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
Minnesota State Services for the Blind State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

1.1 The Minnesota State Services for the Blind (DSU) 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 Employment and Economic Development [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

State 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

State 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
Richard Strong

Title of Signatory
Director of State Services for the Blind

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/26/2012

Assurances Certified By

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
MN State Services for the Blind

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c): State Rehabilitation Council Input and Recommendations

MINNESOTA STATE REHABILITATION COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND

Long before it was required by federal law, blind consumers and Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB) recognized the wisdom of developing a partnership. In 1985, the Advisory Council for the Blind was formed. At that time, the majority of the members were blind consumers with some representation from the business community. With the 1992 Rehabilitation Act amendments, the membership expanded and the responsibilities increased.

Ms. Jan Bailey, Chairperson of the SRC-B, wrote the following in her transmittal letter for their 2011 annual report:

“The SRC-B enjoys a productive and positive relationship with SSB. We are continuing to strengthen our relationship with other entities in Minnesota, including the Governors Workforce Development Council. Helping Minnesotans, who are blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind find and maintain meaningful employment is a complex and demanding endeavor. The rewards, however, are great, both for individuals benefiting from SSB services and for all Minnesotans.

We take our responsibilities seriously and are dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans who are blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind through improvements in the delivery of employment, educational and independent living services. Our members work hard and receive support from the blind community. In the coming year, we look forward to a newly-energized Council through the help of new appointees to lend their abilities to those with experience.”

The full SRC-B annual report can be found at: http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/JobSeekers/Blind_or_Visually_Impaired/State_Rehabilitation_Council_for_the_Blind/Reports_Other_Documents.aspx . This report summarizes committee work for the year and contains the SRC-B’s “Report on the Effectiveness of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program” for FFY2011. The FFY2012 report will be completed by the end of this year.

During FFY2011 and through FFY2012, the SRC-B carried out most of its work through its eight committees and six task forces. The Council created the eighth committee in FFY2011 to address the low rate of successful outcomes. Committees and task forces meet between full SRC-B meetings and report on their committee work at each SRC-B meeting. In addition, the SRC-B has a work plan outlining the specific activities and reports that must be completed throughout the year. The current work plan can be found at http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/JobSeekers/Blind_or_Visually_Impaired/State_Rehabilitation_Council_for_the_Blind/Reports_Other_Documents.aspx .

In addition to committee and task force work, the SRC-B:

• had representation at the spring and fall conferences of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB), the National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC), and related teleconferences

• was involved with the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA)

• created a workgroup to examine SSB ATB vendor qualifications and availability of vendors in greater MN

INPUT OF THE STATE REHABILITATION COUNCIL

Specific input is provided by the SRC-B through its eight committees and six standing task forces. Committee responsibilities are reviewed each year and the committee charge is amended as needed with approval of the SRC-B. The current structure was approved by the SRC-B at their June 2012 meeting. Committee and task force members serve for one year and must be reappointed by the SRC-B chairperson with approval of the SRC-B. SSB appoints staff to each committee and task force to assist with the work.

The chairperson of each committee or task force need not be a member of the SRC-B, though usually is. Each committee has specific membership requirements in order to assure needed public input to the committee and ultimately, to the SRC-B. The following committee and task force descriptions are taken from the SRC-B document posted at http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/JobSeekers/Blind_or_Visually_Impaired/State_Rehabilitation_Council_for_the_Blind/Reports_Other_Documents.aspx

SRC-B Committees

Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee

Charge: This committee exists to carry out specific duties contained in federal regulation for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. These include:

1. Conduct a review and analysis of the effectiveness of and consumer satisfaction with the functions of the Department of Employment and Economic Development; Vocational Rehabilitation services provided within the state (except adjustment to blindness and technology services), and the employment outcomes of persons served.

2. In collaboration with SSB, evaluate the extent to which SSB achieved its goals and priorities, strategies used, and factors that impeded success and performance on the federal standards and indicators.

3. Jointly with other committees of the Council and in partnership with SSB, develop and, as necessary, revise an annual statement of goals and priorities.

The product of this committee must include a statement of goals and priorities, a customer satisfaction report, and a joint report with SSB on progress made in improving the effectiveness of the VR program, including progress concerning goals and priorities. Quarterly progress shall be reported to the Council.

Membership: Not all committee members need be members of the SRC-B but the committee shall include at least two Council members. The committee shall consist of no more than five persons.

2011 Report (The following are excerpts from the Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee’s report.)

Customer Satisfaction Survey

The Committee reviewed the Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) results through March 31, 2010. Five survey items were analyzed to compare the results for years ending 3/31/07, 3/31/08, 3/31/09, and 3/31/10. While there has been some fluctuation in results, no significant changes have taken place from year to year. SSB’s results on the Customer Satisfaction Survey are also computed by the Minnesota Department of Economic Development utilizing the Minnesota Customer Satisfaction Index (MnCSI). Simply put, this index summarizes overall satisfaction with services by applying a formula to the responses for Questions 1, 2, and 3 on the survey. Using the MnCSI makes it possible to compare the customer satisfaction ratings of SSB with those of other agencies in Minnesota and with industry in general. The committee continued to track the VR-specific questions which were added to the survey in 2010. On the survey, each customer is asked 2 of 3 open-ended questions: “What would you like the program to START doing?” or “What would you like the program to STOP doing?” or “What would you like the program to KEEP doing?” The committee reviewed the verbatim comments in response to these open-ended questions and tracked the categories of comments receiving the four highest percentages from quarter to quarter. In addition, the members of the committee also read the verbatim comments to determine if trends or issues specific to SSB arise which may not be apparent from these categories. No significant trends were identified from this data, although the committee did note a recurring theme of dissatisfaction with the time it took to get a response back from SSB when a contact was made.

As a result of a legislative audit of the entire Workforce Center System which provided feedback on areas that may be underrepresented, four new questions were added to the customer satisfaction survey in July of 2010. The questions specifically examine customers’ satisfaction with how services impact their vocational process (career exploration, knowledge of job seeking skills, interviewing, etc):

How satisfied are you that the services you received helped you find a job? Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or it does not apply to your situation?

How satisfied are you that the services helped you with career planning? These services may have included information about jobs that will be in demand now or in the future, or learning about the education and skills needed for different types of jobs. Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or it does not apply to your situation?

How satisfied are you that the services helped you connect with employers who were hiring? Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or it does not apply to your situation?

How satisfied are you that the services helped you improve your job-seeking skills? Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or it does not apply to your situation?

Some of these new questions may not apply to individuals SSB is serving depending on where they are in the vocational rehabilitation process. Data from these questions were not available to the committee until after this reporting period, but the committee will monitor the responses to these questions going forward.

For the complete Customer Satisfaction Survey results see: http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/About_Us/Customer_Satisfaction/Job_Seeker_Satisfaction/Results_by_Program_5.aspx

Progress on FFY11 Goals and Priorities:

GOAL 1: Improve number and percent of closed cases achieving employment after receiving services.

PRIORITY 1.1: Employment Outcomes—By the end of FFY 2012, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2011 and FFY 2012) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2010-FFY2011.

During FFY 2011 and 2012, the strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. By August 31 of each year, each counselor and their supervisor will meet to review the potential of each customer for successful employment by the end of the next FFY. Based on determinations made during this review, supervisors will set individual outcome goals for each counselor. Between January 1 and January 31 of each year, supervisors and counselors will review the projections, taking into account any changes in the caseload. As appropriate, the supervisor will revise the outcome goal. Supervisors will monitor progress of designated customers toward their employment outcome during required monthly meetings with each counselor and provide assistance as needed. Recognition of counselors who met and who exceeded their individual outcomes goals will occur at the October staff meeting each year.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing. For this year, due to the government shutdown, the time frame for the meetings to review potential for successful employment outcomes was shifted to November 30, 2011, rather than August 31. Additionally, the staff recognition has been occurring at the February all-staff meetings rather than the October ones.

2. Each counseling supervisor will ensure each WFD counselor attends Labor Market Information training at least once every two years. Counselors newly employed by SSB will attend the training within one year of hire. Because LMI data provides counselors with information about current and future jobs by region of the state, they will be better able to provide customers with information to assist them in choosing a job goal in a high demand area. Ensuring counselors have current labor market information to share with customers is expected to result in an increase in the number of applicants who achieve an employment outcome.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

3. Data on the effectiveness of the three job development staff hired with ARRA funding will be analyzed beginning January 1, 2011. The analysis and any resulting plan for changes to the Workforce Development Unit staff allocation will be set for implementation by March 1, 2011.

STATUS: This strategy was completed and resulted in the hiring of two full-time job placement staff.

4. Staff new to SSB have little, if any, experience with blindness, and a paucity of understanding of the capabilities of persons competent in the skills of blindness, Therefore all new WDU staff will complete Introduction to Blindness —Phase 1 and Phase 2 training on the essential aspects of blindness and visual impairment within three months of hire.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

PRIORITY 1.2: Employment Rate— By the end of FFY 2012 SSB will have made progress toward meeting RSA Indicator 1.2 by increasing the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services from the FFY09 baseline of 45%.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue ongoing data analysis of successful and unsuccessful closures. On a quarterly basis assess and, as appropriate, develop and implement changes in service provision which address areas of specific concern.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing. During this fiscal year, two particular changes were made which are expected to have a positive effect on outcomes: 1) The initial in-take interview is now to be conducted by a rehabilitation counselor within thirty days of initial contact; 2) An "Interrupted" status has been implemented to reflect the fact that services may sometimes be interrupted for various reasons when an actual case closure is not appropriate.

2. By December 31, 2011, develop, and by March 31, 2012, implement a comprehensive program to facilitate the success of customers interested in self-employment /entrepreneurship as an employment outcome.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing.

3. By August 1, 2011, data on the employment outcomes of customers who participated in an internship, job trial or on-the-job training experience between June 2010 and June 2011 will be analyzed to determine the effectiveness of these employment strategies. Based on the results of the data analysis, procedures to improve these experiences will be developed and implemented by September 30, 2011.

STATUS: Due to staff transitions and other circumstances, this priority was not met this year. The activity will occur in FFY2012 according to the above timeline.

4. By no later than March 1, 2011 include in new customer orientation process information about and means to access the mentorship and/or peer counseling programs of the various consumer organizations. Such programs are one way for applicants to facilitate their adjustment to blindness and develop an understanding of the viability of competitive employment for them.

STATUS: SSB staff engaged in this effort indicated that no formal peer counseling or mentorship programs exist, and that organizations are being encouraged to develop them. Dialog continues.

PRIORITY 1.3: Increase customer satisfaction with services provided—By the end of FFY2011 the annual overall satisfaction with services provided by SSB will be at or above 85%. (Q1 on the Customer Satisfaction Survey, “What is your overall satisfaction with the services provided?” The scale is from 1 to 10 where “1” means “very dissatisfied” and “10” means “very satisfied”. A response equal to or greater than “6” fall in the “satisfied” range).

STATUS: For FFY 2011, the overall annual satisfaction with services provided was 80%. SSB did not meet this priority.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Customer satisfaction surveys will be administered quarterly to approximately 70 SSB customers as part of the DEED customer satisfaction initiative. The surveys are conducted by an external organization.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

2. SSB and the SRC-B Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee will continue to review and analyze the data on a quarterly basis including specific customer comments.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

3. Based on the analysis of the Customer Satisfaction Survey results, the Customer Satisfaction Committee will provide recommendations for program improvements at their next scheduled meeting of the SRC-B to assure that services are available that meet customer needs.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

PRIORITY 1.4: Continue to insure every SSB customer has the information needed to make an informed choice in selecting a Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP) for adjustment to blindness training. During FFY2011, 100% of SSB customers attending ATB half time or more will indicate that they were given all the information they needed to make an informed choice about the CRP they wanted to attend.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. During FFY2011, SSB counselors will complete the “Choosing ATB Training” form with each customer who is considering ATB training. Counselors will ensure that all customers are provided information, in an accessible format, about options for receiving adjustment to blindness services, and strongly encourage each customer to tour each community rehabilitation program. The “Choosing ATB Training” form is signed by the counselor and customer. The customer affirms that they received the information they needed to make an informed choice in the selection of the CRP. A copy of the form will be sent to SSB’s State Director, and the information will be compiled and reported semi-annually to the SRC-B.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met

2. SSB and the Vendor Outcomes and Measures Committee of the SRC-B developed and implemented a customer satisfaction survey for all customers who complete adjustment to blindness training. During FFY2011, each SSB customer will be surveyed six months after completion of adjustment to blindness training or at time of case file closure, whichever comes first. Each month an estimated ten to fifteen customers will be contacted to complete the telephone survey of eighteen questions.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

3. The data gathered from the completed customer satisfaction surveys will be formatted, posted externally on the SSB website, and made available in an accessible format for customer review when selecting a service provider to meet their rehabilitation needs. ATB providers will be able to use the results for continuous improvement of their services. The results will be reported to the SRC-B and will be used to identify customer needs and areas for service improvements.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

4. To insure quality services, SSB will continue to require individual vendors who provide training to SSB customers on access and assistive technology to pass a test on software they wish to teach and to successfully complete an adult learning course prior to becoming an approved vendor.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

GOAL 2: Increase number of individuals served.

PRIORITY 2.1: Minority Service Rate— By the end of FFY2011, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 2.1, as follows: The ratio of customers from the minority population exiting after receiving services under an IPE to all customers from the minority population exiting will exceed 80% of the same ratio calculated for customers from the non-minority population. Current (FFY2011) performance level is 30.13%.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Not later than 12/1/10, an on-line reference guide to understanding the culture of and working effectively with customers from the five major cultures represented in Minnesota will be available for all WDU staff. Staff orientation to this resource will be completed by 2/28/11

STATUS: The resource was made available in March 2011, and the staff orientation was completed.

2. In conjunction with the Minority Committee of the SRC-B, the SSB marketing and outreach coordinator will develop a list of relevant community based organizations to contact to obtain information on how best to outreach to that specific minority community. This list will be developed by December 1, 2010. The SSB marketing and outreach coordinator will meet with the targeted community based organizations not later than May 1, 2011 and provide a report of the results of these meetings to the Minority Committee of the SRC-B at their May 2011 meeting. By September 30, 2011, the SSB marketing and outreach coordinator, in conjunction with the Minority Committee of the SRC-B will develop a plan for implementing specific marketing and outreach activities based on the information learned from the initial contact with the community based organizations.

STATUS: The first two provisions of this strategy were met. The development of the marketing plan will be completed by 2012.

3. SSB will work with the most frequently used foreign language interpreter services to develop a venue for exchanging information with foreign language interpreters regarding the appropriate use of interpreters during meetings and during training activities. SSB will determine the most frequently used foreign language interpreter services by January 30, 2011. SSB will schedule the meetings not later than March 1, 2011 and complete them by July 1, 2011. Information from the meetings will be compiled and presented to WDU staff at their July 2011 staff meeting.

STATUS: All aspects of this strategy were completed except for the presentation at the July 2011 staff meeting due to a State shutdown. The presentation was made in October 2011.

4. In conjunction with the Minority Committee of the SRC-B, SSB will develop a plan for providing information to CRPs, vendors and Adult Basic Education programs on innovative approaches to effectively serving non-English speaking SSB customers by September 30, 2011.

STATUS: This strategy was not completed but will be done by September 2012.

5. Data on the employment outcomes of customers from minority backgrounds who participated in an internship, job trial or on-the-job training experience between June 2010 and June 2011 will be analyzed to determine the effectiveness of these employment strategies. Based on the results of the data analysis, relevant procedures will be developed by July 31, 2011 and implemented by August 31, 2011.

STATUS: This strategy was completed. A survey of counselors determined that although some were considered for these experiences, there were no individuals from minority backgrounds who participated in an internship, job trial or on-the-job training experience between June 2010 and June 2011.

PRIORITY 2.2: DeafBlind Outreach and Service—Enhance services for persons who have a dual sensory loss, including persons who are Deafblind. During FFY2011 at least 3 individuals with a dual sensory loss will secure employment as a result of SSB services.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue training opportunities for new staff on understanding Deafblindness and competency in serving SSB customers who are Deafblind.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

2. In conjunction with the Deafblind Committee of the SRC-B, utilize the information from the FY2010 needs assessment to identify at least one service delivery need by December 31, 2010. In conjunction with the Deafblind Committee, develop and implement an Action Plan to address this service delivery need by March 2011.

STATUS: Improved communication was identified as a service delivery need. As of the end of this fiscal year, the action plan was in the process of being developed.

3. To increase and improve communication between Deafblind customers and SSB, the Deafblind Committee of the SRC-B, in cooperation with SSB, will continue to review standard written communications at least once per year to determine their effectiveness with ASL users. Additional materials will be developed as determined by the Deafblind Committee.

STATUS: This strategy was met and is ongoing. There will be a revision of "Customers and Informed Choice" document in FFY 2012.

4. Based on information from the FY2010 needs assessment, SSB will provide information to Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of the Department of Human Services about potential collaborative efforts not later than December 31, 2010. SSB will request information from these agencies by June 30, 2011 on their ability to work collaboratively with SSB on identified needs. For all agreed upon collaborative efforts, an action plan will be developed by SSB and the collaborating agency by September 30, 2011. SSB will update the Deafblind Committee of the SRC-B at each of the milestones indicated above.

STATUS: SSB provided information to the relevant agencies as indicated in the strategy. The agencies did not express interest. One possible additional strategy for increasing SSB’s collaboration with other agencies on this issue is to include members from The Commission on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and from the Department of Education on the DeafBlind committee of the SRC-B.

PRIORITY 2.3: Increase the percentage of students who apply at ages 14 and 15 from the baseline of 39% of all applicants between the ages of 14-22 in FFY2009 to 45% of all applicants between the ages of 14-22 in FFY2011.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue working statewide with Special Education teachers, teachers of the blind, visually impaired, or Deafblind and other IEP team members in designated school districts to facilitate regular information meetings with SSB counselors.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met. The recent revitalization of the Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) committee of the Resource Center will further facilitate these efforts.

2. Conduct an SSB Information Fair and open house twice a year for families, students, and teachers. Fairs to include presentations about SSB programs, informed choice, one-on-one time with counselors and Communication Center staff and general question and answer session.

STATUS: This activity continues to be scheduled but has not been successful due to lack of attendance. SSB is evaluating the effectiveness and purpose of conducting the information fair and expects to have the evaluation completed by December 2012.

3. By June 30, 2011, implement a method for documenting enrichment activities provided to students between the ages of 14-22 in all areas of adjustment to blindness training as part of an employment plan. By September 30, 2011, implement a method of measuring the outcome of these enrichment activities to use as a marketing tool at SSB Information Fairs and with teachers of the blind and visually impaired.

STATUS: A measurement method has been developed, and the data entry will be implemented in FFY2012.

4. In conjunction with the Transition Committee of the SRC-B, develop a plan to assist eligible students of transition age to obtain at least one paid work experience prior to graduation. This plan will include procedures for collaborating with the IEP team and a method for measuring the effectiveness of the work experience in assisting these students to become successfully employed. The plan will be developed not later than 12/31/10.

STATUS: This strategy is in process, to be completed in FFY2012.

Vendor Outcomes and Measures Committee

Charge: This committee exists to support and advise SSB regarding measuring the outcomes realized by the recipients of training in adjustment to blindness and technology. This committee will provide input to the Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee and the full Council for consideration in the development of annual goals and priorities in conjunction with SSB, and will monitor those goals and priorities throughout the year.

The product of this committee must include an annual report to the SRC-B concerning its efforts and results.

Membership: This committee shall consist of three members, one of whom shall be the Council member representing community rehabilitation programs.

2011 Report

“The committee continued the survey of 20 items given to each SSB customer after completing specific training with a vendor. Since the population base is relatively small in statistical terms, especially for a single vendor, the committee was concerned that the highest return possible is needed. The company surveying for the Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee also surveys for this committee, providing the maximum response rate by contacting people at night as well as during the day.

Some vendors raised concerns about mixing the very different training provided for Senior Services and Workforce Development in the same report. The committee agreed, and split the survey into two parts, one for each service unit. These two separate reports better reflect the needs of each unit and provide more accurate information to the users of the reports.

The survey results are published in semiannual reports covering 12 months of activity. These reports contain extensive tables for each vendor meeting the minimum statistical requirements for meaningful results.

To reduce the complexity and volume of the full table-laden reports, the committee also produced a condensed report for each service unit with just explanatory text and a summary of vendor ratings according to skill area. This report can be used as an introduction to the full respective report to narrow focus on the desired training.

Both reports for each unit are available in print, braille, audio, and the SSB website so that all customers, SSB staff, vendors, and the public have access to the results.

The data collected showed good customer satisfaction, but some areas of training need improvement. The best results were achieved in travel and computer. The areas that were weakest in the results were for challenging the student, increasing self confidence, and reading/writing braille.

SSB management continued to provide full support for the survey.”

The Adjustment to Blindness Customer Satisfaction Survey report can be viewed at http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/JobSeekers/Blind_or_Visually_Impaired/State_Rehabilitation_Council_for_the_Blind/Reports_Other_Documents.aspx .

Minority Outreach Committee

Charge: This committee exists to recommend specific strategies for increasing and improving services to individuals from minority backgrounds. This committee will provide input to the Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee and the full Council for consideration in the development of annual goals and priorities in conjunction with SSB.

The product of this committee must include an annual report to the full Council containing specific strategies for increasing and improving services to individuals from minority backgrounds.

Membership: With the approval of the SRC-B, the Council chairperson shall appoint members and a chairperson for this committee. Not all committee members need be members of the SRC-B but the committee shall include at least two Council members. This committee shall consist of no more than six persons, one of which is the Council member who is the representative of the directors of the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services projects in the state.

2011 Report

“SSB completed the on-line guide of cultural information on the five largest minority populations in Minnesota: American Indian, Hmong, Latino, Russian and Somali. WDU staff were oriented to the finished guide at the quarterly staff meeting on February 15, 2011, and it is now available on the SSB intraweb site.

The SSB marketing and outreach coordinator in conjunction with the Minority Outreach Committee of the SRC-B, worked on developing a list of relevant community based organizations to contact for information on how best to outreach to that specific minority community. This list was completed by December 1, 2010. The initial idea was to have the committee and staff draft a plan to implement further outreach by September 30, 2011 to take these connections beyond the initial contact. This plan could not be completed and will continue on through FFY 2012.

Staff learned that in order to make inroads into various minority communities, people from their own culture, or at least people who are blind, are the best communicators. The committee recommends the following ideas to implement this plan.

A. Committee members with contacts in various minority communities will work with staff to set up meetings and go with staff to help bridge the gap between SSB and the group in question.

B. A committee member teaches classes for blind immigrants learning English as one step toward rehabilitation. She will see if some of her successful students are willing to help SSB set up meetings within the minority communities.

SSB staff held meetings with the two most frequently used spoken language interpreter organizations, and they have provided some ongoing objectives which will be implemented in FFY 2012:

A. Have an initial planning meeting between the CRP, the interpreter, the rehabilitation counselor and student before the start of the ATB training. This allows everyone to understand the reason for the training, know the goal of the training and ask any questions they might have before the start of the program.

The counselor will define in advance for the interpreter, any technical terms that may be used during the meeting (IPE, plan objectives, services, etc.).

B. At least annually, at a WFD unit meeting, have a discussion with staff to determine if there are any issues with spoken language interpreters. These issues will be captured and either addressed by a vendor panel and/or discussed and answered via email. A form will be developed for staff to complete if they have concerns between these meetings so that issues could be addressed as they come up.

Working with the Minority Outreach Committee of the SRC-B, SSB will continue to work on developing a plan to provide information to CRPs, vendors and Adult Basic Education programs on innovative approaches to effectively serve non-English speaking SSB customers.

In order to obtain relevant data on the employment outcomes of customers from minority backgrounds who participated in internships, job trials or on-the-job training experiences, procedures for correlating the data need to be developed. Current computer analysis programs do not capture the necessary data.

The committee will continue to advise SSB in developing future goals, priorities and strategies to provide services to minority communities.”

DeafBlind Committee

Charge: This committee exists to support and advise SSB regarding its services to individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired. This committee will provide input to the Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee and the full Council for consideration in the development of annual goals and priorities in conjunction with SSB, and will monitor those goals and priorities throughout the year.

The product of this committee must include an annual report to the full Council containing specific strategies for increasing and improving services to individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired.

Membership: The committee shall include at least two Council members, one of which is the representative of the DeafBlind community. Every effort shall be made, to the extent possible, for two members to be culturally deaf, and for the majority of the members to have a dual sensory loss. This committee shall consist of no more than six persons.

2011 Report

“As Chair of the DeafBlind Committee, I have to say this year was bitter sweet. What I mean is that we have a wonderful working committee; all who volunteered were talented, involved and offered a lot of insight to the council charge. In that same group was one person whom I grew to admire over the years and she decided to retire. Pam Brown will be missed but the work continues. We did commit to move forward. There are many people who work at SSB that the DeafBlind community has grown to appreciate and considers being family. We on the committee would like to encourage more growth, understanding and education of people about the needs of our community. I could not have asked for a better group of people to work with on this committee, I want to personally thank each member of the committee and all the various visitors we had over this past year. We welcome anyone who wishes to take part on the Deaf Blind committee.

Our work consisted of:

• Discussed preliminary DB survey results at November meeting. The results must be used to choose one way SSB can get better at working with DB people in Minnesota. The committee spent several meetings reviewing and discussing the results.

1. Between the November and December meetings, the committee did an email exchange and came up with two areas to review at the December meeting that SSB needs to get better at working with DB people.

2. The two areas were: job development/job placement services and communication.

3. After an animated discussion on these two areas, the committee voted unanimously to work on developing a plan to help SSB get better in both of the above areas.

4. Now began the hard work of developing a plan with measureable strategies. A plan for SSB to get better at communicating with DeafBlind customers will be the first plan to be developed during upcoming meetings.

5. During the March meeting, a plan to help SSB get better at communicating with DeafBlind customers was unanimously approved by the committee.

• The committee did have a robust discussion about the job development/job placement area, and in the end it was decided to go with only one plan for 2011 – the Communication Plan.

• SSB provided data to the DB Committee regarding the number of DB customers closed both with jobs and without jobs. This is the first step in developing a job development/job placement plan.

• Finally, the committee did decide that for the 2012 Federal Fiscal Year, work on simplifying the “Customers and Informed Choice” document would begin. This document is used frequently with SSB customers during the intake process. Simplifying SSB documents is one of the priorities for this committee.

I would like to thank the council for allowing me to serve another year as chair of this committee I look forward to more opportunities to better serve our DeafBlind consumers in this wonderful state of ours.”

Senior Services Committee

Charge: The Senior Services Committee exists to assist State Services for the Blind to improve and expand services to blind, visually impaired, or DeafBlind Minnesotans who are not interested in employment. The majority of this group is seniors. These customers face significant barriers to independence, but they can benefit from services which help maintain or increase their independence. Activities include identifying unmet needs, recommending services necessary to meet these needs and identifying strategies to remove or reduce barriers to their independence.

The product of this committee must include an annual report to the full Council detailing their recommendations on improving and expanding services to senior blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind Minnesotans.

Membership: Every effort shall be made, to the extent possible, for this committee to include the three persons serving on the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) who represent blind customers, one of whom serves on the Council as a liaison from the SILC. This committee shall also include at least one additional Council member. Additional members, as appropriate should be sought. Total membership shall consist of no more than seven persons.

2011 Report

“The seven members of the Senior Services Unit committee held regular meetings at 3:00 (later changed to 3:30) on the afternoon of the same days the SRC-B met so that our members could attend both meetings. Committee meetings were well attended, and participation was enthusiastic and meaningful. With two new members, we took a few minutes to introduce ourselves to one another.

We greatly appreciated the information presented by SSB staff at our meetings. The video prepared for nursing home staff working with seniors who are dealing with loss of eyesight was well received and given high praise as a training tool. The committee received regular reports on the financial status of the SSU. We also reviewed the 28-page guide outlining SSU services available to customers designed for use by staff. The committee was kept updated on the progress of the work being done on the SSB administrative rule.

All members of the SSU committee are well aware of the fact that our specific issues are not at a high priority level for the SRC-B, despite the fact that the SSU serves the largest number of customers within SSB, and the SRC-B’s primary concern is with federally-funded programs; and the services of the SSU are available largely through state funds. We also know that whenever funds are scarce, it is always the SSU services or staff which takes the cuts. Nevertheless, the members of the SSU committee have committed themselves to making certain that senior blind do not lose services due to reduced funding. We are ready to take whatever steps are necessary to inform relevant officials of the importance of senior services in ensuring the continued independence of those experiencing loss of eyesight.”

Transition Services Committee

Charge: This committee provides specific advice and counsel regarding services to transition-age youth (ages 14 – 21). This committee will provide input to the Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee and the full Council for consideration in the development of annual goals and priorities in conjunction with SSB, and will monitor those goals and priorities throughout the year.

The product of this committee is a report to the full Council with specific strategies for providing services to blind, DeafBlind and visually impaired transition-age youth.

Membership: This committee shall include the Council representative of the Department of Education and the Council representative of PACER, Inc. Parents of blind or visually impaired children, and Teachers of the Blind/Visually Impaired will be urged to apply. This committee shall consist of no more than seven persons.

2011 Report

“The 2011 Transition Committee concentrated on Strategies 1- 4 of the Goals and Priorities. Strategy 1 was to continue working statewide with Special Education teachers, teachers of the blind, visually impaired, or Deafblind and other IEP team members to facilitate regular information meetings with SSB counselors. Strategy 2 addresses outreach efforts to ensure that every blind, visually impaired or deafblind student applies at age 14 or as soon as possible for SSB’s Workforce Development Unit’s services. SSB 101 was designed for outreach. Strategy 3 was the creation of a method for documenting enrichment activities provided to students in all areas of adjustment to blindness training. Strategy 4 addresses assisting high school students to obtain at least one paid work experience during this high school years.

Strategy 1: The strengthening of the relationship between SSB, teachers and members of the IEP team continues, aided by the cooperative relationship with the Minnesota Department of Education. The Committee recognizes and expresses gratitude to Kristin Oien of the Minnesota Department of Education, whose vision of collaboration and conviction of the importance of work closely aligns with SSB’s.

Strategy 2: Addresses SSB 101, an outreach event. The Transition Committee discussed incorporating SSB 101 into the Summer Transition Program of 2011 (STP). State Services for the Blind presented SSB 101 topics to 14 students in June of 2011 during the one week program. This was a successful incorporation of SSB 101 into STP. Essential topic such as the relay of information to students clarifying the roles of high school teachers and SSB were presented. Additionally, a career interest inventory was given and the students had the opportunity to work one on one with their counselors to discuss their individual results.

Strategy 3: A database has been designed to begin tracking the work related activities of each transition student. The emphasis to teachers and counselors is to utilize the summers to enrich the student with work or volunteer experiences, and career exploration activities. The intention is to document these efforts and to track the impact on the student’s career development.

Strategy 4: As a result of the Transition Committee’s recommendation and in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education and Kristin Oien, a tool for career development was designed. It is the “Transition Timeline”. This document advises students, families and teachers of SSB’s expectation for each year of high school. The emphasis is on assisting the student to obtain work or volunteer experiences, conduct job shadows and informational interviews. The Transition Timeline is intended for use by SSB counselors, teachers, students and families. The introduction of the Timeline to the student and IEP team is at an IEP meeting. Thereafter, the SSB counselor will be referring to it in their communication with the student. Teachers will be referring to the Timeline and encouraging students to follow it.

Chad Bowe presented the Transition Timeline at the Workforce Development Unit meeting in October 2011. The SSB counselors were given a copy and it has been placed on the Shared Drive. Kristin Oien presented the Timeline at the last SVN meeting and is encouraging teachers to use it. The database referred to in Strategy 3 will be used to track student’s Transition Timeline activities.

The Transition Committee will continue in 2012 to collaborate with the IEP team to assist eligible students of transition age to obtain at least one paid work experience prior to graduation. The plan for this will be developed by 12/31/12.”

Communication Center Committee

Charge: This committee exists to help SSB improve and expand the services of the Communication Center for blind, visually impaired, and DeafBlind persons. This committee will provide input to the Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee and the full Council for consideration in the development of annual goals and priorities in conjunction with SSB, and will monitor those goals and priorities throughout the year.

The product of this committee is a report to the full Council containing specific strategies for increasing and improving Communication Center services.

Membership: The committee shall include at least two Council members. This committee shall consist of no more than nine members.

Every effort shall be made, to the extent possible, to include at least one person representing each of the following:

Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library

Resource Center for the Blind /Visually Impaired

Minnesota Teachers of the Blind/Visually Impaired

Volunteers

Disabled Student Services

Consumers at-large

College Students

2011 Report

“The product of this committee are reports to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind containing specific strategies for increasing and improving Communication Center services. During FFY 2011 the Communication Center Committee met five times to receive updates and offer input on the projects, staffing changes, and other on going work of the Communication Center.

Listed below are highlights and accomplishments of the Communication Center and this committee in FFY 2011:

• Evolution of Textbook Production – Training of volunteers has been completed in the production of textbooks in the "DAISY" format. This format allows students to navigate recorded material similarly to what can be done with a hard-copy book, providing direct access to specific pages, sections and chapters. Books can be distributed as downloaded files, on CD’s and still on Cassette. A Pilot program to test the process of downloading books was completed during this past year. Downloading books would avoid the expense and the delays in distributing books through the mail. Textbooks have also been made available on cartridges that can be played in the free NLS player, but full automation is not yet complete. Processing textbooks in electronic formats is increasingly important. This method of converting textbooks into spoken word and braille brings with it both advantages and challenges.

• Support of National Library Service Functions – The Communication Center is the agency in Minnesota that distributes and repairs the equipment used to read books from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a division of the Library of Congress. During the past year, use of the new digital Talking Book Player as increased dramatically as production of new cassette books has ended in favor of a new digital technology. Still, cassette players are widely used, and the Communication Center has the challenging responsibility to keep these machines running a while longer.

• Radio Talking Book Receivers – The new digital radio talking book receivers were received from the manufacturer, and distribution has begun in targeted areas of the state. This effort must be carried out in coordination with the conversion of the Radio Talking Book signal from "analog" to "digital". Most of greater Minnesota can now use the new and clearer digital signal.

• Modernization of the Radio Talking Book Service – This work has permitted greater automation of broadcasts. Overnight broadcasting now makes use of the new system reducing overall costs to some extent and increasing reliability. Also being developed are approaches for more flexible listening options for users. Programs are now archived and can be retrieved through a secure web site.

• Braille Production - Huge numbers of print pages were converted to braille and audio to support Minnesota students in K-12 and in post-secondary institutions. Over 700,000 braille pages were produced directly or distributed from other sources during this year. This effort has a strong affect on the quality of education of blind Minnesotans and ultimately their potential for employment.

• Newsline and Dial-in News Service Improvements – The NFB Newsline service which is administered in Minnesota by the Communication Center added the St. Cloud Times to its list of Minnesota publications as well as a number of other national newspapers and magazines. Also, efforts are being made to make newspapers available through other paths than the telephone including via e-mail and specific portable devices. The Dial-in News service has improved the navigation of TV schedules and has made other hardware and software upgrades.

• Budgeting and State Government Shutdown Activities – During the past year, this committee actively participated in a service prioritization process to anticipate a significant budget reduction. In addition, an extra meeting of the committee was held in June to understand the impact of the impending state government shutdown on the Communication Center. While the anticipated budget reductions did not occur as anticipated in January, indications are that the “new normal” of increasingly stressed state and federal funds will continue in the foreseeable future. We believe that the prioritization work done by this committee will be useful.

• Annual Volunteer Recognition Events The Communication Center conducted the annual volunteer recognition events to applaud the work of nearly 700 volunteers that make possible much of the work of the Communication Center. This year the major event honoring current volunteers was a delightful boat trip on the St. Croix River, attended by more than four hundred people. This event is funded by a foundation grant recognizing the importance of volunteers to the success of this program.

• National and International Involvement During the year staff and committee members were involved in a number of national and international activities including: the DAISY consortium, Broadcasting associations that impact Radio Talking Book transmissions, National Braille Association, Braille Authority of North America, and the International Association of Audio Information Services. In addition, the Communication Center is continuing to consult with representatives of the People’s Republic of China as they work to establish a Radio Talking Book service in that country. These efforts reflect continued leadership by staff members and Communication Center Committee members.

Staff Changes – During the past fiscal year, new staff members assumed critical roles as a result of retirements and other changes. At the end of FFY 2011 the Center was again fully staffed and providing quality services to its customers.”

Recurring Task Forces

Membership: With the approval of the SRC-B, the Council chairperson shall appoint members and chairperson for each task force.

Annual Report Task Force

Charge: This task force coordinates the completion of the SRC-B Annual Report and Report on VR Effectiveness as required by the Rehabilitation Act. The task force members are appointed in August. The task force assures that each Council committee submits its annual report to SSB in accordance with the Council’s work plan. Final Council approval occurs at the December Council meeting. SSB produces the final report for distribution by December 31. The entire report can be viewed at http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/JobSeekers/Blind_or_Visually_Impaired/State_Rehabilitation_Council_for_the_Blind/Reports_Other_Documents.aspx

Budget Task Force

Charge: This task force recommends the Resource Plan to the full Council for each fiscal year at the August meeting. A midyear review of expenditures and any necessary refinements in the Resource Plan for the current fiscal year are brought to the full Council at the April meeting.

Council Committees Task Force

Charge: This task force reviews the Council committee and recurring task force structures and reports recommendations on changes to the Council at the June meeting. The current SRC-B committee and task force descriptions can be viewed at: http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/JobSeekers/Blind_or_Visually_Impaired/State_Rehabilitation_Council_for_the_Blind/Reports_Other_Documents.aspx .

Needs Assessment Task Force

Charge: This task force, jointly with SSB, conducts a statewide needs assessment in accordance with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act.

New Member Orientation Packet Task Force

Charge: This task force meets annually to review the SRC-B New Member Orientation Packet and recommends updates as needed. The current new member orientation materials may be viewed at: http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/JobSeekers/Blind_or_Visually_Impaired/State_Rehabilitation_Council_for_the_Blind/Reports_Other_Documents.aspx

Work Plan Task Force

Charge: This task force reviews the Council’s annual work plan and recommends revisions for Council approval. The current SRC-B work plan outlining the specific activities and reports that must be carried out throughout the year can be viewed at http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/JobSeekers/Blind_or_Visually_Impaired/State_Rehabilitation_Council_for_the_Blind/Reports_Other_Documents.aspx .

COUNCIL ACTIVITIES, ADVICE AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) provides advice and recommendations to State Services for the Blind (SSB) during meetings held throughout the year. SSB values the input, advice and recommendations provided by the Council and gives serious consideration to all. Below are the activities, advice and recommendations offered to SSB from the SRC-B and its response to it for the period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012.

Goals, Priorities and Strategies

SSB develops its goals, priorities and strategies jointly with the SRC-B. At its April 2012 meeting, the SRC-B recommended the adoption of the jointly developed goals, priorities and strategies for FFY2013 presented at that meeting. SSB commends the Council on the importance of this work which along with their work plans and other Council committee charges helps this Council and the Agency complete its work.

• SSB agrees to the Goals and Priorities it jointly developed with the SRC-B. They provide increased clarity, focus and direction to the work of SSB.

Workgroup

Concerns have been expressed regarding SSB’s requirements for qualified Rehabilitation Teacher vendors and the lack of vendor availability in greater MN. The SRC-B has formed a workgroup to examine the requirements for qualified Rehabilitation Teacher vendors and the availability of vendors in greater MN.

• SSB agrees with the formation of this workgroup and will provide staff to the workgroup. Information requested by the workgroup will be provided by SSB.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 9:44AM by Jennifer Beilke

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

Not required.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2009 11:26AM by samnccarlsonc

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

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

Attachment 4.8(b)(1): Coordination with Agencies not in WFC System

VR-SSB does not have a formal interagency agreement with the programs carried out by the Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for rural development, nor does it have formal agreements with other federal or State agencies, except as noted below. All qualified VR counselors have been provided a description of the programs provided by the USDA Minnesota Rural Development Offices and are able to access these services as needed.

SSB continues to work in collaboration with the other designated state unit in Minnesota, Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), and has arrangements for providing reciprocal referral services between VR-SSB and VRS. SSB has developed and implemented a formal cooperative agreement with representatives of the higher education system in the State: the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) System. SSB has established working relationships with programs which provide services to minority populations such as the New Americans Program (a program within VRS) and the Hmong American Partnership (HAP) in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs have become important partners with SSB in serving customers, especially pertaining to services to English Language Learners (ELL), which is an objective within our RSA Quality Training Grant. VR-SSB also has formal interagency agreements with the American Indian VR programs in the State.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 9:48AM by Jennifer Beilke

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

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education

Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB), Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), and the Minnesota Department of Education/Special Education (MDE) have a collaborative agreement regarding the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of VR services and to work. The agreement’s purpose is to:

• Promote collaborative, flexible service delivery to youth in transition

• Promote seamless implementation of VR services for students with individual education plans (IEP)

• Encourage school districts to develop and promote pre-adolescent vocational skill development

• Define the roles and responsibilities of each agency

The agreement clarifies how Minnesota’s two vocational rehabilitation programs will assist education agencies to plan the transition of students with disabilities from secondary school to the receipt of VR services. Agreed-upon practices for statewide transition planning include:

• Allocate staff time for ongoing consultation with the Special Education Office to continuously improve transition policies and services

• Allocate staff time for service on State-level coordination bodies

• Allocate staff time for participation in the Community Transition Interagency Committees that facilitate improved local transition practices

• Special Education, VR-SSB and VRS will work toward data sharing that improves transition services planning and the evaluation of transition services

The agreement delineates critical practices VR programs and Special Education will implement to facilitate a smooth transition for individuals with disabilities as they complete their IEPs. Agreed-upon practices to facilitate a student’s smooth transition include:

• Special Education will encourage local school districts to implement pre-adolescent career exploration and vocational skill development

• Special Education will encourage school districts to provide complete and timely referral information to VRS/VR-SSB to promote a timely, efficient engagement with VR services

• VRS/VR-SSB will use information provided by the school district to help determine if a student is eligible for VR services

• VRS/VR-SSB will develop and, as appropriate, implement individualized plans for employment (IPE) prior to an eligible student completing secondary school

• VRS/VR-SSB will develop employment plans that appropriately coordinate with the IEP

The agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of education and both VR programs. Schools are responsible for providing free and appropriate public education, as defined by the IEP, for students in Special Education. Schools must access available third-party dollar resources to help meet these responsibilities. VRS/VR-SSB is responsible for providing informed choice to transition students to help them in choosing an employment goal consistent with their interests and capabilities and those services necessary to achieve it. SSB can collaboratively fund services that help a student determine their long-term adult career goal.

The agreement defines several VR outreach activities:

• Special Education will encourage all school districts to identify students who might benefit from VR services and make families aware of this during IEP meetings no later than fall of their junior year

• Special Education will encourage school districts to invite VR-SSB counselors to IEP meetings when the IEP team begins to identify transition services aimed at an adult employment outcome

• VRS/VR-SSB staff will attend IEP meetings to which they are invited, to inform participants about VR services and processes, and to accept applications for service

In a manner consistent with the requirements of Section 101(a)(11)(D) of the Act, SSB has continued as an active signatory to the Minnesota Interagency Cooperative Agreement to Plan, an agreement that has been in place since December 1987. This agreement is an understanding among organizations to facilitate the necessary changes, both within and among the several agencies, to realize an equitable statewide system for transition services. It provides information about what agency services exist and how agencies work together in Minnesota’s communities. With local input, agencies can actively participate in the planning and creating of employment and community living options for individuals with disabilities of transition age.

There are several parts to the Minnesota Interagency Cooperative Agreement to Plan including a listing of members and a goals section. Three levels of goals are identified:

• Planning for Individuals

• Community Planning

• Statewide Planning

Another key section is the matrix which summarizes secondary and post-secondary school services available from each signatory agency to meet transition-related needs of individuals with disabilities. This section identifies available resources and defines the financial responsibility of each agency for necessary transition services.

Minnesota State Interagency Committee

In June 1998, a new State-level committee, established by state statute, the Minnesota State Interagency Committee (MnSIC), held its first meeting. The mission of MnSIC, as delineated in Minnesota statute, is to "...develop and implement a coordinated, multi-disciplinary, interagency service system for children ages three to 21 with disabilities."

Members of MnSIC include two representatives from the Minnesota Association of Counties; two representatives each from MDE, Department of Commerce, Department of Corrections, VRS and SSB within the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Department of Health, and the Department of Human Services; one representative from the Minnesota School Boards Association and the Minnesota Nurses Association; and one ex-officio representative from the Minnesota Administrators of Special Education (MASE). The representatives were appointed by the respective commissioners or directors and have been meeting regularly since the summer of 1998. MnSIC roles and responsibilities as defined in legislation include:

• Identify and assist in removing State and federal barriers to local coordination of services provided to children with disabilities

• Identify adequate, equitable, and flexible funding sources to streamline these services

• Develop guidelines for implementing policies that ensure a comprehensive and coordinated system of all State and local agency services, including multi-disciplinary assessment practices for children with disabilities ages three to 21

• Develop, consistent with federal law, a standardized written plan for providing services to children with disabilities

• Identify how current systems for dispute resolution can be coordinated and develop guidelines for coordination

• Develop an evaluation process to measure the success of State and local interagency efforts in improving the quality and coordination of services to children with disabilities ages three to 21

• Develop guidelines to assist the governing boards of the interagency early intervention committees in carrying out the duties assigned to them by Minnesota State statute

• Carry out other duties necessary to develop and implement within communities a coordinated, multi-disciplinary, interagency intervention service system for children with disabilities

Several significant products have been implemented as a result of the interagency activities of this group. An updated formal interagency agreement with the State educational agency was implemented April 1, 2000, and reviewed for the need to update in 2005. The IIIP, a single document which delineates and coordinates all services needed by a child with a disability, was implemented incrementally beginning January 1, 2001. The implementation was completed by the fall of 2003 and included all eligible youth to age 21. This implementation included extensive statewide training provided by members of the MnSIC. Currently, evaluation methods are being developed and implemented. The MnSIC and the interagency management team (IMT) continue to develop annual goals for interagency collaboration on services to children and youth including transition activities.

Community Transition Interagency Committee (CTIC)

CTICs are another major vehicle for interagency cooperation. They were established at the local level to promote interagency coordination, remove system barriers, and expand community services so that students with disabilities will receive services they need to transition from school to adult life. These committees include educators; parents; students; advocacy groups; local business or industry representatives; county officials; post-secondary, vocational, and community education entities; and representatives from corrections, social security, health professionals, and local service providers. These community-based committees identify local transition needs and solutions. They sponsor job fairs, transition fairs, transition libraries, the development of transition materials, and other projects to improve opportunities for students during their transition from school-to-work.

The development of social capital among community leaders from both the public and private sectors as a result of CTIC’s has had unintended, positive consequences upon both workforce and economic development initiatives in countless communities throughout the state. For example, beginning in the spring of 1997, several CTICs co-sponsored "work skills days" for students with disabilities in their school districts. Partners in this event were SSB, RS, Job Service, the local Job Training Partnership Act agency, the local school district, CILs, and county social services. Local business representatives served as judges in a morning of mock-job interviewing, filling-out job applications, solving on-the-job problems, and general work knowledge testing. Students used skills they have been learning in their employment skills classes (taught by work experience coordinators). This activity continues in various CTICs throughout the State, with the exact format individualized to the students and employers in a given area. It has proven a great confidence-builder for students and a great disability awareness-builder for business representatives. While not intended in the program design, it is becoming increasingly common for student participants to be offered jobs during Work Skills Days.

SSB has continued involvement of their counselors in local CTIC activity. The low incidence of blindness among students of transition age continues to be an issue that SSB staff need to accommodate for in their work with local school districts and CTICs.

Centers for Independent Living (CIL)

Throughout the Centers’ history in Minnesota, state monies have been provided for independent living skills training necessary for youths with disabilities to make the transition from family and school to independent living and the workplace. As a result of the 1997 Minnesota legislature allocating additional money to the CILs for transition services, the eight CILs in Minnesota have expanded and enhanced independent living transition services. In recent years, funding for the CILs has been reduced, in turn reducing transition services.

SSB has expanded its formal working relationships with independent living centers through an operating agreement with the Center for Independent Living of Northeast Minnesota in 2011.

Future Direction

With the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) hire of Kristin Oien as MDE Specialist, relationships with Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) teachers have blossomed. Over the past several years, mechanisms have been established to facilitate regular information meetings with SSB counselors and teachers.

Examples include:

• SSB conducted breakfast meetings with individual BVI teachers to exchange information and discuss concerns (2009). These meetings were well received and marked the beginning of building relationships with these important stakeholders.

• SSB representatives are now invited to State Vision Network (SVN) meetings regularly.

• Kristin has included SSB on the Summer Transition Committee (STP) Steering Committee.

• SSB has been co-facilitating BVI special interest brain storming groups at SVN meetings.

• We anticipate co-hosting an IPE/IEP workshop for SSB WFD staff, BVI teachers and IEP team members to better understand each other’s processes and form a cohesive transition of students at high school graduation.

• SSB’s relationship with Minnesota State Academy for the Blind (MSAB) has been strengthened through enhanced relationships with John Davis (Director), Connie Telshow (Transition Coordinator) and Ken Treblehorn (AT Teacher).

• SSB is now a presenter and co-facilitator at the MSAB Family Transition Weekend.

• Kristin Oien and Diane Dohnalik (teacher) are permanent and active member of the SCR-B’s Transition Committee.

• The Transition Timeline was a joint endeavor with SSB and teachers. The Timeline is a tool for career development that advises students, families and teachers of SSB’s expectation for each year of high school. The emphasis is on assisting the student to obtain work or volunteer experiences, conduct job shadows and informational interviews. It is being used by SSB counselors and distributed to BVI teachers and families.

SSB staff have been part of a broad array of transition partnerships and relevant school-to-work models. SSB will continue to work with traditional partners to promote these models and facilitate effective implementation of emerging school-to-work efforts.

The MnSIC, CTICs, SSB, and VRS staff in administrative and local offices will continue to build and strengthen partnerships in evolving school-to-work transition initiatives for secondary school students. MDE (the lead department) is working with DEED and MnSCU to implement a school-to-work systems initiative for all learners in Minnesota. SSB counselors, through their involvement with CTICs and WorkForce Centers, are also continuing their involvement with evolving school-to-work partnerships that design and direct local activities.

At the individual customer level, SSB counselors are actively involved with blind youth and, as appropriate, parents, family members, and authorized representatives in the development and implementation of IEPs or IIIPs, coordinating those plans with IPEs as appropriate. Such planning, development, program implementation, follow-up, and evaluation is coordinated with the local education authority. The IPE addresses the provision of transition services, in a manner consistent with SSB policy (i.e., the SSB Administrative Rule and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended) and consistent with the matrix portion of the Minnesota Interagency Cooperative Agreement to Plan, which in the future will be known as The State Interagency Agreement. That matrix delineates responsibilities for the provision of transition services.

The IPE and the IEP/IIIP also detail timeframes for evaluation and follow-up of youth who have received transition services. Staff from local educational authorities (teachers), qualified under the education laws of the State of Minnesota, and staff from SSB, qualified consistent with requirements of the Rehabilitation Act, evaluate and follow-up youth who have received transition services in accordance with timeframes contained in their IEP/IIIP/IPE. Youth of transition age who have realized a satisfactory employment outcome, consistent with an IPE, are followed for at least 90 days by their SSB rehabilitation counselor.

The activities detailed below are designed to facilitate outreach and referral efforts to transition-age students who are blind or visually impaired. The goals of this ongoing involvement by the counselor in the education of a student, beginning as early as age 14, are to enable a student to live independently before leaving a school setting, have a greater understanding of relevant employment options, and develop self-advocacy skills.

• SSB added a specific goal related to Transition outreach to the agency’s Goals and Priorities beginning in FY08. For FY11, specific strategies which have been implemented toward the goal of increasing the number of transition students who apply for services between the ages of 14-15 include: o specific outreach to teachers of the blind and visually impaired with the goal of increasing understanding of requirements and challenges faced by the teaches and by SSB counselors o continuation of a half day information fair which provides students and their families with information about SSB to increase their understanding of the value of applying for SSB services as early as possible o implementing a method for documenting enrichment activities provided to students between the ages of 14-22 in all areas of adjustment to blindness training as part of an employment plan o implementing a method of measuring the outcome of these enrichment activities to use as a marketing tool at SSB Information Fairs and with teachers of the blind and visually impaired o developing a plan to assist eligible students of transition age to obtain at least one paid work experience prior to graduation

• SSB is actively involved in two unique summer programs focused on transition. Learning Independence from Experience (LIFE), carried out in cooperation with the Minnesota Academy for the Blind, provides transition training to as many as 12 students between the ages of 17 and 22 who have impairments in addition to blindness. The Summer Transition Program (STP) serves as many as 25 high school juniors and/or seniors each summer. It is housed at St. Thomas University in St Paul, Minnesota, and is designed to provide alternative skills training and career exploration activities for participating students. Staff members assist students with transition goals that may include informational interviews, job shadowing, and mentoring. This gives students a first-hand experience in the world of work. While living in the dorms at St. Thomas, students also participate in a variety of independent living activities with specific mobility, self-care, communication, leadership, and related goals.

• A wide range of transition programs, separate and apart from the above summer programs, are individually tailored by counselors to meet the unique needs of each student. Such initiatives might include summer work experiences, advanced computer skills training, college readiness training, advanced training programs in specific educational areas, and attendance at the Helen Keller National Training Center. SSB assigns a staff member as liaison with the State Academy for the Blind, with specific focus on transition needs. Joint efforts with the State Academy are also focused on better vocational preparation of blind students of transition age.

• Several outreach efforts continue to be part of SSB’s transition activities. These activities include involvement with the Statewide Vision Network, vision teachers who meet four times each school year to discuss issues related to the education of blind children of all ages. Outreach and identification of youth of transition age needing transition services are facilitated via this network. Network participants alert parents of youth needing transition services to services offered by SSB.

• Counselors also work individually with high schools to focus on outreach and identification of youth in need of transition services (including youth who are not currently receiving special education services). Counselors attend IEPs/IIIPs, at the invitation of the parents and vision teacher, to educate prospective customers about SSB services.

• A final SSB outreach effort is facilitated through law. State law requires eye care professionals, when making an initial diagnosis of legal blindness, to advise the individual that services are available through SSB. This requirement extends to youth of transition age.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 9:50AM by Jennifer Beilke

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

Attachment 4.8(b)(3): Coordination with Non-profit VR providers

State Services for the Blind (SSB) currently has operating agreements (rather than cooperative agreements) with three full-time adjustment training centers (CRPs) which focus on blindness and also provide other services to blind and visually impaired customers. SSB discusses programs, services, and operating agreements with each CRP as necessary. The director of SSB approves all service costs charged by these CRPs after review by staff internal to SSB.

In 2012, significant changes in our relationship with the CRP’s will occur as a result of two developments:

• The results of a “107 Review” conducted by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in 2010, required SSB to establish

1) policies and procedures to monitor the activities and services provided by CRP’s and other vendors providing services through the rehabilitation contracts to assure compliance with applicable Federal requirements and achievement of performance goals; and

2) written policies that govern the rate setting methodology for all purchased VR services in order to ensure uniformity in the process we use to establish rates of payments for such services.

Also, as a result of the State of Minnesota implementing a new accounting system, Statewide Integrated Financial Tools (SWIFT) in the summer of 2011, SSB needed to migrate the structure of our relationship with CRP’s from operating agreements to state contracts.

In the spring of 2012, SSB reviewed and solicited input from the CRP’s on the master contract, rate-setting methodology and monitoring protocol that SSB had developed from review and consideration of documents and data from other state general and blind rehabilitation agencies, technical assistance from RSA, and state of Minnesota purchasing policies and procedures. It is anticipated these new policies and procedures will be in effect by 10/1/2012.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 9:50AM by Jennifer Beilke

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements For The Provision of Supported Employment Services

For customers that require other types of training or services from community-based rehabilitation programs, including supported employment program services, State Services for the Blind (SSB) utilizes community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) that have operating agreements with the general rehabilitation Designated State Unit, Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) or with SSB. Minnesota implemented a new accounting system, Statewide Integrated Financial Tools (SWIFT), in July, 2011. During implementation, it became apparent SSB needed to migrate the structure of the relationship with the CRPs from operating agreements to state contracts. SSB expects these state contracts will be in place by 10/1/2012.

Services to all supported employment program customers have and will continue to be provided under fee-for-service arrangements with CRPs. SSB’s relationship with these CRPs is governed by operating agreements with either SSB or VRS for the specific services required. The operating agreements describe the services offered by the CRP and the agreed upon cost of each service. Information about each CRP is provided to each customer so that they can make an informed choice in the selection of their service provider.

Extended services are secured via individual agreements with non-VR organizations, including a number of agreements with an array of counties in Minnesota.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 10:30AM by Jennifer Beilke

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Attachment 4.10: Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Minnesota State Services for the Blind’s (SSB) policies, procedures and activities to maintain a comprehensive system of personnel development is described in this state plan attachment. This system assures that there is an adequate supply of qualified staff in the ratio and personnel categories needed; that staff is available to provide services statewide; and that staff have ongoing personnel development opportunities. The ultimate purpose of this system is to assure that SSB customers, who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind, are provided with high quality VR services leading to employment outcomes.

This comprehensive system of personnel development consists of:

• An annual review and analysis of data on current staffing and future needs, as well as a review of each vacancy when it occurs;

• Collaboration with institutions of higher education and communication regarding the number of students in the counseling graduate programs;

• Policies and actions related to recruitment, preparation, and retention of qualified staff;

• Personnel standards in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act; and

• Personnel development including methods to assess individual and organizational staff training needs and the provision of in-service training.

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

SSB maintains data on the number of employees in each personnel category for all of its programs. This data is reviewed on an annual basis and each position is reviewed when a vacancy occurs to determine whether a change in personnel category or services is necessary to meet the current needs of SSB customers. Personnel levels are also reviewed annually when the VR program budget is developed.

SSB’s WorkForce Development Unit (WFD), the VR field unit, employs 52 permanent staff positions and 2 temporary positions (excluding those assigned to the Randolph-Sheppard Program). Sixteen positions are currently earmarked for qualified VR counselors. During FFY2011 the ratio of qualified VR counselors (16) to individuals served (921) is 1 to 58. The ratio of qualified VR counselors to individuals served during FFY12 and into FFY13 is expected to average between 1 to 60 and 1 to 61 depending on the number of counselor vacancies. It is the intention of SSB to fill all counselor positions.

The following table provides the personnel categories used by SSB’s WFD program, the current number of people filling those positions, and the projection for new staff needed over the next five years.

Personnel Current Projected New Staff Needed

Category Staff Over Next 5 Years

State Director 1 1

Field Operations Director 1 1

Field Operations Supervisor IV 3 1

Field Operations Supervisor II 0 1

Qualified VR Counselor 16 6

Lead VR Counselor 1 1

Placement staff 3 1

Psychologist 1 1

Assistive Technology Superviso 1 0

Assistive Technology Specialist 5 1

VR Technician 10 4

Support Staff 2 2

Admin. Services Unit Director 1 1

Central Office Admin. Staff 7 4

Temporary Support Staff 2 0

Reviewing information on incidence of disability and the results of outreach activities provides insight as to the number of individuals who may be accessing SSB services over the next five years. Dedicated resources have been identified to carry out marketing and outreach activities in addition to numerous presentations made by field staff to a wide variety of audiences. SSB believes that the number of individuals that have traditionally come to SSB for vocational rehabilitation services represents a realistic picture of the need for services by Minnesotans who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind. As a result, SSB anticipates needing the same number and approximate mix of staff positions over the next five years, given current trends and anticipated changes in the rehabilitation program. To enhance services and the success of customers, SSB used federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds for two additional counselors and three additional placement staff. Of the three placement staff that were hired using ARRA funds, one left SSB and the other two were placed into permanent positions. Two ARRA funded counselor positions were also made permanent. The two temporary support staff have been added as result of Minnesota’s new State Wide Integrated Financial Tool (SWIFT). Their appointment is a year in length and will assist the VR Technicians who have had an increase in their volume of work due to SWIFT.

SSB continues to project that staff turnover, rather than program expansion, will drive any shifts in staffing. With SSB’s focus on individuals pursuing competitive employment outcomes in integrated settings, it is essential to increase the emphasis on work with employers. It is expected that the two additional placement staff, hired originally using federal ARRA funds, will increase the number of employment outcomes.

In response to an identified need for succession planning within the Work Force Development unit, an entry-level Supervisory position (Supervisor II) was created in FY10. The stated purpose was to provide an experienced counselor who otherwise would not be qualified to apply for a supervisory position to obtain the necessary supervisory experience. This position was filled by an experienced counselor who was able to gain the necessary supervisor experience to qualify for a vacated higher level Supervisor IV position. The WDU expects to continue to utilize this model as appropriate.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 State Director 1 0 1
2 Field Operations Director 1 0 1
3 Field Operations Supervisor IV 3 0 1
4 Field Operations Supervisor II 0 0 1
5 Qualified VR Counselor 16 0 6
6 Lead VR Counselor 1 0 1
7 Placement staff 3 0 1
8 Psychologist 1 0 1
9 Assistive Technology Supervisor 1 0 0
10 Assistive Technology Specialist 5 0 1

 

Collaboration with Institutions of Higher Education

Minnesota has two credentialed graduate programs in vocational rehabilitation counseling. The two programs are Minnesota State University at Mankato (MSU-M) and St. Cloud State University (SCSU). SSB management maintains contact with the Directors of the Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling graduate programs through direct one-on-one conversations and by serving on advisory committees.

Through discussion with the Director of the program, SSB learned that for this current academic year, MSU-M has 10 students and 2 graduates. The Director reports that there are currently 16 students enrolled for Fall2012, although there are still applications coming in. There are 6 students on track to graduate in December of 2012.

The Director at SCSU reports 12 students graduating spring 2012 and approximately 4 graduating in December. They have 28 students currently enrolled and anticipate having 10-12 students next year.

The University of Wisconsin at Stout is very close to the Minnesota border. SSB has now hired several graduates from their programs. The master’s Vocational Rehabilitation program at Stout offers concentration in two main areas: rehabilitation counseling (RC) or dual concentration in vocational evaluation and rehabilitation counseling (VE/RC). As a CORE accredited rehabilitation counseling (RC) program, graduates of either the RC or the VE/RC concentrations are eligible to apply for the certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) and/or the professional counselor (PC) training certificate (leading to Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)). In addition, graduates of the dual VE/RC concentration meet or exceed any existing criteria for certification or registration of vocational evaluation specialists. They offer their program both on campus and online. Stout has 27 students graduating in the Spring of 2012, 10 on campus and 17 online. For this current academic year, Stout has 80 students enrolled in the rehabilitation counseling program. Twenty nine of those students are on campus and 51 are online. Stout expects 1 student to graduate in December 2012 as the majority of students graduate in the Spring.

All graduates from these three programs have the necessary credentials to qualify for national certification. All graduates meet the Minnesota standard for a qualified rehabilitation counselor. This represents a significant pool of qualified counselors that more than meets the anticipated staffing needs of SSB.

The Director of WFD has periodic opportunities to meet with students at MSU-M and, as a result, students with disabilities and from minority backgrounds will frequently express interest in paid internship experiences with SSB. The Director of WFD provides feedback to the counseling program staff regarding the skill needs of VR counselors at SSB.

Increased communication and relationship building is developing with the University of Wisconsin at Stout since the hiring of their graduates. Less formalized contacts are maintained with two out-of-state credentialed vocational rehabilitation counseling programs in Michigan and Wisconsin.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Minnesota State University – Mankato 10 0 0 2
2 Minnesota State University – St. Cloud 28 0 0 4
3 University of Wisconsin Stout 80 0 0 1
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel

SSB annually reviews and updates its plan to address current and projected needs for qualified personnel. This plan is informed by monitoring data on the number of employees in each personnel category for all of its programs. Staffing patterns are reviewed annually in light of customer service demands and when the VR program budget is developed. Each vacancy is reviewed when it occurs to determine whether a change in personnel category or services is necessary to meet the current and emerging needs of SSB customers.

SSB carefully reviews all staff vacancies, regardless of funding source. Additionally, SSB is utilizing the VR Technician classification to provide the VR counselors with paraprofessional support in the areas of job development, job search and general service implementation, thus providing the VR counselor additional quality time to spend in 1:1 work with clients.

SSB has aggressively addressed the recruitment of new staff, including individuals with significant disabilities and individuals from minority backgrounds via several distinct strategies. One strategy is strengthening relationships with MSU-M. SSB management staff worked with MSU-M in developing its proposal for RSA long-term training funding. The proposal permits students to expedite the completion of their Master’s program while serving paid internships with RS-VR and SSB. The program also provides increased opportunities for students to "fast-track" their training by combining the internship experience with class work.

A second strategy continues to be paid internships. SSB offers paid internship opportunities to select students enrolled in Master’s-level rehabilitation counselor education programs in Minnesota and throughout the nation. Use of these internships continues to be one means to attract individuals, including those from minority backgrounds and individuals with significant disabilities, to enroll in rehabilitation counselor education programs, have a positive experience with the public VR program, and increase the probability of their future employment in the public system. This internship program was the source for one of SSB’s hires of a qualified VR counselor. The individual, who happens to have a significant disability, indicated a major reason for accepting employment with SSB was the positive internship experience. This year SSB hosted one intern from the University of Wisconsin at Stout.

A third strategy attempts to address the general climate of recruiting persons to enter employment with state government. Recently it has not been inviting to many to work in state government given relatively flat pay increases and concern about budget shortfalls. However, SSB is fortunate to have internal options to meet VR staffing needs for qualified VR counselors. There are eight rehabilitation counselors currently employed in SSB’s Senior Services Unit who meet the standard for qualified VR counselor. If critical counselor vacancies do occur, and no other options for filling the position are identified, strong consideration would be given to staff realignment.

The fourth strategy addresses traditional and nontraditional recruitment efforts. SSB’s recruitment efforts utilize several channels of communication to target potential employees, including individuals from minority backgrounds and individuals with significant disabilities. SSB, through the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget, publicizes staff vacancies to a wide population via print and internet listings. Employment and paid internship opportunities are, as appropriate, listed on the homepage of the Rehabilitation Recruitment Center of the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials. The Director of WFD has periodic opportunities to meet with students at MSU-M and, as a result, students with disabilities and from minority backgrounds know about SSB, know about the state personnel system, and how to watch for and apply for employment openings.

The fifth strategy includes initiatives to retain staff, including individuals with disabilities and individuals from minority backgrounds, which encompass paid training experiences and development opportunities consistent with present and projected future needs of both the individual and of SSB.

A final strategy that is expected to positively impact recruitment and retention is the realignment of the rehabilitation counselor classification system within Minnesota’s civil service system. This realignment resulted in differentiating the functions of a qualified rehabilitation counselor from those of related positions in the counselor series and created a way to recruit for a "rehabilitation assistant" position leading to opportunities for a career ladder for an individual to move towards becoming a fully qualified rehabilitation counselor. Such a career ladder may be especially attractive to individuals from minority backgrounds and individuals with significant disabilities who need to work and could be supported by SSB in their pursuit of a graduate degree to meet the qualifications of a rehabilitation counselor. An additional factor is the ability to hire persons with experience at a relatively higher level in the classification system than had been SSB’s practice.

 

Personnel Standards

Policies and procedures are in place relating to the establishment and maintenance of standards to ensure personnel needed by SSB are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained. Such policies and procedures, including negotiated labor agreements with exclusive bargaining representatives, also cover the selection, retention, development, and termination of staff employed by SSB, and includes requirements of State law concerning the classification of SSB positions by Minnesota Management and Budget.

Both SSB and Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), the two Designated State Units in Minnesota, have worked cooperatively with Minnesota Management and Budget to ensure the classification specifications used to certify individuals eligible for employment in the designated State units are consistent with their personnel needs and are based on the highest entry-level degree requirements in the State. Standards for the position of rehabilitation counselor at SSB were refined in 1999 to comply fully with federal requirements, were reviewed and approved by RSA and have not changed. The academic degree standard for a vocational rehabilitation counselor at SSB is the Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a closely related field, with graduate-level coursework in each of the following: theories and techniques of counseling; medical/psycho-social aspects of disability; assessment; and occupational information or job placement.

Both SSB and VRS continue to work closely with Department of Human Resources to ensure only those individuals who have earned a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, or a closely related field, qualify for placement on eligible lists for rehabilitation counselor.

All counselor positions at SSB are currently held by persons fully meeting the position standard. Therefore, SSB will not have any expenditures for staff needing to obtain a graduate degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.

An analysis of current lists of persons eligible for employment as a rehabilitation counselor, as well as information from the three graduate rehabilitation counselor programs continues to indicate there are no factors that would adversely affect SSB’s ability to hire qualified staff, given the standard for rehabilitation counselors. In addition, SSB recruits for counselor positions nationwide.

When SSB has a vacancy, eligible individuals are interviewed by appropriate SSB staff. Employee selection is based not only on general class qualifications, but also on their ability to meet specific job demands. This process also applies to internal transfers and would be followed if it were necessary to consider realignment of staff from the Senior Services Unit to VR. Thus, the designated State unit continues to play a significant and deciding role in ensuring individuals employed by SSB are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained.

New employees come to SSB with a variety of knowledge, skills and abilities. Nearly all need SSB to provide them with additional information, and in some cases training, to ensure they have the tools and resources to do their job. Minnesotans expect SSB to be “experts” in the field of blindness. We are the one public organization providing such services. Therefore, SSB has an obligation to train staff on the essential aspects of blindness and visual impairment. To meet that expectation, SSB has a comprehensive training program about blindness and visual impairment consisting of:

• Introduction to Blindness and Visual Impairment —PHASE I. Responsibilities of SSB staff do vary, but there are minimum requirements for all positions and are part of this course which is required of all new employees.

• Introduction to Blindness and Visual Impairment —PHASE II. “Under the blindfold” and with simulators are training activities which will be required of some new staff as determined by SSB management.

• Continuing Education in Blindness and Visual Impairment –PHASE III. Training consists of specialized and ongoing training related to blindness and vision loss and will be required of staff as determined by SSB management.

Staff may request, for development purposes, additional or more advanced training activities that will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account organizational needs and resources. All WDU staff members new to SSB will receive Introduction to Blindness —Phase 1 and Phase 2 training on the essential aspects of blindness and visual impairment within three months of hire.

On April 26, 2010, Minnesota Statute 248.07 was amended calling for Rehabilitation Counselors employed by SSB after January 1, 2011 to successfully complete a minimum of 6 weeks of intensive training under sleepshades from an adjustment to blindness center. This law, passed and signed earlier in the session, codifies in statute the current SSB staff training policy.

 

Personnel Development

SSB, in collaboration with other offices of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), continues to be a partner in implementing the employee performance development communication model, the objective of which is to collectively understand how employees’ performance and development contributes to the mission, vision, values, and goals of DEED. The model focuses on organizational values, continual improvement, and ongoing dialogue.

Critical to continual improvement is personal responsibility of the employee for professional and job-related development. Meeting the development needs of the individual employee is the explicit responsibility of that employee, with required support of the supervisor, to ensure continuing learning and development take place. Supplemental to formal and more traditional development activities are informal coaching, counseling, and teaching activities among and between supervisors and staff. Counseling supervisors use the results of formal and informal case record reviews for informal coaching and teaching to improve individual counselor performance.

SSB conducts a comprehensive assessment of overall State unit training needs every three years consisting of a staff survey, a review of development plans, and prioritization of training and development needs by the SSB management team. This staff development needs assessment activity is the basis for the in-service training program plan which continues to be updated at least annually to reflect emergent needs.

RSA accepted the SSB in-service basic and quality training plan for FFY2006 through FFY2010. SSB’s in-service training grant for FFY2011 through FFY2015 is designed to assist all State unit personnel to carry out the purpose of the Rehabilitation Act and the SSB’s mission. It is designed to improve the competencies of all State vocational rehabilitation personnel in providing vocational rehabilitation, independent living, access and assistive technology, and other support services, to SSB customers, resulting in improved customer satisfaction, enhanced employment opportunities, and increased employment outcomes.

The training plan addresses three broad goals –

• Increase understanding and application of essential organizational principles and values, including those relative to blindness and diversity.

• Acquire, maintain and continually improve the ability of staff to apply the wide range of vocational rehabilitation tools and skills required in both current as well as future positions with the unit.

• Gain, maintain and continually improve those essential other (i.e., non-vocational rehabilitation specific) abilities such as computer access, critical thinking and effective communication skills, needed for staff to successfully serve customers.

The additional quality training grant Minnesota SSB received will provide VR staff with specialized, intensive training in three areas:

• placement;

• adjustment to blindness training; and

• English language learners.

This specialized training is designed to provide state agency personnel the tools needed to better serve blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind customers, including those from diverse cultures, in a changing vocational and social environment.

Additional activities contained in the training plan focus on preparing individuals for future leadership opportunities, capacity-building, succession planning, and retaining qualified staff in government service. Staff Adjustment to Blindness (ATB) training (experiential training at a community rehabilitation center “under the blindfold”) is included as an essential portion of staff training. Another area is access technology. Access technology is constantly changing and access technology staff must remain current with these changes.

While staff development efforts continue to focus on employment and rehabilitation technology, it does so in the overarching context of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. Training and information continues to be provided on other WIA Titles and the relationship of Title IV to other WIA Titles. Future training will be centered on the field application of regulations pertaining to future amendments to the Rehabilitation Act and to the Workforce Investment Act.

Information is disseminated to staff from a wide range of sources in a variety of ways. Information is increasingly made available via web-based resources. Print material is, as appropriate, made available to staff in braille and other alternate formats. Access to information in a format or form accessible to staff and customers continues to be critical for success. The SSB Communication Center is a resource available to all staff for making materials available to customers in braille and other alternate formats. In addition, each SSB office in the WorkForce Center System has the capacity to produce braille locally for customers.

Foreign language interpreters are available to staff from locally based resources, as are interpreter services for customers who require or request sign language communications. Sign language and tactile interpreters are used when needed to communicate with customers who are DeafBlind or have a hearing impairment. SSB is fortunate to have a Supervisor in the Workforce Development Unit who is proficient in American Sign Language (ASL) and a Lead Counselor who has intermediate level ASL skills. Additionally, a culturally deaf counselor has been hired whose primary communication is ASL. Two SSB staff have earned certificates in Deaf-Blind Rehabilitation curriculum from Northern Illinois University, College of Health and Human Services. In April, 2011, a WDU Counselor attended a three week low vision certificate program at Mississippi State University. The purpose of this training was to ensure that the WDU has a subject matter expert in low vision who can work with other staff and customers to better address barriers to employment that low vision conditions cause.

Knowledgeable individuals, including representatives from professional associations and organizations, make presentations at regional and sectional staff meetings concerning topical areas of emerging interest. These presentations include SSB staff sharing information following attendance at conferences and other training and development sessions. SSB coordinates personnel development with activities and efforts of Minnesota Department of Education concerning IDEA, transition activities, and supported employment with special focus on development activities with the State Vision Network, the primary communication vehicle for vision teachers throughout the State.

SSB will continue to encourage coordination of personnel development among agencies through the exchange of relevant information and mutually supportive activities. Such coordination includes appropriate involvement of representatives from the education and rehabilitation communities in staff training activities of each organization.

 

Foreign language interpreters are available to staff from locally based resources, as are interpreter services for customers who require or request sign language communications. Sign language and tactile interpreters are used when needed to communicate with customers who are DeafBlind or have a hearing impairment. SSB is fortunate to have a Supervisor in the Workforce Development Unit who is proficient in American Sign Language (ASL) and a Lead Counselor who has intermediate level ASL skills. Additionally, a culturally deaf counselor has been hired whose primary communication is ASL. Two SSB staff have earned certificates in Deaf-Blind Rehabilitation curriculum from Northern Illinois University, College of Health and Human Services. In April, 2011, a WDU Counselor attended a three week low vision certificate program at Mississippi State University. The purpose of this training was to ensure that the WDU has a subject matter expert in low vision who can work with other staff and customers to better address barriers to employment that low vision conditions cause.

 

Knowledgeable individuals, including representatives from professional associations and organizations, make presentations at regional and sectional staff meetings concerning topical areas of emerging interest. These presentations include SSB staff sharing information following attendance at conferences and other training and development sessions. SSB coordinates personnel development with activities and efforts of Minnesota Department of Education concerning IDEA, transition activities, and supported employment with special focus on development activities with the State Vision Network, the primary communication vehicle for vision teachers throughout the State.

This screen was last updated on Jun 21 2012 3:33PM by Jennifer Beilke

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.

Attachment 4.11 (a) Results of Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities and Need to Establish, Develop, or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs

Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Minnesotans who are Blind, Visually Impaired or DeafBlind

The Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) Is designed to satisfy requirements in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and produce useful and timely information to both state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and state rehabilitation councils (SRC’s) in jointly conducting needs assessments.

Rehabilitation Act Needs Assessment Requirements

Section 101 (a)(15)

(15) annual state goals and reports of progress

(A) Assessments and estimates

The State plan shall –

(I) include the results of a comprehensive, statewide assessment, jointly conducted by the designated State unit and the State Rehabilitation Council every 3 years, describing the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the State, particularly the vocational rehabilitation needs of –

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

(II) individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been underserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program carried out under this title; and

(III) individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system (other than the vocational rehabilitation program), as identified by such individuals and personnel assisting such individuals through the components;

(ii) include an assessment of the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the State; and

(iii) provide that the state shall submit to the Commissioner a report containing information regarding updates to the assessments, for any year in which the State updates the assessments.

Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB) and its State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC–B) developed a process framework for conducting the triennial statewide assessment of the rehabilitation needs of blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind Minnesotans. First implemented in FFY2006, this framework has subsequently been used as a guide to conduct the needs assessment.

SSB staff collaborate with members of the Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF), appointed by the SRC–B, to carry out the annual tasks associated with a needs assessment. The NATF’s responsibilities include to:

• identify data sources such as reports and surveys that provide information on the needs of Minnesotans who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind;

• advise SSB on the scope and methods for conducting a needs assessment as required under the Rehabilitation Act; and

• make recommendations, based on needs assessment findings, regarding the Vocational

Rehabilitation needs of Minnesotans who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind.

Below are the steps included in the Needs Assessment Process Framework:

1. Identify the service needs of individuals.

2. Identify services provided by SSB to its customers.

3. Identify concerns or gaps in services.

4. Analyze the results obtained.

5. Allocate\realign resources; make recommendations.

6. Return to Step 1 and continue through the framework to conduct an ongoing and systematic needs

assessment.

There are a variety of sources from which to garner the information cited above including disability population statistics, including the American Community Survey, disability population estimates, population projections and economic forecasts from federal and state data, existing VR agency data, state and local data and reports, stakeholder input including customer satisfaction surveys, focus groups, key informant interviews, etc.

NATF members and SSB view the needs assessment process as continuous and for that reason, activities for each year of the three-year cycle were identified. This cycle of activity was developed in 2007 during the review of the needs assessment activities and results. The framework for conducting a needs assessment has been followed in FFY2009, again in FFY2012 and will follow for the next cycle in FFY2015.

Three-Year Cycle of Activity for Conducting a Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Year 1 Conduct a comprehensive statewide assessment of the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities

Establish fiscal year goals, priorities and strategies

Year 2 Review needs assessment findings

Review goals, priorities and strategies

Identify what’s missing

Year 3 Review and evaluate needs assessment process

Recommend changes to the process for conducting the next needs assessment

The following is an outline of information contained in this attachment –

I. The Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities with Significant and Most Significant Disabilities, including Their Need for Supported Employment Services.

A. Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind Needs Assessment Review

1. Findings

2. Outreach and Marketing

3. Transition Services

4. Closure Outcomes

B. Incidence of Disability

C. Service Data and Results for Individuals with Significant Disabilities, Title I, Part B

1. VR Caseload Data Highlights

2. Case Service Expenditures and Service Provision Patterns

3. SSB performance on federal standards and indicators

4. Current SSB\SRC–B Goals and Strategies

D. Service Data and Results for Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities

Including their Need for Supported Employment, Title 6, Part B

1. Case Service Expenditure and Service Provision Patterns

2. Findings

E. Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

1. Minnesota WFC Customer Satisfaction Survey

2. Findings

3. Current SSB\SRC-B Goals and Strategies

II. The Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities Who Are Minorities and Individuals with Disabilities Who Have Been Unserved or Underserved.

A. VR Service Needs of Individuals with Disabilities Who are Minorities

1. Minority Services Committee

2. Case service expenditure and service provision patterns

3. Findings

4. Current SSB\SRC-B Goals and Strategies

B. VR Service Needs of Individuals with Disabilities Who are Underserved

1. Case Service Expenditure and Service Provision Patterns

2. DeafBlind needs assessment survey

3. Findings and Survey Results

4. DeafBlind Committee

5. Current SSB\SRC-B Goals and Strategies

C. VR Service Needs of Individuals with Disabilities Who are Unserved

III. The Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities Served through Other Components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System

IV. The Assessment of the Need to Establish, Develop, or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs

A. Adjustment to Blindness Vendor Satisfaction Questionnaire

B. Findings

C. Current SSB\SRC-B Goals and Strategies

V. Summary of Findings

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I. The Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities with Significant and Most Significant Disabilities, including Their Need for Supported Employment Services.

A. Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind Needs Assessment Review

Since 2006, the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) through its Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF), has evaluated the process SSB used to conduct needs assessments in the past and reviewed the current state plan needs assessment document. In 2012, the NATF identified additional information to analyze and determine gaps in services. The NATF was specifically interested in determining the number of transition students SSB could potentially serve and the collective progress in meeting Goal 2: “…Increase the number of individuals served and the vocational outcomes achieved.”

Data analysis included a comparison of the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) child count data and the number of transition-aged students referred to SSB, the number of minority cases open, minority cases closed, referrals of persons from minority groups and the number of minority referrals annually from FFY 2009 through 2011.

The question of how many transition students we should be serving is difficult to answer. In an effort to gather more data on this topic, the NATF compared the number of transition-age students served during the past four years and the unduplicated child count from MDE during those same years.

Transition-aged students served:

• 2008: 48

• 2009: 57

• 2010: 52

• 2011: 37

Ages “08 “09 “10 “11

14-15 12 21 11 12

16-18 16 15 15 13

18-21 20 21 26 12

Unduplicated child count:

• 2008: 141

• 2009: 122

• 2010: 113

• 2011: 104

Further detail of the unduplicated child count revealed that in 2010, there were a total of 415 students, (.325% of all students classified as disabled and 046% of total student enrollment) listed as visually impaired or DeafBlind, 113 of whom were transition age. In 2011, the child count showed a total of 435 students listed as visually impaired or DeafBlind, 104 of whom were transition age. In the past four fiscal years, 194 students were referred while the child count indicates there were approximately twice that number of total blind and visually impaired (BVI) transition-aged students.

During the past several years, the SRC-B and SSB has monitored the effects of the Goals, Priorities and Strategies implemented in 2009 pertaining to transition students, especially the number of transition-aged students served. From 2007 to 2008, the number of SSB customers age 21 and younger served rose dramatically from 37 to 48, a 23% increase. This higher number of transition student was sustained from 2008 through 2010 at 48, 57 and 52 respectively. This is a noteworthy accomplishment demonstrating the important role of the Council in identifying the need and developing strategies and the determined efforts of SSB staff. The number of transition-aged students served fell dramatically in 2011 to 37. However, new strategies developed by the Transition Committee may address this lower number in 2011.

The NATF was pleased with these outcomes but chose to continue to recommend outreach activities to build upon the productive interagency relationships that have been established and maintain or exceed the higher level of transition-aged youth served during the past several fiscal years.

There was a significant difference in service provision, with the exception of adjustment to blindness training, between all customers and those from minority backgrounds all three years. The provision of post-secondary training was ranked second for all customers in 2009 and 2010, but only 9th and 10th for minorities. However, there was a marked change in 2011 as provision of post-secondary training ranked 2nd and 3rd for all and minority customers respectively.

Applicants from minority backgrounds increased gradually during FFY 2009, 2010 and 2011: 87, 95 and 106. Minorities constituted 37% of all WDU applicants during that period.

In FFY’s 2009, 2010 and 2011, SSB served the following customers from minority populations: 219 (20.8% of total customers served), 226 (21.5%) and 215 (21.3%) respectively. These numbers represent a significant increase from 2005 when there were 133 minority customers served or 11% of all customers served. In 2008, minorities represented 23% of the total, a proportion slightly higher than those cited above since 2009.

Even though the number of minority referrals has increased significantly over the past three years, the number of customers served has remained flat. Significant gains have been made in this arena but further attention to possible anomalies in the data is warranted, especially taking into account the substantial increases in minority populations.

Successful employment outcomes achieved by minorities during these three fiscal years were 11, 10 and 11 respectively. These closures represented 13.4% of all successful outcomes during that period.

Unsuccessful closures of customers from minority backgrounds decreased from 2009 to 2011 at a rate of 48, 39 and 31: a 35% decrease. These closures represented 29% of all closures, slightly higher than the 23% proportion of all customers served.

1. Findings

An analysis of the MDE child count data and the number of transition-aged students referred to SSB revealed that SSB and its partners are doing better at identifying and soliciting applications from this population but are only securing applications from approximately half of the potential population.

The NATF analysis of data related to minorities suggests that even though unsuccessful closures have declined significantly over this period, the flat number of successful closures suggests continued attention to this population is warranted.

The total number of SSB customers served annually was consistent during FFY’s 2008-2011: 1016, 1060, 1061 and 1015, with an average of 1041 customers served per year. The total number of referrals during those years were 253, 305, 258 and 207 respectively.

Referral sources were also found to have been consistent in referring customers to SSB for services. “Self-referred” was the largest referral source during FFY’s 2008-2011 slightly surpassing 50% each fiscal year. The number of referrals from elementary or secondary schools reached a peak of 42 in 2009 but has averaged approximately 25 per year in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Physicians made approximately 10% of the referrals in 2009 and 2010, but there was a steep drop-off in 2011 to 5.8%: again, likely due to the shutdown.

The number of Social Security (SSA) beneficiaries served by SSB is of particular interest. During FFY2009, 2010 and 2011, there were a total of 1093 Social Security beneficiaries who applied for services. The vast majority, 59.6 %, were self-referred followed by community rehabilitation programs, Workforce Centers, elementary or secondary schools and physicians which each accounted for approximately 6% of the total.

The NATF identified four areas of potential need:

1. Continue outreach to transition students;

2. Continue outreach to minority populations;

3. Increase overall outreach and marketing efforts; and

4. Continue to develop strategies to increase the number of employment outcomes for all customers.

SSB management has shared these concerns and taken deliberate steps to address them.

2. Outreach and Marketing

Pertaining specifically to outreach activities to transition students, several efforts were made including:

• In 2009 and 2010, four “SSB 101” activities occurred with disappointing attendance with a total of about 30 transition students and their parents.

• In 2010, SSB developed a series of short marketing videos regarding services for transition age students, working age adults and seniors. These videos are available on SSB’s website and on YouTube.

Below is a description of general outreach and marketing efforts made since 2009.

Senior Services Unit:

1. Fairs, expos and resource events. Since Jan. 1, 2009, Ed Lecher, SSB’s staff person responsible for marketing and outreach, participated as a “vender/exhibitor” in at least 40 resource-style events that are designed to highlight services for seniors. This activity is specifically designed as an awareness activity and is very difficult to measure. Each year in Duluth, Minneapolis, Roseville and Mankato, Ed participates in events geared towards seniors that reach thousands of attendees.

2. Large group presentations including conferences and resource events conducted by Ed Lecher:

- In 2009 and 2011, presentations at the Care Providers of MN conference. Each time there were about 50 attendees.

- In 2009 and 2010, breakout sessions at the MN Social Services Association Annual Conference. Attendees number approximately 40 each time.

- In 2009, 2010 and 2011, breakout sessions at the MN Gerontology conference. Attendees are administrators and care professionals across the senior services spectrum. At each session, no less than 80 individuals attended.

- In 2009 and 2010, presentations at the annual Wisdom Steps conference hosted by the Department of Human Services (DHS) Indian Heath Division. Attendees for each were approximately 25.

3. Mail Distribution Activities (all occur each year)

- Bi-annual doctor mailer. All optometrists and ophthalmologists in the state receive either a packet detailing senior services or post card reminding them of services. Anecdotally, SSU reports a spike in calls immediately following mailer.

- Approximately 250 “postcards” are distributed via the Dept. of Public safety each year in letters that are sent to seniors receiving notice of revocation of driving privileges.

- In 2010, all nursing home and permanent long-term care facilities received notice from SSB regarding the policy to no longer serve permanent residents directly. There were 381 facilities who received the mailer, which included a DVD designed to train staff to work with visually impaired and blind residents. The mailer elicited an additional request from no less than 20 facilities for further copies of the DVD and Communication Center materials.

- In 2009 and 2010 a mailer was created to offer professional, continuing education unit (CEU) worthy staff trainings by SSU staffers Margee Pfannenstein (St Cloud), Diane Swanson (Rochester) and George Gross (Duluth 2009 only). Margee facilitated 5 trainings, Diane facilitated 2 trainings and George facilitated 2 trainings.

- In 2009 and 2011, a mailer containing info on SSU was sent to 81 Home Care agencies

- Mailers are sent annually to senior centers, Area Agencies on Aging and community programs as identified.

4. In 2009 and 2010, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars were used to produce a training video for long-term care staff as a way to lighten the numbers of long-term care residents in need of direct service from the SSU. There was a release event sponsored by Ecumen Senior Housing of MN attended by 120 various regional senior services providers.

5. Outreach presentations: no less than 75 between 2009-2011 to groups that include service clubs, senior centers, senior housing resident groups, low vision groups, professional senior providers, Senior Linkage professionals and other clubs.

Communication Center:

1. Yearly mailers to all eye doctors (twice annually to approximately 1000 offices)

2. In 2009, coordinated and facilitated Radio Talking Book (RTB) anniversary parties in St Paul, St Cloud, Rochester, Fergus Falls, Duluth, Grand Rapids and Mankato. At least 300 attendees comprising customers, civic leaders, local legislators and Communication Center (CC) volunteers.

3. In 2010 and 2011, attended a resource event to highlight CC service to PACER parents. Approximately 50 attendees total.

4. In 2010 and 2011, presentations at the annual Metropolitan Library Service Agency Annual Conference. Attendees were all librarians in the Twin Cities Metro (about 100).

5. Produce Quarterly Volunteer Newsletter with RTB volunteer Joan Lindusky distributed to all of the nearly 700 volunteers.

6. Coordinated a speaker’s circuit featuring Charlie Boone (RTB volunteer) and Wally Hinz (CC customer). Ed Lecher and these two volunteers have presented to 17 service clubs since the beginning of 2009.

7. In 2009 and 2010, SSB had a booth in the Education Building for the 11 days of the state fair yielding dozens of new and qualified volunteers (also promoted WDU and SSU).

8. In 2010 and 2011 attended and spoke at the yearly conference of Special Educational teachers to promote Audio Services. Total attendance each was approximately 100 educators.

Workforce Development Unit Activities:

1. Participated in the St Cloud Veteran’s Administration resource fair in 2009, 2010 and 2011, providing SSB awareness materials to no less than 200 veterans.

2. Participated in the Minneapolis Veteran’s Administration resource event in 2009 and 2010 reaching approximately 100 veterans.

3. In 2011, conducted a needs assessment to gauge and plan activities to reach out to minority populations. In the process, interviewed representatives from 12 community-based organizations. Submitted this information in October 2011 to the minority outreach committee, which will use the information to formulate an outreach plan.

4. See doctor mailer under Senior Services (The mailer is primarily meant to highlight the SSU and CC, but info on Voc. Rehab. is included.)

5. Designed a booklet for placement staff to provide to employers. This booklet contains resumes and is updated quarterly. It has been distributed to companies upon request and used by staff as a reference.

3. TRANSITION SERVICES

2011 Goal and Priority 5: Increase the number of referrals of transition-age students to SSB. This goal and priority was added in FY10 with the intention of increasing not only the number of referrals of transition-aged students, but also the number who are referred between ages 14-16. The initial measure of whether or not this goal has been met is simply the number of individuals ages 14-21 who were determined eligible during the FFY. Data has been kept and reviewed on the number of eligible individuals by age group to determine whether referrals are being made at a younger age, as is the focus. In FFY2010, 52 individuals between the ages of 14-21 were determined eligible for services. This compares to 57 in FFY2009, 48 in FFY2008 and 38 in FFY2007. The general strategies for meeting this goal were all implemented and may have had an impact in achieving this goal; however, the strategies specific to outreach to minority and DeafBlind populations were addressed in the goals specific to those unique populations.

PRIORITY 2.3: Increase the percentage of students who apply at ages 14 and 15 from the baseline of 39% of all applicants between the ages of 14-22 in FFY2009 to 45% of all applicants between the ages of 14-22 in FFY2011. This goal was not achieved as only 32.4% of the applicants in FFY2011 were 14 and 15 years of age from the baseline of 39% of all applicants between the ages of 14-22 in FFY2009. One must consider that service provision was substantially impacted by the state shut down in July of 2011.

Below are the strategies for meeting this priority as well as the progress that has been made in achieving them:

1. Continue working statewide with Special Education teachers, teachers of the blind, visually impaired, or DeafBlind and other IEP team members in designated school districts to facilitate regular information meetings with SSB counselors.

With the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) hire of Kristin Oien as MDE Specialist, this strategy has really blossomed. The impetus for this strategy of course stemmed from the intention to strengthen our relationship with Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) teachers and be informed of IEP meetings. Since this strategy has been met, removal can be considered as mechanisms are now in place to facilitate regular information meetings with SSB counselors and teachers.

Examples of how we have met this strategy:

• SSB conducted breakfast meetings with individual BVI teachers to exchange information and discuss concerns (2009). These meetings were well received and marked the beginning of building relationships with these important stakeholders.

• SSB representatives are now invited to State Vision Network (SVN) meetings regularly.

• Kristin has included SSB on the Summer Transition Committee (STP) Steering Committee.

• SSB has been co-facilitating BVI special interest brain storming groups at SVN meetings.

• We anticipate co-hosting an IPE/IEP workshop for SSB WFD staff, BVI teachers and IEP team members to better understand each other’s processes and form a cohesive transition of students at high school graduation.

• SSB’s relationship with Minnesota State Academy for the Blind (MSAB) has been strengthened through enhanced relationships with John Davis (Director), Connie Telshow (Transition Coordinator) and Ken Treblehorn (AT Teacher).

• SSB is now a presenter and co-facilitator at the MSAB Family Transition Weekend.

• Kristin Oien and Diane Dohnalik (teacher) are permanent and active member of the SCR-B’s Transition Committee.

• The Transition Timeline was a joint endeavor with SSB and teachers. The Timeline is a tool for career development that advises students, families and teachers of SSB’s expectation for each year of high school. The emphasis is on assisting the student to obtain work or volunteer experiences, conduct job shadows and informational interviews. It is being used by SSB counselors and distributed to BVI teachers and families.

2. By November 1, 2011, SSB will evaluate the Information Fairs hosted to date to determine their effectiveness. Based on the result of this evaluation, SSB will develop a format for communicating information about SSB to transition students and their families not later than December 31, 2011. This format will be implemented by June 30, 2012.

SSB 101 was a parent and student event designed to introduce families with children age 14+ to SSB and its services. It was held 3 times between 2009 and 2010 with low attendance. In 2010, the plan was to hold 3 sessions in northern, southern and metro regions to make it convenient for families. Unfortunately, there was little response from families and teachers.

Based on this experience, SSB 101 has been redesigned:

• Present SSB 101 mini version to families at the MSAB Family Transition Weekend in January 2012.

• SSB 101 was incorporated into the STP program during the summer of 2011 and will be repeated in the future because of its success.

• Propose a mini version of SSB 101 in 2012 to Blind Inc’s Post-Secondary Readiness and Empowerment Program.

• Produce a special intake folder for families of students applying in high school. It will be a transition focused folder with materials all pertaining to transition activities. Expected completion date of folder – March 2012.

There are also plans to offer SSB 101 in alternative formats:

• Produce a CD or DVD of SSB 101.

• Put a link on the SSB website to it.

• Put copies of the DVD or CD in the special intake folders

• Share the video at Transition Toolkit presentations

• Ask organizations such as the National Library Service (NLS), National Federation of the Blind (NFB), American Council of the Blind (ACB), Vision Loss Resources (VLR), Blindness: Learning In New Directions (Blind Inc.), and the Duluth Lighthouse for the Bling to put a SSB Transition Student link on their websites

• Have MDE put the SSB Transition Student link on their website

• Include SSB 101 in conference materials provided to events conducted by National Association of Parents with Visually Impaired Children (NAPVI), NFB, ACB, VLR young adult programming, Blind Inc’s Teen Night, Blind Prep and Buddy Program.

• Place SSB 101 on YouTube.

3. Monitor outcomes of enrichment activities beginning March 2012 to determine whether the goal of each activity was met. Enrichment activities will be reviewed every six months between March 2012 and October 2014 to monitor impact on success of each student and determine future direction of provision of enrichment activities for students.

A database was developed in September of 2011 to track students’ work related activities. There is a rudimentary chart from the summer of 2011 of each student’s involvement in work related activities. It is difficult to gather this data through our database and efforts will be made to improve the efficiency of conducting this task. This is a topic and development area rich in growth opportunities.

4. Between May 2012 and July 2012, evaluate the contents of the Transition Timeline and, based on feedback from counselors, revise as necessary. Review changes to Transition Timeline with counselors prior to September 2012 and implement revised document not later than September 30, 2012.

It was introduced to staff at the October 2011 WFD meeting. At the March 2012 WFD meeting, the Transition Timeline will be reviewed and counselors will be encouraged to continue its use with their transition students.

4. CLOSURE OUTCOMES:

Through the Region 5 Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center, SSB enlisted the services of doctoral student, Sukyeong Pi, at Southern Illinois University to evaluate SSB’s aggregate customer data (RSA 911) for FFY2004 through FFY2008 to complete this analysis. During this period of time, SSB closed an average of 390 customer cases per fiscal year. With regards to types of closure, an average of 26.4% of the customers achieved an employment outcome. This successful outcome rate was significantly lower than other VR agencies that primarily serve people with visual impairments. In FFY 2008, only 28.2% of SSB customers achieved successful closure compared to a rate of 49.1% for all other VR agencies.

The report attempted to identify the reason for this discrepancy by investigating the relationship between two categories of independent variables (customer characteristics and type of services received), and VR outcomes as a dependent variable. Of the customers who exited SSB in FFY 2008, 56% were male (versus 53% for all other blind agency). SSB clearly served more white customers with blindness and relatively younger population compared to other blind agencies in that year. In addition, a higher percentage of SSB customers were Social Security beneficiaries and not working at application. The analysis revealed there is a link between a higher level of education and success in achieving an employment outcome.

The results of a logistic regression analysis revealed that racial minority customers were less likely to achieve an employment outcome compared with white customers and that Social Security beneficiaries were less likely to obtain or maintain a job a closure. Having a higher level of education, being older and/or working at application were more related to a successful outcome. In other words, a customer with a college degree was 1.93 times more likely to have an employment outcome, then a customer without a high school diploma and relevant certificate.

In summary, the following customer characteristics might account for SSB’s lower successful rehabilitation rate: SSB has served more customers with blindness, relatively younger populations, Social Security beneficiaries and unemployed customers at application than other blind agencies. The report suggested that SSB would need to develop special strategies for the customers who have these individual characteristics.

Of the relationships between the types of services received and VR outcomes revealed the following: customers who received technical assistance services were 2.9 times more likely to have an employment outcome than those who did not. Technical assistance, rehabilitation technology, diagnosis and treatment, on-the-job training, job search and job placement services were significantly related to having a successful employment outcome. On the other hand, receiving VR counseling and guidance, job readiness training and transportation services were more associated to unsuccessful closure.

In addition, an analysis was conducted by SSB management of cases closed as unable to locate and refused services, to identify any trends or issues with policy or practice that need to be addressed. Indeed, the analysis revealed that the practice of using an interrupted status in managing vocational rehabilitation case files had not been used for several fiscal years in an effort to manage the size of counselors’ caseloads by closing cases after there had been no activity with the client for a time. The use of the interrupted status was reinstituted in approximately 2008 to accurately reflect the fact that customers were temporarily unable to proceed towards the accomplishment of the rehabilitation goals for disability related reasons. Since that time, the number of unsuccessful closures has decreased and SSB’s rehabilitation rate has increased.

B. Incidence of Disability

The task of estimating the incidence of blindness is an inexact science, often requiring the extrapolation of data from more generic population estimates. A good place to start is with the population of the United States and Minnesota which in 2010 was 308.745 and 5.303 million respectively.

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), current estimates of the number of people who are visually impaired vary greatly by source and method of measurement, as well as by the inclusion criteria applied. However, the NEI estimates there are 937,000 individuals with blindness over the age of 40 and 2.361,000 with low vision in that age range, totaling 3.298,000 or 1% of the general population.

The article, Causes and Prevalence of Visual Impairment Among Adults in the United States (Congdon N, O’Colmain B, Klaver CC, Klein R, Muñoz B, Friedman DS, Kempen J, Taylor HR, Mitchell P; Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group), estimates there are 937,000 Americans beyond the age of 40 who were blind (US definition). An additional 2.4 million Americans had low vision. Again, this equates to 1% of the general population. These numbers are very similar to those from NEI, and makes one wonder if this wasn’t the source of that projection. Due to the aging of the baby boom generation, the number of blind persons in the US is projected to increase by 58% to 1.6 million by 2020, with a similar rise projected for low vision.

Applying a percentage of 1% to Minnesota’s population suggests 53,030 individuals may be eligible for SSB’s services compared to approximately 1000 Minnesotans served annually by the Workforce Development Unit.

The 2011 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium includes a wealth of information. It projects Minnesota’s resident population to be 5,668,211 in 2015 and in 2020, 5,900,769, a 4% increase. Citizens with vision disabilities ages 18 – 64 living in the community in Minnesota is estimated to be 30,509 currently. Dividing this number by the population of MN results in .0057%. Furthermore, 14,553 of 30,509 or 29.9% are employed.

The American Foundation for the Blind reports the following information from the 2008 American Community Survey. In Minnesota, there were 68,028 or 1.28 % with vision loss; 31,204 were male and 36,824 female. In terms of age: 1,474 were under the age of 5, 3,921 between 5-17: 30,488 between 18-64, 8,287 between 65-74 and 23,858, 75 and older.

According to the National Federation of the Blind, there are 1.3 million legally blind persons in the US (.42%). (National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey - Disability Supplement, 1994 and 1995.) There are 93,600 blind school age children (based on NPTP survey: Kirchner & Diament, 1999a updated: October 2002). This number includes deaf-blind school age children: 10,800

(based on the Deafblind Census: Baldwin & Hembree, 1998 updated: October 2002). The number of blind seniors, 65 and over is 3.5% of the population 65 and over or 787,691. (AFB Sept./Oct. JVIB & Chiang, et al., 1992, Milbank Quarterly)

The number of students in Minnesota who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind is estimated by using the unduplicated child count maintained by the Minnesota Department of Education which is for school funding purposes. A student can only be counted once based on their primary disability. If a student is multiply disabled and blindness is not considered primary, this would result in an undercounting of those students who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind.

In 2010, there were a total of 415 students, (.325% of all students classified as handicapped disability and 046% of total student enrollment) listed as visually impaired or DeafBlind, 113 of whom were transition age. In 2011, the child count showed a total of 435 students listed as visually impaired or DeafBlind, 104 of whom were transition age. Comparing this number to the total number of transition aged students referred during the past four fiscal years (194) and the 52 referred in 2010, suggests SSB and its partners have improved at identifying and soliciting applications from this population, yet continued efforts in this area are warranted.

Again, it is important to note that the students referenced above are those whose primary eligibility category is BVI, so multi-disabled students who are also BVI may be receiving transition services through SSB who are not included in this count.

The Federal Quota Registration of Blind Students under the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind is an annual census conducted by the Minnesota Resource Center: Blind/VI for the American Printing House. In 2010 and 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, 105 and 95 blind and visually impaired students from grades 9 through 11 were eligible to receive educational materials through that program.

The 2012 Annual Report by the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access projects that the annual growth rate of people with disabilities will outpace population growth. A 1.3% annual increase in the population of individuals with visual impairments is anticipated through 2010, led only by persons with hearing and ambulatory disabilities.

Minnesota State Survey

In 2002, Minnesota SSB was presented with an opportunity to participate in the Minnesota State Survey conducted by the University of Minnesota Center for Survey Research. The 2011 Survey was conducted from October to December of 2011 and included a total of 804 telephone interviews with a response rate of 27% for the landline sample and only 12% for the cell phone sample. A pattern of declining response rates are a national concern for survey research organizations.

The Minnesota Survey is an “omnibus” survey where individual organizations define and pay for the questions that are of interest to them. From 2002 to 2003, the following question was asked:

1. Does anyone in your household have a visual impairment? This means that even when they are wearing glasses or contact lenses, they are not able to see better than 20/60 in their best eye?

This question was changed in 2004 and has been asked every year since:

2. Does anyone in your household have a vision problem that makes it difficult for them to read material in regular size print such as books, magazines or newspapers even when they are wearing glasses or contact lenses?

In 2008, three additional questions were added:

3. Has this vision problem caused you\this person\you or this person to have difficulty with finding or keeping a job?

4. Have you ever heard of an organization called State Services for the Blind?

5. Have you or anyone else in your household ever used their services?

In 2011, the following question was added:

6. Has this vision problem caused you\this person\you or this person to feel less confident about continuing to live in your current housing?

Minnesota State Survey Findings

Since 2002, approximately 805 individuals in Minnesota were selected randomly to participate in the survey. Respondents were asked to indicate either yes or no to the questions and to apply the question either to themselves, someone else in the household or both.

An average of 4.7% of the respondents answered Q2, above, in the affirmative. Of the respondents, 4.4% indicated that someone else in the household had this difficulty. It is thought that this question may be the best indicator of those who may potentially be eligible for SSB services as responses to Q3 are much more dependent on the current state of the economy. Applying these percentages to Minnesota’s population of 5.303 million suggests there are between 233,000 in 249,000 Minnesotans who are unable to read regular size print even when they are wearing corrective lenses. Startling, yet not surprising considering the incidence of visual impairment among seniors and the substantial increase in this population.

C. Service Data and Results for Individuals with Significant Disabilities Title I, Part B

Since FFY2008, the number of Minnesotans served by SSB’s Workforce Development Unit has remained remarkably consistent. In FFY2011, 1017 Minnesotans were served versus 1015 in FFY2008, with a slight increase of approximately 5% in FFY’s 2009 and 2010. Services to blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind individuals are provided by 16 qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors and approximately 25 “support” staff who work directly with our customers to affect their vocational rehabilitation. While the majority of these staff are housed at SSB’s office on University Avenue in St. Paul, statewide coverage is insured with staff located strategically at prominent economic hubs throughout Greater Minnesota.

The rehabilitation needs of Minnesotans is ascertained by an analysis of VR caseload data, federal standards and indicators and customer satisfaction survey results.

1. Vocational Rehabilitation Caseload Data Highlights

Highlights for the Workforce Development Unit:

• the number of successful employment outcomes has remained consistent: 78, 80 and 81 in FFY’s 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.

• the number of unpaid homemaker closures continues at a low rate of approximately 5 per year since 2008.

• unsuccessful closures after plan has decreased markedly from 105 in FFY2008 to 36 in FFY2011.

• unsuccessful closures before plan has remained consistent since FFY2008 with 70, 80, 64 and 69 through FFY2011.

• the difference in weekly salary from application has again been consistent since FFY2008 with fluctuations of no more than 3.6%, to a rate of $348.94 in FFY2011.

• the average weekly wage at closure for full-time work increased significantly from FFY2009 to 2010 from $16.85 to $19.86, a 15.2% increase.

• the average weekly wage at closure for part-time work also increased significantly from $13.85 to $15.04, an 8% increase.

2. Case Service Expenditure and Service Provision Patterns – Title I, Part B

Below are case service expenditures, listed by the total amount authorized, for FFY 2009, 2010 and 2011. The ordinal ranking of each service indicates service provision, defined as services provided to the most number of customers during that fiscal year.

Primary Services Provided\Expenditures in FFY 2009:

3. Adjustment to Blindness Training – $1,235,373.14

2. Postsecondary Training – $618,384.27

4. Maintenance – $535,167.32

6. Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software –$279,042.53

9. Job Placement – $258,313.33

5. Low Vision Aids and Appliances - $237,984.55

10. Basic Academic, Remedial or Literacy Training - $173,596.00

7. Non-Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software – $171,931.51

8. Assessment for Activities of Daily Living –$157,265.41

1. Transportation – $152,700.44

Primary Services Provided\Expenditures in FFY 2010:

3. Adjustment to Blindness Training – $1,441,401.58

2. Postsecondary Training – $728,221.16

4. Maintenance – $625.005.92

7. Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software –$396,001.35

9. Job Placement – $359,013.30

6. Non-Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software – $286,196.10

5. Low Vision Aids and Appliances - $255,804.39

1. Transportation – $202,116.30

10. Assessment for Activities of Daily Living – $198,640.32

8. Vocational and Other Non-medical Assessment – $198,407.27

Primary Services Provided\Expenditures in FFY 2011:

3. Adjustment to Blindness Training – $1,203,938.12

2. Postsecondary Training – $737,874.44

9. Job Placement – $618,821.23

4. Maintenance – $595,401.91

10. Assessment for Activities of Daily Living – $507,486.85

8. Vocational and Other Non-medical Assessment – $314,583.27

5. Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software –$266,650.50

6. Low Vision Aids and Appliances - $209,366.95

1. Transportation – $178,713.37

7. Non-Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software – $174,025.31

There was a significant difference in service provision, with the exception of adjustment to blindness training, between all customers and those from minority backgrounds all three years. The provision of post-secondary training was ranked second for all customers in 2009 and 2010, but only 9th and 10th for minorities, perhaps suggesting their desire to enter the labor market quickly or language/academic barriers. However, there was a marked change in 2011 as provision of post-secondary training ranked 2nd and 3rd for all and minority customers respectively. This trend also held true for the provision of placement services. One service that was required more by this population was assessment for activities of daily living.

The average expenditures per customer for each group during FFY2009, 2010 and 21011 were:

2009 2010 2011

Title I – $4,304.07 $5,018.67 $5,490.86

Most Significant Disability – $3,976.14 $4,676.22 $4,723.96

DeafBlind – $8,435.94 $9,702.48 $12,309.24

Minority – $6,602.45 $7,007.66 $8,572.66

Adjustment to blindness training is critical to increase the independence of blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind Minnesotans. The use of this service among these populations was examined due to the fact it is one of the top expenditures of case service funds and most frequently used service. The average cost per customer for adjustment to blindness training over FFY2009, 2011 and 2011 was $5,657.02. Costs for other groups were: $5,492.84 for most significant disability, $4,614.11 for customers who are DeafBlind and $23,076.67 for customers from minority backgrounds.

At the February 23, 2012 meeting of the Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind, testimony was heard regarding a possible shortage of rehabilitation teachers, particularly in greater Minnesota. Lacking data on this subject, the Needs Assessment Task Force recommends that further study is warranted to determine if this constitutes a gap in service.

3. SSB Performance on Federal Standards and Indicators

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has established standards and indicators for measuring vocational rehabilitation program performance in the United States. Standard 1 pertains to employment outcomes and Standard 2 pertains to the service rate between minority and nonminority populations. RSA requires that each agency pass 4 of the 6 indicators and 2 of 3 Primary Indicators on Standard 1. In FFY2011, SSB met 5 of 6 Indicators and all three Primary Indicators in Standard 1. SSB has a long history of consistently meeting the three primary indicators.

The federal indicators, required performance level and SSB’s achievement are listed below. The acronym DSU stands for Designated State Unit.

1.1 The number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exited the VR program after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period.

DSU Required Performance Level: Performance in the current period must equal or exceed performance in the previous period. In FFY2011 SSB assisted three more individuals to obtain employment than in FFY2010

1.2 Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage who are determined to have achieved an employment outcome.

DSU Required Performance Level: The required performance level is 68.9%. In FFY2011, SSB fell short of this measure, achieving 59.19%.

1.3 Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentage who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or Business Enterprise Program (BEP) employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage.

DSU Required Performance Level: SSB exceeded the required performance level of 35.4% by achieving a level of 94.41%.

1.4 Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are individuals with significant disabilities.

DSU Required Performance Level: SSB achieved a performance level of 97.52%, exceeding the requirement of 89.0%.

1.5 The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to the State’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the State who are employed (as derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, “State Average Annual Pay” for the most recent available year).

DSU Required Performance Level: SSB surpassed the required performance level of .59 by achieving a level of .74.

1.6 Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services.

DSU Required Performance Level: SSB achieved a level of 33.59%, exceeding the requirement of 30.4%

2.1 The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from non-minority backgrounds.

DSU Required Performance Level: This ratio is not calculated if fewer than 100 persons from minority backgrounds exit the program during the fiscal year. The number of minorities exiting SSB unsuccessfully after plan development has decreased since FFY2009 with 48 closures in that year, 39 in 2010 and 31 in 2011. However, successful employment outcomes for this population has remained constant since 2009 with 11, 11 and 10 closures during the past three fiscal years.

4. Current SSB/SRC-B Goals and Strategies

The CSGP Committee’s evaluation of progress on FFY11 Goals and Priorities is included in the 2011 VR Effectiveness Report and is reported below:

Progress on FFY11 Goals and Priorities:

GOAL 1: Improve number and percent of closed cases achieving employment after receiving services.

PRIORITY 1.1: Employment Outcomes—By the end of FFY 2012, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2011 and FFY 2012) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2010-FFY2011.

During FFY 2011 and 2012, the strategies for meeting this priority are—

• By August 31 of each year, each counselor and their supervisor will meet to review the potential of each customer for successful employment by the end of the next FFY. Based on determinations made during this review, supervisors will set individual outcome goals for each counselor. Between January 1 and January 31 of each year, supervisors and counselors will review the projections, taking into account any changes in the caseload. As appropriate, the supervisor will revise the outcome goal. Supervisors will monitor progress of designated customers toward their employment outcome during required monthly meetings with each counselor and provide assistance as needed. Recognition of counselors who met and who exceeded their individual outcomes goals will occur at the October staff meeting each year.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing. For this year, due to the government shutdown, the time frame for the meetings to review potential for successful employment outcomes was shifted to November 30, 2011, rather than August 31. Additionally, the staff recognition has been occurring at the February all-staff meetings rather than the October ones.

• Each counseling supervisor will ensure each WFD counselor attends Labor Market Information training at least once every two years. Counselors newly employed by SSB will attend the training within one year of hire. Because LMI data provides counselors with information about current and future jobs by region of the state, they will be better able to provide customers with information to assist them in choosing a job goal in a high demand area. Ensuring counselors have current labor market information to share with customers is expected to result in an increase in the number of applicants who achieve an employment outcome.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

• Data on the effectiveness of the three job development staff hired with ARRA funding will be analyzed beginning January 1, 2011. The analysis and any resulting plan for changes to the Workforce Development Unit staff allocation will be set for implementation by March 1, 2011.

STATUS: This strategy was completed and resulted in the hiring of two full-time job placement staff.

• Staff new to SSB have little, if any, experience with blindness, and a paucity of understanding of the capabilities of persons competent in the skills of blindness, Therefore all new WDU staff will complete Introduction to Blindness —Phase 1 and Phase 2 training on the essential aspects of blindness and visual impairment within three months of hire.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

PRIORITY 1.2: Employment Rate— By the end of FFY 2012 SSB will have made progress toward meeting RSA Indicator 1.2 by increasing the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services from the FFY09 baseline of 45%.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue ongoing data analysis of successful and unsuccessful closures. On a quarterly basis assess and, as appropriate, develop and implement changes in service provision which address areas of specific concern.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing. During this fiscal year, two particular changes were made which are expected to have a positive effect on outcomes: 1) The initial in-take interview is now to be conducted by a rehabilitation counselor within thirty days of initial contact; 2) An "Interrupted" status has been implemented to reflect the fact that services may sometimes be interrupted for various reasons when an actual case closure is not appropriate.

2. By December 31, 2011, develop, and by March 31, 2012, implement a comprehensive program to facilitate the success of customers interested in self-employment /entrepreneurship as an employment outcome.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing.

3. By August 1, 2011, data on the employment outcomes of customers who participated in an internship, job trial or on-the-job training experience between June 2010 and June 2011 will be analyzed to determine the effectiveness of these employment strategies. Based on the results of the data analysis, procedures to improve these experiences will be developed and implemented by September 30, 2011.

STATUS: Due to staff transitions and other circumstances, this priority was not met this year. The activity will occur in FFY2012 according to the above timeline.

4. By no later than March 1, 2011 include in new customer orientation process information about and means to access the mentorship and/or peer counseling programs of the various consumer organizations. Such programs are one way for applicants to facilitate their adjustment to blindness and develop an understanding of the viability of competitive employment for them.

STATUS: SSB staff engaged in this effort indicated that no formal peer counseling or mentorship programs exist, and that organizations are being encouraged to develop them. Dialog continues.

FFY2012 GOALS, PRIORITIES AND STRATEGIES

GOAL 1: Improve number and percent of closed cases achieving employment after receiving services.

PRIORITY 1.1: Employment Outcomes—By the end of FFY 2013, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2012 and FFY 2013) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2010-FFY2011.

During FFY 2012 and 2013, the strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. By August 31 of each year, each counselor and their supervisor will meet to review the potential of each customer for successful employment by the end of the next FFY. Each counselor with at least two years of experience will be expected to identify at least six individuals for whom successful closure is realistic during the next FFY.

Between January 1 and January 31 of each year, supervisors and counselors will review the projections, taking into account any changes in the caseload. As appropriate, the supervisor will revise the outcome goal and customers identified as potential successful closures. Supervisors will monitor progress of designated customers toward their employment outcome during required monthly meetings with each counselor and provide assistance as needed. Recognition of counselors who met and who exceeded their individual outcomes goals will occur at the February staff meeting each year.

2. Each counseling supervisor will ensure each WFD counselor attends training in utilizing Labor Market Information, MySkillsMyFuture, ISEEK and other websites which provide relevant information regarding the labor market. Counselors will attend training in the utilization of each of these websites at least once every two years. Counselors newly employed by SSB will attend training in each of these websites within one year of hire.

Because there are multiple websites which provide counselors and customers with a wide range of information about current and future jobs, knowledge of these websites will provide customers with a broader range of information to assist them in choosing a job goal in a high demand area. Ensuring counselors have knowledge of the various tools available which provide current labor market information is expected to result in an increase in the number of applicants who achieve an employment outcome.

3. Staff new to SSB have little, if any, experience with blindness, and a paucity of understanding of the capabilities of persons competent in the skills of blindness, Therefore all new WFD staff will successfully complete Introduction to Blindness —Phase 1 and Phase 2 training on the essential aspects of blindness and visual impairment within three months of hire and before any caseload activity is assigned.

PRIORITY 1.2: Employment Rate— SSB’s performance on RSA Indicator 1.2 will increase annually from the 2010 baseline of 50%, reflecting an increase in the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue ongoing data analysis of successful and unsuccessful closures. On a quarterly basis

assess and, as appropriate, develop and implement changes in service provision which address

areas of specific concern.

2. By December 31, 2011, develop, and by March 31, 2012, implement a comprehensive program to facilitate the success of customers interested in self-employment /entrepreneurship as an employment outcome. Strategies will be included in the FY2013 Goals and Priorities reflective of decisions made by March 31, 2012.

3. Between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012, data will be maintained to evaluate the effectiveness of procedures implemented to improve internship, job trial or on-the-job training experiences of SSB customers. Not later than October 31, 2012, any changes to existing procedures will be completed and implemented.

4. By September 30, 2013,SSB will develop a method to evaluate the effectiveness of providing customers with mentorship and/or peer counseling information on their adjustment to blindness and their understanding of the viability of competitive employment for them

It is salient to this needs assessment to include input from other organizations within MN concerned with the employment of persons with disabilities. The Fourth Summit of the Employment First Coalition was held on September 30, 2011, as a continuation of the dialogues begun in 2009 and 2010 by the Minnesota Employment Policy Initiative (MEPI) around the question, “What will it take to double employment of Minnesotans with disabilities by 2015?” The 2011 MEPI Final Report identified 21 consensus recommendations across disability groups to promote employment as the preferred outcome of Minnesotans with disabilities. These recommendations can be viewed at http://www.mn-epi.org/docs/MEPIFinalReport2011.pdf.

Summit IV brought together 20 disability advocacy organizations to develop a collaborative action plan to prioritize and implement those consensus recommendations.

As one of the final activities of the Summit, participants also selected their top priorities for future action from the additional recommendations in the MEPI Final Report. They identified the following as those priorities:

• Increase funding for public transportation, including Metro Mobility

and other specialized transportation options, to expand the areas served and the times

transportation is available.

• Ensure young adults with disabilities graduate directly and seamlessly into competitive jobs or postsecondary education.

• Redesign transition services for young adults aged 18-21 to produce better employment and postsecondary education outcomes through interagency collaboration.

• Conduct statewide public education about the economic benefits of competitive employment to Minnesotans with disabilities and the resources available to provide individualized guidance about maximizing earnings without jeopardizing the safety net of sustainable health care and independent living assistance.

• Incorporate customized employment strategies as an alternative to traditional job development approaches to address the many obstacles encountered by jobseekers with disabilities.

D. VR Service Needs of Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities

Including their Need for Supported Employment

A very high percentage of SSB customers are individuals with a significant disability. However, on average, only 20.93% have met SSB’s criteria as an individual with the most significant disability during the past three fiscal years.

An individual with a most significant disability is an eligible individual who:

• has a severe physical or mental impairment that results in serious limitations in terms of an employment outcome in five or more of the following functional areas: mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, work skills, interpersonal skills or job-seeking skills; and

• is expected to require multiple VR services over an extended period of time.

1. Case Service Expenditure and Service Provision

Below are case service expenditures, listed by the total amount authorized, for FFY 2009, 2010 and 2011. The ordinal ranking of each service indicates service provision, defined as services provided to the most number of customers during that fiscal year.

Primary Services Provided\Expenditures in FFY 2009:

1. Maintenance – $526,692.13

2. Transportation – $523,079.13

3. Adjustment to Blindness Training – $340,795.26

4. Postsecondary Training – $125,083.84

10. Assessment for Activities o

This screen was last updated on Jul 2 2012 3:50PM by Jennifer Beilke

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates of Individuals to Be Served and Costs of Services

During FFY2011, 1,017 people applied for or were receiving vocational rehabilitation services from State Services for the Blind (SSB) using Title I, Part B funds. Of those, 921 individuals were determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation services from SSB. A total of 69 individuals were closed before a plan was developed and 37 were closed after a plan was developed. There were 76 paid employment closures.

The number of customers in supported employment plans has decreased from 32 in FFY2005, 7 in FFY2010, and 17 in FFY2011. There does not seem to be any particular reason for this pattern other than the natural mix of customer needs. While it remains challenging to find ongoing employment supports, there are very few customers closed because those supports were not available—zero in FFY2011, 2010 & 2009, one in FFY2008 and three in FFY2006. Services provided to individuals in a supported employment plan were purchased using Title VI, Part B funds.

Case service expenditures for FFY2011 for purchased services for Title I, Part B customers was $6.6 million and $23,345 for Title VI, Part B plans. SSB estimates that approximately 950 customers will apply for or receive services under Title I, Part B, at an estimated cost of $6.6 million in FFY2012, and 970 customers will apply for or receive services at an estimated cost of $6.6 million in FFY2013. SSB estimates that approximately 8 customers will be served under Title VI, Part B, at an estimated cost of $23,400 in FFY2012, and 7 customers will be served at an estimated cost of $24,000 in FFY2013.

Minnesota SSB did not operate under an order of selection during FFY2011 and does not anticipate the need to close categories during the remainder of FFY2012 or during FFY2013.

This year the array of services provided to individuals through Title VI, Part B funds was quite different from services provided to individuals through Title I, Part B funds. The differences, however, may be attributable to the small number of individuals served under a supported employment plan rather than from differences in the needs of the two customer groups.

Title I, Part B

SSB case service expenditures using Title I, Part B funds were very similar during FFY2007 and FFY2008 for the top eleven categories of purchased services. In fact, they are very consistent with expenditures going back to FFY2004. Case service expenditures increased notably for assessment services in FFY2011 as compared to FFY2010. Adjustment to blindness training has remained the number one service in terms of expenditures since at least FFY2004.

Primary Services Provided/Expenditures in FFY2011:

(1) Adjustment to Blindness Training - $1,178,461.73

(2) Post-Secondary Training - $731,582.00

(3) Job Placement - $634,506.48

(4) Assessments - $564,095.33

(6) Vocational /Other Non-Medical Assessment - $343,814.72

(7) Adaptive Equipment - $298,295.69

(8) Low Vision Equipment - $221,170.37

(9) Computer Equipment - $213,396.73

(11) Internship/Job Trial - $164,762.22

Support Services Provided/Expenditures in FFY2011:

(5) Vendor Maintenance - $380,686.97

(10) Customer Maintenance - $168,248.20

SSB service provision—the services provided to the most number of people—were also very similar for FFY2007, FFY2008, FFY2009 and FFY2010. However there were some significant changes from FFY2004. During FFY2007 and FFY2008, job placement and vocational assessment services appeared in the top ten listing of services provided in terms of the number of people receiving the service. Job placement services do not appear in the top ten for FFY2009 but reappear for FFY2010 and FFY2011. The provision of All Other Training (low vision equipment) increased significantly from number eleven to number three—from 91 individuals to 154 in FFY2009. In FFY2010 All Other Training (low vision equipment) has risen to number two- from 154 to 257 individuals. That number has been maintained in FFY2011. The provision of Post-Secondary Training has risen from 159 in FFY2010 to 374 in FFY2011. Other services have remained fairly similar since FFY2004. The top eleven services provided and the number of customers who received that service in FFY2011 are:

Post-Secondary Training – 374

Transportation* – 301

All Other Training - 257

Adjustment to Blindness Training – 242

Medical Diagnosis/Assessment/Evaluation – 197

Vocational Assessment/Diagnosis – 153

Maintenance** – 97

Placement - 94

Reader/Driver/Notetaker/Interpreters - 65

Other Training/Education - 60

Vocational and Occupational Skills Training - 34

*Transportation includes all Transportation Services (Customer and Vendor Payments).

**Maintenance includes all Maintenance Services (Customer and Vendor Payments).

Title VI, Part B

Case service expenditures for FFY2011 for the 17 Title VI, Part B customers were $23,345. The top three services provided to customers in supported employment plans were Job Placement ($7,034.40), Vendor Payment for Maintenance ($4,905.06), and Self Employment Services ($3,875). The number of individuals in supported employment is decreasing while the expenditures are increasing which is not consistent with the pattern of service provision over time.

SSB is analyzing closure data and based on that review along with strategic planning efforts, there may be a shift in the magnitude of various services being offered.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Vocational Rehabilitation Title I $6,600,000 970 $6,804
Supported Employment Title VI $24,300 7 $3,471
Totals   $6,624,300 977 $6,780

This screen was last updated on Jun 22 2012 3:43PM by Jennifer Beilke

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

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

Attachment 4.11(c)(1) SRC-B and SSB Joint Goals and Priorities for FFY2013

This attachment outlines the goals and priorities for the State Services for the Blind’s (SSB) vocational rehabilitation program. The original goals and priorities were jointly developed and were formally agreed to by SSB and the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) at the April 5, 2012, SRC-B meeting.

These goals and priorities are based on an analysis of the results of the FFY2012 state plan statewide needs assessment; SSB’s performance on the federal standards and indicators; findings and recommendations from the section 107 review conducted by RSA in 2010; the results of customer satisfaction surveys; and the actions and recommendations of the SRC-B, its committees and task forces.

These goals were selected for one, or more, of the following reasons—

• The goal continues to be a federal focus area—customer satisfaction; increased employment outcomes; and outreach to transition-age students;

• The goal is an ongoing area of concern based on the findings of the needs assessment—increasing outreach and services to individuals who are DeafBlind or from minority backgrounds; or

• The goal continues because SSB and the SRC-B agree it is of significant importance or that more improvement is desired—customer informed choice in selection of vendor.

The strategies, described in Attachment 4.11(d), were also developed jointly with the SRC-B and agreed to by both SSB and the SRC-B. The implementation of the strategies and reports on progress toward meeting the goals and priorities are reported on at regular SRC-B meetings.

GOAL 1: Improve number and percent of closed cases achieving employment after receiving services.

PRIORITY 1.1: Employment Outcomes—By the end of FFY 2013, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2012 and FFY 2013) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2010-FFY2011.

PRIORITY 1.2: Employment Rate— SSB’s performance on RSA Indicator 1.2 will increase annually from the 2010 baseline of 50%, reflecting an increase in the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services.

PRIORITY 1.3: Increase work experience, job shadowing opportunities, internships and enrichment activities--WDU staff will aggressively pursue work experience, job shadowing opportunities, internships and enrichment activities for SSB customers.

PRIORITY 1.4: Increase customer satisfaction with services provided—By the end of FFY2013 the annual overall satisfaction with services provided by SSB will be at or above 85%. (Q1 on the Customer Satisfaction Survey, “What is your overall satisfaction with the services provided?” The scale is from 1 to 10 where “1” means “very dissatisfied” and “10” means “very satisfied”. A response equal to or greater than “6” fall in the “satisfied” range).

PRIORITY 1.5: customer informed choice in selection of vendor--Continue to insure every customer has access to customer satisfaction information needed to make an informed choice in selecting a vendor for Adjustment To Blindness (ATB) training. During FFY 2013, all customers surveyed under strategy 1 will report they have been provided access to information they needed to make an informed choice about the provider of ATB services.

GOAL 2: In the targeted groups, increase the number of individuals served and the vocational outcomes achieved.

PRIORITY 2.1: Minority Service Rate— By the end of FFY2013, SSB will address RSA Indicator 2.1, as follows: The ratio of customers from the minority population exiting after receiving services under an IPE to all customers from the minority population exiting will exceed 80% of the same ratio calculated for customers from the non-minority population. Current (FFY2011) performance level is 30.1%.

PRIORITY 2.2: Deafblind Outreach and Service— Enhance effective communication between SSB and individuals who have a hearing and vision loss, including persons who are DeafBlind.

PRIORITY 2.3: Transition Services--Increase the number of students who apply at ages 14-15 from the base line of 12 students in 2011.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 4:05PM by Jennifer Beilke

  • 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 Jun 19 2009 11:27AM by samnccarlsonc

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

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

Minnesota State Services for the Blind’s (SSB) goal and plan for Title VI, Part B funds, is to use them on an individualized, fee-for-service basis to purchase needed services for customers whose vocational rehabilitation goal is competitive employment with supports. All funds authorized under Title VI, Part B, less a maximum of five percent set-aside for administrative expenses, are distributed and authorized by VR counselors to purchase needed services for customers under a supported employment plan. The money is administered and tracked, in accordance with federal requirements, through SSB’s electronic tracking system.

During FFY2011, SSB provided services to 17 individuals under a plan for supported employment. The total Title VI Part B expenditures for FFY2011 were $23,345.

SSB purchases needed services from community rehabilitation programs. Those purchases are governed by operating agreements with either SSB or the General VR agency for the specific services required.

The top three services purchased for customers in supported employment plans were job placement, vendor payment for maintenance, and self-employment services. The number of customers receiving the service and the level of expenditures were not consistent.

SSB has set a specific, measurable goal for supported employment for FFY2013. This goal is set taking into account the number of individuals in a supported employment plan currently within counselor caseloads, where the individuals are in the process of completing their rehabilitation plan, when they are expected to be ready for employment, and the ongoing services available. SSB will assist four SSB customers to secure competitive employment with supports following the provision of supported employment services using Title VI Part B funds.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 4:07PM by Jennifer Beilke

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.11(d) Strategies to Achieve the SRC-B and SSB Joint Goals and Priorities FFY 2013

This attachment outlines the strategies that will assist State Services for the Blind’s (SSB) vocational rehabilitation program to achieve the goals and priorities for the vocational rehabilitation program. The 2013 goals and priorities were jointly developed and were formally agreed to by SSB and the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) at the April 5, 2012, SRC-B meeting.

The goals, priorities and strategies are based on an analysis of the results of the FFY2012 state plan statewide needs assessment; SSB’s performance on the federal standards and indicators; findings and recommendations from the section 107 review conducted by RSA; the results of customer satisfaction surveys; and the actions and recommendations of the SRC-B, its committees and task forces. The implementation of the strategies and reports on progress toward meeting the goals and priorities are reported on at regular SRC-B meetings.

SSB does not believe there are barriers to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state Vocational Rehabilitation program or Supported Employment program as described in Section 427 of GEPA. However, SSB does believe the strategies identified for Goal 2 will improve access to and participation of individuals from minority backgrounds and individuals who are DeafBlind whether served under Title I or Title VI.

GOAL 1: Improve number and percent of closed cases achieving employment after receiving services.

PRIORITY 1.1: Employment Outcomes—By the end of FFY 2013, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2012 and FFY 2013) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2010-FFY2011.

During FFY 2012 and 2013, the strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. By August 31 of each year, each counselor and their supervisor will meet to review the potential of each customer for successful employment by the end of the next FFY. Each counselor with at least two years of experience will be expected to identify at least six individuals for whom successful closure is realistic during the next FFY.

Between January 1 and January 31 of each year, supervisors and counselors will review the projections, taking into account any changes in the caseload. As appropriate, the supervisor will revise the outcome goal and customers identified as potential successful closures. Supervisors will monitor progress of designated customers toward their employment outcome during required monthly meetings with each counselor and provide assistance as needed. Recognition of counselors who met and who exceeded their individual outcomes goals will occur at the February staff meeting each year.

2. Staff new to SSB have little, if any, experience with blindness, and a paucity of understanding of the capabilities of persons competent in the skills of blindness, Therefore all new WFD staff will successfully complete Introduction to Blindness —Phase 1 and Phase 2 training on the essential aspects of blindness and visual impairment within three months of hire and before any caseload activity is assigned.

PRIORITY 1.2: Employment Rate— SSB’s performance on RSA Indicator 1.2 will increase annually from the 2010 baseline of 50%, reflecting an increase in the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. By December 31, 2012, SSB will establish strategic relationships with at least two employers with in the distinguished industry clusters of healthcare and education in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

2. By December 31, 2012, review and evaluate the self-employment/entrepreneurship program.

3. By November 1, 2012, SSB will examine the WDU case review system and determine if enhancements can be made to contribute to higher employment outcomes.

PRIORITY 1.3: Increase work experience, job shadowing opportunities, internships and enrichment activities--WDU staff will aggressively pursue work experience, job shadowing opportunities, internships and enrichment activities for SSB customers.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. By December 31st 2012, develop a mechanism to gather WDU Staff’s pursuit of work experience, job shadowing opportunities, internships and enrichment activities for its customers.

2. Establish a baseline by September 30, 2013, of the pursuit of work experience, job shadowing opportunities, internships and enrichment activities.

PRIORITY 1.4: Increase customer satisfaction with services provided—By the end of FFY2013 the annual overall satisfaction with services provided by SSB will be at or above 85%. (Q1 on the Customer Satisfaction Survey, “What is your overall satisfaction with the services provided?” The scale is from 1 to 10 where “1” means “very dissatisfied” and “10” means “very satisfied”. A response equal to or greater than “6” fall in the “satisfied” range).

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Customer satisfaction surveys will be administered quarterly to approximately 70 SSB customers as part of the DEED customer satisfaction initiative. The surveys are conducted by an external organization.

2. SSB and the SRC-B Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee will continue to review and analyze the data on a quarterly basis including specific customer comments.

PRIORITY 1.5: Continue to insure every customer has access to customer satisfaction information needed to make an informed choice in selecting a vendor for Adjustment To Blindness (ATB) training. During FFY 2013, all customers surveyed under strategy 1 will report they have been provided access to information they needed to make an informed choice about the provider of ATB services.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. SSB and the Vendor Outcomes and Measures Committee of the SRC-B developed and implemented a customer satisfaction survey for all customers who complete adjustment to blindness training. During FFY2013, each SSB customer will be surveyed six months after completion of adjustment to blindness training or at time of case file closure, whichever comes first. Each month an estimated ten to fifteen customers will be contacted to complete the telephone survey of eighteen questions.

2. The data gathered from the completed customer satisfaction surveys will be formatted, posted externally on the SSB website, and made available in an accessible format for customer review when selecting a service provider to meet their rehabilitation needs. ATB providers will be able to use the results for continuous improvement of their services. The results will be reported to the SRC-B and will be used to identify customer needs and areas for service improvements.

GOAL 2: In the targeted groups, increase the number of individuals served and the vocational outcomes achieved.

PRIORITY 2.1: Minority Service Rate— By the end of FFY2013, SSB will address RSA Indicator 2.1, as follows: The ratio of customers from the minority population exiting after receiving services under an IPE to all customers from the minority population exiting will exceed 80% of the same ratio calculated for customers from the non-minority population. Current (FFY2011) performance level is 30.1%.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. During FFY2013, SSB staff will conduct at least two marketing and outreach activities to minority communities.

2. Guidelines will be completed and shared with CRPs, vendors, and adult basic education programs by September 30, 2013.

3. During FFY2013, SSB staff will be informed of current marketing and outreach activities to minority communities and strategies in serving these populations.

PRIORITY 2.2: Deafblind Outreach and Service— Enhance effective communication between SSB and individuals who have a hearing and vision loss, including persons who are DeafBlind.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. All new WFD staff will receive one-on-one training on the DeafBlind Procedures Manual to include communication styles and communication issues as part of the orientation that occurs within the first three months of hire. All WFD staff will receive an annual review of the communication methods at their October staff meeting.

2. The Plan to increase effective communication between counselors and Deafblind customers and the Plan to increase the number of Deafblind competitively employed will continue as written until June 2013. In June 2013, the Deafblind needs assessment will be administered. This needs assessment will contain questions specifically designed to determine the effectiveness of the Plan to increase effective communication and the plan to increase the number of competitive employments.

3. To increase and improve communication between Deafblind customers and SSB, the Deafblind Committee of the SRC-B, in cooperation with SSB, will continue to review standard written communications at least once per year to determine their effectiveness with ASL users. Additional materials will be developed as determined by the Deafblind Committee.

4. During FFY 2013, strengthen the collaborative efforts of SSB, Vocation Rehabilitation Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of the Department of Human Services, Department of Education and the Department of Health to improve statewide services to DeafBlind individuals. As a result of the DeafBlind needs assessment survey in June 2013, strategies for additional collaborative efforts will be developed and incorporated in the Goals, Priorities and Strategies for FFY 2014.

PRIORITY 2.3: Transition Services--Increase the number of students who apply at ages 14-15 from the base line of 12 students in 2011.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue working statewide with Special Education teachers, teachers of the blind, visually impaired, or Deafblind and other IEP team members in designated school districts to facilitate regular information meetings with SSB counselors.

2. A new format for communicating information about SSB to transition students and their families will be developed by September 30, 2013.

3. Working collaboratively with the Minority Outreach Committee, develop outreach strategies for teachers of the blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind to provide information to students and their families from minority communities about SSB by September 30, 2013.

 

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.

Rehabilitation technology, including rehabilitation engineering, vehicular modification, telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices.

SSB has five Assistive Technology Specialists under the supervision of an Assistive Technology Supervisor. Each of the five specialists is assigned to a Qualified VR Counselor and VR Technician to provide statewide coverage.

SSB must transfer legal title of equipment to an eligible individual when the equipment is purchased for the eligible individual’s permanent use.

For purposes of this part, the term "equipment" includes occupational equipment, occupational tools, software, and rehabilitation technology purchased for the permanent use of an eligible individual by SSB as part of an IPE.

SSB must include, as part of the purchase of equipment, an initial maintenance or service agreement, or extended warranty, if available. SSB may forego such inclusion if the eligible individual expressly and unequivocally objects to it at time of purchase. Upon transfer of title, it is the sole responsibility of the eligible individual to maintain and repair the equipment.

SSB must not provide an employed eligible individual with equipment that the eligible individual’s employer normally provides to employees. If the equipment is not normally provided by the employer, SSB or the eligible individual may ask the employer to pay all or a portion of the cost of equipment needed. SSB and the eligible individual, subject to financial participation requirements, must contribute toward the cost of equipment only to the extent the eligible individual’s employer refuses to contribute.

SSB must not provide additional equipment to an eligible individual if the eligible individual has a history of abuse or neglect of equipment previously provided to the eligible individual by SSB. History of abuse or neglect means that on two or more occasion’s equipment provided to an eligible individual has sustained, by reason of acts or omissions of the eligible individual, damage beyond that which would result from normal use.

 

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.

I. The Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities with Significant and Most Significant Disabilities, including Their Need for Supported Employment Services.

A. Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind Needs Assessment Review

Since 2006, the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) through its Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF), has evaluated the process SSB used to conduct needs assessments in the past and reviewed the current state plan needs assessment document. In 2012, the NATF identified additional information to analyze and determine gaps in services. The NATF was specifically interested in determining the number of transition students SSB could potentially serve and the collective progress in meeting Goal 2: “…Increase the number of individuals served and the vocational outcomes achieved.”

Data analysis included a comparison of the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) child count data and the number of transition-aged students referred to SSB, the number of minority cases open, minority cases closed, referrals of persons from minority groups and the number of minority referrals annually from FFY 2009 through 2011.

The question of how many transition students we should be serving is difficult to answer. In an effort to gather more data on this topic, the NATF compared the number of transition-age students served during the past four years and the unduplicated child count from MDE during those same years.

Transition-aged students served:

• 2008: 48

• 2009: 57

• 2010: 52

• 2011: 37

Ages “08 “09 “10 “11

14-15 12 21 11 12

16-18 16 15 15 13

18-21 20 21 26 12

Unduplicated child count:

• 2008: 141

• 2009: 122

• 2010: 113

• 2011: 104

Further detail of the unduplicated child count revealed that in 2010, there were a total of 415 students, (.325% of all students classified as disabled and 046% of total student enrollment) listed as visually impaired or DeafBlind, 113 of whom were transition age. In 2011, the child count showed a total of 435 students listed as visually impaired or DeafBlind, 104 of whom were transition age. In the past four fiscal years, 194 students were referred while the child count indicates there were approximately twice that number of total blind and visually impaired (BVI) transition-aged students.

During the past several years, the SRC-B and SSB has monitored the effects of the Goals, Priorities and Strategies implemented in 2009 pertaining to transition students, especially the number of transition-aged students served. From 2007 to 2008, the number of SSB customers age 21 and younger served rose dramatically from 37 to 48, a 23% increase. This higher number of transition student was sustained from 2008 through 2010 at 48, 57 and 52 respectively. This is a noteworthy accomplishment demonstrating the important role of the Council in identifying the need and developing strategies and the determined efforts of SSB staff. The number of transition-aged students served fell dramatically in 2011 to 37. However, new strategies developed by the Transition Committee may address this lower number in 2011.

The NATF was pleased with these outcomes but chose to continue to recommend outreach activities to build upon the productive interagency relationships that have been established and maintain or exceed the higher level of transition-aged youth served during the past several fiscal years.

There was a significant difference in service provision, with the exception of adjustment to blindness training, between all customers and those from minority backgrounds all three years. The provision of post-secondary training was ranked second for all customers in 2009 and 2010, but only 9th and 10th for minorities. However, there was a marked change in 2011 as provision of post-secondary training ranked 2nd and 3rd for all and minority customers respectively.

Applicants from minority backgrounds increased gradually during FFY 2009, 2010 and 2011: 87, 95 and 106. Minorities constituted 37% of all WDU applicants during that period.

In FFY’s 2009, 2010 and 2011, SSB served the following customers from minority populations: 219 (20.8% of total customers served), 226 (21.5%) and 215 (21.3%) respectively. These numbers represent a significant increase from 2005 when there were 133 minority customers served or 11% of all customers served. In 2008, minorities represented 23% of the total, a proportion slightly higher than those cited above since 2009.

Even though the number of minority referrals has increased significantly over the past three years, the number of customers served has remained flat. Significant gains have been made in this arena but further attention to possible anomalies in the data is warranted, especially taking into account the substantial increases in minority populations.

Successful employment outcomes achieved by minorities during these three fiscal years were 11, 10 and 11 respectively. These closures represented 13.4% of all successful outcomes during that period.

Unsuccessful closures of customers from minority backgrounds decreased from 2009 to 2011 at a rate of 48, 39 and 31: a 35% decrease. These closures represented 29% of all closures, slightly higher than the 23% proportion of all customers served.

1. Findings

An analysis of the MDE child count data and the number of transition-aged students referred to SSB revealed that SSB and its partners are doing better at identifying and soliciting applications from this population but are only securing applications from approximately half of the potential population.

The NATF analysis of data related to minorities suggests that even though unsuccessful closures have declined significantly over this period, the flat number of successful closures suggests continued attention to this population is warranted.

The total number of SSB customers served annually was consistent during FFY’s 2008-2011: 1016, 1060, 1061 and 1015, with an average of 1041 customers served per year. The total number of referrals during those years were 253, 305, 258 and 207 respectively.

Referral sources were also found to have been consistent in referring customers to SSB for services. “Self-referred” was the largest referral source during FFY’s 2008-2011 slightly surpassing 50% each fiscal year. The number of referrals from elementary or secondary schools reached a peak of 42 in 2009 but has averaged approximately 25 per year in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Physicians made approximately 10% of the referrals in 2009 and 2010, but there was a steep drop-off in 2011 to 5.8%: again, likely due to the shutdown.

The number of Social Security (SSA) beneficiaries served by SSB is of particular interest. During FFY2009, 2010 and 2011, there were a total of 1093 Social Security beneficiaries who applied for services. The vast majority, 59.6 %, were self-referred followed by community rehabilitation programs, Workforce Centers, elementary or secondary schools and physicians which each accounted for approximately 6% of the total.

The NATF identified four areas of potential need:

1. Continue outreach to transition students;

2. Continue outreach to minority populations;

3. Increase overall outreach and marketing efforts; and

4. Continue to develop strategies to increase the number of employment outcomes for all customers.

SSB management has shared these concerns and taken deliberate steps to address them.

2. Outreach and Marketing

Pertaining specifically to outreach activities to transition students, several efforts were made including:

• In 2009 and 2010, four “SSB 101” activities occurred with disappointing attendance with a total of about 30 transition students and their parents.

• In 2010, SSB developed a series of short marketing videos regarding services for transition age students, working age adults and seniors. These videos are available on SSB’s website and on YouTube.

Below is a description of general outreach and marketing efforts made since 2009.

Senior Services Unit:

1. Fairs, expos and resource events. Since Jan. 1, 2009, Ed Lecher, SSB’s staff person responsible for marketing and outreach, participated as a “vender/exhibitor” in at least 40 resource-style events that are designed to highlight services for seniors. This activity is specifically designed as an awareness activity and is very difficult to measure. Each year in Duluth, Minneapolis, Roseville and Mankato, Ed participates in events geared towards seniors that reach thousands of attendees.

2. Large group presentations including conferences and resource events conducted by Ed Lecher:

- In 2009 and 2011, presentations at the Care Providers of MN conference. Each time there were about 50 attendees.

- In 2009 and 2010, breakout sessions at the MN Social Services Association Annual Conference. Attendees number approximately 40 each time.

- In 2009, 2010 and 2011, breakout sessions at the MN Gerontology conference. Attendees are administrators and care professionals across the senior services spectrum. At each session, no less than 80 individuals attended.

- In 2009 and 2010, presentations at the annual Wisdom Steps conference hosted by the Department of Human Services (DHS) Indian Heath Division. Attendees for each were approximately 25.

3. Mail Distribution Activities (all occur each year)

- Bi-annual doctor mailer. All optometrists and ophthalmologists in the state receive either a packet detailing senior services or post card reminding them of services. Anecdotally, SSU reports a spike in calls immediately following mailer.

- Approximately 250 “postcards” are distributed via the Dept. of Public safety each year in letters that are sent to seniors receiving notice of revocation of driving privileges.

- In 2010, all nursing home and permanent long-term care facilities received notice from SSB regarding the policy to no longer serve permanent residents directly. There were 381 facilities who received the mailer, which included a DVD designed to train staff to work with visually impaired and blind residents. The mailer elicited an additional request from no less than 20 facilities for further copies of the DVD and Communication Center materials.

- In 2009 and 2010 a mailer was created to offer professional, continuing education unit (CEU) worthy staff trainings by SSU staffers Margee Pfannenstein (St Cloud), Diane Swanson (Rochester) and George Gross (Duluth 2009 only). Margee facilitated 5 trainings, Diane facilitated 2 trainings and George facilitated 2 trainings.

- In 2009 and 2011, a mailer containing info on SSU was sent to 81 Home Care agencies

- Mailers are sent annually to senior centers, Area Agencies on Aging and community programs as identified.

4. In 2009 and 2010, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars were used to produce a training video for long-term care staff as a way to lighten the numbers of long-term care residents in need of direct service from the SSU. There was a release event sponsored by Ecumen Senior Housing of MN attended by 120 various regional senior services providers.

5. Outreach presentations: no less than 75 between 2009-2011 to groups that include service clubs, senior centers, senior housing resident groups, low vision groups, professional senior providers, Senior Linkage professionals and other clubs.

Communication Center:

1. Yearly mailers to all eye doctors (twice annually to approximately 1000 offices)

2. In 2009, coordinated and facilitated Radio Talking Book (RTB) anniversary parties in St Paul, St Cloud, Rochester, Fergus Falls, Duluth, Grand Rapids and Mankato. At least 300 attendees comprising customers, civic leaders, local legislators and Communication Center (CC) volunteers.

3. In 2010 and 2011, attended a resource event to highlight CC service to PACER parents. Approximately 50 attendees total.

4. In 2010 and 2011, presentations at the annual Metropolitan Library Service Agency Annual Conference. Attendees were all librarians in the Twin Cities Metro (about 100).

5. Produce Quarterly Volunteer Newsletter with RTB volunteer Joan Lindusky distributed to all of the nearly 700 volunteers.

6. Coordinated a speaker’s circuit featuring Charlie Boone (RTB volunteer) and Wally Hinz (CC customer). Ed Lecher and these two volunteers have presented to 17 service clubs since the beginning of 2009.

7. In 2009 and 2010, SSB had a booth in the Education Building for the 11 days of the state fair yielding dozens of new and qualified volunteers (also promoted WDU and SSU).

8. In 2010 and 2011 attended and spoke at the yearly conference of Special Educational teachers to promote Audio Services. Total attendance each was approximately 100 educators.

Workforce Development Unit Activities:

1. Participated in the St Cloud Veteran’s Administration resource fair in 2009, 2010 and 2011, providing SSB awareness materials to no less than 200 veterans.

2. Participated in the Minneapolis Veteran’s Administration resource event in 2009 and 2010 reaching approximately 100 veterans.

3. In 2011, conducted a needs assessment to gauge and plan activities to reach out to minority populations. In the process, interviewed representatives from 12 community-based organizations. Submitted this information in October 2011 to the minority outreach committee, which will use the information to formulate an outreach plan.

4. See doctor mailer under Senior Services (The mailer is primarily meant to highlight the SSU and CC, but info on Voc. Rehab. is included.)

5. Designed a booklet for placement staff to provide to employers. This booklet contains resumes and is updated quarterly. It has been distributed to companies upon request and used by staff as a reference.

3. TRANSITION SERVICES

2011 Goal and Priority 5: Increase the number of referrals of transition-age students to SSB. This goal and priority was added in FY10 with the intention of increasing not only the number of referrals of transition-aged students, but also the number who are referred between ages 14-16. The initial measure of whether or not this goal has been met is simply the number of individuals ages 14-21 who were determined eligible during the FFY. Data has been kept and reviewed on the number of eligible individuals by age group to determine whether referrals are being made at a younger age, as is the focus. In FFY2010, 52 individuals between the ages of 14-21 were determined eligible for services. This compares to 57 in FFY2009, 48 in FFY2008 and 38 in FFY2007. The general strategies for meeting this goal were all implemented and may have had an impact in achieving this goal; however, the strategies specific to outreach to minority and DeafBlind populations were addressed in the goals specific to those unique populations.

PRIORITY 2.3: Increase the percentage of students who apply at ages 14 and 15 from the baseline of 39% of all applicants between the ages of 14-22 in FFY2009 to 45% of all applicants between the ages of 14-22 in FFY2011. This goal was not achieved as only 32.4% of the applicants in FFY2011 were 14 and 15 years of age from the baseline of 39% of all applicants between the ages of 14-22 in FFY2009. One must consider that service provision was substantially impacted by the state shut down in July of 2011.

Below are the strategies for meeting this priority as well as the progress that has been made in achieving them:

1. Continue working statewide with Special Education teachers, teachers of the blind, visually impaired, or DeafBlind and other IEP team members in designated school districts to facilitate regular information meetings with SSB counselors.

With the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) hire of Kristin Oien as MDE Specialist, this strategy has really blossomed. The impetus for this strategy of course stemmed from the intention to strengthen our relationship with Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) teachers and be informed of IEP meetings. Since this strategy has been met, removal can be considered as mechanisms are now in place to facilitate regular information meetings with SSB counselors and teachers.

Examples of how we have met this strategy:

• SSB conducted breakfast meetings with individual BVI teachers to exchange information and discuss concerns (2009). These meetings were well received and marked the beginning of building relationships with these important stakeholders.

• SSB representatives are now invited to State Vision Network (SVN) meetings regularly.

• Kristin has included SSB on the Summer Transition Committee (STP) Steering Committee.

• SSB has been co-facilitating BVI special interest brain storming groups at SVN meetings.

• We anticipate co-hosting an IPE/IEP workshop for SSB WFD staff, BVI teachers and IEP team members to better understand each other’s processes and form a cohesive transition of students at high school graduation.

• SSB’s relationship with Minnesota State Academy for the Blind (MSAB) has been strengthened through enhanced relationships with John Davis (Director), Connie Telshow (Transition Coordinator) and Ken Treblehorn (AT Teacher).

• SSB is now a presenter and co-facilitator at the MSAB Family Transition Weekend.

• Kristin Oien and Diane Dohnalik (teacher) are permanent and active member of the SCR-B’s Transition Committee.

• The Transition Timeline was a joint endeavor with SSB and teachers. The Timeline is a tool for career development that advises students, families and teachers of SSB’s expectation for each year of high school. The emphasis is on assisting the student to obtain work or volunteer experiences, conduct job shadows and informational interviews. It is being used by SSB counselors and distributed to BVI teachers and families.

2. By November 1, 2011, SSB will evaluate the Information Fairs hosted to date to determine their effectiveness. Based on the result of this evaluation, SSB will develop a format for communicating information about SSB to transition students and their families not later than December 31, 2011. This format will be implemented by June 30, 2012.

SSB 101 was a parent and student event designed to introduce families with children age 14+ to SSB and its services. It was held 3 times between 2009 and 2010 with low attendance. In 2010, the plan was to hold 3 sessions in northern, southern and metro regions to make it convenient for families. Unfortunately, there was little response from families and teachers.

Based on this experience, SSB 101 has been redesigned:

• Present SSB 101 mini version to families at the MSAB Family Transition Weekend in January 2012.

• SSB 101 was incorporated into the STP program during the summer of 2011 and will be repeated in the future because of its success.

• Propose a mini version of SSB 101 in 2012 to Blind Inc’s Post-Secondary Readiness and Empowerment Program.

• Produce a special intake folder for families of students applying in high school. It will be a transition focused folder with materials all pertaining to transition activities. Expected completion date of folder – March 2012.

There are also plans to offer SSB 101 in alternative formats:

• Produce a CD or DVD of SSB 101.

• Put a link on the SSB website to it.

• Put copies of the DVD or CD in the special intake folders

• Share the video at Transition Toolkit presentations

• Ask organizations such as the National Library Service (NLS), National Federation of the Blind (NFB), American Council of the Blind (ACB), Vision Loss Resources (VLR), Blindness: Learning In New Directions (Blind Inc.), and the Duluth Lighthouse for the Bling to put a SSB Transition Student link on their websites

• Have MDE put the SSB Transition Student link on their website

• Include SSB 101 in conference materials provided to events conducted by National Association of Parents with Visually Impaired Children (NAPVI), NFB, ACB, VLR young adult programming, Blind Inc’s Teen Night, Blind Prep and Buddy Program.

• Place SSB 101 on YouTube.

3. Monitor outcomes of enrichment activities beginning March 2012 to determine whether the goal of each activity was met. Enrichment activities will be reviewed every six months between March 2012 and October 2014 to monitor impact on success of each student and determine future direction of provision of enrichment activities for students.

A database was developed in September of 2011 to track students’ work related activities. There is a rudimentary chart from the summer of 2011 of each student’s involvement in work related activities. It is difficult to gather this data through our database and efforts will be made to improve the efficiency of conducting this task. This is a topic and development area rich in growth opportunities.

4. Between May 2012 and July 2012, evaluate the contents of the Transition Timeline and, based on feedback from counselors, revise as necessary. Review changes to Transition Timeline with counselors prior to September 2012 and implement revised document not later than September 30, 2012.

It was introduced to staff at the October 2011 WFD meeting. At the March 2012 WFD meeting, the Transition Timeline will be reviewed and counselors will be encouraged to continue its use with their transition students.

4. CLOSURE OUTCOMES:

Through the Region 5 Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center, SSB enlisted the services of doctoral student, Sukyeong Pi, at Southern Illinois University to evaluate SSB’s aggregate customer data (RSA 911) for FFY2004 through FFY2008 to complete this analysis. During this period of time, SSB closed an average of 390 customer cases per fiscal year. With regards to types of closure, an average of 26.4% of the customers achieved an employment outcome. This successful outcome rate was significantly lower than other VR agencies that primarily serve people with visual impairments. In FFY 2008, only 28.2% of SSB customers achieved successful closure compared to a rate of 49.1% for all other VR agencies.

The report attempted to identify the reason for this discrepancy by investigating the relationship between two categories of independent variables (customer characteristics and type of services received), and VR outcomes as a dependent variable. Of the customers who exited SSB in FFY 2008, 56% were male (versus 53% for all other blind agency). SSB clearly served more white customers with blindness and relatively younger population compared to other blind agencies in that year. In addition, a higher percentage of SSB customers were Social Security beneficiaries and not working at application. The analysis revealed there is a link between a higher level of education and success in achieving an employment outcome.

The results of a logistic regression analysis revealed that racial minority customers were less likely to achieve an employment outcome compared with white customers and that Social Security beneficiaries were less likely to obtain or maintain a job a closure. Having a higher level of education, being older and/or working at application were more related to a successful outcome. In other words, a customer with a college degree was 1.93 times more likely to have an employment outcome, then a customer without a high school diploma and relevant certificate.

In summary, the following customer characteristics might account for SSB’s lower successful rehabilitation rate: SSB has served more customers with blindness, relatively younger populations, Social Security beneficiaries and unemployed customers at application than other blind agencies. The report suggested that SSB would need to develop special strategies for the customers who have these individual characteristics.

Of the relationships between the types of services received and VR outcomes revealed the following: customers who received technical assistance services were 2.9 times more likely to have an employment outcome than those who did not. Technical assistance, rehabilitation technology, diagnosis and treatment, on-the-job training, job search and job placement services were significantly related to having a successful employment outcome. On the other hand, receiving VR counseling and guidance, job readiness training and transportation services were more associated to unsuccessful closure.

In addition, an analysis was conducted by SSB management of cases closed as unable to locate and refused services, to identify any trends or issues with policy or practice that need to be addressed. Indeed, the analysis revealed that the practice of using an interrupted status in managing vocational rehabilitation case files had not been used for several fiscal years in an effort to manage the size of counselors’ caseloads by closing cases after there had been no activity with the client for a time. The use of the interrupted status was reinstituted in approximately 2008 to accurately reflect the fact that customers were temporarily unable to proceed towards the accomplishment of the rehabilitation goals for disability related reasons. Since that time, the number of unsuccessful closures has decreased and SSB’s rehabilitation rate has increased.

B. Incidence of Disability

The task of estimating the incidence of blindness is an inexact science, often requiring the extrapolation of data from more generic population estimates. A good place to start is with the population of the United States and Minnesota which in 2010 was 308.745 and 5.303 million respectively.

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), current estimates of the number of people who are visually impaired vary greatly by source and method of measurement, as well as by the inclusion criteria applied. However, the NEI estimates there are 937,000 individuals with blindness over the age of 40 and 2.361,000 with low vision in that age range, totaling 3.298,000 or 1% of the general population.

The article, Causes and Prevalence of Visual Impairment Among Adults in the United States (Congdon N, O’Colmain B, Klaver CC, Klein R, Muñoz B, Friedman DS, Kempen J, Taylor HR, Mitchell P; Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group), estimates there are 937,000 Americans beyond the age of 40 who were blind (US definition). An additional 2.4 million Americans had low vision. Again, this equates to 1% of the general population. These numbers are very similar to those from NEI, and makes one wonder if this wasn’t the source of that projection. Due to the aging of the baby boom generation, the number of blind persons in the US is projected to increase by 58% to 1.6 million by 2020, with a similar rise projected for low vision.

Applying a percentage of 1% to Minnesota’s population suggests 53,030 individuals may be eligible for SSB’s services compared to approximately 1000 Minnesotans served annually by the Workforce Development Unit.

The 2011 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium includes a wealth of information. It projects Minnesota’s resident population to be 5,668,211 in 2015 and in 2020, 5,900,769, a 4% increase. Citizens with vision disabilities ages 18 – 64 living in the community in Minnesota is estimated to be 30,509 currently. Dividing this number by the population of MN results in .0057%. Furthermore, 14,553 of 30,509 or 29.9% are employed.

The American Foundation for the Blind reports the following information from the 2008 American Community Survey. In Minnesota, there were 68,028 or 1.28 % with vision loss; 31,204 were male and 36,824 female. In terms of age: 1,474 were under the age of 5, 3,921 between 5-17: 30,488 between 18-64, 8,287 between 65-74 and 23,858, 75 and older.

According to the National Federation of the Blind, there are 1.3 million legally blind persons in the US (.42%). (National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey - Disability Supplement, 1994 and 1995.) There are 93,600 blind school age children (based on NPTP survey: Kirchner & Diament, 1999a updated: October 2002). This number includes deaf-blind school age children: 10,800

(based on the Deafblind Census: Baldwin & Hembree, 1998 updated: October 2002). The number of blind seniors, 65 and over is 3.5% of the population 65 and over or 787,691. (AFB Sept./Oct. JVIB & Chiang, et al., 1992, Milbank Quarterly)

The number of students in Minnesota who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind is estimated by using the unduplicated child count maintained by the Minnesota Department of Education which is for school funding purposes. A student can only be counted once based on their primary disability. If a student is multiply disabled and blindness is not considered primary, this would result in an undercounting of those students who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind.

In 2010, there were a total of 415 students, (.325% of all students classified as handicapped disability and 046% of total student enrollment) listed as visually impaired or DeafBlind, 113 of whom were transition age. In 2011, the child count showed a total of 435 students listed as visually impaired or DeafBlind, 104 of whom were transition age. Comparing this number to the total number of transition aged students referred during the past four fiscal years (194) and the 52 referred in 2010, suggests SSB and its partners have improved at identifying and soliciting applications from this population, yet continued efforts in this area are warranted.

Again, it is important to note that the students referenced above are those whose primary eligibility category is BVI, so multi-disabled students who are also BVI may be receiving transition services through SSB who are not included in this count.

The Federal Quota Registration of Blind Students under the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind is an annual census conducted by the Minnesota Resource Center: Blind/VI for the American Printing House. In 2010 and 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, 105 and 95 blind and visually impaired students from grades 9 through 11 were eligible to receive educational materials through that program.

The 2012 Annual Report by the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access projects that the annual growth rate of people with disabilities will outpace population growth. A 1.3% annual increase in the population of individuals with visual impairments is anticipated through 2010, led only by persons with hearing and ambulatory disabilities.

Minnesota State Survey

In 2002, Minnesota SSB was presented with an opportunity to participate in the Minnesota State Survey conducted by the University of Minnesota Center for Survey Research. The 2011 Survey was conducted from October to December of 2011 and included a total of 804 telephone interviews with a response rate of 27% for the landline sample and only 12% for the cell phone sample. A pattern of declining response rates are a national concern for survey research organizations.

The Minnesota Survey is an “omnibus” survey where individual organizations define and pay for the questions that are of interest to them. From 2002 to 2003, the following question was asked:

1. Does anyone in your household have a visual impairment? This means that even when they are wearing glasses or contact lenses, they are not able to see better than 20/60 in their best eye?

This question was changed in 2004 and has been asked every year since:

2. Does anyone in your household have a vision problem that makes it difficult for them to read material in regular size print such as books, magazines or newspapers even when they are wearing glasses or contact lenses?

In 2008, three additional questions were added:

3. Has this vision problem caused you\this person\you or this person to have difficulty with finding or keeping a job?

4. Have you ever heard of an organization called State Services for the Blind?

5. Have you or anyone else in your household ever used their services?

In 2011, the following question was added:

6. Has this vision problem caused you\this person\you or this person to feel less confident about continuing to live in your current housing?

Minnesota State Survey Findings

Since 2002, approximately 805 individuals in Minnesota were selected randomly to participate in the survey. Respondents were asked to indicate either yes or no to the questions and to apply the question either to themselves, someone else in the household or both.

An average of 4.7% of the respondents answered Q2, above, in the affirmative. Of the respondents, 4.4% indicated that someone else in the household had this difficulty. It is thought that this question may be the best indicator of those who may potentially be eligible for SSB services as responses to Q3 are much more dependent on the current state of the economy. Applying these percentages to Minnesota’s population of 5.303 million suggests there are between 233,000 in 249,000 Minnesotans who are unable to read regular size print even when they are wearing corrective lenses. Startling, yet not surprising considering the incidence of visual impairment among seniors and the substantial increase in this population.

C. Service Data and Results for Individuals with Significant Disabilities Title I, Part B

Since FFY2008, the number of Minnesotans served by SSB’s Workforce Development Unit has remained remarkably consistent. In FFY2011, 1017 Minnesotans were served versus 1015 in FFY2008, with a slight increase of approximately 5% in FFY’s 2009 and 2010. Services to blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind individuals are provided by 16 qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors and approximately 25 “support” staff who work directly with our customers to affect their vocational rehabilitation. While the majority of these staff are housed at SSB’s office on University Avenue in St. Paul, statewide coverage is insured with staff located strategically at prominent economic hubs throughout Greater Minnesota.

The rehabilitation needs of Minnesotans is ascertained by an analysis of VR caseload data, federal standards and indicators and customer satisfaction survey results.

1. Vocational Rehabilitation Caseload Data Highlights

Highlights for the Workforce Development Unit:

• the number of successful employment outcomes has remained consistent: 78, 80 and 81 in FFY’s 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.

• the number of unpaid homemaker closures continues at a low rate of approximately 5 per year since 2008.

• unsuccessful closures after plan has decreased markedly from 105 in FFY2008 to 36 in FFY2011.

• unsuccessful closures before plan has remained consistent since FFY2008 with 70, 80, 64 and 69 through FFY2011.

• the difference in weekly salary from application has again been consistent since FFY2008 with fluctuations of no more than 3.6%, to a rate of $348.94 in FFY2011.

• the average weekly wage at closure for full-time work increased significantly from FFY2009 to 2010 from $16.85 to $19.86, a 15.2% increase.

• the average weekly wage at closure for part-time work also increased significantly from $13.85 to $15.04, an 8% increase.

2. Case Service Expenditure and Service Provision Patterns – Title I, Part B

Below are case service expenditures, listed by the total amount authorized, for FFY 2009, 2010 and 2011. The ordinal ranking of each service indicates service provision, defined as services provided to the most number of customers during that fiscal year.

Primary Services Provided\Expenditures in FFY 2009:

3. Adjustment to Blindness Training – $1,235,373.14

2. Postsecondary Training – $618,384.27

4. Maintenance – $535,167.32

6. Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software –$279,042.53

9. Job Placement – $258,313.33

5. Low Vision Aids and Appliances - $237,984.55

10. Basic Academic, Remedial or Literacy Training - $173,596.00

7. Non-Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software – $171,931.51

8. Assessment for Activities of Daily Living –$157,265.41

1. Transportation – $152,700.44

Primary Services Provided\Expenditures in FFY 2010:

3. Adjustment to Blindness Training – $1,441,401.58

2. Postsecondary Training – $728,221.16

4. Maintenance – $625.005.92

7. Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software –$396,001.35

9. Job Placement – $359,013.30

6. Non-Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software – $286,196.10

5. Low Vision Aids and Appliances - $255,804.39

1. Transportation – $202,116.30

10. Assessment for Activities of Daily Living – $198,640.32

8. Vocational and Other Non-medical Assessment – $198,407.27

Primary Services Provided\Expenditures in FFY 2011:

3. Adjustment to Blindness Training – $1,203,938.12

2. Postsecondary Training – $737,874.44

9. Job Placement – $618,821.23

4. Maintenance – $595,401.91

10. Assessment for Activities of Daily Living – $507,486.85

8. Vocational and Other Non-medical Assessment – $314,583.27

5. Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software –$266,650.50

6. Low Vision Aids and Appliances - $209,366.95

1. Transportation – $178,713.37

7. Non-Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software – $174,025.31

There was a significant difference in service provision, with the exception of adjustment to blindness training, between all customers and those from minority backgrounds all three years. The provision of post-secondary training was ranked second for all customers in 2009 and 2010, but only 9th and 10th for minorities, perhaps suggesting their desire to enter the labor market quickly or language/academic barriers. However, there was a marked change in 2011 as provision of post-secondary training ranked 2nd and 3rd for all and minority customers respectively. This trend also held true for the provision of placement services. One service that was required more by this population was assessment for activities of daily living.

The average expenditures per customer for each group during FFY2009, 2010 and 21011 were:

2009 2010 2011

Title I – $4,304.07 $5,018.67 $5,490.86

Most Significant Disability – $3,976.14 $4,676.22 $4,723.96

DeafBlind – $8,435.94 $9,702.48 $12,309.24

Minority – $6,602.45 $7,007.66 $8,572.66

Adjustment to blindness training is critical to increase the independence of blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind Minnesotans. The use of this service among these populations was examined due to the fact it is one of the top expenditures of case service funds and most frequently used service. The average cost per customer for adjustment to blindness training over FFY2009, 2011 and 2011 was $5,657.02. Costs for other groups were: $5,492.84 for most significant disability, $4,614.11 for customers who are DeafBlind and $23,076.67 for customers from minority backgrounds.

At the February 23, 2012 meeting of the Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind, testimony was heard regarding a possible shortage of rehabilitation teachers, particularly in greater Minnesota. Lacking data on this subject, the Needs Assessment Task Force recommends that further study is warranted to determine if this constitutes a gap in service.

3. SSB Performance on Federal Standards and Indicators

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has established standards and indicators for measuring vocational rehabilitation program performance in the United States. Standard 1 pertains to employment outcomes and Standard 2 pertains to the service rate between minority and nonminority populations. RSA requires that each agency pass 4 of the 6 indicators and 2 of 3 Primary Indicators on Standard 1. In FFY2011, SSB met 5 of 6 Indicators and all three Primary Indicators in Standard 1. SSB has a long history of consistently meeting the three primary indicators.

The federal indicators, required performance level and SSB’s achievement are listed below. The acronym DSU stands for Designated State Unit.

1.1 The number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exited the VR program after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period.

DSU Required Performance Level: Performance in the current period must equal or exceed performance in the previous period. In FFY2011 SSB assisted three more individuals to obtain employment than in FFY2010

1.2 Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage who are determined to have achieved an employment outcome.

DSU Required Performance Level: The required performance level is 68.9%. In FFY2011, SSB fell short of this measure, achieving 59.19%.

1.3 Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentage who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or Business Enterprise Program (BEP) employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage.

DSU Required Performance Level: SSB exceeded the required performance level of 35.4% by achieving a level of 94.41%.

1.4 Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are individuals with significant disabilities.

DSU Required Performance Level: SSB achieved a performance level of 97.52%, exceeding the requirement of 89.0%.

1.5 The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to the State’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the State who are employed (as derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, “State Average Annual Pay” for the most recent available year).

DSU Required Performance Level: SSB surpassed the required performance level of .59 by achieving a level of .74.

1.6 Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services.

DSU Required Performance Level: SSB achieved a level of 33.59%, exceeding the requirement of 30.4%

2.1 The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from non-minority backgrounds.

DSU Required Performance Level: This ratio is not calculated if fewer than 100 persons from minority backgrounds exit the program during the fiscal year. The number of minorities exiting SSB unsuccessfully after plan development has decreased since FFY2009 with 48 closures in that year, 39 in 2010 and 31 in 2011. However, successful employment outcomes for this population has remained constant since 2009 with 11, 11 and 10 closures during the past three fiscal years.

4. Current SSB/SRC-B Goals and Strategies

The CSGP Committee’s evaluation of progress on FFY11 Goals and Priorities is included in the 2011 VR Effectiveness Report and is reported below:

Progress on FFY11 Goals and Priorities:

GOAL 1: Improve number and percent of closed cases achieving employment after receiving services.

PRIORITY 1.1: Employment Outcomes—By the end of FFY 2012, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2011 and FFY 2012) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2010-FFY2011.

During FFY 2011 and 2012, the strategies for meeting this priority are—

• By August 31 of each year, each counselor and their supervisor will meet to review the potential of each customer for successful employment by the end of the next FFY. Based on determinations made during this review, supervisors will set individual outcome goals for each counselor. Between January 1 and January 31 of each year, supervisors and counselors will review the projections, taking into account any changes in the caseload. As appropriate, the supervisor will revise the outcome goal. Supervisors will monitor progress of designated customers toward their employment outcome during required monthly meetings with each counselor and provide assistance as needed. Recognition of counselors who met and who exceeded their individual outcomes goals will occur at the October staff meeting each year.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing. For this year, due to the government shutdown, the time frame for the meetings to review potential for successful employment outcomes was shifted to November 30, 2011, rather than August 31. Additionally, the staff recognition has been occurring at the February all-staff meetings rather than the October ones.

• Each counseling supervisor will ensure each WFD counselor attends Labor Market Information training at least once every two years. Counselors newly employed by SSB will attend the training within one year of hire. Because LMI data provides counselors with information about current and future jobs by region of the state, they will be better able to provide customers with information to assist them in choosing a job goal in a high demand area. Ensuring counselors have current labor market information to share with customers is expected to result in an increase in the number of applicants who achieve an employment outcome.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

• Data on the effectiveness of the three job development staff hired with ARRA funding will be analyzed beginning January 1, 2011. The analysis and any resulting plan for changes to the Workforce Development Unit staff allocation will be set for implementation by March 1, 2011.

STATUS: This strategy was completed and resulted in the hiring of two full-time job placement staff.

• Staff new to SSB have little, if any, experience with blindness, and a paucity of understanding of the capabilities of persons competent in the skills of blindness, Therefore all new WDU staff will complete Introduction to Blindness —Phase 1 and Phase 2 training on the essential aspects of blindness and visual impairment within three months of hire.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

PRIORITY 1.2: Employment Rate— By the end of FFY 2012 SSB will have made progress toward meeting RSA Indicator 1.2 by increasing the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services from the FFY09 baseline of 45%.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue ongoing data analysis of successful and unsuccessful closures. On a quarterly basis assess and, as appropriate, develop and implement changes in service provision which address areas of specific concern.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing. During this fiscal year, two particular changes were made which are expected to have a positive effect on outcomes: 1) The initial in-take interview is now to be conducted by a rehabilitation counselor within thirty days of initial contact; 2) An "Interrupted" status has been implemented to reflect the fact that services may sometimes be interrupted for various reasons when an actual case closure is not appropriate.

2. By December 31, 2011, develop, and by March 31, 2012, implement a comprehensive program to facilitate the success of customers interested in self-employment /entrepreneurship as an employment outcome.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing.

3. By August 1, 2011, data on the employment outcomes of customers who participated in an internship, job trial or on-the-job training experience between June 2010 and June 2011 will be analyzed to determine the effectiveness of these employment strategies. Based on the results of the data analysis, procedures to improve these experiences will be developed and implemented by September 30, 2011.

STATUS: Due to staff transitions and other circumstances, this priority was not met this year. The activity will occur in FFY2012 according to the above timeline.

4. By no later than March 1, 2011 include in new customer orientation process information about and means to access the mentorship and/or peer counseling programs of the various consumer organizations. Such programs are one way for applicants to facilitate their adjustment to blindness and develop an understanding of the viability of competitive employment for them.

STATUS: SSB staff engaged in this effort indicated that no formal peer counseling or mentorship programs exist, and that organizations are being encouraged to develop them. Dialog continues.

FFY2012 GOALS, PRIORITIES AND STRATEGIES

GOAL 1: Improve number and percent of closed cases achieving employment after receiving services.

PRIORITY 1.1: Employment Outcomes—By the end of FFY 2013, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2012 and FFY 2013) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2010-FFY2011.

During FFY 2012 and 2013, the strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. By August 31 of each year, each counselor and their supervisor will meet to review the potential of each customer for successful employment by the end of the next FFY. Each counselor with at least two years of experience will be expected to identify at least six individuals for whom successful closure is realistic during the next FFY.

Between January 1 and January 31 of each year, supervisors and counselors will review the projections, taking into account any changes in the caseload. As appropriate, the supervisor will revise the outcome goal and customers identified as potential successful closures. Supervisors will monitor progress of designated customers toward their employment outcome during required monthly meetings with each counselor and provide assistance as needed. Recognition of counselors who met and who exceeded their individual outcomes goals will occur at the February staff meeting each year.

2. Each counseling supervisor will ensure each WFD counselor attends training in utilizing Labor Market Information, MySkillsMyFuture, ISEEK and other websites which provide relevant information regarding the labor market. Counselors will attend training in the utilization of each of these websites at least once every two years. Counselors newly employed by SSB will attend training in each of these websites within one year of hire.

Because there are multiple websites which provide counselors and customers with a wide range of information about current and future jobs, knowledge of these websites will provide customers with a broader range of information to assist them in choosing a job goal in a high demand area. Ensuring counselors have knowledge of the various tools available which provide current labor market information is expected to result in an increase in the number of applicants who achieve an employment outcome.

3. Staff new to SSB have little, if any, experience with blindness, and a paucity of understanding of the capabilities of persons competent in the skills of blindness, Therefore all new WFD staff will successfully complete Introduction to Blindness —Phase 1 and Phase 2 training on the essential aspects of blindness and visual impairment within three months of hire and before any caseload activity is assigned.

PRIORITY 1.2: Employment Rate— SSB’s performance on RSA Indicator 1.2 will increase annually from the 2010 baseline of 50%, reflecting an increase in the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue ongoing data analysis of successful and unsuccessful closures. On a quarterly basis

assess and, as appropriate, develop and implement changes in service provision which address

areas of specific concern.

2. By December 31, 2011, develop, and by March 31, 2012, implement a comprehensive program to facilitate the success of customers interested in self-employment /entrepreneurship as an employment outcome. Strategies will be included in the FY2013 Goals and Priorities reflective of decisions made by March 31, 2012.

3. Between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012, data will be maintained to evaluate the effectiveness of procedures implemented to improve internship, job trial or on-the-job training experiences of SSB customers. Not later than October 31, 2012, any changes to existing procedures will be completed and implemented.

4. By September 30, 2013,SSB will develop a method to evaluate the effectiveness of providing customers with mentorship and/or peer counseling information on their adjustment to blindness and their understanding of the viability of competitive employment for them

It is salient to this needs assessment to include input from other organizations within MN concerned with the employment of persons with disabilities. The Fourth Summit of the Employment First Coalition was held on September 30, 2011, as a continuation of the dialogues begun in 2009 and 2010 by the Minnesota Employment Policy Initiative (MEPI) around the question, “What will it take to double employment of Minnesotans with disabilities by 2015?” The 2011 MEPI Final Report identified 21 consensus recommendations across disability groups to promote employment as the preferred outcome of Minnesotans with disabilities. These recommendations can be viewed at http://www.mn-epi.org/docs/MEPIFinalReport2011.pdf.

Summit IV brought together 20 disability advocacy organizations to develop a collaborative action plan to prioritize and implement those consensus recommendations.

As one of the final activities of the Summit, participants also selected their top priorities for future action from the additional recommendations in the MEPI Final Report. They identified the following as those priorities:

• Increase funding for public transportation, including Metro Mobility

and other specialized transportation options, to expand the areas served and the times

transportation is available.

• Ensure young adults with disabilities graduate directly and seamlessly into competitive jobs or postsecondary education.

• Redesign transition services for young adults aged 18-21 to produce better employment and postsecondary education outcomes through interagency collaboration.

• Conduct statewide public education about the economic benefits of competitive employment to Minnesotans with disabilities and the resources available to provide individualized guidance about maximizing earnings without jeopardizing the safety net of sustainable health care and independent living assistance.

• Incorporate customized employment strategies as an alternative to traditional job development approaches to address the many obstacles encountered by jobseekers with disabilities.

D. VR Service Needs of Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities

Including their Need for Supported Employment

A very high percentage of SSB customers are individuals with a significant disability. However, on average, only 20.93% have met SSB’s criteria as an individual with the most significant disability during the past three fiscal years.

An individual with a most significant disability is an eligible individual who:

• has a severe physical or mental impairment that results in serious limitations in terms of an employment outcome in five or more of the following functional areas: mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, work skills, interpersonal skills or job-seeking skills; and

• is expected to require multiple VR services over an extended period of time.

1. Case Service Expenditure and Service Provision

Below are case service expenditures, listed by the total amount authorized, for FFY 2009, 2010 and 2011. The ordinal ranking of each service indicates service provision, defined as services provided to the most number of customers during that fiscal year.

Primary Services Provided\Expenditures in FFY 2009:

1. Maintenance – $526,692.13

2. Transportation – $523,079.13

3. Adjustment to Blindness Training – $340,795.26

4. Postsecondary Training – $125,083.84

10. Assessment for Activities of Daily Living –$103,634.04

9. Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software –$65,836.83

6. Job Placement – $51,163.75

5. Reader/Driver/Notetaker/All Interpreters – $50,146.75

8. Non-Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software – $45,007.55

7. Low Vision Aids and Appliances - $38,449.99

Primary Services Provided\Expenditures in FFY 2010:

2. Adjustment to Blindness Training – $372,145.97

3. Maintenance – $171,395.37

7. Postsecondary Training – $119,092.61

8. Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software –$81,649.91

5. Non-Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software – $81,171.88

9. Vocational & Other Non-medical Assessments - $76,222.38

6. Low Vision Aids and Appliances - $49,801.81

11. Assessment for Activities of Daily Living – $44,591.00

1. Transportation – $42,042.44

4. Reader/Driver/Notetaker/All Interpreters – $42, 012.14

10. Vendor payment for Textbooks and Supplies - $12,760.29

Primary Services Provided\Expenditures in FFY 2011:

3. Adjustment to Blindness Training – $250,795.44

4. Postsecondary Training – $191,553.15.61

2. Maintenance – $153,984.98

7. Assessment for Activities of Daily Living – $149,926.78

5. Vocational & Other Non-medical Assessments - $84,446.62

9. Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software –$76.006.39

6. Non-Adaptive Computer Hardware/Software – $61,218.37

11. Job Placement – $50,955.50

1. Transportation – $38,818.35

12. Vendor payment for Internship/Job Trial - $37,025.82

10. Low Vision Aids and Appliances - $33,691.37

8. Equipment and Supplies for Assessments - $21,407.07

A review of this data reveals that maintenance, transportation, adjustment to blindness training and postsecondary training were the four most commonly utilized services. Reader/driver/notetaker/ interpreters was listed as an expenditure in FFY 2009 and 2010 but interestingly, not in 2011. In 2011, vendor payment for internship/job trial was ranked 12th but did not appear in previous years: perhaps a promising development because of the high correlation between these types of experiences and attainment of employment.

Customers under a supported employment plan are considered to be those with the most significant disability. The number of customers in supported employment plans in federal fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011, were 16, 15 and 17 respectively.

2. Findings

Over the past three fiscal years, an average of 20.93% of SSB’s customers met SSB’s criteria as an individual with the most significant disability and accounted for 23.21% of expenditures.

Adjustment to blindness training is critical to this population to increase their personal and vocational independence. Over the past three fiscal years, 24.49% of customers with the most significant disabilities received adjustment to blindness training as compared to 21.77% of all workforce development customers.

Average expenditures per customer for all those served within Workforce Development was $4,929.96 over FFY2009, 2010 and 2011 as average expenditures per customer for those with the most significant disabilities during that same time period was $10,109.38.

E. Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

1. Minnesota WFC Customer Satisfaction Survey

Since 2000, Minnesota State Services for the Blind has conducted surveys to gauge customer satisfaction. These surveys are either conducted singularly by specific units within the agency or jointly with other partners’ programs within Minnesota’s Workforce Center (WFC) System.

The joint survey is entitled the Minnesota WFC Customer Satisfaction Survey. Minnesota contracts with the Strategic Research Group (SRG), an external vendor, to ensure objectivity and greater validity in interviewing. SRG conducts telephone surveys quarterly. Approximately 290 SSB customers are interviewed annually.

Of the following 11 questions, the first five are asked to gauge customer satisfaction with all partners’ programs within MN’s WFC System. Questions six through nine were added in 2010 in response to a suggestion made by Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor. The last two questions, ten and eleven, are specific to SSB and were added in 2009.

1. Utilizing a scale of 1 to 10 where "1" means "Very Dissatisfied" and "10" means "Very Satisfied," what is your overall satisfaction with the services provided?

2. Considering all of the expectations you may have had about the services, to what extent have the services met your expectations? "1" now means "Falls short of your expectations" and "10" means "Exceeds your expectations."

3. Now think of the ideal program for people in your circumstances. How well do you think the services you received compare with the ideal set of services? "1" now means "Not very close to the ideal" and "10" means "Very close to the ideal."

4. How satisfied are you that the staff understands your needs? Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

5. Think about any times that you asked staff for help. How satisfied are you that they responded in a reasonable amount of time? Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied, or have you never asked for help?

6. How satisfied are you that the services you received helped you find a job? Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or it does not apply to your situation?

7. How satisfied are you that the services helped you with career planning? These services may have included information about jobs that will be in demand now or in the future, or learning about the education and skills needed for different types of jobs. Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or it does not apply to your situation?

8. How satisfied are you that the services helped you connect with employers who were hiring? Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or it does not apply to your situation?

9. How satisfied are you that the services helped you improve your job-seeking skills? Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or it does not apply to your situation?

10. How satisfied are you that you were given enough information to make good choices for your employment plan? Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

11. How satisfied are you that you had an active role in decisions about your services? Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

2. Findings

Questions one, two and three of the Customer Satisfaction Survey are reported on a scale from 1 to 10. The results from these three questions were 7.78, 7.36 and 7.37 respectively from April of 2009 to March of 2010 and 7.73, 7.44 and 7.40 from October 2010 to September 2011. The results are very consistent.

The results for the remainder of the questions are answered in percentages from very satisfied to very dissatisfied. The results (satisfied or very satisfied) from the most recent reporting period available, October 2010 to September 2011, were:

• staff understood customer needs: 89%

• staff responded in a reasonable amount of time: 80%

• services helped find a job: 40% (note that this que

 

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

SSB does not believe there is a need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs (CRP) as defined in regulations at 34 CFR 361.5 (b)(17). SSB and its vendors understand there is a continuous need to improve services, to assure the highest level of customer satisfaction and to assure the highest level of skill proficiency among the vendors used.

For the past three fiscal years, adjustment of blindness training has been the largest expenditure: exceeding post-secondary training, the service ranked second in expenditures, by approximately 55% each year. In 2011, $1,203,938.12 was expended on this service which constituted approximately 25% of all expenditures.

SSB and the CRP’s must continue to work cooperatively together as the services the CRP’s provide are most critical to the personal and vocational independence of blind Minnesotans.

 

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

GOAL 1: Improve number and percent of closed cases achieving employment after receiving services.

PRIORITY 1.1: Employment Outcomes—By the end of FFY 2013, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2012 and FFY 2013) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2010-FFY2011.

During FFY 2012 and 2013, the strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. By August 31 of each year, each counselor and their supervisor will meet to review the potential of each customer for successful employment by the end of the next FFY. Each counselor with at least two years of experience will be expected to identify at least six individuals for whom successful closure is realistic during the next FFY.

Between January 1 and January 31 of each year, supervisors and counselors will review the projections, taking into account any changes in the caseload. As appropriate, the supervisor will revise the outcome goal and customers identified as potential successful closures. Supervisors will monitor progress of designated customers toward their employment outcome during required monthly meetings with each counselor and provide assistance as needed. Recognition of counselors who met and who exceeded their individual outcomes goals will occur at the February staff meeting each year.

2. Staff new to SSB have little, if any, experience with blindness, and a paucity of understanding of the capabilities of persons competent in the skills of blindness, Therefore all new WFD staff will successfully complete Introduction to Blindness —Phase 1 and Phase 2 training on the essential aspects of blindness and visual impairment within three months of hire and before any caseload activity is assigned.

PRIORITY 1.2: Employment Rate— SSB’s performance on RSA Indicator 1.2 will increase annually from the 2010 baseline of 50%, reflecting an increase in the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. By December 31, 2012, SSB will establish strategic relationships with at least two employers with in the distinguished industry clusters of healthcare and education in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

2. By December 31, 2012, review and evaluate the self-employment/entrepreneurship program.

3. By November 1, 2012, SSB will examine the WDU case review system and determine if enhancements can be made to contribute to higher employment outcomes.

PRIORITY 1.3: Increase work experience, job shadowing opportunities, internships and enrichment activities--WDU staff will aggressively pursue work experience, job shadowing opportunities, internships and enrichment activities for SSB customers.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. By December 31st 2012, develop a mechanism to gather WDU Staff’s pursuit of work experience, job shadowing opportunities, internships and enrichment activities for its customers.

2. Establish a baseline by September 30, 2013, of the pursuit of work experience, job shadowing opportunities, internships and enrichment activities.

GOAL 2: In the targeted groups, increase the number of individuals served and the vocational outcomes achieved.

PRIORITY 2.1: Minority Service Rate— By the end of FFY2013, SSB will address RSA Indicator 2.1, as follows: The ratio of customers from the minority population exiting after receiving services under an IPE to all customers from the minority population exiting will exceed 80% of the same ratio calculated for customers from the non-minority population. Current (FFY2011) performance level is 30.1%.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. During FFY2013, SSB staff will conduct at least two marketing and outreach activities to minority communities.

2. Guidelines will be completed and shared with CRPs, vendors, and adult basic education programs by September 30, 2013.

3. During FFY2013, SSB staff will be informed of current marketing and outreach activities to minority communities and strategies in serving these populations.

PRIORITY 2.2: Deafblind Outreach and Service— Enhance effective communication between SSB and individuals who have a hearing and vision loss, including persons who are DeafBlind.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. All new WFD staff will receive one-on-one training on the DeafBlind Procedures Manual to include communication styles and communication issues as part of the orientation that occurs within the first three months of hire. All WFD staff will receive an annual review of the communication methods at their October staff meeting.

2. The Plan to increase effective communication between counselors and Deafblind customers and the Plan to increase the number of Deafblind competitively employed will continue as written until June 2013. In June 2013, the Deafblind needs assessment will be administered. This needs assessment will contain questions specifically designed to determine the effectiveness of the Plan to increase effective communication and the plan to increase the number of competitive employments.

3. To increase and improve communication between Deafblind customers and SSB, the Deafblind Committee of the SRC-B, in cooperation with SSB, will continue to review standard written communications at least once per year to determine their effectiveness with ASL users. Additional materials will be developed as determined by the Deafblind Committee.

4. During FFY 2013, strengthen the collaborative efforts of SSB, Vocation Rehabilitation Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of the Department of Human Services, Department of Education and the Department of Health to improve statewide services to DeafBlind individuals. As a result of the DeafBlind needs assessment survey in June 2013, strategies for additional collaborative efforts will be developed and incorporated in the Goals, Priorities and Strategies for FFY 2014.

 

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

SSB is a full partner in Minnesota’s Workforce Center System comprised of 49 Workforce Centers (WFC) and 16 Workforce Service Areas (WSA). Because of SSB’s small staff complement, counselors are located in 11 of the WFC’s statewide but travel to itinerant locations as needed. Even though limited accessibility of the Workforce Centers to the blind and visually impaired has been a chronic issue over the years, SSB counseling staff and customers benefit to some degree from the co-location with the DEED and WSA partners.

SSB surveyed the WSA Directors asking them whether their programs provided employment services to individuals who were blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind who were not customers of SSB during FFY2011. Eight of the 16 WSA Directors responded, with five indicating their program had not provided services to any customers who were visually impaired. Three Directors indicated their program had served 23 customers who were blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind during the past fiscal year. WSA 2, Rural MN Concentrated Employment Program, served the most customers in this category: 19 with 14 of those customers not working with SSB. However, there is ample evidence that referral relationships between WSA staff and SSB are well developed.

Findings

Unfortunately, WF1, the on-line case management system used by staff within DEED and the Workforce Centers, does not track customers concurrently served by SSB and other partners. Concurrent enrollment for individuals with visual impairments continues to be infrequent because of the specialized services required by these individuals and the long-standing practice to refer individuals with vision loss to SSB.

SSB continues to provide the Minnesota WFC system technical assistance and consultation with regards to programmatic accessibility, especially as it pertains to computer hardware and software in the Resource Areas of Minnesota’s Workforce Centers. This consultation is provided either by SSB staff in the field or by SSB’s Chief Technology Officer who serves on the WFC Systems Resource Area Advisory Group. SSB staff play an important role in educating our WFC partners on the potential and service needs of individuals with visual impairments. SSB participates in local WFC planning groups at the executive management level within the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

 

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.

The goals, priorities and strategies are based on an analysis of the results of the FFY2012 state plan statewide needs assessment; SSB’s performance on the federal standards and indicators; findings and recommendations from the section 107 review conducted by RSA; the results of customer satisfaction surveys; and the actions and recommendations of the SRC-B, its committees and task forces. They are used to support innovation and expansion activities and the implementation of the strategies and reports on progress toward meeting the goals and priorities are reported on at regular SRC-B meetings.

SSB does not believe there are barriers to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state Vocational Rehabilitation program or Supported Employment program as described in Section 427 of GEPA. However, SSB does believe the strategies identified for Goal 2 will improve access to and participation of individuals from minority backgrounds and individuals who are DeafBlind whether served under Title I or Title VI.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2012 12:11PM by Jennifer Beilke

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

Attachment 4.11(e)(2): Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

Progress in Achieving Identified Vocational Rehabilitation Program Goals and Priorities

The goals, priorities and strategies for the State Services for the Blind’s (SSB) vocational rehabilitation program were jointly developed and formally agreed to by SSB and the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) in April of 2010. The goals, priorities and strategies were based on an analysis of the results of the 2007 state plan statewide needs assessment; SSB’s performance on the federal standards and indicators; findings and recommendations from the annual section 107 review conducted by RSA; and the actions and recommendations of the SRC-B, its committees and task forces.

Progress on FFY11 Goals and Priorities:

GOAL 1: Improve number and percent of closed cases achieving employment after receiving services.

Although the Workforce Development Unit assisted 81 individuals to become successfully employed, RSA Indicator 1.1 was not met. All strategies to assist the WorkForce Development Unit to meet this goal were successfully met and/or implemented.

PRIORITY 1.1: Employment Outcomes—By the end of FFY 2012, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2011 and FFY 2012) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2010-FFY2011.

During FFY 2011 and 2012, the strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. By August 31 of each year, each counselor and their supervisor will meet to review the potential of each customer for successful employment by the end of the next FFY. Based on determinations made during this review, supervisors will set individual outcome goals for each counselor. Between January 1 and January 31 of each year, supervisors and counselors will review the projections, taking into account any changes in the caseload. As appropriate, the supervisor will revise the outcome goal. Supervisors will monitor progress of designated customers toward their employment outcome during required monthly meetings with each counselor and provide assistance as needed. Recognition of counselors who met and who exceeded their individual outcomes goals will occur at the October staff meeting each year.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing. For this year, due to the government shutdown, the time frame for the meetings to review potential for successful employment outcomes was shifted to November 30, 2011, rather than August 31. Additionally, the staff recognition has been occurring at the February all-staff meetings rather than the October ones.

2. Each counseling supervisor will ensure each WFD counselor attends Labor Market Information training at least once every two years. Counselors newly employed by SSB will attend the training within one year of hire. Because LMI data provides counselors with information about current and future jobs by region of the state, they will be better able to provide customers with information to assist them in choosing a job goal in a high demand area. Ensuring counselors have current labor market information to share with customers is expected to result in an increase in the number of applicants who achieve an employment outcome.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

3. Data on the effectiveness of the three job development staff hired with ARRA funding will be analyzed beginning January 1, 2011. The analysis and any resulting plan for changes to the Workforce Development Unit staff allocation will be set for implementation by March 1, 2011.

STATUS: This strategy was completed and resulted in the hiring of two full-time job placement staff.

4. Staff new to SSB have little, if any, experience with blindness, and a paucity of understanding of the capabilities of persons competent in the skills of blindness, Therefore all new WDU staff will complete Introduction to Blindness —Phase 1 and Phase 2 training on the essential aspects of blindness and visual impairment within three months of hire.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

PRIORITY 1.2: Employment Rate— By the end of FFY 2012 SSB will have made progress toward meeting RSA Indicator 1.2 by increasing the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services from the FFY09 baseline of 45%.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue ongoing data analysis of successful and unsuccessful closures. On a quarterly basis assess and, as appropriate, develop and implement changes in service provision which address areas of specific concern.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing. During this fiscal year, two particular changes were made which are expected to have a positive effect on outcomes: 1) The initial in-take interview is now to be conducted by a rehabilitation counselor within thirty days of initial contact; 2) An "Interrupted" status has been implemented to reflect the fact that services may sometimes be interrupted for various reasons when an actual case closure is not appropriate.

2. By December 31, 2011, develop, and by March 31, 2012, implement a comprehensive program to facilitate the success of customers interested in self-employment /entrepreneurship as an employment outcome.

STATUS: This strategy is ongoing.

3. By August 1, 2011, data on the employment outcomes of customers who participated in an internship, job trial or on-the-job training experience between June 2010 and June 2011 will be analyzed to determine the effectiveness of these employment strategies. Based on the results of the data analysis, procedures to improve these experiences will be developed and implemented by September 30, 2011.

STATUS: Due to staff transitions and other circumstances, this priority was not met this year. The activity will occur in FFY2012 according to the above timeline.

4. By no later than March 1, 2011 include in new customer orientation process information about and means to access the mentorship and/or peer counseling programs of the various consumer organizations. Such programs are one way for applicants to facilitate their adjustment to blindness and develop an understanding of the viability of competitive employment for them.

STATUS: SSB staff engaged in this effort indicated that no formal peer counseling or mentorship programs exist, and that organizations are being encouraged to develop them. Dialog continues.

PRIORITY 1.3: Increase customer satisfaction with services provided—By the end of FFY2011 the annual overall satisfaction with services provided by SSB will be at or above 85%. (Q1 on the Customer Satisfaction Survey, “What is your overall satisfaction with the services provided?” The scale is from 1 to 10 where “1” means “very dissatisfied” and “10” means “very satisfied”. A response equal to or greater than “6” fall in the “satisfied” range).

STATUS: For FFY 2011, the overall annual satisfaction with services provided was 80%. SSB did not meet this priority.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Customer satisfaction surveys will be administered quarterly to approximately 70 SSB customers as part of the DEED customer satisfaction initiative. The surveys are conducted by an external organization.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

2. SSB and the SRC-B Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee will continue to review and analyze the data on a quarterly basis including specific customer comments.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

3. Based on the analysis of the Customer Satisfaction Survey results, the Customer Satisfaction Committee will provide recommendations for program improvements at their next scheduled meeting of the SRC-B to assure that services are available that meet customer needs.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

PRIORITY 1.4: Continue to insure every SSB customer has the information needed to make an informed choice in selecting a Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP) for adjustment to blindness training. During FFY2011, 100% of SSB customers attending ATB half time or more will indicate that they were given all the information they needed to make an informed choice about the CRP they wanted to attend.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. During FFY2011, SSB counselors will complete the “Choosing ATB Training” form with each customer who is considering ATB training. Counselors will ensure that all customers are provided information, in an accessible format, about options for receiving adjustment to blindness services, and strongly encourage each customer to tour each community rehabilitation program. The “Choosing ATB Training” form is signed by the counselor and customer. The customer affirms that they received the information they needed to make an informed choice in the selection of the CRP. A copy of the form will be sent to SSB’s State Director, and the information will be compiled and reported semi-annually to the SRC-B.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met

2. SSB and the Vendor Outcomes and Measures Committee of the SRC-B developed and implemented a customer satisfaction survey for all customers who complete adjustment to blindness training. During FFY2011, each SSB customer will be surveyed six months after completion of adjustment to blindness training or at time of case file closure, whichever comes first. Each month an estimated ten to fifteen customers will be contacted to complete the telephone survey of eighteen questions.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

3. The data gathered from the completed customer satisfaction surveys will be formatted, posted externally on the SSB website, and made available in an accessible format for customer review when selecting a service provider to meet their rehabilitation needs. ATB providers will be able to use the results for continuous improvement of their services. The results will be reported to the SRC-B and will be used to identify customer needs and areas for service improvements.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

4. To insure quality services, SSB will continue to require individual vendors who provide training to SSB customers on access and assistive technology to pass a test on software they wish to teach and to successfully complete an adult learning course prior to becoming an approved vendor.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

GOAL 2: Increase number of individuals served.

PRIORITY 2.1: Minority Service Rate— By the end of FFY2011, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 2.1, as follows: The ratio of customers from the minority population exiting after receiving services under an IPE to all customers from the minority population exiting will exceed 80% of the same ratio calculated for customers from the non-minority population. Current (FFY2011) performance level is 30.13%.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Not later than 12/1/10, an on-line reference guide to understanding the culture of and working effectively with customers from the five major cultures represented in Minnesota will be available for all WDU staff. Staff orientation to this resource will be completed by 2/28/11

STATUS: The resource was made available in March 2011, and the staff orientation was completed.

2. In conjunction with the Minority Committee of the SRC-B, the SSB marketing and outreach coordinator will develop a list of relevant community based organizations to contact to obtain information on how best to outreach to that specific minority community. This list will be developed by December 1, 2010. The SSB marketing and outreach coordinator will meet with the targeted community based organizations not later than May 1, 2011 and provide a report of the results of these meetings to the Minority Committee of the SRC-B at their May 2011 meeting. By September 30, 2011, the SSB marketing and outreach coordinator, in conjunction with the Minority Committee of the SRC-B will develop a plan for implementing specific marketing and outreach activities based on the information learned from the initial contact with the community based organizations.

STATUS: The first two provisions of this strategy were met. The development of the marketing plan will be completed by 2012.

3. SSB will work with the most frequently used foreign language interpreter services to develop a venue for exchanging information with foreign language interpreters regarding the appropriate use of interpreters during meetings and during training activities. SSB will determine the most frequently used foreign language interpreter services by January 30, 2011. SSB will schedule the meetings not later than March 1, 2011 and complete them by July 1, 2011. Information from the meetings will be compiled and presented to WDU staff at their July 2011 staff meeting.

STATUS: All aspects of this strategy were completed except for the presentation at the July 2011 staff meeting due to a State shutdown. The presentation was made in October 2011.

4. In conjunction with the Minority Committee of the SRC-B, SSB will develop a plan for providing information to CRPs, vendors and Adult Basic Education programs on innovative approaches to effectively serving non-English speaking SSB customers by September 30, 2011.

STATUS: This strategy was not completed but will be done by September 2012.

5. Data on the employment outcomes of customers from minority backgrounds who participated in an internship, job trial or on-the-job training experience between June 2010 and June 2011 will be analyzed to determine the effectiveness of these employment strategies. Based on the results of the data analysis, relevant procedures will be developed by July 31, 2011 and implemented by August 31, 2011.

STATUS: This strategy was completed. A survey of counselors determined that although some were considered for these experiences, there were no individuals from minority backgrounds who participated in an internship, job trial or on-the-job training experience between June 2010 and June 2011.

PRIORITY 2.2: DeafBlind Outreach and Service—Enhance services for persons who have a dual sensory loss, including persons who are Deafblind. During FFY2011 at least 3 individuals with a dual sensory loss will secure employment as a result of SSB services.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue training opportunities for new staff on understanding Deafblindness and competency in serving SSB customers who are Deafblind.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met.

2. In conjunction with the Deafblind Committee of the SRC-B, utilize the information from the FY2010 needs assessment to identify at least one service delivery need by December 31, 2010. In conjunction with the Deafblind Committee, develop and implement an Action Plan to address this service delivery need by March 2011.

STATUS: Improved communication was identified as a service delivery need. As of the end of this fiscal year, the action plan was in the process of being developed.

3. To increase and improve communication between Deafblind customers and SSB, the Deafblind Committee of the SRC-B, in cooperation with SSB, will continue to review standard written communications at least once per year to determine their effectiveness with ASL users. Additional materials will be developed as determined by the Deafblind Committee.

STATUS: This strategy was met and is ongoing. There will be a revision of "Customers and Informed Choice" document in FFY 2012.

4. Based on information from the FY2010 needs assessment, SSB will provide information to Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of the Department of Human Services about potential collaborative efforts not later than December 31, 2010. SSB will request information from these agencies by June 30, 2011 on their ability to work collaboratively with SSB on identified needs. For all agreed upon collaborative efforts, an action plan will be developed by SSB and the collaborating agency by September 30, 2011. SSB will update the Deafblind Committee of the SRC-B at each of the milestones indicated above.

STATUS: SSB provided information to the relevant agencies as indicated in the strategy. The agencies did not express interest. One possible additional strategy for increasing SSB’s collaboration with other agencies on this issue is to include members from The Commission on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and from the Department of Education on the DeafBlind committee of the SRC-B.

PRIORITY 2.3: Increase the percentage of students who apply at ages 14 and 15 from the baseline of 39% of all applicants between the ages of 14-22 in FFY2009 to 45% of all applicants between the ages of 14-22 in FFY2011.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. Continue working statewide with Special Education teachers, teachers of the blind, visually impaired, or Deafblind and other IEP team members in designated school districts to facilitate regular information meetings with SSB counselors.

STATUS: This strategy continues to be met. The recent revitalization of the Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) committee of the Resource Center will further facilitate these efforts.

2. Conduct an SSB Information Fair and open house twice a year for families, students, and teachers. Fairs to include presentations about SSB programs, informed choice, one-on-one time with counselors and Communication Center staff and general question and answer session.

STATUS: This activity continues to be scheduled but has not been successful due to lack of attendance. SSB is evaluating the effectiveness and purpose of conducting the information fair and expects to have the evaluation completed by December 2012.

3. By June 30, 2011, implement a method for documenting enrichment activities provided to students between the ages of 14-22 in all areas of adjustment to blindness training as part of an employment plan. By September 30, 2011, implement a method of measuring the outcome of these enrichment activities to use as a marketing tool at SSB Information Fairs and with teachers of the blind and visually impaired.

STATUS: A measurement method has been developed, and the data entry will be implemented in FFY2012.

4. In conjunction with the Transition Committee of the SRC-B, develop a plan to assist eligible students of transition age to obtain at least one paid work experience prior to graduation. This plan will include procedures for collaborating with the IEP team and a method for measuring the effectiveness of the work experience in assisting these students to become successfully employed. The plan will be developed not later than 12/31/10.

STATUS: This strategy is in process, to be completed in FFY2012.

 

Progress in Achieving Identified Supported Employment Program Goals

A very high percentage of SSB customers are individuals with a significant disability. However, on average, only 20.93% have met SSB’s criteria as an individual with the most significant disability during the FFY’s 2009-2011. The number of customers in supported employment plans in federal fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011, were 16, 15 and 17 respectively.

SSB’s goal for supported employment outcomes for FFY 2011 was to assist 4 SSB customers to secure competitive employment with supports following the provision of supported employment services using Title VI Part B funds. One customer with a supported employment plan achieved employment in FFY 2012. The goal for supported employment outcomes for FFY 2012 remains the same at 4 SSB customers.

 

SSB Performance on Federal Standards and Indicators

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has established standards and indicators for measuring vocational rehabilitation program performance in the United States. Standard 1 pertains to employment outcomes and Standard 2 pertains to the service rate between minority and nonminority populations. RSA requires that each agency pass 4 of the 6 indicators and 2 of 3 Primary Indicators on Standard 1. In FFY2011, SSB met 5 of 6 Indicators and all three Primary Indicators in Standard 1. SSB has a long history of consistently meeting the three primary indicators. Indicator 2.1 was not calculated, as fewer than 100 persons from minority backgrounds exited the program during the fiscal year.

Standard 1

1.1 The number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exit the VR program after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period.

Required Performance Level: Performance in the current period must equal or exceed performance in the previous period. In FFY2011 SSB assisted three more individuals to obtain employment than in FFY2010

1.2 Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage who are determined to have achieved an employment outcome.

Required Performance Level: The required performance level is 68.9%. In FFY2011, SSB fell short of this measure, achieving 59.19%.

1.3 Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentage who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or business enterprise program (BEP) employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage.

Required Performance Level: SSB exceeded the required performance level of 35.4% by achieving a level of 94.41%.

1.4 Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are individuals with significant disabilities.

Required Performance Level: SSB achieved a performance level of 97.52%, exceeding the requirement of 89.0%.

1.5 The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to the State’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the State who are employed (as derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, “State Average Annual Pay” for the most recent available year).

Required Performance Level: SSB surpassed the required performance level of .59 by achieving a level of .74.

1.6 Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services.

Required Performance Level: SSB achieved a level of 33.59%, exceeding the requirement of 30.4%.

Standard 2

2.1 The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from non-minority backgrounds.

Required Performance Level: This ratio is not calculated if fewer than 100 persons from minority backgrounds exit the program during the fiscal year. The number of minorities exiting SSB unsuccessfully after plan development has decreased since FFY2009 with 48 closures in that year, 39 in 2010 and 31 in 2011. However, successful employment outcomes for this population has remained constant since 2009 with 11, 11 and 10 closures during the past three fiscal years.

 

INNOVATION AND EXPANSION

SSB used Title I funds for innovation and expansion in support of the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) meetings, for meetings of Council committees and task forces, and in support of member travel to national rehabilitation meetings. The SRC-B actual expenditures for FFY2011 were $54,035.

SSB resources for support of the Statewide Independent Living Council come from Title VII rather than Title I funds. SSB will continue to use Title I funds for innovation and expansion in support of the SRC-B’s resource plan of $33,100 for FFY2012.

This screen was last updated on Jun 22 2012 12:46PM by Jennifer Beilke

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

Attachment 6.3: Quality, Scope, Extent of Supported Employment for Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities

Supported employment services promoting the integration of people with the most severe disabilities into employment in Minnesota have become increasingly available. The scope and quality of supported employment services have improved as more entities become aware of the benefits of ongoing employment supports for individuals with the most significant disabilities. However, the demand for supported employment exceeds the capacity of systems in Minnesota to provide the necessary extended ongoing employment supports.

In addition to the goals for Title VI Part B described in Attachment 4.11(c)(4), SSB will continue to engage in capacity building and technical assistance efforts with other state agencies and community service providers. For example, SSB is working with the Minnesota Department of Human Services regarding the need for ongoing employment supports for individuals who are DeafBlind. SSB counselors have had some success working with county social workers to obtain waiver funding for those ongoing supports.

Vocational rehabilitation services provided by SSB to individuals under a supported employment plan over the last two years are described in Attachment 4.11(b). The services are similar to those provided to other customers under an IPE but how the services are provided and the supports that are needed, will vary significantly depending on the needs of the individual. When vocational rehabilitation services are completed, a customer transitions to extended services. That transition occurs when the individual achieves the goals set out in their supported employment IPE, when they reach stability on the job, and when a service provider agrees to begin providing the needed ongoing employment supports. In most cases, the transition from vocational rehabilitation services to extended services occurs within three months.

In Minnesota, the sources of ongoing support primarily include the counties, community rehabilitation programs or other private non-profit organizations.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2012 4:14PM by Jennifer Beilke

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 07/02/2012 at 3:50 PM

Last updated by samnbeilkej

Completed on 08/02/2012 at 3:12 PM

Completed by samnbeilkej

Approved on 09/25/2012 at 11:59 AM

Approved by rsavroomanl

Published on 09/25/2012 at 12:46 PM

Published by kschelle

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