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

View Montana Disability Employment and Transitions Division VR State Plan for 2014 H126A130038 @Published

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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Montana Disability Employment and Transitions Division State Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 (submitted FY 2013)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

1.1 The DPHHS - Disability Employment and Transitions Division 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 DPHHS - Disability Employment and Transitions Division [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

Fiscal Operations Bureau Chief

... 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

Disability Employment and Transitions Administrator

... 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 SignatoryJim Marks

Title of SignatoryAdmistrator of Disability Employment and Transitions Administrator

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/26/2013

Assurances Certified By

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Disability Employment and Transitions Division

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

 

 

Input from Montana State Rehabilitation Council

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) advises and works with Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRB) to improve policies, programs, delivery of services to consumers, and methods for reaching potential consumers and employers. The SRC provides input and advice to VRB in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act. The SRC holds meetings quarterly. These meetings are accessible and open to the public and are held in various locations statewide. Policy and program issues are discussed at most SRC meetings. SRC members are invited and do participate with the VRB management staff to help develop the strategic plan and determine the agency’s priorities. On October 4, 2012, the SRC discussed and developed their recommendations to VRB.  On January 17th and May 10, 2013, the SRC provided input on the developing strategic plan. During the October, 2012 meeting, the SRC’s discussion focused on areas the SRC felt VRB should be working in. During the January 17 and May 10 meetings, the SRC also suggested possible activities or performance measures for the goals and priorities of the strategic plan.

The following is a summary of the recommendations of the SRC from the October 4, 2012 meeting and the VRB responses:

1. Develop an action plan for identifying and addressing un-served and underserved populations.  This should include populations with poor outcomes, not just groups which are un-served. Residents of rural areas should be reviewed as an underserved population.

VRB Response: VRB has reviewed the agency data base of consumer information looking a multitude of factors that may indicate a target group is not receiving the same quality of service as the general consumer populations. At this time the target groups that have been reviewed are:

Minority groups

Disability type

Urban/Rural areas

During the course of the next three year plan, the analysis of these groups will be reviewed and action steps developed for areas where there seem to be discrepancies from the general caseload.  In addition, more populations will be analyzed and a review of caseload representation of state census demographics will be conducted.

2.  With regard to collaboration with tribal rehabilitation projects, continue review of current criteria and procedures for joint cases and transfer of cases, and report out on best practices.

VRB RESPONSE: Activities related to this recommendation are included in the strategic plan.

3.  Strengthen networking between VRB and other agencies such as Mental Health, Job Services, Developmental Disabilities, Independent Living Centers, Veterans’ Services, Department of Corrections, Office of Public Instruction, Worker’s Compensation, and the university system.

VRB RESPONSE: Several of the activities related to the upcoming strategic plan include increased communication and collaboration with a variety of agencies.  Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Independent Living Centers and others are mentioned specifically.

4.  Support and enhance policies and procedures to sustain an effective process of in-service training, professional development and staff retention. 

VRB RESPONSE: This is considered a primary tool for carrying out many of the activities necessary to achieve the goals and priorities of the strategic plan. A review of the procedures and effectiveness of training is an ongoing activity that does not seem to need to be specifically addressed in the state plan.

5.  Conduct activities that increase awareness and understanding of the SRC and VRB staff of populations with unique needs. This would include planning one council meeting a year that focuses on this issue. These activities also raise the awareness of VRB and the disability community with the group hosting the meeting.

VRB RESPONSE: This is planned to be an ongoing emphasis in planning SRC meetings. Including meetings once a year that address this recommendation have been in place on an ongoing basis for many years. The importance of the activity is mentioned in portions of the state plan, but is not considered necessary to be in the strategic plan as it is ongoing.

6.  Increase transportation options that expand employment opportunities for Montanans with disabilities.

VRB RESPONSE: Since the inclusion of the Departments Transportation Coordinator position within the DET Division, this has been an ongoing activity with many successes in recent years. The initiative is expected to continue and is mentioned in the state plan, but is not considered necessary for the strategic plan.

 

7.  Continue to expand and improve transitions services to youth with disabilities.

VRB RESPONSE: This continues to be a priority initiative for VRB and is recognized as a priority in the strategic plan.

8.  Increase the public understanding of VRB and the services provided by the agencies. Because of the employment focus of the agencies, these efforts need to include outreach to businesses and employers.

VRB RESPONSE:  While the strategic plan does not emphasize increasing the general public understanding of VRB, it is an activity that is currently being carried out to a large degree at the local level. There is an emphasis of ongoing dialogue with key agencies that have contact with potential VRB consumers. It is important that VRB have good communications and procedures in place to make appropriate referrals to VRB. VRB is committed to continuing to work with the SRC on public relations and that commitment will not diminish. However, during the strategic planning process, there was a realization that not all issues can be included within the final plan and there was an effective process in place that would continue the efforts in this regard without the issue being specified in the plan. Also, VRB provides information regarding VRB at a variety of venues (e.g. disability conferences, job fairs, the Veteran’s Administration’s stand down programs, etc.). In addition, the agency continues to explore social networking tools as a venue for increasing public understanding of the agency. Currently, Department of Public Health and Human Services as a whole is exploring the use of social networking tools in order to develop a uniform use of these tools for all agencies in the Department. This process will lead to effective approaches to using the tools.  However it does delay the VRB’s efforts in this regard.

In addition, an activity related to outreach to businesses and employers was included in the strategic plan.

 

 

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 3:51PM by Michael Hermanson

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 1:51PM by Michael Hermanson

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

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

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

Cooperation, collaboration, and coordination with agencies not in the statewide workforce investment system are usually expressed through a cooperative agreements or a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRB) presently has agreements with the following entities:

  • Section 121 Vocational Rehabilitation Projects located in Montana
  • Mental Health
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Montana Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
  • The Commissioner of Higher Education
  • Office of Public Instruction

Section 121 Vocational Rehabilitation Projects 

VRB presently has cooperative agreements with all of the six Section 121 projects (Flathead Reservation, Fort Belknap Reservation, Fort Peck Reservation, Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Northern Cheyenne Reservation and the Blackfeet Reservation) located in Montana. The purpose of these agreements is to establish procedures to assure continued coordination between the 121 projects and VRB. These agreements are implemented for the sole purpose of enhancing, to the greatest extent possible, the delivery of rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities living in the state of Montana and residing on or near the six reservations that currently have a tribal vocational rehabilitation project.

Mental Health

This cooperative agreement has provisions that include:

  1. To make available the required supported employment/follow-along services from VRB’s community rehabilitation programs that are certified mental health providers. Follow-along services may be provided through community based psychiatric rehabilitation and support, and through case management services.
  2. To serve persons identified as eligible for mental health service under Medicaid or the Mental Health Service Plan.
  3. To strengthen supported employment services to Montana citizens eligible for vocational rehabilitation’s supported employment services and for community mental health services funded by the Addictive and Mental Disorders Division.
  4. To provide cross-training and technical assistance between our agencies.
  5. To establish and evaluate annual goals for our interagency work towards coordinated vocational and support services.

Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP)

This cooperative agreement has provisions that include:

  1. To strengthen supported employment services to Montana citizens eligible for vocational rehabilitation’s supported employment services and who receive services through the developmental disability (DD) provider organizations.
  2. To contract with DD provider organizations to provide supported employment work services through funds made available to them from the state general fund and Medicaid home and community waiver.
  3. To make available the required supported employment, extended/follow along services from VRB’s community rehabilitation program’s enrolled providers. Long-term follow-along services are made available by DD provider organizations through a long-term sign off cooperative agreement with VRB. This sign off is between the provider organization and VRB. It is incumbent upon DD provider organizations to negotiate and secure any approving authority from the DDP. VRB agrees DD provider organizations will provide copies of the long-term, follow-along sign off cooperative agreement documents to the DDP regional managers. The DD provider organization’s sign off commits the provider to making available this service, but does not commit funds. In terms of funding source and availability, DDP resource commitments are made between DDP regional managers and provider organizations.
  4. For those residing in the Montana Developmental Center (MDC) who have been identified as being in need of vocational/supported employment services, those needs must be included in the community placement plan. The costs for long-term follow-along need to be included in the resources allocated, and need to be made available to reimburse an enrolled provider for long-term follow-along services after discharge from MDC.

Montana Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)

The purpose of this agreement is to establish guidelines and procedures to be used by the Montana Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and the VRB Program in coordinating the services of both programs on behalf of individuals with disabilities who desire to pursue the goal of self-employment. This agreement outlines each party’s role and responsibilities, referral procedures, information exchange methods, forms used, and implementation, evaluation, amendments and termination procedures.

The Randolph-Sheppard/Business Enterprise Program

This program continues with three vendors with vending routes and one unplaced vendor. The program has been developing new sites for the existing routes to allow the blind vendors an increase of income. Vending is contracted for some of the rest areas on interstate highways.  Many rest areas are too far from existing routes to be profitable for blind vendors to operate. Montana Business Enterprises Inc. experienced a change in leadership which slowed the development of another route. The contracted amount for the program was increased to allow for the purchase of more machines to increase route sizes and start preparing for another route.

Department of Agriculture

There is no Department of Agriculture project related to disabilities serving Montana at this time.

State Use Contracting Programs Montana

State agencies may purchase supplies and services from sheltered workshops or work activity centers. Such purchases are exempt from competitive bidding laws and rules. The Montana Department of Administration maintains a list of certified sheltered workshops or work activity centers located in the state. The list includes the supplies and services provided by each sheltered workshop or work activity center.

Cooperation in Training Activities:

VRB routinely collaborates with other organizations to provide training opportunities for VRB staff. The following is a list of collaborating organizations:

  • University of Montana - Rural Institute on Disabilities
  • Montana State University - Billings Montana Center for Inclusive Education 
  • TACE Programs
  • Utah State University
  • Montana Youth Leadership Program (MYLF)
  • Centers for Independent Living
  • Brain Injury Association of Montana
  • Client Assistance Program
  • Montana Addictive and Mental Disorders Division
  • Developmental Disabilities Program
  • Disability Determination Services
  • Social Security
  • Rocky Mountain Rehab
  • Western Washington University
  • MAXIMUS
  • Montana Youth Transitions (MY Transitions)
  • MonTECH

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 3:51PM by Michael Hermanson

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

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

Office of Public Instruction: This cooperative agreement has provisions that include: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRB) and the Office of Public Instruction (OPI).

Purpose: The purpose of this MOU is to enhance the working relationship between the above mentioned parties to provide more effective services to individuals with disabilities in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C., 1485 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. as amended. Within this agreement are strategies for the two agencies to work collaboratively in evaluating, serving and planning for a seamless transition from school for students eligible for VRB services, as they make the transition from school to adult education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, independent living and community participation.

Joint Responsibility for Training: The OPI and VRB shall jointly sponsor training for their respective staff members and Local Education Agency (LEA) personnel. The training shall focus on requirements of federal and state law concerning education of individuals with disabilities, their transition from school to employment, vocational rehabilitation services, assistive technology, and the substance of this MOU.

Responsibilities of the OPI:

  1. Inform - The OPI shall assist school districts to inform VRB of students with disabilities. The notice to VRB shall occur no later than six months prior to the student’s 16th birthday in order for VRB to participate in the future development of the student’s IEP. For students enrolling closer to graduation or age twenty one, school districts are urged to inform VRB as soon as those students are identified.
  2. Necessary Lead Time - Eligibility Determinations - The OPI shall encourage school districts to refer students with disabilities to VRB. The timing of the referral should allow two months for VRB to acquire the necessary diagnostic data to determine the student’s VRB eligibility. Referrals should include notice to VRB and an invitation to the VRB counselor to participate, from then on, in transition planning within the IEP process.
  3. Necessary Lead Time - IEP’s - The OPI shall encourage school districts to schedule IEP meetings for eligible students with disabilities one month in advance if at all possible, and to include notice to VRB and the invitation for the VRB Counselor to participate. Development of vocational goals and objectives shall occur in collaboration with the student, parents and appropriate professionals.
  4. Referrals of Students with Disabilities not on an IEP - The OPI shall assist local school districts with referrals of students with disabilities who are not on an IEP and may be in need of services through VRB. The notice to VRB should occur at least one year before their anticipated graduation dates.
  5. Technical Assistance - The OPI shall provide technical assistance to local school districts concerning the provision of free, appropriate, public education, including the responsibility to provide assistive technology to assist with the education of students approaching transition to independent living and employment as appropriate.
  6. Monitoring Data for VRB -The OPI shall provide to VRB the data it collects from school districts regarding the number of special education students they are serving. Data provided to VRB will only be transferred if the release of the data is consistent with the requirements of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  7. Related Services - The OPI shall assist local school districts with coordination of vocationally related services with VRB for eligible students. Coordination should commence in the early stages of transition. Vocationally related service coordination and corresponding agency responsibilities should be identified in the IEP and included on the student’s IPE when appropriate.

Responsibilities of VRB:

  1. Consultation - The VRB counselor shall assist school districts in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post school activities. The VRB counselor shall act as a consultant for the student, parents and the school district during IEP/transition meetings that are scheduled before VRB has an open case on the student. When requested by the local school district, VRB shall ensure that the VRB counselors/staff participate in the evaluation process of students who have applied for VRB services, and in the development of the IEP’s for eligible students.
  2. Former Students - VRB shall encourage former students who are still eligible for IDEA services to enroll again in school for further study and training to enhance their opportunities for employment. Such former students shall also be eligible for VRB services customarily provided by VRB to adults over the age of 21.
  3. Assistive Technology - When required as part of the transitioning student’s IPE, VRB will provide assistive technology services after the individual leaves the school district.
  4. Related Services - (Vocational) After the eligible individual leaves the local school district, VRB will continue to provide vocational services, i.e., vocational assessments, career exploration, job shadowing, vocational guidance and counseling and other required services as documented in the IPE.
  5. Transitions Coordinator - VRB’s transitions coordinator will coordinate with Montana OPI transitions specialists to develop and promote a seamless transition system. VRB’s full time transition coordinator previously served as a VRB counselor in the Missoula Public Schools. The position scheduled office hours at the high schools and was available to offer consultation to special education and 504 coordinators, teachers, school administration, parents, advocacy groups and others regarding the role of VRB in the transition process. In the past year, VRB’s transitions coordinator has been developing a cadre of VRB counselors to work in Montana’s larger schools in a manner that follows the model developed in the Missoula schools. The VRB transitions coordinator also meets with staff and other interested parties across the state to share best practices and facilitate communication. VRB staff will also be available to provide information on changes in the law or VRB policy regarding transitions services.
  6. Financial Responsibilities: Local school districts are financially responsible for the costs of services they are mandated to provide under the IDEA, and VRB is responsible for costs of services it provides under the Rehabilitation Act. Should a service be necessary that neither party is mandated to provide, consultation will occur between the programs and services. Payment(s) will be based on the needs of the student, the availability of funds, and which agency is best positioned to provide the particular service at the time.

Dispute Resolution as to Financial Responsibilities between Local District and VRB: Should a service be necessary that neither the local school district nor VRB is mandated to provide or there is a dispute as to which entity is responsible to provide the service, consultation will occur between the entities. Services or payments will be based on the needs of the student, availability of funds, and which agency is best positioned to provide the particular service at the time. Should the local school district and the VRB be unable to resolve the dispute after consultation with one another, the dispute resolution procedures outlined in the Interagency Agreement between DPHHS and the OPI shall apply.

 Note:   VRB is in negotiation for a new cooperative agreement with the Office of Public Instruction.  This agreement may be completed before October 1, 2013 and the beginning of the new fiscal year.  However, it will not be complete at the time this plan is submitted.  Also, some updates were made in relation to the role of transitions coordinator.  The updates are not in the MOU, but reflect current practice.

MOU Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE)

The purpose of this MOU is to develop and adopt principles which will guide the planning and delivery of support services to individuals with disabilities who are mutual clients of VRB and students enrolled in the Montana University System (MUS). This MOU has provisions which include:

  1. VRB and the units of the MUS maintain different requirements for determination of eligibility, documentation of disability, and the provision of services or accommodations. This MOU does not require either VRB or MUS to alter its policies for providing services or supports, and this MOU is not to be used as a basis for determining eligibility for VRB or MUS services.
  2. The units of the MUS through the guidance of the OCHE are required to provide services and accommodations to VRB clients to the same extent as they are provided to other students with disabilities, in accordance with Montana state law, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (PL 101-336) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (PL 93-112, as amended).
  3. VRB is not prohibited in this agreement from contracting with units of the MUS to provide services or support for VRB clients beyond those required to assure equal access to equal educational opportunities.
  4. The MOU will provide both parties with the opportunity to enhance communication and the exchange of information regarding services offered by VRB and the various campuses of the MUS.
  5. VRB and the units of the MUS will work together to enhance cross-referrals of individuals with disabilities, as appropriate to each individual’s needs. Personal information about the individual will not be shared without an appropriate release of information.
  6. The MUS will not require students who have a disability to apply for VRB funding before providing services or support. For students who have applied for VRB services, the MUS will not deny or delay the provision of services or support while VRB is in the process of determining eligibility for services.
  7. VRB services are provided pursuant to an individualized plan for employment (IPE) which is developed jointly by the rehabilitation counselor and the eligible individual. In those situations where referral has been made to campus disability support services, the appropriate disability services staff may also be involved in helping to develop the IPE.
  8. The VRB rehabilitation counselor and the MUS campus disability support services staff will respect the individual’s right and responsibility to fully participate in all decisions regarding his or her vocational future. The IPE shall be developed and implemented in a manner that allows the individual an opportunity to exercise informed choice in selecting an employment outcome, the specific vocational rehabilitation services that are to be provided, the entity that will provide those services, and the methods that will be used to procure the vocational rehabilitation services.
  9. VRB clients who attend a unit of the MUS may need reasonable accommodation, including auxiliary aids or services in order to have equal access to the programs and services offered at that particular institution.
  10. The provision and cost of reasonable accommodations are the responsibility of the particular unit of the MUS. For individuals with disabilities who are mutual clients of VRB and students at a unit of MUS, and are otherwise qualified for such aids or services, the funding source for auxiliary aids and services will be determined on an individual case-by-case basis.
  11. Additional guidelines relative to interpreter services for eligible clients/students:

  • The MUS unit will be responsible for procuring and paying interpreters. VRB will reimburse for its share of the cost.
  • The MUS unit will provide the appropriate VRB office with an estimate of the number of hours and cost of interpreter services which will be billed to VRB prior to the start of services.
  • The VRB office must authorize payment for the interpreter services prior to the start of services.
  • VRB and the MUS unit will require full compliance with the Registry of interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Code of Professional Conduct. Two years ago this MOU was updated to include the following points: 

  1. Physical disabilities were included in the agreement to split evenly the cost of auxiliary aids and services.
  2. Pre-approval of any cost sharing agreements needed to be obtained prior to the start of the service.
  3. Documentation of services provided must be provided to VRB that meets or exceeds state auditing requirements.

The MOU’s described in this section use VRB to represent both Montana Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind and Low Vision Services. This VRB designation was used in this report to update to current language. The Disability Employment and Transitions Division is now using VRB terminology to accurately depict the combined nature of the agency. In future MOUs the VRB designation will be used.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 3:55PM by Michael Hermanson

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

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

The designated state unit does not have formal cooperative agreements with our private non-profit providers of vocational rehabilitation services in Montana. Rather, Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRB) operates on a purchase-of-service basis and we have identified private non-profit rehabilitation providers who meet qualification standards established by the designated state unit and who provide services on a purchase-of-service basis to VRB consumers. VRB staff meets with this provider group regularly to talk about fee structures, services provided, and to discuss outcome measurements and consumer satisfaction for each of these entities.

Because these are individualized purchase-of-services, there is no formal cooperative agreement. However, VRB will soon be requiring Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP) to accept a contract that sets a fee for service, but does not guarantee a minimum level of consumers to be referred.  The contract was recommended by the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) legal unit to cover liability and other issues. The majority of services purchased by VRB from CRPs are directly from the VRB counselor utilizing an authorization process. The amount of services purchased depends upon the amount and type of services needed by a consumer. Agencies eligible to receive authorizations must be approved vendors and must be current service providers of DPHHS; or have Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) or Rehabilitation Services Accreditation System (RSAS) accreditation. In a limited number of cases, individuals with appropriate backgrounds are authorized to provide services in remote rural areas where a DPHHS, RSAS or CARF provider is not available.

In the past year, VRB collaborated with the Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP) to develop a Request for Proposals to develop a training program for direct line staff of CRPs that provide vocational services. The provider responsible to develop the training has been identified and in the upcoming year an on-line training will be developed and available to all CRPs working with VRB and/or the DDP. Satisfactory completion of the training will be mandatory for staff involved with vocational services for the two sponsoring agencies. There will be a test that can be taken to demonstrate competency related to the skills covered by the training. If the test is passed then the person can opt out of the training.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 4:03PM by Michael Hermanson

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

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

In Montana, supported employment is for individuals with the most significant disabilities who require support services (job finding, job placement and job coaching) to help the individual secure competitive employment in an integrated employment setting. Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRB) works closely with state agencies and other organizations with regard to providing supported employment and extended support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Mental Health: VRB has a negotiated cooperative agreement with the Addictive & Mental Disorders Division. The cooperative agreement provides guidance for: cross-training and technical assistance between our agencies, establishment and evaluation of annual goals for interagency work towards coordinated vocational and support services, and makes available the required supported employment/extended support/follow-along services from VRB’s community rehabilitation programs (CRP) certified mental health providers.

Developmental Disabilities Program: VRB has had a long and productive relationship with the Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP), and that program continues to sign off for extended support services for many individuals with significant disabilities. The cooperative agreement provides guidance for: cross-training and technical assistance between our agencies to make available the required supported employment services from VRB’s enrolled CRPs, and for DDP to be responsible for contracting with developmental disability provider organizations to provide long term supports through funds made available to them from the state general fund and the Medicaid home and community waiver.

Enrolled Community Rehabilitation Programs: VRB works with a number of community based organizations across the state. Forty-four of these organizations are enrolled as extended support service providers to assure quality in service delivery for our consumers. VRB has enrolled programs in mental health services and DDP, as well as other disability services to provide these services at the local level.  

Extended Support Services: The extended support service program is the state of Montana’s funding source that makes long-term support services available to individuals as they work in either a sheltered or community-based employment setting. In many of the past legislatures there have been generous increases in funding recognizing the unmet needs for this service. However, the most recent legislature provided level funding. The extended support service program is administered and managed by Rocky Mountain Rehab, p.c. (RMR) of Billings, Montana, through a contract with the Department of Public Health and Human Services, Disability Employment and Transitions Division. In the last year, VRB and RMR are working to transition more of this program’s resources from sheltered employment to competitive community placement supports. 

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 4:05PM by Michael Hermanson

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Data System

Comprehensive System for Personnel Development (CSPD) information is managed by the Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual (VRB) Services Human Resource Development (HRD) Specialist who keeps track of trainings offered, staff attending training, CRC credits for qualified counseling staff and their support team members. VRB staffing by type of staff (data from RSA2)

Administrative:  2007 - 6      2008 - 6      2009 - 6       2010 – 6        2011 - 6       2012 - 5

Counselor:         2007 - 37    2008 - 38    2009 - 38     2010 – 37      2011 - 39    2012 - 39

Support Staff:    2007 - 40   2008 - 41    2009 - 40     2010 – 40      2011 - 41    2012 - 45

Total Staff          2007 - 83    2008 - 85    2009 - 84     2010 – 83      2011 - 86    2012 - 89

NOTE: The RSA2 looks at positions and what part of the year they are filled. It is not the same as the number of bodies or the numbers of FTE.

In FY2012, VRB budgeted for and employed 46.75 FTE counselors, (38.75 FTE counselors and 8 case carrying counselor supervisors), 21.5 administrative support members who provide direct support to counselors, and 5 regional administrators.

In FY2012, VRB served 8,144 Montanans with disabilities, which means that each counselor FTE served 174 consumers.

The population in western Montana continues to grow, while the population in eastern Montana decreases. As planned, VRB transferred a counselor position to Polson, Montana where a new satellite office has been opened. Polson is on the Flathead Reservation. This is the first VRB office located on a reservation. Unfortunately, there is not a "pocket" where the decline is large enough to take away a counselor. Furthermore, Montana has such large travel distances for counselors to meet with consumers that a reduction of staff in less populated parts of the state is not possible.

When all the positions are filled, VRB has enough staff to provide vocational rehabilitation services to the state. In the next five years, VRB will continue to investigate the feasibility of increased counselor staffing to meet the transitions needs of Montana’s youth with disabilities. VRB would like to see a transitions counselor in each of its four regional offices. Of course, population growth and client demographics will be closely monitored. If our counseling staff increases, it is possible that additional support staff would also be necessary.

In recent years, VRB experienced significant turnover in upper management positions, including the state director, and several regional administrators. Even though VRB management has stabilized, VRB continues to prepare for succession through its VRB Futures Program, which is discussed elsewhere in this plan.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Division Administrator 1 0 0
2 Bureau Chiefs 2 0 1
3 Pro Mgrs (IL, Deaf; Soc Sec; HRD; Transportation) 5 0 1
4 Central Office Administrative Support Staff 3 0 0
5 Counseling Staff(BLVS, Gen Pro, & counselor sups) 47 3 5
6 Orientation and Mobility Specialists 4 0 0
7 Vision Rehabilitation Therapists 5 0 0
8 Field Administrative Support Staff 22 0 5
9 Tech Sup (Bud Anly; Bud Anly Sup; Pro An; AT SP) 4 0 1
10 Regional Administrators 5 0 2

 

Collection and Analysis of Personnel Development

VRB continues to review, on a yearly basis, the reported training needs of its entire staff. This is part of our overall maintenance of the comprehensive system for personnel development. Of particular concern to VRB is the implementation of a system of personnel development that will ensure an adequate supply of qualified rehabilitation personnel for the designated state unit. VRB developed a new CSPD policy that clarifies requirements and expectations of employees engaged in CSPD plans. Additionally, a "Tip Sheet" was developed to notify counselors of institutions of higher education that offer RSA scholarships. The State Rehabilitation Council has had an opportunity to review and make comments on the development of the plans and policies regarding qualified personnel.

Currently, 96% of VRB’s professional counseling and supervisory staff are identified as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC), qualified to sit for the CRC, or are under a CSPD Plan (including actively researching graduate schools). At this time, 6 counselors are engaged in graduate classes and 6 counselors are researching and/or applying to graduate schools. Currently, VRB has no counselor vacancies. As vacancies open, the new counselors may require graduate school preparation. 

Montana’s personnel policy has been rewritten so applicants who have achieved the CRC status receive a higher priority for hiring than those without it. In addition, Montana vigorously recruits applicants with master’s level degrees in rehabilitation counseling when there are vacancies. Montana State University - Billings (MSU-B) is Montana’s only institution of higher education that offers instruction (BA or MA) in rehabilitation Counseling. VRB has a good working relationship with MSU-B. Additionally, VRB has fostered good working relationships with out of state institutions such as Utah State University. Both MSU-B and Utah State have sought input from VRB related to curriculum development and how best to prepare students to work in the public VR program. VRB has successfully recruited and hired graduates of these programs, all of whom were well prepared to sit for the CRC examination. VRB is also working with West Virginia University and the University of Kentucky to qualify its employees. The following table illustrates the education status of VRB employees preparing for CRC qualification.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Utah State University 2 2 0 0
2 West Virginia University 1 1 0 0
3 University of Wisconsin - Stout 0 0 0 1
4 Montana State University - Billings 0 0 0 1
5 University of Kentucky 3 3 0 0

 

Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel

The VRB management team maintains close and regular contact with field services teams. Together, they monitor and fulfill staffing needs. In fiscal year 2012, VRB filled all existing counseling positions.  When necessary, VRB makes counselor position transfers based on changes in caseload numbers in various parts of the state.

VRB continues to recruit the highest quality staff available. Individuals coming to VRB without a masters degree in rehabilitation counseling will be hired on the condition that they will develop a CSPD plan to meet the standard.

Through the extensive outreach efforts of the Blind and Low Vision Services (BLVS) staff and the HR staff within the department, BLVS can sometimes attract candidates from across the country for Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Specialists. In other cases, BLVS must hire someone locally on a training assignment and pay for their schooling.

Montana has no state university training for either Rehabilitation Teaching or Orientation and Mobility, and therefore, attracting highly qualified professionals in these areas will continue to be a problem for BLVS. In an effort to address this dilemma, training positions have been developed.

VRB maintains contact with Montana State University-Billings to update them on the VRB Program. The agency gathers information on degree requirements, and works with rehabilitation counseling instructors to ensure that university requirements are compatible with those needed to qualify counselors to effectively and efficiently serve people with significant disabilities who are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

VRB works with Montana colleges to recruit individuals from minority backgrounds and persons with significant disabilities. VRB takes affirmative action to employ and advance in employment, qualified individuals with significant disabilities.

In Montana, Native Americans make up the largest minority population. Six Native American Section 121 projects are located on reservations and employ Native Americans as rehabilitation counselors. However, with the new CSPD standard requiring education at the graduate level, the general VRB program has difficulty recruiting qualified Native Americans for employment within the agency.

By developing a plan to assure adequate numbers of CRC counselors and by providing leadership training at all levels, VRB is working to develop future leaders who will be ready to take over key positions as they are vacated. Towards this effort, VRB has formed a leadership council that will work directly with current VRB management staff in the design and implementation of the process and format for case services to consumers. Staff participating on this leadership council, referred to as the VRB Futures Group, will obtain the skills necessary to take VRB into the future.

The VRB Futures Group is composed of current staff who have been successfully employed by the agency for a minimum of two years, have completed specific prerequisite training in supervision and/or management and who are or have been, enrolled in approved leadership training, as finances allow.

Participation in the VRB Futures Group involves a competitive application process and involves a three-year term for staff members and two-year term for the regional administrator. Successful completion of a three-year term in the VRB Futures Group has a proposed equivalency of two years of management experience within VRB. Allowing staff to participate in real-life problem solving and real-life improvements to our current service delivery system serves the agency well and provides a mechanism for honing the skills of future leaders within the agency.

VRB also works closely with TACE programs to provide in-service training to our staff. Presently, staff members are taking advantage of regularly offered video conference training on a variety of pertinent topics.

 

Personnel Standards

VRB has a system for ensuring the yearly evaluation (annual review of each counselor’s CSPD status to arrive at the percentage of “qualified” staff".) and performance of each staff member. The performance evaluation of rehabilitation counselors and other professionals is paramount to our efforts to ensure quality services to Montanans with disabilities. Our evaluations are tied to specific performance activities leading to those quality services.

The standard for counseling staff in Montana is to qualify to sit for the CRC examination or to have qualified to sit in the past, with the completion of additional coursework---and then to complete such coursework. Initially, VRB had targeted 2007 as the year in which we would meet our CSPD goal of having 100% of its counselors meet the standard of qualifying to sit for the CRC examination. Unfortunately, as more experienced employees retire there is not a ready pool of qualified professionals to hire into those vacated positions.

In "difficult to recruit for positions" VRB will hire individuals with a baccalaureate degree in a related field (at the minimum) and develop a CSPD plan to ensure that the employee moves toward qualifying to sit for the CRC examination. It typically takes an individual hired with a baccalaureate degree three years to meet the standard. Blind and Low Vision Services instructional staff must be eligible to hold certification from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.

In fiscal year 2012, VRB identified 10 rehabilitation counselors who require graduate level training to qualify to sit for the CRC examination. Currently, 4 are researching and applying to graduate schools, and 6 are fully matriculated students engaged in graduate studies.

VRB anticipates that the distance education graduate programs will take the average rehabilitation counselor approximately two to three years to complete. Without the distance-learning component, VRB would be unable to set this plan in motion, as this allows for the counselor to complete their graduate education while remaining on the job. Through continued use of the distance education programs, VRB anticipates maintaining/increasing the numbers of CRCs over the next several years. The average number of VRB counselors who complete a graduate program in rehabilitation counseling is 3 per year. This trend has been observed over the last decade. However, only two counselors completed their plans in FY 2012.

CSPD requirements dictate graduate level coursework. CSPD funds are also written into the current in-service training grant; however, Rehabilitation Services Administration scholarships are utilized whenever available to the graduate student. VRB’s comprehensive efforts to meet the staff training needs prove to be of significant benefit in terms of recruitment of new staff and retention of existing staff.

 

Staff Development

VRB performs a complete training needs assessment on all employees each year. VRB identifies, through this process, major themes for training large groups as well as individualized training topics identified by staff and their supervisors. This assessment provides for a comprehensive set of training topics that remain fluid as emerging priorities are developed either at the national level or within the state. It is also used to provide information for conference planning purposes to associations such as the Montana Association for Rehabilitation and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The VRB HRD Specialist has responsibility for in-service training, the preparation of Montana’s in-service training grant, and for overall coordination of the agency’s comprehensive system for personnel development. VRB also completes CSPD assessments on all counselors in a plan to meet the standard. Each year, staff who do not meet the standard are counseled and their annual course of action is determined and documented. Of course, the purpose of this annual review is to continue to move counselors toward meeting the standard. Once counselors meet the standard by qualifying to sit for the CRC examination they receive a pay raise, with an additional raise successful completion of the CRC exam.

VRB places a heavy emphasis on leadership at all levels and continuous improvement of staff skills at all levels. Leadership and succession planning training are available to all staff in one form or another. VRB currently utilizes the Emerging Leaders Series through the Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation at Western Washington University and the state’s leadership program for staff development. Building on the formalized leadership/management training available to staff through the aforementioned programs, VRB helps future leaders hone their skills through participation in the VRB Futures Group. Additionally, there is emphasis on training in the areas of rehabilitation technology, informed choice, cultural diversity, current rehabilitation trends and disability information, and the Rehabilitation Act with its amendments. Training on topics such as rehabilitation technology, assessment, vocational counseling, and job placement is held at annual meetings such as All Staff and Montana Association for Rehabilitation conference in addition to online seminars (for example through the TACE). Also, recently the VRB has initiated web based trainings on areas where training has been identified as a need. For the web based trainings, either agency personnel or Montana based resources are utilized to provide the training. Often a representative of the agency is sent to out-of-state training to bring back and disseminate significant knowledge from research and other sources.

 

Addressing Individual Communication Needs

Communication with Diverse Populations 

VRB requires that rehabilitation counselors who are hired specifically to work with deaf and hard of hearing consumers have fluent sign language skills. Sign language interpreters for the deaf or hard of hearing are also provided when necessary. Other accommodations, such as documentation in alternative formats, are routinely made by VRB. VRB policy is to consult with the consumer to determine the most appropriate mode of communication.

Montana has a relay system for telephone communication with consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing and all offices are equipped with Ubi-Duos. Three offices (with the highest numbers of deaf/hard of hearing clients) have video phones for enhanced communication. The Montana Telecommunications Access Program is housed in the Disability Employment and Transitions Division and lends tremendous technical support to VRB staff working with sensory impaired consumers. BLVS has also developed a full time Assistive Technology Specialist position. VRB purchases interpreter services as needed by consumers.

The issue of consumers whose primary language is not English is a very rare issue in Montana. The issue is most likely to occur with Native American consumers who are the largest minority group in Montana. Even with this group, it is quite rare to have a consumer whose primary language is not English. Montana is fortunate to have six Native American vocational rehabilitation projects (funded through section 121 of the Rehabilitation Act) located in Montana. The local VRB offices have good working relationships with the Native American projects and they are an excellent resource for assisting Native Americans who are not English speakers.

The Billings region has the largest population of Spanish speaking consumers and they have utilized assistance from the local migrant council when working with consumers whose primary language is Spanish. In other very rare instances when working with consumers who speak other languages as their primary language, counselors have been able to utilize family members of the consumer to interpret. Also, Montana has many colleges and universities that offer a variety of foreign languages and if necessary it may be possible to utilize instructors or students from these programs to assist with interpreting or identifying community resources to assist with communication.

 

Coordination of the CSPD and IDEA

The VRB CSPD coordinates with the requirements of the CSPD under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in that both necessitate the following.

  1. A description of the procedures and activities that the State of Montana will take to ensure an adequate supply of qualified personnel. 
  2. Detailed in-service training procedures to ensure that all personnel have access to training resources to enhance their professional skills, ultimately improving service delivery to consumers
  3.  In-service training of all personnel.
  4. A system for determining, on an annual basis:

  • The number and type of personnel needed
  • Which institutions of higher education in the state are preparing vocational rehabilitation personnel, the number of students enrolled in the programs, the number who graduate with credentials to qualify for employment with the agency, and
  • When to recruit, prepare, and retain qualified personnel, including personnel from minority backgrounds, and personnel with significant disabilities. 

The HRD Specialist continues to explore ways of coordinating training between VRB, OPI, and the schools. Across the state, there are a number of transition fairs that are held annually at the high schools. VRB presents at the transition fairs, and provides information regarding VRB services and how to access those services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 4:42PM by Michael Hermanson

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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

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

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

The Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998, requires each state to conduct a statewide assessment every 3 years. Our current 3 year Needs Assessment, is a statewide assessment, jointly conducted by Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRB) and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). This assessment examines the need to establish develop or improve community rehabilitation programs, and the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities, particularly the vocational rehabilitation needs of:

  1. Individuals with the most significant disabilities including their needs for supported employment services;
  2. Individuals who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have not been served or are underserved by VRB;
  3. Individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system;

Three types of input were analyzed:

  1. Direct inputs such as the consumer satisfaction survey, VRB counselor survey, focus forums (small regional groups of consumers), consumer survey related to status 30 contacts, and the public hearing
  2. Other indicators such as the Client Assistance Program report of needs, SRC input, program evaluation tools (standards and indicators, federal annual report, demographic trends, involvement with the State Employment Leadership Network, and our current strategic plan summary
  3. Priorities from other programs such as the federal priorities, and legislative priorities.

Method:

The assessment activities took place between January 2, 2011 and May 10, 2013. As indicated above, the assessment sought information from a number of sources. VRB consumer focus forums were conducted each year in each region. 

A consumer satisfaction survey was sent to VRB consumers each of the last three years: approximately 1,750 surveys were sent out each year. The survey response rate was between 20 and 25 percent each year.

A public hearing was held each of the last three years, with each providing general input on improving the VRB program and input on the draft goals, activities and performance measures of the VRB strategic plan. Teleconferencing sites were located in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, Miles City and Missoula for all of the hearings. For the 2012 hearing, a rural site (Glasgow) was added. For the 2013 hearing again a rural site (Havre) was added. In addition, during the 2012 and 2013 hearings a call in option was available to join the hearing. During 2013, a link to provide public comment was added to the Disability Employment and Transitions website. Also, during FY 2012, public hearings separate from the statewide public hearing were held on 4 of the reservations located in Montana (Blackfeet, Fort Peck, Fort Belknap, and Northern Cheyenne.) Participation at the statewide public hearing each year ranged from about 60 participants to over 100 participants. Written comments were also accepted. From 10 to 100 written comments were received each year.

In May of 2012 VRB, counselors were surveyed to gather input on their perceived needs of the consumers that they serve and 13 counselors responded.

Six Section 121 tribal vocational rehabilitation projects were surveyed and VRB received responses from four of the project directors.

VRB conducted phone interviews with 69 consumers who were closed in status 30 as either refused services or failure to cooperate in order to assess the reason for leaving services in more detail.

Throughout fiscal year 2012, VRB was involved with the State Employment Leadership Network, which is a group of agency personnel and consumers that are planning to make integrated community placement a goal for all Montanans with intellectual disabilities.

VRB and the SRC met on January 17, 2013 to obtain SRC input on the state plan and particularly on their input on the strategic plan for the next 3 years. VRB and the SRC met again on May 10, 2013 to review and comment on a draft of the 3 year strategic plan.

Needs of individuals with disabilities who have the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services:

An individual with a "most significant disability" means an individual with a disability who meets the criteria for having a significant disability and in addition has serious limitations in two or more functional capacities (such as, but not limited to, mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of employment outcome. Findings of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment for individuals with the most significant disabilities indicate needs for:

  • Expansion of services in rural areas
  • Reduction of the extended support services waiting list for supported employment
  • Assistance with Social Security work incentives and protection of current SSI/SSDI benefits
  • Increases in earnings and benefits
  • Better transportation services
  • Contact with mental health centers and promotion of supported employment services
  • Assistance at the high school level with independent living and social skills
  • Increased services for individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved
  • The need for a separate advisory group for persons with low vision or blindness.
  • Concern about persons with disabilities being paid below minimum wage

Native Americans

According to 2010 census data 89.4% of Montana’s population is white and 6.3% is American Indian or Alaska Native persons. Persons reporting two or more races made up 2.5% of the population. In Montana, most persons reporting two or more races, at least one of the races would be American Indian. Other minorities make up the remaining 1.7% of the population. Six Section 121 Native American VR projects are located in Montana, covering six of the seven reservations located in Montana. Although most Native Americans on or near the reservation prefer to be served by their Section 121 project, a number are served by VRB or by both VRB and the Section 121 project. In FY 2012, VRB served 1,480 minority consumers (18.2% of the caseload), of which 716 were Native American, 366 were of two or more races, 79 African Americans, 40 were Asian American, 265 were Hispanic/Latino and 14 were Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. The majority of Native American Montanans live on reservations. Many more live just outside the reservation. However, Montana does have a number of urban areas that have Native American service centers (Billings, Butte, Helena, Missoula, and Great Falls). Input on issues related to serving Native Americans with disabilities was received from Section 121 Directors and public hearings conducted on reservations.  Input received included:

  • The Crow Nation should be encouraged to apply for a tribal vocational rehabilitation project
  • There is a need for independent living services on the reservations
  • There is a need for assistance related to the Ticket to Work Program
  • Montana VR counselors need to make appropriate follow up when there are referrals from a tribal vocational rehabilitation project 
  • There is a need for assistance related to assistive technology
  • Transportation difficulties limit access to employment on reservations
  • Difficulty in developing plans for employment due to lack of resources on the reservation
  • There are problems getting good documentation of disability. Indian Health records are available, but often there is a wealth of information that is provided with little of the information relevant to the person’s disabling conditions. Setting up appointments to get adequate documentation is difficult. Psychological testing and other specialty testing often requires going to a site off the reservation
  • There is a lack of job opportunities on the reservations and many of the consumers are not interested in leaving the reservation 
  • There is a lack of sheltered and supported employment opportunities on reservations
  • There is also some difficulty serving hearing impaired persons on the reservations, but on the Blackfeet reservation there have been some procedures developed that have been successful recently
  • There needs to be assistance for helping tribal members develop their own businesses
  • It is difficult to identify tribal members who have hidden disabilities

Persons with Mental Disabilities including Severe and Persistent Mental Illness

In recent years, the disability makeup of Montana’s caseload has significantly changed. In 1986, 69% of the consumers had physical disabilities, 19% had mental disabilities, and 12% had sensory disabilities. In 2012, 37% of the consumers had physical disabilities, 52% had mental disabilities, and 11% had sensory disabilities. The number of cases with mental disabilities has significantly increased, especially in areas like severe and persistent mental illness, learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. While the numbers served have grown, the fact that many of the VRB staff have had less experience working with this population has led to the SRC considering consumers with mental disabilities an underserved group because VRB counselors may not be able to provide the same level of quality with this group of consumers. Findings of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment for individuals with mental disabilities including severe and persistent mental illness include:

  • The need for more mental health centers to provide job placement and supported employment services
  • More information regarding Social Security Work Incentives
  • Improved transportation options
  • Better communication between VRB and the Addictive and Mental Disorders Division
  • The need for a statewide task force to work on improving long-term follow along services for persons with mental disabilities

Status 30 Closure Phone Interviews

Most of the consumers who were interviewed indicated the following reasons for discontinuing VR services prior to initiating a plan:

  • Personal problems took precedence over vocational goal

  • No longer required VR assistance

  • Disability was too debilitating to consider planning for work 

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies Assessment of need to establish, develop, or improve CRPs programs within the state. VRB continually assesses the need to establish, develop and improve CRPs utilizing all of the methods described throughout attachment 4.11 (a). Among the need areas being addressed at this time include:

1) Expansion of services to rural and remote areas by the continued certification of private providers who meet VRB qualification levels for job placement and job coaching services

2) Expansion of mental health providers as CRP’s to serve those with severe and persistent mental illness

3) Planning for the needs of consumers requiring higher level of long-term supports was identified through participation with the State Employment Leadership Network

VRB management staff and the SRC met on January 17th to discuss the results of the comprehensive needs assessment, and to make recommendations regarding FY 2014-16 goals and priorities. Following that meeting a draft of the strategic plan was developed. On May 10, 2013, the management staff, SRC and Client Assistance Program representative met to review the draft plan and provide additional input. On June 14, 2013, the VRB management met to finalize the strategic plan. 

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 5:09PM by Michael Hermanson

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

For FY 2014, Montana Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRB) estimates that total projected combined available funds in FY 2014 for Title I and Title VI, Part B (FY 2014 grant, plus agency adjusted actual match and carryover) to be $17,425,779, while VRB projects the total FY 2014 VR and SE costs (services and administrative) funded under Title I and Title VI-B will be $18,100,813 including both federal and non-federal funds. Administrative costs for FY 2014 are projected to be $2,410,770 and the client service costs are projected to be $15,690,043. The VRB projects an estimated deficit of $675,034 for FY 2014 in all funds. [NOTE: the originally approved state plan for FY 2014 and prior state plan years have historically showed around $9 to 10 million as client benefits in our annual estimates, whereas this amended annual estimate shows $15 million for FY 2014 as client benefits. This difference is due to three factors: 1) only the federal funds for Section 110 were previously included in the $10 million estimate, which excluded the non-federal match funds; 2) Salary and fringe benefits of personnel providing assessment, counseling, guidance or placement services originally were not recorded as client-related benefits; and 3) “benefit expenditures” as defined by the State’s accounting method is different than RSA-2 reporting standards, such as the aforementioned salary and benefits. It wasn’t until Montana’s initial OOS conference call with RSA that we determined that the RSA-2 reporting standards were the preferred reporting method for this state plan. The current $15 million benefit projection is aligned with RSA-2 reporting standards.]

During Federal Fiscal Year 2014, we estimate the following number of individuals will be served and the estimated cost of services: Estimated number of people with disabilities with an employment disability in Montana between the ages of 18 to 64 is 63,344 according to data provided by the 2012 American Community Survey. Title I Vocational Rehabilitation: It is estimated that a total of 4,800 eligible consumers will be served at a case cost of around $15.4 million (including Social Security reimbursement funds), and 850 consumers will be employed. Title VI-B funds: It is estimated that a total of 200 consumers will receive supported employment services at a case cost of around $300,000. It is estimated that there will be 34 supported employment consumers employed.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services has not been under an Order of Selection previously, but anticipates it will be in Order of Selection beginning in the FY 2014 year. The table below represents estimated costs based on FY 2014 projections:

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Priority Category One Title I $8,383,149 2,736 $3,064
Priority Category Two Title I $4,173,866 1248 $3,344
Priority Category Three Title I $2,833,028 816 $3,471
Priority Category One Title VI $300,000 200 $1,500
Totals   $15,690,043 5,000 $3,138

This screen was last updated on Feb 20 2014 10:05AM by Clay Calton

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

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

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

Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services’ (VRB) mission is "Promoting work and independence for Montanans with disabilities". To accomplish this mission VRB and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) have developed the goals and priorities, which are listed below. As stated in 4.11(a), VRB and the SRC met on January 17, 2013 to look at the results of the statewide needs assessment, and to begin development of the State Plan. VRB management staff, SRC representatives, and the Client Assistance Program representative met again in May 2013 to discuss the draft of the strategic plan, and to make final recommendations. Each of the preceding reviews included a review of the standards and indicators and yearly performance related to the standards and indicators. The goals and priorities established for the ensuing 2014-2016 were:

Goal 1: Assure high quality employment for Montanans with disabilities through the vocational rehabilitation program.

Goal 2: Improve the infrastructure that supports VRB in order to increase the agency’s potential to promote work and independence for Montanans with disabilities.

In order to achieve the preceding goals the following priorities were established:

Priority 1: The VRB delivery process will become more seamless through reducing procedures and practices that create unnecessary delay in the development of plans and delivery of services.

Performance Measure 1.1: Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) will be developed within 120 days of a person becoming eligible or the counselor will obtain an approved waiver for a limited time extension.

Target: At least 90% of IEP extensions will be in the case file and valid.

Performance Measure 1.2: Reduce the number of status 30 closures.

Target: The number of status 30 closures will decrease each year of the plan.

Performance Measure 1.3: Decrease the number of pre-plan assessments (excluding assessments to determine eligibility).

Target: The number of pre-plan assessments (excluding assessments to determine eligibility) will decrease by 2% each year of the plan.

Priority 2: VRB employees will be satisfied with their jobs.

Performance Measure 2.1: High satisfaction will be expressed on the annual employee satisfaction survey.

Target: Positive responses on the survey for each question will be 85% or higher.

Performance Measure 2.2: Staff turnover will not be excessive.

Target: The number of VRB staff leaving for non-retirement reasons will be less than 10 persons each year.

Priority 3: VRB will have a quality community rehabilitation provider (CRP) network.

Performance Measure 3.1: There will be an increase in CRP job placement or job search referrals that lead to a successful placement.

Target:

The following percentages will be the targets for each year of the plan:

2014: above 30%          2015: above 31%               2016: above 32%

Performance Measure 3.2: The procedures for dealing with CRP compliance with contract and performance expectations will be implemented.

Target: Each report of issues related to CRP compliance will be investigated by regional personnel and a report of findings will be on file. Actions related to the report will have been implemented.

Performance Measure 3.3: There will be an increase in the weekly wages at closure earned by consumers served by CRPs.

Target: The weekly wages at closure earned by consumers served by CRPs will increase each year of the plan.

Performance Measure 3.4: Consumer satisfaction with CRP services will be monitored.

Target: A procedural guidance related to measuring consumer satisfaction with CRP activities will be completed by October 1, 2015 and performance measures and targets will also be developed.

Performance Measure 3.5: CRP vocational direct service staff will complete appropriate training or otherwise demonstrate competency.

Target: When the DPHHS training program is developed, CRPs will be required to have vocational direct service staff successfully complete the training within a specific period of time or complete a competency exam. If this is not done, the CRP’s enrollment as a VR provider will be jeopardized.

Priority 4: VRB will increase its capacity to serve un-served and underserved populations.

Performance Measure 4.1: VRB will utilize caseload based data and census data to identify specific issues related to unserved or underserved populations.

Target: Issues identified by the caseload research and census research will generate guidance addressing issues that are impacting unserved or underserved populations.

Priority 5: VRB will increase its capacity to serve transition age (14-24) youth with disabilities.

Performance Measure 5.1: VRB will increase the number of IEPs completed with transition youth before they graduate from high school.

Target: The number of IEPs completed with transition youth before they graduate from high school will increase each year of the plan.

Performance Measure 5.2: VRB will increase the number of 26 closures for transitions age (14-24) youth.

Target: The number of 26 closures for transitions age consumers will increase by 3% each year of the plan.

Performance Measure 5.3: VRB will increase the number of transition age youth (14-24) served.

Target: The number of transitions age youth served will increase by 5% each year of the plan.

Priority 6: VRB will increase the quality of successful closures by placing more consumers in positions that pay a living wage and have employee benefits.

Performance Measure 6.1: On the consumer satisfaction survey, 26 closures will indicate VRB services assisted them in meeting their needs.

Target: For the question "I believe the program has met most of my needs." 90% of the responses from 26 closures will be positive.

Performance Measure 6.2: Real income for 26 closures will increase.

Target: Wages at closure combined with benefits income for 26 closures will increase faster than the rate of inflation for each year of the plan.

Performance Measure 6.3: The number of 26 closures with health benefits will increase.

Targets: The percentage of 26 closures that have health benefits provided by employers will increase each of the three years of the plan.

The percentage of 26 closures that have employer provided health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare will increase each year of the plan.

 Priority 7: VRB will become a model of an accessible work place for individuals with disabilities.

Performance Measure: 7.1: VRB will address identified barriers to accessibility in VRB offices.

Targets: Each year of the plan, VRB will address barriers to accessibility identified in accessibility studies conducted in 2012. When all the identified barriers are removed the target will be met.

When VRB changes to or adds a new office, an accessibility study will be completed within a year and a plan will be developed to address identified accessibility barriers.  When all identified barriers are removed the target will be met.

When individual employees have a specific accessibility barrier not addressed in the preceding surveys, they will report the barrier to their supervisor, and the issue will be assessed and a plan for removal developed. When all individualized barriers are removed the target will be met.

Performance Measure 7.2: VRB will work to be a resource for making the network of services for persons with a disability accessible.

Target: VRB will develop and provide guidance procedures for staff on information that can be provided to other agencies in the network on resources available for addressing the workplace for accessibility.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 5:21PM by Michael Hermanson

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

Justification for order of selection

The Montana Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services program (VRB) anticipates that entering into Order of Selection (OOS) during Federal Fiscal Year 2014 due to insufficient financial resources. Due to a regular increase in expenditures and liquidation of remaining carryover Title I federal grant funds, our projected grant and non-federal funds of approximately $17,425,779 for basic vocational rehabilitation services, will not be sufficient to cover the cost of all eligible individuals in need of vocational rehabilitation services and administrative costs. At the time of this writing, we anticipate that it will be necessary to close all priority categories under OOS through June 30, 2014, which is the end of our state budget year; and close only Priority Category Three from July 1, 2014 through September 30, 2014.

As stated above, VRB has experienced an increase in expenses and an increase in the quality of our staff and service delivery system. These increased expenses exceed the grant award allotted to VRB. Below is a justification for the need to implement an order of selection and a breakdown of additional costs incurred by the VR program, including the estimated state match for the vocational rehabilitation funding in Montana that is projected to exceed available match resources. Factors include:

• Increase in personnel services:

o Added 2.00 FTE counselor positions in FY 2013 to meet high case demand areas in the state that were currently being underserved. This will reduce caseload work for other counselors in the region. More counselors are expected to equate to more client benefit costs. The annual salary and payroll benefit costs for the 2.00 FTE is $107,393; and related client benefit increase is estimated at $394,951 based on year-to-date counselor benefit expenses on behalf of their clients, and annualized for the entire year.

o Legislative pay increases, 3.00% in July 2013 and an additional 5.00% beginning November 2014. The 3.00% pay increase equates to $176,257; and the 5.00% pay increase for FY 2015 equates to $454,474.

o Increase in state health insurance beginning in January 2014 from $733 per month per position to $806 per month. The estimated incurred costs for FY 2014 are $59,787. Another state health insurance increase is scheduled for January 2015.

o Additional vacancy savings appropriation reduction of approximately 0.50% in addition to our regular 4.00% for this biennium. The 0.50% additional reduction equates to $25,241.

• In SFY 2013, we overspent our overall legislative appropriation of general fund by $225,000, which was transferred-in from another division that had a surplus. Our 2013 Legislative session enacted restricted appropriations for many appropriations within the agency, so we do not have the same recourse this year or going forward.

• Social Security program income is anticipated to be less for FY 2014 and each subsequent year, due to the introduction of Ticket Tracker software in FY 2013. Prior to FY 2013, this process was performed manually. Based on the experience of other states, we expect the inaugural year with Ticket Tracker software will yield the largest results of missed individuals qualifying for reimbursement. The number of qualifying individuals identified by Ticket Tracker will diminish after the first year since they have already been “discovered” by the software program. Therefore, as program income decreases, these costs will need to be absorbed by the Basic Support grant which will result in an increase use of state match. Currently, our program income for FY 2014 is expected to be $475,238 less than the previous year’s amount.

• Increase in maintenance & support costs related to Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services’ client benefits system. Estimated maintenance and support costs may range from $200,000 to $250,000.

• A review was conducted for client benefits expended for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Benefits paid in FY 2012 were $15.6 million; and FY 2013 expenses were $15.5 million. At the time of this writing, FY 2014 year-to-date client benefit expenses are in pace with FY 2013 spending, or $7.8 million to-date.

Based primarily on the above factors, the total projected federal funding and related match is insufficient to meet VRB program needs. As previously mentioned, Montana VRB anticipates its total available FY 2014 funds to be $17,425,779 while its total projected VR costs $18,100,813 which will yield an overall deficit of $675,034 based on current projections for FY 2014.

 

Description of Priority categories

Individuals will be served in the following order of priority under the Order of Selection once there is a sufficient amount of resources:

Priority Category 1: Individuals determined to have most significant disability (MSD);

Priority Category 2: Individuals determined to have a significant disability (SD);

Priority Category 3: Individuals determined to have a non-significant disability (NSD).

The Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Service program has established, by way of Administrative Rule 37.30.111, the following definitions for priority categories under the Order of Selection:

• MSD Priority Category One: Eligible individual(s) with serious functional limitations in three or more functional capacities, and who will require multiple services over an extended period of time (12 months or more).

• SD Priority Category Two: Eligible individual(s) with serious functional limitations in one or more functional capacities, and who will require multiple services over an extended period of time (12 months or more).

- OR -

The individual is a recipient of Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as a result of disability or blindness who is presumed to be eligible for VR services and an individual with a significant disability.

• NSD Priority Category Three: All other eligible individuals with disabilities.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

Order to be Followed in Selecting Eligible Individuals to Receive Service:

VRB has established policies and procedures for administering Order of Selection decision making. Accordingly, at any given time while VRB is under an order of selection, one of the following four scenarios may be in effect:

1. Eligible individuals in all priority categories wait on the statewide waiting list.

2. Eligible individuals in Priority Category One are served immediately, and eligible individuals in Priority Category Two and Priority Category Three will wait on the statewide waiting list. When capacity exists, a predetermined number of eligible individuals in Priority Category Two will be released based upon application date. All eligible individuals in Priority Category Two will be released before any of the eligible individuals in Priority Category Three.

3. Eligible individuals in Priority Category One and Priority Category Two are served immediately and all other eligible individuals wait.

4. No eligible individuals wait and all priority categories are served immediately.

Basis for Order of Selection – Prohibited Factors

The Order of Selection shall not be based on any other factors, including:

1. Any duration of residency requirement, provided the individual is present in the State;

2. Type of disability;

3. Age, gender, race, color, or national origin;

4. Source of referral;

5. Type of expected employment outcome;

6. The need for specific services or anticipated cost of services required by an individual; or

7. The income level of an individual or an individual’s family

 

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

Describe how individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected for services before all other individuals with disabilities:

Individuals applying for services will be interviewed and eligibility determined. VRB will continue to provide services only to the individuals currently receiving services as of the effective date the order of selection is implemented, until financial resources become available and that priority category is opened. Rationale for placement in priority categories will be included in the individual’s case file. Those individuals in Priority Category One will have the highest priority and will be served first, followed by individuals in Priority Category Two, and finally by those individuals in Priority Category Three. All individuals within a higher priority category will be served before any individual in the next lowest priority category.

Regardless of which category closure scenario is in effect, eligible individuals will be released from the statewide waiting list first by priority category; then by order of application date.

Individuals on the wait list will be notified in writing of the Priority Category assigned. Individuals who do not meet the OOS criteria will be provided: (1) VR information and guidance and (2) referred to other appropriate Federal and State programs, including programs carried out by other components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System.

All funding arrangements for providing services shall be consistent with the OOS. If any funding arrangements are inconsistent with the OOS, VRB will renegotiate these funding arrangements so that they are consistent with the OOS.

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 2,936 499 558 Immediately to one year $8,683,149
2 1,248 212 237 Immediately to two years $4,173,866
3 816 139 155 Six months to three years $2,833,028

This screen was last updated on Feb 20 2014 10:35AM by Clay Calton

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

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

 

Supported employment services are provided on a statewide basis through the Title VI, Part B funds. Supported employment is competitive employment or employment in integrated work settings in which individuals are working toward competitive work, with ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or for whom competitive employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a significant disability. Supported employment includes transitional employment for individuals with the most severe disabilities due to mental illness. Fund allocation on a statewide basis ensures an equitable statewide service delivery.

The goal of the state’s supported employment program is to maintain a system whereby individuals with the most significant disabilities are afforded the opportunity to participate in integrated competitive employment.

Title VI, Part B funds will be distributed through four Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services’ (VRB) regional budgets. Rehabilitation counselors at the local level authorize supported employment services as needed from the community rehabilitation programs (CRP) statewide. VRB estimates that approximately $375,000 will be expended on Supported Employment services in FY 2013. Funding sources include: $300,000 in Title VI, Part B funds, supplemented with approximately $75,000 in Title 1 (Section 110) funds. It is estimated that a total of 250 consumers will receive supported employment services. It is estimated that there will be 70 supported employment consumers employed.

Supported employment services are available statewide.

Strategies:

Inventory methods of supporting consumers on the job following supported employment outcomes

A. Extended Employment - Rocky Mountain Rehab

B. Mental Health cooperative agreement

C. Developmental Disabilities cooperative agreement

D. Private pay to CRP (CRP is signoff)

E. Natural supports

F. Medicaid waiver program

G. In 2009, the Missoula region began looking at using employment related work expenses as a method to support consumers on the job following supported employment outcomes. At this time, few consumers have been able to use this method. The State Employment Leadership Network (SELN) has mentioned this as an area to explore further. With the full network reviewing this option, there may be increased use of this resource in the future.

Expand the number of mental health providers as CRPs to serve those with severe and persistent mental illness. There are currently five mental health providers that provide supported employment services. There continues to be a possibility that Kalispell mental health may begin providing services during the upcoming year.

In the past several years, VRB has expanded the number or rural providers and hopes the expansion will continue in the upcoming year.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 5:37PM by Michael Hermanson

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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

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

Methods Used to Expand and Improve Services to Individuals with Disabilities

The comprehensive needs assessment is the primary process for identifying areas related to innovation. Activities supported specifically by innovation and expansion funds include the consumer satisfaction survey and meetings for the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and the Statewide Independent Living Council.

Other activities related to expanding services are detailed in below in activities to achieve goals and priorities.

 

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.

Identification of How a Broad Range of Assistive Technology Services and Assistive Technology Devices will be Provided at Each Stage of the Process

The primary method of providing assistive technology and devices to consumers has been through the relationship with MonTECH of the University of Montana Rural Institute (Rural Institute). MonTECH is Montana’s federally funded assistive technology project since 1991. MonTECH’s primary purpose is to assist individuals with disabilities to maintain or increase their level of functioning and independence in all environments through the access to and use of assistive technology devises and services to consumers throughout the state.

The current strategy for more effectively using MonTECH’s resources is an annual training for Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services’ (VRB) staff to learn more about the services available through MonTECH and how to access them.

The Blind and Low Vision Services (BLVS) assistive technology specialist provides training and support to BLVS consumers and staff on technology related to blind and low vision issues.

Description of How Assistive Technology Services and Devices will be Provided on a Statewide Basis.

MonTECH has implemented a process of demonstrating equipment and assessing technology needs through the use of video conferencing via computer. VRB hopes to assist with expansion of these efforts through expanding the computer communication technology available in VRB offices. VRB recruited a VISTA to assist with research in this area and installing equipment and staff training. In addition, ARRA funds were also used to provide each office with a variety of assistive technology items that are commonly used by persons with disabilities. MonTECH will be able to assist with the demonstrations of this equipment through the video conferencing systems. In the past year, all the all of the MonTECH technology stations have been set up in VRB offices and have been utilized by consumers, except in one office where there have been difficulties getting the technology operational. However, it is anticipated this station will be operational soon.

Each BLVS regional office has a rehabilitation teacher who has background in technology related to blind and low vision and each regional office has some demonstration equipment available for consumers to test equipment before purchase. MonTECH provides additional demonstration equipment to the three BLVS offices outside of Missoula (MonTECH is located in Missoula and their office supplements the BLVS resources for that region).

 

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 Activities to Identify and Serve Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities who are Minorities

Native Americans represent the only significant minority group in Montana. Montana has seven reservations and thirteen tribes within autonomous governing bodies. The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe is granted Montana recognition, but not federal recognition. VRB has counselors who serve consumers on each reservation. These counselors coordinate with Section 121 project staff to identify potential referrals and resources. Native Americans with disabilities living on reservations face unique challenges.

  • First, they are eligible for a combination of tribal, federal, and state programs to meet their vocational and health needs. This requires extensive coordination and cooperation between agencies.
  • Secondly, they are faced with significant cultural and economic barriers. Unemployment on these reservations varies from 24% to 70% (Bureau of Indian Affairs, US Department of the Interior, 2007). Today there are very few private or self-employment opportunities on reservations: most employment comes through tribal and federal programs.

Six Section 121 vocational rehabilitation projects (Confederated Salish & Kootenai, Blackfeet, Chippewa Cree, Fort Peck, Fort Belknap, and Chief Dull Knife College) are located in Montana. This gives improved access to vocational rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities being served by the Section 121 projects. VRB counselors assigned to these six reservations coordinate with each project staff as needed. In addition, the VRB program manager visits each 121 project annually and provides technical assistance when requested.

Most of the Section 121 projects have recently been refunded for five more years. So, there will be significant Section 121 support in Montana for several more years. Section 121 projects have a better grasp of the cultural and service delivery barriers that exist on reservations and can help support VRB counselors as needed.

In some cases, VRB has access to specialized programs, or services, which are not always found on reservations. VRB’s efforts are to network, coordinate, offer technical assistance, and provide training opportunities for project staff to ensure consumers with disabilities have access to the full range of vocational rehabilitation services. Six cooperative agreements have been written and are monitored on an annual basis.

In order to ensure that VRB is meeting the needs of Native Americans that do not live on or near the reservation, in the past year VRB staff has met or has plans to meet with: Missoula Native American Center, Helena Indian Alliance, Great Falls Indian Family Health Center, Butte - North American Indian Alliance, and the Indian Health Board of Billings Clinic. Possibly because of these outreach efforts, recently the number of Native American consumers served in the counties served by the urban centers has increased. VRB provided program and referral information, literature regarding VRB and VRB transitions, and discussed transitions services for youth. In Great Falls, a counselor has been assigned as a liaison to the Indian Family Health Center to ensure that those eligible for VRB services receive the appropriate information, and are referred in a timely manner. During the fall 2013 SRC meeting a group from the Helena Native American Pow Wow organization will provide a presentation on issues related to urban Native Americans.

Identification of Outreach Procedures Used to Identify and Serve Individuals with Disabilities who have been Unserved or Underserved by VRB

For several years VRB has considered Native Americans as the unserved/underserved population of the state. However, the SRC has decided to try to identify unserved/underserved populations through a review of caseload data and population data. These efforts have been initiated and are described in other parts of this plan.

 

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

Plans for Establishing, Developing, or Improving Community Rehabilitation Programs

VRB continually assesses the need to establish, develop and improve community rehabilitation programs (CRP) utilizing all of the methods described throughout attachment 4.11 (a). Among the need areas being addressed at this time include:

1. Expansion of services to rural and remote areas by the continued certification of private providers who meet VRB qualification levels for job placement and job coaching services

2. Expansion of mental health providers as CRP’s to serve those with severe and persistent mental illness

In the past year, through the collaboration with multiple agencies and consumers involved with the State Employment Leadership Network, many initiatives are under consideration that will increase the number of persons with significant intellectual disabilities to be placed in competitive community employment. A significant number of the initiatives under consideration include assisting CRP services to be prepared to serve this population. One initiative that has been initiated is to develop web based training for vocational services staff of CRPs that will be required by both VRB and the Developmental Disabilities Program.

 

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

 Describe Strategies to Improve the Performance with Respect to the Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators:

Many of the strategies developed to meet the goals established by the comprehensive needs assessments are aimed at improving the standards and performance indicators of VRB. Those strategies are detailed below in the section on activities to achieve goals and objectives. Also, VRB has incorporated the standards and indicators into performance appraisals for staff. VRB and the SRC will continue to monitor the performance outcomes throughout the year and work to consult with VRB regional administrators to assure compliance in meeting the required indicators. VRB tracks the indicators on a quarterly basis so adjustments can be made in areas that may need some attention.

 

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

Strategies for Assisting other Components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System in Assisting individuals with Disabilities

VRB staff are members of the local community management teams (CMTs). As members of these teams, VRB staff offer consultation and technical assistance on disability issues as needed. Also, most of the enrolled CRPs are active members of the CMTs.

 

 

 

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.

Agency’s strategies to: Achieve Goals and Priorities Identified in Attachment 4.11 (c)(1)

In May 2013, VRB management staff met with representatives of the SRC to discuss comprehensive needs and priorities for the upcoming year. The group looks at formal input from public hearings, focus forums, VRB staff, consumer satisfaction survey, Client Assistance Program, SRC, state and national sources (CSAVR, RSA policy changes, Legislative activities, umbrella agency activities), and other surveys. Information from this meeting is used to plan for the next three years and for the legislature. VRB and the SRC have developed the goals, objectives, and strategies. In addition performance measures have also been identified and will be used over the next three years to measure progress. 

For the strategic plan covering FFY 2014 through FFY2016, the format of strategies was changed. In past plans, strategies were connected to specific priorities or objectives. In reviewing this plan’s strategies, it was determined that several strategies applied to multiple priorities. Therefore, the strategies will not be listed with specific priorities. Rather, the priorities will be listed numerically and then after the strategy, the priorities that are expected to be impacted will be listed.

VRB STRATEGIC PLAN 2014-16

Goal 1: Assure high quality employment for Montanans with disabilities through VRB.

Goal 2: Improve the infrastructure that supports VRB in order to increase the agency’s potential to promote work and independence for Montanans with disabilities.

Priority 1: The VRB delivery process will become more seamless through reducing procedures and practices that create unnecessary delay in the development of plans and delivery of services.

Priority 2: VRB employees will be satisfied with their jobs.

Priority 3: VRB will have a quality community rehabilitation provider network.

Priority 4: VRB will increase its capacity to serve un-served and underserved populations.

Priority 5: VRB will increase its capacity to serve transition age (14-24) youth with disabilities.  

Priority 6: VRB will increase the quality of successful closures by placing more consumers in positions that pay a living wage and have employee benefits.  

Priority 7: VRB will become a model of an accessible work place for individuals with disabilities.  

Strategies to Address Priorities

Expand options in areas such as self-employment, online and home employment, including expanding the Business Enterprise Program.

Priorities addressed: 1, 4, and 6    

Develop additional consumer support and input mechanisms for the BLVS program, such as establishing an advisory group.

Priorities addressed: 1, 4, 5, and 6  

Be able to provide more assistance to consumers related to assistive technology.

Priorities addressed: 4, 5, and 6                

Use technology to assist counselors in having more time to work with consumers and less time doing paper work.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2, and 7                

Improve VRB counselor’s relationships with employers.

Priorities addressed: 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7  

Develop and provide guidance on transition age timelines.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2, and 5  

 Implement new CRP compliance procedure.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2, and 3  

Develop procedures to increase quality/quantity of services in rural areas.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2, and 4  

Review wait time for supported employment and provide guidance on reducing the time involved or approaches for adding value to the wait time.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5  

Develop a paperless case management and vendor payment system.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2, 3, and 7  

Improve working relationship with mental health agencies.

Priorities addressed: 3, 4, and 5  

Improve working relationships with Development Disabilities Program.

Priorities addressed: 3, 4, and 5  

Provide training and ideas for serving individuals with autism.

Priorities addressed: 4 and 5  

Explore alternatives for job placement services.

Priorities addressed: 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6  

Support initiatives and procedures that increase opportunities for persons with disabilities to obtain state and federal government jobs.

Priorities addressed: 4, 5, and 6  

Encourage regular meetings between VRB and Section 121 Project staff.

Priorities addressed: 1, 4  

Review potential of streamlining eligibility process for dual cases with Section 121 projects.

Priorities addressed: 1, 4  

Utilize counseling techniques that are less directive, this will increase consumer motivation to participate in the process.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6  

Review supports and orientation procedures for new counselors to ensure their start with VRB is a positive and productive period.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7  

Continue to explore methods to facilitate increased productive and supportive communication between counselors. The emphasis should be on supporting the counselors in smaller offices. Utilize tools such as interactive video to facilitate such activities.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,  

Explore methods and techniques for an ongoing consistent approach to providing feedback to counselors and obtaining feedback from counselors.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2,  

Ensure that staff are aware of training requirements and opportunities for possible advancement in the agency.

Priorities addressed: 2  

Encourage CRPs to be active in Community Management Team activities.

Priorities addressed: 3, 4, and 6  

Encourage staff participation in activities and conferences related to minority groups and other potentially unserved and underserved populations.

Priorities addressed: 2, 4   

Explore providing training for counselors on how to effectively participate in the Individualized Education Plan process.

Priorities addressed: 1, 3, and 5  

Build relationships with other youth oriented programs that can be contacted to increase the contacts with transition age youth.

Priorities addressed: 4, 5  

Explore methods for outreach to businesses on the benefits of working with VRB to gain employees.

Priorities addressed: 1, 6  

Provide counselor training on new health care law.

Priorities addressed: 1, 2, and 6  

Explore increased use of Working Well with a Disability, Living Well with a Disability classes and other programs that help consumers to prepare for employment. 

Priorities addressed: 1, 4, 5, and 6  

Explore partnerships to allow continued availability of Newsline available through the National Federation of the Blind.

Priorities addressed: 4 and 6  

 

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 6:01PM by Michael Hermanson

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

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

Evaluation of progress made towards achieving program goals and objectives identified in Attachment 4.11 (c) (1).  The evaluation reports on significant impacts of specific activities related to the goals and objectives and an overall review of the performance indicators set for each objective.

Goal 1: Improve the infrastructure that supports Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRB) in order to increase the agency’s potential to promote work and independence for Montanans with disabilities.

Objective 1.1: Increase transportation options for Montanans with disabilities that impact employment opportunities for VRB consumers.  

Strategies that have had an impact:

  • Ensure that information and the resources gathered by the Disability Employment and Transitions Division’s transportation coordinator get distributed to all staff on a regular basis. 

This has occurred for both FY 2011 and 2012 and is having an impact on improving transportation options to VRB consumers. Specific areas of impact are:

  • The transportation coordinator is able to coordinate and improve the process for purchasing van conversions.  
  • The transportation coordinator is able to secure better pricing for consumers on such items as tires.

Performance Measures: 

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, VRB will decrease the number of cases closed because of transportation barriers from the previous year.

Benchmark 2010 total: 5 closed cases with transportation barriers noted as reason.

Through September 30, 2011: 5 closed cases with transportation barriers noted as reason.

2012 analysis: After collecting the information from the data system, it became apparent that this data may not be pertinent to the measuring progress as anticipated. There was discussion with the RA’s regarding the measure. The actual coding of transportation difficulties is not made unless it is the only difficulty in placement. After review of the measure and coding guidelines used by staff, it was determined that this was an inappropriate measure and gathering the information was discontinued. There has been no measure identified to take its place.

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, each region will report successful transportation initiatives in their area to the state office. The regional reports will be consolidated into a state report and distributed to the regional administrators and State Rehabilitation Council (SRC).

Regional transportation initiatives that have been implemented with the assistance of the transportation coordinator during fiscal year 2012:

  • VR offices in all regions are working with the transportation coordinator to get quotes for vehicle repairs, tires, and other repairs.
  • Through working with the transportation coordinator there is better representation of VR staff and consumers at local transportation advisory committees. This is important because these committees make many of the decisions of how funding for public transportation will be utilized. Having a stronger representation at the meetings increases the chances of funding being used to meet the needs of VRB consumers.

Objective 1.2: VRB will implement procedures and practices that improve counselor infrastructure/supports to increase quality time spent with clients and improve client outcomes.

Strategies that had an impact:

  • MonTECH provided training on assistive technology stations that were developed at each office.
  • Counselors are utilizing videoconferencing techniques more often, in order to make contacts in rural areas.
  • Counselors are increasing the use of new orientation booklets.

2012 analysis: The number of initiatives that have been identified and implemented is considered to be significant and therefore progress in this regard has been successful. It is anticipated that similar initiatives will occur in the final year of the plan. All initiatives are being circulated statewide and are adopted across the state fairly readily.

Performance Measures:

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, VRB will meet the standards and indicators.

There are two evaluation standards: To achieve successful performance on Standard 1, a VR agency must meet or exceed 4 of 6 indicators. VRB met 4 of the 6 indicators. VRB did not meet the rehabilitation rate indicator and the primary support indicator. To achieve successful performance on Standard 2, a VR agency must meet or exceed the performance indicator. VRB met the indicator.

2012 analysis: Because the overall requirements have been met or exceeded, VRB has had adequate progress on this measure. It is anticipated that the requirements of the Standards and Indicators will continue to be met in the upcoming years of the plan. 

 

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, there will be a decrease in the number of waivers from the previous year for extended time between the time a consumer is found eligible for services and the IPE is completed.

Benchmark, 2010 total: 2,540 extensions.

Through September 30, 2011: 2,282 extensions (10.2% decrease)

Through September 30, 2012: 2,198 extensions (3.7% decrease)

2012 analysis: This performance measure was included in the regional administrators’ regional plan for FFY11. VRB continues to reduce the rate of IPE extensions. We anticipated an increase in the number of successful closures if VRB consumers were served under an Individualized Plan of Employment (IPE) in a timelier manner. The number of successful closures (26s) increased in FY12 from FY11 (54 more closures than FY11). While the increase in 26s could be an indicator of timely services, it could also be due in part to the improved economy and being fully staffed.

The Chief of Field Services is in the process of revising the procedure for IPE extensions to ensure that extension reasons are valid and time-limited.

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, the positive ratings in the consumer satisfaction survey on the questions:  “My relationship with my counselor has been helpful and productive.” and “How would you rate the quality of service you received?” will be at least 85%.

It should be noted that because the consumer satisfaction survey is done on a calendar year basis, the findings reflect the surveys conducted during a calendar year and not fiscal year.

It should be noted that on the Blind and Low Vision Services (BLVS) survey, this question reads: “My relationship with Blind and Low Vision Services has been helpful and productive?”  The reason for the difference between the two questions is that consumers of BLVS services often interact with other professional staff (such as orientation and mobility personnel) in addition to the counselor.

Benchmark: 85%

For Calendar Year 2011: The positive satisfaction rating for the question: “My relationship with my counselor has been helpful, timely and productive was 85%.

For Calendar Year 2012: The positive satisfaction rating was 88.2%.

For the second question, it should be noted that beginning with the 2010, the question “How would you rate the quality of service you received?” was changed to “I am satisfied with the quality of service received.”

Benchmark: 85%  

For Calendar Year 2011: The positive satisfaction rating for the question “I am satisfied with the quality of service received.” was 83%.

For Calendar Year 2012: The positive satisfaction rating was 86.9%.

2012 Analysis:  While the target for both questions were surpassed. VRB strives to see additional improvement. In looking at the written comments that accompanied surveys, VRB is pleased that there were fewer anecdotal negative comments related to counselor turnover and sees staff stabilization as a factor in the improved ratings.  

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, the number of counselor sick days used will decrease from the previous year.

Benchmark: Sick leave days used in the first quarter of State FY (July 1 to June 30) 2011:790

Sick leave days used in the first quarter of State FY 2012: 692.  

2012 analysis: This proved to be a difficult measure to obtain and the value of the measure was questioned. Therefore, the measure was discontinued. VRB is exploring measures that may be more appropriate including the development of an employee satisfaction survey.

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, there will be a decrease in calls to Client Assistance Program from the previous year.

Benchmark: Montana CAP reports that in FFY 2010 there were 154 service requests by 144 consumers. These requests include referrals related to IL, tribal VR programs, and employment discrimination of VR consumers. CAP does not keep records differentiating the type of referral. However, VRB cases make up the vast majority of the cases and changes in the volume of referrals over a given time period likely reflect changes in the volume of VRB related referrals. 

In FFY11: there were 170 service requests by 154 clients  

In FFY12: there were 139 service requests

2012 analysis: As anticipated, now that we are full staffed, the number of calls to CAP have been reduced significantly (18% from FY11 and 10% from FY10.) Regional administrators will continue to monitor the types of complaints, as well as the number of complaints received in their region; they will be able to follow-up with staff if there are notable trends/spikes in their region.

Objective 1.3: Establish and/or enhance effective working relationships with a broad range of organizations that assist individuals with disabilities in achieving employment.

Strategies that have had an impact:

  • Assign VRB liaisons to appropriate organizations, committees and councils to promote mutual goals and achievements. During the last year the involvement with other organization has led to several partnerships leading to grant proposals. Some of these proposals were funded and should benefit consumers for many years into the future.

2012 Analysis: While this is a difficult objective to asses, the regional managers and the SRC are quite impressed with the collaborative activities that come from the outreach efforts. They are convinced that these efforts assist in developing a comprehensive network of services to serve consumers.

Performance Measures:

Each year of the plan, VRB will review the evidence of record (e.g. minutes, agendas, and agreements) for documentation of the participation of VRB in partnerships and collaborative efforts.

  • As mentioned previously, there were MOUs developed with several transportation agencies around the state that will assist in providing addition funding to public transportation in the cities involved.
  • Also as a result of involvement with the State Employment Leadership Network, VRB and the Developmental Disabilities Program collaborated to develop a training program that will be available to CRP vocational personnel across the state.

2012 analysis: Progress is adequate and no changes are planned at this time. Regions will continue to work collaboratively with the various service providers in their area.  

Objective 1.4: Improve Disability Employment and Transitions Division’s compliance with relevant federal and state civil rights laws that prohibit disability discrimination.

Strategies that had an impact:

  • VRB has spent most of the last year working on a new case management system that will be significantly more accessible than the current case management system. It is anticipated the system will be operational at the beginning of FFFY 2014.
  • VRB implemented accessing interpreters through video relay and has begun using this method across the state. This enhances interpreter options significantly for deaf and hard of hearing consumers. 

Performance Measures:

By the end of the first year of this plan, the Americans with Disabilities Act self-evaluation and Transition Plan for programs and facilities of Disability Employment and Transitions Division will have been completed.

The centers for independent living were contracted to do self-evaluations for the VRB offices in the Center’s service area. Those evaluations were completed. The next step is for the office leaders to review the evaluations and to assign a priority for barriers identified in the evaluations. Then the offices will commence with the removal of the barriers. 

Analysis: The measure was met as the evaluations were completed. The quality of the evaluations was very high and will be very useful guides in removing barriers in the last two years of the plan.

By the end of the third year of this plan, there will be evidence of progress made on removing barriers identified in the Americans with Disabilities Act Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan.

The changes that were made in the last year include:

  • automatic doors have been installed in some offices
  • office furniture and other items have been rearranged in several offices
  • bathroom modifications were made in one office
  • curb cuts were installed at one office location
  • signage related to accessibility issues have been placed in offices
  • offices have arranged for more rapid snow removal

2012 analysis: Many changes have been made since the accessibility evaluations were completed. These adjustments have made VRB offices more accessible to a variety of disabilities. VRB will continue these efforts in the next year.

Goal 2: Assure high quality employment for Montanans with disabilities through the vocational rehabilitation program.

Objective 2.1: Provide functionally equivalent services to unserved and underserved populations.  

Strategies that had an impact:

During the last year the data available in case service system was reviewed in the areas of rural/urban populations, different disabilities, and minority populations to determine if there were indications of various groups in these categories being unserved or underserved.   

Performance Measures:

Have a procedure in place for identifying unserved and underserved populations at least one year prior to the next strategic planning session to get input from those groups for the strategic planning meeting.

As mentioned above the analysis has been conducted with a variety of consumer groups. Some discrepancies have been identified. VRB is currently looking at factors that may have impacted the discrepancies. When this review is complete, plans for addressing the issues will be developed if appropriate.

Analysis: Progress on this measure is adequate. In the upcoming year it is expected that plans will be in place to address specific issues.

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, there will be an increase from the previous year in successful closures with health insurance benefits through employers of minority groups and other groups identified as unserved or underserved.

Benchmark, 2010 total: 16 of 96 total 26’s (16.7%) had health insurance benefits through employers.

Through September 30, 2011: 16 closures of 86 total 26’s (18.6%) had health insurance benefits through employers. This is an 11.4% increase of the percentage of closures with health insurance from the base line.  

Through September 30, 2012: 14 of 116 total 26s with health insurance (12.1%). This is a 34.9% decrease of the percentage with health insurance from FY 2011 and a 27.5% decrease from the baseline.

2012 Analysis: While VRB makes every attempt to place individuals in jobs with living wages and covered health insurance, it is not always possible. This is especially true for those consumers who are unable to work full-time because of the severity of their disability. The data below show the disparity of Montana employer sponsored health coverage rates of minorities vs. that of the white population.  Montana: Employer-Sponsored Coverage Rates for the Nonelderly (0-64) by Race/Ethnicity, states (2010-2011, U. S. (2011)

Employer-Sponsored Coverage Rates for the Nonelderly by Race/Ethnicity, states (2010-2011), U.S. (2011)
 MT

 

MT

%

US

 

US

%

White371,50053%104,295,30065%
BlackNSDNSD14,583,00044%
HispanicNSDNSD17,673,80036%
Other14,40020%12,108,60055%
Total396,10049%148,660,70056%

VRB receives regular job announcements from the National Employment Team (NET), which includes federal positions as well as positions from the private sector. NET is in the process of implementing new software for counselor’s use. This software will enable the counselor to search for and match an individual’s skills to job openings that are posted both regionally and nation-wide. This is expected to be rolled-out in January 2013. VRB is hopeful that this new software will enable counselors to more closely match an individual’s skill set to specific job openings across the country and therefore improve our employment rate, as well as improve wages and access to employee sponsored health care.

Each year, the positive ratings in the consumer satisfaction survey for the question “I am satisfied with the plan my counselor and I developed to meet my needs to achieve my employment goal” will be at least 90% for 26 closures of consumers from minority groups and other groups identified as unserved and underserved.

Benchmark: 90%

Through Calendar Year 2011: 77%

Through Calendar Year 2012: 100%

2012 analysis: VRB did meet the goal of 90%. The agency is hopeful the positive reports will continue. This measure may fluctuate significantly between years because of the small population involved. 

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, there will be an increase in the number of consumers from minority groups and other unserved and underserved groups who have plans developed from the previous year.

Benchmark 2010: 275 plans were developed for minority consumers

Through October 30, 2011: 248 plans were developed for minority consumers. This is a 9.8% decrease from the baseline.

Through October 30, 2012: 369 plans were developed for minority consumers. This is a 48.8 % increase from FFY 2011 and 34.2% increase over the baseline.

2012 analysis: During FFY 2011 there was instability in the counselor position that serves the entire north east part of the state that includes 3 of the 7 reservations located in the state. This position stabilized in the last year and that was probably a primary factor in the improvement of this measurement. Recently, an additional counselor position was added to the office serving this area. Therefore, it is expected that the progress will continue.

In addition there was a counselor training in the last year entitled Tips for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors on the Reservation.

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, standards and indicators related to minority ratio will be met.

Benchmark: Minority ratio must be greater than or equal to .80.

Ratio for FY 2011: .84

Ratio for FY 2012: .90

Analysis: VRB met this standard & indicator, therefore progress is adequate on the measure.

Objective 2.2: Develop a plan to address the high status 30-to-closure ratio.

Performance Measurements:

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, there will be a 3% decrease in status 30s from the previous year.

Benchmark:  2010: 1612 status 30 closures

Through September 30, 2011: 1423 status 30 closures. This is an 11.7% decrease in the number of status 30 closures.

 

Through September 30, 2012: 1524 status 30 closures. This is a 7.1% increase from FY 2011 and a 5.5% decrease from the baseline.

 

2012 analysis: There was an increase in 30 closures in the past year after a significant decrease in the preceding year. The overall 5.5% decrease is close to the expected 6% decrease, but there needs to be more effort in this area to regain the momentum of 2011. One new strategy has been implemented in recent months. This strategy was recommended by the RSA monitoring team. The strategy is to decrease the number of assessments done before initiating a plan. The strategy emphasizes keeping the client interested in achieving an employment outcome rather than having the process slow down with assessments. VRB is confident the new strategy will assist in decreasing the number of status 30s.

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, there will be a decrease in the ratio of status 30s to status 26s and status 28s from the previous year.

Benchmark: 2010: The ratio of status 30s to status 26s and status 28s was:  .94  

Through September 30, 2011: The ratio of 30s to 26s and 28s was: .88. This is a 6.4% decrease in the baseline.

Through September 30, 2012: The ratio of 30’s to 26s and 28s was: .87. This is a 1% decrease from FY 2011 and a 7% decrease from the baseline.

2012 analysis: Progress was adequate again this year, but per the preceding performance indicator VRB continues to adapt new strategies to assist in this area and hopes for additional improvement.   

Objective 2.3: Provide rehabilitation services that lead to successful outcomes in employment for transition age youth 14-24 years of age.

 Strategies that have had an impact:

VRB expanded the Adopt the School strategy developed in the Missoula school district to several other schools in the state.

Performance Measurements:

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, increase the number of 26 closures for transitions age youth (14-24) by 3% over the previous year.

2010 benchmark: 161 26 closures of transition age (2010), a 3% increase (5 “26 closures”) would be 166 26 closures of transition age.

Through September 30, 2011: 148 26 closures of transition age youth. This is an 8.0% decrease in the number of 26 closures of transition age.”

Through September 30, 2012: 184 26 closures of transition age youth. This is a 24.3% increase from FY 2011 and a 14.3% increase from the baseline.

2012 analysis: VRB achieved significant improvement over the past year, meeting and exceeding the criteria for this performance indicator.  This improvement is attributed to 1) staff vacancies being filled, 2) the continued efforts of the VRB Transition Team in their local schools, and 3) the use of VRB Transitions marketing tools across the state.

Each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2011, increase the number of consumers of transitions age (14-24) on the VRB caseload by 5% over the previous year.

Benchmark: 2,065 transition age consumers on the VRB caseload (2010).  

Through September 30, 2011: 1,870 transition age consumers on the caseload. This is a 9.4% decrease from the benchmark.

Through September 30, 2012: 1,897 transition age consumers on the caseload. This is a 1.4% increase from FY 2011 and an 8.1% decrease from the baseline. 

Analysis: VRB achieved some improvement over the past year, meeting and exceeding the criteria for this performance indicator. This improvement is attributed to 1) staff vacancies being filled, 2) the continued efforts of the VRB Transition Team in their local schools, and 3) the use of VRB Transitions marketing tools across the state. It is hoped that with increased experience of the Transition Team using the Adopt a School model that there will be a more significant increase in the upcoming year.

 

 

VRB continually assesses the need to establish, develop and improve CRPs utilizing all of the methods described throughout attachment 4.11 (a). Among the need areas being addressed at this time include:

  •  Expansion of services to rural and remote areas by the continued certification of private providers who meet VRB qualification levels for job placement and job coaching services. New providers are being developed in the northeastern section of Montana. Two providers from this area, who were active in the past and then became inactive, have now reenrolled to be providers in the last year. Also, new providers in rural areas of Montana enrolled for the first time in the last year. 
  • Expansion of mental health providers as CRP’s to serve those with severe and persistent mental illness VRB continues to work on this issue, but there has been no new providers added. 

 

 

Standard 1: Employment outcomes

1.1    Number of rehabs

Federal Requirement: at least as many as in the previous year                        

 Montana Results: 830= 54 more than in 2011                        Pass/Fail: Pass    

1.2    Percent employed--Percentage of rehabs compared to all people who had plans written and were closed (Rehab rate)

Federal Requirement: at least 55.8%                        

Montana Results: 47.4%                         Pass/Fail: Fail    

1.3    Employed competitively--percentage of rehabs who are getting at least minimum wage

Federal Requirement: at least 72.6%                        

Montana Results: 95.5%                         Pass/Fail: Pass    

1.4    Significant Disability--Percentage of rehabs who are earning at least minimum wage who are significantly disabled

Federal Requirement: at least 62.4%                        

Montana Results: 81.1%                         Pass/Fail: Pass    

1.5    Earnings ratio--Average hourly rate of rehabs who are earning at least minimum wage divided by the state’s average hourly earnings for all employed people

Federal Requirement: at least .52                        

Montana Results: .64                        Pass/Fail: Pass  

1.6    Self supporting--Look at all rehabs who are earning at least minimum wage. This item is the difference between the percent who report their own income as their largest source of support at closure and at application

Federal Requirement:  at least 53.0                        

Montana Results: 52.3                        Pass/Fail: Fail    

Standard 2: Equal access / Minority ratio--service rate for minorities as a ratio to the service rate for non-minorities. Note: service rate is defined as the number of people who exited the VR program after receiving services divided by the total number of people exiting the program.

Federal Requirement: at least .80                        

 Montana Results: .896                        Pass/Fail: Pass  

 

 

Title 1 funds being used at this time are to support the Statewide Independent Living Council and the SRC, which meet four times during the year to conduct business. Expenditures included travel, stipends, supplies, meeting room rental, interpreters, and facilitation services.  In addition, innovation and expansion funds were utilized to pay some costs related to the consumer satisfaction survey.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 6:16PM by Michael Hermanson

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

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

Supported Employment Definition

The Act as amended defines supported employment as: Competitive work in integrated work settings, or employment in integrated work settings in which individuals are working toward competitive work, consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred; or has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a significant disability; and who, because of their nature and severity of their disability, need intensive supported employment services for the period, or extended services to perform such work. This also includes transitional employment for persons with the most significant disabilities due to mental illness.

Quality of Supported Employment Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRB) enrolls providers who will be making supported employment time limited services available. The enrollment process requires that providers have met a set of standards described in administrative rules. This enrollment process ensures that the providers of services maintain the necessary education, skills, and degree of professional expertise to provide a level of service commensurate with VRB’s work service standard. VRB values its priority partners who have met the required standards. Supported employment providers evaluated by the developmental disability system or mental health system represent the majority of our providers. CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and RSAS (Rehabilitation Services Accreditation System) are also utilized by providers. Other providers are individuals who have been selected to provide services for a limited number of consumers in a rural area where there are no established providers.

As mentioned previously, VRB and the Developmental Disabilities have collaborated to develop training for CRP vocational services staff. The training will be required.  It is felt this will significantly improve the quality of CRP supported employment services.

Scope of Services

The scope of services available may include one or more of the following services depending on the individual’s needs:

  • Vocational Evaluation/In In-House
  • Vocational Evaluation/Community Based
  • Supported Employment/Extended Support Services
  • Supported Employment/Other
  • Follow-Along
  • Job Readiness Services
  • Extended Support Services
  • Job Placement Services/Job Finding

Also, services such as transportation to work place, work clothing, etc. are provided when necessary.

Extent of Supported Employment:

An individual shall be eligible to receive supported employment services using Title VI Part B funds if:

  1. The individual is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.
  2. The individual is determined to be an individual with the most significant disabilities; and
  3. There is comprehensive assessment of rehabilitation needs of the individual including an assessment of rehabilitation career and job needs, and identifies supported employment as the appropriate rehabilitation objective for the individual.

Cooperative Agreements:

When a goal requiring supported employment is identified in the IPE, a document (cooperative agreement) signed and dated by the extended service provider reflecting the commitment of extended service provisions will be placed in the file prior to closure. If the cooperative agreement is dated after the IPE, there must have been reasonable expectation that extended services were to be available prior to closure.

Funding Extended Support Services Prior to Closure:

For the 90 days preceding closure, the extended support services provider must have met the individual’s support needs without VRB time limited funding. VRB provides time-limited services needed to support an individual in employment. VRB can fund a maximum of 18 months of job coaching and follow-along services unless the Individualized Plan of Employment (IPE) indicates that more than 18 months of services are necessary for the individual to achieve job stability prior to transitioning to extended support services. Prior to the purchase of supported employment services, the need for services, the appropriate extended support services, funding, and the appropriate agency to provide the services are established and identified on the IPE. The VRB counselor secures a signed cooperative agreement from the provider to guarantee ongoing support. Supported employment services are available statewide.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2013 2:10PM by Michael Hermanson

System Information

System information

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on:02/20/2014 10:35 AM

Last updated by:samtcaltonc

Completed on: 02/20/2014 11:16 AM

Completed by: samtcaltonc

Approved on: 02/26/2014 11:02 AM

Approved by: rsastellart