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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Puerto Rico Vocational Rehabilitation Administration State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

1.1 The VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION ADMINISTRATION 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 DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND HUMAN RESOURCES [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

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION ADMINISTRATOR

... 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

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION ADMINISTRATOR

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
NYDIA COLON ZAYAS

Title of Signatory
ADMINISTRATOR

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
05/27/2011

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 2012
No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION ADMINISTRATION

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) has presented various recommendations and input to the draft of the State Plan for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and the Supported Employment Services Program for Fiscal Year 2012. The VRA accepts and reacts to the following input and recommendations:

1. Creation of initiatives with the Governor’s Office, the VRA administrator, the SRC president and executive director that will allow for speedy appointments of members to cover vacancies in the SRC. The initiative to be implemented should take into consideration the importance of having all members of the SRC appointed and serving in their corresponding positions.

Comments to the input of SRC:

The Governor’s Office is the entity in charge of the appointment of members to the SRC, as well as to cover vacancies when any of its members leaves his position. The VRA has provided continuous follow-up to the Governor’s Office, without interfering in the internal regulations of this office, in order to comply with recommendations of RSA in terms of the composition of the SRC. All candidates to become a member of the SRC must comply with basic requirements established by the Governor’s Office. However, the VRA is committed to receive/discuss any initiative submitted by the SRC to speed up the appointment process of members to such council.

2. Continuation with the practice of holding quarterly meetings that will allow the provision of direct follow-up to submitted/recommended issues. Furthermore, designate a liaison between the VRA and SRC to provide the requested follow-up to such issues,

Comments to the input of SRC:

The VRA has developed strategies to strengthen the coordination with our advisory councils, agencies and entities in order to share information related to disabled individuals such as: employability, technological assistance, extended services, and factors that affect/interfere in the achievement of the evaluation standards and performance indicators, among others. Please refer to Attachment 4.11(d), Goal 2, Strategy C in terms of coordination with the SRC.

Concerning the liaison, the VRA administrator has participated in all meetings called by the SRC, and in cases when the administrator has not been able to be present, a representative was sent to participate in the meeting. However, in order to continue with our formal participation in the meetings of the SRC, the administrator will appoint a liaison form the VR counseling services area.

On the other hand, the VRA administrator recommends to the SRC, the structuring of a meetings schedule following a work plan to guarantee the participation of our agency.

3. Revision of previous recommendations on the following issues:

a. Imbalance between the burocratic structures of the VRA and the number of persons served. In terms of the Federal Monitoring Report, such imbalance persists.

Comments to the input of SRC:

In accordance with the recommendations of RSA concerning the monitoring intervention (FYs 2005-2008), the VRA has decreased gradually administrative personnel and strengthened the support to the VR counselors and supporting staff. This proportion/decrease is clearly shown in Attachment 4.10.

The VRA has a payroll of 913 employees to serve 26,030 consumers. The projection between the number of consumers served and the number of employees is 1:29. Furthermore, a comparison between the administrative personnel for FY 2011 (as of April 30 of 2011) shows a reduction of 40% (156) in this category:

b. Lateness in the eligibility determination processes continues to be serious.

Comments to the input of SRC:

During FY 2010, the VRA attended a population of 37,869 applicants/consumers. From these, eligibility determination within 60 days (or case had a WLG) was made for 73.99% of cases, achieving an increase of 18.65% from FY 2009. Therefore, the VRA continues implementing strategies to increase the determination of eligibility within the required time period through monthly monitoring and an action plan.

c. Provision of specific training to the VR counselors and case management counselors, particularly the newly recruited ones. A mentor should be assigned to the newly recruited personnel to serve as trainer/advisor until such personnel reaches an optimum level of knowledge/performance.

Comments to the input of SRC:

The VRA has recruited 44 VR counselors and 29 VR counseling service technicians. Training was provided to this personnel on the following: VR services provision process; service record documentation; eligibility determination within 60 days; development/signature of IPE within 120 days; determination of eligibility on the same day when a SSDI beneficiary requests VR services; evaluation standards/performance indicators; State Plan; and Strategic Plan; among others.

All VR case management counselors is monitored, on a monthly basis, and is provided with technical assistance through the Office of VR Counseling Services; the Programmatic Quality Control and Regional Support Office; regional directors; and supervisors of VR counseling, in direct coordination with the VRA administrator.

d. Evaluation of the caseloads of the VR counselors of all regions to verify if such caseloads are appropriately distributed. The carrying out of systematic monitoring, evaluations, and an effective supervision are good practices to maintain effectiveness in the management of cases.

Comments to the input of SRC:

Attachment 4.10 on Comprehensive System of Personnel Development, clearly describes the personnel structure of the VRA to attend/serve approximately 26,000 applicants/consumers. However, and due to the need to cover vacant zones and redistribute cases, the agency identified ARRA funds to meet such needs. Attachment 4.10 also provides information on attended population, work zones, and caseloads.

During FY 2010, the VRA implemented a monthly monitoring plan, including technical assistance, support and guidance to the VR counseling personnel and regional directors; allowing for an overall increase of performance in the agency’s programmatic operations. For additional information, refer to Attachment 4.11 (D), Goals 2 and 3.

4. Evaluation and consideration of the consolidation of the CAAs due to the fact that various of such centers are not being utilized to their fullest capacity and their personnel appears to have inadequate workload. There is an apparent imbalance in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Comments to the input of SRC:

During FY 2010, the CAAs attended 3,566 consumers and provided 4,520 services. Furthermore, the VRA has developed strategies to comply with the recommendations from RSA. Such strategies are described in Attachment 4.11(d), Goal 1, Strategies J and L and in Goals 3,

Strategy I.

5. Development of innovative strategies to strengthen the provision o supported and regular employment. Although the SRC is aware that the employment situation of disabled individuals has been affected by the current economic/labor market situation, it is urgent and necessary the development of such strategies.

Comments to the input of SRC:

During FY 2010, the VRA impacted 4,127 employers; provided 859 orientations; certified/served 744 supported employment consumers; and achieved employment outcomes for 160 supported employment consumers. In spite of the current unemployment rate of 16.3% (as of September of 2010) and economic recession, the agency will continue searching strategies to address the employability of our consumers. Additional information on our goals, work plan and strategies for FY 2012 is provided in Attachment 4.11 (c)(4) and in Attachment 4.11(d).

6. Strengthening of the strategic planning processes of services, through the identification of needs in a systematic way. The SRC emphasizes on the need to create a strong investigation unit that may assist in the processes and analysis of data.

Comments to the input of SRC:

The VRA, through its Projects Management Office, provides follow-up to the agency’s work plans, State Plan and Strategic Plan through the request of data and progress reports. These are analyzed and the outcomes from such analysis are referred to the areas for the proper action. Furthermore, the VRA has developed a strategy in order to establish committees for the development and investigation of studies that will measure effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with provided services. Additional information is provided in Attachment 4.11(d), Goal 5, Strategy G.

7. Dissemination/Discussion with the service regions of the VRA of the Federal Monitoring Review in order to avoid practices which affect the optimum use of resources and/or the provision of the services of the highest quality.

Comments to the input of SRC:

As previously described in the strategies directed to the monthly monitoring of VR counselors, it is important to bring out that the Office of VR Counseling Services and the Office of Programmatic Quality Control; in coordination with the VRA administrator, have visited the six service regions to implement strategies and initiatives towards the compliance and carrying out of the recommendations from the Federal Monitoring Review.

8. Provision of monitoring to the collaborative agreement between the VRA and the University of Puerto Rico for the provision of auxiliary aids and services to disabled students.

Comments to the input of SRC:

In the collaborative agreement previously described, a process has been established to offer speedy and responsive services. Furthermore, a liaison has been designated to assist the VRA and the University In matters related to the process, monitoring, compliance and follow-up of the articles included in the contract.

Finally, the VRA aware of its responsibility of serving disabled consumers in an agile and speedy way, accepts and reacts to the input/recommendations from the SRC which, at the same time, became part of our strategies and work plans to assure the appropriate compliance with federal/state regulations.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 11:02AM by Virginia Roque

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

This screen has never been updated.

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

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

The VRA maintains cooperative agreements with other entities that are components of the statewide workforce investment system. These agreements are important mechanisms to ensure effective communication, collaboration, coordination and cooperation between the VR program and its partners envisioned in WIA.

The agency has also maintained interagency cooperation with other agencies and entities that are not carrying out activities through the statewide workforce investment system; with other private non-profit VR service providers, as well as with other agencies and entities providers of supported employment and extended support services.

Cooperation with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment System.

The VRA has established and/or maintained cooperative, collaborative and coordinative agreements, during FY 2011, with the following agencies and entities in order to provide training activities and coordinate services and other efforts related to the VR program: University of Puerto Rico (UPR) The VRA maintains its collaborative agreement with the UPR for the reimbursement of registration fees of the consumers of the agency, studying at this public institution of higher education.

A second agreement was also developed between the VRA and UPR for the provision of auxiliary aids and services.

The VRA also coordinates with the UPR the placement of all internship students as well as the practicum of all Master’s degree students in our facilities. We also maintain collaborative efforts with the Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Program (PRATP), in order to provide technical assistance for the promotion of changes capitalizing on the use of technological assistance in the systems affecting the disabled population in areas related to employment, education and health.

Center of Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) – State University of New York at Buffalo.

The VRA has identified its training needs and technical assistance to its personnel based on the findings of the needs study.

Therefore, during FY 2012, and as requested, we will continue the coordination with TACE in order to receive technical assistance and training on administrative and programmatic issues, as well as in areas related to the development/expansion of community rehabilitation programs.

Office of the Ombudsman of Person with Disabilities (OOPD).

The interagency coordination with this office continues in order to promote legislation towards the improvement of the quality of life of disabled citizens. The OOPD has ascribed the Governor’s Committee for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities, created by Executive Order 1993-51 of December 9 of 1993. This committee receives job offerings periodically; carries out monthly statistical reports; and receives from the Department of Labor and Human Resources and Consortiums, quarterly reports on the disabled individuals who have been recruited, as well as other relevant information. On the other hand, the VRA has the collaboration of the OOPD for the carrying out of inspections and recommendations in the handling of the physical aspects of our facilities, so that these are accessible and free of architectural barriers.

Puerto Rico State Council on Mental Health Planning This is a council composed of governmental agencies, mental health patients and their families. It is attached to the Administration of Mental Health Services and Services Against Addiction. This is the organization selected by the Administration of Health Insurances of Puerto Rico, to carry out operational duties of the Health Plan and offer treatment to conditions related to mental health, alcohol and drugs in San Juan and environs and in the western region of the Island. The VRA is a mandatory member of this Council and as such, it participates in the services provision planning.

Department of Veterans Affairs This department has the responsibility of assuring that those individuals who serve in the Armed Forces have the opportunity to reintegrate successfully into civil life. Two participating entities, within this department, that have the responsibility of the readjustment of veterans are the Veterans Administration and the Veterans Health Administration. The responsibility of each entity is derived from Title 38, US Code. The agreement between the VRA and this Department consist of the offering to eligible disabled veterans of access to the services provided by our agency toward the achievement of competitive employment.

Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) The VRA, the SILC and the Independent Living Centers promote collaborative actions with other public/private organizations that offer services to the population with significant disabilities. They also join efforts to increase the opportunities of community support services for individuals with significant disabilities. Also, the VRA awards Title I funds for the operations of this council. State Insurance Fund Corporation (“Fondo del Seguro del Estado”)

The State Insurance Fund Corporation is a workman’s compensation insurance, created by a State legislation in 1936 that provides medical care and disability compensation for laborers injured during employment. Any organization or individual, that employs at least three persons, is compelled by this law to take out this compensation insurance. The law also protects single employees as well as domestic help. The premiums are assessed yearly, payable in advance by the employer according to type of employment and past-accident experience.

The VRA and the State Insurance Fund Corporation have an interagency agreement for the provision of VR services to eligible individuals referred by the Corporation. For said services, the VRA receives an annual allocation of state funds of $600,000, which is used to match federal funds. Recently the Corporation requested the review of the interagency agreement on its established terms and awarding of funds. During FY 2010, the agency received 169 cases referred by the Corporation.

Institute of Developmental Disabilities (Puerto Rico University Affiliated Program) The Institute of Developmental Disabilities is part of the Graduate School of Public Health of the University of Puerto Rico. Our collaborative agreement continues for development of an innovative services program, in an area where the disabled population remains traditionally unserved. The scientific nature of the program, its integrated evaluative component and community-based approach, provide significant information and input to be able to impact the traditional system of services. It also provides useful information for the revision of existing curriculums pertaining to the different professions related to the provision of support services to the disabled population of the country.

During FY 2010, the VRA established a contractual relation with this Institute in order to carry out a needs assessment study titled “Comprehensive Study on the Needs of Participants, Employers and Counselors of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration”. The findings from the study are part of this State Plan.

State Council on Developmental Disabilities The interagency cooperation with this Council continues to pursue the following: the capitalization of available resources from both agencies; the obtaining of financial resources for the extended support of consumers with the most significant disabilities from the Supported Employment Program; the development of innovative programs in geographical areas were the disabled population has been traditionally underserved; and the development of curriculums adapted to the needs of those professionals related to the rehabilitation field.

Social Security Administration (SSA) The VRA continues the collaboration with the SSA towards the full implementation of the Ticket-to-Work Program in Puerto Rico. We also will continue participating in other types of training and technical assistance activities related to other programs, administrative protocols, services and benefits provided by this agency.

Administration for the Training of Future Entrepreneurs and Workers (ATFEW) The mission of the ATFEW is to foster the human development, the techno-vocational training and the creation of microenterprises/jobs for youths who are out of the formal educational system and for displaced workers in order to integrate them into the labor force. The VRA maintains a collaborative agreement with the ATFEW for the training of consumers with disabilities referred by the VRA.

Futuros, Inc. The VRA continues its collaborative efforts and partnership with Futuros. This is a strategic alliance of representatives from industries, commerce, banking, education and government working with the VRA to promote the employment of qualified individuals. As an outcome of the working coordination between the VRA and Futuros, we have been able to establish a program to electronically disseminate job offerings (www.futurosinc.org) received in the Futuro’s’ main office to other regional chapters of this alliance, as well as to the Centers of Assessment and Employment Modes of the VRA. The information emphasizes on the benefits of salary incentives and technical assistance, among others, provided to employers who employ disabled consumers from the VRA.

Note: At the moment, the PRVRA is not using services, facilities or programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the US Department of Agriculture; nor are utilizing services and facilities of agencies and programs with respect to state use contracting programs.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 11:35AM by Virginia Roque

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

The VRA maintains an interagency agreement with the Department of Education (DE) as an outcome of the implementation of state Law 51 of June 7 of 1996, as amended, known as the Comprehensive Educational Services for Persons with Disabilities Law. This legislation assigns responsibilities to various government agencies with the purpose of providing services, in a coordinated manner, to disabled individuals.

The coordination between the VRA and the DOE is directed towards the promotion and development of the transition program from school to work and into adulthood of youths with disabilities.

The VRA serves transition students through specialized transition counselors. Regional transition analysts are appointed to offer orientation and advice to officials from the Department of Education, students with disabilities, parents and/or authorized representatives. These regional transition analysts provide technical assistance to the education personnel, on an ongoing basis, and during the meetings of the Programming and Placement Committee.

This technical assistance guarantees the referral of students with adequate skills to facilitate the transition process and the achievement of successful employment outcomes. Related to the previously mentioned coordination with the officials from the Department of Education, the policy of the agency has been reviewed in accordance with the Interagency Cooperative Agreement between the Department of Labor and Human Resources and the Department of Education for the Provision of Transition Services from School to Work for Students with Disabilities, currently in force since May 1 of 2009.

The interagency cooperative agreement has the responsibilities of the Department of Labor and Human Resources and its operational components made up of: Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, Human Resources and Occupational Development Council (PR WIA System), Right to Work Administration and Administration for the Training of Future Entrepreneurs and Workers; and the Department of Education.

The agencies subscribing the agreement consent to coordinate and execute the following in order to:

• Establish an Interagency Committee with representations from both agencies that will meet regularly to provide follow-up to the implementation of transition services.

• Consult and exchange information on the contents of the state plans of the subscribing agencies.

• Promote training to the personnel of each agency and among agencies, as well as technical assistance for the development of transition projects.

• Foster the development of proposals that promote the acquisition of additional resources to strengthen the transition services and post secondary school activities.

• Promote the mechanisms for the provision of integrated services.

• Carry out promotional activities to promote the transition services for youths with disabilities, and how parents or guardians, organizations, advocacy groups and other support groups will contribute during the transition process.

• Agree to include in their annual budgetary petition, the request of those necessary funds to comply with the provisions of the laws and regulations applicable to the transition process.

• When any of the subscribing agencies have the need to provide and pay for services or commitments that, under existing laws and agreements fall under the responsibility of another agency, which did not provide these, the agency that provided the services can request a reimbursement of its expenses to the concerned agency.

If this agency does not respond within thirty (30) days or considers the reimbursement inappropriate, any of the two parties can use the established procedure for the resolution of controversies. On the other hand, the VRA reviewed the public policy regarding the management of the service provision process for disabled students referred to our agency.

It also reviewed the procedure for the development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for consumers, including the plan for disabled students receiving services from the Department of Education’s Special Education Program. The public policy and procedure applicable to both agencies were implemented as well as disseminated in July of 2007.

In relation to the public policy and practices for the development and implementation of the IPE, the VRA has established the following:

• Before the student with disabilities leaves the school system, an IPE must be developed. Its purpose is to formalize the management of the VR services provision process, in coordination with the educational agencies. It includes:

• application of guides and programmatic procedures for the provision of services;

• beginning and ending date of services;

• an employment outcome (regular employment, supported employment, self-employment or any other innovative option);

• projected date for the achievement of the employment outcome;

• analysis to support the functional limitations of the consumer in relation to the employment outcome, the outcomes of informed choice and the programmed services;

• recommended VR services which are necessary to achieve the selected employment outcome;

• comparable services and benefits;

• costs of services; • evidence of the financial participation negotiated between the VR counselor and the consumer/family, when it applies;

• evaluative criteria;

• specific responsibilities of the VRA;

• responsibilities of the consumer/representative;

• coordination of educational agencies;

• signatures of the parties and dates when the plan is signed; and

• evidence of the participation of the consumer (his own words) regarding the informed choice process, self management and other actions taken during his VR process.

In addition, the IPE establishes some of the transition services that could be provided to the disabled student, with the sponsorship of the VRA, while participating from the educational services of the Department of Education, and after exhausting the available comparable services and benefits. The following is a description of such services:

1. career exploration;

2. vocational counseling;

3. orientation, post-secondary education (university level options, summer camp programs, among others);

4. assessment of vocational interests, capabilities and pre-employment skills;

5. evaluation with an ecological focus;

6. workshops and job readiness orientation (job skills, job interviews, drafting of a resume, among others);

7. vocational training/post-secondary education;

8. supported employment services;

9. transportation, including training on the use of public transportation;

10. mentoring;

11. self-management; and

12. use of auxiliary aids and services (assistive technology devices and services). The activities regarding shared responsibilities under the interagency agreement between the VRA and the Department of Education can be described as follow:

• During each school year, the transition analysts carry out visits to various schools for the provision of orientation to the educational staff, students and parents on the VR services, eligibility criteria and referral process to the VRA.

• The Department of Education shares basic information on the disabled student, in accordance with the confidentiality criteria established under federal/state laws and regulations.

• The transition analyst participate in the meetings of the Programming and Placement Committee; receives the referral from the Department of Education and channels it to the VR counselor, who determines eligibility/ineligibility to VR services.

• The VR counselor informs, in writing, to the transition analyst, the determination taken in regard to the referred student. Then, the transition analyst informs the outcome of said determination to the school official.

• The VR counselor evaluates the disabled student’s capability towards the achievement of either an employment outcome or an independent living.

• The VR counselor, with the participation of the disabled youth, his family or authorized representative, develops the Written Intervention Plan (WIP) or the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE); in accordance with the needs of the youth and taking into consideration the services included in the WIP or IPE prior to his leaving of the school system.

• The transition analyst gathers statistical data on the following; orientations provided to school personnel, students and parents; meetings of the Programming and Placement Committee; students referred to the VRA by the Department of Education and eligible students.

The transition process of disabled students is initiated in the educational setting (schools), through the orientation provided by the personnel of the VRA’s Community Liaison Unit. The orientations are directed to the teachers, students and parents.

Outcomes from such orientations are the request for the referral of the disabled student to the VRA, as well as the request of a meeting with the Programming and Placement Committee.

In the meantime, the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) is a tool to identify essential and necessary areas, so that the planning of postsecondary activities is carried out in a continuous manner during the transition process.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 11:47AM by Virginia Roque

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

The VRA has adopted the following uniform procedure in order to formalize contractual agreements with private nonprofit organizations, as described in the “Proposal Guide to Request Subsidy for the Offering of Services to the Consumers of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration.” The guide applies for the request of subsidy for regular employment, supported employment, and pre-employment services.

Section I

A. Proposing organization submits to the VRA a Letter of Intention with a Proposal which complies with the requirements described in the Guide.

B. Identification of Organization: this is an attachment which includes the following: organizational structure, type of organization, type of request, purpose of the project, geographical area to be impacted, title of the project, budget and signature of the authorized representative.

C. Executive Summary: consists of a synopsis of the proposal to be submitted.

Section II

Table of Contents of the Proposal: must enumerate the topics by page.

Section III

Introduction: it is a narrative which includes the following aspects:

A. Vision, Mission, Values and Objectives of the Organization.

B. Legal Background: in this part, the organization must present the legislation which supports the development of the project.

C. Profile of the Population to be Served: must develop a database which supports the need to attend the population to be served, as well as to be used as framework at the beginning of the project in comparison with the data obtained at the ending of the provision of services.

D. Background of the Proposed Project: must describe those causes, activities or projects which serve as base for the development of the proposal.

Section IV

Justification, Assessment of Needs and Approach of the Project

A. Justification: must describe the existing situation or conditions which affect the population with significant/most significant disabilities in the specific geographical areas to be served, including causes and its effects.

B. Assessment of Needs: must identify, through a narrative, the specific needs the project pretends to address. Must mention how such project is going to impact the geographical areas where the services are going to be offered and how it is related with the mission, the priorities and the service provision approach of the VRA. Specific data on the situation must be included and how the project pretends to contribute to address such situation. In addition, the project must describe the employment alternatives and the VR services to be developed in the action plan.

C. Description of the Population to be Served: must describe the population and the conditions which affect it towards an employment outcome related to the social and geographical environment.

Identify, if applies, through previously designed attachments, all of the participants served during the previous fiscal year, those who will continue receiving services, and those who will leave. Identify also the possible new referrals for services during the fiscal year for which the proposal is being submitted.

D. Expected Outcomes and Benefits: must identify, in a measurable manner, the outcomes expected to be reached during the duration of the project.

Describe how this project will improve the provision of services in the geographical area selected, how it will increase the participation/empowerment of disabled individuals and how it will foster their inclusion with non-disabled individuals.

The activities that will be developed during the project must be mentioned in order to increase the quality of life of the disabled through an employment or in activities of community living. Through a previously designed attachment, indicate the impact that the project will have on the community.

Section V

Design and Methodology: must describe in the general plan of the project, the methodology to be used to achieve objectives, indicate why the model to be used is appropriate for the population to be served.

Identify and specify, in a detailed manner, the operational procedures, strategies and plans to achieve an efficient and effective project.

Describe any innovative activity (for ex., collaborative agreements, development of support groups of consumers, etc.) and how it will impact the effectiveness of the project and the provision of services. The project must comply with applicable state and federal regulations.

A. Goal: is the outcome that the organization expects to achieve through the compliance of the quality standards of supported employment, regular employment, and pre-employment (interests/capabilities of the consumer, competitive wage, working day, integration, and continuous support, among others).

B. Objectives: strategies that the organization proposes to carry out in order to achieve a goal. Such strategies must be geared towards specific and measurable outcomes in terms of the population to be impacted by the project.

C. Action Plan: in this plan, the activities are numbered in order and within the time frame to be carried out, the persons in charge and the mechanisms to measure the compliance of each one of the parties. It also allows for the organization of the work in a sequence, in order to determine the stages that precede each outcome.

D. Structure of the Organization: the organization presents, through a flowchart, its organizational structure which must support the administrative/operational/programmatic phases of the project.

E. Authorized Activities: are those processes or stages adjusted to the provision of services in order to achieve the established objectives. The identified activities must be consistent with the needs described and the corresponding service. Each objective must include the planned activities to be developed. The organization will specify the levels of continuous support to be provided to the consumers and the activities to be developed, in accordance with the established standards for the provision of supported employment, regular employment and pre-employment services.

F. Resources: must include the personnel, facilities, equipment, and materials necessary to carry out the activities of the project.

• Facilities: must identify the place where each activity will be carried out. The facilities must comply with the accessibility/free of architectural barriers requirements, in accordance with ADA and/or the State Administration of Rules and Permits.

• Equipment and Materials: must identify the equipment and materials necessary to carry out the activities.

• Personnel: must identify the personnel needed to operate the project. Such personnel must be duly qualified. The proposal must include the curriculum vitae or Resumé, diploma or credits transcript, professional license (if applies), and a description of the duties of the position of each one of the proposed staff.

G. Timelines: must use the previously designed attachment in order to present the sequence of activities described in the proposal and the dates when such activities will be carried out.

H. Coordination: it refers to the working with other agencies and community organizations for the planning of services to the consumers in an integrated manner. Indicate the established coordination with the personnel of the VRA from the region corresponding to the geographical area to be served. The VRA recommends that the proposal is developed under the endorsement and participation from other governmental/private organizations.

The VRA also suggests that letters of endorsement from potential employers are also included. If the use of volunteers in the project is considered, the proposal must include:

• The availability of such volunteers with a list of their names, duties and work schedules.

I. Evaluation Indicators of the Action Plan: must develop evaluation criteria for each one of the activities designed in accordance with the provision of supported employment, regular employment and pre-employment services.

The evaluation indicators must measure the levels of independence, integration, inclusion and productivity achieved by the consumers. The data must be reliable and must reflect the effectiveness of the provided services.

J. Strategic Plan for the Solution of Conflicts: must develop strategies for the prevention and/or solution of conflictive situations which may interfere with the projected goals and objectives. The plan must present a self-monitoring system and an intervention protocol associated to the management of conflicts. Any relevant information related to limiting factors in the implementation of the plan, must be indicated.

Section VI

Future Subsidy: must identify the projection of the organization to expand the provision of services. Mention the plans or activities to be carried out, in order to identify and obtain other funding sources towards the continuity of the project, once the funding from the VRA is over.

Section VII

Description of the Administration of the Project A. Duties of Personnel (Staff):

• Indicate the recruiting plan to be used and estimated timeline for the full recruitment of the staff.

• Mention the individuals with disabilities to be employed, if any. The VRA urges the recruitment of personnel with disabilities.

• Justify the recruitment of personnel in accordance with the action plan of the project.

• Include, as well, the personnel hired under a professional services contract. B. General Budget: must include the budgetary items for which funds are being requested. The budget is the effectiveness base of the project. The budgetary items must be closely related to the activities authorized by law. The capacity of the organization must be validated, including previous experiences, in order to conduct the project.

• Facilities: must describe briefly the facilities to be used for the project, including the available space and the adaptations carried out for the individuals with disabilities. Mention the possible barriers which affect the access of the disabled to such facilities.

• Equipment and Suppliers: must justify briefly the need for any equipment/supplier for the project.

• Other Expenses: must justify briefly the need for other expenses and their relation with the action plan of the project. The local travel expenses for daily allowance and mileage will be paid in accordance with the regulations of the PR Department of the Treasury.

• Collaborative Commitments: must indicate briefly and document the specific contribution from other agencies/organizations/groups/industrial enterprises of the public/private sector, in the project (evidence of the commitments must be included).

C. Budget for the Human Resources Area: must itemize the budget allotted to the human resources area. If the VRA contributes to a percentage of the salary of an employee, indicate the source where the remaining salary is obtained.

D. Narrative and Itemized Budget: previous to the development of this part, the proposing agency must contact the Budget Division of the VRA to verify if the established requirements remain the same, or if there are changes to such requirements.

E. Budget Summary: must use the previously designed attachment in order to make a relation of the total budget of the project, including in-kind contributions. Through an interagency collaboration, the availability of financial resources can be expanded to sponsor the project and demonstrate the organization’s capacity to provide continuity to such project. If the proposal submitted is a continuation proposal, it must include an inventory of all equipment acquired with federal funds from the VRA.

Section VIII

Evaluation Plan: has the purpose of determining if the project is able to achieve the established goals and objectives. The Plan must include evaluation instruments to measure compliance with each one of the activities and expected outcomes for each objective (surveys, questionnaires, others).

The Evaluation Plan will take into consideration the basic components of the provision of supported employment, regular employment and pre-employment services in accordance with federal regulations. The Evaluation Plan must be applied gradually in order to assure the sharing and working with the staff on the project’s compliance with its established objectives.

Attachments: it is the section where all required documents by the VRA are included. The documents are in accordance with provisions of federal/state laws for the subsidy of funds to private/non-profit organizations; and are required in order to evaluate the submitted proposal. Some attachments are forms previously designed by the VRA and will become a mandatory part of the proposal.

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Approval of Proposal: All proposals received in the VRA will be analyzed and reviewed by the Evaluation Committee of Proposals, which utilizes the “Guide for the Evaluation of Proposals/Request of Title I Funds from the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.”

This guide is an instrument designed to grant points in accordance with an evaluation criteria scale which points to the submitted proposal. If the proposal scores 69 points or less, it is classified as deficient (it doesn’t show the required components); if it scores between 70-79 points, it shows moderate compliance (approval of proposal conditioned to present changes/amendments to specific sections that don’t comply with required criteria); if it scores between 80-89 points, it is considered a satisfactory proposal; and if it scores between 90-100 points, the proposal shows the required compliance. If the proposal is considered favorably, then:

• It will receive the endorsement of the corresponding programmatic area and a preliminary agreement will be reached.

• The agreement will be reviewed by the Legal Affairs Office and by the monitoring official or authorized representative of the VRA.

• The agreement will be formalized between the VRA and the proposing organization through a contract signed by both parties. In compliance with the established federal regulations, the VRA assigns to its programmatic and budgetary areas, the responsibility to carry out monitoring activities to the contracted organizations in order to verify: compliance, development of the project, services being offered, encountered difficulties, use of resources and participation of beneficiaries, among others.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 11:57AM by Virginia Roque

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 VRA continues collaborating with other agencies to strengthen extended support and supported employment for participants with significant and most significant disabilities. We will continue identifying, developing and consolidating these services, particularly for those consumers with the most significant disabilities.

These services are described in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), and their availability is specified, when necessary. In addition, the Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs), funded by the VRA for supported employment services, also develop groups of parents and volunteers as supporting sources to the consumers.

The VRA will continue carrying out the following activities:

• Offering of technical assistance to employers in order to access extended support options through assistance programs to employees, collaboration of co-workers and other available resources in the workplace.

• Collaborating with the Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) in their efforts to prepare and submit proposals to United Funds of Puerto Rico for the provision of extended support services.

• Providing technical support to CRPs in their efforts to prepare and submit proposals to the State Council on Developmental Disabilities for the funding of extended support services, within a period from three to five years.

• Collaborating with the CRPs in their efforts to submit proposals to the Puerto Rico State Legislature for the provision of extended support services.

• Searching for other funding sources and alternatives options through public entities to assure the occupational stability of the consumers in supported employment. Related to the above, the VRA will also continue with the coordination and contracting of services from various CRPs for the provision of supported employment, training and other services not provided under WIA.

The following are those CRPs that maintain contractual agreements with the VRA: NAME OF ORGANIZATION & REGION Centro de Adiestramiento para Personas con Impedimentos, Inc. (CAPI) Aibonito (East Central, North, North Central) Centro Nuevos Horizontes, Inc. (North Central) Colegio de Educación Especial y Rehabilitación Integral, Inc. (CODERI – PRESCOD) (Metro East, North Central) Educación, Calidad de Vida y Productividad, Inc. (EDUCAVIPRO – San Juan) (Metro East) Instituto Pre-Vocacional e Industrial de Puerto Rico, Inc. (IPVI – Ponce) (South) Instituto Pre-Vocacional e Industrial de Puerto Rico, Inc. (IPVI – Arecibo) (North, West) Instituto Pre-Vocacional e Industrial de Puerto Rico, Inc. (IPVI – Mayagüez) (West) International Institute for People with Disabilities of Puerto Rico, Inc. (YAI – Metro) (Metro East, North Central, North) Movimiento para el Alcance de Vida Independiente, Inc. (MAVI) (Metro East) Programa de Ubicación en Empleo A Través del Modelo de Empleo Sostenido (PUEDES – PARES) (Metro East, East Central) Training and Consulting Services, Inc. (TCS) (Metro East, East Central, North Central) Fundación Puertorriqueña Síndrome Down (Metro East, North Central, East Central) Centro de Adiestramiento para Personas con Impedimentos (CAPI) (South).

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 11:58AM by Virginia Roque

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The VRA is the designated stated unit responsible for the provision of VR services aimed at the successful integration of individuals with disabilities into the country’s labor force, and towards the enjoyment of a more independent life. The VRA has a team of professionals committed to public service, who are duly qualified to take care of the VR and independent living needs of disabled individuals, particularly the needs of those with the most significant disabilities. As the leading agency in the provision of services to disabled individuals, we not only provide the tools of professional growth to our human resources; but make them an essential part of the decision-making process related to the organizational development of the agency in accordance with its mission, vision and institutional values.

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development The VRA has a payroll of 913 employees to serve 26,030 consumers. The proportion between the projection of the number of consumers served and the numbers of employees of the agency is 1:29.

Title Number of Employees

Accountant 3

Accounting Auxiliary 2

Accounting Technician 2

Administration Auxiliary 33

Administration Officer 22

Administration Technician 3

Administrative Assistant 4

Administrative Services Center Director 4

Administrator 1 Assessment & Adjustment Analyst 20

Assessment & Adjustment Auxiliary 38

Assessment & Adjustment Center Director 5

Assessment & Adjustment Officer 26

Assessment & Adjustment Supervisor 11

Assessment & Adjustment Technician 30

Assistant Administrator/Administration Office 1 Assistive Technology Officer 0

Audit Director 0

Auxiliary General Services Worker 1

Auxiliary Rehabilitation Services Analyst 7

Auxiliary Rehabilitation Services Officer 26

Auxiliary Rehabilitation Services Supervisor 5

Auxiliary Rehabilitation Services Technician 26

Budget Analyst 1 Budget Officer 1

Budget Specialist 1

Budget Supervisor 0

Center of Support and Employment Modes Director 5

Center of VR Counseling Services Director 3

Chief Lawyer 3

Computer Center Director 1

Conservation Worker 5

Counseling Rehabilitation Analyst 5

Counseling Rehabilitation Main Supervisor 1

Counseling Rehabilitation Services Technician 123

Director of Assessment and Adjustment Office 0

Director of Assistance Employee Program 1

Director of Budget Division 0

Director of Finance Division 1

Director of General Services Division 0

Director of Human Resources Division 0

Director of Independent Living Services Office 1

Director of Labor Affairs and Human Resources Office 1 Director of Labor Affairs Division 0

Director of Legal Affairs 1

Director of Permanent Improvements Division 1

Director of Project Management Office 0

Director of Purchasing Division 0

Director of Support and Employment Modes Office 0

Director of System Development and Analysis Division 1

Director of System Information Office 1

Director of Training and Development of Human Resources Division 1

Director of VR Counseling Services Office 0

Documents Division Director 1 Executive Assistant 1

Financial Administration Supervisor 2

Financial Administration Technician 5

Financial Management Auxiliary 1

General Services Supervisor 1

Governmental Management Specialist 1

Handyman 2 Heavy Motor Vehicle Driver 6

Human Resources Analyst 1

Human Resources Auxiliary 0

Human Resources Officer 2

Human Resources Specialist 1

Human Resources Supervisor 1

Human Resources Technician 1

Information Systems Chief Programmer 4

Information Systems Technician 3

Janitor 19

Labor Affairs Specialist 1

Light Motor Vehicle Driver 10

Main Rehabilitation Counselor 11

Maintenance Supervisor 1

Messenger 1

Network Administrator 1

Office Assistant 2

Office of Programmatic Quality Control and Regional Support Director 0

Office Systems Administrator 20

Office Systems Assistant 26

Office Systems Technician 90

Plumber 1

Project Manager 1

Property Coordinator 2

Property Coordinator Head/Chief 0

Purchase Agent 9

Purchasing Officer 3

Purchasing Supervisor 1

Quality Control Office Supervisor 1

Receptionist/Telephone Operator 3

Regional Office Director 6

Rehabilitation Counseling Services Specialist 2

Rehabilitation Counselor Supervisor 12

Reproduction Equipment Operator 1

Retirement Coordinator 1

Special Assistant 3

Support & Employment Modes Analyst 12

Support & Employment Modes Auxiliary 9

Support & Employment Modes Officer 8

Support & Employment Modes Supervisor 3

Support & Employment Modes Technician 2

Support and Employment Modes Specialist 1

System Information Programmer 4

Teacher 37

Transportation Services Supervisor 3

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 145

Total 913

The VRA projects to attend a population of 33,479 during FY 2012. In addition, it expects to serve 26,030 consumers. In order to provide VR services, the agency requires professional personnel related to the rehabilitation field as well as other support and administrative staff. The collected data on the VR counseling personnel show that as of April 30 of 2010, the PRVRA has employed, by category the following counseling staff:

VR Counselors in Various Positions and Number:

Regional Directors 6

CAME Directors 5

CAA Directors 5

VR Counseling Services Centers Directors 3

CAME Supervisors 3

CAA Supervisors 11

VR Counseling Service Supervisors 13

Support and Employment Modes Analysts 12

VR Counseling Analysts 5

Assessment and Adjustment Analysts 9

VR Counselors 118

VR Counselors (ARRA) 37

VR Counselors in Administration Positions* 2 VR

Counselors in Programmatic Support Positions* 3

Total 232

Positions at Central Level The VRA has established as a goal, an average caseload of 150 cases per VR counselor in the work zones, within a five-year period, including geographical areas traditionally characterized by caseloads of over 250 cases.

It is estimated that within a 1-year period, the average will be of 200 cases in accordance with the financial situation of the agency. On the other hand, the VRA being aware of the need to cover vacant zones and redistribute caseloads, proceeded to identify funds for recruitment of VR counselors for zones with high number of caseloads; as well as for the creation of new work zones.

The agency has received ARRA funds and under such funds has recruited 44 VR counselors. Therefore, the combination of funds from various sources has allowed the VRA to attend, during FY 2010, a population of 37,869 individuals, in 127 work zones, with an average caseload of 298 cases.

The following table presents information on the employees, by category, including job titles, number of positions, current vacancies and projected vacancies due to retirement over the next five years:

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Counselor Staff: VR Case Management Counselors 118 32 0
2 Counselor Staff: VR Case Management Counselor-ARRA 37 8 1
3 Counselor Staff: VR Counseling Service Technician 123 0 1
4 Counselor Staff: Supervisors of VR Counselors 13 24 0
5 Support Staff: VR Counselors (at central level) 5 7 0
6 Support Staff: VR Counselors (Region Director) 6 0 0
7 Support Staff: VR Counselors (support positions) 26 3 0
8 Support Staff: VR Counselors (other clasification) 19 5 1
9 Support Staff: Counseling Support (OT, PT, Nurses) 328 52 12
10 Administrative Staff 238 100 2

 

The institutions of higher education in Puerto Rico that are preparing VR professionals in the rehabilitation field are various.

The agency recruits from these institutions, particularly from the following:

--University of Puerto Rico (UPR) – is the only public institution of higher education in Puerto Rico. It has a main campus in Rio Piedras with 10 off-campus sites. At the Rio Piedras campus, Graduate School in Rehabilitation Counseling – 73 enrolled students and 48 graduates in 2010.

--University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus – 125 enrolled students in the following programs: Occupational Therapy (48 enrolled students and 10 graduates); Physical Therapy (48 enrolled students and 17 graduates); and Master’s degree in Speech Pathology (29 enrolled students and 15 graduates).

--Interamerican University, Metropolitan Campus – 894 enrolled students in the following programs: Graduate Program in Psychological Counseling (531 enrolled students and 141 graduates); Master’s degree in Social Work/Direct Service (139 enrolled students and 73 graduates); Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (224 enrolled students and 52 graduates). Although this university offers a Vocational Evaluation Certification, at the moment, no student appears enrolled or graduated.

--Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (Ponce) – Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Counseling (61 enrolled students and 13 graduates).

--Bayamón Central University – Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Counseling (42 enrolled students and 6 graduates); Bachelor’s degree in Psychology (113 enrolled students and 15 graduates); Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (241 enrolled students and 33 graduates); and Master’s degree in Psychology (33 enrolled students and 8 graduates).

--University of Turabo – Bachelor’s degree in Sign Language (66 enrolled students and 2 graduates in December of 2010). The following table shows those institutions of higher education which have provided updated information on their academic programs, registration, as well as other relevant information:

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 UPR, Rio Piedras Campus & Medical Sciences Campus 198 0 0 90
2 Pontifical Catholic University of PR in Ponce 61 0 1 13
3 Interamerican University of PR (metro area) 894 0 0 266
4 Bayamon Central University 429 0 0 62
5 University of Turabo (in Caguas) 66 0 0 2

 

The VRA, through the Office of Labor Affairs and Human Resources and its divisions, has the responsibility of developing, updating and implementing a plan for the recruitment, preparation and retention of qualified personnel in order to take care of their current and projected needs. To comply with such requirement, the agency has developed/carried out the following activities/actions:

• Identification and communication of needs concerning the recruitment, reclassification, training or any other requirement related to the human resources.

• Analysis and development of strategies based on the needs concerning the recruitment, reclassification, training or any other requirement related to the human resources.

• Realignment of personnel to fill vacant positions in the centers providing services to consumers (centers offering VR counseling services, avaluation and adjustment, support and employment modes). Although this strategy responds to the current public policy of economic austerity of the VRA, it also propitiates the development of employees while taking care of the personnel needs of the agency.

• Offering of advice and support on affairs concerning the best use of human resources, particularly those assigned to the provision of direct services to consumers.

• Provision of advice and support on affairs concerning the management of human resources in terms of the close coordination that must be maintained with the programmatic area.

• Planning and staffing of human resources (involves the analysis, design, establishment and elimination of positions; selection and recruitment; and the implementation of a system of personnel evaluation).

• Maintenance of a human resources inventory (involves the classification of positions, existing vacancies, identification of candidates for retirement, and succession planning). This information is analyzed on an annual basis to determine employment patterns, positions that are hard to hire, and the number of employees with 25 or more years of service.

• Forecasting of future human resources needs (from 1 to 5 years ahead) by number and type of employee, emphasizing on the personnel that offers direct services to the people with disabilities. • Maintenance of an updated compensation plan.

• Provision of training and promotion on the development of employees.

• Identification of training and development needs, in order to implement personnel improvement projects (needs assessment). This is done in coordination with other offices of the VRA, and taking into consideration programmatic priorities set by federal regulations.

• Establishment of objectives and types of training activities to be offered to employees, in order to comply with the programmatic and administrative commitments of the agency.

• Refocus of the outreach of the Proposal for the State VR Unit In-Service Training Program. This is a competitive proposal that includesthe necessary strategies for the training of the rehabilitation personnel in program areas essential to the effective management of the VR services program, or in skill areas that enable said personnel to strengthen performance and allow professional growth.

• Coordination with universities and other institutions that prepare VR professionals related to the rehabilitations field.

• Identification and development of strategies for the recruitment and retention of hard to hire professionals (VR counselors, occupational therapist, interpreters for the deaf) for the provision of services to those individuals with significant/most significant disabilities.

• Implementation of the evaluation method described in Chapter XII of the “Rehabilitation Counseling Supervision Manual.” Through Regulatory Communication No. 2010-18 of February 12, 2010, the new evaluation system of the VR case management counselor was implemented, focusing on compliance areas established by federal regulations.

• Maintenance of efforts to continue recruiting qualified personnel with disabilities. At the moment, the VRA has twenty six (26) employees, among these, VR counselors who present various types of disabilities. The agency continues emphasizing on the compliance with Law 81, as amended, known as the “Law of Equal Employment Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities."

 

In Puerto Rico, the rehabilitation counseling profession is regulated by Law No. 58 of May 7 of 1976, known as the “Law that Regulates the Rehabilitation Counseling Professions in Puerto Rico.” The law establishes that in order to practice as a rehabilitation counselors, the person must have a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, and have a valid state license issued by the appropriate Examining Board. It is also required that the professional maintains active his credentials and license in the Registry of Professionals from the Office of Regulations and Certification of Health Professionals; be a member of the College of Rehabilitation Counseling Professionals of Puerto Rico; and comply with hours of continuing education. The VRA only recruits personnel who comply with these requirements, in order to guarantee the highest standards of the rehabilitation counseling profession. Other professionals related to the rehabilitation field such as: teachers, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers and psychologists, among others; are required to have a certification or license. Furthermore, the VRA has developed the following strategies to maintain personnel standards consistent with the highest requirements applicable to a specific profession or discipline: • Annual revision of certifications, licenses and continuing education of specific professions or disciplines. • Continuation with the offering of information regarding training activities provided by Continuing Education School from the Office of Human Resources of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. • Maintenance of an updated register of training activities, seminars, and workshops, among others, offered to the agency’s personnel. • Identification of re-training needs of the staff in order to strengthen of performance of their duties. • Evaluation of the performance of duties of the agency’s personnel. The following is a list of associations and professionals related to the rehabilitation field: 1. Colegio de Profesionales de la Consejería en Rehabilitación (CPCR)-(Rehabilitation Counselors); 2. Colegio de Contadores Públicos Autorizados-(Certified Public Accountants); 3. National Council of Rehabilitation Education (NCRE)-(Human Resources Directors, Rehabilitation Educators, among others); 4. American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association-(Central Office Staff, Coordinators of Interpreters for the Deaf, Speech Pathologists, among others); 5. Association for Persons in Supported Employment(APSE)-(Central Office Staff, Coordinators of Supported Employment Services, among others); 6. National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)-(Central Office Staff, Coordinators of Independent Living Services); 7. California State University at Northridge-(Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals in Assistive Technology); 8. Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (RESNA)-(Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals in Assistive Technology); 9. Asociación de Terapia Ocupacional de Puerto Rico- (Occupational Therapists, Occupational Therapy Assistants); 10. Asociación de Compradores de Puerto Rico-(Procurement Personnel); 11. Colegio de Trabajadores Sociales de Puerto Rico-(Social Workers); 12. Asociación de Profesionales de Ayuda al Empleado de Puerto Rico-(Central Level Office Staff from the Employee Assistance Program); 13. Instituto de Servicios Educativos y Psicológicos de Puerto Rico-(Psychologists); 14. Cámara de Comercio de Puerto Rico-(Central Office Staff); 15. Academia de Audiología-(Audiologists); 16. Asociación Internacional de Administradores de Personal-(Human Resources Employees and Other Related Staff); 17. Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico-(Lawyers, Attorneys); 18. Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Program (PRATP)-(Occupational Therapists, Speech & Language Pathologists, Audiologists, Teachers); 19. Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)-(Human Resources Personnel); 20. Asociación Puertorriqueña de Rehabilitación –(Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals); and 21. Puerto Rico Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf-(Interpretes for the Deaf).

 

As established in the “Training Procedures Manual for All Personnel of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration,” the agency promotes and places great emphasis on the continuing education of its employees.

Therefore, and in order to guarantee the availability of qualified personnel, the VRA carries out the following activities:

• Identification and communication of training needs.

• Analysis and development of strategies based on a training need.

• Design of training activities to cover topics concerning administrative and programmatic issues relevant to the VR program.

• Planning of training activities as an outcome from needs identified in the needs assessment study, monitoring reports, and performance evaluations. The following is a breakdown of personnel development activity/training offered to the VR counseling personnel/other support staff during FY 2010:

TITLE OF ACTIVITY/TRAINING NO. OF PARTICIPANTS DATE

1. Sponsorship of Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling 29 Oct-Dec 2009

2. Recruitment and Employment of Persons with Disabilities Employment Analyst 6 Oct. 2009

3. Reasonable Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities Transition Analyst 6 Oct. 2009

4. Disorders from the Spectrum of Autism 27 Oct. 2009

5. Mood Disorders 31 Oct. 2009

6. Acquired Disability and Impact on Society 14 Dec. 2009

7. System Approach to Placement 51 Dec. 2009

8. Training for Interpreters for the Deaf 8 Jan & Sept. 2010

9. Sign Language 3 Feb.-May 2010

10. Counseling Skills for Crisis Intervention 6 March 2010

11. Annual Conference of VR Counselors (varios topics covered: Neuroscience of the Emotional Intelligence; Labor Market; Academic Trends; Case Closure Trends VRA; Cooperatives as an Employment Alternative for Consumers) 174 March 2010

12. Common Errors in Supervision Counseling Rehabilitation Supervisor/ Administrative Personnel 4 March 2010

13. Training for VR Counselors (recently recruited) 11 April 2010

14. Rehabilitation Ethics 18 May 2010

15. Case Documentation and Legal Aspects 103 May 2010

16. Training to VR Counseling Technicians and Supporting Secretarial Staff 170 May 2010

17. Legal Aspects and Practices of Progressive Discipline Counseling Rehabilitation Supervisor/ Directors (Centers) 6 June 2010

18. FUTUROS Conference (consortium between VRA/prívate sector) VR Counselors/Employment area Analysts 19 June 2010

19. Seminar on Wheelchairs Occupational Therapists 19 July 2010

20. Criticism and Discipline VR Counseling Supervisors/ Administrative Supervisors 11 July 2010

21. Conference for Occupational Therapists 30 July 2010

22. Word, Excel and Other Computadorized Programs VR Counseling Technicians/Secretary Staff 100 aprox. 2009-2010

23. Training for Interpreters for the Deaf 7 Sept. 2010

24. Technical Assistance and Training to Regional VR Counselors and VR Technicians (various topics covered: State Plan, Public Policy; RSA-911; Mental Conditions or Learning Problems) 313 Sept. 2010

25. Conference and Seminars Abroad (Seminar on the Intervention with Deaf-Blinds; Support Employment Conference; National Conference on Employment; among others) 12 2009-2010

26. Other Training Activities provided by the Human Resources Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Personnel in General 2009-2010 The following is a breakdown of personnel development activity/training offered to personnel from various classifications within the VRA/personnel of the CRP during FY 2010:

TITLE OF ACTIVITY/TRAINING NO. OF PARTICIPANTS DATE

1. Teleconference on Federal Regulations (EDGAR) 7 Oct. 2009

2. The Expert Before a Court of Law 4 Nov. 2009

3. Training for Purchasers and Persons In Charge of Property 9 Dec. 2009

4. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Escorts 6 Dec. 2009

5. Management of Documents 1 May 2010

6. Benefits Compensation and Performance Management 1 May 2010

7. Drafting of Docoments 4 May 2010

8. Training for Goverment Managers 1 May – June 2010

9. Internal Consultancy of Human Resources 2 June 2010

10. Preparatory Course for Projects Management Certification 1 August 2010

11. Human Resources Conference 6 Sept. 2010

12. Surplus Property 1 Sept. 2010

13. Disorders from the Spectrum of Autism CRP Personnel

14 Oct. 2009 14. Mood Disorders CRP Personnel 14 Oct. 2009

15. System Approach to Placement CRP Personnel 46 Dec. 2009

16. Other Training Activities provided by the Human Resources Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Personnel in General 2009-2010

 

The VRA, as the leading agency in the provision of services to the disable individuals, provides to its personnel the necessary training/workshops to meet the communication needs of deaf, blind, and deaf-blind applicants/consumers.

Therefore, our personnel participates in the activities offered by the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association and in the ones offered in the Randolph-Sheppard Conference.

Also, the agency has interpreters for the deaf that are used, when necessary, to provide assistance to deaf applicants or eligible consumers.

Furthermore, our staff is able to communicate in the native language of applicants/consumers. Due to the fact that Puerto Rico is a Spanish-speaking country (English is used as a second language), we are able to communicate in Spanish with almost all of our applicants/consumers. However, if an applicant/consumer only speaks English, we are also able to communicate in said language.

In addition, the VRA is able to provide clients with alternative formats of communication such as Braille and large print.

 

In Puerto Rico, the Assistant Secretariat of Comprehensive Educational Services for Persons with Disabilities and the VRA are found in two different State departments (Department of Education, and Department of Labor and Human Resources). The first one is responsible for the implementation of Public Law 108-446, of December 3, 2004, as amended, known as “Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA);” the second one is responsible for the implementation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and State Law 97 of June 10 of 2000, as amended, known as the “Puerto Rico Vocational Rehabilitation Law.”

In addition to the previously mentioned legislation, there is State Law 51 of June 7 of 1996, as amended, known as the “Comprehensive Educational Services for Persons with Disabilities Law,” which stipulates the coordination of different local agencies to assure an effective transition of impaired youths coming from the Department of Education.

Both agencies maintain collaborative ties in regard to the development of their respective human resources and as such, their staff have been planning, developing, offering and/or participating in many in-service training activities since 1987.

Examples of topics covered in said activities are: transition from school-to-work; vocational evaluation, supported employment, IDEIA; ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act, Public Law No. 101-336 of July 26, 1990, as amended); and WIA (Workforce Investment Act, Public Law No. 105-220 of August 7, 1998) among others. In addition, both agencies are also members of an advisory committee that meets periodically to plan and join efforts in the development and implementation of transition services from school to work.

The efforts and alliances carried out under collaborative agreements with the Department of Education, as well as with the Department of Labor and Human Resources and its components, are conducive to the development of strategies and activities to comply with federal/state regulations.

As a relevant fact, it is important to mention the availability of the Final Report of the Transition Pilot Project carried out between the Departments of Education and Labor. This report reflects the need to identify and realign the human resources in order to strengthen the transition services, the need to adjust/review the public policy on transition, as well as the need to update the Transition Services Manual.

The VRA has contemplated in the strategies of this FY 2012 State Plan, actions to address the outcomes of the previously mentioned transition report; as well as actions relevant to the needs study and federal monitoring report.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 1:53PM by Virginia Roque

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

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

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

The CSNA is completed annually over a three year period. The last CSNA covered FY 2009-2011 and the next CSNA cycle will cover FY 2012-2014, a three-year cycle. It was jointly conducted and is annually revised with the State Rehabilitation Council. At the moment, we are submitting information relevant to the first year of the cycle. Therefore, FY 2012 will be the first year of said period.

Related to the above, the VRA aware that a statewide assessment of needs is an important federal mandate; established a contractual agreement in May of 2010 with the Institute of Development Disabilities (IDD), Affiliated Program to the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, to execute the assessment. Such assessment study was conducted in close communication/ collaboration with the State Advisory Council (SAC), and in coordination between the IDD and VRA, in order to carry out a series of activities for the identification of needs of individuals with disabilities, including those with significant/most significant disabilities.

The “Comprehensive Study on the Needs of Participants, Employers and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors,” was conducted during the period from February to April of 2011, and throughout the six regions and satellite offices (identified in the sample) of the VRA. The study provided findings and recommendations which served as the basis for the development of the goals, priorities and strategies included in this State Plan. Such goals, priorities and strategies were geared towards the agency’s maximization of the provision of services to the disabled population and the compliance with the required evaluation standards and performance indicators.

The areas emphasized on the study were:

• Identification of needs of specific groups of individuals with disabilities and how the existing resources could be used to meet such needs.

• Determination of needs concerning VR services among the different segments of the population with disabilities and establishment of priorities.

• Estimation of adequacy of the current scope of the program and contribution to the development of methods to improve it for groups of individuals with specific disabilities.

• Estimation of need for specific services (for ex., supported employment, independent living) and resources (for ex., technological assistance) in individuals with significant disabilities.

• Identification of training areas necessary for the staff of the VRA.

Applicants/Consumers

The activities concerning applicants/consumers were carried out through the application of a questionnaire with questions directed to know their satisfaction degree or knowledge (if it applied) with the services provided by the VRA. The first part of the questionnaire gathered information on the socio-demographic profile (gender, age, employment status, income, family, composition, academic degree, type of disability, time in the VRA) of the applicant/consumer.

In order to know the satisfaction degree or knowledge on the services offered by the VRA to the applicants/consumers, the following aspects were considered:

• waiting period to receive services in the VRA;

• frequency of change of the person who offers services;

• need of information on the services provided by the centers;

• participation to achieve employment outcome;

• goal of the VRA directed to achieve employment for disabled individuals;

• guidance and VR counseling services;

• services provision process offered by the VRA;

• degree of assistance offered through pre-employment services;

• assistance through the services offered in the CSEMs;

• services offered by the job coach;

• services offered through the CAAs; and

• services coordinated by the VRA.

The following aspects were presented to the consumer who identified in the questionnaire either to be employed or to have had work experience:

• if employed in the vocational goal;

• if satisfied with current employment;

• if satisfied with salary received;

• type of transportation means used to go to work site;

• degree of difficulty entailed in the transportation to work site;

• if after being employed, the reason has requested additional VR services; and

• how much the services from the VRA assist in job retention.

The following aspects were presented to the consumers whose vocational goal was to own a personal business:

• usefulness of advice offered by the VRA;

• services received for the personal business goal;

• services offered to establish a personal business;

• how much the services from the VRA assisted in the establishment of the personal business; and

• if having an employment has assisted in having economic independence, improving job skills and improving quality o life.

All applicants/consumers who participated in the study were asked on the impact of the VR services, and if such services promoted in them the following:

• independent living;

• social participation in community activities;

• decision-making; and

• carry out of duties that could not be previously achieved.

In general, the participants were asked the opinion on their degree of satisfaction with the following:

• services agility;

• services geared to satisfy needs;

• professional framework;

• high quality services; and

• if services provided assisted the consumers to their integration into the workforce.

The final part of the questionnaire allowed the consumers to express their training needs in areas not available in the VRA, as well as to service needs that could assist them in job searching. Likewise, the questionnaire provided an area for suggestions, where the applicants/consumers could recommend changes to existing services.

The following were among the most significant findings from the study:

• Need of consumers to have practical experiences in the occupation they “think” would like to exercise.

• Need of consumers in learning to prepare a Resumé.

• Development of experiences in consumers on how to transport themselves to work sites.

• In terms of job placement, development of support mechanism to consumers in order to select an employment of their choice.

• Need to include in the CAA, real job interview experiences.

• Evaluation and restructuring of workshops for the development of independent living skills.

• Need to improve the purchasing process of equipment.

• Updating of training equipment to make them similar to the ones available in the work setting where consumers are expected to be job placed.

• Need to acquire techniques to improve concentration, motivation and socialization skills mentioned by the consumers with attention deficit disorders.

• In terms of blind consumers, need to know techniques for a successful job interview.

• Need to offer information on job opportunities beyond the boundaries of Puerto Rico.

• Need to develop workshops in areas such as mechanics, welding and plumbing which are accessible to blind consumers.

In summary, the applicants/consumers stated to be either satisfied or very satisfied with the services provided by the VRA and the waiting period for such services; as well as with the promotion/dissemination of such services. They also stated to be satisfied with the services offered by the centers and with the pre-employment services.

Employers

The activities with potential employers who didn’t have experience with consumers of the VRA were carried out through a focal group and interview. The questions posed, through either of these activities, were related to the following:

• knowledge of the services provided by the VRA to employers with an interest in contracting individuals with disabilities;

• factors which influence the employment of participants of the VRA;

• in terms of employment of high demand, the difficulty in contracting an individual with significant disabilities and the reason;

• concerns in regard to the contracting and retention of an individual with disabilities;

• impact exerted by incentives when contracting and retaining individuals with disabilities;

• services that will support the employer in order to employ or retain individuals with disabilities;

• knowledge of the mediation services in accordance with the ADA legislation;

• if the VRA services could be recommended to another employer.

The following were among the most significant findings from the study:

• Unawareness of the nature of the VRA services.

• Need to know on the incentives to employers and how to obtain such incentives for employment of individuals with disabilities.

• Declaration from employers that they could provide job opportunities to consumers, if they are qualified for the job and have the support of the VRA.

• Need to have information on the capabilities of consumers to execute physical effort, the occupational risk implied and the in availability to perform long working hours.

The general outcomes from the study directed to employers show that they are unaware of the services and duties of the VRA. In spite of such unawareness of the VRA services, the majority of the employers stated their interest in employing participants of the VRA who are adequately prepared to be employed (necessary academic credentials, license for the position if it is required, be competitiveness and to be able to comply with the policies and goals of the enterprise).

Counselors

The activity carried out with the VR counselors, supervisors and VR counseling services technicians was through the application of a questionnaire (sample by availability of staff). The purpose of the questionnaire was to gauge perspective of this personnel concerning the internal/external environment of the VRA in the provision of services to disabled individuals and their integration into the nation’s workforce and towards a more independent living.

The instrument applied to these professionals began with their socio-demographic profile (gender, position, duties carried out, years in service, last academic degree). Subsequently, they were requested to evaluate the services provided by the VRA to the population with developmental disabilities and other disabilities based on the following aspects:

• evaluation of the services provided by the VRA:

? guidance and counseling.

? assessment;

? identification of VR needs;

? referrals;

? training;

? services directed to the consumer’s family;

? interpreters;

? services related to employment;

? supported employment;

? personal assistance/assistant;

? post-employment;

? occupational licenses, tools and equipment;

? technological assistance;

? transition;

? goods and services;

• time used to offer counseling services;

• resources provided by the VRA to carry out duties as VR counselor;

• difficulties implied in contracting and in the job retention of an individual with disabilities (types of disabilities: autism, cancer, arthritis, HIV, lupus, blindness or significant visual loss, deafness or significant hearing loss, brain damage, mobility impairment, multiple impairments, attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, emotional condition, Down-syndrome, mild/moderate/severe mental retardation, scoliosis);

• opinion of the VR counselors on how their employment has assisted them to promote in the population with developmental disabilities/other disabilities, their economic independence, job skills and quality of life.

• services provided by the VRA that assist the consumer’s job retention (needs assessment, job placement for a 3 to 6 month period, salary incentives, technological assistance, mentoring in the workplace, information to an employer on work capabilities, information to an employer on reasonable accommodations); and

• assistance provided to consumers to move along the VR process and achieve their employment outcome (CRPs, collaborative agreements, transition services, ticket-to-work, technological assistance units, CSEMs and CAAs).

The instrument allowed the VR counselor to expose his perception of the needs to assist the VRA consumers to achieve an employment outcome. The questionnaire also provided an area for comments where the professionals could state their opinion on the priorities of the VRA for the future.

Furthermore, the instrument inquired into the degree of satisfaction of the professionals on the following:

• services agility:

• services geared to satisfy needs;

• professional framework;

• high quality services; and

• if the services provided assisted the consumers to their integration into the workforce.

At the end of the instrument, an opportunity was provided to the VR counselor to express himself on the following: additional services that the VR counselor thinks could be used but that are not available; and actions needed to improve the VR guidance and counseling services.

The following were among the most relevant findings:

• Amount of time invested in administrative duties versus the number of cases to attend and thus, provide services.

• Improvement of physical facilities where services are provided to applicants/consumers.

• Increase of the visibility of the VRA so that the services are known throughout the different modalities.

• Development of more effective strategies for the recruitment of employers.

• VR counselors’ perception of their work environment as highly burocratic, not agile enough for the provision of services to consumers; above all, the need of improvement of the CRIS system.

• Attention to the internal environment of the agency, improving team work.

• Recommendation to the consideration of having in-takers to provide guidance to the general public and handle referrals.

• Development of transition and supported employment projects.

• Improvement of the electronic network of the CSEMs in order to work with employers.

As an outcome of the analysis of findings and recommendations of the different activities previously described, the VRA has identified the following needs:

I. Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities, Including Their Need for Supported Employment Services.

Need to:

A. Identify new and different employment options for areas traditionally non-impacted.

B. Develop competitive employment opportunities for transitioning youths.

C. Examine and strengthen transition services from school to work, in accordance with federal/state regulations.

D. Strengthen the provision of supported employment services.

E. Strengthen and speed up the identification and referral of consumers to the CRPs.

F. Speed up the eligibility determinations, planning and provision of VR services.

G. Disseminate information on the benefits of employing individuals with the most significant disabilities.

H. Develop and implement computerized applications to improve and mechanize statistical data and administrative procedures that will speed up the provision of services to individuals with significant/most significant disabilities

I. Speed up the provision of assessment and adjustment services.

J. Examine and strengthen the provision of speedy and responsive services to applicants/consumers, establishing a flowchart of services that respond to the efficiency of the duties carried out by the VR counselor.

II. Individuals with Disabilities Who Are Minorities.

Puerto Rico is considered a Hispanic country with a Spanish-speaking population of about 99%. The majority of immigrants that come to the Island are either from the Dominican Republic or Cuba, which are also Hispanic and Spanish speaking. Therefore, we consider that there is no need to implement any type of special program to appropriately communicate with said immigrants. They reside and are integrated into the general population of the Island and thus, have equal access to VR services.

On the other hand, immigrants of Asiatic origin who come to the Island, usually from the USA, and having resided there for some time, are able to speak English.

III. Individuals with Disabilities Who Have Been Unserved or Underserved by the VR Program.

Need:

A. Develop of alliances with public and private agencies/entities for the provision of services to unserved/underserved populations.

B. Means of transportation.

C. Access to technological assistance equipment and services.

IV. Individuals with Disabilities Served Through Other Components of the Statewide Workforce System.

Need to:

A. Document the quality of the services provided to the individuals with disabilities in the One-Stop Centers.

B. Improve the communication and coordination with the administrators/management staff of the One-Stop Centers to complete and agree the Memorandums of Understanding (MOU).

V. Evaluation of the Need to Establish, Develop or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs Within the State.

Need to:

A. Develop CRP in areas identified as unserved/underserved.

B. Strengthen the interagency communication related to employment.

C. Promote and strengthen the use of CRP.

D. Develop strategies and activities to measure satisfaction of consumers on the services provided in the CRP.

E. Improve the communication channels between the personnel of the VRA and CRP.

F. Speed up the VR process and promptly provide VR services.

This screen was last updated on Aug 15 2011 3:09PM by Tonya Stellar

The VRA projects the provision of VR services to 33,479 individuals with disabilities, during Fiscal Year 2012. The purpose is to assist them in achieving an employment outcome or a more independent living.

The following administrative/programmatic objectives have been established, in order to achieve the goal of providing VR services to those 33,479 consumers. This is part of our service commitments in accordance with the following evaluation standards and performance indicators:

1. Achieve an employment outcome for 2,799 consumers.

2. Achieve an employment outcome for 75% of those consumers who exit the program after receiving services.

3. Achieve for 85% (2,379) of the consumers who obtain a gainful employment outcome (competitive employment, self-employment or participation in the Vending Facilities Program sponsored by the VRA), compensation at or above the Federal Minimum Wage.

4. Achieve that 70% (1,666) of the consumers described above, be individuals with significant/most significant disabilities. The U.S. Census Bureau has estimated the population of Puerto Rico at 3,725,789 for 2010 which represents a population drop of 6% in respect to the population of 2009 (3,967,288).

From the estimate of 339,933 individuals with disabilities eligible in Puerto Rico to receive services, the VRA projects to serve a total of 33,479 broken down as follows: 32,839 under Title I and 640 under Title VI-B. The total estimate of funds assigned for the provision of services under Title I and Joint Resolution from the Puerto Rico Legislature is $ 41,663,487.

The following table shows a description of the service areas, the breakdown of projected costs of services, the estimated number of consumers to be served and the average costs of services for FY 2012:

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Evaluation Services Title I $14,976 1,200 $12
Physical and Mental Restoration Title I $728,985 618 $1,179
Training Title I $18,030,128 11864 $1,519
Maintenance Title I $8,454,318 12485 $677
Transportation Title I $5,366,275 10369 $517
Personal Assistance Title I $728,423 160 $4,552
Assistive Technology Title I $1,454,075 690 $2,107
Post-Employment Title I $79,079 14 $5,648
Small Businesses; Others Title I $1,556,991 348 $4,474
Supported Employment Services Title I $5,250,237 640 $8,203
Totals   $41,663,487 38,388 $1,085

This screen was last updated on Jul 25 2011 10:51AM by Tonya Stellar

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.

Goals and Priorities FFYs 2012 – 2014

The VRA, in partnership and close collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council, has identified the following goals/priorities and indicators necessary to carry out the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs for Fiscal Years 2012. These goals and priorities were jointly developed, reviewed, revised and agreed to by the VRA and the SRC.

GOAL 1: Strengthen the services provision process of the applicants/consumers of the VRA; emphasizing on the management of referrals and service applications, as well on the compliance with eligibility determinations in accordance with our mission of integrating disabled individuals into the workforce and a more independent living.

Indicator: The VRA will achieve or exceed the required state and federal performance indicators as follows:

1.1 Number of individual who have achieved employment outcomes will equal or exceed the previous year.

Baseline FY 2010: 2,599

Federal requirement: to equal or exceed previous year

1.2 Of the individuals whose cases were closed after receiving services, the percentage who has achieved employment will equal or exceed 75%.

Baseline FY 2010: 73.44%

Federal requirement: 55.80%

1.3 Percentage of individuals, who have achieved employment outcomes with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, will equal or exceed 94%.

Baseline FY 2010: 95.23%

Federal requirement: 72.60%

1.4(a) Percentage of individuals with significant disabilities who have achieved employment outcomes will equal or exceed 76%.

Baseline FY 2010: 82.76%

State requirement: 76%

1.4(b) Percentage of individuals with significant disabilities who have achieved employment outcomes with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, will equal or exceed 78.74%.

Baseline FY 2010: 82.59%

Federal requirement: 62.40%

1.5. Average hourly earnings of all individuals who have achieved employment outcomes with earnings equivalent to the minimum wage as a ratio to the average hourly earnings for all individuals employed in Puerto Rico, will equal or exceed 0.69.

Baseline FY 2010: 0.70

Federal requirement: 0.52

1.6. Of the individuals who have achieved employment outcomes, the difference between the percentage of those who reported their own income as the primary source of support at closure compared to the percentage of those who had their own income as the primary source of support at application. The difference must equal or exceed 88%.

Baseline FY 2010: 88.65%

Federal requirement: 53 %

1.7. Of the individuals who have achieved employment outcomes, the average of hours worked per week.

Baseline FY 2010: 30.8

National Average “Peers” (FY 2010): 31.05

1.8. From the total population attended in the VRA, the percentage of individuals who received services will equal or exceed 85%.

Baseline FY 2010: 69%

1.9 Number of successful employment outcomes after receiving post–secondary education will equal or exceed 51%.

Baseline FY 2010: 52.79%

Goal 2: Strengthen the transition services for youths with disabilities between the ages 14-24 years, in order to prepare and direct them towards the achievement and retention of a gainful employment outcome.

Indicators: The VRA will equal or improve the performance of the following indicators:

2.1 Percentage of closures of transition-age consumers (ages between 14-24).

Baseline FY 2010: 65.64%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2009): 34.92%

2.2 Percentage of transition-age consumers (ages between 14-24) who have achieved employment outcomes.

Baseline FY 2010: 71%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2009): 35.87%

2.3 Percentage of eligibility determination within 60 days of transition-age consumers (ages between 14-24) will equal or exceed 85%.

Baseline FY 2010: 51.05%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2008): 80.6%

2.4 Percentage of Individualized Plans for Employment (IPEs) developed within 120 days for transition-age consumers (ages between 14-24) who achieved employment outcomes will be 85% or higher.

Baseline FY 2010: 69.54%

National average within 6 months (FY 2008): 84.6%

2.5 Employment rate of transition age consumers (St. 26 and St. 28) is expected to reach 75%.

Baseline FY 2010: 75.89 %

National average for combined agencies (FY 2009): 57.81%

2.6 Percentage of transition age consumers (ages between 14-24) who have achieved competitive employment.

Baseline FY 2010: In progress

GOAL 3: Establish quality measures that guide the VR counseling professionals to comply with the established federal regulations.

Indicators: The VRA will equal or exceed the required baseline standards for the following indicators:

3.1(a) Eligibility rate of applicants served during the year will equal or exceed 85%.

Baseline FY 2010: 76.96%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2010): 82.71%

3.1(b) Percentage of eligibility determinations within 60 days of closed cases after receiving services (St.26 and

St. 28) will equal or exceed 85%.

Baseline FY 2010: 56%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2010): 82.7%

3.1(c) Percentage of consumers with employment outcomes who were determined eligible within 60 days will equal or exceed 85%.

Baseline FY 2010: 55.17%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2008): 83.7%

3.2(a) Percentage of individuals served who were Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries (based on closed cases after receiving services), will equal or exceed the national average.

Baseline FY 2010: 8.66%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2009):19.08%

3.2(b) Percentage of SSDI beneficiaries with employment outcome, who were determined eligible to services on the same day, must equal 100%.

Baseline FY 2010: 81.96%

3.3(a) Percentage of IPEs developed from the total of eligible cases will equal or exceed 75%

Baseline FY 2010: 80.20%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2008): 73.86%

3.3(b) Percentage of consumers with employment outcomes whose IPEs were developed within 120 days, will equal or exceed 85%.

Baseline FY 2010: 69.54%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2008): 80%

3.4 Percentage of individuals newly certified during the period for supported employment services.

Baseline FY 2010: 32.8%

3.5 Percentage of individuals with employment outcomes after receiving supported employment services.

Baseline FY 2010: 22%

3.6 Percentage of employed individuals under supported employment in relation to the total number of rehabilitated consumers.

Baseline FY 2010: 6.5.%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2010): 9.2%

3.7 Percentage of eligibility determinations within 60 days of supported employment consumers with employment outcomes, will equal or exceed 85 %.

Baseline FY 2010: 52.5%

3.8 Percentage of IPEs developed within 120 days of supported employment consumers with employment outcomes, will equal or exceed 85%.

Baseline FY 2010: 26.88%

3.9 Average hourly earnings per week of supported employment consumers with employment outcomes.

Baseline FY 2010: $7.51

3.10 Average of hours worked per week of supported employment consumers.

Baseline FY 2010: 22.26 hrs

3.11 Average time taken in attending complaints.

Baseline FY 2010: 30 days

GOAL 4: Expand the dissemination of information on VRA services with the aim of strengthening the coordination/collaboration with the Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs), employers, partners, and public/private participating agencies and thus, guarantee the provision of significant services to individuals with disabilities.

Indicators: The VRA will equal or improve baseline performance in the following measurable indicators:

4.1 Number of monitoring interventions carried out to the CRPs.

Baseline FY 2010: Twice (2) per year

4.2 Number of technical assistance activities provided to the CRPs.

Baseline FY 2010: Four (4) visits per year

4.3 Number of meetings and activities carried out with the various participating entities.

Baseline FY 2010: Twice (2) per year

4.4 Number of activities carried out in coordination with the State Rehabilitation Council.

Baseline FY 2010: Six (6) per year

4.5 Number of employers impacted by the Centers of Support and Employment Modes (CSEMs).

Baseline FY 2010: 3,258

GOAL 5: Reform administrative practices (human resources, budget, finance, purchases, general services, legal affairs, information systems), in order to develop the required institutional efficiency, make viable the institutional transformation and guarantee speedy and responsive services.

Indicators: The VRA will measure performance in the following measurable indicators:

5.1 Number, contents and application of training offered to the personnel.

5.2 Number of updated manuals, policies and procedures.

5.3(a) Number of employees who have been evaluated in their performance of duties.

5.3(b) Number of evaluations carried out annually.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 11:02AM by Virginia Roque

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2009 3:18PM by Virginia Roque

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.

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

The VRA will maintain the following goals and plans in regard to supported employment for FY 2012:

Goal A: Certify and provide employment services to 640 consumers of the VRA.

Goal B: Achieve that at least 164 of the total number of employment outcomes be those of supported employment consumers.

Goal C: Maintain a level of satisfaction of 85% of those consumers who received supported employment services at the closure of the case.

Plans:

1. Identify other funding sources in substitution to the ones from the Title VI, Part B necessary to expand the provision of supported employment services.

a. Fund and support existing community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) operating islandwide, in order to achieve the provision of services to 268 new cases, from the total number of cases certified for supported employment.

b. Strengthen the communication with the Human Resources and Occupational Development Council of WIA, in order to evaluate the requirements and conditions at the moment of requesting funds through a proposal from this Council. The granting of such funds will strengthen our fiscal capacity to sponsor the provision of supported employment services through the CRPs.

2. Promote the different supported employment models such as: the individualized model (consisting of a consumer and his job coach); the enclave model (consisting of a group of up to 8 consumers working together under the assistance of a full-time supervisor. This model is usually developed within an industrial setting); the crew model (consisting of a group of 3-8 consumers working in community settings under the assistance of a full-time supervisor); and the entrepreneurial model (based on the contracting of a group of at least 8 consumers constituted as a business unit. It may include the development of cooperatives. This model intends to integrate disabled individuals with non-disabled ones).

a. Encourage, among the CRPs, the creation of new and different employment opportunities in sectors and with employers traditionally not involved with the VR program, in order to serve those individuals with the most significant disabilities.

b. Increase the use and granting of salary incentives to employers, as part of our strategy related to the development of new work settings for consumers.

3. Evaluate the need of developing CRPs in areas identified as unserved or underserved, in order to strengthen the offering of supported employment services to the population with the most significant disabilities.

a. Develop new collaborative agreements with public, private and faith-based organizations from the community for the provision of supported employment services, including the extended support service.

b. Continue implementing the updated procedure and monitoring instrument applicable to the CRPs.

c. Offer technical assistance to the regional staff, in order to clarify and consolidate procedures established by the agency (VRA) regarding the provision of supported employment services to those consumers with the most significant disabilities.

d. Review and update the questionnaire on the satisfaction of the consumer with services received in the CRPs and in the Centers of Support and Employment Modes, in order to identify areas to be strengthened or improved.

4. Participate, in coordination with the Division of Training and Development of Human Resources (VRA), in the planning and development of training activities for the CRPs and VR staff. We will continue providing special attention to the following: job development and placement; work and collaboration with employers; innovative strategies of job marketing; employment skills of individuals with disabilities; and the updating of an effective network of employers.

a. Strengthen and assure high levels and optimization in the provision of services focused on outcomes, through the offering of orientations to the personnel of the CRPs on the “Guide for the Submission of Proposals and Guide for the Monitoring and Evaluation of Supported Employment Services.”

b. Promote uniform policies and procedures on the provision of the extended support services provided by other public, private and community entities.

Distribution of Funds for Supported Employment (SE) Services:

For FY 2012, the VRA will not be able to rely on Title VI, Part B funds. However, SE services will continue to be provided with funds form Title I and funds granted under a Joint Resolution from the PR Legislature. Therefore, the total amount of funds assigned for the provision of SE services during FY 2012 is $5,250,237 distributed as follows: (a) $5,161,508 assigned for the contracting of CRPs ($2,915,457 from Title I; $2,246,051 from Joint Resolution); and (b) $88,729 assigned to the VRA ($63,051 for salaries and $18,039 for fringe benefits of two (2) job coaches; and $7,639 for travel expenses for 1 supervisor and SE coordinator).

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 10:05AM by Virginia Roque

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1);
  • support innovation and expansion activities; and
  • overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and the state Supported Employment Services Program.

The VRA, in partnership and close collaboration with the SRC, has identified various strategies necessary to expand and improve services for individuals with disabilities during FY 2012:

Goal 1: Strengthen the services provision process of applicants/consumers of the VRA; emphasizing on the management of referrals and service applications, as well as on the compliance with eligibility determinations in accordance with our mission of integrating disabled individuals into the workforce and towards a more independent living.

Strategies: The VRA will implement the following strategies:

A. Strengthen the coordination with other agencies/entities in order to be acquainted with employment trends and types of employers, through the segmentation of the labor market by region.

B. Implement a technological project to update the talents bank made up of qualified consumers who are ready to be job promoted.

C. Develop a technological project to register employers and available job offers which could be accessed by internal/external users.

D. Improve to processes concerning the granting of salary incentives, standardizing such process in order to make these more speedy and responsive to the established public policy.

E. Continue implementing employment projects through the development of business enterprises.

F. Strengthen the coordination with the One-Stop Centers with the aim of improving the referral process of potential cases to be served in the VRA.

G. Continue with the programmatic/fiscal monitoring programs to the CRP in order to guarantee the expansion and outreach of services to the consumers with significant disabilities.

H. Establish an evaluation and technical assistance system to the CRPs with the purpose of guaranteeing the expansion of services to be provided in areas traditionally identified as unserved or underserved.

I. Guarantee the consumer’s participation in areas such as: development of IPE, job research, workshops related to job search, and development of independent living skills, among others.

J. Strengthen the assessment and adjustment services through the development of technological programs which facilitate and speed up the referral process, evaluation and drafting of reports.

K. Evaluate the effectiveness of the provision of consulting/professional services related to the referral process, pending cases, attended cases, and follow-ups.

L. Revise the public policy for provision of services such as: low-vision, psychiatrics, psychological, nutrition, neuropsychological, and other consulting/professional services; with the purpose of standardizing the referral process and recommendation to such services.

M. Revise the procedures for the provision of maintenance and transportation services to applicants/consumers of the VRA, establishing upper limits to cover both concepts in accordance with recommendations from federal government.

N. Develop a public policy related to the lottery sales position as an unemployment outcome.

O. Revise the regulatory communications related to the training services at the graduate level, in order to attune these to the existing job offers in the labor market and emphasize in the integration of disabled individuals into the labor force.

P. Revise the procedure related to the recommendation of training services abroad in order to update the established requirements.

Goal 2: Strengthen the transition services for youths with disabilities between the ages 14-24 years, in order to prepare and direct them towards the achievement and retention of a gainful employment outcome.

Strategies: The VRA will implement the following strategies:

A. Continue to monitor, on a monthly basis, compliance with federal/state requirements in terms of determining eligibility within 60 days and planning/signing an IPE within 120 days, for transitioning youths referred to the VRA.

B. Continue with the implementation of the “Transition Manual of the VRA for the Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities Referred by the Department of Education.”

C. Reinforce the coordination with the State Rehabilitation Council and the Client Assistance Program (CAP of the Office of the Ombudsman of Persons with Disabilities to strengthen the transition services offered to disabled students.

D. Implement and offer training on the computerized application that will allow the tracking and monitoring of the transition process.

E. Carry out meetings with the VRA Transition Committee in order to take up again the work plan described in the Interagency Cooperative Agreement between the Department of Education and Department of Labor and Human Resources (VRA as a component).

F. Increase the participation of the VR counselor in the meetings of the Programming and Placement Committee for transitioning youths.

G. Continue with the identification of the transitioning consumers referred to and served in the Centers of Support and Employment Modes (CSEM), as well as with the outcomes of these youths in terms of the various employment modalities.

Goal 3: Establish quality measures that guide the VR counseling professionals to comply with the established federal regulations.

Strategies: The VRA will implement the following strategies:

A. Monitor, on a monthly basis, the percentage of compliance of eligibility determination on the same day and provision of services to applicants who are beneficiaries of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

B. Reduce the time period taken in attending complaints of the applicants/consumers.

C. Continue offering guidance and technical assistance to the staff of the VR Counseling Service Centers (VRCSC) and Centers of Assessment and Adjustment (CAA) on high demand employment options and job offerings, by geographical area.

D. Evaluate and strengthen the performance measures of the analysts of support and employment modes in terms of the employment outcomes in its various modalities.

E. Carry out monthly monitoring to the VR counselors in order to assure compliance with the evaluation standards and performance indicators.

F. Continue with the strategic action plan to increase the monthly performance level of those VR counselors who are not able to comply with the established goals.

G. Continue offering training activities to the VR counselors in areas such as: work plans; time distribution; maximizing the use of the computer; reorganization of duties and responsibilities; VRA services; applicable laws/regulations; compliance of goals; management of medical/clinical data; knowledge on the labor market; negotiation techniques; business leadership; team work; strategic leadership; applicable techniques when working with disabled individuals; and intervention with the consumer’s family; among others.

H. Strengthen the monitoring and technical assistance provided, on a monthly basis, to VR counselors and supervisors for the compliance with the established regulations on the following: processing of referrals (within a 10-day period); eligibility determination (within 60 days); and development of an IPE (within 120 days).

I. Establish internal compliance measures to the CAA in terms of the support and contribution to the VR counselor’s compliance with federal requirements and thus, increase the efficiency, productivity and effectiveness in the provision of services.

J. Strengthen the performance of the work teams ascribed to the CSEM through training in area related to job search, drafting of a Resumé, professional interviews, independent living skills, and integration into the community, among others.

K. Carry out monthly meetings with VR counselors, analysts and supervisors to discuss the relevance of working strategically, present performance measures and evaluate accomplishments, in order to comply with the established federal requirements.

L. Strengthen the use of the referral forms to the different services, specifically the VRA-26 form “Analysis of Pre-Employment Skills, Needs and Support Resources,” in order to speed up processes and comply with established regulations.

M. Carry out multi/interdisciplinary meetings conducive to the improvement of the service provision processes among the centers (CAA; CSEM; VRCSC), so these become more agile and responsive.

Goal 4: Expand the dissemination of information on VRA services with the aim of strengthening the coordination/collaboration with the Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP), employers, partners, and public/private participating agencies and thus, guarantee the provision of significant services to individuals with disabilities.

Strategies: The VRA will implement the following strategies:

A. Strengthen the coordination with the Office of the Ombudsman of Persons with Disabilities, specifically with the Pro-Employment Committee of Persons with Disabilities and the Client Assistance Program (CAP); in order to share information on job offerings received, statistical data on employment, unemployment and employers who are able to employ individuals with desabilities, as well as other relevant information from other agencies/entities.

B. Strengthen the dissemination of information on the benefits of employing disabled individuals who are consumers of the VRA, to employers and entities of the public/private sector.

C. Implement a project to disseminate information on the VRA services directed to uniform, maximize and advance the following: VRA as an agency geared to employment of disabled individuals; services offered in the various centers of the agency; types of employment modalities; use of salary incentives; benefits of employing disabled individuals; and applicable laws/regulations; among others.

D. Expand the dissemination of information on the review of the State Plan through the required public hearings, in order to guarantee the participation of applicants/consumers and the general public.

E. Continue the coordination with the Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Program (PRATP) to share information on assistive technology.

F. Continue with the internal dissemination of information which promotes the VRA services; applicable laws/regulations; training activities offered by the Human Resources Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; team work; and performance measures; among others.

G. Continue with the promotion concerning the development of employment projects in business/industrial enterprises.

Goal 5: Reform administrative practices (human resources, budget, finance, purchases, general services, legal affairs, information systems), in order to develop the required institutional transformation and guarantee speedy and responsive services.

Strategies: The VRA will implement the following strategies:

A. Revise the duties of the analysts (support and employment modes; assessment and adjustment; VR counseling services) to make these more responsive to the service needs of applicants/consumers.

B. Continue with the fitting out of our facilities to make them accessible and free of architectural barriers.

C. Maintain the funding lever of our advisory councils (State Rehabilitation Council; Statewide Independent Living Council), in order to assist and support their operations as well as to develop, in joint collaboration with the VRA, better employment opportunities and independent living services for our applicants/consumers.

D. Revise and update administrative/fiscal manuals, policies and procedures in accordance with state/federal regulations.

E. Maintain adequate fiscal controls of budgeted funds and expenses of programs in order to comply with applicable laws/regulations and work plans.

F. Develop applications to speed up processes, reports, transactions, in accordance with needs brought up by the areas and as consulted with the service/administrative personnel.

G. Reconstitute the Research and Development Committee to maximize the internal resources geared towards the development and investigation of studies to measure effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with the services provided by the VRA.

H. Expand the use of the VRA technological resources to speed up processes.

I. Revise the manuals of the information systems area to attune the policy on the use and management of equipment/programs to new technological trends.

J. Measure the performance of the VRA personnel, at least twice a year, to guarantee the agency’s reliance on qualified and efficient personnel.

K. Strengthen the work teams in service/administrative/fiscal areas providing professionals growth/development opportunities as well as knowledge and skills.

Assistive Technology

The VRA provides assistive technology services to our applicants/consumers, in order to meet their needs and address those barriers confronted by them in areas related to the VR process. These services permit such individuals to increase their performance level, allowing the achievement and retention of an employment outcome and an improvement in their quality of life.

The assistive technology services are provided as follows:

1. The applicants/consumers are evaluated to determine the needs and eligibility for such type of services.

2. An interdisciplinary team of assistive technology personnel recommends the appropriate equipment/devices, taking into consideration the daily living activities of each applicant/consumer. It is important to visit the home, school or study center, work place and/or the community of each applicant/consumer as part of the recommendation process for such equipment/devices.

3. The equipment/devices are purchased based on explicit recommendations. The VR counselors prepare a monthly statistical report on the assistive technology services, including the acquisition of equipment/devices, in order to determine cost-effectiveness of such services.

The VRA has issued Regulatory No. 2007-41 of March 12, 2007, establishing the procedure for the provision of assistive technology services to the applicants/consumers of the VRA. It establishes the public policy applicable to these services in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act and the Assistive Technology Act.

Outreach Procedures

Outreach procedures to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities do not apply to Puerto Rico. The Island is considered a hispanic or latino country with a total population of 3,725,789 (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census Estimate for 2010). Of this total, 98.8% is of hispanic or latino origin. Therefore, we consider that there is no need to implement any type of outreach procedure to identify disabled individuals who are minorities.

On the other hand, the outreach procedures to identify and serve individuals with the most significant disabilities, who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program, are carried out through the Community Liaison Units, attached to VR Counseling Service Centers in the six service regions of the VRA. These units have personnel who maintain contact with numerous referral sources such as: schools, hospitals, institutions specialized in the provision of services to the disabled population, public and private agencies. Such personnel also identifies areas/populations that are unserved or underserved, through various activities (orientations on VR services, employment fairs, etc.) with the purpose of increasing the inclusion of those individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP)

The VRA continues carrying, in a strategic manner, the offering of guidance, technical assistance and monitoring activities at all stages of the provision of services, and during the contracting period between the VRA and each CRP. A corrective action plan will be developed and technical assistance will be provided to all those CRPs with areas identified in need of improvement during any stage of the monitoring process.

Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators

The following strategies were implemented to improve the performance of the State with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators:

1. Carry out monthly meetings to share information and identify factors that affect or interfere with the achievement of successful performance on the evaluation standards and indicators. Delineate an action plan to be implemented between the following offices: Programmatic Quality Control and Regional Support; VR Counseling Services; Assessment and Adjustment; and Support and Employment Modes.

2. Articulate intervention plans with the regional directors, directors of the VR Counseling Centers, Assessment and Adjustment, Support and Employment Modes, and Programmatic Quality Control and Regional Support; in order to comply with established goals. Priority attention will be given to those regions that have confronted greater difficulty in complying with the goals and indicators. The regions will develop a work plan based on an analysis of each work zone, employment situation in the geographical area and projections of cases to be served.

3. Increase personnel awareness on the relevance and importance of the VRA’s efforts in achieving the integration of a greater number of consumers into high quality employment opportunities. An orientation activity on this matter will be offered.

4. Continue with the practice of sharing statistical information periodically with the regional staff.

Assistance to Other WIA Components

The VRA has established the following strategies to assist other WIA components in the provision of assistance to individuals with disabilities:

1. Identify and establish a close coordination with the Web browsers of the One-Stop Centers (OSCs), in order to properly channel the needs of those disabled individuals requesting information and/or services in said centers.

2. Identify training needs of the staff of the OSCs and the VRA, in order to improve the delivery of services for disabled individuals in said centers.

3. Coordinate seminars on employment modes, reasonable accommodations, and technological assistance for the job coaches of the OSCs.

The strategies previously mentioned will allow the achievement of the goals established in Attachment 4.11(c)(1).

Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

The VRA will use Title I funds for the following innovation and expansion activities:

1. Continue with the implementation of the video remote interpreting technology through the VRA’s Web, in order to facilitate the communication with deaf consumers.

Estimated cost: $450,000

2. Implementation of an automated system for the registration and follow-up of transition cases from the Special Education Program. The system must also provide the necessary information for the development of required statistical reports.

Estimated cost: $20,000

3. Continuation with the updating of the VRA’s communications network on an islandwide basis, in order to implement the new technologies that will allow the redesign of the principal operational and administrative systems and procedures of the agency.

Estimated cost: $1.6 mill.

4. Continuation with de funding level of our advisory councils [State Rehabilitation Council (SRC); Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC)], in order to assist and support their operations as well as to develop, in joint collaboration with the VRA, better employment opportunities and independent living services for our applicants/consumers; as described in Goal 4, Strategy D of this Attachment.

Estimated cost: $125,000 ($75,000 for SRC; $50,000 for SILC)

The VRA has developed, in this Attachment, the strategies for the management and attention of the needs exposed as an outcome of the needs study and findings from the RSA FY 2010 Monitoring Review.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 11:02AM by Virginia Roque

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

GOAL 1: Integrate individuals with disabilities into the workface and to a more independent living.

Strategy A: Continue with the segmentation of the labor market, by region, in coordination with FUTUROS, Inc. and other private, public and/or community agencies/entities, in order to know employment trends as well types of employers.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the personnel of the Centers of Support and Employment Modes (CSEMs) established a total of 3,258 contacts with employers which included visits, communications via regular/e-mails, and provision of technical assistance. Nineteen (19) activities were carried out in coordination with the FUTUROS Consortium throughout the six service regions of the VRA.

Strategy B: Explore and identify, by region, the employers who could provide employment opportunities for those individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, and through the job coaches of the CRP, a total of 4,227 employers who could employ consumer with significant disabilities were explored, identified and contacted.

The following were the 11 CRPs contracted to provide supported employment services with their respective employers bank:

IPVI-Arecibo (462 employers)

IPVI Mayagüez (345 employers)

MAVI (52 employers)

Centro Nuevos Horizontes (180 employers)

YAI (400 employers)

PARES (1,364 employers)

TCS (60 employers)

CAPI (527 employers)

CODERI (205 employers)

Fundación Puertorriqueña Síndrome-Down (82 employers)

EDUCAVIPRO (550 employers)

Strategy C: Coordinate orientations with employers from the private and public sectors on the benefits of employing individuals with disabilities, consumers of the VRA.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the personnel of the CSEMs offered 859 orientations to personnel of the private sector. They also established contacts with 51 governmental entities.

Strategy D: Offer orientation and technical assistance on employments of high demand, by geographical area, to the personnel of the VR Counseling Service Centers and the Centers of Assessment and Adjustment.

Progress Report:

• During FY 2010, the directors of the CSEMs and job analysts used e-mails to send periodically, to VR counselors/VR Counseling Service Centers, information related to the labor market in the different geographical areas of the Island. The document used as reference for such type of information was the “Employment and Unemployment in Puerto Rico,”, a quarterly publication issued by the Department of Labor and Human Resources which includes the following: individuals employed by occupational group, individuals employed by the type of industry, self-employed individuals, unemployment, work group and participation/unemployment rates by areas.

• The Bayamón Region carried out the following activities:

? Sending, through e-mail, a special publication issued by the Department of labor with information on the tendencies of the labor market up to 2016. Also, a bulletin with updated information on the examining boards in Puerto Rico was shared with 27 VR counselors and their support staff of the VR Counseling Service Centers (VRCSCs), as well as with the staff of the Center of Assessment and Adjustment (CAA).

? Offering of a workshop on employment modes to five (5) recently recruited VR counselors and one (1) VR counseling services technician.

? Offering of an orientation on the permits necessary to operate a business/enterprise to 21 VR counselors; 11 VR counseling services technicians, one (1) graduate student, and to the direct service personnel of the CAA.

? Offering of training on: analysis of duties, instructions analysis, time analysis on late implementation, reinforce techniques, compensation techniques, behavior modification, and self-management skills. The training was offered to the personnel occupying various positions in the Toa Baja CAA (11 employees).

? Offering of training on the cooperative model to the personnel of the Toa Baja CAA.

• The San Juan Region offered three (3) orientations on the services of the CSEM, high demand employments and business development to its VR counseling personnel.

• The Caguas region offered two (2) advisory meetings on supported employment and CRP to VR counselors/supervisors of the VRCSC (20 employees).

• The Ponce CSEM developed the “Informative Bulletin CSEM South” with information on various topics such as: high demand occupations; seven emerging employment opportunities in view of the labor market crisis; occupations with the highest projection for 2010; profile of occupations of the consumers who are job-ready (South region); a successful interview; and profile of consumers placed in competitive employment. This bulletin served as a tool for the required informed choice process between the VR counselor and consumer towards the selection of an employment outcome.

• The Ponce CESM carried out 104 technical assistance interventions to the VR counselors.

• The Office of VR Counseling Services, at the central level, provided statistical information to the regions on employment, unemployment, and high demand employment opportunities. It sent also information on the available job offers from business/agencies for the appropriate identification/referral of candidates.

Strategy E: Strengthen and update the talents bank made up of qualified consumers who are ready to be job promoted.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the directors of the CSEMs implemented in five of the six regions, the database system of the talents bank of qualified consumers, using Excel. The developed application was reviewed to include the following information: the referral source to the agency; the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) in accordance with the employment outcome of the consumer; the academic degree achieved, if he has comparable skills; and if he is bilingual; type of promotion and services; identification of the case management counselor by number; e-address of the consumer; control of cases returned (reason to return a case were classified by category); and action taken by the support and employment modes analyst. In addition, the application was reviewed to indicate if placement was achieved in response to the job offered; if a salary incentive was offered; and if the referral must be considered for services in the CSEM under another placement modality. When a consumer is placed, the data sheet allows the analyst to gather information on the employer, town where the consumer is working, salary, working hours, placement date and time in St. 22. In the job offers, the SOC and the employment outcome or the consumer is included, as well as the date when the offer was received and its requirements.

Although the previously described system facilitates the obtainment of updated information on job-ready consumers, and allows access to carry out necessary changes in files of those consumers included in the talents bank; it is not a web or intranet application which allows access to various users to speed up data entry and decision-making. Therefore, the Arecibo, Bayamón and Mayagüez Regions submitted to the Office of Programmatic Quality Control and Regional Support, a proposal to develop a technological project that will create an electronic talents bank. The proposal is under consideration and review.

Stategy F: Maximize the use of the employers bank and the available job offers.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the database system of the employers bank was developed, using Excel, to register the job offers received in a cumulative manner. The Mayagüez and Caguas regions have been working to convert the employers files into an electronic format. The employer visit form will become part of the electronic system. At the moment, job offers are classified using the SOC system. During FY 2010, the VRA received a total of 3,092 job offers.

Strategy G: Strengthen the use of the salary incentives to employers, as part of our strategy towards the development of new work settings for individuals with disabilities.

Progress Report:

The salary incentives have demonstrated to be and efficient means for the placement and employment of the consumers of the VRA, including those with the most significant disabilities under supported employment. During FY 2010, the agency signed 38 salary incentive contracts with employers, 11 more than the ones signed in FY 2009. The majority of employers signed contracts for the first time with the VRA, providing new work settings for consumers. These contracts meant the incorporation of 22 employers, whose contracts were subsidized with ARRA funds, for a total of $237,010.

Strategy H: Continue with the development of employment modalities such as telecommuting and cooperatives for consumers.

Progress Report:

The Bayamón region was able to identify two potential groups for the development of cooperatives. The first group was made up of five (5) consumers interested in establishing a sewing/embroidery cooperative (COSBO-COOP). The efforts of this group are being supported by the Cooperativism Institute of the University of Puerto Rico. The second group was made up of five (5) legally blind consumers interested in establishing a social services cooperative (COOPSEM). This cooperative has been supported with the provision of office space/modules and with the assistance of the Cooperativism Institute of the University of Puerto Rico. It has also presented the required business plan and is awaiting the appropriate certification.

Strategy I: Develop, implement and inaugurate four commercial enterprises (kiosks) in the East Central (1); South (1); North Central (1); and Metro East (1) regions of the VRA.

Progress Report:

The following activities were carried out towards the implementation of business enterprises:

• Four (4) interventions with a consumer of the VRA to discuss aspects related to the screening/validation interview, process concerning the operation of a business, self-employment course, projections and status in the process of business operation, and signing of contract.

• Provision of follow-up and technical assistance to the kiosks established in Bayamón and San Juan.

• Interventions and meetings with the consumer of the Caguas kiosk to offer support. Due to health conditions, such consumer had to leave the kiosk and the CSEM has been interviewing possible candidates to continue its operations.

Strategy J: Identify the best practices that permit consumers to obtain better employment outcomes and salaries.

Progress Report:

The Office of VR Counseling Services, in coordination with the Office of Support and Employment Modes, offer guidance to the VR counselors on occupational demands/offers available in the labor market. However, each CSEM develops the best practices in accordance with the specific needs of the consumers qualified for employment in its region. In order to develop best practices, various factors are considered such as: number of qualified consumers, number of employers contacted, available resources (educational institutions, among others), and demands of the local labor market.

During FY 2010, the following actions/activities were reported by each CSEM:

Bayamón CSEM

• A pre-placement activity was carried out for consumers who had finished their training in May of 2010. The topics covered included the drafting of a resumé, employment application, and job interview. The VR counselors referred 169 consumers, 93 of them (55%) were transitioning youths.

• Nine (9) training modules were developed for the business development course (topics: how to start a business; integrated market; the process to secure capital; planning and organization; basic accounting concepts and responsibility pertaining to taxes, business financing; how to establish prices; financial projections; and legislation).

• The Economic Self-Management Unit provided training to 113 active consumers.

• In October of 2009, three (3) consumers were placed in work settings during a Mentor Day activity.

• Twelve (12) job ready qualified consumers participated in job fairs held in the Puerto Rico Convention Center; Municipalities of San Juan and Bayamón; Central University; Bayamón Consortium; Plaza Las Américas; and University of Puerto Rico.

Ponce CSEM

• Achieved placement for 46 consumers in regular employment and 18 in supported employment with minimum or above minimum wages.

• Offered a recommendation to the development of the TIPCO proposal, which was refocused towards a project of pre-vocational training and competitive employment placement for 25 consumers.

• Developed the “Informative Bulletin CESM South” previously mentioned and described in Strategy D of this Goal.

• Offered two cycles of workshops on job search skills, impacting 64 consumers.

• Carried out 120 meetings with the CRPs to strengthen the placement of consumers in employments with minimum or above minimum wages.

Mayagüez CSEM

This CSEM has been using the Vocational Preference Inventory in accordance with the Holland Theory, which establishes that in placement processes, the majority of individuals could be classified within six personality types corresponding to these six environment types: realistic, social, scientific (investigative), entrepreneurial, artistic, and conventional.

San Juan CSEM

• A special promotion was offered to the employment of consumers with hearing impairments through a video filmed in a Walgreens warehouse. Eight (8) deaf consumers were placed in regular employment with different employers.

• Offered orientation to the CRP Fundación Síndrome Down on the stages and protocol of supported employment (13 participants).

• Offered sign language training to an analyst and a trainer of the CSEM.

• Offered orientation on the labor market and how to achieve placement, in coordination with WIA, to 61 consumers.

• Provided training to the counseling personnel of the CAA on: the CSEM services (31 participants); high demand employments (18 participants); and on the Business Development Course (25 participants).

• Provided training to the analysts on marketing skills to assist consumers in the placement of marketing occupations. These analysts were able to place regular/supported employment consumers to practice, during a week, in a telemarketing project. Through a strategy like this, analysts were able to guarantee the best selection of candidates for an employer. Twenty two (22) consumers were selected as possible candidates to be employed.

• Provided guidance on the benefits of employing consumers of the VRA to three (3) human resources employees of the Veterans Administration Hospital. Three (3) consumers were employed by this hospital.

• In coordination with the Sacred Heart University, two (2) videos were filmed where consumers are shown working in different service areas. These videos are used during orientations provided to employers.

Caguas CSEM

• Offered three (3) workshops on job search to 64 consumers. Resources from the CSEM and the Municipality of Caguas were used for these workshops.

• Coordinated participation of consumers in job fairs sponsored by the Human Resources and Occupational Development Council (WIA), the University of Puerto Rico (Bayamón Campus), Huertas Junior College, University of Turabo, and the AMSI Consortium of Caguas. Fifty four (54) consumers participated in such fairs.

• Sent, on a continuous manner, statistical information on employment, unemployment and high demand occupations to its VR counselors.

• Provided supporting guidance on the revision of cases in St. 20 to VR counselors.

Arecibo CSEM

• Carried out direct promotions to employers in the community (minimum of six (6) visits per month). Numerous employers have visited our facilities to interview consumers.

• Used Internet to send resumés of job ready consumers.

• Carried out promotional activities to gauge alternatives for the placement of group of consumers in factories such as: Sewing Factory of Ciales (15 consumers); Metzgermeister Factory of Meat Exports (50 consumers island- wide); and Abbot Pharmaceuticals (30 consumers). Ten (10) orientations were offered to these employers on accessibility study, sign language, equal employment opportunities and job analysis. In addition, 23 orientations were provided on salary incentives.

• Carried out 35 orientation/support meetings on procedures and evaluation of cases to the VR counselors.

• Carried out continuous discussions of cases with the VR counselors. Seventy (70) cases were discussed, 40 of which were supported employment cases.

• Participated in “Expo Empleo” where five (5) consumers were able to benefit from it.

Strategy K: Continue with the coordination established with the Department of Education and all components of the Department of Labor and Human Resources, so that youths with significant/most significant disabilities are able to develop the skills, abilities and necessary knowledge required towards successful job placements.

Progress Report:

• During FY 2010, the VR counseling specialist participated in eleven (11) meetings of the Consultative Committee of Special Education with the aim of continuing with the coordination between the Department of Education and VRA.

Strategy L: Promote the development of employment projects in commercial

and industrial settings.

Progress Report:

• The personnel of CSEMs in each of the six service regions, used salary incentives, carried out evaluations in real work settings and provided orientations to the human resources staff of industrial/commercial/businees enterprises, in order to develop new work settings for qualified consumers of the VRA.

• The Bayamón region carried out formal presentations on salary incentives and benefits of employing disabled individuals. Five employers were visited and 6 consumers were successfully employed.

• The Ponce region carried out the following activities for employers:

? Provision of a workshop on “Effective Tools for Job Placement” with the participation of 19 employers (65 professionals).

? Offering of conference on “Opening Doors for Employers Towards the Employment of Disabled Persons” with the participation of 23 employers (27 professionals).

? Continuation with the collaboration with the FUTUROS consortium to continue the promotion of employment opportunities for consumers of the VRA.

• The San Juan region carried out the following activities/actions to continue promoting the development of employment projects:

? Offering of a Mentor Day to 84 participants.

? Provision of individual orientation to 21 new employers.

? Placement of consumers to practice in a new telemarketing project known as “Solutions.”

? Establishment of 84 contacts with new employers.

? Development of a practice and work center in Euro Auto Repairs. Eight (8) consumers were evaluated and four (4) were employed.

? Filming of two (2) promotional videos.

? Development of a project with the Veterans Administration Hospital. Three (3) consumers were employed.

? Development of a project with the Intercontinental Hotel. Two (2) consumers were employed.

? Impacting of 53 small business employers through the Economic Self-Management Unit.

? Impacting of 25 new employers through the business development courses.

• The Caguas region carried out a Mentor Day in order to develop work experiences in real work settings. Five (5) consumers were able to benefit from this experience and were placed with the following employers: Inter American University (1 consumer to gain experience in the Office of Human Resources); Municipality of Caguas (2 consumers to gain experience in computer programming and office work); Family Health Center of Patillas (1 consumer to gain experience in health plans billing); and Walmart of Guayama (1 consumer to gain experience as floor employee).

• The Arecibo region carried out the following activities to continue promoting the development of employment projects:

? Administration of 16 questionnaires to employers to measure satisfaction level with services.

? Visits to 128 employers to market consumers.

? Identification of 8 regular employment consumers and 13 supported employments that were job placed using salary incentives. From this total of 21 consumers employed, 18 were able to maintain their employment (86% job retention).

? Meeting with official of the Metzgermeister Corp. of Ciales to develop an employment project to benefit 50 consumers island wide.

GOAL 2: Provide transition services to youths with disabilities in order to prepare and integrate them into the labor force, through the obtainment and retention a gainful employment outcome.

Strategy A: Strengthen the Community Liaison Units, integrating uniform procedures, as well as reviewing the service protocols in order to speed up the provision of transition services.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the staff of the Office of VR Counseling Services (OVRCS) participated in eight (8) meetings with the staff of the Community Liaison Units to provide assistance and continuity to the work plan on transition.

Strategy B: Implement and offer training on the “Transition Manual of the VRA for the Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities Referred by the Department of Education.”

Progress Report:

The “Transition Manual of the VRA” as well as the “Regulatory Communication No. 2006-30 on the Procedure for the Management of the Services Provision Process for Transitioning Students with Disabilities Referred to the VRA,” are under revision. The OVRCS has carried out meetings and provided guidance towards the completion of such revisions.

Strategy C: Coordinate with the State Rehabilitation Council to improve the transition services offered to disabled students.

Progress Report:

In coordination with the SRC, the OVRCS offered four (4) orientations on the transition services to other agencies.

Strategy D: Continue with the pilot project to develop and implement an interagency collaborative/community service provision model to maximize the transition process from school to work of disabled students.

Progress Report:

A project Known as “Transición Escolar a Nivel Secundario (TENS)”, (School Transition at the Secondary Level), is being developed in the Ponce region in order to strengthen the provision of transition services, particularly the referral process of disabled youths from the Department of Education to the VRA. A firm has been contracted (SERA, Inc.) to collaborate with the effort needed towards the implementation of this project and as such, three (3) meetings were held. The OVRCS is responsible for the continuity, monitoring and general technical assistance to the project. Two (2) meetings have been held towards such ends.

Strategy E: Review and continue with the work plan developed by the Interagency Committee established under the Cooperative Agreement between the Department of Labor and Human Resources (and its operational components), and the Department of Education for the provision of transition services for students with disabilities.

Progress Report:

The coordination between the Department of Labor and Human Resources (and its operational components) and the Department of Education is carried out continuously, in terms of the work plan developed by both agencies. The VR counseling services specialist of the OVRCS participates in the monthly meetings of the Consultative Committee of Special Education.

Strategy F: Continue with the development and implementation of a computerized application to obtain accurate statistical data that will allow us the tracking and monitoring of the transition process.

Progress Report:

At the end of FY 2010, the development of the computerized application described above showed progress (55%) in terms of completed tasks.

The Systems Information Office, in coordination with the OVRCS, has continued working towards the full implementation of the application. ARRA funds have been used to purchase equipment (15 laptops) and materials (15 laptop cases) for the use of the counseling personnel in charge of such application.

GOAL 3: Position the VRA as the leading agency in the provision of high quality vocational rehabilitation services that guarantee the competitiveness of the individuals with disabilities in the labor market and their right to enjoy a more independent living.

Strategy A: Provide technical assistance to VR counselors and supervisors to comply with the established regulations on the following: processing of referrals (within a 10 day period); eligibility determination (in 60 days or less); and the development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (in 120 days or less).

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA:

• Attended a population of 37,869 applicants/consumers; and served a total of 26,030 individuals (69%) of the attended population;

• Received 10,391 new applications (St. 02);

• Certified 131 applicants in EE/TWE (St. 06); and

• Determined eligibility for 9,429 individuals (St. 10). From these, eligibility was determined within 60 days or there was a waiver letter generated for 6,910 consumers (73.99%). The goal was to achieve an 85% of eligibility determinations within 60 days; therefore, the goal was not met by 11.01%; although we achieved 18.65% more than FY 2009.

? Developed 7,562 IPEs (80.2%). From these, 4,461 IPEs (58.99%) were developed within 120 days or there was an agreed extension. The goal was to achieve a 65% of IPEs developed within 120 days; therefore, the goal was not met by 6.01%.

In addition, during FY 2010, the VRA:

• Provided, through its OVRCS and the Office of Programmatic Quality Control and Regional Support, technical assistance on the compliance with the established regulations as described in the strategy addressed to VR counselors, supervisors and regional directors.

• Provided, through the OVRCS, training on the VR services provision process, the documentation of case records, and on the compliance with public policy in terms of eligibility determination, development of IPEs and eligibility determination for SSDI beneficiaries. The training activities were provided to newly recruited VR counselors and other supporting staff, regional directors, VRCSC directors, and VR counselors/supervisors of the regions.

Strategy B: Increase the percentage of eligibility determinations and provision of services for applicants who are beneficiaries of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the agency achieved 81.96% in the eligibility determination for applicants who were SSDI beneficiaries.

Strategy C: Train and strengthen the supervisory teams in order to assure that the provision of services is of the highest quality and sensibility.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA:

• Provided, through the OVRCS, orientation/technical assistance on the services provision process to supervisors, VR counselors, and VRCSC directors in order to help them comply with the goals of the VRA (see the previously described Progress Report of Strategy A of this Goal).

• Provided training on criticism and discipline to eleven (11) supervisors of the VR counseling services area. The training was offered by the firm Fred Prior Seminars.

• Provided training on supervision to employees at all levels. The training was coordinated with the Office of Human Resources of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and included the following topics: Legal and Practical Aspects of Discipline (4 employees); Importance of Effective Documentation in the Corrective Action Processes (2 employees); Efficiency of Supervisor in the Achievement of Goals (1 employee); Assertiveness: A Healthy Communication Style (1 employee); Discovery of the Multiple Intelligence of Supervisor/Supervised (1 employee); Conflict Management (1 employee); Effective Management of Persons with Difficult Behavior (2 employees); Legal Aspects of Supervision (1 employee); Development of Group/Moral Harassment in the Workplace (2 employees); Progressive Discipline in Supervision (1 employee); and the Management of Conflictive Situations in the Work Environment (1 employee).

Training activities on supervision are available during the year. The employee can either request the training or it can be recommended by his supervisor.

Strategy D: Reduce the time period in attending complaints of applicants/consumers of the VRA.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA:

• Attended a population of 37,869 applicants/consumers and only .0059% filed or reported some type of complaint.

• Received 225 complaints (164 complaints less than FY 2009). From this total number of complaints, 92% (207) had responsive reports; 85% were resolved and 15% are still pending.

• The OVRCS is continually providing support/guidance to the regions, in order to continue reducing the time taken to attend complaints of applicants/consumers.

Strategy E: Implement a program to disseminate information on the services provided by the VRA. The program should be addressed to the internal and general public.

Progress Report:

The VRA has continued during FY 2010 with the efforts to disseminate information on its services and other matters of interest. The OVRCS offered the following activities:

• Provided orientation on the services of the VRA in the Department of Health. The purpose of the orientation was to make aware the HIV population on the VRA services (Dec 2 of 2009).

• Participated in an activity coordinated by the web browsers and the Ticket- to-Work Program. The purpose of this activity was to discuss issues concerning new regulations, recover system, and the implementation of the service process towards the activation of tickets (Jan 27 of 2010).

• Participated in the State Council on Developmental Disabilities in order to offer technological assistance services to disabled individuals who exit the education system and are not eligible to other programs (March 12 of 2010).

• Participated in the Conference of the Filius Institute, where other agencies also participated such as Departments of Education, Health and Justice and the Governor’s Office. Each participant offered orientation on the services of its agency, and how these may redound to the benefit of the population of youths in penal institutions (April 16 of 2010).

• Provided orientation on the VRA services to the Johnson and Johnson Corp., in coordination with the State Rehabilitation Council. The purpose of the orientation was to establish an alliance for the employment of our consumers (April 26 of 2010).

• Participated in the Second Congress of Web Browsers of the Program for Disabled Persons. Training was offered during the Congress on the provision of services, sensibility and other matters (May 12-13 of 2010).

• Provided orientation on the VRA services to the occupational counselors of the Department of labor and Human Resources (Sept 24 of 2010).

Strategy F: Continue developing strategies to guarantee better communication among VRA employees at all levels.

Progress Report:

The VRA uses the Intranet system to send to all users updated information on the services, rules/regulations/laws, and training activities, among others.

Since April of 2010, all newly recruited personnel is provided with orientation on the VRA service provision process, applicable regulations, and existing public policy (see the previously described Progress Report of Strategy A of this Goal).

Strategy G: Develop effective strategies and opportunities for the participation of applicants/consumers in the review of the State Plan and public policy to be established.

Progress Report:

The VRA integrated its applicants/consumers in the participation of the public hearings held on June 11 of 2010. Each region called 10% of the population served to participate in such hearings (Caguas called 295 consumers, San Juan called 304 consumers, Bayamón called 422 consumers, Arecibo called 312 consumers, Mayagüez called 321 consumers and Ponce called 571 consumers; for an islandwide total of 2,226 consumers). The public hearings were advertised in the two most important newspapers of the island, in regional newspapers, on radio and through social networks. Each region developed its own teamwork to deal with the public hearing, following a previously established protocol, to guarantee the appropriate input of every participant.

Strategy H: Implement the need evaluation form to be filled out by the individuals with disabilities visiting the One–Stop Centers, in order to document the quality of services and proceed with a quicker referral of those potential cases to be served by the VRA. This should be done in coordination with the navigators of such centers.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VR counselors received 41 referrals from the One-Stop

Centers.

Strategy I: Evaluate the effectiveness of the administrative orders and approved regulations to speed up the purchases and provision of services regarding occupational equipment, training materials and technological assistance.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the Finance Divisions, the Purchases Division and the OVRS were able to maintain a close coordination to speed up the provision of services and purchases related to occupational equipment, training materials and technological assistance. Furthermore, the agency has established a new payment method through the Department of the Treasury in order to speed up the provision of services.

Strategy J: Implement the technological project known as Video Remote interpreting through the VRA’s Web, if viable.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the Puerto Rico Telephone Co., was contracted for the development of the project to modernize the communications network of the agency. The project has reached 10% progress, and within the completed activities we have the quote for the video remote interpreting.

Strategy K: Continue improving the physical aspects of our facilities in order to make them more accessible and free of architectural barriers.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010 two (2) permanent improvement projects were completed and one (1) is under development. Furthermore, a formal bidding was carried out for the second phase of improvements of the Ponce Center of Assessment and Adjustment. The following is a description of the completed projects:

Project/Investment

Center of Assessment and Adjustment (Ponce)

1. Design of plans and supervision of the improvements project.

$94,775

2. Improvements to the cafeteria and dining room (capacity: 33 persons), including space for wheelchair users; kitchen and food storage space; improvements to office and utilities; installation of air condition; remodeling of multiuse room and terrace (roof, tiles, illumination); extension of rooms; improvements to floors; installation of fences and sliding door. Other improvements in various areas (parking, ramps, air conditioning, fire alarms, smoke detectors, among others), in order to relocate offices of the VRA Ponce region.

$2,247,003

Old Building of Blind Adults (Santurce)

1. Design of plans and supervision of the improvements project

$81,025

2. Remodeling/improvements to the bathrooms, parking, sidewalks and ramps

for the disabled; installation of new electric substation; improvements to

emergency exits and automatic entrance door; installation of new

windows/window grilles; installation of vinyl/terrazzo floors, air conditioners,

and fire alarm system; general interior/exterior painting.

$995,150

Total Invested: $3,417,953

Strategy L: The VRA, through its Centers of Assessment and Adjustment (CAAs) will continue offering multidisciplinary services in accordance with the individualized needs of applicants/consumers, so that they can prepare, enter, obtain or assure an employment outcome.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA:

? Attended 3,566 consumers and provided 4,520 services in the CAAs and Units of Assessment and Adjustment (UAAs) as described below:

Facility Consumers Services Attended Provided

Río Piedras UAA 48 58

Río Piedras CAA 1,043 1,557

Arecibo CAA - Florida UAA 775 829

Toa Baja CAA 70 67

Ponce CAA 349 636

San Germán CAA 81 143

Unit for the Deaf (Río Piedras) 569 820

Caguas CAA – Arroyo UAA 631 410

Total 3,566 4,520

• Contracted specialists under professional/consultative services in order to strengthen the services provided in the CAAs and UAAs (psychiatrists; psychologists; optometrist/specialist in low vision; nutricionist/dietician; speech/language pathologist). The contracting of these specialists benefitted 5,109 consumers through the provision of 8,241 services as described below:

Professional and/or Consultative Services Consumers Services Attended Provided

Psychiatric 2,673 2,900

Psychology 1,220 1,934

Nutrition/Diabetics 244 1,618

Speech/Language Pathology 364 899

Low vision 608 890

Total 5,109 8,241

GOAL 4: Strengthen the coordination and collaboration among the community rehabilitation programs, partners, employers, and public/private participating entities, in order to guarantee activities and significant services that will allow individuals with disabilities to be self-sufficient.

Strategy A: Strengthen the programmatic and fiscal monitoring programs in the CRPs, to guarantee the expansion and outreach of services to the consumers with the most significant disabilities.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, two (2) monitoring visits were carried out to each one of the CRPs. The following is a relation of the visits, dates, and percentage of compliance. We maintain in our files specific data on the findings and other relevant information on such monitoring interventions.

Legend: Name of CRP, Date of First Monitoring Intervention, Percentage of Compliance, Date of Second Monitoring Intervention, Percentage of Compliance

PARES, March 18/2010, 93%, August 4/2010, 94%

CODERI, March 30/2010, 79%, August 4/2010, 82%

IPVI-ARECIBO, March 17/2010, 84%, August 10/2010, 87%

IPVI-MAYAGUEZ, March 17/2010, 79%, August 10/210, 87%

NUEVOS HORIZONTES, March 15/2010, 82%, August 10/2010, 92%

YAI-METRO, March 18/2010, 89%, August 10/2010, 96%

EDUCAVIPRO, March 16/2010, 86%, August 11/2010, 92%

CAPI, April 14/2010, 91%, August 13/2010, 83%

MAVI, March 23/2010, 91%, August 12/2010, 94%

TCS, March 30/2010, 94%, August 6/2010, 83%

Down-Syndrome Foundation, June 14/2010, 80%, August 5/2010, 84%

CATPI, May 28/2010, 97%, In progress, To be determined in FY 2011

TIPCO, May 29/2010, 87%, In progress, To be determined in FY 2011

With the aim of expanding supported employment services, the VRA contracted the services of the Puerto Rican Down-syndrome Foundation for the first time.

All CRPs received and continue to receive, in a formal manner, technical assistance in all service areas covered in the monitoring process (refer to the following Strategy B, Progress Report, to see the breakdown of technical assistance provided to the CRPs).

Strategy B: Provide technical assistance to the CRPs with the purpose of expanding the provision of services in areas traditionally identified as unserved or undeserved, such as Vieques and Culebra.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the staff from the CSEM offered 137 technical assistance interventions to the staff of the CRP. Such assistance is provided at the time of the monitoring intervention and/or when the CRPs director or employment coordinator requests it.

Furthermore, the Municipalities of Vieques and Culebra respond to the San Juan region. The staff from the region Regularly visits the Fajardo satellite office to discuss and meet consumers referred for interviews. The transition unit of the region visited both municipalities to provide orientation to the population.

The following is a breakdown of the technical assistance provided by the VRA to the CRPs, by region, topics and dates:

MAVI -San Juan

October 2009

• Referral Protocol

• Administrative Process in Reports and Marketing of Participants

MAVI - Bayamón

August 12/2010

• Concordance Between the Drafting of Validation Reports and the Data Gathering Process

CODERI - San Juan

January 26/2010

• Referral Protocol

• Administrative Processes in Reports and Marketing of Participants

CODERI - Caguas

March 30/2010

• Compliance of Contract in Relation to Cases Pending Employment

• Recommendations to Strengthen Promotion; Verification of Changes of Goal in Job Placement of Cases

May 26/2010

• Follow Up to Status of Cases and Recommendations

EDUCAVIPRO - San Juan

January 22/2010

• Marketing Plan

EDUCAVIPRO - Ponce

November 13/2009

• Opening Doors to Employers Towards the Labor Market for Persons with Disabilities

March 16/2010

• Salary Incentives

May 14/2010

• Effective Tools for Job Placement

June25/2010

• Economic Impact in Rrecruitment When Using Salary Incentives

Fundación Síndrome Down - San Juan

December 11/2009

• Personnel Recruitment Process

• Administrative Process

February 5/2010

• Service Protocol

Fundación Síndrome Down - Caguas

April 12/2010

• Intervention Strategies in New Case (condition, strengths and supports)

June 16/2010

• Follow-Up to Case and Recommendations for Employment

July 1/2010

• Matters Related to Proposals and Evaluation of Possibility to Serve Consumers of the Caguas Region

July 6/2010

• Intervention Strategies in Socialization Process of Consumer

August 20/2010

• Speed Up of Process Based on the Success of Consumer in Employment

Fundación Síndrome Down - Bayamón

January 21/2010, February 17/2010, and March 8/2010

• Development of Collaborative Project with “Student in Free Enterprise of the University of the East Under Supported Employment” (in order to market artistic objects of consumers of CRP)

March 15/2010

• Development and Drafting of Habilitation Plan

IPVI Mayagüez - Ponce

November 13/2009

• Opening Doors to Employers Towards the Labor Market for Persons with Disabilities

March 16/2010

• Salary Incentives

May 14/2010

• Effective Tools for Job Placement

June 25/2010

• Economic Impact in Recruitment When Using Salary Incentives

IPVI Arecibo - Bayamón

March 17/2010

• Profile Validation Process and Training Strategies

August 10/2010

• Definition of Employers Network Versus Monthly Report of Impacted Employers

CAPI - Ponce

March 16/2010

• Salary Incentives

May 14/2010

• Effective Tools for Job Placement

CAPI - Caguas

October 29/2010

• Management Strategies (on new cases)

November 24/2010

• Employers Action, Agreements to be Taken, Management Planning, Intervention with Employees and Family (on 4 cases of placed consumers)

November 30/2010

• Change of Goal in Light of Outcomes Demonstrated by Consumer and Expansion of Geographical Area for promotion of Case

December 1/2010

• Strategies to Carry Out with Employers to Guarantee Permanence of Employed Consumers, Special Follow-up to be Provided to Family Member to Guarantee Stability in Employment of Consumer

December 18/2010

• Training Outcomes, Action to be Taken, Recommendations to CRP, VR Counselor and Family

January 12/2010

• Revision of Cases, Matters Related to Reports, Establishment of Meeting Dates with Consumers (Organizational Planning)

January 27/2010

• Action to be Taken on Case with Unstable Condition, Process to be Followed and Report; Orientation on Special Support to Case and Recommendation of Analyst on Employment Offer

February 12/2010

• Follow-up to Situations and Recommendations to be Followed (on 3 cases)

March 10/2010

• Management Strategies with Family in Order to Exercise Better Support to Case

March 12/2010

• Performance Monitoring/Progress to Case

April 28/2010

• Recommendations, Strategic Plan, Follow-up to CRP and VR Counselor in Terms of Employment Destabilization of Case

May 19/2010

• Design of Action Plan with Each Case and its Difficulties (on 5 cases)

May 28/2010

• Reasonable Accommodation for Case

June 10/2010

• Action Plan to be Taken with Case (person does not want to continue in employment)

June 21/2010

• Identification of Community Support for Transportation of Case

June 22/2010

• Provision of Follow-up to a Commitment of Employer

June 30/2010

• How to Take Care of the Needs of Consumer (conditions, frustrations)

July 8/2010

• Recommendations on Action to be Taken on Cases in Accordance with Evaluations and Performance

September 13/2010

• Monitoring of Cases/Status, Recommendations, Actions on Unemployed Cases, Pending Meetings

September 23/2010

• Recommendations on the Management of Situation Related to Employment

CAPI - Bayamón

July 1/2010

• Matters Related to Proposals and Evaluation of Possibility to Serve Consumers of the Caguas Region

October 14/2009

• Documentation of the Promotion Process and Interventions of the Job Promoter with Consumers

November 5/2009

• Concordance Between the Information in Documentation of CRP and What Is Discussed In Transdisciplinary Meetings

TIPCO - Ponce

March 16/2010

• Salary Incentives

May 14/2010

• Effective Tools for Job Placement

June 25/2010

• Economic Impact in Recruitment When Using Salary Incentives

PARES - Caguas

October 9/2009

• Management Strategies-Conditions/New Cases

October 9/2009

• Effective Promotion and Involvement of All Personnel in the Process

November 10/2009

• Planning of Closures, Correction of Reports, Re-Promotion of Cases with Less Than Twenty Hours of Employment

December 3/2009

• Orientations on the Follow-up to the Consumer in Terms of the Hours To Be Worked Per Week, Salary Incentives, Accommodations, Areas to be Worked with Supervisors

December 10/2009

• Cases to be Evaluated in Terms of Continuation to Stage II, Promotional Strategies, Clarification of Process to Families, Coordination with Other Community Services

January 8/2010

• Correction of Inadequate Management of Case in Crisis (Emphasizing on the Protocol to Guarantee Security of All Parties), Intervention with Employer and Establishment of Action with Consumer/Family

January 11/2010

• Management of Consumer Situation, Indication of Action to Follow and Strategic Plan for Improvement of Behavior, Monitoring

January 12/2010

• Revision of Cases, Matters Related to Reports, Establishment of Meeting Dates with Consumers (Organizational Planning)

January 13/2010

• Support to Investigation on Employment Situation, Guidance to Employer, Support to Consumer/Family

• Meeting with Family Member of Consumer to Offer Recommendations on the Management of Conditions and Accommodations

January 21/2010

• Actions to be Taken and Strategies to Maximize Performance

• Intervention with Employer for Increase of Hours (4 cases)

January 22/2010

• Expanding Knowledge on Condition of Consumer and His Behavior, Consistency in its Correction and Integration of employees in Such Consistency

February 12/2010

• Action to Be Taken to Speed up Cases Process

March 4/2010

• Identification of Situations, Actions to be Taken, Support in the Searching of Family Member and Crisis Situation

• Reasonable Accommodations and Intervention Strategies (6 cases)

March 19/2010

• Determination of Case in Relation of Behavior Consumer/Family Member, Recommendation of Change in Case

March 23/2010

• Action To Be Taken with Specific Cases, Recommendations to Family/Consumer on Behavior

March 26/2010

• Follow-up to Reasonable Accommodations, Strategic Plan and Observations on Training Strategy

March 31/2010

• Recommendations for the Training of Consumer in Other Areas to Guarantee Additional Working Hours

April 14/2010

• Current Status of Three (3) Cases

• Recommendations to Improve Performance of Consumers, Crisis Intervention, Community Referral, and Follow-up Plan

April 16/2010

• Monitoring Intervention (12 cases), Recommendations to Each Case, and Improvements in the Quality of Provided Services

April 21/2010

• Reasonable Accommodations, Confrontation on Behavior of Consumer, Guidance on the Provision of More Support to Consumer

May 5/2010

• Offering of Support in Meeting with Parents (2 cases)

• Intervention Strategies

May 25, 2010

• Follow-up to Stabilization Plan of Case and Impartment of Instructions

May 28/2010

• Strengthening of Family Extended Support of Case

June 8/2010

• Salary Incentive and Promotional Strategies

June 9/2010

• Support Plan to Family/Consumer on Employment Situation, Support in Exploration of Situation with Employer

June 14/2010

• Follow-up to the Recommended Plan and Stabilization To Be Applied to Family Members

June 21/2010

• Strategies to Strengthen Independence and Lower Anxiety of Case

June 29/2010

• Strengthening of Stability of Cases to be Closed (3 cases)

June 30/2010

• Action To Be Taken on Positive Changes of Case

July 1/2010

• Matters Related to Proposals and Evaluation of Possibility to Serve Consumers of the Caguas Region

July 6/2010

• Support to the Development of a Consumer in Independent Living

July 7/2010

• Identification of Crisis Situation of Consumer, Coordination of Services, Family Support, and Plan with Employer

July 8/2010

• Follow-up to Emergency Situation and Instructions

July 9/2010

• Recommendations for Follow-up with Employer/Family Support

August 17/2010

• Case Management, Training Plan and Its Duration

August 25/2010

• Authorization for Reintegration of Consumer in Accordance with Medical Evidence, Support of CRP and Instructions

September 13/2010

• Monitoring of Cases/Status, Recommendations, Actions on Cases with Non-Employed Consumers, and Pending Meetings

TCS - Caguas

October 6/2009

• Management Strategies on New Cases To Be Served

October 6/2009

• Status of Case and Stabilizing Strategies with Family Circumstance

December 8/2009

• Management Strategy with Consumer in Accordance with His Conditions and Family Situation (3 cases)

December 14/2009

• Areas To Be Considered In Addition to Identified Ones and Integration of Other Assistance Services to Consumers (2 cases)

January 12/2010

• Revision of Cases, Matters Related to Reports, Establishment of Meeting Dates with Consumers (Organizational Planning)

January 22/2010

• Development of Greater Agility with Consumer and Expand the Training to Carry Out other Duties to Guarantee Working Hours

February 9/2010

• Intervention of Case, Interview of Consumer to Explore Situation Identified by CRP, Design of Plan for Correction of Consumer’s Behavior

February 12/2010

• Follow-up to Situations and Recommendations (2 cases)

February 16/2010

• Action to be Taken Regarding Situation of Consumer, Follow-up to Employer

March 5/2010

• Identification of Additional Condition Affecting Performance of Consumer and Recommendations. Confrontation on Mismanagement in Stage I and Recommendation to Revalidate Case (2 cases)

March 8/2010

• VR Counseling Support to Consumer on Changes, Provision of Guidance to CRP

March 15/2010

• Recommendations on Areas To Be Reviewed in Order to Determine Eligibility for Supported Employment, in Accordance with Evaluation Outcome and Development of Skills

April 5/2010

• Observation of Employer and Recommendations for the Intervention with Family Situation of Case

April 6/2010

• Strategies to Maximize Performance and Promotion to Increase Working Hours of Consumers (2 cases)

April 16/2010

• Action to be Taken Related to Encountered Situation of Cases (2 cases)

May 7/2010

• Strategies to Improve Condition/Anxiety of Case

May 27/2010

• Identification of Need of Other Services for Consumer, Guidance on necessary Documentation and Support to Family

June 4/2010

• Action Plan with Case After Monitoring of Situation

June 8/2010

• Guidance on Salary Incentives and Promotional Strategies

June 18/2010

• Reasonable Accommodation to Implement with Employer, Strengthening of Supports in Work Setting

July 1/2010

• Matters Related to Proposals and Evaluation of Possibility to Serve Consumers of the Caguas Region

July 12/2010

• Monitoring Findings and Recommendations

July 15/2010

• Recommendations on Actions to be Taken in Accordance with Promotional Outcomes and Performance of Consumer and Family (2 cases)

August 20/2010

• Delegation of Responsibilities to Consumer’s Tutor to Guarantee Retention

August 23/2010

• Guidance on the Condition to Guarantee Permanence in Employment, Identification of Other VRA Services for Consumer

August 23/2010

• Training Strategies and Identification of Other VRA Services

September 13/2010

• Monitoring of Cases/Status, Recommendations, Actions on Unemployed Cases, Pending Meetings

TCS - Bayamón

April 28/2010

• Development and Drafting of Habilitation Plan

June 23/2010

• Intervention Strategies with Consumers with Mental Conditions

August 9/2010

• Daily Evaluation Procedure of Trainer in Training Conditions

September 28/2010

• Modification of Daily Intervention From and Intervention Strategies with Consumers in Work Settings

Nuevos Horizontes - Caguas

October 1/2009

• Findings of Final Monitoring Intervention, Areas to Strengthen, Strategies to Increase Consumers To Be Served

March 15/2010

• Promotion, Alternatives for Receiving Cases, and Compliance with Monitoring Process

Nuevos Horizontes - Bayamón

September 2/2010

• Intervention Strategies in Work Setting

YAI Metro - Caguas

March 18/2010

• Organization of Service Record, Promotion and Placement to Comply with Contract

YAI Metro - Arecibo

June 4/2010

• Workshop on Salary Incentives to Five (5) Job Coaches

September 30/2010

• Workshop on Strategies and Techniques When Intervening with Consumers with Emotional Impairments

YAI Metro - Bayamón

October 21/2009

• Intervention Strategy in Training of Consumers

November 24/2009

• Ecological Evaluation Processes

February 10/2010

• Re-Programming of Funds for Contracting of Job Coaches

April 8/2010

• Family Intervention Strategies

April 28/2010

• Procedure to Withdraw From Work Setting and Intervention with employer

CATPI Patillas - Caguas

January 4/2010

• Orientation on Regular Employment Contract for Twenty (20) Consumers

March 5/2010

• Discussion of the First Five (5) Cases Evaluated by Organization for Regular Employment

Strategy C: Expand service offerings of the VRA through the fifteen (15) One-Stop Centers.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA maintained 15 MOU with the One-Stop Centers for the provision of VR services to disabled individuals who requested services through such centers. The agency received 41 referrals from the One-Stop during this period.

Strategy D: Maintain the funding level of our advisory councils (State Rehabilitation Council; Statewide Independent Living Council), in order to assist and support their operations as well as to develop, joint collaboration with the VRA, for our applicants/consumers.

Progress Report:

The VRA continued with its commitment of maintaining a funding level for our two advisory councils, in order to support and assist their operations. Each council was awarded a subsidy of $100,000 for FY 2010. Furthermore, the agency has continued its participation with both councils in matters related to employment, independent living, transition and advocacy of disabled individuals. Also, the managerial staff of the VRA met with the State Rehabilitation Council to present and discuss the draft of the State Plan for FY 2011; as well as to present to said council, the “Comprehensive Study of Needs of Consumers, Employers and VR Counselors of the VRA.”

Strategy E: Carry out meetings with the CRPs, partners, employers, participating entities and service vendors, in order to provide orientation on the evaluation standards and performance indicators applicable by federal regulations.

Progress Report:

? During FY 2010, the personnel of the CSEMs planned and offered orientations to the CRPs, partners, employers, participating entities and vendors. The orient actions were provided on topics such as: VR services, Affirmative Action; Equal Employment Opportunities; ADA legislation; reasonable accommodations and support services; and collaboration with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

? The agency carried out 764 meetings/orientations throughout its service regions.

Strategy F: Coordinate efforts with the Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Program (PRATP), in order to disseminate information on the importance of assistive technology as well as to eliminate barriers in the acquisition of such assistance.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA has continued to participate as member of the Advisory Committee of the PRATP. Various meetings have been carried out for the development of a training activity on assistive technology for disabled individuals, to be offered to the personnel of the CRPs.

 

GOAL A: Provide supported employment services to 636 consumers of the VRA

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, a total of 744 consumers were certified and served in supported employment. The CRPs offered services to 432 consumers (287 new cases; 145 carry over).

Goal met.

GOAL B: Achieve that at least 162 of the total member of employment outcomes, be those of supported employment consumers.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, a total of 160 consumers certified in supported employment were able to achieve an employment outcome (St. 26). The difficulties confronted towards full compliance of the goal were still related to the high unemployment rate in Puerto Rico (16.3% as of Sept of 2010), and the ongoing economic recession which has limited the employability of our consumers. However, the VRA was able to achieve employment outcomes for 2 additional consumers, when compared to FY 2009.

Goal not met.

GOAL C: Maintain a level of satisfaction of 85% of those consumers who received supported employment services, at the closure of the case.

Progress Report:

All CRPs carry out an annual satisfaction survey of their supported employment consumers, at the closure of their case. During FY 2010, the eleven (11) contracted CRPs reported a satisfaction level of 89.09% based on the outcomes and comments of consumers on the received services. The outcomes of the satisfaction survey are discussed and analyzed among the staff of the CRPs.

Goal met.

Plans:

1. Identify other funding sources in addition to the ones from the Title VI, Part B necessary to expand the provision of supported employment services.

a. Fund and support existing community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) operating islandwide, in order to achieve the provision of services to 250 cases, from the total number of cases certified for supported employment.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, eleven (11) contractual agreements were established between the VRA and CRPs. The total number of cases served by such CRPs was 432 (287 new cases; 145 carry over).

b. Submit a new proposal to the Human Resources and Occupational Development Council of WIA, requesting additional funds that will strengthen our fiscal capacity to sponsor the provision of supported employment services through the CRPs.

Progress Report:

In June of 2010, the VRA submitted a proposal to the Human Resources and Occupational Development Council, requesting WIA funds for a Supported Employment Project ($1,500,000). The requested funds were not granted.

2. Promote the different supported employment models such as: the individualized model (consists of a consumer and his job coach); the enclave model (consists of a group of up to 8 consumers working together under the assistance of a full-time supervisor. This model is usually developed within an industrial setting); and the entrepreneurial model (based on the contracting of a group of at least 8 consumers constituted as a business unit. This model intends to integrate disabled individuals with non-disabled individuals. The model may include the development of cooperatives).

a. Encourage, among the CRPs, the creation of new and different employment opportunities in sectors and with employers traditionally not involved with the VR program, in order to serve those individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Progress Report:

The directors and analysts of the CSEMs, in coordination with the CRPs, carry out duties to impact the employers from their regions. They explore and evaluate new and different employment opportunities in non-traditional areas for consumers with the most significant disabilities. During FY 2010, a total of 4,227 employers were identified and contacted. Among those employers contracted for the placement of supported employment consumers were the following: “Museo del Café”, “Zarape”, “Productos Cítricos”, “Pan Pepín”, DJ Manufacturing, Johanna Lingerie, Perfect Cleaning Services, “Campomar”, Euro Auto Repairs, Veterans Administration Hospital, and Intercontinental Hotel.

b. Identify and validate the need to increase salary incentives to employers, as part of our strategy related to the development of new work settings for consumers.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA granted 38 salary incentive contracts to employers of supported employment (14 contracts more than the ones granted in FY 2009), impacting 22 employers traditionally not involved with the VRA.

3. Evaluate the possibility of developing another CRP in the rural, mountainous center of the Island, to strengthen the offering of supported employment services to the population with the most significant disabilities.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA signed, for the first time, a contract with the Puerto Rican Down-syndrome Foundation for the provision of supported employment services to a population considered unserved/underserved. The Foundation was able to place ten (10) consumers with Down-syndrome in competitive employment.

a. Develop new collaborative agreements with public, private and faith-based organizations from the community for the provision of supported employment services.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA revaluated, recommended and provided technical assistance to three (3) new CRPs interested in providing, supported employment services in unserved/underserved areas for FY 2011. The CRPs were IPVI-Yauco, CAPI-South and CAALPI-Mayagüez. The Puerto Rican Down-syndrome Foundation was also favorably evaluated to continue its provision of supported employment services.

b. Continue implementing the updated procedure and monitoring instrument applicable to the CRPs.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA started using the new format of the evaluation of performance level in the programmatic monitoring interventions. The changes in the format emphasize on the compliance of job placements in competitive employment. During this year, the agency carried out twenty six (26) programmatic monitoring interventions to the CRPs (2 monitoring per year to each one). Eleven (11) CRPs offering supported employment and two (2) CRPs offering regular employment were monitored. All information pertaining the findings/outcomes/recommendations of the monitoring interventions are kept under the custody of the Office of Support and Employment Modes for the appropriate evaluation and follow-up.

c. Offer technical assistance to the regional staff, in order to clarify and consolidate procedures established by the agency (VRA), regarding the provision of supported employment services to those consumers with the most significant disabilities.

Progress Report:

The directors and analysts of the CSEMs offered technical assistance to the VR counselors of the VR Counseling Service Centers and their support teams, through meetings and e-mails. The e-mails are used to send periodically information on the employment market by geographical area. The publication “Employment and Unemployment in Puerto Rico” from the Department of Labor and Human Resources is also used as reference. It contains information of employed persons by occupational group, by type of industry, self-employed, unemployed, work group, and participation/ unemployment rates by geographical area.

d. Intensify the use of the consumer satisfaction questionnaire regarding services received in the CRP and in the Centers of Assessment and Employment Modes of the VRA, in order to identify areas to be strengthened or improved.

Progress Report:

An 89.09% of consumer satisfaction with the services received in the CRPs was reported for FY 2010. The information was obtained through the use of the consumer satisfaction questionnaire.

4. Participate, in coordination with TACE, in the planning and development of training activities for the CRPs and VR staff. Special attention will continue to be provided to job development and placement; work and collaboration with employers; innovative strategies of job marketing; employment skills of individuals with disabilities; and the updating of an effective network of employers.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the CRPs continued receiving technical assistance on all areas related to the provision of supported employment/regular employment services from the analysts of the CSEMs.

a. Maintain and assure a high quality level and optimization in the provision of services focused on outcomes, through the offering of orientations to the personnel of the CRPs on the “Guide for the Submission of Proposals” and “Guide for the Monitoring and Evaluation of Supported Employment Service”.

Progress Report:

During July and August of 2010, the VRA created an evaluation committee of proposals from the CRPs. The committee is composed of the directors of CSEMs and supported employment analysts, and it provided orientation on the previously described guides to the directive staff of the CRPs and other designated supported employment personnel.

b. Promote uniform policies and procedures on the provision of the extended support services by other public, private and community entities.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the personnel of the CSEMs continued offering orientation/technical assistance in regard to community entities that may contribute to the offering of extended support services.

Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds:

The total estimate of funds for the provision of supported employment services was $4,439,041 distributed as follows:

(a) $4,342,740 assigned for the contracting of CRPs ($96,304 form Title I; $3,396,444 from Title VI-B), and

(b)$96,293 assigned to the VRA ($66,950 for salaries and $19,043 for fringe benefits of 2 jobs coaches, and $10,300 for travel expenses for one supervisor and supported employment coordinator).

Progress Report:

In order to guarantee the provision of supported employment services during FY 2010, the VRA used $5,097,317.07 distributed as follows:

(a) $5,005,013.30 assigned for the contracting of CRPs ($3,338,578.30 from Title I; $227,765.23 from Title VI-B; $78,990 from Joint Resolution of PR Legislature; and $1,359,679.77 from ARRA funds); and

(b) $92,303.77 assigned to the VRA ($71,772 for salaries; $20,531.77 for fringe benefits of 2 job coaches; and $0 for travel expenses for one supervisor and supported employment coordinator).

 

GOAL 1: Integrate individuals with disabilities into the workforce and towards a more independent living.

Indicators: The VRA will achieve or exceed the required federal/state performance indicators as follows:

1.1 Number of individuals who have achieved employment outcomes will equal or exceed the previous year. FY 2008: 2,526, FY 2009: 2,435, FY 2010: 2,599

1.2 Percentage of individuals rehabilitated who achieve competitive employment will equal or exceed 55.80%. FY 2008: 72.02%, FY 2009: 73.08%, FY 2010: 73.44%

1.3 Percentage of individuals, who achieve employment outcomes with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, will equal or exceed 73%. FY 2008: 96.87%, FY 2009: 94.46%, FY 2010: 92.23%

1.4(a) Percentage of individuals with significant disabilities who achieve employment outcomes will equal or exceed 76%. FY 2008: 81.35%, FY 2009 83.04%, FY 2010: 82.80%

1.4(b) Percentage of individuals with significant disabilities, who achieve employment outcomes with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, will equal or exceed 65%. FY 2008: 81.12%, FY 2009: 82.78%, FY 2010: 82.59%

1.5 Average hourly earnings of all individuals who achieve competitive employment as a ratio to the average hourly wages of all employed individuals in Puerto Rico, will equal or exceed 0.53%. FY 2008: 0.67%, FY 2009: 0.71%, FY 2010: 0.70%

1.6 Of the individuals who achieve competitive employment, the difference between the percentages of those who reported their own income as the primary source of support at closure compared to the percentage of those who had their own income as the primary source of support at application. The difference must equal or exceed 55%. FY 2008: 87.74%, FY 2009: 88.04%, FY 2010: 88.65%

1.7 Average number of hours worked by individuals rehabilitated. (State Indicator) FY 2008: 32.02(hours per week), FY 2009: 32.61(hours per week), FY 2010: 30.87 (hours per week)

1.8 Percent of employment outcomes in professional occupations. (State Indicator) FY 2008: 25%, FY 2009: 21%, FY 2010: 25%

1.9 Number of successful employment outcomes after receiving post-secondary education. (State Indicator) FY 2008: 52.93%, FY 2009: 50.76%, FY 2010: 52.80%

The PRVRA did not meet Standard 2.1 as required by the standard set up in the regulations. Said standard cannot be applied to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, due to the fact that the PRVRA is the only Designated State Agency of the nation with 99% of its population being Hispanic or from Hispanic origin; therefore, considered minority as compared to the population of the other States. Taking this fact into consideration, the data for FY 2010 showed the following:

• From a total of 9.311 closed cases, 9,308 (99.9%) were minority, 3 cases were not minority, 2 of which were served in St. 26 and St. 28.

GOAL 2: Provide transition services to youths with disabilities in order to prepare and integrate them into the labor force, through the obtention and retention of an employment outcome.

Indicators: The VRA will equal or improve the performance of the following indicators:

2.1 Number of new applications from transition students to the VRA. FY 2008: 2,644, FY 2009: 2,911, FY 2010: 7,252

2.2 Percent of eligibility determinations in 60 days or less for transition students. FY 2008: 46.74%, FY 2009: 49%, FY 2010: 52.30%

2.3 Number of new Individualized Plans for Employment for transition students. FY 2008: 34.51%, FY 2009: 35.2%, FY 2010: 73.47%

2.4 Number of transition students rehabilitated. FY 2008: 632, FY 2009: 730, FY 2010: 1,763

2.5 Percent of employment outcomes in technical, managerial and professional occupations of transition students. FY 2010: 20%

GOAL 3: Position the VRA as the leading agency in the provision of high quality vocational rehabilitation services that guarantee the competitiveness of the individuals with disabilities in the labor market and their right to enjoy a more independent living.

Indicators: The VRA will equal or exceed the required standards for the following indicators:

3.1 Percentage of eligibility determination in 60 days or less. FY 2008: 51.65%, FY 2009: 55.43%, FY 2010: 73.99%

3.2 Percentage of eligibility decisions of individuals requesting service from the VRA who are beneficiaries of SSDI. FY 2008: 60.93%, FY 2009: 68%, FY 2010: 81.96%

3.3 Percent of Individualized Plans for Employment (IPEs) in 120 days or less. FY 2008: 70.16%, FY 2009: 59.27%, FY 2010: 58.99%

3.4 Number of individuals with disabilities served annually. FY 2008: 62%, FY 2009: 62%, FY 2010: 69%

3.5 Percentage of certified individuals for supported employment referred to the CRPs. FY 2008: 35.8%, FY 2009: 38.8%, FY 2010: 38.6%

3.6 Percent of individuals with employment outcomes after receiving supported employment services. FY 2008: 18%, FY 2009: 22%, FY 2010: 22%

3.7 Percent of consumers’ satisfaction of those individuals who received supported employment services at the closure of cases. FY 2008: 95%, FY 2009: 85%, FY 2010: 89.09%

3.8 Average time taken in attending complaints. FY 2008: 30 days, FY 2009: 30 days, FY 2010: 30 days

3.9 Percent of consumers who achieved employment outcomes after receiving services in the CAAs. FY 2009: To be determined in FY 2010, FY 2010: 82.76%

GOAL 4: Strengthen the coordination and collaboration among the community rehabilitation programs, partners, employers, and public/private participating entities, in order to guarantee activities and significant services that will allow individuals with disabilities to be self-sufficient.

Indicators: The VRA equal or improve performance in the following measurable indicators:

4.1 Percent of individuals with significant disabilities who achieve employment outcomes will be at least 76%. FY 2008: 81.11%, FY 2009: 82.7%, FY 2010: 82.76%

4.2 Number of monitoring interventions carried out to the CRPs. FY 2008: Twice (2) per year, FY 2009: Twice (2) per year, FY 2010: Twice (2) per year

4.3 Number of technical assistance activities provided to the CRPs. FY 2008: Four (4) activities per year, FY 2009: Four (4) activities per year, FY 2010: Four (4) activities per year

4.4 Number of Meetings and activities carried out with the various participating entities. FY 2008: Twice (2) per year, FY 2009: Twice (2) per year, FY 2010: Twice (2) per year

4.5 Number of activities carried out in coordination with the State Rehabilitation Council. FY 2008: Twice (2) per year, FY 2009: Five (5) per year, FY 2010: Six (6) per year

 

The VRA used the Funs of Title I for the following innovation and expansion activities:

1. Implementation of the video remote interpreting technology through the VRA’s Web in order to facilitate the communication with deaf consumers.

Progress Report:

Please refer to Goal 3, Strategy J of this Attachment.

2. Development and implementation of an automated system for the registration and follow-up of transition cases from the Special Education Program. The system must also provide the necessary information for the development of required statistical reports.

Progress Report:

Please refer to Goal 2, Strategy F of this Attachment.

3. Design and implementation, through a pilot project, of an interagency collaborative/community model of service provision to maximize the transition process from school to work for students with disabilities.

Progress Report:

Please refer to Goal 2, Strategy D of the Attachment.

4. Implementation of an automated program known as Visitors Intake System for the registration and assignment of the clientele requesting services. The system will allow us to gather statistical data to measure how promptly are visitors served; know the volume of visits; know the tendencies of such visits by time of year or season; and obtain other relevant information that will be used to improve services in reception areas as well as to improve the use of our human resources.

Progress Report:

This project is still pending and as reported in FY 2009, the VRA reevaluated the functionality and the cost-effectiveness of the implementation of this system. As an outcome of such reevaluation, it was determined that it was necessary the updating of the VRA’s island wide communications network prior to the implementation of such system Please refer to the following activity to see the progress related to such network.

5. Updating of the VRA’s islandwide communications in order to implement new technologies that will allow the redesign of the main operational/administrative systems and processes of the agency.

Progress Report:

During FY 2010, the VRA contracted the services of the Puerto Rico Telephone Co., in order to increase the capability of its communications network. The project is, at the moment, in its first phase (10% progress).

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 11:02AM by Virginia Roque

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

QUALITY

The 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act (P.L.93-112 of September 26, 1973) emphasized on the provision of supported employment services for those consumers with the most significant disabilities. Therefore, the VRA in its mission to integrate individuals with disabilities into the labor force; promotes the provision of supported employment services conducive to an employment outcome.

The Office of Support and Employment modes (OSEM), at the central level of the VRA, has the responsibility of collaborating, providing technical assistance and facilitating the applicability of the public policy on supported employment, through the Centers of Support and Employment Modes (CSEMs) at the regional level. These centers offer services related to career development, assistance to employers, development of supports and the various employment mode options to eligible consumers. Also, the OSEM contributes with other operational/ administrative offices of the VRA in the coordination/collaboration of efforts regarding assessment services, programmatic monitoring, and interpretation of data, among others; to assure compliance with the State Plan, Work Plan and Strategic Plan of the agency.

The VRA, through its CSEMs, develops the inter/transdisciplinary work teams to assure that the supported employment services are provided in a uniform, speedy and responsive manner to the needs of the consumers with the most significant disabilities.

SCOPE

Supported employment is provided either through the Centers of Support and Employment Modes (CSEMs) operated by the VRA, or through non –profit CRPs contracted for said purposes. These centers offer support to the VR counselor in order to validate the vocational strengths/needs of the applicants/consumers, as well as to promote them towards an employment outcome under supported employment. In addition to the CSEMs, there are other inter/transdiciplinary teams from the Centers of Assessment and Adjustment and Centers of VR Counseling Services, that offer support to the VR counselor and provide services such as: occupational therapy, assistive technology, physical therapy, vocational evaluation, evaluation for prosthesis/orthotics, social work, audiology, speech and language pathology, evaluation and development of basic academic skills, pre-employment skills, physical medicine and rehabilitation, nutrition and dietary services, interpreters for the deaf, nursing, neuropsychological services, services for the blind, driving lessons with adapted vehicles, psychological services, lodging, and transportation.

The CSEMs facilitate and speed up the provision of services towards an employment outcome for those consumers referred by the VR counselor who are ready to be job-promoted.

The supported employment services are geared towards those consumers who either have not achieved competitive employment; who having achieved competitive employment, it has occurred in a non-traditional way; or whose employment has been interrupted/intermittent due to the nature of their most significant disabilities.

There are various supported employment models, as described in attachment 4.11(c)(4); page 19: individualized model; brigade model; and the entrepreneurial model.

The supported employment model has been framed within five supported employment service delivery stages during a 12-month period. This period could be extended, if necessary, when particular needs of a consumer warrant said extension (in accordance with federal regulations, the period could be extended up to a maximum of 18 months).

The service delivery stages are described as follows:

Stage I: Determination of needs/comprehensive evaluation (1month)

• Revision of documents, assessment of pre-employment skills, needs and support resources

• Comprehensive evaluation

• Determination of needs through a profile validation

• Support between consumer and family

• Drafting of Habilitation Plan

Stage II: Vocational preparation/supplementary assessment (2 months)

• Implementation of Habilitation Plan

• Supplementary evaluation

• Situational evaluation with ecological approach

• Career development

• Revision of Habilitation Plan (if it applies)

• Ecological evaluation report

Stage III: Employment development/placement services (2 months)

• Marketing Plan

? Promotion

? Occupational analysis

? Employment proposal

? Reasonable accommodations

? Recruitment process

• Revision and final Habilitation Plan (if it applies)

• Meeting with employer and family

Stage IV: Training and job retention (from 12 to 20 weeks)

• Intensive and moderate training

? Development of natural supports, family and community networks

? Revision of Habilitation Plan (if it applies)

? Development of intervention skills

? Monitoring

? Continuous support

? Meeting with employer and coworkers

As previously mentioned, the VRA maintains contractual agreements with the CRPs to offer services such as: development of skills, pre-employment, supported employment, placement, job retention and stabilization.

Furthermore, the VRA, through the CSEMs, provide technical assistance to the contracted CRPs. In coordination with the OSEM, two programmatic monitoring interventions are carried out annually to the CRPs. The analysts of the CSEMs provide technical assistance during the monitoring process.

The CRPs develop and apply a satisfaction survey to consumers, family members, employers and VR counselors.

EXTENT OF SERVICES

Stage V: Stabilization, transition to extended support and closure

• Meetings with employer and family

• Beginning of follow-up phase for job retention (minimum of 90 days)

• Evaluations and performance monitoring

• Identification of extended support sources and their availability

• Evaluation on the services (satisfaction survey)

In the contract between the VRA and CRPs for the provision of supported employment, a clause has been included stating the prohibition in the use of any funds from the VRA for extended services. If there are carry over funds at the end of the fiscal year that may be needed to carry out activities, to purchase equipment/materials, or to meet any other need; these must be reprogrammed at the end of said fiscal year in accordance with the work plan established and approved by the VRA.

The CRPs carry out efforts to request non-VR funds for the provision of extended services. To such ends, the VRA recommends and endorses, in writing, any proposal or any other type of formal request of funding to organizations such as: United Funds of Puerto Rico, Developmental Disabilities Council and the Puerto Rico State Legislature.

In order to improve the quality, scope and extent of supported employment services, the VRA is committed to meet the goals and strategies established in Attachment 4.11(c)(4) 19.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2011 3:29PM by Virginia Roque

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Last updated on 09/14/2011 at 9:35 AM

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Completed on 09/14/2011 at 9:35 AM

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Published on 09/27/2011 at 10:52 AM

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The following documents have been identified as being related to the information you are viewing.

  • Monitoring Report for Puerto Rico — as of May 23, 2011
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