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

View Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission VR State Plan for 2013 H126A120028 @Published

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 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

1.1 The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission is authorized to submit this State Plan under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended [1] and its supplement under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act [2].

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

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

The Commissioner of Rehabilitation

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

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

The Commissioner of Rehabilitation

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Charles Carr

Title of Signatory
Commissioner of Vocational Rehabilitation

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/29/2012

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2013
No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

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

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

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:

Recommendation 1:

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 hired, using ARRA funds, 9 employment and job placement specialists. This year, the Commission hired an additional 3 Employment Service Specialists under re-allotment funds. 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 maintains an internal job board in its intranet site. Jobs are posted and updated every 30 days. The Commission recognizes that there should be a mechanism where employers are able to post but unfortunately not available at this time. This feature will continue to be revisited for the future for this site.

The Commission is continuing to work with EOHHS 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 On the Job evaluation and training program is very active and there are dedicated funds to keep the program moving forward with branding our direct employer training program within all labor sectors.

MRC has partnered with the Merit Apprenticeship Program (MAP). The MAP program allows for paid apprenticeships in the trades. This program is authorized and supported by the Massachusetts Secretary of Labor.

MRC has developed an employer account management program to build long term employer partnerships such as Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, AlliedBarton Security, Manpower, TJX and CVS,

The Commission has partnered with Manpower Staffing Services to deploy web-based training program. This program allows Commission job seekers to be participants in virtual training programs that are linked to high-demand jobs. Job candidates receive competency certificates for successfully completing the training.

Recommendation 2:

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 Para-transit, 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 137 Commission consumers, 55 of them within the past year, 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 to go to work and live independently in the community.

T he Commission actively supports consumers to explore opportunities to become small business owners. As transportation is often a barrier to employment in suburban and rural communities, the Donated Vehicle Program and the adaptive van can assist individuals to start and continue in their own businesses as well as working in existing businesses.

The Commission’s Research and Development Department in conjunction with the SRC will be conducting a needs assessment on consumer transportation needs in the up -coming year.

Recommendation 3:

The SRC recommends that the MRC develop a long term support program for Special Populations/consumers with Autism, Aspersers syndrome, learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder 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 has initiated a proactive post employment services approach by entering into a Service Agreement with Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) who also functions as Employer Networks (EN) to provide time limited job retention and other types of post employment services to increase job retention. Use of these supports will be based on consumer need and range from a minimum of 2 hours to a maximum of 10 hours per month, at a rate of $34.24 per hour not to exceed 8 months. In addition, for those consumers who achieve SGA levels for 8 months, MRC will make a one-time payment of $896.00. On referral to the CRP/EN those consumers who are SSI/DI eligible would be encouraged to assign his/her Ticket to Work to the participating CRP/EN.

The Commission will continue to research other funding sources including the LEAD (The Leadership Emergence and Development) Project 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.

Recommendation 4:

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 and be accessible to individuals with disabilities that often face unique challenges both physical and cognitive.

EOHHS (the Executive Office of Health and Human Services) of which the Commission is a part, has consolidated all information technology (IT) services across the secretariat with the goal of to allow services to be accessed more easily by consumers and to allow EHHS to become more efficient, cost effective and avoid unnecessary duplication of IT services. ITD (Information Technology Division) has implemented changes to Mass.gov, the state website that makes the site more users friendly and accessible while allowing the Commission more control over the organization of their content. EOHHS IT staff assigned to work with the Commission will be working closely to further align information that reflects the totality of the agency service delivery within the larger context of EOHHS.

Recommendation 5:

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. As a result of these efforts, the percentage of transition students served has increased to over 60%.

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 will end in October, the Commission will apply for no cost extension of the program and will closely examine the results from the project to develop a best practice model for use in enhancing the delivery of Commission services to transition aged youth.

The Commission and the Department of Developmental Services also have established a Memorandum of Agreement for joint planning and sharing of resources for transition aged individuals, aged 18 to 22 who have a goal of competitive employment and are eligible for the services of both agencies. The Commission anticipates an increase in the number of successful job placements in this population as a result of this partnership.

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.

Recommendation 6:

Collaborate with schools and offer seminars to parents at least four times each year, 2 in Fall and 2 in Spring. During these seminars, MRC can share the types of supports and services the organization offers and about the Chapter 688 process.

The Commission agrees with the SRC’s recommendation of the need for collaboration and has increased its outreach to local schools over the past several years but disagrees with the need to specifically offer four or more seminars per year as both parents and students now have ample opportunity to interact with VR counselors .

There is at least one VR counselor assigned to each public school, to meet with students, teachers and parents to explain agency services, the Chapter 688 process and to open VR cases. Local area offices also conduct information sessions about Commission supports and services at the schools on a regular basis and these activities have significantly increased the participation of transition students in the VR program. As a result of these efforts, the percentage of transition students served has increased to over 60%. VR counselors are involved in the individual education plan (IEP) process on a regular basis.

The Commission also works closely with organizations such as the Federation for Children with Special Needs and staff participates in their annual conference.

Recommendation 7:

Have a list of MRC counselor’s contact info available on the web and at schools, so parents know who they need to contact if they have any questions and/or would like to invite to meetings.

Counselor contact information is available on the Commission public web site listed under the local area office from which they work. In addition, many area offices offer information sessions about Commission services on the website and how to access them.

Counselor contact information is also available through the offices of the Special Education Guidance staff at the schools.

Recommendation 8:

The SRC recommends that the MRC continues to improve collaboration between the MRC and the Independent living centers ( ILC’s )and promote awareness of the ILC’s to the MRC’s consumers. The Council recommends a solid orientation or training be conducted to MRC Area Offices to promote communication and linkages between the MRC area offices and the ILC’s.

The 2011 MRC Vocational Rehabilitation Needs Assessment Report found that only about 25% of consumers surveyed were aware of the Independent Living Center (ILC) in their area. The Independent Living Centers are important partners to MRC who provide an array of peer-driven supports to MRC consumers to assist them in their efforts to obtain employment and maintain independence in the community.

The Commission will continue to improve communication and collaboration with the ILCs and help promote awareness of the ILCs to its consumers by including information about the ILC’s at area office information or orientation meetings and training programs for Commission counseling and supervisory staff.

This screen was last updated on Jun 11 2012 11:16AM by Teresa Walsh

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

not required

This screen has never been updated.

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

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

Attachment 4.8 (b) (1)

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

Preface

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.

Narrative

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

Preface

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.

Sources include:

• 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

Narrative

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 819 persons, 468 of whom are employed in the VR Program. Of this number, 228 are VR counselors, 42 are first-line supervisors, 40 are managers and 158 are program, technical, or administrative staff. All numbers represent full and part-time staff, not FTE.

Twenty six percent of Commission staff is from minority backgrounds, 73% are women, 16% 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 150 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 funded through ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) seventeen were retained by the Commission. Seventeen of these individuals were recruited into counselor positions vacated by retiring staff.

The Commission will need to evaluate which positions can be back filled due to anticipated funding shortages.filled. This might 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 and re-allotment 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 228 0 0
2 unit/first line supervisors 42 0 0
3 managers 40 0 0
4 program/technical or administrative staff 158 0 0
5 0 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 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.

PERSONNEL DATA

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.

ENROLLMENT STATISTICS

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
1 Assumption College 103 0 0 43
2 Springfield College 38 2 0 18
3 University of Massachusetts at Boston 24 14 8 9
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

STAFF RERUITMENT/SELECTION/RETENTION

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 39 paid internships to date; 15 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.

TRAINING OPTIONS

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.

PROGRAM OUTCOME

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, 270 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 270, 247 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 26 counselors who must work toward meeting the CSPD requirement; three will begin academic course work in September 2012 post probationary hiring period. 23 are engaged differently toward meeting the standard and are currently doing the following: two VR counselors, one bi-lingual and one hired prior to CSPD requirements are working toward earning a bachelor’s degree from Assumption College. Three VR counselors hold related master’s degrees and are working toward completing course work in category D of the CRC and must complete the required courses; all three are students at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and taking one or two courses per year. They will require approximately three years meeting the CSPD requirement. Of the remaining eighteen: two VR counselors withdrew from courses because of medical/family emergencies; five were granted medical waivers and are required to update their status each semester; eight are currently enrolled and taking a minimum of one course per year at the University of Massachusetts and the VR bi-lingual counselor has applied for acceptance into the master’s rehabilitation counseling program at the University of Massachusetts. Two VR counselors attend Assumption College, one will complete by taking one course each semester and the other will probably retire before the completion off his master’s program.

It is unlikely that the Commission will reach 100% compliance in the near future for the following reasons. The Commission has many “seasoned” counselors who will be retiring in the next few years. While completing required graduate courses in all likelihood will retire prior to completion of a master’s program in rehabilitation counseling. That said, all seasoned counselors have many years of solid/successful work experience and are closely supervised by supervisors who all meet CSPD. The Commission is also working with a very small pool of bi-lingual job candidates who hold a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. The Commission continues to partner very closely with academic programs offering bachelor and master’s degrees in rehabilitation to ensure awareness of potential job candidates and to offer students paid and unpaid internships providing students with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the public VR arena. Many interns have been hired when job openings become available.

 

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 nine 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 26 2012 9:00AM 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.

Comprehensive Assessment

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), in cooperation with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), has conducted its study of consumer service needs. served by MRC.

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.

MRC and the SRC have determined that conducting a needs assessment of consumers will provide agency management with more detailed and timely information regarding the needs of MRC consumers. The agency will utilize the results of the comprehensive needs assessment to craft the goals and priorities for the agency, define avenues for resources that will form the determination of the years to come goals and priorities.

This year, MRC worked with the SRC to reconstitute the Needs Assessment Subcommittee to obtain important input from its consumers regarding the needs assessment process. The committee reviewed and provided important input on the needs assessment instrument. Based on the recommendations from the subcommittee, the survey was modified to both remove and add several questions, modify answer choices for some of the questions, and to make changes to the language of the questions so they are easily understood by the general MRC consumer population.

MRC utilized an electronic instrument to facilitate the collections of data. The survey was customized and made available in alternate formats to provide reasonable accommodations when necessary.

Changes to this year’s Needs Assessment Instrument were modifications made to this year’s survey instrument based on input from the SRC Needs Assessment Subcommittee. First, three questions were removed from the survey. A decision was made to remove the two questions asking whether the consumer had received the consumer handbook and how helpful the information in the handbook was. While this information is helpful, it is not particularly relevant in assessing the needs of MRC consumers. In addition, a question asking how much of the consumer’s income goes to housing was also removed as the Committee felt that this was not relevant to what MRC can directly assist consumers with. Also, there was concern whether this question could be seen as too personal by some consumers.

Several questions were also added to the survey. A question was added to the survey asking consumers how they were referred to MRC. The intent is to be able to gather additional information on where consumers find out about MRC to develop a baseline to assist the agency in its marketing and outreach efforts to consumers and other stakeholders. A question was also added to determine whether consumers are aware of the Independent Living Center (ILCs) in their area. The ILCs are important partners to MRC who can provide additional peer-driven supports to consumers to assist them in their efforts to obtain employment and maintain independence in the community, and this question will assist MRC in determining how well our consumers are aware of this resource. Finally, an open-ended question was added to the end of the survey to allow consumers to provide additional comments, thoughts, and suggestions on how MRC can better assist them.

Finally, there were minor modifications to some of the answer choices for some of the questions, and language of some of the questions were modified so they are more easily understood by the general MRC consumer population. The practice of not asking demographic questions was continued as this information is collected from the MRCIS case management system and linked to responses through a code on the email invitation.

Methodology

The 2011 Needs Assessment was administered electronically using Survey Monkey, an online survey tool frequently used by MRC’s Research, Development, and Performance Management Department (R&D) which is both accessible and user-friendly to participants and survey researchers. R&D staff used SurveyMonkey.com to send a survey web link to consumers via email using R&D’s survey email address. R&D staff monitored this address to monitor bounced emails, and respond to questions and concerns raised by survey participants.

In an attempt to increase the number of consumers reached by the Needs Assessment, the survey sample base was increased from earlier surveys. The sampling frame was expanded to include all individuals in Active Service Statuses (12, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24) and to include individuals receiving Post Employment Services (Status 32) on September 15, 2011. The same practice of sending emails to all consumers in these statuses with email addresses in the MRCIS system was repeated in this year’s survey. This approach yielded a total of 3,884 consumers with email addresses or 19.4% out of a total of 20,008 consumers in these statuses.

A total of 3,884 emails with survey links were sent to MRC consumers in mid-September 2011, with email reminders sent to non-responders after one week and two and a half weeks. 518 emails immediately bounced back as invalid or inactive email accounts and 48 consumers opted out of receiving surveys yielding a potential response group of 3,308 consumers. 829 consumers responded to the survey, for a response rate of 25.1%, which is consistent to past Needs Assessments. While the response rate did not increase from last year, the number of responding consumers did increase by 290 or 65% over 2010, so the expanded survey sample did succeed in reaching out to more consumers. The survey remained open for approximately 3 and a half weeks.

Survey responses were then downloaded from SurveyMonkey.com and matched with MRCIS demographic data based on the Client ID. Results were then analyzed using statistical software for fixed response questions. Open-ended questions were analyzed using a point analysis to rank common responses.

Findings and Results

Demographics of Respondents

Responses were received from consumers across the state. 36.6% of respondents were from the South District, 36.7% from the North District, 26.1% from the West District, and 0.6% from Statewide Employment Services (SES). This is a uniform response which is fairly consistent with the overall consumer population in the targeted service statuses. The majority (63.6%) of consumers responding to the survey were in job training and education status (Status 18), followed by restoration services (13.6%) (Status 16), and job search (13%) (Status 20). There were no significant differences when compared to the proportions in the general population for these statuses.

Respondents were distributed fairly equally by gender, with slightly more female respondents (50.7%) compared to male respondents (49.3%). The number of females responding to the survey is slightly higher than their overall rate in the general MRC population. In terms of age, respondents were on average older then the larger population of MRC consumers, and there was an underrepresentation of consumers under the age of 30. The average age of respondents was 40 compared to about 34 for the general population. As with the 2010 Needs Assessment, the largest group of respondents was comprised of consumers between the ages of 40-49 (25.6%), but was closely followed by consumers aged 20-29 (24.7%), and consumers aged 50-59 (19.3%). Individuals of transition youth age (16-22) comprised 14.4% of all respondents.

In terms of race/ethnicity, 81.1% of respondents identified themselves as being White/Caucasian, followed by African-Americans (14.8%), Hispanics (5.7%), and Asian/Pacific Islander (3.9%). These proportions do not vary much from the overall MRC population, except for a slight underrepresentation of Hispanic consumers among respondents. Despite this, the proportion of minority respondents increased by approximately 3% compared to the 2010 survey.

The largest proportion of responding consumers in terms of primary disability was individuals with psychiatric, cognitive, or learning disabilities who comprised 58.2% of all respondents. This was followed by consumers with physical disabilities (21.1%), and by consumers with sensory or communicative impairments (20.7%). As mentioned earlier, consumers with sensory or communicative disabilities were slightly overrepresented and consumers with psychological disabilities were slightly underrepresented when compared with the overall population.

The overwhelming majority of respondents had at least a high-school level educational attainment at the time of application for MRC services. However, respondents tended to have a higher level of education when compared to the overall population of consumers in the selected status groups. As with last year’s survey, open-ended responses indicated that many consumers are currently attending college or other higher educational programs through the MRC Vocational Rehabilitation program. Just over 21% percent of consumers had completed a college degree or higher as of the time of application.

Consumers listed public benefits as the most common primary source of support, as nearly 42% indicated they rely on public benefits, which is about 4.5% higher than 2010. In addition, there also was a larger proportion of consumers reporting they rely on personal income when compared to the general population. The most common public benefit received by respondents was Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) (23%), followed by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (14.8%). This is not a surprising finding given that in the last several years,

Service Needs

A key element of the Needs Assessment is to analyze the service needs of MRC Vocational Rehabilitation consumers. Consumers were asked to rank how important each VR service is to them on a rating list (very important, somewhat important, not important, or not applicable). Respondents generally indicated that all VR services are important to them and are needed services. The findings suggest that most MRC consumers have multiple vocational service needs in order to attain their vocational goals and to remain employed. The most important and needed services indicated by consumers were career counseling (91.6%), job placement (89.3%), supports to assist consumers in maintaining their job/ supported employment (83.6%), job coaching or on-the-job training (79.6%), and benefits planning (78.7%).

Other important and needed services listed by a majority of respondents included college education, vocational training, and self-employment. The proportion of respondents indicating that assistance transitioning from high school to work or college (39.6%), and obtaining a high school diploma or GED (25.7%) were important were much lower, but this is not surprising since school-to-work transition services target only youth consumers and that the majority of survey respondents already possess a high school diploma.

Respondents were distributed fairly equally by gender, with slightly more female respondents (50.7%) compared to male respondents (49.3%). The number of females responding to the survey is slightly higher than their overall rate in the general MRC population. In terms of age, respondents were on average older then the larger population of MRC consumers, and there was an underrepresentation of consumers under the age of 30. The average age of respondents was 40 compared to about 34 for the general population. As with the 2010 Needs Assessment, the largest group of respondents was comprised of consumers between the ages of 40-49 (25.6%), but was closely followed by consumers aged 20-29 (24.7%), and consumers aged 50-59 (19.3%). Individuals of transition youth age (16-22) comprised 14.4% of all respondents.

Analysis of MRC Consumer Vocational Rehabilitation Service Needs

A key element of the Needs Assessment is to analyze the service needs of MRC Vocational Rehabilitation consumers. Consumers were asked to rank how important each VR service is to them on a rating list (very important, somewhat important, not important, or not applicable). Respondents generally indicated that all VR services are important to them and are needed services. The findings suggest that most MRC consumers have multiple vocational service needs in order to attain their vocational goals and to remain employed. The most important and needed services indicated by consumers were career counseling (91.6%), job placement (89.3%), supports to assist consumers in maintaining their job/ supported employment (83.6%), job coaching or on-the-job training (79.6%), and benefits planning (78.7%).

Other important and needed services listed by a majority of respondents included college education, vocational training, and self-employment. The proportion of respondents indicating that assistance transitioning from high school to work or college (39.6%), and obtaining a high school diploma or GED (25.7%) were important were much lower, but this is not surprising since school-to-work transition services target only youth consumers and that the majority of survey respondents already possess a high school diploma.

The 2011 MRC Vocational Rehabilitation Needs Assessment Report also found that only about 25% of consumers surveyed were aware of the Independent Living Center (ILC) in their area. The Independent Living Centers are important partners to MRC who provide an array of peer-driven supports to MRC consumers to assist them in their efforts to obtain employment and maintain independence in the community. Therefore, the Needs Assessment Committee recommends that MRC needs to continue to improve collaboration between MRC and the ILCs and help promote awareness of the ILCs to its consumers.

This screen was last updated on Jun 11 2012 11:14AM 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.

(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: 9,000 b) Individuals to be provided services to determine order of selection priority assignment and vocational rehabilitation needs: 8,000 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: 6,500 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: 6,500 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: 70

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: 19

It is estimated that the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission will provide services under part B of Title VI of the Act to approximately 69 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$57,358.164 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: $36,157.698 ii) Other vocational rehabilitation services consistent with an IPE: $17,653.991 b) Individuals with significant disabilities and individuals with disabilities:

ii Assessment and guidance and placement: $260,400

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.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Priority 1 Title I $56,623,764 32,600 $1,736
Priority 2 Title I $203,112 117 $1,736
Priority 3 Title I $57,288 33 $1,736
Priority 1 Title VI $474,000 69 $6,869
Priority 2 Title VI $0 0
Priority 3 Title VI $0 0
Totals   $57,358,164 32,819 $1,747

This screen was last updated on Aug 27 2012 10:07AM 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 2011 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.

The Commission received 15 million dollars in re-allotment monies this year from RSA which enabling the Commission 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 2011 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;

•Youth Summer Internship Program and

Vocational Testing-Job Matching Occupational Specific

Web-based Training Initiative

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 13 2012 11:28AM 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

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 eligible 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 eligible 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 who has a physical or mental impairment to employment and who can benefit in terms of an emplyment outcome from the provision of vocational rehabilitation services.

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

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

At this time the Commission has determined that funds are sufficient to provide vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals but in the event that funds become insufficient to serve all eligible individuals, the Commission will implement its order of selection process that will select those eligible individuals with the most significant disabilities (Priority I) to receive services first before eligible individuals with significant disabilities Eligible individuals with significant disabilities (Priority II) will be selected only after all eligible individuals with the most significant disabilities and eligible individuals with a disability(Priority III) will be selected only after all eligible individuals with the most significant disabilities and eligible individuals with significant disabilities have been selected to receive VR services.

Eligible individuals who are not considered to be individuals with most significant disabilities but to be individuals with significant disabilities (Priority Category II) or individuals with a disability ( Priority Category III) will be informed of their status and given the opportunity to appeal their priority assignment; and

(a) to be placed on a wait list within their category based on the date of the priority decision; or

(b) have their case closed

Individuals with a disability only may be selected to receive vocational rehabilitation services after all individuals with the most significant disabilities and all individuals with significant disabilities have been selected to receive vocational rehabilitation services.

Individuals choosing to be placed on a waiting list will be contacted by the Commission after a year and given an opportunity to remain on the list or to have their cases be closed. If the Commission is unable to contact the individual his or her case will be closed.

Individuals who choose to have their cases closed may also be referred 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 RSA 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
1 32,600 3,479 3,000 30 months $3,500
2 117 70 20 18 months $2,300
3 33 19 10 18 months $1,000

This screen was last updated on Aug 27 2012 10:39AM 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.

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

NARRATIVE

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’12 the SES has established the following need areas and funding levels. We are anticipating similar need areas for FY’ 13:

Area Disability Type Funding of Clients served

Greater Boston TBI

MR

MH

PD

ASP $151,000 21

Greater Worcester Area TBI

MH

MR

PD

ASP $75,000 11

Western Region TBI

MH

MR

PD

ASP $45.000 7

Central TBI

MR

MH

PD

ASP $54,000 8

Southeast TBI

MR

MH

PD

ASP $105,000 15

Northeast TBI

MR

MH

PD

ASP $44,000 7

Total $474,000 69

This screen was last updated on Jun 22 2012 10:21AM 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.

Strategies for Goals and Priorities

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, in cooperation with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), conducted a needs assessment during fiscal year 2011 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.

 

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

The Easter Seals Program of Adaptive Assistance

For the purposes of this program adaptive assistance is defined to be devices, aids, and enhancements for the elimination of barriers encountered by individuals with disabilities, primarily individuals with the most significant disabilities. Adaptive assistance is defined as services that either 1) supplement or enhance functions of the individual or 2) that impact on the environment through environmental changes, e.g., workshop modifications. Rehabilitation technology specialists may prescribe both types of rehabilitation technology services in order to create and/or maximize employment opportunities for the individual with a disability. The rehabilitation technology services are provided to lead to and/or expand vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities.

Persons served under this program were applicants or clients of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Target population is individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom rehabilitation technology services are being considered as potentially eliminating barriers to vocational rehabilitation and/or enhancing vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities. Population includes:

1) Applicants undergoing evaluation of vocational rehabilitation potential, especially when the disabling condition of the individual is of such a nature and severity that rehabilitation technology services could result in a determination of ineligibility;

2) Eligible vocational rehabilitation clients for whom rehabilitation technology is being considered to assist the client to attain intermediate objectives and long-range rehabilitation goals; and

3) Eligible employed individuals to eliminate barriers to and/or enhance capacities for successful job performance.

Adaptive assistance evaluations, training, and consultations for individuals with disabilities served by the vocational rehabilitation program were:

1) Assessments of functional capacities of individuals with disabilities to include determinations of if and how the provision of rehabilitation technology services is likely to affect the capacity of the individual to perform successfully in competitive employment and/or enhance opportunities for the development of capacities for competitive employment;

2) Recommendations of specific rehabilitation technology for individuals with disabilities to include descriptions of related barriers to be eliminated and descriptions of functional capacities to be attained;

3) Rehabilitation technology training to affect the capacity of the individual with a disability to utilize specific assistive technology devices (equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities) and thus perform successfully in competitive employment and/or enhance opportunities for the development of capacities for competitive employment; and

4) Consultations to be provided to Commission staff to address the elimination of disability-related barriers, improvement of opportunities for competitive employment, and the development of functional capacities of individuals.

 

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

Outreach 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 with whom MRC has developed an ageement 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 DDS 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.

 

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

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.

 

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

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.

 

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

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), 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.

 

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 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:

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 Driver Evaluation and Training

6)ARRA-funded Workforce Investment with Employment Service Specialists and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

7)Summer Youth Internships

8)Vocational Testing-Job Matching Occupational Specific Web-Based Training Initiative

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 22 2012 10:27AM 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.

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Fiscal year 2011 goal achievement was as follows:

Referrals:

Goal: 13,500

Achieved: 21,217

Percent: 157%

Applicants:

Goal: 9,000

Achieved: 11,294

Percent: 125%

Acceptances

Goal: 7,678

Achieved: 810,786

Percent: 140%

IPE’s

Goal: 6,183

Achieved: 7,662

Percent: 124%

Vocational Rehabilitations

Goal: 3,300

Achieved: 3,478

Percent: 105%

SD Rehabilitations:

Goal: 3,300

Achieved: 3,300

Percent: 105%

Served:

Goal: 33,254

Achieved: 31,496

Percent: 95%

Fiscal year 2012 goal achievement is anticipated as follows: (through 6/1)

Referrals:

Goal: 13,500

Estimate: 13,418

Percent: 99%

Applicants

Goal: 9,000

Estimate: 7,117

Percent: 79%

Acceptances

Goal: 8,000

Estimate: 6,854

Percent: 85%

IPE’s

Goal: 6,500

Estimate: 4,505

Percent: 69%

Vocational Rehabilitations:

Goal: 3,479

Estimate: 2,279

Percent: 65%

SD Rehabilitations

Goal: 3,479

Estimate: 2,279

Percent: 65%

Served:

Goal: 32,600

Estimate: 30,986

Percent: 95%

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.

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.

In FY2011, the Commission exceeded its goal in rehabilitations. As of June 1, 2012, rehabilitations are ahead of what they were this time last year so we hope to meet our goal for 2012. The economy continues to contract however leading to more cuts in state and local services because of these cuts the Commission continues to experience increases in referrals for services.

This 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.

At this time the Commission has determined that funds are sufficient to provide vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals.

In the event that funds are deemed to be insufficient to select all eligible individuals, the Commission has an order of selection in place that specifies those individuals with the most significant disabilities (Priority I )be selected first . Eligible individuals who are considered to be individuals with significant disabilities (Priority Category II) will be selected only after all individuals with the most significant disabilities have been selected.

Those eligible individuals with a disability (Priority Category III) will be selected only after all individuals with the most significant disabilities and all those individuals with significant disabilities have been selected to receive services. Under an order of selection individuals who are considered to be in priority categories II and III will be informed of their status and given the opportunity to appeal their priority assignment; and

(a) to be placed on a wait list within their category based on the date of the priority decision; or

(b) have their cases closed.

 

Supported Employment Program

Fiscal year 2012 goal achievement is anticipated as follows:

Referrals:

Goal: 228

Estimate: 275

Percent:

121%

Applicants:

Goal: 206

Estimate: 200

Percent: 97%

Acceptances:

Goal: 180

Estimate: 200

Percent: 111%

IPE’s:

Goal: 152

Estimate: 200

Percent: 132%

Vocational Rehabilitations:

Goal: 72

Estimate: 77

Percent: 107%

S D Rehabilitations

Goal: 72

Estimate: 77

Percent: 107%

Served:

Goal: 400

Estimate: 460

Percent: 115%

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 evaluation standards and performance indicators. Indicators represent performance benchmarks upon which MRC is evaluated each federal fiscal year. (October – September). MRC conducted this analysis of the Standards & Indicators on the basis of the 2011 Federal Fiscal year to review the agency’s performance for that year.

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 as follows: 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5*

In FY 2011, MRC successfully passed these performance standards, achieving RSA goals in 4 out of 6 areas overall and 2 of 3 primary indicators.

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: 3,173 FY’10 o MRC Performance: 3,478 FY’11

Performance Summary 1.1: MRC passed this indicator with a gain of 305 successful closures over last year. 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 a positive impact. The MRC also continues to have large numbers of people come through its doors, which also contributes 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: 49.7% FY 2011

51.8% FY 2010

49.2% FY 2009

55.3% FY 2008

52.5% FY 2007

Performance Summary 1.2: At 49.7%, MRC did not pass RSA Performance Standard 1.2, being below the RSA Standard of 55.8%. This year’s score is lower than the previous year, but slightly higher than the FY 2009 score. The number of cases closed unsuccessfully in status 28 continues to increase, until this year it surpassed the number of successful closures. Efforts to improve performance on Standard 1.2 by increasing the number of 26 closures have been successful. However efforts to decrease the number of 28 closures at the same time have apparently not been sufficiently effective. MRC should continue the policy of 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 should contribute to improvement on this score. MRC has initiated a comprehensive study of the issue, which will assist in the development of policy and procedures to address this issue.

* 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%

o MRC Performance: 99.9% FY 2011

98.9% FY 2010

97.0% FY 2009

97.6% FY 2008

98.6% FY 2007

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 is $8.00/hour. Performance was significantly improved again this year, a sign that counselors are making more appropriate matches between consumer’s 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%

o MRC Performance: 100% FY 2011

100% FY 2010

99.9% FY 2009

99.9% FY 2008

99.9% FY 2007

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, ($12.67) as a ratio to the state’s average hourly earnings ($27.77) 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: .456 FY 2011

.459 FY 2010

.466 FY 2009

.47 FY 2008

.45 FY 2007

Performance Summary 1.5: MRC did not pass the RSA 1.5 Performance Standard, one of the Primary Indicators. There was little change from last year’s score. 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 had suggested that better trained individuals obtain better paying jobs. But in the present economy it will be difficult to achieve a substantial increase in this score.

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%

o MRC Performance: 55.2% FY 2011

52.7% FY 2010

57.1% FY 2009

59.7% FY 2008

59.1% FY 2007

Performance Summary 1.6: MRC passed the 1.6 RSA Performance Standards in FY’11. MRC’s score (55.2%) was 3.2% points over the standard. This represents a significant improvement over last year’s performance. This can be attributed to counselor’s continuing efforts to improve consumer’s economic status by finding jobs, in a difficult economy, even for those who had no previous work experience or who were on some type of public support. In 2010, Massachusetts had the highest proportion of adults with disabilities who received either SSI or SSDI in the nation.

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

o MRC Performance: .96 FY 2011

.97 FY 2010

.90 FY 2009

.92 FY 2008

.97 FY 2007

Performance Summary Standard 2.1: MRC exceeded the RSA Performance Standard 2.1 again this year. The score was slightly lower than last year, but well above the standard for equality of service.

MRC passed 2 of 3 of the Primary Indicators and passed 4 of 6 Indicators overall. Therefore MRC successfully passed the RSA Standards and Indicators performance evaluation for FY 2011.

 

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

8) Vocational Testing-Job Matching Occupational Specific Web-Based Training Initiative

Marketing Initiative

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. The Commission hired 9 employment and job placement specialist using ARRA monies. This year, the Commission hired an additional 3 employment service specialists under re-allotment fund to work with employers to develop more OJT opportunities for Commission consumers.

• 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.

MRC has also partnered with AlliedBarton Security, Manpower, TJX and CVS to build long term employer relationships to develop more employment opportunities for MRC consumers.

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, 137 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. Of these 19, 17 have been retained by the Commission and recruited into counseling positions vacated by retiring staff.

• 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.

• 39 Paid Internships provided to Rehabilitation Counseling students as part of a strategy to reach out to VR counseling programs to recruit new, qualified counselors. 15 interns to date have been hired by the Commission as full time employees.

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 served 30 youths during 2011 and is expected to serve an equal number in 2012. Students are placed in a variety of state agency worksites in the Boston, Worcester and Springfield areas.

Vocational Testing=Job Matching Occupation Specific Web-based Training Initiative

The Commission is developing a pilot project to secure occupational web-based training, skills development and job matching services for its consumers in :

1.Microsoft Office Suite( 2003, 2007, 2010)

Microsoft Word, EXcel and Power Point

2.Customer Service

3. Call Center

4. Administrative Assistant and Receptionist

5. Office and Clerical Support

6. Packing and Product Preparation

7. Shipping and Receiving

8. Materials Inspection

9. Preparation for Employment

10. Equipment Assembly

The pilot program will serve approximately 50 to 100 consumers through September 30, 2012.

This screen was last updated on Aug 23 2012 3:21PM 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

Attachment 6.3

RSA State Plan

Federal Fiscal Year 2008

Description of Quality, Scope and Extent of

Supported Employment Services

Preface

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.

Narrative

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

Natural Supports

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 information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 08/27/2012 at 10:39 AM

Last updated by samawalsht

Completed on 08/27/2012 at 10:39 AM

Completed by samawalsht

Approved on 08/28/2012 at 12:12 PM

Approved by rscodiehlm

Published on 09/25/2012 at 12:44 PM

Published by kschelle

The following documents have been identified as being related to the information you are viewing.

  • Monitoring Report for Massachusetts - General — as of December 16, 2009
    DOC (743KB) | PDF (641KB)

  • "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities" — A blueprint for Governors has been issued by the National Governors Association (NGA).
    PDF (4.13M)

  • 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)

OMB Control Number: 1820-0500, approved for use through 03/31/2016

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 25 hours per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The obligation to respond to this collection is required to obtain or retain a benefit (Section 13 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended). Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4537 or email ICDocketMgr@ed.gov and reference the OMB Control Number 1820-0500. Note: Please do not return the completed form to this address.