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

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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Minnesota State Services for the Blind State Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 (submitted FY 2013)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

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 SignatoryRichard K. Strong

Title of SignatoryState Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/25/2013

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2014No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
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))

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

This screen was last updated on Aug 14 2013 11:14AM by Jennifer Beilke

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

Attachment 4.8(b)(1): 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

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

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

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education

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. MDE representatives indicated they are looking to move this to the fall of 9th grade.

• 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 co-facilitated 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 staffs 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.

Consistent with these efforts, SSB has designed several materials to assist counselors in carrying out their duties with transition aged youth. Myth Versus Reality is a document designed to differentiate services in high school versus after graduation. This document allows families to have the information they need to start their relationship with SSB on a foundation of accurate information. A special intake folder was also created with all the necessary supports for counselors in working with transition aged youth. A College Handbook was also updated to reflect policies/procedures and expert advice based on current college practices and updated resources.

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 FY14, specific strategies will be implemented toward the goal of increasing the number of transition students who apply for services between the ages of 14-15 include:

o Continuation of 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.

o Development of methods to evaluate the effectiveness of communication about SSB to transition students and their families.

o Working collaboratively with the Minority Outreach Committee and 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.

o Identification of a plan to engage counselors, teachers, leaders, employers, business and community resources to focus on student employment during high school so that every student will have at least one employment interaction that consists of a job shadow, informational interview, employment interview, or mentoring session.

o Exploration and recommendations on engaging SSB student customers in a “Think Tank” committee of their own and encouraging them to join existing committees of the State Rehabilitation Council-Blind.

• SSB is actively involved in one unique summer program focused on transition.. 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. The agency also offers meeting space and presentations to the National Association of Parents of Visually Impaired Children in Minnesota (MN NAPVI) to address concerns about their children’s future and offer Communication Department Services.

• SSB has developed an event called “SSB 101, Life After High School” that is held twice per year. An offshoot of that event is a special project underway in developing a movie “SSB 101, Life After High School” which will outreach to Minnesota students unable to attend the SSB hosted event in person.

• Two future options in the planning stages are creation of an “Independence Forum” of students whose purpose is to promote independence among their peers with group sessions led by Forum leaders and information panels for families to attend. Secondly, a Mentor Program is being designed to engage working adults in a meaningful experience with students.

• A Bi-annual newsletter is sent to transition students and their families. This is an effort to provide information, build rapport and support families as they struggle with common questions such as “my child is not the least bit independent, how can I send them to college?”

• 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 May 7 2013 10:24AM by Jennifer Beilke

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

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

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

State Services for the Blind (SSB) currently has master contracts (rather than cooperative agreements) with three full-time Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) which focus on blindness and also provide other services to blind and visually impaired customers. SSB discusses programs, services, and rates during the development of the master contracts. SSB staff also answers questions and discusses any issues with each CRP as necessary. The director of SSB approves all service costs charged by these CRPs after review by staff internal to SSB.

With the implementation of the new State of Minnesota accounting system in 2011, Statewide Integrated Financial Tools (SWIFT), SSB completed a migration in the structure of our relationship with CRP’s from operating agreements to state contracts in the fall of 2012. This was a seamless transition with no impact on customers served.

Additionally, SSB has been in the process of developing a comprehensive vendor monitoring system that will utilize the Microsoft Office product, SharePoint, for the overall management of this process. Steps completed include development of the following items.

1. Monitoring protocol

2. Guidelines for monitors

3. Form and templates

4. Monitoring visit review schedule

A pilot review will be conducted in the summer of 2013 with a “go live” date for full implementation on 9/1/2013. Reviews will be conducted on a three year cycle and each of the CRPs will be reviewed on a separate year within the cycle.

This screen was last updated on May 7 2013 10:27AM by Jennifer Beilke

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

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

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

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 master contracts versus operating agreements with the general rehabilitation Designated State Unit, Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) or with SSB. Due to the changes in Minnesota’s new accounting system, the operating agreements shifted to master contracts in October of 2012. With this shift, there were additional requirements for each vendor which included maintenance of liability insurance. As a result of this requirement, several vendors chose to no longer do business with SSB. New vendors have subsequently replaced those individuals, maintaining a high degree of choice and availability of services for customers.

Services to all supported employment program customers have and will continue to be provided under fee-for-service contracts with CRPs. SSB’s relationship with these CRPs is governed by master contracts with either SSB or VRS for the specific services required. The master contracts 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 May 7 2013 10:39AM by Jennifer Beilke

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

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 successful 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 (WDU), the VR field unit, employs 48 permanent staff positions (excluding those assigned to the Randolph-Sheppard Program). Seventeen positions are currently earmarked for qualified VR counselors. During FFY2012 the ratio of qualified VR counselors (17) to individuals served (1064) is 1 to 62.5. The ratio of qualified VR counselors to individuals served during FFY13 and into FFY14 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 WDU program, the current number of people filling those positions, and the projection for new staff needed over the next five years.

Personnel Category Current Staff Projected New Staff Needed Over Next Five Years

State Director 1 1

Field Operations Director 1 0

Field Operations Supervisor IV 3 1

Field Operations Supervisor II 0 0

Qualified VR Counselor 17 5

Lead VR Counselor 1 1

Placement staff 3 0

Psychologist 1 0

Assistive Technology Specialist 5 1

Assistive Technology Support 1 0

VR Technician 10 3

Support Staff 5 2

Admin. Services Unit Director 1 0

Central Office Admin. Staff 7 2

Temporary Support Staff 0 0

56 16

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

SSB continues to project that staff turnover, rather than program expansion, will drive any shifts in staffing. An aging workforce is a factor in the estimated 16 positions turning over in the next five years. With SSB’s focus on individuals pursuing competitive employment outcomes in integrated settings, it is essential to increase the emphasis on work with employers. A major recruitment strategy for incoming rehabilitation counselors is adding focus on keenness and quickness in understanding the business world to result in good outcomes for customers. This includes knowledge and/or experience in the business world including retail or service industry in past work experiences. Business Intelligence is believed to correlate to better employment outcomes and leads to an understanding of building effective relationships with employers.

 

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 0
3 Field Operations SupervisoriV 3 0 0
4 Field Operations Supervisor II 0 0 0
5 Qualified VR Counselor 17 0 5
6 Lead VR Counselor 1 0 1
7 Placement Staff 3 0 0
8 Psychologist 1 0 0
9 Assistive Technology Specialist 5 0 1
10 Assistive Techology Support 1 0 0

 

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 16 students. There are four students on track to graduate in Spring 2013 and 4 more in December of 2013.

The Director at SCSU reports 12 students graduating by December of 2013. They have 26 students currently enrolled.

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 2013, 16 on campus and11 online. For this current academic year, Stout has 70 students enrolled in the rehabilitation counseling program. Twenty four of those students are on campus and 46 are online.

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 Supervisor of WDU 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 WDU provides feedback to the counseling program staff regarding the skill needs of VR counselors at SSB.

The Workforce Development Unit has an ongoing relationship with the University of Wisconsin at Stout faculty who have been instrumental in developing counseling and business intelligence training for counselors in carrying out their work. As a result, faculty has been on-site at SSB meeting with old students, conferring about issues with students entering the field and engaging in good discussions about what is needed to make an effective rehabilitation counselor. 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 MN State University at Mankato 16 0 0 0
2 St. Cloud State University 26 0 0 0
3 University of Wisconsin at Stout 70 0 0 0
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 influenced 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. In the fall of 2012, SSB commissioned a group from the Management Analysis Division of the State of Minnesota to conduct a staffing analysis related to the Vocational Rehabilitation Technician (VRT) support position within the Workforce Development Unit. This was in response to a change within the statewide accounting system which resulted in a shift of technician time from support of the counselor to processing financial transactions. A report was issued in December of 2012 outlining a number of recommendations including implementing a ratio of one VRT for every two counselors and revamping position descriptions to better reflect current duties. The Workforce Development Unit has subsequently revamped position descriptions and hired three additional staff to assist with processing the purchasing and financial transactions associated with casework, freeing up counselors to complete the essential rehabilitation counseling functions of the position.

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 year, SSB is hosting one student intern.

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 seven 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 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.

 

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.

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 grant plan was amended in February of 2013 and repurposed some of the funding with a focus on “Back to Basics”- working on basic counseling skills, case recording and business intelligence.

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. SSB staff has made significant strides in developing relationships with individuals from the minority communities to assist with gaining an understanding of possible training needs that should be incorporated into the curriculum so vocational rehabilitation staff can best serve these populations. This has included outreach with the Hmong American Partnership and the American Indian Groups.

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 Workforce Investment Act (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.

SSB has developed a series of training offerings for rehabilitation counseling staff with an instructor from STOUT University which will be offered starting in June of 2013 through June of 2014. The plan starts with:

• Enhancing the Intake Interview

• Strategies for Effective Case Management

• Assessment of Needs versus Wants

• Practical Applications of Counseling Techniques

• Plan Development

• Resume Writing

• Soft skills Development.

SSB staff has also developed a Case Recording Module which will be presented to staff in June of 2013. The module is intended to be a springboard for other documentation activities which will occur throughout the year, reinforcing the importance of documentation as an essential function to good case management which should result in better outcomes for customers.

 

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. In March of 2013, SSB launched a fully accessible training portal on the agency Intraweb site that has links to training through the various Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) groups, training materials developed by DEED, Microsoft training, and other agency developed training. Staff is able to access this resource and select training options at their own pace. This is especially important for counselors as many of the training options deals with specific population characteristics that are not dealt with on a consistent basis. For example, several courses exist regarding Autism and employment. In the event a counselor has a new customer with that particular characteristic, they can take the training to help them gain a deeper understanding and perform their job more effectively. 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.

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.

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 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.

 

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 May 13 2013 10:08AM by Jennifer Beilke

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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

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

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

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

2012 NEEDS ASSESSMENT UPDATED FINDINGS

The Needs Assessment Process Framework developed by the SRC-B’s Needs Assessment Task Force in 2006 provided the foundation for completing SSB’s 2012 triennial comprehensive statewide assessment of the rehabilitation needs of Minnesotans who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind. Multiple inputs to this assessment have been conducted by the SRC-B and SSB over the past three years while developing and implementing the Goals, Priorities and Strategies. While this report is based primarily on the Comprehensive Needs Assessment submitted to the SRC-B in April, 2012, we have added additional statistical information when available.

Multiple and varied outreach and marketing activities have occurred during this period to transition students, their parents and potential stakeholders in the Senior Services Unit, Communication Center and Workforce Development Unit.

A review of closed cases by SSB management 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 caseload size after there had been no activity with the customer for a time. Use of this interrupted status was reinstituted in approximately 2008 to accurately reflect the fact that some customers were temporarily unable to proceed towards the accomplishment of their rehabilitation goals for disability related reasons. Since that time, the number of unsuccessful closures has decreased and SSB’s rehabilitation rate has increased.

An estimation of the incidence of blindness in Minnesota by using multiple sources revealed that approximately 1% of the population is blind. The importance of efforts by the SRC-B and SSB to anticipate the significant growth in this population and its unique needs, due to the growth in minority populations, is confirmed. The National Eye Institute projects the number of blind persons in the United States to increase by 58% to 1.6 million in year 2020. This highlights the importance of developing and instituting innovative service delivery practices. Likewise, increases between 2000 and 2010 of Blacks, American Indians, Asians and the Hispanic population increased by 59.8%, 10.8%, 50.9% and 74.5% respectively. In addition, Minnesota’s Hmong population in 2009 was 54,524, slightly less than Minnesota’s American Indian population of 58,333.

The results of the Minnesota State Survey suggests that nearly a quarter million Minnesotans are unable to read regular size print even when they are wearing corrective lenses. Again, trends such as these must be anticipated considering the incidence of visual impairment among seniors and the substantial increase in this population.

The number of Minnesotans served by SSB’s Workforce Development Unit has remained remarkably consistent over the past four years illustrated by the fact that in 2008, 1015 customers were served and in 2011, 1017.

Highlights for the Workforce Development Unit included:

• the number of successful employment outcomes has remained consistent: 78, 80 and 81 in FFY’s 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. In FFY2012-81 successful employment outcomes

• 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. In FFY2012-64.

• 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. In FFY2012- the weekly was $383.46.

• 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. In FFY2012-the average weekly wage was $15.19.

• the average weekly wage at closure for part-time work also increased significantly from $13.85 to $15.04, an 8% increase. In FFY2012-the average weekly wage was $12.47.

It is of interest to note the significant difference in service provision between all customers of the WDU and customers from minority backgrounds. From 2009 to 2010, the provision of post-secondary training ranked second for all customers and adjustment to blindness training remained number one. However, in 2011, there was a marked change in the provision of post-secondary training, as it ranked second and third for all customers and minority customers respectively. In 2012, post-secondary training remained as the 2 ranking for all customers and 3 for minority customers. Job Placement service provision is ranked second for minority customers for 2012.

The three year average expenditure for minorities was $7,383.01, 37% higher than for all customers and those with the most significant disabilities, yet 27% lower than for customers who are DeafBlind. Expenditures were made for 109, 106 and 104 minority customers during FFY2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively, comprising just over 10% of all expenditures made.

Adjustment to blindness training, post-secondary training, maintenance and job placement have been among the most commonly utilized services during the past three years. A trend in expenditures consistent with customers who are DeafBlind, is the advent of internship/job trial and on-the-job training services for minorities in 2011. This is evidence that customers and counselors recognize these services as critical to job attainment.

Since 2009, job coaching, self-employment services and occupational/vocational training were services not previously utilized to a great extent for the DeafBlind. Job coaching was authorized 28 times during the past two years. This is a notable trend which may portend increased employment outcomes. Job placement was the third to fifth most commonly authorized service during the past three years. Transportation and reader/driver/notetaker/interpreter services ranked among the top four services authorized since 2009. The use of maintenance has dropped dramatically.

SSB provided services to 70 DeafBlind customers in FFY2011. These customers constituted 6.7% of all Workforce Development customers for whom services were authorized and accounted for 15% of all case services expenditures. This higher expenditure rate for this population is due, in part, to these individuals’ intensive communication needs.

A review of expenditure data for persons with significant disabilities 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.

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.

The results of the first three questions of the Minnesota WFC Customer Satisfaction Survey have been fairly consistent. The Minnesota Customer Satisfaction Index (MNSCI) uses twelve months of data and incorporates results from the first three questions of the survey. Results as of March 31 from 2009 through 2012 are 72.9, 72.3, 73.1 and 70.3. The Customer Satisfaction, Goals and Priorities (CSGP) Committee of the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) analyzes all survey questions on a quarterly basis as statistics become available. While there has been some fluctuation in results, no significant changes have taken place from year to year, although a slight dip in satisfaction seemed to be evident during the period of the state government shutdown in July of 2011.

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 overall 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.

In response to SSB’s need to increase and strengthen services provided to persons with dual sensory loss, SSB and the SRC-B have made multiple efforts:

1. formation of a SRC-B DeafBlind Committee

2. focused outreach to the deaf blind community

3. in-service training to increase staff competencies and knowledge related to DeafBlindness

4. developed a “best practices” guide for counselors

5. continue to administer needs assessments and customer satisfaction surveys to each and SSB

customer with a dual sensory loss

6. SRC- DeafBlind Committee analyzes the results

7. goals priorities and strategies have been developed to meet service gaps

8. developed and disseminated documents explaining VR services in American Sign Language and simplified English, a specific task addressed by the DeafBlind committee

9. two counselors have been hired, one most recently in 2011 who is deaf and committed to serving the deaf blind population

10. modified vocational assessment instruments and activities for use with DeafBlind customers

SSB continues to enjoy a positive working relationship with the community rehabilitation programs for the blind in Minnesota. This rapport allows dialogue to occur regarding the continuous improvement of quality services provided relative to adjustment to blindness training. SSB worked with the CRP’s and personal service operators in FFY2012 to solicit input on the new master contract, monitoring protocol and rate-setting methodology which was implemented this past year.

At the February 23, 2012 meeting of the Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council--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. There are currently 9 independent Rehabilitation Teachers and an additional 2 in the process of becoming vendors. This is in additional to the 3 adjustment to blindness training centers and vendors training solely in orientation and mobility.

During the past three years, the goals and priorities developed jointly by SSB and the SRC-B have been reorganized to concentrate on two major areas, improving employment outcomes and increasing the effectiveness of services to persons who are classified as deaf blind, of transition age, and to minority groups. Increasing counselor training, refining processes to identify customers ready for employment, and improving communications between SSB and its customers are important strategies in meeting these goals. Goals and priorities are approved each year by the SRC-B and are published, along with results from the previous year, in the state plan. For example, The goals, priorities and strategies for last year were included in Attachments 4.11(c)(1) and 4.11(d) of SSB’s 2012 State Plan. Evaluation of SSB’s progress in achieving these in FFY2011 are reported in Attachment 4.11(e)(2). These goals, priorities and strategies will continue to provide the framework for improving and expanding services to SSB customers.

There are a number of conclusions that can be drawn from the statistics included here. Some of the problems identified in the Needs Assessment of three years ago have been successfully addressed. Performance in a number of areas has either remained consistent or has improved. Recognition of the additional challenges faced by minority groups and persons who are deaf blind has resulted in the establishment of additional processes and strategies to address those challenges.

Yet, there are questions that need to be asked as we begin the needs assessment process for the next cycle. Even though our Comprehensive Assessment shows a drop in Unsuccessful Closures after a plan has been developed from 105 to 36, we found that there were 78 such outcomes during FFY 2012. What caused this increase to occur after such remarkable progress had been achieved in this area? How can the likely increase in the number of senior blind persons who need to find employment be met? With the changing demographics of Minnesota, how can potential customers be identified? Should the number of customers served not just remain consistent but be increasing? Where will the money to meet these additional needs come from? There is ample evidence that the management team of SSB is aware of these challenges, but the solution will depend on factors that are more broadly based such as state and federal funding levels. Still, it is clear that many blind people are benefiting each year from the

work Minnesota State Services for the Blind provides to, and along with its consumers.

This screen was last updated on Aug 14 2013 11:17AM by Jennifer Beilke

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

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

During FFY2012, 1,063 people applied for or were receiving vocational rehabilitation services from State Services for the Blind (SSB) using Title I, Part B funds. Of those, 875 individuals were determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation services from SSB. A total 64 individuals were closed before a plan was developed and 78 were closed after a plan was developed. There were 77 paid employment closures.

The number of customers in supported employment plans has decreased from 32 in FFY2005, 7 in FFY2010, 17 in FFY2011 and 14 in FFY2012. 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 FFY2012, 2011, 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 $93,183 for Title VI, Part B plans. SSB estimates that approximately 960 customers will apply for or receive services under Title I, Part B, at an estimated cost of $6 million in FFY2013, and 980 customers will apply for or receive services at an estimated cost of $6 million in FFY2014. SSB estimates that approximately 14 customers will be served under Title VI, Part B, at an estimated cost of $75,000 in FFY2013, and 13 customers will be served at an estimated cost of $65,000 in FFY2014.

Minnesota SSB did not operate under an order of selection during FFY2012 and does not anticipate the need to close categories during the remainder of FFY2013 or during FFY2014.

This year the array of services provided to individuals through Title VI, Part B funds was quite similar to services provided to individuals through Title I, Part B funds with the exception of internship/job trial.

Title I, Part B

SSB case service expenditures using Title I, Part B funds were very similar during FFY2011 and FFY2012 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 FFY2012:

(1) Job Readiness and Augmentative Skills Training $ 1,437,222

(2) Post Secondary Institution of Higher Education $ 1,054,325

(3) Placement $ 963,206

(4) Assessment $ 849,328

(5) All other $ 838,258

(7) Rehabilitation Technology Services $ 388,485

(8) Diagnosis & Treatment of Physical and Mental Impairments $ 236,552

(10) Vocational and Occupational Skills Training $ 139,727

(12) All Other Training $ 43,232

Support Services Provided/Expenditures in FFY2012:

(6) Maintenance $ 754,190

(9) Transportation $ 170,874

(11) Personal Assistance Services $ 101,960

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, FFY2011 and FFY2012. 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 twelve services provided and the number of customers who received that service in FFY2012 are:

All Other 261

Transportation 252

Rehabilitation Technology Services 200

Job readiness and Augmentative Skills Training 198

Maintenance** 194

Post-Secondary Institution of Higher Education 178

Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Impairments 165

Assessment 165

Placement 125

Vocational and Occupational Skills Training 58

Personal Assistance Services 36

All Other Training 18

*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 FFY2012 for the 14 Title VI, Part B customers were $93,183. This is a significant increase from $23,345 in FFY2011. The top three services provided to customers in supported employment plans were Job Placement ($51,013.80), Adjustment to Blindness ($29,890.00), and Job Internship/Job Trial ($21,039.28). Job Placement remained the top service from FFY2011, however the second and third services, Adjustment to Blindness and Job Internship/Job Trial represent a significant change for FFY2012. This swing is directly attributable to three individuals that are blind/visually impaired with a secondary impairment identified as cognitive impairment with service expenditures that totaled $51,604.05 for these three customers. SSB staff views this as an anomaly situation and not reflective of trends over the past five years.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Vocational Rehabilitation Title I $6,000,000 960 $6,250
Supported Employment Title VI $75,000 13 $5,769
Totals   $6,075,000 973 $6,243

This screen was last updated on Aug 14 2013 11:17AM by Jennifer Beilke

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

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

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

Attachment 4.11(c)(1) SRC-B and SSB Joint Goals and Priorities for FFY2014

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 June 6th, 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. SSB understands that there are priorities that have been completed however, the SRC-B has recommended that these priorities remain on our FFY14 list so they are not forgotten.

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 2014, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2013 and FFY 2014) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2011-FFY2012.

PRIORITY 1.2: Employment Rate— SSB’s performance on RSA Indicator 1.2 will meet or exceed 68.9% 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 FFY2014 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: 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 2014, 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 FFY2014, 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 (FFY2012) performance level is 0.7128.

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—Engage with Blind and Deafblind transition age students and their families on an annual basis to ensure that they are made aware of SSB services and given the tools to utilize services.

This screen was last updated on Aug 14 2013 11:18AM by Jennifer Beilke

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2009 11:27AM by samnccarlsonc

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

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

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

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 FFY2012, SSB provided services to 14 individuals under a plan for supported employment. The total Title VI Part B expenditures for FFY2012 were $93,183.

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, Adjustment to Blindness, and Job Internship/Job Trial. 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 FFY2014. 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 25 2013 3:50PM by Jennifer Beilke

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.11(d) Strategies to Achieve the SRC-B and SSB Joint Goals and Priorities FFY 2014

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 2014 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 June 6, 2013, 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 2014, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2013 and FFY 2014) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2011-FFY2012.

During FFY 2013 and 2014, 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 lack 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 WDU staff who regularly interact directly with customers will successfully complete 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 meet or exceed 68.9% reflecting an increase in the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. SSB will provide training to staff on the topic of Business Intelligence by December 31, 2013. Business Intelligence in the context of the WDU staff consists of understanding general concepts around how businesses operate, what things are important to their function and success, and how to be comfortable in business settings, culture, and language, as examples. Understanding would lead to the application of these concepts in working with customers and employers in achieving employment outcomes. SSB will implement and operationalize identified strategies of the Business Intelligence training and design a method to measure the success of identified strategies of Business Intelligence by September 30, 2014.

2. By December 31, 2013, the SSB internal workgroup will complete the evaluation and updates to the self-employment/entrepreneurship program.”

3. SSB will develop and implement an active strategic tool for promotion of successful outcomes for customers to include counselor training and developing expectations on case noting as part of case record documentation. A self-evaluation survey will be completed by December 31 of 2013 to measure effectiveness of the tool.

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. SSB will establish a close working relationship with a large scale employer to enrich the opportunities of job shadowing, job tryouts and internships for SSB customers by February 2014.

2. By December 31, 2014, a minimum of two customers will complete a job shadow, job tryout or internship with the established employer.

PRIORITY 1.4: Increase customer satisfaction with services provided—By the end of FFY2014 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.

3. By October 31st, 2013, SSB and the Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee will jointly review the effectiveness of the current survey methodology and determine any recommendations to be made to the Council.

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 2014, 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.

3. By October 31st, 2013, SSB and the Vendor Outcomes Committee will jointly review the effectiveness of the current survey methodology and determine any recommendations to be made to the Council.

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 FFY2014, 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 (FFY2012) performance level is 0.7128.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. During FFY2014, SSB staff will conduct at least four marketing and outreach activities to minority communities and inform SSB staff of current marketing and outreach activities to minority communities and strategies in serving these populations.

2. Guidelines to Effectively Serve Non-English Speaking SSB Customers will be completed by September 30, 2013 and posted on SSB’s external and internal website, and on the Workforce Development Unit (WDU) shared drive for use by SSB staff and the public. These Guidelines will be sent out to Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs), vendors and Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs who are teaching blind customers who have English as another language. An orientation to these Guidelines will be provided during FFY2014 at WDU and Senior Services Unit (SSU) staff meetings.

3. The SSB intraweb includes information on Cultural Diversity Best Practices completed by the Minority Outreach Committee and SSB in 2009. In order to operationalize this information, a review of this web site will be conducted for WFD and SSU at their respective staff meetings during FFY2014. Any other unit requesting a review of this information will be provided such at one of their unit staff meetings during FFY2014. In addition, all new SSB staff will be oriented to this website information during their new staff training process.

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 approved at the March 14, 2011 DeafBlind Committee Meeting between counselors and Deafblind customers 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.

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. Between October 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014, the collaborative efforts of SSB, Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of the Department of Human Services to improve statewide services to DeafBlind individuals will be reported to the DeafBlind Committee by SSB‘s representative on the Quad-Agency Team after the annual meeting of that group. As a result of the DeafBlind needs assessment administered in June 2013, strategies for additional collaborative efforts will be developed.

PRIORITY 2.3: Transition Services—Engage with Blind and Deafblind transition age students and their families on an annual basis to ensure that they are made aware of SSB services and given the tools to utilize services.

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 is in place and will continue. By March 31, 2014, the Transition Committee will identify methods to evaluate the effectiveness of communication about SSB to transition students and their families.

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, 2014.

4. By December 31, 2013, SSB will identify a plan to engage with counselors, teachers, leaders, employers, businesses and community resources to focus on student employment during high school so that every student will have at least one employment interaction by September 30th, 2014. An employment interaction consists of an in-person meeting such as a job shadow, informational interview, employment interview, mentoring session, etc.

5. By October 31, 2014, explore and make recommendations on the concept of engaging SSB student customers in a “Think Tank” committee of their own and/ or encouraging SSB student customers to join one or more of the existing committees of the Council.

 

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.

SSB engages the The Minority Outreach Committee and the Transition Committee of the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) in its outreach procedures. SSB provides a number of data sets to both committees including tracking of employment data on customers from other cultures which is reported to the Minority Committee at least once per year. The committee then provides feedback to the SRC-B after reviewing the data.

As a result of this review, both committees have worked extensively in identifying unserved and underserved populations and have developed plans for addressing this issue. These committees developed a Transition brochure which is being used extensively by the Workforce Development Unit of SSB. Counselors are providing this brochure to families and students during IEP meetings, at conferences, etc. This brochure was also discussed at a DeafBlind Committee meeting to ensure that the language was appropriate for customers where English is not their first language. The brochure is available in English, Hmong, and Spanish.

The DeafBlind Committee of the SRC-B developed the 2013 DeafBlind survey questions and protocol for administration of the survey. The survey will be administered during the summer of 2013, and the results will be shared with the committee during FFY2014. Recommendations for further action and/or collaboration with other agencies will be presented to the SRC-B during FFY2014.

SSB continued to collaborate with other state agencies serving DeafBlind people by coordinating a panel discussion that was presented at the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association (ADARA) Conference held in Minneapolis in June of 2013. This panel included staff from SSB, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of the Department of Human Services, the DeafBlind Project of the Department of Education, The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard-of-Hearing Minnesotans and the DeafBlind Committee of the SRC-B. Panel participants focused their remarks on how this unique collaboration of agencies has improved service provision for the DeafBlind Community. These agencies will continue to work together to discuss strategies and programs to promote better services for DeafBlind people in Minnesota

SSB outreach efforts to the Native American Community include regular office hours on the reservation by a counselor. This effort has establish and built a solid relationship. Additionally, SSB and VRS staff travel to both Native American VR programs in Minnesota annually to discuss opportunities to serve unserved and underserved individuals and to provide technical assistance.

SSB and the Minority Committee of the SRC-B has identified that more outreach needs to be done towards the Latino Community. It was decided that contact would be made with the Mexican Consulate in St. Paul, MN for assistance to make in-roads to the community.

 

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 2012, $1,437,222 was expended on this service which constituted approximately 21% 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 2014, SSB will meet RSA Indicator 1.1 by increasing for the two year period (FFY2013 and FFY 2014) the number of individuals achieving employment over the base period of FFY2011-FFY2012.

During FFY 2013 and 2014, 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 lack 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 WDU staff who regularly interact directly with customers will successfully complete 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 meet or exceed 68.9% reflecting an increase in the percentage of persons closed achieving employment after receiving services.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. SSB will provide training to staff on the topic of Business Intelligence by December 31, 2013. Business Intelligence in the context of the WDU staff consists of understanding general concepts around how businesses operate, what things are important to their function and success, and how to be comfortable in business settings, culture, and language, as examples. Understanding would lead to the application of these concepts in working with customers and employers in achieving employment outcomes. SSB will implement and operationalize identified strategies of the Business Intelligence training and design a method to measure the success of identified strategies of Business Intelligence by September 30, 2014.

2. By December 31, 2013, the SSB internal workgroup will complete the evaluation and updates to the self-employment/entrepreneurship program.”

3. SSB will develop and implement an active strategic tool for promotion of successful outcomes for customers to include counselor training and developing expectations on case noting as part of case record documentation. A self-evaluation survey will be completed by December 31 of 2013 to measure effectiveness of the tool.

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. SSB will establish a close working relationship with a large scale employer to enrich the opportunities of job shadowing, job tryouts and internships for SSB customers by February 2014.

2. By December 31, 2014, a minimum of two customers will complete a job shadow, job tryout or internship with the established employer.

PRIORITY 1.4: Increase customer satisfaction with services provided—By the end of FFY2014 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.

3. By October 31st, 2013, SSB and the Customer Satisfaction & Goals and Priorities Committee will jointly review the effectiveness of the current survey methodology and determine any recommendations to be made to the Council.

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 2014, 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.

3. By October 31st, 2013, SSB and the Vendor Outcomes Committee will jointly review the effectiveness of the current survey methodology and determine any recommendations to be made to the Council.

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 FFY2014, 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 (FFY2012) performance level is 0.7128.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. During FFY2014, SSB staff will conduct at least four marketing and outreach activities to minority communities and inform SSB staff of current marketing and outreach activities to minority communities and strategies in serving these populations.

2. Guidelines to Effectively Serve Non-English Speaking SSB Customers will be completed by September 30, 2013 and posted on SSB’s external and internal website, and on the Workforce Development Unit (WDU) shared drive for use by SSB staff and the public. These Guidelines will be sent out to Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs), vendors and Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs who are teaching blind customers who have English as another language. An orientation to these Guidelines will be provided during FFY2014 at WDU and Senior Services Unit (SSU) staff meetings.

3. The SSB intraweb includes information on Cultural Diversity Best Practices completed by the Minority Outreach Committee and SSB in 2009. In order to operationalize this information, a review of this web site will be conducted for WFD and SSU at their respective staff meetings during FFY2014. Any other unit requesting a review of this information will be provided such at one of their unit staff meetings during FFY2014. In addition, all new SSB staff will be oriented to this website information during their new staff training process.

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 approved at the March 14, 2011 DeafBlind Committee Meeting between counselors and Deafblind customers 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.

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. Between October 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014, the collaborative efforts of SSB, Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of the Department of Human Services to improve statewide services to DeafBlind individuals will be reported to the DeafBlind Committee by SSB‘s representative on the Quad-Agency Team after the annual meeting of that group. As a result of the DeafBlind needs assessment administered in June 2013, strategies for additional collaborative efforts will be developed.

PRIORITY 2.3: Transition Services—Engage with Blind and Deafblind transition age students and their families on an annual basis to ensure that they are made aware of SSB services and given the tools to utilize services.

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 is in place and will continue. By March 31, 2014, the Transition Committee will identify methods to evaluate the effectiveness of communication about SSB to transition students and their families.

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, 2014.

4. By December 31, 2013, SSB will identify a plan to engage with counselors, teachers, leaders, employers, businesses and community resources to focus on student employment during high school so that every student will have at least one employment interaction by September 30th, 2014. An employment interaction consists of an in-person meeting such as a job shadow, informational interview, employment interview, mentoring session, etc.

5. By October 31, 2014, explore and make recommendations on the concept of engaging SSB student customers in a “Think Tank” committee of their own and/ or encouraging SSB student customers to join one or more of the existing committees of the Council.

 

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 Aug 14 2013 11:22AM by Jennifer Beilke

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

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

Attachment 4.11(e)(2): Evaluation and 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 of2011. The goals, priorities and strategies were based on an analysis of the results of the 2011 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 FFY12 Goals and Priorities:

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

STATUS: 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 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.

STATUS

In FFY 2012, SSB met RSA Indicator 1.1.

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.

STATUS: A placement goal of 100 was established.

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.

STATUS: All WFD counselors have attended training.

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.

STATUS: All new staff have taken Phase 1 training and Phase 2 as appropriate to their position in the organization. In FFY2012, 13 WFD staff completed Phase I training and 4 WFD staff completed Phase II training.

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.

STATUS

SSB’s performance on RSA Indicator 1.2 has risen from the 2010 baseline of 50% to 59% in 2011 and 59% in 2012. The priority has been met and will be reviewed for revision to meet Indicator 1.2.

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-

All job seekers that exceed 500 days in “ready for employment” status have a team review of that person’s situation to take a fresh look and develop new strategies and a job placement plan with the intent of breaking through that status to a successful outcome.

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.

STATUS

SSB is continuing development of this program and expect to complete development of this program by October 1, 2013.

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.

STATUS

Data collection is incomplete and will be completed by 6/30/13.

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.

STATUS

After further review, SSB has decided this strategy does not meet the needs of achieving this priority.

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 2012, the overall annual satisfaction with services provided was 87%. SSB met 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 is completed on an ongoing basis.

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 is completed on an ongoing basis.

3. Based on the analysis of the Customer Satisfaction Survey comments about effective communication between the counselor and customer, by October 1, 2011, SSB will develop a training protocol with the goal of increased effectiveness of communication between counselor and customer. This protocol will be implemented not later than November 1, 2011.

STATUS

This was completed for the time period identified.

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 FFY2012, 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.

STATUS

During FFY2012, 100% of SSB customers attending ATB half time or greater indicated 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 FFY2012, 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

In FFY2012, 100% of customers considering a full or part time ATB training program indicated they received the information they needed to make an informed choice.

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 FFY2012, 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

The survey has continued in FFY2012.

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

Survey data was completed and reported for October 2010 to September 2011, and April 2011 to March 2012.

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

All individual vendors providing access and assistive technology training have completed or are in process of completing software testing for vendor approval.

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

STATUS

SSB has not met this goal and continues to work towards it through priorities and strategies.

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 (FFY2010) performance level is 52.6%.

STATUS

In FFY2012, less than 100 customers from the minority population exited services from SSB. Based on some of the brainstorming and hard work of the Minority Outreach Committee, several strategies have been proposed to increase the number of minorities served by SSB. These strategies include:

• A focus on developing relationships with organizations that help immigrants settle and could provide information to these immigrants about services available to blind people. Some of the suggestions from the committee included working with other SRC-B committees to determine if members had information or ideas about collaborating with minority community organizations; reach out to other state councils and organizations who work in minority communities for connections such as the International Institute of Minnesota, Social Justice Department of Augsburg College, and the University of Minnesota Disability Cultural Center, Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), etc.

• Committee members will look in their home communities for organizations that work with immigrants and forward that information to SSB for further contact.

• Utilization of the Transition Brochure with minority communities and organizations that work with families and students to provide information on SSB’s work with transition-age students.

The strategies for meeting this priority are—

1. During FFY2012, at least one specific marketing and outreach activity will be implemented with each of the identified minority communities.

STATUS

Achieved. There have been continued meetings with American Indian tribal VR Programs, African-American community, and Hispanic Community.

2. As a result of the information presented at the July 2011 WFD staff meeting, the need for additional training or information dissemination opportunities will be determined. The results of the analysis regarding the need for additional training will be reported to the WFD and ASU Directors not later than August 31, 2011. If additional training and/or information dissemination opportunities are required, these activities will begin no later than October 31, 2011.

STATUS

Achieved – ongoing: the cultural online training is now available under the training section on the SSB home page. New staffs are encouraged to go through this training as part of their new staff orientation.

3. 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 July 1, 2012.

STATUS

Ongoing – Final draft will be presented to committee, and when committee approves this document, it will be placed on the shared drive for distribution by SSB staff as requested to CRPs, vendors and Adult Basic Education programs

4. 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 from minority backgrounds. Not later than October 31, 2012, any changes to existing procedures will be completed and implemented.

STATUS

Data collection is incomplete and will be completed by 6/30/13.

PRIORITY 2.2: Deafblind Outreach and Service—Enhance services for persons who have a dual sensory loss, including persons who are Deafblind. During FFY2012 at least _2_ individuals with a dual sensory loss will secure employment as a result of SSB services.

STATUS

There were 3 DeafBlind individuals who were closed successfully employed in FFY 2012. SSB met this priority.

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.

STATUS

This orientation on the DeafBlind Procedures Manual continues to be part of new WFD staff orientation. Achieved and ongoing

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.

STATUS

Ongoing (the committee did decide to focus on effective communication and to not deal with increasing the number of DB competitively employed until the communication issues have been addressed). During the summer of 2013, the DB survey will be administered and the analysis of the results will help the committee determine how SSB is progressing in effective communication. Questions for the survey were approved by the DB Committee at their April meeting.

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

Achieved and ongoing: during 2012, the committee revised the “Customers and Informed Choice” document into simplified English.

4. Between October 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013, the collaborative efforts of SSB, Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of the Department of Human Services to improve statewide services to Deafblind individuals will be reported to the Deafblind Committee by SSB’s representative on the Quad-Agency Team after the annual meeting of that group. As a result of the Deafblind needs assessment administered in June 2013, strategies for additional collaborative efforts will be developed, incorporated in the Goals, Priorities and strategies for FFY2014 and communicated to the Quad-Agency Team.

STATUS

Achieved and ongoing: the important collaborative activity this year will be the ADARA Conference panel presentation by the state agencies working with DB customers as to how collaboration between the agencies improves services to DB Minnesotans. This panel includes a representative from the SSB DB Committee. Results of the 2013 DB survey will be shared with all agencies serving DB people to assure that strategies for additional collaborative activities can be developed.

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

SSB continues to collaborate with Special Education teachers, teachers of the blind, visually impaired, or Deafblind and other IEP team members.

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.

STATUS

SSB met this strategy. The Information Fairs, SSB 101, were provided twice in 2011 and 2012. They were evaluated to be an effective event for families.

Additionally, a bi-annual newsletter to families was developed and was mailed in January of 2013 and will have a new edition mailed June 2013.

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.

STATUS

SSB continues to monitor enrichment activities.

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.

STATUS

SSB conducted evaluations of the contents and usefulness of the Transition Timeline with SSB staff, families, students and IPE team members. It was deemed helpful and did not have revisions made.

 

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 and 19% in FFY2012. The number of customers in supported employment plans in federal fiscal years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 were 16, 15, 17 and 14 respectively.

SSB’s goal for supported employment outcomes for FFY 2012 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. Two customers with a supported employment plan achieved employment in FFY 2013. The goal for supported employment outcomes for FFY 2014 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 FFY2012, 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 FFY2012 SSB assisted 1 more individual to obtain employment than in FFY2011.

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 FFY2012, SSB fell short of this measure, achieving 58.70%.

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 96.91%.

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 98.15%, 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 .67.

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 40.13%, 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, 31 in 2011 and then increased to 38 in FFY2012. Successful employment outcomes for this population has remained constant since 2009 with 11, 11, 10 and 9 in FFY2012.

 

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 the Council committees and task forces, and in support of member travel to national rehabilitation meetings. The SRC-B actual expenditures for FFY2012 were $29,749.

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 FFY 2013.

This screen was last updated on Aug 14 2013 11:31AM by Jennifer Beilke

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

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

Attachment 6.3: Quality, Scope, 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

System Information

System information

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on:08/14/2013 11:33 AM

Last updated by:samnbeilkej

Completed on: 08/14/2013 11:33 AM

Completed by: samnbeilkej

Approved on: 08/29/2013 8:54 AM

Approved by: rsavroomanl