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

Published September 4, 2014.   Print   Print preview   Export to MS Word   Export to Excel  

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 2014 (submitted FY 2013)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

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 SignatoryJeanne Paquette

Title of SignatoryCommissioner, Maine Department of Labor

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/20/2013

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 2014Yes

Comments:

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryJeanne Paquette

Title of SignatoryCommissioner, Maine Department of Labor

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/24/2013

* 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.

Preprint - Section 2: Public Comment on State Plan Policies and Proceduress

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.

Preprint - Section 3: Submission of the State Plan and its Supplement

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.

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of 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.

Preprint - Section 5: Administration of the Provision of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

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.

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

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.

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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.

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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.

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

The Maine State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) provided input for this State Plan throughout the year. The SRC held a public forum at its annual meeting in September 2012 to receive comments on VR services and to assist DVR in the development of recommendations and goals.

In addition, the SRC hosted a public hearing on April 18, 2013 on the 2014 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, 10 days prior to the hearing. This ad invited individuals to comment on VR services as well as the 2014 State Plan. The ad notice with a web link to the DVR State Plan 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 date was also posted on the Maine.gov Public Meeting calendar. In addition, a draft of the state plan was posted on the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services’ website, 10 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 for those who could not attend the public hearing but who wanted to comment on the 2014 State Plan; written comments were due May 3, 2013.

Summary of Input from the Public:

Comments from the public on the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation 2014 State Plan, The Comprehensive State Wide Needs Assessment and Vocational Rehabilitation Services were solicited at a public forum at the SRC annual meeting in September 2012 and at a public hearing on April 18, 2013 with written comments accepted through May 3, 2013.

Public Comments from clients:

1. Client Comment

I feel motivated to work and learn and go after what I want. I want computer training to develop my skills. I want some technical education so I can get into the workforce.

Attachment 4.11(e) 2 Evaluation and Reports of Progress

Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Goals

DVR Response:

DVR is pleased that the client feels motivated to work and learn and feels supported in the choice of a vocational goal.

DVR works to

• ensure that each client’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) reflects each client’s reported vocational goal;

• support the client’s vocational goal through specific VR services which help to remove any barriers for the client in achieving the vocational goal;

• ensure that all services serve to assist the client in the ability to attain the IPE vocational goal.

DVR has begun offering Career Exploration Workshops (CEW) to assist clients in identifying their skills, abilities and interests. Two CEW activities use computer models to assist clients. The CEW includes information on post secondary training programs, such as computer training, etc. DVR staff work closely with Maine CareerCenters, Adult Education Programs and community colleges and routinely inform clients of workshops and trainings, including computer training. DVR provides support for clients to enroll in trainings of their choice such as CareerCenter, Adult Education or community college courses.

2. Client Comment

I have had 3 changes in my advisors. This is hard as each time it feels I have to start all over again.

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

DVR Response:

The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CCRC)

Identifies the “Counseling Relationship” as a “key component” of the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)/CRCC Code of Ethics: http://www.crccertification.com/pages/crc_ccrc_code_of_ethics/10.php

DVR has developed strategies to retain VR counselors which will result in better continuity of counselors and thereby increase the effectiveness of client/counselor relationships. New counselors who are not CRC-certified agree to pursue a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, which concludes with an exam for CRC certification as well as a multi-year commitment to work for DVR. Currently 55% of VR counselors are fully qualified, with additional VR counselors currently enrolled in Rehabilitation Counseling Master’s degree programs.

Another DVR strategy to retain counselors has been to provide ongoing professional development training opportunities. During FY 2012 counselors participated in 34 VR-sponsored professional development trainings, averaging more than two trainings per month. Counselor trainings have included: World of Work Inventory, Employment Readiness Scale, Well Managed Caseloads and more. Professional development trainings have also included webinars, online trainings and teleconference trainings. Such trainings have advanced counselor knowledge and counseling skills, building more professional and effective counseling strategies, important for a productive client/counselor relationship as well as client employment outcomes.

Furthermore, DVR has begun peer-to-peer “Best Practices” trainings which include an emphasis on the statistically-supported importance of the establishment and retention of a good client/counselor relationship.

3. Client Comment

I need to know where the businesses are that hire PWD.

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services; Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies

DVR Response:

In fall of 2012 DVR developed a new employer initiative with two full time staff working closely with Maine businesses to promote the hiring of people with disabilities. The DVR employer relations staff meets regularly with employers throughout Maine and disseminates employer hiring information to counselors and community resource providers.

DVR has also embarked on a collaboration with the Maine Business Leadership Network (MBLN), which is part of a national network of employers who address and promote recruitment and retention of hiring people with disabilities. This year the MBLN held two forums – one on June 5, 2013 in Presque Isle and the other on June 19, 2013 in Bangor to discuss the successes experienced in hiring and working with people with disabilities. DVR has established a close relationship with the MBLN, resulting in an increasing list of employers ready to hire people with disabilities. Community resource providers now have the MBLN as a resource for potential client employers.

4. Client Comment

Need a dedicated staff person looking for jobs/connecting with businesses to help find clients jobs.

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies; 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services; 4.11(e)(2)

DVR Response:

DVR’s Coming together with Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) Project puts in place a method for greater accountability for CRPs with compensation rates based upon clear sequential progress culminating in successful employment outcomes. The CRP Project also serves to improve the working relationship between DVR and community resource providers by providing trainings with strategies to improve employment outcomes.

In early 2013 DVR piloted two successful CRP Fairs, one in Bangor and another in Augusta. Modeled after Career/Job fairs, the CRP Fairs gave clients an opportunity to meet and interview a number of providers and select the provider to best match their needs. DVR is developing a plan to host quarterly CRP Fairs.

In addition to the CRP Project, DVR has established a Bureau of Rehabilitation Services’ Business Services Hiring Initiative Team.

“Consistent with the ‘dual customer’ philosophy, DVR has expanded its capacity to develop and support partnerships with businesses throughout the state. Two full-time Business Relations Consultants are now employed to develop partnerships with large businesses, those with over 100 employees. “

5. Client Comment

First engagement good. Started out well. School staff not interested in helping with planning/action toward next steps. VR advocate (probably VRC) did not help mom/student advocate for what was wanted/needed.

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

DVR Response:

DVR is pleased the client felt that the first engagement with a VR counselor was good and started out well. DVR has been working with the Maine Department of Education (DOE) to collaborate with schools, parents and clients on transition planning to ensure that a client’s satisfactory engagement with VR staff continues throughout transition from high school and on into the world of work.

DVR has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Maine DOE. The MOU outlines a collaborative working relationship with DOE, to include transition planning, vocational goals, client advocacy, etc. Improved transition services are a high priority for DVR. The collaboration with Maine DOE and DVR will help to ensure ongoing communication with all members of a transition client’s support team: high school special education faculty, VR Transition counselors, case managers, and parents/guardians through face-to-face or conference call attendance at IEP and other meetings, emails, etc. The client’s “team” will work with the client to review, evaluate and discuss IEP and VR goals. The team, or “circle of support”, collaboration will result in improved individualized transition planning as well as provide a broad network of resources for advocacy. Such collaborative efforts will benefit the client by putting in place, on a regular basis, the people and resources necessary for ongoing communication and planning to assist the client in making a smooth transition from high school to the world of work.

6. Client Comment

VR needs to help/advocate for PWD. Many folks can’t do this for themselves. Need an active/proactive approach. (re: dorm living, classes, social schedules).

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Goals

DVR Response:

In 2012 DVR established a new initiative, a collaborative pilot Mentor venture with the University of Southern Maine (USM) – a Life Skills Tutor (LST) program – to help clients better understand college life, college resources and college expectations. USM graduate student mentors meet with clients twice each week to discuss and address aspects and uncertainties of college life, academics, resources, housing and any potential college-related barrier. The LST program, currently a pilot project, is a potential model for replication across Maine college campuses to assist VR clients in their work to successfully complete post-secondary education programs.

7. Client Comment

Need for improved communication among all professionals and with consumer/family.

Attachment 4.8(b)(1) Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment System; Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials

DVR Response:

Transition Clients: As part of its MOU with Maine Department of Education (DOE), DVR is engaging with schools by participating in ongoing communication and transition planning as well as through marketing and advocacy, providing materials and resources such as the VR Transition Orientation video, the VR Transition Career Exploration Workshop (TCEW) curriculum and new brochures all of which can be easily distributed to school faculty and to members of a transition client’s team of support. In addition, as part of the DVR MOU with DOE, VR counselors are participating in regional and state DOE meetings and trainings. Overlapping DVR and DOE trainings and overall information sharing between counselors and school faculty on behalf of clients will result in cooperative and improved communication for clients and their families.

One example of the DVR/DOE cooperation, resulting in better communication among education and social service professionals, consumers and their families was the “TransitionME 2012” conference, a statewide transition conference held May 24, 2012 attended by over 200 people, comprising of parents, clients, educators, social service providers, employers and VR counselors.

General Caseload Clients: On behalf of clients, DVR has cooperative agreements with agencies such as the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Veterans Administration, Department of Corrections and the Maine Workers Compensation Board. Other agencies and organizations, such as the Social Security Administration and Alpha One, work in partnership with VR to communicate with clients and provide specific services. The agreements and relationships with various state-based entities promote ongoing communication with professionals and clients. Additionally a myriad of social service agencies such as Sweetser and Spurwink Services as well as Maine Medical Center’s Department of Vocational Services also assist clients in a professional capacity, operating in conjunction with VR counselors, to keep client communication open and disability services intact.

DVR has also increased communication for clients and families as well as outside professional associates with the availability of new marketing materials and Internet access, such as,

• the recent publication of VR informational brochures

• a comprehensive online presence, http://www.maine.gov/rehab/vr_orientation.shtml

• a revised edition of the DVR Consumer Handbook

• the collection of client email addresses on the latest versions of VR applications, allowing ease

of email communication with clients and their families.

WRITTEN CLIENT COMMENTS

The following written comments were received:

1. Written Client Comment

It seems VR has not worked for me for 2 years. Endless delays/dragging feet. Countless delays.

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

DVR Response:

DVR regrets that the client felt countless delays in services. DVR pays close attention to providing timely services to clients. DVR identified its wait list as the primary cause for delays in client services. In 2011 DRV eliminated the wait list. Elimination of the wait list has allowed clients to begin to receive services following eligibility determination. Without a wait list VR services can begin to work for clients without delay with seamless progress from application, to eligibility to employment assistance and employment outcome.

2. Written Client Comment

What’s not working: Uncaring staff, more staff training, poor communication with clients. Change it all.

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

DVR Response:

The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CCRC)

identifies the “Counseling Relationship” as a “key component” of the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)/CRCC Code of Ethics: http://www.crccertification.com/pages/crc_ccrc_code_of_ethics/10.php

DVR has developed many strategies to improve the client/counselor relationship.

Counselors have been provided ongoing professional development training opportunities. Trainings such as Motivational Interviewing, Employment Readiness Scale, Ethical Communication and others have provided information to improve the professional effectiveness of counselors. Professional development trainings have advanced counselor knowledge and counseling skills, building a repertoire of counseling strategies -- important for a productive client/counselor relationship as well as client employment outcomes.

Also, DVR’s peer-to-peer “Best Practices” trainings emphasize the importance of the establishment and retention of a good client/counselor relationship.

3. Written Client Comment

Streamline the system. Need help/guidance. Can’t do manual labor any more. Clarify roles/responsibilities.

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

DVR Response:

In October 2010 DVR began to streamline its processes to improve efficiency and service to clients. The streamlining processes since 2010 have included the elimination of the wait list, adoption of AWARE as a client data, documentation, planning, and purchase delivery software system, and the current Coming together with Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) project to improve accountability and increase efficiency of community provider agencies. DVR continues to evaluate and streamline its processes to maximize efficiency in service to clients.

DVR’s Career Exploration Workshops (CEW) have also served to streamline program processes by providing a higher level of program efficiency through client

• assessments of employment readiness

• self awareness exercises

• identification of potential skills, abilities and interests

The results of client CEW activities are synthesized together and generate lists of client-specific career matches. CEWs have helped to reduce the time it takes for a client to identify, pursue and attain an IPE goal. DVR’s CEWs are available to clients throughout Maine each month. The CEWs are especially helpful for clients who desire a career change as the workshops allow clients to generate a list of careers which align to their current interest, skills and ability levels. In addition to the work of the counselor, CEWs offer added service value and guidance for clients -- and evidence of streamlining.

An explanation of DVR Client Rights and Responsibilities can be accessed through:

• client eligibility letter; client receives Client Rights information with eligibility letter

• client IPE completion; AWARE automatically generates a Client Rights and Responsibilities page; client receives a copy when client’s IPE is printed and signed

• DVR Client Assistance Handbook of 2013, which includes a Rights and Responsibilities section

• online VR Orientation video

• general DVR online information

• DVR outreach events

• newly-produced brochures

• VR counselors

4. Written Client Comment

Selection process of CRPs. Give us more time to review them to make decisions, Give us more information on CRP performance so we make informed decisions.

Attachment 4.11(d) State Strategies

DVR Response:

DVR has recently embarked on a Coming together with Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) Project. The project provides an outcomes-based method for CRP services to ensure greater accountability as well as an incentive for increasing employment results. The DVR CRP Project will simplify the collection of statistical data, with exacting calculation and quantification of the results-based outcomes. Clients and counselors will have access to CRP job development and employment statistics, including CRP percentages for successful employment outcomes. Clients will benefit by the ability to select a provider based on solid statistical employment data.

Another CRP Project benefit for clients will be the ability to access CRP profiles online. CRP profiles will include the respective CRP’s mission statement, employment and performance data, success stories, specialized services, etc.

Clients will also have opportunities to meet multiple providers at CRP Provider Fairs. DVR recently piloted two Provider Fairs, in Augusta and Bangor. Both fairs were successful. DVR expects to offer future CRP Provider Fairs throughout the state.

Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC)

State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) Discussion:

1. SRC Comment

Need for more clarification of Roles/Responsibilities so that clients and family understand what role VR can play and what the client/family need to do.

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development; Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Goals

DVR Response:

DVR continues to deliver staff training and best practices on IEP development.

Additionally, an explanation of DVR Client Rights and Responsibilities as well as the roles of VR can be accessed through:

• client eligibility letter; client receives Client Rights information with eligibility letter

• client IPE completion; AWARE automatically generates a Client Rights and Responsibilities page; client receives a copy when client’s IPE is printed and signed

• DVR Client Assistance Handbook of 2013, which includes a Rights and Responsibilities section

• online VR Orientation video

• general DVR online information

• DVR outreach events

• newly-produced brochures

• VR counselors

2. SRC Comment

VR is working on CRP project to evaluate and improve the system, including CRP staff problem solving approach on stuck cases. Thirty day plan for CRP and client to track the work/roles/responsibilities. This allows staff changes to have a way to continue the work.

Attachment 4.11(d) State Strategies; Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

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

DVR Response:

DVR has created a Coming together with Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) project, a project which is slated to overhaul and improve the overall CRP delivery system. http://www.maine.gov/rehab/crp/crp_project/index.shtml

The CRP project includes joint VR/CRP trainings, business activities and resources and greater accountability for client employment progress and results.

3. SRC Comment

How could VR do more to targeted outreach? Is this outreach planned?

Attachment 4.11(d) State Strategies

DVR Response:

DVR outreach continues to progress on many fronts for the benefit of clients. DVR is collaborating with a number of organizations to provide outreach to clients. DVR is collaborating on a range of levels with organizations such as the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), the Maine Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Business Leadership Network, the Maine Department of Education, Maine Worker’s Compensation, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine Department of Corrections, and Maine Medical Center’s Department of Vocational Services along with numerous Maine employers. The collaborative efforts have included joint trainings, client team meetings, and conferences -- open to all stakeholders, including clients, social workers, medical professionals, school personnel, business partners, etc.

4. SRC Comment

Of greatest concern is that in FFY 2012, VR had 1,177 participants “drop out.” The state plan does not identify what the trends were that contributed to the high drop out. We would like more information on what those trends were and how those trends will be addressed.

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

DVR Response:

A five year analysis (FFY 2008 – FFY 2012) of the dropout rates of individuals determined eligible for DVR services, but prior to the completion of an Individualized Plan for Employment, consistently found trends of “unable to locate or contact” and “refused services or further services” as being the primary reasons for case closure. Efforts to address those trends through the maintenance of no waiting list for services, staff training, case management strategies and the availability of Career Exploration Workshops, appear to be yielding positive results. In FFY 2008, 40% of all closures before an IPE were due to an inability to locate an individual as compared to 37% in FFY 2012. In FFY 2008, 42% of all closures before an IPE were due to a refusal of services as compared to 36% in FFY 2012.

5. SRC Comment

In addition, the average time a plan was in development “fell to 235 days.” Does this mean 235 days from the time of application or once determined eligible? CAP wonders if the high number of cases dropping out could be due to the length of time it takes for a client to have a written plan for employment. Also, is there data to support the strategy that increasing numbers of participants in the CEW program will shorten the length of time it takes to develop a plan?

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

DVR Response:

The average time a plan is in development is calculated based from the time that an individual is determined eligible. DVR is currently compiling CEW data and an analysis is underway, which includes months from eligibility to plan for CEW and non-CEW participants.

6. SRC Comment

Currently 45% of Rehabilitation Counselors do not meet fully qualified status. Considering that no merit or cost of living increases have been realized since 2008, and VR is projecting the need to fill 35 VRC II positions, what other specific strategies are being identified to recruit and retain fully qualified candidates?

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

DVR Response:

DVR has initiated a number of strategies for recruiting and retaining VRCs including

• offering VR internships for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree candidates majoring in Rehabilitation Counseling

• increasing advertising and marketing efforts, including an expansion of online vacancy announcements

• increasing networking efforts with various collaborators, including social service providers and private rehabilitation agencies

• recruiting qualified clients through the Special Appointment program http://www.maine.gov/rehab/special_appointment/index.shtml

7. SRC Comment

In the section that talks about informing schools regarding available transition counselors, Wabanaki VR should be included in this, as in "including the Native American VR program counselors." Also, Wabanaki VR should be included in annual trainings for best practices for serving transition youth.

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials; 4.11(d) State’s Strategies

DVR Response:

The current MOU between DVR and Maine DOE is a formal agreement that has been written and approved. When the DVR and Maine DOE MOU is updated, DVR will discuss adding language to include the Wabanaki VR.

DVR has also developed an MOU with Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation. DVR will work closely with Maine’s Section 121 Grant – to increase co-enrollment. In addition Maine DVR strategies include joint training and technical assistance opportunities from Maine DVR to Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation – and -- from Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation to Maine DVR on issues related to cultural competency and best practices in Native employment supports. DVR and Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation will meet at least annually to review and evaluate the MOU agreement.

8. SRC Comment

Are juvenile detention facilities included in DVR’s work with DOC?

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

DVR Response:

VR Transition counselors are assigned to serve clients at specific high schools. Transition Counselors work with clients at a number of Maine juvenile detention facilities and alternative schools such as

• The Collaborative School, www.collaborativeschool.org,

• B Cope, http://www.rsu20.org/schools/bcope

• Long Creek Youth Development Center www.maine.gov/corrections/juvenile/facilities /LCYDC/

and others.

9. SRC Comment

The SRC is continuing to develop its membership. There is a need for more business/industry involvement.

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supportive Employment Services

DVR Response:

DVR has hired two full time Business Relations Consultants to develop partnerships with businesses. DVR’s CRP project will also fully promote an increase in business partnerships.

10. SRC Comment

The SRC has a good working relationship with DVR; it would like to continue to build on the pattern.

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment; 4.11(c)(1); 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals

DVR Response:

DVR is proud of its working relationship with the Maine State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). http://mainesrc.org/

DVR innovation and expansion funds support the SRC. The SRC and DVR continue to collaborate on efforts, such as trainings and meetings.

“ . . . DVR received valuable feedback by working with our SRC who conducted a facilitated public forum and developed an ongoing satisfaction client satisfaction survey that is maintained on their web site. The public forum provided DVR with some targeted constructive feedback about the DVR program, including transition services, job development and consistency of services.” The SRC client survey is available online http://www.mainesrc.org/survey.html

and continues to provide ongoing valuable feedback. Results of the survey have been positive, with clients “generally very satisfied” with DVR services.

“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 2012 annual meeting of the State Rehabilitation Council to solicit constructive feedback from current and former clients of Maine DVR. Although DVR and the SRC followed a similar process to how feedback was sought during the previous year, only five members of the community attended and one gave verbal feedback to the VR program.”

“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.”

“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 underserved individuals.”

Maine DVR continues to build its positive and productive relationship with the SRC.

11. SRC Comment

The SRC would like further consideration of earlier involvement in the development of the State Plan.

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

DVR Response: DVR provides an initial draft of the state plan for feedback from the SRC and the public four months before it is due to RSA. DVR is not able to provide a complete draft for review earlier than this; however DVR is very willing to discuss the State plan earlier in the year to seek feedback or recommendations for specific goals from the SRC to be incorporated in the state plan draft. A plan for this newer process will be discussed further at the SRC retreat in the fall.

12. SRC Comment

Although publicized as required by law, unfortunately no consumer testified at the April 18, 2013, public hearing regarding the draft State Plan. During the coming year, regional forums are being scheduled and hopefully consumers will participate. Also, ideas for greater consumer participation/input were obtained at the April SRC/CSAVR conferences. The SRC would like for DVR to include increasing consumer input as a core goal.

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

DVR Response: DVR welcomes consumer input and feedback on the DVR program at any point throughout the year. The SRC survey provides a mechanism for increasing consumer input. DVR will develop strategies to increase client awareness of the SRC survey as well as ways to encourage survey completion. Higher levels of SRC survey completion will provide increased client input.

13. SRC Comment

Transition students with disabilities need to be a focus of VR/DOE and local schools. That is, there

are students with disabilities who want to be employed and are currently not employed.

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

DVR Response:

DVR and the Maine DOE have an MOU addressing the needs of Transition clients, including vocational goals and employment opportunities.

14. SRC Comment

The SRC is very pleased that VR continues to have no wait list for clients. Being able to timely serve consumers affects the individual’s ability to get into or get back into the work force.

4.11(c)(1) State Goals and Priorities

DVR Response:

DVR is grateful for SRC’s acknowledgement of and compliment for the success of DVR’s elimination of a client wait list. DVR’s goals for Fiscal Years 2013-2015 include serving “all individuals with the most significant disabilities in a timely manner including maintenance of no wait list for services during the period FFY 2012-2015.”

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:48PM by samemitchellm

Attachment 4.7(b)(3) Request for Waiver of Statewideness

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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 Maine Department of Health and 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) – now known as the Office of Aging and Disabilities Services - which serves individuals with developmental disabilities. These are currently in the process of being updated with current administration signatures.

The other MOU is with the Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS) whose primary focus is Mental Health services. The MOUs address the combined efforts that DVR and DHHS have initiated and clarify roles to improve the successful outcomes for these populations.

• Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities; DHHS and DVR/DBVI MOU on guiding the agencies through a system change planning process to align service delivery, 2007 (and currently being updated)

“This Memorandum is intended to guide the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services …and the Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities through a system change planning process for the purpose of 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.”

• 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.

• Interagency Support of Benefits Counseling – 2012

Given the Social Security Administration’s conclusion of the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program on June 30, 2012, DVR has worked closely with many other state partners to ensure that Maine’s benefits counseling services remain intact and available to beneficiaries of SSI/SSDI, and specifically, DVR applicants and eligible clients, while a resolution is determined on a federal level as to the continuation of this critical service. Seven sources of state and federal funds, including from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Office of Adult Mental Health Services, Office of Aging and Disability Services, and the Bureau of Employment Services Disability Employment Initiative, are being administered in a single contract with Maine’s approved WIPA provider, Maine Medical Center’s Department of Vocational Services. The contract’s scope of work includes direct service provision of benefits counseling, training of VR counselors and case managers, and quarterly system development meetings to continue to build the capacity of the service to meet statewide needs.

• 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 – In progress

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Maine Department of Labor- Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and the Maine Department of Corrections is in process. Work thus far has resulted in two procedural directives outlining how the two agencies will work together to best meet the needs of individuals who are currently incarcerated or on probation and may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. In each of the larger offices a DVR staff member has been identified who serves as the liaison to the correctional agencies in their region.

• Workers Compensation Board and DVR MOU, November 2012

During 2012, representatives of the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) and Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation worked together to create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU was completed and signed, effective November 2012. DVR and the WCB are committed to working together to improve services and employment outcomes for individuals who, as a result of injury, are in need of vocational rehabilitation services to return to employment. Through the efforts outlined in the MOU, DVR and the WCB will strive to maximize employment opportunities for injured Maine workers, minimize duplication of services, improve information sharing and referrals, and coordinate activities in accordance with all applicable statutes and regulations.

DVR staff serve 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, Statewide Independent Living Council and Disability Rights Center, as well as groups such as Maine APSE and the Alliance for Full Participation, assist in ensuring that individual 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 the USDA Rural Development 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 DVR staff is 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 for Independent Living, Alpha One.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:33PM by samemitchellm

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

  • Describe the designated state unit's plans, policies, and procedures for coordination with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services, including provisions for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting or, if the designated state unit is operating on an order of selection, before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting.
  • Provide information on the formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency with respect to
    • consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including VR services;
    • transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and educational agency that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs;
    • roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services;
    • procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.

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

DVR continues its ongoing efforts to maximize and expand available resources and networking opportunities between the Maine 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 Maine Department of Education (DOE) participates in DVR planning as the current Chair of the State of Maine Rehabilitation Council (SRC). The DVR Assistant Director has been selected to provide representation to the newly re-formed 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 which were then accepted by all the parties.

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 (IPE).

DVR will assist in transition planning and in the development of student’s individualized education program (IEP). For students eligible for services with an agreed upon vocational goal, DVR is expected to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) before the student leaves the school setting. In providing transition services, DVR will facilitate the use of available and appropriate community-based services. 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 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 IDEA Part B State Advisory Panel. 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.

State Personnel Development Grant

The DVR Assistant Director has represented DVR on the steering committee for the Maine Department of Education’s State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG). One of the five targeted areas for the grant is “Transition”. The SPDG’s Transition Subcommittee has met at least monthly over the last year and the DVR Assistant Director and another DVR Counselor participate regularly. One of the grant initiatives has been to offer Phase One training to all secondary schools in Maine to assist schools to improve their transition planning for students with disabilities and bring them into compliance with the federal Indicator B-13. DVR has participated in each workshop in this series of training. Additionally, Maine was selected to receive intense technical assistance from the National Secondary Transition and Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) and DVR staff will be among the Maine team members who will travel to North Carolina in May to participate in the National Capacity Building Institute.

After the Phase One training, Phase Two training will focus on disseminating best practices in transition planning – including implementation of DVR’s Transition Career Exploration Workshop as a tool to assist schools to strengthen transition planning. The Phase Two training will be held in Fall 2013.

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.

TransitionME 2012

“TransitionME 2012 – Raising Aspirations”, a statewide-audience transition conference, was held on May 24, 2012 at the University of Maine in Orono. The conference was attended by over 200 individuals, including students, parents, educators, social service providers and employers from across the state. Conference participants gained information about best practices in serving students with disabilities as they transition from high school to post-secondary education and employment. The conference was collaboratively sponsored by: Maine Parent Federation, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Maine Department of Education (MDOE) – Office of Special Services, Syntiro, Downeast Communities of Practice Planning Committee, and the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies.

Services to Students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing

In addition, during this past year, there has been more of a streamlined, concerted effort for DVR to make a connection with Maine’s state school for the deaf, Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and many deaf and hard of hearing students who have been mainstreamed to public school systems. A series of planning meetings have occurred over the past year to encourage better communication and transition planning specifically for these students.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:48PM by samemitchellm

Attachment 4.8(b)(3) Cooperative Agreements with Private Nonprofit Organizations

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

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services

To ensure that individuals with the most significant disabilities receive quality vocational rehabilitation services and equal access to employment opportunities throughout the state of Maine, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation takes a multi-faceted approach that includes workforce development, engagement of business and the availability of support services for clients who need them.

EMPLOYMENT SPECIALISTS WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM UPDATES

DVR, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), continues to contract with Syntiro, a technical assistance and training provider, to administer a comprehensive workforce development system for Employment Specialists in the Community Rehabilitation Provider sector. This project, Employment for ME Workforce Development System, includes basic certification (ACRE) training, advanced topical skills training, maintenance of a comprehensive training calendar and a mentoring program for newly certified employment specialists. The system was launched in July 2011.

Syntiro conducted one Employment Specialist Certification class with 27 graduates in the spring of 2012. Syntiro assisted in the delivery of an additional certification class conducted by ICI/UMass Boston during the fall of 2012 with an additional 21 certified Employment Specialists graduates. Syntiro has another ACRE certified training scheduled for June 2013.

Syntiro trained 24 participants in Advanced Topical Trainings beginning in the fall of 2012 on Job Development in Rural Areas and PASS (which included onsite follow up and technical assistance). Additional trainings are scheduled for spring 2013 including Customized Employment & Discovery and Technology as Support in the Workplace.

Additionally, Syntiro has conducted seven monthly webinars to date for the State’s rehabilitation community on the following topics:

(1) An overview of Maine’s Workforce System;

(2) Maine’s Business Leadership Network;

(3) Celebrating Systemic Change in Maine Employment Supports: Maine’s Medicaid Infrastructure Grant;

(4) Transition;

(5) Employment First;

(6) An Introduction to Customized Employment; and

(7) Maine’s Career Exploration Workshop.

Upcoming webinars include Maine’s VR Business Relations Program and the Maine Mentoring Program. Participation in these webinars has grown from approximately 20 to over 45 registrants this year.

Syntiro has also established a registry of Certified Employment Specialists in Maine with 605 currently certified Employment Specialists. ACRE updates its list quarterly and the list is posted on the project website (www.employmentformewds.org), so it is available to providers seeking to verify certification status.

The mentor program matches newly certified Employment Specialists (protégés) with experienced Employment Specialists and has been well received and proven to be a valuable component of the Workforce System. Mentors meet at least monthly with their protégé and work from individualized learning plans designed to address the needs of the protégé. The mentors also meet monthly to share their experiences and learn from one another in a community of learning.

Business Relations Update

Consistent with the “dual customer” philosophy, DVR has expanded its capacity to develop and support partnerships with businesses throughout the state. Two full-time Business Relations Consultants are now employed to develop partnerships with large businesses, those with over 100 employees. There are over 900 businesses in this category. Each Business Relations Consultant is assigned to specific counties. Using the “Single Point of Contact” and a “demand-driven” approach, Consultants gather information on the business’ workforce and culture; and then design the framework for a partnership agreement. Each agreement addresses the unique needs and challenges identified by the business customer. This approach to serving our business customers was designed using the “Walgreens’ Quest for Inclusion” model. The partnership with Procter & Gamble/Tambrands continues to evolve. They have hired 24 employees with disabilities since the partnership started. P & G is currently planning to cross-train interested employees (who meet the essential functions) to work on production lines in another area of the plant. Cross-training will allow employees to increase their hours as they can be assigned to either the FlexiCenter or to a production line. DVR’s partnership with L.L. Bean is also evolving. Three individuals were hired in the Manufacturing Facility in Brunswick. As a result of this process, L.L. Bean Manufacturing now uses VR’s on-site assessment in lieu of an interview. They are advocating for this HR practice change in other areas of operations (distribution center, call center, retail). Currently, Business Relations Consultants are conducting job and cultural analysis at the Distribution Center in Freeport. Typically, there are numerous hires at the Distribution Center in the fall and DVR will be well positioned to refer talented candidates.

Other business partnerships in early stages of development include the following large scale employers:

• Lowes

• CVS

• Bates College

• Eastern Maine Medical Center

• IDEXX

• Oxford Casino

• Bank of America

Another noteworthy development in the area of Business Relations is the establishment of the Maine Business Leadership Network (MBLN), an affiliate of the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN). DVR, along with the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Employment Services; the Department of Health & Human Services, partnered with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce to house and support a director for this business to business network. The half-time director started in August 2012 and is building membership and stakeholder agreements. One of the Division’s Business Relations Consultants is a member of the Executive Steering Team, which provides opportunity for ongoing coordination of activities and events with businesses throughout the state. Strategic partnerships with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Maine provide natural connections to the majority of businesses in our state.

Maine APSE

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

On May 23, 2013 DVR co-sponsored Maine APSE’s annual conference, entitled Employment for Everyone. The conference featured Corey Smith, VIA of the Lehigh Valley and Griffin-Hammis Associates, LLC and David Hoff, Institute on Community Inclusion, UMass/Boston and President of APSE.

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 was also the subject of a breakout session at DVR’s 2012 statewide training which was held in June, 2012.

DVR continues to receive limited funds from the State of Maine to provide the purchase of extended support services for individuals in all disability groups with separate specific funding 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 27 2013 2:26PM by samemitchellm

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of 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 2013. Current service delivery is performed by Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) staff, consisting of 65 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, 8 Paraprofessionals, 9 Casework Supervisors, and 3 Regional Managers. DVR staff receives administrative and organizational support and guidance from the Director of DVR, the Director of SIQA (Systems Improvement and Quality Assurance), the Director of the Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, DVR Assistant Director, and six Rehabilitation Consultants (program specialists) and clerical/secretarial support services from 23 office personnel. DVR was able to successfully advocate with the Governor for five additional time-limited Rehabilitation Counselor I’s during this last year. Data gathered during the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant when DVR also had temporary RCI’s demonstrated that DVR’s ability to efficiently meet the needs of clients was significantly improved when these positions were available.

In FFY 2012, Maine DVR experienced a turnover rate close to 11 percent among its Rehabilitation Counselors. Last year the turnover rate was at 18 percent and prior to that DVR has averaged greater than 15 percent annual turnover rate of Rehabilitation Counselors. The hiring freeze that was put into place prior to 2011 has been reversed but there are three positions that we are unable to fill due to a hiring freeze associated with a retirement incentive. 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 5 years. The 3 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, the turnover rate is approximately 12 percent annually. It should be noted that turnover of personnel was limited to clerical/support staff during FFY 2012, with the exception of the Rehabilitation Counselors previously mentioned. The average turnover rate for non-rehabilitation counselor staff has been relatively consistent, approximately 13-15 percent annually. When applying this figure, it can be forecasted that Maine DVR will need to replace

1 Regional Manager,

6 Casework Supervisors,

5 Paraprofessionals,

15 Clerical/Support Personnel and

4 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 on this issue.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Director Vocational Rehabilitation 1 0 0
2 Director SIQA 1 0 0
3 Director, Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing a 1 0 0
4 Assistant Director 1 0 0
5 Regional Manager 3 0 1
6 Casework Supervisor 9 0 6
7 Rehabilitation Consultant 6 0 4
8 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor II 65 1 35
9 Paraprofessional 8 0 5
10 Support Personnel 23 1 15

 

The University of Southern Maine (USM) is the only in-state institution of higher education offering a graduate program which satisfies the standards set forth by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). USM currently has 29 students enrolled in its Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling Program. Four individuals during the past academic year and an additional seven are on track to graduate this coming 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 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 seven Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRCs) enrolled in the RSA-funded distance education Rehabilitation Counseling program at Virginia Commonwealth University and three VRCs enrolled in the University of Southern Maine to complete "core courses” During this year, four VRC’s have graduated from VCU. Three VRC’s 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 7 7 4 1
2 University of Southern Maine 3 3 0 0
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

PLAN FOR RECRUITMENT, PREPARATION AND RETENTION OF QUALIFIED PERSONNEL

Maine State Government in Maine no longer has a hiring freeze. DVR, 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 have included electronic vacancy postings on national and State of Maine websites, local postings with community providers and information sharing with USM, the only Maine college that offers a rehabilitation program. Recruitment efforts for fully qualified rehabilitation counselors have become increasingly difficult, in comparison to previous years. With high turnover rates and less than desirable number of candidates graduating from the University of Southern Maine (USM), Maine’s sole rehabilitation counseling program, the division has struggled with finding and hiring fully qualified candidates, as defined by the RSA. During FFY 2012, seven rehabilitation counselors were hired; five of the seven Rehabilitation Counselors hired, that is 70 percent, were not fully qualified by RSA standards. Currently, 45 percent of all rehabilitation counselors do not meet fully qualified status. Twenty of the rehabilitation counselors that work for DVR require a Master’s degree to meet the standard. An additional eight counselors require “core” courses. As noted in the chart above, 10 individuals are currently enrolled in an education program in order to meet the standards, as outlined.

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 paraprofessional was hired under the Special Appointment program and another from a minority background. Four staff members who have disabilities were hired this year. DVR has a number of staff with disabilities and provides 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 II 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 timeframes 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, internal and external. 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, the National Clearing House of Rehabilitation Training Materials, Independent Living Research Utilization, Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), Workforce3One, Social Security Administration, 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 DVR program, policy and procedures and includes topics such as rehabilitation technology, job placement and assessment, vocational counseling, as well as interactive training modules in the casework flow process. New counselor training is routinely evaluated and revised 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 any training session. In addition, training has been designed for paraprofessionals and support staff to increase their knowledge of the rehabilitation process, procedural directives and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Rules.

DVR continues to make use of the New England Technical and Continuing Education Center (TACE) for its technical assistance and training. This year was notable, not only for increased training events sponsored by TACE, but also for assistance in helping DVR explore ways to increase accessibility of the New Counselor Training curriculum through conversion to distance learning modalities. This year, TACE also supported development to DVR supervisors through technical assistance on how to strengthen office management skills.

Training opportunities and conference materials are shared through a number of statewide means, including the Internet and DVR 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. Materials include Institute on Rehabilitation Issues publications, CDs offering American Sign Language tutorials, 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 continued focus of staff development has been on the administration and interpretation of assessments used as part of the DVR Career Exploration Workshop (CEW) as well as deaf awareness and other disability-related awareness. During FY 2012 DVR staff participated in 98.5 hours of DVR sponsored training representing a total of 579 attendees.

ROW PROFESSIONAL DEVELPOMENT TRAINING

1 World of Work Inventory Training Level I

10/6/2011; 6 hours; 23 VRCs attended

2 World of Work Inventory Training Level II 10/7/2011; 6 hours; 10 VRCs attended

3 Technology and Ethics

10/13/2011; 1.5 hours; 13 VRCs attended

4 Intro to the Employment Readiness Scale 10/25/2011; 5.5 hours; 2 VRCs attended

5 Employment Readiness Scale - Intermediate Level 10/26/2011; 5.5 hours; 7 VRCs attended

6 Employment Readiness Scale - Mgmt Report Training 10/27/2011; 3 hours; 9 VRCs attended

7 Please Just Tell Me What to Do! 11/14/2011; 6 hours; 6 VRCs attended

8 Employment After Brain Injury 12/1/2011; 7 hours; 4 VRCs attended

9 Ethical Communication

2/12/2012; 2 hours; 22 VRCs attended

10 Ethical Communication and Confidentiality 2/13/2012; 3 hours; 3 VRCs attendeed

11 Ethical Communication

2/22/2012; 2 hours; 2 VRCs attended

12 Transition Conference - Employment First in Maine 5/24/2012; 1.25 hours; 4 VRCs attended

13 Transition Conference - Think College - TRIO 5/24/2012; 1.25 hours; 2 VRCs attended

14 Transition Conference-Housing 5/24/2012; 1.25 hours; 2 VRCs attended

15 Transition Conference-What Are We Waiting For? 5/24/2012; 1 hour; 6 VRCs attended

16 Transition Conference-What Families Need to Know 5/24/2012; 1.25 hours; 1 VRC attended

17 Brain Injury and Reintegration to Work

6/1/2012; 6 hours; 8 VRCs attended

18 CSAVR

6/5/2012; 1.5 hours; 87 DVR staff attended

19 Customized Employment

6/5/2012; 3.5 hours; 10 VRCs attended

20 Assistive Technology: Using i-Pads, Notebooks and other Technologies;

6/6/2012; 1.5 hours; 25 VRCs attended

21 Brain Injury, Cognition and Return to Work 6/6/2012; 1.5 hours; 23 VRCs attended

22 Enhancing Resilience by Cultivating Mindfulness

6/6/2012; 1.5 hours; 36 VRCs attended

23 Ethics: Dual Relationships, Confidentiality and Fiscal Considerations

6/6/2012; 1.5 hours; 22 VRCs attended

24 Labor Market Information: Practical Application for Workforce Professionals

6/6/2012; 1.5 hours; 9 VRCs attended

25 State of the Agency and Director’s update 6/6/2012; 1 hour; 81 DVR staff attended

26 Understanding Difficult Behaviors

6/6/2012; 1.5 hours; 14 VRCs attended

27 Well Managed Caseloads

6/6/2012; 1.5 hours; 26 VRCs attended

28 Working with Criminal Offenders

6/6/2012; 1.5 hours; 15 VRCs attended

29 Deaf Awareness Training 6/13/2012; 1.5 hours; 12 VRCs attended

30 Deaf Awareness Training

6/19/2012; 1.5 hours; 15 VRCs attended

31 Technical Writing Workshop for Rehabilitation Counselors and Community Rehabilitation Providers 8/15/2012; 6 hours; 11 VRCs attended

32 Ethical Standards

8/21/2012; 2 hours; 6 VRCs attended

33 TACE-Strategies that Assist Consumers with Personality Disorders-Borderline Personality DO

9/18/2012; 5 hours; 32 VRCs attended

34 TACE-Assessments, Planning and Interventions-Borderline Personality DO

9/25/2012; 5 hours; 31 VRCs attended

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

 

PERSONNEL TO ADDRESS INDIVIDUAL COMMUNICATION NEEDS

DVR has four staff members who are Deaf (one Regional Manager, two Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (RCDs) and one Rehabilitation Assistant).

A new Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf was recently hired, and starts with DVR on April 15th, 2013. The new RCD will be 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. The director has been helping DVR to provide a more consistent message about the services we provide around the state to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. The Division Director meets once a month with his staff to address topics such as best practices in case management, communication strategies for individuals who use gestural communication for their primary mode of communication, among many other topics. 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. Additionally, DVR through its Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, is working closely with the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired to increase availability of Deaf-Blind Interpreters and Support Service Providers.

 

COORDINATION OF PERSONNEL DEVELOPMENT UNDER THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES IMPROVEMENT ACT

As outlined in Section 606 (Employment of 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 quarterly to promote best practices in the provision of VR transition services.

As outlined in DVR’s Cooperative Agreement with the Maine Department of Education (MDOE), DVR will provide technical assistance to MDOE 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. MDOE 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 (MDOE) – 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. During 2012-13 representatives of Maine DVR have partnered with MDOE to deliver training to all schools across Maine on meeting compliance standards in transition planning (Indicator B-13) via a series of workshops. The next phase of training will begin in Fall 2013 and will include “train the trainer” training to educators and VR Counselors to prepare them to deliver the Transition Career Exploration Workshop curriculum in their schools. This collaboration will strengthen the working relationship between DVR and schools in addition to improving engagement 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 27 2013 2:26PM by samemitchellm

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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.

4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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. The assessment serves to inform DVR’s strategic plan and goal development for the next three fiscal years, 2013 – 2015. In compiling the assessment, DVR relied 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. DVR 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 percent 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. DVR has 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, DVR 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 DVR 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, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/23000.html,

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.

o 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 (Note: name has changed to Office of Aging and Disability 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.

o 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.

In 2012, three more clubhouses have opened across the state to add to the two that were already here in Maine. DVR works closely with those club houses, and is in the process of developing a procedural directive so that clubhouse and VR staff will have clear direction on best practices and guidance regarding services that each entity will provide. This draft will be finalized in May, 2013, and presented at a joint meeting of clubhouse members and staff and VR staff in June, 2013.

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. A vast majority of DVR’s population is white with only 3 percent being identified as a minority, which is in comparison to the 6 percent 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 percent of total Job Bank registrants and 3.2 percent 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 percent - compared to 73.8 percent for public assistance recipients or 84 percent for veterans. Only older workers enter employment at a lower rate – 64.3 percent. Average earnings reveal a similar picture with individuals with disabilities earning only 7,325 dollars compared to 9,853 dollars for public assistance recipients or 12,401 dollars 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 27 2013 2:26PM by samemitchellm

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

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. This data, from the ACS, was most recently updated in 2010.

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

o Part B of Title I;

o Part B of Title VI;

o each priority category, if under an order of selection.

Part B of Title I

The FFY 2012 projection for Maine DVR was 3,500 new applicants, with 2,900 individuals to become eligible for services. Maine anticipated that 1,200 clients will develop Individualized Plans for Employment and projects more than 800 employment closures.

In FFY 2012, Maine processed 3,742 new applicants, found 3,017 individuals eligible, wrote 1,676 plans, and closed 778 clients in employment. DVR served 9,712 clients with 7,699,067 dollars in Title I funds.

Each priority category, if under an order of selection.

This is the second full federal fiscal year Maine DVR was able to serve all eligible consumers.

In FFY 2012, Maine’s Employment closures, by Order of Selection category:

• 458 clients or 59 percent were most significantly disabled;

• 182 clients or 23 percent were significantly disabled; and

• 138 clients or 18 percent were disabled.

In the previous fiscal year, 2011:

• 556 clients or 79 percent were most significantly disabled;

• 85 clients or 12 percent were significantly disabled; and

• 64 clients or 9 percent were disabled.

Average expenditure per client closed in FFY 2013 is estimated to be: 2,200 dollars. The proposed case service budget is 8,400,000 dollars. The actual expenditures for cases closed in 2012 were 7,094,750 dollars with the average case cost of 2,147 dollars.

For FY 2013 the projections are 3700 applicants, with 3000 individuals being found eligible for services. The projection for new plans is 1500 with 900 successful outcomes.

Maine plans to serve individuals in all three priority categories in FFY 2013. The projected number of clients to receive services after being found eligible is 8,000; 4,200 will be served under an employment plan. The expected services provision by priority category is as follows:

INDIVIDUALS

OOS CATEGORY PERCENT All served With IPE

1 50 4,000 2,100

2 30 2,400 1,260

3 20 1,600 840

As of this report date Maine DVR continues to serve all eligible clients. In terms of employment outcomes for FFY 2013, DVR is projecting 900 employment closures as follows;

SUCCESSFUL CLOSURES

OOS 1 50 percent 450

OOS 2 30 percent 270

OOS 3 20 percent 180

IDENTIFY THE COST OF SERVICES FOR EACH PRIORITY CATEGORY

Maine continues serving individuals in all three priority categories during FFY 2013 as stated above; the projected number of clients to receive services after being found eligible is 8,000. With a case service budget of 8,400,000 dollars the expected services provision by priority category is as follows:

OOS CATEGORY PERCENT CLIENTS DOLLARS

1 50 4000 4,200,000

2 30 2400 2,520,000

3 20 1600 1,680,000

FFY 2014

As of this report date Maine DVR continues to serve all eligible clients. In terms of employment outcomes for FFY 2014, DVR is projecting 1000 employment closures as follows;

SUCCESSFUL CLOSURES

OOS 1 50 percent 500

OOS 2 30 percent 300

OOS 3 20 percent 200

Maine will continue to serve individuals in all three priority categories during FFY 2014.

As stated above, the projected number of clients to receive services after being found eligible is 8,000. With a case service budget of 8,400,000 dollars, the expected services provision by priority category is as follows:

OOS CATEGORY PERCENT CLIENTS DOLLARS

1 50 4000 4,200,000

2 30 2400 2,520,000

3 20 1600 1,680,000

PART B OF TITLE VI

The Division received 252,000 dollars in Title VI-B Grant funds and an additional 396,763 dollars in Title I funds for a total of 648,763 dollars. In FFY 2012 we closed 135 Supported Employment cases; 67 with an employment outcome.

It is expected that Maine DVR will serve 110 individuals with Title VI funds and at least another 30 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
FFY 2013, Part B Title I: OOS #1 Title I $4,200,000 4,000 $1,050
FFY 2013, Part B Title I: OOS #2 Title I $2,520,000 2400 $1,050
FFY 2013, Part B Title I: OOS #3 Title I $1,680,000 1600 $1,050
FFY 2013, Part B Title VI Title VI $252,000 110 $2,290
FFY 2013, Part B Title I (supported employment) Title I $396,373 30 $13,212
Totals   $9,048,373 8,140 $1,111

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:26PM by samemitchellm

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

The goals and priorities are based on the comprehensive statewide assessment, on requirements related to the performance standards and indicators, and on other information about the state agency. (See section 101(a)(15)(C) of the Act.) This attachment should be updated when there are material changes in the information that require the description to be amended.

  • Identify if the goals and priorities were jointly developed and agreed to by the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.
  • Identify if the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, jointly reviewed the goals and priorities and jointly agreed to any revisions.
  • Identify the goals and priorities in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.
  • Ensure that the goals and priorities are based on an analysis of the following areas:
    • the most recent comprehensive statewide assessment, including any updates;
    • the performance of the state on standards and indicators; and
    • other available information on the operation and effectiveness of the VR program, including any reports received from the State Rehabilitation Council and findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

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

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 2012 annual meeting of the State Rehabilitation Council to solicit constructive feedback from current and former clients of Maine DVR. Although DVR and the SRC followed a similar process to how feedback was sought during the previous year, only five members of the community attended and one gave verbal feedback to the VR program.

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 underserved individuals.

• 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 900 in FFY 2013 and 1000 in 2014; thereby substantially improving employment outcomes for DVR clients in Maine.

(This goal is modified from an original projected goal of 1000 in FFY 2013 and 1100 in FY 2014. While the revised goals are still ambitious, they reflect the projected impact of fiscal limitations at the state and federal level – including sequestration.)

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 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 percent in FY 2011 to meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater

(This goal has been modified this year to determine progress through the use of RSA’s standards and indicators instead of measuring against the ACS survey which is less frequently updated.)

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 Council 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 and 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. This is done and reported out to the Bureau Lead Team staff, as well as Regional managers, so that all are aware of how DVR is are doing in meeting these specific goals.

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 2012 Annual Report.

Findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

Maine DVR 107 Monitoring Review Report was published November 2011. As a result of the monitoring, a Corrective Action Plan was developed. Maine DVR successfully completed the Corrective Action Plan and it was closed during 2012.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:26PM by samemitchellm

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

  • 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

On October 1, 2010 Maine DVR eliminated its wait list and began serving all eligible applicants.

As of October 1, 2012 DVR is no longer under an Order of Selection.

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 to ensure that DVR continues to serve the most significantly disabled. This was upon the advice of RSA staff during the 2011 107 Monitoring review.

 

Description of Priority categories

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.

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

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

On October 1, 2010 Maine DVR eliminated its wait list. Prioritiy is assigned through date of application and determination of eligibility for services.

 

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

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

MAINE DVR GOALS 2013 - 2015

Goal 1

To increase successful closures for DVR clients from 705 in FFY 2011 to 800 in FFY 2012 and 900 in FFY 2013 and 1000 in 2014; thereby substantially improving employment outcomes for DVR clients in Maine.

(This goal is modified from an original projected goal of 1000 in FFY 2013 and 1100 in FY 2014. While the revised goals are still ambitious, they reflect the projected impact of fiscal limitations at the state and federal level – including sequestration.)

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 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 percent in FY 2011 to meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater.

(This goal has been modified this year to determine progress through the use of RSA’s standards and indicators instead of measuring against the ACS survey which is less frequently updated.)

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 Council 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. This is done and reported out to the Bureau Lead Team staff, as well as Regional managers, so that all are aware of how DVR is are doing in meeting these specific goals.

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 2012 Annual Report.

Findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

Maine DVR 107 Monitoring Review Report was published November 2011. As a result of the monitoring, a Corrective Action Plan was developed. Maine DVR successfully completed the Corrective Action Plan and it was closed during 2012.

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

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

MAINE DVR GOALS 2013-2015 AS STATED IN FY 2013 PLAN.

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 900 in FFY 2013 and 1000 in 2014; thereby substantially improving employment outcomes for DVR clients in Maine.

This goal was modified to reflect the impact of fiscal cuts at the federal level through sequestration as well as continued state level budgetary pressures. The projected outcomes continue to be ambitious however.

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:

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: This objective was successfully met. In FFY 2012, the number of VR participants who dropped out decreased to 1177 participants. Data gleaned from closed case reviews provided feedback to VR Counselors and Supervisors on the trends seen and potential reasons for drop out. Implementation of the MaineAWARE case management system and related training during the year to staff on case management techniques also supported improved numbers.

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:

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

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: For FFY 2012, DVR increased successful employment closures for individuals who received services from a community rehabilitation provider to 464, greatly surpassing our goal of 400. Phase Two of the CRP Project began April, 2012 and will run through July 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.

Below is a list of workgroups and a summary of their progress:

Accreditation Work Group:

This group has eliminated a Mental Health License as a vehicle to CRP approval, and changed policy to make CARF approval optional. The bulk of their work has been streamlining the In-State Review Process to facilitate more interaction between VR and the CRP; and to serve as a continuous improvement process for all CRPs under contract.

Access & Availability Work Group:

This group split into two teams. One team recommended some incentives be provided to encourage existing CRPs to expand into geographical areas of the state that are currently underserved. The second team has developed a plan to increase employment services to individuals who are deaf. The plan includes an ASL skill assessment and training in deaf culture for VR clients and/or existing Employment Services staff.

Billing Workgroup:

This group has designed an outcome or milestone-based payment system to reimburse CRPs for job development/placement. The model will be piloted in the summer of 2013 before the full-state roll-out.

Business Relations Workgroup:

The B.R. Workgroup has developed a model to partner with large businesses (over 100 employees) in Maine.

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 4,000 500 3,500 180 days $4,200,000
2 2,400 300 2,100 180 days $2,520,000
3 1,600 200 1,400 180 days $1,680,000

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:51PM by samemitchellm

Attachment 4.11(c)(4) Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

Specify the state's goals and priorities with respect to the distribution of funds received under section 622 of the Act for the provision of supported employment services.

Attachment 4.11(c)(4) Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (DVR) 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 900 in FFY 2013 and 1000 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:

a. Continue to work in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to address the significant waitlist for employment waiver services

b. 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.

c. 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 meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater.

Objective and Strategies: 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 27 2013 2:26PM by samemitchellm

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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

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

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies

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 900 in FFY 2013 and 1000 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:

a. Collect and analyze data on reasons for drop out for cases closed in status 30/found eligible no plan developed.

b. 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:

a. Support the re-establishment of a Maine Chapter of the US Business Leadership Network

b. Partner with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) to expand business outreach/network

c. 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:

a. Increase use of the Career Exploration Workshop, which has been shown to decrease case length time

b. 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

c. 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

Strategies:

a. Continue to work in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to address the significant waitlist for employment waiver services

b. 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

c. 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 percent in FY 2011 to meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater

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.

Objective: Maine DVR will increase the numbers of individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing who are served by DVR in the Northern and Western regions of the state.

Strategies:

a. DVR will hire two additional Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf

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:

a. The DEI team will include two VR Rehabilitation Counselor I’s who will assist in delivering the CEW.

b. DVR will participate in DEI Integrated Resource Team meetings

c. 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

b. DVR will hire three Rehabilitation Counselor II’s to serve specialty Workers’ Compensation caseloads

c. DVR will meet at least annually with the Workers’ Compensation Board to assess the success of the MOU initiative.

 

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.

Assistive technology services and assistive technology devices are provided to individuals with disabilities as determined by each individual’s vocational goal, and appear as prescribed services on the respective individual’s signed IPE. DVR services include assistive technology and assistive technology devices if required for the individual’s IPE, necessary for the attainment of the individual’s employment goal. DVR works closely with Maine cohorts, Alpha One and ALLTECH, assistive technology organizations which provide assistive technology technical assistance services as well as assistive technology devices.

 

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.

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies

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:

a. Increase use of the Career Exploration Workshop, which has been shown to decrease case length time

b. 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

c. 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

Strategies:

a. Continue to work in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to address the significant waitlist for employment waiver services

b. 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

c. 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 percent in FY 2011 to meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater

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

Objective: Maine DVR will increase the numbers of individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing who are served by DVR in the Northern and Western regions of the state.

Strategies:

a. DVR will hire two additional Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf

See also:

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 percent in FY 2011 to meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater.

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

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.

 

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

Coming together with Rehabilitation Providers Project

http://www.maine.gov/rehab/crp/index.shtml

DVR’s Coming Together with Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) Project was formally launched in the Fall of 2011.

In partnership with our Community Rehabilitation Providers, BRS is currently undertaking a project to maximize the skills and expertise of all counseling staff, increasing the number of successful closures and decreasing the wait for services. 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.

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies

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.

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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.

 

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

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

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

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Goals 2013-2015 as stated in FY 2013 Plan.

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 900 in FFY 2013 and 1000 in 2014; thereby substantially improving employment outcomes for DVR clients in Maine

This goal was modified to reflect the impact of fiscal cuts at the federal level through sequestration as well as continued state level budgetary pressures. The projected outcomes continue to be ambitious however.

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:

Collect and analyze data on reasons for drop out for cases closed in status 30/found eligible no plan developed.

Provide staff training on case management techniques that promote engagement.

REPORT ON PROGRESS: This objective was successfully met. In FFY 2012, the number of VR participants who dropped out decreased to 1177 participants. Data gleaned from closed case reviews provided feedback to VR Counselors and Supervisors on the trends seen and potential reasons for drop out. Implementation of the MaineAWARE case management system and related training during the year to staff on case management techniques also supported improved numbers.

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:

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

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: For FFY 2012, DVR increased successful employment closures for individuals who received services from a community rehabilitation provider to 464, greatly surpassing our goal of 400. Phase Two of the CRP Project began April, 2012 and will run through July 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. Below is a list of workgroups and a summary of their progress:

Accreditation Work Group:

This group has eliminated a Mental Health License as a vehicle to CRP approval, and changed policy to make CARF approval optional. The bulk of their work has been streamlining the In-State Review Process to facilitate more interaction between VR and the CRP; and to serve as a continuous improvement process for all CRPs under contract.

Access & Availability Work Group: This group split into two teams. One team recommended some incentives be provided to encourage existing CRPs to expand into geographical areas of the state that are currently underserved. The second team has developed a plan to increase employment services to individuals who are deaf. The plan includes an ASL skill assessment and training in deaf culture for VR clients and/or existing Employment Services staff.

Billing Workgroup: This group has designed an outcome or milestone-based payment system to reimburse CRPs for job development/placement. The model will be piloted in the summer of 2013 before the full-state roll-out.

Business Relations Workgroup: The B.R. Workgroup has developed a model to partner with large businesses (over 100 employees) in Maine. The model involves additional training for certified Employment Specialists to better prepare them to serve the business customer. Also, the group has designed a “Speakers and Resources Bureau.” Initially, short stories (no more than 4 minutes long) from job seekers/workers with disabilities; as well as the stories of employers who have realized the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, will be posted on 3 key websites. Ultimately, the effort will be expanded to have willing story tellers participate as speakers at various events. The Speakers & Resources Bureau will be housed under the Maine Business Leadership Network at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.

Referral & Documentation Workgroup: This group has designed a referral form and some other templates to assure greater consistency with the documentation of services.

Communications Workgroup: This workgroup is producing a CRP Handbook that covers all areas addressed in the CRP Project. They are also taking the lead role in documenting the work/progress of the CRP Steering Team and individual work groups.

The CRP Project is projected to be complete in the summer of 2013.

Additionally, CRP’s have been invited to participate in many joint trainings with DVR this year including: Technical Writing, Customized Employment, Verbal Judo, Working with People with Personality Disorders, Motivational Interviewing and more. These trainings allow CRP’s to earn the credit hours that they need to maintain accreditation as a Provider.

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:

Support the re-establishment of a Maine Chapter of the US Business Leadership Network

Partner with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) to expand business outreach/network

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Consistent with the “dual customer” philosophy, the Division has expanded its capacity to develop and support partnerships with businesses throughout the state. There are now two full-time Business Relations Consultants employed to develop partnerships with large businesses, those with over 100 employees. There are over 900 businesses in this category. Each Business Relations Consultant is assigned to specific counties. Using the “Single Point of Contact” and a “demand-driven” approach, the Consultants gather information on the business’ workforce and culture; and then design the framework for a partnership agreement. Each agreement addresses the unique needs and challenges identified by the business customer. Another noteworthy development in the area of Business Relations is the establishment of the Maine Business Leadership Network (MBLN), an affiliate of the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN). The MBLN is currently conducting employer forums across the state. At this time, the Business Relations Consultants are in the early stages of development with seven large Maine employers in addition to the two identified during the previous fiscal year.

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:

a. Increase use of the Career Exploration Workshop, which has been shown to decrease case length time

b. 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

c. Deliver staff training and supervision on best practices in IPE plan development

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Progress on this objective was made through the use of the above strategies. During FFY 2012 the average time in plan development fell to 235 days. While this does not yet meet the RSA standard of no more than 180 days, significant improvement has been documented.

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 (objective discontinued – FY 2013)

New Objective for 2014: To increase the number of individuals with significant intellectual disabilities who access the available waiver employment support for long term employment support needs after closure from BRS by 50 people during FFY 2013.

The above objective is being added due to the wait list at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Aging and Disability Services (DHHS-OADS)

Strategies:

a. Continue to work in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to address the significant waitlist for employment waiver services

b. 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.

c. Complete and pilot the recently developed Career Exploration Workshop appropriate for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Approximately 1700 working age adults remain unemployed who have access to the DHHS waiver, which allows for job preparation to occur. To promote increased employment opportunities for individuals who need this long term support, as of April 2013, the “Bridge CEW curriculum” has been completed and two “train the trainer” sessions have been held for agencies around the state.

DHHS has requested that MaineCare rules allow for agencies to charge MaineCare work supports, so that they can use this important tool which will assist many individuals with intellectual disabilities to prepare for employment. The Bridge CEW was developed and printed with support from Maine DHHS and is being shared in forums, train the trainers, webinars and in trainings to engage agency staff to utilize the resource. It is expected that 1,000 individuals may access the curriculum and complete the Interest Inventory.

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 meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater

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.

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Maine DVR worked closely with Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation during the year. All DVR sponsored trainings were open to Wabanaki VR staff. They participated in many of them, including DVR’s statewide training days in June 2012. Wabanaki VR provided technical assistance to DVR through presentations at New Counselor Training.

The Director of the Section 121 Grant serves on the State Rehabilitation Council and also gives input as a member of DVR’s CSPD committee. Additionally, DVR’s Business Relations Consultant is doing outreach to the Wabanaki VR program to ensure that individuals served by that program have access to employment opportunities developed with larger companies in northern Maine.

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.

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Due to continuing developments with implementation of DVR’s case management database system, strategy a. will be continued to FFY 2013. DVR did however work closely with these populations this year, establishing a DVR Veterans Liaisons group that meets quarterly to address Veterans issues and a DVR Corrections Liaisons group that also meets quarterly to promote improved collaboration with the correctional system.

DVR strives to ensure that all materials distributed or published are accessible and demonstrate cultural competency. Through training and technical assistance from the State ADA Accessibility Coordinator, the Director for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened and others, DVR staff have had the opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge concerning universal design and disability etiquette.

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Maine has moved significantly forward on this objective. In fall 2011, twenty individuals from Maine, along with 1300 other participants from around the country, attended the Alliance for Full Participation conference in Washington DC. This conference’s goal was to have states come together to learn from each other and focus on evidence based strategies that are improving employment outcomes for people with significant disabilities. Maine’s Employment First team has met regularly to build on the conference’s work. The Maine Alliance is made up of nearly two dozen organizations including state agencies (representing mental health, developmental disabilities, Vocational Rehabilitation, employment services, special education), Maine APSE, Speaking Up for Us (disability self-advocates), Consumer Council System of Maine, family members, the Disability Rights Center, Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, among other community organizations and providers. Current legislation is now pending in the Maine Legislature which would support the adoption and implementation of an Employment First model in Maine. The legislation has the support of the Governor’s Office along with the Commissioners of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services.

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:

a. The DEI team will include two VR Rehabilitation Counselor I’s who will assist in delivering the CEW

b. DVR will participate in DEI Integrated Resource Team meetings

c. DVR will work with the DEI team and others in the Bureau of Employment Services to ensure accessibility in Maine’s CareerCenter network

REPORT ON PROGRESS: The DEI grant serves individuals with disabilities in Northern and Eastern Maine. The grant supports two Rehabilitation Counselor I’s who are employed by DVR. To date referrals to the CEW have been limited to nine during FY 2012, but a new pilot effort in the Machias office to refer non-DVR clients may see those numbers increase.

DVR Rehabilitation Counselor II’s regularly participate in DEI Integrated Resource Team meetings and this has strengthened the partnership between the two programs. Ensuring CareerCenter accessibility has been an important issue over the past year following networking and software changes in the CareerCenters. A dedicated team that included the Bureau Directors of Rehabilitation Services and Employment Services, the State ADA Accessibility Coordinator, DEI project team members and other DVR and Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired staff worked diligently with the Office of Information Technology to successfully advocate for the re-establishment and maintenance of accessible software on CareerCenter computers – including JAWS and ZoomText.

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Attention and advocacy on this matter has resulted in the number of sub-minimum certificates being reduced this year to 13. Additionally, DVR recently testified against recent pending legislation in the Maine legislature that would have supported the maintenance of continued use of the certificates at FY 2011 levels. Following DVR’s testimony the legislation was voted “ought not to pass”. Proposed Employment First legislation will also help to further reduce the numbers of sub-minimum wage certificates.

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: While DVR staff do use labor market information coming out of the Center for Workforce Research and Information, training was not held this year and so development of a baseline will occur during FY 2013. DVR did, however, work with CWRI to develop an annual snapshot of the employment status of people with disabilities in Maine. That snapshot may be found at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/pubs1.html.

DVR is also participating in a Workforce Data Quality Initiative grant awarded to CWRI, which will provide aggregated longitudinal employment outcome data for individuals served by DVR.

Objective: Maine DVR will develop a Memorandum of Understanding with the public Workers’ Compensation system in order to better serve Maine workers who are in need of rehabilitation services and 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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: During 2012, representatives of the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) and Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation worked together to create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU was completed and signed, effective November 2012. DVR and the WCB are committed to working together to improve services and employment outcomes for individuals who, as a result of injury, are in need of vocational rehabilitation services to return to employment. Through the efforts outlined in the MOU agreement, DVR and the WCB will strive to maximize opportunities for injured Maine workers, minimize duplication of services, improve information sharing and referrals, and coordinate activities in accordance with all applicable statutes and regulations. Support from the Governor’s Office allowed DVR to hire two experienced CRC’s to work as Rehabilitation Counselor II’s dedicated to individuals who are referred or receiving benefits from the Workers Compensation system. Since development of the objective, a better tracking method has been developed to count individuals who are served through the Workers’ Compensation system. As of April 2013, 40 individuals are currently being served by the two specialty RC II’s.

2. Identify all supported employment program goals consistent with the goals described in Attachment 4.11(c)(4), including an evaluation of the extent to which the supported employment program goals were achieved.

• Identify the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals.

• Provide a description of the factors that impeded the achievement of the goals and priorities.

Provide an Assessment of the performance of the VR program on the standards and indicators for FY 2012.

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.

Provide a report on how the funds reserved for innovation and expansion (I&E) activities were utilized in FY 2011.

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, 22 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. In FY 2012 there were 29 successful employment closures in self-employment with an average hourly wage of $15.98 reflecting a general upward trend over the last ten years in the earnings and hours worked by individuals who choose self-employment in their employment planning with DVR.

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, Annual Meeting, Website committee, and the Executive Committee. For more information regarding the SRC, please visit www.mainesrc.org. At its annual meeting in September 2012 the SRC benefited from the New England Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE) facilitators. TACE successfully facilitated the SRC annual meeting as TACE staff understood not only the SRC mission, but also its current challenges, future goals and the critical importance of its work on behalf of PWD.

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.

The Director of the Section 121 program works collaboratively with DVR staff. The Director is currently serving on the two State Rehabilitation Councils as well as the Statewide Independent Living Council. In addition, the Director also serves on the TACE advisory committee and 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.

Adult Career Exploration Workshop (CEW)

The CEW is a five-day class where individuals explore areas of interest while uncovering skills and talents leading to a specific job goal. When individuals participate in a CEW, they go through the VR program more quickly, resulting in less overall spending on their programs. The CEW is in use statewide. Each office maintains its own schedule for the workshops. At an approximate cost of $250 per participant, the CEW has been a cost efficient way to reduce costs per employment closure and improve time to closure.

Transition Career Exploration Workshop (TCEW)

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 deliver a “train the trainer” model to special educator in Fall 2013 to increase use of the TCEW statewide.

“Bridges – Pathway to Employment” Career Exploration Workshop

The curriculum, developed from the Adult CEW and the TCEW, is designed for individuals with intellectual disabilities to help them learn more about their vocational interests and abilities, as well as the world of work in preparation for successful employment. BRS developed the curriculum in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), DOE, self-advocates and CRPs. Now, in partnership with DHHS, DVR is currently rolling it out as a tool across the state to particularly assist in meeting the needs of those who need long-term supports for employment success, but are waiting for funding through DHHS.

MaineAWARE

DVR continues to increase capacity due to the MaineAWARE case management database system. The increase in the ability to readily access data has strengthened DVR’s planning and use of resources, including caseload management and supervision in field offices. MaineAWARE was integrated into the New Counselor Training Curriculum in 2012. Increased efficiencies are also being found due to greater use of electronic communication and transmittal of documents supported by MaineAWARE.

The Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened (DDHHLD)

DDHHLD houses a director, assistant to the director and three Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf (RCDs). The RCDs help individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing access and maintain employment. Due to increased referrals that DVR has received during the last two years, DDHHLD is hiring two more RCDs. DDHHLD provides referrals, information and training to employers and other state agencies, as well as, deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind consumers regarding equal access issues. In addition, DDHHLD administers a contract with the Maine Center on Deafness to provide Telecommunications Equipment, Civil Rights and Advocacy services.

Hearing Aid Initiative

Maine DVR is documenting significant savings as a result of our purchasing agreement developed in conjunction with the State of Minnesota and the State of Maine Purchases Division. Since implementation of changes in hearing aid purchase protocol, DVR has been able to nearly double the number of clients fitted with hearing aids while keeping costs virtually unchanged. DVR staff have presented this new protocol at two national conferences as a successful cost saving measure for other Vocational Rehabilitation agencies to consider.

Deaf-Blind and Dual Sensory Communication

DVR’s Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened has work closely with the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired as it continued with its efforts to address a critical need for highly qualified interpreters and other well-trained staff with skills to work with our consumers of the VR program who are deaf-blind or have the dual sensory impairment of vision and hearing. Due to the limited access in Maine to anyone with this specialty training, both from within DBVI and elsewhere, the Division continued its work with a group of collaborative partners (University of Southern Maine, Helen Keller National Center, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Division of the Deaf, Late Deafened and Hard of Hearing, and the Iris Network) in 2001 to provide specialized training to a number of individuals who will serve as professional Deaf-Blind Interpreters, as well as volunteers within the Support Service Provider (SSP) program. The program was designed to connect these professional Deaf-Blind Interpreters and volunteer SSP’s with adults with dual sensory impairments who are in need of these types of communication access services.

To date, approximately 25 individuals have been trained and are available to provide these volunteer SSP services, while approximately 20 professional ASL interpreters have been trained as interpreters for people who are deaf-blind. This first cohort of trained Deaf-Blind Interpreters and SSP’s received opportunities for additional “hands-on” training working directly with consumers during FY2011. In addition, a process for matching consumers to the needed service providers was developed and implemented, and avenues for additional training were identified.

Employment Specialist for Executive Loan

The Coming together with Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) Project Workgroup on Business Relations has proposed the identification and development of Employment Specialists for Executive Loan (ESEL) as a key component to the Business Relations model. The Business Relations model targets large businesses (those with 100 or more employees) as the primary customer. The ESEL is “loaned” to a business for a defined time period to coordinate the start-up or expansion of the business’s strategies to integrate people with disabilities in their workforce. The ESEL observes operations and consults with the business to understand their culture, core values, workforce needs and hiring practices in order to connect the business with both qualified job applicants with disabilities and resources to maximize successful employment outcomes. This ESEL model was successfully piloted at P&G/Tambrands, a company in Maine that manufactures and distributes feminine hygiene products. DVR contracted with a Community Rehabilitation Provider to engage the time of an Employment Specialist who had a strong background in the private business sector. This experience helped to further develop the ESEL concept. This model resulted in significantly reduced cost of services to support VR clients; and a good return on investment for the company (P&G reported an 11% recidivism rate for the employees with disabilities, as compared to 22% for those who do not have a known disability). Currently, a training program is being developed for interested Employment Specialists that will prepare them to be more effective in their role of supporting the business customer. Business partners have helped to develop competencies and a job description for the ESEL. They are also helping develop the training curriculum and will host portions of the training at their respective business sites. The goal is to have trained Employment Specialists available throughout the state that can provide this service and be reimbursed through the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services.

Life Skills Tutor Pilot Program

In 2012 DVR and the University of Southern Maine (USM) collaborated on a pilot mentoring program, a Life Skills Tutor (LST) program, to provide specialized tutoring for two VR clients with Asperger’s who were attending USM. A VR counselor and the USM Disabilities Coordinator worked together to help support the clients who were academically capable, but who lacked initiation, organization, and self-advocacy skills. A USM Social Work graduate student was hired as a Life Skills Tutor to work with the two VR students a few days a week, a couple hours at a time, no more than 6-8 hours a week. The Life Skills Tutor worked with each student individually based on their needs for the above skills. The LST also assisted on time management, communication between the clients/students and their professors and academic advisors, and helped the VR clients/students to learn and navigate various college systems, such as the college schedule, transportation, etc.

The LST reported directly to USM Disabilities Coordinator and submitted a monthly report to the VRC, indicating each client/student’s academic progress. Of the two students, one was not able to successfully remain in college; however the other successfully transitioned off of mentoring supports and is on track to complete a Bachelor’s degree.

 

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

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies

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:

a. The DEI team will include two VR Rehabilitation Counselor I’s who will assist in delivering the CEW.

b. DVR will participate in DEI Integrated Resource Team meetings

c. 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

b. DVR will hire three Rehabilitation Counselor II’s to serve specialty Workers’ Compensation caseloads.

c. DVR will meet at least annually with the Workers’ Compensation Board to assess the success of the MOU initiative.

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services

To ensure that individuals with the most significant disabilities receive quality vocational rehabilitation services and equal access to employment opportunities throughout the state of Maine, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation takes a multi-faceted approach that includes workforce development, engagement of business and the availability of support services for clients who need them.

Employment Specialists Workforce Development System Updates

DVR, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), continues to contract with Syntiro, a technical assistance and training provider, to administer a comprehensive workforce development system for Employment Specialists in the Community Rehabilitation Provider sector. This project, Employment for ME Workforce Development System, includes basic certification (ACRE) training, advanced topical skills training, maintenance of a comprehensive training calendar and a mentoring program for newly certified employment specialists. The system was launched in July 2011.

Syntiro conducted one Employment Specialist Certification class with 27 graduates in the spring of 2012. Syntiro assisted in the delivery of an additional certification class conducted by ICI/UMass Boston during the fall of 2012 with an additional 21 certified Employment Specialists graduates. Syntiro has another ACRE certified training scheduled for June 2013.

Syntiro trained 24 participants in Advanced Topical Trainings beginning in the fall of 2012 on Job Development in Rural Areas and PASS (which included onsite follow up and technical assistance). Additional trainings are scheduled for spring 2013 including Customized Employment & Discovery and Technology as Support in the Workplace.

Additionally, Syntiro has conducted seven monthly webinars to date for the State’s rehabilitation community on the following topics:

(1) An overview of Maine’s Workforce System;

(2) Maine’s Business Leadership Network;

(3) Celebrating Systemic Change in Maine Employment Supports: Maine’s Medicaid Infrastructure Grant;

(4) Transition;

(5) Employment First;

(6) An Introduction to Customized Employment; and

(7) Maine’s Career Exploration Workshop.

Upcoming webinars include Maine’s VR Business Relations Program and the Maine Mentoring Program. Participation in these webinars has grown from approximately 20 to over 45 registrants this year.

Syntiro has also established a registry of Certified Employment Specialists in Maine with 605 currently certified Employment Specialists. ACRE updates its list quarterly and the list is posted on the project website (www.employmentformewds.org), so it is available to providers seeking to verify certification status.

The mentor program matches newly certified Employment Specialists (protégés) with experienced Employment Specialists and has been well received and proven to be a valuable component of the Workforce System. Mentors meet at least monthly with their protégé and work from individualized learning plans designed to address the needs of the protégé. The mentors also meet monthly to share their experiences and learn from one another in a community of learning.

BUSINESS RELATIONS

Another noteworthy development in the area of Business Relations is the establishment of the Maine Business Leadership Network (MBLN), an affiliate of the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN). DVR, along with the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Employment Services; the Department of Health & Human Services, partnered with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce to house and support a director for this business to business network. The half-time director started in August 2012 and is building membership and stakeholder agreements. One of the Division’s Business Relations Consultants is a member of the Executive Steering Team, which provides opportunity for ongoing coordination of activities and events with businesses throughout the state. Strategic partnerships with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Maine provide natural connections to the majority of businesses in our state.

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

• 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.

o 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 (Note: name has changed to Office of Aging and Disability 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.

o 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. In 2012, three more clubhouses have opened across the state to add to the two that were already here in Maine. DVR works closely with those club houses, and is in the process of developing a procedural directive so that clubhouse and VR staff will have clear direction on best practices and guidance regarding services that each entity will provide. This draft will be finalized in May, 2013, and presented at a joint meeting of clubhouse members and staff and VR staff in June, 2013.

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. A vast majority of DVR’s population is white with only 3 percent being identified as a minority, which is in comparison to the 6 percent 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 percent of total Job Bank registrants and 3.2 percent 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 percent - compared to 73.8 percent for public assistance recipients or 84 percent for veterans. Only older workers enter employment at a lower rate – 64.3 percent. Average earnings reveal a similar picture with individuals with disabilities earning only 7,325 dollars compared to 9,853 dollars for public assistance recipients or 12,401 dollars for veterans.

 

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

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

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

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 2012 annual meeting of the State Rehabilitation Council to solicit constructive feedback from current and former clients of Maine DVR. Although DVR and the SRC followed a similar process to how feedback was sought during the previous year, only five members of the community attended and one gave verbal feedback to the VR program.

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 underserved individuals.

• 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 900 in FFY 2013 and 1000 in 2014; thereby substantially improving employment outcomes for DVR clients in Maine.

(This goal is modified from an original projected goal of 1000 in FFY 2013 and 1100 in FY 2014. While the revised goals are still ambitious, they reflect the projected impact of fiscal limitations at the state and federal level – including sequestration.)

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 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 meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater

(This goal has been modified this year to determine progress through the use of RSA’s standards and indicators instead of measuring against the ACS survey which is less frequently updated.)

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 Counsil 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. This is done and reported out to the Bureau Lead Team staff, as well as Regional managers, so that all are aware of how DVR is are doing in meeting these specific goals.

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 2012 Annual Report.

Findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

Maine DVR 107 Monitoring Review Report was published November 2011. As a result of the monitoring, a Corrective Action Plan was developed. Maine DVR successfully completed the Corrective Action Plan and it was closed during 2012.

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies

Goal 1

To increase successful closures for DVR clients from 705 in FFY 2011 to 800 in FFY 2012 and 900 in FFY 2013 and 1000 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:

a. Collect and analyze data on reasons for drop out for cases closed in status 30/found eligible no plan developed

b. 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:

a. Support the re-establishment of a Maine Chapter of the US Business Leadership Network

b. Partner with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) to expand business outreach/network

c. 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:

a. Increase use of the Career Exploration Workshop, which has been shown to decrease case length time

b. 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

c. 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

Strategies:

a. Continue to work in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to address the significant waitlist for employment waiver services

b. 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

c. 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 percent in FY 2011 to meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater

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

Objective: Maine DVR will increase the numbers of individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing who are served by DVR in the Northern and Western regions of the state.

Strategies:

a. DVR will hire two additional Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf

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:

a. The DEI team will include two VR Rehabilitation Counselor I’s who will assist in delivering the CEW.

b. DVR will participate in DEI Integrated Resource Team meetings

c. 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

b. DVR will hire three Rehabilitation Counselor II’s to serve specialty Workers’ Compensation caseloads

c. DVR will meet at least annually with the Workers’ Compensation Board to assess the success of the MOU initiative

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:48PM by samemitchellm

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

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

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

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

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Goals 2013-2015 as stated in FY 2013 Plan.

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 900 in FFY 2013 and 1000 in 2014; thereby substantially improving employment outcomes for DVR clients in Maine

This goal was modified to reflect the impact of fiscal cuts at the federal level through sequestration as well as continued state level budgetary pressures. The projected outcomes continue to be ambitious however.

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:

Collect and analyze data on reasons for drop out for cases closed in status 30/found eligible no plan developed.

Provide staff training on case management techniques that promote engagement.

REPORT ON PROGRESS: This objective was successfully met. In FFY 2012, the number of VR participants who dropped out decreased to 1177 participants. Data gleaned from closed case reviews provided feedback to VR Counselors and Supervisors on the trends seen and potential reasons for drop out. Implementation of the MaineAWARE case management system and related training during the year to staff on case management techniques also supported improved numbers.

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:

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

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: For FFY 2012, DVR increased successful employment closures for individuals who received services from a community rehabilitation provider to 464, greatly surpassing our goal of 400. Phase Two of the CRP Project began April, 2012 and will run through July 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.

Below is a list of workgroups and a summary of their progress:

Accreditation Work Group:

This group has eliminated a Mental Health License as a vehicle to CRP approval, and changed policy to make CARF approval optional. The bulk of their work has been streamlining the In-State Review Process to facilitate more interaction between VR and the CRP; and to serve as a continuous improvement process for all CRPs under contract.

Access & Availability Work Group: This group split into two teams. One team recommended some incentives be provided to encourage existing CRPs to expand into geographical areas of the state that are currently underserved. The second team has developed a plan to increase employment services to individuals who are deaf. The plan includes an ASL skill assessment and training in deaf culture for VR clients and/or existing Employment Services staff.

Billing Workgroup: This group has designed an outcome or milestone-based payment system to reimburse CRPs for job development/placement. The model will be piloted in the summer of 2013 before the full-state roll-out.

Business Relations Workgroup: The B.R. Workgroup has developed a model to partner with large businesses (over 100 employees) in Maine. The model involves additional training for certified Employment Specialists to better prepare them to serve the business customer. Also, the group has designed a “Speakers and Resources Bureau.”

Initially, short stories (no more than 4 minutes long) from job seekers/workers with disabilities; as well as the stories of employers who have realized the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, will be posted on 3 key websites.

Ultimately, the effort will be expanded to have willing story tellers participate as speakers at various events. The Speakers & Resources Bureau will be housed under the Maine Business Leadership Network at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.

Referral & Documentation Workgroup: This group has designed a referral form and some other templates to assure greater consistency with the documentation of services.

Communications Workgroup: This workgroup is producing a CRP Handbook that covers all areas addressed in the CRP Project. They are also taking the lead role in documenting the work/progress of the CRP Steering Team and individual work groups.

The CRP Project is projected to be complete in the summer of 2013.

Additionally, CRP’s have been invited to participate in many joint trainings with DVR this year including: Technical Writing, Customized Employment, Verbal Judo, Working with People with Personality Disorders, Motivational Interviewing and more. These trainings allow CRP’s to earn the credit hours that they need to maintain accreditation as a Provider.

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:

Support the re-establishment of a Maine Chapter of the US Business Leadership Network

Partner with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) to expand business outreach/network

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Consistent with the “dual customer” philosophy, the Division has expanded its capacity to develop and support partnerships with businesses throughout the state.

Two full-time Business Relations Consultants have been employed to develop partnerships with large businesses, those with over 100 employees. There are over 900 businesses in this category. Each Business Relations Consultant is assigned to specific counties.

Using the “Single Point of Contact” and a “demand-driven” approach, the Consultants gather information on the business’ workforce and culture; and then design the framework for a partnership agreement.

Each agreement addresses the unique needs and challenges identified by the business customer. Another noteworthy development in the area of Business Relations is the establishment of the Maine Business Leadership Network (MBLN), an affiliate of the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN).

The MBLN is currently conducting employer forums across the state. At this time, the Business Relations Consultants are in the early stages of development with seven large Maine employers in addition to the two identified during the previous fiscal year.

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:

a. Increase use of the Career Exploration Workshop, which has been shown to decrease case length time.

b. 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

c. Deliver staff training and supervision on best practices in IPE plan development

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Progress on this objective was made through the use of the above strategies. During FFY 2012 the average time in plan development fell to 235 days. While this does not yet meet the RSA standard of no more than 180 days, significant improvement has been documented.

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 (objective discontinued – FY 2013)

New Objective for 2014: To increase the number of individuals with significant intellectual disabilities who access the available waiver employment support for long term employment support needs after closure from BRS by 50 people during FFY 2013.

The above objective is being added due to the wait list at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Aging and Disability Services (DHHS-OADS)

Strategies:

a. Continue to work in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to address the significant waitlist for employment waiver services

b. 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.

c. Complete and pilot the recently developed Career Exploration Workshop appropriate for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Approximately 1700 working age adults remain unemployed who have access to the DHHS waiver, which allows for job preparation to occur. To promote increased employment opportunities for individuals who need this long term support, as of April 2013, the “Bridge CEW curriculum” has been completed and two “train the trainer” sessions have been held for agencies around the state. DHHS has requested that MaineCare rules allow for agencies to charge MaineCare work supports, so that they can use this important tool which will assist many individuals with intellectual disabilities to prepare for employment. The Bridge CEW was developed and printed with support from Maine DHHS and is being shared in forums, train the trainers, webinars and in trainings to engage agency staff to utilize the resource. It is expected that 1,000 individuals may access the curriculum and complete the Interest Inventory.

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 meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Maine DVR worked closely with Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation during the year. All DVR sponsored trainings were open to Wabanaki VR staff. They participated in many of them, including DVR’s statewide training days in June 2012. Wabanaki VR provided technical assistance to DVR through presentations at New Counselor Training.

The Director of the Section 121 Grant serves on the State Rehabilitation Council and also gives input as a member of DVR’s CSPD committee.

Additionally, DVR’s Business Relations Consultant is doing outreach to the Wabanaki VR program to ensure that individuals served by that program have access to employment opportunities developed with larger companies in northern Maine.

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.

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Due to continuing developments with implementation of DVR’s case management database system, strategy a. will be continued to FFY 2013. DVR did however work closely with these populations this year, establishing a DVR Veterans Liaisons group that meets quarterly to address Veterans issues and a DVR Corrections Liaisons group that also meets quarterly to promote improved collaboration with the correctional system.

DVR strives to ensure that all materials distributed or published are accessible and demonstrate cultural competency. Through training and technical assistance from the State ADA Accessibility Coordinator, the Director for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened and others, DVR staff have had the opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge concerning universal design and disability etiquette.

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Maine has moved significantly forward on this objective. In fall 2011, twenty individuals from Maine, along with 1300 other participants from around the country, attended the Alliance for Full Participation conference in Washington DC. This conference’s goal was to have states come together to learn from each other and focus on evidence based strategies that are improving employment outcomes for people with significant disabilities. Maine’s Employment First team has met regularly to build on the conference’s work. The Maine Alliance is made up of nearly two dozen organizations including state agencies (representing mental health, developmental disabilities, Vocational Rehabilitation, employment services, special education), Maine APSE, Speaking Up for Us (disability self-advocates), Consumer Council System of Maine, family members, the Disability Rights Center, Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, among other community organizations and providers. Current legislation is now pending in the Maine Legislature which would support the adoption and implementation of an Employment First model in Maine. The legislation has the support of the Governor’s Office along with the Commissioners of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services.

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:

a. The DEI team will include two VR Rehabilitation Counselor I’s who will assist in delivering the CEW.

b. DVR will participate in DEI Integrated Resource Team meetings

c. DVR will work with the DEI team and others in the Bureau of Employment Services to ensure accessibility in Maine’s CareerCenter network

REPORT ON PROGRESS: The DEI grant serves individuals with disabilities in Northern and Eastern Maine. The grant supports two Rehabilitation Counselor I’s who are employed by DVR. To date referrals to the CEW have been limited to nine during FY 2012, but a new pilot effort in the Machias office to refer non-DVR clients may see those numbers increase. DVR Rehabilitation Counselor II’s do regularly participate in DEI Integrated Resource Team meetings and this has strengthened the partnership between the two programs.

Ensuring CareerCenter accessibility has been an important issue over the past year following networking and software changes in the CareerCenters. A dedicated team that included the Bureau Directors of Rehabilitation Services and Employment Services, the State ADA Accessibility Coordinator, DEI project team members and other DVR and Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired staff worked diligently with the Office of Information Technology to successfully advocate for the re-establishment and maintenance of accessible software on CareerCenter computers – including JAWS and ZoomText.

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: Attention and advocacy on this matter has resulted in the number of sub-minimum certificates being reduced this year to 13. Additionally, DVR recently testified against recent pending legislation in the Maine legislature that would have supported the maintenance of continued use of the certificates at FY 2011 levels. Following DVR’s testimony the legislation was voted “ought not to pass”. Proposed Employment First legislation will also help to further reduce the numbers of sub-minimum wage certificates.

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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: While DVR staff do use labor market information coming out of the Center for Workforce Research and Information, training was not held this year and so development of a baseline will occur during FY 2013. DVR did, however, work with CWRI to develop an annual snapshot of the employment status of people with disabilities in Maine. The snapshot may be found at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/pubs1.html.

DVR is also participating in a Workforce Data Quality Initiative grant awarded to CWRI, which will provide aggregated longitudinal employment outcome data for individuals served by DVR.

Objective: Maine DVR will develop a Memorandum of Understanding with the public Workers’ Compensation system in order to better serve Maine workers who are in need of rehabilitation services and 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

REPORT ON PROGRESS: During 2012, representatives of the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) and Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation worked together to create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU was completed and signed, effective November 2012. DVR and the WCB are committed to working together to improve services and employment outcomes for individuals who, as a result of injury, are in need of vocational rehabilitation services to return to employment. Through the efforts outlined in the MOU agreement, DVR and the WCB will strive to maximize opportunities for injured Maine workers, minimize duplication of services, improve information sharing and referrals, and coordinate activities in accordance with all applicable statutes and regulations.

Support from the Governor’s Office allowed DVR to hire two experienced CRC’s to work as Rehabilitation Counselor II’s dedicated to individuals who are referred or receiving benefits from the Workers Compensation system. Since development of the objective, a better tracking method has been developed to count individuals who are served through the Workers’ Compensation system. As of April 2013, 40 individuals are currently being served by the two specialty RC II’s.

2. Identify all supported employment program goals consistent with the goals described in Attachment 4.11(c)(4), including an evaluation of the extent to which the supported employment program goals were achieved.

• Identify the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals.

• Provide a description of the factors that impeded the achievement of the goals and priorities.

Provide an Assessment of the performance of the VR program on the standards and indicators for FY 2012.

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.

Provide a report on how the funds reserved for innovation and expansion (I&E) activities were utilized in FY 2011.

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, 22 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. In FY 2012 there were 29 successful employment closures in self-employment with an average hourly wage of $15.98 cents reflecting a general upward trend over the last ten years in the earnings and hours worked by individuals who choose self-employment in their employment planning with DVR.

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, Annual Meeting, Website committee, and the Executive Committee.

For more information regarding the SRC, please visit www.mainesrc.org. At its annual meeting in September 2012 the SRC benefited from the New England Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE) facilitators. TACE successfully facilitated the SRC annual meeting as TACE staff understood not only the SRC mission, but also its current challenges, future goals and the critical importance of its work on behalf of PWD.

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.

The Director of the Section 121 program works collaboratively with DVR staff. The Director is currently serving on the two State Rehabilitation Councils as well as the Statewide Independent Living Council. In addition, the Director also serves on the TACE advisory committee and 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.

Adult Career Exploration Workshop (CEW)

The CEW is a five-day class where individuals explore areas of interest while uncovering skills and talents leading to a specific job goal. When individuals participate in a CEW, they go through the VR program more quickly, resulting in less overall spending on their programs. The CEW is in use statewide. Each office maintains its own schedule for the workshops. At an approximate cost of $250 per participant, the CEW has been a cost efficient way to reduce costs per employment closure and improve time to closure.

Transition Career Exploration Workshop (TCEW)

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 deliver a “train the trainer” model to special educator in Fall 2013 to increase use of the TCEW statewide.

“Bridges – Pathway to Employment” Career Exploration Workshop

The curriculum, developed from the Adult CEW and the TCEW, is designed for individuals with intellectual disabilities to help them learn more about their vocational interests and abilities, as well as the world of work in preparation for successful employment. BRS developed the curriculum in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), DOE, self-advocates and CRPs. Now, in partnership with DHHS, DVR is currently rolling it out as a tool across the state to particularly assist in meeting the needs of those who need long-term supports for employment success, but are waiting for funding through DHHS.

MaineAWARE

DVR continues to increase capacity due to the MaineAWARE case management database system. The increase in the ability to readily access data has strengthened DVR’s planning and use of resources, including caseload management and supervision in field offices. MaineAWARE was integrated into the New Counselor Training Curriculum in 2012. Increased efficiencies are also being found due to greater use of electronic communication and transmittal of documents supported by MaineAWARE.

The Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened (DDHHLD)

DDHHLD houses a director, assistant to the director and three Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf (RCDs). The RCDs help individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing access and maintain employment. Due to increased referrals that DVR has received during the last two years, DDHHLD is hiring two more RCDs. DDHHLD provides referrals, information and training to employers and other state agencies, as well as, deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind consumers regarding equal access issues. In addition, DDHHLD administers a contract with the Maine Center on Deafness to provide Telecommunications Equipment, Civil Rights and Advocacy services.

Hearing Aid Initiative

Maine DVR is documenting significant savings as a result of our purchasing agreement developed in conjunction with the State of Minnesota and the State of Maine Purchases Division. Since implementation of changes in hearing aid purchase protocol, DVR has been able to nearly double the number of clients fitted with hearing aids while keeping costs virtually unchanged. DVR staff have presented this new protocol at two national conferences as a successful cost saving measure for other Vocational Rehabilitation agencies to consider.

Deaf-Blind and Dual Sensory Communication

DVR’s Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened has work closely with the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired as it continued with its efforts to address a critical need for highly qualified interpreters and other well-trained staff with skills to work with our consumers of the VR program who are deaf-blind or have the dual sensory impairment of vision and hearing. Due to the limited access in Maine to anyone with this specialty training, both from within DBVI and elsewhere, the Division continued its work with a group of collaborative partners (University of Southern Maine, Helen Keller National Center, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Division of the Deaf, Late Deafened and Hard of Hearing, and the Iris Network) in 2001 to provide specialized training to a number of individuals who will serve as professional Deaf-Blind Interpreters, as well as volunteers within the Support Service Provider (SSP) program. The program was designed to connect these professional Deaf-Blind Interpreters and volunteer SSP’s with adults with dual sensory impairments who are in need of these types of communication access services.

To date, approximately 25 individuals have been trained and are available to provide these volunteer SSP services, while approximately 20 professional ASL interpreters have been trained as interpreters for people who are deaf-blind. This first cohort of trained Deaf-Blind Interpreters and SSP’s received opportunities for additional “hands-on” training working directly with consumers during FY2011. In addition, a process for matching consumers to the needed service providers was developed and implemented, and avenues for additional training were identified.

Employment Specialist for Executive Loan

The Coming together with Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) Project Workgroup on Business Relations has proposed the identification and development of Employment Specialists for Executive Loan (ESEL) as a key component to the Business Relations model. The Business Relations model targets large businesses (those with 100 or more employees) as the primary customer. The ESEL is “loaned” to a business for a defined time period to coordinate the start-up or expansion of the business’s strategies to integrate people with disabilities in their workforce. The ESEL observes operations and consults with the business to understand their culture, core values, workforce needs and hiring practices in order to connect the business with both qualified job applicants with disabilities and resources to maximize successful employment outcomes. This ESEL model was successfully piloted at P&G/Tambrands, a company in Maine that manufactures and distributes feminine hygiene products. DVR contracted with a Community Rehabilitation Provider to engage the time of an Employment Specialist who had a strong background in the private business sector. This experience helped to further develop the ESEL concept. This model resulted in significantly reduced cost of services to support VR clients; and a good return on investment for the company (P&G reported an 11% recidivism rate for the employees with disabilities, as compared to 22% for those who do not have a known disability). Currently, a training program is being developed for interested Employment Specialists that will prepare them to be more effective in their role of supporting the business customer. Business partners have helped to develop competencies and a job description for the ESEL. They are also helping develop the training curriculum and will host portions of the training at their respective business sites. The goal is to have trained Employment Specialists available throughout the state that can provide this service and be reimbursed through the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services.

Life Skills Tutor Pilot Program

In 2012 DVR and the University of Southern Maine (USM) collaborated on a pilot mentoring program, a Life Skills Tutor (LST) program, to provide specialized tutoring for two VR clients with Asperger’s who were attending USM. A VR counselor and the USM Disabilities Coordinator worked together to help support the clients who were academically capable, but who lacked initiation, organization, and self-advocacy skills. A USM Social Work graduate student was hired as a Life Skills Tutor to work with the two VR students a few days a week, a couple hours at a time, no more than 6-8 hours a week. The Life Skills Tutor worked with each student individually based on their needs for the above skills. The LST also assisted on time management, communication between the clients/students and their professors and academic advisors, and helped the VR clients/students to learn and navigate various college systems, such as the college schedule, transportation, etc.

The LST reported directly to USM Disabilities Coordinator and submitted a monthly report to the VRC, indicating each client/student’s academic progress. Of the two students, one was not able to successfully remain in college; however the other successfully transitioned off of mentoring supports and is on track to complete a Bachelor’s degree.

 

Attachment 4.11(c)(4) Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (DVR) 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 900 in FFY 2013 and 1000 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:

a. Continue to work in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to address the significant waitlist for employment waiver services

b. 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

c. 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 percent in FY 2011 to meet the federal standard as determined by RSA’ s Indicator 2.1 RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The Federal standard is 0.80 or greater.

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.

 

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

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

Provide an Assessment of the performance of the VR program on the standards and indicators for FY 2012.

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.

 

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

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

Provide a report on how the funds reserved for innovation and expansion (I&E) activities were utilized in FY 2011.

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, 22 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. In FY 2012 there were 29 successful employment closures in self-employment with an average hourly wage of $15.98 reflecting a general upward trend over the last ten years in the earnings and hours worked by individuals who choose self-employment in their employment planning with DVR.

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, Annual Meeting, Website committee, and the Executive Committee. For more information regarding the SRC, please visit www.mainesrc.org. At its annual meeting in September 2012 the SRC benefited from the New England Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE) facilitators. TACE successfully facilitated the SRC annual meeting as TACE staff understood not only the SRC mission, but also its current challenges, future goals and the critical importance of its work on behalf of PWD.

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.

The Director of the Section 121 program works collaboratively with DVR staff. The Director is currently serving on the two State Rehabilitation Councils as well as the Statewide Independent Living Council. In addition, the Director also serves on the TACE advisory committee and 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.

Adult Career Exploration Workshop (CEW)

The CEW is a five-day class where individuals explore areas of interest while uncovering skills and talents leading to a specific job goal. When individuals participate in a CEW, they go through the VR program more quickly, resulting in less overall spending on their programs. The CEW is in use statewide. Each office maintains its own schedule for the workshops. At an approximate cost of $250 per participant, the CEW has been a cost efficient way to reduce costs per employment closure and improve time to closure.

Transition Career Exploration Workshop (TCEW)

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 deliver a “train the trainer” model to special educator in Fall 2013 to increase use of the TCEW statewide.

“Bridges – Pathway to Employment” Career Exploration Workshop

The curriculum, developed from the Adult CEW and the TCEW, is designed for individuals with intellectual disabilities to help them learn more about their vocational interests and abilities, as well as the world of work in preparation for successful employment. BRS developed the curriculum in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), DOE, self-advocates and CRPs. Now, in partnership with DHHS, DVR is currently rolling it out as a tool across the state to particularly assist in meeting the needs of those who need long-term supports for employment success, but are waiting for funding through DHHS.

MaineAWARE

DVR continues to increase capacity due to the MaineAWARE case management database system. The increase in the ability to readily access data has strengthened DVR’s planning and use of resources, including caseload management and supervision in field offices. MaineAWARE was integrated into the New Counselor Training Curriculum in 2012. Increased efficiencies are also being found due to greater use of electronic communication and transmittal of documents supported by MaineAWARE.

The Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened (DDHHLD)

DDHHLD houses a director, assistant to the director and three Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf (RCDs). The RCDs help individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing access and maintain employment. Due to increased referrals that DVR has received during the last two years, DDHHLD is hiring two more RCDs. DDHHLD provides referrals, information and training to employers and other state agencies, as well as, deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind consumers regarding equal access issues. In addition, DDHHLD administers a contract with the Maine Center on Deafness to provide Telecommunications Equipment, Civil Rights and Advocacy services.

Hearing Aid Initiative

Maine DVR is documenting significant savings as a result of our purchasing agreement developed in conjunction with the State of Minnesota and the State of Maine Purchases Division. Since implementation of changes in hearing aid purchase protocol, DVR has been able to nearly double the number of clients fitted with hearing aids while keeping costs virtually unchanged. DVR staff have presented this new protocol at two national conferences as a successful cost saving measure for other Vocational Rehabilitation agencies to consider.

Deaf-Blind and Dual Sensory Communication

DVR’s Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened has work closely with the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired as it continued with its efforts to address a critical need for highly qualified interpreters and other well-trained staff with skills to work with our consumers of the VR program who are deaf-blind or have the dual sensory impairment of vision and hearing. Due to the limited access in Maine to anyone with this specialty training, both from within DBVI and elsewhere, the Division continued its work with a group of collaborative partners (University of Southern Maine, Helen Keller National Center, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Division of the Deaf, Late Deafened and Hard of Hearing, and the Iris Network) in 2001 to provide specialized training to a number of individuals who will serve as professional Deaf-Blind Interpreters, as well as volunteers within the Support Service Provider (SSP) program. The program was designed to connect these professional Deaf-Blind Interpreters and volunteer SSP’s with adults with dual sensory impairments who are in need of these types of communication access services.

To date, approximately 25 individuals have been trained and are available to provide these volunteer SSP services, while approximately 20 professional ASL interpreters have been trained as interpreters for people who are deaf-blind. This first cohort of trained Deaf-Blind Interpreters and SSP’s received opportunities for additional “hands-on” training working directly with consumers during FY2011. In addition, a process for matching consumers to the needed service providers was developed and implemented, and avenues for additional training were identified.

Employment Specialist for Executive Loan

The Coming together with Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) Project Workgroup on Business Relations has proposed the identification and development of Employment Specialists for Executive Loan (ESEL) as a key component to the Business Relations model. The Business Relations model targets large businesses (those with 100 or more employees) as the primary customer. The ESEL is “loaned” to a business for a defined time period to coordinate the start-up or expansion of the business’s strategies to integrate people with disabilities in their workforce. The ESEL observes operations and consults with the business to understand their culture, core values, workforce needs and hiring practices in order to connect the business with both qualified job applicants with disabilities and resources to maximize successful employment outcomes. This ESEL model was successfully piloted at P&G/Tambrands, a company in Maine that manufactures and distributes feminine hygiene products. DVR contracted with a Community Rehabilitation Provider to engage the time of an Employment Specialist who had a strong background in the private business sector. This experience helped to further develop the ESEL concept. This model resulted in significantly reduced cost of services to support VR clients; and a good return on investment for the company (P&G reported an 11% recidivism rate for the employees with disabilities, as compared to 22% for those who do not have a known disability). Currently, a training program is being developed for interested Employment Specialists that will prepare them to be more effective in their role of supporting the business customer. Business partners have helped to develop competencies and a job description for the ESEL. They are also helping develop the training curriculum and will host portions of the training at their respective business sites. The goal is to have trained Employment Specialists available throughout the state that can provide this service and be reimbursed through the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services.

Life Skills Tutor Pilot Program

In 2012 DVR and the University of Southern Maine (USM) collaborated on a pilot mentoring program, a Life Skills Tutor (LST) program, to provide specialized tutoring for two VR clients with Asperger’s who were attending USM. A VR counselor and the USM Disabilities Coordinator worked together to help support the clients who were academically capable, but who lacked initiation, organization, and self-advocacy skills. A USM Social Work graduate student was hired as a Life Skills Tutor to work with the two VR students a few days a week, a couple hours at a time, no more than 6-8 hours a week. The Life Skills Tutor worked with each student individually based on their needs for the above skills. The LST also assisted on time management, communication between the clients/students and their professors and academic advisors, and helped the VR clients/students to learn and navigate various college systems, such as the college schedule, transportation, etc.

The LST reported directly to USM Disabilities Coordinator and submitted a monthly report to the VRC, indicating each client/student’s academic progress. Of the two students, one was not able to successfully remain in college; however the other successfully transitioned off of mentoring supports and is on track to complete a Bachelor’s degree.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:48PM by samemitchellm

Attachment 6.3 Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services

  • Describe quality, scope, and extent of supported employment services to be provided to individuals with the most significant disabilities
  • Describe the timing of the transition to extended services

Attachment 6.3 Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services

• 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. DVRs expectation is 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 DVR 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 that 300 to 400 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 estimated in 2012 that between 25 to 30 individuals with traumatic brain injury will be able to participate in supported employment using state funded extended support. DVR ended 2012 having served 46.

Another state funded program providing long term supports is the Basic Extended Support Program that purchases extended support for all disability groups. The annual services CAP for individuals receiving long term supports from this fund is $3000. This funding supported 144 individuals during 2012. Presently, the disability groups this program funds includes any individuals who have been closed successfully in the DVR or DBVI program, who require no more than $3000 a year in long term support (for job coaching).

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 did implement a new Medicaid waiver program shifting resources from day habilitation services to employment. The new waiver program has resulted in additional individuals with developmental disabilities being eligible for supported employment with Developmental Services providing extended supports.

DVR 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 27 2013 2:26PM by samemitchellm

System Information

System information

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on:06/27/2013 2:51 PM

Last updated by:samemitchellm

Completed on: 06/27/2013 2:53 PM

Completed by: samemitchellm

Approved on: 09/18/2013 9:10 AM

Approved by: rscobillyj