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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Alaska Dept of Labor and Workforce Development - Division of Vocational Rehab State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

1.1 The Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is authorized to submit this State Plan under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended [1] and its supplement under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act [2].

1.2 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development [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

Director Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

... 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

Director Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Cheryl A. Walsh

Title of Signatory
Director, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/27/2012

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2013
No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

The State of Alaska has a State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) consistent with Section 105 the Act and 34 CFR 361.17. In Alaska, the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee (SVRC) serves as the SRC. The SVRC holds quarterly face-to-face meetings at various locations throughout the State thus enabling them to gain a comprehensive, first hand understanding of the statewide vocational rehabilitation program.

 

Recommendations made to DVR:

The SVRC made no formal, written recommendations to DVR during FY2011. Through discussion and questioning of DVR practices and programmatic results, the SVRC provides on-going support to DVR and offers suggestions that do not always rise to the level of a formal recommendation. For example, the SVRC made suggestions  regarding the Consumer Satisfaction Survey as to how the results were calculated, how the surveys were distributed and how the questions were worded. DVR incorporated the suggestions into the survey.  

In accordance with 34 CFR § 361.17 (h) (4), the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee (SVRC) in collaboration with DVR conducts an on-going Consumer Satisfaction Survey in an effort to ensure that DVR is meeting its programmatic responsibilities to the individuals receiving vocational rehabilitation (VR) services while providing the highest level of service possible. The survey contains a series of statements designed to measure the individual’s attitudes and satisfaction levels.  

A survey was either mailed or emailed to all those individuals whose cases were closed during federal FY2010 after having received VR services under an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The information gathered from this process is used in the comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA), DVR’s strategic plan and DVR’s state plan. 

One thousand three-hundred eleven (1,311) individuals were surveyed with a response rate of 16.6%.

The survey looks at four broad areas:  

Program Satisfaction: How did DVR do in general?

  • 82% of all respondents expressed overall satisfaction with DVR’s services. 
  • 89% said they would refer a friend or relative to DVR.  

Program Information: Was the individual provided of adequate information about the VR program?

  • 92% responded they knew the purpose of DVR was to help them find a job. 

Participant Involvement: Was the individual involved in selecting both VR services and the vocational goal?

  • 86% indicated they helped choose their vocational goal. 
  • 86% helped plan the VR services they received.  

Participant and Staff Interaction: How well did the DVR staff interact with the individual?

  • 88% reported they were treated with courtesy and respect.
  • 87% said DVR staff were available when needed.  

Written comments indicated that interaction with DVR staff was what respondents liked most about their DVR experience while the unavailability of their counselor (including phone calls not being returned) was what respondents most disliked about their DVR experience.    

 

Activities of the SVRC   

Throughout the past fiscal year, the SVRC has: 

  • Collaborated with DVR on the development of the State Plan.
  • Conducted public forums in both urban and rural areas of the State garnering consumer satisfaction with DVR services.
  • Advised DVR on the development of and implementation of revisions to DVR policies and procedures.
  • Collaborated with the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education to support DVR’s efforts on Project Search.
  • Provided support to the State Independent Living Council when needed on employment related issues.
  • Conducted outreach efforts to recruit new members to the SVRC.
  • Participated in the federal 107 Monitoring Review Report debriefing.
  • Conducted a consumer satisfaction survey. Made recommendations about the survey instrument and methodology that were implemented by DVR.
  • Educated and provided information on DVR and employment of people with disabilities to the Alaska State Legislature.
  • Conducted community forums on transition services for youth in various locations throughout the State. This information was incorporated into DVR’s transition planning documents.

 

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

Alaska DVR is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Apr 10 2012 1:27PM by saakmcintoshj

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.

1. DVR works closely with the Coordinated Resources Project (CRP) which is also known as the Anchorage Mental Health Court. The mission of the CRP is to divert people with mental disabilities charged with misdemeanor offenses from incarceration and into community treatment and services including mental health counseling and vocational rehabilitation as appropriate in order to prevent further contacts with the criminal justice system.

2. DVR in collaboration with the Alaska Brain Injury Network, the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) programs, the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education (GC), Access AK and the Veterans Administration are working to support the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Center for Human Development Customized Self-Employment Model for Individuals with Brain Injury.  

This pilot project was recently funded by the Kessler Foundation, Access AK, and the VA with a focus on individuals with TBI.  For the next year, the goal is to serve 15 clients with TBI, 5 in each pilot location; Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.  The goal is to help each applicant successfully develop, launch and sustain a successful small business. 

 

3. DVR is a partner of the Alaska Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Consortium with a current MOU in place for 2011.

 

4. DVR also has a Memorandum of Understanding between the Mat-Su Borough School District and the Mat-Su Service for Children and Adults to support the successful transition of the school district’s Next Step program form high school to paid meaningful employment. Desired student post school outcomes are to be attained through a sustainable, well planned and coordinated effort by the three entities. A guiding principle of the agreement is that it is not the responsibility of the student to fit into what services are available, rather it is the responsibility of the service agencies and providers to offer the services that fit the needs of the student.

 

5. DVR has agreements with community providers to enhance the quality of service provided to individuals receiving supported employment services.

 

6. DVR is on the Alaska FASD Steering Committee. This is an interagency group including the Alaska Court System, Alaska Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Justice, Division of Public Assistance, Division of Behavioral Health, AIVRS programs, and DVR. The goal of the group is to increase the State’s capacity to help individuals with FASD to become more successfully independent. 

7. DVR continues to work with the Department of Administration,  Division of Personnel on the State as a model employer of individuals with disabilities.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

  • 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.

DVR’s policy on Transition Services describes the VR counselor’s role and responsibilities in planning for and developing an IPE for each eligible student prior to the student’s leaving school. DVR’s Transition Coordinator further provided training to both special education teachers at the State’s annual Special Education Conference and VR counselors on their respective roles in transition planning. Various DVR staff communicate at multiple levels of special education professionals within the State. For example, the Transition Coordinator and the Assistant Chief of Rehabilitation Services communicate regularly with State Department of Education and Early Development special education staff while the VR counselors’ focus in on building relationships with the special education teachers. The SVRC representative on Special Education and transition provides input to DVR’s strategic plan and on the long-range transition plan developed by DVR’s transition coordinator.

DVR has cooperative agreements with all levels of educational institutions within the State including local school districts, the State Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), and the University of Alaska statewide system. The purpose of these agreements is to outline the responsibilities of all entities involved with either the transition from high school or the education of those individuals with disabilities.

1. The Department of Education and Early Development, Division of Special Education (DEED) and DVR have an interagency agreement which is designed to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from receipt of educational services in school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services.

 The agreement includes:

  • DVR’s assurance of the development and implementation of an IPE for each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services before the student leaves school;
  • Designation of a regional DVR contact that is responsible for clarifying questions and concerns relating to the implementation of the agreements with local school districts;
  • DVR’s assurance that the core tenets, principles, and career goals stated in each student’s IEP will be incorporated into the development of their Individualized Plan for Employment. DEED’s Special Education Unit also provides funding for members of the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee to travel to events related to transition student such as the annual statewide special education conference. 

 2. DVR has memorandums of understanding or cooperative agreements with all of Alaska’s fifty-four school districts. The purpose of the agreements is to provide comprehensive, coordinated services to meet the special educational transitioning needs of students age 16 to 22. Through interagency planning the intention is to eliminate duplication of services, promote the most efficient use of resources, clarify agency roles and responsibilities, and offer quality transitioning plans thereby assuring continuous, well-coordinated services for young adults and their families. The agreements are managed through the office of DVR’s transition coordinator.

The agreements address:

  • Referrals to DVR;
  • The assessment responsibilities of the schools and DVR;
  • The programmatic responsibilities each party has, such as the school’s role in educating the students with disabilities through the age of twenty-one and DVR’s role in providing technical assistance to the schools for IEP development and when appropriate, vocational support; and
  • The financial responsibilities of the schools and DVR.

 DVR also has a Memorandum of Understanding between the Mat-Su Borough School District and the Mat-Su Service for Children and Adults to support the successful transition of the school district’s Next Step program form high school to paid meaningful employment. Desired student post school outcomes are to be attained through a sustainable, well planned and coordinated effort by the three entities. A guiding principle of the agreement is that it is not the responsibility of the student to fit into what services are available, rather it is the responsibility of the service agencies and providers to offer the services that fit the needs of the student.

 3. DVR has a memorandum of understanding with the University of Alaska statewide system delineating the responsibilities of each entity regarding individuals with disabilities who are served by DVR and who are enrolled as students within the University of Alaska statewide system.

The agreement includes:

  • The roles of each party;
  • The financial and programmatic responsibilities;
  • The legal basis for the agreement; and
  • The method for resolving disputes.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

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

DVR has signed agreements with community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) to provide specific vocational rehabilitation services. Only CRPs who meet the qualifications described in the DVR Standards for Community Rehabilitation Programs and have a signed agreement with DVR are eligible to provide such services. The agreements are renewed every three (3) years. The agreement has recently been revised to include minimum training, education and experience requirements for the different services DVR purchases from CRPs. New policies regarding payment structures are in draft format and a strong CRP component has been incorporated into the annual case review process.

 The service provider application:

  • Requires a background check as well as the education and employment experience of all employees working with DVR consumers.
  •  Fees for services. 
  • Outlines the conditions and guidelines under which the division and the service provider will provide services for individuals with disabilities specifying the responsibilities of each party, the scope of services, the evaluation criteria, and reporting and billing requirements.    
  • Outlines standards for service providers including: organizational structure; personnel; fiscal management; health, safety, and accessibility; and indemnity and insurance requirements.  

 DVR’s CRP specialist is responsible for approving the agreements. Changes in key personnel and fees are reported to and negotiated with DVR. Following the principles of informed choice, information on the CRPs including their services and fees are available to DVR’s consumers and are posted on DVR’s internet.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

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.

Collaborative efforts exist between DVR, the Division of Behavioral Health, the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, the University of Alaska Affiliated program (the Center for Human Development), and the Division of Senior and Disability Services (DSDS) to provide extended services to those supported employment consumers leaving the VR program.

 The Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education functions as the State Council on Developmental Disabilities and works to build capacity, plans for systems change, and advocates for change for people with disabilities. System change focuses of system changes include housing, employment, early intervention, special education, lifelong learning, independent living and inclusion in the community. DVR’s Assistant Chief of Rehabilitation Services is an active member of this council. DSDS maintains the developmentally disabled register which is in essence the wait list for long term support services. DVR is in the process of renewing a memorandum of understanding with DSDS.

The Mental Health Board and the Governor’s Advisory Board on Alcohol and Drug Abuse have combined to plan and advocate for policies, programs and services that help Alaskans who have a mental illness or substance abuse issues. DVR has a staff member on this board. In addition, DVR has an on-going commitment to quality supported employment services as evidenced by the recent formation of a high level committee including the DVR Chief of Rehabilitation Services and the Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities to evaluate the current level of supported employment services available. DVR has sustained the principles of the system change customized employment grant that focused on wrap-around services for the most severely disabled.

 As mentioned in Attachment 4.8(b)(1), DVR is working with different organizations focusing on two groups which often require Supported Employment Services: those individuals with TBI and those diagnosed as FASD. The TBI service delivery system is focused on the Customized Self-Employment Model for Individuals with Brain Injury with a goal of self-employment. The FASD Steering Committee recognizes the long term affects FASD has on those affected and the increasing need of long-term supports.. 

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

ADVR currently has 98 full time positions providing vocational rehabilitation services, as well as having available one graduate intern position. Field staff are comprised of the following positions: 5 VR managers, 43 counselors, 28 assistants, 1 vocational evaluator, 1 Director, 1 Chief and 1 Assistant Chief.  Other management, administrative and support staff account for the remaining 18 staff positions.

In FFY2011 ADVR served 4239 individuals who experience disabilities. The division continuously evaluates staffing needs to ensure all Alaskans with disabilities are appropriately served. The division believes that we have adequate staff in each personnel category.

ADVR experienced slightly less personnel turnover this fiscal year and all of the turnover was due to personnel leaving the field for various reasons versus retirement (7 staff equaling 7% of all staff).  Three DVR counselors, three VR Assistants and one administrative staff separated.     The State of Alaska, Division of Personnel continues to project that the staff turnover due to retirement will increase over the next two to three years (2012-2014).   ADVR continues to find it difficult to use historical information to make staffing projections, however 12% of the division’s staff can retire immediately and a total of 27% of all employees will be eligible to retire within the next five years.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 43 2 10
2 Vocational Rehabilitation Assistant 28 1 7
3 Vocational Rehabilitation Evaluator 1 0 0
4 Vocational Rehabilitation Managers 5 0 2
5 Other Management Staff 18 0 8
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

Alaska does not have an institution of higher education that offers a rehabilitation counseling program leading to a Master degree. Staff who do not meet the divisions CSPD enroll in distance education rehabilitation counseling programs throughout the country. ADVR has and continues to support ADVR staff in these distance education programs in order to meet the CRC certification requirements. 

The University of Alaska (UAA) offers programs leading to Human Services Applied Associates and Bachelor degrees. ADVR paraprofessional staff enroll in programs through this institution on a regular basis. Master’s degrees in Counseling are also available through the UAA system.   Eight VRC’s were enrolled in graduate education during FFY 2011 in various institutions including University of Arkansas, Little Rock, West Virginia University, Texas Tech University and University of Wisconsin-Stout. One counselor completed their graduate education during this time period and one sat for the CRC exam.    The division currently has two VRC vacancies. Of the 41 filled VRC positions 83% met the divisions CSPD standard (34/41=83%) which is the highest percentage in the past five years. This represents an increase of  5% from the previous federal fiscal year.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 0 0 0 0
2 0 0 0 0
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

ADVR evaluates our personnel needs annually as part of our strategic planning process. The specific lack of higher education programs in the State has created challenges for the recruitment of qualified rehabilitation counselors. Out-of-state recruitment is also challenging due to State of Alaska, Division of Personnel rules, however after unsuccessful in state recruitments, out of state recruitments are an option.

ADVR utilizes several recruitment strategies in addition to provisional hire for people with disabilities. One of the more successful strategies is to hire entry or journey level rehabilitation counselors who are highly supervised and have limited authority and assist them in obtaining the education and certification required to become a qualified rehabilitation counselor. This same strategy is often successful with paraprofessional staff as well. ADVR also recruits from Tribal VR programs, community rehabilitation and social service programs. ADVR also offers paid or non-paid internships to rehabilitation counseling graduate students interested in relocating to Alaska and has also participated in the Region X recruitment initiative.

Alaska relies upon educational institutions that deliver their curriculum via distance education. Relationships with educational institutions change based upon staff enrollment. ADVR has a strong working relationship with West Virginia University (WVU). Currently, four staff participate in the WVU program, all of whom are receiving RSA sponsored scholarships. Staff also participate in rehabilitation counseling programs at Texas Tech University, University of Arkansas, Little Rock and University of Wisconsin-Stout. ADVR’s training specialist sits on the Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate School Advisory Board for Western Washington University.   Staff recruitment is conducted in accordance with the provisions of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The State of Alaska employment statutes provide for provisional hire which allows ADVR, as well as other state agencies, an additional opportunity to take affirmative action to employ individuals with disabilities.

In addition to our normal in-state recruitment, ADVR has expanded its recruitment efforts. Vacancies are also posted with the University of Alaska’s Career Services Center, Rehab Jobs, Pacific Northwest Center for Continuing Education (CCER) and Hot Jobs through Yahoo and direct contact with educational institutions, such as Western Oregon University for specialty positions.  

 

The State of Alaska does not require State licensure requirements for rehabilitation counselors; however ADVR adopted the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) academic degree requirements as the standard.

The Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) requires ADVR to establish personnel standards that assure personnel are adequately prepared and trained. Strategies developed by ADVR to ensure the retraining, recruiting and hiring of personnel include:

  •  Attendance at local job/career fairs;
  • Formation of an in-house training and staff development team;
  • Offering paid and non-paid graduate internships;
  • Supporting rehabilitation counseling as an employment goal for clients;
  • Supporting staff to obtain the academic requirements by CRC;
  • Providing CRC accredited training to maintain CRC recertification and to provide for general staff development;
  • Utilizes the training resources and support of the Pacific Northwest Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE) and the Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation (CCER);
  • Presentations to graduate level counseling students at local university; and
  • The development of a career advancement system that integrates educational and credentialing required and measures knowledge and skills in hiring and promotional consideration. This system is consistent with the national certification of rehabilitation counselors.

ADVR successfully implemented a change to counselor position descriptions of those who currently do not meet the divisions CSPD personnel standard. All staff who were employed prior to this personnel action were required to meet the standard by 2014. Staff who currently do not meet the CSPD standard require additional supervision and review of all non-delegable functions including eligibility determination, plan and plan amendment approval, and determination of successful employment outcome.

In addition, ADVR expects that newly hired personnel (after October 2008) who do not meet the CRC academic requirements will do so within six years of employment if employed as a VRC I and three years if hired as a VRC II. During this time period, employees are closely supervised by CRCs and are not considered rehabilitation professionals. At a minimum, newly hired personnel must have a Bachelors degree, however all new hires during this reporting period were hired with at least a Masters degree in a counseling or related field.

As part of ADVRs strategic planning process, an annual evaluation of the effectiveness of ADVRs recruitment and training practices is completed. Strategies to improve recruitment and training are identified and incorporated in the plan.

 

Annual comprehensive human resource training and development plans are based on the needs assessment process, budget availability, new federal initiatives, and outcomes of program evaluations. Needs assessment includes information from individual and regional case reviews, client satisfaction surveys and consumer forums, performance appraisals, performance skill rating tools, employee staff development plans, organizational plans, CAP annual reports and supervisor and employee training needs surveys. Each individual in the agency has an employee development plan that is updated on a regular basis. As part of the process, data is compiled by the training specialist and used in determining group and individual training activities.

In-service training for FY2011 focused on Motivational Interviewing Skills for all VR counselors and managers. An additional two days of Motivational Interviewing Follow Up training was delivered 6-8 weeks after the initial training to reinforce the principals and techniques of this counseling theory/technique. VR Assistants participated in training focused on the intake interview process, understanding disability related benefits, confidentiality and disclosure and roles and responsibilities.

Other training activities included:

  •  Traumatic Brain Injury
  • ADA Training
  • Reasonable Accommodations under the ADA Amendments of 2008
  • Assistive Technology throughout the Rehabilitation Process
  • Alaska Career Information Systems
  • Ethics for Rehabilitation Professionals
  • Serving Cognitive Offenders
  • Wellness and Recovery
  • Stress on the Job
  • As well as various other web-based training on the ADA and Technology, specific disabilities and many more.

All new VRA’s participate in on-line training within their first year of employment. This training is foundational and covers the following five topics:

  • History of VR
  • Basic Ethical Considerations
  • Navigating Sticky Situations
  • Developing Collaborative Relationships, and Cultural Diversity       

Training activities for ADVR staff are also coordinated with WIA partners through Job Centers and with Tribal VR.   To keep counselors and paraprofessionals current on the latest research and enhance their knowledge-base, on-going training is available. Much of the training is delivered via teleconferences primarily from the Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation, University of Washington. Virginia Commonwealth University, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center publishes an electronic newsletter through Worksupport.com. This e-newsletter includes various articles and trainings that are based on current research efforts. This electronic newsletter is forwarded to all division staff, which typically includes at least one research based article per edition.  

Staff have participated in trainings sponsored by Work Support including:

  • Supported Employment
  • Supported Competitive Employment for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury

Annually staff receive training from medical professionals on the medical aspects of various disabilities such as substance abuse, diabetes, autism, FASD and blindness, low vision and deafness and hard of hearing, etc. ADVR also trains staff annually through regional trainings on new initiatives and changes in the law. The training team utilizes information from entities and organizations such as The Institute on Rehabilitation Issues, The National Rehabilitation Association, and the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association.

Additionally, members of the Training and Staff Development Team maintain relations with the CCER and Pacific Northwest TACE based at the University of Washington. This program provides training on current issues and research such as performance based outcomes.  

 

ADVR employs a full-time staff member who is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) to facilitate communication with the deaf and hard of hearing consumers and staff.  The Division also supports staff to gain skills in ASL to increase the number of staff who are able to communicate with consumers who are deaf.  Tele-interpreting is also widely used.  When possible, consumers with specific language skills are referred to staff possessing those secondary language skills.  The Department of Labor and Workforce Development has a list of fluent interpreters for in-demand languages such as Tagalog, Russian and Spanish.  Staff will also solicit the services from a qualified language interpreter when needed.  The Division relies heavily on the Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation programs to coach our staff on the culturally appropriate methods of communication with our Alaska Native consumers.

 

ADVR consistently collaborates with the State of Alaska, Department of Education on numerous staff development and training initiatives. We currently participate in:

1. ADVR Transition Services.

ADVR and local school districts throughout Alaska work together, in conjunction with students and their families, to coordinate activities that will result in successful employment outcomes. These transition services are designed to facilitate a high school student’s smooth transfer from school to agencies such as the ADVR.

Currently, ADVR counselors are assigned to work with a specific school and/or school districts. They work in the schools on an itinerate basis. Rural or village schools may work with VR counselors via telephonically and through the special education teacher.

The transition coordinator holds monthly teleconferences with all VR counselors who work with youth. These calls allow counselors to share information; best practices or strategies that are working form them.

2. Statewide Special Education Conference.

Annually ADVR registers VR counselors who work with youth to participate in this conference. This again provides an opportunity for VR counselors to learn about special education topics such as; disability topics, assistive technology, accommodations and support services and the requirements of IDEA and a plethora of other special education topics.

ADVR counselors also take the time to build and strengthen relationships with special education teachers and district staff. In conjunction with this year’s conference six VR counselors from around the state met with the division’s transition coordinator for an additional day of staff training. This training focused on motivating teens and challenges/solutions to serving youth in Alaska.

3. Special Education Director Conference.

The ADVR transition coordinator and the Chief of Rehabilitation Services participate in this conference annually. In addition to attending the conference, the transition coordinator has been a session presenter and maintains a vendor booth. This gives the school district special education directors an opportunity to learn more about VR services and establish relationships with special educators from the 53 different school districts in the state.

4. ADVR’s transition coordinator is a member of the following youth boards:

  • Center for Human Development (Tapestry Project)
  • Governor’s Council on Disability and Special Education

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

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

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

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

The Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) as part of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is responsible for the administration and operation of Alaska’s public vocational rehabilitation program. The Rehabilitation Act, as amended, Public Law 99-506, Section 101(a) requires each state vocational rehabilitation agency to conduct a comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA) jointly with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) every three years. In Alaska, the State Vocational Rehabilitation Council (SVRC) functions as the SRC. The 2010 CSNA followed the protocol as described in The VR Needs Assessment Guide developed by InfoUse for the Rehabilitation Services Administration.  That CSNA informed the goals, priorities, strategies and actions for both DVR’s current Strategic and State Plan for the years FY2011, 2012 and 2013. DVR is presently in the process of conducting a new triennial CSNA to be completed in FY2013.

 In accordance with federal regulations 34 CFR § 361.29, the focus of the data collection for the CSNA was on:

  1. What are the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of individuals with most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services?
  2. What are the vocational rehabilitation services needs of individuals with disabilities who are minorities or in unserved or underserved populations?
  3. What are the vocational rehabilitation services needs of individuals with disabilities who are served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system?
  4. What is the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) within the state?

 Multiple data sources were used to inform the CSNA, including:

  • on-line and direct mailed surveys;
  • studies conducted by a variety of providers and advocacy groups focusing on services and barriers to employment;
  • U.S. Census Bureau data;
  • DVR participant data; and
  • the SRC’s community forums and public testimony.

 In an attempt to identify trends, five years worth of DVR participant information from FFY2004 – FFY2009 was used in the analysis.

 Six separate survey instruments were used in the CSNA. When combined, the individuals surveyed collectively serve as an invaluable source of information and insight regarding the needs and challenges of Alaskans with disabilities. The individuals surveyed included:

  • DVR consumers with open cases (mailed June 2009);
  • Consumer satisfaction of individuals closed after receiving services under an Individualized Plan of Employment (mailed monthly during FFY2008);
  • Stakeholders/Public (on-line Survey Monkey June 2009); - DVR staff: counselors and managers (on-line Survey Monkey August 2009);
  • Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) (on-line Survey Monkey August 2009); -
  • Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Job Center staff (on-line Survey Monkey August 2009).

 Conclusions and Recommendations

1. What are the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of individuals with most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services?

DVR defines an individual with a significant disability as someone who: Receives SSDI/SSI benefits from the Social Security Administration or has a severe physical, mental or sensory impairment that seriously limits one or more functional capacities such as mobility, work skills, self-care, interpersonal skills, communication, self-direction, or work tolerance in terms of an employment outcome and requires multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time.

 DVR defines an individual with a most significant disability as someone who: has a severe physical, mental or sensory impairment that seriously limits three or more functional capacities such as mobility, work skills, self-care, interpersonal skills, communication, self-direction, or work tolerance in terms of an employment outcome and is a person with a significant disability.

 DVR is not operating under an order of selection and is able to serve all eligible individuals. In FFY09 individuals with a most significant disability accounted for 38% (1,380) of the individuals receiving services from DVR and for 39% (214) of those closed rehabilitated. Combined, individuals with both a significant and most significant disability equaled 94% (3,389) of all those receiving VR services and 92% (475) of those closed with an employment outcome earning greater or equal to the minimum wage.

 Individuals with behavioral health and cognitive disabilities were the top two disability groups coded most significantly disabled at 40% and 56% respectively. Thirty-three percent (33%) of the individuals who have been sent a Ticket to Work have a psychiatric disorder and 10% have a developmental disability. At the end of December 2009, there were 447 individuals on the DD registry between the ages 18-64. The average length of time on the registry is 50 months. These two disability groups cross a variety of programs and represent the majority of individuals who are most significantly disabled. Many are also the individuals who are in need of on-going supports.

 The lack of long term supported employment funding was one of the top three barriers to employment identified by DVR staff, CRPs and stakeholders and the need for behavioral health services was identified by both DVR staff and CRPs. Job Center staff commented that individuals with behavioral health issues were the most difficult for them to serve. The need for increased long term supported employment services and for increased capacity in the behavioral health system for vocational programs is recognized by entities outside of DVR such as Division of Senior and Disability Services and the Governor’s Council on Disability and Special Education.

 Identified Need:

  • On-going benefits analysis to understand the effect of work on medical and other benefits - Increase long term supported employment services;
  • Increase behavioral health services through community health centers;
  • Increase vocational services in community behavioral health centers;
  • Reduce the time on the developmental disability registry;
  • Improve transportation services;
  • Increase opportunities for employment with state and federal government

Recommendation:

  • Partner with other service providers to maximize resources and coordinate services for individuals who are in need of long term supported employment services as well as employment services from community behavioral health providers Strategies:
  • Ensure MOAs with appropriate state agencies are current and effective;
  • Work with SILC and CILs to increase the opportunities for the most severely disabled Alaskans to become employed;
  • Work with the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, the Alaska Mental Health Board, Community Behavioral Health programs, and the Trust to build the capacity to meet the employment needs and increase vocational programs within the behavioral health service delivery system;
  • Together with mental health centers identify barriers to providing vocational services;
  • Strengthen relationships with community behavioral health providers;
  • Encourage the development of employment networks to provide the long term support services for both supported employment and Social Security beneficiaries;
  • Be actively involved with initiatives proposed by other entities that could affect DVR and the VR service delivery;
  • Maintain a strong commitment to provide benefits analysis and counseling on an as needed basis throughout the VR process for those individuals on SSI/SSDI; and
  • Use of SSA work incentives as part of benefits counseling.

 2. What are the vocational rehabilitation services needs of individuals with disabilities who are minorities or who are in unserved or underserved populations?

DVR looked at population groups by disability types, age specific to transition youth and the elderly, rural Alaska, minorities and gender to assess unserved or underserved. Data comparisons included five year data sets of DVR participants and national data from the US Census Bureau and SSA. The DVR data also included a further reporting of successful closures versus those closed unsuccessfully to ascertain a potential bias in the delivery of services. According to the data analysis, rural Alaska was the primary group identified as being underserved.

DVR’s definition of rural/non-rural is based on a community’s access to VR counseling services. Rural is defined for the CSNA as a community that is not connected by road to a community where a DVR office is located or is at least 50 statute miles from a DVR office.

Serving rural Alaska is challenging for all state agencies. A map of the state of Alaska super-imposed over a map of the United States stretches from coast to coast. Alaska is also lacking roads in much of the state. The Alaska Native population at 20% of all Alaskans is the largest minority group in the state with the majority (58%) of Natives living in rural Alaska. Therefore, even though DVR is not under serving Alaska Natives as 21% of all those served by DVR in FFY2009 were Alaska Natives, DVR strongly acknowledges that the needs of Alaska Natives are closely aligned with the needs of rural residents in general.

Alaska has 11 American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) grant programs. In Alaska these programs are known as Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (TVR) programs. The TVR programs provide rural services and have offices in many locations where DVR does not, but DVR remains obligated and committed to serving Natives and non-Natives alike who are living in rural areas.

Identified Need:

  • More CRPs needed in rural Alaska for job placement and job support services;
  • Increased presence of VR counselors;
  • DVR and TVR staff share expertise;
  • More cases need to be shared between DVR and TVR;
  • VR counselors need a mechanism for sharing effective service strategies;
  • Strategies to reach and serve individuals who are not Alaska Natives but who live in rural Alaska;
  • Maximize use of technology for distance delivery of services (web cams, etc.);
  • Contingency plans for potential loss of discretionary grants with TVR programs; and
  • Options providing counselors with equipment and resources when traveling.

Recommendation:

  • Improve VR services in rural Alaska

Strategies:

  • Create a work group of DVR counselors who serve rural areas to share effective service delivery strategies;
  • DVR and TVR staff share technical expertise;
  • Invite TVR staff to attend DVR sponsored trainings
  • Maximize number of shared cases with TVR;
  • Assign counselors to serve primary or hub-communities and provide adequate travel funds
  • DVR staff participate in rural employment camps;
  • Develop more CRPs in rural Alaska;
  • Identify strategies for serving individuals who are not Alaska Natives but whom live in rural Alaska;
  • Investigate use of technology for distance delivery of services (web cams, etc.);
  • Develop contingency plan for potential loss of discretionary grants with TVR programs; and
  • Evaluate options providing counselors with equipment and resources when traveling to effectively provide a high level of service to individuals with a disability.

 3. What are the vocational rehabilitation services needs of individuals with disabilities who are served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system?

DVR counseling offices are currently co-located in six One-Stop Job Centers around the state. Itinerant VR counselors rely on the other Job Centers when traveling to the outlying areas. DVR conducted surveys indicated rural Job Center staff would like more DVR support and more training in dealing with individuals with a behavioral health issue. DVR staff indicated Job Center staff would benefit from additional training on the services DVR provides and a DVR would also to see a more effective referral process developed. DVR would also like to improve its services to transition age youth. In FFY2009, 22% of those served were youth with the estimated statewide population of this age group was at 16%. Even so, DVR believes services and outcomes for transition age youth could be improved.

Identified Need:

  • A long range transition plan for the division;
  • DVR program information for schools and students needs to be evaluated;
  • Youth with physical disabilities or with other health impairments (504 students) are potentially underserved;
  • Almost one-third of students with an IEP are neither working nor in school after graduation;
  • Increase the rehabilitation rate for youth - Job center staff, especially in rural areas, want more training on DVR services and medical issues;
  • Assistive technology in Job Centers requires on-going training and replacement; and
  • All individuals who are receiving Job Training services and who self-identify as having an employment related disability are aware of DVR

Recommendation:

  • Improve VR services for youth with disabilities as they transition from school to adult life

Strategies:

  • Develop long range plan for transition services;
  • Determine most effective strategies/methods/time frame for informing schools about DVR services;
  • Develop outreach strategy for youth with other health impairments (504 students);
  • Explore use of Twitter and Facebook to connect DVR services with youth;
  • VR staff have a positive presence at the annual Directors of Special Education conference;
  • Have a VR presence on workgroups both local and statewide associated with youth related initiatives;
  • Develop strategies to collaborate with businesses to assist youth with disabilities to obtain employment; and
  • Increase the rehabilitation rate for youth

Recommendation:

  • Improve services in job centers for Alaskans with disabilities.

Strategies:

  • Provide training on DVR services to rural job center staff - Explore options for job center staff to be trained on various types of disabilities;
  • Explore options for supporting AT devices in job centers;
  • Support the reinstatement of the statewide Training Academy;
  • VR leadership team and VR managers continue to identify functional job center issues that require on-going work at all levels of the division;
  • VR continues to support initiatives in the job-centers such as the Disability Program Navigators and Start-up Alaska Self-employment;
  • Support strong partnerships to address cross-agency differences in policy and federal program requirements;
  • DVR staff provide long distance support to job center staff where DVR counselors travel on an itinerant basis;
  • Partner with the Division of Business Partnership to maximize the number of joint cases;
  • Ensure DVR contacts all individuals receiving Job Training services who self-identify as having an employment related disability
  • Support the Employment Security Division to become an employment network; and
  • Define role of DVR in job centers.

 4. What is the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs (CRP) within the state? DVR continually assess the need to develop and improve CRPs within the state.

The development of CRPS is an on-going challenge. DVR approves CRPs to deliver vocational rehabilitation related services when there is no other agency available to license the service. Traditionally most of the CRPs are small businesses. Currently 50% of the approved CRPs are single person operations. When surveyed, only 26% of the VR counselors reported an adequate number of CRPS and 43% agreed the CRPS were adequately trained. Eighty-nine percent (90%) of the CRPs are located in non-rural areas of the state although 77% of the CRPs indicate they are willing to travel to rural Alaska.

Having consistent work for a CRP to have a successful business in rural areas is a challenge for DVR. The top two services purchased from CRPs are benefits counseling and on-the-job supports. In FFY2009, DVR developed and began the implementation of CRP training and the dissemination of CRP services on the internet. DVR is interested in expanding the CRP information available to DVR participants as well as investigating an outcome/milestone payment system for CRPs.

Identified Need:

  • Increase the number of CRPs providing job placement and job supports throughout the state;
  • Increase knowledge of CRPs through training opportunities;
  • Information on services provided by CRPs available to DVR participants;
  • Evaluate payments to CRPs in regards to milestones and/or outcomes;
  • Assess the specialized skills of CRPs to meet the needs of DVR participants either by occupation or disability; and
  • Vocational programs missing in community behavioral health centers and providers of cognitively disabled services disabled services to develop vocational programs.

Recommendations:

  • Enhance the CRP service delivery system through evaluation, training and development of new CRPs

Strategies:

  • Develop a work plan for the recruitment and training of CRPs;
  • Provide additional CRP information for DVR participants on the internet;
  • Develop more CRPs to serve rural areas with consideration given to local resources such as natural helpers, elders and teachers;
  • Develop orientation and training materials for VR staff about the use of CRPs;
  • Assess the specialized skills of CRPs to meet the needs of DVR participants either by occupation or disability;
  • Evaluate outcome/milestone or other payment systems for CRPs;
  • Develop documentation for staff maintenance of CRP information; and
  • Encourage community behavioral health centers and providers of cognitively disabled services to develop vocational programs.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey estimates there are 48,489 individuals or 10.8% of Alaskans between the ages of 18 to 64 with a disability.  In FFY2011, Alaska DVR served 2,369 individuals under an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) using Title I and Title VI, Part B funding. Of these, 140 individuals were provided supported employment services under an IPE using Title VI funds.  The census estimates on Alaskans with disabilities decreased from 2008 to 2010 by 7.9% while DVR’s data shows that applicants increased from 2010 to 2011 by 3.8% with a corresponding 7% increase in individuals receiving services under an IPE. The first 6 months of FY2012 shows a decline in both applicants and those receiving services under an IPE of -21% and -14% respectively while the total number of closures for the same period has increased 17.9%. DVR attributes this shift partially to a more stable economic situation.

DVR was not operating under an Order of Selection (OOS) during FFY2011 as there was adequate funding and qualified staff to make eligibility determinations and to provide services under an IPE to all eligible individuals. DVR anticipates we will not implement an OOS in FFY2013, even though our number of applicants has continued to increase albeit at a slower rate than in the preceding year. DVR will continue to closely monitor expenditures and obligations as well as staffing patterns in relationship to the number of applicants, the number of IPEs and the relative cost of each throughout the year in order to ensure our ability to serve all eligible individuals.

Analysis of funding streams:

  • The FY2013 Governor’s budget beginning July 1, 2012 has DVR funded at the FY2012 level for case services.
  • FY2011 Social Security reimbursement receipts were at the same level as in FY2010. This funding stream is expected to remain constant for the current year and for FY2013.  AS part of Alaska DVR’s continued and aggressive effort to maximize SSA reimbursements, DVR  volunteered to be part of a pilot project with MAXIMUS and SSA for data submission and clean-up.
  • DVR estimates there is adequate funding for supported employment services.
  • Alaska DVR was able to match additional Federal funds through the reallotment process. We anticipate we will obtain additional funds through this process in FFY2013 as well.
Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Eligible individuals receiving services Title I $5,300,000 2,208 $2,400
Eligible individuals receiving services Title VI $300,000 170 $1,764
Totals   $5,600,000 2,378 $2,354

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

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.

DVR and the State Vocational Rehabilitation Council (SVRC) including representatives of the AVIRS programs and the SILC, developed goals and priorities for the state vocational rehabilitation (VR) program during the strategic planning process. DVR’s strategic plan is tied to the three year cycle of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) with interim assessments as to progress meeting goals and objectives with any required shifts in priorities and strategies.  The most recent CSNA was completed in FY2010, but the strategic plan which uses information from the CSNA as well as current data plus information from external stakeholders is update annually.

The strategic planning process is comprehensive and includes defining the agency’s mission, principles, goals, objectives, strategies and measurements. Input for the development of the goals, objectives and strategies came from the CSNA; public comment taken at the SVCR’s quarterly meetings; ongoing consumer satisfaction surveys; and other program evaluation activities including the case file review, MIS reports and monitoring activities. DVR continuously monitors its progress towards meeting the standards and indicators and makes necessary adjustments to priorities and strategies as required. Specific strategies to achieve these goals and objectives are detailed in Attachment 4.11(d).

The goals, priorities and progress are reviewed quarterly by the DVR management team and discussed with the SVRC at their quarterly meetings. Adjustments are made as required. 

Mission

The mission of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is to assist individuals with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment.  

Guiding Principles

DVR believes in:

  • The empowering value of employment in an individual’s life.
  • Honoring and respecting each individual’s strengths, skills, choices, abilities and cultural identity.
  • Developing strong partnerships with Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation programs, schools, job-centers and centers for independent living.
  • Delivering high quality vocational rehabilitation services.
  • Employing and developing highly qualified and skilled rehabilitation staff.
  • The principles of stewardship in the use of public resources.    

 Goal 1 – Service Delivery: DVR will provide high quality services to all eligible individuals to assist them in obtaining employment consistent with their career goals.  

This goal reflects DVR’s emphasis on continued improvement of VR services especially those individuals identified in the CSNA as being under served while managing to serve all eligible individuals by staying off an order of selection.  

Priorities:

  • Transition services for youth with disabilities.
  • Managing resources to stay off an order of selection
  • Improving services in rural Alaska
  • Improve services in job centers for people with disabilities
  • Enhance the VR service delivery system through the use of technology
  • Develop new CRPs and/or enhance delivery of CRP services
  • Meet or exceed federal performance standards
  • Enhance and streamline Ticket To Work program processes
  • Assess service delivery system for individuals who are blind or visually impaired    

 Goal 2 – Staff Development: DVR will recruit, employ, retain and train the most qualified and highly skilled rehabilitation staff.

This goal reflects DVR’s commitment to the CSPD standards as well as adhering to the principles of succession planning.  

Priorities:

  • Recruit and retain qualified staff
  • Provide on-going training opportunities
  • Support leadership development and succession planning    

 Goal 3 – DVR will distinguish its role in the workforce system and will leverage partnerships to maximize resources and support for employment of individuals with disabilities.   This goal reflects the need to partner and strengthen DVR’s connection to other programs that serve people with disabilities. It is important for DVR to clearly communicate to others what we can do well, who we can serve, and how we can work collaboratively with others for the good of people with disabilities.   This goal also reflects the support DVR can give to other programs in their efforts to gain additional resources, such as the additional support needed for extended services for supported employment consumers.  

Priorities:

  • Partner with employers to promote the hiring of people with disabilities.
  • Partner with other service providers to maximize resources and coordinate services especially for individuals who are in need of long term supported employment services and employment services from community behavioral health providers.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

  • 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 22 2009 6:59PM by saakmcintoshj

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.

In FFY 2011, the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR):

  • was allocated $300,000 in Title VI, Part B funds;
  • spent $336,488 (including carry forward funds from prior year) in Title VI, Part B funds;
  • served 140 individuals in supported employment (SE) plans;
  • closed 59 individuals rehabilitated; and
  • closed 19 individuals other than rehabilitated.

In FFY2013, DVR anticipates receiving $300,000 in Title VI, Part B funds and plans to distribute all of the funds to counselors statewide and to expend all of the funds received to provide SE services under an IPE. We anticipate there will be adequate funding to meet the needs of those individuals requiring SE services.

Goal:

In FFY2013, DVR will seek to provide SE services to 170 individuals and assist 50 individuals in obtaining competitive employment.

DVR’s SE program is potentially available to any individual with a most significant disability who needs such services to be successfully and competitively employed. Title VI, Part B funds are utilized for the time-limited services necessary for an individual to stabilize in competitive employment in an integrated setting.

Priorities for the maintenance and expansion of SE services include the following:

1. Emphasize community based, integrated employment settings with the Governor’s Council on Disability and Special Education, the Alaska Mental Health Board, community behavioral health programs and the Trust to increase vocational programs within the mental health service delivery system

2. Pursue increased long-term state funding for SE; work to reduce the waitlist for DD services

3. Explore opportunities for CRPs and other entities to become employment networks to provide long-term supports

4. Work with the community mental health system to increase and reinstate work related programs within community mental health programs statewide

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

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.

Alaska DVR engages in an ongoing strategic planning process and data analysis, focusing on continual improvement activities to enhance services and maximize the number and quality of employment outcomes, especially for those identified as priority populations through the comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA). Strategic planning also gives DVR the opportunity to concentrate on the principles of efficient uses of personnel, technology, and financial resources to deliver quality rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities. Expanding and improving services remains an agency priority as the needs and demographics of individuals with disabilities evolve through the CSNA, data analysis and on-going surveys.

The strategic planning team includes VR fiscal people, VR managers and the VR leadership team, the chair of the SRC, the CAP director, a CIL director and a representative from the AIVR programs. The strategic planning process includes an annual face-to-face statewide planning meeting as well as quarterly progress reports with DVR staff and the SRC. The goals, priorities, strategies, performance measures and outcomes found in the strategic plan are developed using information from the CSNA, on-going data analysis from DVR’s MIS/case management system, satisfaction surveys and other program evaluation and quality assurance initiatives. The goals and priorities are identified in Attachment 4.11(c) (1).   The strategies to accomplish the goals, to overcome the barriers, and to expand and improve services to Alaskans with disabilities are identified in this attachment.  

 

 

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.

DVR’s policy on assistive technology (AT) states that AT devices and services must be expressly considered as a potential service for all applicants and eligible individuals as a component of the assessment to determine eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs and throughout the IPE service delivery process. AT is commonly thought of as an application to improve physical functions such as mobility, speech, and hearing with its potential also considered for assisting individuals with cognitive, emotional, or behavioral disabilities as well (for example, a memory or scheduling device to assist an individual with a learning disability with organization and recall). Because AT is constantly evolving, staff continually need to reassess whether rehabilitation technology solutions exist.  

All VR counselors statewide have access to AT services and devices for the individuals they serve through statewide counselor/evaluator AT training; through statewide assessment services for AT from both in-house evaluators and services provided through ATLA as funded by a state grant under The Assistive Technology Act of 1998; and through services and devices available through the statewide Job Center Network. The services in the Job Centers are funded through the Disability Employment Initiative grant awarded to the AWIB. This grant includes training disability navigators and improve assistive technology capacity at each job center to better serve individuals with disabilities.  Alaska DVR works directly with this initiative as a partner.

 Specific examples of potential AT at different stages of the rehab process include the following evaluative questions and approaches:

Applicant

  •  Are accommodations needed for the person to participate in the rehab process?
  • Is the applicant now using AT?
  • Would AT enhance, create or eliminate the threat of job loss or affect health for this applicant?
  • Would use of technology create an opportunity for this applicant that might otherwise not exist?  

Extended Evaluation

  • Does a person with this type of disability generally need accommodations to complete a vocational evaluation?
  • Would providing technology offer the opportunity to explore vocational goals that would not be considered otherwise?  

Eligible

  • What barriers does the disability create in working toward the vocational objective?
  • Review technology which the individual currently uses to determine if it can be used in achieving the vocational goal.
  • Would technology potentially assist the client in overcoming any barriers?
  • Does the individual have any concerns about the use of technology in working toward the vocational goal?  

Plan

  • What previously unidentified barriers to receiving services does the disability potentially create?
  • What technology could potentially assist in meeting these barriers?  

Employment

  • What barriers to searching or obtaining work does the person’s functional limitations create?
  • Will any reasonable accommodation be needed for the application process?
  • Does the individual have concerns about the use or potential need for technology in finding or maintaining a job?  

Closure

  • Were possible barriers/problems that the individual faced clearly identified?
  • Does the individual have any concerns about using technology-related services?
  • Does the employer have concerns about technology use on the job?  

Post-Employment

  • Have any "major life activities" or "essential functions" of the job changed?
  • If so, did this result in a need for change in technology?
  • Would technology potentially assist in overcoming these barriers?

 

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.

As part of the CSNA, DVR analyzed population groups by disability types, age specific to transition youth and the elderly, rural Alaska, minorities and gender to assess unserved or underserved. Data comparisons included five year data sets of DVR participants and national data from the US Census Bureau and SSA. The DVR data also included a further reporting of successful closures versus those closed unsuccessfully to ascertain a potential bias in the delivery of services.

According to the data analysis, rural Alaska was the primary group identified as being underserved. DVR’s definition of rural/non-rural is based on a community’s access to VR counseling services. Rural is defined for the CSNA as a community that is not connected by road to a community where a DVR office is located or is at least 50 statute miles from a DVR office. Serving rural Alaska is challenging for all state agencies.

The Alaska Native population at 20% of all Alaskans is the largest minority group in the state with the majority (58%) of Natives living in rural Alaska. Therefore, even though DVR is not under serving Alaska Natives as DVR consistently has Alaska Natives at 21% of all those being served by DVR, DVR strongly acknowledges that the needs of Alaska Natives are closely aligned with the needs of rural residents in general.

Alaska has 11 American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) grant programs. In Alaska these programs are known as Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (TVR) programs. The TVR programs provide rural services and have offices in many locations where DVR does not, but DVR remains obligated and committed to serving Natives and non-Natives alike who are living in rural areas. 

Using surveys, public testimony gathered through the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee, and communication with the TVR programs, DVR has identified the following needs in rural Alaska:

  • More CRPs needed in rural Alaska for job placement and job support services
  • Increased presence of VR counselors in rural Alaska
  • DVR and TVR staff share expertise
  • More cases need to be shared between DVR and TVR
  • VR counselors need a mechanism for sharing effective service strategies
  • Strategies to reach and serve individuals who are not Alaska Natives but who live in rural Alaska
  • Maximize use of technology for distance delivery of services (web cams, etc.)
  • Contingency plans for potential loss of discretionary grants with TVR programs
  • Options providing counselors with equipment and resources when traveling  

Improve VR services in rural Alaska

Strategies to improve services in rural Alaska

  • Create a work group of DVR counselors who serve rural areas to share effective service delivery strategies
  • DVR and TVR staff share technical expertise
  • Invite TVR staff to attend DVR sponsored trainings
  • Maximize number of shared cases with TVR
  • Assign counselors to serve primary or hub-communities and provide adequate travel funds
  • DVR staff participate in rural employment camps
  • Develop more CRPs in rural Alaska
  • Identify strategies for serving individuals who are not Alaska Natives but whom live in rural Alaska
  • Investigate use of technology for distance delivery of services (web cams, iPads, etc.)
  • Develop contingency plan for potential loss of discretionary grants with TVR programs
  • Evaluate options providing counselors with equipment and resources when traveling to effectively provide a high level of service to individuals with a disability

 In a continued effort to serve not only the minorities as identified above, but also those with the most significant disabilities, DVR is involved with the following initiatives:

University of Alaska - Center for Human Development project: “Customized Self-Employment Model for Individuals with Brain Injury”.  This pilot project was recently funded by the Kessler Foundation and involves a statewide collation of agencies including DVR, the Alaska Brain Injury Network (ABIN), the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, TVR programs, Access AK, and the VA’s vocational rehabilitation program.  For the next year, the goal is to serve 15 clients with TBI, 5 in each pilot location; Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.  The goal is to help each applicant successfully develop, launch and sustain a successful small business for this targeted population.   

Alaska FASD Steering Committee:  This is also an interagency group including the Court System, Division of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Justice, the Division of Public Assistance, the Division of Behavioral Health, TVR programs, and DVR. Due to the high level of alcohol abuse within the State, FASD is a major issue for the State at many levels.  The goal of this task force is to increase the State’s capacity to help these individuals become successfully independent.

 

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

DVR continually assess the need to develop and improve CRPs within the state. It is an on-going challenge. DVR approves CRPs to deliver vocational rehabilitation related services when there is no other agency available to license the service. Traditionally most of the CRPs are small businesses. Currently approximately 50% of the approved CRPs are single person operations.

DVR has recently increased the training requirements for CRPs to improve the level of services and qualified service providers. The majority of the CRPs are located in non-rural areas of the state although 77% of the current CRPs indicate they are willing to travel to rural Alaska. DVR is also in the process of revising CRP related policies and business practices. 

DVR has identified the following CRP related issues as part of our strategic planning process:

  • Increase the number of CRPs providing job placement and job supports throughout the state
  • Increase knowledge of CRPs through training opportunities
  • Information on services provided by CRPs available to DVR participants
  • Evaluate payments to CRPs in regards to milestones and/or outcomes
  • Assess the specialized skills of CRPs to meet the needs of DVR participants either by occupation or disability
  • Vocational programs missing in community behavioral health centers and providers of cognitively disabled services disabled services to develop vocational programs.   

Strategies to  enhance the CRP service delivery system through evaluation, training and development of new and existing CRPs

  • Develop a work plan for the recruitment and training of CRPs
  • Provide additional CRP information for DVR participants on the internet
  • Develop more CRPs to serve rural areas with consideration given to local resources such as natural helpers, elders and teachers
  • Develop orientation and training materials for VR staff about the use of CRPs
  • Assess the specialized skills of CRPs to meet the needs of DVR participants either by occupation or disability 
  • Evaluate outcome/milestone or other payment systems for CRPs
  • Develop documentation for staff maintenance of CRP information 
  • Encourage community behavioral health centers and providers of cognitively disabled services to develop vocational programs  
  • Develop uniform referral and reporting standards
  • Regularly audit CRP expenditures and reports

 

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

DVR met all the federal standards and indicators in FY2011. DVR strives for continuous improvement in all areas of the agency. To maintain and/or improve this level of performance, DVR continually monitors the data throughout the year for anomalies or trends.

Strategies include:

  • Formalize training for new staff on production goals and AWARE case management tools
  • Disseminate information to staff on a regular basis on production statewide
  • Analyze areas when standards are not met and develop plan for improvement, i.e. days from eligibility to plan    

 

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

DVR staff are participating in local Job Center committees as well as statewide in the steering committee in the administration of the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) and the Job Center Integrated Steering Committee (JCISC).

The DEI grant was awarded to AWIB in October 2011.  Alaska was one of nine states to receive this grant award which includes formal and active partnerships with the Employment Security Division, One Stop Job Centers, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division of Public Assistance and Governor’s Council on Disabilities & Special Education.  The end goal is to have in place an employment network system that is sustainable and that ensures that individuals with disabilities who contact any staff within the job centers will receive accurate, appropriate and current information and direction in developing a coordinated plan that is consistent with their individualized conditions of employment.  This grant includes training disability navigators and improving assistive technology capacity at each job center.  Alaska DVR works directly with this initiative as a partner.

The JCISC is a leadership team from various state agencies who regularly meet to increase our collaboration, coordination and effectiveness in Alaska’s workforce development within or associated our One-Stop delivery system.  The primary partners include the Employment Security Division, DVR and the Division of Public Assistance.  

DVR counseling offices are currently co-located in six One-Stop Job Centers around the state. Itinerant VR counselors rely on the other Job Centers when traveling to the outlying areas. DVR conducted surveys as part of the CSNA that indicated rural Job Center staff would like more DVR support and more training in dealing with individuals with a behavioral health issue. DVR staff indicated Job Center staff would benefit from additional training on the services DVR provides and a DVR would also to see a more effective referral process developed.  

As such, DVR is working on the following strategies to improve services in job centers for Alaskans with disabilities:

  • Provide training on DVR services to rural job center staff
  • Explore options for job center staff to be trained on various types of disabilities
  • Explore options for supporting AT devices in job centers
  • Support the reinstatement of the statewide Training Academy
  • VR leadership team and VR managers continue to identify functional job center issues that require on-going work at all levels of the division
  • VR continues to support initiatives in the job-centers such as the Disability Program Navigators and Start-up Alaska Self-employment
  • Support strong partnerships to address cross-agency differences in policy and federal program requirements
  • DVR staff provide long distance support to job center staff where DVR counselors travel on an itinerant basis
  • Partner with the Division of Business Partnership to maximize the number of joint cases
  • Ensure DVR contacts all individuals receiving Job Training services who self-identify as having an employment related disability
  • Support the Employment Security Division to become an employment network
  • Define role of DVR in job centers

 

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

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

Goal 1 - Service Delivery: DVR will deliver high quality vocational rehabilitation services to people with disabilities to assist them in obtaining employment consistent with their career goals.

This goal reflects DVR’s continued focus on improving and expanding the VR service delivery system with the priorities and strategies identified in the CSNA.  

 Priority 1.1: Improve VR transition services for youth with disabilities  

Strategies

  • Develop long range transition plan for the division
  • Determine most effective strategies/methods/time frame for informing schools about DVR services
  • Develop outreach strategy for youth with other health impairments (504 students) 
  • Explore use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook to connect DVR services with youth
  • VR staff have a positive presence at the annual Directors of Special Education conference
  • Have a VR presence on workgroups both local and statewide associated with youth related initiatives
  • Develop strategies to collaborate with businesses to assist youth with disabilities to obtain employment
  • Increase the rehabilitation rate for youth 
  • Provide summer internships to high school special education teachers in order for them to learn about DVR  

 Priority 1.2: Improve VR services in rural Alaska  

The most recent CSNA (see Attachment 4.11(a)) identified individuals living in rural Alaska as being underserved. Alaska Natives comprise the largest population living in rural Alaska.  

Strategies

  • Create a work group of DVR counselors who serve rural areas to share effective service delivery strategies
  • DVR and TVR staff share technical expertise
  • Invite TVR staff to attend DVR sponsored trainings
  • Maximize number of shared cases with TVR
  • Assign counselors to serve primary or hub-communities and provide adequate travel funds
  • DVR staff participate in rural employment camps
  • Develop more CRPs in rural Alaska
  • Identify strategies for serving individuals who are not Alaska Natives but whom live in rural Alaska
  • Investigate use of technology for distance delivery of services (web cams, etc.)
  • Develop contingency plan for potential loss of discretionary grants with TVR programs
  • Evaluate options providing counselors with equipment and resources when traveling to effectively provide a high level of service to individuals with a disability
  • Provide support to the Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Adults for the expansion of services to individuals blind in rural Alaska.    

 Priority 1.3: Evaluate the effectiveness and use of the in-house vocational evaluation system  

Strategies

  • Develop statewide standards for performance and capacity - Develop mechanism for matching evaluation services to outcomes  - Determine counselor needs and develop a marketing strategy for evaluation services - Analyze relationship of evaluation services to timely case movement 
  • Develop MIS reporting and referral systems

 Priority 1.4: Improve services in job centers for Alaskans with disabilities  

DVR maintains active participation on both state and local planning groups formed to develop and implement Alaska’s workforce investment system and promotes universal access to core employment services by all consumers, including minorities and those with disabilities. DVR is co-located with One-Stop Job Centers in various areas of the state. When appropriate, DVR performs training and consultations to ensure excellent customer service to one-stop customers with disabilities. DVR supports the activities and mission of disability navigators who assist people with disabilities at one-stop centers to make informed choices about employment.  

Strategies

  • Provide training on DVR services to rural job center staff
  • Explore options for job center staff to be trained on various types of disabilities
  • Explore options for supporting AT devices in job centers
  • Support the reinstatement of the statewide Training Academy
  • VR leadership team and VR managers continue to identify functional job center issues that require on-going work at all levels of the division
  • VR continues to support initiatives in the job-centers such as the Disability Program Navigators and Start-up Alaska Self-employment grant
  • Support strong partnerships to address cross-agency differences in policy and federal program requirements
  • DVR staff provide long distance support to job center staff where DVR counselors travel on an itinerant basis
  • Partner with the Division of Business Partnership to maximize the number of joint cases
  • Ensure DVR contacts all individuals receiving Job Training services who self-identify as having an employment related disability
  • Define role of DVR in job centers    

 Priority 1.5: Support and/or develop consumer satisfaction surveys or community forums  

Strategies

  • Evaluate use of on-going open cases survey
  • Effectively distribute survey information
  • Maximize use of on-line web surveys
  • Provide support for the Governor’s Committee consumer satisfaction survey
  • Provide support to the Governor’s Committee for public testimony    

 Priority 1.6: Meet or exceed state and federal production standards  

Strategies

  • Formalize training for new staff on production goals and AWARE case management tools
  • Disseminate information to staff on a regular basis on production statewide
  • Analyze areas when standards are not met and develop plan for improvement, i.e. days from eligibility to plan    

 Priority 1.7: Enhance the CRP service delivery system through evaluation, training and development of new CRPs  

DVR works with community rehabilitation programs to ensure that they have the staff training, outreach capacity and commitment to meet the needs of all, including those who are minorities. DVR employs a staff specialist to support and enhance the unique relationship between the state agency and various community rehabilitation programs. This staff specialist maintains ongoing communications, assesses needs, and provides training opportunities as well as formal and informal consultations. The specialist reviews and permits the programs to provide VR related services.  

Strategies

  • Develop a work plan for the recruitment and training of CRPs
  • Provide additional CRP information for DVR participants on the internet
  • Develop statewide training plan on behavioral health issues
  • Develop more CRPs in all areas of the state
  • Develop CRPs in rural areas with consideration given to local resources such as natural helpers, elders and teachers
  • Develop orientation and training materials for VR staff about the use of CRPs
  • Assess the specialized skills of CRPs to meet the needs of DVR participants either by occupation or disability
  • Evaluate outcome/milestone or other payment systems for CRPs
  • Develop documentation for staff maintenance of CRP information in AWARE
  • Encourage community behavioral health centers and providers of cognitively disabled services to develop vocational programs
  • Survey staff and CRPs on an on-going basis
  • Explore further use of centers for independent living    

 Priority 1.8: Enhance the VR service delivery system through the use of technology  

DVR has devoted extensive strategic planning and workgroup time to developing an assistive technology delivery system that provides the assessment, training and product delivery needed by individuals during career planning and testing, training and in job placement. DVR has designated staff that specializes in assistive technologies. DVR’s Evaluation Center and the Assistive Technology Library of Alaska serve as a key resource where staff experts and products can be accessed on a statewide basis.  

Strategies

  • Continually evaluate new technology such as assistive technology (AT), social networking
  • Update orientation video
  • Explore video conferencing in VR offices
  • VR offices are equipped with the required technology for services to be accessible
  • Explore division support of case management services for Center for the Blind
  • Evaluate the current use of assistive technology in the service delivery system
  • Procure video phones for all field offices
  • Enhance the information technology infrastructure for staff to achieve greater efficiencies in providing services.    

 Goal 2 – Staff Development: DVR will recruit, employ, retain and train the most qualified and highly skilled rehabilitation staff.  

This goal reflects the value DVR places on well trained staff and the serious need for succession planning with the anticipated loss of key staff in the near future.  

 Priority 2.1: Recruit and retain qualified staff   Strategies

  • Identify strategies for hiring qualified VR counselors
  • Maximize training funds to support VR counselors in graduate rehabilitation programs
  • Offer practicum opportunities and internships to rehabilitation graduate students
  • Maximize the number of counselors who are Certified Rehabilitation Counselors
  • Recognize employee performance
  • Develop a consistent statewide method for evaluating employee performance
  • Develop and keep current employee development plans
  • Survey staff
  • Enhance the information technology infrastructure for staff to achieve greater efficiencies in providing services
  • Evaluate use of CRC’s Category R in recruitment strategies    

 Priority 2.2: Provide on-going training opportunities  

Strategies

  • Provide subject matter training as identified through program evaluation (staff and surveys, case review, etc.)
  • Develop staff training modules as identified
  • Re-establish the training team to prioritize and develop training opportunities
  • Develop a training outline for VR managers
  • Continued use of on-line training
  • Leverage training resources from outside partners
  • Develop a comprehensive system for the documentation of staff training
  • Provide trainings with CRC credits - Identify evidence based or promising practices in VR, i.e. motivational interviewing    

 Priority 2.3: Support leadership development and succession planning  

Strategies

  • Support staff participation in leadership training programs such as the Emerging Leaders program and the National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute
  • VR counselors participate on regional case review teams
  • Develop in-house leadership seminars or trainings
  • Identify and make available to staff public policy, administrative or leadership information
  • Utilize Division of Personnel and unions resources
  • Staff mentoring, job shadowing
  • Identify staff strengths and interests
  • Identify training required for staff to represent DVR on appropriate boards
  • Provide support to the statewide coordinators for blind and deaf
  • Develop long-range succession plan    

 Goal 3 – DVR will distinguish its role in the workforce system and will leverage partnerships to maximize resources and support for employment of individuals with disabilities.  

This goal is intended to strengthen our connection to other programs that serve individuals with disabilities and to develop relationships with employers. DVR plans programs that are accessible to all people in Alaska and sees its role as pivotal in helping individuals overcome barriers that include gender, race, national origin, color, disability or age.  

Priority 3.1: Partner with employers to promote the hiring of people with disabilities  

Strategies

  • DVR supports the replication of the Anchorage Integrated Employment Services team in Fairbanks and Juneau
  • Attend career days at local universities
  • Continue to develop best practices establishing the State of Alaska as a model employer
  • Employers see VR as a resource
  • Participate in local community groups such the Chambers of Commerce and SHRIM
  • Develop teams within offices to meet the needs of employers
  • Coordinate the employer outreach functions of the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant with the Governor’s Council
  • Collaborate with federal employers with the extensive use of Schedule A.    

 Priority 3.2: Partner with other service providers to maximize resources and coordinate services especially for individuals who are in need of long term supported employment services and employment services from community behavioral health providers  

Strategies  

  • Ensure MOAs with appropriate state agencies are current and effective
  • Work with SILC and CILs to increase the opportunities for the most severely disabled Alaskans to become employed
  • Work with job-center partners to maximize shared cases
  • Work with the Governor’s Council, the Alaska Mental Health Board, Community Behavioral Health programs, and the Trust to increase vocational programs within the mental health service delivery system
  • Together with mental health centers identify barriers to providing vocational services
  • Strengthen relationships with community behavioral health providers
  • Encourage the development of employment networks to provide the long term support services for both supported employment and Social Security beneficiaries
  • Be actively involved with initiatives proposed by other agencies that could affect DVR and the VR service delivery    

 Utilization of the Funds Reserved for Innovation and Expansion Activities

DVR sets aside a portion of funds allotted under Section 110 of the Act for development and implementation of innovative approaches to improve the provision of VR services, particularly for individuals with the most significant disabilities. DVR has recently used these funds in support of the SILC and the SVRC.   The SVRC is a full and active partner in the development of agency policies, regulations and procedures. The SVRC collaborates with DVR to hold public meetings in different areas around the state each year. These meetings are another way for DVR to identify needs and to gather trend information for strategic planning. DVR also supports the SILC. The director of DVR is a member of the SILC and a DVR representative participates in the development of the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL).  

Innovation and Expansion Activities for 2011

  • Support of the SRC: $   67,050
  • Support of the SILC: $180,300

 

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

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

Goal 1 - DVR will provide high quality services to all eligible individuals including those requiring supported employment services by expanding service delivery systems and by managing resources to stay off an order of selection.

 DVR defines high quality services as the ability to:

  • serve all those eligible for VR services;
  • provide timely services; 
  • maximize consumer involvement;
  • assist finding employment with good wages;
  • provide services that meet the need of our consumers; and
  • continue improving the service delivery system for those living in rural Alaska and for transition students.  

 Progress for Goal 1

Measure 1: Stay off an order of selection  

Outcome:

  • DVR was not on an order of selection during FY20101   

 Measure 2: Number of individuals closed with an employment outcome is equal to or greater than those closed in employment during the previous year.  

Outcome:

  • DVR met this goal; DVR had 634 successful closures in FY 2011 and 530 in FFY2010    

 Measure 3: The average wage of employed individuals exiting the program is 65% of the State’s average wage.  

Outcome:

  • DVR did not meet this goal; in FFY2011, the average wage as a percent of the State’s average wage was 59%.  

 Measure 4: 90% of cases reviewed as part of DVR s quality assurance case-review process demonstrate the principles of informed choice are integrated throughout the vocational rehabilitation process.  

Outcome:

  • 97% of the cases reviewed documented the principles of informed choice implemented throughout the rehabilitation process.    

 Measure 5: 90% of the consumer satisfaction surveys report involvement in the choosing employment goal.  

Outcome:

  • 94% of the consumers responding to the SVRC’s consumer satisfaction survey reported they were involved in selecting their employment goal.    

 Measure 6: Presence in high schools, youth related activities and the number of youth Increase as DVR consumers.  

Outcome:

  • The number of youth (ages 16 - 24) increased from 376 in FY2010 to 415 in FY2011 which was 22% of the total applicants.
  • DVR participated in Project Search. The Project Search High School Transition Program is a unique, business-led, one year school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and on-the-job training and support through internships or work site rotations. The goal for each student participant is competitive employment.
  • DVR has assigned a counselor to the post-secondary initiative  Project Tapestry which began with five DVR clients co-enrolled with the expectation of expanding the numbers in the coming fiscal year.
  • DVR counselors assigned to high schools have been actively involved in a work group led by the DVR transition coordinator. The transition coordinator has developed materials and provided training on the Alaska Youth Transition Handbook and on the Role of the VR Counselor in Secondary Transition Planning

  Measure 7: Maintain a high level of involvement with AIVR  

Outcome:

  • AIVR grant funded Tribal VR programs: Chief of Rehabilitation Services assigned as a liaison to Tribal consortium; tribal staff invited to DVR training; and working of joint cases continues to be a priority.    
  • VR Chief of Rehabilitation Services attended CANAR

 Measure 8: Maximize presence in rural Alaska.  

Outcome:

  • DVR identified 5 hub communities in the most remote area of Western Alaska to focus a rural service delivery system. All 5 communities have counselors assigned with  regular travel either occurring or plans made to travel.
  • VR counselors have participated in a rural job fair and transition camps.
  • VR counselors serving these areas have formed a regular work group and have received training and strategies on the use of appropriate evaluation tools.
  • Resources in communities have been identified and tool boxes developed. Technology such as the Statewide library project OWL have been explored for potential means of maintaining contact with clients.

Strategies for Goal 1  

  • All field staff and managers are trained and use reports from the AWARE case management system to track consumers’ progress and monitor resources.    
  • Leverage all available funds for case services including social security reimbursements and federal reallotments.  
  • Principles of informed choice are infused within all parts of the DVR service delivery system.  
  • On-going consumer satisfaction surveys conducted with feedback to field staff with continued evaluation of the survey process including the addition of emailing surveys to those with email addresses.  
  • Educate field staff on quality assurance process and measures. Present progress on measures to all staff on a regular basis, emphasizing every individual’s contribution.  
  • Outreach of VR counselor to community organizations to ensure quality referrals to maintain a constant flow of individuals into the VR system.  
  • Provide information to VR counselors as to success of program, i.e. increase in wages, client satisfaction, meeting goals, etc. Produce an easy-to-read program overview for use in the community and with other agencies, board and the legislature.  
  • VR counselors assigned to all schools where there is a DVR office in the community or where DVR counselors travel on an itinerant basis.  
  • Fill the division’s transition coordinator position.  
  • Develop a long range transition plan for the division.  
  • Transition coordinator and staff participate in the special education directors’ annual conference.  
  • Transition coordinator and DVR staff are members of community youth initiatives and those with youth employment grants.  
  • Division supports school to work transition demonstration project in Mat-Su Borough School District to support their Next Step program  
  • The analysis, evaluation and revising of the division’s policies, business practices and service delivery system is an on-going process using the components of the division’s quality assurance/program evaluation system.  
  • The bi-annual case review process has a quality assurance and compliance focus.  
  • Develop a long-range plan to include staff assignments and standards for level of service rural Alaska.  
  • Chief of Field Services assigned to AIVR’s consortium.  
  • Analysis of tools including assessment tools needed by itinerant counselors.  
  • Invite Tribal Voc Rehab staff to DVR’s trainings; provide on-going case staffing with AIVR programs.  
  • DVR infuses the principles of careers rather than jobs into the culture of the agency through training of counselors and supporting client choice principles.  
  • Include the division’s CRP specialist on the DVR case review team.  
  • Develop a long range plan for the CRP utilization and standards by the division.  
  • Partnering with the Division of Public Assistance, Department of Health and Social Services on statewide initiatives such the Family First and FASD steering committee.  
  • Participate in the Mental Health Court a component of the State of Alaska’s court system to work with individuals who have a long-term history of addiction and/or behavioral health issues.   

 Impediments for Goal 1  

  • The size of the state is a barrier to providing services to rural Alaska.  
  • Reaching transition- aged youth in a meaningful way in order to engage them.  
  • High turnover of special education teachers 
  • Turndown in the economy  
  • Staff turnover      

Goal 2: DVR will employ qualified personnel to effectively serve our consumers and provide for future organizational leadership by providing adequate resources for on-going training and staff development.  

Progress for Goal 2

Measure 1: Percentage of available VR counseling positions filled with certified rehabilitation counselors (CRCs) or who are in graduate programs to become CRCs. Goal is to have 100% of counselors meeting or working towards certification.  

Outcome:

  • The division currently has two VRC vacancies. Of the 41 filled VRC positions 83% met the divisions CSPD standard (34/41=83%) which is the highest percentage in the past five years. This represents an increase of  5% from the previous federal fiscal year.

Measure 2: VR staff are provided opportunities for professional growth and development.  

Outcome:

  • DVR continues to provide funds for tuition and books for graduate level course work in order to meet CRC standards.
  • Continuing education opportunities are available to all counseling staff throughout the year in a variety of venues including lectures on medical aspects of various disabilities, statewide and regional trainings, on-line and web based sessions.
  • DVR also continues to support staff in the Emerging Leaders program.    

 Measure 3: VR counselors and support staff have tools for case management.  

Outcome:

  • DVR continues to support the enhancement, upgrade, and training on the Division’s case management and information system; works with rural counselors to ensure to the maximum extent possible, are available for  

 Strategies for Goal 2

  • Support VR staff lacking the academic credentials to sit for the CRC by paying for tuition and books for those classes.  
  • Provide ongoing CRC certified training for CRCs in order to maintain their certification.  
  • Marketing VR as a career choice at job fairs.  
  • Continue to pursue out-of-state hiring with the Division of Personnel.  
  • Offer staff opportunities for leadership development both within the Division and through RSA sponsored programs.  
  • Evaluate use of CRCC’s category R  

 Impediments for Goal 2

  • State hiring policies.  
  • No university in the state offering a VR counseling program.    
  • When out-of-state hiring approved, it is difficult to attract qualified individuals to Alaska.  
  • Even though DVR supports staff in pursuit of academic courses for CRC, it is often difficult for staff to combine work and school.  
  • Staff retiring  
  • Staff leaving for higher paying Federal VA jobs.    

 Goal 3: DVR will work to ensure the programmatic and physical accessibility of One-Stop Job Centers; to expand long-term supported services for SE consumers; and to enhance services provided by other programs to individuals with disabilities by collaborating with WIA partners, the Division of Senior and Disability Services (DSDS) and other stakeholders.  

Progress for Goal 3

Measure: Increased employment oriented community mental health programs.  

Outcome:

  • DVR continues to collaborate with community mental health programs in Southeast Alaska to expand employment opportunities for consumers who are mentally ill. The Director of DVR and the Director of DSDS have formed a group or task force available for those consumers with a mental health for collaborative efforts with schools, community rehabilitation programs and WIA partners.    

Measures: WIA partners and DVR work cooperatively to ensure Job Center resource rooms are accessible and Job Center staff are knowledgeable of disability related issues.  

Outcome:

  • DVR supports the Disability Program Navigators and participates in training Job Center staff on disabilities. DVR is working to increase its partnership with WIA programs in Job Centers through the establishment of Employment Networks.    

 

Strategies for Goal 3

  • All school districts have VR counselors assigned to them.  
  • Summer internship program for special education teachers was reinstated and expanded using funding from the Department of Education and Early Development.  
  • Assign transition coordinator to develop relationship with special education directors.  
  • Transition coordinator represents DVR and makes presentation at special education directors’ annual conference.  
  • Transition coordinator collaborates with various community partners who have youth and employment as a focus.  
  • Review of CRP performance and utilization has become as part of the case review process.  
  • Include an employment focus in the SPIL. Support CILs in efforts to obtain increased state funding. DVR continues its strong representation on the SILC.  
  • Integrated Employment Services Committee (IES) within the Job Centers to establish unified marketing strategies to employers; cross train staff to better understand the assortment of services available to consumers to maximize their success; and share job leads in order to have a single point of contact for employers.  
  • Reinstate the training academy in the One-Stop Job Centers; develop statewide teams to prevent partners from duplicating efforts and expenditure of resource and increase jointly shared cases.  
  • Cross training of job center staff; collaborated on grants such as customized employment and disability program navigators; developed job center teams around assessment and training.  
  • Expand and explore the feasibility of innovative projects such as Project Search.    

 Impediments for Goal 3

  • Lack of funding for DSDS employment programs  
  • Reduced funding and staff for Job Centers  

 

 

 

All eligible individuals for whom Supported Employment was an appropriate employment option received VR services in FY2010.

Goal 1: Emphasize community based integrated employment settings  

Measure: Number of individual closed with long term supports in a SE employment outcome who are employed in an integrated setting.  

Outcome:

  • During FFY 2010, DVR provided SE services under an IPE to 140 individuals with significant disabilities including person with psychiatric disabilities, behavioral health disabilities, developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries.
  • During this same period, 59 individuals who received SE services entered competitive employment.
  • Nineteen (19) individuals were closed other than rehabilitated.    

Strategies

  • DVR encourages its counselors to work with those programs providing long-term supports to provide integrated employment opportunities.   During FFY 2010, DVR also continued to work with the Governor’s Council on Special Education and Disabilities to stimulate and perpetuate SE services through components of the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant. Work was also begun with the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Senior and Disability Services to enhance and streamline the delivery of SE services across state agencies.   
  • DVR continues to work to expand the network of vendors available to provide SE services in rural Alaska by working collaboratively with the AIVR Tribal VR programs to develop and provide rehabilitation services. Effective Customized Employment (CE) strategies have also taken hold throughout the workforce system. DVR has integrated into its service delivery system many of the features of the customized wrap-around service approach including self-employment.  

 Goal 2: Pursue increased long-term state funding for SE services  

Measure: Collaborate with the Division of Behavioral Health and the Governor’s Council on Disability and Special Education to increase the state funding for long-term supports.  

Outcome:

  • A group including representatives from DVR, Behavioral Health and the Governor’s Council on Disability and Special Education was formed to identify specific funding needs and strategies for increased state funding for long-term supports.

Strategies

  • Collaborate with those entities within the State whose budget funds long-term support services. Behavioral Health garnered the support of disability groups within the State to work with their legislative representatives to support the increased funding.    
  • Explore opportunities for CRPs to become employment networks to provide long-term supports    

 Goal3: Work with the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Senior and Disability Services to reduce the wait list for the funding of long-term SE services  

Measure: DVR and other stake holders are meeting to address the wait list issue.  

Outcome:

  • A work group has been formed to address this issue.  

 Strategies

  • The Director and senior VR counselor continue to be involved in working with DSDS on policy development.    

 Goal 4: Work with the community mental health system to increase and reinstate work related programs within community mental health programs statewide  

Measure: Employment related programs are included within community mental health programs  

Outcome:

  •  DVR staff member assigned to create statewide group of stakeholders around this issue.
  • Programs with employment components started with community mental health centers continue. Additional agreements have been entered into with DVR and community programs to continue collaborative efforts to serve  

Strategies  Assign adequate DVR staff to this project. Continue to work with mental health providers around continued funding.    

 Goal 5: Investigate the viability of using Social Security work incentives and the revised Ticket to Work Program a means of client/self funded long term support.  

Measure: Determine what programs are available and disseminate appropriate information to staff.  

Outcome:

  • DVR conducted research on Ticket to Work (TTW) alternatives
  • Administrative staff received TTW training on ENs and reimbursement options
  • Long range plan for automated TTW reimbursements is in place  

 Strategies

  • Train staff on intricacies of the Ticket to Work program requirements and abilities. 
  • Acquire a Ticket Tracker component of the DVR MIS/case management system.

 

DVR exceeded all seven performance indicators for both evaluation standards as identified in 34 CFR Part 361.82.

DVR increased its performance in FFY2011 over FFY2010 in three of the seven indicators: 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3. The largest increase was in indicator 1.1, number of closed cases with an employment outcome with an increase of 19.3%.

 

In FFY2011, Alaska DVR utilized innovation and expansion funds to  support  the State Independent Living Council (SILC) and the State Vocational Rehabilitation Council (SVRC) which functions in Alaska as the State Rehabilitation Council.

The SVRC is a full and active partner in the development of DVR’s policies, regulations and procedures. The SVRC holds takes public comment on the VR program at their quarterly meetings. These meetings are typically held once a year in each of the three largest populations centers of the state (Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks) and one rural location. Statewide notification of the meetings is made through the State of Alaska’s public meeting and announcement system as well as being advertised in local VR offices. Individuals outside the meeting area are encouraged to comment either by calling in, faxing or mailing comments.  DVR uses these comments as part of the division’s ongoing program evaluation which is integral to the strategic planning process and the comprehensive statewide needs assessment. DVR also supports the SILC. The director of DVR is a member of the SILC and a DVR representative participates in the development of the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL).

Innovation and Expansion Activities for 2011 include:

  • Support of the SRC: $ 67,020
  • Support of the SILC: $185,700

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

  • 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

 

 

Supported employment (SE) remains a priority for DVR. DVR’s SE program provides opportunities for Alaskans with the most significant disabilities to achieve competitive employment in integrated settings with ongoing support provided by a variety of partners. These are individuals with developmental disabilities, severe mental illness and traumatic brain injuries for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred.

DVR provides a continuum of SE services and, in partnership with other human services agencies and programs, the continuing support that persons with the most significant disabilities need to develop, maintain and advance in competitive employment. DVR continues to work closely with other agencies and community-based organizations and groups to develop, refine and expand the availability of SE services throughout Alaska.

 

Quality of Supported Employment Services

In general, the quality of a DVR SE plan is evaluated to ensure it complies with defining the criteria of SE:

- Work is performed in an integrated setting that provides interactions with individuals who do not have disabilities, other than caregivers.  

- The individual is receiving a wage commensurate with non-disabled workers doing the same work.  

- The ongoing support needs and source have been identified.  

- SE services provided to individuals are for the maximum number of hours possible, based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice of the individual.  

- The individual and the employer are satisfied with the placement.  

 

The quality of SE services is also assured through the establishment of formal service provider agreements between DVR and those providing the rehabilitation services and through regular program evaluation and review.  

 

Scope of Supported Employment Services

During FFY 2011, DVR provided SE services under an IPE to 140 individuals with significant disabilities including person with psychiatric disabilities, behavioral health disabilities, developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries. During this same period, 59 individuals who received SE services entered competitive employment and 19 individuals were closed other than rehabilitated.  

During FFY 2011, DVR continued to work with the Governor’s Council on Special Education and Disabilities to stimulate and perpetuate SE services through components of the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant. Work was also begun with the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Senior and Disability Services to enhance and streamline the delivery of SE services across state agencies.  

 

Extent of SE Services

Supported employment is integrated into the array of services and programs available to Alaskans with disabilities, including Alaska’s behavioral health and developmental disability services systems. Success in SE requires a partnership among the responsible state and community programs, consumers and families and employers. Long-term success continues to depend on the availability of funding. DVR has begun efforts to explore the use of Ticket to Work Program as an additional source of follow along services.  

DVR provides SE services using funds as authorized under Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act to those eligible individuals who, because of the significance of their disability, require intensive services to gain employment and extended services to maintain employment. DVR provides intensive SE services under a place and train model until employment stability is achieved for a period not to exceed 18 months. The individual then transitions into the long term extended services needed for job maintenance. Extended services are provided by an agency other than DVR or though natural supports. A VR counselor must have a reasonable expectation that extended services are or will become available to the individual prior to developing an individualized plan for employment (IPE) to provide SE services.  

 

 

Transition to Extended Services

DVR provides intensive training services to SE consumers for a maximum of 18 months. Special circumstances may occur where the VR counselor and the individual agree to extend the training in order to achieve the vocational goal on the IPE. Supported employment providers who do not receive extended support funding from the Division of Senior and Disability Services, use natural supports and non-traditional resources to provide extended support services.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:12PM by saakwalshc

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 06/27/2012 at 2:26 PM

Last updated by saakwalshc

Completed on 06/27/2012 at 2:27 PM

Completed by saakwalshc

Approved on 08/21/2012 at 5:42 PM

Approved by rscoderobertiss

Published on 09/25/2012 at 12:41 PM

Published by kschelle

The following documents have been identified as being related to the information you are viewing.

  • Monitoring Report for Alaska — as of May 26, 2011
    DOC (316KB) | PDF (542KB)

  • "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities" — A blueprint for Governors has been issued by the National Governors Association (NGA).
    PDF (4.13M)

  • TAC-14-02 — Submission of the FY 2015 State Plan for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and Supplement for the Supported Employment Services Program. (May 28, 2014)
    DOC (247KB) | PDF (233KB)

  • ED-80-0013 - Certification Regarding Lobbying — 34 CFR 82.110(b) requires each State VR agency to submit for approval a signed certification regarding lobbying for each program for which federal funds are requested. In other words, one certification must be submitted for the VR program and another for the Supported Employment program.
    MS Word (24KB)

OMB Control Number: 1820-0500, approved for use through 03/31/2016

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 25 hours per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The obligation to respond to this collection is required to obtain or retain a benefit (Section 13 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended). Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4537 or email ICDocketMgr@ed.gov and reference the OMB Control Number 1820-0500. Note: Please do not return the completed form to this address.