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 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

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
Allison A. Flanagan

Title of Signatory
Acting Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
08/21/2012

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2013
Yes

Comments:

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Allison A. Flanagan

Title of Signatory
Acting Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
08/21/2012

* 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 2011 budget of $32,800, FFY 2012 budget of $47,800, and a projected budget of $47,800 for 2013 to be used to reimburse the expenses of Council members, the publication of the SRC Annual Report and the conducting of the Satisfaction Survey through the University of Kentucky.

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. 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 2011. 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 2011 at the November 18, 2011 quarterly meeting.

The University of Kentucky Research Program and the Human Development Institute conducted the 2011 Satisfaction Survey and the results of that survey were presented by Christina Espinosa at the May 18, 2012 meeting. This attachment is Kentucky’s State Rehabilitation Council’s input to the State Plan. A copy of the 2013 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 19, 2010, February 18, 2011, May 20, 2011, August 19, 2011, November 18, 2011, and February 17, 2012. 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 OFB responses are listed below.

SRC Recommendations for Gaining Input for the State Plan and SRC

At the February 2011, SRC quarterly meeting the Council discussed the methods for obtaining input for the 2012 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. The Special Projects Committee was consulted and gave input on the release of a competitive Request for Proposal to be released in April to conduct the triennial statewide comprehensive needs assessment. The Council, specifically the Special Projects Committee identified the content of the RFP to assure the methods utilized included focus groups, telephone surveys and interviews in gathering information for the 2012 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. Information gained from the assessment will be used along with other sources of information for the planning and formulating of goals and strategies for the 2013 State Plan. The Council clarified that there were no major changes to OFB policies and procedures that would merit holding additional open forums in 2011. At the May 2011, SRC meeting the Council was notified that the contract was awarded in March of 2011 to Dr. Amy Flowers, Analytic Insight. The Council was given a full report of the assessment plan submitted by Dr. Flowers. The SRC chair, Ms. Slusher requested to be able to meet with Dr. Flowers and indicated she would like to see a focus group held in Northern Kentucky if possible. OFB Response: OFB followed all of the above recommendations for gaining input for the 2013 State Plan. The contract was awarded in April of 2011 to Dr. Amy Flowers, Analytic Insight. As specified by the guidelines of the assessment project plan submitted by Dr. Flowers, a number of data sources were used for this report. Dr. Flowers utilized the survey the SRC had developed in 2009 as a basis for the 2012 needs assessment.

Primary data collected for this project included: 1. Interviews with staff at OFB, partners and stakeholders 2. Survey of OFB consumers; 3. Focus groups with consumers, family members, students, VI Teachers and OFB program staff. 4. Survey of Eye Physicians; 5. Interviews with employers of blind or visually impaired workers who were referred through the OFB; 6. Interviews with Community Rehabilitation Partners. 7.

The Office for the Blind will provide MIS data related to program activities and outputs. Other sources were utilized as well. See Attachment 4.11 (a) for the complete report. The SRC members were engaged fully in the needs assessment process and as time and scheduling allowed some were able to participate in the focus groups and phone interviews. A statewide press release notified the public of the needs assessment noting the times and locations of the focus groups.

SRC Recommendations for the State Plan Goals and Priorities

On November 18, 2011 Dr. Amy Flowers made a thorough presentation to the full Council on the results of the needs assessment. The presentation was sent to the Council on November 17 and was available in alternate formats. Dr. Flowers summarized the findings and recommendations from the assessment to the Council for needed planning and the setting of goals. A full report was received in December 2011 and was distributed to the full Council. The report is available in alternate formats and posted on the website at http://blind.ky.gov. See Attachment 4.11 (a) for the complete report and a summary of findings and recommendations. A survey was conducted to gain additional input regarding the setting of goals and strategies in February and March of 2012. A link was sent to the SRC members and placed on the website for the public, staff and consumers to gain input.

This survey obtained information regarding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the agency (SWOT analysis). The results were summarized and sent to the SRC via email inclusive of the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board Work Smart goals, and Dr. Flower’s findings through the Statewide Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. At the February 17, 2012 meeting the summary was discussed and the full council was asked to again review the summary document in preparation for the May 2012 SRC meeting. At the meeting the Council would need to formulate goals for the 2013 State Plan and vote on their acceptance. The Special Projects Committee reviewed the input received for the 2013 State Plan in relation to the five goals, strategies and innovation and expansion activities existing in the plan at the February 17, 2012 and May 18, 2012 meeting. At the May 18, 2012 meeting the committee made a recommendation to the full Council to accept five proposed goals for the 2013 State Plan. A motion was made by Michael Freholm to approve the set goals, strategies and priorities for the 2013 State Plan and seconded by Jim Shaw. The motion was passed by the full Council. At the recommendation of RSA, one additional goal was added to directly address the federal standards and indicators. The Council was notified of the addtion and the informtion was distributed to the full council for approval in August of 2012.

Based on the input received there were six concise and measurable goal areas set based on the 2012 Statewide Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, the 107 monitoring report, the federal Standards and Performance Indicators, real time data through the case management system, strategic planning and other sources of information the State Rehabilitation Council and the Kentucky Office for the Blind have established the following Goals for FFY 2013- 2015.

1. OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Performance Indicators annually.

2. To increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment.

3. Use resources effectively and efficiently in order to maximize funds in serving individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired in the Commonwealth.

4. Kentucky Busingess Enterprises will provide full-time employment and career opportunities for Kentuckians who are legally blind, while providing quality vending and food services for government and business.

5. To develop, design and implement a professional development leadership program for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning.

6. Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

OFB Response: The SRC members were engaged fully in the needs assessment, satisfaction survey process, the review of the standards and indicators and the monitoring report as well as the strategic planning process. The Office for the Blind accepted their input and recommendations for the setting of goals and priorities for the 2012 State Plan.

SRC Recommendations for the Satisfaction Survey Process A copy of the 2010 Satisfaction Survey Executive Summary was distributed to SRC members via email in January of 2010. The full survey was distributed at the February 18, 2010 meeting. Staff from the University of Kentucky was unable to make a presentation at the May 20, 2010 meeting due to scheduling conflicts that could not be resolved. Christina Espinosa, from the University of Kentucky developed a presentation for the council and sent it to OFB staff to make a presentation on their behalf. Ms. Espinosa handouts covered data through a power point presentation reporting a total of 115 responding with an 84.3% response rate. Overall, the results of the study indicate that consumers expressed high degrees of satisfaction with their experiences. Just over 93% of all participating consumers rated that services they received through the Office for the Blind as a 1 or 2 on a five point scale where 1 = “excellent” and 5 = “poor”. 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. The presentation was given in the exact form and interpretation that HDI staff from UK had produced. The Council made the decision to renew the contract for 2012. 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. Overall, the Council is very pleased with the performance of UK in regards to the survey. A copy of the 2011 Satisfaction Survey Executive Summary was distributed to SRC members via email in January of 2012. At the May 18, 2012 meeting, Christina Espinosa made a presentation to the Council on the 2011 survey results. A total of 234 individuals completed the phone survey a 91.8% response rate for total contacts completed. Overall, the results of the study indicated that consumers expressed high degrees of satisfaction with their experiences. Just over ninety four percent (94.7%) of all participating consumers rated that services they received through the Office for the Blind as a 1 or 2 on a five point scale where 1 = “excellent” and 5 = “poor”. In addition, for those with a case closed successfully, 91.1% indicated that their needs were met through the services received by responding with a 1 or 2.

OFB Response: OFB staff contacted 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. 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 2011. A presentation occurred on May18, 2012 by UK staff, Christina Espinosa, MRC, CRC. The contract with HDI and the UK Research Department at the recommendation of the Council is now undergoing the approval process with the Cabinet and UK.

SRC Recommendations for the By-laws Committee At the May 20, 2011 SRC meeting discussion occurred regarding a request by SRC member Adam Ruschival, requesting a change in the bylaws to consider the addition of a new standing committee to be titled the “Program Review Committee”. This committee would look at programs and initiatives at the McDowell Center as well as other parts of OFB. Mr. Ruschival further explained that currently there is a McDowell Advisory Group that meets and discusses issues; however, the advisory group does not operate in an “official capacity” the way it would if it was a committee of the state rehabilitation council. Since the McDowell Advisory Group is an unofficial board it receives no funding. Ruschival further stated that by establishing a committee this would reduce some of the redundancy that occurs with some of the same members serving on the advisory group as on the SRC as well as improve communications. Mr. Ruschival moved to consider a vote to amend the bylaws. SRC Chair Paul Wiese called for questions. SRC member Charles Allen moved to table the motion until in order to allow the SRC members more time to think about the motion and be better “informed”. Becky Cabe seconded the motion. Further discussion occurred on the current committee structure and the relevance of each. The discussion closed with the motion tabled and instruction from the SRC chair Paul Wiese for the Bylaws committee to take into consideration all the issues that were brought before the council regarding the committee structure. No further action on this motion occurred at the August 19, 2011 meeting. Throughout the year there had been discussions by the SRC regarding the McDowell Advisory Board and whether or not to make it an “official” committee of the state rehabilitation council. The Council discussed pros and cons of abolishing the advisory board. OFB Response: There were no recommendations by the By-laws committee for OFB. Staff were supportive of the Council and its decision to look at the committee structure and consider if they could be revised to be more effective. OFB staff worked with the Council in researching and looking at the committee structure in other states. In the upcoming 2012 year the Council will work on the restructuring of the committees. Given that the McDowell Advisory Board serves in an “unofficial capacity a name change did occur in 2011 removing the word Board from the name replacing it with Group. The McDowell Advisory Group continues to meet quarterly and OFB values the input of the members and their role as an advisory group.

SRC Recommendations for Increasing Employment Outcomes The committee acknowledged that OFB is staying abreast of openings at the American Printing House for the Blind and the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville and shares those leads regularly with staff, consumers and Council members. At the February 18, 2011quarterly Council meeting a recommendation was made that OFB participate in the Toyota Job Fair especially Kentucky Business Enterprises. George Stokes, SRC member that made the recommendation acknowledged it was too short of notice for staff to participate at the one coming up but requested that OFB be mindful of future job fairs. The Council members informed OFB of the opportunities available to blind entrepreneurs who want to sell on eBay. There were no other recommendations.

OFB Response: 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, the Kentucky School for the Blind and opportunities nationwide.

SRC Recommendations for the Area of Public Relations The Public Relations Committee gave input in 2011 on the annual report and on marketing events the agency was represented at. At the August 19, 2011 quarterly meeting the content of the annual report for 2011 was discussed and the SRC chair requested input for the report. The Council recommended that we feature “consumer stories” and program updates. The Public Relations Committee decided upon the “One Team, One Goal” theme for the annual report. Additionally, this committee requests quarterly updates on marketing and outreach events by OFB staff.

OFB Response: OFB accepted the recommended theme for the 2011 SRC Annual Report and worked with the Council Members on compiling the report. OFB staff report quarterly the number, scope and type of events staff attend such as job fairs, health fairs, One-Stop presentations, eye physicians, events at hospitals, nursing homes and transition fairs. In 2011 staff participated in 227 events statewide.

SRC Recommendations for SEE World As reported in last year’s state plan attachment the SRC had input and questions regarding SEE World. At the November 19, 2010 OFB staff reported that this was a complicated process and there were no easy answers surrounding the issues of SEE World. OFB Director of Consumer Services reported that as an agency were are extremely limited on what we can do to assist with the store, especially financially. OFB is taking into account the needs of the community and again asked the SRC for any ideas OFB staff reported that there was some progress being made in working with the American Printing House and the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) on a solution. There is a vacant facility on the KSB campus which may be suitable for housing a retail store. Agency Response: As reported in last years’ state plan OFB staff had researched out several recommendations of the SRC in regards to See World. OFB continues to work with RSA in resolving the issues surrounding SEE World and kept the Council members informed at each quarterly meeting of any progress or updates on this issue. A new store did open on the KSB campus in 2011 called “See the World” operated by Brian Goemmer of Lab Computers, INC. The opening of this store and the option for individuals to obtain products locally seemed to meet the needs of individuals in a way that previously SEE World did. Updates were given at each quarterly meeting on the four areas OFB is working on for the Corrective Action Plan for the 2009 RSA Monitoring Report: 1) personnel certification; 2) assigned personnel costs; 3) assigned non-personnel costs and 4) the operation of a wholesale store. SRC Recommendations for the Promulgated Regulations The State Rehabilitation Council members received electronic copies of the proposed regulation changes for review prior to the August 19, 2011 meeting. At the meeting the Director of Consumer Services reviewed the changes to the regulations. A motion was made by George Stokes to accept the changes and seconded by Sharon Fields. Adam Ruschival asked that the vote to accept the changes would not be taken until the November meeting. This recommendation was made given that some of the council felt that there was not full representation from the advocacy organizations on the council. The motion to accept was tabled. Michael Frehom introduced a motion to call a special meeting to review the proposed regulations and discuss the issue further and it was seconded by Mitch Dahmke. A motion was then made for the Council to approve the nominees who had been submitted to the Governor’s Office, with full voting privileges. Discussion followed on the correct process in the federal regulations for the Governor in appointing members to the Council. A roll call vote was taken and passed nine to five to hold a special called session to further review the proposed changes. This was based on the fact that Council members did not feel that they had enough time to review the proposed changes to the regulations. The SRC Chair Gerry Slusher called a special SRC meeting for Friday, August 26 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the proposed regulations and statute changes. At the special meeting the SRC discussed the first proposed amendments to 782 KAR 1: 010, the Kentucky Business Enterprise (KBE) program. Adam Ruschival proposed that a vote be taken to approve the amendments, and it was seconded by Jim Shaw with a unanimous vote to approve. The SRC Chair Gerry Slusher requested that the Director of Consumer Services review the Consumer Services regulations and statute changes. The Council questioned the removal of “sheltered workshops” from under the agency. OFB staff presented the federal law and the language regarding the fact that it did not allow for sheltered employment to be counted as a positive employment outcome. Discussion occurred regarding the local affiliate for the National Industries for the Blind. The SRC Chair asked that OFB staff review changes in 782 KAR 1: 020. Some discussion occurred regarding the process for Order of Selection and economic needs testing. Kay Mathis, SRC member asked for assurance that prior to any action regarding economic needs testing and order of selection the SRC would be involved and allowed to review proposed changes. Adam Rushival called for a vote to approve the proposed changes to the Consumer Services Regulations and it was seconded by George Stokes and passed unanimously by the Full Council.

OFB Response: OFB delayed the process of proceeding with the proposed changes to the regulations until a special session was held by the SRC to discuss and approve the regulation changes. OFB staff assured the SRC that prior to changes in Order of Selection and financial needs testing the SRC would be fully informed and play a role in the process of changes and implementation. Public hearings on the consumer services administrative regulations were held on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. and on the Kentucky Business Enterprises vending program Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. SRC Recommendations by the Legislative Committee At each of the quarterly meetings the Council was apprised of issues surrounding the budget. At the August 19, 2011 SRC meeting the Executive Director reported that OFB would be experiencing a 3-5% cut in the coming fiscal year. Additionally, OFB due to state cuts was unable to draw down federal dollars. The Council decided to take a proactive approach with legislators to advocate for OFB. They asked OFB for a budget fact sheet so they can be informed about specifics when approaching legislators. OFB Response: A budget fact sheet was developed and distributed to the Council members at their request. SRC New Member Orientation 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. Two new Council members completed the SRC Online training series in 2011. A tour of the McDowell Rehabilitation Center preceding the quarterly meeting was held in May of 2011 that would allow new members to receive an overview of the Center and OFB services.

This screen was last updated on Aug 21 2012 10:29AM 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 has never been updated.

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

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

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.

• 174 school districts statewide consisting of 1,233 schools inclusive of 564 Visually Impaired Students and 18 Deaf Blind ages 3-21.

• Eleven special education cooperative 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 Disabilities through their fourteen (14) Community Mental Health 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 (currently state chapter is inactive but plans are place to reestablish the network over the next year).

• 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”. OFB has a staff person serving on the State APSE board.

• Department of Medicaid Services

• 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;

• 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- OFB works collaboratively with the 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) 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.

• The Kentucky Functional Needs Collaborative (KFNC) is a project of the Kentucky Department of Public Health. Their goal is to ensure an effective public health emergency response system in Kentucky for populations with functional and access needs.

The USDA Rural Development Fiscal Year 2011 Investments totaled $28,178,856,412 in Kentucky 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.

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 for the Blind. 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 salary for a part-time shared staff for the statewide independent living council. 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.

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. With a great deal of input, the business and industry-led committees developed a vision statement to serve as the guide for the development of goals. The Vision Statement is the Kentucky will transform the workforce development system through innovative practices which enhance sustainable economic and job growth to improve the lives of Kentuckians.

The goals of the plan are as follows:

• Align the Commonwealth’s workforce development system with Kentucky’s education objectives

• Align the Commonwealth’s workforce development system with economic development strategies

• Simplify the workforce development service delivery system

• Improve service to achieve a customer-centered delivery system Kentucky’s transformational objectives include 25 initiatives designed to form a user friendly, customer-centric system that brings alignment to education, economic development and workforce activities.

The WorkSmart Kentucky Plan lays out the foundation to improve operational collaboration at both the state and local levels. The following is a sample list of some of the initaitves of the WorkSmart Plan:

• branding and identity

• one-stop core certification

• sector strategies

• work-ready communities

• national career readiness certificate

• partner for success and

• workforce academy

Workforce Staff are involved in the committees and activities of the initiatives. The initiatives are focused on systems change. For example, Partner for Success is an internal effort of the Department of Workforce Investment focused on integrated service delivery including the business community. Workforce Academy will provide training for all partners at every level of the system to be demand-driven and solutions based. One Stop Certification process will move the service delivery system from one of co-location to collaborative customer service with business services as an emphasis area. Branding and Identity Initiative will be key in promoting universal access and consistency of statewide services.

Reciprocal referral services with the Office of Employment and Training and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation: The Office for the Blind, Office of Employment and Training and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation have established reciprocal referral services which allow for more efficient services to individuals with disabilities. OFB and OVR 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 Central Office administrative functions for these three workforce programs are centrally located in Frankfort to assure collaboration among the workforce partners. The office enters 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 agency 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. 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. At this time Kentucky has undertaken a major project for the enhancement of Employ Kentucky Operating System (EKOS), known as America’s One-Stop Operating System (AOSOS). Kentucky has purchased software from Burning Glass to replace both Kentucky’s Self Registration for job seekers and e3.Ky.gov employer portal both at no cost to job seekers and employers. This software will be utilized by employers who prefer to enter their company information and job posts, which are automatically processed into the EKOS database and viewable to job seekers in the EKOS Self Service Module, on America’s Job Exchange (AJE), and Job Central (JC). The e3.ky.gov assists job seekers, program planners, and employers in the exploration of services and information related to career paths, statistical assessments, or business questions about Kentucky’s labor and educational capacity. The new Burning Glass software will provide enhanced job matching, resume building and real time job intelligence. Office for the Blind VR Counseling Staff participated in Burning Glass training so they are knowledgeable of the system.

Through existing partnerships and new partnerships created for serving businesses while continuing to serve individuals, Kentucky has developed a network that provides placement and assessment of jobs and individuals to meet the employment needs of a community. The Kentucky Workforce Investment Board’s WORKSmart Kentucky is a plan that includes cross agency and business sector statewide initiatives. 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. OFB assists the local one-stops with orientation and information sharing with potential customers) .

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. Regional and local office managers work with partner agencies to determine most convenient office hours to serve customers. 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.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2012 4:27PM 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. The OFB Transition Coordinator works 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 the school districts? 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 Coordinator 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 assists in understanding the educational process of Public Schools in the State.

The Office 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 8th through the 12th grades and take an application no later than 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. 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 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 28 2012 4:39PM 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 28 2012 4:31PM 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 be a consumer that is considered to have a Most Significant Disability and 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 participating 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 Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, 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 28 2012 4:32PM 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. Twelve individuals or 12% left the agency during FFY 2011 (a 4% decrease over the prior year) with only two of these 12 staff lost to retirements (2%). There were 17 new hires or 17% during the fiscal federal year. The following table denotes the length of experience of existing staff current at the submission of the plan for the agency.

Years of Service with the Agency Percentage of Staff 2011

20 Years Or Higher 12%

15 – 19 Years 10%

10 – 14 Years 11%

5 – 9 Years 25%

4 Years or Less 42%

Currently 72% of Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling staff has been in their position ten (10) years or less. 28% have been with the agency 11 years or longer. 50% have been with the agency 5 -10 years and 22% under 5 years. The Agency places an emphasis on the professional development, educational advancement and skills acquisition for all OFB staff. 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 Current Vacancies Projections Staff/Consumer

Ratio 2011

Executive Director 0 1 0 1/3,693

Program Directors 1 0 0 1/3,693 Executive Staff Advisor 1 0 0 1/3,693

Internal Policy Analyst 1 0 1 1/3,693 Resource Man Analyst 1 0 0 1/3,693 Rehab Administrator 2 0 1 1/1,847 Admin Assistants 4 0 2 1/923

VR and IL/OIB Field Program Staff = 56

Job Title Current Vacancies Projections Staff

Current 5 Years Consumer Ratio

VR Rehab Admin 3 0 1 1/910

VR Counselors 18 0 3 1/100 IL/OIB Counselors 10 0 2 1/99 Deaf/Blind VR Coord 1 0 1 1/49

O & M Specialist 2 0 0 1/97 AT Specialist 3 0 1 1/113 Bioptic Driving Instr 2 0 0 1/25 Admin Assistants 16 1 3 1/106

Business Enterprises = 11 Job Title Current Vacancies Projections Staff Current 5Years Consumer Ratio

Director 1 0 1 1/55 Internal Policy Anal 1 0 1 1/55 Assistant Director 1 0 0 1/55 Administrative Assist 1 1 1 1/55 Program Administration 2 1 0 1/27 Vending Technicians 4 0 1 1/14

McDowell Center Staff = 25 ob Title Current Vacancies Projections Staff/

Current 5 yrs. Consumer Ratio

Facility Admin. 1 0 1 1/115

Rehab. Admin 2 0 0 1/58

Admin Assis 5 0 2 1/23

Rehab Aide 2 0 0 1/58

O & M Specialist 2 0 1 1/26

AT Specialist 2 0 1 1/37

Voc Evaluator 2 0 0 1/38 Rehab Instructor 5 1 2 1/19 Rec Therapist 0 1 0 1/115 Maintenance 1 0 0 1/115 Nurse 1 0 0 1/115

KATS = 2

Job Title Current Vacancies Projections Consumer/Staff

5 years Ratio

Director 0 1 0 1/28,578 Admini Assis 1 0 0 1/28,578 *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 currently operating within OFB, but funded through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998. The individual in the director position for the Kentucky Assistive Technology Services Network (KATS) retired in September of 2011. After some in depth analysis and research of the KATS program, OFB management initiated discussions with the general agency, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), regarding the positioning of KATS. Program operations, staffing patterns, and contract operations were reviewed by both OFB and OVR to determine the best location for the program. OVR currently maintains the Rehabilitation Technology Branch and the Kentucky Assistive Technology Loan Corporation (KATLC) program. The feasibility of moving KATS under OVR as the lead agency was fully researched for effectiveness and efficiency of State resources. Given that KATS serves the general population of individuals with all disabilities and that the current duties and infrastructure of the OVR Rehabilitation Technology Branch and KATLC align so closely with one another it has been proposed to transfer the program under the general agency. Currently, discussions are ongoing with an anticipated effective date of October 1, 2012. The Office for the Blind has kept the SRC, the KATS Advisory Council and the Rehabilitation Services Administration informed of these changes. The current total number of personnel is 100 with five vacancies. All open positions critical to services 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 2011, there were three federally funded time limited staff positions (FFTL) funded through the American Reinvestment Recovery Act (ARRA). These FFTL positions are not included in the VR and IL/OIB Field Program Staff grid. Two of those positions were established whose duties focus on developing employer relationships and establishing work experience opportunities (Louisville, Lexington) and one individual was an IL/OIB staff in northern Kentucky (Florence). Those positions ended at the close of the FFY 2011. The position of an Independent Living/Older Blind Counselor positioned in Northern Kentucky out of the Florence field office meeting was justified to remain as a fulltime position based on a high service need for that area. The timing of the retirement of a veteran staff in the Louisville office allowed for management to review staffing patterns. Given the consumer staff ration of the two remaining IL/OIB counselors in Louisville the decision was made not to replace the vacant position but to move that open position to northern Kentucky.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Central Office Administrative Staff 11 2 5
2 Vocational Rehabilitation Program Staff 46 1 9
3 Independent Living Older Blind Staff 10 0 2
4 Business Enterprises Staff 11 2 4
5 Rehabilitation Center Staff 25 2 2
6 Kentucky Assistive Technology Network 2 1 0
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 participates on the University of Kentucky Advisory Council. Two OFB staff attended the annual Advisory council meeting held December 14, 2011. 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 and discussion of program activities, faculty research and projects, updates from the field and future directions of the program. Additionally UK was able to recruit and hire for two new staff positions. OFB staff was able to serve on the interview panels representing the interests of the blind agency. UK is in the process of developing a Program for students who meet the requirements for the Category R with a targeted implementation date of the fall of 2012.

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.

Two (2) OFB staff completed the UK MRC program in 2011. Two of two or 100% obtained their CRC certification. As reported in last year’s state plan The University of Louisville suspended enrollment for the Master’s Level Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Program in March of 2011. There is no change in the status of the program through the University. There is the potential that the University of Kentucky may develop a Master’s Level Orientation and Mobility (O & M) Program under the Special Education Department however; it is in the early stages of development. In 2011, the agency had three (3) O & M practicum/internship students fulfilling their required hours with the agency.

Currently, there are four orientation and mobility instructors on staff. Seventy-five percent of O & M staff (3/4) is certified. In 2011, there was a loss of two (2) O & M instructors to the school system. This was a 50% reduction in staff for this critical need area. This was a huge loss for the agency and a huge challenge given the shortage of orientation and mobility instructors not only for Kentucky but nationwide. In 2011 OFB will continue to support staff as needed to pursue this field of study in keeping with its staff/consumer ratios and the personnel cap.

 

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 199 49 14 63
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 (KSU). There were no students from KSU in 2011 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 andprovide input into policy and procedures. 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 2011, the agency had eight UK/MRC (8) 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 typically 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 the highest entry-level academic degree needed for 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 and there are no vacancies at this time. Year to date for 2012, there has been zero turnover in the counseling positions. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling staff meet CSPD holding their MRC (16/18). Sixty-seven percent (67%) hold their MRC/CRC (12/18). The two VR Counseling staff that does not meet CSPD holds a master’s degree in a related field. OFB anticipates they will be enrolling in the CDER program this fall if there are slots available. One of the counseling staff that holds an MRC is preparing to take the CRC exam in July. 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 needs additional coursework to be eligible under Category R.

There are two (2) central office administrators and 1 of 2 or 50% holds the MRC/CRC.

VR Counselor - 18 MRC/CRC -12 MRC/Non CRC-4

Other Masters Degree/Non CRC -2

Field Administrators -3 MRC/CRC-1 MRC/Non CRC -1

Other Masters Degree Non CRC-1

Central Office Administrators-3 MRC/CRC-1 CRC/Non MRC - 1 Bacherlors/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. Sixty-eight percent(68%) hold a bachelors degree, fifty-nine percent (53%) 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). The following table shows the different degrees and numbers of personnel for the OFB.

Doctorate-1

Masters -53

Bachelors-68

Associate or Coursework Toward a Degree-14 Enrolled or Planned Enrollment-6

Certification (O & M, CVE, AT, CDRS CRC)- 38 (28 CRC) 7

5% of Orientation and Mobility Staff hold Certification (4) four hold a Masters

67% of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors hold MRC/CRC and 89% hold MRC meeting CSPD

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 2013.

60% Vocational Rehabilitation Administrators hold MRC/CRC and 80% hold a Masters 60% of IL Counselors holds a Masters and 30% hold MRC/CRC

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

100% of AT staff have a Masters Degree with three (3) MRC, one (1) RESNA 100% (5/5) Rehabilitation Instructors have a Masters Degree.

28% of staff in the agency hold their CRC.

Fifty percent (50%) (1/2) of bioptic driving staff hold a CDRS with zero turnover in their positions. This statistic stayed the same in 2011 with one bioptic driving staff taking the CDRS but did not receive a high enough score to pass. That individual will concentrate on study materials in preparation for retaking the test in 2013. Seventy-five percent (75%) of O & M staff (3/4) is certified. In 2011, there was a loss of two (2) O & M instructors to the school system a reduction in 50% of staff. This was a huge loss for the agency and a huge challenge given the shortage of orientation and mobility instructors not only for Kentucky but nationwide. The local school system offers competitive wages as well as a 9 month working year compared to 12 month calendar with a state agency. Both positions are now filled with one certified and one non-certified staff who holds a MRC in that position. OFB was fortunate to find one certified COMS in filling one position. Another setback for the area of certification for O & M staff is the suspension of enrollments for this program through the University of Louisville. This further complicates this process as now it requires accessing an out of staff distance learning program. Most of them have an onsite requirement in addition to the distance learning program. The one staff who is not certified is enrolling in the University of Arkansas O & M distance learning program this fall. There is some evidence that the University of Kentucky is in the early stages of developing an O & M program but it is anticipated that a startup date is at least two years out.

Sixteen percent (16%) or (1/6) Assistive Technology Specialist holds a RESNA Certification with 50% holding an MRC/CRC. One hundred percent (100%) of AT staff hold a Masters; however, increasing the certification levels of AT staff is a challenge for OFB. One of the AT Specialist completed the AT Applications Certificate through CSUN in 2011 in preparation for the RESNA certification. Although OFB assistive technology staff was accepted and enrolled in CSUN for 2012 they were not able to complete the program due to the decision by CSUN not to offer the program in this calendar year. Additionally, staff in agencies that serve the blind report that the requirements under RESNA do not have enough of an emphasis on the blind and visually impaired needed AT applications. Staff perceives that their knowledge base is narrow and specific to AT applications for the blind and visually impaired and they do not take into account secondary disabilities. However, recently the office is receiving referrals and taking applications on individuals whose primary disability is vision related but their secondary disability is either cognitive or physical. Co-occurring disabilities are more prevalent among consumers referred to OFB. As a result staff is not so narrowly focused on assistive technology applications for the blind and visually impaired but realizes they need to broaden their knowledge base to include other disability populations.

Six of ten (6/10) of Il/OIB Counselors or 60% hold masters in a related discipline area (3 MRC), 1/10 or 10% hold their social work certification and 4/10 or 40% hold a bachelors degree. None of the IL/OIB or rehabilitation center staff are certified through ACVREP. This was not an area of concentration for staff although their discipline is certainly supported through the Association of Educators for the Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) and the certifying body ACVREP. OFB is working with staff to make them aware of their options for continuing education giving them the option to secure additional coursework to prepare and qualify for certification through ACVREP. Often staff in the IL/OIB counselor positions already has a master’s degree or a bachelor in a related field. Some staff chooses the option to obtain their masters in rehabilitation counseling with a long term goal for upward movement into a vocational rehabilitation counseling position.

One hundred percent (100%) or 5/5 of the Rehabilitation Center instructional Staff hold a Masters degree, 1/5 or 20% hold their social work certification. One individual prepared for and took the National Certification in Literacy Braille (NCLB) exam in Louisville in December; however, that individual did not pass the exam. The Braille instructor recently obtained her masters in rehabilitation had been in her position less than a year. This year the exam was held in conjunction with the Getting in Touch with Literacy (GITWL) conference held in Louisville. Given that the opportunity presented itself with the conference being held locally the instructor prepared for and took the exam. It was a good learning experience for the instructor given their newness to their position. The instructor will now concentrate on gaining more field experience prior to retaking the exam. The project director is currently working with Rehabilitation Center staff to make them aware of their options for continuing education allowing them the coursework to prepare for certification through ACVREP as well. Staff already holding a masters degree in a related field may not have an interest in additional coursework or certification through ACVREP or see the value of it. Some staff in the instructional area also chooses the option to obtain masters in rehabilitation counseling through the University of Kentucky.

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. 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.

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 is in the process of the design and implementation of an infrastructure for the provision of on-line learning (see section below on elearning). Currently, OFB staff access elearning 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. 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. The agency does give staff information and opportunities to utilize other university programs.

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 is 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.

In 2011, a needs assessment of staff was conducted for the area of assistive technology. Current needs are in keeping with the goals and objectives of the each of the training grants. 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’s Journal of Vision Impairment and Blindness, and National Federation of the Blind, Reflections) as well as internet site resources.

Leadership Development/Capacity Building

The loss of veteran staff to retirements has leveled off and OFB is positioned at this time with a young workforce.

In 2011 and year to date for 2012 there has been some progress in the area of leadership program development for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning. There are four training objectives to accomplish under the basic training grant from FFY 2011 – 2015. OFB staff is working with Southeast TACE Director, Chip Kenny on the identification of technical assistance for this area. Southeast TACE has sent curriculum material for review. OFB is working with TACE on a customized approach for this objective to include: identification of leadership core competencies (management processes and leadership behaviors). A two day training will occur in FFY 2012 calendar year. TACE will be offering a series of webinars anticipated to start in the fall of 2012 on leadership. Sally Siewert was identified as a potential TACE sub contractor to work with OFB for performance management in the area of supervision. An assessment and evaluation of needs will occur in 2012 and OFB staff will continue working with the Southeast TACE on the development of the framework and curriculum development. 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 2011.

Assessment, Vocational Counseling and Job Placement

Dr. Karen Wolffe, TACE subcontractor conducted a three day training on March 28, 29 and 30 of 2011 for the VR Counseling staff. Course Content: assessment techniques and outcomes, goal development, types of consumers and levels of interventions, approaches to facilitating movement into employment and assisting consumers in moving toward competitive employment.

Bill Santos, Employment Outcomes Oakville a TACE subcontractor was the trainer for two workshop sessions that were three days in length held in February and July of 2011. Part I the Employment Outcomes Professional (EOP) was held in February. For the first workshop both the blind and general agency VR Counselors and Job Placement Staff, Managers, and Community Rehabilitation Providers managers and placement staff were in attendance. The Employment Outcomes Professional (EOP) program teaches the practical marketing and sales skills required to secure jobs for clients with any level of employment barriers. Part II held in July of 2011 “Reframing the Hiring Decision both the blind and general agency VR Counselors and Job Placement Staff, Managers, and Community Rehabilitation Providers managers and placement staff were in attendance. Additionally, Office of Employment and Training staff from the One Stops was invited to participate in the training and ten (10) staff was in attendance.

Rehabilitation Technology

OFB will continue to support and provide training relevant to rehabilitation technology. Four Assistive Technology staff attended the University of Kentucky 8th Annual Institute in Assistive Technology in June of 2011. Planning for the AT EXPO and Conference began in 2011. An AT training assessment was distributed in April to assure that staff training needs are met through this event. The results of the survey were analyzed and a training venue consisting of employment, independent living and transition was decided upon. The conference theme is “2012 AT Odyssey A New Vision” and the two day event will be held at the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky on September 18 and 19. One of the AT Specialist completed the AT Applications Certificate through CSUN in 2011 in preparation for the RESNA certification.

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.

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.

National and Regional Training

OFB makes every effort to have representation at and participate in national and regional training events. OFB staff attended the following: 1) the Fourth Annual Program Evaluation: Quality Assurance in Tallahassee, Florida in September of 2011; 2) the National Rehabilitation Associations’ 30th Annual Government Affairs Summit in Alexandria, Virginia in March of 2011; 3) the 50th Annual American Council of the Blind Conference July 10 -14 in Reno, Nevada; 4)the 71st National Federation of the Blind in Orlando, Florida in July of 2011; 5) OFB Executive Director and Administration staff represented the agency at CSAVR/NCSAB Fall and Spring Conference; 6) One staff attended the NCRE/RSA/CSAVR Conference on Rehabilitation Education “Creating and Maintaining Partnerships” in October in Washington DC; 7) Two Orientation and Mobility instructors attended an Orientation and Mobility Seminar that was a two part hybrid course at Helen Keller National Center in New York; 8) Two Bioptic Driving Staff attended the 35th Annual ADED Conference and Exhibits, in Jacksonville, Florida “Navigating the Sea of Mobility” in August of 2011; and 9) One staff attended the 14th Annual RSA Project Director’s Conference, “Working for a Better Tomorrow” in Arlington, VA in August of 2011.

New Employee Orientation Based on staffing patterns, orientation for new employees was held November 15-19, 2010. 13 Staff were in attendance and all the required federal, state and agency components were covered. 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, the vending program, 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. I

n House and State Sponsored Training Events

In 2011, staff participated in several in house and other state trainings offered. OFB staff attended the following 2010 in state conferences: 1) Kentucky 2011 APSE, “Supported Employment Works!” held in Lexington. 2) Kentucky Association of Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (KAER), “Unbridled Spirit of excellence, Commitment, and Passion”, celebrating 25 years in March of 2011 3) Kentucky Rehabilitation Association (KRA) 2011 Conference in September in Lexington 4) KY National Federation for the Blind State Conference in September of 2011 in Louisville 5) KY American Council for the Blind State Conference in November of 2011 in Louisville , 6) 8th Annual Summer Institute in Assistive Technology in June of 2011 7) the Kentucky Association on Higher Education and Disability ( KYAHEAD) Conference “Reviving the Revolution” in May at Blue Licks State Park, and 8) IL staff participated in the 28th Annual Summer Series on Aging in Lexington hosted by the University of Kentucky in 2011. One new counseling 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 the New England ADA Center “Overview of Disability Rights Laws”, TACE (employment approaches, workplace partners, self-employment, and autism) and Virginia Commonwealth University. Staff participated in other trainings and seminars such as, “The Different Faces of Substance Abuse”, “Well Aware a Youth Suicide Prevention Program”, and “SE Regional Institute on Deafness”. Staff participated in trainings provided through the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Office for Employee and Organizational Development at Kentucky State University (State Government Ethics, Anti-Harassment and Work Place Violence, Managing Work Relationships and Time Management). Staff participated in training through the KY Finance and Administration Cabinet (Budget Preparation Refresher) and Training at the Tower (EXCEL, PowerPoint and Sharepoint). A three-day fall training was held in November for all VR field and center staff at the Charles W. McDowell Center. Staff received training on Vision Reports, the Career Index, Assistive Technology, the Case Management System, GPS systems, “Ethical Communication and the Counseling Relationships”, “Psychological Evaluations for VR Purposes” and “Teamwork Are You in it to Win It?” Independent Living Services/Older Blind held their annual 3-day Professional Training Conference in April of 2011 at the Charles W. McDowell Center and a 2-day mini training in August “Back to Basics: Part II. The training topics covered were “Case Management and Case reviews 101”, budgets, ARRA, Working with Challenging Cases, E-learning and “Tips for Working with TBI Consumers”. Staff at The Charles W. McDowell Rehabilitation Center received “Basic of Diabetes and Updates in October by Beverly Breyette, CDE, Baptist Hospital East, “Co-Occurring Mental and Substance Abuse Disorders” by Dr. LeeAnn Rawlins, TACE sub-contractor in April of 2011 and Interpersonal Working Relationships presented by Priscilla McCowan, Cabinet Trainer in April 2011. Orientation and Mobility Staff participated in the “Gateways to Independence” at the American Printing House for the Blind in July of 2011. In June of 2011, a three day training was held for all VR field staff at General Butler State Park. Training topics were, substance abuse, polices and procedures, employment initiatives, negotiation skills, transition and cultural diversity. Staff participated in “Partner for Success” training in the Spring of 2011 at Lake Cumberland State Park covering a variety of topics such as Transition, Business, and Individual Customer Services, One Stop Goals & Expectations, and Managing our Business. This training is based on one of the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board Work Smart initiatives. CRC credits were awarded to certified counselors attending trainings for approved for content area.

Ticket to Work/Benefits Planning

A Benefits Planning training titled, “Building Understanding to Promote Employment Without Fear" was held for staff at the McDowell Center in Louisville in September of 2011 conducted by Carolyn Wheeler. The training objectives were: 1) Participants will understand the major differences between Title II and Title XVI benefits in terms of their treatment of income and assets; 2) Participants will know the differences between a Benefits Analysis and the services provided by the WIPA (Work Incentives Planning Assistance) Projects and 3) Participants will know how to locate resource information to provide consumers regarding work incentives that is readily available on line and at no cost. One OFB staff participated in the WIPA CWIC training offered in Louisville, KY from December 12th - December 15, 2011 upon SSA’s approval of this individual for training through the VCU Work Incentive Planning and Assistance National Training Center. This individual is now provisionally certified with full certification pending upon the completion of required assignments.

On-line/ Elearning

OFB has a goal to maximizing staff learning in a timely and cost effective manner through the development and implementation of an online training program. In 2011 there was moderate progress for this area. A memorandum of understanding was developed and put in place with the Council for post-secondary education covering 50 Angel seats, elearning development, training, server streaming and instructional design support between the Office for the Blind and Postsecondary Education. OFB central office staff assigned to this project participated in a one day training on ANGEL (the basics) in March of 2011. In 2011, the decision to dissolve separate agency contracts and combine each of the Cabinet agencies and offices under one contracts delayed the work of the design of the online training. Given there were several parties involved there were fee and service negotiation disagreements and legal concerns that had to be sorted out prior to the contract being effective. Therefore OFB could not proceed with the development of courses in ANGEL until all the details were sorted out and the contract put in place. The contract was implemented in August of 2011 and OFB is now able to resume working on the online learning program. Another project in 2011 was increasing the competency and effectiveness of Older Independent (age 55 and older) Blind and Independent Living (under 55) staff through distance learning. OFB purchased three site licenses for Bowling Green, Louisville, and Lexington for staff to access the elearning statewide. OFB management staff completed elearning training with lead staff from the American Foundation for the Blind on 3/7/2011. Training materials were designed to on how to use the distance learning program. All IL/OIB staff was trained on the elearning series in April of 2011. Eleven IL/OIB staff enrolled in the coursework with a total of 34 OFB staff enrolled in the coursework. CRC and ACVREP ceu’s are awarded per courses under each module. Year to date 93 CRC ceu’s have been earned by staff for their certifying discipline through the elearning.

Kentucky Business Enterprises

Four (4) KBE staff received training in Williston, SC with Crane Merchandising Systems. Five (5) KBE staff attended training through the Jefferson Technical College presented by Scotsman Factory Service on their Annual Service Seminar on Hussmann and Scotsman’s Ice Systems. Two staff attended (2) the Business Leadership and Superior Training, BLAST Conference held September 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. Through this conference staff received training on the Randolph-Sheppard Act and corresponding regulations and the complexities of effectively administering the program at the state and federal levels. All KBE staff attended summer training at Lake Cumberland State Park in July of 2011. This was a statewide training for KBE staff with sessions on communication, inventory processes, bid process, vendor training, preventative maintenance, and simple repair.

 

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 of 2011. 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 10 2012 3:26PM 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

(a) Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities

The Comprehensive Statewide Assessment will be conducted annually over a three-year period and the Attachment 4.11 (a) submitted triennially. In FFY 2010, 2011 and 2012, 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 2013 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. A competitive Request for Proposal was released in April of 2011 to conduct the triennial statewide comprehensive needs assessment paid for through ARRA funding The Council, specifically the Special Projects Committee identified the content of the RFP to assure the methods utilized included focus groups, telephone surveys and interviews in gathering information for the 2012 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. Information gained from the assessment was used for the planning and formulating of goals and strategies for the 2013 State Plan. The following is the result of the triennial statewide comprehensive needs assessment by Analytic Insight, LLC.

Executive Summary

Introduction

The Kentucky Office for the Blind helps Kentucky individuals with visual disabilities develop the capacity to become more independent and productive in their homes, schools, workplaces and communities. The purpose of this Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) is to assist in that effort, by providing a base of evidence on which priorities, goals and strategic planning can be developed.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, mandates that each State and its State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) conduct a comprehensive statewide assessment every three years. This study examines the rehabilitation needs of Kentucky residents who are blind, legally blind or visually impaired. In addition, we seek to clarify the needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities, minorities, and individuals who have been unserved and underserved. Kentucky’s Office for the Blind, in response to the requirements for a CSNA, contracted with Analytic Insight, LLC to conduct the Statewide Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA).

Methodology

This project followed the guidelines established for a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment and the Vocational Rehabilitation Needs Assessment Guide established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. As specified by the guidelines, a number of data sources were used for this report. Primary data collected for this project includes:

Interviews with staff at OFB and stakeholder agencies;

Survey of 450 OFB consumers;

Focus groups with consumers, family members in Lexington and Louisville, transition students, Visually Impaired Teachers and OFB program staff.

Survey of 25 Ophthalmologists and 25 Optometrists;

Interviews with 4 employers of blind or visually impaired workers who were referred through the OFB;

Interviews with 11 Community Rehabilitation Partners.

The Office for the Blind provided MIS data related to program activities and outputs.

Several reports and publications created by the State of Kentucky and the Office for the Blind provided overall direction for the research and the development of this report. In particular, the documents and links compiled by the Kentucky State Rehabilitation Council Special Project Committee in conjunction with Office for the Blind staff. These included:

2009 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (State Rehabilitation Council and Kentucky Office for the Blind)

State Plan 2010

2010 Annual Report

2007-2011 Strategic Plan

In order to provide some context to our analysis of the needs of blind and visually impaired Kentucky residents, this CSNA also examines a number of statistics and estimates provided at the state and national levels. These include:

2008 Disability Status Report: Kentucky

2009 and 2010 American Community Survey (ACS)

2009 Current Population Survey (CPS)

2007 KY Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS)

Findings

Population Projections for Kentucky’s Blind and Visually Impaired Populations

Understanding the demographics of the overall population of the state of Kentucky gives a more complete context for the needs of the visually impaired and blind population within the state. Relative trends for blind and visually impaired Kentuckians, and disparities among services and resources for subgroups of disabled populations, are more clear when couched in this statewide context.

An Aging Population

As the population ages, the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment is also expected to rise. In addition, a higher percentage of Kentucky residents age 65 and over are below the Federal Poverty Level.

Vision impairment and blindness are more common among older adults. Almost one in ten (8.3%) of adults over age 65 with a disability in Kentucky have some type of vision difficulty, compared to 6.9% nationally. By contrast, vision impairment and blindness occur in 2.9% of individuals with a disability between ages 18 and 65, compared to 1.7% nationally.

Ethnic Minorities

Based on a decade of growing ethnic minority populations within the state of Kentucky, and expected trends continuing through the next several decades, there will continue to be an increasing need for outreach into and services for unserved and underserved minority groups.

According to Prevent Blindness America statistics, vision difficulties are most prevalent among Hispanic populations, and blindness is most frequent among Black populations. In Kentucky, 92.4% of individuals age 40 and over with a visual impairment are White, 5.8% are Black, 0.6% are Hispanic, and 1.1% are another race .

Health and Access to Healthcare

More Kentuckians have rated their health fair or poor compared to the rest of the nation since 2000 . Certain health conditions, some of which may eventually lead to vision-related problems (other than AMD) are disproportionately distributed among the population.

More Kentuckians report being over-weight or obese compared to the rest of the nation, and weight is an issue that also disproportionally affects Kentuckians by race/ethnicity. About 4 out of 5 (82.3%) of Black respondents reported being overweight, compared to 68.1% of White respondents. The prevalence of diabetes has also been increasing since 2000, according to the BRFSS. The prevalence is slightly higher in Kentucky (9.9%) compared to the nation (8.1%).

Not all areas of the state have equal access to healthcare and health-related resources. Eighty-eight counties are designated as medically underserved or as having health provider shortages. Of these, 27 are so designated because of low-income populations who are at risk for lacking medical services due to a provider shortage, and 17 of these are so designated because of a lack of access in rural areas.

Employment and Poverty

Given the current high rate of unemployment and the current economic climate, providing access to stable and adequate employment is a major challenge for all subsets of the population. Training, coaching and advocacy for the disabled populations of Kentucky are especially critical at this time.

Based on these expected shifts in the population, issues for all aging Kentuckians will continue to rise through the next few decades. There will be an increasing demand for services for aging adults, especially for smaller and underserved subgroups of the aging population, such as individuals who are visually impaired and living in poverty.

The employment rate for people ages 21 to 64 without a visual disability is 73.1% in the US, and 68.2% in Kentucky . For individuals with a visual disability, the rate is roughly halved for the US and more than halved for Kentucky: the employment rate is 38.7% within the US, and 29.3% within the state of Kentucky.

Even for adults who are working full-time, the gap is notable. The median annual earnings of Kentuckians without a visual disability, working full-time, is $36,000, however the median income for Kentuckians with a visual disability is $29,000. The rate of people living below the poverty line is almost tripled among persons with a visual disability in Kentucky; only 15.7% of persons without a visual disability live below the poverty line, compared to 40.0% of individuals with a visual disability.

Gaps in Education

The rates of educational attainment differs between Kentuckians with a visual disability and persons without a visual disability. 13.2% of Kentuckians have attained less than a high school education, however this rate is more than doubled among Kentuckians with a visual disability; 36.1% have less than a high school education .

The largest gap in educational attainment is for persons who have attained a Bachelors degree or more. 22.7% of adults without a significant visual disability have a college degree or more education, whereas just 5.6% of those with a visual disability have a college degree or more .

Consumer Profile

The consumer survey, as well as the MIS data examined, included all cases served. This included open and closed cases. Most respondents were visually impaired (45%) or legally blind (44%). About one in ten described themselves were Blind (11%).

Over half of the survey respondents were 55 years of age or older (56.2%) and over half reported that they had a physical disability other than blindness or vision impairment (54.2%).

A substantial percentage reported that they also had issues related to mental illness (9.2%), developmental disability (7.4%) or alcohol or other drug dependency (4.9%). Almost half the respondents had been told by a doctor or other health professional that they had cataracts (45.5%). Glaucoma (18.5%), diabetic retinopathy (15.4%) and macular degeneration (14.3%) were also prevalent.

About half of respondents reported an annual household income of less than $15,000. Almost one in ten (7.9%) had a household income over $75,000. Over a third of consumers reported receiving SSDI and about one in three (33.8%) received income from a job.

Service Needs

Education

One in three consumers (34%) said that they need educational support such as help obtaining a GED. One in ten (11%) are receiving those services; thus 31% of consumers who need educational assistance are currently receiving it. This service delivery measure is relatively high among the vocational needs of consumers. About a quarter (26%) of consumers needed help with resume writing or interview skills, and about 17% of those consumers are receiving that type of assistance.

Educational assistance and resume/interviewing assistance have the highest percentage of service delivery to those who need them compared to all other service needs.

Employment Services

The majority of the consumers surveyed (58%) had received vocational services from the Office for the Blind within the past year.

Four out of five consumers surveyed (83%) said that they wanted to find a job, either immediately (54%) or within the next 6 months (29%). Over half of consumers said they had been actively looking for a job within the past 6 months, however most of those looking for work (64%) had not sought the help of any vocational services.

Among those who did seek vocational services, most went to the Kentucky Office for the Blind. 12.8% of respondents who sought vocational services in the past year said they did not know where to look.

The most needed job service was help finding job openings. Almost half of the consumers surveyed (45%) said they needed this service.

Help with on the job training was needed by 38% of consumers and on-the-job support or coaching was needed by 32% of consumers. About 30% of consumers surveyed were employed part or full-time at the time of the survey, and this need was expressed by the majority of those who are employed. During interviews with Community Rehabilitation Partners, on the job training was also mentioned as a need of many CRP clients.

Job Placement

Overall, satisfaction with job placement was moderately positive; on a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 4 (very satisfied), consumers’ ratings had an average of 2.65. This score is closest to "somewhat satisfied" and the majority of consumers (61%) described themselves as either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied. Among those who were dissatisfied with job placement assistance, more than two thirds (69%) are consumers who needed services but were not currently receiving them. In contrast, 69.5% of those who received job placement services were at least somewhat satisfied with the services.

Given this information, it seems that the major barriers to job placement is that many who need that type of assistance are not receiving it. In fact, almost half (43.8%) of consumers say they need help with job placement services, but only 5.3% are receiving those services. In other words, 12.2% of those who need job placement assistance are currently receiving it. Underscoring the urgency of the need for these services for a larger percentage of the visually impaired population, almost 8 in 10 (84%) of the consumers who are seeking vocational services want a job either immediately (48%) or within the next 6 months (36%).

Several of the Community Rehabilitation Partners said in interviews that they would welcome referrals for job placement assistance. The major impediment, as perceived by the CRPs interviewed was their need for training in placement of blind and visually impaired clients.

On-The-Job Assistance

On-the-job support or coaching is needed by about a third of consumers (31%), compared to 5% who are receiving these services.

Similarly, over one third (36%) expressed a need for on the job training, but only 3.1% were receiving those services. In other words, of those who need either service, 15% are receiving on the job support or coaching, and 9% are receiving on the job training.

Most of the consumers who need on the job support, but are not receiving it, are blind (54%) or legally blind (31%) consumers.

Several CRPs also mentioned the need for on-the-job support once a client is placed in a new job.

Increasing Quality Employment Outcomes

Among consumers, there are a variety of vocational needs, including job placement assistance, on the job supports, educational services, and resume and interview skills. These are all important components to employment, and to overall quality of life, but they are not all being met for all consumers. In fact, when asked to identify the most significant unmet needs related to their visual impairment, consumers mentioned a number of employment-related needs. One in ten (10.2%) cited a lack of income or money as the most significant unmet need at this time. Another 13.8% stated that employment was their primary unmet need.

The major barriers to employment for individuals with a visual disability appear to be related to services that are needed, but not delivered. This was found to be caused by a number of issues:

Consumers who reported needing vocational services did not always seek vocational rehabilitation services. Among consumers in need of job placement assistance, over half (55.3%) had not sought vocational rehabilitation in the last year.

Among consumers who were successfully placed in an employment setting, there was a significant relationship between how long the case had been open and the wage of the consumer. The longer a consumer’s case was open, the lower their wages were likely to be when the case was successfully closed (r = -0.12, p<0.01). Consumers who are on hold for longer periods of time may be more difficult to place and less able to perform skilled jobs. In that case, identifying low-skill consumers early and referring them to educational or skill development opportunities may be useful.

Educational opportunities and assistance with job placement were rated very high by consumers in terms of importance; relative to other topics, these were rated as some of the most important, and were only rated less important than access to medical care, transportation, and assistive technology. Overall, one in three consumers (34%) said that they need educational support such as help obtaining a GED, however just one in three consumers who need educational assistance are currently receiving it.

Adaptive Technologies

Scanners and bank note readers were rated as the most important pieces of adaptive equipment affecting consumers’ quality of life. This includes those who have access to the equipment and those who do not. All respondents, whether visually impaired, blind or legally blind, rated screen reader programs and scanners as being most important to their quality of life.

Although the scanner was rated as most important to their quality of life by those familiar with it, the OCR scanner was also unfamiliar to the highest percentage of respondents (39%).

In general, the adaptive equipment items that were rated as most important to the quality of life for blind or visually impaired people, the less common the knowledge of the item. This may be partly because more sophisticated items such as the OCR scanner or screen reader programs are also newer technological developments in comparison to a talking watch, for example. There is however, an opportunity for educating the blind and visually impaired about important developments that may favorably impact their quality of life.

About half of legally blind respondents (47%) and three-fourths of Blind respondents (78%) said they had access to a screen reader program. Almost one in three visually impaired respondents said they had access (29%). The screen reader was the most commonly accessible of all the adaptive equipment items, followed by the talking watch.

Recreational Activities

Recreational and athletic activities were used by a high percentage of respondents. Overall, half or more said they had participated in a recreational activity in the past six months, and a substantial percentage of respondents said that they would participate in additional recreational activities if they were available.

Over one in four respondents said they would have participated in a sports or exercise program in the past six months if help were available (28.5%). Over half (60.2%) had participated in social activities in the past 6 months, and an additional 23.9% of respondents said they would have if assistance were available. The majority of respondents (78.8%) had participated in an outdoor activity in the six months preceding the survey and 13.5% said they would participate if help were available.

Mobility

One in five respondents (22.2%) reported that they need help in navigating community environments. Almost as many respondents (17.7%) reported that they currently receive such help.

The greatest gap between those needing assistance and those receiving assistance was in using or obtaining a guide dog. Just 3.1% of respondents said they are currently receiving assistance with using or obtaining a guide dog, although 10.3% said they were in need of assistance.

Personal Care

Help with shopping was the personal care item needed by the largest percentage of respondents. One in five (21%) said they needed help with shopping. An additional one in five (18%) said they currently have help with this task.

About one in four respondents either get or need help with food preparation and banking. Approximately half of those who require help with these tasks currently receive it.

Transportation

A friend or family member (45%) was most frequently mentioned as the form of transportation respondents use most often. About one in four (28%) had their own car, and one in ten respondents (9%) said the bus was the form of transportation they use most often.

One in four respondents (25.5%) need low cost door to door transportation and 15.4% are currently receiving it. Additionally, one in four respondents said they need assistance using public transportation (23.5%), whereas just 17.5% report currently receiving this service.

Housing

The majority of respondents live with family members (67%). About one in five (21%) lives alone. Most consumers (71%) live in a single family home or apartment (15%). Over half of consumers own their own homes (55%). Just 15% of all consumers surveyed receive rental assistance from the state of Kentucky.

The vast majority of consumers are very or somewhat satisfied (92%) with the accessibility of their residence. 3% are very dissatisfied. Among those who are dissatisfied with the accessibility of their residence, half said the reason for their dissatisfaction was the lack of physical accessibility (such as the need for a ramp) and 14% said that the location was not convenient to major transportation routes. Although affordable housing is a concern to many, just 6% mentioned cost as the reason for dissatisfaction with their current residence.

Information Needs

About one in four consumers (23%) said they do not have access to books, online newspapers or Internet content. Although additional help is needed by many consumers, many are currently receiving these services. In particular, one in three consumers (33%) currently receives help in using the library services.

During focus groups and interviews, consumers expressed concerns about the cost of assistive technology. The Bluegrass Council for the Blind in Lexington operates a popular lending library where consumers can ’try out’ a piece of technology before deciding whether or not to purchase the equipment.

Community Rehabilitation Partners (CRPs)

The majority of CRPs interviewed (55%) said they have not received any referrals from the Office for the Blind in the past year.

Although most had training specific to serving the blind and visually impaired, four CRP respondents out of the 11 interviewed had no training. One of these four had placed a blind individual in the past, however that was not through a referral from OFB.

Training was most often mentioned as the thing that CRPs felt OFB could do to assist them in placing blind and visually impaired consumers into jobs.

The Community Rehabilitation Partners interviewed had varied ideas about the greatest unmet need for blind and visually impaired people looking for work. Educating employers about the abilities of blind and visually impaired workers was suggested by one CRP, who said "Getting their foot in the door is the hardest part, and just getting an opportunity. I even had people who would not let this person volunteer."

In addition, once employed many workers need additional services to be successful at their job. "Ongoing follow-up is needed. Someone to make sure they have what they need to be able to do their work. Just a magnifier or something simple like that can make all the difference, but there needs to be someone who goes back to make sure after they’ve been in the job, that they have what they need."

Employers

Employers interviewed said that the OFB and other stakeholders provide a wide variety of trainings and information with respect to hiring blind or visually impaired employees. One of the employers knew exactly who in the OFB to call if he had any questions or concerns while on-boarding a new employee with vision-related needs. However, this employer still wanted more information regarding the programs through the OFB, citing she wanted "more familiarity with the program."

One employer had not hired anyone in the past year with any visual impairments, but had done so in the past and was anxious to do so in the future. This employer strongly valued the diversity and value that working with the OFB has brought to their site in the past.

When asked for feedback about their relationship with the Office for the Blind, one employer stated that they were "great at getting equipment out [to the work site]" and that they had all the necessary resources and information to hire individuals with visual impairments.

Optometrists and Ophthalmologists

Just 10% of the practices surveyed work with a low vision rehabilitation specialist. 82% refer their patients to rehabilitation providers outside of their offices. When asked to whom they refer patients, one in three (34%) did not know, and about one in four (27%) refer to the Office for the Blind.

When asked what services are offered by the Office for the Blind, assessment services were named by almost half of the providers surveyed (44%). Although some providers had a higher rate of patients with low vision needs, these providers were no more knowledgeable about OFB services than their peers.

When asked what percentage of those who need low vision rehabilitation services receive them, half of the providers surveyed (52%) said that less than 25% receive needed low vision rehabilitation services.

Financial needs were perceived to be the greatest unmet eye care need by 58% of the providers surveyed. Together, routine medical exams and preventive care were mentioned by one in four providers (25%).

Two-thirds of the providers surveyed (68%) said that low income residents were unserved or underserved in the area of low vision rehabilitation services. One in five (18%) named people living in rural areas.

Unmet Needs

Among consumers, ’employment’ was the most frequently mentioned response (14%) to the question "For you personally, what is the most significant unmet need in your life at this time relating to your vision loss?" Lack of income or money was mentioned by an additional 11% of consumers.

Almost half of blind, legally blind and visually impaired consumers said that they are active members of their communities and are able to participate as fully as they choose (47%). Just over one in three (38%) said that they are able to participate, but could do more if help were available.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Based on the information gathered for this Comprehensive statewide Needs Assessment, the State of Kentucky can anticipate that the population of blind and visually impaired residents will continue to grow. The demand for services will likely increase along with that growth. At this time, despite growing demand, funding is being cut nationwide for social services and programs. In these circumstances, prioritization is often key to maintaining service delivery.

Prioritization

Consumers place a high priority on transportation, job placement and affordable housing, yet satisfaction with these areas is relatively low.

Sequential Development

Although services are available, they are often underutilized. Individuals move through stages of development: personal living skills, mobility and transportation, education to job placement. Increasing emphasis on this developmental path, choosing training and educational opportunities that are appropriate to an individual’s current skills, interpersonal abilities and motivational levels may help them move efficiently through the sequence.

Assistive Technology And Adaptive Devices

Some individuals who would benefit from assistive technologies are unaware of recent developments in available devices. Information outreach to inform individuals of what is available is needed. In addition, lending libraries that let people try out a new technology before purchasing, or seeking financial assistance to purchase, is an efficient way of limiting unnecessary expenditures.

Righting Social Inequities

Education and access to mainstream education settings was a high priority for consumers, and is an efficient and beneficial way of closing the gap between sighted and visually impaired residents in terms of educational outcomes, employment and income inequities.

Community Partners

Educational outreach is needed for CRPs and medical providers. CRPs consistently discussed a need for training in the needs and abilities of visually impaired and blind clientele. Medical providers, including both ophthalmologists and optometrists, were largely unaware of the specific services offered by the Office for the Blind and its stakeholders.

Educating local service providers and employers about the broad capabilities and particular needs of blind and visually impaired Kentuckians will help improve access to assistive technology, health services, educational opportunities and employment prospects for many residents.

Methodology

This project followed the guidelines established for a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment and the Vocational Rehabilitation Needs Assessment Guide established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Overview

A number of data sources are used in this report. The primary data collected for this project includes:

Interviews with staff at OFB and stakeholder agencies;

Survey of 450 OFB consumers;

Focus groups with consumers in Lexington and Louisville, INSIGHT students, OFB Staff

Survey of 25 Ophthalmologists and 25 Optometrists;

Interviews with 4 employers of blind or visually impaired workers who were referred through the OFB;

Interviews with 11 Community Rehabilitation Partners.

The Office for the Blind provided MIS data related to program activities and outputs.

Several reports and publications created by the State of Kentucky and the Office for the Blind provided overall direction for the research and the development of this report. In particular, the documents and links compiled by the Kentucky State Rehabilitation Council Special Project Committee in conjunction with Office for the Blind staff. These included:

2009 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (State Rehabilitation Council and Kentucky Office for the Blind)

State Plan 2010

2010 Annual Report

2008-2010 Strategic Plan

In order to provide some context to our analysis of the needs of blind and visually impaired Kentucky residents, this CSNA also examines a number of statistics and estimates provided at the state and national levels. These include:

2008 Disability Status Report: Kentucky

2010 American Community Survey (ACS)

2009 Current Population Survey (CPS)

2007 KY Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS)

Research Questions

The Office for the Blind’s 2008 CSNA found that the most frequently mentioned needs among consumers surveyed were employment, transportation, assistive technology and education. In that study, staff cited medical restoration, job placement and assistive technology as the most requested services. These topics provided the primary focus points for this study. The lines of inquiry also included:

Employment

Transportation

Assistive technology and adaptive devices

Education and access to mainstream education settings

Medical restoration

Job placement

Housing

Independent Living

Data Collection Methods

The interview guides for each of the data collection efforts are is available upon request to this report.

Interviews

Interviews were conducted among Kentucky Office for the Blind staff from programs and services including Independent Living and Vocational Rehabilitation field staff, McDowell Center and Kentucky Business Enterprises. In addition, there was representation from the State Rehabilitation Council, the Kentucky School for the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind, the American Council for the Blind and the Blue Grass Council for the Blind.

These interviews helped shaped the methodological plan and informed the subsequent research.

In addition to the project planning interviews, key informant interviews were conducted with a sample of 10 community rehabilitations partners and four human resources staff at companies that have employed graduates of Kentucky School for the Blind programs.

Quantitative Surveys

A telephone survey was conducted of 450 blind or visually impaired Kentucky residents who had utilized the services of the Office of the Blind and for whom contact information was available.

In addition to the consumer survey, a telephone survey of 25 optometrists and 25 ophthalmologists was conducted.

Focus Groups

Focus groups were conducted with consumers and staff in both Louisville and Lexington. A focus group was also held with visual impairment teachers who attend the group, presented as a for-credit session at a professional conference held at the 2011 Gateways to Independence Professional Development Opportunity at the Kentucky School for the Blind.

In order to include the transition experience, a focus group was conducted among transition students that included current and former INSIGHT students, as well as other students listed on counselor caseloads who have chosen not to participate in INSIGHT.

Data Limitations

Each information source has its own strengths and limitations for use in the CSNA. This underlies the strategy of using a number of data sources and types in the CSNA. Although each has unique strengths and weaknesses, together they provide a balanced portrait of the available services and service gaps in the state.

The following table shows the strengths and limitations associated with each of the data sources used in this report.

Source – Population Statistics

Strength – Generalizeable and reliable quantitative assessment

Limitations – Broad definition of disability categories with no indicators of blindness orviusal impairment.

Source – State MIS data

Strength – reliable indicators of process measures

Limitations – Includes only those participating in OFB VR registries

Source – Focus Group and interviews

Strength- Rich, qualitative data direct from consumers

Limitations – Non-random sampling does not provide reliable error estimation. Potential sampling bias

Source – Consumer Survey

Strength – Quantitative, generalizeable

Limitations – Includes only those participating in OFB VR registries (listed sample)

Source Ophthalmologist and Optometrist Surveys

Strength- Generalizeable and reliable data from randomly sampled complete listing of licensed providers in KY

Limitations – Survey taken by office manager due to time restrictions on access to actual provider

Kentucky Population Statistics and Projections

Understanding the demographics of the overall population of the state of Kentucky gives a more complete context for the needs of the visually impaired and blind population within the state. Relative trends for blind and visually impaired Kentuckians, and disparities among services and resources for subgroups of disabled populations, are more clear when couched in this statewide context.

Age

The 2010 US Census indicated that the population of Kentucky has risen 7.4% since the last enumeration, to a total of 4,339,367 people. Males and females are represented roughly equally (49.2% versus 50.8%) in the population. Over three quarters (76.4% or 3,315,996) of the population is over the age of eighteen, and more than one in ten of the total population is over age 65 (13.3% or 578,227). The percentage of the aging population will steadily increase over the next several decades, and is projected to grow faster than the rest of the adult population of Kentucky. This trend is projected to occur for the United States, and Kentucky’s percentages and rates of increase will closely reflect the national trends. According to the 3-year estimates of the American Community Survey, 13% (+/-0.4% margin of error) of Kentucky residents age 65 and over are under the poverty line. This is higher than the national average of 9.7% (+/-0.1% margin of error).

The distribution of this age group is not equal among all counties. The statewide average is 13.3%, but most counties exceed that rate by more than 1 percent. The ten counties with the highest rates of residents age 65 and over are listed below.

Owsley 21.9%

Lyon 19.5%

Elliot 19.4%

Hickman 19.1%

Cumberland 18.9%

Marshall 18.5%

Carlisle 18.3%

Caldwell 18.0%

Trigg 18.0%

Fulton 17.9%

Based on these expected shifts in the population, issues for all aging Kentuckians will continue to rise through the next few decades. There will be an increasing demand for services for aging adults, especially for smaller and underserved subgroups of the aging population, such as individuals who are visually impaired and/or below the poverty line.

Race and Ethnicity

Approximately 87.8% of the population is White, 7.8% of the population is Black, 3.1% is Hispanic, and 1.4% of the population is of another race (2010 US Census Bureau). According to the 2010 US Census, the population of White adults aged 18 and over increased by 3.8% from 2000 to 2010. The population of Black adults increased by 13.4%, from 293,639 to 333,075 individuals and the Hispanic adult population increased by 121.6%, from 59,939 to 132,836 individuals. Although state-by-state projections of population growth by race/ethnicity are not currently available, the national trend indicates that the expansion of ethnic minorities will continue. Based on a decade growth of minority populations within the state of Kentucky, and expected trends continuing through the next several decades, there will continue to be an increasing need for outreach into and services for unserved and underserved minority groups.

Employment

Current labor statistics show that the unemployment rate is 9.5% in Kentucky, with 90.5% of the total labor force currently employed . The most recent projections indicate that a 7.5% increase in the available employment by 2018 . However, given the current high rate of unemployment and the current economic climate, providing access to stable and adequate employment is a major challenge for all subsets of the population. Training, coaching and advocacy for the disabled populations of Kentucky are especially critical at this time. Some predominantly rural areas of the state are disproportionately affected by high unemployment rates.

Health

An April 2011 Kentucky Health Care Poll found that 1 in 4 adults are currently uninsured, and 1 in 3 adults have been without insurance at some point within the last 12 months. Nearly half (46%) of adults living in households with an income below 100% of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG) reported being currently uninsured, compared to 16% of those living above 200% FPG. According to the 2007 Kentucky BRFSS, more Kentuckians had rated their health fair or poor compared to the rest of the nation since 2000. The difference between ratings among the age groups was statistically significant. Almost half (45%) of adults age 65 and older report having fair or poor general health compared to a small number (3.7%) of those aged 18-24, and just over 1 in 10 (12%) of those aged 24-34. A greater proportion of Kentuckians (17.4%) report cost as a reason for not seeing a doctor compared to the rest of the nation (12.5%). The difference in rates of cost as a barrier to seeing a doctor between males and females is statistically significant. One in five (20.1%) females report cost as a barrier to seeing a doctor compared to 14.5% of males.

Certain health conditions, some of which may eventually lead to vision-related problems (other than AMD) are disproportionately distributed among the population. More Kentuckians report being over-weight or obese compared to the rest of the nation, with almost 4 out of 5 (79.8%) of males reporting being overweight or obese compared to just over half (58.6%) of females. Weight is an issue that also disproportionally affects Kentuckians by race/ethnicity. About 4 out of 5 (82.3%) of Black respondents reported being overweight, compared to 68.1% of White respondents. The prevalence of diabetes has also been increasing since 2000, according to the BRFSS. The prevalence is slightly higher in Kentucky (9.9%) compared to the nation (8.1%).

Not all areas of the state have equal access to healthcare and health-related resources. The Health Resources and Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services creates designations for areas of the country that are medically underserved. The information is tracked according to whether an area has an adequate number of healthcare providers (e.g., 3,500 to 1 primary care physicians to residents), whether the area has a large proportion of medically underserved populations (e.g., low income, Medicaid-eligible, elderly), among other indicators of health disparities. Eighty-eight counties are designated as medically underserved or as having health provider shortages. Of these, 27 are so designated because of low-income populations who are at risk for lacking medical services due to a provider shortage, and 17 of these are so designated because of a lack of access in rural areas.

In addition to tracking which areas are at risk for health disparities, data are also available regarding the distribution of federal and state funds for individuals with disabilities. Caution should be used when looking at these data for a specific population, as the OASDI does not include data between types of disabilities; blind populations are tallied along with other disabled populations in the totals. The number of recipients by eligibility category is listed in the table below.

County Total Kentucky

ANSI Code 21

Total 192,076

Category

Aged 11,033

Blind and disabled 181,043

Age

Under 18 30,299

18-64 129,517

65 OR OLDER 32,260

SSI recipients also receiving OASDI

66,560

Amount of payments (thousands of dollars)

$98,285

Population Trends Regarding Visually Impaired and Blind Residents

Within the context of known statewide demographics, it is easier to understand the relative needs of the visually impaired and blind population of Kentucky. According to the 2010 American Fact Finder (American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates), 2.9% (or about 125,800) of Kentucky residents are experiencing some type of vision impairment or blindness, compared to 3.4% of the U.S. population.

Age

Vision impairment and blindness are more common among older adults. Almost one in ten (8.3%) of adults over age 65 with a disability in Kentucky have some type of vision difficulty, compared to 6.9% nationally. By contrast, vision impairment and blindness occur in 2.9% of individuals with a disability between ages 18 and 65, compared to 1.7% nationally.

In people age 40 and older, vision impairment and blindness are more common among women (about two thirds or 67.3% of vision impairment and blindness) than among men (less than one third, or 32.9%).

Race and Ethnicity

According to Prevent Blindness America statistics, vision difficulties are most prevalent among Hispanic populations, and blindness is most frequent among Black populations. In Kentucky, 92.4% of individuals age 40 and over with a visual impairment are White, 5.8% are Black, 0.6% are Hispanic, and 1.1% are another race (Prevent Blindness America, 2008).

According to the 2009 CSNA, 98% of the visually impaired or blind individuals who were being served were White. This indicates a disproportionate distribution in services, such that minority populations are unserved or underserved, as Black, Hispanic and other races comprise 7.5% of the visually impaired or blind population in Kentucky. Men and women were fairly equally represented in the study (42% and 58%, respectively).

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. Educational Supports for individuals was an area of need given that forty-six percent (46%) of the respondents reported having a High School Diploma or below. This also indicates a need for early intervention and counseling supports for students.

Employment

According to the 2009 American Community Survey, the percentage of people ages 21 to 64 without a visual disability who were employed is 73.1% in the US, and 68.2% in Kentucky. For individuals with a visual disability, the rate is roughly halved for the US and more than halved for Kentucky: the employment rate is 38.7% within the US, and 29.3% within the state of Kentucky, for individuals with a visual disability. The median annual earnings of persons without a visual disability, working full-time, is $36,000 for Kentuckians. However, the median annual earnings of persons with a visual disability is $29,000. The rate of people living below the poverty line is almost tripled among persons with a visual disability in Kentucky; only 15.7% of persons without a visual disability live below the poverty line, compared to 40.0% of individuals with a visual disability.

Health

An April 2011 Kentucky Health Care Poll found that nearly half (46%) of adults living in households with an income below 100% of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG) reported being currently uninsured, compared to 16% of those living above 200% FPG. The American Community Survey found that about 19.6% of Kentuckians without a visual disability are uninsured, and that 23.0% of Kentuckians with a visual disability are uninsured. One in four (24.5%) Kentuckians with a visual disability received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in 2009, which is higher than the national average of 18.0%.

Not all counties have equal access to healthcare and providers. This inequity has the potential to impact visually impaired and blind Kentuckians, given the existing discrepancies of income and employment for this population, their transportation needs and the inherent dangers of isolation.

Education

The rates of educational attainment differs between Kentuckians with a visual disability and persons without a visual disability. 13.2% of Kentuckians have attained less than a high school education, however this rate is more than doubled among Kentuckians with a visual disability; 36.1% have less than a high school education .

Roughly equal rates of Kentucky residents with and without visual disabilities have attained a high school degree or equivalent; 32.4% and 33.8%, respectively. The percentage of persons with some college is 30.3% for individuals without a visual disability, and 25.9% for individuals with a visual disability.

The largest gap in educational attainment is or persons who have attained a Bachelors degree or more. 22.7% of adults without a significant visual disability have a college degree or more education, whereas just 5.6% of those with a visual disability have a college degree or more. Because the base population of individuals with and without visual disabilities is very different, the rates are displayed along with the breakdown by base population below.

Consumer Survey

Consumers are the main focus of the activities of the Office for the Blind and its stakeholders. The efforts to improve access to services, vocational rehabilitation and employment ultimately are judged by the impact on consumers’ lives. Therefore, understanding the outcomes of these activities in terms of their quality of life and potential for contributing to the community and the State of Kentucky is critical to this Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment.

Several data sources were utilized. Existing data sources include census data, KY Office for the Blind and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation each contributed data on internal processes and consumer outcomes. Focus groups were conducted with consumers, as well as staff having direct contact with consumers and visual impairment teachers.

Consumer Profile

The average age of the consumers surveyed was 43. About one third of the consumers surveyed were under the age of 35 (34.5%). The average age at which consumers lost their vision was 26 years old. One in four consumers (25.3%) was over the age of 45 when he or she began to lose vision.

Most respondents were visually impaired 45%) or legally blind (44%). About one in ten described themselves as Blind (11%).

Over half of the survey respondents were 55 years of age or older (56.2%) and over half reported that they had a physical disability other than blindness or vision impairment (54.2%).

A substantial percentage reported that they also had issues related to mental illness (9.2%), developmental disability (7.4%) or alcohol or other drug dependency (4.9%).

Almost half the respondents had been told by a doctor or other health professional that they had cataracts (45.5%). Glaucoma (18.5%), diabetic retinopathy (15.4%), macular degeneration (14.3%) and retinitis pigmentosa (12.6%) were also frequently mentioned.

Demographics

About half of respondents reported an annual household income of less than $15,000. Almost one in ten (7.9%) had a household income over $75,000.

Over a third of consumers reported receiving SSDI and about one in three (33.8%) received income from a job. Around twenty-six percent (26.5%) reported an income of Social Security Income (SSI). Another 16.3% reported receiving other sources of income such as TANF, food stamps, housing and veteran’s disability.

Those who were visually impaired were most likely to report receiving income from a job (59.4%) compared to those survey respondents who were blind (4.2%) or legally blind (36.4%). The following is a breakdown of sources of income:

Blind

4.2% income form a job

17.6% income from SSDI

17% income from SSI

25% housing assistance

14.8% food stamps

Visually Impaired

59.4% income from a job

27.7% income from SSDI

35.7 income from SSI

41.7% housing assistance

35.2% food stamps

Legally Blind

36.4% income from a job

54.7 income from SSDI

47.3% income from SSI

33.3% housing assistance

50% food stamps

Service Needs

Mobility

One in five respondents (22.2%) reported that they need help in navigating community environments. Almost as many respondents (17.7%) reported that they currently receive such help. About one in ten respondents surveyed said they need help using a cane (12.3%), obtaining or using a guide dog (1.3%) or navigating home environments (9.8%).

The greatest gap between those needing assistance and those receiving assistance was in using or obtaining a guide dog. Just 3.1% of respondents said they are currently receiving assistance with a guide dog, although 10.3% said they were in need of assistance with these skills.

Recreational Activities

Recreational and athletic activities were used by a high percentage of respondents. Overall, half or more said they had participated in a recreational activity in the past six months.

A substantial percentage of respondents said that they would participate in additional recreational activities if they were available.

Over one in four respondents said they would have participated in a sports or exercise program in the past six months if help were available (28.5%). Half of all respondent (49.2%) had participated in a sports or exercise program in the past six months.

Over half (60.2%) said they had participated in social activities in the past 6 months, and an additional 23.9% of respondents said they would have if assistance were available.

The majority of respondents (78.8%), or four out five respondents had participated in an outdoor activity in the six months preceding the survey. 13.5% said they would like to participate if help were available.

Personal Care

Help with shopping was the personal care item needed by the largest percentage of respondents. One in five (21%) said they needed help with shopping. An additional one in five (18%) said they currently have help with this task.

About one in four respondents either get or need help with food preparation and banking. Approximately half of those require help with these tasks currently receive it.

Laundry or home chores and personal grooming help were needed by comparatively fewer survey respondents. A substantial portion of our sample however, said they currently need help with laundry or home chores (9.8%) or personal grooming (4.7%).

Transportation

A friend or family member (45%) was most frequently mentioned as the form of transportation respondents use most often.

About one in four (28%) had their own car, and one in ten respondents (9%) said the bus was the form of transportation they use most often.

One in three respondents (33.4%) said they currently need free door to door transportation and 5.6% currently are receiving this service.

One in four respondents (25.5%) need low cost door to door transportation and 15.4% are currently receiving it.

One in four respondents said they need assistance using public transportation (23.5%), whereas just 17.5% report currently receiving this service.

Approximately 60% or just under two-thirds of survey respondents said they do not have a need for any of these three transportation services.

Adaptive Technologies

Among consumers surveyed, scanners (3.4) and bank note readers (3.3) were rated as the most important pieces of adaptive equipment affecting their quality of life. This includes those who have access to the equipment and those who do not. A screen reader program, note taker (or Braille writer) or iPhone were also rated as being between somewhat and very important (3.1 average).

Although the scanner was rated as most important to their quality of life by those familiar with it, the OCR scanner was also unfamiliar to the highest percentage of respondents (39%).

In general, the adaptive equipment items that were rated as most important to the quality of life for blind or visually impaired people, the less common the knowledge of the item. This may be partly because more sophisticated items such as the OCR scanner or screen reader programs are also newer technological developments in comparison to a talking watch, for example. There is however, an opportunity for educating the blind and visually impaired about important developments that may favorably impact their quality of life.

All respondents, whether visually impaired, blind or legally blind, rated screen reader programs and scanners as being most important to their quality of life.

Computer aided keyboard and CCTV were rated as less important by those who are blind, as compared with respondents who described themselves as legally blind or visually impaired.

About half of legally blind respondents (47%) and three-fourths of Blind respondents (78%) said they had access to a screen reader program. Almost one in three visually impaired respondents said they had access (29%). The screen reader was the most commonly accessible of all the adaptive equipment items, followed by the talking watch.

In general, Blind respondents had the greatest access to adaptive equipment. The exceptions to this included the CCTV and iPhone.

A focus group was held with visual impairment teachers. One theme from this focus group was accessibility in all its various forms. Consumers’ access to buildings, information, employment, and learning opportunities were all mentioned by participants. In particular, one participant mentioned that, "everything seems to be available in print, but they’re not always in a format that’s accommodating to someone that’s visually impaired or blind out in the community." One of those items mentioned was job applications; in fact, there was a general impression that many employers now want applications completed online, often including a pre-test as part of the application. "Most employers don’t want to help you fill out the application," one participant stated.

The consumer survey asked respondents to rate the importance of a number of issues. Later in the survey, respondents were also asked to rate how satisfied they are with the way these same services are provided in the state. The answers to both sets of questions are presented in the graph below.

The horizontal (up and down) axis shows how satisfied respondents were, on the average, with each service. An answer of very satisfied is scored as ’4’, satisfied as ’3’, dissatisfied as ’2’ and very dissatisfied as ’1’. Note that the highest average rating is for Independent Living, 3.3 and the lowest satisfaction rating is for Job Placement, at 2.65.

The vertical (left-right) axis shows the importance ratings. Transportation, access to medical care and assistive technology were among the most important issues. As with satisfaction, very important equals a rating of 4 and not at all important equals a rating of 1.

Those issues that are considered very important, but which receive low satisfaction ratings are often considered high priorities for service improvements. Those items appear in the lower right section of the graph. Transportation, job placement and affordable housing were each rated as highly important, yet they are of low current satisfaction levels.

Housing

The majority of respondents live with family members (67%). About one in five (21%) lives alone. Among those who live with family, over half live with a spouse (56%), 27% live with parents, 7% live with adult children and 3% reported that they live with siblings. 7% of respondents named some other family member with whom they currently live.

Most consumers (71%) live in a single family home or apartment (15%).

The vast majority of consumers are very or somewhat satisfied (92%) with the accessibility of their residence. 3% are very dissatisfied.

Among those who are dissatisfied with the accessibility of their residence, 47% cited physical accessibility (such as the need for a ramp) and 14% said that the location was not convenient to major transportation routes. 6% mentioned cost as the reason for their dissatisfaction.

Over half of consumers own their own homes (55%).

15% of all consumers surveyed receive rental assistance from the state of Kentucky.

Employment Services

Four out of five consumers surveyed (83%) said that they wanted to find a job, either immediately (54%) or within the next 6 months (29%). Over half of all consumers (56%) said they had been actively looking for a job within the past 6 months, however most (64%) had not sought the help of any vocational services. Among those who did seek vocational services, most went to the Kentucky Office for the Blind. 12.8% of respondents who sought vocational services in the past year said they did not know where to look.

Jobs services are normally of a fairly short duration, so at the time of the survey, a small percentage of consumers reported that they were currently receiving jobs services.

The most needed job service was help finding job openings. Almost half of the consumers surveyed (45%) said they needed this service.

Help with on the job training was needed by 38% of consumers and on-the-job support or coaching was needed by 32% of consumers. About 30% of consumers surveyed were employed part or full-time at the time of the survey, and this need was expressed by the majority of those who are employed. During interviews with Community Rehabilitation Partners, on the job training was also mentioned as a need of many CRP clients.

Educational needs (24%) and help with resume-writing and interview skills (22%) are also needed by a sizeable number of consumers. The majority of the consumers surveyed (58%) had received vocational services from the Office for the Blind within the past year.

Employment Outcomes

Consumers were asked a number of questions about their employment status, vocational rehabilitation experiences, and what services they need or are lacking. A large percentage of the consumers are currently unemployed (38.9%), and more than one in ten (15.1%) are unable to work. About one third (32.2%) are employed, whether full-time (17.8%), part-time (11.3%) or self-employed (3.1%). Just over one third (35.3%) of all consumers have sought vocational rehabilitation services in the last year.

Among those who are unemployed, over half (56.3%) have actively been searching for a job within the last 6 months. A smaller percentage of unemployed consumers, 39.2% have sought vocational rehabilitation services in the last year, and only a small percentage of consumers seeking vocational rehabilitation services did not know where to look for them (1.8%). This finding is encouraging, because almost all of the consumers knew where to go to find the services they needed while searching for employment.

Barriers to Employment

Overall, satisfaction with job placement was essentially positive; when consumers were asked whether they were very satisfied (4.00), somewhat satisfied (3.00), somewhat dissatisfied (2.00), or very dissatisfied (1.00), consumers’ ratings had an average of 2.65. This score is closest to "somewhat satisfied;" 60.5% of the consumers rated themselves as either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied. More than two thirds (68.97%) of those who are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with job placement assistance are consumers who need the service but are not currently receiving the service. By contrast, 69.5% of those who received job placement services were at least somewhat satisfied with the services. Given this information, it seems that one of the major barriers to job placement is that many who need that type of assistance are not receiving it. In fact, almost half (43.8%) of consumers say they need help with job placement services, but only 5.3% are receiving those services. In other words, 12.2% of those who need job placement assistance are currently receiving it. Underscoring the urgency of the need for these services for a larger percentage of the visually impaired population, almost 8 in 10 (83.9%) of the consumers who are seeking vocational services want a job either immediately (48.3%) or within the next 6 months (35.6%).

On-The-Job Assistance

Almost a third of consumers (31.3%) responded that they were in need of on-the-job support or coaching but that they are not receiving those services at this time, compared to 4.7% who are receiv

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2012 3:43PM 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 2010 data is 4,339,335. Of these 16.8% are reported to have a disability. 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 16,802 individuals aged 40 and older who are blind and 37,503 who have low vision or 2.6% of the population. This does not include counts of individuals under the age of 40.

For FFY 2013 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 2013 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 2012 and it is inclusive of the carryover of consumers from the prior year. The costs are reflective of the actual direct service cost to consumers for the current year to date 2012 and the prior service costs for 2011. 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, 2012 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 net operating deficit of $79.6 million for FY 13 that campuses will be faced with. Tuition increases will also offset this by around $45.1 million. 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. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there is an uninsured population of 15 percent (659,900) in the Commonwealth. Diabetes, a leading cause of eye problems in Kentucky population rates are currently at 10% compared to US rates of 8.7%. Kentucky is ranked number one in the nation for the percentage of Blind & Disabled SSI recipients currently at 4 % of the state population. The average annual percent growth in health care expenditures went up in Kentucky 6.7%. Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reached a three-year low of 8.8 percent in January 2012. This is welcome relief from the 10.0 or higher rates experienced in 26 of the last 36-months. Kentucky was one of 45 states, including the District of Columbia, to record a decrease in unemployment from the previous month. The national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent also trended downwards.

2012 ESTIMATED OUTCOME GOALS AND TIMEFRAMES 10/1/12 through 9/30/13

Category One Estimate to be Served - 1,020

Estimated of Employment Outcomes-165

Estimated Average Costs Per Person- $1,576

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $1,608,000

Category Two

Estimate to be Served - 410

Estimated of Employment Outcomes-163

Estimated Average Costs Per Person- $2,949

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $1,209,000

Category Three Estimate to be Served - 32

Estimated of Employment Outcomes-17

Estimated Average Costs Per Person- $2,031

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $65,000

Category Four Closed

Total Associated Estimates for 2013

Total Estimate to be Served - 1,462

Total Estimated of Employmet Outcomes- 345

Total Estimated Average Costs Per Person - $1,971

Total Estimated Associted Costs Per Category - $2,882,000.00

Projected Performance for FFY 2012 under Title VI, Part B Estimate of to be served - 30

Total Estimated Associated Costs - $62,000.

Average Estimated Costs Per Person - $2,067.00 Employment Outcomes Estimate - 4

*Expenditures exceeding the Title VI-B 2011 allotment 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 $1,608,000 1,020 $1,576
Two Title I $1,209,000 410 $2,948
Three Title I $65,000 32 $2,031
Totals   $2,882,000 1,462 $1,971

This screen was last updated on Aug 21 2012 10:32AM 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 for FFY 2013 developed collaboratively with the State Rehabilitation Council based on the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment.

The Special Projects Committee reviewed the input received for the 2013 State Plan in relation to the five goals, strategies and innovation and expansion activities existing in the plan at the February 17, 2012 and May 18, 2012 meeting. At the May 18, 2012 meeting the committee made a recommendation to the full Council to accept the following proposed goals for the 2013 State Plan. A motion was made by Michael Freholm to approve the set goals, strategies and priorities for the 2013 State Plan and seconded by Jim Shaw. The motion was passed by the full Council.

Based on the input received there are six concise and measurable goal areas set based on the 2012 Statewide Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, an analysis of the Agency’s performance on the federal Standards and Indicators, real time data from the case management system, the results of the satisfaction survey and the strategic planning process as well as the findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

1. OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Indicators annually.

2. To increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment.

3. Use resources effectively and efficiently in order to maximize funds in serving individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired in the Commonwealth.

4. KBE will provide full-time employment and career opportunities for Kentuckians who are legally blind, while providing quality vending and food services for government and business.

5. To develop, design and implement a professional development leadership program for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning.

6. Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

The following Priorities were established:

• Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities.

• Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

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 Aug 21 2012 10:33AM 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.

FFY 2011 Review

Proper coding procedures and tracking are in place allowing for efficient and accurate data on numbers served, numbers placed on a waiting list, and fiscal resources. Based on a review in FFY 2011 the decision was made to open Priority Category 3, effective October 1, 2011 for the FFY 2012. Priority Category 4 remained 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 information regarding services and expenditures consisting of the following:

• 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 was projected to be around $3,000,000.

• The availability of federal stimulus funds

• Average caseload sizes in FFY 11 allowed for counseling staff to effectively manage serving additional consumers that are currently on the waiting list in Priority Category Three.

By December of 2011, OFB anticipated that we would be asked to reduce our general fund appropriation by an additional 2%. This request resulted in a general fund reduction of $23,300 in addition to the $18,000 or 1.5% already reduced this fiscal year. By reducing the general funds further OFB will have difficulty meeting the match required for federal funds available resulting in a loss of federal match dollars. Although there was uncertainty regarding the budget, given the information OFB had the decision was made to not 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.

FFY 2012 Review

During FFY 2012 budgets and fiscal resources were reviewed monthly by agency management. Information was presented to the State Rehabilitation Council at each quarterly meeting. The enacted General Fund appropriation for FY 2013 in the amount of $1,203,100 will continue to prevent OFB from meeting the required match to draw down all available federal Basic Support funds. In fact, it will take an additional $469,900 above the proposed appropriation in order to fully meet match for FFY 2013. Since FY 2009, OFB has seen dramatic reductions in its matching sources. The General Fund has been reduced by 12% or $134,000, while the other sources of match from the Business Enterprises Program (BE) and the McDowell Rehabilitation Center (MRC) bond interest/depreciation have been reduced by 44% or $466,000. The effects of this loss have been delayed for the past two years by the addition of over $1.8M in federal stimulus funds. However, in FFY 2012 OFB is faced with a 20% reduction in revenue, or $2 M less than received in FFY 2011 discounting stimulus funds. Based on a thorough analysis of OFB’s entire budget through an administrative cost review by the Executive Director, Director of Consumer Services, Regional Managers, and Fiscal staff a cost savings plan was developed and implemented on February 7, 2012.

The decision was made to implement changes to the Cataract and Training Policies. These draft policies were submitted to RSA staff and the State Rehabilitation Council for input and feedback. Four public hearings across the state were scheduled to give consumers and other interested individuals an opportunity to comment on proposed changes to OFB policies. The three areas under consideration for changes are the training assistance policy, cataract surgery policy and order of selection. Based on input from the State Rehabilitation Council, the public hearings and RSA staff revisions were made to the draft policies. The revised draft policies are pending review with RSA. Potential cutbacks in operations at the McDowell Center Rehabilitation Center were covered as well.

Currently the Center shuts down four weeks out of the year and there is consideration to potentially increasing the closure to eight weeks and on weekends.

Individuals unable to attend a forum may send comments in any format (written, phone call, in person, etc.) through May 31, 2012. Draft policies were posted at http://blind.ky.gov for review prior to the hearings. Alternative formats of draft policies were available upon request. At the submission of this plan, 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 an additional loss of funds utilized to serve these individuals.

In 2012, 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. There is a strong possibility that the decision may occur based on fiscal resources to close additional categories in 2013.

• In FFY 2011 there were 19 consumers determined eligible for services for Priority Category 4 and closed in Out of Selection. One individual was deceased and the other 18 were closed due to failure to cooperate or they made the decision not to be placed on a waiting list and requested that their case be closed.

• Five individuals were closed in out of selection that was eligible for services in Priority Category 3. They were placed in out of selection in 2010 when Priority Category 3 was closed but when they were contacted they refused services and requested that their case be closed.

• Year to date for FFY 2012 there are a total of 2 consumers determined eligible for services in Priority Category 4 that made the decision not to be placed on a waiting list and requested that their case be closed. Most individuals determined eligible in the category defined as “all other” do not want to be placed on a waiting list.

• Year to date Administrative expenses in 2012 are higher.

• Given the inability of the agency to match federal funds due to state general fund cuts it is anticipated that there will be no carry forward of dollars into 2013.

• Revenues are lower in FFY 2011 and year to date 2012 with an overall decrease in program income.

• Current average year to date for 2012 caseload size is 78 which is a decrease of around 13% from 2011 ( 89).

 

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 capacity 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; c) services needed by any eligible individual who has begun to receive services under an individualized plan for employment priot 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 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 Selection 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. 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 2011. Service Numbers and costs for 2012 and 2013 are estimated based on current numbers year to date from queries run in the Case Management System (CMS).

2011 YEAR END ACTUAL OUTCOMES AND COSTS 10/1/2010 THROUGH 9/30/2011

Category One

Active Cases-1,088

Employment Outcomes-169

Actual Associated Costs Per Closure-$1,963,707.96

Actual Associated Costs Per Category -$375,779.37

Category Two

Active Cases-500 of Employment Outcomes-168

Actual Associated Costs Per Closure-$1,177,695.48

Actual Associated Costs Per Category -$455,744.94

Category Three

Active Cases-41 of Employment Outcomes-17

Actual Associated Costs Per Closure-$91,425.93

Actual Associated Costs Per Category -61,578.31

Category Four - Closed

Total of Active Cases- 1,629

Total of Employment Outcomes- 354

Total Actual Associated Costs p/Closure-$3,232,829.37

Total Actual Associated Costs p/Category-$893,102.62

The actual total Costs of services and administration for 2011 was: $10,050,859.00 2012 ESTIMATED OUTCOMES AND COSTS

10/1/2011 THROUGH 9/30/2012

Category One

Estimate to be Served-1,035

Estimated of Employment Outcomes-170

Estimated Associated Costs Per Person-$ 2,116.00

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category -$2,190,000.00

Category Two

Estimate to be Served-422

Estimated of Employment Outcomes-168

Estimated Associated Costs Per Person-$ 2,607.00

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category -$1,100,000.00

Category Three

Estimate to be Served-38

Estimated of Employment Outcomes-17

Estimated Associated Costs Per Person-$ 2,368.00

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category -$90,000

Category Four - Closed

Total Estimate to be Served- 1,495

Total Estimated of Employment Outcomes- 355

Total Estimated Average Costs Per Person - $2,364.00 Total Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $3,380,000.00

* Year to date for FFY 2012 there are a total of 2 consumers determined eligible for services in Priority Category 4. Two (2/2) made the decision or 100% 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 2012 with individualized plans for employment =1096 Estimated Total Costs: $7,016,749

B. Estimated determined eligible entering services in 2012= 399 Estimated Total Costs: $2,796,754

C. Total Projected Services and Administrative Costs inclusive of facilities, salaries, benefits, outreach activities, and required statewide studies: $9,813,503

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 2012 calendar year.

2013 ESTIMATED OUTCOMES AND COSTS 10/1/2012 THROUGH 9/30/2013

Category One

Estimate to be Served-1,020

Estimated of Employment Outcomes-165

Estimated Associated Costs Per Person-$ 1,576.00

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category -$1,608,000.00

Category Two

Estimate to be Served-410

Estimated of Employment Outcomes-163

Estimated Associated Costs Per Person-$ 2,949.00

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category -$1,209,000.00

Category Three

Estimate to be Served-32

Estimated of Employment Outcomes-17

Estimated Associated Costs Per Person-$ 2,031.00

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category -$65,000

Category Four - Closed

Total Estimate to be Served- 1,462

Total Extimated of Employment Outcomes- 345

Total Estimated Average Costs Per Person - $2,185.33

Total Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - $2,882,000.00

Category A. Estimated of individuals entering services in 2013 with individualized plans for employment = 975 Total Estimated Costs: $5,988,480.00

B. Estimated determined eligible entering services in 2013 = 487 Total Estimated Costs: $3,761,770.00

C. Total Projected Services and Administrative Costs inclusive of facilities, salaries, benefits, outreach activities, and required statewide studies: $9,750,250.00

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 2013.

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 1,035 170 63 10/01/2011 - 9/30/2012 $2,190,000
2 422 168 25 10/01/2011 - 9/30/2012 $1,100,000
3 38 17 8 10/01/2011 - 9/30/2012 $90,000

This screen was last updated on Aug 7 2012 4:13PM 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 2011 the amount of Title VI, Part B funds spent was $30,105. There were 44,033 carry-forward monies from 2010. The FY 2011 allotment was $ 44,841. 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 30 consumers through supported employment in 2011 with 4 successful closures. Of note in 2011 overall there were four closures and 4/4 or 100% were successful. The goal for fiscal year 2013 will remain the same serving 30 consumers through Supported Employment with four (4) 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 the most significant disabilities in the individualized plan for employment 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.

OFB continues to place an emphasis on growth and expansion for the area of supported employment for 2013 – 2015. Over the past three years there has been some progress noted with the initiatives occurring. 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 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 supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities.

Strategy 1: Develop a work plan for the recruitment and training of CRP’s Measure: Development of a work plan and trainings held

Target: Implementation of training plan

Strategy 2: VR Counseling Staff will collaborate with Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP’s) to maximize resources and ensure quality services.

Measure: CRP Expenditures and of referrals

Target: Increase in CRP expenditures from the prior year Increase the of consumers referred from the prior year

Strategy 3: Leadership will continue to participate in statewide training meetings with CRP Directors and their staff to identify and resolve issues and share best practices to improve services for individuals who are blind and visually impaired including the most significant disabilities.

Measure: of Supported Employment PEO’s

Target: Increase in the of consumers placed from the prior year.

Goal 2: Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

Strategy 1: The Office for the Blind State Transition Coordinator will collaborate with special education and other public and private, non-profit partners to enhance VR transition Services.

Measure: of individuals participating in the Community Based Work Transition Program. of Transition presentations

Target: Increase in the number of students participating in the Community Based work transition program. Increase in the number of presentations from the prior year.

Strategy 2: Statewide Transition Coordinator will facilitate the development and establishment of collaborative partnerships with VR Counseling Staff and VI teachers statewide.

Measure: of positive employment outcomes

Target: Increase in the number of successful rehabilitations for transition students from the prior year.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2012 3:58PM 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.

ATTACHMENT 4.11(d): 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.

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

To accomplish this mission, the strategies included in this section 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 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.

Additionally, through quality assurance processes OFB provides internal and external methods and examinations to identify areas where improvement and training are needed. Internal and external methods utilized are WEBI (real time data reporting through CMS), the Agency’s performance on the federal Standards and Indicators, Group Review, findings and recommendations of the 107 monitoring review, Satisfaction Surveys, Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment and the Strategic Planning Process.

Data is pulled and evaluated from the Web Intelligence system (WEBI) monthly or as needed (daily, weekly). The data is reviewed for positive or negative issues and trends in services, data integrity, and standards and indicators. OFB Staff receive monthly tips regarding data put into the case management system to ensure that information is input correctly. Any issues that arise are addressed with staff as soon as possible.

OFB utilizes a case review process titled Group Review to Improve Professional Skills (G.R.I.P.S). This system evaluates counselors and assistants case review results as a team. Regional managers review one case per VR counselor during designated months. Specialized topics will be selected to identify specific trends or policy needs such as deaf/blind, closures, post secondary training, transition and secondary impairment of brain injury or stroke. Annually, a group case review is conducted with all of the counselors reviewing the same case. This provides the opportunity for discussion of strengths and weaknesses related to case management, documentation, service provision, and data input. Case Review Form will be reviewed annually in December for any additions which will allow for consistency of the same review form throughout the calendar year. A database will be maintained in central office to collect information.

Satisfaction Survey Process

Consumer satisfaction is considered an important component of service quality. The Kentucky Office for the Blind (OFB) seeks to determine the satisfaction level of people who have received services as an ongoing tool to improve performance. At the request of the State Rehabilitation Council to the Kentucky Office for the Blind, the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky coordinates a telephone survey with the Survey Research Center. The purpose of the study is to assess customer satisfaction of all consumers who receive services from the Office for the Blind and whose cases are closed successful and unsuccessful during the federal fiscal year.

Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Every three years the Office for the Blind jointly with the state rehabilitation council conducts a statewide comprehensive needs assessment in order to satisfy requirements in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The assessment identifies additional VR service needs, such as an emerging disability groups, or needs resulting from changes in the state populations. Under this project the Office works with the state rehabilitation council in the development of goals for the assessment, develops a plan for the assessment, conducts the assessment, gathers information, analyzes the results, develops findings, develop conclusions and potential action strategies to form state plan goals, priorities, and strategies.

Strategic Planning

These are the specific activities that each State must undertake to ensure its effectively implementing rehabilitation programs and services. These strategies promote expansion and improvement. Through the strategic planning process OFB sets goals in order to accomplish its mission and address major issues facing the organization. Every three years the Office sets realistic goals and objectives developed from a SWOT analysis. This process allows us to build on identified strengths; shore up your weaknesses; capitalize on opportunities; and recognize any threats the Office is facing. Input for strategic planning is gathered from staff, consumers, the public at large and the State Rehabilitation Council. That information is summarized and used along with satisfaction survey results, the comprehensive statewide needs assessment and other internal data through CMS and used to formulate a three year-strategic plan.

Monitoring Reports

Section 107 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act), requires the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to conduct annual reviews and periodic on-site monitoring of programs authorized under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act to determine whether a state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency is complying substantially with the provisions of its State Plan under section 101 of the Rehabilitation Act and with the evaluation standards and performance indicators established under Section 106. In addition, the commissioner must assess the degree to which VR agencies are complying with the assurances made in the State Plan Supplement for Supported Employment (SE) Services under Title VI, part B, of the Rehabilitation Act. OFB takes into account all the findings and recommendations of the monitoring report in its planning, identifying service trends and making needed improvements to program operations. The monitoring report was utilized in the setting of goals and priorities for the 2013 State Plan.

 

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 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.

The Kentucky Office for the Blind provides a wide range of assistive technology devices and subsequent support for individuals who are blind or visually impaired statewide for the vocational rehabilitation and the independent living/older blind programs. First for individuals who are working or are pursuing a career OFB’s trained assistive technology specialist conduct a comprehensive evaluation to ensure that the correct products are selected so that they meet the individual’s needs. AT staff members fully train consumers to use the devices and work with employers to ensure that proper ongoing support is in place.

Assistive technology specialist also provides service to consumers enrolled in OFB’s Independent Living and Older Blind program. Similar to the services above, products are demonstrated that may enhance a person’s quality of life. If the consumer chooses to purchase a device, training and support will be provided if necessary. OFB’s Assistive Technology services are provided on a state-wide basis. Each regional office has a minimum of one AT Specialist so that residents of each county have a relatively close service provider.

The agency also operates a residential training facility, the Charles McDowell Center that consumers can benefit from when more long term training and support is necessary. There are two assistive technology specialist staff housed at the center. At application, through the assessment process the vocational rehabilitation counselor identifies issues surrounding employment specifically related to job tasks.

Once an individual is determined eligible a referral is made to assistive technology services. The VR Counselor provides information through the referral inclusive of but not limited to: vision reports and a description of work related job tasks specifically any the individual is experiencing difficulty performing. Assistive technology staff reviews the referral information from the counselor and perform an initial assessment of the individual in their applicable environment (employment, home or academic).

The process is individualized for each consumer based on their needs. At any point while the case is open or when post employment services are appropriate the vocational rehabilitation counselor will refer the individual for assistive technology services. This may be due as a result of increased job duties for the individual or perhaps there is the need for current or updated technology on the job.

For transition students, the vocational rehabilitation counselor provides information in the referral sheet to the assistive technologist regarding any technology that the student used while in high school and home environment, post secondary information and the vocational goal.

If an individual needs in depth training, then the assistive technology specialist makes a recommendation to the vocational rehabilitation counselor for a referral for training at the Charles W. McDowell Rehabilitation Center. The vocational rehabilitation counselor coordinates services with the consumer regarding more comprehensive long term training at the residential center. Once the individual completes their training and returns home, the Assistive technology specialist will follow-up by phone or a home visit.

OFB will make referral and access additional resources through the Kentucky Assistive Technology Network (KATS) and the Kentucky Assistive Technology Loan Corporation (KATLC) for individuals. The KATS Network, the Kentucky Assistive Technology Act Program, serves Kentucky residents of all ages with disabilities of all types, their families, employers and employment service providers, educators, health care and social service providers, and others seeking information about assistive technology (AT) and accessible information technology. KATLC is a program funded by both private and public money to help Kentuckians with disabilities obtain assistive technology to improve their independence or quality of life.

 

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.

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.

Individuals who are minorities have equal access to vocational rehabilitation services. OFB is committed in its effort to build the capacity to effectively serve 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.

Management and staff shall focus on the agency mission, which is employment, in assignment of tasks, planning and utilization of work time, initiation of self-directed work teams, and innovative projects. This includes expanding the diversity of the Agency in terms of employment outcomes to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are minorities Staff shall ensure that persons with the most significant disabilities who are minorities will receive the same employment related services that non-minority and individuals with disabilities receive.

OFB works to develop outreach activities to minorities to facilitate increased consumer referrals to the Agency. OFB encourages staff to get to know key community leaders and minority organizations to facilitate outreach. The Office follows Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines and Affirmative Action Procedures. The Office encourages existing minority staff to play an active role in policy and program development, service delivery and program monitoring activities.

The Office provides cultural diversity training to staff in order to develop a better understanding of different cultures and value systems. Staff participates in the Governor’s Equal Employment Opportunity Conference and Minority Empowerment Conferences.

Service demographic and population data is utilized to determine the number of minorities in regions and develop strategies to increase percentages. OFB will utilize different methods and channels of communication in targeting minority populations. This will include usage of the "Language Line" that will enable our staff to communicate with non-English speaking applicants in their native language.

The following goal and objectives listed below align with this section:

Goal 1: OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Performance Indicators annually

Objective 1.7: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA Standard for service rates for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities

Indicator: Minority Service Rate will meet or exceed the RSA Standard of 80.00 ratio.

 

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

If applicable, identify plans for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs within the state. OFB identified the following two priorities in this attachment that align with this area. They are as follows: 1) Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities; and 2) Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population These two priorities are fully outlined in the Goals, Strategies and priorities section of this attachment.

 

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

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

The employee performance evaluation system includes all the federal Standards and Indicator for each vocational rehabilitation counselor and manager performance evaluations. Standards and indicators data is reviewed on a quarterly basis for all caseloads (18). The case management system provides real time data on the status of the Standards and Indicators and a variety of other reports.

The following goals and objectives listed below align with this section:

Goal 1: OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Performance Indicators annually.

Objective 1.1 Increase in the number of positive employment outcomes.

(RSA Performance Indicator 1.1)

Indicator: OFB will meet or exceed by one the number of employment outcomes (354) achieved for FY 2011.

Objective 1.2: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of cases with employment outcomes (RSA Performance Indicator 1.2).

Indicator: Percentage of cases with employment outcomes at our above the RSA standard of 68.9%.

Objective 1.3: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for the 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 Performance Indicator 1.3)

Indicator: Percentage of individuals achieving and employment outcome at or above the RSA Standard of 35.4%

Objective 1.4: OFB will continue to meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of individuals with significant disabilities of all individuals who exit the VR program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.4)

Indicator: Percentage of individuals with significant disabilities exiting the VR program at or above the RSA standard of 89%

Objective 1.5 OFB will continue to meet or exceed the RSA standard for 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 Performance Indicator 1.5)

Indicator: The ratio to the average Kentucky hourly wage for all categories at or above the RSA standard at 59.54%.

Objective 1.6: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for self-sufficiency resulting from employment based on the percentage of change between application and closure. (RSA Standard 1.6).

Indicator: Percentage of change between application and closure at or above 31.47%.

Objective 1.7: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA Standard for service rates for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities

Indicator: Minority Service Rate will meet or exceed the RSA Standard of 80.00 ratio.

Goal 2: To increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment

Objective 2.1: Increase the number of individuals with successful employment and/or independent living outcomes.

Goal 6: Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

Objective 6.1: Develop new collaborative relationships with employers, community organizations & government agencies to promote employment opportunities.

 

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

Describe strategies for assisting other components of the statewide workforce investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities. As detailed in 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 Office for the Blind is involved in several organizations and identifies resources available for consumers. Kentucky’s transformational objectives include 25 initiatives designed to form a user friendly, customer-centric system that brings alignment to education, economic development and workforce activities. The WorkSmart Kentucky Plan lays out the foundation to improve operational collaboration at both the state and local levels. The following is a sample list of some of the initiatives of the WorkSmart Plan:

• branding and identity

• one-stop core certification

• sector strategies.

• work-ready communities

• national career readiness certificate

• partner for success and

• workforce academy

Workforce Staff are involved in the committees and activities of the initiatives. The Office for the Blind and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation are involved and have representation on all the initiatives that are focused on systems change. Staff assures that they advocate for consumers assuring services are accessible and take into account the needs of individuals with disabilities.

For example, Partner for Success is an internal effort of the Department of Workforce Investment focused on integrated service delivery including the business community. Presentations were made to all the partners on services offered by Office for the Blind. Workforce Academy will provide training for all partners at every level of the system to be demand-driven and solutions based inclusive of disability issues. One Stop Certification process will move the service delivery system from one of co-location to collaborative customer service with business services as an emphasis area. OFB staff represented the Office on this initiative making sure disability services and issues were taken into account for the certification process. The Branding and Identity Initiative will be key in promoting universal access and consistency of statewide services.

OFB staff are represented on this initiative assuring that the needs of individuals with disabilities are taken into account for the purposes of marketing (accessible formats for all materials, website). OFB is committed to improving system linkages with the Department for Workforce Investment agencies the Office of Employment and Training, Office of Career and Technical Education and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and other partner organizations. Collaboration allows for effective coordination of services and referrals and increased education and awareness regarding individuals with disabilities. Increased program visibility occurs with representation and coverage by Counselors in local One-Stop Centers on an itinerate basis as well as OFB being located full time in four One-Stop Centers across the state.

The following goals and strategies listed below align with this section:

Goal 5: Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

Objective 5.1: Develop new collaborative relationships with employers, community organizations & government agencies to promote employment opportunities.

 

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.

Based on the identified needs through the FFY 2012 comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, the 107 monitoring report, the Agency’s performance on the Federal Standards and Indicators, real time data through the case management system, strategic planning and other sources of information the State Rehabilitation Council and the Kentucky Office for the Blind have established the following Goals and Priorities and Strategies for FFY 2013- 2015. These goals, priorities and strategies align with the required areas above.

Priorities

• Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities.

• Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

Goals and Strategies

Goal 1: OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Indicators annually.

Objective 1.1 Increase in the number of positive employment outcomes. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.1)

Strategies:

1. Vocational Rehabilitation Services staff will develop relationships with employers and their professional organizations in order to educate them about hiring individuals who are blind and visually impaired.

2. Recruit and retain quality rehabilitation services staff assuring the provision of quality services that will result in positive employment outcomes for consumers.

3. Provide training for all new and existing staff that will increase their skills and abilities in providing quality services and supports that move consumers into successful employment.

Indicator: OFB will meet or exceed by one the number of employment outcomes annually.

Objective 1.2: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of cases with employment outcomes (RSA Performance Indicator 1.2).

Strategies:

1. OFB VR Counselors will provide benefit planning and referral information to consumers

2. OFB will utilize its’ case review process “Group Review to Improve Professional Skills (GRIPS)”. The GRIPS will provide an opportunity for advanced skill development and improved quality assurance through group review of case files to strengthen its quality assurance processes in order to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of services.

3. Vocational Rehabilitation Services staff will work with the business services teams in the Kentucky Career Centers in making linkages, avoiding duplication in making contacts with employers, and maximizing employment opportunities for consumers.

Indicator: Percentage of cases with employment outcomes at our above the RSA standard of 68.9%.

Objective 1.3: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for the 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 Performance Indicator 1.3)

Strategies:

1. Ensure proper coding of consumers employment wages through case reviews.

2. Increase collaboration and partnerships with other agencies in order to maximize opportunities and resources for consumers.

3. Increase follow up and on site contacts and/or meetings between VR field staff and employers in order to discuss issues, concerns, provide technical assistance, training, and to ensure job retention and upward movement for consumers

Indicator: Percentage of individuals achieving and employment outcome at or above the RSA Standard of 35.4%

Objective 1.4: OFB will continue to meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of individuals with significant disabilities of all individuals who exit the VR program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.4)

Strategies:

1. Continued development of relationships with community rehabilitation providers in order to assist individuals that are underserved with the most significant disabilities through supported employment.

2. Review unsuccessful closures across the life of the case identifying trends, issues needing addressed and areas of improvement to in order to increase the number of individual with significant disabilities entering employment.

3. Develop and maintain close working relationships with state and local partners (e.g. ILC’s, Medicaid Waiver, CRP’s, etc.) to maximize resources and develop appropriate support systems.

Indicator: Percentage of individuals with significant disabilities exiting the VR program at or above the RSA standard of 89%

Objective 1.5 OFB will continue to meet or exceed the RSA standard for 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 Performance Indicator 1.5)

Strategies:

1. Increase employer relationships so that there will be opportunities for upward movement and higher salaries for consumers.

2. Work collaboratively with the Kentucky Business Enterprises program

to increase the number of licensed blind vendors.

3. Implement Quality Assurance procedures to assure proper coding of consumers’ employment wages in the case management system.

Indicator: The ratio to the average Kentucky hourly wage for all categories at or above the RSA standard at 59.54%.

Objective 1.6: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for self-sufficiency resulting from employment based on the percentage of change between application and closure. (RSA Standard 1.6).

Strategies:

1. OFB will place a greater emphasis on jobs with higher wages through job clubs and career exploration.

2. Vocational counseling and guidance will have a focus on self-sufficiency.

3. Determine the need for further services and make appropriate referral to other state and federal programs to assure the needs of consumers are met.

4. Referral to benefits planning services and supports necessary for consumers to obtain and utilize those public benefits and work incentives needed to achieve their desired employment outcomes

Indicator: Percentage of change between application and closure at or above 31.47%.

Objective 1.7: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA Standard for service rates for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities

Strategies:

1. OFB will continue its recruitment efforts among minority students, including students with disabilities through the provision of internships with Kentucky State and the University of Kentucky.

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

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

Indicator: Minority Service Rate will meet or exceed the RSA Standard of 80.00 ratio.

Goal 2: To increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment.

Objective 2.1: Increase the number of individuals with successful employment and/or independent living outcomes.

Strategies

1. Cultivate relationships with area employers (includes the Employment Initiative) Indicator: Employment Initiative Reports, Performance S & I

2. Provide quality training statewide that is job specific and targeted to address any deficiencies identified in quality assurance reviews, federal performance indicators results or training needs assessments.

Indicator: and scope of trainings

3. Benefits planning occurs that supports individuals to set goals for increasing self-sufficiency

Indicator: served identified through CMS

4. Identify new and strengthen current relationships with potential referral sources of persons needing independent living services, especially n geographic areas or among populations identified as underserved.

Indicator: served IL/OIB programs

Goal 3: Use resources effectively and efficiently in order to maximize funds in serving individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired in the Commonwealth.

Objective 3.1: Diminish internal administrative costs in an effort to maximize consumer service funds.

Strategies:

1. Reduce administrative overhead costs while preserving quality service delivery

Indicator: % of administrative cost reductions from prior year

Objective 3.2: Assure an efficient and effective service delivery system within an available budget.

Strategies:

1. Office leadership will analyze counselor caseloads and staff allocations and reallocate positions Indicator: Analysis of caseloads and position reallocation

2. onduct cases reviews and provide technical assistance to improve efficiency and effectiveness in order to maximize services and employment outcomes within the available budget. Indicator: % reduction of errors

Objective 3.3: Improve the efficient and effective processing and payment of authorizations and invoices for services so that the system will provide the support needed for the field staff.

Strategies:

1. Office leadership will continue to work to improve the management information systems by identifying and correcting coding issues.

Indicator: of trainings

2. Identify high service costs areas and evaluate the need to implement policy changes

Indicator: Analysis of expenditures completed annually

Objective 3.4: Maximize federal match dollars for the Vocational Rehabilitation program.

Strategies:

1. Research and explore all available options and opportunities.

Indicator: Reporting of Federal money drawn down

Goal 4: KBE will provide full-time employment and career opportunities for Kentuckians who are legally blind, while providing quality vending and food services for government and business.

Objective 4.1: Maximize training opportunities for vendors and KBE staff

Strategies:

1. Offer and conduct annual vendor training for potential licensees

Indicator: of trainings

2. Offer and conduct annual upward mobility training for current vendors ndicator: of trainings

3. Offer and conduct training for KBE staff

Indicator: of trainings

Objective 4.2: Provide New Vending Opportunities

Strategies:

1. Communicate with federal and state agencies to acquire new locations

Indicator: of new locations

2. Work with the State Blind Vendor committee to seek out possible opportunities

Indicator: quarterly meetings

3. Survey at least one potential location each month

Indicator: new locations secured

Objective 4.3: Improve existing vending locations

Strategies:

1. Actively seek potential satellite locations

Indicator: of potential satellite locations identified

2. Utilize management resources to improve profit percentages

Indicator: Increase in profit %

3. Offer training and services to improve business practices

Indicator: of trainings occurring

Goal 5: To develop, design and implement a professional development leadership program for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning.

Objective 5.1: Provide critical leadership skills training to increase competency of executive leadership maximizing the effective management of the VR program.

Strategies:

1. Develop and deliver training on management (processes) and leadership (behaviors) skills both of which are essential to the agency.

Indicator: of trainings completed

2. Develop and deliver training on building effective teams, managing unsatisfactory performance and progressive discipline, consistency and fairness, productivity, effective hiring practices, personnel regulations, and employee performance reviews.

Indicator: of trainings completed

Objective 5.2: Develop and implement a leadership preparation program for staff identified as potential future leadership.

Strategies

1. Develop the framework for curriculum development through an assessment and evaluation of needs.

Indicator: Assessment of needs completed

2. Develop training that will increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of identified staff preparing them or advancement or promotion into more challenging roles.

Indicator: Full implementation of leadership development program

Objective 5.3: Recruit, employ, retain and train the most qualified and highly skilled rehabilitation staff.

Strategies:

1. Maximize training funds to support staff in professional training and development activities.

Indicator: 100% draw down of training funds annually

2. Host a two-day AT Expo and Conference event designed to increase knowledge and promote skills acquisition by providing current information and training on assistive technology.

Indicator: of staff participating in AT Expo

3. Development and implementation of in house online learning modules.

Indicator: Online modules development and implementation

Goal 6: Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

Objective 6.1: Develop new collaborative relationships with employers, community organizations & government agencies to promote employment opportunities.

Strategies:

1. Collaborate with key partners (SRC, CRP’s and Workforce Development Partners) to enhance connections with the employer community.

Indicator: Performance of S & I

2. Collaborate with the Career Center Business Services Team to expand relationships, avoid duplication of contacts with employers, and maximize employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Indicator: Level of involvement in Business Services Team

3. Expand relationships with the State and Local Workforce Investment Boards and Workforce Development Partner agencies in order to accomplish the initiatives described under the KWIB strategic plan

Indicator: of committees and initiatives staff attend

Objective 6.2: Develop a marketing approach and plan to guide OFB’s partnership efforts with eye physicians.

Strategies:

1. Identify through WEBI existing eye physicians that serve as a regular referral source to each caseload.

Indicator: WEBI report

2. Identify caseloads that do not have a regular referral flow from an eye physician.

Indicator: List of caseloads low on referrals from eye physicians

3. Develop and implement a marketing plan to address the identified gaps in referrals and caseloads.

Indicator: Development and implementation of a plan addressing gaps

Objective 6.3: Increase available resources & seek to leverage funding, staff resources, in-kind and programmatic support & other forms of assistance from partners

Strategies:

1. OFB collaborates with other statewide partners increasing their capacity to serve individuals with disabilities, and refers eligible individuals who can benefit from the resources and services available at no cost.

Indicator: of referrals to other sources, scope and type increases over the prior year (I & R)

2. Complete an assessment to identify existing resources and identify where gaps exists.

Indicator: Assessment of needs and available resources

3. Develop electronic tools to assist staff, partners, and consumer’s access information about available services and benefits

Indicator: Development and implementation of tools

Objective 6.4: Enhance working relationships with consumer advocacy organizations.

Strategies:

1. Advocacy organizations will present at new employee orientation.

Indicator: of presentations

2. Advocacy organizations members will present at the McDowell Center Classes.

Indicator: presentations

3. Quarterly meetings will be held with advocacy organization leadership

Indicator: of presentations

Objective 6.5: Increase effective communication with consumers & staff regarding mission, goals, priorities & program outcomes.

Strategies:

1. Develop methods of effective communication to directly engage, inform and update partners, staff, consumers, stakeholders and other entities (newsletter, presentations, training, exhibits).

Indicator: of newsletter

2. Make formal and informal presentations, at functions and activities of other groups and organizations.

Indicator: of marketing events and of state/national conferences attended

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 and support of the Statewide Rehabilitation Council. The areas of focus for Innovation and Expansion Activities are as follows:

1) Annual Support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council

2) Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities.

3) Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

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. There is a projected budget of $47,800 for FFY 2013. Fiscal tracking mechanisms are in place in order to capture annual support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council. In FFY 2013 the Office will spend Innovation and Expansion funding in the support of the SRC for reimbursement of expenses and personnel costs for the agency designated liaison for the SRC. This includes:

• SRC Annual Report Publication,

• the SRC Consumer Satisfaction Survey of all closed cases contracted through the University of Kentucky.

• Reimbursement of expenses in accordance with Section 105 (g) of the Act.

OFB provides 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.

Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities.

Strategy 1: Develop a work plan for the recruitment and training of CRP’s

Measure: Development of a work plan and trainings held

Indicator: Implementation of training plan

Strategy 2: VR Counseling Staff will collaborate with Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP’s) to maximize resources and ensure quality services.

Measure: CRP Expenditures and of referrals

Indicator: Increase in CRP expenditures from the prior year

Increase the of consumers referred from the prior year

Strategy 3: Leadership will continue to participate in statewide training meetings with CRP Directors and their staff to identify and resolve issues and share best practices to improve services for individuals who are blind and visually impaired including the most significant disabilities.

Measure: of Supported Employment PEO’s

Indicator: Increase in the of consumers placed from the prior year.

Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

Strategy 1: The Office for the Blind State Transition Coordinator will collaborate with special education and other public and private, non-profit partners to enhance VR transition Services.

Measure: of individuals participating in the Community Based Work Transition Program. of Transition presentations

Indicator: Increase in the number of students participating in the Community

Based work transition program.

Increase in the number of presentations from the prior year.

Strategy 2: Statewide Transition Coordinator will facilitate the development and establishment of collaborative partnerships with VR Counseling Staff and VI teachers statewide.

Measure: of positive employment outcomes

Indicator: Increase in the number of successful rehabilitations for transition students from the prior year.

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 Goal 1 Objective 2 and through the Innovation and Expansion activities that are set as priorities.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 21 2012 10:40AM 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 2013 State Plan for the time period of 2013 - 2015 were developed in collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council and input from consumers and other stakeholders. They are based on information gained from the comprehensive statewide assessment conducted in FFY 2012, the Agency’s performance on the federal Standards and Indicaotrs, the 107 monitoring report, real time data from the case management system, the Strategic Planning process and other sources of information.

They are as follows:

1. OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Indicators annually.

2. To increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment.

3. Use resources effectively and efficiently in order to maximize funds in serving individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired in the Commonwealth.

4. KBE will provide full-time employment and career opportunities for Kentuckians who are legally blind, while providing quality vending and food services for government and business.

5. To develop, design and implement a professional development leadership program for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning.

6. Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

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 2011 calendar year. These goals were established from the 2009 Statewide Needs Assessment for the reporting time period of FFY 2010 through FFY 2012, the Agency’s performance on the federal Standards and Indicaotrs, real time data from the case management system, the Strategic Planning process, the107 monitoring report and other sources of information.

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 grid 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%. In 2011 OFB had 354 PEO’s an increase of 1% over the prior year. Overall this is a 2% increase over the past two years.

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: Met

This goal was met in 2010 with 4 new employer initiatives and an increase in 25% over 2009. In 2011 two new initiatives occurred. There were 3 initiatives in 2009 (YUM Foods, CITI & 2 hires under the federal selective placement initiative). 4 new initiatives in 2010 were: Wal-Mart (retail), Goodwill (professional), Best Buy and the Census Bureau. In 2011 there were two new employment initiatives. A pilot project began between Humana and National Industries for the Blind (NIB) to employ blind and visually impaired individuals to process Tri-Care insurance claims in a call center environment. This was a labor intensive initiative due to the volume of training associated with call center duties. Individuals are making around $18 an hour. At the option of the company, they may drop them from the pilot program after two months and make them full-time employees. Once they become full-time employees, the company will need more people to move into the pilot program. Year to date since the start of this initiative a total of ten (10) individuals have secured employment.

The second employment initiative was Best Buy that began in early 2010 but fully developed this past year when they opened the new warehouse facility in Shepherdsville at $13 an hour (with a second individual placed in 2012). They are working on transportation and Ticket to Ride.

Year to date in 2012 private partnerships were developed with JLodge Corporation and Pearl Interactive Network, LLC. Pearl Interactive network, LLC Outcomes: 5 interviews and 1 employment outcome.

Strategy 1.2: Increase the number of Community Rehabilitation Providers utilized by OFB Measure: Increase the number of new CRP providers

Baseline: 7 SE providers (2009 data)

Progress: Moderate Progress

In 2010 there were 4 new providers or a 43% increase over 2009 bringing the total number of providers to 11. This number remained the same in 2011.

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: 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. In 2011 the minority ratio was .91 and there were fewer than 100 minorities exiting (68). Each year the number of minorities served has increased with an overall 23% gain over the three year period. Independent Living and Older Blind Staff in their outreach efforts attended around 52 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 33 events (transition fairs, job fairs (veterans), health fair and other community based organization meetings.

Strategy 1.4: Continue participation in the Employers Partner Team Measure: Number of conference calls and meetings attended

Progress: Met

OFB information sharing occurred regarding national job openings. No employment outcomes occurred although 10 applications were submitted. However, 2 consumers obtained employment at the Census Bureau based on connection with the VR Net National Employment Team. Specifically, this is the only location that has hired screen reader users in the United States. OFB staff participate on quarterly conference calls with the VR Net. (additional calls are setup if necessary). 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.

Strategy 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: Met

As reported for this goal area last year 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 staffs 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. In 2011 the action steps for each area were implemented and training in multiple areas for all staff occurred. The two main areas addressing this objective are “Partner for Success and Workforce Academy” For example; Partner for Success is an internal effort of the Department of Workforce Investment focused on integrated service delivery including the business community. Workforce Academy will provide training for all partners at every level of the system to be demand-driven and solutions based. For more information refer to 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

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 in 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. 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 2.1: 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.

Progress: Not 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. In 2011 the number served was 310 a decrease of 7%.

Measure: Increase in the number of students participating in the Community Based Work Transition Program from the prior year

Progress: Not Met

Baseline established in 2009 was 1 CBWTP participant. There were 2 CBWTP participants in 2010 an increase of 50% over the prior year. In 2011 there were 2 CBWTP participants with the number remaining the same. Year to date in 2012 there are 3 participants.

Measure: 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%. In 2011 there were 24 positive employment outcomes. This is an increase of 42% over the prior year. The overall increase for the two years combined has been. 89%.

Strategy 2.2: Expansion and increased participation in INSIGHT Measure: Increase in the number of students attending Insight

Progress: Met

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. In 2011, 17 individuals attended INSIGHT. This is a 59% increase in attendance over the prior year.

Measure: Increase the number of consumers obtaining a post secondary degree participating in INSIGHT.

Baseline: 2011 Baseline is 3/12 or 25%.

Progress: There are a total of 61 participants in INSIGHT from 2006 – 2012. Since the inception of the program in 2006, 30 of the 61 participants or 49% have enrolled in a post secondary education program. The first group of participants (7) from 2006 stats are as follows: 1/7 or 14% at home, 2/7 or 29% deceased, 2/7 or 29% have graduated from college. 2/7 are enrolled in a postsecondary setting (29%). From the 2006-2008 time frame there were twelve high school graduates that participated in INSIGHT that potentially could be graduating from a post secondary educational setting. 3/12 or 25% have graduated and 5/12 or 42% are still enrolled. This translates of an overall 67% participation rate in a postsecondary setting.

Strategy 2.3: Increase staff involvement and presentations in events regarding transition. Measure: 100% involvement of staff in presentations and events.

Progress: Not Met

In 2009 72% or 13/18 Counseling Staff made presentations, 50% or 9/18 Counseling Staff made presentations in 2010. For 2011, 10/18 or 67% of Counseling Staff made presentation.

Strategy 2.4: 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

Progress: Moderate

Activities have occurred for staff that have indirectly impacted students and families. One OFB staff has been dedicated to developing an expertise for this area. In 2011, staff participated in several trainings regarding work incentives for recipients of public benefits. These benefits include social security disability, SNAP, housing assistance, and TANF. In April of 2011, the individual began training with a state initiative geared towards the development of a network of individuals knowledgeable in areas of federal benefits. They successfully completed the training receiving the state recognized Benefits Information Network (BIN) Liaison credential. In 2012 this individual will participate in the nationally recognized Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) Certification Training. Year to date the individual has successfully obtained their Provisional CWIC Certification. Given this individuals training consumers have benefited from their expertise and are able to pursue employment having a full understanding of their work incentives. Consumers are more open to more employment opportunities. A Benefits Planning training titled, “Building Understanding to Promote Employment Without Fear" was held for all VR Counseling staff at the McDowell Center in Louisville in September of 2011 conducted by Carolyn Wheeler. The training objectives were: 1) Participants will understand the major differences between Title II and Title XVI benefits in terms of their treatment of income and assets; 2) Participants will know the differences between a Benefits Analysis and the services provided by the WIPA (Work Incentives Planning Assistance) Projects and 3) Participants will know how to locate resource information to provide consumers regarding work incentives that is readily available on line and at no cost.

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 ARRA funding there was an increase in services numbers for the area of AT in 2010 & 2011. Based on these numbers it appears that the baselines established were too high for staff. However; given this objective, a tracking system is in place and more concrete measures can be applied. In 2011 338 individuals were served in AT services which are a gain of two over 336 served in 2010. Year to date in 2012 the AT staff have served 122 consumers. For this goal area although the objective was met overall with an increase of 1% in the number served from the prior year; the measures set were not effective. As mentioned it was difficult to set an accurate baseline with the increased numbers from stimulus activities. Tracking is difficult given the individualized services delivered. OFB leadership has identified areas of weakness through this process and is committed to working on resolving some of those issues such as: 1) inconsistency among AT staff for the areas tracked; and 2) no real time data available through CMS. As a result of this AT staff are meeting regularly and there is evidence of quality service delivery and high consumer satisfaction. An effective method for tracking data and outcomes from the AT program is under review.

Strategy 3.1 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 (baseline 8)

Progress: Not MET

The average of the AT staff for this measure was 4 each falling below the goal of 8 (50%). Strategy 3.2 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 (baseline 2)

Progress: Met

Average of the AT staff is 3.

Strategy 3.3 OFB will provide appropriate assistive technology devices support, and training for consumers.

Measure: AT assessments occurring (baseline of 50)

Progress: Not Met

Average of the AT staff for this measure was 39 just one under the set goal.

Measure: of consumers receiving AT devices (baseline of 40)

Progress: None

There was not an accurate method of reporting for this measure. Given that AT may be purchased for an individual by a VR or IL Counselor under $500 that is not currently tracked by the AT Staff or through the case management system this could not be accessed.

Measure of consumers receiving training. (baseline of 40)

Progress: Not Met

The average of the AT staff for this measure was 20.

Strategy 3.4: 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.

Progress: Website development in 2010 included a section for AT. No progress for the area of printed marketing materials specific to AT.

Strategy 3.5 OFB will maximize its linkage with KATS

Measure: Development and usage of the OFB/KATS AT Demo/Device Loan Lab and Program

Progress: Met in 2010

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 4.1: 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: Moderate as in 2011 the Office continues to work on maximizing usage and enhancing program services. OFB staff worked on a module for the McDowell Center. Tried to utilize an existing program that KYVC uses for their online classes. Spent quite a bit of time trying to make it work for our needs before determining that it was not compatible. At this time funding is an issue, so that project has been put on hold.

The Social Security module was developed and implemented. It is a definite benefit for record keeping and the tracking of possible reimbursement claims. Use of this module has streamlined our process for tracking. The system in place will provide accuracy in tracking potential claims and promote assuring claims are filled in a timely manner.

No progress with the AT or Bioptic Driving modules.

The Independent Living module in CMS was updated assuring that all the needed data is captured to improve on the programs reporting abilities.

Crystal Reports were revamped to make them more user friendly for District. Currently working on Central Office Reports. All reports in the system have been renamed, grouped and organized. Reports are added as needed.

Currently developing an Activities module to track agency community outreach.

Strategy 4.2 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: Fifteen staff attended national or regional conferences held out of state in 2011 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 22 different in-state professional conferences and training in 2011. A refresher training occurred for all VR Counselors and Assistants in the Fall covering CMS coding and Crystal Reports.

Strategy 4.3 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: Moderate

In 2011 and year to date for 2012 there has been some progress in the area of leadership program development for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning. There are four training objectives to accomplish under the basic training grant from FFY 2011 – 2015. An assessment and evaluation of needs will occur in 2012 and OFB staff will continue working with the Southeast TACE on the development of the framework and curriculum development.

Strategy 4.4 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: Met

In 2011, OFB administrative staff completed a review and revision of the following documents: Consumer Handbook, Transition Handbook, McDowell Center Handbook and Curriculum Guide and other agency procedures. In addition the McDowell Center management staff began working on new procedures for consumers and staff for areas of identified need as well as began the process of strategic planning specific to center based operations and services. In 2012 work will continue on the review and revision of the OFB strategic plan, state regulations and statues and the Counselor Manual.

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 5.1: 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 655 IL 175 (2009)

Progress: Moderate

In 2010 there was a 16 % increase OIB/777 and a 4% decrease IL/169. In 2011 there were 767 served in OIB (1 % decrease) and 166 in IL (2% decrease).

Measure: Services will be delivered to consumers in all 120 counties throughout the state

Progress: Not Met

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. In 2011 IL/OIB staff served 107 counties. FFY 2012 year to date we have served 113 counties.

Strategy 5.2 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.

Progress: Met in 2010

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 5.3 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 in 2010

An additional OIB counselor was hired with ARRA 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.

 

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: Met

In 2011, there was a 26% increase in the number served and a 25% increase in 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. There were 30 individuals served through supported employment with 4 successful closures.

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 2011 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: Moderate

In 2010 there were 4 new providers or a 43% increase over 2009. This was met above the goal of 10% at 43%. In 2011 there was no change in the number of new providers with the total remaining the same.

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 in full

There were three training provided in addition to APSE.

A training session for professionals in the field of Supported Employment was conducted at the 2011 Kentucky APSE annual conference. Approximately 25 individuals attended a training covering the area of Deaf/Blind presented by OFB staff. Three trainings were held as a part of an initiative titled “Supported Employment Providers Partnering for Success” In November, March and July of FFY 2011. In November the training was held in Bowling Green with approximately 25 in attendance. OFB staff covered accommodations, sighted guide and “vision 101”. The training in Louisville was held in March covering the same topics with around 12 in attendance. In July approximately 15 CRP staff attended a training in Lexington. OFB staff presented training on vision impairments covering visual acuity, visual fields and functional vision.

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: Met

Counseling Staff represented the agency at 11 of 11 or 100% of the RITTS in 2011. This is a 45% increase over 2010 with 6/ 11 or 55% .

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: Not Met

In 2009 there was 1 individual participating in CBWTP. In 2010 there were two individuals that participating in CBWTP an increase of 50%. In 2011 there were 2 CBWTP participants with the number remaining the same. Year to date in 2012 there are 3 participants.

 

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 2010 was 351. The number of employment outcomes for FY 2011 was 354. This is an increase in 3 over the prior year.

Given the small increase for 2011the two year average is a positive number totaling 6. Overall the agency was still able to place a number of individuals into SGA that are receiving SSI or SSDI. Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reached a three-year low of 8.8 percent in January 2012. This is welcome relief from the 10.0 or higher rates experienced in 26 of the last 36-months. Kentucky was one of 45 states, including the District of Columbia, to record a decrease in unemployment from the previous month. The national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent also trended downwards.

Although Kentucky has seen an upturn in unemployment rates, as in other states given the economic downturn competition in the job market remains high. Individuals who are blind must complete with high numbers of individuals on the unemployment rolls seeking employment. 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.

The agency continues 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 2011 of the total number of cases was 79.19%. 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 2011 this indicator was met with a percentage of 90.68%

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 2011 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 2011 this indicator was met with the ratio to the average Kentucky hourly wage for all categories at 59.54%.

Performance Indicator 1.6: Self-sufficiency resulting from employment;

RSA Standard: 30.4 mathematical difference

For FY 2011 this indicator was met with the percentage change between application and closure at 31.47%.

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 2011 was 91.13%. 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 $48,500.

OFB provides 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 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. Year to date no money has been expended for this project. This project will teach basic job skills for consumers interested in janitorial services, receptionist work, or customer service using a behaviorally anchored assessment tool that will document progress toward employability. Enrollment for this work adjustment program will begin in 2012.

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, reimbursement of expenses and personnel costs and all costs associated with the publishing of the SRC Annual Report. These funding arrangements are consistent with 34 CFR 361.35. For FFY 2011 there was a budget of $32,800 and in FFY 2012 a budget of $47,800 with a projected budget of $47,800 for FFY 2013

Progress:

Fiscal Tracking mechanisms were put in place in order to capture FFY 2011 annual support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council. This year the agency spent $32,772 in Innovation and Expansion funding in the support of the SRC for reimbursement of expenses and personnel costs for the agency designated liaison for the SRC. This includes:

* SRC Annual Report Publication,

* the SRC Consumer Satisfaction Survey of all closed cased contracted through the University of Kentucky.

* Reimbursement of expenses in accordance with Section 105 (g) of the Act.

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 -2011 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 is as follows:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided a significant, one-time increment in state grant funding to offer unique opportunities to improve employment outcomes for blind and visually impaired consumers. Three grants were awarded to the Kentucky’s Office for the Blind (OFB): Basic Support, Independent Living and Services for Older Blind Individuals.

ARRA funds provided work experience opportunities for OFB consumers. Two (2) Work Experience Specialists developed relationships with employers to connect blind or visually impaired consumers looking for jobs with employers who needed workers. Additionally funds were utilized for one FFTL position to perform duties of an Independent Living Counselor in the Northern Kentucky area.

Funds were also used to assist Community Rehabilitation Programs develop their service capacity to provide specialized job placement and intensive services to individuals with the most significant blind and visually impaired disabilities. Partnerships between CRP’s and OFB provided various opportunities to help OFB consumers achieve employment and become more self-sufficient. The McDowell Center, a residential facility located in Louisville, Kentucky, received funds to upgrade its case management system to track and measure performance of training programs offered to OFB consumers Replacement vehicles for Kentucky’s Bioptic Driving Program were also purchased with ARRA Funds.

In addition, assistive technology devices were purchased for OFB consumers to help remove barriers to education and employment and to provide opportunities for increased independence. Purchases included computer hardware, software and peripheral equipment, hand-held CCTV’s, large print book and electronic magnifiers and computer text-to-screen technology. Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training was also provided to help blind or visually impaired consumers travel more safely and effectively through their environment.

The Stimulus Plan Proposal also included an initiative utilizing funds to conduct the 2012 Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 3:15PM 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. S

upported 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 include 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 Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, Interagency Council, the Kentucky Interagency Transition Council and the Kentucky Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the University of Kentucky Human 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.

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 Office 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. 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 student’s 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 Aug 21 2012 10:40AM by Cora McNabb

The following information is captured by the MIS.

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