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
Massachusetts Commission for the Blind State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

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

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

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

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

Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

... 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
Janet L. LaBreck

Title of Signatory
Commissioner

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/30/2011

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2012
No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities (Option A was selected/Option B was not selected).

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Massachusetts Commission 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))

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

A continuing concern of the RC is a need for the agency to develop the ability to generate more detailed data and more ad hoc reports on vocational rehabilitation services. The RC members have stated that the agency must use more sophisticated data analysis to both improve the effectiveness of its services and to strengthen its case for adequate funding in the current economic crisis.

MCB agrees that more data capability is needed and has purchased a software package for case management and reporting from Libera, Inc. called System 7. The System 7 software is fully accessible and is being used successfully by at least ten state vocational rehabilitation agencies. A key feature of the software is the ability to make customized queries on any data element. During the past year, MCB has worked with Libera, Inc. to deploy and customize the software to meet the agency’s unique organizational and service structure. When the system is fully customized in FFY 2012, MCB will be able to provide much more data to the RC. The agency will work with the RC to develop reports that meet the RC members’ needs for information and analysis.

The RC continues to express great concern about the accessibility of web sites and of textbooks. There have been some improvements during past several years in both of these areas, but the RC’s Technology Policy, Web Site and Document Access Committee will continue to monitor accessibility to printed and electronic materials and seek the agency’s support and intervention as necessary.

At the RC’s request, MCB has continued to provide reports to the RC during the past year on its progress on reasonable accommodation issues for staff members with disabilities.

The RC has had a long-term interest in transportation accessibility and its impact on the ability of consumers to pursue vocational objectives. The director of MCB’s Mobility Unit attends a number of meetings on regional and statewide transportation issues and also attends the quarterly RC meetings in order to keep the RC informed about issues relevant to transportation accessibility.

The RC has expressed the concern that consolidation of services that has taken place in other states could spread here to Massachusetts. The agency has been able to report that, although there have been rumors of consolidation plans during the past few years, the Massachusetts legislature has expressed no interest in consolidation.

In order to address the RC’s continuing concern that MCB service units communicate effectively to better serve consumers, MCB has initiated a series of Brown Bag Lunches designed to foster increased communication among the regions. They will be monthly, with most of them held at agency offices. The Rehabilitation Council has offered to present at a future session. In addition, the RC has been informed that the agency is implementing Guide Net, a new MCB Intranet for employees, designed to foster increased communication throughout the agency.

The Rehabilitation Council (RC) has continued to review the consumer satisfaction studies conducted annually on a routine basis. The Council had in previous years provided input into the design of these studies as well as the design of the comprehensive needs assessment study.

MCB, in consultation with the RC and a number of other agencies serving the blind, commissioned a comprehensive needs assessment that was completed in 2005. The methodology used for the assessment was a telephone poll conducted by UMass Poll of a random sample of registrants. The RC was satisfied with the comprehensive needs assessment conducted for MCB by the UMass Poll, so it was decided that the comprehensive needs assessment would be replicated by MCB staff. This second needs assessment was done between July 2008 and February 2009, using the same methodology and questions as the 2005 comprehensive needs assessment. The agency is currently replicating this comprehensive needs assessment for a third time, using the assistance of several legally blind summer interns. During FY 2012, the Rehabilitation Council will be able to compare the results of the three comprehensive needs assessments and use this knowledge in making recommendations to the agency relative to strategic plans, goals and priorities to best meet the needs of legally blind consumers. The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind is currently implementing a new strategic planning process to develop a strategic plan for the next five years that will be integrated with the VR State Plan. The Rehabilitation Council’s involvement will continue to be essential throughout this process. The agency expects to have a working draft to present to the Rehabilitation Council for discussion at its September meeting.

The state plan updates for FFY 2012 were discussed at several Rehabilitation Council meetings. The agency’s progress on the goals and priorities and plans for innovation and expansion (including the use of ARRA funds) have also been discussed at Rehabilitation Council meetings during the year.

The RC members currently annually review the agency’s performance on RSA standards and indicators. The agency’s performance on RSA standards and indicators has at all times met the minimum level of overall performance established by RSA.

The Rehabilitation Council submits an annual report to the Governor of Massachusetts and to the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 1:44PM by Patricia Hart

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2009 4:16PM by Patricia Hart

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.

(1) Cooperation with Agencies That Are Not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities

The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind falls within the purview of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Other agencies within this organization include: the Department of Mental Health, Department of Mental Retardation, Department of Public Health, Department of Social Services, Department of Transitional Assistance (formerly Department of Public Welfare), Department of Youth Services, Medical Assistance, Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Office of Child Care Services, Office for Refugees and Immigrants, Chelsea Soldiers' Home, and Holyoke Soldiers' Home. The agency is fortunate to have cooperative and collaborative relationships with all of these agencies. Agency heads meet every two weeks to discuss issues of mutual concern and to resolve inter-agency problems. Other agency staffs meet collaboratively to work on numerous Secretariat-wide projects

The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind is a single state agency for the Medicaid program under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The agency's Medical Assistance Unit performs eligibility determinations and redeterminations for some legally blind applicants and recipients. It also provides prior approval for all medical services for legally blind recipients. This unique situation results in unusual cooperation in providing Medicaid services to legally blind vocational rehabilitation consumers. It also allows the MCB vocational rehabilitation program to maximize the use of comparable benefits.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors in the agency's unit that provides specialized services to deaf-blind and mentally retarded blind persons work very closely with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation to facilitate development and completion of plans and services for persons with developmental disabilities who may need their services in addition to Vocational Rehabilitation services. These specialized counselors also work very closely with the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and staff of the Helen Keller National Center to provide coordinated services to deaf-blind persons.

This screen was last updated on Jul 31 2009 2:27PM by Patricia Hart

  • 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.

(2) Coordination with Education Officials

The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind’s plans, policies, and procedures for coordination with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities include:

1) Continued implementation of its long-standing agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Education. The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind has for more than twenty years had an effective cooperative agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Education relative to the services provided to legally blind children. The agreement describes the roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services.

2) Continued provision of consultation and technical assistance to the education agency relative to the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including VR services. The agency has worked very closely with the Department on the implementation of a state law, the Braille Literacy Act of 1996. One of the members of the Rehabilitation Council represents the Massachusetts Department of Education.

3) Continued transition planning by MCB and education personnel that facilitates the development and completion of students’ individualized education programs through the following process. The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind falls within the purview of the Executive Office of Human Services of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Executive Office of Human Services was mandated by a state law passed in 1984 (Chapter 688) to establish a Bureau of Transition Planning to assure the provision of adequate transitional planning services to disabled persons completing special education. The Bureau of Transitional Planning monitors an inter agency cooperative planning process that requires the participation of all relevant human services agencies. An "individual transition plan" must be developed by the agencies at least six months before the termination of special education services. This plan must be approved by an inter agency Transitional Advisory Committee, the Secretary of Human Services, and the consumer or his guardian. The plan outlines the services to be provided and identifies the agency responsible for the provision of each service. This process assures that an individualized plan for employment is developed and approved for before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting. We have found that this transitional planning process has clarified agency responsibilities and has made it much easier to arrange necessary support services to enable consumers to participate in vocational rehabilitation services.

4) Continued outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services through the Chapter 688 process described above and the agency’s provision of children’s services to legally blind children. All legally blind children and adults in Massachusetts are registered with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind as a consequence of the state’s mandatory reporting law.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2009 4:16PM by Patricia Hart

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

(3) Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers

In line with the procedures of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind has contracts with all private, non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers that it purchases services from. Statewide rates and technical specifications are established in these contracts for the services most commonly purchased from non-profit vocational rehabilitation services providers including: vocational evaluation, supported employment, on-site job coaching and job development. These contracts are subject to competitive bidding; solicitations are posted on the COMMPASS website maintained by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

One member of the State Rehabilitation Council represents a non-profit provider. In addition, several others happen to work for non-profit providers.

A consortium of Massachusetts non-profit agencies that serve blind consumers were actively involved in all of the planning and design of the comprehensive needs assessment undertaken by the agency and the State Rehabilitation Council.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2009 4:16PM by Patricia Hart

Describe the efforts of the designated state agency to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and other appropriate entities in order to provide the following services to individuals with the most significant disabilities:

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

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

In recent years, the agency has contracted with an increasing number of new providers of community-based supported employment services. The results of these services have varied, but our experience has been quite positive in the cases of some consumers who have needed very intensive supported employment services.

The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health have over the years worked cooperatively with MCB and provided extended services to a number of legally blind persons that have been provided supported employment services by MCB.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2010 1:23PM by Patricia Hart

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The average caseload per vocational rehabilitation counselor and support staff is 64 vocational rehabilitation consumers.

Growth in MCB’s VR consumer base and the professional staff has been fairly static in the past few years. Based upon this pattern and an agency turnover rate of 5-10% and an expected increase in retirements, it is projected that there will be a need for some 20-30 entry-level direct services staff over the next five years.

The agency served 1,526 consumers during FY 2011. The agency believes that numbers and types of personnel listed above are adequate and will continue to be adequate 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.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Administrative Staff 16 0 5
2 Rehilitation Counselor 18 0 10
3 Program Manager 13 2 4
4 Other Direct Service (engineering, mobility, etc. 30 1 10
5 Direct Service Supervisors 8 3 5
6 Clerical and Support 22 0 7
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

MCB regularly conducts a survey of the institutions of higher learning within Massachusetts which have programs preparing rehabilitation professionals and support staff. MCB maintains a list of the programs and determines the number of students in each program by means of this survey. MCB’s Staff Development Unit, in conjunction with its Affirmative Action Officer/Recruiting Coordinator, conducts this survey. Staff will evaluate and assist in planning at those institutions which request such assistance, and where a need is determined. The Staff Development Unit analyzes all of the data collected under this system.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Springfield College 41 0 11 13
2 Assumption College 97 0 23 23
3 University of Massachusetts 26 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

As part of its ongoing In Service Training Program, MCB’s Staff Development Unit regularly conducts needs assessments of the professional staff to identify training requirements and areas needing attention. The Staff Development Unit also utilizes the resources of TACE Center at the Institute for Community Inclusion for needs assessment data, direct training programs, and referral and evaluation of trainers, lecturers, and presenters. MCB’s annual In-Service Training Grant application utilizes this data to plan, budget and provide the most comprehensive training plan possible. MCB is a leader in the area of adaptive technology and has long utilized its in house resources to keep its professional staff current in this area. Training on the Rehabilitation Act is regularly included in the annual training calendar. Recruitment is conducted through mechanisms such as the Rehab Jobs (www.rehabjobs.info) website operated by the Rehabilitation Continuing Education Center at Assumption College and the Massachusetts online job recruitment site. Preparation is accomplished through new staff orientation, supervision, and on-going training.

MCB has had a particularly fruitful relationship with the graduate rehabilitation counseling program at Assumption College. An agency manager (who subsequently has become the Commissioner of MCB) developed and teaches a course on Rehabilitation of the Blind at Assumption. As a result of the college offering this specialized training, MCB has been able, over the past several years, to recruit four graduate students to complete internships at the agency. Four graduates, trained in rehabilitation of the blind, have been hired as MCB rehabilitation counselors.

 

In accordance with 34 CFR 361.18 c (2)(I), the highest requirements in the State applicable to a professional discipline means the highest entry level academic degree needed for any national or State approved or recognized certification, licensing, or registration requirement. In Massachusetts, pursuant to 34 CFR 361.18 (c) (2)(I), the degree needed if a person chooses to apply for state licensure is a master’s in rehabilitation counseling or a related field. Persons who have attained a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or have been awarded a license in rehabilitation counseling by the Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions before July 1, 1999 will be deemed to have met the academic standard.

Meeting the academic standard requires the attainment of a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field from a recognized educational institution and successful completion of a graduate level course in each of the following areas:

_ Job Placement or Occupational Information;

_ Vocational Assessment and Evaluation;

_ Vocational Counseling; and

_ Medical or Psychosocial Aspects of Disabilities

The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind defines a person with a master’s degree in a related field as one who has a master’s degree with a major in Counseling, Guidance, Psychology, Education, Special Education, Social Work, Human Services, Human Development, Sociology, or in a major that has been determined to be comparable by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

Some years ago, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind developed an Action Plan to Comply with Section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act in conjunction with the Regional Office of the Rehabilitation Services Administration. This plan called for completion of a plan by which all existing Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRCs) who do not have a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field would be on a mandatory schedule to fulfill this academic requirement, consistent with the ongoing provisions of federal law and in accordance with the MCB State Division of Human Resources and labor union policies and/or agreement(s). There is currently just one vocational rehabilitation counselor who does not meet this standard. This counselor, who holds a master’s degree in a related field, is in the process of completing additional graduate level work to meet CSPD requirements. The completion date of the counselor depends on the availability of required courses.

The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind has for a number of years, applied the master’s level standard to new hires.

 

The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind supports and funds graduate level training for its professional staff through its Staff Development Unit. MCB actively recruits new rehabilitation staff from area graduate level college and university programs.

The agency also provides a number of short-term training opportunities for vocational rehabilitation staff. This year, with the assistance of the TACE Center at the Institute for Community Inclusion, the agency conducted a training program on Supported Employment for all VR staff, training in Ethics in Vocational Rehabilitation, and training in the vocational rehabilitation of consumers with aattention deficit hyperactivity disorders. The agency also held a training program for “aspiring supervisors” in order to prepare interested staff to apply for supervisory positions that are expected to become vacant within the next few years.

 

The agency has three Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, one Client Assistance Worker, and two Rehabilitation Teachers who are fluent in Spanish. The agency also has on staff one Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who is fluent in Portuguese and thus able to better serve the large Portuguese population in eastern Massachusetts. One VR counselor speaks French and the language of the Congo; one speaks Italian; and one Client Assistance Worker speaks Lithuanian. MCB also has one Rehabilitation Teacher and three staff who are fluent in Cantonese. MCB VR counselors who work with deaf-blind individuals are proficient in American Sign Language.

 

In FY 2009, MCB conducted cross-training with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Federation for Children with Special Needs, the parent organization of the Parent Training and Information Center in Massachusetts. Subjects covered included transitional planning and the Massachusetts law, Chapter 688 that provides a two-year coordinated planning process for students whose entitlements to special education services will end when they graduate from school or turn 22 years of age. Since the agency has some new counselors, this training will held again in the fall of 2011.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 2:39PM by Patricia Hart

Provide an assessment of the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:

  • individuals with most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
  • individuals with disabilities who are minorities;
  • individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program; and
  • individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system.

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

Attachment 4.11(a): Results of Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities and Need to Establish, Develop, or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs In 2005, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind commissioned a comprehensive statewide needs assessment that was undertaken by the UMass Poll, a unit of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell that conducts studies related to public policy. The Rehabilitation Council participated in the assessment planning and design. In addition, a consortium of Massachusetts agencies that serve blind consumers was actively involved in all of the planning and design of the assessment. These agencies, the Rehabilitation Council, and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind used the results for long-term strategic planning. The Rehabilitation Council and the agency decided to replicate the study in FY 2009. This time the survey and analysis was done by agency staff, using the same questions and methodology that had been developed for the earlier needs assessment. The results of this second comprehensive needs assessment were shared with the agencies that had participated in the prior needs assessment. The report of this second comprehensive needs assessment is below. The Rehabilitation Council and the agency have decided to replicate this assessment again in 2011-2012 so that comparisons over time can continue.  The agency has begin the telephone survey and will continue the work throughout the the summer of 2011. 

THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND 2008 NEEDS ASSESSMENT OF THE BLINDNESS COMMUNITY Janet L. LaBreck Commissioner Spring 2009 TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION ………………………………………………………………...3 TOPLINES 3 EMPLOYMENT 3 Employed 3 Seeking Employment 4 Employment Assistance 5 TRAVEL AND SAFETY 5 Travel Comfort Level 5 Transportation Needs 5 Primary Modes of Travel 6 INFORMATION AND EDUCATION 7 News Sources 7 Information Sources 8 Educational Opportunities 8 Computer Use 9 Computer Skills 9 SOCIAL ACTIVITY AND LIVING ARRANGEMENTS 10 Living Arrangements 10 Social Activity 10 Personal Relationships 10 Personal Care 10 Services for the Blind 11 Greatest Difficulties 11 SURVEY INSTRUMENT AND FREQUENCIES 12 EMPLOYMENT 12 TRAVEL AND SAFETY 14 INFORMATION AND EDUCATION 15 SOCIAL AND LIVING ARRANGEMENTS 17 DEMOGRAPHICS 21 INTRODUCTION The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind has conducted a needs assessment of the blindness community for FY2008. The following data summarize findings from a telephone survey conducted from July, 2008 through March, 2009. This survey asked consumers 48 questions about their level of satisfaction with different services, as well as their needs in terms of kinds of services, support, information and education, social activity and living arrangements. A random respondent selection was used. A total sample of 233 Massachusetts legally blind individuals was achieved. There were 38,943 legally blind registrants in Massachusetts at the end of 2008. Respondent cooperation, response rate and call completion were satisfactory. Responses varied significantly across age and gender. There were 233 respondents, with 39% male and 61% female, as compared to 37% male and 63% female in the total registration of legally blind in Massachusetts in 2006. 32% of respondents were under 65 years of age, and 67% over 65, as compared to 27% under 65 and 73% over 65 in Massachusetts total blind population in 2006. 8% of survey respondents were working (3% full-time and 5% part-time), 92% of them reported that they were not working (65% of them retired). Overall, 85% of respondents felt that there was adequate support for their needs, up 4% from the previous (81%) 2005 Needs Assessment of the Blindness Community. TOPLINES EMPLOYMENT Employed — At the time of the survey, 92% of respondents reported that they were not working at all, 3% were working full-time, and 5% were working part-time. Much of the variation in responses was due to the age and gender of respondents. Those under 65 years of age were much more likely to be employed (21% versus 2% for those over 65), and men were more than three times as likely to be employed as women (13% versus 4% for women). For employed respondents, men over 65 were twice more likely to be employed than women over 65 (11% versus 5%). Seeking Employment — Overall, 35% of those employed part-time or not employed were very interested in finding a job or more work. The group of those not at all employed was most interested in finding employment opportunities (23% were very interested), while only 20% of this group were not or not very interested in more work. Additionally, 15% of those already employed part-time were not at all or not very interested in finding a job or more work. Age once again provided a stark contrast in those interested in finding a job or more work. There were 11% of those respondents over 65 years of age, who were interested in employment opportunities, but 89% of those under 65 were interested in finding a job or more work. Men and women were equally interested or somewhat interested in finding for employment opportunities (50% versus 50%). When age and gender are both considered, 44% of males under 65 were somewhat or very interested in employment opportunities, versus 11% of those over 65; while 44% of women under 65 were very interested or somewhat interested in employment opportunities, but very few of those of over 65. Employment Assistance — For those interested in finding better employment opportunities, 77% (59% very plus 18% somewhat) wanted to hear about jobs successfully done by people who are legally blind. And 61% thought it very or somewhat important to decide what kinds of work would be possible for them. 56% of respondents indicated that an employment program that provides a coach was very important to them. Yet only 28% responded that training in a rehabilitation center or workshop program was very important to them. Only 20% of respondents said that they had ever used the services of a one-stop career center or the state employment service. Most respondents said that they did not get their job from an agency (which accounted for only 16%). Instead, most of respondents looked to help from their family and friends (21%), right time and place (10%), and other (53%). TRAVEL AND SAFETY Travel Comfort Level — As expected 87% (64% very safely and 23% somewhat safely) of respondents said that they could travel safely at home and in familiar indoor areas. Outside the home, respondents comfort levels declined and also varied considerably by age of respondent. Overall, 67% (27% very safely and 40% somewhat safely) said that they could travel safely outdoors in familiar areas. However, 75% of those under 65 compared to 63% of those over 65 indicated that they could travel very or somewhat safely outdoors in a familiar area. In unfamiliar areas outdoors, only one-third or 31% of respondents (7% very safely and 24% somewhat safely) said that they could travel safely, however, 45% of respondents under 65 and 25% of those over 65 claimed that they could travel very safely or somewhat safely in unfamiliar area outdoors. Needs Transportation — 94% of respondents (68% very and 26% somewhat) said that their transportation needs were met. 43% of men under 65 claimed that their transportation needs were satisfactory, versus 57% of men over 65. It is important to note that 74% of respondents said that they could not use public transportation safely. Age of respondent was certainly a factor in comfort level with public transportation, 56% of those under 65 and 83% of those over 65 felt not very safe or not safe at all in using public transportation; however, 54% of those under 65 and only 46% of those over 65 felt that they could use public transportation very or somewhat safely. Men under 65 felt more comfortable with public transportation than did women, 69% of those under 65 men said that they could use it very or somewhat safely, compared to only 40% of women. When age and gender are examined in combination we see that 60% of women over 65 felt that they could use public transportation safely, compared to only 31% of men. Primary Modes of Travel — The majority (62%) of respondents said that their families met their transportation needs, an additional 17% primarily used the Ride, 10% primarily depended upon friends, and 8% said that they primarily used public transportation. Use of public transportation was particularly strong among men under 65 (9% compared to 0.07% for women under 65), however, 3.6% of women over 65 used public transportation as their primary means of transportation, compared to 3.4% of men over 65. In addition, those women over 65 were more likely than other groups to rely on family as their primary means of transportation (48% compared to 41% for men over 65 and 15% for women under 65). INFORMATION AND EDUCATION News Sources—Overall 69% of respondents said that TV was the most reliable source of information for news and current events. 15% of females under 65 and 55% of them over 65 indicated that TV was the most reliable source of information for news and current events, while 17% of males under 65 and 24% of them over 65 used TV as their most reliable source of news and current events. Radio (13%) was the second most popular source of news and information but was far less popular for women under 65 (10% versus 55% for them over 65). Information Sources — Almost four-fifths (79%) of respondents (59% very important and 20% somewhat important) said they were looking for more and better sources of information with large print (22%) and tape (21%) topping the format choices. Educational Opportunities — Overall about 77% of respondents indicated that educational opportunities were not available at all. Younger respondents were more likely to believe that educational support was available (57%) than were those 65 and older (43%). Computer Use — Only about one-third (27%) of respondents currently use computers. Age was the largest factor determining computer use, with 66% of those under 65 used computers, compared to 34% of those 65 and older. The most common reasons for not using a computer were “don’t know how” (42%), “not interested” (31%), “can’t see the screen” (20%), and “can’t afford one” (7%). Those 65 and older were more than seven times as likely as those under 65 (88% versus 12%) to say that they were not interested in computer use. Those 65 and older were most likely (77% compared to 23% of those under 65) to say that they don’t know how to use computers. None of respondents under 65 and only some of those over 65 said that they could not afford computers. Most (58%) computer users use some sort of adaptive technology. The most common adaptive technologies used were large print (50% of those who use adaptive technology) and speech (21%). Computer Skills — About one-third or 31% (27% very and 4% somewhat important) of respondents think that computer skills are important for the job market. However, among those under 65 years of age (and most likely to be looking for employment opportunities) 67% believed computer skills to be very or somewhat important. As 84% of those respondents over 65 (most of them were not looking for employment opportunities), they felt that computer skills not that important to them. About one-fourth or 24% (19% very important and 5% somewhat important) said that internet skills were important for successful daily living, although this percentage was 65% among those under 65 years of age. SOCIAL ACTIVITY & LIVING ARRANGEMENTS Living Arrangements — There were 84% of respondents to say that their housing needs were met very well, about 39% of respondents indicated that they live alone. Social Activity — 57% (25% very active and 32% somewhat active) reported an active social life. Transportation was cited by 13% as the problem that prevents them from participating more in social or recreational activities. Personal Relationships — 35% (12% a lot and 23% some) of respondents said that their lack of or loss of vision had seriously affected their spouse or family relationships. Women were slightly more likely to respond in the affirmative—55% claimed that their lack or loss of vision affected their spouse or family relationships some or a lot versus 45% for men. For women, age of respondent made a great deal of difference (62% a lot or some for women over 65 years of age versus 38% for those under 65). Only 7% of respondents thought they need personal or group counseling. But 67% of respondents over 65 felt such a need, versus 33% of those under 65. Personal Care — 62% of respondents said that they could successfully take medications very well. However, certain groups were significantly less confident. Of females over 65 years of age 50% reported that they could not successfully take their medications at all, but compared to only 17% of those males over 65. Overall, 67% said they could groom themselves very well. Younger respondents reported less success than those over 65 (31% reporting somewhat or very well versus 69% of those 65 and over). A little less than half (45%) reported that they could cook very well. Women reported substantially more success than men, with 60% reporting very or somewhat successful compared to only 40% of men. Services for the Blind — 39% of respondents named MCB as the governmental agency that provides the most help relating to their visual impairment, 9% named the Perkins School. Additionally, 1% named Carroll Center for the Blind, MAB Community Services and Lowell Association for the Blind. 34% of respondents received help from other organizations relating to their visual impairment, but only 14% of respondents said that they did not receive any help from any agency. Greatest Difficulties—Overall, 26% of respondents said that transportation was the greatest problem they face today because of their vision loss. 43% of females and 22% of males over 65 years of age indicated that transportation was the greatest difficulties they faced. Problems such as “Employment”, “Recreation”, and “Taking care of my home” were significantly less prevalent, each only accounting for 4% of respondents. Employment problems were the most common response for those under 65 years of age with 100%, however, there was no response from those respondents over 65. Overall, 34% said that they missed driving most because of their vision loss. SURVEY INSTRUMENT AND FREQUENCIES EMPLOYMENT 1. Are you currently employed full time, part time or not at all? Full time 3% Part time 5% Not at all 13% Cannot work due to illness 14% Retired 65% 2. How interested are you in finding a job or more work? Very interested 35% Somewhat interested 15% Not very interested 5% Not interested at all 45% How important are the following to you? 3. Learning about jobs that people who are blind have done successfully? Very 59% Somewhat 18% Not very 0% Not at all 23% 4. Deciding what kind of work would be possible for you? Very 51% Somewhat 10% Not very 3% Not at all 36% 5. Training in a rehabilitation center or workshop program? Very 28% Somewhat 18% Not very 3% Not at all 51% 6. An employment program that provides a coach so you can do the job? Very 56% Somewhat 8% Not very 0% Not at all 36% 7. What was the most important thing that led to you getting a job? Help from an agency 16% Help from family and friends 21% Answered an ad 0% School placement service 0% Right place right time 10% Other 53% 8. If help from an agency, which one? Educational project and Rehabilitation Center 9. What is the most important thing that has led to your success on the job? Ability to get along with others 13% Job skills 17% Hard work 9% An interested person 13% Other 48% 10. How often have you used the services of a one-stop career center or the state employment service? Often 11% Some 6% Not very 3% Not at all 80% TRAVEL AND SAFETY 11. How safely can you travel in your home and familiar indoor areas? Very safely 64% Somewhat safely 23% Not very safely 5% Not safe at all 8% 12. How safely can you travel outdoors in familiar areas? Very safely 27% Somewhat safely 40% Not very safely 10% Not safe at all 23% 13. How safely can you travel outdoors in unfamiliar areas? Very safely 7% Somewhat safely 24% Not very safely 15% Not safe at all 54% 14. How safely can you travel using public transportation? Very safely 9% Somewhat safely 17% Not very safely 6% Not safe at all 68% 15. What is your primary means of transportation? Taxi 3% Family 62% Friends 10% The Ride 17% Public transportation 8% 16. How well are your transportation needs met? Very 68% Somewhat 26% Not very 3% Not at all 3% INFORMATION AND EDUCATION 17. Currently what is your most reliable source of information for news and current events? TV 69% Radio 13% News line Program 2% Internet 2% Newspaper 2% Other 12% 18. How important to you are more or better sources of information? Very important 59% somewhat important 20% Not very important 9% Not at all important 12% 19. What information format do you most prefer? Braille 2% Tape 21% Large print 22% Computer 13% Have no ability to read now 42% 20. How available is the support necessary to assist you in pursuit of your education? Very available 14% somewhat available 7% Not very available 2% Not at all available 77% 21. Are you currently using a computer? Yes 27% No 73% 22. Do you use adaptive technology? Yes 58% No 42% 23. What adaptive technology do you use? Speech 21% Large print 50% Braille 7% Other 22% 24. Why are you not currently using a computer? Not interested 31% Can’t afford one 7% Can’t type 0% Can’t see the screen 20% Don’t know how 42% 25. How important to you are computer skills for the job market? Very important 27% Somewhat important 4% Not very important 3% Not important at all 66% 26. How important to you are email or Internet skills for successful daily living? Very important 19% Somewhat important 5% Not very important 5% Not important at all 71% SOCIAL AND LIVING ARRANGEMENTS 27. How well are your housing needs met? Very well 84% somewhat well 13% Not very well 1% Not well at all 2% 28. Do you live alone, with family members, with another visually impaired person or with a sighted person? Alone 39% family 54% Visually impaired 1% Sighted person 6% 29. How active is your social and recreational life? Very active 25% somewhat active 32% Not very active 15% No active at all 28% 30. What prevents you from participating more in social or recreational activities? Transportation 13% Lack of economic resources 3% Not enough opportunities 5% Other 79% 31. How seriously has your lack of vision or loss of vision affected your spouse or family relationships? A lot 12% Some 23% Not much 19% Not at all 46% 32. Do you feel the need for personal or group counseling? Yes 7% No 90% Not sure 3% How successfully can you complete the following? 33. Cooking Very well 45% Somewhat well 20% Not very well 6% Not well at all 29% 34. Grooming Very well 67% Somewhat well 19% Not very well 1% Not well at all 13% 35. Taking medications Very well 62% Somewhat well 20% Not very well 4% Not well at all 14% 36. What organization or governmental agency provides you with the most help relating to your visual impairment? Massachusetts Commission for the Blind 39% Perkins School for the Blind 9% Carroll Center for the Blind 1% MAB Community Services 1% Greater Boston Aid to the Blind 0.5% Lowell Association for the Blind 1% Talking Information Center 0.5% Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic 0% National Braille Press 0% Other 34% No agency helped me 14% 37. What is the greatest problem you face today because of your vision loss? Transportation 26% Employment 4% Recreation 4% Taking care of my home 4% Other 62% 38. What do you miss doing the most because of your vision loss? Driving 34% Reading without assistance 19% Traveling independently 11% Working 3% Other 33% DEMOGRAPHICS 39. Do you own or rent your home? Own 53% Rent 36% Neither, not applicable 11% 40. If renting, are you living in public housing? Yes 45% No 55% 41. Do you have children 18 or younger in your household? Yes 11% No 88% Don’t Know 0% Refused 1% 42. How old are you? 18 - 25 4% 26 - 35 3% 36 - 45 4% 46 - 55 8% 56 - 65 11% Over 65 67% Don’t Know 0% Refused 1% Younger than 18 2% 43. Do you feel that there is adequate support for your needs? More than enough 65% Just enough 20% not adequate 7% not adequate at all 8% 44. What is the last grade of school or college that you have completed? Less than High School 17% H.S. Grad 33% Some College 17% College Grad 22% Post Grad 1% Don’t Know 2% Refused 7% 45. How would you describe your ancestors? African American 4% Asian American 1% Hispanic 1% European 36% Something else 33% Not Sure/Don’t Know 10% Refused 15% 46. What is your ZIP CODE _______________________? 47. What is your total household income? Less Than $10,000 8% Between $10,000 and $24,999 13% Between $25,000 and $34,999 3% Between $35,000 and $49,999 5% Between $50,000 and $74,999 1% Between $75,000 and $150,000 1% More Than $150,000 1% Don’t Know 19% Refused 49% 48. RESPONDENT’S GENDER Male 39% Female 61%

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 2:41PM by Patricia Hart

The number of potentially eligible legally blind persons in Massachusetts is approximately 30,000, the number of persons currently registered as legally blind; 66% of the registrants are aged 65 and older. The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind estimates that approximately 1500 legally blind individuals will receive VR services as active consumers during FY 2012. It is estimated that 20-30 significantly disabled individuals will be served under the Supported Employment Program. It is also estimated that approximately additional 900 individuals will be served by the agency’s Older Blind Independent Living Program, BRIDGE.

The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind is not under an Order of Selection and does not anticipate that an Order of Selection will be necessary in FFY 2012.

The opportunity for the caseload to grow substantially is limited by the fact that the agency only serves persons who are legally blind and deaf-blind. The definition of legal blindness in Massachusetts is: A person is “legally blind” if his/her visual acuity is, with correction, 20/200 or less in the better eye, or, if, regardless of visual acuity, the peripheral field of his/her vision is reduced to a radius of 10 degrees or less.

The projected cost of services for FFY 2012 is approximately $7,399,550, of which approximately $80,083 is from Supported Employment and approximately $7,319,467 is from Section 110, the Basic Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
0
Totals   $0 0

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 2:42PM by Patricia Hart

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(d): State’s Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

The goals, jointly developed by the agency and the Rehabilitation Council, are listed below along with the priorities and strategies for innovation and expansion that will be used to reach the goals.

Goal: To have sufficient resources to serve all eligible individuals, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal. While this is one of the goals of the agency and Rehabilitation Council, Title I funds will not be used for innovation and expansion activities in this area. This is a high-priority goal of both the agency and Council, but the strategies used will be no-cost, traditional methods such as education and provision of information to decision-makers.

Measurement Methodology for FFY 2012:

• The Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal

• The agency’s success in maintaining or increasing its state budget

Goal: To develop more employment options for VR consumers, including supported employment, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal.

Measurement Methodology for FFY 2012:

• The Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal

• The number of transition-age consumers who participate in non-college training programs

• The number of consumers who participate in the agency’s internship program

• Promulgation of revised college regulations

Strategies/Priorities:

• Develop and implement plans to increase training opportunities for transition-age consumers who are not going to college.

• Continue, and refine the agency’s internship program for legally blind students who are attending college; explore ways to expand the program to include high school students and recent high school graduates who are not going to college.

• Finalize revisions to the agency’s college regulations and policies.

Goal: To help legally blind persons to increase their independence, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal.

Measurement Methodology for FFY 2012:

• The Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal

• The success of the North Shore Workforce Investment Board in obtaining grant funds to develop a regional transportation initiative; MCB is a partner in this effort.

Strategies/Priorities:

• To advocate and educate consumers and public officials on pedestrian safety issues which impact pedestrians who are legally blind and issues regarding laws pertaining to the white cane and the use of service dogs and

• To advocate for better access to, and improvement of, Public Transportation and paratransit systems throughout the Commonwealth.

• Increase consumers’ access to adaptive equipment.

• Increase students’ access to accessible textbooks.

• Advocate for improved accessibility of federal and state government documents and internet sites.

Goal: Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of vocational rehabilitation services delivery, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal.

Measurement Methodology for FFY 2012:

• The Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal

• The results of a survey of MCB vocational rehabilitation staff on the effectiveness and efficiency of the agency’s service provision and communication among all direct services units

• The agency’s ability to meet the minimum levels of performance established by RSA on the national standards and indicators.

• A decrease in the number of consumers exiting the program without achieving an employment outcome after receiving services.

Strategies/Priorities:

• To annually review the agency’ performance on RSA standards and indicators and on other statistical measures of effectiveness and to recommend actions to improve performance when appropriate.

• To improve communication among all MCB VR staff and between VR counselors in MCB’s regional offices and VR counselors in MCB’s Deaf-Blind/Multi-Handicapped Unit to enhance services to consumers who would otherwise not receive necessary services;

• to improve communication among MCB staff (VR counselors, children’s service workers and social workers) in order to facilitate services to consumers who have reached their 14th birthday and to identify on a case by case basis the most appropriate dept. within MCB to meet the individuals needs.

• to improve and maintain ongoing communication between MCB VR counselors and all other state, federal, contracted and private agencies providing technology, vocational training and employment services to MCB consumers, including those individuals with other disabilities in addition to blindness.

• to develop a guide on cross-training to educate MCB staff, service providers, and families about which state agency serves consumers who are legally blind and have multiple disabilities to define which agency will provide which services for which consumers.

These goals are in harmony with the results of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 2:45PM by Patricia Hart

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2009 4:17PM by Patricia Hart

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

One of MCB’s major goals for FFY 2012 is to build on and improve the largely positive Title VI, Part B experience that the agency has had over the past several years. This is a formal, explicit FY 2012 objective for each VR manager overseeing the delivery of direct consumer services and, as such, has been incorporated into his or her individualized “goals and objectives” document for the year. It is projected that thirty additional consumers (statewide) will be evaluated for their potential participation in Supported Employment programming and, from this number; some twenty will be accepted and appropriately served.

MCB will continue to focus its Title VI, Part B resources toward those consumers for whom traditional Vocational Rehabilitation programming has been inappropriate due to the severity of disability. MCB will outreach to individuals with blindness and: cognitive disabilities, developmental disabilities, multiple disabilities, acquired brain injury, and externally caused traumatic brain injury, including individuals not eligible for Department of Developmental Services. The agency has during the past two years created two new positions in its Deaf-Blind Multi-Handicapped Unit: one to provide specialized, intensive VR services to a group of multiply-disabled consumers who are thought to be currently underserved; these are consumers who are not deaf or mentally retarded, but have very significant disabilities such as mental illness or brain injury in addition to blindness. This specialized VR counselor currently has a caseload of approximately 30 consumers. The goal is that during FFY 2012, five of these consumers will begin supported employment programs. The other new position is a counselor who is fluent in American Sign Language to provide vocational rehabilitation services, including supported employment services, to deaf-blind consumers in Western Massachusetts.

Emphasis on enrolling deaf blind and deaf blind retarded consumers who are leaving Special Education programs provided by the public schools and fully engaging the MCB/VR/Adult Services network for the first time will continue. The agency’s Multi-Handicapped Unit has a goal that ten such consumers will be served under Title VI, Part B programming in FFY 2012. Our experience indicates that supported employment is a very effective service for deaf blind consumers and is also very effective for consumers with blindness and multiple disabilities.

Problems previously identified by vocational rehabilitation staff have included a lack of sufficient supported employment job sites. In recent years, MCB has been involved with several other agencies, including the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, in a successful effort to expand the number of providers of supported employment services. This effort has resulted in many more choices for consumers. Performance based contracting has been adopted as an incentive to promptness and flexibility in service provision and to successful outcomes.

In July 2010, MCB, in collaboration with the TACE Center at the Institute for Community Inclusion, conducted a training program on Supported Employment for all VR staff to conduct a training program on Supported Employment for all VR staff.

MCB will distribute FFY 2012 Title VI, Part B resources from a centrally located blanket service contract, which will be established within the Assistant Commissioner for Services budget center. Once executed, this instrument will enable MCB to encumber funds for authorized supported employment (SE) services with a wide variety of community based vendors located in any of our six regional areas.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 2:47PM by Patricia Hart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attachment 4.11(d): State’s Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

The goals, jointly developed by the agency and the Rehabilitation Council, are listed below along with the priorities and strategies for innovation and expansion that will be used to reach the goals.

Goal: To have sufficient resources to serve all eligible individuals, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal. While this is one of the goals of the agency and Rehabilitation Council, Title I funds will not be used for innovation and expansion activities in this area. This is a high-priority goal of both the agency and Council, but the strategies used will be no-cost, traditional methods such as education and provision of information to decision-makers.

Measurement Methodology for FFY 2012:

• The Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal

• The agency’s success in maintaining or increasing its state budget

Goal: To develop more employment options for VR consumers, including supported employment, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal.

Measurement Methodology for FFY 2012:

• The Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal

• The number of transition-age consumers who participate in non-college training programs

• The number of consumers who participate in the agency’s internship program

• Promulgation of revised college regulations

Strategies/Priorities:

• Develop and implement plans to increase training opportunities for transition-age consumers who are not going to college.

• Continue, and refine the agency’s internship program for legally blind students who are attending college; explore ways to expand the program to include high school students and recent high school graduates who are not going to college.

• Finalize revisions to the agency’s college regulations and policies.

Goal: To help legally blind persons to increase their independence, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal.

Measurement Methodology for FFY 2012:

• The Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal

• The success of the North Shore Workforce Investment Board in obtaining grant funds to develop a regional transportation initiative; MCB is a partner in this effort.

Strategies/Priorities:

• To advocate and educate consumers and public officials on pedestrian safety issues which impact pedestrians who are legally blind and issues regarding laws pertaining to the white cane and the use of service dogs and

• To advocate for better access to, and improvement of, Public Transportation and paratransit systems throughout the Commonwealth.

• Increase consumers’ access to adaptive equipment.

• Increase students’ access to accessible textbooks.

• Advocate for improved accessibility of federal and state government documents and internet sites.

Goal: Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of vocational rehabilitation services delivery, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal.

Measurement Methodology for FFY 2012:

• The Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal

• The results of a survey of MCB vocational rehabilitation staff on the effectiveness and efficiency of the agency’s service provision and communication among all direct services units

• The agency’s ability to meet the minimum levels of performance established by RSA on the national standards and indicators.

• A decrease in the number of consumers exiting the program without achieving an employment outcome after receiving services.

Strategies/Priorities:

• To annually review the agency’ performance on RSA standards and indicators and on other statistical measures of effectiveness and to recommend actions to improve performance when appropriate.

• To improve communication among all MCB VR staff and between VR counselors in MCB’s regional offices and VR counselors in MCB’s Deaf-Blind/Multi-Handicapped Unit to enhance services to consumers who would otherwise not receive necessary services;

• to improve communication among MCB staff (VR counselors, children’s service workers and social workers) in order to facilitate services to consumers who have reached their 14th birthday and to identify on a case by case basis the most appropriate dept. within MCB to meet the individuals needs.

• to improve and maintain ongoing communication between MCB VR counselors and all other state, federal, contracted and private agencies providing technology, vocational training and employment services to MCB consumers, including those individuals with other disabilities in addition to blindness.

• to develop a guide on cross-training to educate MCB staff, service providers, and families about which state agency serves consumers who are legally blind and have multiple disabilities to define which agency will provide which services for which consumers.

These goals are in harmony with the results of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment.

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is provided on a statewide basis through the agency’s Technology Unit. VR counselors make referrals to this unit for both evaluation for and provision of needed assistive technology services. The unit is staffed by a supervisor and six rehabilitation engineers. A Help Desk service is also available to provide technical support to legally blind VR consumers. The consultative services of several more specialized engineers are available to solve very complex technical problems. The Technology Unit will serve approximately 700 VR consumers during FY 2010 and FY 2011.

Minority Outreach

The agency has long placed a high priority on outreach to minority and under served persons. The agency has for some years had a Multi Cultural Committee within the agency. The committee consists of the Commissioner, the Multi Cultural Outreach Program Coordinator, vocational rehabilitation counselors, representatives of the agency Staff Development Unit, and support staff. The goal of the committee is to increase access to services for multi cultural and minority consumers. The Multi Cultural Committee has participated in the development of the curriculum for agency diversity training and has promoted staff attendance at community conferences which address issues relevant to provision of services to specific groups such as immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and Cambodia.

One strategy which the Multi Cultural Committee uses is to hold some of its meetings on the premises of community groups with which the agency would like to develop closer relationships. These activities will continue. Another strategy that has been used for several years is to invite the staff s of community groups to attend luncheons at MCB and share information and recommendations about outreach to minority group members who are legally blind.

The agency has three Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and two Rehabilitation Teachers who are fluent in Spanish. The agency also has on staff one Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who is fluent in Portuguese and thus able to better serve the large Portuguese population in eastern Massachusetts. One VR counselor speaks French and the language of the Congo; one speaks Italian; and one Client Assistance Worker speaks Lithuanian.

The agency has installed the Language Line interpreter service in all of its offices to assist counselors in working with consumers who speak all languages, especially uncommon ones. Language Line offers interpretation of more than 140 languages. MCB has also contracted with interpreters in the community who can interpret languages such as Khymer (a language of Cambodia), Chinese, French, Russian, Polish, Croatian, Vietnamese, and Spanish.

The agency has a Multi Cultural Outreach Program Coordinator who coordinates a formal program of outreach to all minorities and under served populations in cooperation with grass roots community organizations. Responsibilities of the Multi Cultural Outreach Program Coordinator include:

• Identification of agencies and associations serving minority communities throughout the state. Typically, the Coordinator writes a letter of introduction and requests an opportunity to speak to the group.

• Attendance at health fairs, church groups and other community events relevant to members of minority communities. MCB is listed is the Boston Community Health Education Center Resource Guide which leads to numerous invitations to attend events to promote the agency’s services among Boston’s minority communities.

• Advocacy for the availability of English as a Second Language instruction in accessible media. The agency’s needs assessment studies and public hearings have for a number of years identified the lack of availability of ESL instruction for blind persons as a very serious problem. A Massachusetts consumer group, the Association of Blind Citizens, has developed an audio (tape and CD) ESL course for blind and visually-impaired persons. The MCB Multi Cultural Outreach Program Coordinator continues to explore ways to address this need.

During 2012, MCB will continue to focus on outreach to persons with minority backgrounds who are blind or visually impaired.

MCB’s Director of Multicultural Outreach will continue to attend multi-cultural events and network with partnering agencies. MCB’s Multicultural Director will continue to be active in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Affirmative Marketing Program and to offer suggestions to agencies on SOWMBA certified vendors.

The agency’s Staff Development Unit has for a number of years worked to assist staff to better address the needs of traditionally under served minority groups. Each a training program on cultural diversity and rehabilitation issues is offered to vocational rehabilitation staff. In addition, the Multi Cultural Outreach Program Coordinator continues to arrange periodic luncheon seminars for staff on topics relevant to provision of services to minority populations.

Community Rehabilitation Programs

The agency does not have any current plans to establish or develop new community rehabilitation programs. During the past three, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services developed and implemented a new performance-based procurement system for employment services. MCB, along with the other human services agencies, has participated in the development of guidelines, procedures, rates, and standards. The system, which includes component payments, has been used since July 1, 2009 and the system continues to be refined and expanded. MCB continues to work with community rehabilitation programs to improve services by increasing the use community-based programming.

Workforce Investment System

MCB has good relationships with the components of the workforce investment system. MCB VR counselors refer consumers to the one-stop career centers and work cooperatively with the Disability Navigators. MCB has offered and provided consultation on assistive technology to the one-stop career centers. The agency is fortunate to have an involved representative from the statewide workforce investment agency on it Rehabilitation Council.

Two of the agency’s Regional Directors serve on the Workforce Investment Board in the region. In addition, three of the state’s workforce investment areas have interagency employment consortia that MCB staff participate in.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 3:14PM by Patricia Hart

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

During FFY 2011, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind worked with the Rehabilitation Council on the mutually-agreed upon goals and the use of Title I funds in FY 2011 for innovation and expansion activities (particularly in the areas of rehabilitation technology and transition). The narrative interwoven with the goals below provides a report of progress in achieving the VR program goals; it describes factors that impeded the achievement of the goals and priorities, to the extent they were not achieved, and provides a report on how the funds reserved for innovation and expansion activities were utilized in the preceding year. One baseline for evaluation is a survey of RC members’ annual evaluation of progress towards the goals.

Goal I: To have sufficient resources to serve all eligible individuals, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal.

Priorities:

• Monitor annually the budget and regularly advocate full funding of the VR program to ensure that in the years ahead the MCB can carry out its obligations to its many consumers. A measure for evaluation is the amount of state vocational rehabilitation funds appropriated by the Massachusetts Legislature.

• Monitor annually the allocation of funds for the Deaf-Blind Multi-Handicapped Program and the Supported Employment Program. A measure for evaluation is the amount of state funds appropriated by the Massachusetts Legislature for the agency’s state-funded Deaf-Blind Multi-Handicapped Program. Some of these funds are used for on-going supported employment services after VR services are completed.

Report of Progress:

The agency has had sufficient resources to serve all eligible individuals during FY 2011. The Massachusetts Legislature has continued to fund the agency’s VR program beyond the amount required to match federal funds. However, as a state with a high per capita income, Massachusetts’ federal allocation has not kept up with inflation over a number of years due to the federal formula. The Rehabilitation Council has been very active in advocating for increased vocational rehabilitation funding at the state level. In fact, the Massachusetts Legislature has, despite the severe economic crisis in the United States that has affected state tax revenues, appropriated approximately the same amount of state vocational rehabilitation funds for SFY 2010 and SFY 2011 as were appropriated in SFY 2009. The SFY2012 state appropriation for vocational rehabilitation services is expected to be the same as SFY 2011 or even higher. The Legislature is currently considering two proposals in a conference committee. The expected SFY2012 state appropriation for the state-funded Deaf-Blind Multi-Handicapped Program is enough to cover the need for more residential services for those consumers who are turning age 22. This program provides residential and day services, including on-going supported employment services to very significantly disabled individuals.

RC Evaluation:

At the beginning of FY 2008, the members of the Rehabilitation Council rated the agency’s progress toward this goal as “Good” (2.9 out of 5). In FY 2009, RC members rated the agency’s progress as “Fair/Good” (2.6 out of 5). In FY 2011, members rated the agency’s progress as “Fair/Good” (2.6 out of 5)

Goal II: To develop more employment options for VR consumers, including supported employment, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal.

Priorities:

• Develop and implement plans to increase training opportunities for transition-age consumers who are not going to college.

• Continue, and refine the agency’s internship program for legally blind students who are attending college; explore ways to expand the program to include high school students and recent high school graduates who are not going to college with the result that the number of students participating increases each year.

• Finalize revisions to the agency’s college regulations and policies.

Report of Progress:

• The development of increased training opportunities for transition-age consumers who are not going to college continues to be a major focus area. The agency has during the past two years created two new positions in its Deaf-Blind Multi-Handicapped Unit: one to provide specialized, intensive VR services to a group of multiply-disabled consumers who are thought to be currently underserved; these are consumers who are not deaf or mentally retarded, but have very significant disabilities such as mental illness or brain injury in addition to blindness. This specialized VR counselor currently has a caseload of approximately 30 consumers. The goal is that during FFY 2012, five of these consumers will begin supported employment programs. The other new position is a counselor who is fluent in American Sign Language to provide vocational rehabilitation services, including supported employment services, to deaf-blind consumers in Western Massachusetts.

• During past two years, MCB, in conjunction with the Institute for Community Inclusion, has developed and implemented an innovative supported employment initiative to address the service needs of transition-age consumers who have multiple and very significant disabilities. The program is called “Everybody Works” and has three key components:

• Person-centered career planning

• Development of individualized, community-based work experiences

• Support services, including on-the-job supports, assistive technology, mobility, benefits planning, and transportation, to promote success on the job. Six transition-age consumers participated during FFY 2011.

• During FY 2011, the agency was able to use American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to fund a position to develop more vocational options for individuals who are deaf and blind. This is a unique population with highly specialized service needs and, while MCB has been providing VR and other services to deaf-blind persons through a specialized unit for many years, the agency sees an opportunity to develop new approaches to vocational rehabilitation for deaf-blind persons. The goal is to develop a model program and to identify at least three employer partners and place at least ten deaf-blind individuals into employment over the next few years.

• The agency has been exploring ways to increase its use of on-the-job training (OJT) and unpaid work experiences for all consumers. The OJT services will pay part of the wages of a legally blind employee during a training period of one or two months. MCB has hired a specialist to expand employer incentives to hire job seekers who are blind through an aggressive OJT program. This is an effort that uses the contacts, experience, and learning that the agency acquired through its highly successful internship program for college students. This position is the key to identifying and developing employers who will partner with the agency to reach the goal of 30 job placements through the use of internships and on-the-job training over the next few years. During FY 2011, the agency has continued to pilot the use of a private placement firm to obtain OJT positions in central Massachusetts.

• Another initiative that has been made possible by ARRA funds is the development of a specialized training program for MCB consumers for jobs in the area of communications. In conjunction with the Talking Information Network (the Massachusetts radio reading service), the agency has trained five consumers in different aspects of radio and communications. The program uses MCB’s own studio in Boston and another studio housed at United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County in Pittsfield. One of the graduates of the program has obtained employment at the Talking Information Network.

• The agency’s internship program continues to grow. This summer 75 students, including some high school students, will participate. At the end of the summer, approximately 275 consumers will have completed one or more internships since the program began in 2004. An agency study conducted in FY 2009 showed that 85% of the interns have had successful outcomes from the internship experience; that is, the intern has either finished school and obtained a job or is on track with his or her individual plan for employment. This study will be updated during the fall of 2011.

• This year, several agency staff have regularly conducted a two-session course of “soft skills” training for prospective student interns and job-ready consumers. All of those participating in the intern program this summer attended this course. In addition, two courses were held for other job-ready consumers. Soft skills are those interpersonal skills such as cooperativeness, politeness, and friendliness that enhance an individual’s on-the-job interactions, job performance and career prospects.

• The revisions to the agency’s college regulations were not made this year because of the need to consider different options relative to several key issues.

RC Evaluation:

At the beginning of FY 2008, the members of the Rehabilitation Council rated the agency’s progress toward this goal as “Fair/Good” (2.75 out of 5). In FY 2009, RC members rated the agency’s progress as “Good” (3.3 out of 5). In FY 2011, members rated the agency’s progress as “Good” (3.2 out of 5)

Goal III: To help legally blind persons to increase their independence, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal.

Priorities:

• Advocate and educate consumers and public officials on pedestrian safety issues which impact pedestrians who are legally blind and issues regarding laws pertaining to the white cane and the use of service dogs;

• Advocate for better access to, and improvement of, Public Transportation and paratransit systems throughout the Commonwealth.

• Increase consumers’ access to adaptive equipment as measured by the number served during FFY 2011 by the agency’s Technology for the Blind Unit

• Increase students’ access to accessible textbooks.

• Advocate for improved accessibility of federal and state government documents and internet sites.

Report of Progress:

• The agency has been able to increase consumers’ access to both adaptive equipment and accessible textbooks during FY 2011. The agency’s Technology for the Blind Unit will serve approximately 900 VR consumers during FFY 2011.

• The agency has been able to continue enhance the independence and educational and vocational potential of blind children by providing adaptive equipment and software to middle-school aged children under its state-funded social services program. These services enable these young consumers to transition to vocational rehabilitation services at age 14 with the same level of technical skills as their sighted peers.

• During 2011, the agency has also been able to provide adaptive equipment to legally blind consumers with funds from a special grant from Apple Computer, Inc. The equipment provided includes devices that are not strictly necessary for employment but that increase the blind person’s independence and effectiveness in employment and in the community. Unfortunately, these special funds will soon be depleted.

• The agency has a Youth Council with 21 members between the ages of 14 and 22. The council meets at least quarterly and has a great interest in accessibility.

RC Evaluation:

At the beginning of FY 2008, the members of the Rehabilitation Council rated the agency’s progress toward this goal as “Good” (3.5 out of 5). In FY 2009, RC members rated the agency’s progress as “Good/Very Good” (3.8 out of 5). In FY 2011, members rated the agency’s progress as “Good” (3.3 out of 5)

Goal IV: Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of vocational rehabilitation services delivery, as measured by the Rehabilitation Council’s annual evaluation of the agency’s progress toward the goal.

Priorities:

• Review annually the agency’ performance on RSA standards and indicators and on other statistical measures of effectiveness and to recommend actions to improve performance when appropriate.

• Improve communication among all MCB VR staff between VR counselors in MCB’s regional offices and VR counselors in MCB’s Deaf-Blind/Multi-Handicapped Unit to enhance services to consumers who would otherwise not receive necessary services.

• Improve communication among MCB staff (VR counselors, children’s service workers and social workers) in order to facilitate services to consumers who have reached their fourteenth birthday and to identify on a case by case basis the most appropriate department within MCB to meet these individuals’ needs.

• Improve and maintain ongoing communication between MCB VR counselors and all other state, federal, contracted and private agencies providing technology, vocational training and employment services to MCB consumers, including those individuals with other disabilities in addition to blindness.

• Develop a guide on cross-training to educate MCB staff, service providers, and families about which state agency serves consumers who are legally blind and have multiple disabilities to better define which agency will provide which services for which consumers.

Report of Progress:

• The agency has deployed a new automated case management system that is used in ten other state VR agencies. This system has the capacity to more quickly generate statistical reports to help counselors, management, and Rehabilitation Council members to evaluate the agency’s effectiveness. MCB is currently working with the vendor to develop specific statistical reports for both the MCB management and the Rehabilitation Council.

• The RC members currently annually review the agency’s performance on RSA standards and indicators, and on other statistical measures of effectiveness as well as the agency’s consumer satisfaction studies. The agency’s performance on RSA standards and indicators has at all times met the minimum level of overall performance established by RSA.

• The agency’s was, after a protracted search for a qualified candidate, able to fill the second new position (described above) in its Deaf-Blind Multi-Handicapped Unit to provide specialized, intensive VR services to deaf-blind consumers in part addresses the priority of improvement of communication staff between VR counselors in MCB’s regional offices and VR counselors in MCB’s Deaf-Blind/Multi-Handicapped Unit.

• MCB has addressed the priority to facilitate services to consumers who have reached their fourteenth birthday and to identify on a case by case basis the most appropriate unit within MCB by developing a comprehensive assessment form for children’s workers to complete.

RC Evaluation:

At the beginning of FY 2008, the members of the Rehabilitation Council rated the agency’s progress toward this goal as “Good” (2.8 out of 5). In FY 2009, RC members rated the agency’s progress as “Good/Fair” (2.3 out of 5). In FY 2011, members rated the agency’s progress as “Good” (3.3 out of 5)

 

As noted and described in Attachment 4.11(c)(4): Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds, supported employment goals for FY 2010 have been met.

 

MCB has reviewed its performance on the national Standards and Indicators each year since the implementation of these standards and indicators. Analysis of the indicators has identified areas for improvement in the agency’s performance. The agency’s analysis has been shared with counselors and supervisors on a number of occasions. The agency is pleased to note that its rehabilitants earn one of the highest average wages of all the state vocational rehabilitation programs. The agency has attained one of the highest average wages since the current Standards and Indicators were implemented. During FY 2010 the agency closed a number of older cases where the consumer did not achieve an employment outcome. This large number of closures was due to the development of a new computerized consumer record system; apparently, counselors reviewed some of these cases and came to a decision in conjunction with the consumer to close the case. Thus far in FFY 2011, there have been markedly fewer cases closed where the consumer did not achieve an employment outcome.

 

• The agency’s internship program continues to grow. This summer 75 students, including some high school students, will participate. At the end of the summer, approximately 275 consumers will have completed one or more internships since the program began in 2004. An agency study conducted in FY 2009 showed that 85% of the interns have had successful outcomes from the internship experience; that is, the intern has either finished school and obtained a job or is on track with his or her individual plan for employment. This study will be updated during the fall of FY 2011.

• This year, several agency staff have conducted a two-session course of “soft skills” training for prospective student interns and job-ready consumers. All of those participating in the intern program this summer attended this course. In addition, two courses were held for other job-ready consumers. Soft skills are those interpersonal skills such as cooperativeness, politeness, and friendliness that enhance an individual’s on-the-job interactions, job performance and career prospects.

• The agency has a Youth Council with 21 members between the ages of 14 and 22. The council meets at least quarterly and has a great interest in accessibility.

• MCB has addressed priority to facilitate services to consumers who have reached their fourteenth birthday and to identify on a case by case basis the most appropriate unit within MCB by developing a comprehensive assessment form for children’s workers to complete.

• The agency has been exploring ways to increase its use of on-the-job training (OJT) and unpaid work experiences for all consumers during the past few years. The OJT services pay part of the wages of a legally blind employee during a training period of one or two months. MCB has hired a specialist to expand employer incentives to hire job seekers who are blind through an aggressive OJT program. This is an effort that uses the contacts, experience, and learning that the agency acquired through its highly successful internship program for college students. This position is the key to identifying and developing employers who will partner with the agency to reach the goal of 30 job placements through the use of internships and on-the-job training over the next few years. During FY 2011, the agency has continued to pilot the use of a private placement firm to obtain OJT positions in central Massachusetts.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 3:15PM by Patricia Hart

  • 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

The purpose of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind’s Supported Employment Program is to create and provide paid employment opportunities for legally blind persons with significant secondary disabilities within integrated work settings. Services include: an individual evaluation of rehabilitation potential via supported employment, provision of job development services (including job analysis and appropriate engineering accommodation); intensive on-the-job training and job coaching, and provision or coordination of support services such as counseling or transportation. Services are provided within federal guidelines until the employment is secure and appropriate extended (non-VR) are in place.

The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind remains committed to increasing the quality, scope and extent of Supported Employment Services to eligible consumers. There are a sufficient number of service providers who deliver supported employment in the state on a fee for service basis. The Commission for the Blind is fortunate that the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services provides on-going extended services to many consumers who are both mentally retarded and legally blind. The agency is also fortunate to have some state funding available to provide extended services to consumers who are both deaf and legally blind.

During the past two years, MCB, in conjunction with the Institute for Community Inclusion, has developed and implemented an innovative supported employment initiative to address the service needs of transition-age consumers who have multiple and very significant disabilities. The program is called “Everybody Works” and has three key components:

• Person-centered career planning

• Development of individualized, community-based work experiences

• Support services, including on-the-job supports, assistive technology, mobility, benefits planning, and transportation, to promote success on the job

Six transition-age consumers have participated during FFY 2011.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 3:15PM by Patricia Hart

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 06/30/2011 at 10:57 AM

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Completed on 06/30/2011 at 10:59 AM

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Approved on 09/01/2011 at 2:01 PM

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Published on 09/27/2011 at 10:52 AM

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