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

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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Puerto Rico Vocational Rehabilitation Administration State Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 (submitted FY 2013)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

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 SignatoryIván A. Clemente Delgado, Esq

Title of SignatoryAdministrator

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)05/14/2013

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2014No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
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))

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

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 2014. The VRA reacts to the following input and recommendations:

1. In order to comply with the spirit of the Rehabilitation Act, it is necessary to maintain constant communication between partners (VRA-SRC), allowing the Council to offer necessary input that contributes to reinforcing and improving the service delivery process. Also, the exchange of documents that will contribute to support the validity and reliability of the content of the recommendations made by the Council.

2. The State Plan recognizes that the goals and priorities should be developed in accordance with the Council; therefore both the Council and VRA should make efforts to have working tools on time, so that both can fully meet their responsibilities. The Council has a team of professionals always available to perform the duties and responsibilities identified by the law.

3. The Council agrees with the VRA determinations in terms of the recruitment of VR counselors and VR counseling services technicians in order to comply with the eligibility determinations within the required time limit. The SRC will continue to collaborate with the VRA to ensure compliance with the time limits established by law.

4. The Council reiterates the need and importance to share the content of the federal monitory report to every structural/operational level of the VRA. This action should be considered as a tactic to assure commitment and participation of all employees in the design of new strategies towards positive outcomes. That way everyone, from the base to top management, will be part of the commitment to ensure speed and quality of services in the regions.

5. The Council considers appropriate that the goals and priorities of the State Plan (Attachment 4.11) were based on the needs assessment prepared by the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, which is a recognized expert on the matter. The SRC acknowledges that many of the findings of the study coincide with previous comments made by the Council to the VRA, which validates perceptions reported.

6. The Council is committed to align efforts with those of VRA in the design and implementation of strategies to promote VRA services in the business (enterprises), as well as continue with orientation of the curriculum recommended by the Federal Department of Labor, whose alliance is composed of partners with expertise in disabilities, education, employment and workforce development issues. This Alliance is in charge of assisting state and local workforce development systems, to integrate young people with disabilities in their strategy of services. NCWD/Youth is located at the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC. The purpose is to strengthen the efforts of VRA in that direction.

7. We are pleased with the compliance of the federal monitors recommendation indicating: “VRA and SRC and SCIL should participate, assess, define and nominate candidates (for “the Councils”).

8. The SRC is seriously committed with those institutions that serve the population with disabilities. Our members are willing to provide any advice or support to the VRA, and will respond with the commitment that characterizes us.

Comments to the Input of the SRC:

The VRA maintains close collaboration with the SRC in order to achieve program goals and provide higher quality services to our consumers. Our work plan considers accepting the previously described input from the Council and taking it into account in order to establish objectives according to the needs of the population we serve. To this end, we will be conducting a comprehensive needs assessment, which will consider aspects related to the population of people with disabilities in general, people with most significant disabilities, service needs, and community rehabilitation programs, among others.

The VRA reiterates its commitment to keep the SRC informed and documented of any regulatory action in order to, and in accordance, design strategies that result in quick and responsive services to our consumers. We will continue with the recruitment of rehabilitation counselors and strengthening of support teams throughout the Island. We will continue the review and update of our program guides and public policies to be in accordance with the changes required by the federal regulations. The VRA will design a more comprehensive outreach plan to spread out services to employers through our Support and Employment Modes Centers, we will establish new alliances with employers willing to recruit people with disabilities; and will work with the legislative body to promote legislation for the benefit of people with disabilities.

We are glad to inform that all federal monitory findings related to the programmatic area have been completed and we have been keeping the appropriate personnel informed.

The VRA thanks the SRC for their comments to the State Plan and the willingness to continue working with the VRA for the benefit of people with disabilities we serve.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 9:24AM by Virginia Roque

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen has never been updated.

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

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

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

The VRA has established and/or maintained cooperative, collaborative and coordinative agreements, during FY 2012, 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, programmatic and specialized skills in the field of rehabilitation.

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 2012, the agency received 149 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, provides 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.

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 is utilizing services and facilities of agencies and programs with respect to state use contracting programs.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 4:29PM by Virginia Roque

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

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

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.

The VRA offers orientations in the schools on the services of the agency to parents, students and teachers. It also participates in the Programming and Placement Committee of the students from special education, in order to facilitate the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and to take part in the transition planning and referral process of students. Due to these services, the transition population of the VRA has increased as well as the 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 Jul 31 2013 4:13PM by Virginia Roque

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

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

The VRA has adopted the following uniform procedure in order to formalize contractual agreements with private nonprofit organizations, based on an identified need and availability of funds. The above mentioned procedure 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 Supplies: 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 Jun 27 2013 9:24AM by Virginia Roque

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

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

The VRA continues collaborating with other privates and non-profits 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 promote extended support options through orientation activities to employees/co-workers who are interested in collaborating with the process and in identifying available resources in the workplace.

• Collaborating with the Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) in their efforts to prepare and submit proposals for the provision of extended support services to other available sources of funding.

• Provision of 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 e Información a Padres de Niños con Impedimentos (APNI)|Caguas and San juan

Caribbean Integrated Development, Inc. (CID)-Regular Employment|Caguas and Ponce

Caribbean Integrated Development, Inc. (CID)- Supported Employment|Caguas and Ponce

Centro de Apoyo y Adiestramiento Laboral para Personas con Impedimentos (CAALPI)|Mayagüez

Centro de Adiestramiento para Personas con Impedimentos, Inc. (CAPI)-Aibonito (Regular Employment) |Caguas and Bayamón

Centro de Adiestramiento para Personas con Impedimentos, Inc. (CAPI)-Aibonito (Supported Employment)|Caguas and Bayamón

Centro de Adiestramiento para Personas con Impedimentos, Inc. (CAPI)-Sur|Ponce

Centro Nuevos Horizontes|Bayamón

Colegio de Educación Especial y Rehabilitación Integral, Inc. (CODERI)|Bayamón and San Juan

Centro de Rehabilitación Educación y Capacitación en Empleo Sostenido (CRECES)|Mayagüez

Educación, Calidad de Vida y Productividad, Inc. (EDUCAVIPRO)|Ponce and San Juan

Fundación Puertorriqueña Síndrome Down|Caguas, Bayamón and San Juan

Instituto Pre-Vocacional e Industrial de Puerto Rico, Inc. (IPVI)-Arecibo|Arecibo

Instituto Pre-Vocacional e Industrial de Puerto Rico, Inc. (IPVI)-Mayagüez|Mayagüez

Instituto Pre-Vocacional e Industrial de Puerto Rico, Inc. (IPVI)-Ponce|Ponce

Movimiento para el Alcance de Vida Independiente, Inc. (MAVI)|San Juan

Programa de Ubicación en Empleo a través del Modelo de Empleo Sostenido (PUEDES-PARES)|Caguas and San Juan

Training and Consulting Services, Inc.(TCS)- Regular Employment|Caguas, Bayamón and San Juan

Training and Consulting Services, Inc.(TCS)- Supported Employment|Caguas, Bayamón and San Juan

Taller Industrial para Personas con Impedimentos de Coamo, Inc. (TIPCO)- Regular Employment|Ponce

International Institute for People with Disabilities of Puerto Rico (YAI)|Bayamón and San Juan

Centro de Adiestramiento y Trabajo para Personas con Impedimentos, Inc. (CATPI) Patillas – Supported Employment|Caguas

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 4:33PM by Virginia Roque

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

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 to April 30, 2013 has a payroll of 916 employees to serve 85% (37,708) of the projected population to be attended (44,363). The proportion between the projection of the number of consumers served and the numbers of employees of the agency is 1:42.

Title & Number of Employees:

Accountant 4

Accounting Assistant 2

Accounting Technician 2

Administration Assistant 37

Administration Officer 23

Administration Technician 4

Administrative Assistant 5

Administrator 0

Assessment & Adjustment Analyst 15

Assessment & Adjustment Assistant 35

Assessment & Adjustment Officer 27

Assessment & Adjustment Supervisor 12

Assessment & Adjustment Technician 26

Assistant Administrator/Administration Office 0

Assistant General Services Worker 1

Auxiliary Rehabilitation Services Analyst 6

Auxiliary Rehabilitation Services Officer 23

Auxiliary Rehabilitation Services Supervisor 5

Auxiliary Rehabilitation Services Technician 24

Budget Analyst 1

Budget Officer 0

Budget Specialist 1

Chief Lawyer 2

Conservation Worker 4

Director of Administrative Services Center 6

Director of Assessment & Adjustment Center 5

Director of Assessment and Adjustment Office 1

Director of Budget Division 0

Director of Computer Center 1

Director of Documents Division 1

Director of Employee Assistance Program 1

Director of Finance Division 1

Director of Independent Living Services Office 1

Director of Information System Office 0

Director of Labor Affairs and Human Resources Office 0

Director of Labor Affairs Division 1

Director of Legal Affairs Office 0

Director of Permanent Improvements Division 1

Director of Programatic Quality Control and Regional Support Office 0

Director of Proyect Management Office 0

Director of Purchasing Division 1

Director of Regional Office 0

Director of Support and Employment Modes Center 3

Director of Support and Employment Modes Office 1

Director of System Development and Analysis Division 1

Director of Training and Development of Human Resources Division 1

Director of Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Services Office 1

Director of VR Counseling Services Center 3

Executive Assistant 0

Financial Administration Supervisor 2

Financial Administration Technician 5

Financial Management Assistant 0

General Services Supervisor 1

Governmental Management Specialist 3

Handyman 2

Heavy Motor Vehicle Driver 7

Human Resources Officer 2

Human Resources Specialist 1

Human Resources Supervisor 2

Human Resources Technician 1

Information System Programmer 4

Information Systems Chief Programmer 4

Information Systems Technician 2

Janitor 10

Labor Affairs Specialist 0

Light Motor Vehicle Driver 10

Main Rehabilitation Counselor 10

Maintenance Supervisor 1

Messenger 1

Network Administrator 1

Office Assistant 2

Office Systems Administrator 24

Office Systems Assistant 24

Office Systems Technician 81

Plumber 1

Project Manager 3

Property Coordinator 2

Purchasing Agent 8

Purchasing Officer 4

Purchasing Supervisor 0

Quality Control Office Supervisor 1

Receptionist/Telephone Operator 4

Rehabilitation Counseling Analyst 9

Rehabilitation Counseling Main Supervisor 2

Rehabilitation Counseling Services Specialist 2

Rehabilitation Counseling Services Technician 157

Rehabilitation Counselor Supervisor 18

Reproduction Equipment Operator 1

Retirement Coordinator 1

Special Assistant 0

Support & Employment Modes Analyst 10

Support & Employment Modes Assistant 12

Support & Employment Modes Officer 6

Support & Employment Modes Supervisor 3

Support & Employment Modes Technician 2

Support and Employment Modes Specialist 1

Teacher 34

Transportation Services Supervisor 2

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 144

Total: 916

The VRA projects to attend a population of 44,363 during FY 2014. In addition, it expects to serve 85% of the population attended. 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 2013, the PRVRA has employed, by category the following counseling staff:

VR Counselors in Various Positions Number

Assessment and Adjustment Analysts 5

Assessment and Adjustment Supervisors 12

Counselors in Programmatic Support Positions* 5

Directors of Assessment and Adjustment Centers 5

Directors of Regional Offices 0

Directors of Support and Employment Modes Centers 3

Directors of VR Counseling Services Centers 3

Rehabilitation Counselors Main Supervisor 10

Support and Employment Modes Analysts 9

Support and Employment Modes Supervisors 3

VR Counseling Analysts 9

VR Counseling Service Supervisors 20

VR Counselors 144

VR Counselors in Administration Positions* 3

Total 231

*Positions at Central Level of the Agency

The VRA, aware of the need to cover in the zone vacant positions due to retirement and resignation as well as the need to redistribute caseloads in areas of high volume of cases, proceeded to identify funds to appoint seven (7) VR counselors and project recruitment eleven (11) VR counselors. In accordance with the commitment to reduce to an average of least 200 cases peer VR counselor in the work zones; the VRA has created 39 new work zones during the past three (3) years. During FY 2012, the VRA attended a population of 44,362 in 151 work zones, for an average caseload of 247 cases. As of April 30, 2013, the population attended was 44,487 in 153 work zones, for an average caseload of 276 cases.

It is estimated that within a year, the average will be between 200 to 225 cases in accordance with the viability of the financial situation of the agency.

Average Caseloads per VR Counselors – FYs 2009-2013

FFY|Zones|Active Caseloads|Total Closures|Total Population Attended|Average Caseloads:

2013*|153|42,163|2,324|44,487|276

2012|151|37,312|7,050|44,362|247

2011|142|31,966|8,063|40,029|225

2010|127|28,558|9,311|37,869|225

2009|114|27,478|8,185|35,663|241

The VRA continues strengthening its working teams to provide speedy services that respond to the needs of individuals with disabilities. At the moment, the agency has 154 VRCs case management; and projecting to recruit 11 VRCs additional. To offer assitive and support to the VRCs, the VRA has 471 employees in differents classifications.

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 311 33 3
2 Support Staff 471 240 9
3 Administrative Staff 133 80 2
4 Other Staff 1 0 0
5 0 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

The institutions of higher education in Puerto Rico that are preparing VR professionals in the rehabilitation field are various. The VRA has collaborative agreements with three (3) universities that prepare professionals in the VR counseling field. The purpose of such agreements is to provide to the students the opportunity to carry out their practice in the rehabilitation field in facilities of our agency. 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 – 91 enrolled students and 5 graduates.

University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus – 476 enrolled students and 179 graduates in the following programs: Occupational Therapy; Physical Therapy; Master’s degree in Speech Pathology; and Nursing.

Interamerican University, Metropolitan Campus – 619 enrolled students and 92 graduates in the following programs: Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Psychology; and Master’s degree in Social Work/Direct Service.

Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (Ponce) – 54 enrolled students and 21 graduates in Program in Rehabilitation Counseling.

Bayamón Central University – 338 enrolled students and 59 graduates in the following programs: Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Counseling; Bachelor’s degree in Psychology; and Bachelor’s degree in Social Work; and Evaluation Vocational Certification.

Turabo University – 60 enrolled students and 10 graduates in Bachelor’s degree in Sign Language.

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 567 11 1 184
2 Pontifical Catholic University of PR in Ponce 54 12 5 21
3 Interamerican University of PR (Metro Area) 619 0 0 92
4 Bayamon Central University 338 16 0 59
5 Turabo University (in Caguas) 60 0 0 10

 

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 will continue with the development of the following procedures and activities:

• 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 of the agency.

• 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 of the development of employees.

• Identification of training and development needs, in order to implement personnel improvement projects (needs assessment). This is done in coordination among the 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.

• 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. The VRA has 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."

The VRA recruits without distintion of age, race, color, gender, social or national origin, social condition, political or religious beliefs. Our agency recruits based on the qualifications of the applicant. The Puerto Rico VRA is the only Designated State Unit of the nation in which 99% of its population is considered as minority (Hispanic and Spanish-speaking).

 

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 Board of Examiners. 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 the Continuing Education School from the Office of Training and Human Resources and Labor Advice of Puerto Rico.

• Maintenance of an updated register of training activities, seminars, and workshops, among others, offered to the personnel of the agency.

• Identification of re-training needs of the staff in order to strengthen of performance of their duties.

• Evaluation of personnel in the performance of their duties.

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. National Council of Rehabilitation Education (NCRE)-(Rehabilitation Educators and personnel related to the training of rehabilitation professionals, among others);

3. American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association-(Personnel related to the services for deaf individuals);

4. Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE)-(Personnel related to the supported employment services, among others);

5. National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)-(Personnel of Independent Living Services);

6. California State University at Northridge-(Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals in Assistive Technology);

7. Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (RESNA)-(Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals in Assistive Technology);

8. Colegio de Terapia Ocupacional de Puerto Rico- (Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants);

9. Colegio de Trabajadores Sociales de Puerto Rico-(Social Workers);

10. Asociación de Profesionales de Ayuda al Empleado de Puerto Rico-(Central Level Office Staff from the Employee Assistance Program);

11. Administración de Servicios de Salud Mental y Contra la Adicción (ASSMCA) (Central Level Staff from the Employee Asistance Program);

12. Academia de Audiología-(Audiologists);

13. Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Program (PRATP)-(Occupational Therapists, Speech & Language Pathologists, and Audiologists, among others);

14. Puerto Rico Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (PRRID)-(Interpretes for the Deaf); and

15. Asociación de Fisioterapia de Puerto Rico - (Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistants).

 

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 2012:

TITLE OF ACTIVITY/TRAINING|NO. OF PARTICIPANTS|PERSONNEL CATEGORY

PRRID Annual Conference- Interpreters |6|Support

Affirmative action |2|Administrative

Non verbal language at workplace |5|Administrative

ADA Amendments |3|Administrative

Legal aspects of supervision |33|VRC / Support

Basic supervision, coaching and mentoring |36|VRC / Support

OSHA Conference |3|Administrative

Empathy for occupational therapy |2|Support

Legal aspects of discipline |2|Administrative

Ergonomics for occupational therapy |13|Support

Human Resources Association Training |7|Administrative

Fringe benefits |4|Administrative

Job matching using Onet |201|VRC / Support

Adequate vocabulary and proper treatment towards people with disabilities |5|Administrative

Conferences, meetings and trainings out of territory |17|Support and Administrative

VR Counselors Annual Conference |210|VRC

Rehabilitation Counselors Professional Association Conference |151|VRC

Data collection for RSA-911 report |54|VRC / Support

Sign language |1|Support

Assistive Technology Certification Program |1|Support

Audiology Convention |3|Support

Improvement of government processes |1|Administrative

Physiotherapy Convention |9|Support

Legal continuing education |1|Administrative

Training for Social Workers |7|Support

Electronic notarization |1|Administrative

Legal continuing education |1|Administrative

Fiscal Issues Program |4|Administrative

Keyboard |2|Administrative

Law 184 and job classification |3|Administrative

Scope of human resources staff on labor legislation |3|Administrative

Evaluations reports and case notes writing |71|Support

Performance measurement criteria and public policy |171|VRC

Strategic planning and leadership |151|VRC / Support

Basic counseling skills |64|Support

Reports writing for adjudicative forums |3|Administrative

Staff performance evaluation |4|Administrative

Word basic |3|Support

Introduction to computers |5|Support

Sign language- Intermediate level |1|Support

Excel basic |1|Support

Skills for computer use |2|Support

Administrative Professionals Training |98|Administrative

Therapeutic management for hemiplegic superior extremities in adults |21|Support

Project management basic concepts |1|Administrative

Damages |2|Administrative

Domestic violence |1|Administrative

Basic supervision skills |4|VRC

Occupational Therapists Assembly |29|Support

Use of assistive technology equipment for the blind |29|Support

Elevating counseling thru evidence based practices |50|VRC

Information systems programmers training |4|Support and Administrative

Training for purchasing staff, drivers and others |40|Support and Administrative

Use of communication and computer access equipment |19|Support

Continuing education courses for Rehabilitation Counselors |95|VRC

 

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 participate in the activities offered by the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association, the Puerto Rico Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, the Randolph-Sheppard Conference, technological assistance conferences and other related training activities. At the same time, the agency has interpreters for the deaf that are used, when necessary, to provide assistance to deaf applicants or eligible consumers. During FY 2012, six (6) interpreters for the deaf were able to participate in the Puerto Rico Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (PRRID) Conference. The VRA provided training in sign language to two (2) employees from the agency (1 employee in basic sign language, 1 in intermediate sign language).

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 the native language (Spanish) 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.

The VRA acquired installed the Purple System (video-interpreting system) throughout its facilities, in order to guarantee the communication with the deaf population; even if the interpreter is not physically present at the place where the applicant/consumer is requesting services. We will be evaluating and conducting tests on the use of the equipment and training needs of the personnel to be identified as users of the system. The ARV will establish a protocol for the use of this equipment in the service delivery process at the six (6) Regions of Agency.

 

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. Related to the above, the VR Counseling Services Office has the responsibility to provide follow-up to the cooperative link between the Department of Education and the VRA. As part of this commitment, during FY 2012 three (3) meetings were conducted with de Advisory Committee of Special Education.

This screen was last updated on Jul 31 2013 4:15PM by Virginia Roque

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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

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

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

During FYs 2012-2014, the VRA will be carrying out a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assesment of those individuals with significant/most significant disabilities. The findings of this study will be included in our State Plan for FY 2015.

The last CSNA covered FY 2009-2011 and the next CSNA cycle will cover FY 2012-2014, a three-year cycle. The CSNA it is conducted every three years, with completed activities of the whole assessment. VRA will complete and report activities in the State Plan as they are conducted and submit a comprehensive CSNA to RSA every three years.

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.

The study carried out by the Institute of Developmental Disabilities doesn’t provide specific data neither on the population with significant disabilites nor on the population with the most significant disabilities. However, the VRA acknowledging the needs of the population with significant/most significant disabilities, proceeds to contract CRPs to provide services to unserved/underserved consumers such as those from the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra. In addition, the San Juan Regional Office has appointed a VR counselor to carry out two (2) monthly visits to these municipalities in order to provide services. The agency (VRA) also coordinates with the mayors of others municipalities, the use of their facilities by one of our VR counselors to offer services to individuals with disabilities from these municipalities.

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.

Groups of potential unserved or underserved people with physical or mental impairment that causes or results in a substantial disability to employment that may be identified include:

• Autism

• Deaf-blindness

• Deafness or other hearing impairment

Need:

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

B. Means of transportation (people who are living in rural areas).

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 2 2013 2:29PM by Virginia Roque

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

The VRA projects the provision of VR services to 37,708 individuals with disabilities, during Fiscal Year 2014. 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 37,708 consumers. This is part of our service commitments in accordance with the following evaluation standards and performance indicators:

1. Achieve an employment outcome for 2,903 consumers.

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

3. Achieve for 85% (2,468) of the consumers who obtain a gainful employment outcome, compensation at or above the established minimum wage.

4. Achieve that 70% (1,728) of the consumers described above, be individuals with significant/most significant disabilities.

The following are the priority categories defined by VRA (most significantly disabled, significantly disabled and non-significantly disabled):

Prioriy Category I: Most significantly disabled

Estimated funds to be spent: $28,683,725 from Title I and Title VI-B; Estimated number to be served: 28,983; and Average cost of services: $990.

Prioriy Category II: Significantly disabled

Estimated funds to be spent: $17,229,716 from Title I; Estimated number to be served: 21,177; and Average cost of services: $814.

Prioriy Category III: Non-significantly disable

Estimated funds to be spent: $5,979,262 from Title I; Estimated number to be served: 8,433; and Average cost of services: $709.

The following table shows a description of the service areas, the breakdown of projected cost of services, the estimated number of consumers to be served and the average cost of services for FY 2014:

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Evaluation (purchased services) Title I $536,781 1,789 $300
Physical and Mental Restoration Title I $941,484 1026 $917
Training Title I $20,628,864 19676 $1,048
Maintenance Title I $11,516,147 18367 $627
Transportation Title I $7,236,691 15682 $461
Personal Assistance (personal assistants) Title I $704,406 172 $4,095
Technological Assistance Title I $1,683,657 905 $1,860
Post-Employment Title I $3,000 4 $750
Small Businesses; Others Title I $1,674,975 329 $5,091
Support Employment Services Title I $6,966,698 643 $10,834
Totals   $51,892,703 58,593 $885

This screen was last updated on Jul 31 2013 4:29PM by Virginia Roque

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

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

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

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 2012-2014. 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 2012: 2,901

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 2012: 73.13%

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 2012: 97.21%

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 2012: 82.69%

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 2012: 87.66%

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 2012: 0.678

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 2012: 93.62%

Federal requirement: 53 %

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

Baseline FY 2012: 32.12

National Average “Peers” (FY 2012): 29.08

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

Baseline FY 2012: 87%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 55.8%

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.

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

2.1 Percentage of closures of transition-age consumers (between the ages

of 14-24).

Baseline FY 2012: 67.71%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2012): 48.51%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 44.39%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2012): 35.9%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 60.22%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2012): 82.74%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 70.65%

National average within 6 months (FY 2012): 77.06%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 77.2%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2012): 48.51%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 99.71%

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

Indicator: 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 2012: 84.35%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2012): 79.60%

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 2012: 64.36%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2012): 84.53%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 63.53%

National average for combined agencies (FY 202): 84.2%

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 2012: 8.22%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2011): 18.22%

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 2012: 86.69%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 104.5%

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 2012: 70.14%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2012): 81.54%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 34.10%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 24%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 6.5.%

National average for combined agencies (FY 2012): 17%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 67.55%

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

Baseline FY 2012: 41.49%

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

Baseline FY 2012: $7.71

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

Baseline FY 2012: 22.99 hrs

3.11 Average time taken in attending complaints.

Baseline FY 2012: 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.

Indicator: 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 2012: Twice (2) per year

4.2 Number of technical assistance activities provided to the CRPs.

Baseline FY 2012: Four (4) visits per year

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

Baseline FY 2012: Twice (2) per year

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

Baseline FY 2012: Five (5) per year

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

Baseline FY 2012: 3,519

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.

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

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

Baseline FY 2012: 55

5.2 Number of updated manuals, policies and procedures.

Baseline FY 2012: 8

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

Baseline FY 2012: 229

5.3(b) Number of evaluations carried out annually.

Baseline FY 2012: 229

This screen was last updated on Jul 31 2013 4:31PM by Virginia Roque

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

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

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

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

The VRA will maintain the following goals and plans in regard to supported employment for FY 2014:

Goal A: Certify and provide supported employment services to 643 consumers of the VRA.

Goal B: Achieve that at least 166 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 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 271 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); 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.

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:

The total amount of funds projected for the provision of SE services during FY 2013 is $7,058,087 assigned for the contracting of CRPs ($6,758,087 from Title I; and $300,000 from Title VI-B).

This screen was last updated on Aug 2 2013 3:38PM by Virginia Roque

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Indicators: 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.

FY 2010: 2,599

FY 2011: 2,711

FY 2012: 2,901

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

FY 2010: 73.44%

FY 2011: 72.47%

FY 2012: 73.13%

The minimum federal percentage of compliance is 55.80% and the VRA achieved 73.13% in FY 2012, although the percentage established by the agency was 75%, which may be reviewed for further fiscal years.

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

FY 2010: 95.23%

FY 2011: 96.39%

FY 2012: 97.21%

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

FY 2010: 82.80%

FY 2011: 85.10%

FY 2012: 87.69%

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 78.47%.

FY 2010: 82.59%

FY 2011: 84.81%

FY 2012: 87.66%

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.

FY 2010: 0.70

FY 2011: 0.68

FY 2012: 0.68

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%.

FY 2010: 88.65%

FY 2011: 92.04%

FY 2012: 93.62%

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

FY 2010: 30.87 (hours per week)

FY 2011: 31 (hours per week)

FY 2012: 32 (hours per week)

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

FY 2010: 69%

FY 2011: 76%

FY 2012: 87%

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

FY 2010: 52.80%

FY 2011: 54.40%

FY 2012: 55.20%

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the staff of the Centers of Support and Employment Modes contacted 2,916 employers.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Bayamón region submitted a proposal towards the implementation of the technological project to the Projects Management Office for its evaluation. It was then submitted to the Information Systems Office for their evaluation. This office met with the Office of Support and Employment modes to discuss needs and benefits of the project. At the moment, the project is under and acceptance and formalization stage towards its beginning during FY 2013.

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

Progress Report: This project was submitted together with the technological project described in the prior strategy B (See Progress Report of Strategy B of this Goal).

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, 107 salary incentives contracts were signed with employers in the modalities of regular employment and supported employment. One hundred and seven (107) consumers benefited from these contracts and 31 employers were impacted by such type of contracts; for a total of $174,740 allocated under Title I. These incentives provide an additional tool to employers’ efforts in the placement and retention of qualified consumers. The purpose of these incentives is to subsidize 75% of the federal minimum wage of the consumers to be employed during the first four (4) months of the contract. Afterwards, the employer is committed to absorb the total salary to be paid to the consumer.

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

Progress Report: One hundred and thirteen (113) microenterprises or small businesses were established and 360 of these are in the process of being established.

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.

Progress Report: The One-Stop Center referred 49 persons to the VRA and the VR counselors offered, in the One-Stop Centers, 247 orientations to the staff and visitors of such centers.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, thirty three (33) monitoring visits were carried out to those CRPs that maintained collaborative agreements with the VRA during said fiscal year.

NAME OF CRP|DATE OF PRELIMINARY MONITORING INTERVENTION|PERCENTAGE OF

COMPLIANCE|DATE OF FINAL MONITORING INTERVENTION|PERCENTAGE OF COMPLIANCE

Fundación Puertorriqueña Síndrome Down, Inc.|FY 2011|

N/A|Dec 6/2011|96%

CAPI Sur (SE)|March 6/2012|94%|Sept 14/2012|78%

Aibonito (SE)|March26/2012|94%|Aug 28/2012|95%

(RE)|April 26/2012|97%|Aug 17/2012|93%

IPVI Arecibo (SE)|March 9/2012|94%|Sept 5/2012|97%

Ponce (SE)|April 4/2012|96%|Sept 21/2012|77%

Mayaguez (SE)|April 12/2012|77%|Sept 6/2012|63%

EDUCAVIPRO (SE)|March 13/2012|80%|Sept 13/2012|87%

CARC (CRECES) (SE)|March 15/2012|75%|Sept 28/2012|69%

CODERI (SE)|March 28/2012|93%|Sept 17/2012|85%

YAI (SE)|April 3/2012|92%|Aug 21/2012|93%

PARES (SE)|April 10/2012|94%|Sept 26/2012|85%

MAVI (SE)|April 11/2012|84%|Sept 19/2012|67%

TCS (SE)|April 18/2012|94%|Aug 16/2012|96%

(RE)|April 24/2012|95%|Aug 8/2012|95%

CNH (SE)|April 20/2012|90%|Aug 31/2012|96%

Fundación Puertorriqueña Síndrome Down, Inc. (SE)|June 5/2012|91%|FY 2013|N/A

TIPCO (RE)|June 22/2012|84%|FY 2013|N/A

CAALPI (SE)|Aug 10/2012|92%|FY 2013|N/A

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the staff of the Centers of Support and Employment Modes offered 1,713 orientations and technical assistance to the staff of the CRPs.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, eleven thousand three hundred and forty five (11,345) consumers participated in the development of IPEs; and through the Centers of Support and Employment Modes, 547 served consumers with employment outcomes participated in orientations related to job search and independent living skills.

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.

Progress Report: The Office of Assessment and Adjustment, in coordination with the Systems Information Office, is in the process of analysis and design of a mechanized system to speed up processes actually carried out in a manual way. Such system will allow the data entry and development of reports in a speedy and responsive manner.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the contracted professionals, through consulting and/or professional services, offered a total of 6,557 evaluations or follow-ups, for a total of 12,554 provided services. In addition, 13,100.5 hours of interpreting services to the deaf were provided.

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.

Progress Report: The Office of Assessment and Adjustment offered 37 orientation activities to the staff of the Centers of Assessment and Adjustment.

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.

Progress Report: The Office of VR Counseling Services maintains continuous monitoring, through the Module of Maintenance and Transportation Services in CRIS, so that the checks issued for such services are under the limits of the established public policy (Regulatory Communication No. 2010-24: Review of Maintenance and Transportation Expenses, In Accordance with the Existing Public Policy). A work plan was planned and developed for FY 2013 in order to carry out monitoring visits islandwide to verify compliance with this strategy.

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

Progress Report: The Office of VR Counseling Services, in coordination with the Finance Office, monitors on a monthly basis compliance with the procedure described in the Regulatory Communication No. 2011-25: Procedure for the Provision of Lottery Agency Services for Consumers of the VRA. This communication establishes the requirement for such services as well as the amount established to operate the agency.

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.

Progress Report: The Office of VR Counseling Services is continuously revising the public policy of the agency in terms of the provision of VR services. In coordination with the Offices of Assessment and Adjustment, and Employment Modes, it offers orientation and technical assistance to the staff of the various centers (Assessment and Adjustment, Support and Employment Modes and VR Counseling Services) on high demand employments.

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

Progress Report: On July 17 of 2012, Regulatory Communication No. 2013-01: Quota as Non-Resident was issued. This communication establishes the applicable procedure for no extra payments for non-residents of the state.

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.

Indicator: 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).

FY 2010: 65.64%

FY 2011: 64.24%

FY 2012: 67.71%

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

FY 2010: 71.00%

FY 2011: 70.20%

FY 2012: 73.04%

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

FY 2010: 52.30%

FY 2011: 52.51%

FY 2012: 60.22%

The VRA has been working hard to comply with established goal. There has been improvement compared with FY 2011 (52.51%). Goal 2.3 considers just served closed cases, many of whom have spent several years in the system, while the improvement is reflected in new cases. In fact, our current percentage of eligibility rate for all cases during FY 2012 was 98.46%.

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.

FY 2010: 69.70%

FY 2011: 69.07%

FY 2012: 70.65%

The VRA has been working hard to comply with established goal. Goal 2.4 considers just served closed cases, many of whom have spent several years in the system, while the improvement is reflected in new cases. National percentage is between 76.96-77.06% and we reached 70.88%. The percentage established by the agency was 85%, which may be reviewed for further fiscal years.

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

FY 2010: 75.89%

FY 2011: 75.29%

FY 2012: 77.20%

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

FY 2010: 96.99%

FY 2011: 98.37%

FY 2012: 99.71%

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.

Progress Report: The Office of VR Counseling Services offered 1,048 technical assistance activities to the VR counselors as part of the work plan for the monthly monitoring of this strategy.

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.”

Progress Report: During FY 2012, three (3) meetings were carried out with the Consulting Committee, impacting 24 persons per meeting. During such meetings various aspect of the Transition Manual were discussed including its implementation in the VRA.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the activity known as “Primera Cumbre Somos un Millón” was carried out by the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). Sixteen (16) employees of the VRA participated in this activity. The VRA also participates periodically in activities of the SRC. For example, the Projects Management Office (VRA) offered an orientation to new members of the Council on the duties and responsibilities between both entities (VRA and SRC) and on the goals of the State Plan. The SRC actively participates with the VRA in the public hearings of the State Plan and it sends a representative to each one of our facilities during such hearings.

The Office of VR Counseling Services, through the CAP, offered 3,443 technical assistance activities.

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

Progress Report: The Systems Information Office, in coordination with the Office of VR Counseling Services, has developed a computerized application to obtain precise data to regulate and monitor transition referrals. The programming of the application was completed in March of 2012 and the synchronizing of data is still in progress. A professional meeting on this matter was carried out.

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).

Progress Report: During FY 2012, eleven (11) meetings were carried out with the Transition Committee.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012 the VR counselors participated in 226 meetings of the PPC. The VR counseling service analysts (transition) participated in 1,209 meeting of the PPC.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Centers of Support and Employment Modes reported 333 transitioning consumers referred and 151 consumers served and with employment outcomes (78 regular employment, 69 supported employment, and four (4) self-employment).

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

Indicator: 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%.

FY 2010: 76.96%

FY 2011: 81.43%

FY 2012: 84.35%

The percentage of compliance for combined agencies is 79.60% and the VRA exceed by achieving 84.35% in FY 2012. Percentage established by the agency was 85%, which may be reviewed for further fiscal years.

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%.

FY 2010: 56%

FY 2011: 57%

FY 2012: 64.36%

The VRA has been working hard to comply with established goal. There has been improvement compared with FY 2011 (57.02%). This goal considers just served closed cases, many of whom have spent several years in the system, while the improvement is reflected in new cases.

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

FY 2010: 55.17%

FY 2011: 62.76%

FY 2012: 63.56%

The VRA has been working hard to comply with established goal. There has been improvement compared with FY 2011 (62.76%). This goal considers just served closed cases, many of whom have spent several years in the system, while the improvement is reflected in new cases.

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.

FY 2010: 8.66%

FY 2011: 9.62%

FY 2012: 8.22%

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

FY 2010: 80.59%

FY 2011: 86.73%

FY 2012: 86.69%

The VRA has been providing orientation to case managers and support staff regarding this goal. Compliance has been difficult because some cases are classified as an SSDI beneficiary in our case management system when is another family member (i.e. parents) who receives the benefit. Most of the times the situation is reflected at the closure.

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

FY 2010: 80.20%

FY 2011: 98.99%

FY 2012: 104.45%

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

FY 2010: 69.54%

FY 2011: 66.9%

FY 2012: 70.04%

The percentage of compliance for combined agencies for a period of 3-6 months is 56.8-81.54 and the VRA achieved 70.04% in FY 2012. Percentage established by the agency was 85%, which may be reviewed for further fiscal years. An improvement is also reflected compared with FY 2011 (66.9%). On the other hand, this goal considers just served closed cases, many of whom have spent several years in the system, while the improvement is reflected in new cases.

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

FY 2010: 32.8%

FY 2011: 39.9%

FY 2012: 34.10%

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

FY 2010: 22%

FY 2011: 24%

FY 2012: 24%

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

FY 2010: 6.5%

FY 2011: 7.4%

FY 2012: 6.5%

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

FY 2010: 52.5%

FY 2011: 57.21%

FY 2012: 67.55%

The VRA has been working hard to comply with established goal. There has been improvement compared with FY 2011 (57.21%). This goal considers just served closed cases, many of whom have spent several years in the system, while the improvement is reflected in new cases.

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

FY 2010: 26.88%

FY 2011: 30.85%

FY 2012: 41.49%

The VRA has been working hard to comply with established goal. There has been improvement compared with FY 2011 (30.85%). This goal considers just served closed cases, many of whom have spent several years in the system, while the improvement is reflected in new cases.

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

FY 2010: $7.51

FY 2011: $7.36

FY 2012: $7.71

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

FY 2010: 22.26

FY 2011: 23.43

FY 2012: 22.99

3.11 Average time taken in attending complaints.

FY 2010: 30 days

FY 2011: 30 days

FY 2012: 30 days

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).

Progress Report: The Office of VR Counseling Services has carried out a monthly monitoring of service records. The office has developed a form to evaluate the percentage of compliance of eligibility determination and development of IPE of all applicants/consumers, including SSDI beneficiaries.

REGION|ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION WITHIN 60 DAYS|IPE DEVELOPMENT WITHIN 120 DAYS

Arecibo|90%|100%

Ponce|96%|92%

Caguas|94%|100%

Bayamón|100%|100%

Mayaguez|100%|94%

San Juan|100%|100%

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

Progress Report: The Office of VR Counseling Services has continued strengthening the existing guidelines to reduce the time taken to respond to the complaints of the applicants/consumers of the VRA in the various appellate forums.

During FY 2012, the average time taken in attending complaints was 30 days or less. Two hundred and nine (209) complaints were received; a responsive report was made for 197 of such complaints and a non-responsive report was made for the remaining 12 complaints.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Centers of Support and Employment Modes offered 1,124 technical assistance activities to the staff of the Centers of VR Counseling Services and Centers of Assessment and Adjustment. In addition, such Centers of Support and Employment Modes offered 30 technical assistance activities, to the regional staff, on the provision of supported employment services to those consumers with the most significant disabilities.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Centers of Support and Employment Modes received 665 new cases of regular employment and 212 cases were closed in St. 26. They also received 404 new cases of supported employment and 188 were closed in St. 26. In self employment, 307 new cases were received and 125 were closed in St. 26.

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

Progress Report: The Office of Programmatic Quality Control and Regional Support, in coordination with the Office of VR Counseling Services, carries out a monthly monitoring of the case management, developing statistical reports that are shared with the regional staff for the appropriate action and follow-up.

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.

Progress Report: The Office of Programmatic Quality Control and Regional Support, in coordination with the Office of VR Counseling Services and the Systems Information Office, carried out on April 12 of 2012 a professional meeting as part of the pilot project for the compliance of the State Plan. The purpose of this project is the development of statistical reports and follow-up for the monitoring of standards and indicators on a monthly and quarterly basis.

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.

Progress Report: The Division of Training and Development of Human Resources, in coordination with internal/external resources of the agency, carried out ten (10) training activities for the VR counselors. In addition, during FY 2012, continuing education courses were coordinated for an approximate 95 VR counselors.

The regional offices of the VRA carry out monthly meetings with the staff of the Centers of Support and Employment Modes, Centers of Assessment and Adjustment, and Centers of VR Counseling Services, in order to provide technical assistance in identified areas and follow-up to work plans with the purpose of focusing the staff on the goals and compliance of standards and indicators.

The Office of Assessment and Adjustment carried out six (6) presentations (1 per region) on the achievements of the Centers/Units of Assessment and Adjustment, projections, new offerings and gathering of recommendations to improve the services provision process. Such presentations were made for the benefit of VR counselors, supervisor and directors.

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).

Progress Report: The Office of VR Counseling Services offered 1,048 technical assistance activities on the topics described in the aforementioned strategy to the VR counselors, supervisors, regional directors and directors of the Centers of VR Counseling Services of the six (6) VRA regions.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Office of Assessment and Adjustment offered 38 technical assistance activities to all staff of the Centers of Assessment and Adjustment and staff of other areas involved in the provision of services to those consumers attended/served in such Centers of Assessment and Adjustment. Two hundred thirty (230) persons were impacted.

The Centers of Assessment and Adjustment received 4,312 referred cases (288 more cases than the previous year); ended with 4,645 carry over cases; and offered a total of 15,062 services (an increase of 47%).

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, two hundred thirty five (235) employees benefitted from orientations/training in areas such as job search; drafting of a Resumé; preparation for a professional job interview; development of independent living skills; community integration; and referral process to the Centers of Support and Employment Modes.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, monthly meetings were carried out throughout the regions of the VRA, with the participation of VR counselors and analysts to discuss and provide follow-up to the work plan, corrective actions, monitoring outcomes and received technical assistance. Findings and needs were discussed and appropriately channeled.

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.

Progress Report: On November 18, 2011 the Assessment and Adjustment Office offered a training on the VRA-26 form “Analysis of Pre-Employment Skills, Needs and Support Resources,” to 15 people including teachers, assessment and adjustment technicians and officials.

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.

Progress Report: During fiscal year 2012, VRA regional offices defined a work plan to include at least two interdisciplinary meetings on a monthly basis in order to improve the service delivery process between CAA; CSEM; and VRCSC.

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.

FY 2010: Twice (2) per year

FY 2011: Twice (2) per year

FY 2012: Twice (2) per year

4.2 Number of technical assistance activities provided to the CRPs.

FY 2010: Four (4) visits per year

FY 2011: Four (4) visits per year

FY 2012: Four (4) visits per year

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

FY 2010: Twice (2) per year

FY 2011: Twice (2) per year

FY 2012: Twice (2) per year

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

FY 2010: Six (6) per year

FY 2011: Five (5) per year

FY 2012: Five (5) per year

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

FY 2010: 3,258

FY 2011: 4,386

FY 2012: 3,519

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 disabilities, as well as other relevant information from other agencies/entities.

Progress Report: The VRA maintains coordination with the Office of the Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities, with the purpose of keeping an effective communication and sharing of relevant information between both agencies and their programs. The Office of VR Counseling Services carried out six (6) orientations (1 orientation per region) and coordinated two (2) interventions with staff from the Office of the Ombudsman, impacting 177 persons. Through the CAP, the Office of VR Counseling Services offered 3,443 technical assistance activities for the VR counselors and their supporting staff.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Centers of Support and Employment Modes carried out a total of 2,031 dissemination activities to promote the VRA as the agency directed to rehabilitate individuals with significant/most significant disabilities towards an employment outcome; as well as towards the dissemination of service offered in the Centers of Support and Employment Modes; the granting of salary incentives to employers; the benefits of employing disabled individuals; and applicable laws/regulations; among others. The orientation activities impacted 265 employers.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the VRA established a uniform procedure to disseminate information on its services and it also developed brochures and other informative materials for their distribution in all of the facilities of the agency. Two thousand thirty one (2,031) dissemination activities were carried out during the year.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the review of the State Plan was disseminated to the public at large through various ways such as: Public Notice in two (2) major newspapers and two (2) regional ones; distribution of notices in the waiting areas of VRA facilities; via e-mail to agencies, public/private entities and non-profit organizations; postings in the social networks (Facebook and Twitter); via internal mail to all VRA staff; and via regular mail to 10% (3,252) of the population served (35,519) up to May 15 of 2012. The regional offices of the VRA took the initiative of hand delivering of an invitation letter of participation in the public hearings to every visitor of such offices.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the VRA, through its Office of Assessment and Adjustment, participated in ten (10) meetings convoked by the PRATP, as part of the Advisory Council of Technological Assistance ascribed to such program. The PRATP prepared a brochure on the technological assistance services to be used by the transition analysts during their visits to schools. Of the previously mentioned meetings, three (3) of these were carried out with participation of the Departments of Education and Health, in order to discuss the report of the task force required by the Joint Resolution 480 of our Legislature. This resolution requires the identification of mechanisms to speed up the acquisition, disposition, recycling and reuse of the technological assistance equipment to facilitate the education, employment and a more independent living for disabled individuals.

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.

Progress Report: The VRA continues increasing the use of Outlook as a tool to disseminate, to all agency staff, information on services, applicable laws/regulations, public policy, and training activities, among others. It also has available, through Intranet, manuals, policies and procedures, guides, notices and reports to be accessed by all employees who have a computer. Through these tools, employees are to communicate and request technical assistance and advice in areas to be strengthened. In addition, the handling of documents is more responsive and speedy. The Communications Office, the Division of Training and Development of Human Resources as well as delegates from various committees use these tools to send information on activities, training, notices, news, etc.

The Information Systems Office developed a form in Intranet for the request of online services.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Centers of Support and Employment Modes carried out 101 promotional activities.

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.

FY 2011: 27

FY 2012: 55

5.2 Number of updated manuals, policies and procedures.

FY 2011: 2

FY 2012: 8

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

FY 2011: To be determined in FY 2012

FY 2012: 229

5.3(b) Number of evaluations carried out annually.

FY 2011: To be determined in FY 2012

FY 2012: 229

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.

Progress Report: The Division of Human Resources maintains up-to-date personnel movements, credentials, descriptions of positions and evaluations, as described in Attachment 4.10.

During FY 2012, the analysts of the Centers of Support and Employment Modes received 1,395 referred cases (665 regular employments, 423 supported employments, and 307 self employments) and served 547 cases with employment outcomes (234 regular employments, 188 supported employments, and 125 self employments).

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the VRA, through its Permanent Improvements Division, carried out works related to the development of permanent improvements projects, bidding processes, work plan, projection of cost and request of funds. The formal bidding for the second phase of improvements to the Río Piedras Center of Assessment and Adjustment was cancelled by the Administration of Medical Services of Puerto Rico until further notice. This administration was in charge of the guidelines for the formal bidding of such improvements.

There are three (3) projects where improvements are still pending. These are:

• Second phase of improvements to the Río Piedras Center of Assessment and Adjustment, located in Building F of the Puerto Rico Medical Center.

• Second phase of improvements to the Center of Assessment and Adjustment of the South, located in the Machelo Neighborhood, in Ponce.

• Center of VR Counseling Services located in the Puerto Rico Medical Center.

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.

Progress Report: A subsidy of $100,000 was granted to the SILC to assist and support its operation.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the following manuals, policies and procedures were revised, updated or developed:

• Procedure to Create Back Up Data in the VRA Systems.

• Users and Operational Manual for the System of Registration of Legal Contracts.

• Transportation Systems Manual for the Users of the Transportation Application of the General Services Division of the VRA. This application was designed to provide to the user the opportunity of maintaining a record of data and procedures carried out to control and have an inventory of all vehicles owned by the VRA.

• Regulatory Communication 2012-02: Eligibility Determination Requirements (34 CFR 361.42) on Not Imposing Additional Requirements for Any Applicant, Including Those With Mental Conditions Who Are Required to Have Treatment for a Six-Month Period.

• Regulatory Communication 2013-03: Amendment to Define Terms and Establish Administrative Sanctions in Accordance with the Protocol for the Management of Domestic Violence Situations, as required by Law no. 27 of September 29 of 2006, by which all public facility must adopt such protocol.

• Regulatory Communication 2013-01: Quota as Non-Resident of the State.

• Regulatory Communication 2013-02: Sponsorship of Training at Technical or Vocational Level at Institutions not Having Pell Grant.

• Users’ manual was completed for the VRA- Impact System.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the VRA, through its Budget and Finance Divisions, maintains fiscal controls of budgeted funds. Also, in coordination with the Division of Analysis and Systems Development, Programs or systems identified to cover fiscal area needs were developed (see Progress Report, Goal 5,

Strategy F). This Division modified the fiscal module to automatically assign the Treasury Department number in all payment vouchers.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Division of Analysis and Systems Development carried out the following activities related to the development of applications:

• System for Centers of Assessment and Adjustment- meetings were carried out for the gathering of information and identification of processes manually performed. A development plan was initiated towards the implementation of the system. The purpose of such system is to electronically register data on the provision of services in these centers. This will allow us to obtain statistical data in a speedy and responsive manner.

• Payroll System- The system was modified from EXCEL to SQL for a better management of data. Programming migrated from Framework (FW) 1.1 under the platform of Visual Studio 2003 to FW 3.5 Visual Studio 2008. Then, Visual Studio 2010, Framework 4.0 and Crystal report for Visual Studio 2010 were installed in the programming server to carry out test. Afterwards, Visual Studio 2012 was installed and tests were conducted in the programming server. Training in Visual Studio was provided to form (4) programmers.

• Standardization of Development Platform – All applications developed under NET with Visual Studio 2003 and 2008 migrated to Framework 4.0 in order to continue using Visual Studio 2010/2012 as a development tool. The programming migration for Visual Studio 2010/2012 was completed.

• The installation and configuration of “Team Foundation” server was initiated for the management of codes and projects.

• New technology has been evaluated for data synchronization of the application to register transition cases.

• Meetings were carried out with Microsoft to provide us with information/orientation on the possibility of moving to “Cloud” (these are servers from Internet whose data can the accessed from any place worldwide. Services are guaranteed to be provided with more speed and efficiency within a greater capacity and savings in physical space rent ability, among others).

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, a meeting was carried out to discuss duties of this Committee. A work plan was drafted for FY 2013.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the VRA has continued promoting the use of technological resources such as the processing of documents and data through Internet and Intranet. During the year, multifunctional machine were installed (fax-printer-photocopier-scanner) for the speed up of documents and data. The use of such resources has increased, making the agency more effective in the provision of services and compliance with its priorities.

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.

Progress Report: The Systems Information Manual was revised and is available in Intranet for all VRA users. Other manuals have been developed by the Systems Information Office and are available in Intranet for the access of all VRA employees.

During FY 2012, the Division of Analysis and Systems Development developed the following documents:

• Procedure to Create Back up Data in the VRA Systems

• Users and Operational Manual for the System of Registration of Legal Contracts

• Transportation Systems Manual for the Users of the Transportation Application of the General Services Division of the VRA

• Users Manual for the VRA-Impact System

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

Progress Report: The Office of Labor Affairs and Human Resources evaluated the performance of 229 employees.

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

Progress Report: The VRA continues strengthening its work areas by the reorganization and relocation of employees in essential positions for which they were appointed and/or trained. Such action strengthens the work teams and the established work plans in order to meet, in a speedy and responsive manner, the needs of the agency.

 

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, a total of 669 individuals were certified in supported employment and supported employment services were provided to 459 consumers. The CRPs provided services to 318 consumers (253 new cases; 65 carry over).

Goal met.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, a total of 188 consumers certified in supported employment were able to achieve employment outcomes (St. 26).

Goal 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: During FY 2012, the 12 contracted CRPs reported a satisfaction level of 98.4% based on the outcomes and comments of consumers on received services. The outcomes of the satisfaction survey are discussed and analyzed with 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.

Progress Report: The Centers of Support and Employment Modes continually investigate and contact organizations and entities that could provide supported employment services to unserved or underserved consumers. During FY 2012, these centers identified five (5) of such type of organizations/entities.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the VRA subsidized 16 CRPs which served 253 new cases and 65 carry over cases, for a total of 318 consumers served.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the VRA continued communication and support to the Workforce Development Administration in its services centers, in order to provide services to persons with disabilities eligible for VRA.

2. Promote the different supported employment models such as: the individualized model (consisting of a consumer and his job coach); 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).

Progress Report: During FY 2012 two hundred eighteen (218) consumers of supported employment were placed under the individualized model; four (4) consumers under the brigade model; and one (1) under the entrepreneurial model.

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: During FY 2012, the staff of the Centers of Support and Employment Modes offered 1,713 orientations/technical assistance to the staff of the CRPs.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the VRA granted 107 salary incentive contracts to employers of supported employment (14 more contracts than the ones granted in FY 2011), impacting 107 consumers and 31 employers.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Office of Support and Employment Modes has worked the request for proposal process for the provision of supported employment services. A public announcement was issued and orientations were provided to all entities interested in submitting proposals. Twelve (12) CRPs were contracted for the provision of supported employment services.

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

Progress Report: During FY 2012, thirty three (33) monitoring interventions were carried out to the contracted CRPs. From this total, twenty eight (28) interventions were performed to CRPs of supported employment.

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: During FY 2012, the staff of the Centers of Support and Employment Modes offered 1,124 orientations/technical assistance to the regional staff in support of the services provided to the consumers of supported employment. Two hundred thirty five (235) employees of such centers were trained on topics related to job search, preparation of a professional interview, and independent living skills.

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.

Progress Report: The Office of Support and Employment Modes has, among its priorities, the development of an evaluation tool on the services received in the Centers of Support and Employment Modes, in order to measure consumer satisfaction. On the other hand, the evaluation tool used and applied by the CRPs has been received and is currently in use by such. During FY 2012, a 98.4% satisfaction was reported on the services received in the CRPs.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the staff of the CRPs and VRA continued receiving orientation and technical assistance in the provision of services to those individuals with the most significant disabilities.

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.”

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Office of Support and Employment Modes continued working on the request for proposal process for the provision of supported employment services. A public announcement was issued and orientations were provided to all entities interested in submitting proposal. Twelve (12) CRPs were contracted. In addition, 1,713 orientations/technical assistance were provided to the Staff of the CRPs on topics related to the provision 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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the staff of the Office of Support and Employment Modes continued planning and offering orientations on public policy of the VRA, laws/regulations and applicable procedures to the CRPs, partners, employers, participating entities and service vendors. Thirty (30) orientation activities were offered during the year.

Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds:

Progress Report: In order to guarantee the provision of supported employment services during FY 2012, the VRA used $5,370,743 assigned for the contracting of CRPs (3,396,607 from Title I; $300,000 from Titlle VI, Part B; and $1,674,136 from a Legislative Joint Resolution).

 

Performance Indicator 1.1 — Change in Employment Outcomes

Indicator 1.1 is the difference between the number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period and the number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the previous performance period.

The performance level for indicator 1.1 is: Equal or Exceed Previous Performance

FY 2010: 2,599

FY 2011: 2,711

FY 2012: 2,901

Performance Indicator 1.2 — Percent of Employment Outcomes

Indicator 1.2 is the percentage of individuals exiting the program during the performance period who have achieved an employment outcome after receiving services.

The performance level for indicator 1.2 is: 55.8%

FY 2010: 73.44%

FY 2011: 72.47%

FY 2012: 73.13%

Performance Indicator 1.3 — Competitive Employment Outcomes

Indicator 1.3 measures the percentage who exit the VR program in employment in integrated settings with or without ongoing support services, self-employment, or BEP (Business Enterprise Program) employment with hourly rate of earnings equivalent to at least the federal or state minimum wage rate, whichever is higher, based on all the individuals exiting the program who have achieved an employment outcome after receiving services.

The performance level for indicator 1.3 is: 72.6%

FY 2010: 92.23%

FY 2011: 96.39%

FY 2012: 97.21%

Performance Indicator 1.4 — Significance of Disability

Indicator 1.4 is the percentage of those individuals identified in Indicator 1.3 who have significant disabilities.

The performance level for indicator 1.4 is: 62.4%

FY 2010: 82.80%

FY 2011: 84.81%

FY 2012: 87.66%

Performance Indicator 1.5 — Earnings Ratio

Indicator 1.5 is the ratio of the average hourly earnings of all individuals in competitive employment to the average hourly earnings of all employed individuals in the state.

The performance level for indicator 1.5 is: .52

FY 2010: .70

FY 2011: .68

FY 2012: .68

Performance Indicator 1.6 — Self-Support

Indicator 1.6 is measured as follows: for those identified in Performance Indicator 1.3, the difference in the percentage of individuals who at program entry reported their income as the largest single source of support, and the percentage that reported their personal income as the largest single source of support at program exit.

The performance level for indicator 1.6 is: 53.0

FY 2010: 88.65%

FY 2011: 92.00%

FY 2012: 93.62%

Performance Standards 2.1 — Minority Background Service Rate

The ratio of the percent of individuals with a minority background to the percent of individuals without a minority background exiting the program who received VR services.

The performance level for indicator 2.1 is: .80

FY 2010: 0.57

FY 2011: 1.39

FY 2012: 1.13

 

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the VRA contracted the firm Purple Communications, Inc. for the installation of a system of telephone calls for the use of deaf consumers. The system was installed in various offices of the VRA. During the year, the process of installation was completed and training was provided to various employees of the agency.

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.

Progress Report: Please refer to Goal 2, Strategy D of this Attachment.

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.

Progress Report: During FY 2012, the Systems Information Office and its divisions carried out the following tasks related to the updating of the communications network of the agency:

• New circuits were installed in regional and satellite offices although corrections in some configuration details are still pending.

• The firm Netware was contracted as collocation of our communication network servers and monitors of the net through specialize programs.

• Equipment was acquire (television sets) in order to implement a digital signaling project that presents information (messages, announcements, etc.) in an electronic manner for the view of those visitors to our facilities. The equipment was installed in the regional offices and training was provided to the staff of the Systems Information Office. The project is under the review and approval of the administration of the agency.

• A wiring project was initiated in one of our facilities, lacking the necessary infrastructure, to connect computers and other equipment to the communications network.

• The process for the acquisition of a new firewall was initiated in order to protect our communications network.

• The need for digital registration of communication lines (voice and data) was identified. A project to address this need is still pending.

• The FORTINET equipment was installed for the monitoring of Internet use.

• Training on the management of our switchboard was provided to the staff of the Computer Center.

• The development of a project to replace the existing case management system is under review.

• The Avant equipment was repaired and configured to be able to use it with the application of the MECA tests, specifically in the Arecibo region and in the facilities of Río Piedras. Also, computers were installed in the regions for such MECA tests.

• The installation of a data center in Caguas was completed as a preventive measure, in case of an emergency in our data center located in Puerta de Tierra (San Juan). The forest functional level was update in the data center of Puerta de Tierra. In addition, there has been a reconfiguration of the functions of both data centers.

• Computers were purchased and installed for the purchasing agents of the agency.

• Wiring has been installed in the central offices and there has been a reconfiguration in the communication equipment.

• A new programming server was configured (arv-sql-2) for the Division of Analysis and Systems Development and the standardized code in the production server was updated (arv-sql-1).

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.

Progress Report: A subsidy of $133,000 was provided to the SRC and a subsidy of $100,000 was provided to the SILC. The VRA actively participated in the activities convoked by both councils and, in joint collaboration with both entities, coordinated and carried out dissemination/orientation activities for disabled individuals, employers and public/private entities.

The VRA offered two (2) orientation/training activities to the components of the SRC.

This screen was last updated on Aug 2 2013 10:29AM by Virginia Roque

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

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

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

System Information

System information

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on:08/02/2013 3:42 PM

Last updated by:saprroquev

Completed on: 08/02/2013 3:42 PM

Completed by: saprroquev

Approved on: 08/02/2013 3:50 PM

Approved by: rsastellart