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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

1.1 The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services 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 North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services [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

Director North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind

... 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

Secretary North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Albert A. Delia

Title of Signatory
Acting Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/27/2012

Assurances Certified By

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

The State Rehabilitation Council members conducted two focus groups in Hickory, NC and in Wilmington, NC. The Council held two public hearings in Wilson, NC and in Raleigh, NC during FFY2012 for the collection of information to be used in the development of the FFY2013 State Plan. The Council’s Committee on the State Plan met with Division staff members to work on the development of the State Plan. The State Rehabilitation Council met on Thursday, June 14, 2012, reviewed and approved the State Plan for FFY2013. The Council recommendations and The Division’s response were:

• The Council’s chairperson, Beth Butler, stressed the importance of the State Plan in working with individuals served by The Division in reaching their goal of employment. She also indicated that one of the roles of the Council is work with The Division insuring the State Plan is implemented and followed.

Division’s response: The Division welcomes involvement and encourages close cooperation between The Division’s staff and the State Rehabilitation Council.

• The Council’s chairperson discussed her participation in a recent Business Expo with the Charlotte/Mecklenburg County Schools to introduce different careers that could be available to Transition age students with disabilities. She expressed the importance of providing the transitions services to students who are blind or visually impaired from The Division. Several members of the Council agreed that continued support of the transition program is needed to provide students with opportunities to explore careers and make a successful transition to post-secondary training or employment. The Council is very concerned that the Transition Program will be able to maintain its current programs through a very difficult economic period in North Carolina.

Division’s response: The Division appreciated the Council’s concern on maintaining programs and their recognition of the importance the transition program.

• The Council approved The Division’s Priorities and Goals for FFY 2013 without modifications.

Division’s response: The Division will finish the State Plan and submit to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human services for approval and then to the Rehabilitation Services Administration for approval.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

This screen has never been updated.

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.

The Division has cooperative agreements with several entities that are not part of the Statewide Workforce Investment System. They are the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges, North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the University of North Carolina System, and State Occupational Information Coordinating Committee.

The North Carolina Community College System is comprised of 59 institutions located in communities both large and small around the state. The system’s mission is to provide opportunities for the citizens of North Carolina to further their education and to obtain training in order to successfully compete in an expanding job market. Many of the consumers served by the agency attend these community colleges to obtain an Associate’s Degree, to take initial courses toward a four year degree, or to obtain job training in a particular field. Our agreement with the community college system allows us to share information about students such as grades and/or financial information and to establish a working relationship with the Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO) at each campus. The DSSO provides students with the accommodations they require to complete their studies and to advocate for them with classroom instructors and college administration. We have excellent working relationships with the colleges where our consumers are located.

Another resource the Division utilizes through the Community College System is their small business training centers. Consumers who are interested in starting up a business of their own are typically referred to their local community college small business center for training and assistance with developing a business plan. These centers provide on-going support after the individual has obtained approval and is ready to establish their business. This support includes such things as office space, copying services, professional and legal advice, and assistance with marketing.

The North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NCASAFA) is a professional organization that promotes a high level of competency for administrators of post-secondary educational institutions and other members who work in fields related to student financial assistance. This organization also promotes community relationships through communication with local agencies and organizations. In the past the Division had a formal agreement with NCASAFA for the purpose of sharing information regarding financial assistance for consumers attending post-secondary education institutions in North Carolina but as of two years ago, it was felt this formal agreement was no longer necessary and was not renewed. At present, the Division has an informal agreement with the association and more of a working relationship with the Financial Aid Administrators at each institution that consumers are attending.

The University of North Carolina System is a multi-campus university composed of all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees, as well as the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students. The agreement the Division has with UNC is similar to that with the NC Community College System. It is to promote the sharing of information about consumers attending the various institutions and to establish a working relationship with the Disabled Students Services Office on each campus.

The Division has not been directly involved with any of the programs or business opportunities through the FDA Rural Development but is interested in becoming more familiar with them and determining if they would be of assistance to the consumers we serve.

The Division purchases supported employment services from Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP) for individuals who will require the assistance of a job coach to find a job, then learn the duties of the job and finally, long term support to insure the individual is able to retain the job. The CRP must meet certain requirements before services are purchased, such as the Contractor will maintain accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), Council on Accreditation (COA), or other Division approved national accrediting authorities, be a vendor with the state of North Carolina and accept payments for services provided through an outcome based program.

The Division has cooperative agreements with seven CRPs for the provision of long term follow up support services (extended services) to individuals who achieved their goal of employment assistance from the supported employment program. The CRP meets with the individual, based on the Division’s phase system for long term follow up. The CRP receives payment for each of hour of contact with the individual at their jobsite to intervene when needed to assist the individual if there are problems on the jobsite.

This past year, the Division established Memorandums of Agreement with both the Lumbee Tribe and Eastern Cherokee Tribe Vocational Rehabilitation Services Programs. The Division Assistant Director and Staff Development Specialist met with the Directors of both Vocational Rehabilitation Services Programs and their staff at their respective tribal headquarters. We discussed ways in which we could collaborate in serving individuals of each Native American Tribe, as well as ways we could provide training on the Lumbee and Cherokee Tribal culture and customs to the Division’s employees. We also discussed ways the the Division Nursing Eye Care Consultant could collaborate with staff at the Cherokee Tribe’s Diabetic Clinic for the purpose of identifying individuals for referral to the the Division Independent Living and Vocational Rehabilitation Programs. We are working closely with staff in both of these programs and have been serving any eligible referrals that are made to our Fayetteville or Asheville District Offices. The Director of the Lumbee Tribe Vocational Services Program is presently serving on our State Rehabilitation Council.

The Division does not participate in any state use contracting programs. 

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

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

The Division’s intent is to provide transition services to all eligible visually impaired students in North Carolina. To achieve this goal, the Division has agreements with NC Department of Public Instruction, and with a number of county school districts.

The Division has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Public Instruction which focuses on students with visual impairments being served by local education agencies (LEAs) who are of transition age (14 to 21) and who need vocational rehabilitation services. This agreement acknowledges the role of the Division in providing these services and encourages local LEA’s to develop a working relationship with the Division and the staff who cover their county for the purpose of referring students to be served by the Division. There is no cost sharing with this agreement. The Division has a Memorandum of Agreements to provide Transition Services to the Eastern NC School for the Deaf and the NC School for the Deaf in the western part of the state, and for the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh. Although these agreements are for the purpose of providing transition services, there are differences in cost sharing and in the structure of how the services are provided.

The agreement with the schools for the deaf outlines the role of the Division in serving students who are deaf/blind. It designates a Division Rehabilitation Counselor in each part of the state to be the liaison with the school and the one to accept referrals. It also further defines the services we can provide and that our Deaf/Blind Specialists will also work with any student who has been found eligible for services. There is no cost sharing with this agreement.

Our agreement with the Governor Morehead School for the Blind does not involve cost sharing. A Rehabilitation (Transition) Counselor and Community Employment Specialist are the two positions for which the salaries are utilized. The Transition Counselor and Community Employment Specialist are responsible for providing transition services for the students at the school who are determined eligible.

The Division has renewed agreements with fourteen (14) other public school systems, across the state. These agreements contain components for cost sharing of staff transition positions, for the duties of these positions, and for the services to be provided by both parties in meeting the needs of transition age students. In all but one of these agreements a Transition Counselor and Community Employment Specialist is assigned to work with the students. There is a single agreement that provides a Transition Counselor alone to work with that particular school district. All services that are typically available to adult consumers are made available to students through these programs. All cost for services for which a student is found eligible is paid for by the agency out of case service funds.

The school systems the Division continues to have agreements with are Brunswick County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, Cumberland County,  Durham Public Schools, Edgecombe County, Guilford County,  Nash-Rocky Mount, New Hanover County, Onslow County, Pender County, Pitt County, Wake County Schools, Wilson County,  and Winston-Salem-Forsyth County Schools.

In situations where no agreement exists, students are served by the counselor with an adult caseload who covers the county where the student lives. The Division’s goal is to have the majority of eligible students served by a Transition Counselor through a cooperative agreement. Reviews have found that visually impaired students in areas served by one of these agreements are identified earlier, typically by age fourteen (14), and referred to the Transition Counselor. The counselor has a better working relationship with the school staff because they are housed in one of the school district’s facilities and participate in the schools’ services and activities for students with visual impairments. The counselor is more knowledgeable of the resources within the district and can participate more fully in the student’s Individualized Education Planning process. Therefore, the agency plans to continue to implement programs in other locations around the state.

Regardless of whether eligible students are served through a cooperative agreement or not, the Division’s policy requires that an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) be developed for all students prior to high school graduation and services be provided according to the plan.

The Division is developing working relationships with the Department of Public Instruction’s, new outreach program designed to provide consulting services for blind and visually impaired students in the public schools. The DPI Outreach Program and staff in the District Offices have been meeting to coordinate outreach services to students attending all schools (public, private and home schooled in North Carolina. The relationship between programs is to identify students who may eligible to receive services from the Division.

The Division developed a Transition Certificate Program with Winston-Salem State University for Division staff working in the Transition program to increase their knowledge of working the student and their families to make the move from high school into post secondary training or work. The program will consist of the following curriculum, Transition from School to Work, Job Placement in Transition, Vocational Evaluation/Transition, and Family Collaboration/Intervention.  Enrolled staff will complete the program in December 2012.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

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

The Division purchases supported employment services from Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP) for individuals who will require the assistance of a job coach to find a job, then learn the duties of the job and finally, long term support to insure the individual is able to retain the job. The CRP must meet certain requirements before services are purchased, such as the Contractor will maintain accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), Council on Accreditation (COA), or other Division approved national accrediting authorities, be a vendor with the state of North Carolina and accept payments for services provided through an outcome based program.

The Division has cooperative agreements with eight CRPs for the provision of long term follow up support services (extended services) to individuals who achieved their goal of employment assistance from the supported employment program. The CRP meets with the individual based on DSB’s phase system for long term follow up.  The Contractor will provide for extended services and ongoing support services through individual contacts on the schedule as listed below.  The contractor will bill the Division these contacts and shall follow the phases of the Division’s extended services plan as follows:

          Phase 1: Twice monthly contacts with the individual and employer for the first 6 months of extended services, unless there is a provision in the IPE  for  off –site monitoring. 

          Phase 2: At the end of 6 months, the contractor, individual and employer should make determination as to the individual’s stabilization on the job. If the individuals well stabilized, an offer should be made to the individual and employer that continued monitoring could be made once every six months. If this choice is chosen by the individual and employer, the contractor must continue to monitor in the phase no less than 24 months. The individual and employer need to sign a waiver acknowledging that they are in agreement to entering into this phase.

          Phase 3: Once the individual has successfully completed phase 2, the contractor may offer the individual and employer an opportunity to cease  regular monitoring. If they chose to enter into phase 3, the individual is placed on an inactive list and monitoring would only be at the individual or employer’s request. To enter into this phase, the individual and employer must sign a waiver agreeing to the conditions of phase 3. If the contractor is contacted by either the individual or employer, the contractor will make an on-site visit to determine what services are needed to re-stabilize the individual’s job. If the contractor determines that more than minimal services are needed, then the contractor should  refer the individual back to the Division’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program for possible case activation. However, if the contractor determines that the issues can be resolved with for example, short term training or educating of staff, this service should be provided to the individual and/or employer.

The Division provides the Contractor with staff training, consultation and technical assistance, as appropriate. The Division’s VR Counselor coordinates with the Contractor individual admissions and subsequent services.  Consistent with Division policy, the referring VR Counselor provides the Contractor with the necessary documents.  The Division participates in admissions, attends subsequent staffing, and provides individual rehabilitation counseling and other rehabilitation services to promote the individual’s progress while enrolled with the Contractor.  Individual records will reflect evidence of mutual effort and each party will keep the other informed regarding placement and follow-up activities.

The Division Rehabilitation Program Specialist meets periodically with the CRPs personnel to provide assistance relative to standards compliance, fiscal accountability, quality of service, individual referrals, and the planning of program services for Division individuals as identified in this contract.

The Division developed a community-based work adjustment services program with assistance from several community rehabilitation programs (CRP) for eligible individuals who require initial intervention to improve and increase productivity, attendance, punctuality, ability to interact appropriately with coworkers and supervisors, and work tolerance, yet do not require long-term support. CRP’s across the state have developed specialized programs for these services that include situational assessments, job placement and job coaching services. Payments are made to the CRP’s using an outcome based format, with incremental payments made based on milestone basis.  

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

The Division has contacted both NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and NC Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing to inquire if these programs directly provide supported employment services and/or extended services. The response is that neither program provided these services. The Division also contacted NC Division of Mental Health to see if it provided supported employment services and/or extended services. Mental Health does not provide direct supported employment services but through the CAP fund does pay for limited extended services to individuals who meet the eligibility guidelines for the program. However, a waiting list is developed for each local management agency in the system and funds are very limited.

The Division employs an outcome based method of purchasing supported employment services from Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP) for eligible individuals who are determined to be most significantly disabled and are in need of supported employment. The CRP must meet three requirements; (1) the CRP must be certified by a nationally recognized certification program such as Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), Council on Accreditation (COA), or Council on Quality Leadership (CQL), (2) the CRP must be a vendor of the state, and (3) the CRP is willing to accept the Division’s milestone payment system. The Division continues to contract for extended services and currently has agreements with CRPs to provide this important service.

There are five milestones and two incentives throughout the entire supported employment process. The milestones are:

Milestone 1: Assessment and Employment Plan Completion: The eligible individual has completed a situational assessment, and an Employment Plan has been developed to identify the strategies to be used to assist the individual in reaching their goal of employment. Payment rate of $500.00

Milestone 2: Job Development Services Completion: The individual has completed applications with 10 different employers and three interviews with confirming documentation to referring VR counselor. If the individual is placed on a job prior to completing 10 applications and three interviews, the milestone is considered to be completed and payment can be made. Payment rate of $500

Milestone 3: Job Placement Services Completion: The eligible individual is placed on a job and has worked for 14 business days with confirming documentation to the VR counselor of placement and progress. (Business day is a day in which the individual has actually worked on the job.) Payment rate is $3,800

Incentive 1: The individual is placed on a job by the CRP staff in 90 days or less from the date the individual begins the situational assessment. The incentive payment rate is $200. This can only be paid once per case.

Milestone 4: Stabilization Completion: The individual has learned the tasks of the job and has become comfortable with the work environment and coworkers. The job coach is spending no more than a weekly visit to the job site. The individual, VR Counselor, and Job Coach including feedback from the employer, all agree the individual has stabilized in the job. Payment rate is $3,800

Milestone 5: Successful Employment Outcome (Status 26 Closure) Completion: The eligible individual is considered successfully working without provision of substantial services for at least 90 days from the date of stabilization. Payment rate is $1,200

Incentive 2: The employer provides health insurance coverage at little or no cost to the individual, and the individual is eligible to be covered at the time of case closure. The incentive payment rate is $200. Total payment for each successfully completed placement will be $10,200. The Community Rehabilitation Program provides documentation in the form of a copy of the Job Coaches case notes to the DSB VR Counselor with each invoice for payment of the milestones. The Division’s VR counselor and individual must agree the milestone was met before payment is made.

The Diviison currently contracts with 8 CRPs to provide extended services statewide to individuals who have been closed successfully employed. The contracts are secured using Request For Applications (RFA) which are placed on the North Carolina website for contract procurements.The rate of payment is $44.84 per contact hour. Contact is defined as, "Contact with the individual must be made in person at the individual’s job site with the individual and the employer and/or the employer’s representative at the job site." The Contractor will follow the Extended Services Phases as described above for number of contacts per phase.

 

Phase 1: Twice monthly contacts with the individual and employer for the first 6 months of extended services, unless there is a provision in the IPE for off –site monitoring.

 

Phase 2: At the end of 6 months, the contractor, individual and employer should make determination as to the individual’s stabilization on the job. If the individuals well stabilized, an offer should be made to the individual and employer that continued monitoring could be made once every six months. If this choice is chosen by the individual and employer, the contractor must continue to monitor in the phase no less than 24 months. The individual and employer need to sign a waiver acknowledging that they are in agreement to entering into this phase.

 

Phase 3: Once the individual has successfully completed phase 2, the contractor may offer the individual and employer an opportunity to cease regular monitoring. If they chose to enter into phase 3, the individual is placed on an inactive list and monitoring would only be at the individual or employer’s request. To enter into this phase, the individual and employer must sign a waiver agreeing to the conditions of phase 3. If the contractor is contacted by either the individual or employer, the contractor will make an on-site visit to determine what services are needed to re-stabilize the individual’s job. If the contractor determines that more than minimal services are needed, then the contractor should refer the individual back to the Division’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program for possible case activation. However, if the contractor determines that the issues can be resolved with for example, short term training or educating of staff, this service should be provided to the individual and/or employer.

The Contractor submits an invoice to the Program Specialist for the contacts per month along with a summary of the contacts.

 

 

 

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The Division’s vocational rehabilitation (VR) program served 3,877 individuals over the past year, and the number served is projected to change in the upcoming years with continued outreach efforts being made with the Hispanic/Latino populations. The Division has developed training for all VR staff with Cherokee and Lumbee representatives. This training will give staff an understanding of and how the Division can best serve those in these populations to be successful independently and in employment. The Division hopes to continue partnering with Cherokee and Lumbee Vocational Rehabilitation agencies in the future.

The independent living rehabilitation (ILR) program served 1,486 individuals during the past year. It is determined that, based on these current numbers of individuals served, the Division has adequate qualified rehabilitation staff positions.

Positions within the Division that fall under CSPD requirements are 32 VR counselors, 15 ILR counselors, 1 vocational evaluator, 3 VR district supervisors, 3 VR district supervisors for a total of 54 personnel required to serve these numbers of individuals.

 If vacancies occur in these positions, applicants are recruited that will meet the agency’s definition of “qualified rehabilitation counselor”. Turnover rate for VR counselor I positions has averaged about 26.087% while the turnover rate for VR counselor II positions has averaged about 6.667%. Based on the turnover rate and current positions, including the number of individuals who are approaching retirement age, it is anticipated that a total of 15 new VR and ILR counselors will be needed during the next year. This will result in the potential for recruitment of 45 new individuals over a 3 year period. It must be recognized that some of these vacancies are created by promotion into administrative roles in the agency that are not counted in the 54 counselor positions. Other administrative positions are anticipated to become open due to retirements over the next 5 years, creating openings for advancement of identified positions.

The Division has developed a system to analyze and record the educational background of rehabilitation counselors as they are hired. This system also tracks the progress of current rehabilitation counselors who are working towards compliance with CSPD requirements such as those hired with related degrees that only need 1 or 2 courses.

 The breakdown of education levels for the 54 positions subject to CSPD requirements is:

 31 with Master Degrees in Rehabilitation or Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)

 11 with Master Degrees in closely related fields that is considered a “qualified rehabilitation counselor” by CSPD standards

 3 with Master Degrees in closely related fields that is currently taking classes to become a “qualified rehabilitation counselor” by CSPD standards

9 vacancies

Therefore, 42 of the 45 individuals currently employed VR Staff meet the education standards for qualified rehabilitation counselor, which is 93%. Three individuals are currently enrolled in a VR master degree programs to take 1 to 2 courses to become qualified. Individuals who will meet the definition of “qualified rehabilitation counselor” are being recruited for all vacancies that occurred over the past year and are hired whenever possible.

The Division utilizes 18 paraprofessionals in the VR program. The breakdown is as follows: 2 rehabilitation casework assistants, 1 rehabilitation casework technician, 1 casework technician, 1 business services representatives, 6 human services placement specialist, and 7 community employee specialists. At present we have enough paraprofessionals to meet the number of eligible individuals being served. It is anticipated the Division will need 10 additional paraprofessionals in the next 5 years as numbers served increase and due to turnover.

The agency currently has 28 staff with 30 years or more and 19 staff with 25 years to 30 years for a total of 47 staff that could retire in the next 5 years. The Division has developed a relationship with four North Carolina universities who currently offer graduate degrees in master of rehabilitation counseling studies. These include East Carolina University (ECU), A&T State University, Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH).

 

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 32 6 35
2 Independent Living Counselors 15 1 11
3 Vocational Evaluator 1 0 0
4 District Supervisors 3 1 0
5 Counselor-In-Charge 3 1 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

The Division has developed a relationship with four North Carolina universities who currently offer graduate degrees in rehabilitation counseling studies. These include East Carolina University (ECU), A&T State University, Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). AT&T State and the WSSU programs are historically black universities and were established with the assistance of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) grant and school funding. Stipends and financial aid assistance are offered to candidates in these programs. Classes began in fall, 2003 and continue to this date. Division representatives serve on the steering committee at each university. The universities and the Division plan to continue partnering to provide internships for students as needed. Winston-Salem State University received funding in 2002 to offer a bachelor degree in rehabilitation studies, and coursework continues. The master degree program in rehabilitation studies is designed in coordination with the undergraduate program to encourage these graduates to pursue a master degree. North Carolina A&T State University has used the structure in existing master degree programs in guidance and counseling to build the rehabilitation counseling master degree program. UNC has received an RSA grant to provide a master’s degree in psychiatric disabilities and is currently offering four courses as part of their master’s program.

Over the past year, 56 individuals have graduated from master degree programs in North Carolina universities with a master’s degree in rehabilitation studies. The Division has actively recruited from all the Universities for these graduates. It is anticipated that graduates from these programs will greatly enhance recruitment for vacant positions in the future.

The Division currently has 3 staff hired with related degrees attending San Diego State University taking theories and techniques of counseling and medical/psychosocial aspects of a disability through distance education.

 

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 San Diego State University 3 3 3 0
2 Virginia Commonwealth University 1 1 0 1
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

This past fall, the Division offered paid internship position for students in their last semester of a master level degree program in rehabilitation counseling. Establishment of these positions was done with the goal of increasing qualified applicants for positions. The Division would like to continue the internship program in an effort to strengthen the pool of candidates for possible employment with THE DIVISION but due to the present economic situation, the Division has suspended paid internships.

 Nationwide recruitment is done by posting positions on the Internet and on federal job banks. The Division’s personnel office continues to list vacancies with a job bank for rehabilitation professionals through all universities receiving RSA funding. All openings are included in email messages to all ECU students and recent graduates in the master degree program. A section has been added to the agency’s website labeled “Career Opportunities”. It leads the viewer to a list of jobs available with the agency. Each job includes a brief description of the occupation. A link will then take the viewer to the NC Department of Health and Human Services job vacancy page. A toll-free number is available on the website should the viewer wish to call about occupations within the Division.

 The Division currently has 4 state office level management and area supervisors who have more than 25 years of service. The need for succession planning was identified and steps have been taken. The Division utilizes the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services leadership training as a point of entrance for pre-supervisory training. The Division conducts leadership/pre-supervisory training in an effort to begin to identify staff interested in management opportunities.

 The Division uses affirmative action to insure the employment and advancement in employment of qualified individuals with disabilities. On an annual basis, the Division conducts a workforce analysis of its representation of persons with disabilities, of persons of different ethnic groups and of males and females in different personnel classifications and occupational categories. Those classifications and occupational categories in which persons with disabilities and minority groups are under-represented are identified, and goals are established to increase representation in the Division’s workforce.

During their first year of employment, all rehabilitation counselors are required to complete developmental training in casework requirements and documentation. The chiefs of rehabilitation and the area and district rehabilitation supervisors provide this training in small groups to directly address agency policies and procedures for professional casework practices. After 1 year of employment, rehabilitation counselors who meet the standard for qualified rehabilitation counselor may request promotion to rehabilitation counselor II. Evaluation procedures for this promotion consist of a written and oral examination of casework policies and procedures, caseload review and audit, and review of contact with caseload eligible individuals to assess quality and satisfaction of services. The chief of rehabilitation field services administers and reviews all aspects of the examination process. Counselors are also required to participate in a week-long adjustment to blindness training which is organized by the rehabilitation center teacher staff and management. 

 

 

The Division implemented a comprehensive system of personnel development (CSPD) as established in the 1998 state plan and as amended in January 1, 1999. This system is based on the 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, its regulations, and technical assistance and guidance from Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). Changes implemented over past years have resulted in growth of the number of the agency’s rehabilitation counselors who meet CSPD education requirements. Currently, 93% of the Division rehabilitation counselors meet CSPD requirements. The Division projects to have 100% of rehabilitation counselors meeting CSPD requirements by the end of 2015.

The requirements of education and experience for rehabilitation counselor I positions were developed by the Division in conjunction with the Office of State Personnel (OSP), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and RSA. The standard for vocational rehabilitation counselors at the Division is consistent with the national standard as there is no standard in North Carolina for vocational rehabilitation professionals. On October 1, 2008, the Division initiated a more comprehensive standard. For a rehabilitation counselor I, this standard will include a master degree in rehabilitation counseling; a master degree in a closely related field such as counseling, social work, psychology, and special education; current Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) certification; or current enrollment in a qualifying master degree program AND graduation prior to the date of hire. For an independent living rehabilitation counselor, the standard will include the same requirements as for a rehabilitation counselor I or a rehabilitation teacher degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. The Division believes that this more comprehensive standard will assist in recruiting for more difficult-to-fill counselor positions, particularly those positions based in rural areas and those covering several counties which require extensive travel.

 The agency will, to the maximum extent possible, hire only those applicants who possess master degrees in rehabilitation counseling or a master degree in a closely related field. Reviews of all transcripts will be conducted by the agency’s personnel department and the rehabilitation program specialist for CSPD. If it is determined that an applicant has a master degree in rehabilitation counseling or a closely related field but is in need of specific coursework e.g. Counseling Theories and Techniques and (1 of the following) Medical Aspects of Disability or Psychosocial/Cultural Aspects of Disability, the Division will assist the applicant in obtaining that coursework in a manner and time frame agreed upon between the agency and employee. The newly hired counselor will be required to be registered for the first class within 6 months of their hire date. Completion of any needed coursework must be accomplished within 2 years from their hire date but prior to moving to independent counselor status.

 If qualified applicants cannot be found after extensive recruitment, the Division will consider applicants who are currently enrolled in an accredited rehabilitation counseling master’s degree programs, closely related master’s of counseling degree programs, or an accredited rehabilitation teacher degree program if applying for an ILR position and who will be able to obtain their degree within 1 year of hire date.

 

 

The Division has an ongoing comprehensive system for personnel development that provides all staff classifications with appropriate job-related training. Staff members complete learning requests yearly to identify specific training needs. The program specialist for training analyzes the learning requests, and then plans specific training activities to meet the identified needs. As a result of these requests, training has been provided in an array of training events with relevant curriculum and skills acquisition experiences. The Division has developed and presented intensive training sessions this year.

 These included:

• Adjustment to Blindness

• AER-NC Division of Services for the Blind, NC Association of Rehabilitation and Education (AER), Governor Morehead School for the Blind, and the NC Department of Public Instruction

• Assistive Technology

• Best Practices for the Division’s New Rehabilitation Counselors

• Building Trust Relationships/Job Development and Job Placement

• Medical Update

• Office Assistant

• Orientation & Mobility

• Pre Supervisory

• Professional and Personal Development

• Rehabilitation Center and Evaluation Unit specific topics

A library of rehabilitation resources is maintained in the state office. The program specialist continually reviews available materials for the library, identifies and purchases current information relevant to vocational rehabilitation and to vision-related topics. Areas specifically addressed in the learning requests are targeted in this search of materials. These books and materials are available in regular and adapted format, and can be checked out from the library by any staff member across the state. Equipment is purchased and maintained to enhance training programs, presentations, and small group work.

The Division continues to require professional skills in marketing and in job placement to enhance employment opportunities. Steps have been taken to insure the continuity of these practices with new staff. All new rehabilitation counselors and business representatives receive a brief one-on-one introduction to the job development/placement model by the program specialist for employment during their first month of employment. The Division then sponsors 1 week training, “Building Trust Relationships”, an intensive workshop for development of the innovative marketing skills. The program specialist provides follow-up to this training by meeting with the staff for one-on-one training experiences, an on-site interview with an employer in his or her area, and other training modalities according to the need. Statistical data gathered since this training occurred indicates that agency staff has increased employer contacts, resulting in more direct placements especially with individuals with significant disabilities.

The Division has maintained the authority granted by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification to provide Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Credits (CRC) for all certified rehabilitation counselors. The agency also has the authority to grant Continuing Educational Units (CEU) by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

The Division has partnered with Mississippi State University Research and Training Center Vision Specialist Certificate Program to train staff in the very specific area of vision. The Division has 9 who have completed and secured a vision specialist certificate, 1 is currently enrolled in the program and will graduate fall 12. The Division has begun the Transition Certificate program with Winston-Salem State University and 2 staff will finish in fall 2012. The agency will begin VR Psychiatric certificate with UNC Chapel Hill in summer 2012.  

 

 

The capability to produce Braille is available in all seven district office locations. Information can also be produced in large print for distribution as needed in the district offices with use of existing computer equipment. Mass production of Braille and large print material is done by the specialized communications unit located at the Division’s state office to support the Division’s employees who are blind or visually impaired. Information is put on tape for those who prefer this mode of communication by district office staff. Information is also shared using e-communications (e-mail, disks, etc.), and each office has a computer with speech access for staff who use this mode of communication. The Division has placed the policy and procedures manual on the Division’s website. The website currently contains information about all of the Division’s programs, frequently used forms, links to resources, the local office locations, and the staff directory.

The Division has a specialized program for persons who have both vision and hearing loss. The program consists of 5 specialists to serve the district offices and a statewide program coordinator who coordinates the activities of this program. Each member of this program is skilled in use of sign language to enhance communication. The consultants work very closely with rehabilitation counselors on all cases where individuals have any degree of both vision and hearing loss. They provide information regarding specialized needs of these individuals, the availability of resources, and the arrangement of appropriate communication. This collaboration insures the individual has the opportunity for maximum participation in a rehabilitation program of services that will lead to successful employment. The Division maintains a list of approved interpreters and dedicated funding for interpreting services through the resources of the Department of Health and Human Services.

 North Carolina has a large Hispanic/Latino population, with an increasing number of Spanish-speaking individuals. The Division has worked with other organizations to provide outreach information about available services. The rehabilitation program handbook and the brochure, “Having Trouble with Your Vision”, have been printed in Spanish for distribution. Software has been purchased in several offices that will translate appointment letters and individual plans for employment (IPE) into Spanish. A list of qualified interpreters is maintained in each office, and these can be hired as required to enhance communication. When necessary, all offices have access to a state-contracted service for interpreting services available through use of a telephone. When an applicant or eligible individual meets with a staff member, the Telelanguage service is contacted, and they obtain a language specific interpreter by telephone. Through use of a speakerphone, the interpreter translates the conversations into a language that the individual and staff understand. Initial feedback from use of this program is that it is efficient and constructive to effective communication.

Also, the Division has purchased Rosetta Stone-Spanish and made the program available to all staff in the agency. Staff will learn enough everyday language to work with the Hispanic/Latino applicants and eligible individuals. The Division currently has 13 staff engaged in the program and it is hoped that the majority of staff will participate over the next year.

 

 

The Division works with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to insure all students who are blind or visually impaired have access to vocational rehabilitation services while attending public school. The Division has 15 memorandums of agreements with school systems to provide transition programs for their students who are blind or visually impaired. These programs work with students who are blind or visually impaired, the school staff, and the parents or guardians as the student transitions from school to work, and continue working with them until they achieve their employment goals. The specialized programs are located in the following school systems. Cumberland County Schools, Mecklenburg County Schools, Pitt County Schools, Wilson County Schools, Nash/Rocky Mount Schools, Edgecombe County Schools, Durham County Schools, Wake County Schools, Guilford County Schools, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, New Hanover County Schools, Pender County Schools, Onslow County Schools, Brunswick County Schools, and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. Each program consists of a rehabilitation counselor and a community employment specialist who are trained to work with students during their transition from school to work.

All rehabilitation counselors have received training on IDEA. Rehabilitation counselors in the district offices develop relationships with school systems and with teachers who serve students with blindness or visual impairments in their coverage area. They participate as members of the school’s individualized education program (IEP) team, as a provider of transition services for students who are blind or who are visually impaired. Consultation is provided to all rehabilitation counselors who include students on their caseload. The program specialist and the specialized transition counselors are available to advise counselors in areas such as participation on IEP team and location of specialized resources for students as they transition from school to work.

 The Division provides additional specialized services for students, such as the summer youth programs at the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind. One program “SAVVY” (Summer Adjustment to Blindness Vital to Visually Impaired Youth) World Of Work provides career exploration, paid internships with job coaching, interviewing skills and counseling provided by THE DIVISION staff. One program “SAVVY” Youth in Transition provides a classroom setting and field trips to develop skills and confidence for greater independence, specific life skills, basic living skills, social development, vocational and study skills and independent living. One program “SAVVY” College Prep provides “college survival skills,” such as independent study habits and maximum use of any assistive technology.

In addition, the Division provides 3 “mini centers” throughout the state in coordination with the vocational rehabilitation transition program staff and the independent living staff for those students who cannot attend one of the center programs. The Division also provides 2 recreational/challenge programs to build self-confidence.

A rehabilitation program specialist is assigned to coordinate transition services to insure all students have access to the Division’s vocational rehabilitation services while in high school. The school systems with transition programs renew their cooperative agreements for funding and the transition program specialist coordinates the involvement of the local Division staff, the school staff, and the Division’s financial officers to insure these agreements are complete and accurate.

The Division continues to expand the availability of additional transition programs that can better prepare students in transition from school to work, and develops specialized training in transitions services. The Department of Public Instruction’s consultant for vision impairment and the Division’s specialist for transition services are working together to identify areas to establish new programs and to provide consultation for the school systems in transition program development. The program specialist is responsible for maintaining a good relationship with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to insure continued communication at the state level that will enhance the availability of services to students in their local school systems. DPI’s consultant for vision impairment serves on the Division’s state rehabilitation council.

 

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

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 NC Commission for the Blind was involved in the following aspects of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, (CSNA). Members of the State Plan Committee were involved in the development of the RFP, as part of the process to select a contractor. Once a contractor was selected, the Commission members reviewed the Scope of Work for the contract. The Commission members were sent the survey instruments for their review and participated in a conference call with Lewis Cross and Susan Stoddard to learn about the new CSNA guide. The contractors conducted a focus group with the Commission members to get their input on the needs of individuals in NC and to provide their assessment of how the Division is doing in meeting these needs. The final draft of the CSNA was sent to the members for their review and feedback.

Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment Report was prepared by Steven R. Sligar, EdD, Shirley B. Madison, MA, MA, and Min J. Kim, MS through East Carolina University. The final report was received in April, 2010. Recommendations in the Report have already been addressed by DSB in this State Plan, and some of the recommendations will be addressed in future State Plans due to timing. Following is a synopsis of the assessment and recommendations with a specific focus on the service needs of: individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment, individuals with disabilities who are minorities, individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or under-served by the VR program, and individuals served through other components of the statewide workforce system.

Numerous people were involved in this comprehensive needs assessment (CNA): most importantly the 221 people who participated in the surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Different service needs and barriers were indentified but the most frequent needs mentioned by most groups can be summarized as the three Ts: transportation, technology and training. The Ts were issues for all respondents except those from community rehabilitation programs (CRP) and disability navigators (DN). There were numerous suggestions for improving DSB services with the primary suggestion being to increase funding (for the 3 Ts). Other suggestions were to reduce administrative barriers (eligibility for services, paper work), better inform target audiences (medical personnel) and improve outreach to minority communities. The participant data were combined with a review of the literature to formulate the following summary and recommendations.

Individuals With The Most Significant Disability including The Need For Supported Employment

In 2007, the employment rate of working age people with disabilities in NC was 35.6 percent and the employment rate of working-age people without disabilities in North Carolina was 80.5 percent. The gap between employment rates of working age people with and without disabilities was 44.9 percentage points. Among the six types of disabilities discussed, “Sensory Disability” of which visual impairment and blindness belongs, has the high employment rate of 45.3 percent.

Recommendations:

Assist clients to develop personal marketing skills to include career identification job choice, job getting, and job keeping skills. Greater use of vocational evaluations, career counseling and portfolios are possible approaches.

Increase in availability of technology for individuals who are blind and visually impaired.

Provide sensitivity training as regards culture and job placement for VR counselors and other personnel.

Training for counselors in accessing community resources which will assist in helping the blind and visually impaired find and maintain employment.

Consider increasing referrals and service contracts with community rehabilitation programs.

Individuals with Disabilities Who Are Minorities

NC’s population is 9.2 million (10th in the country). The population continues to grow with an expected increase in international immigration resulting in greater numbers and percentages of minorities, with greater growth in the Hispanic population. North Carolina will experience the 18th largest net international immigration gain in the country.

Recommendations:

DSB needs to plan for an increase in applications from minority groups including international immigrants. Planning needs to include serving people with disabilities with and without documentation as well as modifying practice for communicating service availability to these groups.

Individuals with Disabilities Who Have Been Unserved or Underserved By The VR Program

Comments from DSB personnel, focus groups and individual interviews have several common themes as regards to persons who are unserved or underserved. First, the descriptions of the population from all three groups contain references to:

• cultural and linguistic minorities, specifically Hispanics, African Americans or Blacks, and Asians;

• individuals with legal problems most often immigration (right to work);

• elderly (especially those who have not accepted their blindness, who perceive DSB as some type of public assistance (welfare) or those in assisted living);

• individuals who are not aware of the services provided by DSB and medical doctors who are unaware and consequently do not make referrals;

• students in transition especially those who live in counties with no or limited services for students with visual impairments;

• members of the Deaf community who become blind and others who are deaf blind; and

• individuals from rural areas and/or those from lower socioeconomic circumstances.

Recommendations:

• Collaborate with other agencies to provide services and outreach to specific communities;

• Provide adequate funding to purchase assistive technology, provide travel funds for staff, and expand services;

• Conduct various types of public relations (such as television ads, public service announcements, free vision screenings) and outreach to schools, churches and other places to inform potential clients of DSB services; and

• Develop staff to meet the needs of cultural and linguistic minorities.

Individuals Served Through Other Components of the Statewide Workforce System

Recommendations:

Collaborate with Regional Workforce Development Boards, Chambers of

Commerce and other organizations to increase the number and awareness of jobs available for clients.

Disability Navigators need a “train the trainer on blindness” to enable them to act as advocates for clients who enter the JobLink system.

Increased availability of assistive technology is needed at the Job Link Centers.

Prevalence and Trends in Vision Loss

There are 154,566 people in North Carolina who are 18 and older and experience a vision loss, a figure that represents 2.54% of the population. The leading cause of vision loss in NC is diabetic retinopathy, which disproportionately affects White females, ages 40 and over. Other risk high risk groups include: Blacks for open angle glaucoma and Whites (male and female) for myopia, cataracts, and hyperopia.

Recommendation:

At risk groups need specific and targeted information on functional limitations, specific plans for case management, issues for counseling, and suggested medical interventions.

Transportation

Five different types of transportation are provided by each county. On paper limited services are available for all citizens, however reports of user experiences indicate real world transportation services are often limited or inconsistent. Limited schedules and low ridership, especially in rural areas, jeopardize the ability of these systems to meet client needs.

Recommendations:

DSB needs to collect information on available transportation and costs from each county for distribution to clients.

DSB needs to advocate at the county and state level to improve portal to portal transportation services.

General Recommendations

These recommendations address multiple issues that include clients who are unserved, underserved, minorities, individuals with the most significant disabilities, and/or consumers from rural areas.

Strategic recommendations

Outreach to various constituencies via language-appropriate materials.

One suggestion is to hold topical seminars (e.g., living with macular degeneration or tips on managing your diabetes) in local communities. Another is to host mini-center activities in various locations (e.g., churches, civic centers) with sponsorship and promotion from grass root constituencies. These activities need to be targeted to a specific group (i.e. racial—Blacks or Hispanics in rural areas, disability— screen reader users, age of onset—advanced macular degeneration).

Communication recommendations:

DSB needs to provide information through various media regarding services that are available for people with a vision loss who are not totally blind. There appears to be a misperception among some constituents that DSB services are only for those who are totally blind.

The comprehensive statewide needs assessment included the following sections:

1. Methods and Results (Literature review, surveys, focus groups and interviews, and analysis)

2. Demographics - What are the demographic trends of persons who are blind and visually impaired?

a. Racial and ethnic minority groups in North Carolina,

b. Minority groups by county,

c. Estimates of the prevalence of blindness and low vision by age group and county,

d. Estimates of individuals receiving SSI or SSDI by county, and

e. Summary, trends and recommendations.

3. Unserved and Underserved Populations - Who are the unserved and underserved populations?

a. DSB Personnel Survey Results – Unserved and Underserved Populations

b. Interviews and Focus Groups – Unserved and Underserved Populations

c. Language

d. Religion

e. Summary and recommendations

4. Prevalence Rates of Vision Loss – What is the prevalence and trend of vision loss?

Summary and Recommendations

5. Employment Outcomes - What are the differences in employment outcomes of clients who are blind or visually impaired from different racial/ethnic backgrounds?

Summary and Recommendations

6. Transportation – What transportation is available for persons who are blind or visually impaired?

a. Available transportation in close proximity to DSB District Offices

b. Summary and Recommendations

7. Programs and Services – What are current and needed programs and services for persons who are blind or visually impaired?

a. DSB Client Survey Analysis

1. Tell us about your experiences with NC DSB.

2. NC DSB services

3. Any complaints?

4. Final comments

5. Basic information

b. DSB Personnel Survey Analysis

a. Service needs and barriers

b. Vocational rehabilitation needs

c. Needs and barriers for minorities

d. Unserved and underserved populations

e. Community rehabilitation programs (CRP) and Workforce Development

c. Community Rehabilitation Programs Survey Analysis

a. Respondents and agency information

b. Census of persons served

c. Plans, objectives, policies, funding and development

d. Final comments

d. Disability Navigator Survey Analysis

a. Respondents and agency information

b. Information about the census of persons serviced

c. Plans and services for clients who are blind or have low vision

d. Final comments

e. Interviews and Focus Group Analysis

a. Vocational rehabilitation services

b. Individuals who are blind with other disabilities

c. Populations who are unserved and underserved

d. Supported employment

e. Workforce Development

f. Community rehabilitation programs

g. Other Comments

f. Analysis of Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment from Other States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee)

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2010 4:42PM by sancwoodc

During Federal Fiscal Year 2011, the Division served 3,735 individuals with Title I case service funds expenditures of $4,733,085.

During Federal Year 2010, 3,516 individuals received services at a cost of Title I case service funds of $4,432,166.

During Federal Fiscal Year 2013, the Division estimates that 1,305 individuals will be found eligible for vocational rehabilitation services through DSB.  Of these eligible individuals, it is estimated that an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) will be developed on 1,265 individuals during FFY2013.  This, coupled with an approximate 2,570 individuals with active IPE’s already on caseloads, results in an estimated number of 3,835 individuals receiving services under an IPE using Title I funds during FFY2013.  Projected cost of services is estimated to be $4,700,000 without implementation of order of selection. 

During Federal Fiscal Year 2011, The Division served 34 individuals with the most significant disabilities (MSD) who received services in community based assessments, job development, placement, job coaching and training from supported employment program using Title VI, Part B, funds of $30,230.

During Federal Fiscal Year 2010, 71 individuals with the most significant disabilities were served at a cost of $165,723. During Federal Fiscal Year 2013, The Division estimates that 85 individuals with the most significant disabilities will be provided supported employment services with Title VI, Part B, funds at a projected cost of $165,723.

These individuals will also be eligible for use of Title I funds for other services, such as medical, training, guidance and counseling or other required services. Therefore, these individuals to receive supported employment services through Title VI funds are also included in the estimated number of individuals who may receive Title I funds in the table below.

The projected costs represent only the cost of services purchased in the provision of assessment and other services to applicants and eligible individuals. The Division has an Order of Selection Plan for eligibility determination under the Rehabilitation Act. It has not been implemented, as the Division has provided vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
All eligible Individuals Title I $4,733,085 3,835 $1,234
Supported Employment Title VI $30,230 34 $889
Totals   $4,763,315 3,869 $1,231

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

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.

PRIORITY 1: INCREASE THE AVERAGE WAGES AND BENEFITS OF INDIVIDUALS CLOSED WITH SUCCESSFUL WAGE-EARNING EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES

Goal 1: Individuals who are blind or visually impaired in North Carolina will have access to employment opportunities that provide good wages and level of benefits.

Objective (a): The Division’s staff will obtain placements for eligible individuals who have recently completed post-secondary training or occupational education through a specialized on-the-job training program called the “Intern Program”. The “Intern Program” replaces a similar on-the-job training program funded through ARRA called ARRA On-The-Job Training (ARRA OJT). This training program gives newly trained eligible individuals a competitive edge with the number of experienced individuals in the current job market due to company closings and layoffs. The Division reimburses an employer up to 100% of the individual’s wages and benefits contribution without requiring a commitment of hiring for a specific period of time agreed upon in a written agreement with the employer and The Division. The economy recovery in North Carolina has been slower than anticipated, especially in the more rural areas of the state. Therefore, this will remain a strategy through September, 2013, with the goal of seven placements that result in five permanent job offers and four successful employment outcomes.

Objective (b): Division staff will have resources of community-based work adjustment services through community rehabilitation programs for eligible individuals who require this service for successful employment. It is a resource for individuals who need short-term job coaching to be successful on the job, but do not require long-term support services afforded by supported employment services. The goal for FFY2013 will be five successful employment closures with use of this program.

Goal 2: Increase staff knowledge about careers and employment opportunities in the State and the requirements of these positions.

Objective (a): Provide ongoing training experiences for all Division VR counselors, business representatives and community employment specialists about career opportunities in North Carolina’s changing economy to include a segment on job analysis and use of assistive technology.

Objective (b): Expand the use of the office plan in each seven district offices for contacting businesses in the locations that targets employers offering higher wages and career advancement.

Objective (c): Provide targeted one-on-one training by the Program Specialist for Job Development and Placement to each rehabilitation counselor and business representative that will consist of job coaching through an employer interview. In those areas and for those staff with lower numbers of business contacts and successful placements, a follow-up session will be held.

Goal 3: Increase community Rehabilitation Counselor awareness of opportunities for internships and other work experiences for transition age students, especially in areas where specialized transition programs are not available.

Objective (a): Maintain a section on the agency’s web page that will include information about opportunities for transition-age and college age students for job internship opportunities, work experiences, conferences and ideas, to be maintained by the Program Specialist for Transition with contributions made by the specialized transition programs staff.

Objective (b): Provide training workshops for community new Rehabilitation Counselors on Transition services that needs to be provided to students attending schools where the Division does not have a formal Transition Program.

PRIORITY 2: ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS WILL HAVE ACCESS TO ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (AT) REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYMENT

Goal 1: Provide access technology for all eligible individuals who require specific equipment and software in order to obtain maintain and regain employment.

Objective: Purchase of technology for eligible individuals without regard to financial eligibility when required for success in reaching their vocational goal. The Division changed the procedure for purchasing required AT from a service provided only to those who meet financial need criteria, to a service provided to eligible individuals without regard to financial need in FFY2010. During FFY2010 and FFY2011, ARRA funding was used to fund this policy change through September 30, 2011. Due to advancements in AT over the past three years, new training opportunities and jobs have opened to individuals who are blind or visually impaired with use of AT. Therefore, the agency recommended that the practice of purchasing required AT without regard to economic remain in place after the expiration of ARRA funds, which was approved by the State Rehabilitation Council.

Goal 2: Assistive technology staff in all seven District Offices will receive training on latest software and hardware to enhance placement opportunities.

Objective (a): Provide training for the Rehabilitation Engineer, Assistive Technology Consultants, and Assistive Technology teachers and instructors about new and innovative products.

Objective (b): Partner with the NC Assistive Technology Project and the NC Rehabilitation Association to sponsor the 2012”GREAT” (Global Rehabilitation Enhanced by Assistive Technology) (formerly the NC Assistive Technology Expo) to be held December 5-7, 2012, and identify at least two presentations about access technology for individuals who are blind or who have visual impairments.

PRIORITY 3: TRANSITION SERVICES WILL BE AVAILABLE IN ALL COUNTIES OF NORTH CAROLINA FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED.

Goal 1: The Division will continue to provide transition services to students who are blind or visually impaired attending schools in all 115 Local Education Agencies (LEA’s) of North Carolina. The goal will be to increase the number of individuals, ages 14-21, served by more than 2% (baseline for FFY2011: 290)

Objective (a) Current Cooperative Agreements with fifteen LEAs’ will be maintained, as economic instability continues and projected budget shortfalls are projected to increase in the next fiscal year. LEA’s in North Carolina are searching for programs to cut in order to preserve their own staffs.

Objective (b) Transition services to students attending schools without Division Cooperative Agreements will be served by Division VR counselors in the counties where the schools are located.

Goal 2: The Division will provide continuing education training for transition program staff.

Objective (a) Transition Staff that have enrolled in Certificate in Transition with Winston-Salem State University will complete the program.

Objective (b) All Transition Staff will complete training in the Discovery Process provided Southeast Regional TACE program, so they can begin to use the process with the students in their programs during this Fiscal Year.

Objective (c) The Program Specialist for Transition Services will continue to have transition staff meetings and/or provide ongoing trainings quarterly to increase staff awareness and knowledge about transition issues and policy.

Goal 3: Each Rehabilitation Counselor in areas where specialized transition programs are not available will increase awareness of opportunities for internships and work experiences for transition age students.

Objective (a) Provide current information about opportunities for transition age individuals on the agency’s web-page or other media Objective (b) Provide training to new Rehabilitation Counselors on Transition Services available to eligible students on their caseloads

Objective (c) Program Specialist for Transition Services and the Transition Counselor in each area will continue to be available for consultation regarding transition services

PRIORITY 4: QUALITY AND KNOWLEDGEABLE OUTREACH TO INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES, FAMILY MEMBERS, AND INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE MINORITIES, INCLUDING THOSE WITH THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DISABILITIES WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE DIVISION.

Goal 1: The Division’s services will be provided to individuals, families, and minority populations through targeted outreach activities.

Objective (a): Outreach activities will result in the increase of total consumers served who are Hispanics/Latinos by more than 2% during the period October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. (The baseline for FFY 2011 was 140)

Objective (b): Outreach activities will result in the increase of total consumers served from the African American, Native Americans and other minority groups by more than 2% from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. (The baseline for FFY 2011 was a total of 1526, 1446 African-American, 80 Native American)

Goal 2: The Division will develop marketing opportunities to targeted audiences.

Objective (a): The Division will utilize social media as a method for Division VR Counselors to communicate with employers with the goal of establishing relationships with five new employers through this network.

Objective (b): The Division will use the available employer portal in BEAM, the new case management system, to establish contact with employers who would like to post job opportunities, with the goal of having ten job opportunities posted after the initiation of the system in October, 2012.

Goal 3: The Division will identify ways by which the Division can assist veterans with disabilities to become able to obtain, maintain or regain employment. Objective: Through contacts with the Veterans Administration, Disabled Veterans of America, and the American Legion, the Division will educate these organizations on ways the Division can assist veterans through a continuum of independent living and employment services.

Goal 4: The Division will continually seek and identify ways in which to reach the growing minority populations across North Carolina.

Objective (a): Increase the number of The Division employees who are of an ethnic or racial minority by more than 2.5 percent for FFY 2013.

Objective (b): During FFY 2013, eight Division staff will utilize the Spanish training modules to acquire some level of proficiency in speaking and/or understanding Spanish.

PRIORITY 5: OVER THE NEXT THREE FISCAL YEARS, DEVELOPMENT OF SYSTEMATIC PROGRAM EVALUATIONS AND CONSISTENT QUALITY ASSURANCE METHODS WILL ASSURE THE AGENCY IS MEETING THE MISSION OF ENABLING INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS OF INDEPENDENCE AND EMPLOYMENT.

Goal 1: To provide consistent and accurate data for use for assessing program performance.

Objective (a): The agency will provide refresher training, support, and problem-solving upon the scheduled “go-live” of October 1, 2012, for the agency’s new case management system, BEAM. All issues regarding BEAM used by staff using assistive technology will be resolved during the first year of its use.

Objective (b): Monthly reviews of outcome data by rehabilitation program chiefs and managers was completed with supervisors and other program staff.

Goal 2: To provide holistic, consistent, and accurate methods of quality assurance and program evaluation.

Objective (a): Develop an up-to- date Quality Assurance Manual outline identifying areas requiring specific methods of quality assurance based on outcome measures with consideration of BEAM. The manual will be written and in place with staff during FFY2013.

Objective (b): To obtain reviews and input from all program managers to develop draft methods to achieve holistic, consistent, and accurate measures.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2009 1:22PM by sancarthurd

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.

Title VI, Part B funds will be utilized to purchase supported employment services from providers of supported employment in North Carolina. The Division utilizes private nonprofit Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP) throughout North Carolina by accessing CRPs already available in the individual’s local community. The expanded program is designed to provide the individual more choice of supported employment programs they can use and to serve eligible individuals from all 100 counties in North Carolina, through the Supported Employment Job Development model of integrated employment.

The North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind subscribes to the following FY 2013 supported employment goals:

In all 100 counties, The Division plans to identify individuals with disabilities that have traditionally been underserved and not served, who will require Supported Employment services in order to achieve a successful employment outcome by using the following objectives:

1. Provide ongoing training to Rehabilitation Counselors to help them identify and refer individuals with the most significant disabilities for Supported Employment services.

2. The Division’s Program Specialist will continue to provide training to Community Rehabilitation Program staff, information about working with individuals who are blind or visually impaired to assist in job development and placement.

3. Community Rehabilitation Programs will identify individuals with the most significant disabilities who want to work, and refer them to The Division for vocational rehabilitation services, which may include Supported Employment services.

4. During Fiscal Year 2013, The Division plans to close twenty (20) individuals indicating successful employment outcomes (Status 26) after receiving Supported Employment services.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

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.

PRIORITY 1:  INCREASE THE AVERAGE WAGES AND BENEFITS OF INDIVIDUALS CLOSED WITH SUCCESSFUL WAGE-EARNING EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES

 Through use of the Division-sponsored internship program, Division staff will have opportunities to obtain employment for eligible individual that have recently completed post-secondary training or vocational trades training.  These opportunities will benefit both eligible individual and employer.  A newly trained eligible individual can gain work experience in the field of their training while the employer has an opportunity to ensure the individual is a match for the job.  These opportunities give newly trained individuals a competitive edge with the increased number of applicants for jobs who have experience in the field due to current job market conditions that include company closings layoffs, and job losses.  The Division will reimburse the employer up to 100% of the wages and benefits contribution during the internship without requiring a commitment of hiring at the end of the internship.  The number of hours worked during the week can be 20 to 40 hours, with a maximum of 1,000 hours per internship.  If all interns work a maximum amount of 40 hours per week, the maximum amount paid for these internships will be $190,000.

 The community-based work adjustment services will continue to be available to staff through local community rehabilitation programs (CRP’s)  as a resource for those individuals who require short-term job coaching to be successful on a job, but do not required long-term support.   Although this service was initiated during FFY2010, both CRP’s and Division VR staff are in the process of initiating its use.  During FFY2012, staff will receive more information about the program’s advantages for successful employment outcomes for targeted individuals. The estimated amount of funds to be expended for this strategy is $45,000.

 The 2010 Census identified one of the fastest growing segments of the job market in North Carolina as the older worker.  This year, statewide as well as district office training will place emphasis on identifying transferable skills, utilizing all low vision and other assistive technology, and other skills needed to effectively provide placements for the older worker.  Offices will be encouraged to direct to share information regarding employers who offer higher wages and career advancement opportunities, and now opportunities for older workers. The estimated amount of funds to be expended for this strategy is $15,000.

  PRIORITY 2:  ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS WILL HAVE ACCESS TO ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (AT) AS REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYMENT.

 The Division will plan to provide all assistive technology, to include low vision devices and mobility aids required for employment (including training for employment) without regard to financial eligibility.   This was done through a temporary rule change during FFY2010 and FFY2011, and it was observed that those who needed equipment and were not financially eligible were young individuals headed towards training and education for higher paying jobs.  A change required a State APA Rule change, and a temporary rule change was granted that will allow these purchases through FFY2012.  This will allow the agency to process this temporary rule to a permanent one.  Rehabilitation Counselors will be educated regarding appropriate use of this rule for required equipment, and purchases will be monitored. The estimated amount of funds to be expended for this strategy is $300,000.

The Division will be a contributing sponsor at the 2011 NC Assistive Technology Expo, hosted by the Partners in Assistive Technology, in November, 2011.  A Division AT teacher from the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind will serve on the planning committee, and at least two presentations about access technology for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  The Expo also sponsors a vendor expo with many vendors, with over 25% being vendors with products for persons who are blind or visually impaired.   All Division AT Consultants (6), Rehabilitation Engineer (1), AT Instructors (4), Technology teacher (1), and Rehabilitation Center AT Instructors (3) will be sponsored to attend this expo.

 In conjunction with the Expo, Division will sponsor two-day training for AT staff to study new products.  Topics being considered are use of alternative products, new uses of existing products, and demonstration of a difficult job modification. The estimated amount of funds to be expended for both of these strategies is $6,500.

PRIORITY 3:  TRANSITION SERVICES WILL BE AVAILABLE IN ALL COUNTIES OF NORTH CAROLINA FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED.

The Division is partnering with Winston-Salem State University to sponsor all Division Transition VR Counselors and Community Employment Specialists who qualify to participate in their Certificate in Transition Program, funded by a grant from RSA, beginning in January, 2012.  If any funds remain, the opportunities will be opened to other Divison Counselors. The costs for this strategy will be paid using Training Grant funds.

 The Program Specialist for Transition will work with the agency’s webmaster to maintain accurate and up-to-date information and resources for DSB VR staff statewide regarding transition.  He will gather topics of interests, links to websites, and other information for this section of the website.

 Quarterly meetings will be reestablished for the Transition Staff to network and to share ideas and suggestions.  Due to funding restrictions, these were terminated about three years ago.  Through use of a conference call system available now, the Program Specialist will begin these meetings quarterly.

  PRIORITY 4:   QUALITY AND KNOWLEDGEABLE OUTREACH TO INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABLITIIES, FAMILY MEMBERS, AND INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE MINORITIES, INCLUDING THOSE WITH MOST SIGNIFICANT DISABILITES WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE DIVISION.

 The Division will continue to participate in outreach activities in all areas of North Carolina as opportunities arise.  Activities in previous years have had to be cut due to budget restraints.  The agency has identified staff in each area that is responsible for identifying activities, and reports will be made of each event.

 Utilizing the Memorandums of Agreement established with the Lumbee Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program and the Eastern Cherokee Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program outreach and services provided to Native Americans will be increased.   Recent contacts with the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, which is located in the counties of Lumbee Tribal service, will be maintained to increase consultation and cooperation between these programs. 

As a means of innovation and expansion to reach under-served populations, The Division will sponsor the Lumbee Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program and the Eastern Cherokee Tribal vocational Program to present training to each district office.  The training will focus on cultural compatencies related to their specific populations.  The Lumbee staff will present to the four district offices in the east, which is within their tribal area and the Cherokee will do the same for our three western offices.  The estimated cost for this training is $9,000.

The Division will use social media (as approved by the NC Department of Health and Human Services) as a tool to reach potential employers.  It will also be a resource and method of staying in touch with organizations, individuals and other sources of reaching the unserved and underserved.  We will also be utilizing our brochures and marketing items at outreach events to promote the Division and educate the public about our services and how to contact our staff.  The estimated amount to be spent on these items is $18,000.

BEAM, the agency’s new electronic data system, provides a portal for employers to communicate with Division VR staff, as well as to find information they may need in regard to their staff that may be blind or have a visual impairment.  The Program Specialist for Job Development and Job Placement will participate on a committee for the development of access to this portal for employers.  During FFY2012, the Program Specialist will work with supervisors and Division VR staff about educating employers regarding the use of the portal.

The Division will utilize the EEO Plan to ensure that qualified applicants for positions who are of a minority population are considered, as well as   their cultural ethnic skill background in the hiring process.  For example, those who are fluent in Spanish will greatly assist in outreach to the Latino population.  

 The Division will provide employees access to Spanish language tutorials for learning this language skill.  Introductory skills can assist in the initiation of service provision.

 PRIORITY 5:  OVER THE NEXT THREE FISCAL YEARS (BEGINNING IN FFY2010), THE DIVISION WILL DEVELOP A SYSTEMATIC METHOD OF PROGRAM EVALUATION AND CONSISTENT QUALITY ASSURANCE METHODS TO ENSURE THE AGENCY IS MEETING THE AGENCY’S MISSION AND VISION.

The Division will provide on-going training and follow-up to all staff in the use of the agency’s new data system, BEAM, ensuring total accessibility for all users.  The field AT staff will be trained as “on-site” help desk assistants to work with other staff members who are AT users to ensure accurate usage and to provide immediate assistance.

 The draft Quality Assurance Manual has been delayed due to introduction of new business rules (still in development) with regard to BEAM.  The electronic case management system and data collection system is totally new to Division environment, and its capabilities and accessibility is still unknown.  Manuals developed by other states and data gathered by ongoing studies will be used as the Manual is developed. 

 All training for new Rehabilitation Counselors will contain a segment on quality services. 

 

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.

 The Division will plan to provide all assistive technology, to include low vision devices and mobility aids required for employment (including training for employment) without regard to financial eligibility.   The low vision devices are recommended by DSB Nurse Eye Care Consultants or Low Vision Specialist, and may range from a simple magnifier to high-end CCTV’s.  Our Rehabilitation Engineer, six Assistive Technology Consultants, and the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind AT Teacher stay knowledgeable of all new products, do individualized assessments of individuals, then recommend the combintations of computer equipment with assistive technology, which include devices such as adaptive software, CCTV’s that work with computers, larger monitors, Braille displays,Braille embossers, notetakers such as the BrailleNote or PacMate, or specialized software to adapt training programs or jobs to make them accessible for our individuals.   

The change to make required equipment available without regard to financial eligibility was done through a temporary rule change during FFY2010 and FFY2011.  It was observed that those who needed equipment and were not financially eligible were often young individuals headed towards training and education for higher paying jobs.  A change required a State APA Rule change, and a temporary rule change was granted that will allow these purchases through FFY2012.  During FFY2012, the State rules Committee  has approved this rule change, and it is now permanent.  Rehabilitation Counselors will be educated regarding appropriate use of this rule for required equipment, and purchases will be monitored. The estimated amount of funds to be expended for this strategy is $300,000.

The Division will be a contributing sponsor at the 2011 NC Assistive Technology Expo, hosted by the Partners in Assistive Technology, in November, 2011.  A Division AT teacher from the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind will serve on the planning committee, and at least two presentations about access technology for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  The Expo also sponsors a vendor expo with many vendors, with over 25% being vendors with products for persons who are blind or visually impaired.   All Division AT Consultants (6), Rehabilitation Engineer (1), AT Instructors (4), Technology teacher (1), and Rehabilitation Center AT Instructors (3) will be sponsored to attend this expo.

 In conjunction with the Expo, Division will sponsor two-day training for AT staff to study new products.  Topics being considered are use of alternative products, new uses of existing products, and demonstration of a difficult job modification. The estimated amount of funds to be expended for both of these strategies is $6,500.

 

Identify what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities; and what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program.

The Division developed a plan of targeted outreach to reach growing minority communities. Consequently the Division developed materials and presentations specifically for communities of color. Since minority communities are disproportionately affected by illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and vascular disease, minorities are at risk for greater rates of vision loss. The following steps will be implemented to reach minority communities:

 1. Focus on faith based outreach by participating in health fairs, presenting to congregations, and participating in other related events.

 2. A Spanish-speaking employee will be employed by the Division

 3. The number of Division employees who speak Spanish will be increased.

 4. The Division will participate in community cultural events.

 5. The Division will make outreach events accessible through the use of foreign language interpreters and the provision of publications in Spanish as needed.

 6. The Division will provide outreach to programs serving minorities with health disparities

 

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

1.The Division will work with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to identify and recruit more CRPs to participate with the Division in the provison of supported employment services

2. The  Division will use the state’s Contract ad Procurement system to recruit CRPs in the provision of supported employment services.

3. The Division will continue to encourage VR Counselors to identify and recuit CRPs in the counties they cover that could be beneficial in working with the individuals they serve.

4. The Division will continue the provision of training to CRP staff in the areas of working with individuals who are blind as well in the job development, job placement and job coaching process.

 

 

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

The one area o f RSA’s standards and indicators that has consistently hard for the Divison to accomplish is Standard 1, Indicator 1.5, Earnings ratio comparison to state average wage (Standard 0.59).  The Division will continue the internship program and the wage reimbursement program for advanced placement to serve as incentives to employers to employ Division-sponsored individuals in higher paying jobs. 

Successful employment outcomes have suffered over the past three years due to the high level of unemployment in North Carolina, especially in the rural areas, and the loss of jobs in the manufacturing realm.  In addition, the Division has experienced extended vacancies in counselor positions at a higher rate that in the past, mainly due to retirements of experienced counselors, lack of pay raises in over three years, and extended freeze on employment.  Even though staff have worked hard to cover vacant positions, a negative effect has occurred in a decrease in successful employment outcomes and an increase in unsuccessful closures.  The Division will provide leadership training opportunities for rehabilitatio counselors as retention incentives, and will begin training with new counselors immediately in areas such as placement and blindness information.

During FFY2013, the new case management system, BEAM, is scheduled to go-live after a long wait.  Division staff have never had a case management system and this will provide counselors and supervisors methods to better manage their caseloads, such as immediate queries into cases needing action.

 

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

The State of North Carolina is currently studying the workforce investestment system in North Carolina and considering restructuring of it.  DSB has participated in recent studies and presentations, and will be following the outcome of this study.  Upon its completion, DSB will make any necessary adjustments. 

Currently DSB Counselors meet with applicants and eligible individuals in local Job Link Centers.  They work with the staff in these Centers in finding potential job leads for staff and to gain knowledge of industry and employer expansion in their areas.   

 

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.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

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

The agency’s priorities in FFY2011 included:

(1)      increasing the average wages and benefits of individuals closed with  successful wage-earning employment outcomes,

(2)      ensuring access to assistive technology (AT) for all eligible individuals who require AT for employment,

(3)      providing transition services to all students who are blind or visually impaired individuals, especially in rural areas,

(4)      providing information to reach individuals with disabilities, family  members and individuals who are minorities, especially those with   most significant disabilities, to increase knowledge about DSB services, and

(5)      developing systematic program evaluation and consistent quality

assurance methods.

 

PRIORITY 1: INCREASE THE AVERAGE WAGES AND BENEFITS OF INDIVIDUALS CLOSED WITH SUCCESSFUL WAGE-EARNING EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES WILL BE ACHIEVED.

 During FFY2011, DSB achieved the identified goals and objectives.  While numerically the outcomes do not indicate the desired increase in wages and benefits when looking at just FFY2011.  However, staff are more aware of this priority, and it is felt that by assessing the progress over a three year period, progress can be seen.  North Carolina, especially in the rural areas, continues to experience high unemployment rates.  Staff turnover due to lack of raises in four years has greatly affected these outcomes, as well as retirements of experienced counselors.  Retirements will remain an issue over the next three years.  However, new staff are trained with this priority as their mission.  With the initiation of DSB’s new case management system during FFY2013, it is felt data collection will be more readily available, allowing for closer and frequent monitoring. 

Goal 1: Individuals who are blind or visually impaired in North Carolina will have access to employment opportunities that provide good wages and level of benefits.

 Objective (a): DSB staff obtained placements for eligible individuals who recently completed post-secondary training or occupational education through continuation of ARRA On-The-Job Training (ARRA OJT).

During FFY2011, seven individuals were placed in jobs using ARRA OJT Program.  Two individuals maintained in these jobs after the end of the OJT period and became successful employment outcomes with wages that highly exceeded DSB’s average income at closure for FFY2011.   Three individuals continue working under this program, and should become successful employment outcomes for FFY2012.  After the expiration of ARRA funding on September 30, 2011, management agreed this type of OJT will be continued in FFY2012 and FFY2013 (with some minor changes) through Title 1 funds.  The name will be changed to the “Intern Program”.  Policy was adapted and approved by the State Rehabilitation Council.   Therefore, this will remain a strategy through September, 2013, with the goal of four placements that result in closures and of two additional permanent job offers through use of the Intern Program. 

Objective (b): DSB staff utilized community-based work adjustment services through community rehabilitation programs for eligible individuals who require this service for successful employment. It is a resource for individuals who need short-term job coaching to be successful on the job, but do not require long-term support services afforded by supported employment services. During FFY2011, seven new referrals were made, 13 individuals received services, six were placed into competitive employment, and five achieved successful employment outcomes.    

 Goal 2: Increase staff knowledge about careers and employment opportunities in the State and the requirements of these positions.

 Objective (a): Training experiences were provided for all DSB VR counselors, business representatives and community employment specialists about career opportunities in North Carolina’s changing economy to included segments on job analysis and use of assistive technology.   DSB Assistive Technology Staff presented quarterly meetings in each of their offices regarding new products and new types of job modifications using assistive technology.  Emphasis was placed on the use of I-Phones and I-Pods with applications designed for persons with low vision or blindness. 

 Objective (b): An office plan in each seven district offices for contacting businesses in the locations that targets employers offering higher wages and career advancement was developed. During FFY2011, each office met with the Employment Services Specialist to develop a plan.  This plan was stressed by the supervisors and the business services representatives in the offices throughout the year.   

 Objective (c): One-on-one training by the Program Specialist for Job Development and Placement was provided to each rehabilitation counselor and business representative that consisted of job coaching through at least one  employer interview. In addition, this Program Specialist provided one on one training and interview coaching with each new staff this year.

Goal 3: Increase Community Rehabilitation Counselor awareness of opportunities for internships and other work experiences for transition age students, especially in areas where specialized transition programs are not available.

Objective (a): The Division continues to maintain a section on its web page that will include information about opportunities for transition-age and college age students for job internship opportunities, work experiences, conferences and ideas, as maintained by the Program Specialist for Transition with contributions made by the specialized transition programs staff.

 Objective (b): Training sessions have been provided to Rehabilitation Counselors in all the district offices on focusing on Transition services and resources that available to eligible students attending schools. 

 PRIORITY 2: ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS WILL HAVE ACCESS TO ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (AT) REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYMENT

 Goal 1: Provide access technology for all eligible individuals who require specific equipment and software in order to obtain, maintain and regain employment.

 Objective (a): Purchase of technology, using ARRA funds, for eligible individuals has been made without regard to financial eligibility when the AT was required for success in reaching the individual’s vocational goal.  Currently, limitations of DSB’s legacy data collection system do not provide accurate data for measuring the changes in AT purchases, as financial eligibility is not recorded.   A survey of DSB AT Field staff and a review of Satisfaction Surveys indicate the ability to sponsor equipment for individuals that opened doors towards training opportunities that lead to employment opportunities.  A total of 402 persons were provided assistive technology services through purchase of equipment during FFY2011.   After the success of this policy change using ARRA funds (that expired September 30, 2011), a permanent rule change and policy amendment was made moving the purchase of required assistive technology to a service not dependent on economic need.     

 Objective (b): Training was provided training for the Assistive Technology Consultants, the Rehabilitation Engineer and the Assistive Technology teacher in alternative products during FFY2011.  Twelve persons received training in the use of the screen reader product by GW Micro, Window Eyes during November, 2010.  Later that week, seventeen Division staff were sponsored to attend the Assistive Technology Expo, a training conference and vendor display.   Division partnered with the NC Assistive Technology Project as one of the sponsors for the 2010 Expo, which was attended by over 550 AT users, professionals, students, teachers and other interested individuals.  Division staff worked on the planning committee and arranged four presentations about access technology for individuals who are blind or who have visual impairments.

 PRIORITY 3: TRANSITION SERVICES WILL BE AVAILABLE IN ALL COUNTIES OF NORTH CAROLINA FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED, WITH SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON RURAL AREAS.

 Goal 1: To increase awareness of the importance of transition services for high school students and related Division services.

 Objective (a): The ARRA funded temporary staff met with officials in every high school in North Carolina to provide information about the Division transition program and identified students who could benefit from services through the Division. The staff met this goal by the date of September 20, 2011.

 Objective (b): The Division identified two school districts through the AARA funded outreach that had expressed some interest in establishing a Cooperative Agreement, however, due to school budget shortfalls and the school systems not in close proximity of each other, it has not been possible to create another Regional Transition Program

 PRIORITY 4: INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES, FAMILY MEMBERS, AND INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE MINORITIES, INCLUDING THOSE WITH THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DISABILITIES WILL HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF AVAILABLE SERVICES THROUGH QUALITY OUTREACH.

 Goal 1: Expand Division services provided to individuals, families, and minority populations served by the Division through Targeted Outreach Activities.

Objective (a): The Division increased the percentage of total consumers served who are Hispanics/Latinos by­­ -2.78% during the period October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011. (Baseline: FFY2010 – 144)

Since NC ranks 18th in the state for growth in the Latino community and more growth is anticipated and ongoing outreach will continue at targeted venues frequented by this population.

The Divison provides targeted outreach presentations and workshops to communities of color through a series of mini center and community based workshops which include diabetes awareness programs. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, and so outreach is targeted to those most affected. The Division also partners with local Lions Clubs to do outreach to individuals who are experiencing vision loss secondary to diabetes and other etiologies. Outreach to individuals with diabetes was recommended in the 2009 Comprehensive Needs Assessment Conducted by East Carolina University. At the time of this recommendation, the Division had been involved in this type of outreach to minorities using a variety of methods since 2006. Faith based organizations were targeted for outreach to minorities and well as cultural events such as El Pueblo where large numbers of minorities gather to celebrate, educate and participate in various events. Of the 248 outreach events held, 40% were to minority communities. Outreach has been more effective when presenting services from the perspective of the relationship between diabetes and obesity since minorities are disproportionately affected by these conditions. The number of individuals served who reported Hispanic/Latino heritage was 140.

 Objective (b): Increase the percentage of total consumers served from the African American, Native Americans and other minority groups by -2.98% from October 1, 2010 to September 30,  2011. (Baseline: FFY2010 – 1,573) Approximately 100,000 North Carolinians are Native American representing 2% of the current population. Culturally sensitive educational and outreach presentations have occurred in various tribal events specifically targeting Pow Wows, community resource centers, mental health centers, conferences, as well as on the Cherokee Reservation. 11 events were held by the Division to share information on services using diabetes awareness as the portal of entry to the community. Native Americans have a prevalence of diabetes that is 5-50 times greater than the general community. Presentations were effective in educating those affected by vision loss secondary to diabetes and other medical conditions. The Division also featured a popular, highly respected Native American woman in the radio and television commercials aired across the state and on the website. The number of individuals served who reported African-American heritage was 1446 and the number served who reported Native American heritage was 80 with the total number served as 1526.

 Goal 2: Develop marketing opportunities to targeted audiences using ARRA funding. 

 Objective (a): The Division completed the process of developing two videos that targeted the general public and potential employers respectively to be used as television commercials during the 2011 FFY and on the agency’s website. The Division contracted with a media company to produce a multi-media campaign using ARRA funds. The campaign included a 30 second advertisement aired on all major TV stations across NC, a 30 second radio advertisement both in English and Spanish, and a 3 minute video which is being used for presentations and on our web site.

 The TV advertisement was developed to target the general population to inform them of our services and how to contact us.  We tried to narrow the focus of our target audience to individuals of employment age, as well as family members.  The individuals who were in the advertisement were actual consumers telling about their experience with losing their vision and how the Division helped them.  The 30 second radio advertisement was similar in content but the targeted audience was individuals of minority populations.  This was accomplished through the radio stations chosen to air the advertisement.  The media company selected Gospel, Spanish, and English stations.  Two of the English stations were stations with a high number of Native American listeners. 

 The campaign began in early March and continued through May.  The time of day the advertisements were aired were selected to reach the greatest number of our targeted audiences and the radio and TV ads alternated so that both were not shown at the same times.          

 In early June our Television and radio ad campaign ended.  We were able to identify that 770 individuals who contacted our agency during the campaign regarding services, stated they learned about the Division through our advertisements.  Through our purchased media buy, we were able to obtain, “added value”.  This was additional advertising at no cost.  This included such things as, additional viewing of our ad, advertising on the web site of several television stations, and participation in a, well attended, health fair sponsored by one of the largest viewed television stations.  The estimated amount for the added value was $80,000.  We have received feedback from individuals across the state who said they saw or heard our ad on TV and felt it was a good way to let people know about our services.  We also heard many people tell staff that the ad was well done but some felt that 30 seconds was too short. 

 Through the assistance of the video production contractor we developed a social media site on Linked-In. We are hoping that through this site we can continue to spread information about the Division to individuals, especially employers, across North Carolina.

The 3 minute video was developed as a marketing tool to target employers.  The video provides testimonials of three consumers about their experience of vision loss, seeking a job, and becoming employed.  They describe the type of work they do and shows them at work.  The video also highlights their supervisors, who talk about their experiences of hiring someone who is visually impaired and the support they received from the Division.  We have received very positive feedback from many people on the quality and content of the video.  You can view the video at www.ncdhhs.gov/dsb.  Go to the EMPLOYER SERVICES link.  

 The total cost of the media campaign was $355,742.

 Objective (b):  The Division developed three agency brochures aimed at the general public, employers and transition services.

 A general brochure was designed that highlights all the services provided by the Division.  This brochure was printed in large print and will be used at all outreach events, given to medical providers for their clients, veterans’ organizations, churches, and other organizations for them to give out.

 An employer brochure was developed that highlights the business services that the Division can offer employers and the advantages of working with the Division to find a qualified dependable employee.  This brochure targets any business or employer.  These will be used at outreach events, conferences, and when staff meet with employers. As well as sending them to employers along with a letter of introduction.

A transition flyer was also developed and put on the Division’s web site.  This flyer let’s parents and students know about the Division’s transition services and how to contact their local office to learn more.  This flyer can be printed off the web site and used as a resource for outreach events, conferences, or when meeting with education professionals, parents, and students.      

 The total cost for printing the two brochures was $5,740.

 Goal 3: Identify a plan with strategies by which the Division can assist veterans with disabilities to become able to obtain, maintain or regain employment.

 Objective (a): The Division through contacts with the Veterans Administration, Disabled Veterans of America, and the American Legion.  The Division provided targeted outreach to veterans across the state. This has taken place in both the state and federal veterans’ administration programs across the state.

This outreach has specifically targeted training to VA physicians, medical social workers, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, nurses, pharmacists, diabetes educators and other VA staff in an effort to educate this enormous program on the valuable services provided by the Divison to veterans experiencing vision loss. The Division strives to be and is part of the continuum of care for veterans and civilians. In an effort to serve NC’s veterans, the Divison added a link to the VA on it’s website, and NC VA added a link to the Division as well for greater awareness and accessibility.

Brochures are displayed publically at VA facilities across the state and referrals are being made. In addition, the Divison has participated in statewide conferences hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Marines and the American Legions. DSB remains committed to partnering with veterans services to serve individuals requiring adjustment training services to effectively manage loss of vision. Over 23 formal events were held with the veterans during this time with multiple smaller networking opportunities occurring throughout the year. The Division periodically follows up with the VA to keep the lines of communication open and fluid to ensure adequate service delivery to eligible veterans.

 Goal 4: Identify ways in which to reach the growing minority populations across North Carolina.

 Objective (a): The Division developed a plan of targeted outreach to reach growing minority communities. Consequently the Division developed materials and presentations specifically for communities of color. Since minority communities are disproportionately affected by illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and vascular disease, minorities are at risk for greater rates of vision loss. The following steps will be implemented to reach minority communities:

 1. Focus on faith based outreach by participating in health fairs, presenting to congregations, and participating in other related events.

2. A Spanish-speaking employee will be employed by the Division.

3. The number of Division employees who speak Spanish will be increased.

4. The Divison will participate in community cultural events.

5. The Division will make outreach events accessible through the use of foreign language interpreters and   the provision of publications in Spanish as needed.

6. The Division will provide outreach to programs serving minorities with health disparities.

PRIORITY 5: OVER THE NEXT THREE FISCAL YEARS, DEVELOPMENT OF SYSTEMATIC PROGRAM EVALUATIONS AND CONSISTENT QUALITY ASSURANCE METHODS WILL ASSURE THE AGENCY IS MEETING THE MISSION OF ENABLING INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS OF INDEPENDENCE AND EMPLOYMENT.

 Goal 1: To provide consistent and accurate data for use for assessing program performance.

 Objective (a): The agency provided training and follow-up to all staff in the use of the agency’s new case management system, BEAM, ensuring total accessibility for all users in April, 2011, and September, 2011. The vendor, Libera, provided this training.  Modifications for individual agency use, along with complications of modifications to meet the requirements of the other two agencies have delayed the “go-live” date for over a year and a half, which is now scheduled for October 1, 2012.  Retraining plans are now being developed for refresher training.

 Objective (b): Monthly reviews of outcome data by rehabilitation program chiefs and managers was completed with supervisors and other program staff. 

Goal 2: To provide holistic, consistent, and accurate methods of quality assurance and program evaluation.

Objective (a): Work continues to be done in the development of a Quality Assurance Manual outline identifying areas requiring specific methods of quality assurance based on outcome measures. Input from supervisors and program managers have been gathered.  However due to anticipated changes in business practices associated with BEAM, the completion of this manual is delayed until the final BEAM product and business practice policies are in place.  The manual will be written and in place with staff during FFY2013.

 Objective (b): To obtain reviews and input from all program managers to develop draft methods to achieve holistic, consistent, and accurate measures. This objective began in FFY2011 as part of the development and training for BEAM. Measures will be developed during this process.

 

 

The Division goals for supported employment for FY 2013 are:

The Division will work to identify individuals with disabilities that have traditionally been underserved and not served,  throughout North Carolina, who will require Supported Employment services in order to achieve a successful employment outcome by using the following objectives:

1. Provided ongoing training to Rehabilitation Counselors to help them identify and refer individuals with the most significant disabilities for Supported Employment services.

Strategy:  The Division provided information and discussion on supported employment program to VR staff by meeting with staff in all the Division’s district offices. The Division encouraged VR counselors to refer individuals who could benefit from these specialized services available from supported employment programs. The Division will schedule additional meetings with DSB VR staff to provide follow up trainings. 

 2. The Division  will provide training to Community Rehabilitation Program staff, information about working with individuals who are blind or visually impaired to assist in job development and placement.

Strategy: The Divsion provided training sessions to new CRP staff in FFY 2011. The trainings included, overview for DSB services that are available to support an individual going to work, a basic introduction to most common eye diseases and how they affect vision, introduction to sighted guide, introduction to Deaf/Blind issues, and a presentation and discussion on job development and placement for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The Division will continue to provide ongoing training to CRP staff to improve successful outcomes.

3. Community Rehabilitation Programs will identify individuals with the most significant disabilities who want to work, and refer them to the Division for vocational rehabilitation services, which may include Supported Employment services.

Strategy:  The training that is provided to CRP staff by the Division includes in the overview, a discussion on referring individuals who are blind or visually impaired not only to the vocational rehabilitation program, but to all programs that the Division offers. There were two  individuals referred by CRPS in the FFY 2011. The training to CRP will continue and the ongoing discussion with CRPs includes making referrals when possible.

4. During Fiscal Year 2013, the Division plans to close twenty (20) individuals indicating successful employment outcomes (Status 26) after receiving Supported Employment services.

Strategy: The Division continues to actively pursue CRPs to provide supported employment services. The Division continues to encourage the VR counselors to refer to CRPs for supported employment services. The Division will continue to train both CRP staff to improve outcomes and to work with VR staff to make the referrals of individuals to the CRPs for services.

FACTORS THEAT IMPEDED THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE GOALS AND PRIORITIES

1. The jobless rate in rural North Carolina continues to above the national average. There reamins intense competition for job openings and more difficult for individuals with disabilites to find jobs.

2. The Division has expereienced a higher that anticipated turnover rate with VR Counselors in 2011 and 2012, which causes vacant caseloads to be minmually covered by other staff. This results in lower referral to CRPs for supported employment services. 

3. The Division continues to struggle with an out-dated Information Technology System which wasss suppose to be in place in the last Federal Fiscal Year. This antiqued system results in data entering errors that continue to plaque the system so inaccurate coding of supported employment cases continues.

The Division is hopeful the economy  and a more stable staff will improve the placement of more individuals in jobs through the use of supported employment in the next FFY.

 

Standard 1.1 - The change in the aggregated number of employment outcomes for FFY2011 as compared to the number of employment outcomes for FFY2010 (Goal 0 or greater)

In FFY2011, the aggregated number of employment outcomes is 1,152.  For FFY2010, the number of employment outcomes was 1,118.  An increase of 34 successful employment outcomes is accomplished.  Goal achieved 

Standard 1.2 - Of all individuals who exit the VR Program after receiving services, the percentage who are determined to have achieved an employment outcome (Goal, 68.9%).

In FY11, the Division had 1,497 people served with Status 26 and 28 outcomes. Of those, 1,153 were closed Status 26 (76.95%). Goal achieved.

Standard 1.3 - PRIMARY INDICATOR - Of all individuals determined to have achieved employment outcomes, the percentage that exit the VR program in competitive, self- or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage (Goal, 35.4%).

The aggregated FFY2011 number of individuals achieving successful employment outcomes is 1,153.  Of these, 1,139 are employed in competitive employment.  The total percentage is 98.87% who are successful employed in competitive employment.  Goal achieved.

Standard 1.4 – PRIMARY INDICATOR - Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are individuals with significant disabilities (Goal, 89%).

The Division’s aggregate total from Standard 1.3 that met the criteria was 1,139. Of those, 1,023 are individuals with significant disabilities.  The total percentage of individuals with successful employment outcomes that have significant disabilities is 89.92%.  Goal achieved.

Standard 1.5 – PRIMARY INDICATOR - The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self- or BEP employment with earnings levels equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to the State’s average hourly wage for all individuals in the State who are employed (Goal, 0.59).

The goal or indicator for the standard means the Division’s average wage should equal or exceed 59% of the state average wage. The average wage of those meeting the criteria in FFY2011 is $11.13. The state average hourly wage for FFY2011 is $19.99.   For 2011, the Division’s aggregated ratio will be 0.557, falling short of the goal of 0.59 by 0.033.   Goal not met.

Standard 1.6 - Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self- or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services.  (Goal, 30.4)

Of all successful employment outcomes In the aggregated FFY2011, the Division found 675 (59.26%) reported their own income as their largest single source of support at application.  Upon closure, the number of those reporting their own income as the largest single source of support rose to 1,044, or 91.66%.  The difference between the percentages is 32.4.  Goal achieved.

Standard 2.1 - The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from non-minority backgrounds (Goal, 0.80). This standard is measured by individual fiscal year and not aggregated.

The number of non-minorities exiting the Division’s VR Program FFY2011 is 627, and the number of non-minorities who received services in FFY2011 is 442, resulting in a non-minority service rate of 55.  The number of minorities exiting the Division’s VR Program FFY2011 is 538, and the number of minorities who received services in FFY2011 is 296. The Division’s ratio of the minority service rate to non-minority service rate for FFY2011 is 0.78.  This ratio falls short of the goal of 0.80 by 0.02.   Goal not achieved.

RSA requires agencies meet or exceed four of the six indicators under Standard 1, including meeting or exceeding two of the three primary indicators. Agencies also have to meet RSA Standard 2 regardless. The Division met five of the six indicators, including two of the three primary ones, from Standard 1.  The Division slightly missed meeting Standard 2. 

 

Funds reserved for innovation and expansion activities for FFY2011 were utilized for outreach as described in Priority 4, Goal 2. 

These include the development of two videos. One was a 30-second video that initially ran as a TV ad and was directed at the general population.  A second one was targeted for employers, and was a three minute video showing three individuals who are blind in their work setting, all three of whom are successful employment outcomes from DSB.  Both of these can be viewed on DSB’s website, and DVD’s of the employer video was distributed to each DSB Office.  In addition, a 30-second radio spot ad was developed.  Total cost was $355,742. 

The Division also developed three new brochures, one for the general public, one for employers, and one for transition services.  Total costs for the brochures was $5,740.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

  • 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

Quality

 The Division’s supported employment services program is more cost effective since it was converted to performance-based outcomes, and eligible individuals are able to achieve their employment goals more quickly.

The Division s supported employment services program through policy changes, purchase of supported employment services from private nonprofit Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP’s), good practice guidelines, updated training and technical assistance to Division staff, and training to private nonprofit CRP staff, employers, eligible individuals, families and advocates, has moved the program towards improved the quality of services.

Quality outcomes emphasize achievement of a successful stable employment outcome as determined by the individual, The Division’s VR counselor, the CRP job coach, and the employer. Stable employment is achieved when all four parties agree that stabilization has occurred. The individual is encouraged to exercise informed choice in determining if a quality outcome has been achieved. The Division’s objective is for the individual to make employment choices consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, and interests in the most integrated setting possible. The

Division assures that the extended long term support services identified on the Individualized Plan for Employment are provided by the contracted private nonprofit organization to begin when stabilization has been determined and to continue for as long as the individual requires the service.

Scope

The scope of supported employment services includes all of The Division’s services provided under Title I, and in addition, the coordination of extended long term support services and the development of natural supports. The expanded scope of supported employment long term supports requires a continuation of The Division’s involvement in the coordination and collaboration with the private nonprofit CRP’s, employers and families. Post-employment services are provided when supports and services needed by the individual exceed the responsibility of the extended long term support services provider.

Extent

The Division, purchases supported employment services from private nonprofit CRP’s in the individual’s locality, offers supported employment services to eligible individuals with the most significant disabilities in all 100 counties of the state. In addition, supported employment services are available to high school students participating in The Division’s transition programs in all 100 counties if required for successful employment outcomes.

The Division continues to identify more private nonprofit CRP’s for the development of contracts to provide supported employment services. This will allow eligible individuals to have more choices available to them for supported employment services that can assist them in reaching their employment goals.

The Division’s extended long term services are provided in three phases to allow the individual choices in the level of service desired and required to achieve longevity of employment. The individual makes the final decision about their movement through the phases of extended services. The phases of extended long term services are:

Phase 1: The CRP providing the extended services meets with the individual twice monthly at the place of employment for at least 6 months. When the six month period ends, the CRP, the individual, and the employer review the individual’s progress. If all parties agree that the individual is performing the job without any difficulties and no other problems are present with the placement, the individual can move to the next phase. This action requires the individual’s signature on a waiver for this change in level of service. If the individual feels that they are not ready to move to the next phase, then they remain in Phase 1. An individual can remain any phase indefinitely.

Phase 2: The CRP meets with the individual at the place of employment at least once every six months for at least 2 years to review progress of placement. The meetings can take place more often if necessary to resolve any minor problems. After 2 years, another review is conducted with the individual, the CRP, and the employer. If all agree that the individual remains stable in the placement, they can move to the last phase. The movement requires the signature of the individual on a waiver agreeing to the move.

Phase 3: The individual and employer understand that if a problem occurs, the CRP will be contacted to meet and to complete an assessment of the problem. If the problem can be resolved quickly with short-term intervention such as a few visits, the individual will remain in this phase. If the problem is new or difficult to resolve without The Division’s intervention, the individual will be referred back to The Division for further assistance. The goal of this action is to allow the individual to either retain the job or to begin the process for obtaining new employment in the quickest and most effective manner as to minimize the interruption of employment. The Division will, at the time of the referral, make a determination whether the problem can be resolved in Status 32, Post Employment Services or whether a new case will be required.

The Division is continually striving towards improving its supported employment program to provide the best service possible to the individual. Therefore, The Division uses the following strategies to work towards this objective.

• Identify additional private nonprofit CRP’s with supported employment service programs to expand its supported employment program and to provide eligible individuals with more choices of service providers available to them.

• Provide training to new CRP vendors with The Division’s supported employment program to assist them in working with individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

• Provide ongoing training to CRP staff already working with The Division’s supported employment program.

• Develop natural supports for its individuals to assist them in becoming more independent in their communities, to include self-pay, co-workers, employers, and family/friends.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 5:31PM by sancwoodc

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 08/10/2012 at 5:31 PM

Last updated by sancwoodc

Completed on 08/10/2012 at 5:31 PM

Completed by sancwoodc

Approved on 08/15/2012 at 11:18 AM

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Published on 09/11/2012 at 12:54 PM

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