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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

1.1 The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired is authorized to submit this State Plan under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended [1] and its supplement under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act [2].

1.2 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, the New Jersey Department of Human Services [3] agrees to operate and administer the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program in accordance with the provisions of this State Plan [4], the Rehabilitation Act, and all applicable regulations [5], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Section 111 of the Rehabilitation Act are used solely for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and the administration of the State Plan for the vocational rehabilitation services program.

1.3 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for supported employment services, the designated state agency agrees to operate and administer the State Supported Employment Services Program in accordance with the provisions of the supplement to this State Plan [6], the Rehabilitation Act and all applicable regulations [7], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Title VI, Part B, are used solely for the provision of supported employment services and the administration of the supplement to the Title I State Plan.
Yes

1.4 The designated state agency and/or the designated state unit has the authority under state law to perform the functions of the state regarding this State Plan and its supplement.
Yes

1.5 The state legally may carry out each provision of the State Plan and its supplement.
Yes

1.6 All provisions of the State Plan and its supplement are consistent with state law.
Yes

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

Executive Director New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

... has the authority under state law to receive, hold and disburse federal funds made available under this State Plan and its supplement.

1.8 The (enter title of state officer below)...
Yes

Executive Director New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Vito J. DeSantis

Title of Signatory
Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
08/31/2012

Assurances Certified By

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

Comments:

NJCBVI will conduct a comprehensive statewide needs assessment on a triennial basis, as required by Section 101(a)(15)(A) of the act and 34 CFR 361.29

NJCBVI will establish a State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) that meets the criteria set forth in Section 105 of the act, as required in Section 101(a)(21)(ii), so CBVI can work with the SRC to fulfill the responsibilities listed in Section 101(a)(21)(ii).

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Vito J. DeSantis

Title of Signatory
Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
08/31/2012

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. There is in the state a recipient(s) of a grant under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near federal and state reservations. No

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) and its State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) continue to build a strong relationship and partnership on behalf of individuals who are blind and visually impaired. Meetings of the SRC were held five times this year, presentations were made to the SRC membership to increase their knowledge base and further build capacity, and appointments and re-appointments were made by the Governor’s Office. The SRC continues to open up avenues to expand consumer employment and quality of life opportunities.

State Rehabilitation Council Activities in FFY 2012 -The SRC continued to review, analyze and advise the CBVI regarding VR’s performance related to the extent, scope and effectiveness of services. -The SRC membership assisted CBVI in conducting three public forums in preparation of the FFY 2013 State Plan (4/3/2012, 4/10/2012, and 4/13/2012). A teleconference line was provided for individuals to join the forums via telephone. The option of submitting written comments was available to solicit feedback from consumers that were not able to be present for the forums.

 

-The SRC’s Policy and Procedures subcommittee continued to provide feedback on several new policies and procedures implemented by CBVI.

 -The SRC continued to meet five times in FFY 2012 to build a more effective working relationship among members and provide training opportunities for the counsel and the general public. -In collaboration with CBVI, the SRC continued its public relations and outreach efforts to inform organizations and individuals about whom they are and their purpose in relation to VR services. -The SRC was provided federal and state updates on a regular basis at all of the SRC meetings.

 

-The SRC membership developed the SRC Annual Report, which, in addition to providing information on the activities of the SRC, highlighted the many accomplishments of CBVI, in providing quality services to individuals who are blind and visually impaired, and assisting them in successfully achieving their employment goals.

-The SRC continued to provide recommendations related to CBVI operations and program in FFY 2012.  

In Federal Fiscal Year 2012, CBVI provided the State Rehabilitation Council with updates on its programs and activities.  Commission administrative staff presented to the SRC memberships five times during the year to update them on the current state of affairs in the agency.   SRC Input and Recommendations Regarding FFY 2013 State Plan Goals and Priorities Administrative staff presented to the SRC membership the goals and objectives of the FFY 2012 and 2013 State Plans.  One of the continuing initiatives is for the SRC and CBVI to expand outreach efforts to further educate agencies and the general public about blindness and visual impairment.  To enhance case management productivity and efficiency, funding derived from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which was utilized to significantly upgrade CBVI’s data management and case management system. The Fully Accessible Client Tracking System (FACTS) allows CBVI staff to more efficiently manage its case loads and assists the administration in developing data reports that provides greater oversight of the provision of vocational rehabilitation services. The FACTS system was introduced into the agency in phases during FY2011 and was fully operational in FFY 2012. The SRC commended CBVI on its efforts to attend to the needs of the adult deaf-blind population with the creation of a new service program at the agency. CBVI, in collaboration with The College of New Jersey, developed a network of support personnel called Support Service Providers (SSP) to assist consumers who are deaf-blind in gaining greater integration into the community and to promote greater levels of employment.    The SRC also praised CBVI with maintaining communication with consumers, understanding their needs, developing initiatives to address their needs and open up employment opportunities.   

The SRC and CBVI Plan for FFY 2013

The following action items have been developed for FFY 2013:

•The SRC will continue to review, analyze and advise the CBVI regarding VR’s performance related to the extent, scope and effectiveness of VR services.

•In collaboration with CBVI, the SRC will continue its public relations and outreach efforts to inform organizations and individuals about whom they are and their purpose in relation to VR services.  SRC members with visual impairments will participate in Commission sponsored programs and activities to share their knowledge base and expertise with consumers and to serve as mentors and role models.

•The SRC will continue its advocacy efforts on behalf of CBVI.  Advocacy efforts will be directed to legislators and decision makers on the state and federal level.

•The SRC will continue to assist the Commission in promoting events and programs in 2012, such as the Summer College Prep Experience Program, the Work Skills Prep Program in collaboration with The College of New Jersey, and Disability Mentoring Day events.

•With the assistance of its Evaluation and Assessment Subcommittee, the SRC will help the Commission sponsor public forums in various regions of the State to elicit public comments on Commission services that will be used in the development of the agency’s State Plan goals.

•The SRC’s Policy and Procedures subcommittee will continue to review and provide feedback on new policies, and procedures pending implementation, and information for public distribution by CBVI.

•The SRC will develop an Annual Report in 2012, which again, in addition to highlighting the accomplishments of the SRC and the CBVI, will focus on the successes of consumers who are blind and visually impaired. •The SRC and the Commission will address the results of the RSA 2010 monitoring by implementing a corrective action plan. 

•The SRC Chair will work collaboratively with agency administration, the SRC Chair for the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) to develop training on role and responsibilities of new Council members for Councils of both agencies.

•The SRC will continue to meet bi-monthly in FFY 2012 - 2013 to continue building a more effective working relationship among members and provide training opportunities to the counsel and the general public.

Public Forums

The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) and the SRC conducted three public forums prior to the submittal of the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation. Notice of the forums was widely distributed via newspaper advertisements, emails to consumer and advocacy groups in New Jersey, posted on the agency’s website, mass mailings and through emails to agency staff to share with their consumers. Consumers, former consumers and other interested parties were invited to attend the forums or submit written comments. A toll-free teleconference option was also available for individuals to provide feedback about CBVI services via telephone. The Public Forum notice is located at the end of this document. The purpose of the forums was to solicit consumer comments and recommendations regarding CBVI’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program activities. The Forums were held at three locations throughout the state. The SRC representative welcomed the attendees, reviewed the purpose, duty and responsibilities of the SRC under the Rehabilitation Act and the need for consumers to provide comments and recommendations to assist the agency to better serve their constituents.  Individuals in attendance were invited to make comments and/or recommendations. Most of the individuals attending the Public Forum were pleased with the services that they received. In those instances where an individual consumer had an issue with the services he/she was receiving, it was recommended that follow up be conducted at the Regional Office level and appropriate actions occurred to connect the individual with the appropriate Regional Office Manager.

Summary of Written and Verbal Comments:

1) Concerned was expressed that the agency did not have sufficient VR Counselors to address the needs of consumers and that caseload sizes may be too large.  Agency Response:   At present all vacancies for VR Counselors have been filled and VR Supervisors track case assignments to ensure proper coverage.  

2) The agency is not doing enough to prepare blind and visually impaired children to attend post-secondary training and also compete in the labor market.   More instruction in blindness skills was recommended to promote greater independence and community integration. Several participants at all three forums noted that starting transition services at age 14 was not soon enough and recommended the agency begin transition services at age 10.   One speaker referenced the New York Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NY-CBVH) as an example, which funded a program to provide additional services to assist in transition to secondary and post-secondary training.   It was also noted that a waiver was obtained from RSA by NY-CBVH to utilize Section 110 funds for these activities. Agency Response: This comment was forwarded to Executive Director for review and clarification.   The Executive Director contacted the Director of NY-CBVH to learn the details of this new program and will explore ways to incorporate more employment focused preparation activities for students younger than 14 years of age.    

3) The frequency of Orientation and Mobility instruction for seniors, at one time a week, is not sufficient to learn the necessary skills to be independent in the community. Agency Response:   Orientation and Mobility services for seniors that are not pursuing a work goal are administered through the agency’s Independent Living Services unit.   The comment was forwarded to the unit’s Coordinator for further review. The agency always attempts to individualized services for each consumer’s needs and additional training may be possible based on an assessment by an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. However, agency resources are limited and a broad expansion of services may not be possible without expansion of financial resources.   

4) The LEAD program (Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Determination) a program for high school youth with visually impairments was praised as an effective transition program.   It was recommended that a similar program be created for younger students, especially in the age range of 10 to 14 years. Agency Response:   The agency provides transition services from age 14 to graduation from a secondary program. This comment is relevant to the Education Service component of the agency and was forwarded to the Coordinator of Education services for review.   The agency will explore how to incorporate more employment readiness activities for this population of students to better prepare them for employment, as per the previous comments above.  

5) The participation of Spanish speaking seniors with visual impairments has decreased in the SCILS program serving Hudson County.   The commenter noted that staff changes and the lack of Spanish language interpreters contributed to the decrease in attendance at large gatherings.   It was noted in past years that as many as sixteen Spanish speaking consumers participated in past events while recently there has been zero participation.   Agency’s Response: The SCILS program (Senior Community Independent Living Services) is funded by Title VII, Chapter 2 funds under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.   As this forum addressed issues related to Title I programs, this concern was forwarded to the Coordinator of Older Individuals who are Blind – Independent Living (OIB-IL) for review.   The SCILS programs are currently under review by agency administration to determine if a new approach needs to occur in order to better serve seniors with visual impairments.  

6) There is a need for individuals with minimal skills in using a computer to attend classes similar to the agency’s Access Tech program that was formally administered through DeWitt and Associates.   DeWitt and Associates went bankrupt and is no longer able to operate this program.   It is urged for the agency to explore other avenues to continue to provide this service Agency’s Response: The agency, with the assistance of the SRC, will assess the overall need for these services and determine if there is sufficient interest to recreate the program through another community rehabilitation provider.  

7) The agency should develop a resource guide for individuals that recently experienced vision loss to learn more about the types of services that are available Agency’s Response:   The agency will explore developing an additional basic resource guide in accessible formats to distribute to new clients, and on request.   The resource guide would also be posted on the agency’s website. The agency currently distributes handbooks on Vocational Rehabilitation Services, College Services and Transition Services offered at the agency; as well as a Consumer Information Handbook.   The Division of Disability Services, a sister agency of the Commission under the New Jersey Department of Human Services currently publishes a very comprehensive cross-disability resource guide that is updated annually.   The resource guide can be obtained free of charge at http://www.nj.gov/humanservices/dds/home/index.html.   The publication is offered in both English and Spanish versions.  

8) Concerned was expressed at the possibility of the agency being dismantled and its service units being absorbed into more generic service agencies, e.g., VR services for the blind and visually impaired being placed within the general VR agency, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.   The individual expressed her clear preference for the agency to remain as currently configured. Agency’s Response: There is presently no discussion in state government of reorganizing the Commission.   Studies have found that Blindness agencies tend to have higher rehabilitation rates for individuals that are blind or visually impaired as compared to similar services provided in combined agencies.  

9) The agency sponsors the NFB-Newsline allowing individuals who are blind or visually impaired telephone access to this news reading services, i.e., access to many national newspapers and other print news outlets via speech. News is provided in real-time.   A suggestion was expressed to make consumers more aware of this service Agency’s Response:   Administration will send out information on NFP-Newsline to all VR staff to share with their consumers.   Information is also posted on the agency’s website on this service.  

10) Concerned was expressed that consumers in Hudson county were not receiving services in a timely fashion. Agency’s Response: The concern was forwarded to the Manager of the Northern Regional Office to investigate timeliness of service provision by the counselors covering that county.  

11) Consumers for VR services should receive proper preparation to be ready to go to work. Agency’s Response: The agency offers a variety of comprehensive services including counseling and guidance, career planning, adjustment to vision loss services, and intensive assessment and training at the Joseph Kohn Training Center to prepare with employment.  

12) Several public forum participants expressed their appreciation for the hard work of the VR Counselors at CBVI in assisting consumers to achieve their work goals. Agency’ Response: The agency recognizes that hard work of its staff to move individuals toward their career goals and appreciates the positive feedback.  

13) The agency should identify additional Business Enterprise locations, including exploration of non-governmental facilities. Agency’s Response:   The agency is currently working to identify additional locations to create business opportunities for those in the Business Enterprise Program.   Downsizing of government workforces and the downturn in the economy has been challenging to expansion of the program. Private partnerships are also being explored to expand opportunities.  

14) There should be better communication of resources and services offered through the agency. It was also suggested that the agency create social media sites such as on Facebook or Twitter. Agency’s Response: Current Departmental guidelines do not allow for creation of social media pages for information dissemination.   The agency does have a web page which was recently updated with additional information on agency resources and services. The agency strives to keep the web page up to date and accurate and will look to continue to post relevant resources.  

15) The agency should create a link on the agency’s website to the RSA website for members of the public to view the State Plan. Agency’s Response:   The agency will post all public comments from the forums on the agency web site and will also create a link to the RSA website for viewing of the State Plan.  

16) The agency should use public access channels to advertise agency’s events. Agency’s Response: The agency acknowledges that further outreach to the public would be beneficial and will explore means to expand public knowledge of CBVI services.  

17) The agency should work to provide information materials in the most common languages utilized in New Jersey. Agency’s Response: Currently the agency offers many of its forms and informational materials in Spanish and English.   The agency acknowledges the need to expand to other languages in a very diverse state. The agency needs to explore how to provide these materials in diverse languages in a cost-effective manner. The agency will first explore how to make its website more accessible for a larger array of languages.  

18) VR Counselors should have multi-cultural awareness training. Agency’s Response:   The agency has provided diversity and cultural awareness trainings to its staff in the past and will continue to seek to provide additional training in multi-cultural awareness.  

19) The agency should post the results of any consumer satisfaction survey on the agency’s website for public viewing. Agency’s Response: The agency will post future consumer satisfaction survey results on the agency website for public viewing.  

20) College freshman should be given orientation and mobility training on college campuses and assistive technology training to prepare for college. It was also suggested that volunteers be recruited to provide orientation to the college campuses. Agency’s Response: In 2011, the agency sent out Requests for Proposals related to revamping the assistive technology training program at the agency.   Late in 2011, the agency entered into contractual agreements with community providers to provide comprehensive assistive technology training services. All college freshmen are given the opportunity to receive training in these areas, as well as receive orientation and mobility services from the agency.   In relation to using volunteers to provide these services, it is the agency’s position that trained professionals are required for each of these areas.  

21) A job club meets in Newark office of the agency on a biweekly basis. A suggested was put forward to have similar job clubs in other counties in the Northern region. Agency’s Response: At present, the agency does not have the resources to expand the job club concept beyond the one offered in the Northern Regional Office in Newark. However, all consumers of VR services in the Northern region are encouraged to actively participate in this program. The location of the job club in Newark is very accessible via public transportation.  

22) Several participants expressed a concern that additional assistance is needed to access transportation options other than services provided by Access Link and public transportation as provided by NJ Transit. Agency Response: It was recommended that all available resources be accessed including family members and acquaintances or to relocate to an area offering public transportation. Information regarding alternative transportation options can be accessed through New Jersey Transit. The agency recognizes that accessible and reliable transportation is critical to gainful employment.  

23) CBVI consumers should receive additional assistance with job placement as part of the VR process. Agency Response: CBVI VR Administration is developing new initiatives to incorporate additional placement activities to increase employment outcomes for CBVI consumers, including greater collaboration with the National Employment Team (NET).  

24) The public education system, especially high schools, do not provide enough accommodations for blind or visually impaired students with cognitive limitations in preparation for higher education. Agency response:   Although the agency does provide high school students with Teachers of the Visually Impaired and Transition Counselors if they are eligible to receive those services, it is still the Local Education Agency’s responsibility to provide a free and appropriate education.   However, the agency does look for opportunities to partner with schools to develop the proper supports for all students we serve.  

25) CBVI job seekers can benefit from assistance to access housing located closer to public transportation to increase access to employment opportunities. Agency’s response: The agency agrees that access to reliable transportation is a key component to becoming employed. CBVI staff work with blind, deaf-blind, and visually impaired consumers to develop strategies for negotiating the route to and from the workplace. Clients are referred to community social service agencies for assistance to learn about resources for accessing housing opportunities in close proximity to public transportation.  

26) Several participants stressed the importance of CBVI performing outreach to large businesses to assist consumers to find employment opportunities through these efforts.   It was suggested the agency have ongoing outreach and perform various training programs to assist businesses in accessing the agency’s pool of talented consumers seeking employment. Agency’s Response:   CBVI continues to explore ways to expand outreach to businesses in New Jersey.   The agency will expand its collaboration with the National Employment Team through the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation to find businesses nationally with a New Jersey presence that has a positive track record for hiring individuals with disabilities. In addition, the agency will seek ways to increase internship opportunities for our consumers seeking employment as a gateway to employment.  

27) Job seekers who are blind or visually impaired seeking One Stop services are not able to access the One Stop employment data system and are automatically directed to the Commission for assistance, even if the consumer does not require that assistance. How can One Stop services become more accessible to blind and visually impaired job seekers? Agency Response: For the past several years CBVI has worked directly with One Stop Employment Centers throughout the State to improve access for blind and visually impaired job seekers to the One Stop employment data system. Disability Navigators at the One Stop Centers were provided with training to work more effectively with blind and visually impaired job seekers.  The agency will look to perform additional training in order to improve access.  

28) The Commission needs to expand assistive technology training to include instruction on screen reading programs in addition to the JAWS screen reading software. Agency Response: The Commission primarily provides training on JAWS for windows screen reading software which is one of the most popular brands of adaptive software enabling blind computer users to access the PC. CBVI consumers can receive training on alternative screen reading software systems such as Window Eyes as recommended by the agency’s Technology Support Specialist.  Training on the use of alternative screen reading software programs can also be accessed through screen reading software manufacturer’s web sites.  

29) A self-identified consumer of CBVI services requested assistive technology training to learn to navigate the computer at home for personal use. Agency’s response: CBVI established policies based on the Code of Federal Regulations which stipulates that Technological Support Services are aligned with employment goals as annotated in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).   All training listed in the IPE must be connected to moving the individual closer to the employment goal.  Instruction for learning to negotiate assistive technology for personal use is available by enrolling in correspondence and online training through organizations such as the Hadley School for the Blind for no charge.  

30)  A forum participant expressed interest in gaining access to information about how CBVI services can facilitate adjustment to visual impairment and learn about the process for applying for services at the agency. Agency’s response: Participants were given a brief overview of CBVI services and directed to www.cbvi.nj.gov for more information.   

31) Several participants expressed interest in CBVI providing more training in “soft skills” for work including dressing for success, preparing for interviews, and networking to gain employment Agency’s response:   CBVI currently operates a job club in the Northern Region to assist consumers with acquisition of soft skills.   In addition, VR Counselors in the regional offices work with consumers on an individual basis to incorporate these concepts during one-on-one interactions.   Soft skill instruction also occurs at the agency’s two summer programs, Work Skills Prep and College Prep Experience.  

32) A participant shared that during the past three to four weeks he has not received a response from his CBVI VR Counselor regarding his request to acquire labeling materials for handling work tasks on the job.  Agency’s response: Participant was connected to the manager of the regional office where the consumer is being served to address his concerns.  

33) Participant indicated that he does not receive CBVI services or a response from his case manager in a timely fashion. He added that his previous attempts to connect with the administration to seek a resolution were unsuccessful. He asked how CBVI can improve service delivery to its clients. Agency’s response: Participant’s concerns were addressed directly and privately by the office manager of the serving Regional Office who was present at the forum.  

34) Several participants suggested that CBVI consider greater use of volunteers to assist in service provision for Commission clients.   It was also suggest that highly skilled consumers in skills of independence teach other clients skills to enhance their ability to reach their goals. Agency’s response: CBVI follows the standard of hiring qualified professionals to provide training to equip clients with the tools necessary for achieving their goals. SRC Chair directed forum participant to connect with a Center for Independent Living in their community to gain access to volunteer peer assistance.  

35) Several participants made positive statements about the job club in the Northern Regional Office. They include that role playing and mock interviews were helpful in preparing for interviews, the transferrable skills exercises were helpful, and that resume updates were valuable for consumers participating in the job club. Agency’s response: The agency appreciates the positive feedback on the job club.  

36) All public comments from the three forums should be posted on the agency’s web site for review by the public. Agency’s response: The agency will post sections of the State Plan on the agency’s web site including the public comments from the three public forums.  

37) The agency should provide additional training to Disability Navigators at the One Stop Career Centers to assist in making the centers more accessible for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Agency’s response:   The agency has provided this type of training in the past and will explore performing this training again in the future to further enhance access for the agency’s consumers to the One Stop Career Centers.  

38) Several participants recommended that agency staff do presentations at the Public Forums to educate consumers on agency services and initiatives and to outline how the agency spends its funds to provide the array of services. Agency’s response:   The agency holds public forums to seek feedback from consumers and other interested parties as it relates to creation of the agency’s State Plan.   The agency does maintain an updated web site which delineates many of the agency’s services and posts an Annual Report created by the SRC on this site to deseminate information about the agency.   

PUBLIC FORUMS – Legal Notice and Invitation to Participate The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) and its State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) will be conducting four public forums statewide.  The function of the SRC is to advise and work in partnership with the Vocational Rehabilitation Unit at CBVI. The public forums will be held to gather input from consumers, former consumers, professionals, community based organizations, and other interested parties to assist in the development of the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation which will be submitted to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in Washington DC. Your concerns and comments are extremely important to us and will assist in better serving persons who are blind and visually impaired who seek to obtain, retain, or advance in employment. Come make your voice heard!

The forums will be held:

CENTRAL REGION Date: Friday, April 13, 2012

Location: Joseph Kohn Rehabilitation Center 

                 130 Livingston Avenue 

                  New Brunswick, NJ 08903

                 Time: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

SOUTHERN REGION Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Location: New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

                      2201 Route 38 East

                      6th Floor Conference Room

                      Cherry Hill, NJ  08002 Time: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

NORTHERN REGION Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Location: New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

                      153 Halsey Street

                      3rd Floor Conference Room

                      Newark, NJ  07101 Time: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm 249-5325, Participant code: 510582

Oral Comments If you wish to make an oral presentation, please contact:

Ed Sroczynski

NJ Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired

153 Halsey Street, 6th Floor

Newark, NJ 07101

Tel: (973) 648- 7504

Email: edward.sroczynski@dhs.state.nj.us

Written Comments

If you are unable to attend, but wish to submit written comments, they must be received by Friday April 13, 2012 to the following address:

Vito DeSantis, Executive Director

N.J. Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired

153 Halsey Street, 6th Floor

PO Box 47017

Newark, New Jersey 07101

Fax: (973) 648-7364

Email: vito.desantis@dhs.state.nj.us 

   

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired is not requesting a Waiver of Statewideness. All of the agency’s programs are conducted throughout all political and geographic regions of the state.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

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

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

The size of the population served by the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired as well as the complexity of services required by consumers who are blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired necessitates that the Commission develops cooperative relationships with organizations and service providers that facilitate and enhance our ability to deliver targeted, high quality services.

The Commission does not carry out programs by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the United State Department of Agriculture.  In addition, the Commission does not utilize any State Use programs. 

The Commission has cooperative agreements and/or strong working relationships with the following agencies and organizations that are not required partners of the Statewide Workforce Investment System:

• Division of Aging Services (services to support senior citizens in the community.)

• Division of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (equipment distribution program for individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing; sign language interpreter referral program; field services.  In FFY 2012, the Commission worked in partnership with this agency to develop a Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution program in New Jersey, as funded by the Federal Communications Commission.   The Commission has been designated as the sole distributor for equipment that assists individuals who are deaf-blind utilize elecommunication/internet services.  The project is in partnership with The College of New Jersey and the Division of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing )

• Division of Developmental Disabilities - (Supported Employment services coordination including Extended Services.  Full range of support services to assist individuals with developmental disabilities integrate into their communities)

• Division of Disability Services (Personal Assistance services to individuals who are disabled, information and referral services.  In FFY 2012, the Commission partnered with this agency to provide fiscal intermediary services through a contract with a community provider for consumers of the Support Service Provider program.    A program to provide community supports for adults who are deaf-blind. In addition, a new partnership was initiated was this agency in FFY 2012 to provide information and referral services and volunteer partnering for consumers served under the Independent Living, Older Individuals who are Blind program. )

• Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services - (Full range of mental health and addiction recovery services offered in the community and training on these services to Counselors.)

• Department of Education, Office of Special Education - (Technical assistance with implementation of education and transition services under IDEIA)

• Department of Children and Families – (protection services for vulnerable children and families)

• Department of Health (coordination of early intervention services)

• New Jersey Transit-Accessible Transportation Services (training on accessible transportation resources)

• Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (General agency serving individual with disabilities except those who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind)

• The College of New Jersey – (partnerships to offer the Work Skills Prep program, a two week residential summer assessment and training program for youth 16 – 21 with multiple disabilities; Support Service Providers programs, developed a network of trained service providers to provide communication and travel supports to adults who are deaf-blind, and the NJ Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program to distribute telecommunication and internet access equipment to individuals who are deaf-blind and meet FCC eligibility requirements. ) 

• Raritan Valley Community College – (partnership to implement the College Prep Experience, a summer college experience for juniors and seniors in high school who are blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired.   All students reside at the agency’s training center during the week and attend typical college classes at the College.    The program is six weeks in duration and students have the opportunity to earn at least five college credits.

 

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

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

The Commission, since its inception, has assisted school districts in providing education programs that address the unique needs of children with visual impairments, blindness, and deaf-blindness. In 1993 this partnership was formalized with local school districts through provider service agreements. The agreements identify the specific level of services that the Commission will provide for each child in the school district. These services are tiered according to individual student needs and are provided by Commission staff within the Education Service Unit. When students reach the age of fourteen, the Commission’s education counselors refer all these students to one of the three transition counselor who works in the Vocational Rehabilitation Unit, i.e., one transition counselor in each of the agency’s three regional offices.  In addition, CBVI staff participates in transition fairs developed by LEAs and Life After 21 seminars hosted by the Division of Developmental Disabilities as an outreach effort to reach families who may be unfamiliar with CBVI services.  

The transition counselors provide information and referral services to the students and their parents/guardians to assist in the transition process from secondary education to adult outcomes.   In addition, assessment activities occur to assist in the process to determining eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services. When the student is determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, the transition counselor will begin a process of comprehensive assessment to determine services needs that will inform the development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) around the specific needs of the student as well as specialized techniques and training in career awareness, college admission procedures, job seeking activities, etc.    The Commission maintains, in conjunction with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS), an Interagency Agreement for Transition from School to Adult Life with the appropriate SEA (Office of Special Education Programs - OSEP). This agreement complies with the provisions of 34 CFR 361.22(b). Under the agreement, the agency provides technical consultations to transition-aged youth and/or their parents/guardians and other members of the IEP team in the form of telephone consultations, face-to-face meetings, and/or attendance at IEP meetings. The IEP shall designate the individuals and agencies responsible for the provision of transition services to be implemented while the student is in school.   Throughout the transition process, contact with the Local Educational Agency (LEA) and the education counselor remains constant. The need for specialized training, specific programs and assistive technology are addressed as part of the IEP and are also developed more fully in the Transition IPE. Technical consultation begun in the earlier grades with the education counselor is continued through the transition process, and the transition counselor actively seeks participation in the development of IEPs. The transition counselors also begin evaluative activities at age fourteen that ultimately lead to development of the IPE and continue to play an organizational role with technical consultations and through their active participation in school-to-work activities, task force memberships, career fairs, etc. At various points during the transition process students are evaluated and presented with opportunities to participate in specific programs funded by the Commission, such as the LEAD program and summer programs in conjunction with The College of New Jersey (Work Skills Prep for students 16- 21 years old and still in high school) and Raritan Valley Community College (College Prep Experience for high juniors and seniors). At the beginning of the junior year of high school, or within two years of exiting secondary school, CBVI will accept applications for VR services and make an eligibility determination.   Information gathered in collaboration with the LEA should be sufficient to determine eligibility.  However, if additional diagnostic services are needed to establish eligibility, or to establish rehabilitation needs of the individual, and are not available from the LEA, CBVI will assume financial responsibility for completing these while the student is still in school. It is the policy of CBVI to develop an IPE for each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services no later than the individual’s final year in school.   On a state level, the Executive Director of CBVI is an invited member of the State Agency Directors Forum, which also includes directors from DVRS, OSEP, the Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Juvenile Justice Commission. These forums enhance the dissemination of information and coordination of policies and programs related to transition services and programs.  

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

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

Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-Profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers

The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired is structured in a manner that facilitates the provision of a full range of services to all age groups, from early childhood to senior populations. The Commission’s organizational structure contains distinct units that provide the aforementioned services. Consequently, the Commission has not found it to be necessary to outsource many of its vocational rehabilitation services to private, non-profit providers, as most services are provided within the organizational structure of the Commission. The Commission has a number of contractual and/or cooperative agreements with vocational rehabilitation service providers and with providers of services that contribute, in some form, to the vocational rehabilitation process. In addition to the providers listed below, the Commission maintains close relationships with many of the Centers for Independent Living.The agency maintains performance based contracts with the following private, non-profit providers. 

The contracts are reviewed annually and performance standards are tracked by a Contract Administrator at the agency.  The two contracts for assistive technology services are provided on a fee-for-service basis.

• Community Health Law Project (Advocacy/Legal) 

• Pathways to Independence, Crafters Guild (Recreation/Employment) 

• The Center for Assistive Technology and Inclusive Education-The College of NJ (Assistive Technology)

• Advancing Opportunities (Assistive Technology)

• Center for Vocational Rehabilitation (Supported Employment) 

• Heightened Independence & Progress (Transition programs) 

• Visiting Homemaker Service of Hudson County (Independent Living, OIB-IL) 

• Family Service Association, Atlantic County (Independent Living, OIB-IL) 

• Family Service of Morris County (Independent Living, OIB-IL) 

• Puerto Rican Association for Human Development (Independent Living, OIB-IL)

• Passaic County Board of Social Services (Independent Living, OIB-IL)

The agency also works collaboratively with the following organizations:

• National Federation of the Blind and state affiliates

• American Council for the Blind and state affiliates

• American Association of the Deaf-Blind

• Statewide Parent Advocacy Network 

• Diamond Spring Lodge (Independent Living & OIB-IL)

• Council of State Administrator of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR)

• National Employment Team (NET) - CSAVR

• National Council of State Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB)

• Deaf-Blind League of New Jersey

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

Evidence of Collaboration Regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services

 

The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired is committed to the needs of individuals who may require supported employment services and maintains a contract with the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation exclusively for the provision of these services. In addition the Commission maintains a list of approved supported employment providers throughout the state who provide services on a fee-for-service basis. The Commission currently utilizes the same fee structure and approval process as that which is in place for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

 

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been developed in coordination with the Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services which outlines the protocols and procedures for the collaborative provision of SE services to Commission consumers. The MOU defines and delineates the procedures to be followed by the respective agencies in order to ensure maximum effectiveness and delivery of services. The MOU also outlines the roles and responsibilities of each agency as they apply to providing efficient and effective supported employment services.

 

Extended services are available to individuals who have been determined eligible by the Division of Developmental Disabilities. The Commission also provides time limited job coaching services to those individuals who are not eligible for DDD sponsored extended services.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

1. Describe the development and maintenance of a system for collecting and analyzing on an annual basis data on qualified personnel needs:

A member of the administrative staff overseeing the Vocational Rehabilitation Program at NJ-CBVI is responsible for collecting and analyzing on an annual basis data on the qualified personnel needs for the agency. The information is gathered in collaboration with the Human Resources, Fiscal, and Training units at the agency.

• 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 following staff members are those that are 1.0 FTE, in the capacity of administration or provision of vocational rehabilitation services. There are three regional offices which include the Northern Region covering the seven northern counties of the state, Central Region covering the seven central counties in the state, and Southern Region covering the seven southern counties in the state.  Deaf-Blind Services provide services to consumers from all twenty-one counties of the state. The Joseph Kohn Training Center (JKTC) is a residential training center serving consumers from all twenty-one counties. Referrals to JKTC are made by counselors from the three regional offices and/or the Deaf-Blind Services unit.   Administrative Staff (Agency-wide 2400-2600 individuals served annually)

Title                                                                                      Individuals Served       Number of Positions

Supervising Program Development Specialist                      2400-2600                        1

(Coordinator – VR Services) Program Planning and Development Specialist                    2400-2600                        1

Manager – JKTC                                                                            80-90                         1 Assistant Supervisor of Educational Services (JKTC)                  80-90                         1

TOTAL: 4

 

Title: Supervising Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

Office                                                                                  Individuals Served       Number of Positions

Northern Region                                                                         950 – 1000                        1

Central Region                                                                           700  –  750                        1

Southern Region                                                                          650 -  700                        1

JKTC                                                                                                80 – 90                        1

TOTAL: 4

 

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors I & II

Office                                                                                 Individuals Served       Number of Positions

Executive Unit:                                                                              2400 – 2600                     1 Northern Region:                                                                             950 – 1000                   10

Central Region:                                                                               700 – 750                       7

Southern Region:                                                                            650 – 700                       7

JKTC                                                                                                   80 – 90                       2

Deaf-Blind Services                                                                        100 -  150                       2

TOTAL: 29 

  Instructors – Independent Living Skills

Office                                                                                 Individuals Served       Number of Positions Northern Region:                                                                       950 – 1000                        2  

Central Region:                                                                           700 – 750                         3

Southern Region:                                                                        650 – 700                         3

JKTC                                                                                               80 – 90                         6

TOTAL: 13  

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

Although, NJ-CBVI has been granted a hiring freeze exemption for hiring direct services staff, it is unknown if this exemption will continue in FFY 2013 due to the severe fiscal crisis occurring in the State of New Jersey.   • 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 5 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.

NJ-CBVI provides vocational rehabilitation services to 2400 to 2600 individuals annually, via three regional offices, Deaf-Blind Services, and the Joseph Kohn Training Center. Approximately 97% of the individuals that NJ-CBVI serves are individuals with a significant disability.

CBVI does not expect to need any additional personnel for each of the categories below beyond filling the projected vacancies listed.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Management/Administration 12 1 10
2 Supervising Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors 4 0 3
3 Instructors-Independent Living Skills 13 2 3
4 Vocational Rehabilitaiton Counselors I & II 29 2 5
5 0 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, the general VR agency in New Jersey, negotiated with administrators at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Health Related Professions to develop a means to assist in meeting the CSPD standards. The results of the collaborative efforts were the development of a state standard in keeping with the national competency movement and federal mandates, and a 51 credit masters-level program in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. As part of the curriculum, all students complete a Practicum and an Internship to practice and integrate counseling skills learned in course work. The program commenced in the June of 1999 at two sites, which accommodates our staff in Northern and Southern parts of the state (Scotch Plains, N.J. and Stratford, N.J.) The program has been accredited by CORE (Council on Rehabilitation Education) meeting national standards for quality education in rehabilitation education and all graduates from the program qualify for credentialing as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (the national certification). UMDNJ is the only institution of higher learning in the state to offer graduate degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling. A staff person from the administrative team at NJ-CBVI is a member of the UMDNJ Advisory Board for the Rehabilitation Counseling program. That staff person stays in contact with key UMDNJ staff throughout the year to continue the collaborative working relationship. That staff person also monitors staff professional development in conjunction with the agency’s training unit.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 UMDNJ (Masters - Rehab Counseling) 70 5 22 14
2 UMDNJ (Bachelors - Rehab Counseling) 56 0 29 22
3 UMDNJ (Post-Masters - Rehab Counseling) 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

CBVI continues it coordination with post-secondary programs that offer graduate degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling as a source of qualified personnel.  The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the only CORE accrediated program in Rehabilitation Counseling in New Jersey and its staff actively recruits students from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.  UMDNJ recruitment efforts benefit the agency by increasing the pool of qualified candidates who meet the CSPD standard. The agency will continue its cooperative efforts with UMDNJ, to use as a viable source for addressing our future staffing needs. An agency administrative staff person is an active member of the UMDNJ Advisory Council. The agency will expand its recruitment efforts by forwarding all future open-competitive job postings for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor positions to the seven (7) CORE accredited universities in Pennsylvania and New York with the goal of increasing the pool of qualified candidates for future job vacancies.

 

The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) continues to be committed to a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) to ensure that highly qualified individuals provide services to agency consumers. The CSPD standard for the agency is based upon the degree requirements of the national certification, CRC (Certified Rehabilitation Counselor). The standard requires a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to have graduated from an accredited college or university with a Master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling; or have a current and valid CRC regardless of degree; or possess the education and experience as outlined in categories A through R promulgated by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).

  CBVI utilizes a variety of qualified providers including the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center located at State University of New York at Buffalo (TACE Center -Region 2), the New Jersey - Human Resource Development Institute (HRDI), state universities and colleges, as well as consultants and individuals who provide workshops,conferences and other discipline-specific training for the professional Vocational Rehabilitation staff.   Components of the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development - National Certification:

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, mandates that states develop and implement strategies for the hiring or retraining of personnel to meet standards or qualifications based on the highest requirements in the state for the counseling profession. The national standard is a master’s level Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, the general VR agency in New Jersey, negotiated with administrators at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Health Related Professions to develop a means to assist in meeting the CSPD standards. The results of the collaborative efforts were the development of a state standard in keeping with the national competency movement and federal mandates, and a 51 credit masters-level program in Vocational RehabilitationCounseling. As part of the curriculum, all students complete a Practicum and an Internship to practice and integrate counseling skills learned during course work. The program commenced in the June of 1999 at two sites, which accommodate our staff in the Northern and Southern parts of the state (Scotch Plains, N.J. and Stratford, N.J.) The program has been accredited by CORE (Council on Rehabilitation Education) meeting national standards for quality education in rehabilitation education and all graduates from the program qualify for credentialing as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (the national certification). UMDNJ is the only institution of higher learning in the state to offer graduate degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling.  Courses are offered at the Scotch Plains (Northern region) and Stratford (Southern region), as well as the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. UMDNJ also offers undergraduate programs; a Bachelor’s program in Psychiatric Rehabilitation in partnership with Kean University and recently added Georgian Court University, and an Associate’s program in Psychosocial Rehabilitation at three community colleges, Union County College, Middlesex County College and Warren County College. The undergraduate programs are supported in part by an RSA grant.   In FFY 2012, CBVI continued an initiative to increase the number of staff with the CRC credentials. CBVI offered an incentive for Vocational Rehabilitation personnel to obtain a CRC credential by funding all phases of the credentialing process. Counselors were responsible for completing the application, and the agency paid all associated fees.  During this past fiscal year, one (1) VR Counselors and two (2) Supervising VR Counselors at the agency were found eligible for CRCC testing.  One staff person was found ineligible to undergo the CRC examination but has enrolled in the post-master program in rehabilitation counseling at UMDNJ beginning in September of 2012 to become eligible for the CRC.   As this initiative is proving successful, the agency will continue to offer this initiative in FFY 2013. The agency also offered funding for staff to enroll in a CRC examination prep course offered by the University of Wisconsin-Stout.  Two staff will be participating in the program.   Due to challenges in recruiting new qualified personnel, CBVI also initiated a program in FFY 2007 to promote hiring qualified personnel. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor I is an entry level position at the agency. In the event an individual is hired for this position and does meet the CSPD standards, the new hire must sign a contract agreeing that he or he will complete a Master’s degree program in Rehabilitation Counseling within three years of the date of being hired. The minimum educational requirement for being hired under this initiative is the possession of a Bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Education or a related field. The individual must also be eligible for matriculation in the Master’s program at UMDNJ. Tuition payments through the agency provide the funds for staff to participate in this program.  

Masters Program in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling:

In keeping with the CSPD mandates, CBVI will continue to support staff participating in the Masters Program in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Offered as an employee benefit, the agency plan includes three bachelor level VR Counselors. The three (3) individuals are all currently attending the program to obtain their Masters degrees. All staff will be eligible for a promotion to a VR Counselor II, if positions are available, upon completion of the program. There are presently thirty-four (34) full time vocational rehabilitation counseling staff at the agency in a three title series, (Supervising Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor II, and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor I). Currently, twenty-five (25) staff members meet the CSPD Standard, a seventy-four percent (74%) rate of compliance.  There are a total of nine (9) staff who do not meet the CSPD standard. Five (5) staff members are currently under plan, four (4) are attending UMDNJ to obtain their masters degree in rehabilitation counseling and one (1) is attending the post-masters certificate program to become CRC eligible. In FFY 2012, one (1) counselor under plan completed her degree studies and now meets CSPD standards.  Two (2) Supervising Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors also completed their plans and are now CRC eligible. It is anticipated that three (3) individuals under plan will meet CSPD requirements by the end of FFY 2013. One (1) individual will complete her plan by the end of FFY 2014 and the last individuals will complete his plan by the end of FFY 2015. There are currently three (3) staff members that are currently not under plan to achieve compliance with CSPD standards. Those staff members will not be permitted to perform non-delegable work functions until they develop with administration a defined plan to obtained the necessary education and/or certification to be in compliance with CSPD standards for the agency.  The Commission will continue to annually review staff credentials to access the level of progress in procuring the education to meet the standards of the national certification, (CRC).

 

 

Tuition Reimbursement

In the past, the Commission encouraged employees to participate in the tuition reimbursement program which provides a means for employees to pursue formal academic training to improve job skills and work performance and to further career development. Courses must be job related and are generally pursued on the employees’ own time. The Commission reimbursed for up to six credits per semester, at the state college or university rate, whichever rate is higher. Due to budgetary constraints, tuition reimbursement has been suspended indefinitely.

 

In each of the regional offices staff are assigned to serve exclusively in the VR unit, including personnel from the Visual Rehabilitation professions. These staff will promote greater competency for our consumers in essential “blindness skills” through the provision of comprehensive services that promote independence, i.e., Orientation & Mobility Instructors, Home Instructors and Eye Health Nurses.

Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE – Region 2)

The Commission provides ongoing training  opportunities through the TACE to VR staff to meet the present and emerging needs in the field. The Commission is an active member of the TACE Advisory Board and participates in the development of training to meet the needs of agency staff. The Region 2 TACE provided the following trainings to Commission vocational rehabilitation staff in SFY 2012:

• Multiple Sclerosis and the Rehabilitation Process

• Orientation to Supported Employment

• Counseling Skills for Direct Service Providers

• Job Coach I & II

• Working with Consumers with Coexisting Conditions

• TBI Survivor’s Insight

• MI/Solution Focused Brief Therapy

• Addictions/Substance Abuse

• Paths to Voc/Employment Readiness

• Job Development in Today’s Labor Market

 

Projected Training for SFY 2013

• Orientation to Supported Employment

• Time Management

• Organizational Skills

• Strength Finders

• Utilizing Trial Work Period to determine eligibility

• Techniques of Case Management

• Quality Management concepts in VR

• Ethical Issues In Rehabilitation

• Motivational Interviewing/Solution Focused Brief Therapy

• Working with Consumers with Co-Existing Conditions

• Working with Consumers with Personality Disorders

• Training Techniques for Direct Service Providers

• Training sessions linked to the results of RSA - Section 107 Monitoring

 

Through agency-wide participation, the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired developed a comprehensive list of VR staff training needs for FFY 2013, which was presented and discussed at the TACE Advisory Board meeting in July 2012. Needs were gathered through surveys that were sent to VR staff including regional supervisors. The needs were tallied by the agency’s Staff Development Unit and prioritized. The needs assessment was divided into several different categories and the top training needs were identified by the number of staff that indicated the topic as a priority. The following is a listing of the topic areas identified in the survey, not listed in priority order:

Motivational Interviewing

Understanding MICA

Personality Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Employment related training

Traumatic Brain Injury

Dealing with Change

Overcoming Adversity

Therapeutic Counseling Techniques

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Intellectual Disabilities

Cultural Awareness

Time Management/Organization Skills

Clinical Supervision

Performance Management/Quality

 

New Jersey Department of Personnel

The New Jersey Department of Personnel’s Human Resource Development Institute (HRDI), offers courses on an ongoing basis to agency staff to assist them in achieving personal and organizational goals and needs. Employees are encouraged to attend courses pertinent to their job duties and responsibilities. Succession planning in the agency is limited by civil service rules and unionization of the workforce. Staff are encouraged and supported in pursuing career path skill development through HRDI’s trainings in leadership, supervisory skills and managerial topics. In-Service Training In-Service training provides staff the opportunity to upgrade professional knowledge and skills, and to keep current in changes in the field of vocational rehabilitation and the workforce environment. In FFY 2012, the agency provided the following training:

• Discrimination in the Workplace

• Understanding the HIPAA regulations

• Community CPR 

 

 NJ Department of Labor, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS).

The Commission continues to work closely with DVRS, and will continue joint training participation, particularly in TACE trainings and counselor trainings developed by the two agencies. Joint efforts will enable both agencies to provide the most effective and cost efficient training to staff through shared resources, i.e. vendors, distance learning mechanisms, such as satellite sites, video teleconferencing, computers, etc. Conference, Workshops and Other Training. The Commission encourages staff to attend training, seminars, and workshops appropriate to their job duties and responsibilities within and outside the state. Due to out of state travel restrictions for state employees, the agency was unable to pay for any conferences that were out of state. However, for approved and relevant trainings, the agency did allow staff participating in these out of state events to be compensated their normal salary during the time of the events. Subject Matter Experts. The Commission has developed in-house subject matter experts. These staff provides training and consultation to other agency staff in areas of their expertise, such as assistive technology, independent living skills, education issues, deaf-blindness, medical aspects of blindness, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Distance Learning. A computer training lab was developed at the Meyers Center in Newark in FFY 2008 to assist staff in learning about adaptive software for individuals with vision loss. The Commission lost access to satellite equipment in FFY 2010, due to budgetary constraints. However, more Internet based trainings are being explored by the agency’s training department.

 

 

The agency employs vocational rehabilitation staff who are bilingual. The agency utilizes several civil service titles with variants that require staff to have bilingual abilities in Spanish and English or American Sign Language and English (Deaf-Language Specialist and Deaf-Blind Specialist). Spanish has been identified as the most used language in New Jersey, second only to English. Many of the agency’s staff also have bilingual abilities including staff in the Prevention Unit, Technological Support Services, and Independent Living Skills Unit. The State of New Jersey has a large influx of immigrants from all over the world and it is estimated that over 50 languages and dialects are spoken in the state. The agency utilizes interpreter services from various community based agencies on a fee-for-service basis to help increase language access. Each regional office maintains a list of agencies that provide translation services for a wide range of languages. If translation services are unavailable, then CBVI make every reasonable effort to gain assistance from family members or other members of that community to facilitate effective communication. Collaborative relationships have also been developed with community agencies such as the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development to foster greater access to the Hispanic/Latino communities.

 

The Commission also entered into a contract with Language Line Services in FFY 2010.  Language Line Services provides on demand interpreter services in over 170 languages. 

 

 

 

Personnel Development: Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) The Commission works collaboratively with the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to provide quality services to New Jersey’s students with disabilities under the auspices of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA). CBVI and NJDOE have an ongoing working relationship, as outlined in a state level cooperative agreement regarding transition from school to adult life for youth with disabilities and a Memorandum of Understanding. The goals of the agreements are to assure that cooperation and collaboration exists in implementing and maintaining a system of VR service delivery to eligible students with disabilities. The Commission developed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in FFY 2009 with the general VR agency, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and the Division of Developmental Disabilities to promote improved service provision for individual who are eligible for Supported Employment service. The partners in the inter-agency agreement and staff members of Community Rehabilitation Providers, have been providing training collaboratively on the provisions of the new MOU to their agency staff in joint sessions and to Transition personnel at local education agencies (LEA) throughout the state to improve transition from secondary education into adult services. The Commission worked collaboratively with the School of Education at The College of New Jersey to develop additional programs to assist our consumers who are transition-aged (16-21 years old). CBVI staff worked with TCNJ administrators to develop a Teacher of the Blind/Visually Impaired program in the School of Education’s Department of Special Education. Initially, the program offered courses as continuing education credits but has now been establish as a masters program that prepares teachers for NJ State Licensure as Teachers of the Visually Impaired. This is the only program in New Jersey to prepare teachers to work in this capacity. The Commission wants to prepare the next generation of teachers who will have an impact on our transition-aged students we serve in vocational rehabilitation services. In addition, CBVI and TCNJ work collaboratively in operating a summer work skills program for transition-aged youth (16-21) who have multiple disabilities. The two week Work Skills Prep program focuses on assessment and instruction of independent living skills that lead to successful employment outcomes.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

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

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

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

Effective with the submittal of the FY 2012 State Plan, the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) will conduct a comprehensive, statewide assessment every 3 years.  This document summarizes the results of the last Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment performed by the agency that will inform the creation of goals and objectives for future state plans.

New Jersey has a State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) that works specifically with CBVI (the DSU). The SRC was actively involved in the development of data collection instruments used in the assessment process and serves as an active partner in conducting the comprehensive, statewide needs assessment with the DSU.

The most recent research data provided by the American Foundation for the Blind, (2008), indicates that 158,073 New Jersey residents are blind or severely visually impaired. CBVI currently serves approximately 10,000 New Jersey residents at any given time through all of its service units, i.e., Early Intervention (birth to age 3), Education (age 3 to 21), Vocational Rehabilitation (aged 14 and above), and Independent Living.  In addition, the agency’s Prevention Unit screened over 42,000 individuals in FY 2010-2011 to help prevent blindness and serve as a means to outreach to unserved and underserved populations in urban or rural areas of the state.   These data suggest there is an ongoing need for outreach and information referral services for those who are otherwise eligible for CBVI services and who could benefit in terms of employment outcomes from VR services.

Overview of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment

CBVI has taken a multidimensional, cross-disciplinary approach to conducting the comprehensive statewide needs assessment. It was decided to focus this needs assessment on populations that may be unserved or underserved in New Jersey.  In particular, CBVI focused on making an assessment of consumers who have the most significant disabilities and those individuals who have disabilities and are part of the Hispanic/Latino community, one of the fastest growing sub-groups in New Jersey.

In collaboration with the SRC, the DSU formed ad hoc groups to help develop and formulate a comprehensive plan for assessing the needs of these communities throughout the state. These included conducting focus group with leaders in the Latino/Hispanic community throughout the state.  The Latino Outreach Focus Groups assisted CBVI staff to identify barriers to provision of vocational rehabilitation services within the community, clarify specific outreach efforts, and foster collaborations to increase the quality of service delivery.  The Hispanic/Latino community is one of the largest growing communities in New Jersey and may represent an underserved community based on the percentages of consumers served. Other assessment activities included a five-year follow-up survey of graduates of the Summer Work Skills Prep Program held at The College of New Jersey (2006-2010).  The Work Skills Prep program started in 2006 as a collaborative effort with The College of New Jersey provides a two week summer program for students aged 16-21 who have multiple disabilities.  The summer program for transition aged youth allows students the opportunity to perform job sampling in the community and assesses multiple life areas that will impact the students’ future employment.  Most of the students served by the Work Skills Prep program have the most significant disabilities and it is anticipated will need supports to be successful in competitive employment.  This subgroup of individuals with the most significant disabilities was followed to ascertain long term outcomes in relations to obtaining competitive employment and to identify barriers to achieving this outcome. CBVI also initiated a Consumer Satisfaction Survey conducted by Monmouth University (2010.) to ascertain overall consumer satisfaction with VR service provision.

Latino Outreach Focus Groups:

Three focus groups with representatives of the Hispanic/Latino community were held throughout the State to include input from community representatives residing in the Northern, Central and Southern regions. Focus group participants were invited through network efforts with regional Hispanic social services, education and faith-based community affiliations.  Data drawn from the Latino Focus Groups revealed that Hispanic cultural and ethnic perceptions of blindness and visual impairment, language barriers, reluctance to access government-sponsored services, religious beliefs that may stigmatize individuals with disabilities, perceptions of limited employment opportunities for individuals who are blind and visually impaired, increasing need for case management services and limited access to eye health screening services as barriers to accessing CBVI services and employment for blind and visually impaired individuals in the Hispanic community. This suggests an ongoing need to increase outreach and information referral services for individuals in the Hispanic Community who are eligible to receive CBVI services. This also implies that the elimination of communication barriers remains a major need throughout the state to insure that information is accessible and disseminated in a timely manner. This indicates a need for CBVI to provide more information and resource referral materials in Spanish or/and  accessible format including CBVI forms and documents, dissemination of news releases and updates through e-blasts and e-mail lists, broadcasting public service announcements on Hispanic radio stations and television networks,  posting CBVI news releases and special interest stories in weekly Spanish newspapers. Additional outreach efforts identified include nurturing partnerships with members of the Hispanic business community to facilitate employment opportunities, working with local community representatives to promote awareness of CBVI services, offering internships to bilingual college students to provide outreach in the Hispanic community, Increasing access to eye health screenings throughout the Hispanic community conducted by personnel who are bilingual in Spanish and English, featuring blind professionals in the workplace on the current CBVI vocational rehabilitation flyer, distributing CBVI brochures in English and Spanish versions at community settings where Hispanic individuals gather; and designating a CBVI single point of contact for conducting outreach to Hispanic Communities throughout the State of New Jersey. CBVI and the SRC work collaboratively to insure that all individuals who are blind or visually impaired are aware of agency services and such services are provided in a timely manner. This effort includes outreach to unserved and underserved visually impaired individuals who want and need services. This initiative further suggests the necessity to augment accessible outreach efforts to increase referrals for eligible consumers and promote employment opportunities in the Hispanic Community. This effort can be advanced by providing in-service training for CBVI case managers throughout the state to ensure that counselors are fully aware of job placement and job development resources, including information and resource referral material. These efforts will help improve the referral process and the overall service delivery system used by CBVI to better serve eligible individuals in the Hispanic Community.

Work Skills Prep Program Follow-Up Survey:

A five-year follow-up survey of graduates of the Work Skills Prep Program was conducted covering the period from 2006 to 2010. Of the 57 students who participated in the program, 54 students completed the program (94.74% rate of completion).  Students from all over the state participated in the summer program.  Forty-eight (48) program graduates (84.21%), were deemed eligible for VR Services and were actively receiving services. However, data indicated that consumers who were receiving supported employment services were going long periods without successful placements.  The cases were remaining active without substantial outcomes.  Of the nine individuals who exited the VR program, only two individuals achieved competitive employment with supports (22.22% of all WSP graduates who exited the VR system). The above data suggests that there is a strong need for focused initiatives to increase successful employment outcomes for the graduates of the Work Skills Prep program deemed eligible for VR services. CBVI and the SRC are working collaboratively to develop specific strategies for achieving this objective. Empirical data through a comprehensive vocational assessment will enable the VR Counselor and consumer to develop the Individualized Plan for Employment, (IPE) with clear, realistic goals and objectives. The IPE will incorporate independent skills training, support services, work adjustment training, job development, placement and follow- up services. The consistent application of this approach will provide the VR counselor and consumer with a clear path toward achieving employment.  Additional analysis needs to occur to determine what are the impediments to competitive employment.

Satisfaction Survey:

In FY 2010, CBVI enlisted the Monmouth University Polling Institute to administer Consumer Satisfaction Assessment Survey for consumers of VR services. Large print survey questionnaires were sent to 1,714 CBVI consumers to assess their overall experience with CBVI service delivery.  A sample of 802 consumers participated in the survey, for a response rate of (55%) with a margin of error of +2.5%. A comparison of the current survey to the 2004 and 1997 surveys indicate CBVI satisfaction levels increased from survey to survey for all major facets of VR service. Fifty three percent of consumers surveyed had open cases with CBVI, 5% in post-employment status, and 43% were closed in FY (2008 and 2009). The survey demographics included racial demarcation of 53% white and 47% minorities. 54% -  men and 46% - women participated. Levels of visual impairment varied from corrected visual acuity of 20/70 to totally blind with no light perception. Forty one percent of consumers surveyed included other disabilities in addition to visual impairment. Students represented between 14% and 18% of the sample. Consumers continued to rate their experiences with CBVI as favorable. Positive ratings on most questions increased a few points from the 2004 levels and the numbers improved several points over the 1997 results. The survey results indicated that (72%) of consumers rate their overall experience with CBVI’s vocational rehabilitation services as excellent. These numbers are the same as 1997 and 2004 ratings. Sixty nine percent of consumers rate the length of time they began receiving services and the guidance provided by their vocational counselor as excellent. Sixty two percent rate the quality of information they received as excellent. This is identical to the 2004 findings and up 6 points from 1997.

Despite the overall challenging job market since 2008, opinions of CBVI Vocational Services to access and retain employment have improved over previous years. Ratings of “excellent and good” are up by 4 percentage points from the 2004 survey and 13 points from the 1997 survey. A majority of all consumers strongly agreed that:

• they benefited from CBVI services;

• were clear about their rights and responsibilities;

• received materials from CBVI in accessible format;

• were empowered to make their own choices regarding vocational planning;

• would recommend CBVI services to other consumers.

Overall, CBVI continues to get very good evaluations from its consumers and keeps improving service delivery. Since 1997, CBVI satisfaction levels are consistent across all areas measured in the survey and lead to a very encouraging upward trend. CBVI remains committed to understanding the relations between accountability and quality of service, consumer satisfaction and making recommendations for enhancing service delivery. The survey provided valuable research data for understanding of consumer concerns and making recommendations for improvements.

CBVI and the SRC is utilizing the data drawn from the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment to develop strategies to improve delivery of services for eligible blind and visually impaired individuals throughout the State of New Jersey. In FFY 2012 CBVI staff will work with members of the SRC to further analyze the data and develop specific goals and objectives to address findings.   Implementation of strategies to meet these goals and objectives will be enhanced by the broad initiatives introduced within the agency in FFY 2013. This will insure that the needs of eligible consumers who are unserved or underserved will be addressed which is aligned with the agency’s overall mission.

This screen was last updated on Sep 9 2011 5:25PM by John Walsh

Annual Estimate of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Services

(1) It is estimated that the State of New Jersey has 110,000 individuals who are of working age (16-64) and have a visual disability (based on 2010 Census data and 2009 Disability Status Report-NJ, Cornell University). It is estimated that NJCBVI will serve approximately up to 2600 of these individuals during FFY 2013.

(2) Of the 2600 eligible individuals, it is estimated that all will receive services provided under Part B, Title I of the Act and/or under Part B, Title VI of the Act. The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired is not under an order of selection.

(3) Service costs are estimated to be $11,615,177, exclusive of amounts for Supported Employment under Title VI, Part B and state match under Title I.

(4) It is estimated that 50 individuals will receive services under Title VI, Part B. $139,726 is currently allocated for Title VI, Part B services. It is estimated that an additional $98,149 of Title I funds will be used to supplement supported employment services.

 

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Title I Title I $11,615,177 2,600 $4,467
Title VI Title VI $139,244 50 $2,784
Totals   $11,754,421 2,650 $4,435

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

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

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

 

 

 

The following goals and priorities for FFY 2013 were developed based on the consultations with the SRC membership during FFY 2012.   The SRC has consistently provided the agency’s administrative staff with valuable feedback on establishing priorities that reflect the Council’s commitment to promote employment outcomes for individuals with vision loss.    1. Quality Management Initiative In order to ensure timely and consistent quality VR services for its consumers, CBVI will develop a new comprehensive quality assurance system, which will include improved case review protocols for supervisors, a new quality assurances case review system, and the establishment of clear performance metrics for VR staff. All three components of the project will be completed by February 2013 and implemented during FFY 2013.     CBVI will develop baseline data from the QA assessments performed in 2013 and develop plans to improve service provision in the Regional Offices. 2. Work Skills Prep: Post-Graduation Follow Along CBVI will improve employment outcomes for its consumers who attended the Work Skills Prep program and graduated from their secondary school program from the current success rate of 22.22% to 30% of all those who exit the VR program. This goal is scheduled to be completed by 9/30/2013.   This is a one year pilot project. If successful, the agency will look to expand the strategies to continue to improve employment outcomes for individuals with the most significant disabilities.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       3. LEAD: Leadership Education Advocacy Determination Heightened Independence in Progress, the organization under contract with CBVI to administer the LEAD program, will develop a new curriculum for the program to incorporate more employment readiness activities and community work experiences for transition-aged youth participating in the program by June 30, 2013 and implement the new curriculum by September, 2013.  The new curriculum will benefit up to seventy high school students with vision loss who participate in the program with the ultimate goal of improving employment outcomes for this cohort.  

               

 

     

 

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen has never been updated.

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

 

The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired continues its commitment to the development of an effective, coordinated system of supported employment work opportunities for blind, deaf-blind and visually impaired consumers throughout New Jersey. The Commission is allocated $139,726 for Title VI,  Part B services. Plans for distribution of these funds are as follows:   $70,750 is allocated to fund the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation (CVR) to provide contracted services for supported employment to the Agency’s central region. Goal - The goal is for CBVI to work with CVR to provide supported employment services to fifteen (15) agency consumers during FFY 2013.   $68,494 is allocated for the provision of supported employment services statewide via community providers through a fee-for-service payment structure.   The agency maintains a list of approved supported employment vendors in collaboration with the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities and the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services via a Memorandum of Understanding between the three agencies. Goal – CBVI will provide supported employment services up to 15 individuals via CRP’s on a fee-for service basis for FFY 2013.   Summary: The Commission presently contracts with one community provider for supported employment services. The Center for Vocational Rehabilitation provides services to consumers in the state’s central region. Consumers in the southern and northern regions of the state currently are provide supported employment services on a fee for service basis through an array of community providers.  The  

Commission also utilizes Title I funds to provide supported employment services on a fee for service basis.

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

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.

The agency will continue to expand the consultative role of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC)regarding the review and comment on the development, implementation, and revision of agency policies and procedures of general applicability pertaining to the provision of vocational rehabilitation services.  The SRC meets five times and year as a full council and also additional times in sub-committees to assist the agency in moving forward with developing new initiatives and to improve service provision.

 The agency will maintain or expand professional/personnel development to ensure service delivery by qualified personnel. There will be continued funding and expansion, as necessary, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) Master’s Program in Rehabilitation Counseling to ensure that staff is qualified at the highest level as determined by the CSPD standards. UMDNJ has also added a post-masters certificate program to also assist staff with a master’s degree in a related field, receive the proper education to be eligible for CRC certification. The agency will continue to maintain this relationship also to recruit qualified personnel for future job openings.    The agency recognizes the importance of assisting wounded warriors to resume or begin a civilian career. To assist in that effort, the agency will continue to explore ways to expand the scope of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Veteran’s Administration in order to most effectively utilize the resources of the respective agencies. In cases of dual eligibility, it is anticipated that utilizing the resources of each agency will result in enhanced and expanded service delivery and more successful outcomes.   In recognition of Executive Order 13548: Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, the agency will expand consumer access to Federal employment opportunities.  The agency has worked collaboratively with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for the last two years to develop and participate in an annual Career Fair that focuses on agencies that can participate in Schedule A hiring. The agency will look for additional methods to expand consumer access to these types of jobs. Work Skills Prep – Post-Graduation Follow Along In FFY 2013, a new programmatic component will be incorporated into to the Work Skills Prep program (WSP). WSP is collaborative project with the Center for Sensory and Complex Disabilities at The College of New Jersey. Students aged 16 – 21, who are still in a secondary school program and have complex disabilities, participate in a two week residential program. Work SkillsPreparationis a vocational oriented program that focuses on activities that will enhance the employment potential of youth in transition from school to adult life and provides a comprehensive assessment report on students skills, abilities, and interests.    Starting in the Fall of 2013, staff from the Center for Sensory and Complex Disabilities (CSCD) will work with agency Vocational Counselors and community rehabilitation providers to address support needs for student who have completed the WSP program and graduated from their secondary school programs. A key component of the new program is to develop the supports in the consumers’ communities that were identified from the WSP Assessment. CSCD staff will help to identify employers in the community, and assist supported employment staff and agency VR Counselors in developing the proper supports to get and keep a job. The yearlong pilot project is designed to see if interventions will improve employment outcomes for students with the most significant disabilities.   Fully Accessible Client Tracking System (FACTS) In FFY 2012, the agency’s new case management/database system became operational. The majority of all service components of the agency are now utilizing the system. The system is a “paperless” case management and is web-based. It is accessible from any locations with Internet access, allowing case workers greater flexibility in completing essential functions with consumers.   It also allows administration greater access to data about how services are provided to consumers, and will offer the agency opportunities to perform greater analysis of trends to improve overall service provision to consumers. Data derived from the FACTS systems will be incorporated into quality assurance efforts.   Quality Management Initiative The agency was awarded a one year grant to participate in a VR Performance Management improvement project as sponsored by the RTAC at the Institute on Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Based on the results of the 2010 Monitoring Report, which annotated the agency needed to improve its quality assurance protocols, the agency decided to focus on revamping its quality assurance system in Vocational Rehabilitation and applied for this funding. The agency was one of eight states that were awarded grants to implement projects to improve performance management issues. New protocols for case reviews and quality assurance reviews will be developed and implemented in FFY 2013.   In additional, the agency will be implementing performance indicators for staff to help to improve overall service provision to consumers and to improve employment outcomes through an enhanced performance/quality management system.

 

Identify how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities at each stage of the rehabilitation process; and describe how assistive technology services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.

The agency employs four Technology Support Specialists (TSS) that work solely with consumers of vocational rehabilitation services.   The TSS staff performs Assistive Technology Services evaluations to determine assistive technology hardware, software, and training needs of the agency’s consumers. Comprehensive training services on Information Technology/Assistive Technology are provided by two fee-for-service vendors: Advancing Opportunities in the northern and southern regions of the state, and the Center for Assistive Technology and Inclusive Educational Services in the central region.   The agency funds a full array of assistive technology services and devices throughout the rehabilitation process.   The agency views assistive technology as a critical component of the rehabilitation process and acknowledges that it is often times a gateway to gainful employment.  

 

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.

For a number of years, the agency has operated the Project Prevention program, which is an eye screening and eye health program that conducts eye screenings in regions of the state that have large populations of economically disadvantaged and minority populations. In addition, screenings are conducted in regions of the state that have significant migrant worker populations. The Commission has consistently received referrals from traditionally unserved and underserved populations for services as a result of these outreach initiatives. The agency also has an ongoing working relationship with the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development (PRAHD) to better reach the Spanish speaking population.

 The agency entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to improve the provision of supported employment services through the three agencies. Greater communication with the Division of Developmental Disabilities has helped to identify additional individuals with the most significant disabilities who may benefit from supported employment services to gain employment in integrated settings.    The agency also recently expanded its collaborations with the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities to expand cross training opportunities with community rehabilitation providers who provide supported employment services and agency staff.   The agency also participants annually in the New Jersey Association for Person in Supported Employment statewide conference to present on agency services as an outreach effort to additional communities that serve or advocate on behalf of individuals with the most significant disabilities and those that are unserved or underserved.

 

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

Last year, the agency published a Request for Proposals to reconfigure how contracted assistive technology services were provided by community rehabilitation programs to our consumers. Two new providers were awarded contracts, Advancing Opportunities and the Center for Assistive Technology and Inclusive Educational Studies at The College of New Jersey to provide IT/AT training to consumers on a fee-for-service basis.

 The agency is also in process of expanding the role of Center for Vocational Rehabilitation to assist in providing work experience opportunities in the community surrounding the agency’s training center. As part of the curriculum restructuring at the Joseph Kohn Training Center, it was decided to expand the sixteen week program to twenty weeks and incorporate a four week community work experience component.

 

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

The Commission did not pass Indicator 1.5.  The high average hourly state wage for New Jersey, in addition to the continued high unemployment rates in New Jersey has proved challenging for the agency to pass Indicator 1.5.   The agency will continue to outreach to large employers to continue to expand the scope of employment opportunities for our consumers, especially jobs that offer wages commensurate with the average hourly wage for the state.   The Commission has also been working to expand internship or work experience opportunities for high school and college students in order to develop career paths to higher paying jobs.      

 

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

The agency remains committed to providing training and technical assistance to staff members from the other components of the statewide workforce investment system.   Commission staff members have provided training to Disability Navigators at One-Stop Centers throughout the state on issues related to ways to foster proper access for individuals who are blind, deaf-blind, and visually impaired. The agency is available to provide further assistance in these areas to foster greater access for 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.

Quality Management Initiative

The Commission will develop a new comprehensive Quality Assurance system for VR, which will include an improved case review process for supervisors, a new quality assurances case review system, and the establishment on clear performance metrics for VR staff on expectations of the agency to improve service provision by February, 2013. 

>Develop and implement new quality assurance system at the agency 1. Review successful quality assurance systems and case review protocols as identified by RTAC on VR Program Management (ICI-UMass:Boston) 2. Develop baseline data on timeliness and caseload distribution (Pre-Plan, Plan Implementation, Post-Plan) to inform improvement plan. 3. Develop new case review protocols for supervisors based on identified successful models and in consultation with the State Rehabilitation Council. 4. Develop and implement a fixed schedule of case reviews based on established protocols 5. Develop and implement a revised quality assurance system based on emerging practices and in consultation with the State Rehabilitation Council.   >Develop and implement performance metrics for professional and administrative staff that defines agency’s expectation for performance by February of 2013. 1. Review emerging practice models of performance metrics as identified by the RTAC on VR Program Management (ICI:UMass-Boston) 2. Utilize data gained from case reviews and quality assurance reviews and review with the State Rehabilitation Council to identify areas of service provision that need improvement. 3. In partnership with staff and the State Rehabilitation Council, develop performance metrics to measure professional and administrative staff performance. 4. Implement performance metrics via the agency’s case management system, FACTS, to give feedback on performance to staff and administration.   Work Skills Prep: Post-Graduation Follow Along Increase the level of active engagement in the rehabilitation process for graduates of the WSP program and improve employment outcomes beyond the current rate of 22.22% through the interventions of a Statewide Job Developer/Coach. The agency will amend the Memorandum of Understanding with The College of New Jersey to provide additional funding for an innovative program to hire a Statewide Job Developer/Coach. The staff person will be based at The College of New Jersey and will provide the supports to graduates of the WSP@TCNJ Summer Program and who exited secondary school with finding, getting and maintaining competitive employment. In coordination with the Commission, this professional will provide a range of services in the community in which each of the participating youth reside. The following strategies will be implemented to achieve the goal of increasing employment outcomes: Customized Employment Activities

  • Design and implement an approach to employment for youth who are blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired with additional intellectual/developmental disabilities that meets the attributes of customized employment.
  • Maintain data on each of the participating youth that includes futures planning, positive profiles and resumes.

Direct Services

  • Provide direct job coaching to youth on a temporary schedule that would include the transfer to supported employment agency in which the youth has chosen to engage.
  • Provide direct instruction in the soft and hard skills of employment as needed.

Technical Assistance / Training

  • Provide on-site technical assistance to agency employment support staff and CBVI Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors in the provision of employment supports.
  • Provide training to the participating youth and their families in appropriate employment-related skills.

Other Duties

  • Collaborate with other Center for Sensory and Complex Disabilities (CSCD) employees on projects of mutual benefit to this project as directed by the CSCD Executive Director.

Restructuring of the LEAD program (Leadership, Education, Advocacy, Determination) Restructure the current LEAD program to incorporate more employment readiness activities and community work experiences for transition-aged youth participating in the program. A redesigned program model will be completed by June 30, 2013 and implemented by September, 2013.   Commission administrative staff will wor

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 31 2012 2:26PM by John Walsh

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

Goal 1 – Develop and implement a Statewide Network of Support Service Providers for Deaf-Blind Consumers. (SSP-NJ)

CBVI, in collaboration with The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), and after review and agreement by the State Rehabilitation Council, promoted greater community integration for adults who are deaf-blind that met the project criteria through the development and implementation of a statewide network of Support Service Providers (SSP). SSPs relay visual and environmental information, act as human guides and facilitate communication for people who are deaf-blind, using the deaf-blind person’s preferred language and communication mode. SSPs enable deaf-blind persons to access their communities and connect with other people, reduce communication barriers that otherwise would result in social isolation, the incapability to live independently, and inability to participate as citizens within mainstream society.   In FFY 2011, CBVI provided SSP services to 20 consumers who are deaf-blind.  This project addressed the following objectives:

  Objectives:

1. Develop and implement a referral system to connect trained SSP to individuals eligible for services.   Outcomes: SSP-NJ is a consumer-driven network of Support Service Providers, meaning that, in accordance with program guidelines and pre-screened providers, deaf-blind program participants select when and how they want to use SSPs, and their SSPs of choice. SSP-NJ matches individuals and SSPs only when those eligible for services request the agency to do so. When SSP-NJ is requested to provide matching, the program considers the skills of the SSP, the needs of the consumer and the community location of both individuals. The deaf-blind community is small and many SSPs and eligible consumers are known to each other. Further, SSP-NJ program policy includes priority training for applicants recommended by program participants. For new program participants who may not know those in the SSP network, SSP-NJ provides facilitated activities whereby everyone can get to know each other in a neutral community setting, such as a mall. This way, both program participants and SSPs can spend time “testing each other out” for compatibility before committing to working with each other.

2. Develop an advisory council that meets quarterly in FFY 2011.

Outcome: The advisory council structure has consisted of the program development collaborative team, which includes administrative representatives from the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Center on Sensory & Complex Disabilities at The College of New Jersey. Meetings take place quarterly and include progress reports of the developing statewide SSP-NJ system from associated staff members, including the Statewide Director, Program Manager and Regional Coordinators. As of June 30, 2012, all structures and systems are in place, beta-tested and ready to be expanded, so the current advisory council will be replaced with a formal outside advisory structure that will include program participants, SSPs and related agency representatives (e.g., NJ Division of the Deaf/ Hard of Hearing). Formal nominations for this council will be announced during the SSP-NJ Deaf-Blind Seminar September 8, 2012.    3. Recruit and screen ten (10) new SSP candidates.

Outcome:  SSP-NJ is continually evaluating the needs of our program participants and the ability of the network of SSPs to meet those needs. SSP-NJ welcomed referral applicants from both program participants and current SSPs. In outreach efforts, SSP-NJ has presented at both interpreter training programs in New Jersey (Ocean County College and Union County College). Carefully planned recruiting of SSP candidates is ongoing, and applications continue to roll in due to word-of-mouth recommendations, as well as limited outreach efforts. Currently there are 26 individuals screened and on the waiting list for training.   4. Develop and implement on-going training program for SSP candidates and provide four (4) training statewide.   Outcome:  A challenge in managing the network of SSPs has been balancing the number of program participants and their unique needs with the number of SSPs.  About half of our program participants are ASL users (11 of 20), and they prefer deaf SSPs for many activities, especially those involving peer support, maintaining their home and shopping, but there are other activities, such as interacting with prospective employers or medical appointments, where they prefer hearing SSPs. In FY 2012, the program successfully recruited, trained and brought on board six deaf SSPs; this trend is expected to continue for FY 2013. In response to requests from program participants, SSP-NJ is also working to grow the number of male SSPs. Keeping a balance that meets the program participants’ needs involves not only an ongoing observation of activity, but also good communication about program needs between program staff and program participants.

5. Develop and implement training programs for consumers who are deaf-blind on the proper use of SSP services.  Train thirty (30) eligible consumers.

Outcome: In addition to the SSP training program, SSP-NJ has also developed a training program that’s required for all of deaf-blind program participants. Although each program participant receives the same training manual, which is provided in the individual’s preferred reading mode, the training itself is individualized and can take between 1 and 4 hours, depending on the communication and literacy skills of the individual. In addition to the 20-page training manual, each participant receives a listing of approved activities, a listing of SSPs, a Client Agreement, sample forms and an initial supply of FREE MATTER envelopes. Topics covered during training include the role of the SSP, the responsibilities of the Deaf-Blind individual, the role of the interpreter, the relationship between the Deaf-Blind person and the SSP, how to use and schedule SSPs and examples of all forms. A complete listing of SSP-NJ policies is also included either electronically or as a hard copy.   20 individuals currently are eligible for services, have been provided with individualized training. In addition, SSP-NJ provides ongoing technical assistance on the process of requesting an SSP in accordance with established program policies and procedures. Due to the variety of needs in the community, as well as locations throughout the state, this training is extremely time consuming.   6. Develop and implement a community of practice to include ongoing professional development for the providers in the SSP network.   Outcome: TCNJ has created a formal Center on Sensory & Complex Disabilities (CSCD) within its School of Education that will be the host of current and future professional development and opportunities for professional milieu. SSPs have expressed a need to interact with others so to make their jobs less isolating. The CSCD has created a new website that has the capabilities of providing the subgroups of professionals that support adults who are deaf-blind with on-line chat rooms, a listserv and on-demand technical assistance. In addition, a community of practice event will occur on September 8, 2012, for both adults with deaf-blindness engaged in employment and independent living.   7. Develop and implement a system of evaluating to determine the level of SSP services needed the individual consumers.   Outcome: The original and current level of 16 hours of paid SSP services per month was determined by considering the levels of service provided by other models across the country as well as our current funding levels. Several program participants have requested that this number be increased, and recently, SSP-NJ has begun searching for volunteers when program participants have exceeded their 16 hours. A review of current SSP programs across the country, which was compiled by the Helen Keller National Center in August, 2012, indicates that 16 hours per month of paid SSP services is still comparable to other states offering paid SSP services. To solve the dilemma of those requesting more services, SSP-NJ will continue to search for volunteer SSPs and will also explore alternative funding sources.

8. Develop and implement a method of evaluating the effectiveness of the program to promote greater community integration of deaf-blind adults.   Outcome: Evaluation of the effectiveness of the program’s ability to promote greater community integration of deaf-blind adults can be validated by increasing numbers of individuals using the program, increasing numbers of SSP assignments and high percentages of satisfied program participants. A comparison follows:                                                                 FY 2011 FY 2012 of program participants                             13           20 Total assignments                                   180         266      “Regular” assignments                          180         213 Training assignments                                  N/A          22 Facilitated events (mall shops)                   N/A           31 Satisfied program participants                    N/A        99.6%   These numbers will continue to rise as long as the program continues to build integrity in the community. Components integral to developing integrity include quality training of all individuals, timely payments to SSPs, and immediate and responsive action to requests for services, information, emergencies, problem solving and complaints. Also integral to the success of the program is the commitment of NJ’s self-directed deaf-blind community.

9. Develop a contractual agreement with a private, non-profit agency to serve as a fiscal intermediary for the SSP project.  The fiscal intermediary will make payments to SSP providers on behalf of consumers eligible for services.   CBVI will provide all funding for approved services.   Outcome: As of December 1, 2011, SSP-NJ began to offer fiscal intermediary services for all consumers of SSP services.    The Commission entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the New Jersey Division of Disability Services (NJ-DDS), a sister division within the Designated State Agency, to provide these services through a community rehabilitation provider. NJ-DDS offers fiscal intermediary services to individuals with disabilities who receive personal assistant services.   The SSP-NJ program was added to the existing program, to offer a seamless means of paying SSP for the services they provide and also give consumers reports on the services provided.    Goal 2 – Develop a Pilot Summer College Preparatory Program for College Bound Transition Students CBVI, in collaboration with Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC), developed a summer college preparatory program (CPE – College Prep Experience) in which college bound high school students, i.e., juniors and seniors, attended a six week integrated summer semester at RVCC while residing at the Commission’s Joseph Kohn Training Center (JKTC). Students selected one elective course at RVCC for three credits. All students participated in a two credit course in study skills and general preparation for the college environment that was co-facilitated by a Teacher of the Visually Impaired from the agency. Students attended classes at RVCC three full days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday) and participated in the JKTC Blindness Skills curriculum on Wednesday. Students also participated in various learning experiences on Friday mornings that enhance their college prep experience. Evenings incorporated time to study, practice ADL skills, and also participate in social/recreational activities. The concept of the CPE program was based on direct feedback from the SRC membership related to the agency’s previous college preparatory program that was housed at Drew University.   The long standing program was four weeks in duration, and students did not take actual college courses but participated in courses that prepared students for future college enrollment. All classes were only attended by Commission students, and therefore were not fully integrated to the college community. The SRC membership asked the Commission to revise the program to allow for a more integrated college experiences. i.e., taking real college classes with non-disabled peers, but that also gave students appropriate supports to try college classes.   Objectives 1. Develop a summer transition program in which college bound high school students can participate in an integrated summer college experience during which they will they will have an opportunity to take courses for actual college credit. Outcome: During the summer of 2012, CBVI offered the College Prep Experience program for the third year in a row.   In FFY 2011, 12 students completed in the program and in FFY 2012, 11 students completed the program.   The agency has received favorable feedback from its participants and intends to offer the program again in FFY 2013. 2. Utilize the staff and resources at the Commission’s Joseph Kohn Training Center (JTRC) to provide support services, instruction in the development of blindness skills and social and recreational activities to the students who will be residing at the JTRC for the duration of the summer program. Outcome: All participants reside at the JKTC from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon, and return home for the weekends. The students are exposed to the various components of the JKTC program and are invited to participate in the full 20 week program at the completion of high school. Blindness skills and other instructional activities occur at the JKTC to prepare students for post-secondary outcomes.   3. Arrange for psychometric testing and vocational evaluations for each of the students.   Outcome: A psychologist is available with the student’s and his/her parents’ permission to undergo psychometric and vocational evaluation to assist the student in making career choices and developing a plan of services. This is an optional component of the program.   4. Develop and implement an SAT prep course for those students who express interest or are in need of SAT prep.   Outcome: During the summer of 2012, CBVI implemented a SAT prep course in the CPE program.   The Commission contracted with Princeton Review to provide the instruction.   The contract also allowed for all participants to access the online component of the Princeton Review program up to 120 days after the completion of CPE.   Commission staff assisted in making sure the program was accessible for students who utilized adaptive software to access a computer.     5. Collaborate with the Disabilities Coordinator at RVCC in determining student as they relate to any accommodations that may be required.   Outcome: The Commission has an excellent working relationship with the RVCC Office for Students with Special Needs, and accommodations have been forthcoming upon request.   6. Provide each student with an accessible laptop computer and Internet access for the duration of the program. Outcome: All students are provided with an adapted notebook computer to use for the duration of the program. In addition, scanners, printer, and other assistive technology devices are available for use of students at the JKTC.   7. Develop and implement a method to evaluate and determine (a) the impact and success of the program and (b) any additional issues or needs that require attention should the CPE program be continued next year.   Outcome: Each year at the completion of the program, debriefing sessions occur to ascertain what worked well and what are the areas of the program that need improvement.    Various sessions occur with students, RVCC staff, and Commission staff to ascertain this information.   CBVI will also perform a more comprehensive review of the program in terms of participant satisfaction and also impact on post-secondary outcomes after its fifth year of operation. By that time enough students would have participated in the program to give an adequate sample to review.   The basic question underlying the assessment would be: Did CPE prepare students adequately to better engage the college experience after graduation from high school?

 

The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired continues its commitment to the development of an effective, coordinated system of supported employment work opportunities for blind, deaf-blind and visually impaired consumers throughout New Jersey.

Goal - The goal is for CBVI to work with CVR to provide supported employment services to fifteen (15) Agency consumers during the next fiscal year. Outcome: The Center for Vocational Rehabilitation (CVR) continued to provide contracted services for supported employment to the Agency’s central region and served a total of 25 consumers, surpassing the target.   Goal – CBVI will provide supported employment services up to 15 individuals via CRP’s on a fee-for service basis. Outcome:  Supported employment services are provided statewide via community rehabilitation providers through a fee-for-service payment structure.   The agency maintains a list of approved supported employment vendors in collaboration with the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities and the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. These agencies provide supported employment services to 19 consumers, surpassing the agency goal.   The Commission presently contracts with one provider for a range of supported employment services.  The Center for Vocational Rehabilitation provides services in the state’s central region. Consumers in the southern and northern regions of the state receive supported employment services on a fee for service basis. The Commission also utilizes Title I funds to provide supported employment services on a fee for service basis. In FFY 2011, 4.2% of all individuals who achieved employment outcomes received supported employment services to achieve this outcome.   This is higher than the Blind Agency Average nationally of 3.1%

 

Standards and Indicators for FY 2011

The data below reflects the agency’s compliance with the standards and indicators. The Commission met or exceeded the required performance levels in five of the six indicators for Standard one and standard two, thereby exceeding the required performance level for both standards.   • Indicator 1.1: How many more or fewer individuals achieved employment? CBVI did pass this indicator. For FFY 2011 data reporting period the Commission assisted 575 individuals to achieve employment outcomes, as compared to the FFY 2010 which totaled 567 individuals. A total of 8 additional individuals achieved employment outcomes as compared to the previous reporting period.   • Indicator 1.2: Of the individuals whose cases were closed after receiving services, what percentage achieved employment? The Commission met this indicator with a percentage score of 71.69%.   • Indicator 1.3 (Primary): Of the number of individuals who achieved employment, what percentage achieved competitive employment? The Commission met this indicator with a percentage of 93.74%.   • Indicator 1.4 (Primary): Of the individuals who achieved competitive employment, what percentage had a significant disability? The Commission met this indicator at 100.00%.   • Indicator 1.5 (Primary): Measures the income ratio of those individuals who are closed as competitively employed to the State average hourly wage. The Commission did not pass this indicator. The standard is 0.590 and the Commission score was 0.551, which was an improvement from FFY 2010 at 0.543. The high average hourly state wage for New Jersey, in addition to the continued high unemployment rates in New Jersey has proved challenging for the agency to pass Indicator 1.5.  The agency will continue to outreach to large employers to continue to expand the scope of employment opportunities for our consumers, especially jobs that offer wages commensurate with the average hourly wage for the state.   The Commission has also been working to expand internship or work experience opportunities for high school and college students in order to develop career paths to higher paying jobs.       • Indicator 1.6: This indicator represents the increase or decrease in the percentage of individuals who achieved competitive employment who had their own income as a primary source of support at closure compared to the percentage who had their own income as a primary support source when they applied for VR services. The standard is 30.4 and the Commission met the goals of this indicator at 42.49%.   • Standard 2.1: This indicator measures the ratio of the minority population served by the VR program compared to the ratio of the non-minority population served by the VR program. The standard is 0.80 which the Commission surpassed with a ratio of 0.845.

 

Many of the innovative and expansion activities that occurred in FY 2011 were funded by ARRA funds, and therefore I&E funds were not expended in that time period.   I&E funds from FY 2010 began innovative and expansion activities that were continued in FY 2011.   Report on FY 2012 I&E fund expenditure will be annotated in the FFY 2014 State Plan.

This screen was last updated on Aug 23 2012 3:13PM by John Walsh

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

As mentioned in attachment 4.11(c), the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired remains committed to increasing the quality, scope and extent of supported employment services to eligible consumers who are blind, deaf-blind,  or visually impaired and also may have additional disabilities.   The Commission’s Title VI Part B funding is generally inadequate to support the full scope of supported employment services, However, in the absence of Title VI funds, the Commission does use Title I funds to ensure that adequate services are provided.

There are presently fifty-seven providers throughout the state who provide supported employment services on a fee for service basis. The Commission also maintains a contract with the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation (CVR) to provide the full range of supported employment services in the central region of the state. The total amount expended for the CVR contract is $70,750. The Commission’s three other service units (southern region, northern region and statewide services) access supported employment services from eligible providers on a fee for service basis. The Commission continues to make use of time limited job coaching services to address the needs of consumers who are chronically unemployed and those who present with issues of mental health or are otherwise ineligible for services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). The Commission has traditionally placed approximately five percent of all successful rehabilitations into supported employment.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding supported employment is currently in effect between the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Division of Developmental Disabilities, and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. The MOU delineates the procedures and protocols that define the provision of supported employment services within and between these three agencies. An ongoing training program has been developed and delivered to the appropriate staff in the three agencies. The agency has also recently established a working relationship with the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities and developed a full day training for supported employment providers throughout the state, addressing issues of vision loss and supports in the workplace. Training topics include assistive technology, safe travel, and non-visual instructional techniques.   It is anticipated that the agency will offer the training through the Boggs Center several times in FFY 2013.

It should be noted that the Commission does not fund extended services. Extended services are provided by the Division of Developmental Disabilities and or other identified sources. The previously mentioned MOU includes a form (F-3) that is completed at the appropriate time, as defined by the IPE and consumer’s progress at the work site, which moves an eligible consumer into an extended services status.

The transition to Extended Services must occur no later than eighteen (18) months after placement in supported employment, unless a longer period is established in the IPE and only if the individual has made substantial progress toward obtaining the employment goal listed in the IPE.  

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 14 2012 5:09PM by John Walsh

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 08/31/2012 at 2:26 PM

Last updated by sanjwalshj

Completed on 08/31/2012 at 2:28 PM

Completed by sanjwalshj

Approved on 09/06/2012 at 5:53 PM

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Published on 09/25/2012 at 10:11 AM

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  • Monitoring Report for New Jersey - Blind — as of May 20, 2011
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  • "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities" — A blueprint for Governors has been issued by the National Governors Association (NGA).
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  • TAC-14-02 — Submission of the FY 2015 State Plan for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and Supplement for the Supported Employment Services Program. (May 28, 2014)
    DOC (247KB) | PDF (233KB)

  • ED-80-0013 - Certification Regarding Lobbying — 34 CFR 82.110(b) requires each State VR agency to submit for approval a signed certification regarding lobbying for each program for which federal funds are requested. In other words, one certification must be submitted for the VR program and another for the Supported Employment program.
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