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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

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

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

Commissioner

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

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

Commissioner

... 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
Robert J. Winglass

Title of Signatory
Commissioner, Maine Department of Labor

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/21/2012

Assurances Certified By

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

Comments:

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Robert J. Winglass

Title of Signatory
Commissioner, Maine Department of Labor

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/21/2012

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. There is in the state a recipient(s) of a grant under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near federal and state reservations. Yes

  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.

The State Rehabilitation Council provided input for this state plan throughout the year.  The SRC; held a public forum at its annual meeting to receive comments on VR services in September 2011, provided feedback and questions for the Consumer Satisfaction Survey, and dedicated one meeting to the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment to assist DVR in the development of recommendations and goals.

The SRC hosted a public hearing on April 19, 2012, on the 2013 Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) State Plan during a regularly scheduled State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) meeting. A legal advertisement for the Public Hearing was posted in the Kennebec Journal, Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald for three days, ten days prior to the hearing. This ad invited individuals to comment on VR services as well as the 2013 State Plan. The ad notice with a web link to the DVR State Plan and complete Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment was also emailed to stakeholders, including the chairs and co-chairs of the five councils working with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The public hearing was also scheduled in the Maine.gov Public Meeting calendar.  In addition, a draft of the state plan was posted on the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services’ website, ten days prior to the hearings under the "What’s New Section."  This announcement included the hearing time and places, as well as a DVR contact to request the draft plan in hard copy or an alternative format.  A toll-free teleconference phone number was provided to anyone who could not attend the public hearing and wanted to comment at the hearing; written comments were due May 4, 2012.

Summary of Input from the public:

Comments from the public on the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation 2013 State Plan, The Comprehensive State Wide Needs Assessment and Vocational Rehabilitation Services were solicited at a public hearing on April 19, 2012 and written comments were accepted through May 4, 2012   

Questions from a Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP) representative:

1.       I have a question regarding "performance based contracting" will ME DVR be considering this? 

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies

1.1 Objective: To increase the numbers of successful employment closures for individuals who receive services from community rehabilitation providers from 385 in FFY 2011 to 400 in FFY 2012 to 450 in FY 2013

Strategies:

a.       Convene CRP project group to develop and implement recommendations on improving CRP delivered services. 

DVR Response:

Two recommendations from the CRP Project phase One that will be explored during Phase Two are:

a.     Develop measurable performance indicators to address hard data that is directly related to job placement, retention, and other quality/quantity indicators.

b.     Incorporate these indicators into performance/outcomes-based provider contracts. 

2.       I would like to advocate that the VR program be able to fill vacancies and additional staff especially in the rural areas like Bangor Region. 

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel.

DVR Response:

DVR has requested and been granted freeze request waivers on all the VR counselor vacancies as of May 1, 2012.  This does not include the three positions frozen due to individuals taking the retirement incentive in 2011 those positions are frozen for two years. Bangor is presently interviewing for two VR counselors.

In addition DVR has been able to hire five "Rehabilitation Counselor I’s," to support the VR counselors and run the Career Exploration workshops.   

Comment given by a VR client about VR services:

1.       After referral to the program they felt both they the Comprehensive Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs and Individualized Plan of Employment were poorly written and did not reflect their needs. 

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

DVR Response:

Comprehensive Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs (CARN) training on was made available to all DVR counselors, Casework Supervisors and Regional Managers statewide.  There is also a Procedural Directive (PD) for DVR staff outlining the Comprehensive Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs’ requirements.  This PD is covered in New Counselor Training and all staff are welcome to attend any training modules during the New Counselor Training. 

2.       Did not find out about the Client Assistance Program (CAP) early in the process from VR counselor.

DVR Response:

CAP information is provided at orientation, intake and upon request. 

3.       The response time from e-mail to supervisor was unacceptable; it took a week to get the answer.

DVR Response:

DVR makes every attempt to respond to consumers in a timely manner. 

4.       This individual felt demeaned by both CareerCenter and VR staff.

DVR Response:

The DVR Director forwarded these concerns to the CareerCenter Director to address client’s specific concerns and this individual also spoke separately with the DVR director who in turn followed up with local VR staff. 

5.       Did not like the "one-size fits all" orientation to VR.

DVR Response:

In an effort to meet with all applicants in a timely manner, some CareerCenters have a regularly scheduled DVR Orientation for prospective applicants. The Orientation is also available on-line or on a DVD.  This is an introduction to the VR process. Individuals who want to proceed in applying to VR are then set up with an appointment with a counselor. 

Two more service providers representing individuals who are Deaf, hard of hearing and late deafened joined the hearing and commented: 

1.       It is good to see that services to individuals who are Deaf were included in the plan i.e. signing job coaches. 

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies

DVR Response:

The lack of employment specialists and job coaches with ASL skills was noted in the Comprehensive Needs Assessment and in the final recommendations from the CRP Project Phase One.  There is a strategy under the 1.1 Objective: To increase the numbers of successful employment closures for individuals who receive services from community rehabilitation providers from 385 in FFY 2011 to 400 in FFY 2012 to 450 in FY 2013.

c.     DVR will work with the Maine Center on Deafness in identifying and training individuals with native ASL skills as employment specialists. 

2.       Their agency has received fewer complaints about VR services in the past year.

DVR Response:

The agency commenting holds the contract for advocacy for individuals who are Deaf, hard of hearing and later deafened. 

3.       The video phones (VP) in the CareerCenters have enabled consumers to contact their agency directly, if the individual does not have one at home.

DVR Response:

The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and the Bureau of Employment Services are working together to ensure that access to and within the CareerCenters continues. 

4.       Need more VPs in community spaces.  

DVR Response:

DVR agrees but does not have purview over community spaces, this comment will be forwarded to the Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Heating and Late Deafened as it was their recommendation that advocated that State offices install VPs for individuals who use ASL.        

5.       It would be good for ME DVR to have two more Rehabilitation Counselors’ for the Deaf (RCD’s). 

DVR Response:

DVR presently has three full-time RCD’s, DVR regularly analyzes application and caseload data to see if additional RCD counselors are needed. This is the same process for all specialty caseloads. 

6.      The service provider agency is looking forward to providing more services to the Deaf Community, like the Hearing Aid Program for the low income Elderly and perhaps as an Employment Network under Ticket-to-Work. 

DVR Response:

DVR works closely with this provider agency and hopes to in the future. 

Written comments: 

These are comments received on behalf of the Maine Association for Community Service Providers: 

1.       I would like to formally request a copy of the memorandum of understanding entitled the "Joint Memo regarding vocational support services for individuals receiving services from Adult Developmental Services, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services, February 2010."  We are also interested in the more recent joint memorandum with the Office for Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities (OACPD) that provides guidance for case managers.  Please send them electronically if possible. 

Attachment 4.8(b)(1) Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment System

DVR Response:

These documents will be forwarded to commenter. 

2.       Promoting employment options with young adults who have disabilities is critical as they develop their individual education programs beginning as they enter the ninth grade.  Introduction of vocational rehabilitation services at an early age can help prepare the student and the family to explore activities as they finish public school and look to the future. 

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials

DVR Response:

The following excerpt is from the Memorandum of Agreement between BRS DVR & DBVI and Department of Education:

"In recognition of the importance of promoting information sharing and in order to ensure an effective and timely system of referrals for DVR services, DVR requests that school personnel adopt the following process: 

When a student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) begins the transition planning process prior to entering ninth grade, the student and his/her parents or guardians will receive general information about VR services. This information will introduce VR and will inform the parents/guardians when it is appropriate to make a VR referral. 

When the student to be referred is within two years of school graduation or exit, the services offered by VR should be re-introduced at the student’s IEP or 504 meeting. Both the student and the parents/guardians should have an opportunity to receive materials outlining VR services and to ask questions concerning the referral. If during or after the meeting, they (or the adult student) are interested in having a referral made for services the school will assist in doing so."

3.      We are also supportive of your priority listing of 1 "most significantly disabled" and 2 "significantly disabled" for services. Maine Association for Community Service Providers also supports the development of a training curriculum for employment specialists.  However, we point out that the funding source for employment specialists in the developmental disability world of service delivery are the two home and community based waivers, sections 21 and 29, which have experienced regular cuts since 2004.  Mandatory training requirements add unreimbursed costs to an already burdened program. 

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection 

DVR Response:

The commenter is referring to services provided by the Department of Health and Human Services and legislative cuts beyond the control of DVR.  Employment Specialists are routinely invited to training provided by DVR often at no cost. In FY 2011, a combined training for DVR and CRP’s on technical writing was facilitated by the TACE.  At this year’s Statewide Training event on June 5 & 6, 2012, the first day will be co-sponsored by APSE with Nancy Brooks-Lane and Doug Crandell presenting on Customized Employment. Three of the goals developed for 2013-2015 will also enhance services for individuals with intellectual disabilities:

Goal 1 - To increase successful closures for DVR clients from 705 in FFY 2011 to 800 in FFY 2012 and 1000 in FFY 2013 and 1100 in 2014; thereby substantially improving employment outcomes for DVR clients in Maine 

Goal 2 - To serve all individuals with the most significant disabilities in a timely manner including maintenance of no waitlist for services during the period FFY 2012 – 2015 

Goal 3 - To ensure that individuals with disabilities who may be un-served or underserved or who have minority status have access to DVR services, Maine DVR will increase the numbers of individuals with disabilities from racial and minority groups from 3.2%  in FY 2011 to the ACS 2010 level of 6.2% in FY 2013  

4.       We continue to emphasize that people with disabilities should be supported in work preparation and search just as all people are: assessing the individual and developing a personal plan.  A "one size fits all" model for employment is not appropriate for any job seeker and most particularly people with disabilities, especially significant physical and intellectual disabilities. 

DVR Response:

DVR is required by federal statute and state rule to develop an individualized Plan for Employment. The IPE must be designed to achieve a specific employment outcome, as defined in §361.5(b)(16), that is selected by the individual consistent with the individual’s unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice." The federal citation is CFR 34 part 361.45 "(2) 

In addition, to DVR’s commitment to individualized plans, a new tool - the Basic Career Exploration Workshop for individuals with intellectual disabilities will be piloted in the last quarter of FY 2012. 

CAP Agency Comments: 

1.       Page 29, 4, Individuals Not Meeting the Order of  Selection Criteria; the question we have is how someone can be eligible for services without being in a an Order of Selection Status and receiving services? Also how are these people being tracked, what services are they receiving, and are they being “claimed” as clients of DVR? 

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection  

DVR Response:

Maine DVR assigns all applicants to an Order of Selection category in the eligibility process and tracks data and outcomes by category. Maine will continue this process although Maine DVR has been serving all eligible applicants since October 1, 2010. 

2.       Page 29, the table list client’s within the DVR system over the course of the last eight years.  In 2004 that number was 7655 (active and waitlist) but in 2011 that number went down to 5131.  We understand the number of people in an active status has essentially remained the same.  We are curious where all of the status 04 clients have gone?

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies 

DVR Response:

Since Maine DVR is serving all eligible applicants at present, no one is assigned to status 04 at this time.  During the Waitlist Elimination Project all individuals in status 04 were contacted to attempt to re-engage individuals in the VR process.  All of these contacts were tracked, as well as the next status of each individual.  Some consumers chose to continue with the VR process and went into service plans other chose not to continue and were closed not-rehabilitated.  In FY 2011 106 individuals were closed from status 04. 

3.       Goal 1 discusses increasing the number of successful closures from 800 in 2012 to 1000 in 2013.  We feel this is a very optimistic goal, when you take into consideration the lack of resources due to understaffing and the decreasing number of clients.  Maine DVR has not met the rehabilitation rate for the last two years, could you please further explain given the decrease in resources how this goal will be met? 

DVR Response:

In FY 2011, DVR closed 705 individuals in employment. This was an increase of 23% over the previous year.  The 2012 goal for employment closures is 800; this is an additional increase of 13% over FFY 2011. We agree that the 2013 goal is ambitious, however with the changes in service practice and procedures made as result of the Eliminate the Waitlist Project, DVR has improved both employment outcomes and its rehabilitation rate.  DVR monitors its financial and personnel resources monthly. Based on an increase in applications from FFY 2011 to 2012, DVR has received permission to hire an additional five Rehabilitation Counselor I’s statewide.  

4.       One of the Objectives within Goal 1 is to increase the successful closures of clients using CRP’s.  We are curious about the 320 successful closures of clients who did not use CRP’s. What is the case cost per closure of using a CRP verses not using a CRP, what led them to successful employment outcomes and can this be replicated for other client’s within the DVR system?

Objective: To increase the numbers of successful employment closures for individuals who receive services from community rehabilitation providers from 385 in FFY 2011 to 400 in FFY 2012 to 450 in FY 2013 

DVR Response:

DVR will be collecting data specifically on case cost and quality of employment for consumers who received CRP services versus consumers who did not.  Two tasks being addressed in Phase two of the CRP project will enhance the date DVR collects.

1.       Develop measurable performance indicators to address hard data that is directly related to job placement, retention, and other quality/quantity indicators.

2.       Incorporate these indicators into performance/outcomes-based provider contracts. 

5.       Goal 3, talks about the unserved or underserved or who have minority status.  We find this goal confusing as we are not clear if DVR is seeking to increase the unserved and underserved minority population or if it is attempting to increase the unserved, underserved and minority populations.  Could you please clarify?

Attachment 4.11(c)(1) State Goals and Priorities

Goal 3 To ensure that individuals with disabilities who may be unserved or underserved or who have minority status have access to DVR services, Maine DVR will increase the numbers of individuals with disabilities from racial and minority groups from 3.2%  in FY 2011 to the ACS 2010 level of 6.2% in FY 2013. 

DVR Response:

This goal was written to improve Maine DVR’s outreach and performance with both minority populations and un/under-served populations. DVR has struggled to meet the performance standard in serving minority populations.  Now without a waitlist, DVR will be able to engage more individuals in un/under-served groups.

This is also a mandate under the Rehabilitation Act.

34 CFR - § 361.29 Statewide assessment; annual estimates; annual State goals and priorities; strategies; and progress reports.

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment. (1) The State plan must include—

(i) The results of a comprehensive, statewide assessment, jointly conducted by the designated State unit and the State Rehabilitation Council (if the State unit has a Council) every 3 years describing the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the State, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of—

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

(B) 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 part; and 

6.       Overall, C.A.R.E.S., Inc. believes the 2013 State Plan to be comprehensive with sound and reasonable goals and objectives for the coming fiscal year.  

DVR Response:

Maine DVR appreciates the time taken by the CAP agency in reviewing the 2013 DVR State Plan. 

  • 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.  

Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council: 

Attachment 4.8(b)(1) Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment System

Programs carried out by the under Secretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture

The Division had meetings with USDA Rural Development a few years ago, but unfortunately loss of funding ended those discussions of formal cooperation. DVR is open to working with them in the future.  

1.      What is DVR’s plan to ensure that the work with USDA Rural Development is re-implemented?

DVR Response:

DVR will make available to VR staff members the website information of the USDA Rural Development Program in Maine, it is http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/me/.  The website clearly describes the programs presently available to rural families, VR counselors will be able to connect with the program for clients who may be eligible for their services and grants. 

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials

"DVR will provide a list of Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and the schools they serve to DOE and each school district on an annual basis.  A protocol to serve students who are in out-of-district placements in accordance with current policy will be developed." 

2.      When and how will this protocol be developed?

DVR Response:

DVR currently provides the list of VR counselors covering transition caseloads to DOE and local education administrators annually and upon request.  DVR will work with DOE to develop a protocol for students identified as out-of-district placements.  The SRC will also be involved in the development of the protocol. 

Interagency Disputes; If disagreements arise regarding any aspect of the implementation of this Cooperative Agreement, they should first be attempted to be resolved between the specific parties involved. If this is unsuccessful, the dispute should be taken to the next successive leadership level until resolution is achieved. 

  1. What is meant by the next successive leadership level?

DVR Response:

It is more effective to have any conflicts concerning the agreement be resolved at the level where they occur. If a dispute can not be resolved it will move up the management hierarchy – ultimately resolving issues at the Commissioner level. 

Mission Transition and TransitionME 2011 received financial support from the Maine State Workforce Investment Board to assist in program delivery. This funding will not be available for 2012. 

  1. Without the available funding, will these events still be possible?

DVR Response:

The TransitionME 2012 event is a one-day conference that was held on May 24, 2012 at the University of Maine.  This year it is a collaboration of Maine Parent Federation, DVR, DOE-Office of Special Services, Syntiro, Down East Communities of Practice Planning Committee and the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disabilities Studies.  

The DVR Assistant Director provides representation to the Maine Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities (MACECD). MACECD serves as the State Advisory Panel for special education. 

  1. COMMENT: Changes are occurring in the MACECD.

DVR Response:

This comment is concerning the federally mandated advisory oversight committee for special education - IDEA Part B & C. The Maine Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities is currently being reconstituted to ensure that members have been appointed by the appropriate authority per law.  

  1. COMMENT: Leadership changes have occurred in at Maine Department of Education and the goals of the Memorandum of Agreement continue.

DVR Response:

DVR Leadership has established regular meetings with the Department of Education leadership to review the Memorandum of Agreement. 

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

  1. What training was provided in addition to staff training?

DVR Response:

While CSPD funding is specifically designated for staff training and professional development, DVR provided jointly with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) training to certify Employment Specialists.  Also, DVR provided Disability Awareness/Etiquette training to managers of two businesses.  On April 3, DVR co-sponsored with DHHS and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, a business conference on including people with disabilities in the workforce. 

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment (full version comments) 

D. DVR Services and Expenditures Costs -findings table

A number of service groups saw large decreases, including a dramatic 84% drop in maintenance services from $332,000 in 2007 to $180,000 in 2011, and a 78% drop in transportation costs from almost $745,000 in FFY 2007 to $418,000 in FFY 2011.  Diagnosis & Treatment services dropped by 63%, and spending for Rehabilitation Technology declined by more than 52% from FFY 2007 to 2011 

  1. Why is there such a decrease in the indentified services groups?

DVR Response:

DVR took a critical look at several service areas as a result of the Statewide Needs Assessment 2008 and a a review of the Bureau by the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability of the Maine State Legislature (OPEGA). DVR re-espoused the following principles:

·         All BRS staff is responsible for the fiscal accountability and stewardship of public resources used by the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs.

·         Case services must be necessary to accomplish a specific vocational goal and provided in a cost effective and economical manner.

·         Duties must be separated, so that no single individual can authorize and issue payment for any goods or services.

·         Case records must contain documentation justifying the purchase of goods and services, including authorization and receipt verification. 

In Addition, DVR and DBVI wrote several Procedural Directives re: specific service areas such as Transportation to ensuring; statewide consistency in providing services, maximum efficiency, and economic use of funds. 

This ongoing scrutiny of service delivery and fund usage with the Eliminate the Waitlist Project resulted in DVR being able to serve all eligible clients since October 2011. 

E. Other Populations with Disabilities -V. COMPARISON TO OTHER STATES

In regards to the comparison between Maine and other states on this page and the next couple of pages, is further explanation or hypotheses needed for the discrepancy and to show that Maine’s numbers may be lower but this does not indicate that Maine is less successful in providing VR services to clients?  (For example, on page 40, "Maine’s rehabilitation rates are significantly lower for three of the four disability types.") 

  1. I know that you do address this in part, but I just wonder if more information could be added here.

DVR Response:

Maine includes comparisons with other "peer" states to inform DVR on "How it’s doing." DVR has seen improvement in both employment closures and the rehabilitation rate in its first full year with out a waitlist. The comparison states were not under waitlists, the assumption is DVR will improve in all categories as time without a waitlist increases.  

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies

VI. DISCUSSION

The public forum provided the SRC with some targeted constructive feedback about the DVR program, including transition services, job development and consistency of services. 

  1. How will DVR use this information to improve services or communications with clients?

DVR Response:

DVR looks at the specific feedback and either updates current Procedural Directives or writes new ones to improve services and communication to VR consumers. New State DVR goals - Goal 2 "To serve all individuals with the most significant disabilities in a timely manner including maintenance of no waitlist for services during the period FFY" and Goal 3 "To ensure that individuals with disabilities who may be unserved or underserved or who have minority status have access to DVR services, Maine DVR will increase the numbers of individuals with disabilities from racial and minority groups from 3.2%  in FY 2011 to the ACS 2010 level of 6.2% in FY 2013"  will address many of the concerns voiced at the forum. 

Attachment 4.11(c)(1) State Goals and Priorities  

Findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

DVR had shared with the SRC at one of the meetings that the fiscal concerns (findings) were being addressed. 

  1. The monthly reports which contain valuable case and cost information don’t specifically address these issues, do they?

 DVR Response:

The monthly reports shared with the SRC monthly track case services expenditures and client movement in the system. 

The Findings refer to the 107 Monitoring review done in June 2011, where five of the six findings did address fiscal issues.  Maine DVR has submitted a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) addressing each finding that was approved by RSA.  DVR starts its quarterly reports to RSA by June 30, 2012.  The SRC will be regularly updated on DVR’s progress on the CAP Plan.

 Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection 

  1. It is my impression that an order of selection (OOS) needs to be in place even though currently there is no waiting list, is this correct?  

DVR Response:

As stated in the Plan: The OOS definitions remain in DVR rules should the need arise to reinstate an order of selection.  At this time, all applicants are assigned to an OOS category. This was upon the advice of RSA staff during the 2011 107 Monitoring review. This is consistent with the federal regulations 34 C.F.R. 361.36(b)(2)(i) governing Order of Selection, where a state must establish that it will be able to provide all needed services to all eligible people in the coming fiscal year. 

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals 

Progress on New Goals -2011

Reduce reliance and spending on Community Rehabilitation Provider services.

·         Convene work group to discuss/consider ideas options for this.

Coming together with Community Rehabilitation Providers Project (CTWRP)

The purpose of the CRP Project is to ultimately improve the employment outcomes of DVR clients and ensure that there is a maximum return on the resources invested in employment services for that purpose.

  1. Was this completed in March 2012?  If so, what was the outcome?  

DVR Response:

We have completed phase I and recommendations were presented from six work groups:  Accreditation, Access & Availability (of CRP Services), Business Relations, Referral and Documentation, Communications, and Funding/Billing.  The over 20 recommendations by the six committees were reviewed by Betsy Hopkins, Karen Fraser, Elinor Weissman and Valerie Oswald.  Several recommendations were supported to be implemented in the second phase of the CRP Project which began in May 2012.

Recommendations being considered include:

·       Develop measurable performance indicators to address hard data that is directly related to job placement, retention, and other quality/quantity indicators.

·       Develop state-funded vocational training programs or increase vendor compensation to allow for adequate funds to pay for mandated training.  The other alternative is to not mandate training but add this section as an outcomes-based measure in contracts.  Cost-effectiveness would continue to be an issue with this alternative if reimbursement rates remained the same.

·       VR will work with the Maine Center on Deafness to identify individuals throughout the state who communicate with ASL and who also may have an interest in becoming an Employment Specialist or Job Coach.  Once these individuals are identified, they will go through an approved training program to become certified.  Hopefully, some of them will open their own CRP business and begin to fill this gap. 

Reports on the CRP project progress are regularly reported to the SRC and DVR staff.

Business Relations 

  1. Have the initial hires started with LL Bean?

BRS is awaiting “clearance” from their legal team (for two agreements) before assessments can start for some candidates who have been referred.   DVR anticipates placing six individuals (to start) in the manufacturing center in Brunswick.  These initials hires will likely take place in June 2012. 

  1. The SRC appreciates working collaboratively with DVR staff and looks forward to continuing working together this coming year. 

DVR Response:

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation appreciates the time taken by the SRC members for their help in soliciting feedback and developing comments on the DVR 2013 State Plan and Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 8:59AM by samejohnsona

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Aug 6 2009 8:58AM by samejohnsona

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.

Federal, state, and local agencies and programs

Federal, state, and local agencies and programs Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) works with other state agencies and many Councils and Committees whose focus is on individuals with disabilities. DVR works very closely with the Department of Health and that focus primarily Human Services (DHHS). DVR and DHHS have two memorandums of understanding (MOU); one MOU is with the Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disability (OACPD) serves individuals with development disabilities and individuals with brain injury also known as Developmental Services. The other MOU is with Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS) whose primary focus is Mental Health services. The MOUs address the combined efforts that DHHS and DVR have initiated and clarify roles to improve the successful outcomes for these populations.

Adult Developmental Services; DHHS and DVR "Joint Memo regarding vocational support services for individuals receiving services from Adult Developmental Services, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services" February 2010 "This memo is directed to case managers representing people who are eligible for and receiving services from Developmental Services and to Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors working with these same individuals. The joint memo is an update on the status of services in both organizations, as well as to review the joint long term support process"

• Office of Adult Mental Health Services; DHHS and DVR MOU on planning and implementing an aligned service delivery system that promotes evidence-based practices, Updated September 2011 "This Memorandum is intended to guide the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS)...and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), through its Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS) in the course of planning and implementing an aligned service delivery system that promotes evidence-based practices.. It contains information about policies and processes that pertain to maintaining and enhancing the relationship between these two entities. This Memorandum is not to be used or regarded as a legally binding agreement or contract. Rather, it provides information about the programs and how we intend to work together." Through its strong partnership with Maine’s Office of Adult Mental Health Services, DVR averted a combined state and federal funding cut in SFY 2010 of $1.3 million and $ 1.2 million in SFY 2011 through a re-appropriation of state general funds. Further state budget cuts would result in DVR being unable to draw down its full federal allotment for rehabilitation services for Maine citizens with disabilities.

• Veterans Administration and VR MOU, November 2011 A Memorandum of Understanding between the Maine Department of Labor – Bureau of Rehabilitation Services; Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Division for the Blind & Visually Impaired, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services was finalized and signed in November 2011 "The purpose of this MOU is to set forth the commitments of BRS and VA-VR&E to cooperate to meet the needs of veterans with disabilities... Through the efforts outlined in this agreement, BRS and VA-VR & E will strive to minimize duplication of services, improve information sharing and referral, and coordinate activities in accordance with all applicable statutes and regulations."

• Department of Corrections and VR MOU A Memorandum of Understanding between the Maine Department of Labor – Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Maine Department of Corrections is in process. The staff members from each department have been meeting regularly to developing the MOU. A new Procedural Directive was put in place for working with incarcerated individuals.

DVR Staff members participate on a number of diverse councils, such as the Acquired Brain Injury Council, Developmental Disabilities Council, clubhouse boards, and the Governor’s Committee on Public Transportation. The advocacy and advice of the State Rehabilitation Council, Independent Living Council and Disability Rights Center, as well as groups such as Maine APSE and the Alliance for Full Participation help to ensure that rights are being respected, laws are being followed, and practices are being improved to increase the successful employment of people with disabilities.

Programs carried out by the under Secretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture The Division had meetings with USDA Rural Development a few years ago, but unfortunately loss of funding ended those discussions of formal cooperation. DVR is open to working with them in the future. DVR does support staff involvement in the USDA’s AgrAbility project. In Maine, the AgrAbility project is administered by Alpha One, Goodwill Industries of New England and the University of Maine. The liaison to the project ensures that other DVR staff members are knowledgeable about AgrAbility and related resources.

If applicable, state use contracting programs. The Division has a fee for service arrangement with both private non-profit and for-profit Community Rehabilitation Service providers and contracts with Maine’s sole Center of Independent Living, Alpha One.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2012 9:56AM by samejohnsona

  • 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.

DVR continues its ongoing efforts to maximize and expand available resources and networking opportunities between Department of Education (DOE) and DVR. These efforts continue to benefit both consumers and staff in the most cost effective manner. An Education Specialist with the Department of Education (DOE) participates in DVR planning as a valued member of the State of Maine Rehabilitation Council (SRC). She is the champion of full accessibility of all materials produced and used by DVR for staff training and consumer use. The DVR Assistant Director provides representation to the Maine Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities (MACECD). MACECD serves as the State Advisory Panel for special education.

The Cooperative agreement between the Maine Department of Education, Special Services, Career and Technical Education and Adult Education and the Maine Department of Labor, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired December 2010 was amended September 2011 to update language and clarify funding responsibilities and establish an interagency dispute process. Maine DVR had an on-site 107 Review in June 2011. At that time, the review team made recommendations for changes to the MOU. The agreement was reviewed by all agencies in March 2012 and will be reviewed again prior to September 2012 to ensure currency of information.

Provide information on the formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency The DVR Rules (152c0012009-643) define Transition services in the following manner: Transition services are a coordinated set of activities to achieve an employment outcome. These services promote the 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 include, as appropriate, instruction, community experience, the development of employment and other post-school adult 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 identified in the student’s individualized plan for employment.

DVR will assist in transition planning and in the development of student’s individualized education plan. For students eligible for services with an agreed upon vocational goal, DVR is expected to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment before the student leaves the school setting. In providing transition services, DVR will facilitate the use of community-based services to the extent they are available and appropriate. Services will be provided in the most cost effective manner.

In recognition of the importance of promoting information sharing and in order to ensure an effective and timely system of referrals for DVR services, DVR requests that school personnel adopt the following process:

When a student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) begins the transition planning process prior to entering ninth grade, the student and his/her parents or guardians will receive general information about VR services. This information will introduce VR and will inform the parents/guardians when it is appropriate to make a VR referral.

When the student to be referred is within two years of school graduation or exit, the services offered by VR should be re-introduced at the student’s IEP or 504 meeting. Both the student and the parents/guardians should have an opportunity to receive materials outlining VR services and to ask questions concerning the referral. If during or after the meeting, they (or the adult student) are interested in having a referral made for services the school will assist in doing so.

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 The Cooperative Agreement between the Maine Department of Education, Special Services, Career and Technical Education and Adult Education and the Maine Department of Labor, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired was written during FY 2010. The amended MOU was signed in September 2011.

The purpose of the Cooperative Agreement is to set forth the commitments of DOE and DVR to cooperate to meet the needs of students with disabilities and in particular to better coordinate the process of student transition.

The Agreement also sets forth that consultation and technical assistance will be provided to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including VR services; the mission of the MOU is to help students with disabilities achieve full participation in society by ensuring equal opportunity and access to education, employment and community.

To achieve this mission:

• People will work together for the student’s benefit

• Students and families will be included and respected

• Regular and meaningful communication will be established

• Personnel Development will be collaborative

• Data will be shared to improve outcomes

The parties shall agree on methods to maintain updated information about best practices and resources related to the transition of students including the use of Dispatches and maintenance of a copy of the Agreement on the agencies’ websites.

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; DOE and DVR will work together to inform the following entities about the existence and intent of this Agreement:

• Superintendents of Schools • Directors of Special Education

• Parent Training & Information Center DVR Regional Managers, Supervisors, and Transition Counselors

• Directors of Career & Technical Education

• Directors of Adult Education

• Client Assistance Program

• Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS)

• State Special Education Advisory Panel

Effective implementation requires ongoing communication and sharing of information between the parties. It is especially critical that any changes in resources, regulations, policies and procedures that affect students served jointly by DOE and DVR/DBVI be immediately communicated and that coordinated efforts are made to mitigate any negative impact that may occur as a result of those changes.

DVR will provide schools with an orientation video, brochures, and PowerPoint presentation on services for transition-age youth and a representative to serve as a member of the Maine Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities (MACECD). DVR will also support VR counselors with transition caseloads to join Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC) and participate in regional and state meetings and training. DVR will provide technical assistance to DOE and school districts on disability-specific information and resources issues and issues concerning eligibility and referral for services as requested. DVR will provide technical assistance and training as requested to DOE and school districts on the Americans with Disabilities Act in conjunction with the State ADA Coordinator.

DOE will notify DVR of issues of mutual interest identified during monitoring or as a result of a special education due process finding.

Transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and educational agency that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs; DOE and DVR will collaborate on possible grant opportunities that have an impact on services to students. DOE will assist DVR to share information about vocational rehabilitation services with students with disabilities who may be eligible for VR, and provide DVR with de-identified data on an annual basis of numbers and demographics of transition-age students with disabilities who have reached ninth grade in public and private schools across Maine. DOE will provide information to DVR on eligibility, availability, and accessibility of CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs. DOE will provide technical assistance to schools on IEP transition plan development.

DVR will participate in DOE’s efforts to maintain students in school and to prevent and reduce drop-out rates among students with disabilities. The agency will collaborate with schools on the delivery of the "Career Exploration Workshop" curriculum for eligible students with disabilities. At least annually, an in-house training for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors on topics in best practices in working with transition-age youth will be provided.

Roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; This agreement does not involve any financial compensation or exchange of funds between DOE and DVR/DBVI. However, it is the expectation that in the development and implementation of services, DOE and DVR/DBVI will provide in-kind resources and will promote cost efficiency and non-duplication through collaboration. Nothing in this agreement relieves either party of the responsibility to provide or pay for any transition service that the agency would otherwise provide to a student with disabilities who meets the eligibility criteria of that agency. If a participating agency, meaning a state or local agency other than the educational agencies responsible for the student’s education, that is financially and legally responsible for providing transition services to the student fails to provide the transition services described in the IEP, the education agency shall reconvene the IEP team to identify alternative strategies to meet the transition objectives for the child set out in the IEP.

DOE will provide representation to the State Rehabilitation Council as well as technical assistance and training on educational issues to DVR/DBVI as requested.

The area of depersonalized data exchange has been strengthened and has started between the two departments. DVR will collect de-identified information on informal/formal complaints and due process hearings that involve school-aged youth; this data will be provided on an annual basis to DOE, as well as numbers and demographics of transition-aged students served.

DVR will provide a list of Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and the schools they serve to DOE and each school district on an annual basis. A protocol to serve students who are in out-of-district placements in accordance with current policy will be developed.

Procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services;

• DVR will inform DOE in writing of procedural changes that may impact the eligibility of students with disabilities for vocational rehabilitation services, so that DOE may disseminate the information to local school districts.

• DOE will notify DVR concerning proposed changes in regulations, policies and procedures at the state or federal level that may impact students with whom DVR works. In recognition of the importance of promoting information sharing and in order to ensure an effective and timely system of referrals for DVR services, DVR requests that school personnel adopt the following process:

1. When a student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is in the transition planning process prior to entering ninth grade, the student and his/her parents or guardians will receive general information about VR services.

2. When a student is within two years of school graduation or exit from school, the services offered by VR should be re-introduced at the student’s IEP or 504 meeting. Both the student and the parents/guardians should have an opportunity to receive VR materials outlining services and to ask questions concerning the referral.

3. VR Counselors should be invited to attend IEP meetings for students who have been determined eligible for services as well as in cases where the presence of the Counselor at the meeting would assist in determining the appropriateness of a referral to VR. VR Counselors will provide support to the IEP team to facilitate the IEP process as appropriate. DVR will provide information as requested to school personnel on access to "Long Term Support."

DOE will provide guidance to schools on the release of information (including assessment, IEP, Summary of Performance etc.) for students who are working with DVR or who are in the eligibility process.

DVR will inform the designated school case manager as to the status of the DVR referral/intake process on individual students with appropriate releases. DVR will determine eligibility and provide services to eligible students within two years prior to expected high school graduation or exit.

Interagency Disputes; If disagreements arise regarding any aspect of the implementation of this Cooperative Agreement, they should first be attempted to be resolved between the specific parties involved. If this is unsuccessful, the dispute should be taken to the next successive leadership level until resolution is achieved.

Transition Career Exploration Workshop The Transition Career Exploration Workshop (TCEW) team has completed its efforts to adapt the CEW curriculum for use with transition-age youth. The Transition CEW features many interactive activities and games designed to engage students in learning more about their strengths and interests as they think ahead to possible employment goals. Designed in 45 minute modules, the Transition CEW is a flexible curriculum that can be delivered in collaboration with schools or other youth serving organizations. The TCEW was included as a strategy to improve transition planning in the Maine Department of Education’s State Personnel Development Grant. DVR and MDOE will work together to create a “train the trainer” model to increase use of the TCEW statewide. In one example of collaboration individuals interested in participating in the CEW in Western Maine no longer need to travel thanks to a new partnership with the Region 9 Adult Education Learning Center. As the Center does not offer classes on Friday, they have generously offered VR use of the facilities and computers to deliver the Career Exploration Workshop. A VR Counselor is offering the CEW in a 6-week series to a group of young adults who have graduated high school and are seeking employment.

Mission Transition/TransitionME During the spring of 2011, three “Mission Transition” events were held around the state. Mission Transition offers transition-age youth the opportunity to participate in activities and workshops designed to increase their knowledge of post high school educational and vocational options. The three events drew over 275 students and 50 teachers, families and providers. Two of the events were held on college campuses to introduce students, who may never have visited a college before, to post-secondary education.

In addition to the Mission Transition events, DVR co-sponsored with DOE and other partners, a statewide transition conference “TransitionME 2011” that was held in May at the Augusta Civic Center and attracted over 220 students, families, teachers, providers. DVR staff members presented on a variety of employment-related topics. Mission Transition and TransitionME 2011 received financial support from the Maine State Workforce Investment Board to assist in program delivery. This funding will not be available for 2012.

Upcoming: TransitionME 2012 "TransitionME 2012 – Raising Aspirations" will be held on May 24, 2012 at the University of Maine in Orono. The statewide transition conference will be open to students, families, educators, services providers and employers who are interested in learning more about best practices in the transition from school to post-secondary education and employment. This year’s conference is co-sponsored by: Maine Parent Federation, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Maine Department of Education – Office of Special Services, Syntiro, Downeast Communities of Practice Planning Committee, and the University of Maine’s Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2012 10:09AM by samejohnsona

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

N/A

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 11:00AM by samejohnsona

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.

Supported employment services The Division in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) has contracted with Syntiro, a technical assistance and training provider, to implement and administer a comprehensive workforce development system for Employment Specialists in the Community Rehabilitation Provider sector. This system includes basic certification training, advanced topical skills training and a mentoring component for certified employment specialists. The system was launched in July of 2011. The basic certifying training and the mentoring program are now operational. Syntiro surveyed the provider community to determine what topics they are interested in for the advanced training. The advanced training opportunities will be implemented this year. With the implementation of the workforce development system, certified Employment Specialists are now required to complete 18 hours of ongoing training (advanced topics related to the employment services field) every three years.

In the past year, DVR updated two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Health and Human Services. The MOU with the Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS) OAMHS addresses provision of support services for individuals with mental illness who need supported employment services and maximizes the utilization of all employment and training resources and funds to support competitive employment for people with mental illness in Maine. The MOU also promotes the use of evidence-based practices and promising approaches in supported employment.

In addition, DVR also issued a joint memo with the DHHS’ Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities. The memo was provided as guidance to case managers representing people eligible for and receiving services from both agencies concerning access to and clarification of the long term support process.

Last year, the division, along with our colleagues at the DHHS, partnered with Tambrands, a division of Procter & Gamble, to include people with disabilities in the workforce for a new FlexiCenter Customization Operation at their Auburn manufacturing center. The Tambrands Hiring Initiative, modeled after the Walgreen’s “Quest for Inclusion,” is designed to:

• Result in employment opportunities for several job seekers with disabilities in the greater Lewiston/Auburn area;

• Allow BRS & P & G/Tambrands to demonstrate the value of a workforce that includes people with disabilities;

• Tailor the Walgreens model to a Maine-based business, and encourage business to business promotion of the model to open up employment opportunities in other areas of the state;

• Implement revised business relations practices that can lead to lower costs for BRS employment services as well as lower turnover and increased production for Tambrands and;

• Improve the ability of employers, workforce systems, and human service agencies to leverage access to technical assistance, funds and services to increase employment outcomes for Maine residents with disabilities who want to work.

Maine APSE Maine APSE will co-sponsor the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services’ statewide training conference in June, 2012. The featured speakers will be Steve Wooderson of CSAVR, and customized employment experts - Doug Crandell and Nancy Brooks-Lane.

Extended services DVR was involved in developing and supporting the Fall Forum of the Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council this year, "Brain Injury and Employment." Two staff members were on the steering committee and 25 VRCs attended the full day training. The focus of this training was to present tools and information on aiding individuals with brain injury to successful employment. Brain injury and employment will also be the subject of a breakout session at DVR’s 2012 statewide training.

The Division continues to receive limited funds from the State of Maine to provide the purchase of extended support services for individuals in all disability groups and also specifically for individuals with acquired brain injuries. These funds provide additional support to individuals who need ongoing employment supports.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2012 10:21AM by samejohnsona

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development The system for collecting and analyzing data indicates approximately 10,000 individuals with disabilities will be served by Vocational Rehabilitation in FFY 2012. Current service delivery is performed by Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) staff, which consists of 65 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, two Paraprofessionals, eight Casework Supervisors, and four Regional Managers. DVR staff receive administrative and organizational support and guidance from the Director of DVR, the Director of SIQA (Systems Improvement and Quality Assurance), the DVR Assistant Director, and five Rehabilitation Consultants (program specialists) and clerical/secretarial support services from 17 office personnel.

In FFY 2011, Maine DVR experienced a turnover rate greater than 18% among its Rehabilitation Counselors. Until this past year, DVR has averaged greater than 15% annual turnover rate of Rehabilitation Counselors. Following a change in state administration, a hiring freeze and retirement incentive were implemented, and as a result, Maine DVR entered the fiscal year with six unfilled positions. Maine’s turnover rate was deeply affected by both the retirement incentive and the age of its workforce. Another factor influencing recruitment has been growing opportunities in the private sector which offer greater income potential. Assuming retention levels remain consistent with recent years, it can be projected that DVR staffing needs could require as many as 35 new Rehabilitation Counselors in the next five years. The three current vacancies shown in the table below represent positions frozen and unable to be filled for two years as a result of the retirement incentive package. In examining staffing patterns of all other DVR staff, there appears to be a somewhat lower turnover rate, approximately 13-15% annually. When applying this figure, it can be forecast that Maine DVR will need to replace one Regional Manager, five Casework Supervisors, two Paraprofessionals, four Clerical/Support Personnel and two Rehabilitation Consultants in the next five years. The projections for staff vacancies are dependent upon current levels of funding as well as stability in state hiring and contracts. Maine DVR will keep RSA apprised of developments with this issue.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Director 1 0 0
2 SIQA Director 1 0 0
3 Assistant Director 1 0 0
4 Regional Manager 4 0 1
5 Casework Supervisor 9 1 5
6 Rehabilitation Consultant 5 0 2
7 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor II 65 1 35
8 Paraprofessional 3 0 2
9 Support Personnel 17 1 2
10 0 0 0

 

The University of Southern Maine (USM) is the only in-state institution of higher education that offers a graduate program which satisfies the standards set forth by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). USM currently has 22 students enrolled in its Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling Program and graduated two individuals during the past academic year. USM classes are offered on campus and via distance education. USM does not offer RSA grant funding to rehabilitation program participants at this time.

The University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) offers an undergraduate program in Rehabilitation Services which prepares graduates for master’s degree programs in the rehabilitation field. UMF typically graduates 25 to 30 students a year with a B.S. in Rehabilitation Services. This program does not meet the standards set forth by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) for "fully qualified" vocational rehabilitation counselors (i.e. qualifies to sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam). Maine DVR has offered summer internships to UMF undergraduates to expose them to careers in vocational rehabilitation.

Maine DVR has limited resources to pay educational/training costs associated in its efforts to develop and maintain a fully qualified staff and, as such, conducts on-going investigation of distance education programs that offer RSA grant funding to participants. During this reporting year, Maine DVR has 11 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRCs) enrolled in the RSA-funded distance education Rehabilitation Counseling program at Virginia Commonwealth University and two VRCs enrolled in the University of Southern Maine to complete "core courses" One student was enrolled at Assumption College. During this year, two VRCs have graduated, one from VCU and one from Assumption College. One VRC successfully passed the CRC exam.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Virginia Commonwealth University 11 11 1 1
2 University of Southern Maine 2 2 0 0
3 Assumption College 1 1 1 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel State Government in Maine is currently subject to a hiring freeze. When an opening occurs, administrators enter into a process to request an exemption from the hiring freeze. When permission is granted, the position may be posted and filled. The Division, with the support of the Commissioner of the Department of Labor, continues to work closely with the State of Maine’s Bureau of Human Resources (BHR) to fill vacancies. Recent recruitment efforts, which have included electronic vacancy postings on national and State of Maine websites, through local postings with community providers and through information sharing with Maine’s two colleges that offer a rehabilitation program, have yielded increased and more highly credentialed candidates in comparison to previous years. As a result of the Americans Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, DVR hired and trained 15 temporary staff. Ten of those individuals have been hired into permanent employment with DVR and the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The DVR Director sits on the Advisory Board of the University of Southern Maine’s Rehabilitation Counseling program, strengthening and coordinating the relationship between the two organizations. DVR invites USM and UMF faculty to participate in training opportunities throughout the year.

A Rehabilitation Consultant works closely with the Bureau of Human Resources to assist eligible individuals with disabilities to access Maine State Government’s "Special Appointment" program. This year one VRC II was hired under the Special Appointment program. Two individuals from minority backgrounds were also hired as VRC IIs. Additionally two staff members who use ASL as their primary language were hired this year. DVR has a number of staff with disabilities and provide appropriate accessibility accommodations to support employment. The State of Maine is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

An area of concern for Maine DVR is the retention of qualified staff. The State of Maine has not been able to offer merit or cost of living increases since 2008. DVR is committed to offering personnel development opportunities that enhance the work environment and support service delivery. DVR continues to review and assess essential job functions within the Division in view of the CSPD requirements and seeks the development of alternative and evidence-based approaches in the provision and maintenance of high quality service delivery.

 

Personnel Standards Maine DVR personnel requirements and hiring practices are aligned with the Rehabilitation Act mandates and its regulations. The State of Maine does not have an established state standard for fully qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors so defers to the Rehabilitation Services Administration standard. This standard states that an individual must possess a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, CRC status, or be eligible to sit for the CRC examination when filling Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor vacancies. Priority is then given to applicants and staff who possess master’s degrees in counseling or a counseling-related degree, defined as Social Work, Psychology, Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling - which meets the standard if a graduate course in Counseling Theories and Techniques of Counseling course was completed as part of the degree requirements. Other required courses including: Assessment, Occupational Information or Placement, Medical, Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disabilities, and in Community Resources or Delivery of Rehabilitation Services.

When recruiting or hiring new staff, Maine DVR gives preference to fully qualified individuals. However, if there is a critical agency staffing need and recruitment efforts do not secure a suitable candidate, DVR can hire individuals conditionally. These individuals are required to enter into an agreement to acquire the appropriate credentials to become fully qualified under a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) plan. The CSPD education plans, for becoming "fully qualified" according to the standards set forth by the Rehabilitation Act, are responsive to the needs of the individual counselor, and agreed to by management. The plan is incorporated into the employee’s annual performance review to ensure continuity and progress toward "fully qualified" status. Counselors who require a full master’s degree program to meet the "fully qualified" status are allotted up to five years after completion of their probationary period to meet the CSPD requirements. Those with related counseling master’s degrees who meet the qualifications to sit for the CRC exam or who are currently in a master’s degree program in counseling are provided accelerated time-frames dependent on remaining coursework. Maine DVR strives to ensure that all CSPD plans are accomplished in the most cost effective manner.

 

Staff Development Staff development is delivered through formal and informal modalities. DVR employees participate in annual performance reviews, a portion of which specifically addresses personnel development. At these reviews, staff and supervisors jointly identify training required to address performance enhancement. The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services hosts a biennial, two-day statewide training event at which multiple trainings - identified and prioritized by staff surveys, case reviews and oversight bodies (i.e. State Rehabilitation Council, CSPD Advisory Committee) - are offered to all staff. Training needs and activities are often identified and offered at the regional/office levels through free or low cost workshops. DVR also supports educational programming for existing staff seeking to meet fully qualified status and, for those who have achieved CRC status and require on-going CRC training credits, by acting as a sanctioned provider of CRC training credits.

Over the past few years, Maine DVR has been subject to out of state travel restrictions. Maine has limited RSA-funded In-Service Training Grant dollars to support personnel development. Maine DVR has made continuous efforts to seek and identify pertinent learning opportunities, particularly through the use of distance learning. Videoconferencing capacity has been established on a statewide basis and has led to extensive learning collaborations.

Maine DVR staff also seeks distance training opportunities through webinars, online training and teleconferences such as those offered by the Institute for Community Inclusion and the New England Technical and Continuing Education Center and their electronic newsletters, the National Clearing House of Rehabilitation Training Materials, Independent Living Research Utilization, Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), Workforce3One, Social Security Administration and the National Coalition for Parent Education Advocacy Training Center and Maine’s Parent Information and Resource Center. DVR’s new counselor training curriculum is a three-week, comprehensive overview of the VR process and includes topic areas such as rehabilitation technology, job placement and assessment, vocational counseling, and interactive training modules in casework flow. New counselor training is reviewed and updated regularly to meet the changing needs of clients and to incorporate recent evidence-based practices and requirements of the RSA and CRCC. During New Counselor Training, all DVR staff has the opportunity to refresh skills by attending individual sessions. In addition, training has been designed for paraprofessionals and support staff to increase their knowledge of the rehabilitation process, procedural directives and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Rules.

Training opportunities and conference materials are shared through a number of statewide means, including the Internet and intranet, the CSPD advisory committee, and counselor, managerial and supervisory networking activities and interactions. A library of training resources, including texts, journals and videotapes addressing vocational rehabilitation topic areas is available to be loaned to regional offices as needed. These materials include Institute on Rehabilitation Issues publications, computer CDs offering American Sign Language tutorial, videotapes addressing learning disabilities, Consumer Choice News, National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials, and other documents from the various National Rehabilitation and Research and Training Programs throughout the United States.

Over the past year, a key focus of staff development has been on the implementation of a new case management system, MaineAWARE. Ongoing support and training is available to build staff skills with MaineAWARE.

Title Date Hours Attendance

Three-day Transition CEW Facilitator Training       10/21, 28 & 11/4/2010 18/hr 31/attend

2010 Statewide Training (multiple topics) 11/16-17/2010 4.75/hr 70/attend

New Counselor Training 11/29-12/15/2010 112/hr 8/attend

Comprehensive Assessment Rehabilitation Needs (4 sites) 3/1 - 3/4/2011 5/hr 105/attend

Professional Ethics in Practice (4 sites) 3/1 - 3/4/20111.5/hr 105/attend

Support for Persons w/ Complex Brain Injury Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council Spring Forum 3/24/2011 6.25/hr 5/attend

Maine Medical Center Employment Services Collaborative Training - Working with Individuals with Mental Health Diagnoses (5 sites) 4/8, 5/11, 5/25, 26 & 7/2012 1.5/hr 69/attend

TACE Group Facilitator Skills Training- Working in Diverse Groups (2 sites) 5/4 - 5/11/2011 6/hr 44/attend

DHHS/DVR Long Term Support, Case Management, MOU Working with PCPs 6/8/2011 3/hr 39/attend

2011 Annual Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late Deafened Conference- ’Choices’ 6/24/2011 6/hr 5/attend TACE Truth, Tact & Utility – Technical writing workshop (2) 6/27-6/28/2011 5/hr 93/attend

MaineAWARE Case Management Software Pilot Training 7/11- 7/13/2011 21/hr 10/attend

MaineAWARE Case Management Software Train the Trainer (3 sites) 8/8-8/10/2011 21/hr 45/attend

MaineAWARE Case Management Software Introductory Training (5 sites) 8/15-8/24/2011 100/hr 134/attend Transition Counseling & Post Secondary Accommodations - MaineCite 9/20/20 11 1.5/hr 14/attend

MaineAWARE Case Management Reports 9/21/2011 6.5/hr 25/attend

Introduction to the MMPI-RF: A Guide for Case Management 7/27/2011 3/hr 11/attend

In June of 2012, the Bureau of Rehabilitation services will be offering its biennial Statewide training event with a focus on customized employment.

 

Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs The Division has four staff members who are Deaf (one Regional Manager, two Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (RCDs) and one Rehabilitation Assistant). This staff is able to communicate with Deaf consumers in their native language, American Sign Language (ASL). The recent hire and expanded job duties of a new Division Director for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, who is Deaf himself, has added supervision of Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf to the position’s responsibility. Staff who are Deaf have videophones at their desks for visual communication with consumers. An additional six employees are proficient in ASL, including the DVR Director. DVR offices are co-located in Maine’s CareerCenter network. CareerCenters offer telecommunications devices including Interpretype, Ubi Duo, Videolinks, Video Relay and Video Remote Interpreting. Captioning services are available as needed. An online video introduction to CareerCenter services for individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is available.

Spoken language interpreter services are accessed through a statewide contract for both in-person and telephone interpreting. DVR also employs some bilingual staff.

 

Coordination of Personnel Development Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act As outlined in Section 606, Employing Individuals with Disabilities, of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, Maine DVR continually makes "positive efforts to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities in programs assisted under this title". Currently 25 Transition VR Counselors are assigned to work with the more than 200 Maine High Schools, as well as with out-of-school youth and youth attending private institutions. Transition-aged youth represent one third of all DVR cases in Maine and one of the fastest growing populations served by DVR. Maine DVR has a Statewide Transition Counselor Advisory Group that meets five times each year to promote best practices in the provision of VR transition services.

As outlined in DVR’s Cooperative Agreement with the Maine Department of Education (DOE), DVR will provide technical assistance to DOE and school districts on disability-specific information and resources issues and issues concerning eligibility and referral for services as requested. DVR will provide technical assistance and training as requested to DOE and school districts on the Americans with Disabilities Act in conjunction with the State ADA Coordinator. DOE will provide technical assistance to schools on IEP transition plan development and share information on VR services with transition-age students with disabilities who may be eligible.

In late 2011, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) – Office of Special Services was awarded a five-year State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) from the US Department of Education. Maine DVR was involved in the grant preparation and was asked to be a member of the SPDG advisory committee. The grant targets five significant areas of need concerning personnel development and the education of children with disabilities. Improving transition services is one of the identified five goals. DVR worked with DOE to include the Transition Career Exploration Workshop as a grant-supported strategy to improve transition outcomes for young people with disabilities.

Maine DVR will partner with MDOE to deliver "’train the trainer" training to educators and VR Counselors who can deliver the curriculum in their schools. This collaboration will strengthen the working relationship between DVR and schools in addition to improving transition services and outcomes for students. Maine DVR continues to disseminate and make use of the fully accessible Orientation Video to help individuals, parents, family members, school personnel and professionals better understand and access VR services. The video is available online or by requesting a DVD.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2012 10:21AM by samejohnsona

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 Statewide Needs Assessment 2013 – 2015 Executive Summary

The Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) assists eligible individuals with disabilities to prepare for, achieve and retain employment in integrated community settings. DVR administers the General Vocational Rehabilitation program in Maine for the Rehabilitation Services Administration. A separate program is available to individuals who are blind or have visual impairments through the Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired. This Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment focuses on the General Vocational Rehabilitation program and on the needs of individuals eligible for those services.

The assessment, conducted jointly with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), is designed to answer important questions about the population eligible for DVR services that live in Maine and their vocational rehabilitation needs. It serves to inform DVR’s strategic plan and goal development for the next three fiscal years, 2013 – 2015. In its compilation, we rely on a variety of publicly available sources, including survey information from the United States Census Bureau and data from the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the Social Security Administration. We gathered information from the Maine Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, as well as numerous stakeholder groups, including people with disabilities, employers, and Vocational Rehabilitation counselors.

Maine is a large geographical state, which spans 30,843 square miles. The state is primarily rural in nature with a dispersed population of 1.3 million people and density of 43 people per square mile. Census data available in 2010 indicates that the population is primarily homogeneous with 95% of the residents being white and a median age of 42.7 years. At the time of this report, Maine was slowly rebounding from the 2007 to 2009 period of recession and seeing only modest improvements in the economy and labor market. Historically, Maine’s economy has been based on goods producing industries, such as manufacturing and natural resources, but a trend to jobs requiring higher educational attainment in service producing, knowledge-based industries has been occurring over the last several years.

DVR provides vocational rehabilitation services to thousands of Mainers with disabilities each year, despite significant downturns in the economy and severe state budget shortfalls. A major affect on the data and service provision during the past three years is that in October 2010 DVR successfully eliminated its waitlist in all three disability priority categories, which had been in place since 2001. Between January 2009 and October 2010, DVR worked on streamlining many of its processes to increase efficiencies, contain costs, and contact many people who were on the waitlist (some of whom in categories 2 and 3 had been waiting for years), as well as those who had lost contact with the agency. A large percentage of people were found to either not able or ready to re-engage with DVR at the time they were contacted, which clearly had a negative impact on our rehabilitation rate, but resulted in caseload numbers that were truly representative of active and progressing cases.

Individuals served by DVR remain generally very satisfied with the services that they receive and report feeling that they are treated with dignity and respect. We have also received very positive feedback from providers, clients and our other agency partners that it is extremely helpful to all that DVR no longer has a waitlist. In addition to the Market Decision, LLC, client satisfaction survey, we received valuable feedback by working with our SRC who conducted a facilitated public forum and developed an ongoing client satisfaction survey that is maintained on their website. The public forum provided us with some targeted constructive feedback about the DVR program, including transition services, job development and consistency of services.

In terms of case service expenditures, job development and placement continues to be the largest single service group, representing 20 to 26 percent of total DVR case costs each year. A number of service groups saw large decreases, including maintenance services, transportation costs, and diagnosis and treatment services. DVR has seen a drop in the cost of College or University Training, and Occupational/ Vocational Training as well. Several specific new procedural directives were developed for counselors as guidance in determining that all financial assistance provided is directly related to a specific employment goal and absolutely necessary for an individual to obtain and maintain employment.

In identifying the general population eligible for DVR services and estimating unmet needs of those with significant disabilities, this report used data available through the American Community Survey, the Social Security Administration, and the Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services: • At the end of FFY 2010, DVR had 6,311 individuals in an active case status.

• For that same year, the ACS estimated that there were approximately 73,000 working-age adults with a disability who were not employed.

• Data from the Social Security Administration provided an estimate of 74,729 beneficiaries who would meet the DVR eligibility definition of "substantial impediment to employment."

• Approximately one-third of DVR’s total caseload is students transitioning to adulthood. Of DVR’s sixty-six vocational rehabilitation counselors, twenty-five are assigned to school systems and working with youth in transition.

The Maine Department of Education reported an anticipated need of employment services in 2010 for 10,504 special education students, ages 14 – 20, of which those with learning disabilities and physical impairments were the largest disability populations. That noted, Maine, like the rest of the United States, is experiencing an increase in the numbers of individuals identified with Autism spectrum disorders and the most significant percentage of that increase has been in Lincoln, Hancock, and Waldo Counties – along Maine’s mid-coast.

• The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is a growing partner in the support and delivery of employment services for people with disabilities although recent staffing and funding cuts have negatively impacted access to services for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and brain injury.

  • DHHS supports approximately 4,700 people through a Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services 1915c Waiver, which allows individuals who have been found eligible for the Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities Developmental Services to become prepared for employment through Community Supports Services that can assist the person to volunteer, increase work-readiness skills and address issues of health and safety. Developmental Services provides on-the-job support through the waivers to about 900 people who are working throughout Maine and there are approximately 3,000 working-age MaineCare waiver recipients who are not working. Among those individuals, employment and referral to DVR are revisited during the person-centered planning process at least annually and DVR has seen an increase in referrals since the last assessment. Unfortunately, however, Developmental Services has a waitlist for individuals coming out of the school system to access waiver services, which impacts clients being able to obtain necessary long term supports after DVR services are provided.
  •  In addition to providing ongoing support to over 200 employed individuals with mental illness, the Office of Adult Mental Health Services at DHHS has a number of initiatives that promote employment among the individuals they serve. These include providing funding for community mental health agency employment specialists, as well as expanding the use of a clubhouse model to achieve community-based employment outcomes in three locations across the state.

Vocational rehabilitation services to minorities with disabilities in Maine have always been a challenge to DVR because of the state’s homogeneous population and low ethnic diversity. In a state that has little statistical diversity of minority populations, Native Americans represent a historically recognizable group and DVR continues to work collaboratively with the Houlton Band of Maliseets, which was awarded a five year Section 121 grant in FY 2008. The population of other minority groups is slowly increasing in Maine through resettlement programs and migrant employment, and DVR could do some more targeted outreach to help in the awareness of the program’s availability. A vast majority of DVR’s population is white with only 3% being identified as a minority, which is in comparison to the 6% identified in the American Community Survey.

In addition to the unserved and underserved populations identified above, this assessment also gathered data and provided information on the anticipated vocational needs of incarcerated individuals with disabilities, older workers, veterans, those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Co-location in Maine’s network of Department of Labor (MDOL) One-Stop CareerCenters has provided DVR the opportunity to work in partnership with a number of other programs that are components of the statewide workforce investment system and can support the employment of people with disabilities. In October of 2010, DVR assisted MDOL’s Bureau of Employment Services in obtaining a Disability Employment Initiative Grant to continue work successfully started under Maine’s Disability Program Navigator Grant. Designed to promote employment through increased access to CareerCenter services and programs in targeted regions of the state, Maine’s DEI grant work includes increasing the number of CareerCenter locations that can accept Tickets and provide Employment Network services under Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program to beneficiaries. The CareerCenters also have a number of other employment programs that could serve people with disabilities, such as the Maine Job Bank, a new online accessible CareerCenter tool that allows jobseekers from around the state to be matched with real-time available positions. Although the CareerCenter data is reliant on self-disclosure of disability, participation by job seekers with disabilities is low among the MDOL programs with 6.6% of total Job Bank registrants and 3.2% of all individuals served under the Workforce Investment Act being identified as having a disability. Among those that exit CareerCenter services, the entered employment rate for individuals with disabilities is 66.7% - compared to 73.8% for public assistance recipients or 84% for veterans. Only older workers enter employment at a lower rate – 64.3%. Average earnings reveal a similar picture with individuals with disabilities earning only $7,325 compared to $9,853 for public assistance recipients or $12,401 for veterans.

DVR’s assessment also considered the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) within the state and generally found that the vocational needs of DVR clients are being met although a joint DVR CRP project was underway at the time of this report to improve the employment outcomes of clients receiving CRP services. Surveys of VR counselors and CRPs did note the negative impact of high VR caseloads and hiring freezes on managing cases and supporting CRP referrals with informed client choice, as well as the inherent challenges of job placement in a large rural state during an economic recession. Ongoing professional development for CRPs was identified as important, including disability-specific training on autism, mental health, brain injury and deafness, and there were concerns voiced about insufficient CRP’s that are fluent in American Sign Language. The needs of employers were also considered, including their perceptions of how DVR and CRP services are beneficial in hiring and maintaining qualified workers with disabilities. Since DVR’s last statewide needs assessment, BRS has dedicated a half-time position to develop its relationships with employers and serve as the agency’s single point of contact.

In conclusion, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation completed a major initiative in 2010 to eliminate its waitlist for all individuals eligible for VR services. The significant unmet vocational needs of Mainers with disabilities identified in this Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment lends strong support to the importance of continued effort to sustain no waitlist and to further target several areas raised in this report, including:

• Review and improve use of resources with community rehabilitation providers to increase employment outcomes.

• Continue to work closely with partners at DHHS to provide employment services while people with intellectual disabilities are facing a waitlist for long term supports in work services.

• Continue to work collaboratively with the Department of Education to provide seamless transitions to employment as more and more students seek VR services as they enter adulthood.

• Continue to develop direct relationships with employers and business-to-business supports that result in successful models of employment for individuals with disabilities

• Maintain no waitlist, while continuing to address the high numbers of individuals in Plan Development (Status 10), and focus on those who drop out of the program, including how we can better keep people engaged in the VR program once they have developed a plan.

• Closely monitor financial and human resources in order to continue to maintain no waitlist for services.

The full Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment 2013 – 2015 can be accessed at http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/attach.php?id=371050&an=2.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 9:09AM by samejohnsona

Identify the number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services.

In the comprehensive needs assessment completed for the 2013 State Plan the estimated number of individuals eligible for services based on the American Community Survey of 2010 was 73,000 DVR-eligible adults in Maine. 

Identify the number of eligible individuals who will receive services provided with funds under:

Part B of Title I

The FY 2011 projection for Maine DVR was 3400 new applicants, with 2800 individuals to become eligible for services. Maine anticipates that 1,200 individuals will develop Individualized Plans for Employment and projects more than 575 employment closures. 

In FY 2011, Maine processed 3,472 new applicants, found 3,190 eligible, wrote 1,627 plans, and closed 705 individuals in employment and served 9,884 individuals with $ 6,717,995 in Title I funds.   

Each priority category, if under an order of selection

This is the first full federal fiscal year Maine DVR was able to serve all eligible consumers.  Employment closures in terms of Order of Selection category: 557 or 79% were most significantly disabled; 84 or 12% were significantly disabled; and 64 or 9% were disabled.  In the previous fiscal year 2010 of the 573 employment closures, 572 were most significantly disabled.   

Average expenditure per client in FFY 2011 is estimated to be: $1,400.  The proposed case service budget is $8,400,000. The actual expenditures for closed cases were $8,341,057 with the average case cost of $2,135. 

For FY 2012 the projections are 3500 applicants, with 2900 individuals being found eligible for services.  The projection for new plans is 1200 with 800 successful outcomes. 

Maine plans to serve individuals in all three priority categories in FFY 2012.  The projected number of clients to be served under an IPE is 6000.  The expected services provision by priority category is as follows;

OOS Category 1          30%     1800 individuals

OOS Category 2          50%     3000 individuals

OOS Category 3          20%     1200 individuals 

As of May 2012 Maine DVR continues to serve all eligible clients.  In terms of employment closures for FFY 2012, DVR is projecting at least 800 employment closures as follows;

Successful Closures:

OOS 1             30%                 240

OOS 2             50%                 400

OOS 3             20%                 160

Maine DVR is on track to meet these employment closures. 

Identify the cost of services for each priority category

Maine continues serving individuals in all three priority categories during FFY 2012 and the projected number of clients to be served under an IPE is 6000.  With a case service budget of $8,400,000, the expected services provision by priority category is as follows:

OOS Category 1          30%     1800 individuals             $ 2,520,000

OOS Category 2          50%     3000 individuals             $ 4,200,000

OOS Category 3          20%     1200 individuals            $ 1,680,000 

ME DVR is on track to meet these employment closures. 

 

FFY 2013

For FFY 2013, DVR is projecting at least 1000 successful closures as follows;  

Successful Closures:

OOS 1             30%     300

OOS 2             50%     500

OOS 3             20%     200 

Maine will serve individuals in all three priority categories during FFY 2013 and the projected number of clients to be served under an IPE is 6500 open and closed cases.  The proposed case service budget is $ 8,400,000. The expected services provision by priority category is as follows:

OOS Category 1          30%     1950 individuals             $2,520,000

OOS Category 2          50%     3250 individuals             $4,200,000

OOS Category 3          20%     1300 individuals             $1,680,000   

Part B of Title VI;

The Division received $252,000 in Title VI-B Grant funds and an additional $385,712 in Title I funds for a total of $637,712.  There were 82 applicants, 131 plans written with 117 employment closures.  Title VI provided funds for 142 individuals with 99 employment closures; another 49 were served under Title I funding with 18 employment closures. 

It is expected that Maine DVR will serve 150 individuals with Title VI funds and at least another 49 with Title I funds.  The number served with Title I funds has been stable over the past 3 years.

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

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 9:36AM by samejohnsona

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.

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Goals 2013-2015   

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.

Maine DVR, in concert with the DVR SRC, developed a plan to assess the VR needs in Maine. This included information from a facilitated public forum at the 2011 annual meeting of the State Rehabilitation Council to solicit constructive feedback from current and former clients of Maine DVR. Sixteen individuals gave testimony to a capacity filled room. 

The SRC also provided questions asked in Maine’s 2011 consumer satisfaction survey conducted by Market Decisions, LLC. This is the fourth consumer satisfaction survey conducted by Market Decisions since 2003. The SRC has provided and approved "the state specific" questions.  

·         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.

The SRC reviewed the Comprehensive Needs assessment in March 2012 and were invited to develop goals and strategies to gaps in the system and services to un- served and under served individual. 

·         Identify the goals and priorities in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.

Maine DVR’s Goals Fiscal Years 2013 - 2015

Goal 1

To increase successful closures for DVR clients from 705 in FFY 2011 to 800 in FFY 2012 and 1000 in FFY 2013 and 1100 in 2014; thereby substantially improving employment outcomes for DVR clients in Maine 

Goal 2

To serve all individuals with the most significant disabilities in a timely manner including maintenance of no waitlist for services during the period FFY 2012 – 2015 

Goal 3

To ensure that individuals with disabilities who may be un-served or underserved or who have minority status have access to DVR services, Maine DVR will increase the numbers of individuals with disabilities from racial and minority groups from 3.2%  in FY 2011 to the ACS 2010 level of 6.2% in FY 2013 

Goal 4

Maine DVR will partner with the larger workforce development system to improve opportunities and access for DVR clients as measured annually by documented collaborative activities, technical assistance, and training

·         Ensure that the goals and priorities are based on an analysis of the following areas:

The most recent comprehensive statewide assessment, including any updates;

Maine DVR completed its comprehensive needs assessment and presented it to the State Rehabilitation Counsel March 15, 2012 for comment. Maine DVR’s Goals for FY 2013 - 2015, include measurable outcomes for 2012 goals that are presently in progress. 

The performance of the state on standards and indicators; and

Standards & Indicators are tracked on a quarterly basis and the new MaineAWARE case management system software enables Maine DVR to track in real time if needed. 

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. 

Reports received from the State Rehabilitation Council

No recommendations from SRC to DVR in their 2011 Annual Report. 

Findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

Maine DVR 107 Monitoring Review Report was published November 2011; the findings with recommendations are listed below. 

Finding 1

The Maine Workforce Investment Act (WIA) strategic State Plan submitted to the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) by the Maine Jobs Council (MJC) does not describe how the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program is represented on the MJC and how the members of the State Board representing the VR program will effectively represent the interests, needs, and priorities of the VR program as required by 20 CFR 661.200(i)(3).  The MJC is the body that serves as the statewide workforce investment board in Maine. 

Corrective Action 1

DVR must:

1.1 consult with the DSA and the MJC to develop a description of how DVR interests, needs and priorities are to be effectively represented on the council;

1.2 include this description in the DVR State Plan for Titles I and VI, part B, attachment 4.11(d), State’s Strategies; and

1.3 include this description in the Maine State Plan required by the Workforce Investment Act. 

Corrective Action Plan 1

1.1    Due to the new gubernatorial administration, the State Workforce Investment Board in Maine has been going through some changes.  DVR recently received assurance that Maine’s VR program will have a designated seat on this board, and in fact Carolyn Lockwood, BRS Director, now has a seat at the quarterly Workforce Investment Board meetings.  She is representing both DBVI and DVR on this board.

1.2    DVR will include a description of how DVR’s interests, needs, and priorities can most effectively be represented on this board in its State Plan for Title I and VI, part B, attachment 4.11(d) State Strategies. DVR will share this description with RSA at the end of March.

1.3    The description of DVR’s interests, needs, and priorities will also be included in the Maine State Plan required by the Workforce Investment Act. 

Finding 2

DVR is not in compliance with 34 CFR 80.21(f)(2), which requires grantees to disburse program income prior to requesting additional cash payments. 

Corrective Action 2

DVR must:

2.1 cease drawing down federal VR funds prior to disbursing all available program income; and

2.2 provide a written assurance to RSA, within 10 days of the final monitoring report that it will disburse all program income before drawing down any federal VR funds as required by 34 CFR 80.21(f)(2). 

Corrective Action Plan 2

2.1 DVR has reviewed the reporting changes needed for program income received in federal fiscal years 2010 and 2011.  DVR is in the process of expending all program income and expects to have all program income expended and reported as such on the reports for the period ending March 31, 2012.  DVR ceased drawing down federal funds prior to expending all program income as of September 30, 2011.

2.2 DVR provided a written assurance to RSA on November 21, 2011 that we will disburse all program income prior to drawing down any federal VR funds as required by 34 CFR 80.21 (f)(2). 

Finding 3

As a recipient of federal funds, DVR must administer the VR program in such a manner that ensures the proper expenditure and accounting of federal funds and the proper collection and reporting of all federal funds (34 CFR 361.12 and 34 CFR 80.20(a)).  DVR must ensure that federal funds are spent solely for allowable costs (34 CFR 80.22(a)) and in a manner consistent with the federal cost principles. Although indirect costs are generally allowable under the VR program, DVR must have an approved indirect cost rate agreement in place before it can charge indirect costs (34 CFR 76.560(b) and 2 CFR 225, Appendix A, paragraph C.3.(d)).

Corrective Action 3

DVR must:

3.1 cease charging indirect costs to VR without an approved indirect cost rate or cost allocation plan approved by the cognizant agency; and

3.2 submit a written assurance to RSA within 10 days after the final report is issued that only an approved indirect cost rate or cost allocation plan shall be used in charging the grant, as required by the federal cost principles at 2 CFR 225.  In addition, DVR must assure that it will administer the program in a proper and efficient manner that ensures the proper expenditure and accounting of funds, as required by 34 CFR 361.12 and 34 CFR 80.12(a); and

3.3 submit revised SF-269 and SF-425 reports in accordance with an approved Corrective Action Plan. 

Corrective Action Plan 3

3.1 Maine Department of Labor received a provisionally approved indirect cost rate from US DOL dated October 18, 2011 for FFY12.   Maine Department of Labor will continue to work with the US DOL to receive approval for the indirect cost rates for state fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011.  The US DOL Division of Cost Determination is currently holding approval of these prior year cost rates until the Division reviews an audit conducted by US DOL OIG. 

3.2 DVR provided a written assurance to RSA on November 21, 2011 that only an approved indirect cost rate or cost allocation plan will be used in charging the grant as required by the federal cost principles at 2 CFR 225.

3.3 DVR continues to work with the US DOL-Boston as a liaison to the US DOL Division of Cost Determination to receive approved indirect cost rates for state fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Each quarter, DVR will update RSA on the status of these indirect rate approvals.  The RSA financial reports will be revised and submitted to RSA upon receipt of these approved rates. 

Finding 4

DVR is not in compliance with 34 CFR 361.12 and 34 CFR 80.20(a), which requires all recipients of federal funds to accurately report the financial results of all federally-assisted activities.  VR grantees are required to submit accurate SF-269/SF-425 Federal Financial Reports (FFR).

Corrective Action 4

DVR must:

4.1 cease submitting inaccurate federal financial reports, specifically, SF-269s and SF-425s;

4.2 submit a written assurance to RSA within 10 days of receipt of the final monitoring report that DVR will ensure the accuracy of future financial reports, including the reporting of program income on the SF-425 reports as required by 34 CFR 361.12 and 34 CFR 80.20; and

4.3 correct the SF-269 and SF-425 reporting issues identified in the Draft Fiscal Year 2011 Monitoring Report on the Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Program above and any additional reporting issues that may be identified during the development and implementation of the Corrective Action Plan. 

Corrective Action Plan 4

4.1 DVR will submit accurate federal financial reports, specifically SF-269s and SF-425s, beginning with the quarter ending March 31, 2012 submission and going forward. 

4.2 DVR provided a written assurance to RSA on November 21, 2011 that ensures the accuracy of future financial reports, to include program income.

4.3 DVR will correct and resubmit the SF-269 and SF-425 reports for FY 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 that were identified in the monitoring report as having inaccurate information.  DVR will submit these reports as soon as the cost allocation rates are approved.  In addition to correcting and submitting revised SF-269 and SF-425 reports for FY 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 identified in the monitoring report as having inaccurate information, DVR will also correct any additional reporting issues that may be identified during the development and implementation of the Corrective Action Plan. 

Finding 5

DVR is not in compliance with 34 CFR 361.12 and 34 CFR 80.20(a) because DVR does not utilize methods of administration to ensure the proper administration of the VR program and accurate accounting of VR funds, including the ability to track the expenditure of funds to the VR program. 

Corrective Action 5

DVR must:

5.1 cease using VR funds to pay unallowable costs or costs that lack the supporting documentation necessary to ensure that such costs are allowable;

5.2 submit a written assurance to RSA within 10 days of receipt of the final monitoring report that DVR will ensure VR funds are expended only for allowable costs and ensure supporting documentation is maintained for VR expenditures; and

5.3 develop and implement policies and procedures for maintaining and verifying supporting documentation for VR expenditures (incurred by both DVR and its contractors), and ensuring that funds are not used in violation of restrictions and prohibitions or applicable statutes, and that all program assets are maintained and accounted for, and used solely for authorized purposes. 

Corrective Action Plan 5

5.1 DVR has begun reviewing each cost in a vendor’s budget and gathering supporting documentation to verify that line items are allowable as VR expenditures.  Indirect costs are broken down, so DVR can be assured that each cost is allowable and that none are a duplication of another cost already listed in the budget.  DVR has always reviewed their contracts with vendors and will continue to do so. 

5.2 DVR provided a written assurance to RSA on November 21, 2011 to cease using VR funds to pay for unallowable costs.

5.3 DVR will continue to work with each contractor to ensure that by the end of their contract period, they are in compliance with the federal regulations pertaining to an approved indirect cost rate. DVR is prepared to provide guidance on how to attain an improved indirect cost rate through the appropriate cognizant federal agency if needed.  In order to strengthen its internal controls, supporting documentation will be maintained by the vendor and will be available for random selection and review upon request.  DVR will work with the contractor to approve a reasonable indirect cost rate prior to allowing indirect costs to be charged to the contract. Indirect costs will not be charged to any contract without an approved rate. Once policies and procedures have been developed for maintaining and verifying supporting documentation for VR expenditures, DVR will submit a copy to RSA for their review. 

Finding 6

DVR is not in compliance with 34 CFR 80.40(a) because it does not conduct monitoring activities of its contracts to ensure that grant-supported activities performed by the contractors comply with applicable federal requirements, and that performance goals are achieved.  

Corrective Action 6

DVR must:

6.1 submit a written assurance to RSA within 10 days of receipt of the final monitoring report that DVR will comply with 34 CFR 80.40(a) and monitor all grant supported activities to ensure compliance with applicable federal requirements and that performance goals are achieved; and

6.2 develop and implement policies and procedures to monitor the activities and services of all contracts to ensure that services provided are allowable under the VR program; and  

6.3 evaluate the contractor’s performance against pre-established performance measures to ensure the contractor is providing quality services in a timely manner.  

Corrective Action Plan 6

6.1 DVR provided a written assurance to RSA on November 21, 2011 that we will comply with 34 CFR 80.40(a) and monitor all grant supported activities to ensure compliance with applicable federal requirements.

6.2 DVR will develop a written contract monitoring procedure by April, 2012, to tighten oversight of grant activities and ensure that funds expended are allowable under the VR program.  Compliance with this procedure will be included in the execution of new and amended contracts.

6.3 Each contract between DVR and a vendor establishes written performance measures, which are used to evaluate the quality of services and ensure that the services that are outlined in the contract are being provided.  DVR conducts at least quarterly reviews with the contractor and will take corrective action if the measures indicate that the services are not being provided as outlined in the contract.  Additionally, DVR surveys clients receiving services, which we use to help us monitor the contracts for client satisfaction.  

Maine DVR will evaluate the impact of these corrective actions by reviewing the plan on a quarterly basis and reporting the results back to RSA at that time.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 9:36AM by samejohnsona

  • 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

In December 2001, an Order of Selection (OOS) was implemented with eligible individuals taken off the waitlist based on date of application. On January 1, 2010 Maine’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation promulgated new rules which can be viewed at http://www.maine.gov/rehab/dvr_rules_Jan_2010.doc. The major modification was to the Order of Selection (OOS) section.  

On October 1, 2010 Maine DVR began serving all eligible applicants. DVR continues to monitor the number of individuals in all statuses on a monthly basis. The OOS definitions remain in DVR rules should the need arise to reinstate an order of selection.  At this time, all applicants are assigned to an OOS category. This was upon the advice of RSA staff during the 2011 107 Monitoring review. 

The table below is a snapshot on Oct 1, 2011, that shows a continuous reduction in Individuals in eligibility (10) since 2008, an increase of consumers in service statuses (12-24) and no individuals in delayed status (04).

Fiscal Year           2003         2004       2005        2006        2007      2008       2009       2010       2011

Eligible                  1926        1815        2118        3157        2916     2991        2753       2619       2559

In Service              3575        3639        3006        3056        3052    2602        2486       2515       2572

Delayed 04            1354        2201        2136        1188        1421     1390        1120         426              0

Source RSA 113

 

Description of Priority categories

Identify the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services. 

1.       If services cannot be provided to all eligible individuals who apply, the Director of DVR will implement an Order of Selection as set forth in this section. After determining eligibility, counselors must assign a priority category and follow the Order of Selection set forth below for the provision of services. Individuals who’s IPE has been developed and signed prior to the date of implementation of the Order of Selection will continue to receive cost services. Maine DVR will notify all eligible individuals of the priority categories in the Order of Selection. Eligible individuals in priority categories not currently being served will be notified in writing of their assignment to a particular category and their right to appeal their category assignment. 

2.       The priority category shall be assigned, based on their level of significance of disability; "Level of significance of disability" means one of the following: Priority Category 1, "most significantly disabled"; Priority Category 2, "significantly disabled"; or Priority Category 3, "disabled" as set forth below. 

3.       Individuals with disabilities shall be served first based on significance of disability and second by date of application in the following priority order: 

A.  Priority Category 1, "Most significantly disabled" means an eligible individual who meets the following criteria;

(1)        who has a serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome in four or more functional capacity areas. Functional capacity areas are; mobility, work tolerance, communication, self-care, interpersonal skills, cognition and learning (self- direction), or work skills.  "Serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome" means a reduction of one’s capacity to perform, due to severe physical or mental impairment, to the degree that the individual requires services or accommodations in order for the individual to work or be a fully functioning member of the community; and

(2)        whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services, meaning two or more core vocational rehabilitation services as outlined in Section 9 of this rule, services 9.1 through 9.14; and

(3)        whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require an extended period of time.

 

B.   Priority Category 2, "Significantly disabled" means an eligible individual who meets the following criteria;

(1)        who has a serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome in at least two or three functional capacity areas.  Functional capacity areas are; mobility, work tolerance, communication, self-care, interpersonal skills, cognition and learning (self- direction), or work skills. "Serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome" means a reduction of one’s capacity to perform, due to severe physical or mental impairment, to the degree that the individual requires services or accommodations in order for the individual to work or be a fully functioning member of the community; and

(2)        whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services, meaning two or more core vocational rehabilitation services as outlined in Section 9 of this rule, services 9.1 through 9.14; and

(3)        whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require an extended period of time; and

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

C.   Priority Category 3, "Disabled" means an eligible individual who has;

 (1)       a serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome in 1 or more functional capacity areas.  Functional capacity areas are; mobility, work tolerance, communication, self-care, interpersonal skills, cognition and learning (self- direction), or work skills.  "Serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome" means a reduction of one’s capacity to perform, due to severe physical or mental impairment, to the degree that the individual requires services or accommodations in order for the individual to work or be a fully functioning member of the community; and:

(2)        whose vocational rehabilitation may or may not require multiple core vocational rehabilitation services as outlined in Section 9 of this rule, services 9.1 through 9.14; or

(3)                whose vocational rehabilitation may or may not require an extended period of time 

4.       Individuals Not Meeting the Order of Selection Criteria

Eligible individuals who do not meet the Order of Selection category currently being served will have access to services through information and referral. Individuals will be provided vocational rehabilitation counseling and guidance to assist them in preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining employment, and will be appropriately referred to other programs, including other components of the statewide workforce investment system.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

Maine will continue to serve individuals in all three priority categories in FFY 2013; the projected number of clients to be served under an IPE is 6500 open and closed cases.  The proposed case service budget is $ 8,400,000. The expected services provision by priority category is as follows:

OOS Category 1          30%     1950 individuals             $2,520,000

OOS Category 2          50%     3250 individuals             $4,200,000

OOS Category 3          20%     1300 individuals             $1,680,000

 

Service and outcome goals and the time within which the goals will be achieved

Maine DVR will be serving all eligible clients in FFY 2013 projecting at least 1000 successful closures as follows:  

Successful Closures:

OOS 1             30%     300

OOS 2             50%     500

OOS 3             20%     200 

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 0 0 0

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 9:58AM by samejohnsona

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.

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (VR) Statewide Needs Assessment and surveys conducted throughout FY 2011 addressed the needs and gaps for all individuals who could be found eligible for VR services.  The following goals developed for 2013 -2015, have objectives and strategies for individuals supported under the Title VI grant.  

Goal 1

To increase successful closures for DVR clients from 705 in FFY 2011 to 800 in FFY 2012 and 1000 in FFY 2013 and 1100 in 2014; thereby substantially improving employment outcomes for DVR clients in Maine 

Objective: To increase the numbers of successful employment closures for individuals who receive services from community rehabilitation providers from 385 in FFY 2011 to 400 in FFY 2012 to 450 in FY 2013 

Strategies:

a.       Convene CRP project group to develop and implement recommendations on improving CRP delivered services.

b.       Provide joint training opportunities for CRP’s on topics to promote best practices in employment supports for people with disabilities.

c.       DVR will work with the Maine Center on Deafness in identifying and training individuals with native ASL skills as employment specialists.  

Goal 2

To serve all individuals with the most significant disabilities in a timely manner, including maintenance of no waitlist for services during the period FFY 2012 – 2015 

Objective:  To increase the number of individuals with significant intellectual disabilities who access long-term support funding needed for successful employment from 1700 in FFY 2011 to 1750 in FFY 2012 to 1800 in FFY 2013  

Strategies:

  1. Continue to work in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to address the significant waitlist for employment waiver services
  2. Continue to work with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that all individuals who have the waiver – but have not taken advantage of employment services – are aware of employment supports open to them through coordination between the two Departments.
  3. Complete and pilot the recently developed Career Exploration Workshop appropriate for individuals with intellectual disabilities. 

Goal 3

To ensure that individuals with disabilities who may be unserved or underserved or who have minority status have access to DVR services, Maine DVR will increase the numbers of individuals with disabilities from racial and minority groups from 3.2%  in FY 2011 to the ACS 2010 level of 6.2% in FY 2013  

Objective: Maine DVR will undertake efforts to embrace and implement an “Employment First” philosophy during the next two years as documented by numbers of individuals and organizations participating in the Alliance for Full Participation and activities undertaken

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 10:08AM by samejohnsona

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These Goals, Objectives and Strategies to attain 2013-2015 goals developed based on the recommendations from the 2011 Statewide Needs Assessment

Goal 1

To increase successful closures for DVR clients from 705 in FFY 2011 to 800 in FFY 2012 and 1000 in FFY 2013 and 1100 in 2014; thereby substantially improving employment outcomes for DVR clients in Maine 

Objective: Reduction of the numbers of DVR clients who “drop out” of services from 1627 in FFY 2011 to 1500 in FFY 2012 to 1300 in FY 2013 

Strategies:

  1. Collect and analyze data on reasons for drop out for cases closed in status 30/found eligible no plan developed.
  2. Provide staff training on case management techniques that promote engagement. 

Objective: To increase the numbers of successful employment closures for individuals who receive services from community rehabilitation providers from 385 in FFY 2011 to 400 in FFY 2012 to 450 in FY 2013

Strategies:

a.     Convene CRP project group to develop and implement recommendations on improving CRP delivered services

b.     Provide joint training opportunities for CRP’s on topics to promote best practices in employment supports for people with disabilities. 

Objective: To expand the number of Maine employers who implement diversity hiring activities through engagement with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services’ Business Services Hiring Initiative Team from two in FFY 2011 to four in FFY 2012 to six in FY 2013 

Strategies:

  1. Support the re-establishment of a Maine Chapter of the US Business Leadership Network
  2. Partner with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) to expand business outreach/network
  3. Identify and train local VR and CRP personnel to coordinate referrals and start up activities for new business partners, in each region of the state 

Goal 2

To serve all individuals with the most significant disabilities in a timely manner including maintenance of no waitlist for services during the period FFY 2012 – 2015 

Objective: To reduce the average time in plan development (status 10) from 300 days in FFY 2011 to 240 days in FFY 2012 to 210 days in FY 2013 to 180 days in FY 2014 

Strategies:

  1. Increase use of the Career Exploration Workshop, which has been shown to decrease case length time.
  2. Work closely with the Maine Department of Education to ensure implementation of the joint Cooperative Agreement and best practice guidelines on referral and timely application for transition age students
  3. Deliver staff training and supervision on best practices in IPE plan development 

Objective: To increase the number of individuals with significant intellectual disabilities who have access to long-term support funding needed for successful employment from 1700 in FFY 2011 to 1750 in FFY 2012 to 1800 in FFY 2013

Strategies:

  1. Continue to work in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to address the significant waitlist for employment waiver services
  2. Continue to work with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that all individuals who have the waiver – but have not taken advantage of employment services – are aware of employment supports open to them through coordination between the two Departments.
  3. Complete and pilot the recently developed Career Exploration Workshop appropriate for individuals with intellectual disabilities. 

Goal 3

To ensure that individuals with disabilities who may be unserved or underserved or who have minority status have access to DVR services, Maine DVR will increase the numbers of individuals with disabilities from racial and minority groups from 3.2%  in FY 2011 to the ACS 2010 level of 6.2% in FY 2013  

Objective: Maine DVR will work closely with Maine’s Section 121 VR Grant – Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation, to increase co-enrollment from no one co-enrolled in FY 2011 to four in FY 2012 and six in FY 2013 

Strategies:

a. Maine DVR will include Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation in training and technical assistance opportunities.

b. Wabanaki VR will provide technical assistance to Maine DVR on issues related to cultural competency and best practices in Native employment supports.

c. According to the joint MOU, Maine DVR and Wabanaki VR will meet at least annually to review the agreement. 

Objective: Maine DVR will collect data on the numbers of individuals served – belonging to the following categories in FY 2012 to establish a baseline and future goals:

a.       individuals involved with the correctional system

b.       individuals who are veterans

c.       individuals who are “older workers”

d.       individuals who are “New Mainers” 

Strategies:

a.       Maine DVR will develop and utilize special indicators in its case management system to track individuals who belong to one of the above groups.

b.       DVR will ensure that all materials distributed or published by the agency will be accessible and demonstrate cultural competency.

 

Objective: Maine DVR will undertake efforts to embrace and implement an “Employment First” philosophy during the next two years as documented by numbers of individuals and organizations participating in the Alliance for Full Participation and activities undertaken 

Goal 4

Maine DVR will partner with the larger workforce development system to improve opportunities and access for DVR clients as measured annually by documented collaborative activities, technical assistance, and training

Objective: Maine DVR will partner with Maine’s Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Grant to increase the numbers of non-VR CareerCenter customers with disabilities who participate in Career Exploration Workshops from 3 in FY 2011 to 10 in FY 2012 to 25 in FY 2013 

Strategies:

  1. The DEI team will include two VR Rehabilitation Counselor I’s who will assist in delivering the CEW.
  2. DVR will participate in DEI Integrated Resource Team meetings
  3. DVR will work with the DEI team and others in the Bureau of Employment Services to ensure accessibility in Maine’s CareerCenter network 

Objective: Maine DVR will work with the Bureau of Labor Standards to support integrated competitive community-based employment of people with disabilities by a review and examination of organizations paying sub-minimum wage in Maine with the goal of reducing these certificates from 17 in FY 2011 to 15 in FY 2012 to 13 in FY 2013 

Objective: Maine DVR will use the resources of the Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) to increase the use of labor market information among DVR Counselors from undetermined in FY 2011 to determining a baseline in FY 2012 to an increase of 10%  usage in FY 2013 

Strategies:

a.       DVR will engage CWRI to offer training to DVR staff on use of current labor market information and tools

b.       DVR will work with CWRI to develop an annual snapshot of the employment status of people with disabilities in Maine 

Objective: Maine DVR will develop a Memorandum of Understanding with the public Worker’s Compensation system in order to better serve Maine workers who are in need of rehabilitation services and to increase the number served from 54 in FY 2011 to 70 in FY 2012 to 100 in FY 2013 

Strategies:

          a. Convene a workgroup made up of representatives of the Workers’ Compensation system and Maine DVR to develop a Memorandum of Understanding

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 10:23AM by samejohnsona

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

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Goals 2010-2012 as stated in FY 2010 Plan. 

  1. Increase the number of successful employment outcomes and meet or exceed the Federal standard for the rehabilitation rate.
  2. Serve all individuals eligible for DVR services without a delay.
  3. Review and revise all materials shared with DVR consumers to ensure that they are clear about the agency’s purpose and are accessible in multiple formats, including linguistically and culturally.
  4. Provide training to VR counselors and community employment service providers, which will increase their vocational rehabilitation skills in serving individuals from specific disability and ethnic populations.
  5. Develop an MOU with the Veteran’s Administration.
  6. Review and update the MOU with the Department of Education’s Office of Special Services.

2010-2012 Goals – progress 2011

1.      Increase the number of successful employment outcomes and meet or exceed the Federal standard for the rehabilitation rate.

Maine DVR increased its employment closures by 132 closures, an increase of 23% over the previous year.  The 2012 goal for employment closures is 800; this is an additional increase of 13% over FFY 2011. 

Statewide rehabilitation rate is tracked monthly.  ME DVR’s rehab rate has not met federal standard for several years.  FFY 2011, 46.53% was a slight increase over FFY 2010 44.57%.  In FFY 2012, the rate has already equaled 2011 and based on Maine’s records, the rehab rate historically increases each month in the second half of the year.  

2.      Serve all individuals eligible for DVR services without a delay.  

Maine DVR served all eligible applicants in FFY 2011 and continues to do so in FFY 2012. The DVR Director requests monthly reports on applicants, eligibilities, individuals in service and job ready status.  Case service dollars are also tracked monthly.  The new case management system, Maine Aware, enables the Director to request real-time reports as needed. 

·         Develop and implement service coordination requirements and engage key partners within the workforce development and human services systems and leverage access to funds and services for Maine residents with disabilities who want to work;  

In October of 2010, Maine’s Bureau of Employment Services (BES) was awarded a Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Grant to build on the work successfully started under Maine’s Disability Program Navigator Grant. Designed to promote employment through increased access to CareerCenter services and programs in targeted regions of the state, Maine’s DEI grant work includes increasing the number of CareerCenter locations which can accept Tickets and provide Employment Network services under Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program to beneficiaries of SSI and/or SSDI. With 11 active Ticket holders, the program has recently begun receiving milestone payments and has generated $10,232 in revenue for the CareerCenter system. The DEI grant is collecting limited data on individuals served by the grant. One objective of the grant is to conduct Integrated Resource Team (IRT) meetings on individuals with unmet needs that are impacting employment. During the life of the grant approximately 50 IRT meetings have been held. 

3.      Review and revise all materials shared with DVR consumers to ensure that they are clear about the agency’s purpose and are accessible in multiple formats, including linguistically and culturally.

DVR staff members participate in ITAC (Information Technology Access Committee), with members from the office of Information Services, DOE and DVR to ensure materials being produced by the Department of Labor and participating agencies are in accessible formats.

An opened-captioned video orientation to VR Services was completed and can be accessed on the DVR website at http://www.maine.gov/rehab/vr_orientation.shtml. The captions allow deaf, hard-of-hearing and late -deafened-individuals to view the same orientation as others interested in VR services. 

DVR was involved in developing and supporting the Fall Forum of the Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council this year, "Brain Injury and Employment."  Two staff members were on the steering committee and 25 VRCs attended the full day training.  The focus of this training was to present tools and information on aiding individuals with brain injury to successful employment. Brain injury and employment will also be the topic of a breakout session at the upcoming 2012 DVR statewide training. 

4.      Provide training to VR counselors and community employment service providers, which will increase their vocational rehabilitation skills in serving individuals from specific disability and ethnic populations.

DVR was involved in developing and supporting the Fall Forum of the Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council this year, "Brain Injury and Employment." Two staff members were on the steering committee and 25 VRCs attended the full day training.  The focus of this training was to present tools and information on aiding individuals with brain injury to successful employment. Brain injury and employment will also be the subject of a breakout session at DVR’s 2012 statewide training. 

5.      Develop an MOU with the Veteran’s Administration.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Maine Department of Labor – Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Division for the Blind & Visually Impaired, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services was finalized and signed in November 2011. As part of the MOU implementation, a procedural directive was issued that directs best practice in working with clients who are veterans. Additionally, in the larger offices, veteran liaisons have been identified who will provide technical assistance on veterans’ issues.

"The purpose of this MOU is to set forth the commitments of BRS and VA-VR&E to cooperate to meet the needs of veterans with disabilities... Through the efforts outlined in this agreement, BRS and VA-VR & E will strive to minimize duplication of services, improve information sharing and referral, and coordinate activities in accordance with all applicable statutes and regulations.

6.      Review and update the MOU with the Department of Education’s Office of Special Services.

The Cooperative agreement between the Maine Department of Education, Special Services, Career and Technical Education and Adult Education and the Maine Department of Labor, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired December 2010 was amended September 2011 to update language and clarify funding responsibilities and establish and interagency dispute process.  Maine DVR had an on-site 107 Review in June 2011. At that time, the review team made recommendations for changes to the MOU.  The agreement was reviewed by all agencies in March 2012 and will be reviewed again prior to September 2012 to ensure currency of information. 

Progress on New Goals -2011 

Technology that supports the DVR process

DVR recently replaced its aged electronic case management system with AwareVR, an Alliance Enterprises software product used by 25 state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies across the county, and known here as MaineAWARE. This project was fast-tracked and went live in December 2011.  Intensive efforts involving migration of existing case data, staff training and approval of the system for use in the State of Maine’s technical environment were undertaken. 

During the summer and fall of 2011, DVR field staff participated in a series of training opportunities with MaineAWARE across the state. Over the sessions, staff learned about the software in a hands-on environment. Staff who will serve as local experts and peer mentors also received additional training to assist them in supporting staff in their offices. Beginning in September 2011, bi-monthly Polycom sessions were being held for staff to learn more about specific aspects of MaineAWARE and to respond to any issues that arise. Maine AWARE was also integrated into the New Counselor Training Curriculum for 2012. 

A new initiative for consumers is the Microsoft IT Academy.  This program will allow clients to learn and or improve their skills in a variety of Microsoft products.  This was launched in February 2012. 

Renew project for "Maine as a Model Employer"

Per the Governor’s 2006 Executive Order regarding State Employment Opportunities for people with disabilities, DVR has developed a newly revised special appointment program with the goal of providing a path to state jobs. 

A small work group was convened to look at this plan and help determine how much of it could occur without further funding or additional staff from DVR or DBVI and the updated special appointment process was made available to counselors on line during FFY 2011. 

DVR took the model employer project work to outside employers as a way to strengthen these ties in our communities.  This activity will be concluded during FFY 2012. 

Reduce reliance and spending on Community Rehabilitation Provider services (FY 2010 spent $ 2.6 million)

·         Convene work group to discuss/ consider ideas options for this.

Coming together with Community Rehabilitation Providers Project (CTWRP)

The availability, structure and quality of employment services throughout the state have a direct impact on what DVR is able to offer individuals with disabilities as they pursue their vocational goals. The Coming Together with Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) Project was formally launched in the Fall of 2011. The purpose of the CRP Project is to ultimately improve the employment outcomes of DVR clients and ensure that there is a maximum return on the resources invested in employment services for that purpose.

DVR expends considerable funds each year for job development/placement and on-the- job supports.  In FFY 2010, DVR’s expended $ 2,638,860 with 573 reported employment outcomes and in 2011 $ 3,552,917 was expended with 705 employment closures.  The information system (ORSIS) did not have the capacity to report on employment outcomes by specific service providers, but as of Decembers 2011 the new AwareVR software program will be able to collect and report this information. 

The availability, structure and quality of employment services in communities throughout the state have a direct impact on what BRS is able to offer individuals with disabilities as they pursue their vocational goals.  The purpose of this project is to investigate and implement changes in Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP) services to improve employment outcomes of BRS clients and ensure that there is a maximum return on the resources invested for that purpose.

Deliverables Produced: 

·       Deliverable 1:  Recommendations of VR practice changes in the utilization of CRP services

·       Deliverable 2:  Implementation of VR and CRP service practices that increase client employment outcomes

·       Deliverable 3: CRP Performance Measures

·       Deliverable 4:  Consistency across CRP services throughout the State of Maine

·       Deliverable 5:  Templates for referrals, reports, etc. 

The Team prioritized this list and developed six work groups to develop recommendations in priority areas. The steering Team will compile recommendations from the workgroups and present them to DVR leadership in March 2012. These recommendations will mark the end of Phase One of the CRP Project.

Phase Two of the CRP Project is scheduled from April 2012 through January 1, 2013. In this phase, the recommendations approved by BRS leadership will be piloted. The Steering Team will monitor the progress of these pilots, make adjustments as indicated, and present a report on final recommendations and outcomes. In February, the Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) selected DVR as one of eight states to participate in a research project focused on VR Program Management. The RTAC is studying the link between improving VR program outcomes and a management framework that consists of leadership, customers, mission and strategic planning, human resources and workforce, services and processes, data and quality assurance, and communications.  Over the next year, this opportunity affords technical assistance and funding of $50,000 to support the Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) project.  Phase two of the project will take recommendations from these teams and move them into business practice changes that will ultimately improve the employment outcomes of DVR clients assisted by CRP’s.

1.      Develop Memorandum of Understanding with Department of Corrections

·         Standardize and update procedural directive for referral process regarding the correctional system.

An updated Procedural Directive with Corrections Determining Eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Individuals who are Currently Incarcerated was approved January 13, 2012. This Procedural Directive 2012-01 addresses the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Rules (12-152, Chapter One, Section Four – Application and Eligibility) and Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired rules (12-150, Chapter 101, Section Four – Application and Eligibility) and provides guidance to DVR and DBVI staff regarding the procedures to be followed concerning outreach to Department of Correction facilities and receipt and processing of applications for DVR and DBVI vocational rehabilitation services when the applicant is an individual who is currently incarcerated.

·         Form small work group to review current protocol and recommend changes

·         Discuss how to cross train staff in each department. 

2.      Explore grant opportunities to promote employment opportunities with individuals with disabilities.

·         Collaborate with the Bureau of Employment Services on the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Grant

Maine BRS and DVR were successful in winning a DEI grant that serves Northern Maine.  Two staff were hired as Rehabilitation Counselor I’s. The Assistant DVR director is their supervisor

·         Partner with other agencies

a.       DVR wrote a letter of support for Maine Pretrial Services’ unsuccessful USDOL Re-entry and Reintegration grant application. Based on the interest and partnerships established during the grant writing process, DVR will continue to work with partner agencies to explore similar grant opportunities 

·         Investigate Federal grant opportunities

    1. DVR, with support from a number of state agencies and other organizations, submitted a proposal to USDOL ODEP/EconSYS to be one of the three protege states to participate in the Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program (EFSLMP). The competition for the EFSLMP was very intense with many states submitting very strong proposals. Regretfully, Maine DVR was not selected to participate as a protege state during the first phase. DVR has been invited to join a new Community of Practice designed to complement the EFSLMP. The Community of Practice will enable states to share strategies and resources helpful to advancing the intent of Employment First – which is competitive and integrated employment for all people.
    2. In February 2012, the Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) selected DVR as one of eight states to participate in a research project focused on VR Program Management. The RTAC is studying the link between improving VR program outcomes and a management framework that consists of leadership, customers, mission and strategic planning, human resources and workforce, services and processes, data and quality assurance, and communications.  Over the next year, this opportunity affords technical assistance and funding of $50,000 to support the project currently underway with our Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP).  The CRP project is nearing the end of its first phase, which engaged teams of VR and CRP staff to evaluate our communications, referral process and documentation of services, CRP accreditation, funding model, access and availability of services, and employer relationships.  Phase two of the project will take recommendations from these teams and move them into business practice changes that will ultimately improve the employment outcomes of DVR clients assisted by CRP’s. 

3.      Continue to follow and adapt "After ARRA" plan of how DVR will continue without ARRA funds and positions

·         Explore possible grant/funding opportunities to help us continue this work. (Ongoing)

One of the visions of "After ARRA" was the hope that the staff hired into the 15 project positions would find full time employment within the agency.  At least ten of these individuals have been hired into permanent positions that became vacant since October 2011, in both DVR and its sister agency Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

 

The following Goals for 2010-2012 will benefit all consumers of vocational rehabilitation services especially those individual who benefit from supported employment. 

1. Increase the number of successful employment outcomes and meet or exceed the Federal standard for the rehabilitation rate.

The FFY 2011 Disability distribution Report for DVR ended with 271 individuals with cognitive impairments in service status. There were 150 employment closures with a rehabilitation rate of 47%, slightly higher than the statewide rehabilitation rate. The Title VI Grant provided funds for 142 individuals with 99 employment closures; another 49 were served under Title I funding with 18 employment closures. 

2. Serve all individuals eligible for DVR services without a delay.

In addition to opening the waitlist to all priority categories during FY 2010, DVR updated its agreements with DHHS this past year.   

The SRC’s standing "Committee on Increasing Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Mental Illness" has merged with the "Employment Promotion Collaborative" which is housed in DHHS.  The Director of DVR and SRC members attend. The focus of meetings includes removing barriers to full time employment, the utilization of Ticket to Work Program and the employment specialist program funded by Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS).  Activities are reported to the SRC monthly. 

New Extended Support rules promulgated increasing the annual funds available per eligible individual. 

3. Review and revise all materials shared with DVR consumers to ensure that they are clear about the agency’s purpose and are accessible in multiple formats, including linguistically and culturally.  

The need for materials presented in pictorial format or simple English is being explored for all individuals with lower reading skills. In FY 2010 DVR continued the CEW contract to make the Career Exploration Workshop accessible to more individuals.  A CEW for individuals with developmental disabilities was piloted in June 2011.  Work is ongoing to improve the CEW for this population.  

Business Relations

Last year, the division, along with our colleagues at the DHHS, partnered with Tambrands, a division of Procter & Gamble, to include people with disabilities in the workforce for a new FlexiCenter Customization Operation at their Auburn manufacturing center. 

The Tambrands Hiring Initiative, modeled after the Walgreen’s quest for inclusion, is designed to:

·         Result in employment opportunities for several job seekers with disabilities in the greater Lewiston/Auburn area;

·         Allow BRS & P & G/Tambrands to demonstrate the value of a workforce that includes people with disabilities;

·         Tailor the Walgreens model to a Maine-based business, and encourage business to business promotion of the model to open up employment opportunities in other areas of the state;

·         Implement revised business relations practices that can lead to lower costs for BRS employment services as well as lower turnover and increased production for Tambrands and;

·         Improve the ability of employers, workforce systems, and human service agencies to leverage access to technical assistance, funds and services to increase employment outcomes for Maine residents with disabilities who want to work.

A great deal has been accomplished through this partnership in the past year.  Approximately 40 DVR clients were referred for an assessment to hire at Tambrands. A breakdown of the result of those referrals is: 

Hired:  57.5%

Offer of hire: 7.5 %

Assessment/pre-hire: 15%

Disqualified: 15%

Other: 5% 

The division believes the hiring of 85% of all applicants demonstrates an effective prescreening model.  Overall, there are 60 individuals employed in the Flexi Center with 23 of them hired through the business’ partnership with VR. 

As of March 2012, nine VR referred Tambrands employees have been successfully closed with DVR.  The average cost of successful closure to VR was $1545.75 per employee.  This cost is significantly less then the average cost of successful closure in DVR during FFY 2012 of $5222.03 (70 % less).  Fourteen VR referred employees are slated to be closed successful within the next 90 days.  If the cost of successful closure for these employees turns out to be similar to the first nine successful closure costs, the savings associated for these initial 23 VR clients would equal approximately $84,600. 

Earnings for the employees average between $9 and $10 per hour.  While this is less then the statewide 2012 average of $11.90, it is considered consistent with regional entry level production wages. 

In summary, the Tambrands initiative hiring model appears to demonstrate a cost effective and efficient hiring process.  Significant savings to both Maine DVR, as well as P&G Human Resources (cost associated with pre-screening), can be inferred by the data and can be expected to increase in future hiring cycles.  P & G has been very pleased with the outcomes of the partnership to date, and has made a corporate commitment to promote the model across their subsidiaries worldwide!   

With assistance from Walgreens and P&G, the division has recently entered into a similar partnership with LL Bean.  Initial hires are anticipated in the spring of 2012. 

4. Provide training to VR counselors and community employment service providers, which will increase their vocational rehabilitation skills in serving individuals from specific disability and ethnic populations.

The Division worked closely with the Maine Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and the New England TACE Center (Institute for Community Inclusion, Univ. of Mass. at Boston) to design and deliver a comprehensive workforce development system for Employment Specialists and Job Coaches in the Community Rehabilitation Provider sector.  Currently, several options have been approved that include basic training, advanced skills training and a mentoring component for the basic Employment Specialist and Job Coach Certification training, with an emphasis on web-based programs.  The system was launched on July 1, 2011, and is comprehensive, so that opportunities for basic and advanced Employment Specialist training, technical assistance, mentoring and peer support are available to professionals providing employment services to individuals with disabilities.  

In the past year, DVR updated two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Health and Human Services.  The MOU with the Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS) addresses provision of support services for individuals with mental illness who need supported employment services and maximizes the utilization of all employment and training resources and funds to support competitive employment for people with mental illness in Maine.  The MOU will also promote the use of evidence-based practices and promising approaches in supported employment. 

DVR also issued a joint memo with the DHHS’ Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities.  The memo was provided as guidance to case managers representing people eligible for and receiving services from both agencies concerning access and clarification of the long term support process.

 

Maine DVR again met five of the performance indicators in Standard 1. Rehabilitation Rate 1.2 was the unmet standard still below Federal minimum but improved from the previous year.  Standard 1.1 and 1.2 are monitored monthly; all standards are monitored quarterly.

In FY 2011 DVR met Standard 2, the ratio of minority service to non-minority service rate. The service ratio was .82; the previous year it was .65. This measure is also tracked on a quarterly by DVR leaders.

 

Self-Employment Collaborative

Maine DVR maintains its partnership with the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI), the University of Southern Maine/Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC) and Coastal Enterprises, Inc., (CEI), a micro-enterprise development organization, to develop and implement a coordinated self-employment initiative designed to assist potential entrepreneurs with disabilities in Maine. This resource remains critical across the state in supporting consumers in their quest toward sustainable self-employment. The initiative has been growing slowly since its inception, and each year the number of participants equals or exceeds the previous year. In 2011, 29 consumers were closed successfully, 50 plans were written and 112 consumers were in active status and plan development at the end of the fiscal year.  There were 27 employment closures. 

State Rehabilitation Council Support

Innovation & Expansion funds are used to support the activities and administration of the Statewide Rehabilitation Council (SRC) for the Division and the SRC meets monthly as a full council. The SRC has standing committees that meet regularly. These committees include, DVR/SRC Policy Group, CSPD Subcommittee, Membership, Retreat, Website committee, and the Executive Committee. For more information regarding the SRC, please visit www.mainesrc.org. 

Section 121 Grant Collaboration

DVR continues to prioritize the provision of services to the Native American population in Maine.  Initially, the previous Assistant Director of DVR was an instrumental part of the team who worked with the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians as they succeeded in winning a five year grant under Section 121 in FY 2008-2009 to provide vocational rehabilitation services to Maine’s Native American Tribes in accordance with their culture and native resources.  As the 121 program continues to provide services to the Native American population, DVR continues to provide technical assistance, training, and support to the tribe. 

Currently, DVR is represented on the Section 121 Advisory Committee. In addition, DVR continues to include Section 121 staff in training offered to VR Counselors and other staff.  For example, the 121 staff participates in the DVR State-wide training, as well as numerous other trainings.  Both VR Counselors from the Section 121 program periodically attend DVR staff meetings in an attempt to work closely with DVR counselors to ensure a seamless continuum of services between the two programs.   

Kelly Osborn, Director of the Section 121 program, works collaboratively with DVR staff. She is currently serving on the two State Rehabilitation Councils as well as the Statewide Independent Living Council. In addition, Ms. Osborn also serves on the TACE advisory committee.  She has also developed a Native American cultural training that has been incorporated into the DVR New Counselor Training curriculum.  The 121 Director has also presented the training at various Career Center locations throughout the state and continues to offer this training as needed. 

The Section 121 program serves all four federally recognized tribes in Maine: Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Passamaquoddy Tribes, and the Penobscot Indian Nation. In addition, the program also serves any other federally recognized tribal member living near one of the Maine tribal reservations. Through the MOU with the Maine State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the 121 program will maximize resources and access the state’s in-depth knowledge of the administrative federal laws and regulations that govern the grant.  

Career Exploration Workshop Development

The Career Exploration Workshop (CEW) was in use statewide in FY 2010. Each office maintains its own schedule for the workshops.  Goals set for the CEW process were a consistent product used in each office, better career goals resulting in less time in active status and reduce case service costs with better employment outcomes. The data after the second full year continues to be encouraging. DVR is seeing a consistent reduction in both case cost and time in status for individuals who participate in the CEW compared with those who do not.  The cost per employment closure was close to $1,000 less for CEW participants. The time to closure for employment closures is about 6 months less. 

Transition Career Exploration Workshop

The Transition Career Exploration Workshop (TCEW) team has completed its efforts to adapt the CEW curriculum for use with transition-age youth. The Transition CEW features many interactive activities and games designed to engage students in learning more about their strengths and interests as they think ahead to possible employment goals. Designed in 45 minute modules, the Transition CEW is a flexible curriculum that can be delivered in collaboration with schools or other youth serving organizations. The TCEW was included as a strategy to improve transition planning in the Maine Department of Education’s State Personnel Development Grant.  DVR and MDOE will work together to create a “train the trainer” model to increase use of the TCEW statewide. In one example of collaboration individuals interested in participating in the CEW in Western Maine no longer need to travel thanks to a new partnership with the Region 9 Adult Education Learning Center. As the Center does not offer classes on Friday, they have generously offered VR use of the facilities and computers to deliver the Career Exploration Workshop.  A VR Counselor is offering the CEW in a 6-week series to a group of young adults who have graduated high school and are seeking employment. 

Mission Transition - Educational and Career Planning for Youth in Transition – 2011

During the Spring of 2011, three “Mission Transition” events were held around the state. Mission Transition offers transition-age youth the opportunity to participate in activities and workshops designed to increase their knowledge of post high school educational and vocational options. The three events drew over 275 students and 50 teachers, families and providers. Two of the events were held on college campuses to introduce students, who may never have visited a college before, to post-secondary education. 

In addition to the Mission Transition events, DVR co-sponsored with MDOE and other partners, a statewide transition conference “TransitionME 2011” that was held in May at the Augusta Civic Center and attracted over 220 students, families, teachers, providers. DVR staff members presented on a variety of employment-related topics.  

Mission Transition and TransitionME 2011 received financial support from the Maine State Workforce Investment Board to assist in program delivery. This funding will not be available for 2012.  

MaineAWARE

DVR recently replaced its aged electronic case management system with AwareVR, an Alliance Enterprises software product used by 25 state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies across the county, and known here as MaineAWARE. This project was fast-tracked and went live in December 2011.  Intensive efforts involving migration of existing case data, staff training and approval of the system for use in the State of Maine’s technical environment were undertaken.  

During the summer and fall of 2011, DVR field staff participated in a series of training opportunities with MaineAWARE across the state. Over the sessions, staff learned about the software in a hands-on environment. Staff who will serve as local experts and peer mentors also received additional training to assist them in supporting staff in their offices. Beginning in September 2011, bi-monthly Polycom sessions were being held for staff to learn more about specific aspects of MaineAWARE and to respond to any issues that arise. MaineAWARE was also integrated into the New Counselor Training Curriculum for 2012.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 11:01AM by samejohnsona

  • 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

The Division continues to take steps to ensure the quality of Supported Employment. Our management information system reports provide information on weekly wages, hours worked, and public assistance at the time of application and closure. The reports also provide information on the type of disabilities being served, the cost per case, and the average cost by counselor, region, and state. Planning discussions continue with both Developmental Services and Mental Health Services to work with DVR in tracking employment outcomes. We are able to document individuals who are eligible for VR, but who lack long-term support preventing plan development. 

Maine strives to improve the quality of supported employment services through the provision of various training opportunities. The Division continues to work with the Maine DHHS to oversee the implementation of a comprehensive workforce development system for Employment Specialists and case managers. The inclusion of cases managers in these events is to educate about the importance of work in our consumers’ lives, the sharing staff training is supported by the MOUs between BRS and DHHS. In 2011 classes were held for case managers on employment tools and resources at four different CareerCenters throughout the state. The Division regularly shares relative training and webinar announcements with the Provider community and provides ongoing staff development. 

We have identified minimum training requirements for the new CRPs to become approved providers.  CRPs must provide evidence that all Employment Specialists and Job Coaches have completed one of the BRS approved training curricula.  The Division and DHHS have agreed that any curriculum must be ACRE certified in order to be added to the list of approved Employment Specialist or Job Coach Certification training programs.  It is our expectation that this training requirement and a comprehensive workforce development system, along with other established standards for service provided through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and our in-state accreditation process will continue to improve services to all our consumers. 

The CARF and In-State approval process for CRPs consists of a number of facets such as reviewing policies and procedures that reflect knowledge and application of quality supported employment services in adherence to APSE standards for Supported Employment. Areas evaluated are: mission statement, admission criteria, policy and practice on Assessments, case coordination, client input, health and safety issue, human resource issues such as staff qualifications and background checks, client rights and appeal procedures. Other parts of the approval process include interviews with key stakeholders such as clients, employers, funding agents, etc. 

1. Scope of Supported Employment

The primary services provided to clients in supported employment continue to be Assessment, Job Skills Coaching, and Job Placement. These direct services are provided by an Employment Specialist or a Job Coach, who supports the client through activities such as: intervention with supervisors and peers, and aids integration into the company’s social environment. Other allowable services that are provided when a need is identified include supplemental assessments, social skills training, observation or supervision of the individual, transportation, and facilitation of natural supports. The Division provides whatever is required to achieve and maintain integrated competitive employment.  Based on ongoing commitments from the DHHS Office Adult Mental Health Services to provide extended support to all individuals using the supported employment model when they have stabilized and are ready for extended support, the DVR continues to expand the percentage of individuals with long-term mental illness who require ongoing supports to sustain employment. Changes through the DHHS approved June 1, 2006 increased resources available for the extended support funds for individuals with developmental disabilities. This results in up to 600 hours of Supported Employment services available per year expanding opportunity for extended job supports for an estimated 1400 individuals. We anticipate three to four hundred of these individuals will be applying for VR during the next year. In this past year extended support services have been more limited for individual with developmental disabilities. Developmental Services did implement a new Medicaid waiver program shifting resources from day habilitation services to community supports which includes employment. This has resulted in additional individuals with developmental disabilities being eligible for supported employment with Developmental Services providing extended supports. We developed an agreement which coordinates the delivery of supported employment services including extended supports.  Unfortunately, due to funding cuts the new waiver is not open to new applicants at this time.  DVR and Developmental Services are committed to working with those individuals already on the waiver. 

The Division continues to receive funds from the state to provide extended support to individuals with traumatic brain injuries. We estimate that between 25 to 30 individuals with traumatic brain injury will be able to participate in supported employment using state funded extended support. New rules governing extended support for individuals with brain injury were promulgated.  The changes to these rules were: the name from Head Injury to Brain Injury Extended Support Program; updating language to person first; appeals process made consistent with Chapter 1, DVR Rules; and reference to Head Injury Board removed as this entity does not exist. DVR ended 2011 having served 50 individuals with this funding; 10 new applicants with 7 closed in employment.  

Another state funded program providing long term supports is the Basic Extended Support Program that purchases extended support for all disability groups. Rules for this program were also updated and the changes consisted of updating language to person first, appeals process made consistent with Chapter 1, DVR Rules, inclusion of case management service description and increasing annual services amount from $2000 to $3000.  This funding supported 94 individuals. Presently, the disability groups this program funds include individuals who are visually impaired, individuals with cerebral palsy, and individuals with physical disabilities.  There were 49 applicants and 13 employments closures in FY 2011.  

Transitional employment is also available to individuals with chronic mental illness. Transitional employment recognizes that persons with mental illness, in some cases, can learn a skill at a community based training site and transfer those skills to an actual work site. It also recognizes that the primary need is not always job skills training but emotional support, reinforcement, and evaluation of the client’s mental health.  

2. Extent of Supported Employment Services

We anticipate three to four hundred of these individuals will be applying for VR during the next year. In this past year extended support services have been more limited for individual with developmental disabilities. Developmental Services is did implement a new Medicaid waiver program shifting resources from day habilitation services to employment. This has resulted in additional individuals with developmental disabilities being eligible for supported employment with Developmental Services providing extended supports. We developed an agreement which coordinates the delivery of supported employment services including extended supports.  Unfortunately, due to funding cuts the new waiver is not open to new applicants at this time.  DVR and Developmental Services are committed to working with those individuals already on the waiver.  DVR continues to look closely at the true need for ongoing supports and reserving this model for those with the most severe disability. There were a number of individuals that benefited from the "place" and "train" model without necessarily needing the extended support. There is also greater emphasis on natural supports. 

3. Timing of Transition to Extended Services

The Division’s rules state the maximum time period for DVR time-limited services is eighteen (18) months, unless the IPE indicates that more than eighteen (18) months of services are necessary in order for the individual to achieve job stability prior to transition to extended services. In day-to-day practice, a team approach is used to determine when an individual is ready to transition to extended support.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 11:01AM by samejohnsona

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 06/26/2012 at 10:21 AM

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Completed on 06/26/2012 at 10:21 AM

Completed by samejohnsona

Approved on 09/21/2012 at 6:16 PM

Approved by rscobillyj

Published on 09/27/2012 at 7:43 AM

Published by kschelle

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

  • Monitoring Report for Maine - General — as of November 10, 2011
    DOC (336KB) | PDF (312KB)

  • "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)

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