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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.
(b) Notice requirements.
(c) Special consultation requirements.
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:
- comprehensive system of personnel development;
- assessments, estimates, goals and priorities, and reports of progress;
- innovation and expansion activities; and
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 A was not selected/Option B was selected)
- In American Samoa, the designated state agency is the governor.
(b) Designated state unit.
- 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:
- 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;
- has a full-time director;
- has a staff, at least 90 percent of whom are employed full-time on the rehabilitation work of the organizational unit; and
- 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.
- The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
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)
(a) The designated state agency is an independent state commission. (Option A was not selected/Option B was selected)
(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 and the designated state unit.
- jointly with the State Rehabilitation Council develops, agrees to and reviews annually state goals and priorities and jointly submits to the commissioner annual reports of progress in accordance with the provisions of Section 101(a)(15) of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.29 and subsection 4.11 of this State Plan;
- regularly consults with the State Rehabilitation Council regarding the development, implementation and revision of state policies and procedures of general applicability pertaining to the provision of vocational rehabilitation services;
- includes in the State Plan and in any revision to the State Plan a summary of input provided by the State Rehabilitation Council, including recommendations from the annual report of the council described in Section 105(c)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(5), the review and analysis of consumer satisfaction described in Section 105(c)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(4), and other reports prepared by the council and the response of the designated state unit to the input and recommendations, including explanations for rejecting any input or recommendation; and
- transmits to the council:
- all plans, reports and other information required under 34 CFR 361 to be submitted to the commissioner;
- all policies and information on all practices and procedures of general applicability provided to or used by rehabilitation personnel in carrying out this State Plan and its supplement; and
- copies of due process hearing decisions issued under 34 CFR 361.57, which are transmitted in such a manner as to ensure that the identity of the participants in the hearings is kept confidential.
(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.
4.3 Consultations regarding the administration of the State Plan. (Section 101(a)(16)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.21)
(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)
4.5 Local administration. (Sections 7(24) and 101(a)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47) and .15)
(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)
(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))
(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:
- 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;
- 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
- 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:
- identification of the types of services to be provided;
- written assurance from the local public agency that it will make available to the state unit the nonfederal share of funds;
- written assurance that state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect; and
- 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.
(b) Cooperation and coordination with other agencies and entities.
- 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;
- 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;
- 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,
- 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.
- 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.
- The State Plan description must:
- 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
- include information on a formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency that, at a minimum, provides for:
- 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;
- 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;
- roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and
- 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.
(e) Cooperative agreement with recipients of grants for services to American Indians.
- 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
- 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:
- strategies for interagency referral and information sharing that will assist in eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment;
- 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
- 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.
(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.
4.10 Comprehensive system of personnel development. (Section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.18)
(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.
- Qualified personnel needs.
- 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;
- The number of personnel currently needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services, broken down by personnel category; and
- 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.
- Personnel development.
- A list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals, by type of program;
- The number of students enrolled at each of those institutions, broken down by type of program; and
- 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.
(c) Personnel standards.
- 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.
- 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.
- The written plan required by subparagraph (c)(2) describes the following:
- specific strategies for retraining, recruiting and hiring personnel;
- the specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the standards required by subparagraph (c)(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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
(f) Coordination of personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
4.11. Statewide assessment; annual estimates; annual state goals and priorities; strategies; and progress reports.
(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.
- 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:
- the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:
- individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
- individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program carried out under this State Plan; and
- individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide work force investment system.
- The need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
- 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.
- number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services under the plan;
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order; and
- 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.
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(d) describes the strategies, including:
- 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;
- 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;
- as applicable, the plan of the state for establishing, developing or improving community rehabilitation programs;
- 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
- strategies for assisting other components of the statewide work force investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.
- Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the designated state agency uses these strategies to:
- 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);
- support the innovation and expansion activities identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) of the plan; and
- 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.
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(e)(2):
- 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;
- identifies the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals and priorities;
- describes the factors that impeded their achievement, to the extent they were not achieved;
- assesses the performance of the state on the standards and indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
- 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:
- 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
- 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)
5.2 Residency. (Section 101(a)(12) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.42(c)(1))
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:
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(c)(3):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order of selection; and
- 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.
- 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:
- assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology;
- 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;
- 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;
- job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services;
- rehabilitation technology, including telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices; and
- 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:
- progress of the individual toward achieving the employment outcome identified in the individualized plan for employment;
- an immediate job placement; or
- 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)
5.7 Services to American Indians. (Section 101(a)(13) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.30)
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:
- 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
- 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))
(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.
(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.
Section 6: Program Administration
6.1 Designated state agency. (Section 625(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(a))
6.2 Statewide assessment of supported employment services needs. (Section 625(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(b))
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))
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)
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))
6.6 Minority outreach. (34 CFR 363.11(f))
6.7 Reports. (Sections 625(b)(8) and 626 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(h) and .52)
7.1 Five percent limitation on administrative costs. (Section 625(b)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(g)(8))
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))
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:
- specifies the supported employment services to be provided;
- describes the expected extended services needed; and
- 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.
Input and Recommendations from the North Carolina State Rehabilitation Council (NC SRC) During FFY 2010, members of the State Rehabilitation Council provided input through various venues as follows: * Jointly developed the Division’s Priorities, Goals, and Strategies resulting from the Triennial Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment, public input over the previous three years, performance on standards and indicators, and consumer satisfaction survey results; *The SRC Consumer Input and Public Outreach Committee planned and conducted a stakeholder input forum in Asheville, NC and recommended the conversion to the current monthly survey sampling implemented in FFY 2010. Over the course of the FFY 2009, the SRC’s Policy and Rules Committee reviewed and provided feedback on policy drafts including subjects pertaining to the following areas: * Self-employment services *Mental restoration services * Hearing Disabilities * Financial Need and consumer resources * Personal Assistance Services * ARRA Policies including temporary revisions to Work Adjustment & On-the-Job Training and the creation of Client Internships. Other recommendations NC DVRS has received from the North Carolina State Rehabilitation Council: Recommendation 1: Based upon the successful piloting using telephonic-based survey methods during FFY 2010, the Council recommends to expand the use of this method and prioritize the required financial resources toward this method to significantly improve the response rate of the consumer satisfaction survey. Division’s Response: The Division supports and fully expects to implement this expansion in FFY 2012 and then evaluate the results of the expansion. Recommendation 2: In support of their strategic plan pertaining to legislative advocacy, the Council recommended for the Division to prepare for their distribution, customized reports for each NC legislative district featuring the beneficial return on investment that the VR program has on consumers and on the economy of each district within NC. Division’s Response: The Division supported this request and provided all information requested for their distribution to NC Legislators. Recommendation 3: The Council recommended for the ARRA-funded small business specialist who helped improve the Division’s self employment services policies to further develop resources, templates, and featured case studies and then market these with the policy across the state in order to help facilitate this service avenue, stimulate creative ideas for self-employment options, and increase the counselors’ comfort level in the provision and support of these services. Division’s Response: The Division supported this recommendation and the initial wave of marketing has occurred featuring the developed resources. Further, the small business specialist has set up a collaborative partnership with programs and resources that offer financial resources and technical support services to individuals with disabilities who are interested in pursuing this employment option. Recommendation 4: The Council recommends for the Division to review the intake and eligibility determination process to see if they can be made as clear, streamlined, and uniform as possible, so the consumer understands what is required to be made eligible for services and what they can do to assist with this process to help expedite these processes. Division’s Response: The Division will address this through the work of one of the state plan goal committees established to facilitate progress on the newly established goals for FFY 2012-14. Recommendation 5: For the increased benefit of providing relevant feedback at the unit office level, the Council recommends that in addition to the current statewide consumer satisfaction report, the Planning and Evaluation unit also distribute unit-based feedback summary reports to each office. Division’s Response: The Division supports this recommendation and has implemented this practice. Recommendation 6: The Council recommends that the Division to continue work on developing web-based training modules regarding VR policies and services for stakeholder groups including NC MH/DD/SAS & the LME network, NC Department of Public Instruction, and Community Rehabilitation Programs. Division’s Response: The Division supports this recommendation and recognizes this as a huge undertaking and will build upon the initial steps taken during FFY 2011.
Public Participation in the State Plan Process In addition to posting the draft state plan goals on the Division’s public website and providing an active e-mail link for submitting comments, the Division conducted six public meetings throughout the state regarding the North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation State Plan and the Supported Employment Program State Plan Supplement. The meeting locations included Sylva, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Smithfield, Goldsboro and Wilmington, NC. The public meetings were held after providing adequate notice of the meetings and providing procedures for the public, including individuals with disabilities, to comment on the draft goals and strategies and any service or policy concerns for the development of the FFY 2012 State Plan. Notices of the public meetings were sent to a comprehensive and diverse list of individuals, advocacy groups and other interested stakeholders via email, list serves and press releases. Alternate communication formats were made available at the public meetings upon request and sign language interpreters were present at all meetings, to enable anyone who attended and required the services to participate fully. The public was encouraged to provide input into the State Plan annual update process in a variety of ways including: oral comments at any public meeting, fax, and email, through website or other submission of written comments for a designated period. The published deadline to submit written input into the FFY 2011 State Plan was June 1, 2011. The following is a summary of the major comments from the public meetings and submitted written comments relative to the State Plan: Process, Communication & Capacity: *Charlotte and Greensboro attendees urged the Division to continue to make progress toward making casework policies available online. *Consumers would like increased contact and follow through with counselors updating on status of processes—use of e-mail for this was strongly supported through several commenters, finding this practice more efficient than “phone tag” delays. * Parent of bi-polar college age son who began the application process 3.5 months prior finds the “system terribly slow and wants to see individuals like this engaged in some type of life success skills or similar training or activity as soon as possible while they are waiting for more substantial services or an employment opportunity matching the consumer’s skills and needs. * Representatives from a CIL would like for more initiative for timely services to come from the counselor—guidelines and standards for counselor follow up should be better monitored.* A representative from a CRP found when counselor positions are filled that VR is much more responsive. * In Wilmington and Goldsboro, improvements pertaining to contact information for the unit offices were suggested, including a list of counties served by each office and e-mail contact information for each office.* Observation was made that the vehicle modification process needs to be reviewed to see if the timelines can be shortened. *Interest was expressed in supporting efforts for enabling more individuals with disabilities to access the internet, possibly through donated computers and internet connectivity. Community Education & Outreach: *In support of the draft goal strategy pertaining to educating referral sources, a commenter suggested creating a video that can help educate referral sources such as cardiac rehab hospital departments or mental health providers, etc., as this would save a lot of effort for the counselors. Possibly make resources such as this available via the web. *A suggestion was made to create an updated video that can be used to educate prospective consumers and possibly referral sources. *A suggestion was made to consider getting the word out about VR services through running a public service announcement on the radio or television. School-to-Work Transition Services: * The Division was urged to prepare for the large number of individuals with autism that are going to be referred.* A representative from a public separate school requested increased involvement of VR counselors for IEP meetings for students with employment goals. *A parent of a teen with disabilities and who works in the school system would like to see more job carving services for transitioning students with most significant disabilities and VR staff offering expertise in this. *Supportive statements were made pertaining to the in-school work adjustment services that are presently offered and want to see them continue. *An educator suggested letting students with disabilities clearly understand that they are on the “road to employment.” *A consumer emphasized the importance of support services for students with disabilities such as tutoring and that the timely coordination and setup of these services is crucial for letting consumers stay on the correct academic schedule. *A former recipient of successful transition services recommends to increase the presence of counselors in school and help students realize the purpose of VR is to help them achieve their goals. Also expressed concern about turnover among school-based counselors due to workload. Collaboration: * The Division was urged to partner more closely with private mental health care providers and to aide with easily-navigated linkages from school systems to mental health services and other providers. *An educator would like to see more collaboration with existing institutions such as alumni organizations and service organizations who are willing to train students with disabilities with no charge. *Inter-agency committees were suggested as effective ways to strengthen statewide and local collaboration. *Need to collaborate to establish programs where none exist that can meet the needs of individuals transitioning from prisons who have no where to go and no positive direction or accountability. *A CIL in the eastern region mentioned that they have enjoyed an excellent collaborative relationship with several of the offices located in that region. *Representatives from a mental health services hospital in the east noted that they were interested in establishing a collaborative understanding for patients who were ready to transition for VR services so they can transition as seamlessly as possible and indicated they would be pursuing this. Positive Testimonies: *Charlotte attendee had received assistance with setting up a small business and felt the help received was effective and stated the business was going well.* An attendee with a disability had stated that over the past 30 years VR had been there for him since his days in high school and appreciated the services received over the years helping him maintain employment. *An attendee served from the Sylva office stated how he had been successfully operating his own landscaping business and due to an orthopedic issue required restorative services successfully provided by VR which enabled him to successfully return to work. *An attendee at the Smithfield forum was thankful for the tuition assistance and other supports that he required to enable him to successfully complete his college degree and is now pursuing a graduate degree. Maintained he would not have reached his goals without VR’s involvement. * Employment hope was restored through excellent service and caring guidance provided by a counselor in the Franklin, NC area (written feedback). Support Services: *Transportation: would like counselors with the VR and IL programs to be able to provide more information to consumers in rural areas pertaining to their transportation options. Would like VR and IL to collaborate more with NC DOT to advocate about the needs and help identify solutions statewide for all communities. *Need for benefits counseling continues to exist as many who have public support concerned about losing it. Pending Merger: *At the Sylva forum, a representative from the Hearing Loss Association of America stated that the association is “strongly opposed to the combining of NC DVRS, NC DSB, and NC DSDHH because each branch provides crucial and specialized support for their respective service recipients. Information, education and support are key components for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.
SUMMARY REPORT OF THE NC DVRS CONSUMER SATISFACTION SURVEY RESULTS FOR FFY 2010*: *A more complete report is available; a summary is included here since MIS system space limitation prevents inclusion of the full report. BACKGROUND The consumer satisfaction survey is conducted to meet the mandate of Section 105 (c) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, which states that the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) shall, among performing other required functions: Conduct a review and analysis of the effectiveness of, and client satisfaction with: * (A) the functions performed by the designated State agency; * (B) vocational rehabilitation services provided by State agencies and other public and private entities responsible for providing vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities under this Act; * (C) employment outcomes achieved by eligible individuals receiving services under this title, including the availability of health and other employment benefits in connection with such employment outcomes. Current Survey Process The current survey process is conducted by the State Rehabilitation Council in cooperation with Division Management and staff of the Planning and Evaluation Unit of the Division. Both the SRC and the Division have the responsibility for analyzing and reporting the results of the survey. The Division contracts with a community rehabilitation program to perform the preparation and mailing of the surveys. During Federal Fiscal Year 2010, surveys were sent to former consumers of the Division whose cases were closed either as successfully rehabilitated in employment (status 26) or not successfully rehabilitated after VR services were provided (status 28). Along with the survey the consumers received an instructional letter that explains why they are being asked to complete the survey and to let them know that individual survey responses will be kept completely confidential. A toll-free number is provided if assistance is needed and the survey is available in alternative formats if requested. Overview of Satisfaction Survey The Division’s consumer satisfaction survey form consists of nine closed-end questions and is printed in English. The survey was designed to measure the consumer’s experience with the state vocational rehabilitation (VR) program. The survey also measures if the consumer received information about the Client Assistance Program and if they were informed of their right to appeal Division decisions. A series of questions determine the consumer’s satisfaction with their rehabilitation counselor and the consumer’s involvement in their rehabilitation program, and finally identification of factors that have prevented a consumer from receiving a job. An addition was also made to this version of the survey to ask specifically who is completing the questions, the VR consumer with or without help, a family member or a caregiver. RESPONSE RATE AND DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION Response Rate Table 1 shows the survey response rate. Overall, of the 10,428 surveys mailed, 1,328 were returned and entered and 1,578 were returned because of inaccurate mailing addresses. This is a response rate of 12.73% for the entire sample and 15.01% when the number of inaccurately addressed surveys is taken into consideration. The majority of the survey responses were from consumers whose case had closed successfully (75.84%). Consumers whose cases closed with an employment outcome returned the survey at a greater rate than those whose cases did not close in employment, as shown in Table 2. Table 1: Response Rate for the 2009-2010 Federal Fiscal Year
Number Closed 26 & 28
Number of Surveys Sent
Adjusted Response Rate
Table 2: Closure Status of Survey Respondents
Unsuccessful Outcome after Receiving Services
OVERVIEW OF SATISFACTION SURVEY RESULTS How were consumers helped?
The survey asks participants how much they feel that VR assisted them in various aspects of the rehabilitation process. The results are displayed in Table 3. Overall, the majority of respondents indicated that VR assisted them at least "some" for each of the aspects. However, while just over half of respondents (52.6%) indicated that VR did identify their needs towards becoming employed "a lot", less than half of the respondents indicated "not at all" to whether VR assisted them in finding on-the-job training (46.70%) or placing them in a job (50.5%). The Division strives to have consumers involved as much as possible in their vocational rehabilitation program. As indicated in Table 4, just over three quarters (77.3%) of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with their level of involvement in their rehabilitation program.
Table 3: Type of Assistance Received from VR Services
Not at all
Identify your needs toward becoming employed
Determine what type of work you wanted
Search for a job
Decide on job choices
Find on-the-job training
Place you in a job
Keep your job and follow up with you after you went to work
Learn about services provided by other programs or agencies
Table 4: Satisfaction with Level of Involvement in Rehabilitation Program
How satisfied are former consumers with VR?
The consumer satisfaction survey contains a series of questions that ask the former consumer to rate their experiences with the VR counselor, response time for services provided by VR staff and their overall level of satisfaction. Satisfaction is broken down in the survey in terms of the consumer’s satisfaction with their counselor as it relates to (a) understanding the consumer’s needs, (b) availability of the counselor, (c) counselor working with the consumer as an equal partner and (d) offering options to meet the consumer’s needs. Based on survey results shown in Table 5, counselors were easy to contact, understood the needs of the consumer and worked with them as an equal partner. Approximately eighty-five percent of respondents saying they were satisfied or very satisfied for with their counselor for each of these three items. In addition, approximately eighty-two percent of all respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with how counselors offered options that met their needs.
Table 5: Satisfaction with VR Counselors
Understanding your vocational rehabilitation needs
Being easy to contact
Working with you as an equal partner
This screen was last updated on Aug 5 2011 11:01AM by Philip Protz
The NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (NC DVRS) extensively collaborates with and utilizes the services of federal, state, and local entities to achieve its mission on behalf of NC citizens with disabilities. The Division routinely pursues improving its overall effectiveness through working relationships, partnerships, contracts and formal or informal agreements with entities at all these levels. NC DVRS maintains written cooperative agreements with various federal, state, and local agencies. These include but are not limited to the Social Security Administration; the United States Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance; the North Carolina Division of Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing; NC Office of Long Term Services and Supports; NC Division of Social Services; the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse; and numerous local school systems, hospitals, and physical medicine and rehabilitation centers. The Easter Seals / United Cerebral Palsy Society of North Carolina, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Heart Association, and the North Carolina Arthritis Foundation are examples of consumer and advocacy groups for individuals with disabilities with which the Division has agreements. The above referenced agreements facilitate the maintenance of the highest feasible level of communication and coordination in the joint development and implementation of operational methods including, where applicable: • Assisting consumers, their families, and advocates in accessing services from the Division and from the other agencies and entities; • Referral of individuals who have disabilities and especially those who have severe disabilities to the Division for services; • Referral by the Division to other agencies or entities for the various supportive services and assistance available; • Determination of the responsibility of each agency or entity in making referrals, in serving individuals jointly, and in identifying resources; • Provision of educational information regarding the services, including equipment and assistive technology, available and eligibility criteria of the Division and of the other agency or entity; • Joint training of staff in areas pertaining to services available and procedures of the Division and the other agency or entity; • Shared funding for Division position and program costs and co-location of Division staff with staff from the other agency or entity where co-location would be effective and feasible; • Developing means to promote greater awareness and greater utilization of the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act; • Provision for the sharing of information between agencies upon receipt of client permission and with regard to maintaining confidentiality. • Establishing an evaluation system to determine levels of competency of paraprofessionals such as interpreters for the deaf who wish to serve as vendors for the Division; • Enhancing post-secondary training supports to assist in the transition to employment; • Improving the public image of the employment capabilities of individuals in various disability groups; • Assessing the effectiveness of the cooperative agreements; • Jointly promoting improvement in the quality of life through comprehensive approaches to the improved health of consumers jointly served and through services to family members; jointly promoting ethical research practices to develop improved medical and other disability related interventions; • Promoting systems change through collaborative projects; • Expanding services and community resources for unserved and underserved groups; • Promotion of collaboration at the community office level offices between the Division and other agencies and entities; • Through joint planning councils, providing joint input from the Division and from other agencies and entities for budgeting, service delivery, and policy changes for block grants, special demonstration projects, and other grants; • Providing input regarding formulation of vocational services provided by other agencies and entities. Coordination with the North Carolina Statewide Independent Living Council and Independent Living Centers The Division’s Independent Living Rehabilitation Program administers federal funding designated for establishing Centers for Independent Living Services (CILS) and activities of the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). A Center of Independent Living Services is a community-based non profit, non-residential program which is controlled by the disabled consumers it serves, provides directly or coordinates indirectly through referral those services which assist severely disabled individuals to increase personal self-determination and to minimize unnecessary dependence upon others. The minimum set of services that are provided by an independent living center are information and referral, independent living skills training, advocacy, and peer counseling. The North Carolina State Independent Living Council (SILC) is an independent federally mandated state council that advances Independent Living philosophy through the network of CILs and statewide partnerships by engaging in or supporting research, education, employment, community organizing, advocacy, and systems reform. The Division’s Independent Living Rehabilitation Program and the SILC jointly develop the State Plan for Independent Living. Interagency Cooperation and Use of Programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the USDA: The Division is actively collaborating with agricultural extension agents serving Watauga, Ashe, and Allegheny counties to meet the needs of agricultural workers with disabilities who are employed in the apple growing and Christmas tree farm industries. The Division does make information known to its counselors regarding the availability of direct loans made available through USDA programs for individuals residing in rural areas who wish to create or expand a business. State Use Contracting Program: At this time, NC DVRS does not directly engage in formally established state use contracting program, where commodities or service determined to be of use to state agencies are purchased from community-based rehabilitation programs employing and training individuals with significant disabilities. The Division is, however, engaged in a contract with a community-based rehabilitation program for the envelope stuffing, sorting, processing and mailing of the Division’s client satisfaction surveys. Furthermore, NC DVRS does sponsor activities through several community rehabilitation programs who provide training services to the Division’s consumers through contracts as in the following examples: • one CRP program contracts with NC Department of Transportation to maintain the facilities and grounds of (4) rest areas on Interstate 95 for an amount exceeding $500,000 per year. • another CRP program maintains three state contracts to maintain the facilities and grounds on 3 different sites on 3 separate highways in their area. • one CRP program contracts with NC Department of Transportation for warehousing and distribution of public service brochures, posters, flyers, bumper stickers, and other educational/promotional materials for safety campaigns to increase use of seat belts, reduce driving under the influence, and defensive driving. This is a three-year contract with variable reimbursement depending on the demand and mailing costs.
This screen was last updated on Aug 5 2011 11:01AM by Philip Protz
PART I: Description of Plans, Policies and Procedures for Coordination with Education Officials to Facilitate Provision of Transitional Services: General overview: The NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has a state level memorandum of agreement (MOA) with NC Department of Public Instruction which outlines a collaborative partnership between the two agencies to provide state level approval and support for enhanced transition services to serve youth with disabilities. The VR unit offices and local education agencies (LEA) customize a local MOA for their community to outline how they will work closely together, along with the local transition team to target specific needs in the agreement to provide transition services. The MOA allows for collaboration between VR staff and school transition personnel, sharing of information, joint participation in students’ IEP meetings, and incorporating individualized transition portion of the IEP into the IPE. The Division’s 91 local MOAs with the 114 LEAs in NC fund 111 school counselors and additional VR staff including casework assistants, technicians, vocational evaluators and business relations representatives (formerly job placement specialists) available to provide VR transition services in the local community. In 2006, the NC legislators approved the addition of 16 staff positions dedicated to the provision of VR transition services. In areas where there is not an MOA in place, the local manager has designated a VR counselor to directly serve the youth with disabilities in the local schools. In 2003, NC DVRS updated the transition policy to emphasize the intense efforts to serve transition aged youth. Each of the VR unit offices developed an action plan of transition activities to enhance areas such as: • general outreach and information exchange to local school system; • outreach to younger students; • meeting with the transition coordinator; • building administrative support for the transition program; • relationship and transition team building with school transition staff; • staff development for VR and school transition personnel; • expanded involvement with WIA, Mental Health and other adult agencies that support the Individualized Education plan (IEP) and the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE); • attending IEP meetings and identifying students who are at risk for dropping out. Many of NC public school personnel directly involved in providing transition services to students with disabilities are members of the national and North Carolina’s division of the professional organization through the Council for Exceptional Children / Division of Career Development and Transition (DCDT). Since 2004, the VR state program specialist and VR school transition counselors have participated in NC-DCDT regional training meetings and the annual training conference sponsored by NC’s DCDT. This participation allows for cooperative training and information sharing for improved partnerships between NC DVRS and school systems toward the provision of transition services in the local communities.
Plans for Coordination with Education Officials: The Division plans to maintain and strengthen its programmatic relationships with school transition services through its continued active participation by the Division’s Transition Specialist and a school counselor on the State Capacity Building Team for Transition. This team, including NC Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) leadership, NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, University Center for Development and Learning, Parent/Child Advocacy Agency and Local Education Agency (LEA) representative was formed in recent years to develop and provide better coordinated transition activities for students with disabilities to achieve better results with post-school outcomes, including obtaining employment or attending post secondary education. The Division and the NC DPI plan during the FFY 2008 to strengthen and expand a multi-agency council for improved and innovative transition services for youths with disabilities transitioning into employment. One of the objectives of this council will be to develop a training course for counselors to assure that transition services are addressing the emerging needs while simultaneously addressing the new RSA monitoring guidelines.
Description of Policies and Procedures for Coordination with Education Officials: Through its casework policy, NC DVRS requires each local VR office with vocational rehabilitation counseling staff serving on a local school transition services team to send an annual report to the school systems with which the Division has a third party cooperatively funded program. This report includes data about services and expenditures for students with disabilities provided by the Division, and also addresses how VR staff have worked with school staff in transition planning for students with significant and most significant disabilities. The annual report also addresses how the Division is partnering with the school system to address the work experience requirements of the Occupational Course of Study. Furthermore, a vocational rehabilitation counselor is assigned to serve each high school where no formal cooperative agreement exists. The designated staff visits these schools on an itinerant basis and implements a system for referral generation and their subsequent processing. This approach is expected to include a mechanism for identifying students with disabilities and at risk for dropping out of school. In order to plan effectively for the transition needs of students with disabilities in collaboration with other agencies and organizations, the Division’s counselors are expected to be active participants addressing the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting transition issues when possible. NC DVRS vocational rehabilitation counselors are expected to participate both directly in IEP meetings and indirectly by other means in planning for the needs of VR clients. The Occupational Course of Study, as a pathway to an NC high school diploma, requires that students with significant and most significant disabilities that are eligible for this pathway participate in a specific number of hours of school-based, community/volunteer-based and competitive work experiences as part of the requirements. The implementation of this pathway in 2000 has enhanced VR’s ability to develop an IPE to provide services specific to youth in transition early within the high school experience prior to exiting. Two specific services "In School Work Adjustment" and "Community Based Assessment and Training" are VR services provided through the IPE to support the student’s success in the OCS pathway to a NC high school diploma. It encourages the student to develop an IPE for transition from school to work within the second and or third year of high school.
PART II: Description of Development and Approval of Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for Transitioning Students: The Division’s casework policies addressing the provision of transition services defines transition services as a coordinated set of activities for a student designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. Furthermore, NC DVRS policy states that the coordinated set of activities must be based upon the individual student’s preferences and interests, and must include instruction, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. Finally, NC DVRS casework policies require that transition services must promote or facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the student’s individualized plan for employment. In order to plan effectively for the transition needs of students with disabilities in collaboration with other agencies and organizations, NC DVRS rehabilitation counselors are expected to be active participants addressing the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting transition issues when possible. Counselors are expected to participate both directly in IEP meetings and indirectly by other means in planning for the needs of VR consumers. A copy of the transition portion of the IEP is required to be maintained in the case record. Prior to developing the IPE, the VR counselor reviews the Individual Transition Plan (ITP) component for the Individual Education Plan and records any relevant ITP objectives as part of the IPE. The intent of this review is to coordinate educational programming and vocational programming for the benefit of the VR consumer. Additionally, the Division’s policy stipulates that the development of the IPE with a student must be based on interest, aptitude, capabilities, strengths and informed choice. The job choice on the IPE for a student in transition may indicate a family of jobs rather than a specific job code, e.g., Health Care Worker, Office Work, Protective Services (Police, Fireman, Security Guard, etc.). Division policy does require career exploration to be provided and documented in order to determine a more specific goal. Amended job choices including amendments at closure, must be accompanied by documentation reflecting the process and services that had an impact on the final job choice (job shadowing, job sampling, guidance and counseling). Moreover, NC DVRS casework policy stipulates that the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment must be completed as early as possible during the transition planning process but, at the latest, by the time each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting. This includes students with disabilities who are eligible for VR services including eligible students served by the school under an IEP.
PART III: Description of the Formal Interagency Agreement between NC DVRS and the State Education Agencies: In order to assure effective facilitation of the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services, NC DVRS maintains both a joint formal agreement with the Exceptional Children’s and Instructional Services Divisions of the NC Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) and also maintains 91 separately held formal agreements with local education agencies (LEA’s) or school programs. Within the formal interagency agreement between NC DVRS and NC DPI, mutual interagency responsibilities include: • Mutual participation of appropriate personnel in the development of the transition component of the Individualized Education Program and the Individualized Plan for Employment for students with disabilities. • Designation of an individual from Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Exceptional Children Division, and Instructional Services Division to serve as liaison with each other to represent the services of the two agencies. • Exchange of information deemed pertinent and of mutual concern regarding service delivery. • Interagency cooperation in transition planning for students with disabilities. • A mutual system to be developed and maintained to ensure that appropriate referrals are made to each party.
IIIA. 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: A description of NC DVRS responsibilities pertaining to this area: Within the formal interagency agreement, the NC DVRS has responsibility to ensure the provision of an appropriate program of vocational rehabilitation services to each perspective VR client by: • Providing administrative, technical and consultative services when needed through local, regional and state vocational rehabilitation services’ staff to local school administrative units serving students with disabilities in transition programs. NC DVRS’ program specialist for transition services and the state program consultant for transition with DPI, cooperatively provide programmatic information, training and support to local school systems and to VR transition staff to maintain and enhance the quality of transition services for successful post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. The NC DVRS specialist provides regular technical support to schools by participating in and presenting at transition training institutes regarding transition services and adult service agencies. Also, visiting and providing consultation and training at the local schools with transition teachers, coordinators, job coaches etc. • Screening students with disabilities referred to NC DVRS by the local school administrators to determine eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services. Eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services is based on the presence of a physical or mental impairment which for the individual constitutes a substantial impediment to employment. The student must require vocational rehabilitation service to prepare for, secure, retain or regain employment. The determination of eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services provided by NC DVRS is the sole responsibility of NC DVRS and is not delegated. • Administering all aspects of the NC DVRS vocational rehabilitation program services including the determination of eligibility, diagnostic and evaluation services, rehabilitation planning, transition services and the provision of a program of vocational rehabilitation services. Some services are subject to the student’s financial eligibility and/or comparable benefits. • Providing vocational assessment trial work and adjustment services to students with disabilities who have an identified need and meet eligibility requirements. • Providing appropriate data to the Exceptional Children Division about the number of school age students served by NC DVRS, by disability, age, types of services provided and post-school employment outcome. • Promoting the development of cooperative agreements between NC DVRS and local school administrative units that include the following components: • Roles of each agency; • Financial responsibilities; • Vocational Rehabilitation staffing and supervision by the NC DVRS; • Procedures for outreach, referral, liaison staff between the parties, eligibility, delivery of services, dispute resolutions, sharing of appropriate client information and student involvement; • Joint staff development and training; • Services to students with disabilities who are not receiving special education services; • Assurances of compliance with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (P.L. 105-17), Carl Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Act (P.L. 105-332), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. • Along with the local educational agency, provide and implement an ongoing evaluation of the cooperative efforts with a formal annual review of the proposed budget and any necessary interagency agreement updates.
A description of Exceptional Children Division’s responsibilities pertaining to this area: Through the formal interagency agreement in place, the Exceptional Children’s Division of the NC DPI has the following responsibilities with respect to the provision of technical assistance and consultation with local educational agencies: • Provide technical assistance to local school administrative units to assure access for students with disabilities in appropriate Career and Technical Education Programs based on recommendations of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team; • Assist local school administrative units in the planning, development and implementation of transition services for students with disabilities. • Provide appropriate data to NC DVRS pertaining to students needing services, i.e. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Certified Child Count for Special Education. Inform local school administrative units of services available from NC DVRS and promote referral generation. • Provide technical assistance to local school administrative units to assure access for students with disabilities in appropriate Career and Technical Education Programs based on recommendations of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team. • Promote the provision of psychological, vocational, assistive technology, and educational assessment and work adjustment services by local school administrative units for students with disabilities having an identified need. • Promote the development of cooperative agreements between Vocational Rehabilitation Services and local school administrative units in keeping with 34 C.F.R. Section 361.38 Protection, Use, and Release of Personal Information. • Provide the framework for the collection of data by school systems regarding students transitioning from school to post school activities who are enrolled in the Occupational Course of Study.
A description of Instructional Services Division’s responsibilities pertaining to this area: Through the formal interagency agreement in place, the Instructional Services Division of the NC DPI has the following responsibilities with respect to the provision of technical assistance and consultation with local educational agencies: • Provide needed consultation to assure the initiation of cooperative career/technical education and internship programs for students with disabilities involved in local school administrative units and other state agencies. • Provide consultative services to local school administrative units and other state agencies and institutions to assure initial placement and maintenance of eligible students with disabilities in Career and Technical Education Programs. • Provide needed consultation to assure the initiation of cooperative career/technical education and internship programs for students with disabilities involved in local school administrative units and other state agencies. • Provide consultative services to local school administrative units and other state agencies and institutions to assure initial placement and maintenance of eligible students with disabilities in Career and Technical Education Programs. • Promote the provision of vocational/technical assessment services, career-decision making training, vocational instruction, and transition planning for students with disabilities in local school administrative units. • Promote career/technical education counseling, cooperative work experience, internships and job placement of students with disabilities by local school administrative units. • Assist local school administrative units in the planning, development, collection of data, and implementation of transition services for students with disabilities.
III B. Transition planning by personnel of NC DVRS and the Educational Agencies that facilitates the development and completion of their Individualized Education Programs: The interagency agreements between NC DVRS and the Education Agencies stipulates that transition planning for students with disabilities will be a cooperative effort. Furthermore, the agreements specifically require mutual participation of appropriate personnel in the development of the transition component of the Individualized Education Program and the Individualized Plan for Employment for students with disabilities. The sharing of Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Individualized Plans for Employment (IPEs) at the local level is strongly encouraged. NC DVRS vocational rehabilitation counselors are required to review a student’s transition component of the IEP and incorporate, as appropriate, a description of relevant objectives in the IPE. Furthermore, a comprehensive evaluation will be completed by the State agency on each eligible individual, to the degree necessary, to determine the vocational goal and scope of vocational rehabilitation services to be included in the IPE. The agreements state that the student with the disability is expected to fully participate in the development of the plan and any plan amendments. The agreements specify that the NC DVRS vocational rehabilitation counselors will provide the individuals with information sufficient to make an informed choice among alternative goals, objectives, services, entities providing such services and methods to procure such services. Additionally, the agreement requires that the vocational rehabilitation counselor is to review the IPE with the individual or his/her representative at least once each year.
III C. Summary of Roles and Responsibilities, including provisions for determining and developing qualified personnel responsible for transition services: Summary of Roles and Responsibilities of NC DVRS under the agreements: • Provide a program of vocational rehabilitation services to eligible individuals referred by the third party and to other individuals found eligible for services. • Collaborative development of the transition component of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for students with disabilities. • Provide effective and appropriate supervision of the vocational rehabilitation activities and VR staff assigned to provide the services. • Provide administrative and consultative support, in the area of its program responsibilities, to the local education agency. • Share statistical and fiscal reports to other parties as deemed mutually necessary to assure open communication and good administrative practices. • As part of the agreement, NC DVRS Rehabilitation Counselors will: o provide individuals with information sufficient to make an informed choice among alternative goals, objectives, services, entities providing such services and methods to procure such services. The counselor is to review the IPE with the individual or his/her representative at least once each year. o provide each eligible individual an IPE Handbook wherein there is an appeals process outlined. Information pertaining to the Client Assistance Program (CAP) is included in the handbook. o agree not to close an individual’s record as having achieved a successful employment outcome until the person exits school and is determined that the individual has successfully completed the IPE. • conduct an annual survey of students in the school system. • The vocational rehabilitation counselor will place major emphasis on students who are Juniors, Seniors, or potential dropouts. • screen referrals from other sources within the school system to enable students with disabilities who do not have an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) to be considered for vocational rehabilitation services. • Mutually agree to utilize appropriate staff development personnel in the planning and implementation of joint inter-disciplinary team training and/or staff development for purposes of effectively providing transitional services to students with disabilities. • Liaison personnel appropriate and qualified for the provision of transitional services, recommending needed changes and implementing the agreement will be appointed by the administrative units of the parties named in the agreement with the educational agencies.
III. D. Summary of Financial Responsibilities of Each Agency: The interagency agreements between NC DVRS and Education Agencies including the NC Department of Public Instruction and Local Educational Agencies/School Boards stipulate the financial responsibilities of each party. Financial responsibilities of respective parties are described in more detail within the agreements between NC DVRS and the LEA’s, since this satisfactorily addresses the need. Summary of financial responsibilities of NC DVRS under the agreements: • Provide Federal funding in the amount of 78.7 percent of the agreed-upon annual budget depending on the availability of Federal funds and the program arrangements. • Maintain accounts and supporting documents that will permit an accurate determination at any time of the status of State and Federal participation of expenditures incurred in operation of the rehabilitation program. • Assume responsibility, within the limitation of resources, for the cost of services included in the student’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) according to NC DVRS’ established policies and fee schedule. • Within the limitations of available resources, provide case service funds necessary to the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services • Accept financial responsibility for the cost of NC DVRS’ portion of cooperative training efforts and maintain proper accounts and records of these activities. Summary of financial responsibilities of the Educational Agency partners under the agreements: • Parties entering into an agreement contribute to NC DVRS an annual cash amount of 21.3 percent of the agreed-upon annual budget. Whereas NC DVRS must provide funds equal to the State’s share of planned expenditures as specified in the Federal Act. The local per centum match funds are to consist totally of non-Federal funds that have not or will not be used to match Federal funds other than Federal Vocational Rehabilitation funds used in this program. • Any contribution of funds is made available for expenditure at the sole discretion of the NC DVRS. It is understood that such funds must be spent for rehabilitation services and for the administration of those services; that expenditures must be made under the approved agency State plan; and that expenditures must be made under the control and supervision of the NC DVRS. • Provide all individuals determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation services with those services that are its legal and traditional responsibility, e.g., assistive technology required and included in an individual’s IEP, without cost to the NC DVRS. The cooperative program is utilized to provide services which represent new services or new patterns of services when compared to existing services. • Provide and maintain adequate facilities and office space that is accessible to both staff and individuals with disabilities, private for individual counseling, with conditions that are conducive to confidentiality and counseling. • Accept financial responsibility for the cost of their party’s portion of cooperative training efforts and maintain proper accounts and records of these activities.
III E. Procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services: NC DVRS ensures that students with disabilities who are not receiving special education services have access to and can receive vocational rehabilitation services, if appropriate, by ensuring outreach to and identification of these students. Outreach to these students occur as early as possible during the transition planning process and must include, at a minimum, a description of the purpose of the vocational rehabilitation program, eligibility requirements, application procedures, and scope of services that may be provided to eligible individuals. NC DVRS vocational rehabilitation counselors are required to contact persons in the schools responsible for coordinating services to students under IDEA and 504 plans and are instructed to conduct high school surveys in order to identify eligible students with disabilities. The importance of completing outreach to students through non-traditional means to identify students is emphasized in the Division’s casework policy. Furthermore, in order to generate appropriate referrals, NC DVRS counseling staff are encouraged to contact other resource personnel within the local schools including social workers, school nurses, occupational, physical and speech therapists. One of the primary goals of the Division’s provision of transition services is to work with youth with disabilities who are at risk of dropping out of school or who are age 16. Students who have a definite need for services may be served earlier than that age. There are differences in available staff and in numbers of youth with disabilities in school systems, which impact the attainment of this goal. However, the counselor makes individual eligibility decisions for persons referred to NC DVRS by schools and serves them in keeping with the above goal. Factors to consider for "potential dropout" referrals include: (a) verbal indications by the student of intent to leave school, (b) students with disabilities failing half of course work, and (c) students in danger of not receiving course credits due to excessive absences.
PART IV: Other Evidence and Historical Information Regarding Collaboration with Education Officials: Since 2003, the Division’s Transition Specialist and a school counselor have served together with NC DPI representatives, Parent/Child Advocacy Agency and the Center for Development and Learning (Youths 4 Advocacy) to form a state capacity building team to develop and provide coordinated transition activities for students with disabilities to achieve better results with post-school outcomes, including obtaining employment or attending post secondary education. The 1992 - 1998, six-year State Systems Change Grant on Transition Services was a catalyst to the formation of a strong state transition planning presence between NC DPI and VR. The Division’s vocational rehabilitation staff participates in an annual Exceptional Children’s Conference and regularly scheduled cross training regarding the provision of services at the local level. Specialized cooperative training activities, workshops and conferences have existed over the years and will continue to occur periodically, including both Vocational Rehabilitation staff and educators in conjunction with the requirements of the state’s Comprehensive Plan. Vocational Rehabilitation enhanced the transition policy in 2003 to increase the level of services available to individuals with significant and most significant disabilities. The Division also increased its efforts to provide Supported Employment services to facilitate transition more effectively. Furthermore, the Division included an emphasis on providing available support services during high school and developed a statewide budget for Community-Based Assessment, in order to expand this opportunity for students. This service supports the additional pathway (Occupational Course of Study) to achieve a high school diploma that was approved by the NC School board in 2000. The Occupational Course of Study enables students with significant disabilities to partially fulfill the requirements for a high school diploma through work experience. During 2002-2003 the Division, in collaboration with the NC Department of Public Instruction, developed and provided four training sessions statewide for agency Rehabilitation Counselors working in cooperative school programs. The purpose was to improve coordination of services between local education agencies (LEA’s) and NC DVRS in developing transition plans for youth with disabilities. The training was designed to ensure that participants were familiar with requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the l998 Amendments of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act for transition services to youth with disabilities exiting schools and moving into further training or employment. In addition to this, there was an added focus on better understanding and collaboration regarding the Occupational Course of Study and services to persons with learning disabilities. This collaborative effort was quite productive for all involved parties and will hopefully continue to impact the promotion of coordinated, quality services to transitioning students with disabilities. During 2007, the Division has actively pursued more in-depth training for agency personnel involved in transition services to students with disabilities. Please reference Attachment 4.10 to note the Division’s extensive cooperation and initiative toward meeting transition services training goals, improved compliance with IDEA, and cooperation with North Carolina’s state educational system. The CSPD mandate has been instrumental in helping the Division’s rehabilitation counselors achieve better knowledge and understanding of federal laws including the Rehabilitation Act and IDEA. This knowledge has given more meaning, credibility and professionalism to the application of services to students with disabilities. It has also enhanced professional relationships with school partners with whom the Division collaborates in the provision of transition services. Every year the Division participates in the North Carolina Exceptional Children’s Conference along with county school systems and the NC Department of Public Instruction. During FFY 2008, the Team for State Capacity Building: Secondary Education and Transition Services completed the annual review and update of the Transition Plan for North Carolina. The plan and team is directed by the tool provided by the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) to establish and enhance transition services to states. The goals that were identified to be addressed in the next year that will require full participation by NC DVRS and State Public Education are as follows: 1. Develop a plan to implement NSTTAC capacity building model locally with NC DVRS and school system staff by regional teams. 2. Community Based resource mapping. Discussion to begin at state level to be replicated locally. 3. Organize and Implement a state interagency team. One goal of the team is to target legislative level issues impacting transition. 4. NC DPI is to have ongoing Training and Summer Institutes. NC DVRS school counselors can participate in training to increase knowledge of transition services for students with disabilities to assure that transition services are addressing the emerging needs of state public school system while simultaneously addressing the RSA objective to provide transition-age youths with services to prepare for and obtain employment. The jointly developed plan with NC DPI to assist communities to build capacity for transition services in local areas through a training institute was partially implemented during FFY 2010. However, NC DVRS and NC DPI’s commitment to maintaining collaboration did result in the development of a one day training session that was conducted at multiple locations across the state. The training included the NC DVRS State Transition Specialist, NC DPI State Transition Consultant and the Community Work Incentive Coordinators meeting in local NC DVRS offices to deliver information about Transition updates and changes in NC within the school system and the Division in addition to providing Social Security Work Incentives information to NC DVRS Transition staff and local school system staff. The NC state planning team began a planning process spanning FFY 2010 and 2011 with the purpose to execute the original transition training objective identified in the state plan. As a result of the planning of the Transition Capacity Building Summit, the scheduling of the one day training sessions that were being help up to that point was put on hold. The purpose of the resulting Transition Capacity Building Summit is to replicate the state planning process at the local level which will facilitate training and team building for the local school systems and cooperative VR offices that attend. The training conference will be a combination of lecture sessions and group work activities, centered around building capacity for participating local community level transition teams to implement transition-focused education. Each team will be the local school system exceptional children’s division transition staff and the cooperative VR office. The planning tool focuses on assisting state teams to review and plan their strategies for increasing capacity within their community. The framework of transition-focused education provides a structure for educational planning that is outcome-oriented and promotes greater involvement and ownership in the decision-making process by key stakeholders, particularly students and their families. The training summit is scheduled to be completed during the 2011 FFY.
This screen was last updated on Aug 5 2011 11:01AM by Philip Protz
Private non-profit providers of rehabilitation services are necessary and valuable partners in the delivery of the array of services needed by the individuals eligible for VR services within the state. The Division routinely seeks out such partnerships especially in geographic areas where additional services and/or service provider choices need to be established. The NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (NC DVRS) establishes and maintains contracts or agreements with over 120 non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers providing an array of services to the Division’s consumers. Fifty six (56) private-non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers have established performance-based contracts with the Division, where the organizations are administered funds when an individual receiving services within their program has achieved designated goals or "milestones" on their way toward their ultimate goal of competitive employment. The remainder of the non-profit private service providers provides services on an established "fee for services" rate based on actual cost of the services provided. Presently, the Division has established five (5) contracts with private non-profit service providers providing transitional employment services for the Division’s consumers who are transitioning from facility-based settings to community-based settings. A private non-profit service provider can enter into an agreement or contract with the Division once it has gone through the Division’s vendor approval process, by which a candidate service provider demonstrates its ability to provide services that meet established standards while fully compliant with all applicable state and Federal requirements. Site reviews are conducted to assure that programs and services are accessible to individuals served by the Division. Service rates are based largely on program costs, rates that have been established through researching regional market rates, or through competitive processes. Contracts are implemented through the Division’s Center of Excellence Committee (COE), which is a committee established by the NC Department of Health and Human Services Office of Procurement and Contract Services. The committee’s purpose is to identify and approve program needs, produce clear meaningful data, identify and approve outcomes, train and assist division/office program staff regarding the contractual procurement of services and reassessment of contract services. The COE includes senior management (director, section chiefs, budget officer) support and involvement. In addition to senior management, the COE includes subject matter experts in contracting, budgeting, programming, policy-making, and technology as applicable. The COE provides continuity to maintain a knowledge base about programs that can include evaluations of several contract services over long periods of time. This approach shifts the focus from contract processing to program management, ensuring that the scope of work for the service provider is tied to results.
Collaboration with the Lumbee Tribe and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians: During FFY 2008, both the Lumbee Tribe and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians became recipients of RSA’s American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) discretionary grants.
Lumbee Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program: Following an appointment during FFY 2009, the program director for the Lumbee Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation program (LTVRS) has been a participating member of the State Rehabilitation Council and has regularly attended quarterly meetings. The majority of the collaborative activity between LTVRS and the Division has occurred in the south central geographical region of the state, where the tribe is established. NC DVRS managers located within that region and LTVRS staff developed strategies for interagency referral and information sharing that assist with eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment for individuals within the covered population. Referrals are regularly made between both agencies. In order to strengthen and clarify the procedures and expectations of both agencies relating to casework, resource, and training collaboration, an interagency agreement was developed and implemented on 9/28/2009.
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians: Much of the collaboration between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribe and the Division occurs through Vocational Opportunities of Cherokee, Inc., the community rehabilitation program that provides vocational evaluation, work adjustment, and other vocationally-oriented training services for individuals with disabilities who reside on their reservation. The Division does have a contract in place with Vocational Opportunities of Cherokee, Inc. (VOCI) for the purchase of these services when it is appropriate for NC DVRS clients who are not formally affiliated with the tribe. The Division does have one or two rehabilitation counselors that serve as liaisons with the tribe and VOCI which helps maintain communication channels. Historically, NC DVRS has worked closely with the vocational rehabilitation programs of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to effectively meet the vocational rehabilitation needs of eligible individuals in their service area through a collaborative relationship. The Division and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians updated their memorandum of agreement 10/19/2009.
This screen was last updated on Aug 5 2011 11:01AM by Philip Protz
The North Carolina Division of Vocational Services has a cooperative agreement in effect with the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (NC DMH/DD/SAS). As a result of this agreement, the NC Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services has incorporated into its program standards several provisions for supported employment extended support services. The two divisions in collaboration with advocacy groups across the state continue to identify resources for supported employment and extended services. This has allowed local service providers such as community rehabilitation programs and psychosocial rehabilitation programs to develop supported employment programs in collaboration with the two divisions. NC DVRS places a priority on making sure that extended services are provided following the Division’s provision of time-limited services by their inclusion within all contracts with providers of supported employment services. As a result of the collaboration and ongoing MOA committee that meets biannually to explore options for funding extended services as well as other service concerns that affect mutual consumers, the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services has limited dedicated funding for the provision of extended services that is available to providers. In addition, many community rehabilitation programs provide extended services (long term follow up) utilizing a combination of funding sources available from the provider’s income generated through other contract work and comparable benefits such as CAP Waiver DD funding and other community support workers. In addition, the utilization of employer and natural supports is often built into the supported employment plan for individuals with significant disabilities. The established CRP-NC DVRS steering committee continues to review the provision of supported employment services in North Carolina to ensure that funding is optimally utilized so that adequate funding will be available for ongoing extended services. The steering committee continues to address the issues that surround long term support funding such as inconsistencies in the levels of disability-type funding and shortages as well. The MOA committee continues to meet with division partners to review the provision of supported employment services in North Carolina to ensure that funding is optimally utilized. The NC DMH/DD/SAS has filled their employment specialist position enabling the two divisions to work more closely in establishing guidelines and resources in support of LTVS as well as other collaborative endeavors. The Division’s Program Specialist for Statewide Community Rehabilitation Programs and (6) Regional Community Rehabilitation Specialists provide oversight for CRP’s to verify that supported employment services provided by the Division will include a transition period in which extended services will be provided jointly by NC DVRS to assess the individual’s performance within their job choice and their individual adjustment and success in their position. This time allows any observed issues to be resolved and an extension of the stabilization phase if necessary. The continued growth of the statewide network of supported employment service providers has resulted from collaboration between the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and entities such as the North Carolina Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, the North Carolina International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services, the NC Developmental Disabilities Council and the Mental Health Consumers’ Organization. In addition, the North Carolina Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE) provides a forum for focusing on supported employment standards and expanded choices for individuals with the most significant disabilities in the state. The North Carolina Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (NCARF) and the North Carolina Association for Persons in Supported Employment (NCAPSE) have been instrumental in the overall development of supported employment services, specifically for persons with developmental disabilities. NC DVRS, NCARF, and NCAPSE have co-sponsored training events and collaborated in the development of new supported employment programs across the state. Community rehabilitation programs (facility-based and free-standing) provide the majority of supported employment services for persons with the most significant disabilities. New community-based options are expanding through collaboration with the community college system, the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, and with the addition of contracting private providers. Brain Injury Support Services continue to operate within the state in Goldsboro, Raleigh, and Charlotte areas. The Division is also in the process of developing Brain Injury Support Services in both the Eastern and Western Piedmont areas of the state which will help address this need with those geographical areas. In addition, transitional employment continues to expand as an option for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness through cooperation with the Psycho Social Rehabilitation facilities who are certified through the International Center for Clubhouse Development. NC DVRS is considering expanding the capacity of such programs through enabling such facilities that hold a national accreditation with a community rider attached to provide Transitional Employment service programs. The North Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council has sponsored funding for a new collaborative entitled the Alliance for Full Participation (AFP) that will explore innovative employment endeavors through national technical assistance and discussions with a newly established state team, which includes representatives from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The NC DD Council, NCAPSE, and the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services continue to collaborate on supported employment training. The Annual NCAPSE Network on Employment Conference is a forum in which these organizations participate in joint training. There is also joint training with the District Social Security Administration Office on Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability work incentives. Finally, the Division’s Program Development and Outreach Section has continued to represent NC DVRS with active membership on the NC TBI Statewide Advisory Council. Established through legislative mandate in the 2003 General Assembly, the mission of this council is to review the current definition of traumatic brain injuries, promote interagency collaboration among state agencies serving this population, study the needs of persons with traumatic brain injuries and their families, make recommendations regarding a comprehensive service system for this population, and promote and implement injury prevention strategies across the state. The council continues to work on the development of a state plan for all agencies involved in services to persons with brain injuries, including a component for vocational rehabilitation services. In addition, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation represents the agency on the “Governor’s Focus on Returning Combat Veterans and their Families”, a collaborative monthly meeting that serves as a resource clearinghouse on addressing issues of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, as an offshoot of this group, the Division participates in a Statewide Advisory Committee for Operation Recovery, a five-year SAMHSA-funded pilot project in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg County area of NC. The purpose of this pilot is to create a comprehensive, trauma-integrated jail diversion and support system for US military service veterans. Outreach efforts between NC DVRS, the Veterans Administration, and other military operations have occurred to assure that Veterans and their family members are aware of services available to them through the NC DVRS.
This screen was last updated on Aug 5 2011 11:01AM by Philip Protz
Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development
The North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services utilizes a personnel system called Building Enterprise Access for North Carolina’s Core Operations (BEACON). This system replaced the former system used in North Carolina state government, Personnel Management Information System (PMIS), in 2008. BEACON was initiated by the NC Office of the State Controller and supported by the NC State Legislature as a way to modernize and standardize key business processes in human resources, payroll, budget management, taxation, data storage and accounting. Reports pertaining to the desired information for the State Plan can be somewhat customized to obtain information on a current basis. The Division’s Staff Development section also maintains a comprehensive database on all staff in trainee positions, working toward a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. This database includes information on the specific degree and progress toward meeting those requirements. The Division’s Program, Policy, Planning and Evaluation section keeps all data regarding services to the consumers of our services. This includes comprehensive data on numbers served, severity of disability, services provided, and much more. Therefore, the collection of data and analysis is done by three of the Division’s departments; Human Resources, Staff Development and Program, Policy, Planning and Evaluation.
The Division served 57,110 individuals in FFY 2009-2010, of which 31,537 were individuals with significant disabilities and 15,254 with the most significant disabilities. This represents a total of nearly 82% of the people that the Division serves as people with significant or most significant disabilities.
The chart below lists all Counselors, and staff in support of these Counselors. An analysis of these 671 positions was completed, with respect to current vacancies and the projected vacancy rate over the next 5 years. NCDVRS must also consider that within the next 12 months 240 individuals will have more than 20 years of service. Exact turnover is impossible to determine in advance; however, this past year the Division experienced a 16% turnover in the Rehabilitation Counselor I positions and a 15% turnover rate in Rehabilitation Counselor II positions.
The chart immediately below shows an average for the past 3 years of actual data and the expected vacancy rate based on the current data.
Average 3 Year Rate
for 5 years
Rehabilitation Counselor I
Rehabilitation Counselor II
|Row||Job Title||Total positions||Current vacancies||Projected vacancies over the next 5 years|
|1||Rehabilitation Counselor I||227||21||105|
|2||Rehabilitation Counselor II||104||5||25|
|4||Rehabilitation Administrative Counselor I||14||1||5|
|5||Rehabilitation Administrative Counselor II||13||0||1|
|6||Rehabilitation Administrative Counselor III||14||0||1|
|8||Human Resources Placement Specialist||64||3||15|
|9||Human Services Coordinator||27||1||5|
|10||Rehabilitation Casework Technician||107||5||25|
The Division closely works with all of
Table 3: Institutions and Type of Program, Students Enrolled in the Program, Total Number of Students Graduating During Prior Year with Certification or Certification for Licensure, and Number Employed by VR & Their Corresponding Personnel Categories
Total Graduates from prior yr w/ cred.
NC DVRS Hired/ Personnel Cat.
NC A & T Technical State Univ.- Human Resources Rehab Counseling Master’s Program.
East Carolina University-Rehab. Counseling Master’s Prog.
25 from all 3 ECU programs
East Carolina University-Vocational Evaluation Master’s Prog.
Winston Salem State Univ.- Rehab. Counseling Master’s Prog.
|Row||Institutions||Students enrolled||Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates from the previous year|
|1||NC Agricultural & Technical State University||1||1||0||0|
|2||East Carolina University||1||1||0||1|
|3||Winston-Salem State University||3||3||3||12|
|4||University of NC at Chapel Hill||0||0||0||0|
The Division implemented a paid internship program in January of 2005. This program is coordinated from our Staff Development section with the support of management, HR, and counselors across our state.The present pay for interns with our agency is $15.75 per hour. The counselors supervising interns were also given a 5% increase in their salary for the months while supervising. This increase was initiated in the Fall of 2007, but was suspended in 2008 due to state budgetary restrictions. It was approved again for spring semester 2010. Due to changes in budgetary processes, the Division does not anticipate approval for the pay increases for intern supervisors in the future. This paid internship program has had 251 interns since 2005, from 33 different universities across the U.S. Currently, at least 73 interns have been hired. The benefit of hiring interns into vacant positions is that we have a sense of the person’s strengths and weaknesses prior to being hired. The additional probationary period that every new employee serves allows the Division better access to a proper job match. If the person is not successful during this time, the person is released from the job in probationary status. This is not viewed the same as a dismissal. It is considered an extension of the hiring process and not disciplinary action. A majority of our interns hired by NCDVRS have been from the two Historically Black Universities in our state; NC Agricultural & Technical State University and Winston-Salem State University.
Division personnel participate in the university Rehabilitation Counseling program advisory boards within the state. The type of personnel representing NCDVRS within these advisory boards varies; however the Division is well represented and our role well respected within these programs. Our partnerships with these institutions are fortified through our staff enrolled in many of these programs, which include the historically black schools. Further, the nit offices are encouraged to participate in partnering local career fairs at the partnering universities and colleges. Marketing displays and brochures have been provided to every unit office so that marketing materials remain available for the unit offices’ activities.
A broader perspective on retention includes a comprehensive, timely and effective onboarding/orientation program. The Division recognizes that getting off to the right start can make the difference in retaining an employee. A comprehensive overview of the Division--its mission, staff, organizational structure, processes and relevant information--can ensure a good start. A new employee orientation through HR has been developed and will be used in place of the monthly orientation calls that have been occurring.
While NC DVRS modeled its counselor personnel standard after the CRCC, the Division initiated its own comprehensive standard with more specific listing of degrees that it will accept. Effective October 1, 2008, this standard-related requirement for a Rehabilitation Counselor hire includes:
- Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling;
- Master’s degree in a closely related field such as Counseling, Social Work, Psychology, Sociology, Special Education, Communication Disorders, Human Services;
- Current certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor or Licensed Professional Counselor;
- Current enrollment in a qualifying master’s degree program AND graduation occurs prior to the date of hire.
Currently, all individuals in the Rehabilitation Counselor I and Rehabilitation Counselor II roles meet the current CSPD mandate, unless they are in trainee status. Trainee status requires that the employee progress toward attaining the requirements outlined in a Memorandum of Agreement within the specified timeframe. If the employee does not meet the specified requirements or they are not progressing at an acceptable rate, the employee will be separated during their probationary status period.
As of October, 2010, the Division had the following number of employees of which all meet the Division’s CSPD requirements with the exception of trainees, who are making progress toward an approved Master’s degree:
Rehabilitation Counselor Trainees - 12
Rehabilitation Counselor I - 183
Rehabilitation Counselor II - 101.5 (includes part-time employees)
The chart listed below shows the change in the past year in relationship to turnover in the Rehabilitation Counseling positions. The most significant change is noted in the position of Rehabilitation Counselor II. The Division feels this reduction is in relationship to the current budget situation within the state.
Rehabilitation Counselor I
Rehabilitation Counselor II
NCDVRS currently averages around 100 qualified applicants for each vacancy, which is primarily attributable to the current economic climate. This means that recruitment for RC I and II’s have not been as challenging as in years past. The Division does find it more challenging to find individuals prepared to serve a Deaf and Hard of Hearing caseload, but these vacancies have not been impossible to fill.
The Division continues to put forth a concerted effort to train staff in job development and placement. During, 2010 over 560 staff participated in the in a comprehensive Dual Customer Approach training initiative This training provides meaningful techniques to assist all employees that work with a VR Unit Office to assist in the process of developing relationships with employers. The strategy has had great success in increasing successful employment outcomes. The premise is that for job development and placement to be successful you must consider the needs of both the consumer and employer Additional training opportunities occurred for 40 NCDVRS staff during the past year in relation to job development by attending the 2010 Workforce Development Conference.
The Division also places emphasis on vocational assessments. This is reflective in its maintenance of 45 Vocational Evaluators and 3 Vocational Evaluation Specialist. As a result, the Division does not typically utilize contractual services for assessing consumers. We also strive to provide excellent training for those serving in the evaluator’s positions. Each year, the Staff Development Department supports participating in
Another professional development program that exists for and available to all VR and IL staff to provide evaluation, AT equipment and AT services for the consumers they are serving is the NC Assistive Technology Program (NCATP). NCATP has twenty-one staff serving the state of
The North Carolina Rehabilitation Association Conference in 2010 hosted 260 participants. North Carolina VR and IL staff represented 172 out of 260 in attendance. Staff benefit from the networking and learning that occurs at this annual conference.
The Division established a Bulletin Board on its Intranet for the dissemination of information between staff. General information pertaining to conferences, trainings, research, articles, and relevant rehabilitation information is shared here. Different forums also exist on this Bulletin Board for discussion among staff in specific positions; such as for Counselors, Vocational Evaluators, Business Relations Representatives, etc.
The Division sponsored 463 staff in conferences this fiscal year. These conferences included the NC Summer and
18 customized trainings were provided to staff this past year. These trainings were for various identified needs; such as team building, stress management, understanding generational differences in the workplace, managing difficult situations with customers, support staff training, disability awareness, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, introduction to supervision, performance management and more. Health and safety training included all staff with monthly on-line training and other in-person trainings.
The Counselor has the responsibility for determining the individual’s preferred language and providing a qualified foreign language interpreter/translator at the earliest possible opportunity, before or after the initial contact with the Division. This translation service is provided at no cost to the person with Limited English Proficiency(LEP). A specific budget, 1292, is designated solely for the provision of this service. The interpreters/translators for all languages must be qualified and trained with demonstrated proficiency in both English and the native language of the client. The Membership Directory of the Carolina Association of Translators and Interpreters at http://www.catiweb.org/ is presently used; however, it is not required that all qualified interpreters/translators be listed in this directory.
All fundamental VR and IL forms (44 currently) are available in Spanish for individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). The Division’s public website is also in Spanish for the section regarding VR Services to Consumers.
The Division has 14 counselors proficient in American Sign Language with caseloads specifically serving deaf and hard of hearing individuals. There are 10 technicians, 3 Business Relations Representatives, 2 Human Service Coordinators, a program specialist, and 2 Assistive Technology consultants for the deaf who support these counselors and the consumers being served. The Division has a Sign Language Interpreting Budget, 1294, designated solely for sign language interpreting. Fifteen interpreting agencies and over 100 independent licensed interpreters contract with the Division and are paid out of this budget. Communication is a vitally important aspect of the whole rehabilitation process. These interpreting and translation services are essential for quality and success in the delivery of services.
North Carolina’s Secondary Education and Transition Services team consisting of members from NC DVRS, NC Department of Public Instruction representatives, parents and university representatives, developed a state transition plan which includes a goal to accomplish a system of personnel development in support of the IDEIA and the Rehabilitation Act for collaboration to increase transition services to students with disabilities. A main thrust of the plan is for state level consultants with NC DVRS and NC DPI to conduct local one day "Interagency Collaboration" sessions in the NC DVRS field offices to local transition staff at VR and within schools which were completed in SFY 2010. Participants included VR school transition counselors and casework staff, NC DPI Exceptional Children’s Director, high school transition staff, school exceptional children’s program administrators and community partners.
The NC Secondary Education and Transition Services planning team began a planning process during SFY 2011 with the purpose to execute the original transition training objective identified in the state plan. As a result of the planning of the Transition Capacity Building Summit, the scheduling of the one day training sessions that were being help up to that point were put on hold. The purpose of the resulting Transition Capacity Building Summit is to replicate the state planning process at the local level which will facilitate training and team building for the local school systems and cooperative VR offices that attend. The training conference will be a combination of lecture sessions and group work activities, centered around building capacity for participating local community level transition teams to implement transition-focused education. Each team will be the local school system exceptional children’s division transition staff and the cooperative VR office. The planning tool focuses on assisting state teams to review and plan their strategies for increasing capacity within their community. The framework of transition-focused education provides a structure for educational planning that is outcome-oriented and promotes greater involvement and ownership in the decision-making process by key stakeholders, particularly students and their families. The training summit is scheduled to be completed during the 2011 FFY.
This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 11:07AM by Philip Protz
Identify the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
The North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) is one of nineteen divisions and offices within the Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) that provide direct services to the public. DVRS is responsible for assisting individuals who have a physical, mental or learning disability that impedes their ability to prepare for, obtain or maintain employment. North Carolina’s VR Program employs approximately 830 staff members in field offices and public schools throughout the state who together provide services that are conveniently located for individuals with disabilities throughout the state.
The 2010 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) is a report of ongoing and continuous assessment efforts conducted in collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council and other stakeholder groups. Many of these efforts are spearheaded by or provided in consultation with the Division’s Planning and Evaluation section to improve the quality of services and better meet the vocational rehabilitation needs of consumers. This assessment report is representative of our Division’s continuous strategic planning process, and the major efforts undertaken in cooperation with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) to ensure that individuals with disabilities are served in the most effective way possible.
The needs assessment is designed to address four assessment domains, as outlined in the Rehabilitation Act. The first three address the rehabilitation needs specific categories of consumers:
- Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
- Individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program;
- Individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system (other than the vocational rehabilitation program), as identified by such individuals and personnel assisting such individuals through the components [of the system].
The last objective is specific to community rehabilitation programs (CRPs):
- An assessment of the need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
Beginning October of 2007, North Carolina’s VR Program initiated a new needs assessment cycle (CSNA 2010), the report of findings of efforts undertaken during this three year period ending September, 2010. The subsequent assessment cycle (CSNA 2013) will cover the assessment period beginning October, 2010 and conclude September 2013 by which date an updated final assessment report will be completed.
The framework for the needs assessment includes both structural and process components that reflect a set of ideals we considered to be the core values or guiding principles within the scope of this project: systems thinking, participatory dialogue, empirical data, partnerships and collaboration, and strategic planning.
The guiding principles of this framework are intended to achieve three organizational goals specific to the vocational needs of North Carolinians with disabilities: anticipate and manage change, create a stronger service delivery infrastructure, engage the public and create stakeholder involvement.
Basic Needs Assessment Model
Our 2010 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment report emphasizes major assessment initiatives over a three year period. These activities were conducted in three phases: organizing and planning; needs assessment research; and the identification of strategic issues. The strategic issues identified through the research phase of the assessment, will become a springboard toward the formulation of goals and strategies and the future planning and research for the 2013 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment cycle.
Organizing and Planning
The purpose of this phase was to develop a planning process that would build commitment, engage stakeholders as active partners, use participants’ time effectively, and result in planned needs assessment research that could be realistically implemented. This preparation helped participants understand the activities that were undertaken, their responsibilities, how long specific activities would take, and the form in which results were expected. We considered that a carefully planned approach to needs assessment research would be key towards gaining support for the process, staying on track, avoiding frustration, and arriving at a quality result. The planning process was designed by identifying what each process would entail, how long each step would take to accomplish, and who would be responsible for each task. It also involved identifying resource needs before beginning the research to avoid any “squeeze” that might otherwise occur later in the process. The principal resources for the planning effort were the time contributed by participants, but additional monetary resources were needed for travel and to conduct surveys. All of the planned needs assessment research activities were carefully outlined and managed using timelines and work plans, while remaining flexible to accommodate changes as they arose. In organizing and planning the needs assessment, we envisioned two types of participants that would be needed to successfully complete the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment: core support; and stakeholder participants. These two types of participants formed the organizational structure for the planning and implementation of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment.
The foundation of core support was our specialized Core Support Team within the Division’s Program Policy, Planning and Evaluation Section. Our team included executive staff members to guide the process and specialists to provide technical guidance and analysis. Support staff also assisted in coordinating needs assessment activities. Our core support team was responsible for organizing the needs assessment process and moving it forward. Special committees and subject matter experts were consulted at several phases of the needs assessment to provide consultation and guidance on portions of the work that was being done. The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) helped to guide and oversee the needs assessment process.
Our stakeholders include all persons, agencies and organizations with an investment or stake in the vocational outcomes of individuals with disabilities. This broad definition includes all persons and organizations that benefit from and/or participate in the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services. We considered stakeholder participation integral to the success of the needs assessment and for legitimizing the process by offering strong initial support and providing a range of knowledge.
Needs Assessment Research
Needs assessment research activities were conducted throughout the three year cycle, and organized through what we identified as major theoretical components, or dimensions to assessing needs. We consider the “assessment of need” as undergirded by these four underlying structural pillars:
- Forces of Change;
- Demographics of VR consumers and North Carolinians with Disabilities;
- Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery System;
- Strengths and Opportunities;
Identifying Strategic Issues
The identification of strategic issues involved interpreting the vast amount of information that had been gathered during the research phases and determining what we believed to be truly important and actionable. We distinguish strategic issues from “critical” issues in that critical issues are important, whereas strategic issues are important and also forward thinking, and seize on current opportunities. Strategic issues are actionable; they represent fundamental policy choices and critical challenges that must be addressed in order to achieve our vision for North Carolinians with disabilities. The strategic issues we identified are the foundation upon which planning strategies will be developed. The results from this phase of our assessment form the basis for the Conclusions section of this report.
Survey Research Methods
Six stakeholder groups were identified for surveying: Division Staff, Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) Service Providers, General Providers of consumer services, Advocacy groups, Consumers of VR Services, and Workforce Development System Partners. The majority of the groups received a web-based survey. A stratified random sample of Division consumers were surveyed via telephone interview through a contract with the North Carolina State University Center for Urban Affairs and Community Services (CUACS). Providers received a mail survey with a self addressed postage paid return envelope. All surveys contained a core set of 12 questions which asked respondents to identify the top three needs of people with disabilities related to becoming employed or continuing employment. For each need, respondents were asked to rate the response of the Division for that need, state the major gaps or barriers that the Division faces when fulfilling this need, and what might the Division do to overcome these barriers. Additional questions were asked of each stakeholder group as appropriate.
Forces of Change
Forces of change consider the changes within our Division and broader social and economic changes believed to affect the delivery or outcomes of VR services. State and federal legislation, rapid technological advances, changes in the organization of services for persons with various types of disabilities, and shifts in economic and employment forces are all examples of Forces of Change. These contextual factors are important because they affect, either directly or indirectly, the provision of service to and vocational outcomes of individuals with disabilities.
Major DVRS Initiatives during this Needs Assessment Cycle
During the current needs assessment cycle FFY 2007-2010, DVRS actively concentrated on the following initiatives to improve services, outcomes, and progress on its state plan goals:
· Dual Customer Approach;
· Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services’ Strategic Needs and Assessment Planning (SNAP);
· Recruiting and Retention;
· Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) Phase Out;
· North Carolina Assistive Technology Program (NCATP) Expansion;
· Medicaid Buy in Program Established through Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) efforts;
· Collaborative Training for Improving Transition Services for Youth with Disabilities;
· VR/IL Concurrent Records of Service for Rehabilitation Engineering Services in the Central Region;
· Initiatives Headed by the CRP-DVRS Steering Committee;
· Initiatives tied to funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
DVRS Casework Policy Changes October 2007 - September 2010
During the course of time during which this statewide needs assessment was conducted, the Division had made adjustments to its casework policies in response to the previous needs assessment, and ongoing program evaluation and monitoring efforts. The time period covered during this needs assessment cycle began on the heels of impactful changes to the physical restoration services policy in 2006, which further delineated the types of conditions consumers presented requiring physical restoration services that would make them eligible for those services. The number of individuals qualifying on the basis of the revised policies was greatly reduced, in turn causing a significant reduction in the corresponding service expenditure level.
Employment Trends for the State of North Carolina
From July 2000 to July 2009, North Carolina’s population increased by 1.3 million or 16.1%, to just over 9.38 million residents. At the start of the current assessment cycle, from 2007 to 2008, North Carolina was the third-fastest growing state in the country. In October 2007, at the beginning of our Assessment Cycle, the unemployment rate in North Carolina was near a historic low, at 4.8%. During that time, there was relatively little concern regarding the potential availability of jobs for individuals with disabilities. Many of the discussion regarding the vocational outcomes of individuals with disabilities focused on the quality of the jobs available, however, month-by-month, the state’s unemployment rate began to rise to a peak of 11.2% in February 2010. The unemployment rate has since declined somewhat, to a preliminary estimate of 9.8% for July 2010.
The largest net decrease in average annual employment across North Carolina occurs from calendar year 2008 to 2009, which presented a considerable challenge for our Division during the current assessment cycle. We apportion the loss in jobs from 2008 to 2009 according to industry, and we compare employment by sector across these two periods. Government jobs in North Carolina, at the local, state, and federal level accounted for 685,913 jobs across multiple NAIC sectors or about 18% of the total 2009 workforce. In terms of net average annual employment, there was very little change in the public sector. Almost all of the 221,592 jobs lost were in the private sector.
The greatest portion of the loss in jobs, about 30%, is due to a loss of 66,831 manufacturing jobs. The construction industry showed a loss of 43,710 jobs from the previous year, accounting for about 20% of the total decrease. The balance is accounted largely by 24,647 jobs lost in retail; 24,157 administrative and waste services jobs; 13,941wholesale trade; 10,341 transportation and warehousing jobs; 10,209 other service sector jobs, other than in the public sector; 9,668 hotel and restaurant jobs; 9,286 professional and technical services jobs; and 5,728 jobs in banking and the financial sector.
However, the healthcare and social assistance sector increased by 7,882 jobs, and was comprised of 553,974 workers in 2009, or 14.5% of the North Carolina’s total workforce. Public sector administration jobs increased by 2,615 jobs, and accounted for 238,574 jobs, or 6.2% of the total workforce. Another industrial sector with growth was Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, which increased 3,076 jobs in 2009 to 60,285 workers, making up about 1.6% of the total workforce.
Demographics of North Carolinians with Disabilities
Of an estimated 5.8 million non-institutionalized North Carolinians, ages 16 to 65 (excluding those ages 62 and older receiving Social Security retirement income), about 13.48% were reported as having some type of disability; 7.93% with a disability that limits their ability to work; 3.04% with a sensory disability; 8.24% with a physical disability, and 4.96% with a cognitive disability. The prevalence of a significant sensory disability was 0.80%; the prevalence of a significant physical disability was 3.00%, and the prevalence of a significant cognitive disability was 2.11%.
Among North Carolinians with disabilities, employment status and disability-specific work limitations are strongly related, suggesting that “employment disability” is a good indicator of need for VR services. The exception may be among transition age youth, where disability-specific work limitations appear to be under-reported among persons who have not yet entered the workforce. Gender is associated with some of the difference in employment status, but not as much as age, race/ethnicity, and the degree to which area of residence is urban.
Asians and Latinos with disabilities have higher rates of employment and lower prevalence of disability-specific work limitations than Whites and other minority groups. The reverse is true of African Americans and American Indians. The higher rate of employment and lower rate of work-limiting disability associated with Asians and Latinos may be attributable to nativity. Latinos and Asians both have low nativity compared to other race/ethnicity groups, which suggests that a comparatively smaller proportion of Asians and Latinos with work-limiting disabilities are immigrating to the United States. When controlling for nativity, the rate of disability-specific work-limitations for Latinos with disabilities is similar to that of Whites; and the rate for Asians is closer to that of African Americans and American Indians.
Among individuals with disabilities, employment is only slightly higher in areas that are more urban. However, for the subpopulation with disability-specific work limitations the difference is somewhat more notable. The prevalence of disability becomes increasingly higher as the area becomes more rural.
Among individuals with disabilities, there is notable relationship between age and employment status, and also between age and disability-specific work limitations. Disability-specific work limitations are less often reported for younger persons, and this may be because they have yet to enter the workforce. Overall, employment follows a hill-shaped distribution, where individuals with disabilities first enter the workforce at younger ages, and the percent employed then begins to decline as an increasing percentage of individuals with disabilities begin to exit the workforce after age 35. However, “hill-shaped” relationship between employment and age is not as strong for the subpopulation reporting disability-specific work limitations. This suggests that “employment disability” is a good indicator of need for VR services because lack of employment among persons reporting work-limitations is more specifically tied to disability than age (as compared to those with disabilities who do not report work limitations).
This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 11:07AM by Philip Protz
For FFY 2012, it is projected that the NC DVRS will serve a total of 61, 108 eligible individuals, based on the forecasted linear trend (R^2 = 0.99) from estimated number of eligible consumers that will be served during the current year and the number served in the past two Federal Fiscal years. Furthermore, it is estimated that the Division will expend $123,245,806 of Part B Title I funds during FFY 2012, including all expenses incurred for administrative costs, counseling and placement, and case services. Additionally, it is anticipated that ARRA-related funds in the amount of $15, 054,222 will be obligated by September 30, 2011 and expended by the deadline of December 31, 2011.
NC DVRS does not expect to implement an order of selection during FFY 2012; therefore services will be made available within all client service categories. During FFY 2010, NC DVRS provided funding for Supported Employment services to 4,527 individuals at a total expense of $9,740,259.91. It is projected that during FFY 2012 4,600 individuals coded as individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities (MSD) will receive Supported Employment services funded through Title VI Part B supplemental grant funding ($619,621) and Title I Part B (basic support grant) funding for a projected total combined expenditure of $10,000,000.
|Category||Title I or Title VI||Estimated Funds||Estimated Number to be Served||Average Cost of Services|
|Title I ( Except Supported Employment)||Title I||$113,345,806||56,433||$2,008|
|Title VI SE Grant + Title I Support Employment||Title VI||$9,900,000||4600||$2,152|
This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 11:07AM by Philip Protz
The following goals and priorities of the Division are developed in collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council, along with input gathered through the comprehensive statewide needs assessment process spanning FFY 2007-10, public input, and internal organizational needs assessment and planning processes for purposes of effectively carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs. In addition, the priorities and goals established support improved performance on standards and indicators.
Priority 1: GOAL 1: Employment Outcomes: Increase quantity and quality of employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities, particularly individuals with significant/most significant disabilities through a dual customer approach.
Objective 1.1: Develop and maintain quality relationships with businesses in a variety of industries across the state. Objective 1.2: Provide consumers with the services necessary to increase their employment options.
Measures for Goal 1: NC DVRS will achieve or exceed the required federal standards for the following indicators:
1.1 The number of persons achieving employment outcomes will equal or exceed the previous year. Baseline FFY 2010: 5961
1.2 The percentage of all individuals who have achieved an employment outcome after exiting the program having received services will equal or exceed 55.80%. Baseline FFY 2010: 56.55%
1.4 Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or Business Enterprise Program employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percent who are individuals with significant disabilities will equal or exceed 62.40. Baseline FFY 2010: 77.18%
1.5 The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the program in competitive employment as a ratio to the average hourly earnings for all employed North Carolinians will equal or exceed 0.52. Baseline FFY 2010: 0.50 1.6 Of the individuals who achieve competitive employment, the difference between the percent who reported their own income as the largest single source of economic support at closure compared to the percent at application. The difference must equal or exceed 53.0. Baseline FFY 2010: 62.29
Measures for Goal 1 Objective 1.1: NC DVRS will equal or improve performance when compared to the baseline for the following measurable indicators:
• Number of active business relationship. Baseline: to be established FFY 2012
•Services provided to those businesses. Baseline: to be established FFY 2012
•Industries represented. Baseline: to be established FFY 2012
•Consumers hired and job types. Baseline: to be established FFY 2012
Measures for Goal 1 Objective 1.2: NC DVRS will equal or improve performance when compared to the baseline for the following measurable indicators:
•Consumers responding “a lot” to Consumer Satisfaction Survey question 2(c): “Did VR help you search for a job?” Baseline: FFY 2010 41.45%
•Consumers responding “a lot” to Consumer Satisfaction Survey question 2(d): “Did VR help you decide on job choices?” Baseline: FFY 2010 32.82%
Priority 2: GOAL 2: Access to Services: Increase consumers’ understanding of and access to the Division’s services and programs including their ability to provide feedback.
Objective 2.1: Increase the availability of information about the VR program within the community.
Objective 2.2: Increase access to program services for potential consumers.
Objective 2.3: Increase access to feedback tools for potential, current and former consumers of services.
Measures for Goal 2: NC DVRS will equal or improve performance when compared to the baseline for the following measurable indicators:
•Ratio of individuals who develop a new Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) to applicants for services. Baseline FFY 2010: Individuals developing new IPEs: 13,948 Applicants: 25,202 Ratio: 55.34%
•Consumer feedback response rates: Mailed consumer satisfaction survey response rate (adjusted for undeliverable): Baseline: FFY 2010: 15.01%
•Public Input forums held & total attendance. Baseline: to be established FFY 2011
•Individuals providing input through web-based input options. Baseline: to be established FFY 2011
•Number of cases served by the Client Assistance Program regarding the NC DVRS VR program: Baseline SFY 2009-2010: 135
Measures for Goal 2 Objective 2.1: NC DVRS will equal or improve performance when compared to the baseline for the following measurable indicators:
•Public Website traffic. Baseline: To be established FFY 2012
•Number of presentations to various stakeholder groups. Baseline: To be established FFY 2012
Measures for Goal 2 Objective 2.2:
•Number of applicants Baseline FFY 2010: 25,202 Reference: Percent of total closures in FFY 10 with previous closures in past 36 months: 19.05%
•Applicants per referral source category other than self-referred.
Measures for Goal 2 Objective 2.3:
•Number of feedback channels available to consumers FFY 2010: 1) mail-based consumer satisfaction survey; 2) web-based e-mail links for feedback; 3) SRC-VR jointly conducted input sessions; 4) public input sessions for the state plan 5) Client Assistance Program •Mailed consumer satisfaction survey response rate (adjusted for undeliverable): Baseline: FFY 2010: 15.01%
Priority 3: GOAL 3: Service Quality and Uniformity: NC DVRS shall improve the quality and uniformity of the services it provides. Objective 3.1: Maintain a customer focus in the planning and provision of services.
Objective 3.2: Ensure statewide uniformity of case management and policy implementation.
Measures for Goal 3: NC DVRS will equal or improve performance when compared to the baseline for the following measurable indicators:
•Percentage of consumers responding "excellent" or "above average" on Consumer Satisfaction Survey Q9: “Overall, how would you rate your experience with NC Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) program?” Baseline: FFY 2010: 67.67%
•Percentage of consumers responding "excellent" or "above average" on Consumer Satisfaction Survey Q3: “How would you rate the response time of services provided by VR staff?” Baseline: FFY 2010: 63.97%
Measures for Goal 3 Objective 3.1:
•Percentage of consumers responding "Yes" to Consumer Satisfaction Survey Q4: “Did your counselor inform you that if you had a concern about services that you could contact the Client Assistance Program (CAP)?” Baseline: FFY 2010: 49.69% (33.05% did not recall)
•Percentage of consumers responding "Yes" on Consumer Satisfaction Survey Q5: “Did your counselor inform you about your right to appeal agency decisions with which you disagree?” Baseline: FFY 2010: 57.54% (24.04% did not recall)
•Percentage of consumers indicating that they were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" on Consumer Satisfaction Survey Q7: “How satisfied were you with your level of involvement in your rehabilitation program (for example deciding on job goals, selecting available services, choosing providers, etc.)?” Baseline: FFY 2010: 80.55%
•Service Timeliness Measures: referral response; eligibility determination; IPE development; major service initiation
•Casework quality measures as tracked through Quality Development Specialist case reviews
Measures for Goal 3 Objective 3.2:
•Quality and uniformity measures as tracked through Quality Development Specialist case reviews using FFY 2010 baseline data
•Case service expenditure data by region using FFY 2010 baseline data
•Average case length data by consumer satisfaction survey respondent group using FFY 2010 baseline data
Priority 4: GOAL 4: Resources: Sustain efforts necessary to retain, train and recruit qualified staff and provide or develop resources necessary to carry out the Division’s goals, priorities, and services for individuals with disabilities and our business customers statewide.
Objective 4.1: Continue to recruit qualified staff with skills critical to the delivery of all service components of the Division.
Objective 4.2: Provide ongoing training to staff in order to maintain a high level of service effectiveness.
Objective 4.3: Increase the retention of highly skilled staff throughout the Division.
Objective 4.4: Identify and develop resources that are critical to the delivery of all service components of the Division.
Measures for Goal 4:
•Division’s turnover rate. Baseline: to be established FFY 2012
•Average Division-funded, coordinated, or administered training hours offered per staff annually. Baseline: to be established FFY 2012
•Staff survey results pertaining to training and perceived availability of/access to resources needed to provide services effectively to consumers and business customers. Baseline: to be established FFY 2012
Measures for Goal 4 Objective 4.1: •Number of vacancies during the last FFY. Baseline: To be established FFY 2011
Measures for Goal 4 Objective 4.2: •Number of staff attending a training session in the last FFY broken down by position type. Baseline: To be established FFY 2012
Measures for Goal 4 Objective 4.3: •Number of vacancies, average length of vacancies. Baseline: To be established FFY 2012 Measures for Goal 4 Objective 4.4: •Total value of and number of different sources of third party funding or grants, beyond the basic support grants, applied toward the provision of vocational rehabilitation and related services. Baseline: To be established FFY 2012
Priority 5: GOAL 5: Service Equity: Promote equity in the service delivery and the quality of job outcomes for our consumers. Objective 5.1: Increase outreach to unserved and underserved populations of individuals with disabilities within the state as identified through the Triennial Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment.
Objective 5.2: Ensure that all vocational rehabilitation services are available and the decision of the appropriateness of each service for a consumer is made without regard to race, gender, disability type, age or geographic location of the consumer.
Objective 5.3: Continuously improve services to unserved and underserved populations of individuals with disabilities within the state as identified through the Triennial Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment.
Objective 5.4: Continuously improve the methods and processes by which the employment-related needs of individuals with disabilities within the state are comprehensively assessed.
Measures for Goal 5: NC DVRS will equal or improve performance when compared to the baseline for the following measurable indicators: RSA Standard and Indicator 1.5 (wage ratio) for identified unserved and underserved populations identified in the statewide comprehensive needs assessment. Baseline FFY 2010 data
Measure for Goal 5 Objective 5.1: Applications for the Vocational Rehabilitation program by group. Baseline FFY 2010 data
Measure for Goal 5 Objective 5.2: Results of Question 7 from Consumer Satisfaction Survey for groups identified as unserved or underserved in the statewide comprehensive needs assessment: "How satisfied are you with your level of involvement in your rehabilitation program?" Baseline FFY 2010 data
Measure for Objective 5.3: Results of Question 9 from Consumer Satisfaction Survey for groups identified as unserved or underserved in the statewide comprehensive needs assessment: "Overall, how would you rate your experience with the North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) program?" Baseline FFY 2010 data
This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 11:07AM by Philip Protz
- 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 screen was last updated on Jun 3 2009 1:30PM by Philip Protz
Title VI, Part B funds are distributed to supported employment programs with the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (The Division). These community rehabilitation programs provide services to consumers with severe and persistent mental illness, mental retardation, traumatic head injury, autism, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities. In addition, other eligible individuals determined to be most significantly disabled, and who require intensive training and long-term support (extended services) in order to obtain and maintain successful employment outcome are also served. The Division annually serves over 4,000 consumers with the most significantly disabilities within the supported employment (SE) program. The goals and priorities for the distribution of funds received under Section 622 of the Act are to promote the expansion of new supported employment programs and to address the unmet and underserved areas of the state as it relates to supported employment services by the expansion of new programs where needed. More specifically, goals for the supported employment program for FFY 2012 include:
Supported Employment Goal 1: Increase the number of individuals with most significant disabilities who receive supported employment services.
Supported Employment Goal 2: Identify and begin implementing practices that can increase the successful closure rate of individuals receiving supported employment services.
Supported Employment Goal 3: In search of improved supported employment services delivery models and practices, evaluate the results of the many ARRA-funded innovative collaborative projects that will be concluding at the end of FFY 2011.
Supported Employment Goal 4: Collaboratively increase supported employment training to NC DVRS rehabilitation counselors and Community Rehabilitation Program direct service staff through the addition of a web-based (and other forms of) curriculum development.
Supported Employment Goal 5: Continue collaboration with the Division of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse Services to secure reporting of the expenditures of the Long Term Support service definition in order to assure consistent administration of these funds.
This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 11:07AM by Philip Protz
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.
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.
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.
If applicable, identify plans for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs within the state.
Describe strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators.
Describe strategies for assisting other components of the statewide workforce investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.
Describe how the agency's strategies will be used to:
- achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1);
- support innovation and expansion activities; and
- overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and the state Supported Employment Services Program.
The NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (NC DVRS) and its SRC, as noted in attachment 4.11(c)(1), has established priorities, goals, and strategies that will drive the Division forward in providing an effective and needs-driven program of rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities. These were also established to reinforce efforts toward the following:
•Expand and improve services to all individuals with disabilities;
•Ensure that the Division collaborates and assists other entities/agencies within the statewide workforce development
system in order to respond to and work with individuals with disabilities;
•Assure the broadest use of assistive technology services/devices in all phases of rehabilitation;
•Address identified barriers relative to equitable access and participation by individuals with disabilities in all state
vocational rehabilitation programs/services;
•Improve the Division’s performance on the evaluation standards and performance indicators established pursuant to
section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended.
PART I: STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE IDENTIFIED PRIORITIES AND GOALS: For each of the following goals, the Division has established a separate dedicated committee that is charged with developing an action plan with timelines, help coordinate and monitor the progress of the activities within the action plan enabling achievement of the goals over the period spanning FFY 2012-14.
Priority 1: GOAL 1: Employment Outcomes: Increase quantity and quality of employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities, particularly individuals with significant/most significant disabilities through a dual customer approach.
Objective 1.1: Develop and maintain quality relationships with businesses in a variety of industries
across the state.
Strategies and Substrategies in support of Goal 1 Objective 1.1:
Strategy 1.1a: Leverage existing business relationships.
Substrategy 1.1a1: Examine current business activities to ascertain what is being gained by the
Division from these relationships.
Substrategy 1.1a2: Emphasize staff engagement in follow up activities with current business
Strategy 1.1b: Identify opportunities to create new business relationships across various employment
fields and geographic areas.
Substrategy 1.1b1: Ensure coordination of Division staff across geographic areas.
Substrategy 1.1b2: Identify and partner with consumers who are willing to relocate elsewhere in
the state for a job opportunity.
Substrategy 1.1b3: Establish the Western Regional Employment Specialist position.
Substrategy 1.1b4: Fill the Statewide Employment Specialist position.
Substrategy 1.1b5: Create an employer portal through the BEAM system that allows them to post
job openings as wells as view profiles of consumers who are looking for employment.
Substrategy 1.1b6: Revise and fully develop the employer page of the public website.
Strategy 1.1c: Determine the effectiveness of the services NC DVRS provides to its current business
Substrategy 1.1c1: Review the design and implementation of the Business Services survey.
Substrategy 1.1.c2: Establish systematic tracking of follow up services.
Strategy 1.1d: Continue to assist staff in developing and maintaining skills in the area of business
Strategy 1.1e: Develop and implement a structured system to track business activities at the statewide
and unit office levels.
Objective 1.2: Provide consumers with the services necessary to increase their employment options.
Strategies and Substrategies in support of Goal 1 Objective 1.2:
Strategy 1.2a: Assist consumers in making informed decisions regarding employment fields that have
demand for workers, including the option for self-employment.
Substrategy 1.2a1: Training in and provision of information to staff and consumers on local and
state labor markets, including career fields with high demand for workers.
Substrategy 1.2a2: Increased collaboration with the Employment Security Commission and its
local JobLink Career Centers.
Substrategy 1.2a3: Systematically measure consumer skills, interests and abilities utilizing a
variety of methods, based on the consumers’ needs.
Substrategy 1.2a4: Reallocate resources to enable continued operation, support and activities of
statewide small business consultant.
Strategy 1.2b: Increase and improve training opportunities available to consumers.
Substrategy 1.2b1: Expand job search skills training to more consumers, including those
pursuing a post secondary degree.
Substrategy 1.2b2: Target cases who are in their last semester of school for on-the-job training
Substrategy 1.2b3: Emphasize consistent use of transitioning planning for post-secondary
Substrategy 1.2b4: Partner and expand collaboration with career development offices at colleges
and universities statewide.
Substrategy 1.2b5: Make On-the-Job Training experiences available to a greater number of
Substrategy 1.2b6: Target internship opportunities with employers that NC DVRS has
Strategy 1.2c: Increase and improve supported employment and work adjustment training opportunities
Substrategy 1.2c1: Work with Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs), TACE, and other
resources to develop training opportunities to increase the quality of services available statewide.
Substrategy 1.2c2: Work with NC MH/DD/SAS employment specialist to help optimize the
amount of funding made available and used for long term follow along services required by
This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 11:07AM by Philip Protz
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals
The following program goals and priorities of the Division were developed in collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council, along with input gathered through the comprehensive statewide needs assessment process, public input, and internal organizational needs assessment and planning processes for purposes of effectively carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs. In addition, the priorities and goals established support improved performance on standards and indicators and improved compliance in casework issues identified in the Corrective Action Plan that has since been completed.
Priority 1: Goal 1.0: Assist eligible individuals, and individuals with significant/most significant disabilities who need supported employment, to obtain, maintain, or regain high quality employment through a systematic, sustainable approach with demonstrated results.
Indicators for Priority 1: NC DVRS will equal or improve performance when compared to the baseline for the following measurable indicators:
1.8 The average number of hours worked weekly by persons successfully rehabilitated.
Performance Assessment: NC DVRS has experienced only a slight increase over the previous year in the average number of hours worked by individuals closed successfully, most likely the result of a continued reduction in working hours offered by employers as a result of the continued economic slowdown, which is beyond the influence of the Division. The performance on this measure tends to be influenced by the number of successful closures closed with Supported Employment decreases the average, since many individuals employed with SE do not have the capacity to work full time hours. In general, the Division will continue to strive to increase the number of hours worked by those who close with a successful employment outcome.
1.9 The percent of employment outcomes in technical, managerial and professional occupations*.
*Note: The use of SOC codes and the RSA-provided crosswalk in FFY 2007 resulted in an under-reporting of individuals employed in the PROF/TECH/MGR category. DOT codes were restored to the client datafiles in FFY 2008 and were used in this report.
Performance Assessment: The Division observed another slight decrease in the percentage of individuals receiving employment in technical, managerial, or professional occupations. The decline in the outcomes in this category are primarily reflective of the economic downturn during the time period this was measured. The Division will continue to take measures to increase access to training opportunities and related supports to enable individuals with the interests and abilities to pursue these positions.
1.10 Of all individuals with significant disabilities who exited the VR program after receiving services under an IPE and who were not employed at application, the percentage of individuals with significant disabilities who achieved an employment outcome with earnings.
Performance Assessment: During FFY 2010, the Division was unable to sustain the rate of increase in the successful outcome rate for this population experienced between FFY 08 and 09. Since the rate was only a few points lower than the previous year, this reduction is does not present as an alarming trend to date. The Division has strong hope that the ARRA-funded contracts with CRPs for innovative approaches to training, transportation, and employment will significantly impact this success rate to be observed during FFY 2011. Pertaining to supported employment, one limiting factor possibly leading to the observed results is the continued lack of consistently available externally-provided funding for extended services.
1.11 Of all individuals with significant disabilities receiving public support at application who exited the VR program after receiving services, the percentage of individuals with significant disabilities who achieved an employment outcome and who increased their weekly earnings.
Performance Assessment: Following a very strong performance during FFY 2008 and 09, the Division observed a slight downturn in this measurable indicator, probably due to the continued tight labor market conditions experienced in the state during FFY 2010.
1.12 The total, mean, and median earnings from work for the individuals identified in 1.11 who have significant disabilities and who received public support at application*.
|TOTAL Weekly Earnings at close for ISD w/P.S. at Application||MEAN Weekly Earnings at Close for ISD w/P.S.||MEDIAN Weekly Earnings at Close for ISD w/P.S.|
*NOTE: These data include all individuals with significant disabilities and earnings outcomes who received public support at application, not just those whose earnings at closure exceeded earnings at application.
Performance Assessment: While the Division did realize a lower total number of placements in this category and decrease in total weekly earnings, the average and mean earnings for those employed were significantly higher and favorable. An increase in all categories is anticipated in FFY 2011.
1.13 The percent of persons rehabilitated in full-time competitive employment who are covered by health insurance through employment.
Performance Assessment: NC DVRS consumers experienced another slight decline again this year. According to the results of a 2010 survey conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the percentage of firms offering health benefits in 2010 increase sharply to 69 percent, up from 60 percent in 2009, largely because of an increase in the offer rate among firms with 3 to 9 workers. They speculate that because most workers are employed by large firms, the shift among the smallest firms did not have a major effect on either the percentage of workers offered health benefits or the percentage of workers covered at their job. The survey also tracks the premiums for worker-only health benefits, which increased 5 percent in 2010 to reach $5,049 annually. Workers on average are paying $899 annually for single coverage, up from $779 in 2009. Forty-seven percent of covered workers are in single coverage plans. (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Employee Health Benefits: 2010 Summary of Findings). The Division will continue to establish relationships with all sizes of employers and target employment with those who offer this benefit very necessary to our consumers.
1.14 Number[and percentage]of successful employment outcomes after participating in post-secondary education.
Performance Assessment: While the Division has increased tuition contributions to the catalog rates for the majority of post-secondary training to encourage participation in post-secondary education, NC DVRS is not yet seeing the results of this policy adjustment in the form of resulting employment placements. The experienced decrease is very likely the result of significant loss of positions within the state during 2009-2010. It is anticipated that this percentage will continue to increase as individuals take full advantage of the current policies pending a stabilization of the labor market.
1.15 The average hourly wage achieved by individuals employed as a direct result of supported employment services.
Performance Assessment: The performance observed in this measure over the timeframe presented can be partially attributed toward a general increase in wages due to the increase in the Federal minimum wage over the time period. 1.16 The average hourly wage achieved by transitioning youths who received services as part of their IPE and who achieved successful employment outcomes.
Performance Assessment:The Division continues to promote its in-school work adjustment services and other collaborative programs emphasizing helping transitioning youth to obtain paid work experiences, increasing their market value. Further, the increase in Federal minimum wage also contributed favorably to the observed trend.
1.17 Decrease the percentage of individuals indicating on consumer satisfaction survey Question 8: "I do not have access to transportation to get to work."
Performance Assessment: The measured slight decrease in respondents noting that they have no transportation for work. The Division made a significant policy adjustment February, 2008, in the rate for sponsorship of private mileage, private conveyance from 25 cents/mile to the current IRS rate cents/mile. In FFY 2010, 513 more individuals received transportation services than the previous year (an increase of 8.8%). Further, the Division increased their total expenditures in the transportation-related categories by another 11.4% beyond the previous year. Consumers utilize a variety of transportation modalities including driving their own vehicles, riding public transit systems, paratransit and taxi in areas where available. During FFY 2011, it is anticipated that several additional who have been unable to locate solutions in rural areas will receive employment-related transportation solutions through ARRA-funded collaborative projects with community rehabilitation programs.
Priority 2: Goal 2.0: Increase the customer’s ability to easily access the Division’s programs, services, feedback tools, and information that will help them understand the NC DVRS program and potential services available to them as well as to subsequently make informed choices regarding their employment goals and Individualized Plan for Employment should they apply and are determined eligible for services.
Indicators for Priority 2: NC DVRS will equal or improve performance when compared to the baseline for the following measurable indicators:
2.2 The number[and percentage]of all individuals referred from JobLink Career Centers who achieve an employment outcome after receiving VR services through an IPE.
Performance Assessment: The increase in VR referrals through JobLinks during FFY 2010 may be the result of the positive impact of the Disability Navigators helping educate JobLinks about appropriate referral practices.
2.3 The percentage of all consumers responding via the consumer satisfaction survey [both successfully (status 26) and unsuccessfully (status 28) closed following receipt of services under an IPE] that their "overall experience with the North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) program" was excellent.
FFY 2010 Respondents by Closure Status: Successful Closure with Employment: (539) 55.0% Unsuccessful Closure following receipt of services: (96) 30.7%
Performance Assessment:Consumer satisfaction showed a slight decline during FFY 2010. The Division will strive for additional progress in this area through continued emphasis on servicing the customer, and anticipates that once the new electronic casework management software system is installed that an increase should be observed, should all other variables remain steady.
2.4 The percentage of all consumers responding via the consumer satisfaction survey [both successfully (status 26) and unsuccessfully (status 28) closed following receipt of services under an IPE] that the response time of services received by Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) staff was excellent.
FFY 2010 Respondents By Closure Status: Successful Closure with Employment: (508) 51.89% Unsuccessful Closure following receipt of services: (83) 27.12%
Performance Assessment: NC DVRS experienced a slight decline in this indicator and anticipates that some improvement will be observed following full implementation of the newer easier to use electronic casework accounting system that should facilitate timelier service delivery should all other variables such as staff vacancies and funding remain stable.
2.5 The average consumer satisfaction survey rating of the 8 service categories mentioned under question 2 inquiring if the Division’s services helped them "a lot."
Performance Assessment: The Division observed a slight decrease over the previous year. The area where the consumer indicated the greatest amount of assistance was received was helping identify the consumer’s employment-related needs and the area where the least assistance was perceived was receiving on-the-job training. Due to the heavy promotion of OJT services during FFY 2011, the results of this particular area should increase significantly. Information from the consumer satisfaction surveys continues to be presented statewide so that service staff are aware of the results and can be conscious of these service elements.
Priority 3: Goal 3.0: NC DVRS shall improve and expand its service capabilities through increased collaboration with entities that can positively impact the quality and effectiveness of services provided.
Indicators for Priority 3: NC DVRS will equal or improve performance when compared to the baseline for the following measurable indicators:
3.1 The number of transition-age youths who achieved a competitive employment outcome after receiving services under an IPE*.
Performance Assessment: Despite the noted increase in individuals utilizing VR services earlier as a result of OCS curriculum, this indicator is down, proportionally mirroring the drop in overall successful outcomes experienced in FFY 2010 attributed to the economic downturn during this period. NC DVRS continues to provide employment marketing information and supports prior to transition-aged individuals with disabilities exiting school to support the OCS and students achieving employment to graduate.
3.2 Of all of transition-age youths who exited the VR program after receiving services under an IPE, the percentage of transition-age youths who achieved a competitive employment outcome*.
*Note: Transition Age Youth (TAY) includes VR consumers under age 24 at closure. This definition is expanded from the used in the last report (i.e., under age 23) to conform to the RSA reporting definition. Data for FFY 2007 are updated accordingly.
Performance Assessment: While the total number of successful outcomes among this population is down as recorded in indicator 3.1, the Division experienced only a small percentage decrease of Transition Age Youth obtaining successful employment outcomes. The students in North Carolina’s Occupational Course of Study (OCS) are in competitive employment or actively searching for employment. NC DVRS’s Business Relations Representatives (BRRs) become involved in the cases prior to the student’s exit. Some of the Memorandum of Agreements between NC DVRS and the school systems have added BRRs to work with the schools. Another effective strategy improving student outcomes appears to be the use of the benefits specialist and the outreach of the Work Incentive program providing information with school teachers and families of students with significant disabilities.
3.3 The number of transition-age youth receiving special education under an IEP who received vocational rehabilitation services under an IPE.
Performance Assessment: During FFY 2010 the number of youth transitioning from IEP to IPE-based services only slightly decreased over the previous year. Please note that the percentage in 3.4 below remains at a high level and actually increased. Active collaboration among all responsible organizations to increase training and coordination is ongoing.
3.4 Of all transition-age special education students, the percentage of transition-age special education students who received vocational rehabilitation services under an IPE and special education services under an IEP.
Performance Assessment: NC DVRS attributes the observed increase in percentage to the strong collaborations with schools. NC DVRS transition counselors are actively attending the school transition conferences and local regional meetings keeping communication open to work on situations that effect referrals. Relationships continue to be strengthened by NC DVRS and schools getting information at the same time.
3.5 Increase successful employment outcomes resulting from individuals receiving supported employment services.
Performance Assessment: The observed decrease between FFY 2008 through 2010 is most likely a reflection of the economic downturn and continued limited funding for extended services. While some of the supported employment providers subsidize portions of extended services expenses through realized profits, others are more reliant on funding through the mental health system’s Local Management Entity. Funding through both of these sources are reduced during tight economic times and actually limits the outcomes of these combined efforts, despite effective collaboration that is steadily occurring. The Division has six community rehabilitation program specialists and a statewide program specialist providing increased guidance to counselors and an active steering committee that proactively plans and addresses any issues that providers wish to address.
3.6 Increase successful employment outcomes resulting from individuals receiving work adjustment/job coaching services*.
*These data include individuals in the NC DVRS PUR system for other than evaluation, and those who received authorizations for these services that have since been paid.
Performance Assessment: During 2010, Work Adjustment /Job Coaching services enabled the highest number of individuals to close successfully in employment as compared with the previous three years. This is reflective of a healthy working relationship with the various Community Rehabilitation Programs that provide this service effectively. During FFY 2010-11 the Division began to utilize additional ARRA-funded contracts that should innovatively utilize these services with increased outcomes expected in FFY 2011.
3.7 Increase successful employment outcomes of individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, including psychosocial or other mental health conditions*.
*NOTE: excludes TBI, SA, and Autism statistics
Performance Assessment: The Division experienced some slippage in this measurable indicator during FFY 2009 and 2010, but higher activity than during the baseline year. The recent trend is most likely the result of a weakened economy during that period with less overall hiring activity. Other variable are that while the Division experienced an increase in programs to provide the Individual Supported Employment model to the severe and persistent mentally ill consumers by 1 employer with two (2) new sites, it had lost 1 provider with 4 sites. Additionally, the Division is developing a pilot project utilizing Peer Support Specialists to serve the severely mentally ill consumers in the Charlotte area with the hopes and expectations of offering such statewide at a later date.
Priority 4: Goal 4.0: Increase measures necessary to recruit, train and retain qualified staff and provide resources and tools necessary to carry out the Division’s goals, priorities, and programmatic services for individuals with disabilities statewide.
Indicators for Priority 4: NC DVRS will equal or improve performance when compared to the baseline for the following measurable indicators:
4.1 Increase the number of qualified applicants for Rehabilitation Counselor I and Vocational Evaluator positions for units where recruitment difficulties exist.
Rehabilitation Counselor I
Vocational Evaluator I
Rehabilitation Counselor I
Vocational Evaluator I
Rehabilitation Counselor I .
Vocational Evaluator I
Performance Assessment:The Division is pleased to see an increase in applicants per position at this time. A greater challenge has been retaining these staff after they obtain their experience one or two years, which leads to smaller pools of experienced counselors applying for supervisory roles with much increased responsibility for compensation increases that are not in line with the demands of the additional responsibilities.
4.2 Increase the number of interns who are hired into Rehabilitation Counselor positions.
Performance Assessment:The Division’s increase in this indicator may be primarily the result of the improvements made to the internship program during 2010.
4.3 Decrease the average number of direct service staff (Counselor, Human Services Coordinator, Manager, Vocational Evaluator, Rehabilitation Engineer) vacancies quarterly.
38 (Quarterly average for group of positions)
Performance Assessment:The undesirable increase in this indicator has been attributed largely due to the tightening state budget during this period. In such times a "freeze-release" process is invoked, which creates added delay in filling vacant positions. Furthermore, during this time period vacancies in our state-funded Independent Living Program were unfilled due to funding uncertainties.
4.4 Decrease the average vacancy length of direct service staff (Counselor, Human Services Coordinator, Manager, Vocational Evaluator, Rehabilitation Engineer) on an annual basis.
223 days (annual average for group of positions*)
* BEACON system has allowed improved accuracy of reporting and this number has been updated.
Performance Assessment: The Division was able to achieve the desired results due to the quick work of HR staff, allowable exceptions to "freeze" procedures for direct service staff positions, and the increased pool of qualified applicants.
4.5 Decrease the percentage of all individuals closed unsuccessfully as a result of the counselor being unable to locate or contact them.
Performance Assessment: Unfortunately, the Division’s observed results in this area has returned to 2007 results. The Division continues to look for effective ways to maintain contact and improve regular communication with its clients, and is anticipating that the replacement electronic casework system will have features such as a consumer portal that will allow consumers who are computer users to review their statuses and provide updates to the counselors and maintain better communication in general.
4.6 Decrease the percentage of all individuals closed unsuccessfully as a result of refusing additional services.
Performance Assessment: NC DVRS was not able to meet this goal. The Division is aware that most applicants are looking for assistance with finding employment, and efforts will be increased to better meet this need for as many clients as possible through successful implementation through the Dual Customer Approach initiative. Furthermore, in an effort to better understand more specifically why individuals are refusing additional services, the Division began sending additional open-ended survey questions to individuals who were closed unsuccessfully. During FFY 2010, 191 responses were received out of the 3,225 surveys sent to individuals closed unsuccessfully. The 3 major areas of open-ended replies were in the areas of 1) Assistance Finding a Job (49.21%); 2) Assistance with Medical-related needs (19.90%), and 3) Assistance with Training or Re-training (14.66%). A little more than 1.5 percent of respondents indicated that they no longer were seeking assistance from VR because their medical condition worsened.
Priority 5: Goal 5.0: Improve methods and processes by which the employment-related needs of individuals with disabilities within the state are comprehensively assessed and met through various applied strategies.
Indicators for Priority 5: 5.1 Identify minority and disability populations that are underserved or experience the lowest rates of successful employment, and increase the number and percentage that are effectively served and obtain employment through expanded resources including supported employment.
FFY 2008 (Baseline)
|Successful Closure by Disability|
Average All Disability Types
Mental health/emotional-based disabilities
Orthopedic or Amputation-related disabilities
Hearing or Vision-related disabilities
|Successful Closure by Disability|
Average All Disability Types
Mental health/emotional-based disabilities
Orthopedic or Amputation-related disabilities
Hearing or Vision-related disabilities
|Successful Closure by Disability|
Average All Disability Types
Mental health/emotional-based disabilities
Orthopedic or Amputation-related disabilities
Hearing or Vision-related disabilities
FFY 2008 (Baseline)
|Successful Closure by Race/Ethnicity|
Average All Race/Ethnicity Types
American Indian/Alaskan Native
|Successful Closure by Race/Ethnicity|
Average All Race/Ethnicity Types
American Indian/Alaskan Native
|Successful Closure by Race/Ethnicity|
Average All Race/Ethnicity Types
American Indian/Alaskan Native
Performance Assessment: During FFY 2010, the Division observed a drop in the success rate of all of the disabilities tracked within this report, but most noticeable increase in success rate was among those with hearing or vision-related disabilities. Regarding success rate for minorities, the most significant improvement between FFY 08 and 09 occurred occurred among the Hispanic/Latino population, which was maintained exactly during FFY 2010. The Division employs one Hispanic/Latino outreach specialist, therefore this strategy, along with having more materials in Spanish may be the strongest reasons for this positive impact in the success rate among this population.
In the FFY 2010 State Plan, NC DVRS identified the following goals for the Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds:
Supported Employment Goal 1: Increase the number of individuals with most significant disabilities who receive supported employment services.
FFY 2008 (Baseline): 4,206 individuals
FFY 2009: 4,264 individuals
FFY 2010: 4,385 individuals
Performance Assessment: Several factors contributed toward the successful achievement of this goal, among them successful collaborative committee work of the CRP-DVR steering committee systematically addressing any problem areas in the provision of services; several regional collaborative trainings where best practices and foundational information was reinforced; excellent educational efforts and management by the six regional crp-specialists, and better information dissemination through an improved web site presenting information on these services.
Supported Employment Goal 2: Increase the number of individuals who receive supported employment services who have deafness, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind, traumatic brain injury, or mental illness as their primary disability.
FFY 2008 (Baseline): 1,272 individuals
FFY 2009: 1,334 individuals
FFY 2010: 1,322 individuals
Performance Assessment: Again, several of the same contributing factors as identified in Goal 2 above enabled the Division to realize this increase. During this period, there was one community rehabilitation program that had aggressively expanded their services to deaf individuals through significant increases in deaf staff, but then was suddenly required to reduce these staff numbers due to financial concerns. Improvements in working relationships with the MH/DD/SAS, NCDVRS, and the community rehabilitation programs may help improve these numbers going forward.
Supported Employment Goal 3: Increase the percentage of individuals who were closed as successfully employed after receiving supported employment services (success rate).
FFY 2008 (Baseline): 64%
FFY 2009: 58%
FFY 2010: 51%
Performance Assessment: This observed, which the Division is intent on reversing may partially be attributed to the instability of several SE service providers during this period. During this economic downturn, several programs were struggling to retain staff due to overarching financial concerns. Furthermore, our community rehabilitation program specialists indicate that this trend may also be attributed to their observation that today’s employers are most interested in hiring workers who are able to multitask as compared with an individual dedicated toward one or two tasks. This therefore limits the placement opportunities for individuals receiving supported employment services. This trend will continue to be monitored and possible ways to reverse this trend will be explored.
Supported Employment Goal 4: Of the Community Rehabilitation Programs serving North Carolinians with disabilities, a minimum of 85% shall have obtained current national accreditation.
May 2009 (Baseline): 84% nationally accredited
May 2010: 88% nationally accredited
Performance Assessment: The increase experienced and attainment of this goal during this time period is the result of the Division working closely with and encouraging the many programs, including several new programs each year, to work toward meeting the Division’s standards. New programs are able to operate initially without this accreditation but must achieve this within a specified period of time.
Supported Employment Goal 5: Collaboratively increase supported employment training to NC DVRS rehabilitation counselors and Community Rehabilitation Program direct service staff through the addition of a web-based curriculum development.
Performance Assessment: Through the efforts of the CRP specialists and a subcommittee of the CRP-DVRS Steering Committee, progress towards initial planning for this has been made. A needs assessment has been conducted in addition to the development of core curriculum topics. The Division will continue to work with the regional TACE to implement large components of the training effort addressing this area.
Supported Employment Goal 6: Continue collaboration with the Division of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse Services to secure reporting of the expenditures of the Long Term Support service definition (YM 645) in order to assure consistent administration of these funds. This will become critical as more local management entities (LMEs) move to single stream funding. Additional work needs to be done on assuring utilization of this service for consumers with mental health diagnoses, as indicated within the definition.
Performance Assessment:The Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services hired an employment specialist that is quickly helping bridge a communications gap that has existed for over the previous year. This will help assure employment issues are regularly addressed between our two divisions. Further, this individual has been very involved improving LME funding agreements to provide emphasis on effective utilization and accountng of extended services funding for recipients of supported employment services. The individual is also providing regular education to the service provider community. Efforts within the Division are largely spearheaded through the Program Specialists from the Division’s Employment Services, Program Development and Outreach Section. They maintain representation on The Mental Health Planning Council which effectively assures planning and funding for consumers with mental health disabilities. In addition, the section was represented on the NC Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on Transitions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities which reviewed all aspects of the service system in NC, including employment. Employment was identified as a priority area which will give NC Legislators insight into service challenges such as adequate funding for extended services. This goal is ongoing.
GENERAL UPDATE: Over the past 24 months, The Division has increased programs to provide the Individual Supported Employment model to the severe and persistent mentally ill consumers by 1 employer with two (2) new sites. It also has lost 1 provider with 4 sites. Additionally, the Division is developing a pilot project utilizing Peer Support Specialists to serve the severely mentally ill consumers in the Charlotte area with the hopes and expectations of offering such statewide at a later date. A fee-for-service relationship exists between the Division and a majority of the individual supported employment vendors. There is a statewide average hourly rate established to reimburse the programs for services rendered. The group models (enclave, mobile crew, and small business) receive payment based on a fee-for-service relationship that is individualized based on each program’s allowable cost. Title VI, Part B supported employment funds are further distributed to community rehabilitation programs that participate in the Division’s performance-based funded system. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors issuing an on-line authorization, distribute these funds to performance-based vendors. Major benefit payments are made for completion of work stabilization, and final payment is rendered for a successful employment outcome. In addition, there is a cash flow milestone payment for placement, (14 calendar days of employment) as a part of the stabilization major benefit payment. It should be noted, that Title VI; Part B Funds only make up approximately 5.2% of the Division’s annual commitment of resources for supported employment programs that serve the most significantly disabled consumers.
For FFY 2010, NC DVRS met all RSA standards and indicators with the exception of 1.1 and 1.5.
1.1 The number of persons achieving employment outcomes will equal or exceed the previous year.
Performance Assessment: During FFY 2010, the number of successful employment outcomes decreased to 329 fewer than the previous year, and unfortunately, the goal of increasing outcomes consecutively on an annual basis with respect to 2007’s baseline did not materialize despite policy adjustments and the expansion of the dual customer approach statewide that occurred later in FFY 2010. The resulting impact of this implementation on the outcome of this indicator should be observable during mid 2011 and 2012. The resulting decline in successful closures is largely attributable to the downturn in the economy in North Carolina, which, according to ESC reports indicates that since the beginning of the 2007 national recession to September 2009, NC had lost 250,300 (6.0%) of total nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate in NC also exceeded 10% during that period, placing it in next to highest tier of states within this bracket. Subsequently, during FFY 2010, the unemployment rate in North Carolina exceeded the national rate by 1% for most of that period until it converged with and matched the national rate of 9.6% at the end of that period. Since the announcement from the National Bureau of Economic Research that the 2007 recession ended June 2009, North Carolina’s labor force declined by 64,358 (1.4%) as measured September, 2010. The Division’s performance Some of the Division’s strategies to improve performance on this indicator are summarized in attachment 4.11(d) One particular strategy of which the foundational components were laid during FFY 2010 was the time-limited adjustment to On-The-Job training and internship services reimbursement enabled by time-limited ARRA funding. 100% of wages were reimbursed to encourage cash-strapped employers to train then hire consumers while developing a mutually beneficial working relationship. The greatest impact on this indicator should occur during FFY 2011 based on the timing.
1.2 The percentage of all individuals who have achieved an employment outcome after exiting the program having received services will equal or exceed 55.8%.
Performance Assessment: The Division is pleased to have met this indicator again during FFY 2010, during which, increased awareness of this indicator enabled increased emphasis by management. Group orientation at the larger offices has helped better inform potential applicants of the program’s emphasis and requirements prior to application. Those who were not interested in the program and requirements following the group orientation did not apply for services, which increased the success rate.
1.3 The percentage of individuals rehabilitated who achieve competitive employment earning at least minimum wage will equal or exceed 72.6%
Performance Assessment: NC DVRS continues to have strong performance in this indicator, since competitive employment remains a successful closure standard within the Division’s policy.
1.4 The percent of individuals who have significant disabilities among those who achieve competitive employment will be at least 62.4%.
Performance Assessment: The Division continues to greatly exceed the RSA standard in this category due in part to excellent collaboration and outreach efforts with community rehabilitation programs, advocacy groups, and multiple referral sources. 1.5 The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the program in competitive employment as a ratio to the average hourly earnings for all employed North Carolinians will equal or exceed 0.52.
*Note: These data are contingent on available data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average NC hourly wage is now reported at $18.54 for FFY 2007 , $18.77 for FFY 2008, $19.01 for FFY 2009. For FFY 2010, average NC earnings are based on the most recent four quarters of information available ($19.30).
Performance Assessment: Even though the Division’s performance on this indicator is the highest it has been in the previous four years, the Division continues to strive to meet this indicator, which it considers the most challenging standard to meet. The Division’s strategy to better meet this indicator is to encourage employment in higher wage positions, achievable through additional training and education. Policies have been adjusted to encourage post-secondary training for all situations where an individual with a disability can potentially benefit from such training. On the other hand, increasing the number of individuals served through supported employment, where wages are traditionally lower, has an undesirable effect on the Division’s performance on this measure.
1.6 Of the individuals who achieve competitive employment, the difference between the percent who reported their own income as the largest single source of economic support at closure compared to the percent at application. The difference must equal or exceed 53.0.
Performance Assessment: The Division has shown solid performance on this indicator, and anticipates continued performance in FFY 2011.
2.1 The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio of the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities will equal or exceed 0.80.
Performance Assessment: NC DVRS continues to perform well on this indicator and expects to continue strong performance indefinitely, facilitated by outreach, a diversified service base, and continued efforts to collaborate with organizations representing diverse populations. Cultural awareness training efforts as part of the revised goals will also help maintain the Division’s strong performance on this indicator.
During FFY 2010 NC DVRS reserved and used a portion of Title I funds to move forward with the strategies identified to achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1). Two areas where funds were utilized: •Strategic Needs and Assessment Planning (SNAP): The Division continues to increase the effectiveness of program service delivery and performance through ongoing work of the Strategic Needs and Assessment Planning (SNAP) initiative. •Specialized Supported Employment Demonstration Project: In collaboration with NC Easterseals/UCP, a demonstration program that targets the provision of extensive wrap around support services for dually-diagnosed individuals with mental and mobility impairments that have not been successful with traditional supported employment programs was funded. During SFY 2010, the demonstration program reported that 9 individuals achieved competitive employment outcomes or reached stabilization in employment. The Division has been focusing its efforts on effectively utilizing ARRA funds allocated to help meet the needs of consumers with significant and most significant disabilities in areas of employment training, employment-related transportation, and the creation of CRP-based enterprises for purposes of training. These efforts will continue through FFY 2011.
This screen was last updated on Aug 1 2011 2:19PM by Philip Protz
The North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services in cooperation with the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, provided grant funding in 1985 to 6 service providers in North Carolina to implement supported employment services. In 1986 the Division was awarded funding from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services to create a systems change approach to implementing supported employment services in North Carolina. Since 1987 the Division’s effort has grown to a statewide system of approximately 118 supported employment programs. During FFY 2010, 4,480 individuals received supported employment services and 923 of these individuals achieved a successful employment outcome. Supported employment providers receive vendorship funding through the utilization of Title VI, Part B funds and General services fund (110). Title VI, Part B funds will continue to be utilized to supplement funds under Part B of Title I for the cost of supported employment services to persons with the most significant disabilities. However, the extent of services offered to a particular individual is determined on an individual basis incorporating the individual’s informed choice pertaining to their need to achieve and to maintain a vocational goal. Examples of populations that will be served include (but are not limited to) individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, significant cognitive impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, and traumatic head injury. Supported employment services will be provided on a time-limited basis to individuals with the most significant disabilities. These services may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- development of and placement in jobs based on client informed choice in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, interests, concerns, abilities, and capabilities of individuals with the most significant disabilities;
- intensive on-site job skills training and other training provided by skilled job trainers, co-workers, and other qualified individuals, including fading and stabilization;
- extended follow along services, including regular contact with employers, trainees, parents, guardians, or other suitable professional and informed advisors, in order to reinforce and stabilize the job placement; and
- discrete post-employment services may be funded under Title I of the Act following the individual’s transition to extended services if the required services are unavailable from the extended service providers and if they are necessary to maintain the job placement.
In addition to the individual and group models of supported employment, the transitional employment model will continue to be funded on a demonstration basis. These programs will provide transitional employment services to persons with severe and persistent mental illness and will serve as model sites for future transitional employment programs. Under federal regulations, the time-limited vocational rehabilitation supported employment services to be provided are not to exceed 18 months funding unless the individualized plan for employment indicates that more than 18 months of services is necessary in order for the individual to achieve job stability prior to transition to extended services. The transition process from vocational rehabilitation services to the extended service phase begins during the stabilization phase of supported employment. During this phase, the counselor documents the individual’s adjustment to the job environment and job duties. Some indicators of stabilization include, but are not limited to, employer satisfaction, client satisfaction and minimal job coach intervention. The extended services phase continues during the 90 days after the end of the stabilization phase. Interagency involvement begins from the point of referral for vocational rehabilitation services provided by the Division and continues until the stabilization phase is completed and the long-term support provider begins providing extended services.
This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2011 8:19PM by Philip Protz
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