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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Michigan Commission for the Blind State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

1.1 The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) 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 Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) [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

Bureau Director

... 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

Bureau Director

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Michael Zimmer

Title of Signatory
Chief Deputy Director, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
08/09/2012

Assurances Certified By

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

Comments:

Title 1 and Title VI Part B

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Michael Zimmer

Title of Signatory
Chief Deputy Director, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
08/09/2012

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (“BSBP”)

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. Yes

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order, effective October 1, 2012 there will be a single SRC to serve both Michigan Rehabilitation Services and the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons.

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. The Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services (“Council”) is established within the Department of Human Services. The Council serves as a single state rehabilitation council pursuant to 29 USC 721(a)(21)(B) for the Department of Human Services, Michigan Rehabilitation Services and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Services of Blind Persons. The Bureau Director of Michigan Rehabilitation Services and the Bureau Director of the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons serves as non-voting ex officio members of the Council. Also, the Governor has established the Commission for Blind Persons (“Commission”) which is created as an advisory commission within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, consisting of seven members appointed by, and serving at the pleasure of, the Governor with four of the members being blind; the Governor will designate a member of the advisory Commission as its Chairperson, serving at the pleasure of the Governor; and the Director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs shall perform all budgeting, procurement, and related management functions of the advisory Commission.

Below is a summary of comments made during public hearings that took place during the last several months of 2012, in preparation for the development of the 2013 State Plan and the agency’s move from a Commission to a Bureau:

• There were four comments regarding accessibility of materials, building and meeting locations stating that the agency is not in compliance with 504 and ADA requirements.

• Another individual made comments regarding the Newsline and the importance of this media for blind individuals to have access to information and that MCB should support Newsline.

• Since 2000 the agency has reduced employment outcomes by 15%.

• The agency conducts job clubs in various cities to assist with job ready consumers; although the agency does not devote enough time individually with job ready consumers.

• The agency provides staff with job placement training from various professionals, again, the training does not focus on placing blind individuals or working one on one with individuals.

• The budget for MCB is adequate for providing MCB’s consumers with appropriate training and equipment; although, each year it is not spent on those services, rather, it spends funds on other administrative services such as rent, wages and salaries, and travel.

• No public hearings since 1998

• No plan on the website since 2004

• Inadequate time to review the state plan

• It’s inappropriate to ask family members for funds for rehabilitation services for training

• Consumers are told that employers are responsible for access technology and thus don’t assist in job maintenance.

• Even though –MCB has secured memoranda of understanding with colleges and universities, these institutions do not always keep up their end. This results in delays in class completions or threatens the ability of a student to successfully complete their course of study. It is not uncommon for systemic delays to slow down progress toward an employment goal.

• It seems that MCB has entered into a large number of agreements that, each, serve very few people and mitigate against the development of larger more robust programs that concentrate resources. We recommend the Commission focus on a few larger and proven programs rather than spreading things so thin across the state.

• More emphasis needs to be placed on recruiting and hiring blind staff persons and reaching out to those institutions for recruitment that provide college level training in blindness rehabilitation.

• The agency continues to encourage consumers to work with the CWICS to receive appropriate information regarding work incentives that will allow them to make informed choices regarding full-time employment. SORRY! The agency cannot farm out responsibility.

• Case management system was not working properly in 2000. This state plan fails to mention the on-going and unresolved problems with System 7.

• Overall comment: I enjoyed reviewing the State Plan, it is very clear and concise. The readability of the Plan is very much appreciated. It was also recommended that other agencies should follow MCB’s pattern when developing their State Plan because it is clear and has ease of readability.

Although the Commission for the Blind’s Board will no longer be in effect October 1, due to the fact that the Board was in place during 2012 and provided input during the year into the 2013 State Plan, below is listed their input :

• Training for consumers and staff that would enable the agency to meet its goals and objectives; specifically, references were made regarding training that emphasize the importance of knowledge and awareness of blindness as it relates to working with individuals that are blind and visually impaired. Additionally, the commissioners stated that emerging training for new staff should be comprehensive at MCB Training Center for 80 hours or more of sleep shade training. Vocational training should be provided to enable consumers to meet their goals and objectives.

• Transition activities with intermediate school districts must be expanded to include rural school districts within the state. It must also be expanded to provide these activities throughout the year.

• MCB must put greater emphasis on providing consumers with choices that will enable them to develop skills to secure full time employment; thereby, encouraging them to work full time and removing them from the roll of public assistance.

• The Comprehensive Needs Assessment is required for state agencies every three years. The five member Commission Board wants to be involved in the process to make sure that the assessment focus on needs of persons who are blind and visually impaired.

• MCB must be aware of the accessible buildings where meetings are conducted in regards to the ADA compliances.

• The Commission Board also discussed the need for the agency to become involved with innovation and expansion programs to assist blind consumers with emerging types of training.

• The Newsline was mentioned as a source that could be helpful to consumers in seeking employment opportunities through the use of on-line newspapers.

• The Commission Board shared concerns in regards to consumer cases being closed inappropriately with employment that is less than competitive.

Effective October 1, 2012, the new Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons will take all public comment and Commission input listed above under advisement.

This screen was last updated on Sep 26 2012 10:45AM by Leamon Jones

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

Bureau of Services for Blind Persons submitted a Waiver of Statewideness to RSA to carry out the agreements that BSBP has obtained. These agreements provide an array of services to eligible consumers. Through the intermediate school districts (ISD’s), the BSBP continues to work collaboratively with the ISD’s to develop prevocational programs that focus on soft skills, preparation for employment and job shadowing, resume writing and etc. The participants are expected to acquire skills that will enable them to obtain employment during the summer months. A number of the other agreements focus on vocational training, job placement and follow-up services. Specifically, these agreements provide for specialized training and adaptive equipment, computer technology and screen reader access that allows blind and visually impaired individuals to compete competitively in the job market. The agreements with Community Mental Health provide supports for supported employment candidates in the form of vocational training, job coaching and follow-along services to maintain employment within the communities.

Each of the agreements developed with these public entities are funds provided in part to increase and enhance vocational opportunities in conjunction with the state agency. BSBP requires assurance that each agreement signed must ensure that all services provided to the individuals must meet the goals which outlines the objectives of increased vocational opportunities and employment outcomes. These agreements assure that they will make available to BSBP the non-federal share of funds, contain written assurance that agency approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is initiated, and that each agreement will comply with the State plan requirements for services that are approved under the waiver. BSBP continues to work collaboratively with its community partners in maintaining all of its agreements.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2012 3:04PM by Leamon Jones

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.

BSBP, through its collaborative agreements with a variety of state and local agencies provides comprehensive rehabilitation services to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. BSBP has agreements with the Developmental Disability Council and the Department of Community Health (DCH) agencies to provide comprehensive services to persons with developmental disabilities to assist in job placement and follow-along services. The Department of Community Health agencies and the BSBP work collaboratively through its cooperative agreements to expand services to individuals that are eligible for DCH services to obtain job placement and follow-along services. DCH agencies also work with the bureau in providing auxiliary services to many of BSBP’s supported employment consumers.

The BSBP collaborative agreement with the Department of Human Services (DHS) provides services to family members in the area of child care, adult services and food assistance to BSBP consumers that assist individuals to participate in vocational training and job placement. The agreement also provides for adults, when necessary, chore services and transportation. BSBP and DHS has collaborated and developed an amendment to the agreement to provide services to individuals that are in need of state disability services prior to becoming eligible for SSI or SSDI. These individuals will work with BSBP and DHS in the development of a plan for employment in order to be a recipient of State Disability Assistance (SDA).

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the BSBP continue to share information regarding grants that the department distributes to local transportation authorities for capital outlay as well as for expanded transportation services throughout the state for BSBP consumers. The BSBP staff works with local advisory councils (LAC) within their areas to provide input to the local transportation authorities regarding transportation assistance to persons who are disabled and especially for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. By working collaboratively with the LAC’s the staff becomes aware of grants to increase transportation services in rural areas as well as in townships and cities. The BSBP’s objective in working with the transportation authorities is to increase the awareness and needs of transportation for blind and visually impaired individuals to be able to access transportation services for employment and leisure activities.

The BSBP serves as an Employment Network for the Ticket to Work program. This is a program provided through the Social Security Administration. The program provides coordinators who discuss work incentives with vocational individuals who are seeking employment and are recipients of SSI and SSDI.

The bureau has worked with Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to develop cooperative agreements that outline the responsibility of BSBP and the IHE as it relates to the requirements found in Section 103 (a) of the Rehabilitation Act as amended regarding dispute resolutions, financial responsibilities, accommodations, and service provisions. The agency supports many of its consumers in their endeavors to obtain training in a variety of occupational areas through institutions of higher education. BSBP has agreements with all public institutions of higher education.

BSBP has an agreement with Michigan State University to provide a comprehensive needs assessment (CSNA) and a customer satisfaction survey for BSBP consumers. The assessment provides BSBP with information regarding service needs and customer input regarding gaps in services. BSBP and MRS work collaboratively with Michigan State University and Wayne State University along with a number of on-line colleges to provide the Comprehensive Statewide Personnel Development (CSPD) for interns as well as counselors who are in need of specific courses to meet the certification of rehabilitation requirements.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2012 3:20PM by Leamon Jones

  • 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.

The BSBP continues to develop cooperative agreements with intermediate and individual school districts throughout the state for the provision of transition services of blind and visually impaired students. These agreements outline specific objectives to be included in transition plans for blind and visually impaired school age students in the districts served under each agreement. They provide for development of individual skills for pre-employment, as well as secondary educational training. BSBP staff when invited participates in the Individualized Educational Planning conference (IEPC) of students that are fourteen years and older to establish eligibility criteria for vocational rehabilitation services. At these meetings, ground work is developed to initiate Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for each individual at age fourteen. An Individualized Plan for Employment is developed with the transition students and parents to provide vocational exploration and training for all eligible students. The eligibility criteria for services must be met before plan development. Each transition student recieves their plan prior to transitioning from school. The IEPC, along with the IPE, are instruments that identify education, transition, and employment goals and objectives. These activities are cooperatively agreed upon by the schools or educational facilities, parent/student, other relevant agencies, as well as the rehabilitation agency; thereby, establishing the objectives of the transition plan leading to the transitioning of individuals from high school to employment or secondary education.

The bureau continues to collaborate with education officials to carry out transition activities for blind and visually impaired youth. BSBP has an agreement with the Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services (OSE/EIS) that outlines the responsibilities of both agencies. The agreement is reviewed annually to assure that all activities are carried out by the designated parties. The Michigan Department of Education Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO) provides technical assistance and resources to enable local service providers to serve and improve the quality of education for students with a visual impairment. BSBP partners with MDE-LIO and local districts to facilitate the coordination of academic, vocational, independent and community-based curricula. BSBP will also provide technical assistance for the establishment of local partnerships designed to aid and empower students that are blind and visual impaired. BSBP is mandated by the federal government to work collaboratively with intermediate school districts and community partners to provide transition services and activities for blind and visually impaired youth.

BSBP establishes agency priorities and goals, provides leadership and consultation to intermediate school districts. BSBP maintains a statewide client information system that includes the collection of agency programs and data for students who are blind and visually impaired.

BSBP works jointly with MDE Special Education programs and the intermediate school districts (ISD) to establish agreements to carry out transition planning and activities. The agreements outline the individualized transition plans. Specifically, the BSBP initiates programs with the ISD to encourage academic involvement for all visually impaired and blind students. BSBP works with the ISD, students and parents to develop IPE’s that provides for the development of soft skills training and work experiences. Through the Low Incident and Outreach program within the Michigan Department of Education, the bureau works jointly with the agency to identify eligible consumers for the Vocational Rehabilitation program. The BSBP participates with the Michigan Department of Education’s Bureau of Assessment and Accountability with the general education department to identify areas of collaboration to enhance program accessibility for mainstream youth who are blind and visually impaired. The objective is to maximize resources and minimize barriers that may impact on the educational progress of blind and visually impaired youth.

MDE Special Education Division is responsible for providing educational support to all individuals as it relates to their academic achievements. BSBP provides financial support relating to specialized vocational assessment training and other related services leading to employment outcomes. Through collaboration with the intermediate school districts, BSBP has established interagency cash transfers to provide the services that are outlined in the individualized transition plan. These services are above and beyond what the Department of Special Education provides.

This screen was last updated on Aug 30 2012 9:22AM by Leamon Jones

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

According to 4.8 (b) (3), BSBP has cooperative agreements with community vocational rehabilitation agencies throughout the state to provide vocational assessments, vocational training, and job placement services. These individualized agreements outline the expectation and outcomes of each program. The agency has developed a relationship with a vocational training facility that provides training to blind and visually impaired consumers that leads to direct job placement with the federal government. This relationship has been extremely beneficial in assisting the bureau to provide consumers with meaningful careers. BSBP continues to explore opportunities to expand options for its consumers to obtain a variety of vocational training and employment outcomes.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2012 3:24PM by Leamon Jones

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.

The BSBP Supported Employment program continues to provide rehabilitation services to individuals with multiple impairments. These individuals receive specialized services based on the criteria for supported employment. Each case record has documentation to support the individual’s participation in the Supported Employment program. Individuals that are not determined eligible for the Supported Employment program have participated in extended assessments to determine the feasibility of rehabilitation services. Generally, the applicants for the Supported Employment program are able to acquire specific training and supported services that will enable them to be integrated within the community in a variety of occupations. Through BSBP’s collaborative efforts with Department of Community Health (DCH), an agreement was developed and implemented to provide long term services upon the completion of vocational training. The agreement provides extended supports to assist supported employment consumers in maintaining their employment. Natural supports are frequently explored to provide the follow-along services. BSBP and DCH has agreed upon long term follow-up services to enhance the employment activities of these consumers, as well as the need for auxiliary aids to enhance their daily living skills and employment outcomes.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2012 3:25PM by Leamon Jones

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) has made a commitment to continue to hire only the most qualified individuals available to provide services to blind persons across the State of Michigan.

The bureau has established a practice of collecting data annually from all staff that provides direct services to rehabilitation consumers. Through a survey conducted yearly on behalf of the agency to identify specific needs of the staff for training purposes, specialized training needs are met. The agency has several program divisions where specific training is required in order to assist staff in maintaining their professional development and growth. For counselors, teachers and managers data is collected by a personnel survey developed by a cooperative arrangement with TACE.

In FY 11, the agency hired three new rehabilitation counselors. As a result of personal reasons, one counselor resigned. The agency hired four new rehabilitation teachers with one having a dual degree in rehabilitation teaching and counseling.

During the same fiscal year, BSBP lost several staff due to a retirement incentive program initiated by the Governor. Fortunately, none of the staff that took advantage of that program were rehabilitation counselors; however, one person was a regional manager in the VR program. The retirements affected the Training Center and one field teacher, administrative support, Business Enterprise Program and the Braille and Talking Book Library resulted in fifteen vacancies. In addition to the large number of retirements, the agency’s ARRA funds expired at the end of the fiscal year so the job placement specialists hired using those funds were no longer available.

BSBP continues to request additional FTE’s but due to budget concerns across all state departments, those requests continually are denied. The bureau will make new attempts to increase the number of employees. Historically, BSBP FTE count was about 20 higher than it is currently. The trend today is that fewer staff are doing more work across all state departments.

In addition to the current headcount of 107, the bureau has 6 direct service employees hired through a contract with a CRP. This contract has been in place for many years and will continue. Current plans call for possibly moving a vacant contractual position from one office to another and hiring a job placement specialist. For purposes of the discussions in this report on retirement, the agency’s succession plans are to assess the needs for additional employees to meet the demands for services. The numbers on the chart showing the head count by job title, contractual employees are not included.

A report generated by the department in January 2012 shows that 18 BSBP employees will be eligible to retire in January 2013. Of that number, 6 are managers from various programs, 8 are direct service professionals, and the remaining 4 are support staff. That same report showed a total of 26 staff that will be eligible to retire by January 2015. That is nearly 25% of all BSBP employees. An estimated 8-10 more employees may be eligible to retire in 5 years which means that overall, approximately a third of BSBP staff will be able to retire by January 2017; however, not all of them will retire, yet it is a concern and BSBP’s strategic plan is involved in developing a succession plan to address this need.

It is generally understood that the number of persons in the state of Michigan with visual impairments and legal blindness will increase as the population ages. BSBP rehabilitation counselors provide rehabilitation servies to an average of 95 consumers each within the agency. BSBP projects the need for additional staff as noted in the chart below:

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Rehabilitation Counselors 15 2 2
2 Rehabilitation Teachers 8 0 2
3 Teacher-Counselors 6 0 1
4 Support Staff 10 1 2
5 Employment Specialists 2 0 0
6 Managers 7 0 1
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

The State of Michigan has three universities offering graduate degrees in the field of rehabilitation counseling – Michigan State (MSU), Wayne State (WSU), and Western Michigan (WMU). BSBP continues its relationship with the universities to provide feedback on the quality of the programs and to make sure students know about the agency. As often as possible, interns and practicum students are placed in BSBP offices.

BSBP staff continues to be actively involved with the three programs. Serving on advisory boards, making guest presentations, and working as an adjunct instructor are just some of the ways staff work with the rehabilitation counseling programs. By being actively involved, staff are able to educate students of BSBP programs and can encourage them to consider a career with the agency upon graduation. WMU’s rehabilitation program has a focus on blindness and as a result of BSBP’s collaboration with the university to provide internships and practicum experiences, enables the agency to recruit qualified candidates with dual degrees.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Michigan State 34 0 7 13
2 Wayne State University 85 0 21 9
3 Western State University 18 0 6 6
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

The bureau is aware of the importance to recruit and hire persons with disabilities and persons from minority groups. In FY 11 the number of full-time employees (FTEs) was 107. That number does not include those hired on a contract the agency has with a community rehabilitation program. That contract provides for seven staff.

At the end of calendar year 2010, a retirement incentive program was passed by the state legislature to reduce the number of state employees. Most vacated positions were filled at the ratio of 1 hire for every 2 retirements. As time progressed, the bureau was given approval to fill all the vacancies. A total of 15 experienced BSBP employees took advantage of the retirement incentive. Some of those FTE’s were not filled at the same classification as previously held but instead were moved to address other priorities. One example was a rehabilitation teacher position was changed to a job placement specialist. Additional vacancies were converted to assist the bureau in meeting its needs.

For every vacancy at BSBP, a notice is sent to staff, the state and national offices of the two largest blind consumer organizations, the three state universities with rehabilitation programs and the Region 5 TACE.

Of the 107 classified civil servant employees in the agency, 20 (19%) are persons with a disability and 23 (21%) are from a minority group. During the recruitment, screening, and interview process, the agency makes a concerted effort to include those with disabilities and those from minority groups. BSBP continues to recruit minorities, especially those with disabilities. BSBP continues to prepare and retain qualified staff by offering numerous opportunities for professional development pursuant to Section 101(a)(7)(A)(iv)(II) of the Act and 34 CFR 361.18(b).

A report was recently released by the department to identify the number of persons eligible to retire in one year and in three years. At the one year level, 18 BSBP employees will be able to retire. At the three year level, 26 employees will be eligible. So, in other words, in about three years approximately a quarter of all BSBP employees will be eligible to retire. Not all will actually end up retiring but the report does point out the need to address the growing number of vacancies expected agency wide.

Unfortunately, the current Civil Service system does not allow what most would consider to be “succession planning” when filling vacancies. It is not possible to identify replacements ahead of time and have them spend time or be trained by the person vacating the position. Over recent years, steps have been taken to make the hiring process easier and more efficient yet “pre-selection” is typically not allowed under a civil service structure.

BSBP plans to address the need for developing future managers by offering leadership opportunities to current staff. The goal is to prepare emerging managers within the bureau so as positions become available, they are equipped to compete. Training programs, participation in work groups and committees, and mentoring staff are just three opportunities that staff is provided to develop leadership skills. Most activities are focused on maintaining capacity instead of adding capacity pursuant to 34 CFR 361.18(d)(2)(iii)(A)-(C).

 

BSBP does not require that counselors be Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. However, in order to perform the basic core functions of a rehabilitation counselor – determination of eligibility, development of an individualized rehabilitation program, and case closure – a counselor in BSBP must be CRC-eligible. This minimum standard requires the appropriate graduate degree or completion of graduate coursework to meet the criteria established by the bureau on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) to meet the needs of Section 101(a)(7)(v)(II)(B) of the Act and 34 CFR 361.18(c). If it becomes necessary to hire someone who does not meet that standard, the bureau will hire someone with a similar degree with the agreement that the new hire will complete the needed courses to become CRC-eligible. Completion of the required coursework must be done within three years of being hired. There are several universities in Michigan that offer general counseling classes in addition to the three schools providing specific courses in rehabilitation counseling. There are also numerous online options available from schools outside the state.

Training of all new staff (CRC-eligible or otherwise) is done primarily by the regional managers. Each new person is assigned to work with an experienced rehabilitation counselor to serve as the mentor during the training period.

When CSPD requirements were first instituted, the agency had several staff who did not meet the minimum standard. Since then, a few others have been hired and that was usually due to the lack of qualified candidates for the office with the vacancy. Currently, the bureau has 15 people providing direct rehabilitation counseling services to consumers and 10 of them have a CRC and the rest are CRC-eligible. In addition, 4 of the current managers have their CRC and the others are CRC-eligible. The agency anticipates that all staff will have met the CSPD requirement by the end of 2014. The minimum criteria that the agency currently use is that all candidates must have a counseling degree, perferably a rehabilitation counseling degree.

BSBP has always put a priority on staff development. Training needs and the various programs to address those needs are identified by the coordinator of staff development, managers, administrators, and counselors.

 

One resource used to cover the costs is the In-Service Training Grant from RSA. Funds made available by this grant cover the costs for training in job placement, assistive technology, transition, specific disabilities, mental health, prisoner re-entry, and many other topics. The intent of this training is to prepare all direct service staff in the provision of rehabilitation services. The goal is to always increase the number of successful outcomes and by increasing the knowledge and skills of staff, BSBP hope it will translate into more positive outcomes.

An issue that can have an impact on service delivery is the potential loss of experienced staff. As noted earlier, a large number of BSBP employees are eligible for retirement or will be in the near future. To some degree, the loss of experienced staff has already happened which has resulted in the hiring new staff. An internal “training committee” has been established to create new and better ways to ensure that all staff, especially those working directly with consumers, have the best learning experience available.

One of the steps during the early stages of a new employee’s time on the job is to attend an orientation at the BSBP Training Center (BSBPTC), a residential facility in southwest Michigan that teaches the skills of blindness to consumers of BSBP. The orientation is set up for a minimum of two weeks and for some people it can go for three weeks. Each attendee will wear a blindfold from the time they go to breakfast until they are finished with dinner in the evening. It is designed to give the employee a better understanding of what a blind person goes through as well as an overview of the services provided by the Center to consumers.

The BSBP training committee has also created and updated a new employee orientation checklist. The manager will review the orientation check list with new staff to make sure that they understand the procedures. This comprehensive process last for at least 6 weeks and is designed to provide the new employee with a greater understanding of the bureau’s mission, programs and policies and procedures relating to the provision of service delivery.

BSBP staff attends two annual training programs that provide information about the latest trends in rehabilitation. The Michigan Rehabilitation Conference (MRC) which is held in the fall provides rehabilitation counselors and other staff with an opportunity to gain continuing education and knowledge relating to an array of topics that are essential to improving service delivery and employment outcomes. The MI Association of Educators in Rehabilitation (MAER) is held in the spring where a number of BSBP rehabilitation therapist (teachers) attend to gain knowledge and information regarding best practices in providing services to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. These professional conferences are vital to the development and professional growth of BSBP’s staff.

Another training opportunity for all staff, especially new counselors, are the annual conventions for the two major blind consumer organizations – the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan and the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. All new counselors are expected to attend these two programs during their first year on the job when they are held in their area.

A very valuable resource for training is the Region 5 TACE at Southern Illinois University. TACE has been extremely supportive of the training needs of BSBP for years and has provided countless opportunities for staff to attend various programs and to provide in-service training programs at the agency’s request. BSBP identifies numerous training needs; although the primary emphasis is improving the professional skills in the area of job development, job placement and employer contacts and relationships.

Finally, the bureau works very closely with the three universities in Michigan with rehabilitation programs to identify candidates for internships and possible employment. This is consistent with Section 101(a)(7) of the Act and 34 CFR 361.18(a). BSBP has staff persons on advisory boards, making presentations to specific classes, and on occasion, even teaching a class. The agency also has a history of hiring graduates from all three programs, especially the blindness specific program at Western Michigan University.

 

All consumers of BSBP are entitled to receive materials in their preferred format whenever possible. Typical options are Braille, large print, CD, email, or audiotape. The bureau continues the practice of putting all brochures, as well as other documents like the Annual Report, on the BSBP website. This makes all materials accessible to anyone with a computer.

Currently, there is one person in the bureau’s deaf/blind unit who is able to communicate in sign language. There is also at least one person at the BSBP Training Center who is able to communicate by sign. When needed, the agency is able to make arrangements for an interpreter or translator to facilitate communication. This occasionally becomes an issue in southeast Michigan due to the large number of Arabic speaking individuals.

 

The Administrator of the Consumer Services Division and the Bureau Director of the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons continue to be very active participants on the Statewide Transition Network Team in an effort to coordinate staff development under the bureau’s Comprehensive Plan for Personnel Development (CSPD) with the personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as provided by Section 101(a)(7)(a)(ii) of the Act and 34 CFR 361.18(f). In addition, this is accomplished through a number of cash-match agreements that provide for the sharing of personnel and services among the various educational entities and the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons. The Administrator of the Consumer Services Division works closely with the transition team to develop specific procedures for improving the coordination of CSPD and IDEA requirements for personnel development. These agreements allow for maximum sharing of information related to the needs of consumers and enhance planning for the future provision of services.

This screen was last updated on Sep 13 2012 10:46AM by Leamon Jones

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

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

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

The BSBP’s Comprehensive Needs Assessment is conducted every three years by the Michigan State University (MSU) Office of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies. The last Comprehensive Needs Assessment was conducted in FY 2011 jointly with the BSBP, Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (MiSILC). The results were made available to the agency in FY 2011 and the bureau is currently implementing the recommendations of the assessment.

The specific data collection methods used included a review of extant data (e.g., RSA 911 data, American Community Survey data, Special Education data, etc.), Key Informant interviews, and a series of surveys conducted with MRS, BSBP and MiSILC staff as well as the directors of MARO member community rehabilitation organizations. In addition, electronic surveys were developed to collect needs assessment information from Michigan residents with disabilities and family and friends of people with disabilities.

The Comprehensive Needs Assessment conducted in 2011 recommended that BSBP work with community partners to provide training for staff to increase awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder and its affects or manifestation on persons who are blind or have low vision; to develop a community outreach program to meet the specific needs of Hmong who are blind or have low vision; enhance its outreach efforts to the Arab American population and to work with its community partners and Department of Community Health to develop ways to increase resources to improve services to consumers with mental illness.

CSNA recommended that in order to increase the availability of supported employment (SE) services for this population, BSBP may need to increase and/or develop alternative SE service options at the local level via contracts with Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs). BSBP need to advocate at the state level on the behalf of Michigan’s students with ASD and the Michigan Department of Community Health for increased funding for supported employment services for this population.

The survey results indicates that no specific minority group was underserved; although, it indicated some findings that are of concern regarding African American employment outcomes.

The survey instrument mentions the statewide Workforce Investment System as it relates to WIA legislation and the Title IV Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998. The BSBP continues to review its Memorandums of Understanding with the workforce investment system (Michigan Works!) to ensure access to programs; such as, computer training, vocational evaluations, interest inventories, resume writing and virtual interviews. BSBP co-sponsors employer days and employer fairs with the Michigan Works! and is co-located in several of the Michigan Works! offices on an itinerant basis. The bureau’s familiarization with the Michigan Works! programs enable them to more effectively assist blind and visually impaired consumers who are seeking employment in the competitive labor market.

The Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment did not specifically state that the agency needed to develop community rehabilitation programs to meet the needs of its consumers. The above mentioned paragarphs states the activities that are being undertaken on behalf of the agency with its local community rehabilitation organizations.

This screen was last updated on Sep 13 2012 11:14AM by Leamon Jones

The total population of individuals in Michigan who have vision difficulty between 14 and 64 years of age based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau 2010 census is 27,230 (3.2% of the total number of individuals with disabilities). BSBP uses a factor of 45% of the individuals who have vision difficulty to identify the number of individuals who are blind (12,254) and would be eligible for services.

Of the 12,254 eligible individuals, 67% (8,210) are not employed either because they are unemployed (1,560 or 19%) or not in the labor force (6,650 or 81%).

Based on the 2010 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, BSBP estimates serving the entire unemployed population (1,560) plus 12% (798) of the individuals not in the labor force for a total of 2,358 individuals. Of that amount, BSBP will serve 2,321 individuals under Title I, Part B and 37 individuals under Title VI, Part B.

The estimated costs to provide services under Title I, Part B (excluding administrative costs) are $4,642,000, and the estimated costs under Title VI, Part B are $194,648 for a total of $4,836,648.

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

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2012 3:45PM by Leamon Jones

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.

The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons will continue to monitor the number of minority males, in particular, African American males that exited the program without an employment outcome. The agency will continue to emphasize the need to expand minority outreach to the African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Arab Americans as well the Hmong population. BSBP will continue to provide effective service delivery to minority populations, establish community relationships, provide professional development, partner with other agencies to increase employment outcomes, expand transition activities to include individuals with autism and improve informational access through the collaboration with the Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL).

Goal 1 - Monitoring the number of minority males exiting VR program

BSBP has established a goal to monitor 50% of minority males that exited the Vocational Rehabilitation program with IPE’s developed and services initiated, but without an employment outcome.

Goal 2 - Minority Outreach

BSBP will expand outreach efforts by establishing bi-annual town hall meetings and informational sessions with each group. BSBP will monitor the activities to determine if the methods are producing new referrals. BSBP is aware of the need to channel resources in the area of unserved and underserved populations. BSBP’s strategic plan emphasizes the need to increase rehabilitation services to Latino/Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, Arabic/Chaldean and Hmong populations.

Goal 3 - Community Partnership

The bureau will develop relationships with community rehabilitation organizations, mental health agencies with emphasis on individuals with mental illness, housing authority, transportation sources to assist in providing expanded services for consumers. Each region will establish two working agreements with local mental health agencies, as well as one new agreement with community rehabilitation agency.

Goal 4 - Technology Training

BSBP, through its working relationship with technology vendors, is constantly aware of the need to make sure that staff and consumers are familiar with the new technology and its applications. The bureau provides staff with opportunities to gain additional technology skills throughout the year in a variety of training venues; such as webinars and virtual classroom training. Staff also receives training on the latest adaptive and/or technology equipment.

Goal 5 - Professional Development

BSBP provides its professional staff opportunities to further their knowledge in the field of rehabilitation through collaborations with TACE which provides specific training that enhance the skills and knowledge of staff to assist consumers in achieving their goals of independence and employment. BSBP provides the professional staff opportunities to further their knowledge in the field of rehabilitation through collaborations with TACE which provides specific training that enhance the skills and knowledge of staff to assist consumers in achieving their goals of independence and employment.

BSBP also participates in two annual professional training conferences (Michigan Association of Educators in Rehabilitation [MAER] and Michigan Rehabilitation Conference [MRC]) as well as a variety of professional training (Michigan Transition Outcomes Project [MI TOP], Hadley School for the Blind, National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute [NRLI], Ethics, Mississippi State VI Program, online Technical Assistance and Continuing Education [TACE] courses, and Cultural and Race in Rehabilitation Services. These conferences and trainings are instrumental in helping the professional staff to become aware of current trends in the field of rehabilitation and ways to improve service delivery to persons who are blind and visually impaired. The agency requires staff to register for professional training programs. The training coordinator collects data on participants and through the analysis of the data recommendations are made to the agency’s consumer services director for approved training.

Goal 6 - Employment Outcomes

Indicator 1.1 references the number of individuals with employment outcomes. The BSBP goal is to increase competitive employment opportunities for individuals with visual impairment and blindness by utilizing its business services staff which includes job developers to develop employer relations to foster greater job opportunities through its work with the Michigan Works!, National Employment Team (NET), employers, employment fairs, and Newsline to increase the percentage of employment outcomes so that consumers will have more opportunities to market their skills. BSBP’s priority is to seek out new opportunities within the community each year and to establish meaningful partnerships with its community partners in order to expand employment outcomes for blind and visually impaired individuals. BSBP, through its collaboration with community partners and employers, has established a goal to rehabilitate 161 consumers with competitive outcomes. The bureau has an objective to establish meaningful relationships with community rehabilitation agencies to develop and expand vocational training opportunities for individuals with blindness and visual impairment for the purpose of increasing employment outcomes. Another objective is to collaborate with the employment community through the use of BSBP’s business services brochures, staff and job developers to inform employers of services that the bureau provides, as well as how the bureau provides qualified job ready candidates.

Goal 7 - Transition

The transition initiative remains a top priority of BSBP. BSBP continues to participate in the Michigan Transition Services Association (MTSA) conference and the Michigan Transition Outcomes Project (MI-TOP) to gain knowledge as well as to share information regarding proven practices in regards to transition opportunities. BSBP, through its collaborative efforts with intermediate school districts in various locations of the state continues to develop summer transition programs that enable students to acquire pre-vocational evaluations, soft skills, work experience, mentoring, job shadowing, educational endeavors and college preparatory; thereby, preparing these individuals for independent living and employment readiness. Each year, the agency provides eight or more transition program opportunities for consumers throughout the state. The bureau continues to explore opportunities to meet the needs of all transition students who are blind and visually impaired and those with autism spectrum disorder. In addition to the above mentioned activities, two additional training opportunities are available to transition students with multiple disabilities is Project Search and Customized Employment.

Goal 8 - Library Services

The VR staff and the library staff collaborate to ensure that consumers are aware of the services and how to access the materials in their preferred format. This increased collaboration will provide additional avenues for consumers who are pursuing vocational and secondary training. The library’s technology staff provides technical assistance and training in the use of the computer and assistive technology devices. Each year, the library provides approximately eighteen different trainings on a variety of the latest technology equipment that is available for staff, intermediate school districts and eligible blind and visually impaired individuals. The trainings are provided to consumers therefore, Title I funds are used to assist in the provision of technology training. BSBP’s collaboration with the library provides an excellent venue for sharing the latest advancement in adaptive technology that assist the staff with its goals regarding improved services for consumers. BSBP’s staff benefits from this collaborative effort in that, staff receives updated technology training in a variety of settings through the library.

This screen was last updated on Aug 30 2012 4:19PM by Leamon Jones

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Jul 28 2009 8:39AM by Leamon Jones

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.

BSBP serves the more severely disabled individuals who are blind and visually impaired, as well as individuals who are deaf/blind through the Supported Employment program. The agency continues to develop working relationships with its community partners and intermediate school districts to obtain appropriate referrals for vocational exploration and rehabilitation services to promote employment opportunities for supported employment consumers. BSBP and the Department of Community Health have an agreement that will expand opportunities to increase involvement with local CMH’s to increase referrals by 5% resulting in more employment outcomes. It also provides provisions for natural supports and long term follow along services. BSBP anticipates providing vocational rehabilitation services to 37 individuals and placing 50% or more of the total number of consumers served by the Supported Employment program to obtain competitive employment.

BSBP received $94,246 to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to the most severe and/or multiple impaired individuals. The staff will utilize supported employment funds to develop vocational opportunities for the most severely disabled individuals to achieve employment outcomes. BSBP’s goal is to work with the community rehabilitation organizations to establish programs that provide training to enhance marketable skills that will enable the recipients to obtain job placement within an integrated setting in their communities. Each of the community rehabilitation organizations emphasize specialized programs that are supported by the labor market demands. These programs include, but are not limited to, Micro-enterprise businesses, packaging and assembly, clerical activities, food services, and janitorial training for consumers.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2012 4:01PM by Leamon Jones

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.

The utilization of community partners, employers and consumers assist BSBP with achieving its primary goals and priorities. BSBP has four strategic teams: Service Delivery Design, Image and Identity, Cultural Diversity and Technology that assist in the strategic planning process to achieve the agency’s goals and priorities. These teams make recommendations for evaluation and assessment of the agency’s services, timeliness of services, review the policy manual and procedures, identify unserved and underserved populations, and provide the agency with information regarding new and innovative technology equipment and programs. All of the design teams are composed of agency staff, community partners and consumers.

 

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.

BSBP, through its working relationship with technology vendors are constantly aware of the need to make sure that staff and consumers are familiar with the new technology and its applications. BSBP collaborates with community agencies and organizations to make sure that their programs and services are accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers, as well as to assist them with the appropriate technology and adaptive equipment that allows individuals with vision impairments to utilize technology in various programs. BSBP makes available technology training for staff and consumers on the latest technology and adaptive equipment that assist individuals in the workforce and with daily living skills. BSBP participates in two technology fairs, one of which is sponsored in part by BSBP and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Ann Arbor, (Vision 2012) and is held every other year. At the technology fair more than 50 vendors displays equipment for blind and visually impaired individuals to enhance their knowledge, independence, education, daily living and employment skills. BSBP participates in the program by providing information regarding services as it relates to employment and independence. Both events are opened to consumers and BSBP encourages their attendance. BSBP encourages staff to participate in these technology events in order that they may be able to assist their consumers with technology in all aspects of their lives. BSBP provides assistive technology services and devices to its consumers through the provisions of individual plans for employment. The IPE specifies the types of services, technology training and devices that will be necessary to assist the individual in achieving their desired vocational goals throughout the rehabilitation process.

The BSBP Training Center is completing a major renovation that includes development of a comprehensive technology training center that is equipped with the broadest range of assistive and access technology for people who are blind & visually impaired in Michigan. While the training center has provided instruction in the use of access technology to its consumers since 2006, the Center is now expanding and improving services to consumers who are blind by using its newly completed facility to establish a comprehensive statewide technology training program. The program staff researches evolving best practices in computer instruction, identifies access technology that will assist consumers in achieving successful employment outcomes and provides comprehensive instruction to training center students. The BSBP Training Center plans to expand technology training in response to the statewide needs assessment; to provide comprehensive training in the use of appropriate access technology to eligible individuals who are not currently attending the Training Center.

 

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.

The BSBP’s priority is to expand outreach activities. BSBP is aware of the need to channel resources in the area of unserved and underserved populations. As a result, BSBP’s strategic plan emphasizes the need to increase rehabilitation services to Latino/Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native Americans and Arabic/Chaldean and Hmong populations. The staff of BSBP received specialized training that will equip them with skills and knowledge to enhance service provisions to the above mentioned minority populations. BSBP staff participates in Latino/Hispanic events such as the Festival Mexicana, and Hispanic Heritage Day to provide information regarding BSBP services to assist individuals in transition activities, vocational training, job placement and independent living. The staff is involved with the LaSed Community Action Coalition in providing information regarding services provided by BSBP, as well as working with the local Michigan Works! located within the Hispanic community to promote employment opportunities to individuals with blindness and visual impairments. Job placement training for staff through TACE, collaborative efforts with the community rehabilitation organizations and the development of employment relationships with employers resulted in increased outcomes for this population.

Another unserved population that BSBP’s outreach activities have had a significant impact in providing services to is the Native Americans. The staff continues to familiarize themselves with the culture and the various aspects of individual tribal needs. BSBP staff has developed relationships with the American Indian Health and Family Services (AIHFS) of Southeast Michigan, Inc. which has allowed them to meet with the leaders in the individual tribes to be able to understand their values and needs as it relates to education, job training, and employment outcomes. The health center is a facility that distributes information to the Native American population. Through collaboration with the health center, the agency staff has been successful in providing rehabilitation services to seniors as well as with job ready consumers, especially working with Native Americans in urban areas. BSBP staff has established working relationships with Native Americans at the Hannahville Reservation and at the Sioux Reservation. As a result of the collaboration with the health center and reservations, the agency receives referrals throughout the year for rehabilitation assistance. BSBP has developed an agreement with the Hannahville Indian Community Vocational Rehabilitation Program, (121 Project Visions). The agreement outlines procedures and practices utilized by both entities to increase service delivery to consumers within the program. Through the staff attendance at Pow Wow’s, cultural training, and dialoguing with the elders of the tribes, the counseling staff are receiving vocational referrals from these activities.

BSBP continues to work with Wayne State University (WSU) Rehabilitation Counselor program to improve outcomes for the African American population. The Rehabilitation Counselor program continues to explore avenues to increase relationships with the African American population that will result in more employment outcomes. WSU and BSBP continue to explore innovative counseling approaches to work more effectively with the urban population to identify practices that will enable counselors to utilize techniques to achieve successful outcomes. BSBP is working with an urban school district to implement a specialized educational program that will focus on at risk students to obtain a high school diploma or general educational degree. BSBP’s agreements with intermediate school districts will enable the bureau to work closely with this program.

BSBP will establish contact with individuals in the Hmong population to inform them of the services that BSBP provides to assist blind and visually impaired individuals in achieving their vocational endeavors. The bureau will provide brochures and other information in appropriate languages and mode of communication. Through collaboration with the Hmong population, BSBP staff will participate in informational sessions that will allow for exchange of ideas and cultural awareness.

 

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

BSBP is collaborating with its community partners to assist in the agency’s expansion of vocational training, resources and employment outcomes. Through working with community mental health agencies to identify appropriate individuals for vocational training and job placement services, BSBP’s agreement with the Department of Community Health will assist in providing service opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness.

The bureau is working with the Department of Transportation to identify ways to improve transportation services to persons with disabilities that will enable them to participate in employment and leisure time activities. The agency encourages staff and consumers to participate on the local advisory council of transportation providers within their geographical location. BSBP along with its community partners continues to collaborate on ways to improve delivery of services to its constituents to enhance the opportunities to acquire appropriate work skills for the purpose of obtaining competitive employment. BSBP strategy is to share information and resources in the areas of housing and health care concerns that will assist consumers in maintaining a productive way of life.

 

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

Indicator 1.1: Number of Individuals with Employment Outcomes. The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons projection for the number of individuals with employment outcomes that was set by the agency was not achieved compared with the national average of blind agencies. BSBP is focusing on specific training from TACE and other agencies to assist the staff with innovative approaches to redefine its efforts to increase employment outcomes. Michigan’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation, which directly affects employment opportunities for all citizens including those with disabilities in obtaining gainful employment. The agency’s strategic plan emphasizes the need to be aware of employment opportunities and employment trends as the agency collaborates with Michigan Works! in identifying Michigan’s 50 Top Hot Jobs so that consumers will receive training in emerging careers. As BSBP continues to receive labor market information through its collaboration with DTMB Regional economic analyst Bureau of Labor Market Information that provides employment trends locally and statewide, this will enable the agency to provide training appropriate to the current labor market demands. Staff will work with a variety of employers to increase on-the-job training opportunities for job-ready consumers. BSBP has initiated job clubs in major cities throughout the state for the purpose of assisting job ready consumers in their efforts to obtain employment. BSBP provides Employment Readiness Seminars quarterly for all job ready consumers. The seminars provides local employers opportunities to interview job ready consumers and shares information regarding work incentives for employers and benefits planning for consumers, formerly known as Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA). BSBP encourages consumers to utilize Disability Benefits 101 website, educating parents on work related benefits and strategies early on. BSBP will continue to work with the National Business Network, trade organizations and apprenticeship programs through its Business Services system to expand employment opportunities for the population that BSBP serves.

Indicator 1.2: Percentage of Individuals Receiving Services Who Had Employment Outcomes. BSBP was not successful in achieving this indicator. The State of Michigan unemployment rate is still among the highest in the nation. This high unemployment rate directly affected the employment outcomes for the BSBP consumers. BSBP has several new staff that are in various stages of the initial training for first year counselors. The time period for new staff to be productive is generally one to two years. However, BSBP continues to invest in appropriate training for staff in job placement and other related training to attempt to minimize the effects of the depressed labor market. BSBP makes available to counseling staff the opportunity to participate in job placement training through the Michigan Rehabilitation Counseling Educators Association and the Job Placement Division of the Michigan Rehabilitation Association, along with private trainers emphasizing job placement techniques as well as TACE Supported Employment programs that equip the staff with tools to compete in the competitive labor market. BSBP has job placement specialists in each region to assist counselors in securing appropriate job placement for consumers. These positions have expanded BSBP’s infrastructure to heighten its ability to work more effectively with employers and other community agencies to increase employment options.

Indicator 1.3: Percentage of Individuals with Employment Outcomes Who Were Competitively Employed. BSBP staff is aware of the importance of establishing relationships with community partners in order to increase opportunities for consumers to expand employment options that will result in more individuals being placed in the competitive labor market. The agency will continue to meet this goal by working with the employer community. BSBP met this indicator with 79.28%.

Indicator 1.4: Percentage of Persons with Competitive Employment Outcomes Who Had Significant Disabilities. The individuals that BSBP serves are those with blindness which is considered a severe disability. BSBP met this indicator with 100%.

Indicator 1.5: Ratio of Average VR Hourly Wage to Average Wage. BSBP continues to provide consumers with choices regarding their vocational objectives; therefore, the development of career options has continued to assist BSBP in reaching this indicator. The agency met this indicator with 0.659%.

Indicator 1.6: Difference in Percentage of individuals Achieving Competitive Employment Who Report Own Income as Primary Source of Support at Closure and Application. It is a goal of BSBP to provide consumers with options to choose careers that lead to gainful employment. As a result of the economy and consumers desire to work part-time, BSBP was not successful in assisting consumers to obtain full time employment which would elevate their income. A number of consumers are choosing to work part-time so that full-time employment will not affect their benefits. The agency continues to encourage consumers to work with the CWICS to receive appropriate information regarding work incentives that will allow them to make informed choices regarding full-time employment.

Indicator 2.1: Ratio of Minority to Non-Minority Service Rate. Although BSBP did not meet this indicator, BSBP continues to emphasize the importance of outreach to minority populations that are experiencing blindness and visual impairment. The Cultural Diversity team is one of BSBP’s strategic teams that provide the agency with some of the approaches to serving the minority population. The staff is primarily responsible for making contacts with agencies and organizations that serves minority individuals to provide information regarding the agency’s procedures and practices for obtaining services.

 

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

BSBP collaborates with statewide workforce investment system (Michigan Works!) to increase program development that will provide assessments, vocational training and job placement services. The state has identified some priority careers; such as, accounting/finance, healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and customer service representatives. The bureau is aware of the importance of partnering with Michigan Works! in order to increase opportunities for the population that it serves. Throughout the state, and in various Michigan Works! offices, the BSBP is co-located on an itinerant basis. Some of the Michigan Works! locations in which the bureau has a presence are: Flint, Marquette, Monroe, Clinton Township, Detroit, Down River, Port Huron, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Holland, Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids and Adrian. The development of these working relationships with the Michigan Works! will enable the agency’s consumers to utilize their services in their employment search. The bureau partners with the Michigan Works! offices to provide job expos for persons that are unemployed, which includes persons with disabilities. These activities are to assist in the reduction of persons who are underemployed and unemployed in the state.

 

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.

Strategy for Goal 1 - Monitoring minority males exiting the VR program

BSBP will continue to monitor the number of minority males that exit the system without employment outcomes. BSBP will randomly review IPE’s quarterly to determine if the programs are achieving the objectives that were established by the consumer and counselor. As a result of the review, feedback will be provided to the counselor to be shared with the consumers in order to assist in achieving their vocational goal. System data will continue to be reviewed quarterly to determine the success of the goal and effectiveness of the strategy.

Strategy for Goal 2 - Minority Outreach

The BSBP’s priority is to expand outreach activities. BSBP is aware of the need to channel resources in the area of unserved and underserved populations. As a result, BSBP’s strategic plan emphasizes the need to increase rehabilitation services to Latino/Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native Americans and Arabic/Chaldean and Hmong populations. The staff of BSBP received specialized training that will equip them with skills and knowledge to enhance service provisions to the above mentioned minority populations. BSBP staff participates in Latino/Hispanic events such as the Festival Mexicana, and Hispanic Heritage Day to provide information regarding BSBP services to assist individuals in transition activities, vocational training, job placement and independent living. The staff is involved with the LaSed Community Action Coalition in providing information regarding services provided by BSBP, as well as working with the local Michigan Works! located within the Hispanic community to promote employment opportunities to individuals with blindness and visual impairments. Job placement training for staff through TACE, collaborative efforts with the community rehabilitation organizations and the development of employment relationships with employers resulted in increased outcomes for this population.

Another unserved population that BSBP’s outreach activities have had a significant impact in providing services to is the Native Americans. The staff continues to familiarize themselves with the culture and the various aspects of individual tribal needs. BSBP staff has developed relationships with the American Indian Health and Family Services (AIHFS) of Southeast Michigan, Inc. which has allowed them to meet with the leaders in the individual tribes to be able to understand their values and needs as it relates to education, job training, and employment outcomes. The health center is a facility that distributes information to the Native American population. Through collaboration with the health center, the agency staff has been successful in providing rehabilitation services to seniors as well as with job ready consumers, especially working with Native Americans in urban areas. BSBP staff has established working relationships with Native Americans at the Hannahville Reservation and at the Sioux Reservation. As a result of the collaboration with the health center and reservations, the agency receives referrals throughout the year for rehabilitation assistance. BSBP has developed an agreement with the Hannahville Indian Community Vocational Rehabilitation Program, (121 Project Visions). The agreement outlines procedures and practices utilized by both entities to increase service delivery to consumers within the program. Through the staff attendance at Pow Wow’s, cultural training, and dialoguing with the elders of the tribes, the counseling staff are receiving vocational referrals from these activities.

BSBP continues to work with Wayne State University (WSU) Rehabilitation Counselor program to improve outcomes for the African American population. The Rehabilitation Counselor program continues to explore avenues to increase relationships with the African American population that will result in more employment outcomes. WSU and BSBP continue to explore innovative counseling approaches to work more effectively with the urban population to identify practices that will enable counselors to utilize techniques to achieve successful outcomes. BSBP is working with an urban school district to implement a specialized educational program that will focus on at risk students to obtain a high school diploma or general educational degree. BSBP’s agreements with intermediate school districts will enable the bureau to work closely with this program.

BSBP will establish contact with individuals in the Hmong population to inform them of the services that BSBP provides to assist blind and visually impaired individuals in achieving their vocational endeavors. The bureau will provide brochures and other information in appropriate languages and mode of communication. Through collaboration with the Hmong population, BSBP staff will participate in informational sessions that will allow for exchange of ideas and cultural awareness.

Strategy for Goal 3 - Community Partnerships

BSBP is collaborating with its community partners to assist in the agency’s expansion of vocational training, resources and employment outcomes. BSBP’s agreement with the Department of Community Health will assist in providing these service opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Through working with community mental health agencies to identify appropriate individuals for vocational training and job placement services. The bureau is working with the Department of Transportation to identify ways to improve transportation services to persons with disabilities that will enable them to participate in employment and leisure time activities. The agency encourages staff and consumers to participate on the local advisory council of transportation providers within their geographical location. BSBP along with its community partners continues to collaborate on ways to improve delivery of services to its constituents to enhance the opportunities to acquire appropriate work skills for the purpose of obtaining competitive employment. BSBP strategy is to share information and resources in the areas of housing and health care concerns that will assist consumers in maintaining a productive way of life.

Strategy for Goal 4 - Technology

BSBP, through its working relationship with technology vendors are constantly aware of the need to make sure that staff and consumers are familiar with the new technology and its applications. BSBP collaborates with community agencies and organizations to make sure that their programs and services are accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers, as well as to assist them with the appropriate technology and adaptive equipment that allows individuals with vision impairments to utilize technology in various programs. BSBP makes available technology training for staff and consumers on the latest technology and adaptive equipment that assist individuals in the workforce and with daily living skills. BSBP participates in two technology fairs, one of which is sponsored in part by BSBP and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Ann Arbor, (Vision 2012) and is held every other year. At the technology fair more than 50 vendors displays equipment for blind and visually impaired individuals to enhance their knowledge, independence, education, daily living and employment skills. BSBP participates in the program by providing information regarding services as it relates to employment and independence. Both events are opened to consumers and BSBP encourages their attendance. BSBP encourages staff to participate in these technology events in order that they may be able to assist their consumers with technology in all aspects of their lives. BSBP provides assistive technology services and devices to its consumers through the provisions of individual plans for employment. The IPE specifies the types of services, technology training and devices that will be necessary to assist the individual in achieving their desired vocational goals throughout the rehabilitation process.

The BSBP Training Center is completing a major renovation that includes development of a comprehensive technology training center that is equipped with the broadest range of assistive and access technology for people who are blind & visually impaired in Michigan. While the training center has provided instruction in the use of access technology to its consumers since 2006, the Center is now expanding and improving services to consumers who are blind by using its newly completed facility to establish a comprehensive statewide technology training program. The program staff researches evolving best practices in computer instruction, identifies access technology that will assist consumers in achieving successful employment outcomes and provides comprehensive instruction to training center students. The BSBP Training Center plans to expand technology training in response to the statewide needs assessment; to provide comprehensive training in the use of appropriate access technology to eligible individuals who are not currently attending the Training Center.

Strategy for Goal 5 - Professional Development

BSBP provides the professional staff opportunities to further their knowledge in the field of rehabilitation through collaborations with TACE which provides specific training that enhance the skills and knowledge of staff to assist consumers in achieving their goals of independence and employment.

BSBP also participates in two annual professional training conferences (Michigan Association of Educators in Rehabilitation [MAER] and Michigan Rehabilitation Conference [MRC]) as well as a variety of professional training (Michigan Transition Outcomes Project [MI TOP], Hadley School for the Blind, National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute [NRLI], Ethics, Mississippi State Visually Impaired Program, online Technical Assistance and Continuing Education [TACE] courses, and Cultural and Race in Rehabilitation Services. These conferences and trainings are instrumental in helping the professional staff to become aware of current trends in the field of rehabilitation and ways to improve service delivery to persons who are blind and visually impaired.

Each of these professional conferences emphasizes the importance of counselors and other rehabilitation providers to gain knowledge in their prospective fields. BSBP supports staff participation in these conferences. Further, the two consumer groups, the Michigan Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Michigan Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind provides a statewide conference annually that enables BSBP staff to hear current issues that are pertinent to persons that are blind and visually impaired.

Strategy for Goal 6 - Employment Outcomes

BSBP is working to increase services to minority populations. The objective is to improve the effectiveness of service delivery to minorities. Through its communications and outreach coordinator, BSBP has developed brochures in alternative formats for outreach purposes to unserved and underserved populations. These pamphlets and brochures have been distributed to BSBP offices, consumers, as well with community partners. Additional efforts are being employed to provide services to the urban populations within the state of Michigan to increase employment outcomes.

Another one of BSBP’s efforts is to provide expanded communication opportunities for consumers through the collaboration with Newsline. This media allows blind and visually impaired consumer access to information through multiple newspapers. This service also provides job ready consumers with employment information, job leads and training opportunities.

BSBP’s priority is to develop cooperative working relations with the Office of Aging and the Area Agency on Aging to improve and expand services to seniors and other vocational consumers with visual disabilities. The development of this partnership will expand vocational training opportunities statewide for individuals that are legally blind that are ready to enter the world of work. This cooperative agreement will provide the individuals with specific technology training leading to an array of employment opportunities.

BSBP, through its collaboration with community partners and employers, has established a goal to rehabilitate 162 consumers with competitive outcomes. These individuals will participate in rehabilitation programs that will equip them to enter into the labor market with skills that will enable them to obtain gainful employment as well as fringe benefits. BSBP will employ the assistance of the Michigan Works!, the National Business Team, labor market information and local employers to assist in achieving employment outcomes. These activities underscore the efforts of the bureau to provide services to individuals as well as those that receive services through the Supported Employment program.

BSBP will continue to focus on the minority males and females; specifically, Hispanic/Latinos and African Americans. BSBP has collaborated with minority businesses that are located in the community in order to develop relationships that lead to employment opportunities. BSBP’s managers are working closely with the counselors in the development of IPE’s to improve communications to involve consumers in appropriately selecting vocational goals through the provision of labor market information and green job development within Michigan in order to improve successful employment outcomes.

In relation to use of Title I funds, the BSBP provides documents in an accessible format and languages which includes brochures, pamphlets as well as captions and description on videos and DVD’s. BSBP distributes materials for outreach activities to a variety of agencies and organizations to inform them of the types of services that BSBP provides to persons with disabilities and specifically to those that are blind and visually impaired. BSBP collaborates with community partners, as well as rehabilitation agencies, colleges and universities and other training facilities to provide assistive technology services and devices to assist BSBP’s consumers with access to training. BSBP provides employers with technology assessments for prospective employees and works with employers to determine the appropriate technology that may be necessary for specific job duties.

The BSBP uses Title I funds to develop and expand the Business Services program to establish relationships with employers. Through the marketing activities of the business services staff, the bureau is assisting employers to find qualified individuals to meet their employment needs. The bureau receives job leads from the National Business Employment Network to increase opportunities for blind and visually impaired individuals to obtain employment from national companies. The business services staff is an intricate part of BSBP’s rehabilitation process. This program works collaboratively with the Michigan Works! and employers within the geographic areas of the state. The marketing activities of the business services staff emphasize the importance of collaborating with the Chamber of Commerce, Business Leadership Network and the National Business Employment Team to develop opportunities for the agency’s consumers to obtain gainful employment. The Business Services program also provides employers with an array of services to assist companies in maintaining and retaining qualified employees. BSBP’s involvement in the Governor’s Small Business Initiative continues to provide the agency’s consumers with additional avenues to gain employment. The bureau’s staff is working collaboratively with small business owners to assess and assist with employment needs in order that job ready consumers will be considered for positions within their businesses. BSBP’s affiliation with the National Business Employment Team provides another resource to promote a greater opportunity nationally for individuals with visual impairments and blindness to become successfully employed.

BSBP partners with a variety of community organizations to provide vocational training for blind and visually impaired individuals. Through the collaboration with the Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and the Department of Community Health, an agreement was developed to mitigate gaps in services to persons with mental impairments and developmental disabilities including persons with blindness and visual impairments. This agreement emphasizes the need to increase services to this population. BSBP’s objective is to work with the local CMH’s to increase referrals and employment outcomes up to five percent.

BSBP collaborates with statewide workforce investment system (Michigan Works!) to increase program development that will provide assessments, vocational training and job placement services. The state has identified some priority careers; such as, accounting/finance, healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and customer service representatives. The bureau is aware of the importance of partnering with Michigan Works! in order to increase employment opportunities for the population that it serves. Throughout the state, and in various Michigan Works! offices, the BSBP is co-located on an itinerant basis. Some of the Michigan Works! locations in which bureau has a presence are: Flint, Marquette, Monroe, Clinton Township, Detroit, Down River, Port Huron, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Holland, Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids and Adrian. The development of these working relationships with the Michigan Works! will enable the agency’s consumers to utilize their services and their employment search. The bureau partners with the Michigan Works! offices to provide job expos for persons that are unemployed, which includes persons with disabilities. These activities are to assist in the reduction of persons who are underemployed and unemployed in the state.

The purpose of the BSBP Training Center is to provide eligible individuals with the tools necessary to enable them to achieve successful employment outcomes. In addition to its comprehensive course of instruction in the skills of blindness, the Training Center has developed a powerful curriculum entitled Vocational Exploration and Career Planning (VECP) which is completed by every VR consumer who attends the Center. The course begins with an array of interest and skill inventory exercises which are designed to verify that each consumer has made a vocational career choice that is consistent with his or her unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities and interests.

VECP curriculum is continuously expanding to incorporate more effective assessments which are better designed to help consumers to be self directed in the pursuit of a career goal, maximizing their ability to exercise informed choice throughout the remainder of the vocational rehabilitation process. Students are also learning more about resources that are available both in Kalamazoo and in their home communities, helping to ensure that the momentum they begin to build during their stay at the Training Center will continue once they return home. Some of these resources include: Michigan Works! Offices, Chambers of Commerce, community colleges and various community organizations. Research reveals us that consumers find faster success in obtaining employment when they possess the tools to carry on an independent job search. Toward this end VECP students learn how to make cold calls (to strangers) and warm contacts (with friends or acquaintances), with potential employers; and to schedule informational interviews with people who are employed in jobs that the consumer is targeting. The importance of social skills is also stressed, including options for discussing blindness with perspective employers while emphasizing the qualifications and competence of the consumer as a perspective employee. After developing résumés and participating in mock application and interviewing exercises, class participants experience some kind of internship, volunteer opportunity or part-time employment while completing the remainder of their Training Center program. These employment opportunities will provide some work experience to consumers who have never before held a job, and enable newly blind consumers who were formerly employed to experience working as a person with a disability.

The greatest challenge for consumers upon leaving the Center is maintenance of momentum. The BSBP will be tightening up this transition period, strengthening collaboration between the Training Center and Consumer Services Division.

Strategy for Goal 7 - Transition

The transition initiative is a top priority of BSBP. BSBP has participated in the Michigan Transition Services Association (MTSA) conference and the Michigan Transition Outcomes Project (Mi-TOP) to gain knowledge as well as to share information regarding proven practices and to improve working relations with teacher consultants throughout the state. BSBP, through its collaborative efforts with intermediate school districts in various locations of the state continues to develop transition agreements which includes summer transition programs enabling students to acquire soft skills, work experience and educational endeavors; thereby, preparing these individuals for independent living and employment opportunities. These transition activities are being expanded to provide opportunities for students to participate throughout the academic year. One of the mechanisms that BSBP utilizes in the transition process is the Youth Low Vision program which provides for the provision of evaluations and head-borne devices. The Youth Low Vision Program allows staff to identify eligible youth with visual impairments at age 14, to determine eligibility and develop the individual plan for employment (IPE). Another initiative that BSBP is utilizing to evaluate the effectiveness of its Transition program is analyzing the data to identify areas to improve transition outcomes. BSBP, MSU and MRS are involved in a program called Michigan Transition in the 21st Century (MT-21), that evaluates its data to share best practices to make improvements in areas of needs.

Strategy for Goal 8 - Library Services

The VR staff and the library staff collaborates to ensure the consumers are aware of the services and how to access the materials in their preferred format. This increased collaboration will provide additional avenues for consumers who are pursuing vocational and secondary training. The library’s technology staff provides technical assistance and training in the use of the computer and assistive technology devices for consumers with the latest adaptive technology. These services are provided to individuals who are blind and visually impaired; therefore, Title I funds are used to provide service to this group. BSBP’s staff benefits from the working relationship with the library because of its knowledge and experience in regards to the various types of technology that enables BSBP’s staff to receive information and training to assist visually impaired and blind individuals.

Strategy for Supported Employment

The bureau continues to develop working relationships with its community partners to promote employment opportunities for supported employment consumers. BSBP and the Department of Community Health has an agreement that will expand opportunities to increase involvement with local DCH’s resulting in more referrals to the agency. It also provides provisions for natural supports and long term follow along. These activities are expected to assist the agency in expanding employment opportunities for this population. The bureau is working with its community partners to develop competitive employment opportunities within the individual’s community. BSBP anticipates providing employment opportunities for 37 eligible supported employment consumers. BSBP is also exploring possible Customized Employment opportunities.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 9 2012 10:39AM by Leamon Jones

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

Goal 1 Monitoring Minority Males Exiting the VR Program

BSBP has reviewed the recommendations of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment as it relates to the employment outcomes of minority males exiting the VR program with employment outcomes. Out of the total number of minority males receiving services, 9.2% were successful in obtaining competitive employment. The bureau’s goal is to continue to work to increase minority outcomes.

Goal 2 Minority Outreach

As mentioned in section 4.11 (d) (2) BSBP’s strategic plan emphasizes the need to increase rehabilitation services to Latino/Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans and Arabic/Chaldean Americans. The staff of BSBP received specialized training to work effectively with and expand opportunities for the above mentioned minority groups. BSBP continues to participate in Latino/Hispanic events such as the Festival Mexicana, and Hispanic Heritage Day to provide information regarding BSBP services to assist individuals in transition activities, vocational training, job placement and independent living. The staff is involved with the LaSed Community Action Coalition where they share information regarding BSBP services, as well as working with the Ser Metro Michigan Works! located within the Hispanic community to promote employment opportunities to individuals with blindness and visual impairment. BSBP provides brochures in Spanish and Arabic as well as in alternative formats. BSBP staff continues to collaborate with the American Indian Health and Family Services (AIHFS) of Southeast Michigan, Inc. that has enabled them to work with individual tribes to promote independence, education, job training, and employment outcomes. The health center serves as a resource that distributes information to the Native American population. Through collaboration with the health center, the agency staff has been successful in providing rehabilitation services to seniors as well as with job ready consumers in working with Native Americans in urban areas. As a result of these activities, BSBP increased referrals from minority populations.

BSBP staff has established working relationships with the Native Americans tribal heads in several areas of the state. As a result of the collaboration with the reservations and other community resources, the bureau continues to see an increase in referrals throughout the year for rehabilitation assistance. The staff continues to familiarize themselves with the culture and the various aspects of individual tribal needs. Through the staff attendance at Pow Wow’s, cultural training, collaborations with the elders of the tribes and the local school districts, the counseling staff is gradually building trust relationships that continues to produce positive results.

BSBP continues to work with Wayne State University (WSU) Rehabilitation Counselor program to identify methods that will assist in improving outcomes for African American population that will result in more referrals and employment outcomes. WSU and BSBP have collaborated on methods to identify practices that will enable counselors to utilize techniques in assisting this population to achieve successful outcomes. As a result of the collaboration, the university and BSBP have developed seminars that focus on issues of visual impairments and blindness as a counseling approach to assist graduate students to be aware of the dynamics of the disability and to provide comprehensive approaches to effectively improve outcomes. BSBP’s work with urban school districts to continue to support the need for African American special education students to obtain a high school diploma or general educational degree has shown minimal progress. The bureau continues to collaborate with intermediate school districts to eliminate the rate of drop outs for persons with disabilities.

BSBP provides the Arab American Council as well as health facilities with information regarding BSBP’s programs and services. A member of BSBP’s Diversity Committee is active in the Arab Community. This individual provides BSBP with information regarding the Arab Americans, their culture, as well as their education and employment needs. The collaboration has resulted in improved service delivery to the Arab American population. BSBP’s Arabic brochure has had a positive effect on improved relationships resulting in increased referrals from this population.

Goal 3 Collaboration with community partners

The bureau through its collaborative efforts has developed meaningful relationships with its community partners, which have provided expanded opportunities for BSBP’s consumers to gain vocational training, job placement and employment outcomes. BSBP is a partner in the Enhanced Partnership Group. This group is comprised of many community rehabilitation organizations. The purpose of the group is to discuss ways to improve employment outcomes for persons with disabilities. They also discuss the need to improve revenue enhancements and to share information about the return on investment. This group is currently establishing criteria that will identify core competencies for employment specialists.

BSBP’s priority is to work with Michigan Works! offices. The agreements with Michigan Works! outline accessibility and necessary adaptive equipment that will encourage consumers to utilize these service centers for employment assistance. As a participating agency, BSBP has observed that the majority of Michigan Works! offices and One-Stop Centers are equipped with adaptive equipment that allows blind and visually impaired individuals to access their services in the same way their peers access job search services. BSBP continues to work with the One-Stop Centers to remove barriers that prevent blind and visually impaired consumers from accessing their programs and services. The accessibility has improved and BSBP will continue to encourage staff to inform consumers of the availability of accessible services at Michigan Works! BSBP’s itinerant staff is co-located at several of the Michigan Works! resulting in increased use of their services by blind and visually impaired individuals as they attempt to obtain gainful employment. Through the collaboration with the Michigan Works! BSBP has been successful in increasing consumer participation at various sites. Consumers have been able to take part in orientation programs and other trainings at some Michigan Works! offices.

BSBP, through its collaboration with community partners and employers, has established a goal to rehabilitate 170 consumers with competitive outcomes. These individuals will have participated in rehabilitation programs that will equip them to enter into the work force with skills that will prepare them to be competitively employed, as well as receiving commensurate wages and benefits. BSBP was successful in assisting 160 consumers in obtaining gainful employment in a variety of occupations. BSBP will continue to partner with the Michigan Works!, the National Business Network, and utilize the labor market information and local employers to increase and achieve the employment goal. The agency continues to focus on individuals who can benefit from supported employment services as BSBP expands their working relationships with the Michigan Department of Community Health through the agreement that was developed to provide for increased services and employment outcomes. These and other activities underscore the importance of collaboration and partnering with employers and community agencies to provide timely services to individuals who are blind and visually impaired.

Goal 4 Technology

BSBP continues to explore and provide current technology for staff and consumers. BSBP’s web based case management system (System 7) provides staff with valuable data that enables them to effectively manage their case loads which allows them to provide timely services to its consumers. BSBP has a Technology Committee that provides the agency with updated information regarding new equipment and devices that are being developed that could be of assistance to the staff in carrying out their responsibilities and assisting consumers in obtaining their goals. The Technology Committee provides additional services to the agency through the development of a procedure to evaluate and recommend qualified access technology vendors who provide training and instruction to BSBP consumers. Through this procedure, vendors are categorized as to their expertise in various areas. As a result, a number of access technology vendors have been identified as approved providers of technology services and added to BSBP’s website.

Goal 5 Professional Development

BSBP’s priority is to provide staff with professional training to enable them to be aware of current trends and information regarding the rehabilitation process that will equip them to meet the demands of its consumers in an ever changing labor market. BSBP continues to pursue additional learning opportunities for staff in the area of job development and job placement. All new staff, along with current staff, continues to be trained in the latest techniques in job development and job placement as well as assistive technology, reasonable accommodations and work site assessments necessary to assist consumers in obtaining and maintaining employment. The staff participated in Case Management, Job Placement, Culture and Race in Rehabilitation Services, Ethics, Safety, Ex Offender training and several staff received individualized training opportunities. Each of these trainings provided staff with specific skills relating to a particular function of their job. The Ethics training is a major component for rehabilitation counselors in the provision of services. The Case Management training was vital for all new staff to attend, as well as some of the experienced staff to receive updates regarding case movement in providing timely services.

The Michigan Rehabilitation Conference is an annual event where staff can gain knowledge and information regarding numerous topics relating to the provision of rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities, such as, employment, diversity, cultural competencies, transition from school to work, employment information and strategies, and personality disorders. Through this training conference, the staff is able to obtain continuing education credits and to expand their knowledge regarding service delivery to consumers. BSBP emphasizes the importance of developing skills in the area of job placement and employer relationship building; however, the emphasis remains on providing current professional development that assist staff in being effective in improved service delivery to consumers and employers. The bureau continues to focus on training that relates to its goals and objectives. BSBP is aware that training is imperative for staff to be equipped with knowledge and skills to participate in an ever-changing society.

Goal 6 Employment Outcomes

The state of Michigan economy has been impacted by a severe reduction in manufacturing and other employment opportunities. The job outlook for Michigan continues to make a slow recovery; however, employment opportunities for BSBP’s consumers in the current economic environment have not yet experienced the benefits of this slow growth. Michigan’s population as reported by the last census has decreased. Michigan’s rate of unemployment continues to one of the highest in the nation; therefore, persons who are blind and visually impaired are experiencing greater difficulty in obtaining gainful employment.

BSBP, through its collaboration with community partners and employers, had established a goal to rehabilitate 170 consumers in 2011 with competitive outcomes. Due to the slow employment growth in the state of Michigan, the agency was able to rehabilitate 160 individuals. BSBP’s goal as a result of the employment climate in Michigan will be to rehabilitate 161 consumers to achieve competitive employment outcomes for FY 2012. BSBP utilized Michigan Works!, the National Business Team, limited term job placement staff, labor market information and local employers to achieve the employment objective. These activities underscore the efforts of the agency to provide services to individuals who are job ready and to consumers that receive services through the Supported Employment program.

Goal 7 Transition

BSBP Transition program works in conjunction with the Youth Low Vision program that provides expanded vocational opportunities as well as pre-employment skill development for youth. The Youth Low Vision program provides youth with low vision evaluations and head borne devices that are used in educational settings and daily living activities. BSBP has agreements with all of the major intermediate school districts (ISD) to provide job shadowing opportunities, work experience and internship programs for high school youth to assist students in developing the needed skills for transitioning from school to work or secondary education. BSBP continues to expand its transition objectives for high school students with ISD’s to develop agreements and working relationships to provide the transition activities within these districts for individuals that are blind and visually impaired.

BSBP’s Business Enterprise Program (BEP) Summer Work Opportunity Program (SWOP) for youth in high school and college opens opportunities for individuals to obtain valuable work experience in the food service industry and further introduces the small business entrepreneur concepts to individuals in transition programs. Each year BSBP targets nine summer internships for transitioning students. BSBP was successful in providing five youth with work experience through SWOP for the summer 2011.

BSBP’s collaboration with Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind provided transition services during the summer where youth had an opportunity to participate in summer camp activities; such as, independent living, socialization, communication skills and employment opportunities. The Blindness without Barriers program, in collaboration with BSBP and Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind, provided transition students with employment in several businesses in the local area. A number of these students showed marked improvements in their ability to perform the above mentioned activities. BSBP has been involved in this transition experience for more than three years and students are participating as the program content expands to include several additional skills that enhance employment opportunities.

Goal 8 Library Services

The Braille and Talking Book Library is a part of the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons. This division provides information to persons who are blind and visually impaired throughout the state. The library provides accessible reading materials through a variety of media; such as cassettes, digital, talking books, Braille, and books on line. The library continues to increase access to persons who are blind and visually impaired by 75% by providing opportunities for information through digital media. This media is expected to increase as taped materials continue to decrease. The library also provides its patrons the opportunity to participate in a monthly book and computer club.

The Adaptive Technology Center of the library provides consumers with the opportunity to utilize computers with screen reading and magnification software to enhance ones access to the Internet. These services are particularly important to vocational consumers who are seeking information regarding careers, employment outlook, as well as assistance in obtaining periodicals on employment trends.

The Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL) assists the in bureau achieving its goals and objectives by providing many of the consumer’s information in accessible formats that can be utilized in training programs, activities of daily living, as well as on the job training and employment settings. It also enables BSBP’s staff to be knowledgeable of current technology and additional resources that will assist BSBP in achieving its overarching goal of improved service delivery.

In 2011, the BTBL provided an opportunity for employment for two BSBP consumers through an internship program using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.

 

Supported Employment

BSBP serves the most severely disabled individuals through the Supported Employment program. This program provides an array of supported services to assist these individuals in achieving a competitive employment outcome. The Supported Employment program provides opportunities for individuals with multiple disabilities and those with deaf/blindness which includes Rubella and Ushers syndrome. The bureau’s goal is to continue to collaborate with various community rehabilitation organizations, community mental health agencies and intermediate school districts to obtain appropriate referrals for vocational exploration and rehabilitation services. The staff will work with the community rehabilitation organizations to provide training opportunities to enable this population to gain skills that will expand the employment outcomes within the individual’s community. Each of the community rehabilitation organizations emphasize specific programs that allows for individualized program development. The bureau has been instrumental in working with a number of the rehabilitation organizations to provide specialized training for supported employment individuals who are blind and visually impaired, as well as consumers that are deaf/blind. These programs include, but are not limited to, clerical activities, food services, janitorial and micro-enterprise businesses for consumers.

BSBP’s agreement with the Department of Community Health (DCH) outlines specific objectives regarding referrals and employment opportunities. This agreement was jointly developed for the purpose of providing additional services to persons with visual impairments and blindness that can benefit fully from the supported employment approach to training and job placement. The agency is expected to increase referrals by five percent. BSBP discussed with DCH the importance of establishing long term follow-up services to maintain the employment activities for supported employment consumers, as well as the need for auxiliary aids to enhance their daily living skills and employment outcomes.

The staff will utilize supported employment funds to develop vocational opportunities for the most severely disabled individuals to achieve employment outcomes. As the agency continues to explore opportunities and collaborate with its community partners to increase vocational choices, it was anticipated that BSBP would provide services to 32 individuals. Because of the system coding difficulties the agency was not able to document with certainty consumers who received services and were closed competitively. This objective is among BSBP’s top priority to continue expanding program opportunities for multiply impaired individuals through the use of supported employment funds.

 

Indicator 1.1: Number of Individuals with Employment Outcomes. The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons projection for the number of individuals with employment outcomes that was set by the agency was not achieved compared with the national average of blind agencies. BSBP is focusing on specific training from TACE and other agencies to assist the staff with innovative approaches to redefine its efforts to increase employment outcomes. Michigan’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation, which directly affects employment opportunities for all citizens including those with disabilities in obtaining gainful employment. The bureau’s strategic plan emphasizes the need to be aware of employment opportunities and employment trends as the agency collaborates with Michigan Works! in identifying Michigan’s 50 Top Hot Jobs so that consumers will receive training in emerging careers. As BSBP continues to receive labor market information through its collaboration with DTMB Regional economic analyst Bureau of Labor Market Information that provides employment trends locally and statewide, this will enable the agency to provide training appropriate to the current labor market demands. Staff will work with a variety of employers to increase on-the-job training opportunities for job-ready consumers. BSBP has initiated job clubs in major cities throughout the state for the purpose of assisting job ready consumers in their efforts to obtain employment. BSBP provides Employment Readiness Seminars quarterly for all job ready consumers. The seminars provides local employers opportunities to interview job ready consumers and shares information regarding work incentives for employers and benefits planning for consumers, formerly known as Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA). BSBP encourages consumers to utilize Disability Benefits 101 website, educating parents on work related benefits and strategies early on. BSBP will continue to work with the National Business Network, trade organizations and apprenticeship programs through its Business Services system to expand employment opportunities for the population that BSBP serves.

Indicator 1.2: Percentage of Individuals Receiving Services Who Had Employment Outcomes. BSBP was not successful in achieving this indicator. The State of Michigan unemployment rate is still among the highest in the nation. This high unemployment rate directly affected the employment outcomes for the BSBP consumers. BSBP has several new staff that are in various stages of the initial training for first year counselors. The time period for new staff to be productive is generally one to two years. However, BSBP continues to invest in appropriate training for staff in job placement and other related training to attempt to minimize the effects of the depressed labor market. BSBP makes available to counseling staff the opportunity to participate in job placement training through the Michigan Rehabilitation Counseling Educators Association and the Job Placement Division of the Michigan Rehabilitation Association, along with private trainers emphasizing job placement techniques as well as TACE Supported Employment programs that equip the staff with tools to compete in the competitive labor market. BSBP has job placement specialists in each region to assist counselors in securing appropriate job placement for consumers. These positions have expanded BSBP’s infrastructure to heighten its ability to work more effectively with employers and other community agencies to increase employment options.

Indicator 1.3: Percentage of Individuals with Employment Outcomes Who Were Competitively Employed. BSBP staff is aware of the importance of establishing relationships with community partners in order to increase opportunities for consumers to expand employment options that will result in more individuals being placed in the competitive labor market. The agency will continue to meet this goal by working with the employer community. BSBP met this indicator with 79.28%.

Indicator 1.4: Percentage of Persons with Competitive Employment Outcomes Who Had Significant Disabilities. The individuals that BSBP serves are those with blindness which is considered a severe disability. BSBP met this indicator with 100%.

Indicator 1.5: Ratio of Average VR Hourly Wage to Average Wage. BSBP continues to provide consumers with choices regarding their vocational objectives; therefore, the development of career options has continued to assist BSBP in reaching this indicator. The agency met this indicator with 0.659%.

Indicator 1.6: Difference in Percentage of individuals Achieving Competitive Employment Who Report Own Income as Primary Source of Support at Closure and Application. It is a goal of BSBP to provide consumers with options to choose careers that lead to gainful employment. As a result of the economy and consumers desire to work part-time, BSBP was not successful in assisting consumers to obtain full time employment which would elevate their income. A number of consumers are choosing to work part-time so that full-time employment will not affect their benefits. The bureau continues to encourage consumers to work with the CWICS to receive appropriate information regarding work incentives that will allow them to make informed choices regarding full-time employment.

Indicator 2.1: Ratio of Minority to Non-Minority Service Rate. Although BSBP did not meet this indicator, BSBP continues to emphasize the importance of outreach to minority populations that are experiencing blindness and visual impairment. The Cultural Diversity team is one of BSBP’s strategic teams that provide the agency with some of the approaches to serving the minority population. The staff is primarily responsible for making contacts with agencies and organizations that serves minority individuals to provide information regarding the agency’s procedures and practices for obtaining services.

 

While some I & E projects were under consideration in 2011, none were finalized.

This screen was last updated on Aug 9 2012 10:54AM by Leamon Jones

  • 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

BSBP continues to work with the community agencies and organizations to expand the Supported Employment program to provide appropriate training and job placement services, as well as follow-along services where possible. The program provides specific supports for persons with multiple impairments. Through collaboration and partnering with community rehabilitation agencies and community mental health organizations, the bureau has been able to develop employment opportunities within the community that allow for consumers to benefit from training and employment outcomes. BSBP’s supported employment consumers participate in various components of the supported employment program. The agency utilizes job coaching and the follow-along services to maximize employment opportunities. BSBP encourages placement in an integrated setting within the individual’s community.

BSBP’s staff and community partners work collaboratively to make a smooth transition to extended services. Once eligibility has been established and an assessment has occurred to identify the level of functioning in the vocational goal, the extended services are initiated. The extended services often depend upon community location as well as the availability of community organizations to provide the supports in the time period necessary for the consumer to achieve an employment outcome. Frequently, BSBP incorporates follow-along services and encourages natural supports in developing the IPE that will enable them to maintain their employment.

The bureau received $95,911 to provide comprehensive training and job placement for approximately 35 consumers. BSBP continues to collaborate with the Department of Community Health to establish the needed follow-along services in order to enable more consumers to be successfully employed.

This screen was last updated on Aug 9 2012 10:55AM by Leamon Jones

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