State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)
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.
(b) Notice requirements.
(c) Special consultation requirements.
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)
- comprehensive system of personnel development;
- assessments, estimates, goals and priorities, and reports of progress;
- innovation and expansion activities; and
- 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.
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)
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- In American Samoa, the designated state agency is the governor.
(b) Designated state unit.
- 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:
- 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;
- has a full-time director;
- has a staff, at least 90 percent of whom are employed full-time on the rehabilitation work of the organizational unit; and
- 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.
- The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
4.2 State independent commission or State Rehabilitation Council. (Sections 101(a)(21) and 105 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.16 and .17)
- 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.
- is consumer controlled by persons who:
- are individuals with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit major life activities; and
- 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;
- includes family members, advocates or other representatives of individuals with mental impairments; and
- undertakes the functions set forth in Section 105(c)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(4).
4.3 Consultations regarding the administration of the State Plan. (Section 101(a)(16)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.21)
(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)
4.5 Local administration. (Sections 7(24) and 101(a)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47) and .15)
(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)
(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))
(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:
- 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;
- 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
- 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:
- identification of the types of services to be provided;
- written assurance from the local public agency that it will make available to the state unit the nonfederal share of funds;
- written assurance that state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect; and
- 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.
(b) Cooperation and coordination with other agencies and entities.
- 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;
- 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;
- 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,
- 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.
- 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.
- The State Plan description must:
- 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
- include information on a formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency that, at a minimum, provides for:
- 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;
- 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;
- roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and
- 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.
(e) Cooperative agreement with recipients of grants for services to American Indians.
- 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
- 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:
- strategies for interagency referral and information sharing that will assist in eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment;
- 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
- 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.
(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.
4.10 Comprehensive system of personnel development. (Section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.18)
(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.
- Qualified personnel needs.
- 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;
- The number of personnel currently needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services, broken down by personnel category; and
- 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.
- Personnel development.
- A list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals, by type of program;
- The number of students enrolled at each of those institutions, broken down by type of program; and
- 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.
(c) Personnel standards.
- 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.
- 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.
- The written plan required by subparagraph (c)(2) describes the following:
- specific strategies for retraining, recruiting and hiring personnel;
- the specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the standards required by subparagraph (c)(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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
(f) Coordination of personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
4.11. Statewide assessment; annual estimates; annual state goals and priorities; strategies; and progress reports.
(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.
- 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:
- the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:
- individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
- individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program carried out under this State Plan; and
- individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide work force investment system.
- The need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
- 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.
- number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services under the plan;
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order; and
- 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.
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(d) describes the strategies, including:
- 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;
- 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;
- as applicable, the plan of the state for establishing, developing or improving community rehabilitation programs;
- 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
- strategies for assisting other components of the statewide work force investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.
- Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the designated state agency uses these strategies to:
- 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);
- support the innovation and expansion activities identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) of the plan; and
- 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.
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(e)(2):
- 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;
- identifies the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals and priorities;
- describes the factors that impeded their achievement, to the extent they were not achieved;
- assesses the performance of the state on the standards and indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
- 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:
- 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
- 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)
5.2 Residency. (Section 101(a)(12) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.42(c)(1))
5.3 Ability to serve all eligible individuals; order of selection for services. (Sections 12(d) and 101(a)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.36)
(a) The designated state unit is able to provide the full range of services listed in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the state who apply for services. No
(b) If No:
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(c)(3):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order of selection; and
- 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.
- 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:
- assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology;
- 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;
- 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;
- job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services;
- rehabilitation technology, including telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices; and
- 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:
- progress of the individual toward achieving the employment outcome identified in the individualized plan for employment;
- an immediate job placement; or
- 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)
5.7 Services to American Indians. (Section 101(a)(13) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.30)
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:
- 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
- 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))
(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.
(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.
Section 6: Program Administration
6.1 Designated state agency. (Section 625(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(a))
6.2 Statewide assessment of supported employment services needs. (Section 625(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(b))
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))
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)
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))
6.6 Minority outreach. (34 CFR 363.11(f))
6.7 Reports. (Sections 625(b)(8) and 626 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(h) and .52)
7.1 Five percent limitation on administrative costs. (Section 625(b)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(g)(8))
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))
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:
- specifies the supported employment services to be provided;
- describes the expected extended services needed; and
- 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.
State Rehabilitation Council Recommendations and Commission Responses
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has an active and productive State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). SRC members through their area consumer advisory councils, SRC sub committees, task forces, quarterly meetings and the annual consumer conference have conducted surveys and needs assessments that have provided input to more effectively address the needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities. The SRC, through the SRC State Plan sub-committee, has made the following recommendations to the Commission:
State Rehabilitation Council Recommendations:
The SRC recommends that the MRC create the ability for employers to access a statewide list of all job ready clients who meet specific skill sets. Provide an opportunity for employers to post jobs through MRC’s internal network. Develop affinity groups; utilize the internet more effectively including LinkedIn, Facebook; and create an employer focused webpage that provides useful information on hiring people with disabilities.
The Commission has always had a strong commitment to building internal job placement resources which has included job placement specialists in most area offices to develop office and district listings of job ready customers and to work closely with employers to place customers in existing jobs and to develop new ones.
The Commission has recently hired, using ARRA funds, 9 additional employment and job placement specialists. This increases the numbers of staff who work directly with employers and consumers and helps meet the recruitment needs of local employers and to successfully place additional consumers.
The Commission has also developed more job placement resources on its intranet site for counseling staff including a new statewide job lead listing. The Commission is working with EHS to revamp its website and researching the use of social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and other tools to allow employers to more easily post current job openings in a timelier manner.
The SRC recommends that sustentative measures be undertaken to foster a more collaborative use of Regional Transportation Authority paratransit programs. To actively support the Governors directive to participate in developing better transportation outcomes and expand their efforts with programs like Car Donation and Adaptive Van for Drivers Education. To include others not only to renovate vehicles for individuals, but also actively promote the creation of opportunities for clients to become business owners themselves.
The Commission supports and is actively working toward developing more accessible and affordable transportation options for individuals with disabilities in cooperation with regional transit authorities.
While many of the metropolitan areas in Massachusetts have some form of public transportation including paratransit, it is not accessible for everyone. To address this issue, the Commission continues to work with regional authorities, to attend their meetings and to assist individuals in getting their transportation needs met. However, many people work shifts outside of nine-to-five business hours, take children to school or day care on their way to work, or live beyond the reach of a transit system. For these reasons, the Commission has refunded the Good News Garage Donated Vehicle Program and has acquired an adaptive van to be used with the Commission’s Driver Evaluation and Training Program. Both programs are alternative solutions to help connect people with disabilities to work.
The Good News Garage Donated Vehicle Program, in cooperation with the Commission, provides refurbished donated vehicles to individuals with disabilities who otherwise could not afford the cost to purchase their own. To be eligible to receive a vehicle under this program an individual must be: Commission eligible consumer; have a written Individual Plan for Employment; need transportation for employment or retention of employment only; have no ready access to public transportation and not own a car or have access to the use of a car; possess a Massachusetts Drivers License; have resources to register, insure, and inspect vehicle; have a good driving record; and participate in the training program on care, maintenance and registration of the vehicle. To date, 82 Commission consumers have received donated vehicles and the vast majority of those consumers have gained employment as a result of their transportation needs being met.
The adaptive van is being used to evaluate individuals with disabilities to determine the type of driving equipment required to assist them with driving and to provide driver training lessons and instruction on how to use adaptive equipment. The van has state of the art adaptive technology and is benefiting many individuals served by the Commission in helping them to go to work in their own or existing businesses and live independently in the community.
The SRC recommends that there be dedicated Web- developmental and support resources, under the direct control of MRC staff. Clear information, presentation and content quality are paramount for any website. The website must be focused on the consumers who use it and many of these users have unique cognitive challenges. We believe that MRC has a clear understanding and know-how of the needs of the groups being served by their Portal. Not allowing MRC control of the Website’s development and management is hurting its VR consumers.
The Commission agrees with the SRC’s recommendation that its website needs to present information in a clear, user friendly manner that will allow individuals to easily find the services they need. The Commission also agrees that its website needs to be more accessible to individuals with disabilities that often face unique challenges both physical and cognitive.
EHS (the Executive Office of Health and Human Services) of which the Commission is a part, has begun a consolidation of all information technology (IT) services across the secretariat. The goal of consolidation is to allow services to be accessed more easily by consumers across the secretariat and to allow EHS to become more efficient, cost effective and avoid unnecessary duplication of IT services. This consolidation will involve assigning most if not all former individual agency IT staff to a central location and assigning tasks once done by in-house IT staff to other EHS staff at this central location.
The Commission’s former web master after discussion with staff and consumers had identified some issues with the agency’s public website including problems with the listing of Commission services, missing services, confusing links and difficult navigation especially for some individuals with disabilities. Since the consolidation, these issues have been made known to EHS. EHS plans to revise its current listings and links on all its websites including the Commission’s and make the process more straight forward. It will include more of the most important services and make the website easier to use. The Commission will continue to work with EHS IT staff to revamp its webpage and to consult with the SRC on improving accessibility on its website.
The SRC recommends that the MRC develop a long term support program for consumers with learning disabilities (LD) and/or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that will provide assistance with organizational, practical, remedial and interpersonal problems that often interfere with successful completion of an educational program or maintaining employment.
The Commission agrees with the SRC’s recommendation that there is a great need for long term supports for consumers with LD and ADHD. Individuals with these disabilities are often chronically under-employed in professional occupations and/or report frequent job dissatisfaction in those jobs they do obtain. In a needs assessment conducted by the Commission’s Research and Development Department in consultation with the SRC, a significant number of consumers with LD and ADHD disabilities reported a need for life support skills to obtain or maintain long term participation in educational or vocational training programs and employment.
The Commission’s State-wide Employment Services Department currently offers the Partnership Plus Program that can supply these needed long term on-going life support services through competitive integrated employment services (CIES) vendors to assist consumers with time management, organization assistance and other necessary supports to prevent consumers from feeling overwhelmed, dropping out of educational programs and losing jobs..The Commission will continue to research other sources to supply needed support services to consumers with LD/ADHD.
The Commission’s Research and Development Department has also worked closely with the SRC LD/ADHD Taskforce to develop educational materials for Commission consumers and agency staff.
The materials are available on the Commission intranet website.
The SRC recommends that the MRC ensure a smoother transition program for youth with disabilities is in place. Also, that they create a comprehensive agenda with all its departments and programs for youth transitional support services.
The Commission has long worked with local schools to outreach to students with disabilities. It has been a long standing practice for Commission counselors to work closely with their local schools to meet with students, parents and teachers to explain agency services and to open vocational rehabilitation cases for those interested students who had either just graduated or were about to graduate from high school. The Commission has increased its efforts to outreach to local schools by ensuring that there is at least one counselor assigned to each public school in the state. Commission area office counselors continue to work closely with local school systems, to meet with students, teachers and parents to explain agency services and to open VR cases.
The Commission won a five year $2.7 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education in October, 2007 to assist in the transition of young adults (ages 16 to 26) with significant disabilities from school to work in the metropolitan school districts of Boston, Springfield and Worcester. This initiative called Transition Works: Innovative Strategies for Transitioning Youths with Disabilities from School to Work includes vocational rehabilitation counselors partnering with local school districts to support 450 youth with significant disabilities in their transitions from school to work, post-secondary education and independent living. The Commission’s goal is to improve post-school outcomes for students with disabilities and disseminate successful evidence –based transition practices statewide.
The Commission is partnering in this initiative with the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Federation for Children with Special Needs, Urban Pride, Commonwealth Corporation and the Institute for Community Inclusion and collaborates with other state and community agencies working with transition-age youth with disabilities. The Commission has also developed an inclusive Statewide Advisory Board and local advisory boards of key stakeholders, including youth, parents, school systems and independent living centers to provide guidance and direction to the project. Services provided through this grant include person-centered planning, peer mentoring, job readiness training, soft skills training, job placement, and extensive assessment and follow-up support services.
Over the five-year grant period, Transition Works staff will continue to provide outreach to the least 2,500 students at selected high schools in the three regions over the grant period, with specific emphasis on traditionally un-served and under-served populations. The program anticipates serving a minimum of 750 youths with significant disabilities and successfully transitioning 450 students from high school to post-secondary education, vocational training programs or employment over the five-year grant term.
Through this grant program, the Commission has been taking a more active role in transition planning. Developing a system of wrap-around youth vocational rehabilitation services that shifts a predominately, adult-based service system toward a system that can equally service youth. The Commission’s grant model immerses three Transition Specialists, who are qualified rehabilitation counselors, into high schools to bring vocational rehabilitation services directly to students.
Transition Specialists arrange meetings at the school that are short in duration and task focused to explore vocational assessment tools and techniques geared for youth with minimal or no work experience. They have developed a menu of work experiences for youth including volunteer experiences, job shadowing, and internships both paid and unpaid, mentoring, part time employment and summer paid jobs.
As the grant has one more year of funding, the commission will closely examine the results from the project to develop a best practice model to use in reorganizing the delivery of Commission services to transition aged youth.
The state Executive Office of Health and Human Services has established a youth “state as model employer” summer work experience program for students in the state’s human services agencies including the Commission. The programs features and benefits include: soft skills orientation training; paid summer work experience; specific skill development; peer and career mentorship experience; resume development; written employment references and graduation. The Commission’s goal is to expand this program to serve 30 consumers. The SRC has recommended that this program be continued and that more such programs be developed including year round internship programs for students with disabilities.
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 2:01PM by Teresa Walsh
Describe interagency cooperation with and utilization of the services and facilities of agencies and programs that are not carrying out activities through the statewide workforce investment system with respect to
- Federal, state, and local agencies and programs;
- if applicable, Programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture; and
- if applicable, state use contracting programs.
Attachment 4.8 (b) (1)
RSA State Plan
Federal Fiscal Year 2008
Cooperation with Agencies that are not in the Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission considers cooperation and collaboration with other agencies particularly human service agencies, to be essential and beneficial to most effectively serving people with disabilities and to providing the optimum opportunity for employment. Other agencies provide critical supports, necessary resources, and dedicated human service professionals all of which augment and enhance the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. For many years the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has worked closely and corporately with the staff of other agencies in serving mutual consumers. Collaboration often extends well beyond services to particular individuals. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission works with other agencies to:
• Affect system change
• Increase resources, funding and service options
• Improve communication and mutual understanding among staff
• Change Public attitude toward issues of disability
• Achieve common goals on behalf of those whom the agencies serve
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, in working with other agencies, takes a predictable approach to collaboration and puts forth an agenda that is common to all interagency relationships.
First, linkages, agreements or understandings are established at State, Regional and local levels. Typically, the state level, with input from regional and local personnel, develops a blueprint for collaboration and an action plan. The regional level oversees the implementation of the action plan. At the local level, the actions are activated and implemented. Comprehensive inter-agency cooperation requires the full commitment and participation of all three organizational levels.
Inter-agency cooperation in which the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission participates typically encompasses all of the following collaboration measures:
Planning: There is a statewide planning structure that establishes an action plan incorporating diverse needs and perspectives. This process results in a cooperative agreement, a memorandum of understanding, or some type of action plan to which two or more agencies are committed.
Information Exchange: A commitment is made to exchange information about resources, funding, policy and other matters necessary to mutual understanding of mission, goals, capacity, eligibility and the like.
Identification of Liaisons: Generally, both parties identify contact persons for the purpose of communication and referral and responsible persons for issues and problem resolution.
Cross-Training: All agency cooperation acknowledges the need for and addresses cross-training of personnel. This is not only critical to mutual understanding, but also is essential in effective, reciprocal utilization of services and appropriate referral.
Collaboration on Resources:
Effective cooperation between agencies acknowledges that more can be done with less when resources are most effectively combined and when duplication is avoided whenever possible. Sharing or resources is much more than splitting the cost. It encompasses which agency does what for whom, when, where and how. Some of the rudiments for resource collaboration are set forth in written agreements and planning documents. Much of this collaboration, however, can only happen at the service level through honest and regular communication. Cooperation in which the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission engages strives to set the environment conducive to the frankness, openness, and, whenever possible flexibility necessary for collaboration on sharing of resources.
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has, with several agencies and organizations, written agreements, memoranda of understanding, written work plans and/or verbal commitments on which both parties have acted. Agencies with which such collaboration has occurred and has remained active locally and at the Statewide level include, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Mental Retardation, the Social Security Administration, the Division of Medical Assistance, the Department of Transitional Assistance, the Department of Employment and Training and the Department of Education.
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission further collaborates with organizations that provide services, in whole or in part, to specific constituencies. Among such organizations are the Massachusetts Association of Financial Aid Administrators, the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, the Arthritis Foundation, the Massachusetts Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Massachusetts Easter Seals, United Cerebral Palsy, the Massachusetts Head Injury Association, and the Epilepsy Association. These collaborations take the form of cooperative agreements and, sometimes, service contracts. The purpose, goals, and actions established in these agreements and contracts are very similar to the agendas set forth in interagency collaboration.
There are no programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the U.S.Department of Agriculture and no state use contracting programs.
This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2009 1:12PM by Teresa Walsh
- Describe the designated state unit's plans, policies, and procedures for coordination with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services, including provisions for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting or, if the designated state unit is operating on an order of selection, before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting.
- Provide information on the formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency with respect to
- consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including VR services;
- transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and educational agency that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs;
- roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services;
- procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.
Attachment 4.8 (b) (2)
RSA State Plan
Federal Fiscal Year 2008
Coordination with Education Officials:
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission works with local school districts to ensure that eligible high school students with disabilities have the benefit of transition services that lead to successful post-school outcomes in employment and post-secondary education. MRC provides outreach to assist local high schools to identify students who may be appropriate referrals for MRC programs/services. For those students who are eligible for services there will be individualized planning to determine goals and services bases on their interests, strengths, and needs.
The Massachusetts Department of Education and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission updated their Memorandum of Understanding in 2003 to ensure that students with disabilities have the benefit of transition planning that includes coordination of the public education and the public vocational rehabilitation systems. Under this agreement MRC and DOE staff provide technical assistance to local school districts regarding transition planning in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations including IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act, and maintain ongoing communication and collaboration between DOE and MRC at the state and local level.
At the local level the Vocational Rehabilitation counselor may work with eligible students to offer career guidance and information about employment opportunities in their area as well as help in college planning, assistive technology, independent living, and other issues of concern to young adults. Counselors may participate in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings with the student and school staff if they are referred for vocational rehabilitation services. For those students who meet MRC eligibility and order of selection criteria; an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) may be developed, approved and implemented prior to exiting high school. Early referral while the student is still in school is strongly encouraged to allow for a smooth transition from school to work and adult life.
Other collaboration related to transition involve the participation of MRC in several innovative federal and state grants. Some initiatives include:
• Career Quest: The Career Quest Employment Initiative is an innovative public/private partnership that provides an array of transition and customized employment services to approximately 270 students with disabilities in South Coastal MA. It was established by a partnership of MRC, the South Coastal Workforce Investment Board, and the South Coastal Career Centers under a PWI grant to assist students (ages 16-22) transition from school to work. It is now working with 22 local school districts.
• Work Boston Collaborative: WBC is a broad-based partnership with the Boston Public Schools functioning as the lead agency and MRC and other community partners such as Easter Seals and the Boston Private Industry Council working together with BPS high school staff to ensure a smooth transition from school to work for students with disabilities. This unique job development, placement, and training program connects schools and youth agencies with adult service agencies so that job development and placement expertise can be shared across all partners, making the best use of resources.
• MA Partnership for Youth in Employment (MPYE): In this grant MRC was involved in four demonstration projects across the state to provide transition-age youth with information about career options and to develop more coordinated and comprehensive transition services. The local Workforce Investment Boards served as the lead agency in these projects with MRC and other state agencies, schools, and family and community organizations as partners. At the end of the grant,project activities were integrated into a statewide initiative called Pathways to Success by 21 (P21) that is focused on improving the outcomes for vulnerable youth ages 16-21 including both those who are in school and those who are out-of-school and out-of-work.
The Commission won a five year $2.7 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education in October, 2007 to assist in the transition of young adults (ages 16 to 26) with significant disabilities from school to work in the metropolitan school districts of Boston, Springfield and Worcester. This initiative called Transition Works: Innovative Strategies for Transitioning Youths with Disabilities from School to Work includes vocational rehabilitation counselors partnering with local school districts to support 450 youth with significant disabilities in their transitions from school to work, post-secondary education and independent living. The Commission’s goal is to improve post-school outcomes for students with disabilities and disseminate successful evidence –based transition practices statewide.
The Commission will partner in this initiative with the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Federation for Children with Special Needs, Urban Pride, Commonwealth Corporation and the Institute for Community Inclusion and collaborate with other state and community agencies working with transition-age youth with disabilities. The Commission has also developed an inclusive Statewide Advisory Board and local advisory boards of key stakeholders, including youth, parents, school systems and independent living centers to provide guidance and direction to the project. Services provided through this grant include person-centered planning, peer mentoring, job readiness training, soft skills training, job placement, and extensive assessment and follow-up support services.
Over the five-year grant period, Transition Works staff will provide outreach to the least 2,500 students at selected high schools in the three regions over the grant period, with specific emphasis on traditionally un-served and under-served populations. The program anticipates serving a minimum of 750 youths with significant disabilities and successfully transitioning 450 students from high school to post-secondary education, vocational training programs or employment over the five-year grant term.
The Commission has also increased its efforts to outreach to local schools by ensuring that there is at least one counselor assigned to each public school in the state.
An interagency cooperative agreement was established between the Commission and Institutions of Higher Education(IHE). This agreement clarifies the roles and responsibilities of both the Commission and IHE to ensure consistent services for students of IHE that are also customers of the Commission.
Responsibilities of IHE include: equal access to educational programs and services to persons with disabilities; to provide reasonable accomodations as needed and to arrange and/or coordinate appropriate accomodations.
Responsibilities of the Commission include: providing VR services to those students with disabilities that do not fall under the responsibilities of IHE for accomodation and equal access; providing technical assistance to IHE to determine accomodation and equal access needs for students with disabilities;providing adaptive equipment and technology under an IPE for eligible students;providing vocational counseling and job placement services to qualified students with disabilities; and providing to the financial aid officer(FAO) after authorization of a written release by the qualified student, all necessary information to allow the FAO to calculate financial amounts for grants and awards. Joint responsibilities include: to collaborate in the coordination and provision of services; to communicate to ensure timely services and to share informations in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2009 1:51PM by Teresa Walsh
Describe the manner in which the designated state agency establishes cooperative agreements with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers.
Attachment 4.8 (b) (3)
RSA State Plan
Federal Fiscal Year 2008
Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-Profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has, for many years, worked in partnership with community rehabilitation providers to develop a wide array of programs and services to assist people with disabilities to achieve suitable employment outcomes. The MRC and community rehabilitation providers have collaborated to develop programs.
These include: Vocational Services, Community Based Employment Services, Extended Employment and a wide array of support services essential in vocational rehabilitation. This collaborative relationship has been achieved through open communication, sharing of ideas and resources, mutual support and understanding and inclusiveness of all partners in the development of and implementation of service design.
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission develops programs and services with the participation of providers in several forums.
1. Statewide Rehabilitation Providers Advisory Council that meets twice annually.
2. Quarterly meetings with representatives of the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Association of Community Rehabilitation Agencies.
3. Periodic district wide meetings with community rehabilitation programs.
4. Interagency and cross-disability agency councils.
5. Employment Services Action Council.
6. Task specific work teams.
7. Mass Chapter of the Association for Persons in Supported Employment
8. State Rehabilitation Council.
Community rehabilitation program directors and staff are routinely invited to and actively participate in all MRC planning activities including the development of the State Plan. State regulation drafts are distributed to community rehabilitation programs and their comments are solicited both in writing and in public hearings.
In 1996-1999 community rehabilitation program personnel actively participated in the updating of the State regulation for the Extended Employment Program as well as the process for competitive procurement for community based employment services, vocational services and the extended employment program, as well as the flexible finance work team, the temp help work team, the disability employment pilot project work team and the mental health services work team. A few examples of the outcome of these work teams can be described as follows:
In 1996 a task force of community rehabilitation programs and MRC staff working with the Massachusetts Division of Purchased and Procurement Services, the Department of Mental Health and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind released an interagency competitive bid for community based employment services. This included for the first time real pricing of community rehabilitation programs. From 1998-1999 a work team of community rehabilitation providers, MRC staff, the Department of Mental Retardation, the Department of Mental Health and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind worked closely to redesign the MRC Extended Employment Program to better meet the needs of the MRC consumers. This redesigned program went into effect July, 1999 and a group of individuals still meet to monitor the implementation of the changes. This included for the first time real pricing of community rehabilitation program services and performance reimbursement, especially considering the proliferation of integrated, community-based assessment, training and placement services. This will help to financially stabilize community rehabilitation programs.
Finally, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services have for the past 10 years co-chaired an interagency committee that has defined employment services and begun a process of interagency collaboration for maximizing effective use of available resources for these services. Among the programs and services that have been discussed and defined are evaluation and training, work adjustment, job support, assessment, placement, initial employment support and extended services. The participants in this effort include community rehabilitation programs, advocates, consumers, parents, and other agencies including the Department of Mental Retardation, the Department of Mental Health, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, the Department of Education and the Division of Employment and Training.
This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2009 11:32AM by Teresa Walsh
Describe the efforts of the designated state agency to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and other appropriate entities in order to provide the following services to individuals with the most significant disabilities:
- supported employment services; and
- extended services.
Attachment 4.8 (b) (4)
RSA State Plan
Federal Fiscal Year 2008
Evidence of Collaboration regarding
Supported Employment Services and Extended Services
Since the 1986 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through its human service agencies, has been developing supported employment initiatives. By 1990, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) had identified the Office of Statewide Employment Services (SES) at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission as the lead office in the Massachusetts Supported Employment Initiative. SES and a representative of the EOHHS convened an Advisory Council to address the development, implementation and expansion of supported employment services in Massachusetts. This advisory Council was the first step at coordination of efforts. It continues to develop an active work plan and meets monthly to address the activities.
Also, as part of the 1986 amendments, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has worked with other human service agencies to identify and secure funding for extended supports for individuals in supported employment. Funding for extended services has been available from several sources depending on the nature of a client’s disability and the resources available to each provider agency. However in 1997 the EOHHS created a process that made it easier for state agencies to cost share the service needs of consumers. This service delivery system is currently in place. With the implementation of this initiative we have seen an increase in the available money for extended services. This funding is secured at a local level each situation handled individually.
• Department of Mental Health
• Department of Mental Retardation
• Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
• Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission State Revenue
• Statewide Head Injury Program
• Social Security Administration Work Incentives
• Private Sector Natural Supports
• United Way monies
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has used many procedures to guarantee collaboration with respect to supported employment services and extended services. This is also evidenced in the number of joint funded programs that have developed. Some examples of these collaborative programs are joint funding of services for individuals with mental retardation between the MRC and the Department of Mental Retardation; for individuals who are psychiatrically disabled between MRC and the Department of Mental Health; for individuals who have traumatic brain injuries between the Statewide Head Injury Program of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.
In October 1997, the four disability agencies in Massachusetts collaborated on the release of a competitive bid for Community Based Employment Services. This was the first ever, interagency collaboration of its kind. Because of this effort, a supported employee will be able to access their system of supports in a more streamlined fashion that incorporates consumer choice and is outcome driven. This effort is designed to offer all supports to consumers, including extended services. Through this effort the disability agencies can now easily cost share the support services for people with disabilities.
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has used many procedures to guarantee collaboration with respect to funding for extended services. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has in place interagency service agreements with the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Mental Retardation, which makes reference to funding extended services for supported employment. Coupled with this the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission administers a state funded extended services in supported employment. Because of the vigorous emphasis on supported employment in Massachusetts, the Commission and supported employment service providers have met with much enthusiasm and joint collaboration in long-term services from other human service agencies.
As previously stated, for many years MRC has been collaborating with state agencies to promote collaboration regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services. An excellent example of that continuing collaboration is a recent inititiatve that is currently underway. In July or 2006, SES, the MRC Salem Area Office and the Department of Mental Retardation, North Shore Area Office of the North East Region ventured into a partnership to collaborate resources to serve 25 individuals who are currently receiving Day Services through DMR. This supported employment initiative utilize the counseling and guidance of the VR Counselors, the program coordination of the SES Program Specialist and the Job Development and Job coaching of the Community Rehabilitation Providers and an innovative position of “Facilitator” through the Department of Mental Retardation. The agreement also assures long term support funding through DMR after successful VR closure.
This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2009 11:32AM by Teresa Walsh
Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development
PROJECTED STAFFING NEEDS STAFFING PROFILE
The Commission employs a total of 824 persons, 445 of whom are employed in the VR Program. Of this number, 287 are VR counselors, 36 are first-line supervisors, 23 are managers and 99 are program, technical, or administrative staff. All numbers represent full and part-time staff, not FTE. Twenty- four percent of Commission staff is from minority backgrounds, 72% are women, 14% are persons with disabilities, and 2% are Vietnam-era veterans.
Most counselors carry "general caseloads" consisting of consumers representing all disability populations; a smaller number of counselors carry "specialty" caseloads consisting primarily of consumers with the same/similar disabilities (i.e., severe mobility impairments, psychiatric disabilities or special linguistic needs). The ratio of counselors to consumers averages one counselor per 130 consumers for general caseloads.
The number of individuals that the Commission projects that it will serve annually by 2013 is 39,500. To adequately serve that number of individuals, the number of VR counselors, first-line supervisors and managers would need to be maintained at the current level.
However, the current annual turnover rate for Commission staff is between 10 to 15% rising sharply from an historical rate of 5 to 7% and the Commission projects that there will be a need to replace 100 positions in the VR Division by 2014. In addition, it is also predicted that many other individuals will be approaching retirement age within the next five to 10 years. Several of these positions are manager and administrative positions in the central office which are paid through VR monies and many more are counselor, first line supervisor and manager positions in the field.
Nineteen counselor and job placement positions have been added this past year funded through ARRA(American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) . The Commission plans to retain these individuals as ARRA funding ends by recruiting them into counselor positions vacated by retiring staff.
Due to long term insufficient funding, not all counselor and supervisor positions can be back filled. This will necessitate organizational restructuring, re-alignment of counselor caseloads, supervisory duties and responsibilities and the increasing use of technology. The Commission is also using some of its ARRA funding to convert the Commission‘s automated caseload management system to a web based system and give each counselor a laptop. This will allow counselors to become more mobile; seeing consumers and imputing necessary consumer data in a variety of settings.
|Row||Job Title||Total positions||Current vacancies||Projected vacancies over the next 5 years|
|1||vocational rehabilitation counselors||287||0||0|
|2||unit/first line supervisors||36||0||0|
|4||program/technical or administrative staff||99||0||0|
CSPD IMPLEMENTATION AND ACTIVITIES
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has taken the necessary steps to implement the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) that meets the requirements of section 101(a)(7) and 34 CFR 361.18. Designed to ensure and maintain an adequate supply of qualified State rehabilitation professional and paraprofessional personnel, all steps have begun and are described below. Periodic concerns surface in discussions with the Commonwealth’s Division of Human Resources, the Civil Service Commission and the Collective Bargaining Units that may have a bearing on some aspects of CSPD implementation. These issues will continue to be addressed as needed in the program implementation.
The Commission utilizes the Commonwealth’s Human Resource Compensation Management System (HRCMS) to manage its personnel data. This system utilizes state-of-the-art software to provide a comprehensive and integrated system of personnel data management. In conjunction with the HRCMS, the Commission has a designated CSPD database to monitor individual employee academic credentials and qualifications as related to the requirements of the CSPD standard. The CSPD data system is also used to coordinate and monitor individual employee educational plans and to provide statistical data to top level administrators and field managers and supervisors on CSPD plan achievement to ensure that all counselors maintain an aggressive schedule to meet the highest degree requirements in the State. The system lists all personnel by position type and allows for analysis and projections of the number of counselors needed. MIS data compiled and managed by the Research and Development Unit provides current data as to client-counselor ratios vis-à-vis number of clients served.
In a given academic year, upwards of 100 undergraduate students and 125 graduate students are enrolled in degree programs either full-time or part-time as rehabilitation "majors" at the colleges and universities referenced above. Each year, upwards of 50 undergraduate students are awarded the Bachelor’s degree and upwards of 60 graduate level students graduate with credentials to qualify for certification by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification and/or licensure by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
|Row||Institutions||Students enrolled||Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates from the previous year|
|3||University of Massachusetts at Boston||26||18||0||4|
Representatives from the Commission’s Staff Development Department will continue to visit annually with officials of the CORE accredited rehabilitation departments and officials responsible for minority outreach at Assumption College, Springfield College, and the University of Massachusetts at Boston regarding pertinent information on the preparation of rehabilitation professionals and for the specific purpose of recruiting graduates for employment in the federal/state VR Program. Special emphasis will be given to students with disabilities and students from minority backgrounds.
Additionally, Commission staff also regularly addresses rehabilitation students in the classroom setting providing them with an overview of the agency and the public rehabilitation program. Internal job postings are automatically sent to these institutions informing them of job openings and procedures to apply. A number of rehabilitation students also complete their field placement and practicum experience within the Commission affording them a realistic view of work in the Commission. The Commission has sponsored 28 paid internships to date; 11 of those interns have been hired as full time employees.
The Commission also maintains relationships with nearly forty minority referral sources and routinely forwards all job postings to them thereby encouraging application for employment at all job levels from persons from minority backgrounds. Position openings are routinely advertised in minority and alternative newspapers and posted internally and externally on the Internet (Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employment Opportunities).
Consistent with CSPD requirements, personnel standards for the VR counselor position were officially changed and incorporated into Commonwealth’s Civil Service Job Specifications effective July 1, 2001. Entry-level standards are based on the highest entry-level degree requirements in the State, i.e. the Commonwealth’s licensure requirements for Rehabilitation Counselors: a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or master’s degree in an approved related field with the completion of graduate coursework in each of five (5) designated Rehabilitation Core Knowledge areas.
All VR counselors and first-line supervisors who perform the essential functions of the counselor position and who do not meet the new entry-level standards are required to be on an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) and demonstrate annual progress towards meeting the appropriate requirements. Those who fail to demonstrate progress jeopardize their employment status within the Commission. New counselors are required to meet the standard prior to hire unless a situation exists where the caseload population requires a special language or skill or the job title is considered under parity for Affirmative Action purposes. In these instances, Individual Educational Plans are developed upon hire and these staff are required to meet the standard according to an agreed upon plan and schedule. All individual educational plans are submitted to the Human Resource Liaison/Training Director for final review and approval and become part of the central CSPD database and tracking system.
In view of individual needs and abilities, the Commission has implemented a variety of options to assist staff in meeting CSPD requirements. They are as follows:
CORE Accredited Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling: A number of counselors are currently enrolled in these degree programs at one of the Core accredited institutions in Massachusetts and pursue the degree on a part-time basis.
Rehabilitation Related Master’s Degree at State Colleges and Universities: Since a rehabilitation-related master’s degree coupled with coursework in the five designated core areas is acceptable by the Licensing Board, the Commission approves of this degree option.
Rehabilitation Counseling or Rehabilitation Related Bachelor’s Degree Programs: Counselors who do not hold a bachelor’s degree may pursue degree programs at State colleges and universities or at one of the CORE accredited institutions in Massachusetts.
Progress continues to be made to ensure all staff that performs the essential functions of the VR counselor position meets the required CSPD standards. Assuming implementation continues at the current pace, we expect the following program outcomes:
Currently, 323 VR counselors and first-line supervisors (full and part-time, not FTE) perform the essential functions of the VRC and are subject to the standards of the CSPD. Of the 323, 295 or (91%) hold licensure or certification as a Rehabilitation Counselor (L.R.C or CRC) or meet the academic criteria for the L.R.C/CRC designation, the highest entry-level criteria in the State and Commission’s CSPD standard. These individuals do not require any additional coursework.
Of the remaining 28 counselors; 24 are on approved individual CSPD educational plans and are actively working towards meeting CSPD standards. Currently there are: 4 attending Assumption College; 2 attending Springfield College; and 18 individuals attending U-Mass. Of the 24 enrolled in academic programs three individuals are enrolled at the baccalaureate level taking undergraduate programs and 4 individuals have been granted hardship waivers.
As a hardship waiver is time limited with all requests reviewed annually in August; those individuals who will not complete their coursework this year will have a specific time period to complete all requirements to meet CSPD standards.
While most recently hired VR counselors have met CSPD standards; there are circumstances where there is no available candidate who has the desired skill set i.e. language and who meets CSPD standards. In those circumstances, the individual with the special skill is hired and placed on an educational plan to meet the standard.
2 counselors were hired for their special skills and did not meet CSPD requirements at the time of hire. It is expected that these counselors and all future VR counselors will meet CSPD standards within six to eight years of hire
IN-SERVICE TRAINING AND CONTINUING EDUCATION
The commission’s Staff Development Unit supports a wide variety of training and development programs for all staff through a comprehensive in-service training program. Over the next five years, a series of workshops and seminars is planned in the following priority areas: basic rehabilitation practices, advanced rehabilitation practices, WIA partnerships: employment outcomes, leadership development and succession training, computer skills, and secretarial skill development. The Commission is authorized to award Continuing Education Units from the Council on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. The Commonwealth’s Board of Allied Health and Human Service Professions to maintain licensure also accepts these credits. In-service programs carry the appropriate number of continuing education units and enable staffs who qualify to maintain their counselor certification and/or meet licensure requirements.
DISSEMINATION OF REHABILITATION MATERIALS
The Commission acquires and routinely disseminates rehabilitation materials to staff such as the latest publications from the Institute on Rehabilitation on Issues, training materials from the Research and training Centers, training guides and resource materials produced by recipients of RSA training grants, and products from the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials. Additionally, each counselor and supervisor has a personal computer giving them access to a wide variety of software applications and thus putting a vast amount of information in the hands of both staff and consumers.
Of the VR counselors, twelve are skilled in American Sign Language (ASL) and are qualified to work with consumers who are deaf; twenty seven are fluent in Spanish and work with Hispanic consumers; four are able to communicate in Cantonese; four are fluent in Portuguese; four are fluent in Khmer, and two are fluent in French/Haitian Creole. A smaller number of area directors and direct service secretaries are fluent in American Sign Language, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Haitian Creole or Portuguese. Nine full and part time sign language interpreters are also on staff. The Commission also maintains a statewide contract with the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to secure additional ASL interpreters and CART reporters, as needed. Staff with specific language skills and interpreters is geographically placed so as to coincide with population and other demographics relating to target consumer groups. This strategy will continue to be applied and staff with specialized skills added, as appropriate, for the upcoming year and beyond.
COORDINATION UNDER IDEA
The information in the State plan pertaining to the RSA requirements for a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development is shared with the appropriate State Department of Education unit consistent with the Individual with Disabilities Education Act to assure compliance and coordination of efforts.
This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 3:40PM by Teresa Walsh
Provide an assessment of the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:
- individuals with most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
- individuals with disabilities who are minorities;
- individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program; and
- individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system.
Identify the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), in cooperation with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), has conducted its third annual study of consumer service needs. The purpose of this study is twofold: to provide agency management with detailed information regarding the needs of the consumers served by the MRC, and to fulfill the federal requirement that the agency conduct a needs assessment at least every three years as part of the State Plan.
Research staff utilized the same survey instrument as in 2007 and 2008 for comparability of results. As in past years, a new Needs Assessment database was constructed with links to MRCIS, the case management data system used in the VR program. This allowed research staff to derive demographic information directly from MRCIS, thus eliminating the need to ask demographic questions on the survey.
The 2009 Needs Assessment consisted of a mailed survey to a random sample of 831 active MRC VR consumers in status 16 (restoration services), 18 (job training), or 20 (job ready). In past years, this sampling approach yielded a large proportion of cases with incorrect addresses. Therefore, in 2009 the MRC restricted the sample selection to individuals who had moved into the targeted statuses (16, 18, or 20) within 60 days of the sample selection. This sampling frame was chosen to focus on consumers who are actively engaged in the VR process.
The sample size of 831 cases represents a 5% sample of active consumers in the specified service statuses. In past years, we used a 10% sample for this study, but to maintain cost efficiencies we utilized a 5% sample size in 2009. All study methodologies have strengths and limitations, and the impact of this smaller sample size did result in some limitations which will be discussed in the Results section.
Demographic data about survey respondents were pulled directly from the MRCIS database. Responses were received from consumers across the state, with 37.5% from the South region, 26.0% from the North region, 34.0% from the West region, and 2.5% from SES. The majority of respondents were in training status (66.5%), followed by restoration services (18.0%) and job search (15.5%).
Slightly more than half of the respondents (52.0%) were female. As previously noted, the respondents were, on average, older than the larger population of MRC consumers. However, younger consumers were represented, including individuals in transition from school to work (age 22 or younger) (15.5%). In contrast to past years, where the largest age cohort represented was comprised of consumers age 20 to 29, consumers age 50 and older comprised the largest age group in 2009, representing over one-third of respondents (34%). While the majority of respondents identified themselves as Caucasian (72.3%), there was considerable representation of African-Americans (15.9%), Hispanics (7.5%), and other racial groups (5%). Only 7 respondents, or 3.5%, were veterans.
Individuals with mental disabilities (e.g. learning, cognitive or psychiatric disabilities) comprised the largest proportion of respondents (65.5%), followed by those with physical disabilities (26.5%), and sensory impairments (8.0%).
The vast majority of respondents had at least a high school education at application. The open ended responses show that many of these consumers were attending college through the MRC VR program. Over 15% possessed a college degree or higher at application. Over half of the respondents (51.5%) received public benefits as their primary source of support, an anticipated finding based upon the fact that these individuals had not yet completed their VR program.
Finally, the majority of respondents received health insurance, primarily from Mass Health (55.1%), followed by other private insurance and Medicare (20.3%). Over 11% of respondents were uninsured.
VR Service Needs, Job Characteristics, and MRC Services
Respondents were asked to rank how important each VR service was to them (very important, somewhat important, not at all important, or no opinion). Similar to results from 2007-2008, respondents believed all VR services were important; over 80% reported that career counseling, job training, job placement, job coaching, supported employment and benefits planning were important and needed services. Not surprisingly, the proportion of respondents citing GED services as important was low (40.3%), as the vast majority of respondents already possessed a high school diploma. However, among individuals without a high school education, 75.0% indicated that obtaining a GED or high school diploma was important. This year, 53.9% of respondents indicated that self-employment or starting a home-based business was important to them, up from 43.6% in 2008.
Respondents were also asked to rank the relative importance of several job characteristics, from number of hours to wages to vacation time. The purpose of this section is to discover what MRC-VR consumers are looking for in a job, since these respondents are either currently participating in a job search or will be searching for a job in the near future. There was very little variation in these responses from last year. The vast majority of respondents felt that all job characteristics listed were important. The committee might consider dropping this question from the Needs Assessment due to the lack of variation in responses and the fact that these data are collected at case closure using a very similar question on the Consumer Satisfaction Survey.
Respondents were also asked how often the MRC meets their VR service needs: always, sometimes, or rarely. Over half the respondents (51.6%) indicated that the MRC always meets their needs, and about one-quarter (24.7%) stated that MRC sometimes meets their needs. Thus, 76.3% of the respondents indicated that at least some, if not all of their needs were being addressed. However, the proportions of respondents indicating that MRC rarely meets their needs, and those stating that they were unsure, increased slightly since 2007. This finding could be related to restrictions on services put into place in late FY2007 and early FY2008 to deal with funding limitations, and the increase of the waiting list to six months. Some of the individuals in the sample could have been subject to a longer waiting time for services.
Transportation has been identified as a primary, persistent barrier to work for MRC consumers. The Needs Assessment included questions about the transportation options currently used by respondents, as well as the transportation services they needed. The pattern of responses was similar to the 2007 and 2008 result, although there was a drop in the number of respondents who own a vehicle, and an increase in the number of respondents who use public transportation. These results could be explained by regional differences in access to public transportation, or perhaps worsening economic conditions are causing some consumers to opt for public transit. Nearly half of the respondents (48.0%) indicated that they own a vehicle. Half (50.0%) utilize public transportation of some form, and nearly one-third (31.1%) rely on family and friends for rides.
Not surprisingly, respondents with their own vehicle generally reported they did not need any additional assistance with transportation. Some respondents indicated a need for a donated vehicle (28.7%), a service that was offered through the Transportation Options Project (TOP) and will soon be offered again by MRC through federal stimulus funds authorized by the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. MRC also has received some funding from the Executive Office of Transportation to continue some of the travel training initiatives developed through the TOP grant. Efforts to secure additional funding for this needed service continue through the submittal of legislative earmarks. Respondents also reported needing additional assistance with public transportation (17.5%), driver education (14.0%), and better information about travel options (13.5%).
Conclusions and Recommendations
The 2009 Needs Assessment study successfully identified the services that are of primary importance to active VR consumers. The data included here will inform agency policy on the development of new programs as well as changes to current programs to better serve consumers.
The following need areas were identified by VR consumers as being critical to meeting their vocational needs and to their ultimate success in obtaining employment:
o Job Search & Placement Services o Assistance with College Education/Training & Related Expenses o VR Counseling, Case Management Supports o Assistive Technology o Affordable Housing Services/Transition to Independent living o Benefits Planning o Transportation and Travel Training Assistance
The following recommendations are based on the findings of this report:
? Further refine Needs Assessment process to include longitudinal data: Consumer needs are a dynamic, moving target, and as new policies such as health care reform are put into place and new priorities are established, consumer needs will continue to evolve. Continuing to administer the survey on an annual basis will assist MRC in identifying consumer needs and gaps in services both within our agency and the broader social service network, as well as describing how these needs change over time.
? Utilize Needs Assessment results to inform future studies/policy analysis: The Needs Assessment process has resulted in interesting findings worthy of further study. For example, these results suggest that additional studies about the experiences of older consumers and transition-aged youth could better inform policy and case management practices related to these populations. The Needs Assessment findings could also be integrated into other research and evaluation reports to provide background and context.
? Consider administering the Needs Survey electronically: Mailed surveys have drawbacks. They are labor intensive and time consuming. The sample size for the 2009 survey was cut substantially due to the lack of administrative support in conducting mailings and data entry. Administering a mailed survey to individuals with significant disabilities further complicates the process because many individuals have a range of needs that can make completing a survey difficult. An alternative approach is to use a web-based survey tool such as surveymonkey.com. This approach would eliminate the postage costs and the need for data entry. Furthermore, it is possible that an electronic survey would yield a better response. As consumers become more accustomed to web-based surveys, they may be less likely to complete a mailed survey. The analysis of non-responders suggests that younger consumers were less likely to respond. Perhaps younger people would find an electronic survey more convenient. On the other hand, care must be taken to ensure that all consumers have the opportunity to respond. Some consumers might not have access to a computer, or might not have the ability to complete a survey online. MRC Research staff might consider piloting a web-based survey in an Area Office to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of this strategy, compared to a mailed survey methodology.
? Incorporate a case review strategy into the Needs Assessment process: Case reviews could be another strategy to augment the Needs Assessment process. This could be accomplished by selecting a random sample of cases for qualitative review. The analysis would help us to understand if consumers’ needs were being met by focusing on how well the services provided aligned with the stated goals on their employment plans, and how quickly services were implemented. If resources allow, brief interviews could also be conducted with consumers to obtain their perspective on whether the MRC is meeting their employment and independent living needs.
? Continue to revise the survey instrument: The survey itself should be continuously re-evaluated to ensure that we are capturing the appropriate data. Future versions of the survey should include services such as school-to-work transition, which is becoming a priority for the MRC. Also, the section on job characteristics should be dropped from the survey because there has been very little variation in the responses, and a similar question is included on the Consumer Satisfaction Survey.
? Target ARRA Funds to fill gaps in consumer needs: The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission will receive approximately $6 million in funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. MRC leadership can use the results of this survey to target those funds toward persistent consumer needs, and to eliminate barriers to employment. Deploying these funds to support consumer employment needs such as on-the-job training, job placement, and transportation services will help more MRC consumers go to work.
? Conduct a study of how resource limitations impact service provision: In the past three Needs Assessment surveys, consumers expressed frustration with the waiting time for services, the lack of information about services offered and difficulty getting in contact with their counselor. The MRC has typically dealt with funding limitations by imposing waiting lists for services; however, we have not explored whether cohorts of consumers entering the agency in times of fiscal instability actually receive different services from cohorts entering the agency in times of stability. A study of this type could be conducted using multiple waves of R-911 data. This study would help MRC management to better monitor the quality of services during times of financial need.
? Utilize needs findings to promote program development within the agency: The consumer needs data and trends can be utilized by the agency both in terms of long range resource planning activities and future program development activities.
This screen was last updated on Sep 14 2010 1:40PM by Teresa Walsh
Annual Estimates of Individuals to be served and Costs of Services
(1) Number of Individuals in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Who Are Eligible For Services under This State Plan
Consistent estimates, based on U. S. Census Bureau data and other sources, find that the number of individuals in the Commonwealth who may be eligible for services under this State Plan on the basis of having a disability ranges between 250,000 and 300,000.
However, it is noted that the Commission has determined that funds are insufficient to provide vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals who have not yet received vocational rehabilitation services. Thus, the Commission expects to continue an order of selection that will select only those individuals who are considered to be individuals with the most significant disabilities (Priority Category I). Eligible individuals who are not considered to be individuals with most significant disabilities will not be selected to receive vocational rehabilitation services.
(2) Number of Such Individuals Who Will Receive Services with Funds Provided Under Part B of Title I of the Act and Part B of Title VI
It is estimated that the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission will provide services with funds provided under part B of Title I of the Act as follows. a) Individuals to be provided services to determine eligibility: 7,256 b) Individuals to be provided services to determine order of selection priority assignment and vocational rehabilitation needs: 6,938 c) Individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services necessary to render them employable consistent with an approved Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and subsequent amendments: 4,938 d) Individuals with most significant disabilities to be provided vocational rehabilitation services necessary to render them employable consistent with an approved Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and subsequent amendments: 4,938 e) Individuals with significant disabilities to be provided vocational rehabilitation services necessary to render them employable consistent with an approved Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and subsequent amendments: 0
Individuals with disabilities to be provided vocational rehabilitation services necessary to render them employable consistent with an approved Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and subsequent amendments: 0
It is estimated that the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission will provide services under part B of Title VI of the Act to approximately 262 individuals.
(3) Costs of Services
It is estimated that the costs of services with funds provided under part B of Title I of the Act will be$60,475,802 including Social Security Administration reimbursement. Consistent with order of selection, costs of services to individuals is estimated is as follows (does not include administrative costs). a) Individuals with most significant disabilities: i) Assessment, counseling, guidance, and placement: $31,146.038 ii) Other vocational rehabilitation services consistent with an IPE: $27,841.013 b) Individuals with significant disabilities and individuals with disabilities: i) Assessment and guidance: $847,151
It is estimated that the costs of services with funds provided under part B of Title VI of the Act will be $474,000.
In addition, the Commission requested 15 million in re-allotment funds from RSA. The Commission was able to meet the state match requirement.
With this additional funding that the Commission was able to increase its staffing and service monies to better serve its consumers leading to more rehabilitations.
The Commission will create a transition age youth department that will coordinate all transition activities and services that will include more school year intern programs and the development of industry based training programs and to hire a consultant to assist in developing supervisory and management training programs for new staff who will be replacing retiring staff.
|Category||Title I or Title VI||Estimated Funds||Estimated Number to be Served||Average Cost of Services|
|Priority 1||Title I||$60,475,802||30,593||$1,976|
|Priority 2||Title I||$0||0|||
|Priority 3||Title I||$0||0|||
|Priority 1||Title VI||$474,000||262||$1,809|
|Priority 2||Title VI||$0||0|||
|Priority 3||Title VI||$0||0|||
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 11:26AM by Teresa Walsh
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.
(1) Goals and Priorities in Carrying Out the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission continues to operate under an order of selection. Thus, goals and priorities of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment programs are within the context of priority to eligible individuals who are considered to be individuals with most significant disabilities
The Research and Development Unit of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, in cooperation with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), conducted a needs assessment during fiscal year 2009 to survey the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities.
Goals and priorities of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment programs are established consistent with these identified needs. The State Plan sub- committee of the SRC has also identified many of these same issues and has made recommendations to the Commission as detailed in the SRC attachment 4.2 c.
(2) Order of Selection (OOS)
The Commission has determined that funds have been and will continue to be insufficient to provide vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals determined to be individuals with the most significant disabilities.
This fiscal year, the Commission has requested 15 million dollars in re-allotment monies from RSA to hire additional staff and to serve more consumers.
(3) Goals and Priorities
The Commission establishes statistical performance goals in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs.
(4) Standards and Indicators
Commission performance as measured by the RSA Standards and Indicators (using the FFY 2009 data set that was recently submitted to RSA) is also utilized to establish goals and priorities of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment programs.
Goal 2: Priorities for collaborative effort
Priorities established for the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs for the coming fiscal year continue to be in the areas of collaborative efforts (encouraged by the Rehabilitation Act mandates) and program service expansion to improve services to individuals with disabilities.
Collaborative effort priorities are as follows:
•Massachusetts career centers and other components of the workforce investment system ;
•Community Rehabilitation Programs;
•Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities; and
•Massachusetts Department Education / Special Education transition of students with disabilities
Goal 3: Program service expansion and improvement priorities
Program service expansion and improvement priorities are as follows:
•Marketing Initiative ;
•On the job training and evaluations;
•Adaptive Van for Driver Education and Training;
•IT web based MRCIS and Hardware Initiative;
•Car Donation Program;
•ARRA-funded Workforce Investment with Employment Specialists and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors; and
•Youth Summer Internship Program
In the area of policy and practice, the Commission intends to assess policy and practices and revise them as necessary to improve effectiveness and timeliness of services to individuals with most significant disabilities.
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 2:02PM by Teresa Walsh
- Identify the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services.
- Identify the justification for the order.
- Identify the service and outcome goals.
- Identify the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.
- Describe how individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected for services before all other individuals with disabilities.
Justification for order of selection
The order of selection does not affect those assessments necessary to make a determination of eligibility and order of selection priority assignment. All applicants may receive goods and services during these assessments, to the extent necessary, to make eligibility and order of selection priority assignment determinations.
Description of Priority categories
Based on functional assessment, the eligible individual is assigned to a Priority Category for services within the MRC-VR Order of Selection.
Priority Category I: This individual is an individual with a most significant disability because he/she has a significant physical or mental impairment which seriously limits three (3) or more functional capacities (such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome and whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require:
1. Vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time of no less than six (6) months; and
2. Two or more separate and distinct vocational rehabilitation services within the following categories:
(i) Interpreter or CART services provided by qualified personnel for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing;
(ii) Services within above category (i) and/or below categories (iii thru ix inclusive) to the family of an individual with a disability necessary to assist the individual to achieve an employment outcome;
(iii) Vocational and other training services, including the provision of personal and vocational adjustment services, books, tools, and other training materials;
(iv) Diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments
(v) Occupational licenses, tools, equipment, and initial stocks and supplies;
(vi) Technical assistance and other consultation services to conduct market analyses, develop business plans, and otherwise provide resources to pursue self-employment or telecommuting or establishing a small business operation as an employment outcome;
(vii) Rehabilitation technology, including vehicle modification, telecommunications, sensory, and other technological aids and devices;
(viii) Supported employment services; and
(ix) Specific post-employment service within the above categories (i through viii inclusive) necessary to assist an individual with a disability to, retain, regain, or advance in employment;
(x) Transportation in connection with the rendering of any vocational rehabilitation service and in accordance with the following definition:
Transportation means travel and related expenses that are necessary to enable an applicant or eligible individual to participate in a vocational rehabilitation service, including expenses for training in the use of public transportation vehicles and systems;
(xi) Rehabilitation teaching services, and orientation and mobility services;
(xii) job placement assistance of a specialized nature including job seeking skills, job club, purchased direct placement assistance, and job retention services;
(xiii) Transition services in accordance with the following definition:
Transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a student designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities must be based upon the individual student’s needs, taking into account the student’s preferences and interests, and must include instruction, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. Transition services must promote or facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome; and
(xiv) Personal assistance services in accordance with the following definition:
Personal assistance services means a range of services provided by one or more persons designed to assist an individual with a disability to perform daily living activities on or off the job that the individual would typically perform without assistance if the individual did not have a disability. The services must be designed to increase the individual’s control in life and ability to perform everyday activities on or off the job. The services must be necessary to the achievement of an employment outcome and may be provided only while the individual is receiving other vocational rehabilitation services. The services may include training in managing, supervising, and directing personal assistance services.
The following do not qualify as distinct services in determining an individual with a most significant disability:
Assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs;
(1)Counseling and guidance, including information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice;
(2)Referral and other services to secure needed services from other agencies if such services are not available under the Vocational Rehabilitation Program;
(3)Job-related services not of a specialized nature including job search and placement assistance, follow-up and follow-along services;
(4)Maintenance while receiving services under an IPE.
Priority Category II: This individual is an individual with a significant disability because he/she has a significant physical or mental impairment which seriously limits at least one functional capacity (such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; and vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time. (An individual who has been determined to have a disability pursuant to Title II [SSDI] or Title XVI [SSI] of the Social Security Act is considered is to be an individual with a significant disability).
Priority Category III: This individual is an individual with a disability but is neither an individual with a most significant disability nor an individual with a significant disability.
An individual who has been determined to have a disability pursuant to Title II [SSDI] or Title XVI [SSI] of the Social Security Act is considered is to be an individual with a significant disability but may be determined to be an individual with a most significant disability when the significant impairment seriously limits multiple functional capacities.
Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order
The Commission has determined that funds are insufficient to provide vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals who have not yet received vocational rehabilitation services.
Eligible individuals who are not considered to be individuals with most significant disabilities (Priority Categories II and III) will not be selected to receive vocational rehabilitation services and their cases closed. However, they may receive referral for job placement and/or other services under the workforce investment system from other federal, state and local public agencies.
Service and outcome goals and the time within which the goals will be achieved
The order of selection by priority category will not affect eligible individuals who have been selected to receive vocational rehabilitation services and for whom an individual plan for employment (IPE) has been developed, agreed to, and approved. However, these individuals will be affected when their IPE is terminated for reasons other than achievement of their employment objective.
Eligible individuals not selected to receive vocational rehabilitation services are limited to the following:
1. Assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs;
2. Referral and other services from Federal, State, and local public agencies providing services related to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities; and
3. Counseling, guidance, and referral for job placements.
Selected individuals will receive vocational rehabilitation services necessary to render them employable consistent with an IPE and any amendments.
The Commission requested 15 million dollars in re-allotment monies from RS last year. With those additional funds, the Commission maintained its current staff that was funded through ARRA and hired additional counseling and placement staff to be able to serve more individuals and increase the total number of rehabilitations.
|Priority Category||Number of individuals to be served||Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services||Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services||Time within which goals are to be achieved||Cost of services|
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 11:35AM by Teresa Walsh
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.
Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds
At the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission the Title VI B program is developed through continued collaborative planning, both programmatic and budgetary. With the assistance of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Division of Purchased Services the Statewide Employment Services Department at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has been able to implement some of the most inclusive, consumer driven and performance reimbursement services in the history of the Title VI B program. These outcomes have included:
•A single definition of employment that all agencies use (one in progress)
•A directory of employment and related services by state agency
•Interagency funding of community based employment services (supported employment) that is performance reimbursed, and consumer driven, and allows a flexible mechanism for cost sharing supports among agencies
The Title VI Part B funds will be distributed consistent with Title VI, Part B requirements with the notation that rates, fees, and expenditures are subject to applicable Commonwealth of Massachusetts statutory, regulatory, and related requirements governing purchases of services and goods. Such parameters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts govern, amongst other things, methods of procurement. Further, all providers of supported employment services need to qualify through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ inter-agency contractual process. The Commission and the Commonwealth utilizes procurement methods which, to the maximum extent possible, facilitate the provision of services and affords individuals meaningful choices among the entities (providers) that provide the services.
The Statewide Employment Services Department will establish the consumer need for this service on a fiscal year basis and will then fund services for those consumers in that specific geographic location. In FY’11 the SES has established the following need areas and funding levels. We are anticipating similar need areas for FY’ 12:
Area Disability Type Funding of Clients served
Greater Boston TBI
ASP 33 $49,000
Greater Worcester Area TBI
ASP 29 $45,000
Western Region TBI
ASP 31 $75.000
Cape Cod TBI
ASP 45 $151,000
ASP 44 $35,000
ASP 43 $75,000
ASP 37 $44,000
Total 262 $474,000
This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 3:34PM by Teresa Walsh
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.
Strategies for Goals and Priorities
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, in cooperation with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), conducted a needs assessment during fiscal year 2009 to survey the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state. Goals and priorities of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment programs are established consistent with the needs and trends identified and include the following:
Outreach activities to identify and serve individuals with the most significant disabilities
Commission activities include outreach to community and state agencies, schools, other public institutions, and the general public by contact and presentation by MRC local office, district and administrative staff, printed brochures and agency consumer conferences.
The MRC Supported Employment Program receives direct referrals from twenty five (25) MRC VR offices, Forty four (44) community rehabilitation providers, links with the local school system for transitioning youth and other state agencies such as the Department of Mental Retardation and the Department of Mental Health especially through its clubhouse programs.
Outreach procedures to identify and serve un-served or underserved individuals:
The Commission has identified individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome as being un-served/underserved. The Statewide Services Department (SES) has encumbered $75,000 through Title VI funding to provide direct vocational employment services to serve this population. SES has also contracted with the Asperger’s Association of New England to provide: technical assistance, training, education and support to employers, professionals, consumers and family members to meet the needs of MRC consumers with Asperger’s Syndrome.
The Commission has held numerous training programs in this area for VR counseling and supervisory staff in how to identify outreach and work effectively with these individuals.
The Commission through the SRC Task Force has been very active in encouraging individuals with specific learning disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to apply for Commission services. The task force has developed consumer and counselor training materials including content on LD/ADHD for the consumer handbook and other resource materials. Over the years the Task force established ongoing peer support groups and updated their web site. A needs assessment was developed jointly with the SRC to assess the needs of individuals with LD/ADHD and make recommendations to the SRC for implementation by the Commission. As a result of the needs assessment conducted in November, 2010 several service needs were indentified: GED programs; transition programs; social skills training and time management training. The Commission has proposed a Life Support Program in which services would be provided by contracted providers. Service goals would be retention in educational/vocational training programs and in employment. Providers would furnish and coordinate a flexible network of services. The Commission would determine: eligibility for the program; make referrals monitor outcomes and activities; conduct contract management and quality assurance activities; and consumer satisfaction surveys.
Collaboration with the Department of Developmental Services to identify day habilitation individuals and provide transition community based services to achieve supported employment outcomes. MRC will fund these individuals employment initially through supported employment monies, with DMR agreeing to use their state dollars to provide the long term supports that these individuals would need to maintain their employment.
Strategies to Outreach procedures to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities:
MRC has made a commitment to outreach to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are also ethnic and cultural minorities by hiring bilingual staff to outreach more effectively to those communities and by the expectation that directors from local area offices are involved in outreach to local community agencies and organizations, especially those that serve ethnic and culturally minorities.
MRC has an ongoing statewide Bilingual/Bicultural vocational rehabilitation counselor group who meet on a regular basis to: discuss and share resources on how to outreach to and serve cultural and ethnic minorities, develop new or translate existing agency forms and brochures, and develop and conduct, in collaboration with the Commission’s staff development unit, training programs for local and district offices.
The Commission’s SES program has developed a pilot program on Martha’s Vineyard for VR individuals who are in supported employment to develop their own businesses and identifying other resources for the long term supports.
Establishing, developing or improving community rehabilitation programs:
Commission efforts to assist and improve community rehabilitation programs include support and financial assistance to providers in the conversion of sheltered employment to supported employment.
MRC is represented on the Region 1 Advisory board of the New England Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program for Community Rehabilitation personnel through the Institute for Community Inclusion at University of Massachusetts/Boston and provides input on the development of the training curriculum.
The Commission also works with the Massachusetts Council of Human Resource providers facilitating provider forums to identify program gaps and other needs.
Strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators
MRC Research and Development Department staff conducts training with agency managers from the VR and Supported Employment Programs at agency management conferences, district and local area offices on the standards and indicators, what they mean, how they are derived from agency statistics and how they impact on agency performance. The Commission also provides automated reports on line for managers for use to educate staff and develop strategies for correcting performance in these areas.
Strategies for assisting other components of the workforce investment system
The Commission VR Program has a presence at the Massachusetts career centers; the MRC Commissioner serves on the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB), one area office (Cape & Islands/Hyannis) is currently housed in a career center and each Commission area director has a formal relationship with at least one career center. In addition, many area directors are on local workforce investment boards. Commission VR counseling staff make frequent visits and often conduct interviews at the local career center
The Commission job placement specialists and other assigned Commission staff work closely with local career centers to provide high quality vocational rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities seeking expanded employment opportunities and to make the career centers more responsive to the needs of individuals with disabilities including providing disability sensitivity training for career center staff.
Strategies for Innovation and Expansion:
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission reserves and uses a portion of the funds allotted to the Commission under section 110 of the Act for the 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. Also to be included under this section is the MRC Plan for Economic Stimulus Resources funded through the VR ARRA Economic Stimulus Project Plan.
Consistent with the findings of statewide assessment and goals and priorities identified in conjunction with the State Rehabilitation Council, the Commission funds programs to address the needs of individuals with disabilities, primarily individuals with the most significant disabilities. Needs include:
2)On the job training and on the job evaluations
3)IT web-based MRCIS and Hardware Initiative
4)Car Donation Program
5)Adaptive Van Driver Evaluation and Training
6)ARRA-funded Workforce Investment with Employment Service Specialists and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors
7)Summer Youth Internships
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 2:04PM by Teresa Walsh
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals
Evaluation and Reports of Progress
This attachment describes the results of an evaluation of the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program as well as the supported employment program.
(1) Extent Goals Identified In Attachment 4.11 (c) Were Achieved
Vocational Rehabilitation Program
Fiscal year 2010 goal achievement was as follows:
Fiscal year 2011 goal achievement is anticipated as follows: (through 5/15)
(2) An Identification of the Strategies That Contributed To Achieving the Goals
Vocational Rehabilitation Program
The Commission periodically determines which eligible individuals who have not been selected to receive vocational rehabilitation services may be selected. Such determinations are based on the results of Commission reviews, the numbers of individuals who have successfully completed their rehabilitation programs, the numbers of individuals who are receiving vocational rehabilitation services, the level of fiscal year expenditures, the level of fiscal year obligations, and anticipated revenues.
(3) Explanation of Factors That Impeded Achievement of Goals Identified In Attachment 4.11 (c) (1)
Funding to the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has been insufficient since fiscal year 2001. Service provision costs have increased and the national appropriation has not kept pace with the increases. Additionally, the distribution formula for part B of Title I of the Act has had negative impact on funding to the Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Program.
While in FY 2010 the Commission did not meet its goals in rehabilitations; in FY2011 it is expected to do so.
Due to the worsening economy and the cut in other state and local services, the Commission continues to experience a large increase in referrals for services.
The increase continues to challenge the capacity of agency staff to write enough plans and successfully close enough cases as successful rehabilitations to meet its goals for this year. With RSA re-allotment monies and the use of ARRA funds, the agency was able to hire additional staff and to build the infrastructure to serve the increased number of referrals and to ensure that it is outreaching to only those individuals with the most significant disabilities who are interested in employment and referring those individuals who do not meet the standard of most significantly disabled to the career centers. All clients found to be individuals with a significant disability or an individual with a disability continue to not be selected for services and closed.
Supported Employment Program
Fiscal year 2011 goal achievement is anticipated as follows:
S D Rehabilitations
Supported Employment Program
Supported employment services for people with most significant disabilities are provided by an array public and private agencies utilizing a variety of descriptions, definitions, guidelines, and funding sources. Services may be fully state- supported, federally supported or benefit from a mix of funding sources. These variations have made it difficult to manage, plan and devise strategies for services or funding for employment services for people with most significant disabilities. This structure also did not allow agencies, providers and clients to effectively advocate for the development of new services or the expansion of existing ones or allow consumer choice to be built into the process.
Despite these differences, the goals of the services are generally the same, regardless of the population served.
At the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission the Title VI B program now is developed through continued collaborative planning, both programmatic and budgetary. With the assistance of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Division of Purchased Services, the Statewide Employment Services Department at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has been able to implement some of the most inclusive, consumer driven and performance reimbursement services in the history of the Title VI B program. These outcomes have included:
• A single definition of employment that all agencies use
• A directory of employment and related services by state agency
• Interagency funding of community based employment services (supported employment) that is performance reimbursed, and consumer driven, and allows a flexible mechanism for cost sharing supports among agencies
The Statewide Employment Services Department will establish the consumer need for this service on a fiscal year basis and will then fund services for those consumers in that specific geographic location.
Performance on Standards and Indicators
The Provisions in the Rehabilitation Act for Vocational Rehabilitation Programs require the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to determine if each VR State Program (MRC) is complying with national standards and performance indicators. This is the MRC report for federal fiscal year 2009.
To achieve successful performance on these standards state VR agencies must meet or exceed four of the six performance indicators in standard 1; including meeting or exceeding the performance levels for two of the three primary indicators.
The three primary indicators are: 1.3; 1.4; and 1.5*.
Standard & Indicator 1.1:
The number of individuals exiting the VR Program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exit the VR after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period.
o RSA Standard: 3035 FY’09
o MRC Performance: 3173 FY’10
Performance Summary 1.1: MRC passed this indicator with a gain of 138 successful closures over last year. It appears that the ARRA funded programs which hired additional counselors, job placement and marketing specialists, as well as the small evidence of job growth in Massachusetts, has had an impact. The MRC also had large numbers of people come through its doors in the past year, which also contributed to the improvement in the number of rehabilitations.
Standard & Indicator 1.2:
Of all individuals who exit the VR Program after receiving services, the percentage that are determined to have achieved an employment outcome.
o RSA Standard: 55.8%
o National Average: 55.0%
o MRC Performance: 51.8% FY 2010
49.2% FY 2009
55.3% FY 2008
52.5% FY 2007
61.2% FY 2006
Performance Summary 1.2: At 51.8%, MRC did not pass RSA Performance Standard 1.2, being below the RSA Standard of 55.8%. However this year’s score constitutes an improvement over last year’s score. Efforts to improve performance on Standard 1.2 by increasing the number of 26 closures and decreasing the number of 28 closures at the same time have apparently had a positive effect. MRC should continue the policy of limiting the number of unsuccessful open cases that should be closed, and avoiding opening cases that might result in 28’s down the road, thus creating a surplus of status 28 closures. Improved job development, facilitated by extra counseling and placement staff also contributed to improvement on this score.
* Standards & Indicator 1.3: (Primary Indicator)
Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentages who exit VR program in competitive, self-or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the state minimum wage.
o RSA Standard: 72.6%
o National Average: 95.4%
98.9% FY 2010 o MRC Performance: 97.0% FY 2009
97.6% FY 2008
98.6% FY 2007
97.4% FY 2006
Performance Summary Standard 1.3: MRC passed the RSA 1.3 Performance Standard and Primary Indicator, the overwhelming majority earning at least the state minimum wage which increased in 2008 to $8.00/hour. Performance was improved considerably this year, a sign that counselors are making more appropriate matches between consumers’ aspirations and jobs that compensate them at or above the minimum wage.
* Standards & Indicator 1.4 (Primary Indicator)
Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are also individuals with significant disabilities.
o RSA Standard: 62.4%
o National Average: 90.48%
100% FY2010 o MRC Performance: 99.9% FY 2009
99.9% FY 2008
99.9% FY 2007
99.9% FY 2006
Performance Summary Standard 1.4: MRC passed the RSA 1.4 Performance Standard and Primary Indicator. MRC is under an OOS, which nevertheless assures competitive jobs earning at least the minimum wage to those with the most severe disabilities.
* Standard & Indicator 1.5: (Primary Indicator)
The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment, with earnings equivalent to the least the minimum wage, ($12.37) as a ratio to the state’s average hourly earnings ($26.92) for all individuals in the state who are employed (derived from the BLS report:” State Average Annual Pay” for the most recent available year).
o RSA Standard: .52
o National Average: .536
o MRC Performance:.459 FY 2010
.466 FY 200
.47 FY 20082008 45 FY 2007
.47 FY 2006
Performance Summary 1.5: MRC did not pass the RSA 1.5 Performance Standard, one of the Primary Indicators. Massachusetts is a high per capita wage state, and a significant increase in the average hourly wages for consumers would be required to pass this indicator. Other high wage states fail this indicator. As indicated by the historical scores, MRC has not passed this Indicator in recent years.RSA suggests that better trained individuals obtain better paying jobs.
Standard & Indicator 1.6:
Of all individuals who exit the VR Program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services.
o RSA Standard: 53.0%
o National Standard: 60.87%
52.7% FY 2010 o MRC Performance: 57.1% FY 2009
59.7% FY 2008
59.1% FY 2007
49.8% FY 2006
Performance Summary 1.6: MRC did not pass the 1.6 RSA Performance Standards in FY’10 as its score was 52.7%, just barely below the 53% standard. (RSA does not round up so our score would be failing, despite the closeness). Either a large number of consumers with previous employment experience or dependence on public support would make it difficult for us to pass this indicator.
Standards & Indicator 2.1:
Standard and Indicator 2.1 measures the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities.
o RSA Standard: .80
o National Average: .967
MRC Performance: .97 FY 2010
.90 FY 2009
.92 FY 2008
.97 FY 2007
.83 FY 2006
Performance Summary Standard 2.1: MRC once again exceeded the RSA Performance Standard 2.1 this year. The score was nearly perfect for equality of service and showed a substantial improvement over last year.
MRC passed 2 of 3 of the Primary Indicators but only passed 3 of 6 Indicators. Because we did not pass 4 of 6 Indicators we did not pass overall. However:
•Standard and Indicator 1.1 with staff effort and the influx of ARRA monies which supported additional counselors and job placement specialists and market specialists, MRC was able to improve performance and increase the number of successful rehabilitations achieved in FY 2010.
•Standard and Indicator 1.2 (Rehabilitation Rate) MRC’s Rehabilitation Rate broke with a declining trend and, although it was not high enough to pass this indicator, it was an improvement over last year. Staff has apparently been making an effort to lower the number of cases that will close in 28 by closing them in 08 when appropriate. Slight improvements in the state economy may have also contributed to this increase.
•Standard and Indicator 1.3 and 1.4 We will always be able to pass these indicators unless the OOS changes.
•Standard and Indicator 1.5 (Ratio of consumer and state wage). MRC traditionally fails to pass this indicator. Given the financial resources in our state and the high average wage it will be very difficult to break this pattern. However it can be done if we get every consumer the best possible job every time. We have put ARRA resources into hiring more counselors, job placement specialists and marketing specialists. We are starting to integrate information about labor market conditions into our decision making. A Wage Report listing current wages for hundreds of occupations in the cities and towns in Massachusetts will be posted on the intranet for counselors. We must continue and strengthen these efforts.
•Standard and Indicator 1.6 (Primary source of income) MRC barely failed to pass this Indicator (by .3 points). A large number of cases with prior work experience or receiving public support would make it difficult to pass this Indicator.
•Standard and Indicator 2.1 We passed this Indicator with a nearly perfect score. This shows a strong commitment on the part of all MRC staff to achieve equality in service delivery. MRC counselors should be commended for the good work they continue to do in dealing with the problems and needs associated with diversity and keeping it a priority.
5) Use Of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion
1) Marketing Initiative
2) On the job training and on the job evaluations
3) IT web-based MRCIS and Hardware Initiative
4) Car Donation Program
5) Adaptive Van for Driver Evaluation and Training
6) ARRA funded Workforce Investment with Employment Service Specialists and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors
7) Youth Summer Internship Program
The Commission is continuing to develop innovative marketing materials for use with employers and schools to promote job opportunities for people with disabilities.
MRC is partnering with the University of Massachusetts to design and regularly update new materials, which will be used by counselors and job placements specialists to build partnerships with local businesses and training centers.
On-the-job training and evaluation
• The Commission is using ARRA funding on an On-The-Job Training Initiative (OJT) to rapidly develop individualized, employer and industry specific job training opportunities for individuals with disabilities by capitalizing on growth opportunities in the Massachusetts economy.
• This public-private partnership between MRC and employers creates private industry job training opportunities for individuals with disabilities in high-growth industries, such as health care, transportation, manufacturing and customer services. The Commission has partnered with employers such as Bay state Health, Fallon Clinic, South Shore Mental Health Center, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Ideal Global Solutions. The jobs created include licensed practical nurses, medical billing and coding positions, computer technicians, residential counselors and customer service representatives.
• Individuals with disabilities participating in this program are receiving wages averaging $12.02 per hour.
• Since this initiative was rolled out in late 2009, over 120 On-The-Job trainings have commenced, approximately 90 OJT trainings have been completed, resulting in 52 employment placements to date. We anticipate further employment placements as more OJT’s are completed.
IT web-based MRCIS and Hardware Initiative
With these federal funds, MRC will convert its vocational case management system to a web-based application, reducing inefficiencies and speeding application processing time for consumers seeking employment. Upgrading this infrastructure will allow job counseling staff working directly with consumers to have access to the agency’s case management system from anywhere an internet connection is available. Case managers will also be able to work with more consumers with disabilities in their own communities to promote independence and employment. Replacing the existing paper file system will also allow for faster eligibility determinations, improve job training and placement timelines, and reduce administrative costs.
Car Donation Program
• The Commission is continuing the Car Donation Program that was initially funded by ARRA, in partnership with the Good News Garage. This program matches donated vehicles to consumers who need transportation to access employment when little or no public transit or other transportation is available,
• Training of consumers on how to maintain and register a vehicle is also provided. Clients must have a valid driver’s license and have the resources to register, insure and operate the vehicle to participate in the program.
• To date, 82 Commission consumers across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have received donated vehicles and the vast majority of consumers have gained employment as a result of their transportation needs being addressed.
Adaptive Van for Driver Evaluation and Training
The Commission has acquired an adaptive van to be used with the Commission’s Driver Evaluation and Training Program. The van is being used to evaluate individuals with disabilities to determine the type of adaptive driving equipment required to assist them with driving and to provide driver training lessons and instruction to consumers on how to utilize adaptive equipment. The van has state of the art adaptive technology and is benefiting many consumers served by the Commission in helping them to go to work and live independently in the community.
ARRA-funded Workforce Investment with Employment Service Specialists and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors
• 19 new Vocational Rehabilitation counselors hired to increase service capacity and increase job placements for consumers.
• There has been an increase in successful employment outcomes and a significant reduction in overdue status cases since these employees were hired.
• 9 Employment Service Specialists and Job Placement Specialists hired to increase job placements for consumers. These staff members work with consumers and with employers to develop programs and partnerships and identify job opportunities that will result in successful employment outcomes for consumers and helping to meet the recruitment needs of employers.
• 28 Paid Internships provided to Rehabilitation Counseling students as part of a strategy to reach out to VR counseling programs to recruit new, qualified counselors. 11 interns to date have been hired by the Commission as VR counselors upon graduation.
Youth Summer Internship Program
The Commission has developed a summer internship program for youths with disabilities in partnership with the State as a Model Employer Initiative. This program provides valuable work experience and mentorship opportunities for participants. This program served 10 youths in 2009 and served 19 youths during 2010. The program is expected to serve 30 youths during 2011. Students are placed in a variety of state agency worksites in the Boston, Worcester and Springfield areas.
This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 3:34PM by Teresa Walsh
- 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
RSA State Plan
Federal Fiscal Year 2008
Description of Quality, Scope and Extent of
Supported Employment Services
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts through its Human Services agencies and its secondary school special education programs, has been developing and expanding integrated work opportunities for individuals with disabilities, since 1978 because it became very evident that there was a vast number of people with disabilities for whom there were limited work options because of the nature and extent of support services they require in order to maintain employment. With the leadership of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Massachusetts human service agencies began to examine ways in which integrated work opportunities could be extended to persons with severe disabilities who need extensive support services to remain in the work setting as productive employees. Throughout the past 15 years, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Mental Retardation, the Commission for the Blind and the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing have been working together to shift and to share resources to create opportunities. The Department of Mental Health and the Department of Mental Retardation have shifted programs and funding to develop and expand long-term support services at integrated work sites. Through its provider contracts for EEP, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has set goals for conversion of sheltered work to supported employment and has worked with providers to develop more substantive support services that are long term and based on consumers’ choices.
Several years ago, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services with the assistance of the Statewide Employment Services Department at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation commission organized a group “Strategic Alliances” whose plans included the development of a comprehensive employment system that would:
1. Increase the number of people with disabilities engaged in appropriate employment services.
2. Create a consistent definition and support services structure regardless of the agency through which the service is provided
3. Establish a contracting process and reimbursement mechanism for employment services, which would be guided by the same rules, regulations and guidelines regardless of the administering agency, and based on client choice.
4. Permit the evaluation of funding strategies for employment services through tracking, gap identification and service and budget advocacy.
There continues to be a very positive climate for the enhancement of this process in both the Administrative and Legislative branches of State government. The recent release of the joint initiative for Community Based Employment Services and redesign of the dollars allocated for Extended Employment supports this initiative.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has clearly come to understand this great void in employment opportunities for many individuals with the most significant disabilities and has made a firm commitment to fill this void. Title VI, B funded programs and services represent a crucial component in the Commonwealth’s overall plan for supported employment. As several State agencies develop long-term, State funded supported employment services and programs; the Title IV B program is instrumental in bridging the gap between unemployment or under employment to competitive employment with long-term support services for several persons with disabilities.
In FY’07 the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has over 60 Qualified Community Rehabilitation Providers to offer Supported Employment services. These programs, located throughout the state, serve persons with an array of severe disabilities including autism, deaf/severely hearing impaired, severally physically disabled, long-term mentally ill, traumatic brain injured and dual diagnosed persons with mental retardation and long-term mental illness and multiply disabled individuals.
All Title VI B program participants who were enrolled in the supported employment program completed not more than 18 months of services funded by Title VI. All necessary long-term support services have been arranged to continue without use of Title I or Title VI B funding. Funding for extended long-term support services is available from several sources depending on the nature of the client’s disability and the resources available to each service provider agency. Sources include:
IRS Section 44
United Cerebral Palsy Funding
Department of Mental Health
Department of Mental Retardation
Private Sector Business Natural Supports
Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Statewide Head Injury Program
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission State Revenue
Social Security Work Incentives
Due to the vigorous emphasis on supported employment in Massachusetts, which has been spearheaded by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Statewide Employment Services Department a collaborative effort has resulted in funding for long-term support services.
In FY’07, a five year continuation for the Request for Qualification (RFQ) was reissued for Title VI B funded Supported Employment as well as other state agencies employment programs. This will allow the Commission to continue the following goals:
1. Strengthen existing quality programs and replace ineffective/inefficient programs with new ones. Seventy providers have qualified to date.
2. Focus Title VI B funding on under-served or un-served consumers such as those who are severely physically disabled, Aspergers Syndrome, Deaf or Brain Injured.
3. Establish a large statewide pool of programs interested in and able to provide Supported Employment Programs and services, including long-term supports.
This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2009 11:34AM by Teresa Walsh
The following documents have been identified as being related to the information you are viewing.
"A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities" — A blueprint for Governors has been issued by the National Governors Association (NGA).
TAC-14-02 — Submission of the FY 2015 State Plan for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and Supplement for the Supported Employment Services Program. (May 28, 2014)
DOC (247KB) | PDF (233KB)
ED-80-0013 - Certification Regarding Lobbying — 34 CFR 82.110(b) requires each State VR agency to submit for approval a signed certification regarding lobbying for each program for which federal funds are requested. In other words, one certification must be submitted for the VR program and another for the Supported Employment program.
MS Word (24KB)
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