ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

Orientation & Technical Assistance Guide for State Vocational Rehabilitation Directors




Overview


RSA extends a special welcome to new state vocational rehabilitation (VR) directors. This orientation is provided to support you in the important work of administering Federal programs within your state funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), including the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program, the State Supported Employment Services Program, and the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals who are Blind Program. RSA developed this guide to provide quick and efficient access to information and technical assistance resources related to the administration of these programs. We hope that you find this information useful and encourage you to contact your RSA state liaison for assistance in locating other resources or for responses to questions pertaining to the administration of any of these programs.

The RSA web site is a primary source for locating pertinent information described below related to RSA’s formula and discretionary grant programs, including current policy guidance, on-line training and technical assistance tools and resources, state and national data, grant-related reporting forms, VR State Plans, and other state-specific information. Links to this information are included below for ready access.

To access the most current information and notifications from RSA, VR directors may subscribe for email updates regarding RSA in general, the VR program, data collection and analysis, fiscal/financial management, legislation and policy, service programs, technical assistance resources, training programs, and RSA website news.


Legislation, Regulations and Guidance


Program Specific Regulations

Guidance


Technical Assistance Centers and Demonstration Projects


Aligning with RSA’s mission to provide leadership and resources to grantees and stakeholders, RSA created a series of training and technical assistance centers and demonstration projects to assist state VR agencies and their partners in providing VR and other services to individuals with disabilities. Each technical assistance center focuses its efforts on a specific set of topics designed to provide universal, targeted, and intensive technical assistance for the purpose of improving services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence and integration into the community and the competitive labor market.


State Rehabilitation Council


The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is a key partner with the VR agency in the administration of the VR program. Among its several responsibilities, the SRC reviews, evaluates and advises the agency regarding its performance and effectiveness in the delivery of services and the effect of service provision on the achievement of employment outcomes by individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the SRC ensures that the voice of the community of stakeholders is heard as agencies develop and implement policies and procedures that directly effect the individuals served by the VR agency.

The SRC brings together a variety of individuals with disabilities, disability groups, VR professionals, service providers, and leaders in the community, including those representing business, industry and labor.


Vocational Rehabilitation /Supported Employment State Plan


The VR services portion of the Unified or Combined State Plan must satisfy all requirements set forth in section 102 or 103 of WIOA. Under the provisions of WIOA, the Governor of each state or territory must submit a Unified or Combined State Plan to the U.S. Department of Labor that outlines a four-year strategy for the state’s workforce development system.

States submitted their four-year WIOA State Plans for Federal review and approval in early 2016. The Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture, whose programs are addressed, provided review and approval for each Plan for the period July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2020.

An important component of the vocational rehabilitation services portion of the Unified or Combined State Plan is the results of a comprehensive, statewide needs assessment, jointly conducted by the designated State unit and the State Rehabilitation Council (if the State unit has a Council) every three years. Results of the needs assessment are to be included in the vocational rehabilitation portion of the Unified or Combined State Plan and must describe the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state.


Monitoring of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs


Section 107(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Act), as amended by title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), requires the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to conduct annual reviews and periodic on-site monitoring of programs authorized under title I of the Act to determine whether a vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency is complying substantially with the provisions of its State Plan under section 101 of the Act and with the evaluation standards and performance indicators established under section 106 of the Act, which are subject to the performance accountability measures in section 116(b) of WIOA and 34 CFR part 361, subpart E. To fulfill, in part, this requirement, RSA has developed this Monitoring and Technical Assistance Guide (MTAG), through which it will provide technical assistance to, and review the progress of, VR agencies toward compliance with new requirements under the Act, as amended by WIOA, and assess improvements in the performance of the VR program as well as compliance with pertinent Federal programmatic and fiscal requirements.


Fiscal Management


To assist states with the fiscal administration of the VR and other formula grant programs authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, RSA developed a number of fiscal resources including policy directives and training materials on specific areas of fiscal policy and program administration. Resources available address a variety of topics such as establishment, maintenance of effort, indirect cost and cost allocation, match, third party cooperative arrangements, award calculation and reallotment, liquidation of obligations, and reporting. In addition, resources have also been developed to provide technical assistance regarding funding contributions and operations of One-Stop Centers Infrastructure Funding of the One-Stop Delivery System TAC-17-03, and One-Stop Operations Guidance for the American Job Center Network TAC-17-02.

WIOA established new requirements for the development of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) in the one-stop service delivery system. The Innovation and Opportunity Network (ION) website has posted a Sample MOU and accompanying Cost Allocation Analyses that may be used as a reference guide or toolkit when developing an MOU. The sample MOU and toolkit includes the one-stop operating budget, Infrastructure Funding Agreement (IFA), and cost allocation methodologies pursuant to the requirements of section 121 of WIOA, its implementing regulations in the Joint WIOA Final Rule at 20 CFR part 678 and the corresponding Department of Education implementing regulations at 34 CFR parts 361 and 463 and the relevant guidance.

The Departments of Education and Labor conducted a joint technical assistance webinar on One-Stop Infrastructure Funding on June 7, 2017. This webinar provided a hypothetical example of how partner contributions towards infrastructure costs may be determined under the state funding mechanism.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page has been developed to provide clarification regarding the period of performance for RSA formula grant awards and the impact on the obligation and carryover of Federal funds.


Data and Performance


Data

The RSA web site provides resources to enable access to national and state specific performance data. You may query agency-specific reports including the RSA-113 (VR program quarterly cumulative caseload report); RSA-911 (Case Service Report); RSA-7-OB (Independent Living Services for Older Individuals who are Blind report); and the RSA-15 (Randolph Sheppard Vending Facility Program report). The RSA web site also provides the capacity to run pre-defined tables for the entire nation, for your state, or for your agency.

RSA uses the data collected through the RSA-911 to describe the performance of the VR and Supported Employment programs. For more information on the RSA-911, please review supporting information for the RSA-911 resources. A curriculum related to the changes and the collection and reporting of data via the RSA-911 is also available that addresses performance measures, key terms in the joint guidance, information on how the terms apply to VR, as well as a discussion about the deliverable timelines for 2016 and 2017 and using the RSA-911 data to monitor the performance of the VR program.

Performance

Section 116 of WIOA establishes performance accountability indicators that apply across the core programs to assess the effectiveness of States and local areas in achieving positive outcomes for individuals served by these programs. Under section 116(b)(2)(A) of WIOA, there are six primary indicators of performance: Employment Rate—2nd Quarter After Exit; Employment Rate—4th Quarter After Exit; Median Earnings—2nd Quarter After Exit; Credential Attainment; Measurable Skill Gains; and Effectiveness in Serving Employers.

More information on the common performance indicators can be found in TAC-17-01 Performance Accountability Guidance for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I, Title II, Title III and Title IV Core Programs. Additional joint guidance in the area of performance accountability can be found at TAC-17-04 Guidance on the Use of Supplemental Wage Information to Implement the Performance Accountability Requirements under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

The Departments of Education and Labor conducted a joint webinar on January 11, 2017, in support of TAC-17-01. Additional webinars have been developed on the topic of performance accountability provisions of WIOA, and matching personally identifiable information in education records and personal information in VR records with wage records held by the state agency responsible for administration of the state’s unemployment compensation (UC) program. We will continue to post new webinars related to data and performance as we develop them.

This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 10/23/2017