• source of referral;

• type of expected employment outcome;

• need for specific services or anticipated cost of services;

• or the income level of the individual or its family.

3. The order of selection shall be implemented on a statewide basis.

4. The order of selection shall be implemented to assure that eligible individuals with the most significant disabilities are provided services before other eligible individuals.

5. The order of selection shall not affect: a) The acceptance of referrals and applicants; b) The provision of assessment services to determine whether an individual is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, and the individual’s priority under the order of selection; and c) Services needed by any eligible individual who has begun to receive services under an individualized plan for employment prior to the effective date of the order of selection, irrespective of the severity of the eligible individual’s disability; and d) Individuals requiring post employment services

6. The office will ensure that all funding arrangements for providing services under the State plan, including third-party arrangements and awards under the establishment authority, are consistent with the order of selection.

7. An eligible individual shall be immediately reclassified into a higher priority category whenever appropriate justification exists in the case record of the individual.

8. The office shall conduct an assessment to determine whether an individual is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, and the individual’s priority under the order of selection. The VR Counselor determines the eligibility of the individual and their priority category based on a review of the data from the assessment which may include but is not inclusive of:

a) Ophthalmology and Optometrist vision reports; b) Functional Limitations Checklist; c) Medical and Psychological Reports; d) Educational Background; e) Work History; and f) Other pertinent information.

9. In the order of selection each eligible individual within a closed priority category shall be placed on a waiting list until such time as the priority category is opened. The process for the waiting list is as follows:

a) Once an individual has been determined eligible within a closed priority category by the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor the individual will receive notification through the counselor in writing of:

1) Their assignment to a particular category;

2) The priority categories currently being served;

3) Their right to appeal their category assignment and the availability of the Client Assistance Program (CAP);

4) Information and referral services; and

5) They are given the option to be placed on a waiting list by date of application until such a time the priority category can be opened and the individual employment plan can be developed and initiated.

a) The waiting list will be maintained by the Director of Consumer Services; b) The waiting list will be reviewed quarterly by the Director of Consumer Services and Regional Managers; c) Consumers will be contacted annually to inform them the status of Order of Section and their specific priority category. Additional information (I & R) will be given. The consumer will be asked regarding their preference for remaining on the waiting list; and d) At the time when funds become adequate and a priority category will be opened the following sequence of action will occur for those individuals in a closed category:

1) Priority Category Four (4) will be opened and individuals on the waiting list will be served by date of application.

10. The office will assure that eligible individuals, who do not meet the order of selection criteria for the priority categories, shall have access to services provided through the information and referral system in accordance to the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. These services will include referral to other Federal and State programs including the statewide workforce investment programs. The process for this is as follows:

a) The agency will provide the individual with a notice of referral; b) The notice will contain a point of contact for the program or service an individual is being referred to and; c) Any relevant information regarding services for the individual relating to the preparation, securing, obtaining or retaining of employment; and d) Documentation of the nature and scope of information and referral services provided will be included in the individual service record and entered in the Case Management System (CMS).

11. Individuals who are presumed to be significantly disabled because they receive SSA benefits will be further assessed to determine if they meet the agency’s criteria for “individual with a most significant disability.”

12. Consumers making the decision not to be placed on a waiting list after they receive notification of their priority category will be closed. They will receive notification from their VR Counselor that their case will close and of their right to appeal the agency’s decision, including information on how to contact CAP. The notification will include information on how they may reapply for services in the future if their circumstances change or if the agency makes changes to order of selection.

Notification and Appeal

When a request for services by an eligible individual is affected by the order of selection, the individual shall be immediately notified of such in writing, and provided with information on procedures for individual rights for appeal, and how the Client Assistance Program may provide help in the process.

Changes in Order of Selection Priority Categories

Annually, prior to the beginning of each fiscal year the Executive Director, State Rehabilitation Council and Management Staff will reevaluate the agency circumstances to determine whether or not the agency’s resources are sufficient in serving all individuals or there is a need to implement, establish or make changes in order of Selection. At such time that the agency finds that it is able to serve those individuals in any closed priority category, that category will be re-opened. If the Agency finds that they have the resources to serve some individuals but not all individuals in a priority category the date of application will be utilized as a criterion for ranking individuals within a priority category. The timeline for this would be a year, unless the agency’s financial situation should change drastically. Circumstances that would allow this to occur include a decrease in the number of referrals or other sources that would result in additional funds, which could be utilized to serve these individuals.

When a priority category is to be opened for services, the Executive Director shall issue an implementing memorandum to staff, with instructions that appropriate services delayed under the order of selection may be provided.

 

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

Annual Outcomes and Costs

The grids below outline the current service population numbers and costs. Actual numbers served and the costs associated with them are listed for 2010. Service Numbers and costs for 2011 and 2012 are estimated based on current numbers year to date from queries run in the Case Management System (CMS).

________________________________________

2010 YEAR END ACTUAL OUTCOMES AND COSTS

10/1/09 THROUGH 9/30/10

Category One

Active Cases -1063

of Employment Outcomes - 183

Actual Associated Costs Per Closure -$352,029.65

Actual Associated Costs Per Category - $1,613,241.19

Category Two

Active Cases -494

of Employment Outcomes - 168

Actual Associated Costs Per Closure -$393,312.37

Actual Associated Costs Per Category - $1,018,266.

Category Three - Closed

Category Four - Closed

Total of Active Cases -1,557

Total of Employment Outcomes - 351

Total Actual Associated Costs p/ Closure - $745,342.02

Total Actual Associated Costs p/Category - $2,631,507.10

The actual total costs of services and administration for 2010 was: $ 9,395,162.00

________________________________________

2011 ESTIMATED OUTCOME GOALS AND TIMEFRAMES

Time Frame

10/1/10 through 9/30/11

Category One

Estimate to be Served -1,065

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 183

Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,000

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $2,130,000

Category Two

Estimate to be Served -500

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 168

Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,500

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $1,250,000

Category Three

Estimate to be Served -40

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 9

Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,500

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $100,000

Category Four - Closed

Total Estimate to be Served - 1,605

Total Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 360

Total Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,333.33

Total Estimated Associated Costs Per Category -$3,480,000

Year to date for FFY 2011 there are a total of 28 consumers determined eligible for services in Priority Category 4. Four (4/28) made the decision to be placed on a waiting list or 14%. 86% made the decision not to be placed on a waiting list and requested that their case be closed. All consumers were given information and referral to meet their individual needs.

A. of individuals entering services in 2011 with individualized plans for employment =1055

Estimated Total Costs: $7,016,749

B. Estimated determined eligible entering services in 2011= 550

Estimated Total Costs: $3,596,754

C. Total Projected Services and Administrative Costs inclusive of facilities, salaries, benefits, outreach activities, and required statewide studies: $10,613,503

D. Projected revenues and projected number of qualified personnel for the program. Revenues are projected at a minimal growth and the number of personnel will not increase with a state imposed cap. This will allow the Kentucky Office for the Blind adequate revenue and personnel (105) to cover the costs identified in A, B & C and to ensure the provision of the full range of services to individuals selected for services under the order of selection for the 2011 calendar year.

________________________________________

2012 ESTIMATED OUTCOME GOALS AND TIMEFRAMES

Time Frame

10/1/11 through 9/30/12

Category One

Estimate to be Served -1,070

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 184

Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,000

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $2,140,000

Category Two

Estimate to be Served -500

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 169

Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,500

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $1,250,000

Category Three

Estimate to be Served -40

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 10

Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,500

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $100,000

Category Four - Closed

Total Estimate to be Served - 1,610

Total Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 363

Total Estimated Average Costs Per Person -$2,333.33

Total Estimated Associated Costs Per Category -$3,490,000

A. Estimated of individuals entering services in 2012 with individualized plans for

employment = 990

Total Estimated Costs: $5, 988,480.00

B. Estimated determined eligible entering services in 2011 = 620

Total Estimated Costs: $4,761,770.00

C. Total Projected Services and Administrative Costs inclusive of facilities, salaries, benefits, outreach activities, and required statewide studies: $10,750,250.00

D. Projected revenues and projected number of qualified personnel for the program. Revenues are projected at a minimal growth and the number of personnel will not increase with a state imposed cap. This will allow the Kentucky Office for the Blind adequate revenue and personnel (105) to cover the costs identified in A, B & C and to ensure the provision of the full range of services to individuals selected for services under the order of selection in 2012.

Priority Category Number of individuals to be served Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services Time within which goals are to be achieved Cost of services
1 1,065 183 65 10/01/10 - 9/30/11 $2,130,000
2 500 168 35 10/01/10 - 9/30/11 $1,250,000
3 40 9 10 10/01/10 - 9/30/11 $100,000

This screen was last updated on Aug 11 2011 10:15AM by Cora McNabb

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.

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

During FY 2010 the amount of Title VI, Part B funds spent was $45,887. There were $44,994 carry-forward monies from 2009. The FY 2010 allotment was $44,926. The Office for the Blind will allocate funding from Title VI, Part B to ensure that individuals with the most significant disabilities have access to the provision of supported employment services on a statewide basis. These funds are only a supplement to the funds provided under Title I of the Act. Title VI, Part B funds will only be used in the provision of Supported Employment services to those individuals determined eligible through comprehensive assessments determining that it is an appropriate objective. These monies allocated will be fully expended with no more than five percent for administrative costs. Expenditures exceeding the Title VI-B allotment will be covered with funds from the 110 program. OFB served 12 consumers through supported employment in 2010 with 3 closures. One (1) of the three (3) or 33% were successful outcomes. In 2011, OFB estimates serving around 25 consumers through Supported Employment with (6) successful outcomes. The OFB expects to serve around 25 consumers through Supported Employment during the fiscal year 2012 with six (6) successful outcomes.

Supported Employment is competitive work (for the maximum hours possible) in an integrated work setting for individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred. Services will be outlined for consumers with severe disabilities in the written rehabilitation program plan based on his/her informed choice, individual strengths, resources, capabilities, needs, abilities and preferences. Job skills’ training when needed is provided on-site. All services provided under the individualized plan for employment will be coordinated with other Federal or State program plans.

The Office for the Blind is committed to the principle that individuals with the most significant disabilities (MSD), including those who have not traditionally experienced competitive work, are capable of engaging in employment in integrated settings. The agency and State Rehabilitation Council have agreed upon the goals and priorities in this attachment for Supported Employment. The goals and priorities in this attachment reflect the commitment of OFB to increase employment outcomes for individuals who are blind through supported employment. Transition is included as an area of focus specifically addressing increased collaboration with the Kentucky School for the Blind.

The main issue in Kentucky for Supported Employment is the lack of consistent available funding for extended services as well as a limited number of service providers statewide. Area providers are not experienced or well trained in the provision of supported employment services and placement best practices for the blind and visually impaired population. This is a specialty area of expertise that many providers do not have and are unwilling to expend time, monies and resources to training staff in this area. Additionally, OFB consumers typically do not fit the set criteria set by the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities making them eligible for the provision of ongoing supports.

In April, OFB received an updated provider list from the KY Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for the central, northern, eastern, and the metro areas of the state. OFB has placed an emphasis on growth and expansion for the area of supported employment for 2011 - 2012. Planning occurred in 2010 with some initiatives occurring. OFB in western Kentucky in August and September of 2010 hosted meetings with the local community rehabilitation providers. At the meetings OFB provided information specific to blindness, referral processes, and tried to get a gage on their individual needs in serving the target population. In 2011, OFB has several training initiatives for CRP’s planned and will report on these in the required reporting period.

Based on the information gathered and analyzed from the comprehensive statewide needs assessment the following goals for the distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds were set and they will remain the same for the 2011 State Plan. Upon completion of the FY 2012 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment OFB along with the State Rehabilitation will review the results for needed planning and the setting of goals for the 2013 State Plan.

The Kentucky Office for the Blind set the following goals for the distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds.

Goal 1: Increase the number served and the number of positive employment SE outcomes.

Strategy 1: Provide new staff with training or referral information as to Personal Futures Planning, natural supports, benefits planning and the use of other service providers or techniques to maximize employment opportunities for persons who require supported employment services.

Measure: Increase in served and the placed

Target: 10% increase over the prior year

Strategy 2: Utilize the technical assistance of the University of Kentucky Human Interdisciplinary Institute and The Association of Persons in Supported Employment and other service providers who provide specialty employment training services for persons working with individuals with the most significant disabilities. All new counseling staff will attend SETP training through the University.

Measure: new counseling staff participating in training

Target: 100%

Strategy 3: Develop working relationships with supported employment providers in order to increase acceptance of OFB consumers in their programs.

Measure: of new working relationships with SE providers

Target: 10% increase of number of working relationships

Strategy 4: Provide training and technical support to area providers of supported employment in order to increase their skills, experience and expertise in working with the blind and visually impaired.

Measure: of trainings that occur for SE providers.

Target: The agency will provide a training track specific to vision impairments at the KY 2010 APSE.

Goal 2: Increase linkages and program operations for Transition by working directly with the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) staff and school systems statewide in planning transition services and IPE development for students that require supported employment services.

Strategy 1: OFB will increase their collaborative partnerships through the Interagency Transition Council and its work group the Transition Core Team (TCT). The TCT is comprised of representatives from Kentucky’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (KOVR), Office for the Blind, Department of Education/Division of Exceptional Children (KDE/DECS) and Division of Career and Technical Education (DCTE); Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental & Intellectual Disabilities; the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs; Kentucky’s Deaf-Blind Intervention Project; and parent organizations.

Measure: of TCT meetings attended by OFB staff.

Target: 4 per quarter or 100%

Strategy 2: OFB staff will increase their collaborative partnerships through the Regional Interagency Transition Team (RITT). The Regional Interagency Transition Teams (RITTs) are aligned with the eleven Special Education Cooperatives in the state. The teams meet at least quarterly and are very active in their respective regions.

Measure: Number of staff attending all eleven RITTS across the state.

Target: 100% of the 11 RITTS (staff will represent agency in all cooperatives)

Strategy 3: Increase the number of individuals participating in the Community Based Transition Program (CBWTP).

Measure: Number of individuals participating in CBWTP

Target: 10% of increase over the prior year

This screen was last updated on Aug 11 2011 10:15AM by Cora McNabb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.11(d)(1): State’s 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

The Kentucky Office for the Blind’s mission is: To provide opportunities for employment and independence to individuals with visual disabilities. To accomplish this mission, the following strategies were developed for the established goals and priorities outlined in Attachment 4.11 (c) (1). Each goal is assigned to an OFB staff person or work group to assure that each strategy action step is carried out and goals are met. The designated staff person or work group will report quarterly on a goal grid for each goal strategy. A quarterly report will be compiled of the results of the steps taken in meeting the set goals and reviewed by the OFB steering committee and State Rehabilitation Council. The Council and Steering Committee will quarterly review the summarized reports monitoring the agencies performance in meeting the State Plan Goals and Priorities.

The Agency has a proposed plan for utilization of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) award for the OFB that aligns with and supports the following goals, strategies and Priorities and the outlined expansion and innovation activities that will improve employment outcomes for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Commonwealth.

Based on the identified needs through the 2009 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, the FFY 2009 Monitoring Report, and the agency's performance on the standards and indicators the State Rehabilitation Council and the Kentucky Office for the Blind have established the following Goals and Priorities and Strategies:

Priorities:

• Increase the number of quality employment outcomes

• Maximize consumer access to affordable assistive technology

• Expand and increase services for transition age youth.

Goal # 1: Increase the number of quality employment outcomes by providing services to ensure that individuals who are blind and visually impaired secure employment and achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Objective: The number of consumers obtaining employment by September 30,

2010 will increase over the prior year (Baseline -394).

Strategies

1.1 Expand and strengthen employer

relationships marketing the benefits of employing individuals who are blind and visually impaired.

Measure: Increase in the number of new employer initiatives

Baseline:3

1.2 Increase the number of Community Rehabilitation Providers utilized by OFB

Measure: Increase in the number of new CRP providers

Baseline: 17

1.3 Develop and increase outreach activities to minority groups and community based organizations serving them.

Measure: Increase in the number of consumers served from minority backgrounds from the prior year.

Baseline: Minority Service Rate Prior Year

1.4 Continue participation in the Employers Partner Team

Measure: Number of conference calls and meeting attended

1.5 Increase participation with the One Stop Service Delivery System.

Measure: The development and provision of training and technical support to partners in the One Stop System.

1.6 Improve working relationship with the Small Business Administration to improve the coordination of services for individuals seeking self-employment.

Measure: Established working relationship with the Small Business Administration

Goal #2: Expand and increase services for transition age youth.

Objective: The number of transition youth receiving services by September 30, 2010 will increase over the prior year.

Strategies

1.1 Increased collaboration with statewide special education, VI teachers, KATS, students and other pertinent staff in order to facilitate the transition process.

Measure: Increase in the number of transition age youth served from the prior year.

Measure: Increase in the number of students participating in the Community

Measure: Based Work Transition Program from the prior year

Measure: Increase in the percentage of transition age youth obtaining employment from the prior year.

Baseline: To be determined

1.2 Expansion and increased participation in INSIGHT

Measure: Increase in the number of students attending Insight

Baseline: 8

Measure: Increase the number of consumers obtaining a post secondary degree participating in INSIGHT.

Baseline: To be determined

1.3 Increase staff involvement and presentations in events regarding transition.

Measure: # 100% involvement of staff in presentations and events.

Baseline: 18 Counselors

1.4 Provision of training and outreach on benefits planning and work incentives for students and their families

Measure: Development and distribution of materials to students and families

Goal # 3 Maximize consumer access to affordable assistive technology to increase their independence in their homes, schools, and communities and remove barriers to employment

Objective: The agency will meet or exceed the number of individuals receiving technology services from the prior year.

Strategies

1.1 OFB staff will work on increasing employers’ knowledge and awareness of assistive technology and its use in the workplace

Measure: # of employer contacts/AT initiatives

1.2 OFB AT staff will provide training for VR staff and partners on the availability and uses of AT devices to accommodate consumers’ needs in employment settings.

Measure: # of trainings that occur

1.3 OFB will provide appropriate assistive technology devices support, and training for consumers.

Measure: #AT assessments occurring

Measure: # of consumers receiving AT devices

Measure: # of consumers receiving training.

Baselines: To be established in 2010

1.4 OFB will develop resources for consumers to access the AT devices and services they need for work, school, and community living.

Measure: The development of marketing materials and website visibility for AT services.

1.5 OFB will maximize its linkage with KATS

Measure: Development and usage of the OFB/KATS AT Demo/Device Loan Lab and Program

Goal # 4: Maximize the operational management of programs

Objective: To ensure efficiency and effectiveness of agency processes.

Strategies

1.1 Maximize usage of the case management system to enhance program services and quality assurance measures to support the agency programs.

Measures: Development of additional modules in CMS for the McDowell Center, Social Security, AT and Bioptic Driving.

Identify crystal reports needed for administration and evaluation of program operations.

1.2 Professional Development will occur for all staff in their specific positions agency wide.

Measures: Provision of training to all field staff on coding and the usage of CMS

Measure: Staff will receive training, continuing education and professional development specific to their assigned position.

1.3 OFB will continue its succession planning efforts targeting training for needed areas.

Measure: The design and development of a systematic quality assurance and review process

1.4 Review Agency procedures and practices to ensure compliance with federal and state law and effectiveness of operations.

Measure: Completion of formal review and revision of Agency procedures and practices.

Goal #5: Maximize the delivery of Independent Living Services (IL) and Services for Older Individuals (OIB) who are blind.

Objective: Increase the number of individuals who are blind and visually impaired that live independently, work competitively, and are active in their community from the prior year.

Strategies

1.1 Maximize consumer’s knowledge of the availability of IL and OIB Services

Measure: Increase in the number of consumers served from the prior year.

Baseline: OIB 841 IL 150

Measure: Services will be delivered to consumers in all 120 counties throughout the state.

1.2 Develop a resource guide for consumers regarding providers, services and programs available both regional and statewide (medical, mental health, housing)

Measure: Development and availability of a resource guide for each field office.

1.3 Increase marketing and outreach for IL and OIB Services.

Measure: The development of marketing materials and website visibility for IL and OIB services.

Innovation and Expansion Activities

Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities will be used to increase and enhance employment opportunities for individuals who have the most significant disabilities. The areas of focus for Innovation and Expansion Activities are as follows:

1) Training for staff specific to Categorized Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

2) Annual Support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council

3) Development of a work adjustment program specific to underserved populations.

Training for staff specific to Categorized Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Training will occur for staff on essential areas of blindness and vision impairments assuring that qualified and well trained personnel are available to effectively serve our consumers. As reported in the CSPD attachment 88% of counseling staff have been in their position ten (10) years or less. Only six percent (6%) have been with the agency twenty-five years or longer and six percent (6%) have been in their position fifteen (15) to twenty-five (25) years. The loss of veteran staff to retirements has leveled off as most individuals needing to retire within the necessary timeframe in order to maximize their benefits have already left the agency. Given the agency has a young workforce professional development, educational advancement and skills acquisition is an area of focus for the agency over the next few years.

Training specific to specialty areas such as Orientation and Mobility, Assistive Technology are typically costly and requires out of state travel that is often cost prohibitive for staff. Training that is specific to Instructional staff at the Charles W. McDowell Center for the area of blindness skills is another high area of need. The agency will work with the TACE Center on this initiative.

Work Adjustment

The agency will research potential collaborative partnerships in order to increase return to work efforts for consumers with brain injuries and developmental disabilities who are blind and visually impaired. There is a need for the development of a work adjustment program specific to this underserved population. The agency will collaborate with OVR on their existing programs; examine the feasibility of developing this service at our training facility and work with community rehabilitation providers on this initiative.

Annual Support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council

The Office for the Blind will continue to provide in annual support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council through administrative support and direct expenses necessary to operate the State Rehabilitation Council. Funding will be provided for Payment for contractual services to complete the annual client satisfaction survey through the University of Kentucky. These funding arrangements are consistent with 34 CFR 361.35.

Equitable access to and participation of Individuals with Disabilities State Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Service Program

OFB will take the necessary steps to ensure that there is equity of access and participation programs regardless of gender, race, national origin, color, disability or age. OFB has addressed barriers that may occur for equitable access through Goals #1, #2, #3 and #5.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 15 2010 4:11PM by Cora McNabb

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

ATTACHMENT 4.11(e) (2): Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use Of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

The goals and priorities for the Kentucky Office for the Blind for the FFY 2012 State Plan were developed in collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council and input from consumers and other stakeholders based on the comprehensive statewide assessment conducted in FFY 2009.

This attachment contains the reporting of Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities for FFY 2010.

Identified Goals, Priorities and Strategies for Achievement

The following goals were identified as priority areas for OFB:

• Increase the number of quality employment outcomes;

• Maximize consumer access to affordable assistive technology and

• Expand and increase services for transition age youth.

The following outlines the established Goals and Strategies and contains a reporting of their progress.

Goal 1: Increase the number of quality employment outcomes by providing services to ensure that individuals who are blind and visually impaired secure employment and achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Objective: The number of consumers obtaining employment by September 30, 2010 will increase over the prior year (Baseline -348 for 2009). In 2010 OFB had 351 PEO’s an increase of 1%.

Strategy 1.1: Expand and strengthen employer relationships marketing the benefits of employing individuals who are blind and visually impaired.

Measures: Increase in the number of new employer initiatives Baseline: 3 (2009 data)

Progress: This goal was met in 2010 with 4 new employer initiatives an increase in 25%. Initiatives in 2009 were: YUM Foods in establishing an accessible work station. Intensive work with CITI as they closed their customer services and transitioned all VI staff to the collections unit. The nature of collections is very different and staff worked closely with CITI to minimize the problems of accessibility and maximize employee performance. Two hires under the federal selective placement initiative. 4 new initiatives in 2010 were: Wal-Mart (retail), Goodwill (professional), Best Buy and the Census Bureau.

Strategy 1.2: Increase the number of Community Rehabilitation Providers utilized by OFB,

Measures: Increase the number of new CRP providers

Baseline: 7 SE providers (2009 data)

Progress: This strategy was met above the set goal of 10% at 43%. In 2010 there were 4 new providers or a 43% increase over 2009 bringing the total number of providers to 11.

Strategy 1.3: Develop and increase outreach activities to minority groups and community based organizations serving them.

Measure: Increase in the number of consumers served from minority backgrounds from the prior year.

Baseline: Minority Service Rate Prior Year

Progress: Not Met

In 2009 the minority ratio was .93 and there were fewer than 100 (53) minorities exiting. In 2010 the ratio was .87 and there were fewer than 100 (66) minorities exiting. Independent Livng and Older Blind Staff in their outreach efforts attended around 204 events including diabetes and aging coalitions, health fairs, libraries, health departments, mental health agencies, churches and eye physicians’ offices in order to reach minority groups through these organizations. Vocational Rehabilitation staff in their outreach efforts attended 152 events (transition fairs, job fairs (veterans), health fair and other community based organization meetings. OFB will continue implementation of the strategies for the 2011 and 2012 Minority Outreach Plan.

Strategy 1.4: Continue participation in the Employers Partner Team Measures: Number of conference calls and meeting attended

Progress: Met

OFB Staff representing the agency participated in all conference calls with the Employers Partner National Teams (every other month a total of 6 for the 2010 reporting period). Information sharing occurred regarding national job openings federal agencies (Highway department, IRS, Social Security). Gained information regarding several private employers from national level hiring. Networked with other state representatives in sharing methods for developing employer relations and outcomes. OFB staff continued the work with Convergy’s on-going. In September 2010, OFB staff attended the National Employment Conference in order to discuss best practices with other employment specialist per state and share different business relationships that other states have developed. OFB tracks the employment outcomes for KY OFB per companies aligned with the national employment team tracking. KY OFB has had little success with these employers. On a positive note, OFB developed a national relationship with Best Buy Distribution Center in August 2010. Best Buy located a facility in Elizabethtown, KY. Consulted with other blind state agencies regarding technical trends as well as employment standards used by these states.

Staff shared job leads via email with staff and was instrumental in facilitating the federal selective placement initiative with staff resulting in two new hires. OFB staff identifies consumers that are in work ready status and sends job leads directly to them. Additionally job leads are shared with the SRC.

Stategy 1.5: Increase participation with the One Stop Service Delivery System.

Measure: The development and provision of training and technical support to partners in the One Stop System.

Progress: In the summer of 2009, the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board began a process to develop a strategic plan to transform Kentucky’s workforce development system to meet the challenges of a changing global economy and address the most immediate concerns of the current financial crisis. In May of 2010, the Kentucky KWIB Strategic Plan, “WorkSmart Kentucky” was implemented. There are five action areas: System Transformation, Education Alignment, Economic Development Alignment, System Simplification, and Customer Service. The Workforce Development Programs including the Office of Employment and Training, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office for the Blind Staff are involved on teams and work groups for each of these five action areas. Additionally all the One Stop partner program staff is a part of the collaborative work teams and committees. This has brought the entire partner program staffs of One Stop Service Delivery System together sharing in the roles and responsibilities of implementation. As a result on a statewide level there is increased knowledge, better work relationships and a broader understanding of the One Stop system. This will build in 2011 as the action steps for each area are implemented and training in multiple areas for all staff will occur in a more unified system. Reporting will occur for 2011activies specific to these initiatives in the 2013 State Plan.

Strategy 1.6: Improve working relationship with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to improve the coordination of services for individuals seeking self-employment.

Measure: Established working relationship with the Small Business Administration

Progress: Met

OFB staff met with OVR, our sister agency staff to discuss their provision of services on February 12, 2010. On February 16, 2010 a meeting occurred with Cabinet for Economic Development, Small Business Services Division staff to discuss in depth all aspects involved in developing a small business enterprise. On February 23, OFB staff met with the SRC Business Opportunities Committee chairperson, Charles Allen on this subject. At the May 21, 2010 meeting of the SRC, OFB reported that in 2009 13 OFB consumers inquired about self employment. Those individuals were referred by the vocational rehabilitation counselor to the Self-Employment Business Development Center (KSBDC). At that time 7/10 or 70% of those individuals had not followed through with KSBDC. In 2010, 4 consumers inquired about self employment and they were referred to KSBDA and 0/3 followed through with the referral. The agency developed a brochure specific to self – employment. The KSBDC handbook is available in alternate formats for consumers.

Goal 2: Expand and increase services for transition age youth.

Objective: The number of transition youth receiving services by September 30,

2010 will increase over the prior year.

Strategy 1.1: Increased collaboration with statewide special education, VI teachers, KATS, students and other pertinent staff in order to facilitate the transition process.

Measure a: Increase in the number of transition age youth served from the prior year.

Progress: Met

Baseline established in 2009 (Transition Age of 14 – 24) served 281. The number served in 2010 was 333. This was an increase in 52 over the prior year or a 16% increase.

Measure b. Increase in the number of students participating in the Community Based Work Transition Program from the prior year

Progress: Met

Baseline established in 2009 was 1 CBWTP participant. There were 2 CBWTP participants in 2010 an increase of 50%.

Measure c. Increase in the percentage of transition age youth obtaining employment from the prior year.

Progress: Met

Baseline established of 3 for 2009. In 2010 there were 14 positive employment outcomes. This is an increase of 79%.

Strategy 1.2 Expansion and increased participation in INSIGHT

Measure a: Increase in the number of students attending Insight

Progress: Baseline was established in 2009 with 10 individuals attending INSIGHT. 6 individuals attended INSIGHT in 2010. This was a 40% decrease over the prior year. *Of Note 17 individuals attended INSIGHT in 2011. This is a 59% increase in attendance over the prior year.

Measure b. Increase the number of consumers obtaining a post secondary degree participating in INSIGHT.

Baseline: To be determined in 2011.

Progress: There are a total of 39 participants in INSIGHT from 2006 – 2010. Since the inception of the program in 2006, 26 of the 34 participants or 64% have enrolled in a post secondary education program. One (3%) individual dropped out of school and is currently employed, 1 (3%) moved out of state and 2 (5%) students passed away while enrolled in college. Six (15%) individuals chose not to enroll in a post secondary education program at this time and the remaining 4 (10%) are still in high school. One individual from the first group of participants graduated from a technical college in 2010. The first group of participants (7) from 2006 stats are as follows: 1/7 or 14% at home, 2/7 or 29% deceased, 1/7 or 14% graduated ITT Technical College 2010, and the remaining 3/7 are enrolled in a postsecondary setting (43%).

Strategy 1.3 Increase staff involvement and presentations in events regarding transition.

Mesure: 100% involvement of staff in presentations and events.

Progress: Not Met

In 2009 72% or 13/18 Counseling Staff made presentations and in 2010 50% or 9/18 Counseling Staff made presentations.

Strategy 1.4: Provision of training and outreach on benefits planning and work incentives for students and their families Development and distribution of materials to students and families

Progress: None for this area.

Staff will address this strategy area in 2011 and 2012.

Goal 3: Maximize consumer access to affordable assistive technology to increase their independence in their homes, schools, and communities and remove barriers to employment.

Objective: The agency will meet or exceed the number of individuals receiving technology services from the prior year. *AT goals were set keeping in mind that due to AARA funding there was an increase in services numbers for the area of AT in 2010.

Strategy 1.1: OFB staff will work on increasing employers’ knowledge and awareness of assistive technology and its use in the workplace

Measure: of employer contacts/AT initiatives

Progress: Tracking mechanisms were established in 2010 for this measure in order to establish a baseline. A baseline of 8 per staff was identified. AT staff received guidance on how to report tracking for these areas. Quarterly reporting will occur from all staff and will be included in next year’s state plan.

Strategy 1.2: OFB AT staff will provide training for VR staff and partners on the availability and uses of AT devices to accommodate consumers’ needs in employment settings.

Measure: of trainings that occur

Progress: Tracking mechanisms were established in 2010 for this measure in order to establish a baseline. A baseline of 2 per staff was identified. AT staff received guidance on how to report tracking for these areas. Quarterly reporting will occur from all staff and will be included in next year’s state plan.

Strategy 1.3: OFB will provide appropriate assistive technology devices support, and training for consumers.

Measure: AT assessments occurring

Progress: Tracking mechanisms were established in 2010 for this measure. A baseline of 50 per staff was identified. AT staff received guidance on how to report tracking for these areas. Quarterly reporting will occur from all staff and will be included in next year’s state plan.

Measure: of consumers receiving AT devices

Progress: Tracking mechanisms were established in 2010 for this measure. A baseline of 40 per staff was identified. AT staff received guidance on how to report tracking for these areas. Quarterly reporting will occur from all staff and will be included in next year’s state plan.

Mesure: of consumers receiving training.

Progress: Tracking mechanisms were established in 2010 for this measure. A baseline of 40 per staff was identified. AT staff received guidance on how to report tracking for these areas. Quarterly reporting will occur from all staff and will be included in next year’s state plan.

Strategy 1.4: OFB will develop resources for consumers to access the AT devices and services they need for work, school, and community living.

Measure a. The development of marketing materials and website visibility for AT services.

Progress: Website development in 2010 included a section for AT. AT staff wrote the narrative text for the section. New website launched in the spring of 2011. No progress for the area of printed marketing materials specific to AT.

Strategy 1.5: OFB will maximize its linkage with KATSDevelopment and usage of the OFB/KATS AT Demo/Device Loan Lab and Program

Progress: Met

Demonstrations and Short-Term Loans continued throughout FY2010. KATS consulted with OFB AT staff regarding purchase of additional equipment for the lab and developed a tentative list of equipment to upgrade/purchase. Presentation made to DeafBlind support group to promote KATS Network and the Demo/loan lab. KATS continues to post links to B/VI related AT resources on their website as they become available.

Goal 4: Maximize the operational management of programs

Objective: To ensure efficiency and effectiveness of agency processes.

Strategy 1.1: Maximize usage of the case management system to enhance program services and quality assurance measures to support the agency programs.

Measure: Development of additional modules in CMS for the McDowell Center, Social Security, AT and Bioptic Driving. Identify crystal reports needed for administration and evaluation of program operations

Progress: OFB staff collaboratively worked with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Staff and the programmers to create reports that are specific to identified needs for quality assurance of program services in Crystal Reports. There are now numerous reports (80) available through the system. Reports can be designed based on the needs of staff for specific programs and services based on the needed data sets. Through quality assurance processes OFB staff identified areas where cost savings to the agency for the area of Diagnosis and Treatment can occur in aligning with Medicare fees for services. An additional vocational rehabilitation administrator was added to the staff in Central office assigned to the area of quality assurance. This individual continues to monitor and review our payment process to identify areas for improvement and cost-savings. Processes are in place to identify the layout of each additional module in CMS with a focus on the module for the McDowell Rehabilitation Center in 2010. Staff is working one on one with the programmers to implement those changes. The new modules will provide accurate tracking and reporting of real time data from the case management system.

OFB CMS staff is working with the programmers to create reports that are specific to identified needs for quality assurance of program services in Crystal Reports.

Strategy 1.2: Professional Development will occur for all staff in their specific positions agency wide.

Measure: Provision of training to all field staff on coding and the usage of CMS. Staff will receive training, continuing education and professional development specific to their assigned position.

Progress: 14 staff attended national or regional conferences held out of state in 2010 specific to their discipline area (Orientation and Mobility, Deaf-Blind). Dissemination of Knowledge from Research and Other Sources is circulated on a weekly basis from a variety of sources. Staff attended 20 different in-state professional conferences and training.

A refresher training occurred for Assistants in May of 2010 covering CMS and the areas of authorizations, expenditure codes, case file order, SSI and SSDI and staff provided services. This is reported fully in the CSPD attachment of the State Plan.

Strategy 1.3: OFB will continue its succession planning efforts targeting training for needed areas.

Measure: The design and development of a systematic quality assurance and review process

Progress: For this area, no formal progress has been made. This will be addressed in 2011-2012. One action for this area is a two step approval process was established for authorization approval. Another area under review is the existing case review process and how it is conducted.

Strategy 1.4: Review Agency procedures and practices to ensure compliance with federal and state law and effectiveness of operations.

Measure: Completion of formal review and revision of Agency procedures and practices.

Progress: For this area, no formal progress has been made.

In 2010, OFB administrative staff was in the early stages of review of the following documents: Consumer Handbook, Transition Handbook, State Regulations and Statues, Counselor Handbook, McDowell Center Handbook and Curriculum Guide and other agency procedures. The Director of Consumer Services established work groups in the fall of 2010 for each of the documents will be a focus in 2011 -2012.

Goal 5: Maximize the delivery of Independent Living Services (IL) and Services for Older Individuals (OIB) who are blind.

Objective: Increase the number of individuals who are blind and visually impaired that live independently, work competitively, and are active in their community from the prior year.

Strategy 1.1: Maximize consumer’s knowledge of the availability of IL and OIB Services

Measure a. Increase in the number of consumers served from the prior year.

Baseline: OIB 655 IL 175 (2009)

Progress:

16 % increase OIB/777

4% decrease IL/169

Measure b. Services will be delivered to consumers in all 120 counties throughout the state

Progress:

In 2009 IL/OIB staff served 108/120 counties or 90%. In 2010 IL/OIB staff served 113/120 or 94%. This was a 4% increase over the prior year.

Strategy 1.2: Develop a resource guide for consumers regarding providers, services and programs available both regional and statewide (medical, mental health, housing)

Measure: the development and availability of a resource guide for each field office.

Progress: Met

The Special Projects Committee of the State Rehabilitation Council worked with OFB staff on a resource guide for this strategy area in 2010. The guide was completed and is available on the website and in alternate formats upon request.

Strategy 1.3: Increase marketing and outreach for IL and OIB Services.

Measure: The development of marketing materials and website visibility for IL and OIB services.

Progress: Met

An additional OIB counselor was hired with AARA money in the Northern KY region and one additional Counselor (IL/OIB) was added to the Elizabethtown field office to increase visibility and availability of services. The Northern Kentucky Position was added as a full-time permanent position. The new website was released containing a section devoted to IL/OIB.

American Recovery and Reinvestment ACT (ARRA) Fund Activities

The Office for the Blind reports the following priorities for ARRA funding that were identified and implemented in 2010 in addition to the reported activity on the goals and strategies of the state Plan. In 2011 there were revisions to the Stimulus Spending Proposal. A full reporting of these activities will be in the FFY 2013 State Plan.

Basic Support Stimulus

Priority 1: Community Service Providers-Work Experience Initiative

Contacts with community employers will be made to provide a work experience for clients who will be paid for their work by the KY OFB. Observation of these clients at work provides an opportunity for vocational evaluation that cannot be matched by traditional paper and pencil testing. Two Federally Funded Time Limited (FFTL) employees were hired to provide the services mentioned above.

Priority 2: Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP)

Historically, Office for the Blind Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors provides job placement services to blind and visually impaired Kentuckians. However, due to the hard economic climate and the ever tightening job market there is an increasing need for specialized placement expertise for individuals with the most significant blind and visual impaired disabilities. OFB wants to assist community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) to develop their service capacity to provide specialized job placement services to OFB consumers. By developing this new partnership between CRPs and OFB, the consumers will have greater opportunities to achieve employment and become self-sufficient.

Priority 3: Upgrade the CMS to Track and Measure

Performance

McDowell Rehabilitation Center Database – include a module on the new CMS so McDowell Rehabilitation Center (MRC) staff can extract real-time demographic data (name, address, gender, telephone number, acuities, cause of blindness/visual impairment, etc.) on consumers referred to MRC services.

Employer Database – include a module on the new CMS to include information from the database of employers with who the OFB has placed consumers. This module would enable sharing of job leads and information on prospective employers in a one-stop setting for VR counselors.

Provide funding to complete the IL and OIB module of the Case Management System. The system needs changes in order to maximize its use. Additionally, at the request of RSA, the new module will allow the IL and OIB grants to be separated which will allow for a more accurate account of expenditures. It will also serve as a management tool to measure the program. The data will also be used to complete the 7-0B federal report.

Bioptic Driving Database – include a module on the new CMS to include the Bioptic Driving database. This will enable VR Counselors to quickly gather real-time information on consumers’ bioptic driving license, and any restrictions on that license to aid in job placement. This module in the new CMS would also enhance the agency’s ability to extract performance data regarding bioptic driving license holders and successful case closure.

Priority 4: Increased Caseload Budgets

Caseload budgets have felt the strain of increasing expenses in the area of assistive technology use by consumers who are blind or visually impaired. Technology is needed in order to access post-secondary training or required in-job accommodations. This time limited increase will help provide for technology that can be utilized for the next several years.

Priority 5: Address Bi-optic Driving Program Backlog

The Kentucky Bi-optic Driving Program currently has approximately thirty working individuals waiting on services. Historically, it can take upwards of six months to schedule the necessary training and testing as we have only two staff available. Funds obtained through the ARRA will allow the agency to utilize outside training providers in addition to our existing two staff. We will be able to provide the training much quicker so that our consumers can gain their driver’s license and ultimately return or maintain their employment.

Priority 6: Counseling and Job Placement Development

The JAVA Café (Job Access with Vocational Assistance) is a meeting place for Office for the Blind consumer to have equal access to training, technology, career exploration and assessments that fosters opportunities for employment and independence. The JAVA Café will be a site for peer support, mentoring, and a place for job search, job readiness and interviewing technique training. JAVA will be housed in our larger regional offices in Somerset and Lexington. Outlying field offices (Ashland, Florence and Prestonsburg) will have access to these training hubs as well. Training would be provided in the following areas: basic computer knowledge, accessible software and job readiness.

Priority 7: Upgrade and Expand Technology Services for Consumers

Upgrade and expansion of all OFB assistive technology (AT) hardware and software at the McDowell Center and OFB field offices to the latest versions and needed AT categories appropriate to Employment, Transition, and Independent Living. The costs will include required hardware, all accessibility features, warranties, and upgrades.

Priority 8: New Vending Equipment for Kentucky Business Enterprise

Under the Randolph-Sheppard Act the state licensing agency must maintain vending facility equipment in good repair, or replace the vending equipment as needed. The vending equipment owned by Kentucky Business Enterprises is aged and in many cases not repairable. Over 45% of the equipment is over 15 years old. New vending equipment needs to be purchased in order to keep our blind vending program operating in a professional and competent manner.

Older Individuals Who Are Blind

Priority 1: Expand Services to Older Blind Individuals

Utilize one FFTL position to perform duties of an Independent Living Counselor in the Northern Kentucky area. This counselor would be responsible for providing direct services including skills training to persons with vision impairments/blindness who are age 55 and over. In addition, the counselor will be responsible for outreach activities to locate referral sources, community resources, and potential consumers.

Priority 2: Provision of Orientation and Mobility

Establish budgets for each IL Counselor to purchase Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training from certified specialists. Currently, the counselors’ budgets are not large enough to allow for the purchase of this service. Although the OFB does have O&M Specialists on staff, there is a long waiting list for their services and they are not available to work in the more rural areas of the state. Most of the older consumers prefer to receive the training in their home area. This will reduce the wait time for consumers to receive training through the Charles McDowell Center.

Priority 3: Provision of Assistive Technology

Purchase of assistive devices such as talking glucometers for persons, who are blind and diabetic. Consumers with medical needs requiring assistive technology devices would be given priority. Other assistive technology equipment to be considered for purchase would be closed circuit televisions (reading machines) to allow visually impaired persons to read, and/or magnification software for consumers who utilize home computers. Budgets do not currently allow for the purchase of advanced technology.

Priority 4:

Transportation

Purchase transportation for consumers to attend peer support meetings or other training opportunities. Persons who are blind and live in rural areas now find it very difficult to take advantage of these group meetings as no public transportation is available.

Priority 5: Mini

Trainings

One day training sessions for consumers will be held in various locations in the state. These trainings will be conducted by agency staff to groups of older blind persons. The purpose will be to provide quick but intensive instruction in basic adaptive activities of daily living skills needed by persons with vision impairments as well as establish peer support groups. Travel expenses of participants will be included. Adaptive equipment used as part of the training course would be furnished to the participants.

Priority 6: Training for Older Individuals Who Are Deaf/Blind

Host the Confident Living Training program for deaf/ blind persons. The training program is provided by the Helen Keller National Center. In addition, to furnishing a training site and accommodations for the training program, the OFB staff would work with the Helen Keller staff as support trainers during the week long program. Transportation, housing and meals would be provided to the participants.

Independent Living Stimulus Total (UNDER AGE 55)

Priority 1: Provide Orientation and Mobility Training Services

Purchase Orientation and Mobility training to persons who are blind/visually impaired and under the age of 55. This training will enable persons to maintain the ability to travel independently increasing their ability to work and live within their communities. Current case load budgets are not large enough to cover this training cost.

Priority 2: Adaptive Medical Equipment

Establish budget for the purchase of adaptive medical equipment such as talking glucometers for persons who are blind and diabetic. Being able to independently monitor health issues will give greater independence to consumers. This independence will allow some consumers to obtain or maintain employment.

In FFY 2011 there was a revision in the Stimulus Plan Proposal to include an initiative to conduct a Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment. Under this initiative the Office for the Blind developed a competitive RFP to gather bids from organizations with the expertise to conduct the statewide needs assessment. There were no other new initiatives that required revisions to the plan. Other revisions to the plan were fiscal considerations requiring a transfer of funds to projects that had a higher demand for services. As a result, additional funds were required to continue certain stimulus proposal activities than were initially anticipated.

 

Reporting of Supported Employment Program Goals

The Kentucky Office for the Blind set the following goals for the distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds.

Goal 1: Increase the number served and the number of positive employment SE outcomes.

Strategy 1: Provide new staff with training or referral information as to Personal Futures Planning, natural supports, benefits planning and the use of other service providers or techniques to maximize employment opportunities for persons who require supported employment services.

Measure: Increase in served and the placed

Target: 10% increase over the prior year

Progress: There was a 9% increase in the number served and a 75% decrease of the number placed over the prior year.

OFB served 21 consumers through supported employment in 2009 with 10 closures. Four (4) of the ten (10) or 40% were successful outcomes. OFB served 23 consumers through supported employment in 2010 with 3 closures. One (1) of the three (3) or 33% were successful outcomes. In 2011 OFB implemented an initiative for the area of Supported Employment.

Strategy 2: Utilize the technical assistance of the University of Kentucky Human Interdisciplinary Institute and The Association of Persons in Supported Employment and other service providers who provide specialty employment training services for persons working with individuals with the most significant disabilities. All new counseling staff will attend training through the University.

Measure: new counseling staff participating in training

Target: 100%

Progress: Met

In 2010 one (1) new counselor was added on staff and they attended the required training.

Strategy 3: Develop working relationships with supported employment providers in order to increase acceptance of OFB consumers in their programs.

Measure: of new working relationships with SE providers

Target: 10% increase of number of working relationships

Baseline: 7 SE providers (2009 data)

Progress: Met

In 2010 there were 4 new providers or a 43% increase over 2009. This was met above the goal of 10% at 43%.

Strategy 4: Provide training and technical support to area providers of supported employment in order to increase their skills, experience and expertise in working with the blind and visually impaired.

Measure: of trainings that occur for SE providers.

Target: The agency will provide a training track specific to vision impairments at the KY 2010 APSE.

Progress: Met

A training session for professionals in the field of Supported Employment was conducted at the 2009 Kentucky APSE annual conference. Approximately 35 individuals attended. The training covered etiquette related to individuals with visual impairments and examples of successful Supported Employment placements, including the technology used. In November 2010, staff participated in the 2010 Kentucky APSE Conference. A staff member presented on etiquette, tact, and courtesy when interacting with an individual that is blind or visually impaired, as well as how to communicate comfortably with individuals that are blind or visually impaired. An orientation and mobility specialist covered sighted guide, as well as the basics of orientation and mobility. An assistive technology specialist presented on various pieces of technology and how they could be used to help an individual on the job and in the home environment. The session was attended by four individuals that were new to working with individuals that are blind and visually impaired. OFB is planning a training for the 2011 APSE.

Goal 2: Increase linkages and program operations for Transition by working directly with the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) staff and school systems statewide in planning transition services and IPE development for students that require supported employment services.

Strategy 1: OFB will increase their collaborative partnerships through the Interagency Transition Council and its work group the Transition Core Team (TCT). The TCT is comprised of representatives from Kentucky’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (KOVR), Office for the Blind, Department of Education/Division of Exceptional Children (KDE/DECS) and Division of Career and Technical Education (DCTE); Kentucky Department Behavioral Health, Developmental & Intellectual Disabilities; the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs; Kentucky’s Deaf-Blind Intervention Project; and parent organizations.

Measure: of TCT meetings attended by OFB staff.

Target: 4 per quarter or 100%

Progress: Met at 75% of the goal.

Staff attended three of four meetings or 75%

Strategy 2: OFB staff will increase their collaborative partnerships through the Regional Interagency Transition Team (RITT). The Regional Interagency Transition Teams (RITT) are aligned with the eleven Special Education Cooperatives in the state. The teams meet at least quarterly and are very active in their respective regions.

Measure: Number of staff attending all eleven RITTS across the state.

Target: 100% of the 11 RITTS (staff will represent agency in all cooperatives)

Progress: Not Met

Counseling Staff represented the agency at 5 of 11 or 45% of the RITTS in 2009 and 6 of 11 in 2010 or 55% yielding a slight increase. They participated in the Kentucky Valley RITT, Big East RITT, Wilderness Trail RITT, Upper Cumberland RITT, Central Kentucky RITT

Strategy 3: Increase the number of individuals participating in the Community Based Transition Program (CBWTP).

Measure: Number of individuals participating in CBWTP

Target: 10% increase over the prior year

Progress: Met

In 2009 there was 1 individual that participated in CBWTP. In 2010 there were two individuals that participating in CBWTP an increase of 50%. Although this is a gain in the number of participants the agency recognizes the need to improve in this strategy area.

 

Reporting Requirements/Standards And Indicators

Number of Applicants Determined Eligible Receiving Services

During FY 2010, there were 1,557 active cases in the vocational rehabilitation program. There were 351 individuals who had employment outcomes all of whom (100%) were significantly disabled. Of those individuals who achieved employment outcomes as a result of vocational rehabilitation services, 289 have incomes above minimum wage.

1998 REHABILITATION ACT STANDARDS AND INDICATORS

OFB is committed to providing the highest quality services to persons with blindness or visual impairments and to the development of and adherence to a full system of accountability. The office recognizes the following standards of excellence that include evaluation standards and performance indicators. These Vocational Rehabilitation standards comply with all requirements of the Workforce Investment Act, The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 as well as the goals listed under the strategic plan for the U.S. Department of Education.

Pursuant to section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, the office will assess its performance on these standards and indicators and the state performance measures established under section 136 (b) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to the extent the measures are applicable to individuals with disabilities. The Office for the Blind will report these results on an annual basis.

Evaluation Standard One: Employment Outcomes

Performance Indicator 1.1: The number of employment outcomes;

This performance indicator was met

The number of employment outcomes for 2009 was 348. The number of employment outcomes for FY 2010 was 351. This is an increase in 3 over the prior year.

In looking at the two year average of the prior and current year numbers OFB is still below average with a negative of 43. It was anticipated that this would be a positive number in 2010 however given the current economic climate this did not happen. Given the small increase this year it is anticipated that in 2011 this two year average will be a positive number. Overall the agency was still able to place a number of individuals into SGA that are receiving SSI or SSDI. In Kentucky as in other states, due to the economic downturn competition in the job market is high. Individuals who are blind must complete with high numbers of individuals on the unemployment roles seeking employment. For the first time since February 2009 Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate fell below the 10 percent mark to 9.8 percent in May 2011, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The state’s rate was 10 percent in April 2011. The preliminary May 2011 jobless rate dropped .6 percentage point below the 10.4 percent rate recorded in May 2010 for the state. The state’s May 2011 rate matches the February 2009 rate of 9.8 percent. Open positions draw a large pool of highly qualified individuals with diverse skills and abilities. This increases the competitiveness of the pool of candidates and narrows an individual’s opportunity for successful employment. Another factor in Kentucky is there is a lack of medical benefits for individuals leaving state benefits or social security where Kentucky does not have a Medicaid buy-in program established.

The agency will continue to address this area through:

• increased staff training

• involvement in job fairs

• training and educational opportunities for consumers that will increase their competitiveness in the job market

• aligning resources with other state agencies

• tapping into all the available resources for consumer.

RSA Standard: equal or exceed previous year

Performance Indicator 1.2: The percentage of cases with employment outcomes; RSA Standard: 68.9%

The percentage of cases with employment outcomes for FY 2010 of the total number of cases was 79.5%. This indicator was met.

Primary Indicator One (Performance Indicator 1.3): Percentage of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome who exited the OFB program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. RSA Standard: 35.4%

For FY 2010 this indicator was met with a percentage was 90.31%

Primary Indicator Two (Performance Indicator 1.4): Percentage of individuals with significant disabilities as a percentage of all individuals who exit the VR program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. RSA Standard: 89%

For FY 2010 this indicator was met with the percentage at 100%

Primary Indicator Three (Performance Indicator 1.5): The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the OFB program in competitive, self, or KBE employment with earning levels equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to Kentucky’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the state who are employed. RSA Standard: .59

For FY 2010 this indicator was met with the ratio to the average Kentucky hourly wage for all categories at 65.27%.

Performance Indicator 1.6: Self-sufficiency resulting from employment;

RSA Standard: 30.4 mathematical difference

For FY 2010 this indicator was not met with the percentage change between application and closure at 28.39%.

Evaluation Standard Two: Minority Access

Performance Indicator 2.1: Service rates for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities for FY 2010 was 87.14. RSA Standard: 80.00 ratio

This performance indicator was met. The agency has a plan in place for minority outreach. Individuals who are minorities have equal access to vocational rehabilitation services. OFB is committed in its effort to build the capacity to effectively service individuals with most significant disabilities who are minorities. OFB will provide vocational rehabilitation services to all individuals who have visual disabilities who are eligible for services regardless of gender, race, national origin, religion, color, disability or age. The Agency assures the provision of services to American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing in the state to the same extent as it provides services to other significant populations or individuals residing in the state.

 

INNOVATION AND EXPANSION ACTIVITIES

During FY 2010, the State Rehabilitation Council had a budget of $48,100.00. These dollars came from Title I funds. The projected budget for FY 2011 is $48,100 and for 2012 is $84,500.

OFB does not provide basic support dollars to the Statewide Independent Living Council. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office for the Blind share costs for a part time coordinator position for Statewide Independent Living Council. Funds for the split position come from the Independent Living Part B funds.

During FFY 2010 a total of $39,206 including staff expenses in Title I Funds were spent for innovation and expansion activities. The following is a summary of how these funds were expended:

Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities will be used to increase and enhance employment opportunities for individuals who have the most significant disabilities. The areas of focus for Innovation and Expansion Activities are as follows:

1) Training for staff specific to Categorized Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

2) Annual Support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council

3) Development of a work adjustment program specific to underserved populations.

Training for staff specific to Categorized Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Training will occur for staff on essential areas of blindness and vision impairments assuring that qualified and well trained personnel are available to effectively serve our consumers. As reported in the CSPD attachment 72% of counseling staff have been in their position ten (10) years or less. Only 28 percent (28%) have been with the agency 11 years or longer. The loss of veteran staff to retirements has leveled off as most individuals needing to retire within the necessary timeframe in order to maximize their benefits have already left the agency. Given the agency has a young workforce professional development, educational advancement and skills acquisition is an area of focus for the agency over the next few years.

Training specific to specialty areas such as Orientation and Mobility, Assistive Technology are typically costly and requires out of state travel that is often cost prohibitive for staff. Training that is specific to Instructional staff at the Charles W. McDowell Center for the area of blindness skills is another high area of need. The agency will work with the TACE Center on this initiative.

Progress: In 2010, $1,521 was spent on staff training for Assistive Technology staff professional development. In 2010 the agency submitted a Basic and Quality Grant award that contained goals and objectives addressing this area. Both grants were awarded to the Office for the Blind and these training activities are now covered under these awards. Prior to this timeframe, OFB only had a Basic Quality Award in the amount of $18,883 a year. With the addition of the Quality Award with an annual amount of $85,000 annual for a five year period the opportunity for training for specialized staff is at a maximum. Under this Basic In-Service Training Grant the scope of work of the project will be divided into the following two goal areas: Goal 1 is to increase the competence of agency rehabilitation staff in providing vocational rehabilitation services to individuals who are blind and visually impaired through specialized training containing eight training objectives. Under this Quality In-Service Training Grant the scope of work of the project will be divided into the following three goal areas: Goal 1- To increase the competence of agency rehabilitation staff through training and certification with four objectives, Goal 2 - To develop, design and implement elearning for the agency with one objective and Goal 3 - To provide distance learning opportunities for staff increasing competencies through education and training with three objectives.

Work Adjustment

The agency will research potential collaborative partnerships in order to increase return to work efforts for consumers with brain injuries and developmental disabilities who are blind and visually impaired. There is a need for the development of a work adjustment program specific to this underserved population. The agency will collaborate with OVR on their existing programs; examine the feasibility of developing this service at our training facility and work with community rehabilitation providers on this initiative.

Progress: Some

In 2009 contact was made with OVR regarding setting a meeting to discuss a partnership involving the Perkins Center. Staff identified the necessary training needed for skills enhancement for the provision of services specific to the blind and visually impaired. Agency staff identified two local programs through existing Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP’s). Two common issues were identified and they were the lack of basic knowledge in serving the blind and visually impaired of CRP staff and dealing with behavioral issues was sometimes problematic. Discussion involved the development and provision of training to CRP staff for this area.

After some preliminary discussions regarding curriculum changes at the Charles McDowell Rehabilitation Center and the feasibility of implementing a work adjustment program in house the decision was made to proceed in this direction. Vacant space in our McDowell Training Center has presented the opportunity to develop a work simulation environment. It is our goal to utilize this program to better prepare those with co occurring disabilities in their transition to the work force. This will provide those needing work adjustment services the opportunity to practice real-life work skills while in a rehabilitation setting. Work on this project will proceed in 2011 – 2012. Year to date no money has been expended for this project.

Annual Support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council

The Office for the Blind will continue to provide annual support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council through administrative support and direct expenses necessary to operate the State Rehabilitation Council. Funding will be provided for payment for contractual services to complete the annual client satisfaction survey through the University of Kentucky. These funding arrangements are consistent with 34 CFR 361.35.

Progress:

Fiscal Tracking mechanisms were put in place in order to capture FFY 2010 – 2012 annual support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council. This year the agency spent $25,892 in Innovation and Expansion funding in the support of the SRC for reimbursement of expenses and personnel costs for the agency designated liaison f

This screen was last updated on Aug 11 2011 10:15AM by Cora McNabb

  • 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

ATTACHMENT 6.3: Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services.

PRINCIPLES

Supported Employment is paid competitive work that offers ongoing support services in integrated settings for individuals with the most significant disabilities. Supported employment is intended for individuals for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a most significant disability, and who need ongoing supports to maintain their employment. This includes transitional employment for individuals with the most severe disabilities due to mental illness. This employment outcome is obtained by providing intensive service and is maintained through the provision of extended service. The level of employment participation may be full-or part-time based on the interests and abilities of the individual. Individuals will be compensated at or above minimum wage, but not less than the customary or usual wage paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by individuals who are not disabled.

The Office for the Blind is committed to the principle that individuals with the most significant disabilities, including those who have not traditionally experienced competitive work, are capable of engaging in employment in integrated settings. Supported Employment services provide for a system of intensive, life-long work and community and natural supports, allowing individuals needing these services the tools to perform competitive work in an integrated setting. The Office for the Blind is committed to the principle that there is no disability too significant, which would impede an individual’s ability to work.

PROCEDURES

The Office for the Blind established written procedures in the OFB Counselor Manual whereby all rehabilitation counselors may provide supported employment services to those individuals who have the most significant disabilities and who qualify for services under the definition of supported employment. These procedures contained in the Counselor Manual include competitive work, integrated work setting, on-going support services, transition services, transitional employment, eligibility requirements, funding, vendors, referral, individual plan for employment, outreach, application, assessment, job development, job placement, on the job skills training with job coaches or employment specialists, community supports, post-employment services and extended services for the duration of the individual’s current employment or future employment.

The Office for the Blind has uses the same process as our sister agency Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) in establishing vendors and payment schedules. The Agency coordinates with OVR supported employment efforts, which includes developing agreements with supported employment vendors. The Agency partners with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, consulting with vocational rehabilitation counselors and supported employment vendors concerning program issues, tracking supported employment caseloads, and advising necessary staff concerning training activities and program changes.

COLLABORATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES

The Office for the Blind participates with other state agencies, including the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department for Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Interagency Council, the Kentucky Interagency Transition Council and the Kentucky Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the University of Kentucky Human Resource Development Institute with the purpose to collaborate in the provision of supported employment services. The Agency collaborates with the Community Based Work Transition Program in identifying and providing financial support for those high school students who qualify for supported employment services and who are eligible for Office for the Blind services.

A pilot project for self-employment has been developed in conjunction with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Kentucky Council on Developmental Disabilities. A team approach is being utilized with consumers with specialists of different disciplines participating in the Individualized Plan for Employment.

PROGRAM PROVIDERS OF SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT

There are 72 not for profit community programs statewide providing supported employment services. These services include personal futures planning, job development, job site training, job coaching and counseling.

QUALITY OF SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

Organizational systems, which help to assure the quality and effectiveness of supported employment, are in place. The Department for Vocational Rehabilitation has an established program, which provides technical assistance and training to service providers and monitors quality assurance. The Office for the Blind assists these same providers through staff training and consultation to ensure that the unique needs of individuals who are blind are met.

Supported Employment services are supplemented with unique services, which may be necessary for individuals who are blind. These services include rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology, orientation and mobility, Braille, daily living skills, communication skills, advocacy and independent living skills.

Consumer waiting lists in the Commonwealth are lengthy. This is due to the number of supported employment providers and the lack of adequate funding and the set criteria for accessing that funding for extended services. This is further complicated by the lack of knowledge of area providers regarding the blind and visually impaired. Counselors offer to partner with provider staff assisting them with job placement in order to address specific needs issues surrounding blindness that present a major challenge. The Office for the Blind follows the rates of payment process and agreements; however, efforts are made to work individually with all providers advocating for our consumer base.

TIME LIMITED SUPPORT SERVICES

Supported employment services provided by the agency are time limited. During the initial phase of SE, a comprehensive assessment is imperative. There is collaboration between Office for the Blind and provider staffs in the development of the IPE in order to further define services with the consumer. A fee schedule is set for reimbursement of these initial services. Job Placement and Retention payment points are outcomes based.

Ongoing support services can be provided for a time not to exceed 18 months unless special circumstances are noted in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and the vocational rehabilitation counselor, the consumer, and the supported employment provider are in agreement that further time is needed to reach the vocational goals of the consumer. The employment goal of the individual shall be consistent with these criteria: the maximum numbers of hours per week in employment possible in an integrated setting, based on the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual.

TIMING OF TRANSITION FROM SUPPORT SERVICES TO EXTENDED SERVICES

The time limited supports must be identified as to OFB involvement and the service provider must be in agreement that they will provide these supports or identify another agency or program in agreement to provide extended services of support to the individual for the duration of employment. On-going support services identified by the agency will be specified in an individualized written rehabilitation plan. At a minimum, these extended services shall include twice monthly monitoring at the work site. If the IPE provides for off-site monitoring, it must, at a minimum consist of two face-to-face meetings with the Supported Employment consumer and at least one contact with the employer each month.

As state, OFB will continue to provide short-term blindness specific skills, such as Orientation and Mobility in the case when there are substantial changes involving the consumer’s employment or status of their job. This option for supportive services alleviates some of the fears of providers in accepting referrals from OFB.

EXTENDED SERVICES

Extended Services are ongoing support, follow-up services, and other appropriate services that are needed to support and maintain a consumer in supported employment after the consumer is no longer being funded and/or supported by the agency. In order to be approved to be a supported employment vendor for the agency, the supported employment agency must make extended services available using a funding source other than the agency. This will typically begin after the 18-month period in which the consumer has been receiving services funded by the agency and after the consumer has successfully transitioned into work. Examples of follow-up services include facilitation of natural supports on the work site and regular contact with the employer, the consumer, family members or advocates of the consumer, and/or other suitable informed advisors. This follow-up is intended to reinforce and stabilize successful employment. Systems of natural supports, including agreements with community service organizations and employers, may be initiated to provide extended supports for the duration of the employment of the individual. Office for the Blind staff is called upon to consult as needed.

TRANSITION FROM SCHOOL TO EMPLOYMENT

The Office for the Blind may also provide supported employment services for youth in transition from school to employment. These services are a coordinated set of activities for a student designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities. They must promote or facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the student’s IEP and IPE developed prior to graduation. OFB has a cooperative agreement with the Kentucky School for the Blind and its outreach program for a comprehensive assessment to occur the summer between the students junior and senior year. This is often conducted at the agency’s rehabilitation facility at the Charles W. McDowell Center. This includes all students encompassing those referred for supported employment as well as those entering the post secondary education system. The assessment provides the counselor information to assist with the development of the IPE and the identification of needed services. The Office participates with twenty other state agencies in the Kentucky Interagency Transition Council. The purpose of this organization is to provide a system of collaboration among agencies and schools in a shared responsibility for the education and employment of youth with disabilities. Through an Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) for each individual, the IPE is coordinated with the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and if appropriate, the Individualized Developmental Disabilities Plan (IDDP).

OFB staff serves in a consultative and technical assistance role to educational agencies in transition planning for students at the seventh and eight grade level. The agency provides information and referrals to needed services to schools for all age levels as a proactive preventive measure in offsetting challenges or issues for this population before they occur.

This screen was last updated on Jun 24 2009 2:27PM by Cora McNabb

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Last updated on 08/11/2011 at 10:19 AM

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Published on 09/07/2011 at 10:20 AM

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

  • Monitoring Report for Kentucky - Blind — as of January 21, 2010
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  • "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities" — A blueprint for Governors has been issued by the National Governors Association (NGA).
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  • TAC-14-02 — Submission of the FY 2015 State Plan for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and Supplement for the Supported Employment Services Program. (May 28, 2014)
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