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

View Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services VR State Plan for 2013 H126A120027 @Published

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

1.1 The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services 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 Maryland State Department of Education [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

Treasurer

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

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

Assistant State Superintendent in Rehabilitation Services

... 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
Suzanne R. Page

Title of Signatory
Assistant State Superintendent in Rehabilitation Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/20/2012

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
Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

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 Maryland State Rehabilitation Council (MSRC) was established under the 1992 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act. The Council reviews, analyzes and advises the Division of Rehabilitation Services about issues such as service provision, eligibility, strategic planning, and consumer satisfaction. MSRC members meet quarterly, perform extensive committee work and help with informal consultation.

During FY2011, MSRC played an active role in many activities with and in support of DORS. These included:

• Advocating for increased awareness of public vocational rehabilitation programs, including educating stakeholders about the impact of DORS waiting list on people with significant disabilities 

• Sharing with the Governor and stakeholders concerns about (1) continuing federal VR inequities included in the 2009 Government Accounting Office report, especially in light of discontinuation of ARRA funding, and (2) concerns about lengthy vacancies of rehabilitation counselors which contributes to the lengthy waiting list 

• Facilitating statewide public meetings

• Providing consultation and review for consumer satisfaction surveys

• Providing review and analysis of Client Assistance Program (CAP) outcomes and issues

• Reviewing and analyzing DORS employment and retention study

 

• Making personal office visits with members of Maryland’s General Assembly regarding the need to maintain state funding and to address the needs of underserved populations, as well as DORS staff vacancy rates.

• A letter was issued to the Maryland General Assembly in support of extension of the Tax Credit for Qualifying Employees with Disabilities

• Strategizing with DORS Employment Specialists regarding employer relationships

• Actively participating in DORS strategic planning process, including planning meetings

• The Council was active in the Region 3 SRC Community of Practice, Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) and the National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils.

Summary of Input

The MSRC provides year-round formal and informal consultation to DORS, particularly at scheduled quarterly full Council meetings, at committee meetings and during an annual DORS/MSRC executive planning meeting. Meeting minutes document discussions and recommendations. 

In addition, DORS provided members of the Policy and Planning Committee with documents so that the committee could offer formal recommendations for the agency’s strategic planning needs. These were:

• SRC FY 2011 Annual Report

• DORS FY 2011 Outcomes

• FY 2011 Standards & Indicators

• Consumer satisfaction survey results from the Office of Field Services and the Office for Blindness & Vision Services

• DORS/SRC 2012 Public Meetings report 

Recommendations from the Maryland State Rehabilitation Council

1. The Council continues to recommend that DORS and the MSRC Public Relations and Quality Assurance Committee review the methodology of satisfaction surveys and explore web-based surveys. Consider strategies to expand sample size, reach underrepresented groups, and preserve anonymity.  Explore Web-based surveys, follow-up phone calls, and other response methods.

DORS Response: DORS agrees and will continue to review all available options for obtaining accurate, reliable, and anonymous feedback on consumer satisfaction. DORS will continue to look at web-based survey options as we plan for an updated DORS website.

2. The Council recommends that DORS continue to emphasize the Counselor’s role in working with college Disability Support Services (DSS) offices, encouraging students to use the resources of college DSS offices, and developing appropriate individualized college supports, including those for individuals with autism-spectrum disorders.

DORS Response: DORS will continue to encourage and support the counselors’ role in working with college DSS offices, including identification of appropriate supports for consumers with autism-spectrum disorders.

3. The Council recommends that DORS continue collaboration with local providers, the Maryland Department of Disabilities, and the Developmental Disabilities Administration at the State and local levels, as related to the Employment First initiative. This should include an exploration of programmatic barriers to success and cross-agency training needs.

DORS Response: DORS will continue to work with DDA, MDOD, and local providers as they advance the Employment First program. DORS will examine programmatic barriers and look at how these can be addressed through inter-agency collaboration and training.

4. The Council recommends that DORS continue to look at innovative transportation options. DORS staff should be reminded of the available transportation options and resources and these statewide resources should be posted on InDORS and on the public web site.

DORS Response: The agency agrees that transportation continues to be a barrier to employment for many consumers.  DORS will post information about transportation on the agency internet and intranet.

5. The Council recommends that DORS continue to explore, identify, and implement innovative practices in job development and placement.

DORS Response: DORS will reexamine staff roles to assess the effectiveness of current practices and suggest new strategies for job development and placement, and emphasize expansion of current best practices including summer youth employment and internships.

6. The Council appreciates the expansion of services for deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers at the Workforce & Technology Center and recommends that WTC/DORS similarly expand services for individuals who are blind, vision impaired and deaf/blind.

DORS Response: DORS appreciates the ongoing support of the Council regarding having a full-time Staff Specialist for Deaf and Hard of Hearing at WTC.  DORS will continue to work toward expanding WTC services for individuals who are blind, vision impaired and deaf/blind.

7. The Council recommends that DORS review the Agency’s website and continue to improve its effectiveness in providing consumer information, public education and outreach.

DORS Response: DORS recognizes the need for web-based outreach efforts and will continue to make feasible changes to the current website, while also moving forward on researching social media issues and technologies, and tailoring the website information to be more consumer-friendly.

DORS supports these recommendations and continues to be very appreciative of the expertise of the individuals who comprise the Maryland State Rehabilitation Council. Their passion for and commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities is without equal. DORS values their contributions of time and knowledge.

This screen was last updated on Jun 21 2012 9:14AM by Kimberlee Schultz

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 10:12AM by Polly Huston

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.

Cooperation with private and non-profit service agencies, related government agencies and other professional organizations has long been a cornerstone of public vocational rehabilitation in Maryland.  Such collaborations help to overcome the complex and multiple barriers that confront people with disabilities who want to work or stay independent in their communities. 

The Division maintains cooperative agreements, memoranda of understanding and membership on Interagency Councils and Local Committees and other collaborative initiatives and projects with agencies and organizations outside the workforce investment system.

A. Cooperative Agreements

1.Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH): 

a. Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA) – This cooperative agreement, most recently updated effective December 2011, addresses referrals between agencies and specifies shared responsibilities for funding of supported employment, as well as cross-training for staff.

b. Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) – Maryland State Department  of Education, DORS, and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental  Hygiene, Developmental Disabilities Administration updated and approved the Cooperative Agreement, Employment Services in December 2006. It addresses referral between agencies and specifies shared responsibilities for funding of  supported employment. It also describes cross-training activities. A Priority  Initiative Addendum has been signed that identifies target populations for DORS services, consistent with the DORS Order of Selection, among individuals with developmental disabilities who 1) are receiving Individualized Support Services (ISS); 2) those leaving secondary school prior to age 21; and 3) individuals in  day activity programs.

DORS is represented on a number of DDA workgroups with a goal of implementation of Employment First in Maryland. DORS anticipates updating the DORS-DDA Cooperative Agreement within the next year.

2.  Maryland Association of Student and Financial Aid Administrators

This cooperative agreement specifies the process for defining unmet financial need for  higher education and the requirements for PELL Grant and scholarship applications. It  also outlines the process for sharing information to determine the amount of assistance  DORS can provide to a student for tuition and other educational costs.

3.  Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) – This agreement describes the referral process and the procedure for submitting rehabilitation plans to the Commission to determine if costs will be covered by an insurer. 

4.  Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) – The Intra-agency Cooperative Agreement on Transitioning specifies areas of cooperation among the Divisions of Student, Family and School Support Services, Special Education/ Early Intervention Services, Career and College Readiness, and Rehabilitation Services specific to transitioning youth. (See Attachment 4.8(b) (2).)

B.   Memoranda of Understanding (MOU)

1. MOUs with each of these agencies authorize them to issue vouchers for the Maryland   Disability Employment Tax Credit: Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA), and Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA).

2. An MOU with the Maryland State Department of Budget and Management, Office of Personnel Services and Benefits outlines service provision for state employees with disabilities.  This includes career assessment, worksite analysis and rehabilitation technology assessment for provision of reasonable accommodations. It also describes a referral process for state employees who are unable to do their job because of disability as well as what assistance is available for eligible employees in obtaining a new job within or outside of State government.

C.  Interagency Councils and Local Committees

DORS maintains an active presence on numerous statewide interagency councils. DORS regional and field offices, the Workforce & Technology Center (WTC) and the Office for Blindness and Vision Services (OBVS) also maintain active working relationships with many local committees and initiatives.

 

Statewide:

a. Maryland Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC)

b. Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC)

c. Maryland Mental Health Advisory Board (DHMH, MHA)

d. Local Coordinating Councils

e. Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory      Committee

f. Interagency Transition Council for Youth with Disabilities Under Executive         Order 01.01.2007.13 (Interagency State Plan for Transitioning Students with        Disabilities)

g. The Maryland Coordinating Committee for Human Services Transportation (MCCHST)

h. DHMH/DDA, Maryland Department of Disabilities Employment First

i. The Maryland Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped Advisory Board

 

D.  Other Collaborative Initiatives and Projects

DORS collaborates with the Department of Disabilities, a cabinet level agency. DORS is represented on the following committees/workgroups:

1.“Specialistern” – model for employment of individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome

2. SUCCESS - post-secondary education for individuals with intellectual disabilities

3. The ADA Celebration committee

4. Quarterly meetings between MDOD Secretary and DORS Director to discuss state and national disability topics, project updates, etc.

5. DORS supports/collaborates with DOD during legislative session on issues of importance to the disability community.

All committees bring together a variety of Maryland agencies that supply programs and services to individuals with disabilities.

There are also agreements with the Maryland School for the Blind (MSB) and the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD), covering referral procedures, evaluation, individualized planning and follow-up.  The Office for Blindness & Vision Services (OBVS) sponsors summer programs with MSB at the Workforce & Technology Center.

Other collaborations are:

• Supported Business Enterprise-- DORS works with the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and the Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA) to assure that self-employment is a viable career option for individuals with cognitive and psychiatric disabilities. Supported Business Enterprise is a form of self-employment for individuals who, because of their disability, require supports to operate their business. While the consumer must perform a core function of the business, extended service providers support certain activities and related functions to assure successful operation. All businesses operate within an integrated employment setting.

• Blind Industries & Services of Maryland (BISM) –DORS provides state-aided grants support services to individuals with vision loss, including rehabilitation teachers, aids and devices and Braille production. 

• Community Colleges—DORS has an agreement with the Community College of Baltimore County to work collaboratively on their 3 campuses with the college Disability Support Services staff to provide supports required by students with Autism spectrum disabilities.  The Division’s Workforce & Technology Center has designated a staff person to work directly with students, college staff and faculty to assure student success at the community college and facilitate development of compensatory skills to continue to a four year institution of higher education or begin employment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:15PM by Kimberlee Schultz

  • 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.

Plans, Policies and Coordination with Educational Officials 

The Division considers service provision to high school students with disabilities and their families a high priority. The agency coordinates services with local educational agencies in order to identify diploma & certificate students who will need services in order to move into the world of work.  These activities are coordinated both at the statewide level as well by regional directors and supervisors on a local level.

Coordination with Educational Officials.  The Division of Rehabilitation Services is an organizational unit of the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).  DORS, therefore, is a signatory and partner in implementation of the Maryland Intra-agency Cooperative Planning Agreement for Secondary Students with Disabilities.  This is an agreement with three other cooperating Divisions within MSDE: the Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services; the Division of Career Technology; and the Division of Student, Family, and School Services.  The agreement identifies the roles and responsibilities of the cooperating Divisions at the state and local level, including the process for technical assistance and training to schools; assurances for the development and completion of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) that is coordinated with the development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) prior to school exit; financial responsibilities and methods to resolve disputes; and referrals, including those students with disabilities at risk of dropping out, having been suspended or expelled.  Students who remain in school are referred during the Fall semester of their next to last year in secondary school.  The provision of in-school rehabilitation services was included to enhance earlier DORS involvement in career and employment services while the youth was still in school. The agreement is based on federal and state legislation, as well as policies consistent with transition evidence based practices. 

Local Agreements. Using the Maryland Intra-agency Cooperative Planning Agreement for Secondary Students with Disabilities as a basis and model, DORS and local education agency staff have developed MOUs to clarify roles and responsibilities at the local level.  DORS also maintains local cooperative agreements with the Maryland School for the Blind and the Maryland School for the Deaf regarding appropriate transition services for these under served student populations.

State Law – Counselor Assignment to Secondary Schools; Completion of the IPE.  Maryland State Law requires that DORS assign a counselor to each public secondary school in the state to promote effective transition.  It also requires that DORS complete the IPE for eligible students with disabilities who can be served under the order of selection prior to school exit. 

The Governor’s Interagency Transition Council for Youth with Disabilities.  By state law, DORS is a permanent member of the Governor’s Interagency Transition Council for Youth with Disabilities, recently reissued as Executive Order 01.01.2007.13.  DORS collaborates with 26 other Council members, including state agencies (Health and Mental Hygiene, Labor and Licensing, Maryland Technology, Higher Education Commission, Workforce Investment Board), representatives of schools, disability advocacy groups, and individuals with disabilities and their families.  The purpose of the Council is to promote effective transition services for students with disabilities throughout Maryland.  This includes outreach to students and referral to DORS and other agencies that can be of assistance.

DORS Staff Specialist for Transition.  DORS maintains a Staff Specialist position to:

a. Coordinate all transition activities and projects with other state agencies, community organizations, public and private facilities, local DORS field offices, and employers.

b. Lead in developing and assist in implementing federal and state transition requests for proposals.

c. Develop, update and monitor transition documents and cooperative agreements.

d. Provide program information to state level transition personnel and to the local education agencies through in-service training and publications.

e. Serve as consultative staff for the Governor’s Interagency Transition Council for Youth with Disabilities.

f. Facilitate an intra-agency transition group for counselors who provide transitioning services for the purpose of information sharing and ongoing training.

State-of-the-Art Transitioning.

DORS will facilitate activities to bring state-of-the-art transitioning services to Maryland’s students and families, consistent with the guideposts of evidence-based practice in transitioning program development: Preparatory Experiences, Connecting Activities, Work-based Experiences and Youth Development and Leadership.

a. Administer the no-cost extension of the Maryland Seamless Transition Collaborative, a USDOE, Rehabilitation Services Administration grant focused on expanding “pockets of excellence” in implementation of evidence-based transition practices to a “system of excellence” throughout the state, in partnership with Transcen, Inc. and local education agencies. The Interagency Transition Council for Youth with Disabilities, (see above) a 27 member board appointed by the Governor, serves as advisory to the Collaborative. The focus in 2013 will be on data collection, finalizing demonstration sites and examining best practices from sustainability projects for statewide replication.

b. Continue to explore and develop new initiatives and methodologies that promote the successful post-school outcomes of: employment, post-secondary education and training and community participation, independent living and healthy lifestyles. This may be accomplished through cooperative agreements, cooperative funding agreements, special grants or other innovative means.

c. Work with local businesses and agencies as needed to expand opportunities for internships, mentoring, and summer employment experiences as a way to prepare students for viable careers.

d. Continue to administer and evaluate the Governor’s Transition Youth Initiative, a program designed for transitioning students with the most significant disabilities, exiting school at age 21 and who can benefit from supported employment services.

e. Identify opportunities to provide information and outreach materials for transitioning students and their families.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:15PM by Kimberlee Schultz

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

The Division utilizes community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) to the maximum extent feasible to provide a wide range of highly skilled vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities around the state. DORS continually assesses the needs of individuals with disabilities and recruits new organizations and expands services with existing ones in order to meet those needs. 

DORS Accreditations

Accreditation of CRPs is an important factor in the operation of the state vocational rehabilitation program in Maryland.  The purpose of these reviews and accreditations is as follows:

? To improve the quality of services delivered to individuals with disabilities

? To assist the governing board of the community rehabilitation program and other interested groups in the community to better understand what is required for a sound program

? To serve as a means for self-evaluation by the board, administrator and staff.

The Accreditation Process

DORS purchases services from CRPs that are accredited and operate in compliance with federal regulations and operate in compliance with the regulations for Title I, Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program implementing the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1992, Section 361.51.

These CRPs must hold accreditations from national organizations such as CARF or The Joint Commission, formerly JCAHO.  They may also be in “deemed” status, having been accredited by other Maryland government agencies such as the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. 

Otherwise, the DORS staff specialist for community rehabilitation programs will perform onsite accreditations every three years. The specialist, along with a local DORS staff person, advises the CRPs what is required and then conducts an onsite review to examine all resource documents, consumer files and details about programs. As appropriate, CRP staff may attend the overview and exit conferences.

If the program demonstrates its ability to serve DORS consumers, a cooperative agreement is drafted for approval and signature. The agreement outlines roles, responsibilities and fees.

Services Purchased by DORS

DORS purchases a wide variety of services that assist people with disabilities to reach independence and employment. These may include career assessment services, assistive technology services, employee development services, non-supported employment job coaching, skills training and specialized services such as those for individuals with acquired

Brain injuries.  

DORS may also purchase job-coaching services from CRPs that have supported employment programs approved by the Mental Health Administration  (MHA) and the Developmental

Disabilities Administration.

DORS will also purchase community based assessment services provided by private vendors who are certified vocational evaluators. 

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:15PM by Kimberlee Schultz

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.

DORS has implemented a Milestone Payment system for psychiatric rehabilitation programs offering Evidence-Based Supported Employment services. The Milestone Payment system significantly streamlines provision of services for DORS and provider staff by substantially reducing preparation of authorizations and invoices, tracking of hours of services, and simplifying reporting.

2. Employment First.

DORS is a partner with other State agencies and community rehabilitation programs in implementing Employment First, a national effort to assure that individuals with intellectual disabilities/developmental disabilities consider employment on a preferred basis in planning for their lives.  Employment First is consistent with our agency’s belief that individuals with disabilities, even the most significant disabilities, can work in meaningful positions in integrated settings when provided with adequate, appropriate supports. Supported employment is appropriate for individuals in Employment First and is the means to assure the best chance for success in employment. Community rehabilitation programs are enhancing “discovery” services aimed at assisting individuals with intellectual disabilities/developmental disabilities to determine what they would like to do with their lives, including their work life.  They are also developing “customized employment” services where a job can be tailored specifically for an individual to meet his/her needs and aspirations. Benefits planning is also an important part of services for individuals served through Employment First.

3. Governor’s Employment Program for Persons with Acquired Brain Injury

The Governor’s Employment Program for Persons with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI Project) provides intensive vocational rehabilitation and long-term supports to individuals with acquired brain injuries. This often includes needed neuropsychological and other assessments, training and supported employment services and long-term job coaching.

Individuals with ABI often do not qualify for long-term supports offered through the Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA) for people with chronic mental illness or the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) for individuals with developmental disabilities.

This program includes periodic meetings of DORS staff assigned ABI cases, DORS managers and staff of CRPs serving individuals with ABI and includes a training component.

The ABI Program allows DORS to identify and serve 50 individuals annually with traumatic brain injuries with intensive and continuous service delivery with community partnerships. DORS is working with community rehabilitation programs and other organizations to provide the necessary services, including job coaching, to eligible individuals.

A unique aspect of this program is that DORS provides the funding for the long-term job coaching support as part of post- employment services for individuals.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:15PM by Kimberlee Schultz

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) has established policies and procedures for a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) which ensures that all personnel:

• are well qualified

• regularly take part in staff development

• participate in performance-based evaluation systems

• meet required licensing/certification standards

Training, education and developmental activities ensure appropriately skilled staff, with special emphasis given to rehabilitation technology, employer services, transitioning and disability-specific (e.g., blindness) skills.  This system strives to fill vacancies with well-qualified and culturally diverse applicants.  

As part of the Maryland State Department of Education, DORS is required to adhere to personnel development policies and procedures contained in 34 CFR 300.15, 34 CFR 300-383, 20.  U.S.C.  1413 (A) (3) and in the Code of Maryland Regulations 13 A., 05.01.03G.

1. Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development.  DORS has a data system to annually obtain information on personnel and personnel development, as follows:

a. The number of personnel who are employed by the state agency in the provision of VR services in relation to the number of individuals served, broken down by personnel category.

By December 31 of each year DORS will:

1. Use the RSA A2 Report of September 30 to determine the number of DORS positions in provision of VR services (total number of DORS positions minus total number of DDS positions).

2. Determine the number of positions in the following categories:

a. Rehabilitation Counselors b. Administrative Staff c. Staff Supporting Counselor Activities d. Other

3. Determine the number of individuals served effective September 30 from the AWARE case management system.

 

b.The number of personnel currently needed by the state agency to provide VR services, broken down by personnel category.

1. Using the MSDE Personnel Report of September 30, analyze DORS vacancy rate and vacancies in the specific categories.  Also consider total number of staff needed based on waiting list and other factors.

c. Projections of vacancies in personnel, broken down by personnel category, needed by the state agency to provide VR services in the state in 5 years based on projections of the number of individuals to be served, including individuals with significant disabilities, the number of personnel expected to retire or leave the field and other relevant factors.

1. Ascertain turn over rate for most recent federal fiscal year.

2. Project vacancies over the next five years in light of current staffing and turn-over rate and other relevant factors.

 

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Rehabilitation Counselors 170 7 70
2 Administrative Staff 67 2 28
3 Staff Supporting Counselor Activities 168 7 69
4 Other 17 1 7
5 0 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

2. DORS system for collecting and analyzing on an annual basis data on personnel development.  Following is a description of DORS system for collecting and analyzing data on personnel development on an annual basis:

 a. Annually, compile a list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing VR professionals, by type of program.

A list will be compiled of programs in Maryland preparing VR staff at the bachelor’s, master’s and certificate level.

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

 c. The number of students who graduated during the prior year from each institution 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.

At the conclusion of each academic year, DORS will contact coordinators of programs at Maryland institutions of higher education to obtain information about:

The number of students enrolled in each type of program

The number of employees sponsored by DORS or RSA

The number of employees sponsored by DORS or RSA who have graduated

The number who have graduated

The number who have graduated with certification or licensure or credentials required to achieve certification/licensure.

DORS staff will then determine personnel category of graduates who have certification, licensure or credentials to achieve certification/licensure.

ANNUAL ANALYSIS/REPORT

1. Compile data.

2. Analyze information compared to previous years; determine trends.

3. Based on data and trends, determine implications for rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities in Maryland.

4. No later than December 31, prepare a report of findings; include recommendations in Division planning and other activities, as appropriate.

 

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Coppin State University 184 17 21 17
2 The George Washington University 69 14 5 55
3 University of Maryland College Park 24 6 0 15
4 University of Maryland Eastern Shore 246 30 19 59
5 0 0 0 0

 

a. Annually take the information and recommendations from the Data System described above regarding current and projected needs for personnel.

b. Based on findings, design a recruitment plan for the upcoming year in collaboration with colleges and universities, the Maryland Rehabilitation Association (MRA) and the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center at the George Washington University. 

Colleges/Universities in Maryland with Rehabilitation Counseling Programs:

Institution: Coppin State University (Historically Black Institution)

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Programs: Undergraduate and Masters degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling; Certificate Program in Assistive Technology

Institution: The George Washington University

Location: Washington, DC

Programs: Masters degree in rehabilitation counseling (on-line & on-site) and career assessment; certificate programs in transition services, job development and job placement, and brain injury

Institution: University of Maryland College Park

Location: College Park, Maryland

Programs: Ph.D. in rehabilitation psychology; certificate program in job placement

Institution: University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Location: Princess Anne, Maryland

Programs: Masters and undergraduate degrees in rehabilitation counseling

The plan may include:

• Active membership on advisory boards of colleges/universities with programs in Rehabilitation Counseling

• Provision of job shadowing opportunities for Masters level students in their first year

• Provision of internship opportunities in the comprehensive rehabilitation facility and field offices

• Staff presentations to students and classes about the public rehabilitation program

• Collaboration with the MRA training committee to provide on-going in-service training opportunities to current and prospective staff

• Maintain effective partnership with historically black institutions to assure sufficient number of applicants for state agency job vacancies so that the workforce reflects the composition of the state

• To support retention of staff and succession planning, collaborate with university, professional association and TACE partners to provide on-going mentoring and leadership activities

c. Update the Plan on an annual basis, as needed.

 

 

 

34.  Personnel Standards.  DORS has policies and procedures in place related to personnel standards to ensure that designated state unit professional and paraprofessional personnel are adequately trained and prepared, including:

a. Standards for hiring vocational rehabilitation specialists/rehabilitation counselors are consistent with standards in Maryland law, Labor and Employment Article which specify that rehabilitation counselors “have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in rehabilitation counseling, human services, psychology, or a related field with at least 1 year of work experience in a human services occupation.” §9-6A-09.  DORS considers related fields to include rehabilitation – career assessment, rehabilitation – employer services, education, deaf education, social work, psychology, human services, blind and vision services, employment/career counseling, and community counseling.

Specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the CSPD standards. For 2011, 97% of DORS VR specialists/rehabilitation counselors met the CSPD standard of a bachelor’s degree and a year of experience. No one is hired for such positions with less than a bachelor’s degree. 4 Rehabilitation Specialists did not meet the standard because they had less than 1 year of related experience. These 4 will therefore meet the standard within one year of employment as they will then have had at least one year of work experience in addition to their bachelor’s degree.

b. Standards for achievement of journeyman counselor status include a master’s degree.  DORS requires that vocational rehabilitation specialists considered for promotion to rehabilitation technical specialist (the highest level of rehabilitation counseling) have a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a closely related field, which may include rehabilitation – career assessment, rehabilitation – employer services, education, deaf education, social work, psychology, human services, blind and vision services, employment/career counseling, and community counseling.  DORS provides technical assistance in career development for staff, and facilitates staff application for RSA scholarships and also provides tuition reimbursement to support staff in achieving required credentials.

c. DORS encourages and supports through reimbursement of initial certification fees, achievement of CRC certification, but does not require it.

d. Paraprofessional personnel must meet standards of their specific position in the classified service according to position descriptions developed and updated by the Maryland State Department of Education Personnel Office and the Maryland Department of Personnel. 

 

 

1. DORS System of Staff Development.   The Division maintains a system of staff development for staff professionals and paraprofessionals that includes (A) identification of training needs, (B) policies and procedures and (C) training activities.

A. Training needs are identified based upon results of a variety of assessment instruments and methods which include: (1) the organizational Planning Process in which training areas are determined by the initiatives identified in the Division’s five year Strategic Plan and Annual Program Plan; (2) DORS Performance Appraisal which allows each professional employee and the employee’s supervisor to identify on a semi-annual basis training needs and develop a plan to assist the employee to meet the essential functions of their position as reflected in their position description. These needs are shared with the Staff Development Specialist and training needs are prioritized, developed, implemented and/or coordinated based on the results of the information; (3) Program Evaluation:  Areas of need are identified by the DORS program evaluator, through the case review process and the RSA 107 review;  (4) The triennial comprehensive assessment of the needs of individuals with disabilities, included as Attachment 4.11 (a); (5) Division’s Policy Review Committee, the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), and annual public meetings provide feedback and a continuous evaluation component identifying needs which can be addressed and/or alleviated by training which are submitted to the Staff Development Office for appropriate action;  (6) Individual Staff Training Needs Survey:  A training needs assessment questionnaire is distributed to all staff annually.  The results are tabulated and categorized to prepare for individual and/or group training programs.

B. Policies and Procedures for staff development activities are maintained in the Divisions Rehabilitation Services Manual I, Administrative Manual, section 700, as well as the Staff Development Site on InDORS, the Division’s intranet which allows staff to access information on policies and procedures for in-service training opportunities, tuition reimbursement, reimbursement for fees related to initial achievement of CRC credentials, mentoring and leadership activities, and provides a training calendar with links to brochures and registration information. 

C. Training Activities:  The Staff Development program identifies training needs from surveys and sources noted above and develops and provides training to professional and paraprofessional staff through quarterly, annual, and customized training activities which include: 

(1) Orientation and training on fundamental rehabilitation process and procedures is provided to all new staff through Getting Connected, the Supervisor’s Guide to training new staff  through the Divisions Quality Rehabilitation Training program provided to all new staff,

(2) Training for special populations is provided including blindness and vision services, deaf and hard of hearing services, services for individuals with acquired brain injury, individuals on the autism spectrum, transitioning youth, and psychiatric rehabilitation throughout the year,

(3) Training in career assessment services is offered semi annually,

(4) Rehabilitation technology training is offered throughout the year on a variety of assistive technology and worksite accommodation issues,

(5) Statewide prescriptive training on a variety of topics is delivered to all counselors, including career counseling, employer services, ethics, job placement, case note/case documentation training, ADA training, autism spectrum disorders, 

(6) Staff participate in the annual statewide training conference sponsored by the DORS and the Maryland Rehabilitation Association (MRA),

(7) New supervisors training and ongoing training activities for supervisors and Division administrators are provided during semi-annual statewide supervisors meetings.  Staff managers participate in management and leadership training through vendors and the Regional TACE Center.

(8) Paraprofessionals participate in statewide prescriptive training throughout the year with their units, as well as an annual training activity customized to meet the needs of staff and address agency priorities. 

 

The Staff Development office maintains a data base of all training activities attended by Division professional and paraprofessional staff, according to the individual staff member, unit and Office. 

2. Acquisition and Dissemination of Knowledge.  The Division ensures that professional and paraprofessional staff receive significant knowledge from research and other sources by keeping abreast of the latest information on disability issues, legislation, and current topics and training on rehabilitation.  Information is disseminated to staff in a variety of ways including:

a. Posting information to staff on the Division’s InDORS intranet and public website www.dors.state.md.us 

b. Disseminating email and agency program directives, administrative instructions, and information bulletins

c. Developing agency policy and procedures based on federal and state law and regulation, as needed

d. Revising agency policy and procedures manuals, as needed

e. Providing staff training on new policy and policy and procedural updates

f. Providing staff training on a variety of current topics

g. Attending meetings, conferences, and workshops.

h.  Posting training resources and archive presentations on the DORS website and intranet.

 

a. Meeting the needs of individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf/blind.  DORS has personnel skilled in sign language who are assigned to provide services to consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing and deaf/blind who require such communication.  DORS has TTYs in offices and has installed video phones within the office locations of our rehabilitation counselors for the deaf (RCDs).  DORS hires approved interpreters as needed to assure that consumers have access to the full range of rehabilitation services they may need.  DORS supports attendance of consumers at institutions specializing in services for the deaf, as appropriate.

b. Meeting the needs of individuals who are blind or vision impaired.  DORS has a dedicated office, the Office for Blindness & Vision Services, which has counselors who have specialized caseloads working with individuals who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf blind.  These staff participate in at least quarterly training on topics specific to blindness and vision services, assistive technology, job development, career counseling, and participate in other Division sponsored training with all staff.  DORS collaborates with its partners in the provision of training including the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), and Helen Keller National Center (HKNC).  DORS provides assistive technology, as appropriate and required, for individuals who are blind or vision impaired.  DORS provides all information for consumers in the requested alternate format of the individual.  DORS website and intranet are fully accessible to users of screen readers.

c. Meeting the needs of individual with limited English.  DORS provides interpreter and translation services to consumers through the state contract for such services and through staff with skills in languages other than English.  A DORS workgroup addresses a multicultural initiative which includes identification of staff with language skills in addition to English, enhancing cultural competencies of staff, identification of community resources, and provision of public information and agency forms in alternate languages.  The Division includes periodic in-service training opportunities on cultural proficiency.

 

The Division has personnel who have specialized caseloads serving transitioning youth.  These staff participate in quarterly training activities on current transition topics.  Staff are also encouraged to participate in ongoing professional development through participation in a variety of workshops, conferences, and in service training opportunities that are disseminated via email to all staff and posted on the Divisions InDORS intranet.  The Division also co- sponsors and coordinates an annual transition conference that is attended by over 500 staff, education partners, stakeholders, parents, and consumers.  Staff are also encouraged to participate in training activities such as the George Washington University’s Master’s level 12 credit online transition certificate program.  

Examples of cross-training with secondary school personnel include:

• Training in evidence-based transition practices for LEA staff and DORS staff provided by Transcen, Inc., as part of the Maryland Seamless Transition Collaborative.

• Training on Autism Spectrum disorders provided by DORS in partnership with Pathfinders for Autism and the Maryland Rehabilitation Association.

• Training and presentations on blindness and vision services with LEA and itinerate teachers and DORS staff are held on a regular basis.

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:15PM by Kimberlee Schultz

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.

2013 State Plan for VR Services

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

2010 COMPREHENSIVE STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT of the REHABILITATION and CAREER NEEDS of INDIVIDUALS with DISABILITIES

Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services and

Maryland State Rehabilitation Council

 

The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) along with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) continually assesses the rehabilitation and career needs of Maryland citizens with disabilities, as part of its state and strategic planning process. DORS and the SRC hold annual public meetings and the SRC regularly provides input on Agency planning and recommendations. The results of consumer satisfaction surveys are also reviewed in order to provide insight into the rehabilitation and career needs of Maryland citizens with disabilities.

This year the Division in conjunction with the SRC undertook the triennial comprehensive needs assessment in compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations CFR (361.29). Two members of the SRC were an integral part of the nine-member team which (1) collected and analyzed relevant existing data and (2) conducted and analyzed findings of supplemental surveys, focus groups key informant interviews, in order to ascertain the needs of individuals with disabilities throughout the state.

A summary of the findings of the Needs Assessment was available for public input and was discussed in public meetings throughout the state to obtain further input of stakeholders. The SRC reviewed the final comprehensive needs assessment. The conclusions and recommendations of this assessment shall be incorporated into DORS goals and priorities over the next three years for the purpose of enhancing services to persons with disabilities, and more effectively meeting their needs.

Federal funding. Mentioned in the 2007 Needs Assessment attachment related to provision of services to transitioning students, DORS waiting list and delays in service provision became a prominent concern and constitute the most significant need for individuals with significant and most significant disabilities in Maryland. Over the past decade inflation – the cost of doing business (operating the VR program) – has risen nearly 25%, while DORS federal funding has risen less than 10%.  Meanwhile, demand for DORS services – people with disabilities wanting to go to work – rose more than 40%. That left DORS at the start of State FY 2009 (July 2008) with 5,230 eligible individuals on a waiting list for services, some of whom had to be told it might be up to a year and a half before they could even begin the rehabilitation process. Discouraging and unfair to individuals with disabilities and their families and demoralizing to DORS staff, the waiting list for services has now been substantially reduced due to a modest increase in state funding effective 7/1/2008 and application of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

However, the ARRA funds are time-limited; while they may address the State and federal funding shortfalls for FY 2010 and 2011, the long-term concerns with DORS waiting list still remain. In September 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report to Congress (GAO-09-798) that makes clear that Maryland has the third most poorly-funded state VR program due to inherent inequities in the formula used to allocate federal dollars between states.  Without an act of Congress to change the formula, Maryland’s federal funding will not be sufficient to prevent a substantial increase in the waiting list over time. 

Need related to Federal funding: The overriding vocational rehabilitation services need of individuals with disabilities residing in Maryland is equitable distribution of federal VR funds. While other recommendations in this attachment address ways to incrementally improve VR services to individuals with disabilities, continuation of historical underfunding of Maryland VR in relations to other states will make it very difficult to implement changes that could result in many more individuals with disabilities achieving employment.

A. Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation and Career Needs of Individuals with Disabilities.

INDIVIDUALS WITH MOST SIGNIFICANT DISABILITIES, INCLUDING THEIR NEED FOR SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES.

I. BLIND/VISION IMPAIRED/DEAF-BLIND. 

As discussed in the 2007 State Plan Needs Assessment attachment, the Division established the Office for Blindness & Vision Services (OBVS) in January 2005 in an effort to assure provision of specialized, quality services to individuals who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind. The Blindness & Vision Services committee of the State Rehabilitation Council has played a critical role in establishment and operation of OBVS. The Office for Blindness and Vision Services (OBVS) includes the following DORS programs and services:

1. Rehabilitation counselors in DORS field offices throughout Maryland who are specialists in employment and independent living issues for people who are blind.  They provide technical support to counselors for the deaf who work with deaf-blind individuals whose primary communication is American Sign Language (ASL) or Tactical sign. 

2. Rehabilitation teachers across the state who deliver community-based services such as mobility training, household management skills and communication device training.  These teachers also provide independent living training to individuals who have a vision impairment, are age 55 and over and not seeking employment.

3. The Maryland Business Enterprise Program for the Blind (MDBEP), which provides opportunities for individuals who are legally blind to operate vending, gift or food service businesses in public and private facilities.

4. Programs for individuals who are blind located at the Division’s Workforce and Technology Center (WTC).  These programs include assessment, training and support groups.

5. Coordination of the inter-disciplinary team providing services for deaf-blind consumers on an as-needed basis.

While great strides have been made in service provision to this population, the 2010 needs assessment provided a good opportunity to gauge success to date and identify areas for enhancement.

Prevalence. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, it is estimated that as many as 10 million Americans are blind or visually impaired, and each year 75,000 more people in the US will become blind or visually impaired.  The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC) estimates that 70,000 – 100,000 people living in the US are deaf-blind.  This means that the individuals identified have some significant level of both vision and hearing loss.  Based on the reported statistics, it is critical that rehabilitation agencies maintain quality services to assist these individuals with their independent living and employment needs.  

Methodology. To ensure continuity of quality services to individuals who are blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind, DORS sought feedback from stakeholders, consumers, and staff through (1) a stakeholder focus group (blindness), (2) a DORS-staff workgroup (blindness) and (3) a survey (deaf-blindness).  Feedback was valuable and contributed to an understanding of needs and development of recommendations.

DORS Staff Workgroup. In June, 2009, OBVS convened a work group of DORS staff to review services being provided and make recommendations for improving WTC services for individuals who are blind.  The core group and invited guests met for five months and developed a list of needs/concerns and recommendations as outlined below:

Needs/concerns: Needs expressed included

1. More specialization of current general WTC and OBVS staff to meet a variety of needs of individuals with blindness/low vision, including career assessment, job development, job seeking skills, employee development skills, vocational training, orientation and mobility, blindness skills. More staff with specialized skills to meet needs and reduce waiting time for services.

2. More community providers with specialized skills to meet the needs of individuals with blindness.

NFB Focus Group. In November 2009, a focus group at the National Federation of the Blind’s State Convention was convened to solicit feedback from attendees about the unmet needs and recommendations to satisfy those unmet needs.  Approximately 20 individuals participated and the responses are outlined below. 

Needs/concerns:

1. Need to enhance and emphasize counselor role in (1) advising consumers about the full scope of services, the rehabilitation team and process, (2) focusing on capabilities and individualized needs and learning styles, (3) facilitating access to assistive technology and (4) minimizing gaps in the provision of services.

2. Technology concerns, including access to technology and follow-up training, lack of usage after provision, role of consumer in identifying needed technology, response to technical concerns, access to accessible textbooks.

3. Quality and availability of services to older blind individuals.

4. Service provision for individuals seeking executive level employment.

Survey: Deaf-blind Services. Lastly, a survey regarding Deaf-blind (DB) services was emailed to stakeholders, consumers, community partners, and caregivers to solicit feedback about the unmet needs of individuals who are deaf-blind.  We received 31 returned surveys via mail, email and fax.  It is recognized that providing services to deaf-blind individuals is particularly challenging because of the complex needs and cost of supports and accommodations for a low incidence population.

 All returned surveys had the common themes of transportation, communication, and support services as major unmet need of individuals who are Deaf-blind. Below is an outline responses:  

Needs/Concerns:

1. Limited staff and resources to provide a full range of independent living and employment services to deaf-blind, including older deaf-blind, within DORS and community programs/providers (qualified interpreters, technologists, teachers, counselors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals).

2. Limited access to public transportation because of communication barrier.

3. Limited availability and funding for Support Service Providers (SSPs) for providing transportation access and visuals information to deaf-blind for daily living and employment skill development.

II. DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING.

As a result of testimony at 2007, 2008 and 2009 public meetings concerning services for the deaf and hard of hearing, the Division expedited hiring of a Staff Specialist for Deaf and Hard of Hearing and has provided videophones in DORS offices throughout the state.

In June, 2009 as a further effort to enhance services to deaf and hard of hearing, DORS established a workgroup to assess VR services to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or late deafened.  The group included three representatives from the Maryland State Rehabilitation Council, the Assistant Superintendent from the Maryland School For the Deaf, as well as representatives from Division programs providing services.  The group utilized the principles of the “Model State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation Services to Persons who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened” – University of Arkansas RRTC 2008 as guidance as it gathered information relative to the availability of services in Maryland. 

Needs/Concerns:

1.  Students exiting the Maryland School for the Deaf who are not college bound have limited opportunities to develop vocational skills in order to secure employment and live independently.

2. Students with hearing loss who attend regular school programs are generally not aware of DORS programs and services.

3. There are not adequate community rehabilitation programs with staff who are skilled in working with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

4. Individuals who are hard of hearing or late deafened have limited access to staff who are trained to understand and meet their special needs.

5. There are a number of veterans returning from battle with hearing losses who are experiencing difficulty adjusting back to civilian life.

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES WHO ARE MINORITIES.

The Maryland 2007 Comprehensive Assessment of the Needs of Individuals with Disabilities identified a need for DORS to enhance services to minority individuals with disabilities, focusing on those from the Hispanic community.

Prevalence. According to the US Census 2008 for Maryland:

1. 6.7% of the population is identified as Hispanic

2. 5.1% is identified as Asian. 

As indicated in the chart below, DORS has seen a modest increase in individuals served from both Hispanic and Asian backgrounds:

Hispanic:

FY 07 numbers served: 339

FY 07 Percentage of Total Served: 1.6%

FY 08 numbers served: 345

FY 08 Percentage of Total Served: 1.8%

FY 09 numbers served: 525

FY 09 Percentage of Total Served: 2.5%

Asian

FY 07 numbers served: 254

FY 07 Percentage of Total Served: 1.2%

FY 08 numbers served: 248

FY 08 Percentage of Total Served: 1.3%

FY 09 numbers served: 404

FY 09 Percentage of Total Served: 1.9%

Needs/concerns: The agency needs to continue outreach efforts and increase the numbers of minorities provided VR services, with emphasis on Hispanic and Asian individuals with disabilities.

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES WHO HAVE BEEN UNSERVED OR UNDERSERVED BY THE VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION PROGRAM.

I. AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (ASD). 

To analyze needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, members of the needs assessment committee reviewed available data regarding the incidence of autism, and then supplemented this information with an online survey, interviews of key informants, and a focus group.  The dramatically increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in Maryland was confirmed, as follows.

Prevalence. Based on 2003 U.S. state educational data, the Autism Society estimates that the prevalence of ASD in the U.S. is increasing between 10% and 17% each year. In 2009, the Center for Disease Control estimated “between 1 in 80 and 1 in 240 with an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have an ASD,” and found “ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, yet are on average 4 to 5 times more likely to occur in boys than in girls.” (References:  http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_whatis_factsstats and http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html)

DORS has seen an equally dramatic increase in the number of consumers with ASD applying for services. Whereas, only one consumer identified with ASD applied for services during fiscal year 1994, 330 consumers identified with ASD applied during fiscal year 2009. Remarkably, out of the 1,691 consumers with ASD who applied for DORS services over the past 15 years, 50.1% (848) applied within the past three years.

According to the information shown below there are 2,686 students with ASD between ages 12 and 21 in Maryland. These students may require support during their transition from high school which could be provided by DORS and/or other adult services agencies.

IDEA Part B - Children with Autism in Maryland for 2007-2008 (Child Count)

Age 3-5: 652

Age 6-11: 3,007

Age 12-17: 2,340

Age 18-21: 336

Age 6-21 (school age): 5,693

Age 3-21 (total): 6,345

Source: Reported by the State of Maryland in accordance with Section 618 of IDEA to U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs

During the past three years, the percentage of applicants with ASD who are transition youth rose to 84%, and transition age youth continued to be responsible for 72% of successful outcomes among consumers with ASD.  The availability of supported employment to transition youth with ASD during this time has significantly improved their overall rehabilitation rate. 76% of transition age youth with ASD who would continue to receive long-term funding for supported employment job coaching after closure of the DORS record of services were successfully rehabilitated compared to 34% of their peers with ASD who did not have long-term funding for supported employment available to them. Adults with ASD who had supported employment services available to them also achieved employment at a higher rate (84%) than did their peers without supported employment (78%).  This highlights the importance of long-term funding for supported employment services being available to students with ASD as they transition from school into employment.

While DORS has seen a measure of success over the years, assisting consumers with ASD to become employed, DORS recognizes that these individuals are generally underserved in Maryland, and continues to assess the needs of individuals with autism in order to better serve this population. 

Online Survey.   DORS asked persons with autism, their families, and advocates how the employment needs of persons with ASD can be better met in Maryland.  In December 2009, a five question survey was distributed to all those who subscribed to the Pathfinders for Autism newsletter. Pathfinders for Autism, Inc. is a Maryland non-profit focusing on promoting autism awareness and understanding; provision of quality information and resources to individuals, family members, caregivers, and professionals, increasing the number and quality of trained professionals serving individuals with autism and improving early detection of autism. 

A total of ninety responses to the survey were received. 79% of responses were received from parents of children with ASD age 14 or older, 2% were received from persons with ASD, and 19% were received from other individuals. The responses are summarized here: 

1. 82% indicated that they did anticipate employment within the next 1-10 years for the person with ASD about whom they were completing the survey, and 23% anticipated that employment to begin within the next 12 months.

2. Of the primary services provided by DORS, respondents considered the availability of supported employment (job coaching support) to be the most necessary for employment success, followed by customized placement assistance, vocational skills training, and job search assistance.  Career counseling and referral services and assistive technology service were considered the least critical.

3. Interpersonal skills training was considered to be most critically needed support for the individual with ASD, followed by the development of natural supports in the workplace, behavioral assessment and management support, education of employers and co-workers, self-advocacy training, and independent living skills training. 

Focus Group/Key Informant Interviews. A focus group was conducted with 12 stakeholders involved in an Adult Autism Resource Group in Towson, MD.  Also interviewed were several key informants, including Ms. Sue Howarth, Workforce and Technology Center case manager for the Pathways Program which provides supports to consumers with Aspergers who are enrolled at several campuses of the Community College of Baltimore County; Ms. Zosia Zacks, M. Ed., author of Life and Love: Positive Strategies for Autistic Adults and Early Intervention Choices:  What Parents Need to Know; Ms. Dawn Koplos, executive director of Pathfinders for Autism; and Ms. Sue Murray, a transition coordinator for Hannah More School, a private school for students with ASD, and transition consultant for all Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF) schools. 

Several themes of needs emerged among the various responses to the online survey, which were also echoed by the stakeholders in the focus group and the key informants interviewed: staff development for adult service agency staff, training opportunities designed specifically for individuals with ASD; and specific approaches to employment.

Needs/concerns:

1.Staff Development a. Further training of adult service agency staff. b. The unique behavioral triggers, sensory concerns, communication styles, and accommodation needs of persons with ASD must be taken into consideration by the job coach before the job interview is arranged. c. Job coaches must educate employers and encourage supervisors and co-workers to bring up concerns to them early on before they grow into a large enough problem to result in job termination.

2. Training Opportunities Designed Specifically for Consumers with ASD a. More opportunities for social skills development in a variety of work adjustment settings for individuals with autism after they exit high school.  b. Recognize that individuals with ASD, due to their social skills deficits, are more vulnerable to being negatively influenced by peers, and take necessary precautions to protect them, especially during unstructured times when they are feeling the most insecure. c. Expand availability of the Division’s Pathways Program which provides students a case manager/educational support staff person who mediates between the student, family and community college instructors and staff.

3.Employment a. Understanding that persons with ASD often have skills coveted by employers, DORS and provider staff need to be prepared to match the special interests of individuals with ASD with the needs of employers. b. Self-employment may be a good option for some persons with ASD, and that the development of a special approach for autism within the DORS Reach Independence through Self-Employment (RISE) program could help address gaps in executive functioning skills common to persons with ASD. c. Explore additional funding needed in order for job coaches to be adequately trained and compensated, for employer education and tax incentive programs for businesses who hire persons with ASD, and for persons to have 1-on-1 coaching or support during the evening, if needed. d. With DDA, explore ways to bridge the gap in supported employment funding for students who leave school before age 21. 

II. STUDENTS WITH 504 PLANS/SIGNIFICANT HEALTH CONDITIONS.  

While DORS has had a long-term focus on providing effective services to transitioning students with disabilities, there has been a sustained sense that the agency is working with relatively few of the students with 504 Plans or serious health conditions, as contrasted with students in special education.

Prevalence. To analyze this further, the committee reviewed existing information available through the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and through the DORS case management system. In sum, little information is collected about this group of students: the MSDE Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services Census data includes no information on this population. The Maryland Report Card just began tracking students with 504 plans in the 2008-2009 school year. While no graduation rates are reported, the dropout rate for students with 504 plans in the 2008-2009 was 1.54, as compared to 3.11 for students in special education and 2.8- for all students.  Information collected through the DORS case management system suggests that 8% of all transitioning youth successfully rehabilitated in fiscal year 2009 were youth with 504 plans or serious health conditions.

Methodology - Focus Group. In light of very limited information available, a focus group was convened to further explore issues around referral to DORS of students with 504 plans or serious health conditions. The focus group included transitioning staff from two school districts, several DORS transitioning counselors and managers, a Developmental Disabilities Administration staff member and staff from two community rehabilitation programs serving transitioning youth. Findings suggest that students in this population are served by different school staff (guidance counselors and school nurses) than special education students and confirm lack of consistency in school personnel designated as “504 Coordinators” and in tracking these students.  Protocols and activities which apply to students in special education, e.g., transition nights, provision of the Transition Planning Guide, outreach to parents, are not available to 504 students and those with significant health conditions. These students are seen as a “quiet minority,” according to teachers; are generally doing all right in class, with supports and accommodations. Unless they present behavioral issues or are students with visible disabilities, it is unlikely school staff would refer them to DORS.

Needs/concerns:

1. Include guidance counselors and school nursing staff in DORS outreach activities;

2. Annually identify 504 coordinators for each school and assure that DORS liaison counselors are aware and include these school staff in all communications for in-service training for transition staff.

3. With MSDE, explore (a) development of a transition planning guide for students with 504 plans and serious health conditions and (b) whether inclusion in transition nights would be a helpful means to provide information to students and families about resources and post-school activities.

 

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES SERVED THROUGH OTHER COMPONENTS OF THE STATEWIDE WORKFORCE INVESTMENT SYSTEM. 

The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services Comprehensive Needs Assessment committee, including members of the Maryland State Rehabilitation Council, identified community colleges and one stop career centers as focus areas because of their importance as resources for individuals with significant disabilities seeking employment.

I. COMMUNITY COLLEGES

Community colleges are a major component of Maryland’s Workforce Investment System, and they are a primary training provider to DORS consumers for both college and noncredit workforce certificate training. Students with disabilities tend to matriculate at community colleges at a greater rate when compared to their nondisabled peers. Community colleges are a highly valued rehabilitation resource, as they typically offer more supports and services to students with disabilities than four-year institutions. In 2005, it was estimated that at least 12-13% of community college students are students with disabilities, and that number is growing. 

Methodology. Two surveys were utilized to address unmet needs: a student survey and a survey of disability support services professionals at community colleges.

Community College Students with Disabilities – Student Survey:  614 surveys were distributed to DORS consumers who had attended community college in calendar year 2009 with some form of financial assistance through DORS.  60% of these surveys were distributed through postal mail, and 40% were distributed electronically via email. Surveys were also made available through community college DSS offices to students with disabilities for public distribution. The survey sought to identify the unmet needs of community college students with disabilities, and to identify if there were unmet needs unique to unserved or underserved populations. DORS received 91 survey responses; 33% of respondents identified as part of a racial or ethnic minority; 24% of respondents identified their geographic location as rural and18.7% as urban. Respondents represented 18/24 of Maryland’s counties, providing a good statewide representation of experiences at various county community colleges. Respondents were asked to self-identify disabilities, yielding the following range of responses: Learning Disabilities, Traumatic Brain Injury; Low Vision; Neurological Disorders; Mental Illnesses; Orthopedic; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Cancer; Substance Abuse; Intellectual Disabilities; and Speech Disabilities. This provided a broad spectrum of disability-related community college experiences. It should be noted that no surveys were received by any respondents who self-identified as deaf or blind.

Disability Support Services Professionals Survey: A survey of the unmet needs of community college students with disabilities was circulated electronically to all community college DSS offices. In addition, verbal discussion and comment was accepted as survey response at a MDDHEN meeting, which is largely comprised of DSS professionals.

Needs/Concerns: When asked to identify individual unmet needs, 43% of survey responses left the question blank, or wrote “none” or “N/A.”  Four (4) respondents took the time to specifically write a thank you to DORS for meeting their needs and assisting them. The following unmet needs were identified through these two surveys:

• More intensive assistance with job placement upon completion of educational program; more intensive assistance with internship placement during educational program

• More help with course selection, registration, and financial aid process and forms

• Timely authorizations for registration and books so that the individual can take courses selected

• Greater collaboration between DORS and DSS offices in planning and coordinating accommodations and supports, and facilitating positive relationships with instructors

• Financial assistance with gas money, childcare, and campus food costs

• Transportation when public transportation is problematic or unavailable

• Individualized tutoring

• Specialized academic supports for individuals who are deaf (ex. ASL readers and tutors fluent in ASL), and individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ex. expand the Pathways program)

• Part-time attendance options

• Books and supplies (including items like backpacks and calculators if needed)

• Computer equipment and software appropriate to coursework

• Mental health supports, like psychotherapy and medications, when insurance is not available

• Personal Assistance services

• Assistive technology, with the following devices mentioned as individual needs: augmentative communication, glasses, vehicle modifications, ergonomic workstation at work and school, adaptive classroom seating, and tape recorders.

• More language assistance for individuals with limited English skills (both foreign language and ASL as primary language), beyond interpreters provided for classroom

• Resources for disability documentation when none available

• Dental work

• Benefits counseling

• Basic financial support (food, clothing, social security)

Discussion: It appears that many community college students with disabilities feel their needs are being met appropriately, based on 43% of respondents indicating they had no unmet needs, or leaving the field blank. Still, a number of unmet needs were illuminated through this survey.

Most of the needs expressed are already within the scope of vocational rehabilitation services and DORS policy. Many of the needs can be met with an enhanced counseling focus on individualized needs, such as: registration assistance, timeliness of authorizations, transportation, childcare, books and supplies, assistive technology, mental health, personal assistance, and tutoring. An agency discussion of policy and practice in respect to such services might be beneficial, to ensure that barriers do not exist to effective service provision.

In addition, it appears that DORS offices could really benefit from strengthening their relationships with community college DSS offices. This relationship could be strengthened with more active interagency contact and planning, in respect to individualized accommodation and support needs.  

DORS may need to consider a culture/practice shift when it comes to the provision of individualized tutoring and academic supports. While it is within DORS policy to provide such services, an analysis of the frequency of provision of such services could help to illuminate need. Agency-wide discussion on appropriate service provision, as well as resource development, could be beneficial in this instance. Additionally, continued planning and resource development for specific college supports for individuals with autism, and individuals who are deaf, should be considered.

DORS may also need to consider a culture/practice shift when it comes to exceptions to full-time college attendance. An analysis regarding the frequency and nature of such exception requests might be warranted, as well as agency-wide discussion on appropriate exceptions of this nature.

DORS may need to explore policy change in respect to provision of computers and software to college students. This was expressed as an unmet need, and currently DORS policy focuses on purchasing adaptive computers, and DORS can purchase a computer when it is required for a specific program. The need for a personal computer, with software specific to some individual coursework, seems to be the increasing trend and norm on college campuses. Additionally, the cost of adequate equipment, and the availability of recycled equipment, might make such a policy change more palatable. While college campuses do have campus computer labs available, there are sometimes many barriers to effective use. Such barriers include limited availability, and personal circumstances (related to things like disability, child care, and transportation issues). It seems to be in many individual’s best interest to build strong computer skills for the workplace, and more open access to computers should be considered.

Several DSS professionals expressed unmet needs with appropriate disability documentation, primarily with psychological evaluations. An enhanced working relationship between DORS and local DSS offices might address this issue to some extent. However, there are many community college students with disabilities who are not affiliated with DORS for a variety of reasons, such as DORS eligibility and order of selection criteria. Yet DORS has a strong relationship with a network of psychologists statewide, who provide psychological evaluations at reasonable rates. Perhaps it is possible to work with this network of psychologists to extend to DSS offices the availability of the same rates for their students to use, as appropriate.

II. One-Stop Career Centers. 

Workforce Investment Act System—Maryland One-Stop Career Centers

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) brought various federal job training and employment programs together, to create one comprehensive service system. Job seekers, including individuals with disabilities can access this system through a network of One-Stop Career Centers. Services are developed and implemented by a number of mandated and non-mandated partners.

The public Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency is one of the mandated partners and the only one that focuses on disability. Its involvement is interactive in nature with VR referring individuals to other partners in the network of One-Stop, and conversely partners doing likewise.

To adequately assess the needs of individuals with disabilities served  at One-Stops in Maryland within the period in review, methods employed embraced three components: (a) questionnaire, (b) phone interviews, and (c) site visits to seven (7) One-Stop centers that included face-to-face interviews based on the structured questions. Finally, to validate or augment the findings in this report intensive literature review was done.

In regard to questionnaire, 14 questions were constructed each of which is meant to elicit responses that would  show whether services were provided, how they were provided, the number of beneficiaries and the nature of collaboration of partners with DORS at the One-Stop centers.

In regard to phone interviews, the employees of DORS who are co-located and those who had association with One-Stop system were asked a battery of 14 questions over the phone. Their responses were recorded as each individual was asked the same question.

In regard to visits to One-Stops, seven One-Stops were selected for visits. These were those in which DORS has co-location of its staff. While there are approximately thirty-three (33) One-Stop centers in Maryland, DORS is co-located in fifteen (15).

Discussion:

The information obtained from site visits and interviews of 20 individuals provides adequate insight in understanding and interpreting the needs of citizens with disabilities served at one-stops in Maryland within the period in review.

While core and intensive services are provided: job search, resume writing, work skills exploration,, internet access, networking skills, interview techniques workshops, referral to employers, assessment of skills and services needed, development of individual and career plans, case management et cetera, barriers continue to be encountered . Some of the barriers reported are lack of patience on the part of some one-stop personnel to teach consumers with disabilities who lack the basic skill sets on how to search for jobs online; no interpreters for the deaf and hearing impaired; some of the workstations are not accessible to the blind and visually impaired and those on wheelchairs; those with serious mental issues have difficulty navigating the one-stops.  In effect one-stop staff feel that some disabilities are easy to serve and those not so-easy are immediately referred to DORS.

Additionally, some one-stop personnel found complying with performance measures particularly challenging when trying to serve individuals with more complex needs especially those with significant disabilities. At this instance the role of the disability navigator was questioned and unclear. Confidentiality issues preclude some consumers from self-identifying and thus pose a challenge to partners to coordinate services when staff felt that they were unable to share information about joint consumers.

While it is not universally held view, a number of respondents felt that there continues to be misconceptions about hiring persons with disabilities and the perceived additional cost it would entail. This kind of attitude creates overload of work for co-located DORS staff at the one-stops.

Needs/concerns:

1. The integrative and collaborative models that one-stops are supposed to follow need to be strengthened to minimize issues/barriers including the perception among one-stop staff that working with people with disabilities is more time consuming and costly and will negatively impact meeting performance standards, and one-stop staff not having the time to assist people with disabilities who need help in accessing one-stop resources.

2. Sensitivity training about disabilities and disability topics need to be done more regularly.

3. Both physical and programmatic barriers (e.g., accessible workstations, ASL interpreters) at some one-stops should be addressed.

4. The role of disability navigator needs to be clarified.

B. Assessment of the Need to Establish, Develop or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs within the State

COMMUNITY REHABILITATION PROGRAMS.

The success of DORS consumers is due in many instances and respects to the partnerships DORS has established with Community Rehabilitation Programs which provide a number of direct services throughout the state. To assess the need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the State,  DORS conducted (1) a survey of CRP Executive Directors; (2) a survey of DORS staff and (3) several small focus groups of DORS consumers who had been served by CRPs. Results suggest needs, particularly for development and improvement of CRPs and enhancement of DORS-CRP working relationships.

Survey of CRPs.  104 surveys were sent electronically to CRP Executive Directors; 35 responses were returned. Respondents were anonymous and indicated whether their CRP was in an urban, rural and/or suburban area. Twenty-six (26) CRPs indicated they serve the developmentally disabled population; twenty-two (22) serve the mental health population; twenty-three (23) serve individuals on the autism spectrum; seventeen (17) serve individuals with brain injury; sixteen (16) serve individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, and sixteen (16) serve individuals who are blind/vision impaired. While several indicated that with additional funding and training/technical support they would consider serving additional populations.

Needs/concerns identified by CRPs.  In analyzing findings, the types of needs expressed by CRPs included the following:

1. Extend time for job development in light of the current job market; consider extending the length of time supports are provided to enhance employment success

2. Expand training for CRP staff, especially regarding business changes due to the economy, training on job development, and marketing to employers

3. Improve job readiness of consumers referred for employment services (skills training; computer literacy; experience with paid internships; availability of a working telephone)

4. Enhance coordination of services among agencies (e.g., case management, housing, mental health services, child care, addictions services)

5. Develop specific interagency programming for transitioning youth with mental illness similar to EBPSE

6. Address transportation, including travel training.

Survey of DORS staff.  Approximately 140 surveys were forwarded to DORS field counselors and supervisors. 78 were returned. Staff were asked what services they most often request from CRPs, quality and timeliness of services, specific populations served. They were also asked about use of the agency’s Workforce & Technology Center (WTC) for employment services in contrast with local CRPs.  Analysis of the findings indicates that selection of a provider is strongly related to geographic proximity to the consumer, as well as availability of services for specialized populations.  Private providers of Career Assessment Services were often chosen because of their flexibility, timeliness and quality reports.

Needs/concerns related to CRP Service Needs identified by DORS Staff. 

1. Expand capacity for employment services for special populations (blind/vision impaired; deaf/hard of hearing; ABI; Autism spectrum)

2. Expand general CRP capacity, possibly with additional funding, to enhance the CRPs ability to  provide more timely, responsive services

3. Enhance lines of communication between DORS and CRP (including role of DORS Liaison) to better coordinate timely, effective services

4. Determine if revised fees for CRP services would have a positive impact on consumers served and quality of outcomes

5. Identify resources and expand opportunities for CRP staff to participate in training to enhance employment outcomes for consumers

6. Identify resources and incentives for CRPs to work with individuals with disabilities and criminal histories.

Focus Groups – Consumers previously served by CRPs.  DORS held several focus groups for consumers who had been served by CRPs to elicit their perspective on services. Four groups were held throughout the state. Participants were asked what services they had received, why they chose the provider, would they recommend similar services to a friend, was their DORS counselor involved, did they get a job as a result of the services, and what would improve the services at the CRP. While not a large sampling, there was some commonality among their responses and reactions.  The majority of comments were positive about their experience with DORS and the CRP.

Needs/concerns related to CRP Service Needs expressed by Focus Group participants. 

1. Increase provision of jobs in stated interest area of consumer

2. Provide more prompt, active, engaged job development process with CRP employment specialist

3. Improve access to transportation for employment

4. Improve coordination of services, including ancillary services (e.g., transportation, housing, child care) available to the consumer and possibly family

5. Increase level of expertise of CRP and DORS staff regarding the impact of various disabilities and in working effectively with individuals with criminal histories

6. Increase services for individuals seeking employment beyond entry level.

OVERALL NEEDS ASSESSMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation related to Federal funding: The overriding vocational rehabilitation services need of individuals with disabilities residing in Maryland is equitable distribution of federal VR funds. While other recommendations in this attachment address ways to incrementally improve VR services to individuals with disabilities, continuation of historical underfunding of Maryland VR in relations to other states will make it very difficult to implement changes that could result in many more individuals with disabilities achieving employment.

Recommendations from the focus areas of the Needs Assessment addressing the required elements are as follows:

1. Provide staff development for DORS staff and community partners a) Employment services b) Needs of and resources for special populations c) Career counseling/counselor role i) Focus on consumer capabilities and interests ii) Address adjustment to disability issues iii) Take into account learning styles iv) Minimize gaps

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:15PM by Kimberlee Schultz

Individuals eligible for services under Title I of Rehabilitation Act

Projected number of eligible persons:  23, 000

Individuals receiving services under an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE):

Title I –  15, 000; Title VIB – 286

  

(Category 1)

Most Significant:  11, 500

 

(Category 2)

Significant:   3,500

 

(Category 3)

Non-Severe: 0

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Most Significant Title I $35,450,000 11,500 $3,082
Most Significant Title VI $480,000 286 $1,678
Significant Title I $9,800,000 3500 $2,800
Totals   $45,730,000 15,286 $2,991

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:07PM by Kimberlee Schultz

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

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

The following goals and objectives were jointly developed and agreed to by DORS and the Maryland State Rehabilitation Council.

Goal 1: Assure high-quality employment outcomes for individuals with significant and most significant disabilities in Maryland through the vocational rehabilitation program.

Objective 1.1

Provide rehabilitation services in partnership with local education agencies that lead to successful outcomes in post-secondary education and employment for students with disabilities.

Strategies:  DORS will

1. Ensure that VR counselors and staff work with students, families, school personnel and community partners to help students achieve employment and self-sufficiency.

2. Continue to emphasize and implement evidence-based transition practices, including work-based experiences such as Disability Mentoring Day, internships and summer employment to promote long-term career success and leadership, including expanding transitioning services at the Workforce & Technology Center (especially for consumers not planning to attend college).

3. Provide training and support to DORS transition counselors through the Transition Specialists Group and other meetings, the Transition Conference and training programs. Training shall help counselors identify and develop tools and resources related to post-secondary education, and best practices in working with families and transitioning students..

4. Continue to develop programs to meet the needs of emerging disability populations.

5. Continue efforts at outreach to 504 students and students with severe medical conditions.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. The number of transitioning individuals served will match or exceed those served in 2012.

b. There will be an increase in students participating in summer youth employment and other work-based experiences compared with FY 2012.

c. There will be an increase in transitioning students who achieve employment compared with FY 2012.

d. Grants and funding will be provided to support leadership programs for youth with disabilities.

e. The DORS Transition Specialists Group will meet at least semiannually and include staff training on pertinent topics, and will identify, develop and disseminate tools and resources for transitioning students related to post-secondary education and Skills2Compete. f. Evidence-based practices and training in self-advocacy and self-determination for students will be disseminated to DORS Transition Specialists through in-service training.

g. DORS will fund and provide technical assistance for an annual statewide transitioning conference. 

h. DORS transition counselors will serve an increased number of students 504 plans compared with the previous year.

Objective 1.2

DORS will provide high quality services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities served by the Office of Field Services

Strategies: DORS will

1. Provide high quality comprehensive services to eligible individuals with significant disabilities in keeping with the Rehabilitation Act and Federal Regulations, the Code of Maryland regulation, and DORS Policy.

2. Identify and implement strategies to assist consumers in achieving middle-skill (Skills2Compete) as well as professional, managerial and technical positions and higher earnings (Needs Assessment Rec. 6).

3. Enhance linkages with businesses and employers to include customized training, use of OJT and internships, education and disability awareness.

4. Enhance relationship with community rehabilitation programs.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. Meet or exceed federal performance indicators for VR services.

b. OFS will achieve at least 85% consumer satisfaction.

c. OFS will achieve 2,750 employment outcomes.

d. OFS will have an open caseload of 17,000.

e. Achieve at least 90% in presumption of eligibility in SSI and SSDI cases.

f. Consumers will achieve an increase in average hourly earnings from the previous year.

g. More consumers will achieve professional, technical and managerial positions than in FY 2012.

h. A data collection strategy will continue to track middle-skill career achievement related to Skills2Compete.

Objective 1.3

DORS will provide high-quality services and outcomes for individuals who are blind and vision impaired (B/VI).

Strategies: DORS will

1. Provide high quality comprehensive services to eligible individuals who are blind and vision impaired in keeping with the Rehabilitation Act and Federal Regulations, the Code of Maryland regulation, the Randolph Shepard Act and DORS Policy.

2. In collaboration with WTC and Maryland Technology Assistance Program (TAP), continue to expand OBVS services at the Center and enhance the assistive technology service delivery system that supports basic foundational skills, employment and the increased independence of individuals who are B/VI.

3. Support the Maryland State Rehabilitation Council‘s Blindness & Vision Services Committee, charged with oversight of services to individuals who are blind and vision impaired.

4. Enhance linkages with businesses and employers to include customized training, education and disability awareness, work site AT services and mentoring/internship activities.

5. Increase services to individuals who are deaf-blind and provide technical assistance to staff serving this population.

6. Develop and train Maryland Business Enterprise Program for the Blind vendors.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013: a. Meet or exceed federal performance indicators for services for blind/vision impaired.

b. OBVS will achieve 180 employment outcomes.

c. Increase the B/VI active VR caseload to 900 consumers.

d. The Business Enterprise Program will train/license three new managers and establish new vending sites where available.

e. An increased number of consumers who are blind or vision impaired will be served at WTC, compared with FY 2012.

f. Implement a single point of contact/resource to coordinate the needs of consumers who are deaf-blind.

g. Achieve a consumer satisfaction rate of 85%.

Objective 1.4

Provide effective employment services at the Workforce & Technology Center using state-of-the-art interdisciplinary strategies.

Strategies:

1. Provide high quality comprehensive services to eligible individuals with significant disabilities, utilizing partnerships and in keeping with the Rehabilitation Act and Federal Regulations, the Code of Maryland regulation, and DORS Policy.

2. Continue to identify the need for and develop innovative programs and services that address evolving disability employment issues and trends, focusing on underserved populations.

3. Continue to implement and enhance programs that support the vocational rehabilitation and independent living needs of individuals who are deaf, blind and vision impaired, or who have autism spectrum disorders, including additional expansion of the Pathways Program for community college students.

4. Implement expanded rehabilitation technology services.

5. Enhance linkages with employers, the business community, and community partners through customized and partnership trainings.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013: a. Increase the number of customized and/or partnership trainings from the previous year.

b. Increase the number of consumers achieving employment outcomes compared to FY 2012.

c. Increase the number of consumers in special populations (blind, deaf-blind, on the spectrum) who will receive services, compared to FY 2012.

d. Meet or exceed consumer satisfaction with services compared to FY 2012.

e. Meet or exceed WTC utilization levels from prior year.

f. WTC career technology program, including partnership programs and customized, will have 190 students complete a training program (Skills2Compete deliverable).

Goal 2: Maximize the self-sufficiency of people with disabilities through the disability determination program.

Objective 2.1

DDS will allocate and manage personnel, technology, and financial resources to maximize timely, accurate, and cost-effective case processing and security.

[This goal is not related to the VR program.] 

Goal 3: Partner and collaborate with public agencies, private organizations, employers, community groups and individuals to advance the employment and independence of individuals with disabilities.

Objective 3.1 

Enhance/expand services provided to individuals in special populations, within the capacities of the agency.

Strategies:

1. Continue to provide staff resources and staff training to support Evidence-Based Supported Employment (EBPSE) and consumers who receive Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) services. (Needs Assessment Rec. 3)

2. Continue strategic activities that will enhance DORS capacity to meet the unique needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders preparing for employment.

3. Implement the recommendations of the Maryland VR Plan for Services for the Deaf, Hard-of-hearing and Late-deaf as resources allow. (Needs Assessment Rec. 2, 4)

4. Continue collaboration with DDA to implement Employment First.

5. The DORS multi-cultural workgroup will continue to contact community support groups and develop specialized resources for Hispanic and Asian people. (Needs Assessment Rec. 5)

6. DORS will continue to include community partners to training segments of DORS affinity groups, as appropriate. (Needs Assessment Rec. 1, 3)

7. DORS will assure that liaison relationships are in place with Community Rehabilitation Programs, Community Colleges and other organizations to enhance effectiveness and establish promising practices and procedures. (Needs Assessment Rec. 3)

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. An increased number of consumers will be served through EBPSE sites compared with FY 2012.

b. An increased number of consumers will be served in the Governor’s Transition Youth Initiative compared with FY 2012.

c. Increase the number of Asian and Hispanic consumers served by DORS.

d. Serve 750 individuals with Autism.

e. At least 40 staff of community rehabilitation programs will attend training segments of DORS affinity group meetings.

f. Establish a baseline of successful outcome for consumers obtaining employment after receiving CRP services.

Objective 3.2

Enhance collaboration with and services to Maryland private and public employers.

Strategies:  DORS will

1. The DORS Business Services Implementation Council will modify practices to reflect current needs of private and public employers.

 

2. Participate in the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) national business network and bring national efforts and strategies, i.e., the Net, to Maryland.

3. Continue to review and realign resources that support employment partnerships and internships for DORS consumers.

4. Continue to review the effectiveness of programs and practices in job development and placement.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. Minutes of the DORS Business Services Implementation Council and CSAVR national business network meetings will confirm activities and progress.

b. Program development strategies will be considered and implemented, as appropriate, concerning job development and placement programs and practices.

Objective 3.3 

DORS will provide support to facilitate the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) to maintain and enhance its leadership role in the oversight of vocational rehabilitation service delivery in Maryland.

Strategies:

1. DORS will invite and support Council participation and representation on DORS committees and workgroups.

2. The Council, in collaboration with DORS, will conduct annual public meetings throughout the state to promote community and consumer input related to the administration of the VR program.

3. Council members will review and monitor the Division’s client satisfaction system, as well as annual findings of satisfaction surveys, appeal requests and outcomes, and Client Assistant Program (CAP) data and findings.

4. The Council will be a full and active partner in the development of agency regulations, policies and procedures relating to Maryland VR program.

5. Council members will review and comment on the annual agency program plan, DORS progress in meeting its performance goals, and DORS program accomplishments.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. The Maryland SRC will conduct four (4) quarterly meetings including a meeting during the legislative session in Annapolis.

b. The Maryland SRC and DORS will conduct annual public meetings attended by at least 100 individuals.

c. The Maryland SRC will submit its annual report to the Governor and RSA.

Objective 3.5

Participate in the Governor’s Skills2Compete initiative. (Needs Assessment Rec. 6)

1. DORS staff will continue to consider mid-level careers and trainings for consumers as appropriate. 

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. 4,000 DORS consumers will be sponsored in post-secondary and career technology programs (Skills2Compete deliverable; RSA 2 source document)

Goal 4: Promote and enhance quality independent living outcomes for individuals with disabilities in Maryland through independent living programs, including the older blind program.

Objective 4.1

Participate as a Maryland Independent Living partner in accomplishment of goals and objectives specified in the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) 2012 - 2013.

Strategies

1. Provide support to the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), as the Council moves toward more independent status.

2. Manage DORS grants to Centers for Independent Living (CILS), including providing technical assistance and monitoring regarding both the IL program and fiscal responsibilities, and strengthen grants to clarify specific expenditures.

3. DORS, the SILC and CILs will continue to implement collaborative efforts such as cross-training opportunities, strengthening VR and IL service provision to transitioning youth and benefits planning.

4. Participate in the development of the next State Plan for Independent Living (2014-2016).

 

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. Review of minutes and other evidence will confirm that the SILC has required membership and is accomplishing its statutory responsibilities.

b. Evidence of record will confirm provision of technical assistance and oversight of grants as appropriate, from a program and fiscal perspective.

Objective 4.2 

Provide IL rehabilitation technology services through grants to CILs.

Strategies:   DORS will

1. Evaluate performance of the CILs in providing IL AT services through grants from DORS; revise MOUs and grant expectations and awards as appropriate.

2. Monitor grants to CILs from a fiscal and program perspective.

3. In collaboration with Maryland TAP and RTS, assure that AT training is provided to CILs.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. CILs will meet performance measures established in the RFP and MOU for this program.

b. DORs will provide technical assistance with ILAT.

c. The CILs in Central Maryland will provide ILAT services per DORS grant and MOU.

Objective 4.3 

Provide independent living services to older individuals who are blind.

Strategies:   DORS will

1. Provide IL services to older individuals who are blind through direct services of DORS rehabilitation teachers.

2. Provide and monitor grants to community organizations to provide services to older individuals who are blind.

3. Maintain and expand ongoing professional development activities for staff that serve consumers who are B/VI including quarterly in-service training, graduate training coursework and practicum to support master’s degrees and certification.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. DORS will provide direct services to an increased number of older individuals who are blind compared with the number served the previous fiscal year.

b. The number of older individuals who are blind served through grants to community organizations will be consistent with the grant application and MOU.

c. DORS rehabilitation teachers will achieve and maintain appropriate credentials.

Goal 5: Provide Infrastructure to promote and support the accomplishment of the DORS mission.

Objective 5.1 Assure that personnel practices support the agency mission.

Strategies:   DORS will

1. Take measures, within the authority of the Department and the Division, to make the workplace more welcoming and flexible in meeting the needs of staff.

2. Identify and implement strategies to streamline processes, focusing on referral, application and eligibility.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. Recommended changes will continue to be evaluated and implemented.

b. DDS and DORS VR Program will share data as appropriate.

Objective 5.2

Provide leadership activities for staff and succession planning for the agency

Strategies:

1. Conduct a six-month Mentoring Program

2. Define the focus, leadership and activities of the Supervisory Affinity Group

3. Continue to offer supervisory training and networking opportunities

4. Support staff to attend local, non-DORS leadership programs as appropriate

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. At least ten staff will participate in the annual DORS Mentoring Program

b. At least three supervisory training topics will be available to staff

c. Up to four DORS staff will attend Maryland Works leadership programs

Objective 5.3

Explore support staff roles and responsibilities to assure consistency and to meet the agency’s goals and objectives.

Strategies:

1. Create a workgroup of managers and support staff to study position descriptions and suggest changes to position descriptions.

2. Develop training materials and processes for support staff, including QRT.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. Recommendations from the workgroup will be considered and streamlining strategies will be identified and implemented as appropriate. 

 

Objective 5.4

Staff training will be provided to assure that staffs maintain current competencies in rehabilitation practice and special populations. (Needs Assessment Rec. 1)

Strategies:

1. Consistent with results of the annual training needs assessment, provide effective training for all staff, including target areas such as deaf and hard-of-hearing issues, building effective business relationships, and emerging disability issues.

2. Develop training related to DORS affinity groups and other groups for inclusion in meetings; include community partners as appropriate.

3. Support/facilitate training in employment services (job development and coaching) for staff of DORS and community providers. (Needs Assessment Rec. 1, 8)

4. Continue to include and expand on-line and other training modalities to present training to staff.

5. Implement a back-to-basics training series for staff, to include support staff, and record the series for future use.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. Staff training in rehabilitation topics, including special populations, will be provided as part of DORS affinity groups at least twice annually, to include community partners as appropriate.

b. At least one training program in employment services will be conducted for DORS and community program staff.

c. An increase in the usage by staff of the learning management system will be demonstrated

Objective 5.5

Explore how technologies can develop better communication, consumer services and staff support.

Strategy:

1. Continue the workgroup that will plan implementation of SharePoint as DORS Intranet, including how staff can benefit from enhancements.

2. Include a suggestion box on the DORS website

3. Expand data sharing between DDS and DORS

4. Explore purchase of Apps for DORS consumers

Performance Measure by September 28, 2013:

a. SharePoint will be implemented as the agency intranet.

b. Information shared in the Suggestion Box will be reviewed by Executive Staff at least monthly.

c. A workgroup will make recommendations regarding purchase of Apps for consumers.

Objective 5.6

Assure that staff is current in knowledge of technologies, software and applications.

Strategies:

1. Provide training in current technologies including accessible workstations.

2. Provide training in SharePoint to staff as needed.

3. Explore the use of AWARE as a job development tool.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. Training will be provided to staff on current technologies, as needed.

b. Training will be provided to staff on SharePoint, as needed.

Objective 5.7

Consider use of social media technologies in providing services to transitional youth.

Strategy:

1. Establish a workgroup to do exploratory work into agency use of Social media for outreach and information sharing.

Performance Measures by September 28, 2013:

a. The workgroup will research policy and practice development related to agency use of social media and contributes recommendations to be considered by the executive and management teams.

 

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 21 2012 10:35AM by Kimberlee Schultz

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

Justification for order of selection

Order of Selection for Services

An order of selection is required under section 101 (a)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act if a rehabilitation agency determines that it is unable to provide services to all eligible individuals who apply for services.  With an order of selection, services must first be provided to individuals with the most significant disabilities before they are provided to other eligible individuals.

Due to limited personnel and financial resources, DORS has been unable to provide services to all eligible individuals.  Based on projected fiscal and personnel resources, an order of selection will remain in effect.  The Division’s order of selection ensures that eligible individuals with the most significant disabilities receive priority.

 

Description of Priority categories

Individuals shall be placed in priority categories at the time of eligibility determination. Depending upon Division resources, the categories shall be closed for services in ascending order beginning with Category III and proceeding to Categories II and I. Services shall be provided only to those individuals in an open category. However, the Division shall continue to plan for and provide services to any individual determined eligible prior to the date on which the Order of Selection category to which the individual has been assigned has been closed, irrespective of the severity of the individual’s disability.

 

DORS staff will be advised via formal issuance when categories are closed or reopened.

An individual with a most significant disability is an eligible individual:

a.    Who has a severe physical or mental impairment which seriously limits three or more  functional capacities such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills, in terms of an employment outcome; b.    Whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services: at least two from the main services of guidance and counseling, medical rehabilitation services including technology services, job placement and vocational training; and c.    Whose vocational rehabilitation is projected to require an extended period of time of at least 6 months.

An individual with a significant disability is an eligible individual whose severe physical or mental impairment seriously limits one or two functional capacities, and also meets requirements in b and c above.

An individual with a non-severe disability is an eligible individual who does not meet the definition of significant or most significant disability.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

The Order of Selection categories are as follows:

I. Individuals with Most Significant Disabilities.

II. Individuals with Significant Disabilities.

III. Individuals with Non-Severe Disabilities.

Under the order of selection specified above, the Division will continue to emphasize and enhance services to students with disabilities transitioning from school to work.

 

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

The Division’s case management system is designed to assure that individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected for services before all others.

Priority Category Number of individuals to be served Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services Time within which goals are to be achieved Cost of services
1 16,900 2,025 1,575 Sept 30 2013 $42,750,000
2 6,100 445 325 Sept 30 2013 $9,975,000

This screen was last updated on Aug 1 2012 3:40PM by Kimberlee Schultz

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.

Supported employment services are provided on a statewide basis through the Title VI, Part B, and also Title I funds.  Supported employment is competitive employment or employment in integrated work settings in which individuals are working toward competitive work, with ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or for whom competitive employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a significant disability.  Fund allocation on a statewide basis ensures an equitable statewide service delivery. 

The Division of Rehabilitation Services will continue to encumber Title VI, Part B funds on a fee-for-service basis.  When supported employment services exhaust Title VI, Part B funds, DORS counselors shall be instructed to encumber Title I funds.  In that way, individuals in need of supported employment services will continue to be served, even when Title VI, Part B funds are exhausted.  DORS counselors will expend Title VI, Part B funds after receipt of documentation confirming the provision of extended services.  In compliance with the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, DORS will expend Title I dollars until an extended source of funding has been obtained.  The goal of the State’s supported employment program is to maintain a system whereby individuals with the most significant disabilities are afforded the opportunity to participate in integrated competitive employment.  It is estimated that 3,200 individuals with the most significant disabilities will be served in FY13 in supported employment.  It is estimated that 810 transitioning students will be served in supported employment from special state funds through the Governor’s Transitioning Youth Initiative.  Funds expected to be spent exceed $3 million.  There has been a steady growth in the numbers of individuals with serious and persistent mental illness being served in supported employment.

DORS and the Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA) collaborate in provision of supported employment services to individuals with persistent mental illness at 30 community programs throughout the state. Further, DORS and MHA work with the Evidence-Based Practice Center at the University of Maryland to promote the Evidence-Based Supported Employment initiative.  The initiative now includes 13 of the community programs statewide that meet Evidence-based Supported Employment (EBSE) fidelity.

                                                                                               

The Division supports the use of supported employment models that maximize integration of persons with the most significant disabilities in real work sites, doing meaningful work.  The Division encourages expansion of models beyond enclaves and does not support the use of bench work models. DORS policy includes a strong preference for individual placement models.

The estimated number of individuals who will achieve a supported employment outcome during 2013: 560.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:07PM by Kimberlee Schultz

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.

Expanding and improving services remains an agency priority as the needs and demographics of individuals with disabilities evolve. Maryland sets aside a portion of funds allotted under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended for development and implementation of innovative approaches to improve the provision of VR services, particularly for individuals with the most significant disabilities. While this Attachment describes a number of innovation and expansion activities undertaken by DORS, I & E funding will be targeted to fie program areas, as follows:

(1) Summer youth employment programs, consistent with evidence based practices for transitioning youth,

(2) Further implementation of the Governor’s Skills2Compete, a statewide effort to promote and prepare employees for middle skill jobs, often including post-secondary education of a year or two,

(3) In response to findings of the 2010 Needs Assessment and 2011 Public Meetings, the Division established a work group which made recommendations to expand and enhance services to individuals who are deaf-blind. Recommendations include establishment of a Staff Specialist position to coordinate Deaf/Blind services statewide; identification and outreach to community organizations serving deaf/blind; expansion of deaf/blind services at the Workforce & Technology Center; establishment of service protocols for the Office of Blindness and Vision Services and the Office of Field Services; provision of staff training. Services will be enhanced through implementation of the recommendations during FY 2013.

(4) The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). The SRC is a full and active partner in the development of agency policies, regulations and procedures. The SRC collaborates with DORS to hold public meetings in areas around the state each year. These meetings are another way for DORS to identify needs and to gather trend information for strategic planning.

(5) The Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). The SILC partners with DORS and the Centers for Independent Living in overseeing provision of independent living services to individuals with significant disabilities statewide, consistent with the triennial State Plan for Independent Living Services.

Other activities designed to expand and improve services include:

1. Customized and partnership training programs at WTC, designed to meet the immediate needs of local employers. Recent examples are warehouse workers, child care workers and animal care workers.

2. DORS is piloting a program to sustain the evidence based transition practices established in 11 Local Education Agencies throughout Maryland through the recently concluded 5-year RSA Grant: Maryland Seamless Transition Collaborative. The goal is to establish fee for service transition services to continue these effective practices after completion of the grant.

3. The Workforce & Technology Center is implementing redesigned and enhanced services for individuals who are blind/vision impaired and for those who are deaf/blind.

 

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.

DORS staff have training in and understand the importance of providing AT devices and services as needed from the time of application for services through employment. The Division has designated staff who specialize in assistive technologies. The Workforce & Technology Center serves as a key resource where staff experts and products can be accessed on a statewide basis. Policies regarding assistive technologies are continually updated and distributed to staff.

The Office for Blindness & Vision Services makes extensive use of resources at the Workforce & Technology Center and in AT community programs. They have also supported summer programs for students with blindness as they transition to employment or higher education.

In addition to Rehabilitation Technology Services at WTC, AT services are provided by a cadre of DORS-approved private providers who serve DORS consumers statewide.

As recommended in the 2010 Needs Assessment, DORS has devoted extensive strategic planning and workgroup time over the last several months to evaluating our 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. Recommendations from that workgroup include the addition of staff for the Rehabilitation Technology Services at WTC, re-establishing an AT satellite at the Easter Seals Intergenerational Center in Silver Spring, and provision of staff development to DORS staff.

DORS will be evaluating purchase of Apple products and APPS. Apple products are accessible out of the box and are of benefits to individuals who are blind and vision impaired as well as those with language issues. There are many instances when a specific, low-cost APP can perform a function which would be much more expensive provided through a different form of AT. They would provide an efficient and cost effective AT option.

DORS has an expert on staff who assures that electronic communication used by DORS staff and consumers is fully accessible to all, including those using screen readers, and individuals who are deaf.

 

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.

Minorities:  

The Division focuses on making sure that minorities are given full opportunity to take part in all programming. The DORS website includes information in Spanish and Korean; additional information will be included in foreign languages. DORS will expand efforts to reach minorities through identification of and contact with community organizations which serve individuals from other countries and cultures. The agency has a contract with a provider who can provide real-time translation, on or off-site. The service also translates printed and electronic materials.

Un-served and Underserved:

DORS marketing materials reflect our commitment to, and belief in, equal opportunities for all. DORS website reflects the diversity of Maryland citizens and consumers served, and the depth and breadth of services available to individuals with disabilities in Maryland. It includes information about services to deaf consumers provided in ASL.

DORS conducts outreach to deaf/blind through community organizations and schools serving this population.

DORS will be working with the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration and Community Rehabilitation Programs statewide to implement Employment First, with emphasis on students exiting secondary school and individuals in day programs who are interested in employment.

DORS also 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 and/or in unserved or underserved groups.

 

 

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

DORS 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, provides training opportunities as well as formal and informal consultations. The specialist monitors and accredits the programs on a regular rotation and develops co-operative agreements. 

DORS provides supports to the CRP Advisory Committee which meets quarterly and raises issues of mutual concern in an effort to improve services for consumers, including those who have been underserved.

The Division, in collaboration with the Region 3 TACE Center, is facilitating training opportunities for staff of community programs and DORS, emphasizing employment skills (job development and coaching), as identified in the 2010 Needs Assessment. DORS offers a fee premium for CRP services to individuals with sensory impairments (deaf, blind, deaf/blind).

 

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

DORS will closely monitor caseloads and closures to increase the rehabilitation rate to the federal standard.

DORS will use the following strategies to raise the earnings of individuals who achieve employment as compared with the average wage in Maryland:

Support the efforts of the Governor’s Skills2Compete which emphasizes mid-level careers involving a year or two of post secondary education.

DORS will encourage consumers to take advantage of the recently standardized community college tuition waiver for SSI/SSDI beneficiaries so that they can achieve some post-secondary credentials and higher earnings.

Continue efforts through the Employment Specialists to refer appropriate consumers for Schedule A placement with the federal government.

 

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

The Division maintains active participation on both the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and Local Workforce Investment Boards formed to develop and implement Maryland’s workforce investment systems and promote universal access to core employment services by all consumers, including minorities.

The Division works as closely with one-stops as possible to assure access to people with disabilities. DORS is co-located with One-Stop Career Centers in various areas of Maryland.  When appropriate, DORS performs training and consultations to ensure excellent customer service to one-stop customers with disabilities.  

DORS has several representatives on an ad hoc organization of Maryland college/university Disability Support Services staff, which includes DSS staff of community colleges.

 

 

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.

Achieve the goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1) (DORS Annual Program Plan)

Maryland engages in ongoing strategic planning and focus on the agency mission, which is “to promote the employment, independence and self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities.” The agency values continuous improvement activities to enhance services and maximize the number and quality of employment outcomes, especially for those identified as priority populations. Strategic planning takes place with annual statewide planning meetings, twice a month Executive Staff meetings, formal and informal needs assessments, review of satisfaction surveys and other program evaluation initiatives.  DORS recent strategic planning has concentrated on principles of efficient use of personnel, technology and financial resources to deliver quality rehabilitation services to persons with significant disabilities in Maryland.

 Support Innovation and expansion activities; and

In addition to the above strategies, agency efforts include (1) high value placed on a positive relationship with the State Rehabilitation Council and the Statewide Independent Living Council, (2) organizational commitment to effective partnerships with community organizations and schools, (3) awareness and adoption of evidence based practices in rehabilitation, and (4) focus on employers as an important customer.

 Overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals in the state VR services program and the state supported employment services program.

The Division plans programs that are accessible to all people in Maryland and sees its role as pivotal in helping individuals overcome barriers that include gender, race, national origin, color, disability or age.

The following goals and strategies related to access to and participation in the VR and Supported Employment programs are being implemented:

A. Collaborate with MHA and DDA to have common standards and indicators for supported employment programs & services, to streamline access for people with disabilities, including minorities.

B. Provide services and opportunities to persons with disabilities from minority populations that result in competitive employment and independent living consistent with their unique abilities and informed choice.

C. Expand collaboration with community rehabilitation and disability partners to assure consumer participation, the input of key stakeholders, and program accountability to assure minority population access to services.

1. Implement and monitor activities and outcomes achieved though the Employment Program Fund (state funds designated for employment services provided to DORS consumers by community rehabilitation programs) and associated programs and services; maintain linkages with community rehabilitation providers.

2. A consumer/claimant inquiry system is maintained; consumer satisfaction is evaluated and monitored; a Client Assistance Program, access to legal services, option for mediation and liaison with the Office of Administrative Hearings to conduct due process hearings will be maintained.  Particular attention is paid to assuring access to services for minority groups.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:07PM by Kimberlee Schultz

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

This past year 2,437 people who participated in DORS programs went to work – many for the first time. Based on what we know about retention rates from previous years, approximately 84% of them will still be working 12 months from now. This is the highest retention rate in Maryland’s workforce system.

These new workers no longer rely on public benefits and family for economic support. Instead, they contributed over $35.9 million to the state’s economy during their first year of employment. They have brought new skills, as well as diversity, to businesses all over the state.

While DORS has clearly positively influenced the lives of many people in this fiscal year, we continue to struggle to provide timely services to all eligible persons.  An emerging challenge is maintaining a sufficient number of rehabilitation counselors to work with all individuals with disabilities who want to work. The strained State budget has resulted in a hiring freeze and extended vacancies in DORS counselor positions. As a result, the DORS waiting list for services for individuals with significant disabilities is increasing.

Despite these challenges, DORS continued to provide innovative programs and services to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Highlights included:

• Assisting 8,421 students with disabilities to prepare them to move from high school to employment, higher education or career training.

• Working with community partners to help place 317 high school students with disabilities in paid summer employment programs where they could gain work experience.

• Conducting worksite reviews for 78 Maryland businesses so they could hire new employees or keep valued employees with disabilities.

In good economic times and bad, the Division remains committed to supporting the employment and economic independence of people with disabilities in Maryland.

Goal 1: Assure high-quality employment outcomes for individuals with significant and most significant disabilities in Maryland through the vocational rehabilitation program.

Objective 1.1

Provide rehabilitation services in partnership with local education agencies that lead to successful outcomes in post-secondary education and employment for students with disabilities.

Strategies: 

DORS will

1. Ensure that VR counselors and staff work with students, families and school personnel to help students achieve employment and self-sufficiency.

2. Continue to emphasize and develop resources for work-based experiences such as internships and summer employment to promote long-term career success.

3. Explore innovative grant funding for CRPs to provide services to transitioning students while in secondary school. (Needs Assessment Rec. 3)

4. Expand and enhance transitioning services at the Workforce & Technology Center (WTC), including training services for consumers not planning to attend college.

5. Participate in and support programs and projects that develop emerging leaders, including Disability Mentoring Day.

6. Expand partnerships with LEAs through the Maryland Seamless Transition Collaborative (MSTC).

 

7. Provide training and support to DORS transition counselors through the Transition Specialists Group and other meetings, conferences and training programs; training shall include best practices in working with families.

8. Through the Transition Specialists Group, identify and develop tools and resources for transitioning students related to post-secondary education, including in the State’s Skills2Compete initiative (Needs Assessment Rec. 6).

9. The DORS Transition Specialists group will develop a sub-committee that will make recommendations for evidence-based practices and training in self-advocacy and self-determination for students.

10. Continue to develop programs to meet the needs of students with autism spectrum disorders.

11. Provide outreach materials to identified school staff (504 Coordinators, Nurses, Guidance Counselors) to assure appropriate referral of students with disabilities not served through Special Education. (Needs Assessment Rec. 3).

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• The number of transitioning individuals served will match or exceed those served in 2010.

8,423 transition youth were served during FY 11. Compared to FY 10, during which 7,623 transition youth were served, this is a 10.5% increase, reflecting the Division’s on-going commitment to transition youth in Maryland.

• 250 students will participate in summer youth employment and other work-based experiences.

317 transitioning students participated in Youth Summer Employment Program Activities in 2011, compared to 258 participants in FY 10. This represents a 23% increase over the previous year.

• 620 transitioning students will achieve employment.

664 transition youth were rehabilitated during FY 11, which constitutes a 2% increase in rehabilitation outcomes from FY 10, during which 653 transition youth were rehabilitated.

• Grants and funding will be provided to support leadership programs for youth with disabilities.

Youth Leadership Forum planned for summer of 2012, with sponsorship by a number of  partner agencies, including DORS.

• At least 2 grants will be provided to community programs to serve at least 40 transitioning students in secondary school through evidence based practices.

We continue to monitor the two MSTC model sustainability grants provided to ARC of Carroll County and Humanim, beginning in February 2011. Steady progress noted.

• 216 students will be served through MSTC.

As of September 30, 2011, 292 students have been served through MSTC. AWARE currently shows 275 as there continue to be some that have been referred that have not completed DORS applications or have otherwise not followed through with DORS paperwork.

• The DORS Transition Specialists Group will meet at least semiannually and include staff training on pertinent topics, and will identify, develop and disseminate tools and resources for transitioning students related to post-secondary education and Skills2Compete.

Transition Specialists Meetings were held on  October 7, 2010, March 31, 2011 and June 17, 2011.  During these meetings staff discussed subminimum wage work considerations; working with CRPs, MHA, and youth with mental health issues; collaboration with counselors for the deaf; public information; the Skills 2 Compete initiative, and summer employment.  Session 1 of Self-determination training was held on June 17th, and Session 2, Parent Engagement Training, was held on December 2, 2011.

• Recommendations for evidence-based practices and training in self-advocacy and self-determination for students will be provided to DORS Executive Staff.

A subcommittee of the Transition Specialists Group convened in December 2010, and developed and disseminated  public information materials which are parent and youth-friendly. Self-determination training for DORS transition counselors has been developed and is being delivered at quarterly Transition Specialist meetings (see 1.1g). A draft self-determination curriculum for students is complete and has been forwarded to Executive Staff for review and comment.

• DORS will fund and provide technical assistance for an annual statewide transitioning conference. 

A Statewide Transition Conference was held October 16-17, 2011 in conjunction with the MRA/DORS Conference. Funding was provided by a number of partner agencies, including DORS.  DORS staff provided a great deal of technical assistance to ensure a successful conference.

• DORS Liaison counselors shall establish working relationships with 504 coordinators, school nurses and/or guidance counselors at each school, providing outreach information about DORS and establishing referral procedures.

Local school system 504 coordinators have been identified, and contact information provided to DORS transition counselors. Presentations have been done in several jurisdictions to promote outreach for students with 504 plans and other health impairments. DORS counselors continue to interact with school system 504 coordinators. DORS is currently serving 34 students designated as 504 youth.

• 3,370 DORS consumers will be sponsored in post-secondary and career technology programs (Skills2Compete deliverable; RSA 2 source document)

DORS sponsored post-secondary and career programs, including WTC training programs, for 3, 583 consumers served in FY 11.

Objective 1.2

DORS will provide high quality services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities served by the Office of Field Services

Strategies:

DORS will

1. Provide effective training for all staff, including target areas such as personal assistance services, deaf and hard-of-hearing issues and building effective business relationships.

2. Provide comprehensive services to eligible individuals with significant disabilities in keeping with the Rehabilitation Act and Federal Regulations, the Code of Maryland regulation, and DORS Policy.

3. Identify and implement strategies to streamline processes, focusing on referral, application and eligibility and enhance staff retention, including pilot unit design/sharing of responsibilities.

4. Identify and implement strategies to assist consumers in achieving middle-skill (Skills2Compete) as well as professional, managerial and technical positions and higher earnings (Needs Assessment Rec. 6).

5. Enhance linkages with businesses and employers to include customized training, use of OJT and internships, education and disability awareness.

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• Meet or exceed federal performance indicators for VR services.

End-Year:

Standard 1.1:  Number of closed cases with an employment outcome

Current Year 2011:   2,437

Previous Year 2010:    2,408

(2011 DORS Objective:  2,450)

2011 Federal S & I Objective:  2,409

Standard 1.2:  Of closed cases that received services, percentage with an employment outcome. (Rehabilitation Rate: See note below.)

Current Year 2011:   44.5%

Previous Year 2010:    63.6%

2011 Objective:   55.8%

Standard 1.3: Of closed cases with an employment outcome, percentage that have a wage greater than or equal to the minimum wage.

Current Year 2011:   91.8%

Previous Year 2010:    89.2%

2011 Objective:    72.6%

Standard 1.4: Of closed cases with an employment outcome that have a wage greater than or equal to minimum wage, percentage that have significant disabilities.

Current Year 2011:   100%

Previous Year 2010:    100%

2011 Objective:    62.4%

Standard 1.5: Ratio of average state wage to the average wage of closed cases with employment outcome that have wages greater than or equal to minimum wage.

Current Year 2011:   .46

Previous Year 2010:    .45

2011 Objective:    .52

Standard 1.6: Difference between the percentage of closed cases with employment outcomes that have wage greater than or equal to minimum wage that are self support at application and the percent of closed cases with employment outcomes that have a wage greater than or equal to the minimum wage that are self support at closure.

Current Year 2011:   70.5%

Previous Year 2010:    64.2%

2011 Objective:    53.0%

Standard 2.1: Ratio of minority service rate to non-minority service rate.

Current Year 2011:   .921

Previous Year 2010:    .891

2011 Objective:    .80

DORS met four of the six standards and indicators. DORS did not achieve Standard 1.2, due to statewide concentrated efforts to close the cases of consumers who were not actively participating in services so more consumers could be served from the waiting list. DORS also has a pattern of not achieving Standard 1.5, due to the state’s high per capita income.

• OFS will achieve 2,310 employment outcomes.

End Year:  2,319

• OFS will have an open caseload of 18,000.

At mid-year, OFS had achieved an open caseload of 18,192.  Due to a statewide, strategic effort to close the cases of consumers who were no longer actively participating in services, OFS ended the year with 16, 288 open cases.  This made it possible to take more consumers off the waiting list.

• Achieve at least 90% in presumption of eligibility in SSI and SSDI cases.

DORS counselor eligibility presumptions for consumers with SSI and/or benefits at application were 94.22% timely statewide.

• Formal training on emerging issues in rehabilitation will be provided to staff locally and through the HRD office.

In November 2010, the Division hosted over 400 staff and community partners at its annual training conference (MRA DORS) which provided two Keynote presentations and four breakout training sessions on a variety of emerging issues in rehabilitation including the impact of social networking, and targeted disability populations.  In addition, the Division has provided training to staff and community providers in 2011 for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired, individuals with acquired brain injury, individuals with ASD, and transitioning youth. 

• Streamlining strategies will be identified and implemented.

Management solicited suggestions to increase efficiencies within the agency, and implemented increased use of Staff Specialists to assist with increasing case flow, particularly where there were extended counselor vacancies.

• Consumers will achieve average hourly earnings of $12.25.

End Year: $10.96 (FY 10 End-Year: $10.91)

While a nominal increase was shown from last year, the slow economy continues to hinder the achievement of an average hourly wage of $12.25.

• More consumers will achieve professional, technical and managerial positions than in FY 2010.

End Year:  321 out of 2,347 consumers, or 13.67%.  (FY 10 End Year: 344 out of 2,408 or 14.3%)

The overall total number of rehabilitations increased by 1.2%, and the total number of rehabilitated consumers achieving managerial, professional, or technical positions in FY 11 slight decreased by 6.68%. Due to unemployment, there is greater competition for these positions in Maryland.

• A data collection strategy to track middle-skill career achievement related to Skills2Compete will be established and initial findings will be used to establish a baseline.

Of the middle-skill jobs in Maryland identified on the Governor’s Skills2Compete website, 68 middle-skilled positions were secured or maintained by DORS consumers in FY 11.  These included 24 Computer Support Specialists; 3 Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics & Installers; 3 Respiratory Therapists;  2 Electricians and 1 other Electrical & Electronic Engineering Technician; 13 Auto Service Technicians & Mechanics and 2 other Automotive Body & Related Repairers; 3 Medical & Clinical Laboratory Technicians; 8 Bookkeeping, Accounting, & Auditing Clerks; 4 Paralegals & Legal Assistants; 1 Police Patrol Officer; 3 Pharmacy Technicians; and 1 Surgical Technologist.

Objective 1.3

DORS will provide high-quality services and outcomes for individuals who are blind and vision impaired (B/VI).

Strategies:

DORS will

1. Maintain and expand ongoing professional development activities for staff that serve consumers who are B/VI including quarterly in-service training, graduate training coursework and practicum to support master’s degrees and certification.

2. In collaboration with WTC, expand OBVS services at the Center.

3. With WTC and Maryland Technology Assistance Program (TAP) staff, review and enhance the assistive technology service delivery system that supports the employment and independent living goals of individuals who are B/VI. (Needs Assessment Rec. 4)

4. Support the Maryland State Rehabilitation Council‘s Blindness & Vision Services Committee, charged with oversight of services to individuals who are blind and vision impaired.

5. Enhance linkages with businesses and employers to include customized training, education and disability awareness, work site AT services and mentoring/internship activities.

6. Increase services to individuals who are deaf/blind and provide technical assistance to staff serving this population. 

7. Provide services to older individuals who are blind.

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• Meet or exceed federal performance indicators for services for blind/vision impaired.

End-Year:

Standard 1.1:  Number of closed cases with an employment outcome

Current Year 2011:  170

Previous Year 2010:   163 

(2011 DORS Objective:  180)

  

Standard 1.2:  Of closed cases that received services, percentage with an employment outcome.

Current Year 2011:  67.7%

Previous Year 2010:   73.4% 

2011 Objective:   55.8% 

Standard 1.3: Of closed cases with an employment outcome, percentage that have a wage greater than or equal to the minimum wage.

Current Year 2011:  64.1%

Previous Year 2010:   69.3% 

2011 Objective:   72.6% 

Standard 1.4: Of closed cases with an employment outcome that have a wage greater than or equal to minimum wage, percentage that have significant disabilities.

Current Year 2011:  100.0%

Previous Year 2010:   100.0% 

2011 Objective:   62.4% 

Standard 1.5: Ratio of average state wage to the average wage of closed cases with employment outcome that have wages greater than or equal to minimum wage.

Current Year 2011:  .72

 Previous Year 2010:   .64 

2011 Objective:   .52

 .

Standard 1.6: Difference between the percentage of closed cases with employment outcomes that have wage greater than or equal to minimum wage that are self support at application and the percent of closed cases with employment outcomes that have a wage greater than or equal to the minimum wage that are self support at closure.

Current Year 2011:  45.9

Previous Year 2010:   46.0 

2011 Objective:   53.0 

Standard 2.1: Ratio of minority service rate to non-minority service rate.

Current Year 2011:  .911

Previous Year 2010:   .884 

2011 Objective:   .80 

• OBVS will achieve 180 employment outcomes.

End-Year:  191 employment outcomes achieved.

• Increase the B/VI active VR caseload to 850 consumers.

At mid-year, OBVS had achieved an open caseload of 875.  Due to a statewide strategic effort to close the cases of consumers who were no longer actively participating in services, OBVS ended this year with 816 open cases.  This made it possible to take more consumers off the waiting list.

• The Business Enterprise Program will train/license three new managers and establish new vending sites where available.

In FY 11, two new facilities opened, and recruitment began for the FY 12 class.

• Serve 375 consumers who are blind or vision impaired at WTC.

 WTC served 416 consumers who are blind or vision impaired in FY 11, which is a 9% increase over FY 10, during which 382 consumers were served.

• Provide services to 1000 individuals in the Older Blind Independent Living program.

855 individuals were served by the Older Blind Independent Living program. Failure to meet the ILOB goal for FY2011 can be attributed to one main factor.  In the past, we worked with three sub-grantees whose reported numbers accounted for at least half of our goal.  In FY2011 we only had two sub-grantees.  Although the in-house numbers of consumers served increased from 541 (FY2010) to 619 (FY2011), we missed out on the numbers usually reported from the third sub-grantee.  The previous grantee usually served around 150 plus individuals.  Therefore, we were unable to meet our goal.  Staff continue to provide outstanding services with a focus on quality.

• Achieve a consumer satisfaction rate of 90%.

FY 11 overall satisfaction: 87% (FY 10: 85%)

Objective 1.4

Provide effective employment services at the Workforce & Technology Center using state-of-the-art interdisciplinary strategies.

Strategies:

DORS will

1. Continue to identify the need for and develop innovative programs and services that address evolving disability employment issues and trends.

2. Continue to implement and enhance programs that support individuals who are deaf. (Needs Assessment Rec. 2, 4)

3. Implement and enhance programs that support the employment, independent living and adjustment to blindness needs of individuals who are blind and vision impaired. (Needs Assessment Rec. 2, 4)

4. Implement and enhance programs that support the employment needs of individuals who have autism spectrum disorders, including expansion of the Pathways Program for community college students. (Needs Assessment Rec. 4)

5. In collaboration with the Maryland Technology Assistance Program, assess and enhance current resources for providing assistive technology. (Needs Assessment Rec. 4)

6. Continue to utilize the Center Services Advisory Group (CSAG) as a means to enhance communication with the field program and utilize feedback.

7. Enhance linkages with employers and the business community through customized and partnership trainings.

8. Increase capacity to provide Benefits Planning Services.

9. Explore outreach to veterans organizations to assure that Maryland veterans are aware of WTC programs that may assist them in their employment needs. (Needs Assessment Rec.7)

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• Increased number of consumers achieving employment outcomes compared to FY 2010.

In FY 11, 496 consumers achieved employment outcomes, compared to 482 in FY 10.  This constitutes a 3% increase over the previous year.

• Increased number of deaf consumers will be provided services.

258 deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers were served in FY 11, compared to 216 in FY 10. This constitutes a 19.44% increase over the previous year, and reflects expanded programming for deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers at WTC.

• Increased consumer satisfaction with services compared to FY 2010.

Consumer satisfaction is gathered at the service level, and measured on a 4 point scale. In FY 11, satisfaction ratings ranged from 3.43 to 3.91, which compares favorably to satisfaction rating in FY 10, ranging from 3.58 to 3.87.

• Meet or exceed WTC utilization levels from prior year.

4,142 WTC services were provided in FY 11, compared to 4,630 in FY 10. This constitutes a 10.5% decrease in the number of WTC services provided between FY10 and FY 11.  Low referrals and the waiting list affected WTC utilization levels.

• Benefits Planning Services provided to DORS consumers will meet or exceed those provided in FY 2010.

80 benefits planning services were provided in FY 11, compared to 104 provided in FY 10. The resignation and reassignment of the two staff providing benefits counseling reduced the number of consumers provided this service.

• WTC career technology program will have 181 graduates (Skills2Compete deliverable).

148 WTC consumers completed or graduated from their career technology training programs during FY 11. Low referrals and the waiting list affected the completion and graduation rates.

Goal 2: Partner and collaborate with public agencies, private organizations, employers, community groups and individuals to advance the employment and independence of individuals with disabilities.

Objective 2.1

Enhance/expand services provided to individuals in special populations, within the capacities of the agency.

Strategies:

DORS will

1. Continue the inter-agency consortium dedicated to the Governor’s Employment Initiative for Persons with Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI Initiative); maintain the capacity for provision of services to individuals with ABI when the Initiative reaches capacity.

2. Continue to provide staff resources and staff training to support Evidence-Based Supported Employment (EBPSE) and consumers who receive Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) services. (Needs Assessment Rec. 3)

3. Continue strategic activities that will prepare DORS to meet the unique needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders preparing for employment.

4. Begin implementation of the recommendations of the Maryland VR Plan for Services for the Deaf, Hard-of-hearing and Late-deaf as resources allow. (Needs Assessment Rec. 2, 4)

5. Continue collaboration with DDA in support of its “Employment First” Initiative.

6. Review DORS Fee Schedule for CRP services for special populations and consider modifications as appropriate. (Needs Assessment Rec. 4)

7. Continue to oversee ARRA funded grants to CRPs for underserved populations.

8. Re-establish the DORS multi-cultural workgroup and contact community support groups for Hispanic and Asian people. (Needs Assessment Rec. 5)

9. Invite community partners to training segments of DORS affinity groups, as appropriate. (Needs Assessment Rec. 1, 3)

10. Address DORS liaisons for Community Rehabilitation Programs, Community Colleges and other organizations to determine effectiveness and establish promising practices and procedures. (Needs Assessment Rec. 3)

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011: 

• Serve 1,100 Individuals who have ABI (stroke & TBI).

1,180 individuals served.

• All EBPSE sites will participate in the Milestone Payment system.

(Training scheduled for January 2012 was completed, and implementation occurred February 1, 2012.)

• 1,100 consumers will be served through EBPSE sites.

1,853 consumers were served through EBPSE sites

• 1,100 consumers will be served in the Governor’s Transition Youth Initiative.

1,181 GTYI consumers served.

• Demonstrate specific outreach strategies to consumers in populations underserved by DORS.

DORS has participated in a statewide meeting of agencies serving blind youth; expanded marketing of Independent Living Older Blind (ILOB) services to seniors via the Possibilities Fair, and expanded use of foreign language interpreters.  Also, a new provider, Deaf-REACH, has been added to serve individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

• Serve 750 individuals with Autism.

1,257 consumers with Autism were served in FY 11.

• Monitor and measure the outcomes of ARRA –funded programs at CRPs.

DORS ARRA grants to CRPs were fully expended and final reports were submitted.

• At least 50 staff of community rehabilitation programs will attend training segments of DORS affinity group meetings.

 DORS exceeded the goal of at least 50 staff and community partners attending training segments in DORS affinity groups during 2011, including groups focused on individuals with Acquired Brain Injuries, transitioning students, blind/vision impaired, and deaf/hard of hearing.

• Recommendations regarding DORS liaisons to partner agencies and organizations will be provided to Executive Staff.

In FY 11, partnerships were increased between Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM), the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), and DORS, as well as between the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH),  American Council of the Blind (ACB), NFB and DORS.  DORS has staff on site at two community rehabilitation providers, including BISM and Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB), and DORS is exploring opportunities with Easter Seals and their work with the Veteran’s Administration (VA).

Objective 2.2

Enhance collaboration with and services to Maryland businesses.

Strategies: 

DORS will

1. Support activities of the Director’s Employer Services Implementation Council.

 

2. Participate in the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) national business network and bring national efforts and strategies, i.e., the Net, to Maryland.

3. Continue to review and realign resources that support employment partnerships and internships for DORS consumers.

4. Review effectiveness of programs and practices in job development and placement.

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• Minutes of Employer Council and CSAVR national business network meetings will confirm activities and progress.

Employment council has begun meeting again and is looking at future directions.

• WTC will conduct six partnership and customized training programs.

In FY 11, WTC conducted six partnership and customized trainings, including:

1. Customized Warehouse Training with OfficeMax - January 2011

2. Warehouse Training in partnership with CCBC – April 2011

3. Customized Bakery Training with A Flavor Cupcakery – May 2011

4. PAWS Animal Care Training in partnership with CCBC – June 2011

5. Warehouse Training in partnership with CCBC – September 2011

6. Security Guard Training in partnership with CCBC – September 2011

• Program development strategies will be considered and implemented, as appropriate, concerning job development and placement programs and practices.

DORS enhanced Job Squad by adding an intern component; infused a career component in BISM CORE and Summer Programs; continued to work with CLB to expand job development, placement, and retention (JDPR) services, and presented at NCSAB on successful Federal Employment placements.

Objective 2.3

Work with community partners to improve transportation for individuals with disabilities in support of competitive employment.

Strategies:

DORS will

1. Establish a partnership with a non-profit organizations that provide basic vehicles to individuals in need, e.g., Vehicles for Change.

2. Partner on the interagency team led by Maryland Department of Disabilities, with Rutgers NTAR on transportation issues for individuals with disabilities anticipated with Base Realignment and Closure initiatives in Maryland.

3. Maintain participation on the Maryland Coordinating Committee for Human Services Transportation.

4. Identify means to facilitate collaboration between transportation networks.

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• An agreement will be established with Vehicles for Change, to provide vehicles to at least 10 DORS consumers in need of transportation in order to work.

Deferred due to staff capacity.

• DORS staff will participate in NTAR meetings and identify appropriate actions to be taken to improve transportation for individuals with disabilities.

Department of Disabilities has taken the lead on this and has not involved DORS in any additional meetings.

• DORS staff will attend quarterly meetings and assist in identification of ways to improve the transportation system in Maryland.

MSDE and DORS staff alternate attendance at meetings; continuing last minute changes in meetings have made it difficult to participate.

Objective 2.4

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) will maintain and enhance its leadership role in the oversight of vocational rehabilitation service delivery in Maryland.

Strategies:

DORS will

1. DORS will invite and support Council participation and representation on DORS committees and workgroups.

2. The Council, in collaboration with DORS, will conduct annual public meetings throughout the state to promote community and consumer input related to the administration of the VR program.

3. Council members will review and monitor the Division’s client satisfaction system, as well as annual finding of satisfaction surveys, appeal requests and outcomes, and Client Assistant Program (CAP) data and findings.

4. The Council will be a full and active partner in the development of agency regulations, policies and procedures relating to Maryland VR program.

5. Council members will review and comment on the annual agency program plan, DORS progress in meeting its performance goals, and DORS program accomplishments.

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• The Maryland SRC will conduct four (4) quarterly meetings including a meeting during the legislative session in Annapolis.

The Maryland SRC held meetings in November 2010, February 2011, September 2011, and November 2011.

• The Maryland SRC and DORS will conduct annual public meetings attended by at least 180 individuals.

Public meetings were held in four locations around the state: Silver Spring on March 22nd, Salisbury on March 29th, Baltimore on March 23rd, and Westminster on March 30th. There was also a statewide teleconference on March 28th.  A total of 112 individuals participated in the meetings.

• The Maryland SRC will submit its annual report to the Governor and RSA.

The Maryland SRC submitted its 2010 Annual Report to the Governor of Maryland, RSA and the public by the due date of 12/31/10.

Objective 2.5

Participate in the Governor’s Skills2Compete initiative. (Needs Assessment Rec. 6)

1. Participate in Lt. Governor Brown’s and the GWIB work team that will plan strategies for the Skills2Compete initiative.

2. Establish an inter-disciplinary workgroup (that includes community colleges, One Stop Career Centers and WTC) to ensure that people with disabilities participate equally in this initiative.

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• Establish policies, procedures, data elements and services that will support DORS consumers in attaining mid-range careers.

A subcommittee of the Transition Specialists Group has compiled information on the Top 50 Fastest Growing Jobs in Maryland, including prerequisite skills needed, types of training needed, and where that training can be provided in the various regions.  They are now in the process of formatting that information to make it available to staff through our Intranet.

Goal 3: Promote and enhance quality independent living outcomes for individuals with disabilities in Maryland through independent living programs, including the older blind program.

Objective 3.1

Participate as a Maryland Independent Living partner in accomplishment of goals and objectives specified in the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) 2011 - 2013.

Strategies

DORS will

1. Provide support to the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), through supervision and support of the SILC Administrative Officer.

2. Manage DORS grants to Centers for Independent Living (CILS), including providing technical assistance and monitoring regarding both the IL program and fiscal responsibilities.

3. DORS, the SILC and CILs will continue to evaluate implementation of collaborative efforts such as cross-training opportunities, strengthening VR and IL service provision to transitioning youth and benefits planning.

4. Support the establishment of two new Centers for Independent Living in central Maryland. 

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• Review of minutes and other evidence will confirm that the SILC has required membership and is accomplishing its statutory responsibilities.

SILC  membership meets statutory requirements; SILC is fulfilling its responsibilities.

• Evidence of record will confirm provision of technical assistance and oversight of grants as appropriate, from a program and fiscal perspective.

One teleconference review and 3 on-site visits have been held this year, with a 4th on-site visit scheduled for 12/6/11. Two Centers are currently on "high risk" status; one Center was removed from "high risk" status after demonstrating marked improvement.

• Two new Centers for Independent Living will provide core independent living services.

Two new Centers, The IMAGE Center in Central Maryland, and Accessible Resources for Independence, have opened and are providing services, as overseen by RSA.

Objective 3.2

Provide IL rehabilitation technology services through grants to CILs.

Strategies:   

DORS will

1. Evaluate performance of the CILs in providing IL AT services through grants from DORS; revise MOUs and grant expectations and awards as appropriate.

2. Monitor grants to CILs from a fiscal and program perspective.

3. In collaboration with Maryland TAP, assure that AT training is provided to CILs.

4. Establish grants for independent living, assistive technology services with the two new CILs in central Maryland.

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• CILs will meet performance measures established in the RFP and MOU for this program.

Three CILs providing IL AT have met performance standards; concerns continue about service provision and use of resources by 2 other CILs. Sanctions pending.

• ILAT will be a topic for exploration at an annual CIL directors meeting.

Service Provision, and related matters (e.g., ethics of providing service to staff/board) including IL AT  has been a topic at IL Partners meetings which include all CIL directors.

• The CILs in Central Maryland will provide ILAT services per DORS grant and MOU.

MOU for IL AT services with the IMAGE Center has just been finalized; MOU for IL AT services for Accessible Resources for Independence will be considered for FY 2013, depending on stability of the organizational structure.

Goal 4: Promote recruitment and retention of qualified rehabilitation staff

Objective 4.1

Take measures, within the authority of the Department and the Division, to make the workplace more welcoming and flexible in meeting the needs of staff.

Strategies:

DORS will

1. Implement, as appropriate, the technology recommendations of the Workforce 2010 committee, assuring that changes are in the best interest of consumers as well as staff.

 

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• Recommended changes will continue to be evaluated and implemented.

Management has begun considering alternative work location options for staff interested in pursuing promotional opportunities.

Objective 4.2

Provide leadership activities for staff and succession planning for the agency

Strategies:

DORS will

1. Conduct a six-month Mentoring Program.

2. Define the focus and leadership of the Supervisory Affinity Group.

3. Continue the Supervisory Training Series

4. Support staff to attend local, non-DORS leadership programs as appropriate.

5. Conduct a six-month Leadership Academy

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• At least eight staff will participate in the annual DORS Mentoring Program

16 staff participated in the Division’s Leadership Academy and were paired with Mentors.

• The Supervisor Affinity Group will establish an operating plan and meet at least twice a year.

     Deferred until the Supervisory Affinity Group is further established.

• At least three supervisory training topics will be available to staff.

Supervisors attended a boot camp during this year, as well as Work is the Cure, part of the Statewide Supervisors meeting May 11, 2011; Being the Best Supervisor, June 3, 2011, and Transitioning from Staff to Supervisor, May 12, 2011.   

• Up to four DORS staff will attend local, community-based leadership programs

Requests for participation in local community-based leadership programs not received.

Objective 4.3

Explore innovative approaches to recruiting and retaining qualified staff

Strategies:

DORS will

1. Consider various ways of advertising DORS openings beyond the traditional sources

2. Encourage and facilitate unit-based changes in practices and division of labor which will benefit consumers and staff

3. Explore opportunities to give staff more diversified work experiences

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• Recommendations will be made to DORS management regarding outreach to potential employees

No formal changes made at this time.

• Proposals from units to change practices will be considered and implemented as appropriate.

While suggestions were considered on an individual basis, very few proposals for unit-based changes to practice were received.

Objective 4.4

Staff training will be provided to assure that staff maintain current competencies in rehabilitation practice and special populations. (Needs Assessment Rec. 1)

Strategies:

DORS will

1. Plan statewide training on career counseling/counselor role (Needs Assessment Rec. 1).

2. Develop training related to DORS affinity groups and other groups for inclusion in meetings; include community partners as appropriate.

3. Support/facilitate training in employment services (job development and coaching) for staff of DORS and community providers. (Needs Assessment Rec. 1, 8)

4. Continue to include and expand on-line and other training modalities to present training to staff.

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• All DORS rehabilitation specialists will have received training on career counseling/counselor role.

Completed in at least 4 regions; April 21 (2 sessions), February 24, Region 1; March 18, Region 6.   

• Staff training in rehabilitation topics, including special populations, will be provided as part of DORS affinity groups at least twice annually, to include community partners as appropriate.

Training has been provided to staff and community partners this year in rehabilitation topics including special populations as part of DORS affinity groups including: individuals who are blind or visually impaired or deaf blind; deaf and hard of hearing; transitioning youth; and aquired brain injury.

• At least one training program in employment services will be conducted for DORS and community program staff.

Training with federal hiring partners, community partners and staff was held April 13, 2011.  Additional resume training was also provided in April 2011.   

• An increase in the usage by staff of the Dell Learning System will be demonstrated.

The process of moving to a new online learning system is continuing. Future implementation of Share Point as the DORS intranet may also impact usage.

Goal 5: Use technologies to the fullest extent in accomplishing the agency’s mission.

Objective 5.1

Explore how technologies can develop better communication, consumer services and staff support.

Strategy:

DORS will

1. Establish a workgroup that will plan implementation of SharePoint as DORS Intranet, including how staff can benefit from enhancements.

Performance Measure by September 30, 2011:

• SharePoint will be implemented as the agency intranet.

SharePoint has been purchased, and initial planning begun.  Further development pending receipt of a new template for SharePoint 2010 from the Department of InformationTechnology.

Objective 5.2

Assure that staff are current in knowledge of technologies, software and applications.

Strategies:

DORS will

1. Provide training in SharePoint to staff as needed.

Performance Measures by September 30, 2011:

• Training will be provided to staff on SharePoint, as needed.

Two MIS staff trained on the management of the SharePoint environment and selected staff participated in development training.

 

 

2011 Supported Employment Achievements for 2013 State Plan

The 2011 Maryland State Plan for VR Services, Attachment 4.11(c)(4) included the following goals:

2,500 individuals with most significant disabilities would be served in supported employment in fiscal year 2011.

400 youth would be served in the Governor’s Transitioning Youth Initiative.

$2.75 million would be spent on supported employment.

530 individuals would achieve a supported employment outcome.

 

Standard 1.1:  Number of closed cases with an employment outcome

Current Year 2011:                       2,437

Previous Year 201o:                     2,408

(2011 DORS Objective:               2,450)

2011Federal S & I Objective:      2,409

Standard 1.2:  Of closed cases that received services, percentage with an employment outcome.

Current Year 2011:                       44.5%

Previous Year 2010:                     63.6%

2011 Objective:                             55.8%

Standard 1.3: Of closed cases with an employment outcome, percentage that have a wage greater than or equal to the minimum wage. 

Current Year 2011:                       91.8%

Previous Year 2010:                     89.2%

2011 Objective:                            72.6%

Standard 1.4: Of closed cases with an employment outcome, percentage that have a wage greater than or equal to minimum wage and have significant disabilities

Current Year 2011:                       100%

Previous Year 2010:                     100%

2011 Objective:                            62.4%

Standard 1.5: Ratio of average state wage to the average wage of closed cases with employment outcome that have wages greater than or equal to minimum wage

Current Year 2011:                       .46

Previous Year 2010:                     .45

2011 Objective:                            .52

Standard 1.6: Difference between the percentage of closed cases with employment outcomes that have wage greater than or equal to minimum wage that are self support at application and the percent of closed cases with employment outcomes that have a wage greater than or equal to the minimum wage that are self support at closure.

Current Year 2011:                       70.5%

Previous Year 2010:                     64.2%

2011 Objective:                            53%

Standard 2.1: Ratio of minority service rate to non-minority service rate.

Current Year 2011:                       .921

Previous Year 2010:                     .891

2011 Objective:                            .80

DORS has met requirements for the Standards and Indicators. Two standards, 1.2 and 1.5 were not met. DORS did not meet 1.2 due to statewide concentrated efforts to close cases of consumers who were not actively participating in services so more consumers could be served from the waiting list. DORS also has a pattern of not achieving Standard 1.5, related to the fact that Maryland has such a high per-capita income and it is difficult for individuals with disabilities to achieve the required percentage of that rate.

 

The 2011 State Plan Attachment 4.11(d) described a number of strategies to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities, including the following.

 

Approximate dollar amount of 2011 expenditures in these areas:

(1) Support of the State Rehabilitation Council, - $12,500

(2) Activities associated with the Governor’s Skills2Compete program to promote “middle skill” employment, - $1,946,627

(3) Summer youth work experiences for transitioning youth  - $851,773

(4) Grant funding for The Maryland School for the Deaf’s Work to Learn program for transitioning students. - $75,000

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:11PM by Kimberlee Schultz

  • 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

The quality, scope, and extent of supported employment services are consistent with the definition of supported employment as it is contained in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

The quality of supported employment services is assured through the Division’s case review process.  Records are reviewed in terms of eligibility, Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), service delivery, case closure and expenditures.  The review emphasizes technical compliance with the Title I and Title VI-B regulations.  DORS uses case review findings to identify policies that may require modification or clarification and to identify staff training needs.  The Division also conducts periodic onsite reviews of supported employment providers and regularly updates cooperative agreements with these facilities.

Supported employment means competitive work in integrated work settings, or employment in integrated work settings. Individuals with the most significant disabilities are working toward competitive work consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice.  These are persons:

A. For whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or for whom competitive employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a significant disability, and

B. Who, because of the nature and severity of a disability, need intensive supported employment services from the designated State unit (DORS) and extended services after transition in order to perform this work, or

The scope of supported employment services is contained in the Agency’s Rehabilitation Services Manual II, Section 800.  The Division provides ongoing training to counselors about supported employment policy and best practices, including to new staff at the Quality Rehabilitation Training Program conducted at least twice a year. 

Supported employment services are defined in the regulations as ongoing support services and other appropriate services needed to support and maintain an individual with the most significant disability in supported employment.

 

In recognition of the time required to develop employment opportunities and place individuals with the most significant disabilities in employment, Division policy permits payment of job development and placement as discrete activities within “job coaching”.  Supported employment services are any services that assist an individual in entering or maintaining integrated, competitive employment.  They also include services necessary to establish and maintain a supported business enterprise.  They may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Development of and placement in jobs or businesses in integrated settings for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, interests, concerns, abilities, and capabilities of individuals with the most significant disabilities.

2. Intensive on-site job skills training and other training provided by skilled job trainers, coworkers, and other qualified individuals.

3. Off-site supports to address issues and concerns

4. Follow-up services, including regular contact with employers, trainers, parents, guardians, or other representatives of trainees, and other suitable professional and informed advisors to reinforce and stabilize the job placement.

5. Other services specified in the regulations needed to achieve and maintain job stability.

6. Discrete post-employment services following transition that are unavailable from an extended services provider and that are necessary to maintain the job placement.

All supported employment services are available to all individuals determined eligible to receive supported employment services.  Individuals are eligible if:

1. The individual is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

2. The individual is determined to be an individual with a most significant disability.

3. A comprehensive assessment of rehabilitation needs of the individual, including an evaluation of rehabilitation, career, and job needs, identifies supported employment as the appropriate rehabilitation objective.

 

1. Time-limited Phase (DORS)

C. Supported employment services are provided by DORS for a period not to exceed 18 months, unless under special circumstances the eligible individual and the rehabilitation counselor jointly agree to extend the time in order to achieve the rehabilitation objectives identified in the Individualized Plan for Employment. 

i. Services must occur at least twice monthly to assess the employment situation at the job site; at the request of the consumer, they may be conducted off-site.

ii. Service providers coordinate and provide intensive services, at or away from the job site, that are needed to maintain employment stability.

D. Following transition, these services are only provided by DORS as post-employment services that are unavailable from an extended services provider and that are necessary to maintain or regain the job placement or advance in employment.

2. Extended Phase (Extended Service Provider)

Transition to extended services occurs when all objectives on the IPE and any IPE  amendments have been met. This will occur on an individual and mutually agreed upon basis between the rehabilitation counselor, the consumer and the provider.

In the extended phase, ongoing support services and other appropriate services are defined as extended services.  The provision of extended services in supported employment is made possible with cooperative agreements.  Extended services include:

A. Any service(s) needed for an individual to maintain integrated, competitive employment after the individual has transitioned from time-limited support provided by DORS.

B. Such services are based on the needs of an eligible individual as specified in an IPE, which includes a statement of the source of the extended services.

Funding

The supported employment services made possible by the anticipated State allotment means that hundreds of individuals with the most significant disabilities will have an opportunity for competitive employment.  An allotment of funds to provide supported employment services will be met with similar increases in other agencies’ ongoing funds to maintain supported employment services when the Division’s time-limited services are completed.

Evidence-based Supported Employment

DORS has a strong partnership with Maryland’s mental health system related to Evidence-based Practice in Supported Employment (EBPSE).  This is based on overwhelming evidence that supported employment is the most effective route to competitive employment for consumers with severe mental illness. Our partnership is characterized by streamlined access to VR services through guest access of VR counselors into the MH case management system; presumption of eligibility for VR services for individuals determined eligible for Supported Employment through the Mental Hygiene Administration; and adherence to principles of EBPSE. These principles include:

1. Competitive employment is the goal.

2. Eligibility for EBP is based on consumer choice.  Consumers are considered work ready when they say they want to work.

3. Job search starts soon after a consumer expresses interest in working.

4. Supported employment is integrated with treatment.  Employment specialists have frequent meetings with the treatment team to integrate supported employment with mental health treatment.  (DORS staff participation is critical to success.)

5. Follow-along supports are continuous.  Employment supports are never terminated unless the consumer directly requests it.

6. Consumer preferences are important.  Consumer preference plays a key role in determining the type of job that is sought, the nature of supports provided, and the decision about disability disclosure.

7. Personalized benefits planning is provided.

Employment First.

DORS is a partner with other State agencies and community rehabilitation programs in implementing Employment First, a national effort to assure that individuals with intellectual disabilities/developmental disabilities consider employment on a preferred basis in planning for their lives.  Employment First is consistent with our agency’s belief that individuals with disabilities, even the most significant disabilities, can work in meaningful positions in integrated settings when provided with adequate, appropriate supports. Supported employment is appropriate for individuals in Employment First and is the means to assure the best chance for success in employment. Community rehabilitation programs are enhancing “discovery” services aimed at assisting individuals with intellectual disabilities/developmental disabilities to determine what they would like to do with their lives, including their work life.  They are also developing “customized employment” services where a job can be tailored specifically for an individual to meet his/her needs and aspirations. Benefits planning is also an important part of services for individuals served through Employment First.

Supported Employment for Individuals with Acquired Brain Injuries

The Governor’s Employment Initiative for Persons with Acquired Brain Injury continues to provide intensive vocational rehabilitation and long-term supports to individuals with acquired brain injuries. A consortium of community providers and stakeholders participate in quarterly meetings that include a training component to support the enhanced collaboration and service delivery model. Long-term, ongoing employment supports are funded by DORS as this population has traditionally not qualified for DDA or MHA supported employment services.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 20 2012 5:13PM by Kimberlee Schultz

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 08/01/2012 at 3:41 PM

Last updated by samdschultzk

Completed on 08/01/2012 at 3:41 PM

Completed by samdschultzk

Approved on 08/09/2012 at 2:45 PM

Approved by rsahoosierz

Published on 09/11/2012 at 12:53 PM

Published by kschelle

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