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

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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation State Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 (submitted FY 2013)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

1.1 The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation 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 State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation [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

State Treasurer

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

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

Executive Director

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryStephen Suroviec

Title of SignatoryExecutive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/24/2013

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2014Yes

Comments:

Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation assures RSA that it 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 that the OVR can work with the SRC to fulfill the responsibilities listed in Section 101(a)(21)(ii)

and 

Complete interagency agreements or other mechanisms for interagency coordination with public institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the state for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services in accordance with Section 101 (a)(8)(B) and 34 CFR 361.53(d).

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryStephen Suroviec

Title of SignatoryExecutive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/24/2013

* 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.

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

Approved by the PA Rehabilitation Council on February 8, 2012.

This attachment is the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council’s (PaRC) input to the State Plan. The following documents were used to develop these recommendations to OVR:

1. The PaRC’s annual report (FFY 2011)

2. PaRC Customer Satisfaction Survey

3. Review of items in last year’s Attachment

4. Comments received at last year’s State Plan Meetings

5. Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Monitoring

Report

6. Statewide Needs Assessment

7. Workforce Development Statistics

8. OVR’s goals for the next fiscal year

Recommendations from the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council

COMMENDATION:

PaRC commends OVR for including PaRC representation in workgroups reviewing and developing policies; as well as working with Council on ways to combine the Customer Satisfaction Surveys.

OVR commends PaRC for their enthusiastic participation in workgroups as well as their timely responses to policy reviews.

Council recommends that OVR work toward the following in FY 2014:

1. Transition

Issue: Students with disabilities, who are between 14 and 21, need support in order to go from the school setting to employment or post secondary education/training. With such support, individuals are more likely to be placed in integrated, competitive employment outcomes.

Recommendations:

a. Develop peer counseling services during transition

b. Develop a greater working relationship between Department of Public Welfare (DPW), Department of Education (PDE) and OVR on Transition related issues, including reviewing and updating any existing Memoranda of Understanding (MOU’s).

c. Encourage OVR to educate individuals, advocates and families on their rights and services they are entitled to through the PDE, DPW, and other programs in relation to preparing for employment.

OVR Response:

a. OVR will continue to develop its relationship with the Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network in order to identify “youth leaders” throughout the Commonwealth who might serve in some capacity as “peer mentors”. OVR counselors will receive training on the Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network (PYLN) website and resources that may be used to access “peer mentor” services.

In addition, OVR has been involved with the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services with the development of the “Certified Peer Specialist” model for adults with mental health disabilities. Replication of this model is being explored for the Aging and ID populations as well as Ex-Offenders. This model may have application for youth with disabilities who have successfully navigated the “Transition” process.

b. OVR has been a key partner in the PA Statewide Leadership Team on Transition since its inception. The PDE, DPW and Department of Health (DOH) are also members of the State Leadership Team (SLT); therefore, OVR has been collaborating on Transition related issues including implementing the 1998 IDEA MOU which has been reviewed and amended in 2006 and 2010.

OVR has been strengthening our working relationship with other state agencies involved with Transition with the development of the OVR Transition Policy Stakeholders Workgroup, which convened in Summer 2012. This workgroup was established in order for OVR to gather input from other stakeholders including the PDE and the PA DPW regarding OVR Transition policies.

OVR will increase its dialogue with leadership in both PDE and DPW in order to increase collaborative efforts to coordinate Transition services more effectively and cost-efficiently at the local level throughout the Commonwealth.

c. OVR has updated its transition brochure targeted to school and agency personnel. We intend to create additional brochures targeted to students and parents/advocates. The workgroup will also create a Transition manual to provide additional information not included in the policy.

OVR updated a brochure entitled “Transition From School To Work: A Guide for School/Agency Personnel”. The revised guide was submitted to OVR executive staff for approval in May of 2012. After the OVR Transition Policy has been updated OVR will endeavor to create similar guides targeting students and parents/advocates. Additionally, OVR will develop a Transition Manual that will serve as a resource for Transition Counselors. The Guides as well as the manual may be utilized to assist OVR as they endeavor to inform the public of the services available to them. OVR expects to complete work on the Transition Manual and the Transition From School To Work Guides targeting students and parents/advocates in 2014.

As policies, procedures and materials are approved for publication/dissemination, OVR will offer training to its staff, agency partners, and community stakeholders via multiple venues.

In addition, OVR will work with the Pennsylvania Training & Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) to develop Transition related content for the PA Transition Community of Practice’s website. All MOU partners and other Transition stakeholder will have the opportunity to post Transition related materials on this website, thereby creating a “one-stop” website for Transition related resources.

2. CACs Citizen Advisory Committees

Issue: The purpose of the CAC is to evaluate the services provided by OVR within the local OVR service area, and to provide needed local information and advice to the OVR District Administrators from the people they serve. OVR needs to strengthen the local Citizen Advisory Committees and to make sure they are utilized by local districts.

Recommendations:

a. Distribute Citizen Advisory Committee handbook as a means of technical assistance to District Administrators and local CACs.

b. Request reports from CACs on their activities and extend an invitation to join PaRC committees to share knowledge about their districts.

c. Increase public knowledge of CAC meetings by utilizing the PaRC website, etc.

d. PaRC strongly recommends that local CACs be comprised of a majority of former or current “clients” of OVR.

OVR Response:

a. OVR distributed the CAC Handbook to all the district offices.

b. This is a reasonable request. OVR will develop a procedure with PaRC.

c. OVR is in the process of informing the public of CAC meetings and has already sent CAC meeting information to the PaRC for posting on their web site.

d. OVR appreciates the recommendation. OVR’s goal by having a functioning CAC is for district offices to get meaningful input from relevant stakeholders at the local level so they are as effective as possible pursuing the mission. Input from current or former customers is critically important, as is input from local employers, advocacy groups, high schools, colleges, technical schools, and service providers. The membership needs to be structured so that such input can be garnered, and thus it will be determined at the local level by the CAC.

3. Awareness of OVR Services

Issue: OVR should continue and increase efforts towards public and professional fields which support individuals with disabilities.

Recommendations:

a. Inform Workforce Investment Partners on services OVR provides.

b. Outreach to the community, medical professionals, and social service agencies serving individuals who have a disability on services OVR provides.

c. OVR to continue in their outreach efforts at public fairs, meetings, seminars, additional professional fields and provider agencies.

OVR’s Response:

We acknowledge the recommendations submitted by the PaRC and will continue to put forth efforts in the area of outreach to community partners as well as employers to increase OVR visibility as a premier employer resource.

Specifically, OVR has consulted with members of the Labor and Industry Press Office to discuss new outreach and public awareness strategies—website updates, brochures, formulation of a social media plan, and proper protocols for press awareness of regional OVR sponsored events. Such initiatives would be targeted towards youth and adult customers, potential employers, and community partners alike.

Regarding outreach to local professional organizations, OVR will continue in its efforts to join and connect with local businesses, civic organizations, and community agencies. Several OVR personnel have already begun to establish membership and/or involvement with organizations such as the local Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Chambers of Commerce, and various other workforce initiatives with community rehabilitation providers statewide.

4. Supported Employment (SE)

Issue: People with most significant disabilities who receive SE services have a greater chance of a successful employment outcome. However, the rate of successful closure outcomes does not support the amount of money spent on SE services.

Recommendations:

a. Increase number of cases closed with the use of Supported Employment.

b. Look at measurable cost as related to outcome data for Supported Employment contracts.

c. Share information on exemplary vendors who utilized Supported Employment.

OVR’s Response:

OVR has convened a Supported Employment Workgroup to review the above issues. This group will seek to determine whether policies and procedures need to be updated, what are expenditures by disability type, how long customers are in service, if training of staff is required, and/or what data can be obtained on SE vendor success rates.

5. Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Issue: PaRC recommends OVR assess 26 (successful competitive employment outcome), 28 (plan initiated and started but case closed unsuccessfully) and 32 (post-employment service) and 34 (status closed) closures and a sample of all open cases for quality. We encourage the following recommendations.

Recommendations:

a. Monitor, in conjunction with the PaRC and the OVR Board, implementation of the process of combining the customer satisfaction surveys.

b. Monitor, in conjunction with the PaRC and the OVR Board, data within area identifiers.

c. Gather information through meaningful questions.

OVR’s Response:

OVR created a timeline to address the inclusion of different statuses in the Customer Satisfaction Survey. At each stage of the process, PaRC is to provide OVR with approved questions from their Executive Committee. During the PaRC Customer Satisfaction conference call (in May 2012), PaRC committed to submitting their desired questions in a 3-point Likert scale after approval from their Executive Board. OVR will present a mock proposal for final approval after receiving input from the PaRC sub-committee on their questions.

This screen was last updated on Jul 25 2013 11:43AM by Pamela Brauchli

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2009 8:40AM by Pamela Brauchli

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

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

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

Any projections, program continuations, etc. in this Attachment are subject to the availability of supporting funding in the Plan year.

The PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation maintains negotiated Letters of Understanding with more than 272 community service providers covering in excess of 1,000 different rehabilitation, independent living and related services programs. None of these agreements falls into the categories of state use contracting programs or Rural Development programs under the US Department of Agriculture.

In addition to Letters of Understanding, OVR accesses the full complement of business, trade, vocational, and post-secondary schools in the Commonwealth as are approved by the PA Department of Education.

Physicians, Hospitals, medical and medically-related practitioners and vendors as are licensed and/or certified by the appropriate Commonwealth authorities to provide services in Pennsylvania are also available for use by OVR.

This screen was last updated on Jun 3 2013 9:08AM by Pamela Brauchli

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

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

Any projections, program continuations, etc. in this Attachment are subject to the availability of supporting funding in the Plan year.

As cited in Attachment 4.8(b) (1), the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) accesses and uses the full complement of vocational schools, colleges, etc. as are approved for such use by the PA Dept. of Education.

Following an Executive Order in 1998 and completion of a signed Memorandum of Understanding in January 2001, OVR has been a partner with Education in developing and coordinating Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) for transitioning students. When possible and appropriate as well as in accordance with PA OVR’s Order of Selection, an Individualized Plan for Employment is developed, upon completion of a comprehensive assessment of strengths, needs, and interests, prior to the student exiting the school setting. The Individualized Plan for Employment, when possible, is written to complement and support the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

PA OVR has fulfilled the interagency coordination requirement of Section 101(a)(8)(B) and 34 CFR 361.53(d) with the vast majority of public institutions of higher education (IHE) throughout the Commonwealth by September 30, 2011, including all 14 independent community colleges and the 14 member institutions of the PA State System of Higher Education(PASSHE). The PASSHE agreement, which will cover the next 5 years, has been updated and is in the signatory process. The four state-related universities, Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln have joined together to propose an expansion of the agreement to include items not specifically mandated in the Act and beyond the scope of the agreements signed by their 28 IHE colleagues. PA OVR will continue to pursue negotiations with these final four until mutually acceptable agreements are executed. PA OVR will report quarterly on progress made in completing the required agreements.

The nationally recognized Pennsylvania MOU was renewed by the involved state agency partners in July 2010. This MOU implementation model addresses:

-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; and

-Procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.

The model is of note because of its inclusion of the students, as well as their families and representatives, in all levels of implementation.

Additionally, OVR works in close collaboration with the Bureau of Special Education in the PA Department of Education to implement and maintain a nationally recognized transition program that will enable students with significant disabilities to move successfully from secondary school to post-secondary education or competitive employment. The PA Transition (MOU) Statewide Leadership Team (SLT) meets quarterly to implement and review its State Plan.

OVR continues to collaborate with the Department of Education, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Department of Public Welfare to obtain professional clearances for vocational rehabilitation counselors and supervisors who work within public school systems, a requirement for all school personnel and contractors by PA Acts 34 and 151.

In September 2007, OVR was awarded a five-year, RSA Transition Grant. PA OVR has aggressively developed sites across the Commonwealth to replicate two distinct models for Transition from School to Work.

Project SEARCH, an internationally recognized employment model, has been replicated at 10 sites as of the Fall of 2012 with 1 additional site under development for initiation in Fall of 2013, which would exceed OVR’s goal of establishing 10 sites throughout the Commonwealth by the end of the grant period.

Project Promoting Academic Success, a one-credit college course to assist high school students with disabilities to explore post-secondary education, has been replicated at 23 sites as of Fall of 2012. Additional sites will be established as opportunities arise. This exceeds OVR’s goal of establishing 20 sites throughout the Commonwealth by the end of the grant period.

OVR continues to participate in both regional as well as national Communities of Practice on Transition with its primary partner, the PA Department of Education.

This screen was last updated on May 21 2013 1:46PM by Pamela Brauchli

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

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

Any projections, program continuations, etc. in this Attachment are subject to the availability of supporting funding in the Plan year.

As cited in Attachment 4.8(b)(1), the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) maintains negotiated Letters of Understanding with more than 272 community service providers covering more than 1,000 different rehabilitation, independent living and related services. Most of those organizations are not-for -profit community rehabilitation providers.

Letters of Understanding (LOU’s) define service programs and the corresponding conditions of purchase, including fees and effective/expiration dates, which exist between a rehabilitation service provider and OVR.

A letter of understanding entered between OVR and a community service provider creates a locally developed, locally negotiated, and locally sensitive response to the rehabilitation service needs of persons with significant disabilities in the diverse areas of the Commonwealth.

A Letter of understanding is neither a contract nor an agreement. It does not commit either provider or OVR to the sale or purchase of the defined services.

The continuing use of a Letter of Understanding for OVR customers is reliant upon customer choice, satisfaction with the service, affordability, and the existence of available alternative services.

This screen was last updated on May 21 2013 1:51PM by Pamela Brauchli

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

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) uses many avenues to assure collaboration and partnership in the delivery of supported employment and extended services. These include a formal written Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the state level between the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), and the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and at the county level with local agreements between the 21 OVR District Offices and County ODP/OMHSAS Administrative Entities.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s formal collaborative working relationship with OMHSAS and ODP is outlined in the above-mentioned MOU. This cooperation and coordination of services is further defined at the local level with agreements between the 21 OVR District Offices and the County ODP Administrative Entities. These agreements outline the responsibilities of each agency in the area of service delivery and funding. OVR and ODP are working to complete a coordination policy intended to be effective 2013 for a more seamless entry into employment for individuals with developmental disabilities and for the coordination of extended services to allow individuals to maintain employment long-term. This is important because the majority of supported employment services are used to support individuals within the intellectual disabilities population in gaining and maintaining successful employment.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation also has a collaborative working relationship with the Department of Education. This relationship is outlined in the Transition from School to Work Guidelines issued to all 21 OVR District Offices and 500 school districts in Pennsylvania. A formal MOU between the Department of Education, the Department of Public Welfare, the Department of Labor and Industry, and the Department of Health was developed and implemented in December 1999 and was renewed in July 2010.

This screen was last updated on Jun 3 2013 9:09AM by Pamela Brauchli

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Personnel Data and Projections

As of December 31, 2012 OVR had 997 filled salaried positions and 83 vacancies. This figure includes 194 filled salaried positions at the Hiram G. Andrews Center (HGAC). Statewide, OVR had a total of 418 filled Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor positions, 21 Rehabilitation Teacher positions, and 14 Orientation and Mobility Instructor positions. The current complement of VR Counselors requires that OVR maintain an Order of Selection in order to adequately serve and meet the needs of eligible VR customers at this time.

During FFY 2012, 23,726 individuals applied for VR services, 19,325 individuals were found eligible for VR services, and approximately 64,600 individuals received VR services from OVR. As a result, 9,939 individuals were placed in employment in FFY 2012. In the same time period, 4,014 individuals received Independent Living Older Blind Services and 1,589 individuals were referred to the Hiram G. Andrews Center.

OVR projects that in the next five years, approximately 105 VR Counselors will become eligible to retire from employment with OVR. This will be an average of 21 VR Counselors retiring per year. However, additional numbers of new VR Counselors will be needed due to promotions of VR Counselors to higher positions within OVR. OVR projects that an average of 20-25 new VR Counselors will be hired per year in the next 5-10 years. To assist with recruitment of VR Counselors, OVR plans to continue its expanded utilization of the “VR Counselor Internship” Program to attract qualified VR Counselors during their last semester of graduate school. There is expected to be an adequate number of VR Counselor candidates to fill vacancies over the next 5-10 years. However, certain locations within the state may require targeted recruitment efforts at any given time.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 VR Counselor 418 30 98
2 VR Counselor Deaf and Hard of Hearing 21 1 6
3 VR Counselor Placement 1 0 1
4 Rehabilitation Teachers 21 3 6
5 Orientation and Mobility Instructors 14 3 7
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

Personnel Sources

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

CORE-accredited university programs in Pennsylvania include: Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Scranton and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. These programs graduate a total of appproximately 36 students per year with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.

In addition to the 36 available students graduating from in-state graduate degree programs, Pennsylvania OVR can recruit students from CORE-approved and other universities that offer a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling nationwide. Pennsylvania residency requirements are waived under the State Civil Service Commission for the VR Counselor Internship position and other VR Counselor classifications in OVR. This waiver provides OVR with an opportunity to recruit students nationwide and offer paid VR Counselor Intern positions to interested master’s degree students who are in their final semester of graduate school. This paid internship allows OVR to attract and recruit candidates for VR Counselor positions who have a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation while they are still in school and before they are recruited by other agencies. The residency waiver and the paid Internship position also assist in OVR’s efforts to recruit and hire individuals with disabilities and those from diverse and minority backgrounds.

Orientation and Mobility Instructors and Rehabilitation Teachers

Accredited university programs in Pennsylvania that train Orientation and Mobility Instructors and/or Rehabilitation Teachers include: Salus University, the University of Pittsburgh’s Vision Studies Program, and Kutztown State University. These programs graduate a total of approximately 45 students per year. Graduates of these approved university programs are eligible for certification in Rehabilitation Teaching or in Orientation and Mobility from the Academy for the Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP). In addition, OVR is able to recruit and hire Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Instructors who are being trained at universities nationwide and who reside outside of Pennsylvania.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Penn State University 17 0 5 3
2 University of Pittsburgh 28 0 0 9
3 Edinboro University of PA 18 0 0 8
4 University of Scranton 41 0 0 16
5 0 0 0 0

 

Section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act as Amended, or the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD), requires that State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies establish personnel standards for rehabilitation staff, including Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselors, that are consistent with any national or state-approved or recognized certification, licensing, or registration that applies to a particular profession. The purpose of an agency’s CSPD is to ensure the quality of personnel who provide VR services and who assist individuals with disabilities to achieve competitive employment outcomes through the VR program.

New Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

In 2002, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation raised the entry-level requirements for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor positions to reflect the requirements established by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) for Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC). Specifically, all newly hired Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors are required to possess a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Rehabilitation Administration, or Rehabilitation Education; or CRC credentials or documented proof from CRCC of eligibility to obtain CRC credentials. The revised Civil Service Announcement for VR Counselor positions became effective on October 4, 2002. As of January 2013, a total of 571 VR Counselors and VR Counselor Interns were hired under the new entry-level requirements. All 571 new VR Counselors and Interns met CSPD standards for qualified rehabilitation professionals upon being hired.

The change in entry-level standards for VR Counselors, requiring a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation or CRC credentials or CRC eligibility, includes the following components that seek to ensure an adequate supply of VR Counselors to meet OVR’s staffing needs for the next 5 - 10 years:

• Waiver of Residency - OVR has received, from the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission, a waiver of Pennsylvania residency as a condition of application for the positions of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and VR Counselor Intern.

• Review of Experience and Training - OVR received approval from the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission to implement an Experience and Training Examination as the means to assess a candidate’s qualifications for the position of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. This “review of experience and training” replaces the former written Civil Service Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Exam. The new VR Counselor Civil Service Position Announcement and the Experience and Training Review will remain open “until further notice” in order to assist with recruitment efforts and to ensure an adequate supply of qualified candidates.

• Designated Recruitment Specialist - OVR has designated a Rehabilitation Specialist position for the purpose of actively recruiting qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors within Pennsylvania and nationwide. This Specialist is assigned to work in the OVR Central Office and coordinates all OVR Counselor recruitment activities. The Recruitment Specialist, with the assistance of CORE-approved University faculty, field office staff, active OVR Advisory Councils, the Pennsylvania Social Services Union, and other key stakeholders, has developed and is implementing a proactive OVR Recruitment Plan. The goal of this plan is to attract and recruit adequate numbers of qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, including those with disabilities and those from diverse cultural backgrounds and underrepresented groups, to fill future anticipated Counselor vacancies. The Recrutiment Plan includes recruitment efforts to ensure an adequate supply of VR Counselors trained to provide services to specialty caseloads such as Counselors for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Counselors for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

• Paid Internship Program - OVR continues to utilize and expand the OVR paid Internship Program. This includes a waiver of Pennsylvania residency, so that the Internship Program can include out-of-state residents as candidates for employment. This provides OVR with an edge in recruiting qualified VR Counselors while they are still in the final year of their Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Program. The Paid Internship Program offers a Master’s Degree candidate, enrolled in an approved CORE accredited master’s degree program in Rehabilitation Counseling, a permanent position as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor upon graduation and the successful completion of the paid internship with OVR.

Effective January 7, 2006, OVR received approval to hire VR Counselor Interns as a salaried position instead of as an hourly position. This means that VR Counselor Interns will accure sick days and vacation days and will receive health insurance, group life insurance and other employee benefits upon their date of hire. This change adds an additional employment incentive for Intern candidates to choose to work for Pennsylvania OVR. This continues to make Pennsylvania OVR an attractive and competitive employer of VR Counselors nationwide.

Effective November 1, 2006, OVR received approval to increase the pay scale for VR Counselor Interns statewide, and to hire staff above the minimum for VR Counselor Interns who choose to work in Norristown and Philadelphia District Offices. The annual salary statewide for the classification of VR Counselor Intern was increased from Pay Scale 4 to Pay Scale 5. Norristown and Philadelphia District Offices are authorized to hire VR Counselor Interns at Pay Scale 5, Step 9. This targeted increase for new staff in southeastern district offices provides an additional recruitment and hiring incentive for this challenging recruitment area and should help to relieve the higher numbers of vacancies in these offices.

• Salary Incentives for designated classifications and locations - In order to assist with recruitment efforts, OVR received approval to hire VR Counselors and VR Counselor Interns in the Norristown and Philadelphia District Offices above the minimum effective November 1, 2006.

Norristown and Philadelphia District Offices are authorized to hire VR Counselors at Pay Scale 7, Step 5, which is consistent with the increase in these areas for VR Counselor Interns. OVR also received approval for VR Counselors for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in all offices across the Commonwealth to be hired at this higher pay scale level (Pay Scale 7, Step 5). In addition, Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisors who are employed in the Philadelphia and Norristown District Offices will receive a four pay step increase.

 

Currently Employed Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

In order to meet CSPD requirements as outlined in the law, the Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation took action in September 2001 to raise standards for currently employed Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors. The Board directed OVR to ensure that existing VR Counselors meet the standard of possessing a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Rehabilitation Administration or Rehabilitation Education; or Certified Rehabilitation Counselor credentials; or proof of eligibility to obtain CRC credentials.

In 2008 the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) established a deadline for OVR to meet CSPD standards for VR Counselors. All VR Counselors employed by OVR must be in compliance with CSPD standards on or before October 1, 2016. As a result, VR Counselors who do not possess the necessary educational or certification credentials on October 1, 2016 will no longer be able to function as VR Counselors and will be separated from their VR Counselor position with the Department of Labor and Industry. Therefore, OVR encourages any VR Counselors who do not meet CSPD standards to consider returning to school before 2014, so that they have ample time to complete university coursework by the 2016 deadline.

OVR has conducted several surveys to research and compile information regarding the professional and educational credentials of VR Counselors. The most recent OVR survey of professional staff credentials indicated the following statistics as of January 2013 (Note: Exact numbers of VR Counselors vary monthly due to separations, promotions and new hires – 431 OVR Counselors were included this survey):

Total Employed Counselors Who Will Meet CSPD = 411

•Counselors Currently Enrolled in a University Program = 1

•Counselors Currently Meeting CSPD Standards = 410

Total Counselors to be Trained by OVR’s CSPD 2016 deadline = 20

•Counselors with 26+ Years of Service and eligible to retire = 11

•Counselors with under 26 Years of Service and eligible to retire due to age = 3

•Counselors with under 26 Years of Service and not eligible to retire due to age = 6

As a result of the survey, OVR has determined that 20 VR Counselors do not meet CSPD standards and must receive training. Of the 20 Counselors who do not meet CSPD standards, 11 VR Counselors have 26+ years of service with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and will be eligible to and are expected to retire by October 1st 2016. Of the 20 VR Counselors who do not meet CSPD standards, 9 have less than 26 years of service, including approximately 3 who will be eligible to retire within the next 5 years due to age.

VR Counselors who do not meet CSPD standards are approved to enter Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Programs according to a process agreed upon with the Pennsylvania Social Services Union.

Following completion of training for VR Counselors hired prior to October 4, 2002, OVR will no longer need a training plan for existing VR Counselors to meet CSPD requirements. As of October 4, 2002, all newly hired VR Counselors are required to meet CSPD standards as an entry-level requirement. These entry-level requirements will ensure that all VR Counselors employed by OVR will meet CSPD standards.

Current University Initiatives for OVR Counselors and progress since 2001

There is currently 1 OVR Counselor attending a university program in order to meet CSPD requirements. In addition, there are employees under various other classifications (i.e. Employment Facilitator; Counselor Assistant) who are pursuing CSPD credentials in RSA grant-funded programs totaling little to no cost to OVR.

George Washington University Online Master’s Degree Program

• Seventy employees have completed coursework through the George Washington University (GWU) Online Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Program. These 70 employees now meet current CSPD requirements.

• One employee funded by OVR is anticipated to graduate with a master’s degree from GWU in December 2013.

University of Scranton

• Forty OVR employees have completed coursework through the University of Scranton and now meet CSPD requirements.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

• Four VR Counselors have completed coursework through Edinboro University and now meet CSPD requirements.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

• Six VR Counselors have completed coursework through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and now meet CSPD requirements.

University of Pittsburgh

• One VR Counselor has completed coursework through the University of Pittsburgh and now meets CSPD requirements.

Other University Programs

• Six VR Counselors completed the Online Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Program at West Virginia University.

• In January 2010, 1 VR Counselor began online study for a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Administration Program at Southern Illinois University. Anticipated graduation date is May 2013.

OVR continues to work with a variety of universities in Pennsylvania and nationwide in order to design creative and innovative ways of offering Master’s level coursework to meet the needs of the remaining VR Counselors who need training in order to meet CSPD standards.

Additional CSPD Activities

A portion of the Rehabilitation Services Administration In-Service Training Grant has been allocated for the continuing education of employees that possess CRC credentials and other certifications. Currently, there are approximately 328 OVR staff who maintain CRC credentials. This is expected to increase annually, as more staff complete university programs and as new staff meeting CSPD standards enter employment with OVR.

Orientation and Mobility Instructors and Rehabilitation Teachers

The positions of Rehabilitation Teacher and Orientation and Mobility Instructor require a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation or related field, with specialized training related to serving people who are blind or visually impaired. A master’s degree is preferred. In order to assist with the recruitment of qualified Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Instructors, a waiver of Pennsylvania residency is also in place for both of these classifications. This waiver provides OVR with an opportunity to recruit candidates nationwide for vacant positions. The OVR designated Recruitment Specialist actively recruits qualified Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Instructors within Pennsylvania and nationwide.

 

OVR was awarded a five-year grant (2010-2015) from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to financially support the agency’s plan for a comprehensive system of staff development and training. The funding from this grant will ensure staff development for OVR personnel in areas essential to the effective management of the agency’s program of vocational rehabilitation services. It will also provide for the training and development of personnel necessary to improve their ability to provide vocational rehabilitation services leading to employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, especially those with severe disabilities.

As part of developing the in-service training plan that was part of the RSA grant submission, a comprehensive needs assessment was done by OVR to determine the training needs of state vocational rehabilitation staff for the period October 2010 - September 2015. As a result of this comprehensive needs assessment, the following topics were identified as priorities for staff development and training and are planned for in the five-year training grant award received from RSA:

Rehabilitation Act Amendments and Workforce Investment Act Training

Maintenance of Appropriate Staff Certification and Licensure

Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology

Job Development and Placement

Transition Services for Youth with Disabilities

Medical Aspects

Conflict Resolution

Critical Thinking and Decision Making

Additional Training as Identified

Casework Documentation and Record Keeping

Leadership Skill and Development

Team Building and Collaboration

Stress Management

Providing Services to an Aging Population

OVR also received three Quality Award training grants from RSA to implement special continuing education programs. A Quality Award grant was approved to implement video conferencing trainings in OVR’s Central Office as well as OVR’s District Offices. Two additional Quality Award grants were received from RSA which focus on: (1) Drug and Alcohol Training; and (2) The Development and Dissemination of a Model In-Service Training for Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisors. Both initiatives will expand on OVR’s prior successes and will seek to increase competency skills for staff in order to continue increased employment outcomes for customers within these special populations.

In order to ensure that OVR’s personnel receive significant knowledge from research and other state-of-the-art methodologies, OVR uses RSA training grant funds to support presentations by university faculty, experts in the field of rehabilitation, and statewide and nationally known speakers at in-service training programs. OVR also funds staff attendance at national and statewide conferences that include speakers who are experts in current rehabilitation techniques, strategies and interventions. This includes coordination and facilitation of efforts between OVR and professional associations, such as the Pennsylvania Partners, Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns, Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Association, Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, etc., to train and retain qualified personnel.

 

COMMUNICATION WITH DIVERSE POPULATIONS

Entry-level requirements for Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing require that candidates pass the Sign Communication Proficiency Interview (SCPI) before being offered a formal interview for employment. OVR district offices, in geographic areas where there are large numbers of individuals who speak Spanish, recruit and hire a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who can speak both Spanish and English. In instances where there are no Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors who can communicate with a customer in his or her native language, an interpreter is hired to assist with communication.

Recruit and Hire People who are Minorities and People with Disabilities

OVR Counselor Recruitment Intiative

Through collaborative initiatives with higher education institutions, OVR will continue to expand recruitment and outreach to students with disabilities for entry-level VR Counselor positions. Collaboration with universities on federal RSA grant applications that seek to provide scholarship opportunities for students with disabilities will further this initiative. This includes supporting the efforts of university programs to apply for and implement Long Term Training Grant programs to train VR Counselors to work for the public VR program in Pennsylvania. In addition, OVR will continue the following activities as part of its overall VR Counselor recruitment initiative:

• Expand and maintain OVR’s partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) that offer a Master’s Degree Rehabilitation Counseling Program. This includes campus visitations, presentations, and meetings with students for targeted recruitment.

• Maintain appointed membership on Coppin State University (CSU) and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Rehabilitation Counseling Program Advisory Committees. Both are HBCU’s in the Mid-Atlantic region that prepare increased numbers of minority individuals for careers in the Public VR program.

• Maintain active membership on the National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns (NAMRC).

• Visit colleges, universities, and appropriate job fairs in conjunction with the Office of Equal Opportunity in the Department of Labor and Industry in order to recruit potential job applicants who are from diverse cultural backgrounds and applicants with disabilities.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Intern classification assists with the recruitment and employment of graduate students in the field of VR in their final semester of graduate school. An internship is required by CORE accredited universities. OVR interviews and selects candidates in their final graduate semester. The Civil Service requirements to apply for a VR Counselor position are waived for staff hired through this program. Upon completion of the intern’s degree and internship, and if appropriate, the intern is hired and reclassified to a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Many qualified VR Counselors have been hired through the OVR paid internship program and more are expected to be hired through this process. Recruitment of individuals with disabilities and individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds is a priority when seeking potential candidates for the VR Counselor Intern position.

Special Populations

OVR plans to continue efforts to work with the blind and deaf communities in order to recruit and hire qualified individuals who are deaf, blind, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing. This includes recommendations and assistance provided by the OVR Advisory Committee for Persons who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the OVR Advisory Committee for the Blind of Pennsylvania.In addition, OVR has a Rehabilitation Specialist assigned to coordinate the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind Program in OVR. This specialist assists with recruitment and outreach to these special populations in order to attract qualified OVR candidates for employment.

 

The goal of the CSPD under IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act is similar and must be approached in a collaborative fashion. To that end, OVR has designated a full-time Rehabilitation Specialist who is responsible for the OVR School to Work Transition Initiative and a Training Director responsible for OVR staff development. In addition, the OVR Supervisor of the Special Programs Division within the Bureau of Central Operations maintains membership on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP). Similarly, a representative from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and a representative from Parent Education Network pursuant to IDEA are members of the PA Rehabilitation Council. These formal memberships and informal relationships facilitate ongoing collaboration and communication regarding personnel standards and personnel development.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act aligns with "highly qualified" requirements for special education teachers as those requirements established under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). As a member of the SEAP, OVR has the opportunity to provide input to the Department of Education in the development of meaningful and effective personnel and parent development as required by IDEA and NCLB.

Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding among the Departments of Education, Public Welfare, Labor and Industry, and Health has further offered OVR an opportunity to collaborate and provide training in order to improve services to students with disabilities who are seeking employment. The Memorandum of Understanding resulted from an Administrative Executive Order that required all relevant Commonwealth agencies to collaborate in providing services to students with disabilities. The IDEA Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1999 and subsequently renewed in 2006 and 2010 provided a springboard for the work of the State Leadership Team (SLT). The mission of the SLT is to build and support sustainable community partnerships that create opportunities for youth and young adults with disabilities to transition smoothly from secondary education to the post-secondary outcomes of competitive employment; education, training and lifelong learning; community participation; and healthy lifestyles.

Pennsylvania has been recognized as a national leader in transition practices because of the "communities of practice" efforts. An annual transition conference is planned collaboratively by the SLT and is attended by over 800 stakeholders including educators, VR professionals, agency staff, families/caregivers, youth/young adults, and advocates. Also, regional professional development in the area of transition (CSPD) is planned, developed, presented, and evaluated through this collaborative process.

In addition, OVR was awarded a Model Demonstration Project to Improve the Postsecondary and Employment Outcomes of Youth with Disabilities from the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services beginning with FFY 2008. OVR has implemented the 2.25 million dollar grant over a 5-year period through the replication of two nationally recognized, evidence-based models in coordination with local transition teams and under the advisement of the PA Transition State Leadership Team. Portions of this grant were used for professional staff training. These activities will continue for the sixth year as part of an approved “No Cost Extension.

The combination of these joint initiatives seeks to ensure the availability of qualified personnel to serve students and adults with disabilities seeking employment and independence in Pennsylvania.

This screen was last updated on Jun 21 2013 2:06PM by Pamela Brauchli

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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

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

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

This screen was last updated on Jul 23 2013 3:58PM by Pamela Brauchli

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

Any projections, program continuations, etc. in this Attachment are subject to the availability of supporting funding in the plan year.

Estimates of Individuals to be Served:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2011 American Community Survey, 862,369 Pennsylvanians between the ages of 18-64 report having a disability. Of these, 279,407, or approximately 32.4%, report being unemployed. However, Census data does not provide sufficient detail for projecting demand for services. OVR has researched commonly available data from a variety of resources to assess long-range, systemic needs for services.

Estimates of Costs of Services:

Based on the information published in the Budget Tables of the U.S. Department of Education and assuming there is no increase in the estimated FFY 2014 Vocational Rehabilitation State Grant, the allocation for the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is $121,561,000. Furthermore, there is discussion that this proposed allocation would have several programs, including Supported Employment (Title VI, Part B Funds) rolled into it. Given these fiscal Constraints, OVR will strive to maintain current service levels and projects it will serve approximately 70,000 individuals in the general program and 400 individuals through Supported Employment.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
0
Most Significantly Disabled Title I $74,974,500 69985 $1,071
Significantly Disabled Title I $25,500 15 $1,700
Non-Significantly Disabled Title I $0 0
Title VI Part B Title VI $580,200 400 $1,450
Totals   $75,580,200 70,400 $1,073

This screen was last updated on Jun 3 2013 9:06AM by Pamela Brauchli

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

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

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

Any projections, program continuations, etc. in this Attachment are subject to the availability of supporting funding in the Plan year. Goals were developed and revised jointly with the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council (PaRC) on January 10, 2013.

Goal 1: Increase Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

1. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.1: The number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exit the VR program after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period.

2. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.2: Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage that are determined to have achieved an employment outcome. The performance level is 55.8%.

3. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.3: Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentage who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least minimum wage. The performance level is 72.6%.

4. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1A: Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are individuals with significant disabilities. The performance level is 62.4%.

5. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.5 comparing the average hourly wage of customers with significant or non-significant disabilities place in competitive employment to the average hourly wage for all workers in Pennsylvania.

6. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.6: Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services. The performance level is 53%.

7. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 2.1: The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities. The performance ratio level is .80.

8. Increase the number of Business Enterprise Program (BEP) locations as well as people who go through training in the BEP.

9. Partner with the Bureau of Workforce Development Partnership (BWDP) to train or re-train Pennsylvania CareerLink staff® on disability awareness and OVR fundamentals.

10. Evaluate the cost-effectiveness and structure of current Supported Employment (SE) programs.

Goal 2: Increase/Improve Transition Services for Students with Disabilities

1. Meet or exceed, from the previous year, the number of youth and young adults with disabilities (age 25 and younger) who receive services by September 30, 2014.

2. Meet or exceed, from the previous year, the number of youth and young adults with disabilities (age 25 and younger) who are successfully rehabilitated by September 30, 2014.

3. Continue collaborative activities that include projects with the PA Community on Transition Employment Practice Group and development of joint training modules for OVR and PA Department of Education staff, families, advocates, educators, and youth.

4. Continue the Cognitive Skills Enhancement Program (CSEP) to assist District Offices in the transition needs of students with disabilities and to reflect the stated needs of VR Counselors; and continue to offer CSEP as a service to OVR customers who wish to pursue post-secondary training at HGAC or elsewhere.

5. Continue implementation of Articulation Agreements between the Commonwealth Technical Institute at HGAC and secondary schools to improve accessibility of post-secondary programs at HGAC to eligible high school students.

6. Begin working with students starting at age 14 (and their parents) so they know what services we offer and how they can maximize their high school experience, whether through general education or special education, to increase their opportunity for success when they transition to adult life through higher education or employment.

7. Maintain and strengthen specific working relationships between Department of Public

Welfare (DPW), Department of Education (PDE) and OVR on Transition-related issues, including reviewing and updating transition policies.

8. Develop a social media plan, as well as traditional outreach materials, tailored to students

and families.

9. Develop a transition resource manual aka tool kit for OVR staff.

10. Expand the capacity of programs targeted toward transitioning students to post-secondary or employment opportunities.

Goal 3: Improve Community Education and Outreach

1. Develop a public awareness and outreach strategy.

2. Combine OVR’s and Pennsylvania State Rehabilitation Council’s (PaRC) Customer Satisfaction Surveys.

3. Strengthen relationship with Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) and ensure that CAC activities are posted on the PaRC web site.

4. Continue an emphasis on OVR’s employer outreach to promote the employment of people with disabilities.

5. Increase outreach to OVR stakeholder groups and the public to increase dialog, public awareness of OVR services, and expand opportunities for people with disabilities.

This screen was last updated on Jul 23 2013 4:00PM by Pamela Brauchli

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

Justification for order of selection

Since the Designated State Unit does not believe it will be able to serve all eligible individuals with the available resources, it has adopted an Order of Selection.

 

Description of Priority categories

First Priority: Most Significantly Disabled (MSD)

-The physical, mental, or sensory impairment(s) must seriously limit three or more of the individual’s functional capacities, and

-The individual must be expected to require two or more vocational rehabilitation services for at least six months from the date of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

Second Priority: Significantly Disabled (SD)

-The physical, mental, or sensory impairment(s) must seriously limit one or more of the individual’s functional capacities, and

-The individual must be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time.

Third Priority: Non-Significantly Disabled (NSD)

-The individual has a physical, mental, or sensory impairment that does not meet the definition for MSD or SD.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

First Priority: Most Significantly Disabled (MSD)

Second Priority: Significantly Disabled (SD)

Third Priority: Non-Significantly Disabled (NSD)

 

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

Given the projections of flat funding at both the Federal and State level, OVR will strive to maintain current service levels. As of December 31, 2012, OVR had a waiting list of about 58 customers whose severity of disability was either classified in the second or third priority. Based on actual FFY 2012 figures, OVR’s outcome and service goals under the Order of Selection are projected as follows for FFY 2014:

For the Most Significantly Disabled category, the number accepted is expected to be 25,000, while the number served will be 69,985. The number rehabilitated will be 10,000, of which 9,300 will be the number rehabilitated into the competitive labor market. The total cost for FFY 2014 is expected to be $121,561,000, which will be revised following notification of the FFY 2014 Appropriation.

For the Significantly Disabled category, the number accepted is expected to be 75 (newly accepted, but placed on a waiting list), while the number served will be 15. The number rehabilitated will be 5, of which 4 will be the number rehabilitated into the competitive labor market. The total cost for FFY 2014 is expected to be $121,561,000 which will be revised following notification of the FFY 2014 Appropriation.

For the Non-Significantly Disabled category, the number accepted is expected to be 10 (newly accepted, but placed on a waiting list), while the number served will be 0. The cost for FFY 2014 is expected to be 0.

In total, the number accepted is expected to be 21,000, while the number served will be 70,000. The number rehabilitated will be 10,000, of which 9,500 will be the number rehabilitated into the competitive labor market. The cost for FFY 2014 is expected to be $121,561,000, which will be revised following notification of the FFY 2014 Appropriation.

Priority Category Number of individuals to be served Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services Time within which goals are to be achieved Cost of services
1 70,000 10,000 16,500 25 months $79,974,500
2 15 5 10 25 months $25,500
3 0 0 0 0 $0

This screen was last updated on Jun 3 2013 9:16AM by Pamela Brauchli

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

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

OVR will use Title VI, Part B Funds to provide Supported Employment services to customers throughout the Commonwealth. Services are provided by way of contracts with Community Based Rehabilitation Providers using an individualized, performance-based job coaching model. Once the Title VI, Part B Funds have been exhausted, Title I Funds are used to provide Supported Employment services.

Supported Employment (SE) services are a vital part of OVR programming. SE services secure employment for individuals with the most significant disabilities who would not experience an employment outcome from less intensive job placement methods. It is anticipated that approximately 3,250 Pennsylvanians with the most significant disabilities will receive SE services in FFY 2014. Of this number, approximately 915 individuals will be funded out of the $1,003,000 Title VI, Part B Funds anticipated for distribution to Pennsylvania in FFY 2014.

OVR is developing a plan for statewide implementation of the Social Security Ticket-to-Work’s Partnership Plus Program which is intended to improve employment outcomes for OVR customers who are SSA recipients to ensure the availability of financial resources for long-term supported employment follow-up.

An important goal for OVR is to continue to expand SE services for under-served populations. This goal includes providing quality services to rural areas to continue to increase successful outcomes for transition-aged youth and to ensure accessibility of services for all potential customers. Another goal is to enhance OVR partnerships with provider agencies such as the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), and Office of Long Term Living (OLTL). These agencies provide the necessary long-term supports needed to ensure the employment success of the individual with a disability. Additionally, developing coalitions with the Transition Statewide Leadership Team (SLT), the Pennsylvania Alliance for Full-Participation (AFP) and the Quality Improvement (QI) Employment Committee Workgroup among others facilitates the development of best practice among funding sources and service providers of supported employment services.

This screen was last updated on May 21 2013 1:58PM by Pamela Brauchli

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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

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

As part of the 2014 state plan, OVR is committed to focusing on the improvement of services to individuals with disabilities. In 2013, OVR focused on customer service as an agency priority. To expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities, we will continue to prioritize customer service and ensure that all staff receives customer service training. Additionally, PA OVR is committed to ensuring customers have easier access to services and to their information. Increased on line functionality will be utilized to give customers the opportunity to complete an initial application for OVR on line. They will also be able to complete an employment history, education history, and military record which can be used in a resume, allowing them to access a job bank from the same location that they can view their OVR case file.

Social media and public awareness are recognized as important tools to reach people, especially youth. Development of a social media plan to involve the use of networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, etc to allow OVR to determine legitimate purposes for each and provide guidance on using these important tools to expand awareness of the VR program. A well rounded and comprehensive media strategy will also promote the VR program to employers which will result in more employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

We will be developing an on line training course to inform all L&I employees, including those at PA CareerLink®, about issues pertaining to workers with disabilities.

 

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

OVR continues its collaboration with the TACE Center at GWU to develop a training for VR Counseling staff and Assistive Technology Coordinators that had been postponed in 2012. A survey was developed and disseminated to further identify training needs. OVR will continue its collaboration with the TACE Center when resources become available. In addition, training for designated AT Coordinators is being developed in collaboration with the Center for Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology (CART) at the Hiram G. Andrews Center (HGAC) on various assistive technology devices, applications and services.

The Center for Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology (CART) at the Hiram G. Andrews Center (HGAC) is available to OVR customers throughout the Commonwealth. Highly trained professionals evaluate and train people in the following areas of assistive technology: positioning and mobility, computer access, augmentative communication, environmental controls, driver training and vehicle modification, devices for activities of daily living, devices for visual and/or auditory impairment, and home and work modifications. The Learning Technology Program (LTP) assesses student’s needs in the classroom and trains them in the use of assistive technology, if necessary.

The Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Lending Library provides the opportunity for any Pennsylvanian to borrow and assess assistive technology devices prior to purchase. The library is located on the Hiram G. Andrews Center’s campus, and the services are free to all Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

OVR retains a number of approved providers who are Rehabilitation Engineers and Assistive Technology Specialists on a "fee-for-service" basis throughout the Commonwealth. Most providers will travel to the OVR customer’s home and/or worksite to provide AT evaluation and training services. Staff from HGAC’s CART will also travel to various parts of the Commonwealth to assess an OVR customer’s AT needs as well as to facilitate training when appropriate.

When appropriate and in accordance with OVR’s policies, OVR will purchase Assistive Technology Devices and Services to support its customers in their vocational goals. OVR also provides information and referral services for other resources when the agency is unable to provide funding for AT devices and services. OVR’s Statewide AT Coordinator regularly distributes information electronically to OVR’s District Offices regarding AT services, programs, and resources.

OVR regularly collaborates with the Pennsylvania Institute on Assistive Technology (PIAT) at Temple University to participate in training, maintain the PA Assistive Technology Lending Library, and develop AT resources for Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

Low interest loans are available through PATF (Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation) to customers who have a disability or any older or state resident who has need for Assistive Technology.

 

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.

OVR Central Office periodically reviews the Census and the American Community Survey to ascertain the number of unemployed persons with disabilities and the general ethnic composition of the state. All district offices are charged with keeping current on the demographics of the counties they serve and arranging outreach activities to target those individuals. Most often these activities are done in conjunction with community groups well known to those we are trying to reach. Examples include but are not limited to rescue missions, free medical clinics and health centers, Take Back the Street and similar ministries, partial day programs, inner city schools, Korean Community Center, Hispanic/Latino community centers, and recreation centers. OVR also does outreach to staff and professionals in a number of areas including but not limited to state, county, and local corrections, community job fair organizers, inter-agency councils, residential facilities and managers, and bureaus and offices in other state agencies.

Expanding services to individuals who are unserved or underserved is necessary and important. OVR has a priority goal to increase transition services to “Early Reach” students with disabilities starting at 14 and reach their parents/advocates. Our goal is to tell them who OVR is, what we offer, and when we can offer it. We also aim to tell parents how they can maximize regular or special education during high school. Since this will need to be developed without new funding, we will be utilizing existing staff.

BBVS will continue to focus on pre vocational specialized services in all six district offices to prepare children more effectively for transition to school or work.

OVR will design and implement a transition tool kit for staff to use when working with transition age students. This will improve the abilities of existing staff in being able to meet the needs of younger students.

OVR will continue to be an active partner in the PA One Stop System to collaborate and promote employment opportunities for unserved or underserved individuals with disabilities.

OVR District Office administrators develop an annual plan outlining stakeholder relations activities for the year; including plans to outreach to the unserved or underserved.

OVR will develop new technological strategies, such as video or teleconferencing to allow for participation of individuals in providing input to the state VR agency.

From the last state plan, our employment readiness rooms are still fully operational, allowing us to meet the needs of more customers considered to be underserved or unserved. We also continue to focus on employment programs or training programs in industry integrated settings, and expanding the service options in rural areas.

We review the input received from the community at our public meetings and talk to internal staff about priorities. We have targeted groups of individuals considered to be unserved or underserved through the development of specific programs to serve these individuals in the following categories:

Employment Readiness Programs

Develop demonstration projects which will establish employment readiness programs to include placement assistance for customers with the most significant disabilities. Examples include, but are not limited to, intensive vocational employment readiness programs for individuals with cognitive disabilities or clubhouse model programs for individuals with mental health disabilities.

Industry Integrated Employment & Training Programs

Develop demonstration projects which will establish or expand employment programs or training programs in an industry integrated setting. The goal is to place OVR vocational rehabilitation customers with disabilities in competitive employment through training/apprenticeships/employment in industry integrated settings. Examples include, but are not limited to, restaurant, warehouse or telecommuting employment and training programs that would train the individual with a disability and then provide direct in house or community job placement with the skills obtained through the training.

Services to Underserved and Unserved Populations

Develop demonstration projects which will expand services to traditionally underserved and unserved populations, including minorities and urban and rural populations, who are persons with the most significant disabilities seeking competitive employment. Examples include, but are not limited to, intensive job development programs for individuals with the most significant disabilities or multiple disabilities, programs to prevent incarceration of individuals with disabilities, or programs serving individuals who are deaf-blind.

Twenty-two ARRA projects were funded to develop new and innovative programs to and effectively served 415 individuals with disabilities. These successful projects have continued through fee for service, agreements with OVR.

 

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

OVR is committed to identification of promising practices and performance levels of community rehabilitation programs to promote programs that are improving the successful rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.

OVR is embarking on a consistent and standard approach to updating Letters of Understanding with all community providers.

OVR continually discusses the development of new and emerging services with existing community rehabilitation providers to meet the needs of our customers. Additionally, we have active participation with the PA Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (PARF) to promote collaborative efforts to serve individuals with disabilities.

 

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

OVR has reviewed RSA’s validated data performance on all standards and indicators between 2008 and 2011. The following trends were noticed:

• Indicator 1.2 declined steadily from 58.5% to 50.88. OVR has not met this performance goal for two consecutive years. 2012 data is still being validated.

• Indicator 1.6 has also declined steadily and did not meet the performance goal of 53.0 in the last year for which validated data are available. The degree of underperformance was slight but merits attention.

• OVR exceeded all other indicators. None appear to be at risk.

Underperformance on indicator 1.2 is usually tied to caseload purging efforts. OVR determined that in some instances cases have languished in open statuses too long. For example, status 24 (Service Interrupted) shows as an active status until the case is closed. OVR plans to add a review tool in the case management data system to better track length of time in all open statuses and to develop additional guidance for administrators concerning this standard. OVR has also initiated several program evaluation studies, one particularly targeting individuals closed in status 28 after entering post-secondary education. The analysis of this study will result in additional counselor training regarding planning with those who wish to enter post-secondary education as well as lead to identification of other services that have an unacceptably high status 28 closure rates.

This will be an ongoing project across several years. Changes in the indicator will be one measure of the study’s effectiveness.

Historically, underperformance on 1.6 has been traced to how counselors interpret the phrase “their own income as the largest single source of support” at case opening and closing. OVR will revisit counselor training on this indicator and prepare necessary retraining to individuals, offices or system wide, as needed. An ad-hoc report will be added to the case management system to provide for monitoring of individual offices throughout the year and development of any needed interventions.

 

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

OVR has continued to participate in the PA Cares Consortium. OVR collaborated with Chuck Rose from Bureau of Workforce Development Programs to develop a PowerPoint which will be utilized as part of the Secretary’s Speakers’ Bureau. OVR regularly disseminates announcements regarding training opportunities external to OVR as well as announcements regarding Job Fairs/Placement Events for Veterans and provided information to District Offices regarding Veterans’ Courts to District Office Staff.

OVR’s Specialist serves as the liaison between District Office Staff and other Veteran Service Organizations such as the VA and the DOL VETS programs. We have been able to resolve several questions regarding the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program to determine how OVR services may be coordinated with this program.

 

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.

Goal 1: Increase Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Strategy for items 1-7 (standards and indicators) under goal 1:

Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 2.1: The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities. The performance ratio level is .80.

• OVR will assess its performance against the Standards and Indicators criteria and identify areas for improvement. Strategies may include additional staff training, changes to business rules in the electronic case record management system, updates of policies and procedures, and/or more frequent management review of data.

Strategy for 8:

Increase the number of people who go through training in the Business Enterprise Program (BEP).

• OVR will conduct training for district office staff and include BEP operators to share their perspective of the BEP program. OVR – BBVS – BEP is always looking to engage new locations for BEP operators. Focus will be on bringing new contracts into PA.

Strategy for 9:

Partner with the Bureau of Workforce Development Partnership to train or re-train Pennsylvania CareerLink staff® on disability awareness and OVR fundamentals.

• OVR has developed a priority team to focus on collaboration with the Bureau of Workforce Development Partnership (BWDP). This team will be tasked with the development and implementation of this goal.

Strategy for 10:

Evaluate the cost-effectiveness and structure of current supported employment programs.

• OVR has developed a program evaluation study group to look at data around overall outcomes as well as outcomes of individual providers. They will use data we already collect to look at the number of people who exit OVR employed with or without ongoing supports, the number of people who do not become employed and the milestone points at which they end the service, and any demographic information that might establish patterns with specific providers or across OVR in general. We are also hoping to learn what models of supported employment have the highest success rates with our various populations.

Goal 2: Increase/Improve Transition Services for Students with Disabilities

Strategy for items 1-2 under goal 2:

Meet or exceed, from the previous year, the number of youth and young adults with disabilities (age 25 and younger) who receive services by September 30, 2013.

Meet or exceed, from the previous year, the number of youth and young adults with disabilities (age 25 and younger) who are successfully rehabilitated by September 30, 2013.

• OVR will assess its performance throughout the year. Strategies to address areas that are underperforming may include additional staff training, changes to business rules in the electronic case record management system, updates of policies and procedures, and/or more frequent management review of data. Additionally, transition is an OVR priority so it will receive attention necessary to obtain the stated results.

Strategy for item 3 under goal 2

Continue collaborative activities that include the Transition Grant, projects with the PA Community on Transition Employment Practice Group, and development of joint training modules for OVR and PA Department of Education staff, families, advocates, educators, and youth.

• Upon completion of FFY 2013, the “No Cost Extension” for the RSA Transition Model Demonstration will expire. Services initiated under the grant, Projects SEARCH and PAS, in collaboration with PDE, DPW, SSHE, Community Rehabilitation Providers, and Employers will continue to be funded under VR General Funds.

• OVR will continue its leadership role within the Pennsylvania Transition Community of Practice’s Statewide Leadership Team (SLT) in 2014. OVR will seek support to attend the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) IDEA Partnership Community of Practice Conference and the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) Annual State Planning Conferences with representatives from PDE in May of 2014. The SLT has set goals to engage Local Transition Coordinating Councils in a more meaningful dialogue in order to inform statewide planning and to increase resources and supports.

• OVR will continue its leadership role within the SLT’s Employment Practice Group to continue to explore collaborative Transition initiatives that directly impact the employment of youth with disabilities exiting school such as the promotion of Career & Technical Education, Discovery/Customized Employment and Project SEARCH among others. OVR will continue to collaborate with the SLT to develop and implement a year-round strategy for training and engagement of Transition stakeholders such as youth, families, advocates, educators, and VR staff through the annual PA Community of Practice Transition Conference, its annual webinar series, and other regional/local training opportunities.

Strategy for item 4 under goal 2

Continue the Cognitive Skills Enhancement Program (CSEP) to assist District Offices in the transition needs of students with disabilities and to reflect the stated needs of VR Counselors; and continue to offer CSEP as a service to OVR customers who wish to pursue post-secondary training at HGAC or elsewhere.

• The CSEP program at HGAC, in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, provides this program at HGAC to meet the needs of OVR customers who are referred. The program continues to provide additional services to students who continue with remedial and educational programming at HGAC. Support for this program will continue in 2014.

Strategy for item 5 under goal 2

Continue implementation of Articulation Agreements between the Commonwealth Technology Institute at HGAC and secondary schools to improve accessibility of post-secondary programs at HGAC to eligible high school students.

The Education Division Management staff at HGAC continues to meet with secondary schools to discuss Articulation Agreements that would benefit future students at the Commonwealth Technical Institute at HGAC. We currently have agreements in place. The Annual Transition and Career Fair at HGAC held every fall provides additional opportunities to talk with secondary schools about the opportunity to implement Articulation Agreements with their schools.

Strategy for item 6 under goal 2

Begin working with students starting at age 14 (and their parents) so they know what services we offer and how they can maximize their high school experience, whether through general education or special education, to increase their opportunity for success when they transition to adult life through higher education or employment.

• OVR will devote one staff position per office by 2014 to focus on outreach to younger students, starting at age 14. This person will collaborate with school districts to reach these students and their families earlier to make them aware of OVR services and to start pre-vocational activities with these individuals. This would also be considered an innovation and expansion activity aimed at overcoming barriers to involvement in the vocational rehabilitation program.

Strategy for item 7 under goal 2

Develop specific working relationships between DPW, Dept. of Education and OVR on Transition related issues, including reviewing and updating transition policies.

• OVR is committed to upholding our ongoing relationships with these agencies to further transition services in PA, as evidenced by cross participation on work groups to make new policies or procedures that will enhance transition services.

Strategy for item 8 under goal 2

Develop a social media plan, as well as traditional outreach materials, tailored to students and families.

• OVR has a priority team focusing on transition services. One of the goals of this team is to work with Labor and Industry’s press office to develop a social media plan as well as update existing materials used to outreach to students. This plan will also assist us in reaching more individuals who are considered to be unserved or underserved, thereby expanding OVR services and overcoming barriers to involvement.

Strategy for item 9 under goal 2

Develop a transition resource manual aka tool kit for OVR staff.

• OVR staff, in consultation with the Rehabilitation Council, will develop tools that are currently used by OVR staff as well as other agencies to develop a comprehensive tool kit.

Strategy for item 10 under goal 2

Expand the capacity of programs targeted toward transitioning students to post secondary or employment opportunities.

• OVR will continue to offer new programs or expand the capacity on existing programs that serve transition youth as a priority of the agency. Of particular focus will be programs that offer services to individuals who are considered to be unserved or underserved, thereby overcoming barriers to successful employment.

Goal 3: Improve Community Education and Outreach

Strategy for item 1 under goal 3

Develop a public awareness and outreach strategy.

• OVR has developed a priority work team to address outreach and public awareness of VR services. This work team will collaborate with the Labor and Industry press office to develop an overall public awareness and outreach strategy.

Strategy for item 2 under goal 3

Combine OVR’s and PaRC’s Customer Satisfaction Surveys.

• This is a goal of our Rehabilitation Council and will be accomplished by them in consultation with OVR staff. The two surveys will be compared and re-written to address the most important aspects of both surveys.

Strategy for item 3 under goal 3

Strengthen relationship with Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC). Ensure that CAC activities are posted on the PaRC web site.

• Each OVR district office has been tasked with the creation of CAC prior to 2014. In 2014, we will ensure that these CAC’s are fully functional and assist with the recruitment of members for these local teams by advertising the meeting dates and other activities on the PaRC web site.

Strategy for item 4 under goal 3

Continue an emphasis on OVR’s employer outreach.

• OVR places a strong emphasis on employer outreach. Through a strong relationship with the national net, employers are encouraged to develop programs in PA to assist individuals with disabilities to obtain competitive employment. Additionally, every District Office has a placement counselor or point of contact to develop employment opportunities for our customers.

Strategy for item 5 under goal 3

Increase outreach to OVR stakeholder groups and the public.

• OVR has a priority team focused on stakeholder relations. This group has a developed agenda to increase our outreach activities to the public and stakeholder groups. These activities will continue to be a focus area in 2014.

Describe how the agency’s strategies will be used to:

support innovation and expansion activities.

In FFY 2012-2013, OVR used a combination of Title I 110 money and Title I ARRA money to support Innovation and Expansion activities. The 110 funds will continue to support UCP. OVR will analyze the outcomes of the Project SEARCH sites funded via its special RSA transition grant and consider using state contracting procedures to maintain and/or expand the projects with basic support funds. In addition to funding PaRC staff support (UCP), OVR used ARRA funds to conduct several I&E projects across the state including but not limited to employment readiness for individuals with Aspergers, job coaching in rural communities, and employment readiness for individuals with autism. The UCP contract is to provide staff and logistical support to the PA State Rehabilitation Council.

PROJECT: Pennsylvania State Rehabilitation Council (PaRC) Support Services

Support: Contract to United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Central PA, Camp Hill, PA

Funding: $284,383.97

Description: To support the activities of the PaRC as that body performs its function as defined in law. PaRC activities have included review/input regarding OVR policy and related procedural issues, and participation on OVR committees. UCP provides logistical support to the PaRC and is responsible for fiscal and administrative oversight of Project funds available to and/or expended by PaRC.

Evaluation: On October 1, 2012, this award began a new contract cycle that will continue until September 30, 2013. Support services provided by UCP to the PaRC during the year continue to be consistent with those prescribed by OVR.

Describe how the agency’s strategies will be used to:

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 [See sections 101(a)(15)(D) and (18)(B) of the Act and Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA.)]

OVR is collaborating with other supported employment funding sources to overcome issues of dwindling resources. PA OVR is participating on a Cross Agency Workgroup, currently funded by the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant received by the PA Department of Public Welfare, with the Office of Developmental Programs, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and the Office of Long-Term Living to address systemic barriers to employment for persons with disabilities, particularly those identified with regard to service definitions, funding, and legislation for supported employment.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 25 2013 9:01AM by Pamela Brauchli

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

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

Goal I. INCREASE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

8. Continue to implement and refine training and services at Hiram G. Andrews Center (HGAC) to better meet the needs of students and OVR District Office staff from BBVS and BVRS.

Each HGAC program meets twice a year with a Professional Advisory Committee (PAC). This group discusses current training and services and recommends needed changes or refinements to the program. We are also reviewed by the Department of Education and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. OVR District Offices have a counselor assigned as the liaison with HGAC. This counselor attends meetings at HGAC to discuss programming that is being offered and to receive updates on services provided.

9. Provide more disability specific training to OVR counselors, especially autism spectrum disorders, traumatic or acquired brain injury.

June 2012- All District Office Autism Coordinators attended the PA Autism Conference in Lancaster, sponsored by the Bureau of Autism Services. This is a 2 day event. Nationally recognized experts in the field of autism are scheduled as keynote speakers as well as speakers in breakout sessions. The staff has provided highly favorable reviews to this particular conference.

Articles related to vocational rehabilitation and placement are sent to the Autism Coordinators as they come across the Statewide Autism Coordinator’s desk.

Acquired Brain Injury: The Statewide TBI Coordinator and the Placement Counselor from the York DO presented at the PA Brain Injury Association Conference in June 2012 in Lancaster. The presentation was on OVR services, who is eligible and how to get them. The Statewide TBI Coordinator also presented on a panel of experts from the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Health on the types of services available and how to obtain them.

The Statewide TBI Coordinator is a member of the Department of Health TBI Advisory Board and attends quarterly meetings. In addition to attending meetings, this also involves working on one of two current Advisory Board work groups dealing with the provision of services and ways to improve services to individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries.

The Statewide Traumatic Brain Injury Coordinator takes part in the PA Association of Rehabilitation Facilities quarterly meetings where statewide and national issues/programs are discussed.

The two final videoconferences in a series of five on Traumatic Brain Injury were held in 2012. The first was a discussion of the Brainsteps program, a program to assist school children back into the classroom after having a Brain Injury. The second was a panel of experts from the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of health who discussed the types of programs and waivers available through their offices. Dr. Ronald Tringali of the PA Dept of Health also presented a 10 year statistical study of brain injury in Pennsylvania.

10. Provide more employment services to disabled veterans.

OVR recognized a need to provide specialized services to Veterans. In 2009, OVR signed a Letter of Understanding with the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment programs to provide more coordinated services to veterans being assisted by both agencies. In 2010, OVR started a pilot project with 3 district offices to have dedicated veterans counselors who specialize in this area and receive additional training in providing services to veterans. In 2011, this project was expanded to 11 district offices. In 2012, despite the cessation of ARRA funding, OVR District Office continues to utilize designated Veteran Counselors and Veteran Coordinators. Quarterly meetings are held via webinars to share information and resources as well as develop local and statewide initiatives for veterans in partnership with other organizations such as Wounded Warriors Project and PA Cares.

11. Increase the number of people who go through training in the Business Enterprise Program (BEP).

BVS BEP Coordinator in partnership with the Elected Committee of Blind Operators will be meeting with the 6 BBVS district offices to discuss. During the meeting, the BEP Coordinator will be going over several documents including the brochure describing the PA BEP, frequently asked questions "FAQ’s" who should consider the program and BEP trends and future initiatives.

12. Increase employment opportunities for OVR customers through employer outreach and the development of additional On the Job Training (OJT) opportunities.

OVR continues to focus on developing and enhancing business or employer relationships at the local, state and national level, understanding that this is what results in career outcomes and employment for our consumers. OVR offers business solutions and consultation services to employers who are looking to alternative labor market resources for more workforce options. OVR staff help employers recruit and hire qualified employees, develop employee retention strategies and learn about disability-related issues. OVR Employer Services and our local combined BVRS/BBVS District Offices Placement Counselors and Single Point of Contact (SPOC) continue to network in their local communities to identify potential employers to educate them on OJT opportunities. OVR’s strong partnership with the CSAVR VR-National Employment Team (NET) have increased employer contacts as many Federal Contractors gear up for the implementation of the OFCCP monitoring of 7% PWD hiring goal and good faith efforts to on-board PWD talent to improve compliance with Sec 503 of the Rehab Act. OVR’s employer services focus on building direct relationships with business and employers that result in reducing attitudinal barriers and increasing access to careers for people with disabilities. Also in 2012, DPW and OVR worked with the newly energized Governor’s Advisory Committee to host a conference focusing on connecting employers to individuals with disabilities and addressed issues faced by businesses, including alleviating concerns over liability issues.

Goal 2: Increase/Improve Transition Services for Students with Disabilities

3. Continue collaborative activities that include the five-year Transition Grant, projects with the PA Community on Transition Employment Practice Group, and development of training modules for OVR staff, families, advocates, educators, and youth.

Upon completion of FFY 2013, the “No Cost Extension” for the RSA Transition Model Demonstration will expire. Services initiated under the grant, Projects SEARCH and PAS, in collaboration with PDE, DPW, SSHE, Community Rehabilitation Providers, and Employers will continue to be funded under VR General Funds.

OVR will continue its leadership role within the Pennsylvania Transition Community of Practice’s Statewide Leadership Team (SLT) in 2014. OVR will seek support to attend the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) IDEA Partnership Community of Practice Conference and the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) Annual State Planning Conferences with representatives from PDE in May of 2014. The SLT has set goals to engage Local Transition Coordinating Councils in a more meaningful dialogue in order to inform statewide planning and to increase resources and supports.

OVR will continue its leadership role within the SLT’s Employment Practice Group to continue to explore collaborative Transition initiatives that directly impact the employment of youth with disabilities exiting school such as the promotion of Career & Technical Education, Discovery/Customized Employment and Project SEARCH among others. OVR will continue to collaborate with the SLT to develop and implement a year-round strategy for training and engagement of Transition stakeholders such as youth, families, advocates, educators, and VR staff through the annual PA Community of Practice Transition Conference, its annual webinar series, and other regional/local training opportunities.

4. Continue the Cognitive Skills Enhancement Program (CSEP) to assist District Offices in the transition needs of students with disabilities and to reflect the stated needs of VR Counselors; and continue to offer CSEP as a service to OVR customers who wish to pursue post-secondary training at HGAC or elsewhere.

HGAC continues to offer CSEP services in meeting the transition needs of students with disabilities. The Center works closely with the District Offices of BBVS and BVRS in enhancing the program to meet the needs of their customers.

5. Continue implementation of Articulation Agreements between the Commonwealth Technology Institute at HGAC and secondary schools to improve accessibility of post-secondary programs at HGAC to eligible high school students.

The Education Division Management staff at HGAC continues to meet with secondary schools to discuss Articulation Agreements that would benefit future students at the Commonwealth Technical Institute at HGAC. We currently have agreements in place. The Annual Transition and Career Fair at HGAC held every fall provides additional opportunities to talk with secondary schools about the opportunity to implement Articulation Agreements with their schools.

6. Increase transition outcomes for students through collaboration with Bureau of

Blindness and Visual Services (BBVS) community partners.

BBVS provides a variety of programs that have community partners and support transition outcomes:

Summer Academy is a two-week program for high school students interested in post-secondary education. This program, in partnership with PaTTAN and Hiram G. Andrews Center, provides students the opportunity to experience college level classes, explore assistive technology, improve their note-taking skills, further develop daily living skills and travel skills, explore various careers and meet and interact with successfully employed professionals who are also blind or visually impaired. In 2012, 23 students attended the Summer Academy. With plans to explore moving the program to a college campus, the number of participants will most likely expand.

Transitional Vocational Initiative is a two-week program for high school students interested in employment after high school. This program in partnership with Overbrook School for the Blind provides students the opportunity to experience living in an apartment setting and explore a variety of employment opportunities by job shadowing and traveling utilizing city public transportation services including bus and train.

The DeafBlind Vocational Program is in partnership with Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh. This program provides services to residents with hearing and vision loss and is one of only a few such programs in the country. Services include personal adjustment to deaf-blindness training, job readiness, job coaching, assistive technology training, and orientation and mobility training. This program has successfully help place customers who are deaf-blind in competitive employment opportunities.

 

OVR established a goal of providing services to 920 Title VI, Part B Funds distributed to Pennsylvania in FFY 2012.

Progress to Date: During FFY 2012, provided services to 3,228 people with disabilities. Of that number, were 318 placed, 286 in competitive employment, with 232 working 20 hours or more a week.

OVR set a second goal to continue expansion of Supported Employment (SE) services to underserved populations such as rural areas, and to continue to increase successful outcomes for transition aged youth.

Progress to Date: OVR’s efforts to reach rural areas and more transition youth have been fortified with a 5 year $2.5 million competitive award from the Department of Education that is projected to serve 3,500 youth over the term of the grant. In FFY 2012, OVR completed Year 5 of the Model Demonstration Grant and was approved for a “No Cost Extension” for FFY 2013. To date, two transition models have been replicated across the Commonwealth: Project SEARCH and Project PAS (Promoting Academic Success ). Project SEARCH incorporates supported employment services into its model in order to support youth during one of three internships that takes place within the workplace. Project SEARCH has been replicated at 10 sites throughout the Commonwealth and there is growing interest in the model within rural communities such as Fayette County.

 

All the standards and indicators were met or exceeded with the exception of three.

Goal 1: Increase Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.1: The number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exit the VR program after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period.

• Progress to Date: OVR met this indicator. The number of employment outcomes in FFY 2012 increased from the previous year by 52.

Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.2: Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage that are determined to have achieved an employment outcome. The performance level is 55.8%.

• Progress to Date: OVR did not exceed this indicator with an estimated performance level of 53.7%.

• OVR believes the failure to meet this standard has several causes: PA’s unemployment rate consistently was less than the national rate throughout most of the economic downturn but became closer to the national rate in FFY 11-12; district offices continue to clear cases where individuals do not actively follow through on their IPEs earlier than in previous years; there is concern about the number of college cases closed in status 28 and a group has been formed to indentify patterns and offer recommendations to remedy the patterns.

Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.3: Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentage who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least minimum wage. The performance level is 72.6%.

• Progress to Date: OVR exceeded this indicator with an estimated performance level of 95.4%.

Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1A: Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are individuals with significant disabilities. The performance level is 62.4%.

• Progress to Date: OVR exceeded this indicator with an estimated performance level of 99.9%.

Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.5 comparing the average hourly wage of customers with significant or non-significant disabilities place in competitive employment to the average hourly wage for all workers in Pennsylvania.

• Progress to Date: OVR exceeded this indicator with an estimated performance level of .60.

Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.6: Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services. The performance level is 53%.

• Progress to Date: OVR exceeded this indicator. The estimated performance level was 53.2.

Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 2.1: The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities. The performance ratio level is .80.

• Progress to Date: OVR exceeded this indicator with an estimated performance ratio of .88.

Goal 2: Increase/Improve Transition Services for Students with Disabilities

Meet or exceed, from the previous year, the number of youth and young adults with disabilities (age 25 and younger) who receive services by September 30, 2014.

• Progress to Date: OVR did not meet this indicator. In 2011, there were 35, 639 youth and young adults who received services. In 2012, there were 33,627.

• OVR believes this change was due to funding challenges in the local school district. We have created a priority team to facilitate improved outreach. In addition we are revising our transition guidelines and increasing coordination with public education and public health to better braid funding.

Meet or exceed, from the previous year, the number of youth and young adults with disabilities (age 25 and younger) who are successfully rehabilitated by September 30, 2014.

• Progress to Date: OVR did not meet this indicator. In 2011, there were 3,149 youth and young adults placed in employment. In 2012, there were 3,044.

• OVR believes the failure to meet this standard has several causes: PA’s unemployment rate consistently was less than the national rate throughout most of the economic downturn but became closer to the national rate in FFY 11-12; district offices continue to clear cases where individuals do not actively follow through on their IPEs earlier than in previous years; there is concern about the number of college cases closed in status 28 and a group has been formed to indentify patterns and offer recommendations to remedy the patterns.

 

PA OVR spent $242,592.44 on innovation and expansion activities in the preceding year.

PROJECT: Pennsylvania State Rehabilitation Council (PaRC) Support Services

Support: Contract to United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Central PA, Camp Hill, PA

Funding: $290,257.00

This screen was last updated on May 21 2013 2:16PM by Pamela Brauchli

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

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

OVR provides job coaching services to Pennsylvanians with disabilities through a network of community-based providers. Services provided through these programs are described below:

Background

Beginning in the early 1980s, the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) developed a system of job coaching services using a fee-for-service payment system. Initially, seventeen (17) providers of job coaching services were funded through a five (5) year, OSERS, Title III Supported Employment State Change Grant. The number of job coaching providers contracted with OVR has since grown to over 200. There are over 50 job coaching providers contracted specifically with the OVR Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services (BBVS) program. Job coaching services are now provided statewide and include time-limited and, to a much lesser degree, time-enduring services. In recent years, Pennsylvania OVR has expanded job coaching/supported employment services to include transitional employment through Club House programs for persons with significant mental health disabilities. Also, job coaching services have been provided on a broader basis since the late 1990’s to persons who are deaf by contracting with job coaching providers fluent in American Sign Language. OVR District Offices continue to work with other key state and private agencies, such as the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OHMSAS), the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) and the PA Department of Education (PDE). In addition, OVR partners with private community service providers to expand and develop all types of community-integrated employment as defined by the individual needs of their customers.

OVR currently uses what is commonly known as the milestone job coaching method. OVR has termed its version "Performance Based Job Coaching" (PBJC) and has used this method of funding community based supported employment vendors since 1999. This format was based upon research completed by OVR in the mid-1990’s to determine best practices for SE service provision. The above-mentioned format was reviewed in 2007 for effectiveness, but data was inconclusive as to the benefit of PBJC versus the previous method of funding job coaching services.

Quality Standards

OVR provides technical assistance and training for its staff through the use of seminars, conferences, and training programs. Job coaching services provided by community based service providers are reviewed every five years to look at relevance and costs related to such services. Additionally, OVR accesses resources from George Washington University’s (GWU) Region III Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center for continuous program and staff development.

Staff from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), OVR, and Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (PARF) developed statewide standards for OVR and providers of job coaching services. These standards continue to guide all contracts and contract reviews for provision of job coaching services. The standards are as follows:

1. The population to be served

-Individuals served are those eligible for the State/Federal vocational rehabilitation program.

-Targeted individuals are persons with disabilities needing services to obtain, retain, or prepare for employment that is consistent with their capacities and abilities.

-The job coaching program is responsive to customer needs and to the employment opportunities available in the community.

2. Outcomes for Job Coaching Program Participants

-The program encourages, promotes, and provides for integration in the work force.

-Skill acquisition challenges the individual’s potential to be productive as defined by the employer and employment market.

-The number of hours worked by the participants should be the maximum hours possible based upon the unique strengths, resources, interests, concerns, abilities and capabilities of individuals with the most severe disabilities. The maximum number of employee benefits possible must be sought as well. A competitive employment situation is the intended result, and ideally, it is a position that is full-time with benefits and provides the best opportunity for independence.

3. The Job Coaching Provider Organization

-The provider mission statement is consistent with the planned services.

-There is evidence that the provider has the ability to deliver vocational rehabilitation services in the form of community based work assessments, job readiness training, job development, job placement, job analysis, job skills training, on-the-job supports, itinerant supports, and extended services among others.

-The provider demonstrates prior experience or otherwise presents the capability to deliver services, such as linkages with other services, adequate staff, training for staff, and other supports for staff, etc.

-The provider has a method in place to measure and report the outcomes of services, e.g., automated or alternative method of service reporting and tracking.

-There are job descriptions for all service provider staff.

-Staff development is an integral part of the provider’s budget or annual plan.

-The provider demonstrates that persons with disabilities have a substantial role in the establishment of organizational policy and delivery of services.

The provider presents for consideration:

4. The Service Design

-Definitions of Services

-Staffing pattern that includes persons with disabilities

-Model to be used including plan for community integration, job development, placement, training, and extended services

-Linkage with OVR and other funding sources (DPW, PDE)

-Consistent opportunities for informed customer choice

5. Local Linkages:

The provider demonstrates a knowledge and ability to develop and maintain linkages with other ancillary services in the community, e.g., the PA Department of Labor & Industry (BWDP), the PA Department of Education (BSE), the PA Department of Public Welfare (OMHSAS, ODP, and BAS), the PA Department of Aging (OLTL), Drug and Alcohol Single County Authorities (SCA), Chambers of Commerce, and other extended service agencies and organizations.

OVR reviews, discusses, and works closely with the provider for mutually responsive programs. The OVR counselor is integral to customer progress, service delivery, and placement activities occurring in concert with the provider. A process is in place to measure and report the outcome of services.

Scope and Extent

Job coaching services provided to individuals include: evaluations, skills training, job modification, transportation services, coordination of ancillary services, advocacy and socialization skills, among others. All services are provided on an individual basis and are tailored by the individual’s needs to achieve a specific vocational goal.

Pennsylvania has established local mechanisms through which funding for intensive training and extended services is available for all eligible populations. Populations receiving job coaching include persons with: developmental disabilities, mental health issues, physical disabilities, blindness, deafness, autism and traumatic brain injury, etc. Supported employment services are also available within the special education, mental health and developmental disability systems. OVR is actively engaged in collaborative relationships with those systems to ensure the provision of effective services, to reduce duplication of efforts, to share resources, and to improve employment outcomes for those served mutually by multiple systems.

In Pennsylvania, four major sources of extended service funding are available to ensure availability to all populations—ODP (ID/DD and Autism), OMHSAS, OLTL, and the OVR State General Fund.

Actual funding available from ODP (ID/DD and Autism), OMHSAS and OLTL varies from county to county depending on each county’s situation. Other resources sought for extended service funding are natural supports, SSA work incentives, private foundations, etc.

For FFY 2012, OVR funded supported employment services to 3,228 persons. Of that number, 318 were placed in competitive employment, with 286 of those working 20 hours a week or greater. According to RSA table of funding for Pennsylvania, the total of federal SE funds allotted was $1,009,000. OVR’s federal share of expenditures was $595,520. The federal share of unliquidated obligations was $149, 296 bringing the total federal share to $744,816.

As OVR continues transition services to transition-age students with disabilities, supported employment will be further expanded to this population. OVR has received a 2.5 million dollar, five-year transition model demonstration grant from RSA in FFY 2008. At the end of FFY 2012, OVR was approved for a “No Cost Extension” for FFY 2013. With these funds, OVR has funded 10 Project SEARCH programs throughout the Commonwealth. For the purpose of this grant, Project SEARCH serves transition-aged youth with "most significant" disabilities in their last year of high school. This employment internship model which incorporates classroom learning, on-the-job training, and supported employment services has been successful in placing participants in higher paying, self-sustaining positions of employment that often include medical benefits. Upon completion of the “No Cost” Extension, OVR intends to support of the Project SEARCH programs through Title I funding.

Timing of the Transition to Extended Services

The timing of the transition of an individual with a disability to extended services is dependent upon the needs of the customer and the employer, and in many cases, available funding from OMHSAS, ODP (ID/DD and Autism) and/or OLTL. Extended services may not be needed for the individual who has appropriate natural supports such as the employer, co-workers, family, and friends. However, in those cases where natural supports are missing or deficient for the needs of the employee, extended services must be offered.

The determination of the need for extended services begins at the assessment stage of the vocational rehabilitation plan in order to ensure long-term employment success for the individual. First, OVR staff, the individual, the individual’s family, and, if applicable, the individual’s Case Manager/Supports Coordinator determine what resources are needed for long- term supports. Then, this team determines what resources are available to meet this need. Due to the intensive and short term nature of OVR services, other funding sources must be involved to ensure long-term success for the worker with a disability. Additionally, other agencies’ involvement (funding and resources) will determine when the individual can best transition to extended services. The team of professionals, funding agencies and community resources that can be brought to bear on the long term needs of an individual with a disability will determine the best time for the OVR customer to transition to extended services. The sooner the team can be assembled and focused on supporting the customer, the better the transition to extended services will be as well.

This screen was last updated on May 21 2013 2:13PM by Pamela Brauchli

System Information

System information

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on:07/25/2013 11:43 AM

Last updated by:sapabrauchlip

Completed on: 07/26/2013 3:17 PM

Completed by: sapabrauchlip

Approved on: 09/23/2013 7:27 AM

Approved by: rscosadlerc