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

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

1.1 The MDRS 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 MDRS [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

Executive Director (MDRS)

... 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

Executive Director

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
H. S. McMillan

Title of Signatory
Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/19/2012

Assurances Certified By

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

Comments:

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
H. S. McMillan

Title of Signatory
Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/19/2012

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

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

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) The designated state unit is able to provide the full range of services listed in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the state who apply for services. No

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c)

Summary of Input and Recommendation of the State Rehabilitation Council; Response of the Designated State Unit, And Explanation for Rejection of Input or Recommendations

The following comments were provided by the Mississippi State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) concerning the 2013 State Plan. At the suggestion of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, items were included from the minutes of recent council meetings, specifically input into the questionnaires that were distributed following presentations on agency policy.

SRC Recommendation: Give option of paper survey and have data entered for those without internet (for upcoming needs assessment).

Agency Response: This recommendation was utilized at Goodwill Industries of Jackson for the 2011 Comprehensive Needs Assessment Survey and it worked well.

SRC Recommendation: Consumer Satisfaction Quarterly Report presented on 8/12 SRC indicates success as judged by consumers. I would suggest sharing report with all staff.

Agency Response: A copy of the Consumer Satisfaction Report is shared with Regional Managers/District Managers to share with their staff.

SRC Question: There is a need for some entity to take the lead in developing a roster of available personal care attendants and share on a website.

Agency Response: MDRS maintains an internal list of personal care attendants paid with MDRS funds to attend to the needs of consumers of MDRS services. In accordance with state law, these individuals have been fingerprinted and received criminal background checks including a current criminal history record check, child abuse registry check, sex offender registry check, and vulnerable adult abuse or neglect check. MDRS has not undertaken the task of developing this information for inclusion on a public website due to the liability involved and also the cost of operation. MDRS is not aware of another public or private agency who has undertaken this task.

As the 2013 State Plan was being developed, members of the SRC were contacted and asked to assist MDRS staff members in developing any attachment of interest to them or to provide input into any changes they would suggest for the 2013 State Plan.

The members of the SRC were provided notice that the attachments were linked on the MDRS website and each member was emailed copies of every attachment. Additionally, each member of the Council was sent an electronic questionnaire regarding any feedback or comments that they would like to offer.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 3:18PM by Suzanne Mitchell

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

Attachment 4.7(b)(3)

Request for Waiver of Statewideness

Section 101(a)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act requires that the Title I plan be in effect in all political subdivisions of the state. The following is a summary of two programs for which a waiver of statewideness is being requested.

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) operates and will continue to operate a statewide transition program. The waiver of statewideness allows for a specialized enhancement to the transition program. MDRS sponsors a jointly funded program with Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) through the local school districts and the local MDRS offices, which implements the position of a Transition Specialist in the school. This position is provided under an interagency agreement which provides for a 50% funding from each agency for the position to provide needed transition services that will expand the scope of the Transition Program for both the school district and the VR transition program. The local public agency (MDE school districts) has assured MDRS that it will make available to the designated state unit the non-Federal share of funds.

The following 11 school districts currently have interagency agreements with MDRS for the jointly funded Transition Specialist:

Canton Public School District

Hancock County School District

Hattiesburg Public School District

Jackson County School District

Jones County School District

Lauderdale County School District

Laurel School District

Madison County School District

Ocean Springs School District

Quitman County School District

Wayne County School District

MDRS may enter into new agreements with additional school districts during Federal Fiscal Year 2013.

MDRS reimburses the school district for one-half the cost of salary, fringe, travel, staff development and other possible items that are necessary to achieve the goals of this agreement. All expenditures are made by the school district with 100% non-federal monies, and are certified by the district when MDRS is invoiced for reimbursement by the school district.

Services provided by the Transition Specialist depend on individual student needs and as appropriate to each student. These services may include but are not limited to the following:

• Gathering formal/informal assessment information

• Conducting analysis of work sites and assignments for appropriate job match

• Assessing transportation needs

• Matching student’s strengths and abilities to specific job duties

• Identifying natural supports in the work environment

• Assisting with preparation of transition portfolios

MDRS approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect and all state plan requirements will apply to all services approved under the waiver of statewideness. The Transition Specialist will coordinate all activities with, and provide monthly reports to, the MDRS vocational rehabilitation counselor and school personnel. MDRS manages the program by coordinating programmatic activities of the Transition Specialist and is in charge of providing program and administrative oversight.

Individuals seeking assistance from the Transition Specialist must be deemed eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. The Transition Specialist must adhere to all State Plan requirements prior to providing services to participants.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 1:48PM by Cindy Goodin

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)

Cooperation with Agencies That Are Not in the Statewide Workforce System and with Other Entities

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) has the following types of interagency cooperation and agreements with agencies and programs that are not carrying out activities through the statewide workforce investment system. The number of agencies and programs are included with each type.

Agreement for Transition Specialist:

Number of agencies or programs: 11

Description: Provides for the implementation of a Transition Specialist in the school district to provide transition services to individual students as appropriate for each student.

Agreement of Cooperation for Transition Services:

Number of agencies or programs: 150

Description: District level vocational rehabilitation (VR) offices and local education districts work together in maintaining local agreements between each VR district office and the local school districts as to how to carry out transition services. These agreements have no specified financial agreement other than the implied cost for serving students with disabilities.

Alcohol and Drug Treatment:

Number of agencies or programs: 20

Description: The agency has written agreements (contracts) with agencies (both private and public, mental health affiliated programs) to assist with the cost of residential secondary treatment for VR consumers whose functional limitations due to alcohol and/or drug problems are severe enough to constitute a substantial impediment to employment.

Community Rehabilitation Programs:

Number of agencies or programs: 4

Description: Provides for work evaluation and job readiness training for VR clients at private non-profit community rehabilitation programs.

Assistive Technology Evaluations:

Number of agencies or programs: 1

Description: Provides for evaluations pertaining to assistive technology, primarily related to seating, positioning and mobility; adaptive driving, including bioptic driving; vehicle modification; and, augmentative and alternative communication.

Staff Training:

Number of agencies or programs: 6

Description: Provides for training of MDRS staff in the areas of Human Resources, Disability Sensitivity and Etiquette, and VR/Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind (VRB) orientation and casework.

Medical Consultants:

Number of agencies or programs: 4

Description: MDRS contracts with state medical, ophthalmological, and dental professionals to provide review of applicants’ medical documentation for VR/VRB clients. In addition, local districts also have medical consultants for VR clients. The Addie McBryde Center for the Blind contracts with medical professionals to provide psychiatric evaluations and medical evaluations for VRB clients.

Contract Employees: 4

Number of agencies or programs:

Description: Contracts are with individuals to fill specified staff positions in the agency.

Building, Maintenance and Support Services:

Number of agencies or programs: 5

Description: Contracts provide for elevator maintenance, janitorial services, meals for clients, and substitute dorm supervisors at the Addie McBryde Center for the Blind.

Financial Audit Services:

Number of agencies or programs: 1

Description: Contract provides for the annual financial audit of AbilityWorks, Inc.

Impartial Hearing Officers:

Number of agencies or programs: 3

Description: Contracts with individuals who serve as impartial hearing officers for the appeals process for VR/VRB clients.

Interagency Agreements:

Number of agencies or programs: 5

Description: Agreements with the (1) Department of Education for the coordination of transition services; (2) Hinds Community College for the Deaf Services Program; (3) Department of Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council as federally mandated for advice and support; (4) Mississippi Project START (Success Through Assistive Rehabilitative Technology) for education awareness and access to Assistive Technology; and, (5) Division of Medicaid, Department of Human Services, Department of Mental Health, Department of Education, Department of Health and MS Families as Allies in accordance with Sections 43-14-1, 43-14-3, and 43-14-5 of the Mississippi Code of 1972 annotated, (as amended), which establishes an Interagency Coordinating Council for Children and Youth (ICCCY) to implement a planning process for each child service agency to utilize Federal and State funds to coordinate services for children defined as eligible for services which are to be coordinated under this act. This memorandum of agreement is entered into by and among the parties as an amendment to establish, confirm, and set forth further mutual obligations and responsibilities in developing a coordinated interagency system of care for coordinating services to children and youth.

Mediator:

Number of agencies or programs: 1

Description: Contract provides for a mediator between clients and MDRS during the appeals process.

Membership on Committees/Coalitions/Councils:

Number of agencies or programs: 15

Description: Agreement with agencies to have MDRS representation on the following: (1) MS Transportation Coalition; (2) MS Trauma Advisory Committee; (3) MS Council on Developmental Disabilities; (4) Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, The National Employment Team (The NET); (5) Region IV Employment Partners Team; (6) Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth, Inc.; (7) Bridge to Independence - Money Follows the Person; (8) State Deafblind Task Force; (9) Regional Deafblind Task Force; (10) MS Partnership in Employment; (11) Higher ED 4 All Council; (12) AFFINITY Group for Mental Health; (13) Transition Task Advisory Board; (14) Juvenile Justice Task Board; (15) Special Education Task Advisory Board

Subscriptions:

Number of agencies or programs: 1

Description: Agreement for subscription to the National Newsline from the National Federation of the Blind (NFB).

Psychological Counseling Services:

Number of agencies or programs: 1

Description: Agreement provides for counseling services to VRB clients to help them adjust to recent blindness or other life stressors.

Psychometric Review and Services:

Number of agencies or programs: 2

Description: Agreements provide for an individual to assist with psychometric testing and a psychologist to review the results and reports of VR staff psychometrists before sending to the referring counselor.

Support Services for Visually Impaired:

Number of agencies or programs: 2

Description: Agreements provide for readers and transportation for individuals who are visually impaired.

Interpreting Services:

Number of agencies or programs: 2

Description: Contracts provide for Interpreters for individuals who are deaf and for training workshops for Interpreters as well as individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing on relevant topics.

Support Services for Clients attending Mississippi State University:

Number of agencies or programs: 1

Description: Contract provides for support services for VR clients attending Mississippi State University. Examples of services provided are: note takers, reader assistance, technical assistance, and tutor services. This number represents those agreements that were initiated during FFY09.

Supported Employment Extended Services:

Number of agencies or programs: 443

Description: At the completion of a program of supported employment services, Extended Service Providers will provide extended services as necessary to assist a supported employment client in maintaining employment. At a minimum, Extended Service Providers will contact those clients twice per month. The type and degree of ongoing support services will vary on a case-by-case basis and will be continued indefinitely. Extended Service Providers will provide progress reports and any other reports pursuant to agreed upon time frames.

HIPAA MOU:

Number of agencies or programs: 1

Description: This agreement states that MDRS will ensure payments entered into the accounting system comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and that the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration (DFA), in turn, will comply with HIPAA in reporting MDRS accounting records. For example: DFA will not print social security numbers and medical information on payment records that can be viewed by the public or other agency personnel.

Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Project:

Number of agencies or programs: 1

Description: The Mississippi Partners for Informed Choice (M-PIC) within MDRS is a Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project funded by the Social Security Administration (SSA). M-PIC has a sub grant contract with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to provide WIPA services directly to Social Security disability beneficiaries living on the reservation. WIPA services, as provided to SSA disability beneficiaries between the ages of 14 and retirement age who want to work, include counseling on how earnings and other unearned income will affect SSA benefits or the associated healthcare benefits; identifying applicable and available SSA work incentives for the consumer; explaining how the Ticket to Work functions; and, providing assistance and referrals regarding any potential problems which employment may have upon other federal, state, and local benefits.

MDRS has developed a relationship with the local office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to gather information, build relationships, and develop cooperative efforts to provide services to Mississippians with a disability.

This attachment was developed after a review of the results of the Statewide Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs. Any pertinent findings from the Statewide Assessment were incorporated into this attachment. Additionally, members of the State Rehabilitation Council were involved in the development of this attachment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 1:51PM by Cindy Goodin

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

Attachment 4.8(b)(2)

Coordination with Education Officials

The Transition Program provides services to students with disabilities attending high school. The goal is to help the students achieve a seamless change from high school into the world of work, community, vocational or post-secondary education and/or other planned outcomes. The Agency administers the Transition Program as specified in Title I of the Rehabilitation Act.

In providing transition services the Agency maintains a formal Interagency Agreement with the Mississippi Department of Education. This Agreement addresses: a. 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; b transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and educational agency that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs; c. roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and d procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.

District level vocational rehabilitation offices and local education districts also work together in maintaining local agreements between each VR district office and the local school districts as to how to carry out transition services. There are more than 150 of these agreements with various high school districts resulting in over 240 high schools served. These agreements are shared with other state agencies, family members and consumer groups to ensure the seamless transition of services for students. These have no specified financial agreement other than the implied cost for serving students with disabilities.

Restructuring of the Transition Program has resulted in additional counselors handling transition-only cases. This allows for more individualized services to each student in school. Counselors work with the students, parents, school personnel and attend Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings to help identify students that may be able to benefit from transition services. Prior to planning services, the counselor uses school documentation, health records and other pertinent information as deemed appropriate for determination of eligibility for the program. The transition counselor may then work with the student, family members and others as previously described to determine the needs of each student as he/she is preparing for life after high school. This may include coordinating with another program counselor, aside from the Transition Program, that is more appropriate during this transition. The Agency’s policy is to provide for the development and approval of an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) before each student determined to be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation Services leaves the school setting.

The Transition Program plans an annual retreat for high school students with disabilities. AbilityWorks, Inc. sponsors this retreat which targets specific areas of post secondary educational training and exploring work opportunities after high school. The retreat features multiple events for the participants including team building activities, sessions on work preparedness and achieving personal goals.

The Agency continues its commitment to students with disabilities by working with various committees. The Transition Task Force meets to discuss what is needed in Transition Services with support from the Departments of Mental Health, Education and other agencies involved in providing transition services. The IEP Planning Committee works directly with the Department of Education to help ensure that high school students with disabilities are represented by the Agency as they transfer from an Individualized Education Program to an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

Transition services include, but are not limited to, job search skills, work evaluation, development of an IPE, basic money management, social skills and job readiness training along with continuous counseling and guidance. These services are performed by the VR transition counselor, collaborations with other service providers or coordinated with the education teaching professional.

The transition counselor also works together with the classroom teacher in implementing a career exploration curriculum. The counselor is prepared to teach this curriculum in conjunction with providing the classroom teacher information, technical assistance and/or curriculum materials as needed. The counselor supervises the student in this program, documents a student’s progress and shares information with the classroom teacher on a regular basis.

Outreach is provided in several different ways. VR Counselors work in conjunction with teachers in providing transition services to all students with disabilities. During this time, referrals are made by the schools and eligibility is determined for VR. There is cross-training between VR Counselors, teachers, and parents by a Transition Conference co-sponsored by MDRS and the State Department of Education. At the annual transition retreat information was provided to educate students on services available through VR and the community. The local transition agreements are reviewed annually by the VR counselor and the school district to determine if any changes need to be made.

MDRS continues to emphasize best practices in providing services to students in order to provide a seamless transition to subsequent work or other environments. This in part is achieved by continuous training of staff working with high school students with disabilities.

This attachment was developed after a review of the results of the Statewide Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs. Any pertinent findings from the Statewide Assessment were incorporated into this attachment. Additionally, members of the State Rehabilitation Council were involved in the development of this attachment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2010 3:08PM by samshudgensm

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)

Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers

MDRS develops a formal fee for service contract with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers. The contract contains all necessary clauses and each contract is approved by the Assistant Attorney General assigned to MDRS. The contracts are executed by the MDRS Executive Director and the principal of the private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service provider.

MDRS has the following contracts (agreements) with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers:

1. Warren County Association for Retarded Citizens, Inc. (dba MIDD-WEST Industries) - an agreement to provide work evaluation and job readiness training.

2. Goodwill Industries of South Mississippi - an agreement to provide work evaluation and job readiness training.

3. Goodwill Industries of Jackson - an agreement to provide work evaluation and job readiness training.

4. Mississippi Industries for the Blind (MIB) - a cooperative agreement that involves evaluation of client skill levels, work adjustment, and work experience, followed by job development and outplacement by MDRS staff.

5. Mississippi Industries for the Blind (MIB) - a summer program for providing clients with job seeking skills, assistance in preparation of job applications, provision of work experience/work adjustment training, and evaluation, with assistance of MDRS Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind staff, of client skill levels to identify marketable skills and potential outplacement.

This attachment was developed after a review of the results of the Statewide Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs. Any pertinent findings from the Statewide Assessment were incorporated into this attachment. Additionally, members of the State Rehabilitation Council were involved in the development of this attachment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2010 3:09PM by samshudgensm

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)

Evidence Of Collaboration Regarding Supported Employment Services And Extended Services

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) administers the Supported Employment (SE) Program as specified in Title VI, Part B of the Rehabilitation Act. MDRS works extensively with other state agencies, private non-profit entities, employers, family members, and consumer groups to ensure quality supported employment services are provided to all eligible individuals throughout all phases of the SE service delivery system.

MDRS maintains formal agreements with the Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (the administering authority for the state’s Workforce Investment Act one-stop system), and other public and private entities which identify areas of collaboration to ensure a comprehensive program of services to SE eligible individuals. SE staff members collaborate intensively with local mental health centers, school districts, businesses and industries, local project staff of programs funded by the Developmental Disabilities Council, one-stop centers, parents, advocacy groups, and other relevant third parties.

A large portion of the SE staff’s job duties involves liaison activities among SE clients, family members, employers, and other service providers. SE staff members regularly attend joint staffings and Person Centered Planning meetings with third party service providers to ensure that SE services are provided to clients in a consistent, appropriate, continual, and ongoing nature from the time of the initial referral to supported employment into the extended support phase. These staffings often include family members and employers as well as service providers. Person Centered Planning and the development of natural supports for individual clients are an integral part of the SE staff members’ activities.

Upon completion of the time-limited supported employment services, the ongoing job skills training assistance and other necessary long-term support is transitioned to a third party, group, or individual through a Cooperative Agreement or Extended Services Agreement. The primary provider of extended services is the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, Bureau of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through its network of local community service programs. However, an increasing number of individuals and other community organizations are accepting this role. Employers are often willing to take on this responsibility and are encouraged to do so since it is the most natural arrangement for the client.

When an individual or agency agrees to provide extended services, an Extended Services Agreement is negotiated between MDRS and that individual or agency. The Extended Services Agreement is a stand-alone agreement in which the individual or agency agrees to provide extended supports once the MDRS time-limited supported employment services are complete. MDRS does not pay for the extended services included in the agreement. The agreement describes the type and extent of needed supports, the frequency of contacts with the client, and resources for possible future referral. The agreement is signed by both parties and is maintained on file with MDRS indefinitely. MDRS currently has over 400 such agreements in effect and this number usually increases each year. Although 18 months of time-limited services is maintained as a standard, the rate of transitioning a client to extended services is dependent upon the needs of the individual, his/her family, the employer, the third-party agency, and other involved individuals. Since SE staff members and the extended service provider will have been collaborating in the provision of SE services throughout an individual’s vocational rehabilitation program, such transitions are normally smooth and do not cause job disruptions.

This attachment was developed after a review of the results of the Statewide Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs. Any pertinent findings from the Statewide Assessment were incorporated into this attachment. Additionally, members of the State Rehabilitation Council were involved in the development of this attachment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 2:12PM by Cindy Goodin

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Attachment 4.10

Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) has implemented procedures and activities within the Office of Human Resource Development (OHRD) which assure the full implementation of a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development as described in the 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act. OHRD is responsible for the agency-wide functions of personnel management, payroll, safety and risk control, performance management, benefits and compensation, employee relations, job analysis, and staff development.

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

In order to assess the need for qualified personnel, OHRD has developed and maintains a data base which includes information on the number of rehabilitation personnel providing vocational rehabilitation services, types of positions, and the ratio of the number of personnel needed by MDRS to provide vocational rehabilitation services to the number of applicants and individuals served. The projected ratio is 144 counselors, 82 counselor assistants, 8 interpreters, 6 psychometrists, 34 evaluators, 59 work adjustment instructors, and 20 instructors at the centers for the blind to 21,494 applicants and eligible individuals served. Annual projections of the five year personnel needs of MDRS have been developed based on the projected number of individuals to be served (including the percentage of severely disabled), the number of personnel expected to retire or leave MDRS, anticipated turnover rates for vocational rehabilitation professionals and paraprofessionals, and any anticipated organizational changes such as required reductions in staff numbers. The projected requirements to meet the staffing needs of MDRS customers for the next five years are 180 counselors and a 25% increase in counselor assistants. An added increase of two staff interpreters and one staff psychometrist will be needed to insure quality services are provided in a timely manner.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Counselor 144 7 36
2 Counselor Assistant 82 8 20
3 Interpreters 8 2 2
4 Psychometrists 6 0 1
5 Evaluators 34 3 8
6 Work Adjustment Instructors 59 10 15
7 Instructors at the Centers for the Blind 20 2 5
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

An annual survey of the state’s two university graduate programs in rehabilitation counseling determine the number of students enrolled, projected graduation dates, and the total number expected to complete the requirements for national certification in rehabilitation counseling. These two graduate programs accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), one at Mississippi State University and the other at Jackson State University (a Historically Black College or University) are the only graduate programs in rehabilitation counseling in Mississippi. Jackson State currently has 45 students enrolled in its program and 17 students earned a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling during the calendar year 2011. Mississippi State currently has 30 students enrolled in its Master’s Program in Rehabilitation Counseling and 9 students earned a Master’s Degree in this program in 2011.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Jackson State University 45 8 10 17
2 Mississippi State University 30 3 10 9
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

Plan for Recruitment, Preparation, and Retention of Qualified Staff

The state plan for MDRS addresses the need to recruit and retain qualified staff, including those staff with minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities. In 1997 MDRS issued policy requiring managers seeking to hire new counselors hire only those individuals who meet the qualifications for Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). Recognizing that there may be some locations in the state where qualified personnel would not be available, MDRS has not officially changed its required minimal education standard for counselors. If a manager determines that there is not a qualified rehabilitation professional available to fill a vacancy, the vacancy may be filled by an individual with lesser qualifications if the decision is approved by the Office Director of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) or the Office Director of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind (VRB) and the individual agrees in writing to participate in an approved Master’s Degree Program as soon as available through MDRS.

In 1994 MDRS began working with the Board of Trustees for the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) to establish a graduate program in Rehabilitation Counseling that would be accessible to VR staff throughout the state. Through these efforts, a program of distance education was developed cooperatively by Mississippi State University and Jackson State University. This program began at the start of the 1995 Fall Semester and ended with the conclusion of the 2004 Spring Semester. Courses were offered via a compressed video network and broadcast to sites located near the homes or work sites of participating students. Courses that required clinical experience or direct contact with the instructor were offered through intensive one to two week courses on each respective university campus. A total of 70 employees completed their degrees and/or course requirements through this program and now meet national certification standards for CRC. Currently, Mississippi State University is working to develop a hybrid online and on campus program in Rehabilitation Counseling. The estimated beginning date for this program is the start of the 2012 Fall Semester.

OHRD works closely with the graduate program in rehabilitation counseling at both Mississippi State University and Jackson State University by establishing placement opportunities for intern and practicum students and actively participating in university career development activities, including participation in Career Days and Job Fairs. Representatives from OHRD meet with the graduate students from each program annually to explain career opportunities and the state employment application process. The MDRS Training Director also serves on each program’s Advisory Council. Working with Jackson State University provides significant opportunities for recruitment of minorities, and MDRS works closely with university support services on both campuses to recruit graduates with disabilities.

 

Personnel Standards

MDRS has adopted the national certification standard of requiring, at a minimum, (1) a Master’s Degree Program in Rehabilitation Counseling or (2) a Master’s Degree in Counseling with a graduate course in the Theories and Techniques of Counseling and supervised work experience in the field of rehabilitation, which would enable an individual to be eligible to sit for the CRC exam. Currently, Mississippi has no registration or licensure requirements for Rehabilitation Counselors or Vocational Evaluators.

Of the 144 counselor caseloads, seven positions are currently vacant, 80 (or 58%) are in compliance with the national certification standard, and 57 are not in compliance with the national certification standard. Of the 58 counselors not in compliance, 23 are enrolled in a Master’s Degree Program.

Of the 34 evaluators, three positions are vacant, 11 evaluators are in compliance with the national certification standard, and 20 evaluators are not in compliance with the national certification standard. Due to limited funding and the lack of stipend funded programs for vocational evaluators, priority is given to the placement of VR counselors in a Master’s Program in Rehabilitation Counseling.

Applicants for counselor and vocational evaluator positions at MDRS who do not meet the requirements of a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) must meet the Mississippi State Personnel Board’s minimum qualification for a DRS Counselor II or DRS Evaluator II. This minimum qualification is a Master’s Degree from an accredited four-year college or university in Rehabilitation Counseling or a related field; or, a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited four-year college or university in Rehabilitation Counseling or a related field and one year of related experience. Before applicants who do not meet the CSPD requirements are hired, they are required to sign a contract stating that they will enroll in a Master’s Degree Program within one year, unless approved otherwise. MDRS counselors who need a Master’s Degree to meet the requirements of the law and regulations are required to sign a contract specifying that they will complete this program in a three-year period from the inception of coursework. Exceptions in terms of the three-year time frame are only granted due to disability-related issues and are only provided with the approval of the Office Director, either for VR or VRB. MDRS has established a deadline of September 30, 2015 by which all staff will meet the MDRS personnel standard.

Long-term strategies for the retraining of any vocational rehabilitation counselor or vocational evaluator who is not a qualified rehabilitation professional and not currently in a program are to utilize accessible Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) CSPD funded stipend programs to the extent possible. Those not funded under a stipend program as funded by RSA CSPD will be sponsored by MDRS at available distance education or web-based Masters Programs in Rehabilitation Counseling such as those available through Auburn University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Wisconsin, Southern University, and the Georgia State University Consortium. Currently, 22 employees are enrolled in these programs with another 31 new counselors pending enrollment. Employees who live within commuting distance of Jackson State University and Mississippi State University can access these universities’ campus-based programs. Currently, MDRS has three employees attending these universities’ programs. Due to the fact that the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has incorporated out-of-state tuition, MDRS is currently negotiating the completion of 16 employees through transfer to another higher learning institution.

Employees sponsored by the agency in graduate training are eligible for reimbursement of tuition, book costs, and approved educational leave. State statute requires that the employee enter a contractual agreement with MDRS for service repayment. MDRS requires three years of continued employment in return for expense reimbursement and educational leave. Additionally, MDRS has created a job classification for rehabilitation counselors which require certification as a professional rehabilitation counselor plus two years of rehabilitation counseling experience. Promotion to this highest of four counselor salary levels provides an additional incentive for personnel to obtain a Master’s Degree and to attain certification. Upon attainment of the Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or certification in rehabilitation counseling, the employee may also be eligible for an educational salary benchmark of five percent.

The current salary for vocational rehabilitation counselors in Mississippi remains below that of other southeastern states, but is now more competitive with other public and private agencies recruiting individuals with the required Master’s Degree. In State Fiscal Year 1999 MDRS was successful in its efforts to gain approval by the Mississippi State Legislature and /or the Mississippi State Personnel Board to raise the entry-level salary for counselors and evaluators in order to successfully attract qualified personnel. In January 2003, July 2006, and again in July 2007 the salaries of vocational rehabilitation counselors and vocational evaluators were also realigned. Following a survey of the southeastern average, the salaries remain lower than that of neighboring states.

The annual evaluations completed by OHRD regarding the need for additional personnel will be used as a monitoring tool to ensure planned recruitment and retraining efforts for all personnel, particularly vocational rehabilitation counselors, meet the adopted national certification standards for rehabilitation counselors and vocational evaluators.

 

Staff Development

In order to comply with the staff development provisions of the 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, MDRS has developed an ongoing training plan which provides training opportunities for all VR staff and appropriate VR support staff. The training is designed to meet the personal and career development needs of MDRS personnel, thus increasing retention among qualified personnel.

Employee training begins with a program of orientation and basic training (Core Curriculum) for professional staff. This annual training series includes vocational assessment, eligibility, development of an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), case management, job placement and job development, and assistive technology. Need-specific training is held with special emphasis on assistive technology and current research. MDRS has an assistive technology division and works closely with the T.K. Martin Center (an assistive technology center at Mississippi State University), and the state’s Assistive Technology Act Project (Project START) to provide training and technical assistance to counselors for the provision of appropriate assistive technology services. Additional training on the 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act (included in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998) is provided as part of the Core Curriculum. Annual training sessions are held on disability-specific topics, case management, eligibility, IPE development, and various types of caseloads including supported employment and transition. In addition, training sessions are held at the district level and in formal statewide training. Topics for this training include: 1) requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act; 2) Informed Choice; 3) Social Security Work Incentives Programs; 4) programs under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999; and, 5) Transition Services. Additional training on issues regarding work with minority populations is a regular part of the training curriculum, including cultural diversity.

In 2000 MDRS Senior Management began addressing Leadership Development and Succession Planning through annual Executive Leadership Development Training sessions. As a result of this training, MDRS developed a 12-month curriculum for leadership training which was instituted in 2003 as a formal leadership development pilot program to address the increasing percentage of retirement age employees and the need for knowledgeable managers and supervisors. This program, known as Leadership, Education, and Development for Rehabilitation Services (LEADRS), is to address the future loss of institutional memory and the transfer of accumulated wisdom through its development of employee management skills and technical competencies. LEADRS’ mission is, “To educate, develop, and empower current and future leaders of MDRS to sustain and enhance the Department’s holistic approach in meeting the needs of Mississippians with disabilities.” Since the inception of LEADRS, four classes have been held and a total of 88 employees have completed the program. In 2008 MDRS Executive Senior Management participated in an advanced leadership series of trainings. Due to the success of the program, it has become a vital part of the agency’s succession planning and has set the standard for future succession planning/networking efforts. In March 2011 a new class of 32 participants began the LEADRS Program with an anticipated graduation date of January 2012.

MDRS also promotes capacity building and leadership development through supervisory staff’s participation in a Basic Supervisor Course and the Certified Public Manager Program available through the Mississippi State Personnel Board, and In-service Supervisor Training available through MDRS. In addition, staff members have participated in the National Executive Leadership Program at the University of Oklahoma; the Community Rehabilitation Program Leadership Development Program and the Institute for New Supervisors through Georgia State University; the John C. Stennis State Executive Development Institute at Mississippi State University; and, the South Central Public Health Leadership Institute at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

The staff development plan is based upon the assessed needs of the staff. The Performance Development System (PDS) falls under the purview of OHRD. This system was developed by the Mississippi State Personnel Board in November 2010 to replace the previous Performance Appraisal System and is applicable to all state service employees. One objective of the management plan for OHRD is to correlate individual performance development, skill level, and training data in order to identify training needs and evaluate individual and group performance in relation to pre-service and in-service training. Also incorporated into the employee evaluation process is the employee’s Individual Development Plan (IDP), which serves as an employee training needs assessment. IDPs are developed by the employee and evaluated by the supervisor to assure that the employee receives work-related training and training in other areas that the employee and supervisor agree will benefit the employee in the performance of his or her job. The system of employee performance evaluation does not impede the accomplishment of specific mandates contained in Title I of the Rehabilitation Act. The system facilitates accomplishment by means of including in performance standards the responsibilities of MDRS and its employees under the Rehabilitation Act.

Information from case reviews conducted by the MDRS Program Evaluation Unit is analyzed to evaluate the knowledge and skill of employees as they relate to the policy of serving individuals with the most severe disabilities. Results of such evaluations are included in the development of objectives for the annual training plan. Information from annual client surveys is also used in determining training objectives and is incorporated into the training plan.

 

Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs

The need for counselors who are fluent in native languages other than English has not been established based on the current service population. This area is constantly monitored by MDRS and counselors who are fluent in other languages are recruited when a need arises. Due to the increasing Hispanic population, employees who are fluent in Spanish have been identified and are available to serve as interpreters. Also, MDRS has established fees for foreign language interpreters which may be authorized and paid by counselors when the need for their services occurs to provide rehabilitation services to non-English speaking individuals. All materials are provided to individuals who are visually impaired in Braille or on audiotape upon request. Also, VRB counselors participate in specialized in-service quarterly training and in-service training provided through the MDRS Assistive Technology Division which includes training on communication skills for individuals who are blind or deaf-blind. MDRS employs seven qualified sign language interpreters for the 10 districts that comprise the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. The Office on Deaf and Hard of Hearing also employs one qualified sign language interpreter who is available to provide interpreter services. The community rehabilitation programs operated by MDRS employ individuals who are proficient in sign language skills and in-service training classes for employees are provided on a continuous basis in American Sign Language at the MDRS central office location in Madison, Mississippi. MDRS requires that all Counselors for the Deaf achieve and maintain basic proficiency in American Sign Language. MDRS coordinates with post-secondary educational consortiums to provide proficiency testing of manual communication skills. Specialized training in deafness-related areas is provided for new counselors in the Deaf Program as well as quarterly training for all Counselors for the Deaf and Sign Language Interpreters.

 

Coordination of Personnel Development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

MDRS pursues efforts to coordinate with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) cross training that will address education and rehabilitation under the provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Training conferences on transition services have been held and co-sponsored by MDRS and MDE. Specifically, regional mini conferences bring together all VR counselors with transition caseloads, other agency personnel involved with transition services, and transition specialists, teachers, and special education coordinators from MDE. Funds from the MDRS In-service Training Grant are linked to various components of the CSPD for the provision of continuing education/graduate school for those employees who currently do not meet the national standards. Funds are utilized for tuition and related expenses for graduate training in Rehabilitation Counseling through Mississippi State University and Jackson State University, as well as the other masters-level distance learning and web-based programs in Rehabilitation Counseling that are utilized.

State Rehabilitation Council

This attachment was developed after a review of the results of the Statewide Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs. Any pertinent findings from the Statewide Assessment were incorporated into this attachment. Additionally, members of the State Rehabilitation Council were involved in the development of this attachment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 2:12PM by Cindy Goodin

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

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

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

Attachment 4.11(a)

Results of 2011 Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities and Need to Establish, Develop, or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in conjunction with the Mississippi State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) conducted a comprehensive statewide needs assessment to determine services needed to meet specific vocational rehabilitation needs in the state of Mississippi. In order to assess the needs, information was sought from the following individuals:

• Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services.

• Individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by vocational rehabilitation programs.

• Individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system as identified by those individuals and personnel assisting those individuals through the components of the system.

NOTE: The need to establish, develop, and improve community rehabilitation programs within the state was also assessed through a statewide assessment of services provided through MDRS AbilityWorks, Inc., a community rehabilitation program.

In order to address the above needs, a committee was established consisting of the following members: 1) the Executive Director of The Arc of Mississippi who is also the chairperson of the SRC; 2) two additional members of the SRC; and, 3) MDRS staff. The committee members developed a web-based survey to collect responses from persons with disabilities, family members of a person with a disability, educators, and service providers. The respondents were asked to complete 10 questions.

To reach the targeted audiences, a link to the survey was posted on the MDRS website for viewing and completion by the general public. Other methods used are listed below:

• Invitations were sent by email to directors of drug treatment facilities for completion by persons who use their services.

• Invitations were sent by email to managers of the Workforce Investment Network Job Centers, the Manager of Living Independence for Everyone, and the Director of the Choctaw Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Program for completion by persons who use their services.

• Invitations were sent by email to vocational rehabilitation counselors, vocational rehabilitation evaluators, district managers, regional managers, and facility managers who then disbursed information about the survey to consumers in their service areas.

• Surveys were completed on site at the Addie McBryde Rehabilitation Center for the Blind.

• Surveys were completed on site at two community rehabilitation centers, AbilityWorks, Inc. of Jackson and Goodwill Industries of Jackson.

Comments and recommendations were received at the SRC meeting held on August 12, 2011.

Findings

Each respondent was asked to name the reasons he/she believes keep people with disabilities from working. The top five responses are listed below:

1. Transportation 30%

2. Education 23%

3. Information about resources and services 17%

4. Job or vocational training 17%

5. Public awareness of disability 15.5%

Individuals with Disabilities Who are Minorities

Based on our 2011 needs assessment survey, respondents who identified themselves as a minority and also as an individual with a disability total 57% of the persons who completed the survey with 55% of this total reporting as being Black or African American. Additionally, less than 2% identified themselves as American Indian and less than 1% identified as Asian. These numbers are ranked above the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau: State and County Facts, which show the Black population to be at 37% and the American Indian and also the Asian population in the state to be at 1%. Needs of these individuals were the same as the needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services as reported in this attachment.

Individuals with Disabilities Who have been Unserved or Underserved

Attempts are made to collect data from populations who are unserved or underserved. However, many individuals are not served due to lack of awareness of available services and even lack of education regarding their disability. This lack of awareness and education is evident with the population that is Deafblind, who tend to identify themselves as someone with multiple disabilities instead of someone who is Deafblind. We rely on service providers and other community partners to help identify individuals who are Deafblind and in need of our services. Based on the individuals who are Deafblind that we do serve, the need for services include customized employment as well as services similar to those provided for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Individuals with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders are among another population not served due to the lack of awareness of services available. Data reported in 2010 by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs was reviewed to determine the number and percentage of special education students with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. MDE continues to report an increase in the rate of occurrence of children who receive special education services in the state due to autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. We are working with MDE to identify these children and their parents in order to promote the need for these children to receive secondary and post-secondary transition services that lead to self-sufficiency through employment.

Supported Employment Services

A survey question posed to persons who identified themselves as an individual with a disability was whether or not they needed ongoing help (job coach, transportation, assistive technology, specialized job training, etc.) in order to work. Of the survey respondents, 63% answered “yes” to this question.

This question was followed up by requesting the respondents to identify which of the following services they need in order to work: none, assistive technology, job coach, specialized job training, support from supervisors and co-workers, transportation, and/or other. The top three responses are listed below:

1. Transportation 45%

2. Specialized job training 34%

3. Support from supervisors and co-workers 28%

Statewide Workforce Investment System

Another survey question asked participants if they have ever used the workforce investment network for help in finding a job or for receiving job training services. Of those respondents who identified themselves as an individual with a disability, 41% responded “yes” to the question. Of that 41%, 72% reported receiving job search assistance.

Community Rehabilitation Programs

All persons completing the survey were questioned on their knowledge of services provided at community rehabilitation centers located across the state including AbilityWorks, Inc., Addie McBryde Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, REACH Center for the Blind, and Goodwill Industries. More than 75% of the respondents answered “yes” to this question. The respondents were then asked if they believe more centers are needed and what type of training or services should be offered. Of all the respondents, 90% answered “yes” regarding the need for more centers.

Listed below are some of the comments received from respondents regarding the types of training and services that should be offered:

• Career Fairs/Career Exploration

• Cultural Diversity Training

• Desk job training or job training in clerical/office work/computer skills

• Facilities that actually train job skills and provide experience in actual work such as operating stores, food services, laundry, etc.

• Forklift training

• Job simulation training

• More training on how to get ready for a job and keep a job once you get a job

• On-the-Job Training

• Training on living independently and budgeting

Summary

The results of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment will be utilized in an effort to review a broad variety of methods to provide, expand, and improve vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with severe/most severe disabilities in Mississippi.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 2:24PM by Cindy Goodin

Attachment 4.11(b)

Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Services

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services has provided below its projections for Federal Fiscal Year 2013 (October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013).

The Mississippi Disability Data Table from the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) indicates that 245,400 Mississippians of working age (21 through 64) have a disability. Of this total, 47,607, or 19.4%, are employed.

Therefore, based on this data, an estimated 197,793 Mississippians of working age who are not working have a disability that would potentially render them eligible for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. Based on previous referral numbers and the fact that the unemployment rates are up due to the economy, it is estimated that 10% (19,779) of these individuals will apply for VR services. It is further estimated that 3% (1,428) of those who are employed with a disability will apply for services rendering a total of 21,207 applicants. Of this total, it is estimated that 50% (10,604) will enter service status along with the estimated 10,000 who will already be in service status, totaling 20,604 individuals who are eligible to receive services.

• 20,604 – Number of individuals who are eligible to receive services

• 19,694 - Eligible individuals who will receive services under Part B of Title 1

• 910 - Eligible individuals who will receive services under Part B of Title VI

• $62,789,246 – Estimated funds available

• $65,129,244 – Estimated cost of services for the 20,604 individuals estimated to be eligible for services

MDRS estimates that the total funds available for 2013 will be $62,789,246. This number divided by the estimated number served (20,604) yields $3,047 available for the average case served.

The average cost per case served by MDRS for FFY 2011 is $3,161. For MDRS to serve all estimated 20,604 clients at an average cost of $3,161, it would cost $65,129,244. Thus, a shortfall of $2,339,998 is expected.

Therefore, it is estimated that MDRS will not have enough funds to serve all eligible clients and MDRS will request permission to implement an order of selection.

Attachment 4.11(b)

Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Services

The following are projections for Federal Fiscal Year 2013 (October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013).

The estimated numbers of individuals who will receive services by Priority Category are:

Priority Category 1 8,860

Priority Category 2 7,211

Priority Category 3 4,533

TOTAL 20,604

The Estimated Service Costs for each Priority Category are:

Priority Category 1 $28,006,460

Priority Category 2 $22,793,971

Priority Category 3 $14,328,813

TOTAL $65,129,244

The estimated number to be served in Supported Employment is 910.

The estimated number of individuals in Mississippi who will be served under this state plan is 20,604.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Priority Category 1 Title I $25,129,950 7,950 $3,161
Priority Category 1 Title VI $2,876,510 910 $3,161
Priority Category 2 Title I $22,793,971 7211 $3,161
Priority Category 3 Title I $14,328,813 4533 $3,161
Totals   $65,129,244 20,604 $3,161

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 2:52PM by Cindy Goodin

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)

Goals and Priorities

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) derived the goals listed below from the needs identified through the 2011 Comprehensive Needs Assessment as seen in attachment 4.11(a). MDRS has attempted to develop goals that will address the transportation and job training needs of consumers and improve public awareness of disability. Through these goals and priorities MDRS anticipates an impact that will improve services and outcomes for people with disabilities. During Federal Fiscal Year 2011, MDRS met all the standards and indicators. MDRS continues to strive to meet these goals annually through the management of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind (VRB) Programs.

Goal I: Improve access to transportation for employment for individuals with disabilities.

Strategies:

1. Continue to identify current transportation resources at the local and state level.

2. Update a Community Transportation Resource Guide that will be distributed to VR staff, VRB staff, and consumers through accessible media, including the agency website, as needed.

3. Continue to identify local transportation boards and/or initiatives to bring awareness regarding need and access to accessible transportation for individuals with disabilities at local meetings.

4. Participate on and become involved in local transportation boards and/or initiatives to bring awareness regarding the needs for accessible transportation for individuals with disabilities at local meetings.

5. Measure the amount of transportation services planned on the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for clients during the FFY

6. Develop natural transportation support networks for consumers.

Goal II: Increase training opportunities for VR consumers, including community rehabilitation program services, customized employment, apprenticeships, and internships.

Strategies:

1. Provide professional development training to VR and VRB staff regarding the available training resources (vocational and educational) and what training is appropriate for clients of various disabilities.

2. Increase utilization of the state’s personal adjustment centers for the blind (the Addie McBryde Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and the REACH Center for the Blind) as measured by annual census of the centers.

3. Training opportunities for VR and VRB consumers will be measured by automated case management system data to include vocational, post-secondary, specialized classes, community rehabilitation program services, and job coach services.

Goal III: Improve public awareness of disability to the general public, employers, and other stakeholders

Strategies:

1. Obtain and distribute educational resources and reference materials regarding disabilities through MDRS.

2. Develop a campaign to enhance employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

3. Provide speakers at relevant meetings, functions, and events to discuss disability.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 3:09PM by Cindy Goodin

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

Justification for order of selection

Attachment 4.11(c)(3)

Order of Selection

While it is the intent of the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) to provide comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals who apply for services, often vocational rehabilitation services cannot be provided to all eligible applicants due to financial limitations. Therefore, MDRS has adopted an Order of Selection which establishes a system of criteria for prioritizing individuals with disabilities to receive services. The Order of Selection allows for individuals with most significant disabilities to receive services before all other individuals with disabilities.

The Order of Selection system does not preclude the provision of counseling, guidance, referral services (including to Workforce Investment Network Job Centers for training and placement), and coordination of comparable benefits and services paid by a third party, although an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) would not be developed for these services. The Order of Selection system in no way restricts the provision of diagnostic and evaluation services for the purpose of determining eligibility and assignment to a priority category under the Order of Selection with each person placed on a waiting list to be served in the chronological order he or she applied. The Order of Selection does not discriminate against any eligible individual on the basis of gender, age, race, creed, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, type of disability, duration of residence in Mississippi, public assistance status, source of referral, expected employment outcome, need for specific services, anticipated cost of services required, or income level of an individual or his/her family.

 

Description of Priority categories

The Order of Selection is as follows:

Priority 1. Individuals with the most significant disabilities.

An individual with a most significant disability means an individual:

who has a severe physical or mental impairment which seriously limits two or more functional capacities (such as mobility, communication, self care, self direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time; and, who has one or more physical or mental disabilities resulting from amputation, arthritis, autism, blindness, burn injury, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, deafness, head injury, heart disease, hemiplegia, hemophilia, respiratory or pulmonary dysfunction, mental retardation, mental illness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, musculoskeletal disorders, neurological disorders (including stroke and epilepsy), paraplegia, quadriplegia and other spinal cord conditions, sickle cell anemia, specific learning disabilities, end stage renal disease, or another disability or combination of disabilities determined on the basis of an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs (comprehensive assessment) to cause comparable substantial functional limitation.

Priority 2. Individuals with significant disabilities.

An individual with a significant disability meets all the requirements for Priority 1 applicants, except that they have a severe physical or mental impairment which seriously limits only one functional capacity.

Priority 3. Individuals with disabilities who do not meet the definitions of either "individuals with the most significant disabilities" or "individuals with significant disabilities", but will require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

The estimated number for service and outcome goals by Order of Selection priority categories for Federal Fiscal Year 2013, ending September 30, 2013, is listed below:

Service Employment

Priority 1 8,860 1,375

Priority 2 7,211 1,946

Priority 3 4,533 1,238

Total 20,604 4,559

 

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

MDRS estimates that the total funds available for 2013 will be $62,789,246. This number divided by the estimated number served (20,604) yields $3,047 available for the average case served.

The average cost per case served by MDRS for Federal Fiscal Year 2011 is $3,161. For MDRS to serve all estimated 20,604 clients at an average cost of $3,161 would cost $65,129,244. Thus, a shortfall of $2,339,998 is expected.

Therefore, it is estimated that MDRS will not have enough funds to serve all eligible clients and MDRS will request permission to implement an order of selection.

The Order of Selection will be implemented by the MDRS leadership when examination of funding levels and a review of clients served projections indicate that there are not sufficient funds to provide services to all eligible applicants. The MDRS leadership in consultation with the State Rehabilitation Council will then close Priority Category 3, which includes individuals with disabilities who do not meet the definitions of either “individuals with most significant disabilities” or “individuals with significant disabilities” but require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment. Any individual currently under an approved IPE at the time Priority Category 3 is closed will continue with his or her plan of services. No new Priority Category 3 cases will be authorized until the category is reopened. Priority Categories 1 and 2 would remain available for new cases meeting the respective definitions. Individuals on the deferred waiting list will be notified of the priority categories and the process for classification or reclassification and their right to appeal the classification they were assigned.

This attachment was developed after a review of the results of the Statewide Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs. Any pertinent findings from the Statewide Assessment were incorporated into this attachment. Additionally, members of the State Rehabilitation Council were involved in the development of this attachment.

Priority Category Number of individuals to be served Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services Time within which goals are to be achieved Cost of services
1 8,860 1,375 7,485 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2013 $28,006,460
2 7,211 1,946 5,265 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2013 $22,793,971
3 4,533 1,238 3,295 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2013 $14,328,813

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 3:45PM by Cindy Goodin

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 & Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) will invest all Title VI, Part B allocations to fund the purchase of job training services and other allowable vocational rehabilitation services as needed by clients served in the MDRS Supported Employment (SE) Program.

MDRS expects to continue supplementing Title VI, Part B funds as supplemental funds are available and, if possible, continue the level of Title I monies committed to the SE Program. Additionally, MDRS occasionally supplements Title VI-B funds with Social Security Reimbursement funds as there is a need for additional funds for program expenditures. MDRS plans to continue this process when Title I funds are not available.

MDRS will continue its efforts to increase the funds available for use by the SE program by development and submission of proposals for grants that may become available. Additionally, MDRS will explore ways to utilize available funds more efficiently by entering into cooperative agreements with other entities who may participate in the cost of providing services to SE clients. It is anticipated that counselors will utilize all of the Title VI, Part B allotment.

In order to meet the expectations and intent of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended and to achieve maximum utilization of available funds, certain priority areas are being emphasized. Those priority areas are described as follows:

• In order to maximize fund utilization, SE staff members make every effort to identify and facilitate natural supports that occur in the workplace. These natural supports do not replace the one-on-one intensive support provided to clients. However, when properly identified and utilized, these natural supports do result in decreased direct service costs and increased quality of support.

• In order to expand the program to unserved and underserved populations, cooperative arrangements have been and will continue to be developed with other provider agencies and organizations both public and private. The focus of these arrangements is on promoting and enabling vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors and service provider personnel from other agencies to work as teams to share expertise, provide technical support in specific disability areas, and conduct joint training.

• The SE Program will continue emphasis on individual employment placements. Other models will remain an option for clients and may be utilized when feasible. However, when given a choice, clients prefer individual placements by an overwhelming majority. Individual placement is the preferred option of MDRS and clients because it achieves integration in the work environment, it is competitive employment, and it provides more opportunities for career development and better quality jobs with more benefits.

• MDRS also works with extended employment providers, when feasible, as a means to provide additional resources and services to individuals needing and choosing these specialized services as an interim step to the rehabilitation progress of achieving a successful employment outcome. Counselors will continue to primarily focus on successful employment outcomes in competitive, integrated work settings.

• Finally, Person Centered Planning and Customized Employment as integral parts of service provision continue to be high priorities. These service approaches have been embraced by mental health providers, the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities, and other service providers as accepted best practices for model service delivery. SE staff also participates in both practices in coordinating services for supported employment clients in the educational system throughout the state. These practices have proven to be successful for clients because of the enhanced teamwork with other agencies. Therefore, these service approaches will continue to be made available to clients during the intake process and will be utilized when deemed appropriate and when chosen by the client.

Performance

Justification for use of Title VI, Part B funds as expressed is based on the following indicators of performance:

The SE Program utilized $372,584.07 for direct services to eligible individuals in Federal Fiscal Year 2011 with a portion of these funds being carried over from the previous year. The program is staffed by 10 specialized SE Counselors, and 12 Vocational Training Instructors (VTI), who are supported by clerical staff at the local level that are shared with the general VR program. The SE Program operates within the framework of the general VR system. Administrative support is provided at the district level by District Managers, at the regional level by Regional Managers, and at the state level by a Statewide Coordinator of the SE Program. All of the above positions, office space, supplies, travel, etc. are funded by Title I funds.

The SE Program utilized available funds to serve the maximum number of clients possible in the most cost efficient manner possible. Given the limited funds available to the program, its performance with regard to the number of individuals placed in jobs and rehabilitated, comparatively speaking, is performing optimally as indicated by the statistics below:

Number served, including application assessment and determination of Eligibility 899

Number placed in jobs 130

Number of successful rehabs 117

Average wage at placement $7.55

Average hours worked per week 22

Average weekly earnings $166.10

Average cost per rehabilitant $1,696.84

The primary emphasis of the SE Program is on individual placements in integrated, competitive jobs. SE Counselors work with individuals with all types of disabilities. For those individuals needing transitional employment in order to re-enter the workplace, SE Counselors work with local mental health centers, who are the providers of Transitional Employment. A small percentage of eligible individuals with a disability of mental illness were served through the regular SE model based on client choice.

MDRS currently has over 400 extended service agreements with other government agencies, community-based organizations, and individuals who provide follow-along services after the time-limited services provided by MDRS have terminated.

All individuals served by the SE Program met the criteria for ”most significantly disabled” as defined by the state VR Program. The following chart is a breakdown of the disability categories of the individuals served by the SE Program:

Percentage of Clients Primary Disability

64% Cognitive Impairments

25% Other Mental Impairments

5% Other Physical Impairments

5% Psychosocial Impairments

0.1% DeafBlindness

0.8% Other Orthopedic Impairments

0.6% Communicative Impairments

0.7% General Physical Debilitation

0.1% Legally Blind

0.1% Deafness, Communication visual

0.3% Other Visual Impairments

0.1% Hearing Loss, Communication auditory

0.1% Deafness, Communication auditory

0.12% Blindness

0.12% Application Status

The following list is a comparison between the SE Program and the general VR Program:

Total VR Clients served 21,494

Supported Employment clients 899

Supported Employment percent of total 4%

Total rehabilitated 4,559

Supported Employment rehabilitants 117

Supported Employment percent of total 3%

An analysis of this data indicates that when the SE Program is compared to the general VR Program, the performance is very near the same in terms of the percentage of successful rehabilitants. The SE Program includes 4% of all VR clients served and 3% of all successfully rehabilitated closures.

This attachment was developed after a review of the results of the Statewide Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs. Any pertinent findings from the Statewide Assessment were incorporated into this attachment. Additionally, members of the State Rehabilitation Council were involved in the development of this attachment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 3:45PM by Cindy Goodin

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

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

Attachment 4.11(d)

State’s Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

State Strategies

In attachment 4.11(c)(1), the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) identified the Goals for Federal Fiscal Year 2013 and the Strategies to be utilized to reach these goals. These goals were derived from the needs identified in the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment referenced in Attachment 4.11(a).

Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

Client Services: Expand service delivery of training opportunities to VR and VRB consumers.

Smart Work Ethics Training $75,000.00

Vocational Evaluation Tools $50,000.00

DORE Program $30,000.00

VRB Mentor Training $ 8,000.00

VRB Call Center Training $15,000.00

VRB College Assessments $10,000.00

Professional Development Training: Training for staff to enhance service delivery to consumers.

Disability Specific Training: $32,000.00

Regional Training Teams: $20,000.00

Smart Work Ethics Trainer Development: $20,000.00

Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf Mentor Program: $ 3,000.00

State Rehabilitation Council Funding: $21,000.00

State Independent Living Council Funding: $27,640.00

In 2009, the Governor of Mississippi appointed a new State Independent Living Council (SILC). This body’s plans for operation and reports of activities of this Title VII program are reported outside this Title I/Title VI State Plan. The projected budget for FFY 2013 is consistent with the Resource Plan approved by the full SILC.

In addition to utilizing the referenced strategies to meet the Goals identified in Attachment. 4.11(c)(1), MDRS will also address the following:

 

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.

Uses of Assistive Technology Services:

Through the MDRS Assistive Technology (AT) Program, seven Rehabilitation Technologists and three Rehabilitation Engineers are strategically located throughout the state to provide consultation on all AT referrals as well as perform initial evaluations and assessments; procure and set-up AT equipment; provide follow-up evaluations; design and fabricate original items; and, provide specifications and final inspections for AT services. Counselors evaluate the need for AT services throughout the rehabilitation process.

MDRS also utilizes the services of the T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability at Mississippi State University as well as other qualified AT programs to provide services when appropriate.

 

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.

Outreach to Minorities:

MDRS maintains a Cultural Diversity Committee which meets regularly and collects data from each district in the state to provide outreach as well as identify and better serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities. This committee analyzes data from the needs assessment, the decennial census, and the community to develop strategies for outreach. District Managers, Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) Managers, and Program Coordinators report on services and outreach activities for identifying and increasing awareness of services. These reports are compiled and distributed statewide as well as held in the MDRS State Office. During FFY 2013 there are plans for facilitated activities in the area of cultural diversity specific to each geographical area. MDRS is committed to outreach and services to this population and has demonstrated its success in this endeavor through exceeding the federal standard for Performance Indicator 2.1 since the inception of this standard.

Identification and Provision of Services to Unserved/Underserved Populations:

MDRS will make every effort to identify and provide services to persons with disabilities deemed to be unserved or underserved by MDRS, or who are presently served by other components of the statewide workforce investment service system and might qualify for MDRS services within the state. One targeted population whose needs will be addressed is those Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The incidence of autism spectrum disorders in Mississippi is increasing. In order to serve this population adequately it is necessary to increase the understanding of these disorders and the vocational implications. MDRS has developed a contract with a local autism organization to assist in the development of our skills and knowledge in this area.

 

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

Operation and Improvement of Community Rehabilitation Programs:

CRPs will be monitored and assessed for improvement each year.

Traditionally the CRPs in Mississippi have operated most services within the confines of a facility. Community Based Work Evaluation, Job Readiness, and Job Placement are valuable tools in the rehabilitation process leading to successful employment outcomes. In expansion of this effort, AbilityWorks, Inc. in Mississippi will make available Innovation and Expansion funds designated for the purpose of services provided in the community (noted throughout this document). AbilityWorks, Inc. will be purchasing updated Vocational Evaluation tools to assist with those individuals with the most significant disabilities.

 

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

Assuring Optimal Adherence to Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators:

MDRS has endeavored to stress the importance of the Performance Standards and Indicators at all levels. MDRS managers and counselors are trained on these issues regularly as is demonstrated in the past performance figures. MDRS has never missed on a performance indicator. MDRS State Office staff review these figures monthly and discuss them with field counselors and managers.

 

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

Statewide Coverage of Networked Services in the One Stop Centers:

The state’s workforce system is referred to as the Workforce Investment Network (WIN) in Mississippi. WIN delivers one-stop employment and training services through a network of 54 One-Stop Career Centers, or WIN Job Centers, throughout the state. Currently, VR is physically located in four WIN Job Centers but is linked to the entire network technologically or in the form of referrals.

The VR partnership within Mississippi’s one-stop system is clarified through a Memoranda of Understanding with the State and each of the four local workforce investment areas. The partnership is further enhanced through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, the state designated agency to receive Workforce Investment Act funds and the main operator of the WIN Job Centers, to continually improve the lifestyle, acceptance and accessibility of persons with disabilities within Mississippi’s WIN.

Cost Sharing Agreements are negotiated and put in place yearly with operators of the centers where VR staff is located. During Federal Fiscal Year 2011, VR was housed in four WIN Job Centers and expended $55,901.31 to support the operation of the one-stop service delivery system in these centers.

Also noteworthy is that VR has in place a Program Coordinator charged with ensuring that: (1) VR is a full partner not only in the centers where VR staff is physically located but throughout Mississippi’s one-stop system; (2) services to eligible VR clients will be available and accessible in the WIN Job Centers; and, (3) partnerships with other one-stop system members will result in networking to assure the individual with a disability is involved in a seamless system.

 

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.

Other Barriers relating to access to the VR and Supported Employment Programs:

No other barriers have been identified at this time. MDRS is committed to providing equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state VR program and the supported employment program regardless of gender, race, national origin, color, disability, or age.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 4:07PM by Cindy Goodin

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

Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) is a combined vocational rehabilitation agency with a separate and distinct Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind (VRB). Although VR and VRB are separate and distinct offices within MDRS, in order to have one state plan for Mississippi the goals for both offices are combined. The information reported in this attachment relates to the Goals and Priorities identified in the FFY 2011 State Plan Attachment 4.11(c)(1).

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)

Goal I: Improve Access to Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities as measured by an increase in transportation services planned on the Individualized Plan for Employment for consumers during the FFY.

The extent to which the goal was achieved:

Staff planned transportation services on 96 Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) during the period October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011. This total represents a decrease of 66 IPEs that included transportation services over the same time period in the previous federal fiscal year (FFY). While planned transportation services decreased, the consumers were able to access and arrange transportation without MDRS staff assistance due to the Transportation Resource Guide posted on the MDRS website along with the natural supports MDRS staff helped the clients arrange. Therefore, even though the measure of the goal was not met, the intent of the goal was met due to increased awareness of transportation resources and development of natural transportation supports.

Strategies which contributed to the goal:

1. MDRS staff identified 140 formal transportation resources.

2. The Community Transportation Resource Guide compiled by MDRS is published and updated on the MDRS website for wide distribution and easy access to information by consumers.

3. MDRS staff actively participated in transportation-related planning groups, advisory committees, and initiatives during the period October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011, and will continue as well as strive to increase this participation due to transportation being listed as the biggest barrier to employment in Mississippi according to the Statewide Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs.

Factors that impeded non-achievement:

Mississippi is a mostly rural state and many of the clients the VR and VRB Programs serve live in rural and even remote areas of their communities. Although MDRS is involved in local transportation initiatives, there are still many areas in the state where public transit is not available. While VR/VRB staff is trained in working with clients in developing natural transportation supports, this type of transportation has not been tracked through the IPE. Therefore, natural transportation supports do not show up in the measurement of the goal as stated.

Goal II: Increase Training Opportunities for VR Consumers as measured by an increase in training opportunities planned (including CRP services) on the Individualized Plan for Employment for consumers during the FFY.

The extent to which the goal was achieved:

VR staff planned training opportunities on 1,901 IPEs during the period October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011. This total represents a slight decrease of 51 IPEs that included training opportunities for VR consumers over the same period during the prior FFY. However, the state’s two personal adjustment centers for the blind, the Addie McBryde Rehabilitation Center (AMRC) for the Blind and the REACH Center for the Blind (REACH), increased the number of consumers served during the same time period as listed above for the VR Program. AMRC served 147 consumers, which is an increase of five over the same period during the prior FFY, and REACH served 50 consumers, which is an increase of 11 over the same period during the prior FFY.

Strategies utilized towards the goal:

1. MDRS staff attended 12 trainings that addressed available training resources for clients.

2. Various marketing materials were developed and distributed for consumers and other stakeholders

3. Both personal adjustment centers for the blind increased the number served during the same time period.

Factors that impeded the achievement of the goal:

The decrease experienced by the VR Program is due to the fact that all priority categories are currently open, which leads to more short-term cases rather than long-term cases where training services may be provided.

Goal III: Increase Awareness of Vocational Rehabilitation Services as demonstrated by increased number of applicants for VR and VRB Services.

The extent to which the goal was achieved:

Staff processed 10,082 applications from October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011, which represents 700 less applications than what was processed in the prior FFY.

Strategies utilized towards the goal:

MDRS staff conducted a focused awareness campaign which included staff distributing printed materials, presenting at 277 events, and networking at various other events.

Factors that impeded the achievement of the goal:

The state of the economy and the high unemployment rate negatively impacted the number of applications taken. Due to the high unemployment rate, many people with disabilities chose to pursue Social Security disability benefits instead of competing for the limited number of jobs available in the state. This statement is supported by the increased number of applications processed by the Disability Determination Services in Mississippi, which saw an increase of over 5,000 claimants over the previous FFY.

Goal IV: Provide a series of training sessions on Customized Employment Services to teams throughout the state.

The extent to which the goal was achieved:

MDRS achieved this goal.

Strategies that contributed to the goal being achieved:

1. Through the TACE Center Community of Excellence, the following training was provided to VR staff: 1) The Narrative or Visual Document; 2) Developing the Employment Plan; 3) Developing a Portfolio; 4) Job Development; and, 5) Customized Employment Graduation and Focus Group. Training participants included 10 Supported Employment Counselors, eight Employment Coordinators, seven Vocational Training Instructors, five Transition Counselors, three Evaluators, one Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf, and one Transition Specialist.

2. In collaboration with the TACE Center Community of Excellence, service providers will be identified and supportive services identified, to include blended and braided funding for the VR Consumers placed into employment. The State Coordinator for Deafblind Services reports that 11 consumers were provided customized employment services during the period of October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011.

Factors that impeded the achievement of the goal: Not Applicable.

 

Title I and Title VI-B goals are the same. Information for both titles are combined.

 

Standards and Indicators

Performance Level

National Standard MDRS

Performance indicator

1.1......................Equal or exceed previous 4,557 (’10)

Performance period 4,559 (’11)

1.2........................... 72.6% 73.7%

1.3........................... 99.7% 99.7%

1.4........................... 72.7% 65.4%

1.5........................... 0.88 (Ratio) 0.86

1.6........................... 58.8 (Math. Difference) 61.4

2.1........................... 0.832 (Ratio) 0.818

An analysis of standards and indicators for FFY 2011 indicates that MDRS exceeded each category. This data has been shared with consumers, the State Rehabilitation Council, and VR service delivery staff. MDRS is confident it will meet these standards in the future.

 

Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

FFY 2011 Expenditures of Funds for Innovation and Expansion: $785,947

The summary of Innovation and Expansion activities below relates back to Attachment 4.11(d), effective October 1, 2010, as that attachment was in effect for the FFY 2011 period.

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) expends funds annually towards the professional development of agency personnel as discussed in Attachment 4.10, Comprehensive System of Personnel Development. In FFY 2011 MDRS expended $8,545 on disability specific training for staff. Additionally, MDRS expended $5,007 on regional training teams to provide orientation training to new employees in their respective region as well as training to existing employees in the region on policy changes.

AbilityWorks, Inc., a division of MDRS that is administered through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, provides vocational assessment, job training, and actual work experience for individuals with disabilities. Traditionally, this community rehabilitation program operates most services within the confines of a facility. However, during FFY 2010 MDRS chose to expand its efforts in providing community-based work evaluation, job readiness, and job placement through AbilityWorks. MDRS expended $756,722 for these community based services.

In order for MDRS to participate in Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), which were developed with the state’s one-stop partners, funds were expended, as appropriate, for cost-allocation aspects of the operation of the centers where VR staff is physically located. This participation assured that MDRS is a full partner in the centers, services to eligible VR clients are available, and that partnerships with other one-stop members resulted in networking to assure the individuals with a disability are involved in a seamless system. MDRS expended $55,901.31 in allocated costs associated with the centers where VR staff was physically located in FFY 2010.

The ability of VR clients to access and use assistive technology is critical in the overall vocational rehabilitation process. It is essential to expanding successful employment outcomes. Recognizing the importance of assistive technology to client success, MDRS spent $432,611.92 in these efforts.

In accordance with current regulations, MDRS utilized funds to support funding of the State Rehabilitation Council and the State Independent Living Council. MDRS spent a total of $15,673 in support of the State Rehabilitation Council ($5,563) and the State Independent Living Council ($10,110).

This attachment was developed after a review of the results of the Statewide Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs. Any pertinent findings from the Statewide Assessment were incorporated into this attachment. Additionally, members of the State Rehabilitation Council were involved in the development of this attachment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 4:16PM by Cindy Goodin

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

Attachment 6.3

Quality, Scope, And Extent Of Supported Employment Services

The Supported Employment (SE) Program provides services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who require intensive support to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment. The services are designed to meet the current and future needs of these individuals whose disabilities are of such a nature that they need continuous, on-going support and extended services in order to engage in and maintain gainful employment. SE services include evaluation, assessment, job matching, job development, job placement, job coaching, brokering and training for natural supports to include extended services and other comprehensive follow along supports.

Eligible individuals are those who are determined to be "most significantly" disabled which means they meet the state criteria for "significant disability" and whose physical or mental impairments seriously limit two (2) or more functional capacities in terms of an employment outcome and who will require vocational rehabilitation services in order to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment that is consistent with his or her unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (the Agency) employs a unique strategy for delivery of Supported Employment Services. The SE program’s structure and service delivery mechanism are integrated into that of the general Agency service delivery system. The services are authorized, coordinated and, in most instances, delivered by staff of the state unit. Counselors, who specialize in supported employment, perform the functions of case management, job development, and supervision of overall supported employment service delivery in their respective Districts. They are assisted by Vocational Training Instructors (VTIs) who perform a variety of functions including: assessment, job development and placement, job training, job coach supervision, and facilitation of natural supports. Job coaches are employed on an "as needed" basis. Counselors are assigned to serve supported employment eligible individuals in each of the ten Districts in order to ensure statewide coverage. The SE staff includes 10 Counselors, 12 Vocational Training Instructors and a pool of available Job Coaches who are assigned to work with a SE client as needed. This staff works with the Agency’s statewide community rehabilitation program, AbilityWorks, Inc.

The Agency contends that its responsibility regarding supported employment is the same as its responsibility for the general program. The SE programs for both the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind have been combined into one program serving all eligible individuals. SE counselors have the same duties and responsibilities as those in the general vocational rehabilitation programs. However, the caseloads of the SE counselors consist of only those clients who meet Title VI, part B eligibility criteria. Therefore, in addition to general Agency policy and procedures, SE staff members must be knowledgeable about Title VI, part B regulations and the unique requirements for supported employment eligibility. Additionally, SE staff members are provided clerical support in the same proportion as the general vocational rehabilitation program staff.

Administration and implementation of the SE Program is assigned to the Bureau of Client Services within the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. SE personnel are trained in general vocational rehabilitation case management techniques and Title I regulations and are held to the same procedures and standards of performance, as are general Agency counselors.

The Agency designates a SE statewide coordinator who monitors issues developing in the field of supported employment; serves as a resource person to staff; and serves as advisor to administrative staff in implementing programmatic policies in accordance with federal dictates, develops effective programmatic procedures, recommends training of SE staff, and other typical functions of a coordinating and liaison nature.

The Agency maintains formal agreements with the Mississippi Department of Education and the Mississippi Department of Mental Health and other public and private entities, which identify areas of collaboration to ensure a comprehensive program of services to supported employment eligible individuals. Staff members collaborate intensively with local Mental Health Centers, School Districts, SE Businesses and Industries, the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities, Parents, Advocacy groups and other relevant third parties.

The service approach for supported employment eligible clients emulates the nationally accepted "best practices" models of supported employment service delivery which include: Individual Job Placement, Mobile Crews, and Temporary Employment Placement for individuals with chronic mental illness. Central to each of these approaches is an emphasis on person centered planning and facilitation of natural supports. Individualized job development is conducted by SE staff based on job matching assessment information and client’s informed choice. SE clients are assisted with employment planning and placement by VTIs and job skills training is provided at the job site either by job coaches or through natural supports.

To fulfill the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act regarding transitional employment for individuals with chronic mental illness, the Agency utilizes the Temporary Employment Placement (TEP) model. This model involves placement in a series of temporary jobs that lead to permanent employment as an outcome. This service approach is implemented through coordination with local Mental Health Centers (MHC).

Upon completion of time-limited supported employment services, the ongoing job skills training assistance and other necessary long-term support is transitioned to a third party, group or individual through Cooperative Agreement or Extended Service Agreement. The Agency currently has more than 400 such agreements in effect and expects this number to increase each year. Although 18 months of time-limited services is maintained as a standard, the rate of transitioning a client to extended services is dependent upon the needs of the individual, their families, the employer, the third-party agency and other involved individuals. Since SE staff members and the extended service provider will have been collaborating in the provision of supported employment services throughout an individual’s vocational rehabilitation program, such transitions are normally smooth and do not cause job disruptions.

The Agency will continue to cooperate in the networking of services with entities that have supported employment facets or other applicable and/or similar resources, such as the state’s Workforce Investment Act One-Stop System. Such collaborative efforts are essential for effective planning, development, implementation and continuation of supported employment arrangements. Service networking will involve developing and identifying appropriate job sites, tapping existing or future job training resources, utilizing concurrent staffing opportunities, and other occasions for programmatic and budgetary interfacing.

Expansion of the Supported Employment Program is expected as a result of extensive outreach, staff development, interagency training, dissemination of information, identification of and dissemination of information about best practices, technical assistance, and an emphasis on interagency collaboration for identification of potentially eligible individuals and service delivery to clients. MDRS continues to emphasize person centered planning by partnering with the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities, Department of Education, and other entities, in promotion of this service provision.

This attachment was developed after a review of the results of the Statewide Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs. Any pertinent findings from the Statewide Assessment were incorporated into this attachment. Additionally, members of the State Rehabilitation Council were involved in the development of this attachment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 4:20PM by Cindy Goodin

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 08/10/2012 at 3:22 PM

Last updated by rsamitchells

Completed on 09/13/2012 at 3:09 PM

Completed by rsamitchells

Approved on 09/13/2012 at 3:45 PM

Approved by rsamitchells

Published on 09/20/2012 at 7:19 AM

Published by kschelle

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