ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

Published February 16, 2017.   Print   Print preview   Export to MS Word   Export to Excel  

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2015 (submitted FY 2014)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

1.1 The Alabama Dept. 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 Alabama Dept. of Rehabilitation Services [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

Commissioner

... 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

Commissioner ADRS

... 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 https://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/ed80-013.pdf) for both the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryCary Boswell

Title of SignatoryCommissioner

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/13/2014

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 2015No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities (Option A was selected/Option B 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
Alabama Department 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))

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council; Response of the DSU, and Explanations for Rejection of Input or Recommendations

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services continues to have a State Rehabilitation Council which meets on a quarterly basis. Council membership is representative of the state and includes a cross section of disabilities and minorities. Local vocational rehabilitation advisory councils, created by the SRC to obtain direct consumer input at the local level and to provide easier access, continue to meet across the state, and there continues to be a report on information or advice from these councils at some quarterly SRC meetings. The councils also continue to serve as recruitment grounds for future SRC members due to member training provided during meetings.

The SRC continues to advise the Designated State Unit or DSU on a variety of issues. Specific activities and advice of the SRC for FY 2013 include the following:

(1) Review and comment on the State Plan. As in prior years, the SRC reviewed the state plan and attachments, and the DSU asked for comments. The SRC Chair again appointed a subcommittee to assist in setting goals for the State Plan and in writing it. This subcommittee ratified the goals and priorities proposed by the agency, and the SRC approved adoption of the State Plan as written. No other comments were obtained on the State Plan or attachments, nor were there any additional recommendations for changes or revisions.

(2) Review and comment on the Agency’s CSPD. The SRC received information on the CSPD and recommended no significant changes to the recruitment or retention plan. The SRC also received information on current training programs for VRS staff and consumers and recommended no significant changes.

(3) Employment Subcommittee. The Employment Subcommittee made the following recommendations:

Recommendation: VR should update its RAVE (Retaining a Valued Employee) brochure by making the following changes: (1) add 4 panels, (2) add pictures with consumers in program, (3) add section on what employers can expect, (4) and add names of employers that have had success with RAVE

Agency response: The Agency accepts this recommendation and will implement it as soon as possible.

Recommendation: VR should develop skills training so that VR consumers can pass employment behavioral assessments.

Agency response: The Agency accepts this recommendation and will implement it as soon as possible.

(4) Review and comment on Impartial Hearing Officer List: The SRC continued to monitor the list for vacancies and recommend replacements where appropriate. Revisions to the list were recommended for FY 2013 and included 2 new members.

(5) SRC Training. Council members received training and/or informational materials on the following areas:

a. Emergency Preparation and Healthcare b. Supported Employment c. Impartial Hearing Officer Process d. RSA Technical Assistance Plan e. Agency Dashboard Program f. VR Process g. Order of Selection and Functional Limitations Priority Assessment Tool

(6) Revision of SRC bylaws. The SRC recommended no changes during FY 2013.

(7) Development of a resource plan and budget. The SRC Executive Subcommittee updated a resource plan listing all resources the Agency provides for operation of the SRC and amended it to include the most recent reimbursement rate (56.5 cents per mile) for SRC travel. This amendment was approved by the SRC. The subcommittee will continue to update this plan as needed. The SRC Executive Subcommittee again approved an SRC budget for operation of the SRC which was adopted by the DSU.

(8) SRC Deaf Advisory Subcommittee. This Subcommittee made the following recommendations to the SRC during FY 2013:

Recommendation: The Agency should make strong efforts to encourage interpreters as a vocation.

Agency response: The Agency accepts this recommendation and will implement it as soon as possible.

(9) SRC Blind Advisory Subcommittee. This Subcommittee submitted no recommendations to the SRC during FY 2013.

(10) Review and comment on VRS Consumer Satisfaction Survey The SRC reviewed the results of the VR general program surveys and made no recommendations for changes. Additionally, the SRC received information on the consumer satisfaction surveys for the deaf and blind programs and made no recommendations for changes. The SRC adopted the Subcommittee’s recommendations as outlined below:

Recommendation: The Agency should continue using the current survey instrument for the General VR Program jointly developed by the SRC and Auburn University.

Agency response: The Agency accepts this recommendation and will implement it as soon as possible.

This screen was last updated on Jun 22 2014 12:05PM by saalharrisiiij

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

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

JOINTLY FUNDED JOB COACHES The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services enters into third party cooperative agreements with thirty-three local education agencies. These agreements are written and carried out in compliance with 34 CFR 361.28. The agreements provide for jointly funded job coaches to provide services to students in the exiting year of high school. Services include information about the job application process. Issues such as appropriate attire, completing the job application, punctuality are presented. The job coaches assist in contacting employers on behalf of students. Once job placement is accomplished after exiting high school, on site job coaching is provided. These services are provided to students who would not otherwise receive such services from the local education agency (LEA). This includes students who receive a certificate of attendance upon graduation and students with physical disabilities. State Unit approval will be obtained before services are initiated. All services will be provided in accordance with the agency’s approved State Plan. The agency has on record that no federal funds are used by the LEA to provide their share of the services. LEAs with which third party third cooperative agreements are being formulated are: Alabama Institute for Deaf & Blind, Alabama School for the Blind– Talladega County Alabama Institute for Deaf & Blind Alabama School for the Deaf – Talladega County Anniston City – Calhoun County Baldwin County Bessemer City – Jefferson County Blount County Clarke County DeKalb County Escambia County Eufaula City – Barbour County Etowah County Fairfield City – Jefferson County Hale County Haleyville City – Winston County Homewood City – Jefferson County Jackson County Lauderdale County Leeds City – Jefferson County Marshall County Monroe County Pell City – St. Clair County Piedmont City – Calhoun County Pike County St. Clair County Shelby County Sylacauga City – Talladega County Talladega County Tarrant City – Jefferson County Tuscaloosa City – Tuscaloosa County Winfield City – Marion County Winston County

PROJECT SEARCH Project SEARCH is modeled the original Project SEARCH initiative at Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital. The project is designed to place exiting year high school students with significant disabilities in a real work setting that provides real work experiences. A large employer is most often utilized, a large hospital for example. This provides the students with a wide variety of job settings in which to develop work habits and work skills. It is a cooperative arrangement among the employer, school system, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Development Disabilities Council, the Department of Mental Health and local school system. The program is offered in Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsville, and a project is scheduled in Tuscaloosa. The student actually goes to the employment site each day as opposed to going to the school. The LEA provides a classroom teacher to provide some academic instruction in the morning and the students go to work stations the remainder of the day. Work stations may include patient escort, food service, instrument sterilization, and other settings in the hospital. No funds from other participating agencies are used to match federal money drawn down by ADRS. State Unit approval will be obtained before services are initiated. All services will be provided in accordance with the agency’s approved State Plan.

GAINING ACCESS TO EMPLOYMENT (GATE) The GATE program (Gaining Access to Employment) is a training program that takes consumers from sheltered work or day habilitation and fully immerses them in industry training. This collaboration between the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Alabama Department of Mental Health (DMH) is being piloted in North Alabama and we hope to replicate this program in other areas of the state. Funding is braided between the two participating agencies. This program will be in Jackson county Alabama. No funds are being used to match federal dollars being drawn down.

Compliance: The agency will obtain written assurance the agency will approve services before they begin. Written assurance will be provided to the agency all services will be provided under the waive will be in compliance of the agency’s approved state plan.

This screen was last updated on Jul 8 2014 12:49PM by saalharrisiiij

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

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.8(b)(1)

COOPERATION AND COORDINATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES AND ENTITIES

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services has cooperative agreements and working relationships with entities outside of the state Workforce Investment System. These agreements provide the agency with the opportunity to extend services to people with disabilities referred by other agencies, as well as the chance to utilize the services of other agencies for its consumers.

Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) ADRS enjoys an excellent working relationship with AIDB. AIDB is charged with the responsibility of providing elementary and high school residential education for blind and deaf students in Alabama. Also, through its E. H. Gentry Technical Facility, it provides vocational assessment and training for adults with visual, hearing, and other disabilities. ADRS refers consumers to E. H. Gentry for vocational services. Also, the agency works very cooperatively with AIDB in providing appropriate services to students in the AIDB high schools for the blind and deaf. ADRS works collaboratively with the School for the Deaf and School for the Blind to provide deaf and blind students with summer employment opportunities. ADRS also works actively with the Helen Keller School for Deaf and Blind which is also a part of the AIDB system. ADRS assists AIDB in transitioning these students into employment when they have completed school or, when appropriate, assists the students with further education.

ADRS has a collaborative agreement with AIDB to jointly fund Rehabilitation Teachers who provide special teaching services to people with visual disabilities. Also, the agency jointly funds Interpreters, Randolph-Sheppard Specialists, and Orientation and Mobility Instructors.

Department of Corrections ADRS is cooperating with the Alabama Department of Corrections. ADRS receives referrals on inmates who are in the prison system who will be transitioning back into their home areas. ADRS has established a system to handle these referrals and provide services to eligible individuals when they return home. An ADRS staff specialist in the State Office is overseeing this initiative.

Department of Risk Management ADRS works cooperatively with Alabama’s Risk Management program. We receive referrals of individuals injured on the job to assist Risk Management in helping various state agencies retain individuals in employment who may have been injured.

Governor’s Office ADRS receives, on a regular basis, referrals from the Governor’s office. The Governor’s office contacts ADRS to make referrals of individuals who have contacted the Governor’s office regarding various problems. These referrals are received by an Assistant Commissioner of ADRS, and forwarded to the appropriate local supervisor for follow-up and assessment. Understandably, many of these referrals are for services beyond the scope of ADRS; however, efforts are made to provide the Governor’s staff with an appropriate service outlet to address the needs of the consumer.

Bureau of Indian Affairs ADRS recognizes the need for services to Native Americans. The agency has liaison counselors assigned to various tribes throughout the state to receive referrals and to extend our services to Native Americans within Alabama.

Department of Youth Services (DYS) Alabama has a Department of Youth Services. This Department is established to work with delinquent youth. It is hoped that the services of DYS will prevent delinquent youth from eventually advancing to the adult correctional system. ADRS has a specialist who is very actively involved with DYS. This individual receives referrals on a regular basis from DYS and forwards those referrals to the appropriate field staff.

Department of Mental Health (DMH) The Agency maintains an ongoing relationship with DMH. ADRS serves numerous consumers with mental illness. ADRS works on cooperative initiatives to ensure services are provided to eligible consumers. ADRS maintains a relationship with the DMH Division of Substance Abuse and a network of residential aftercare service providers. ADRS is working extensively with the DMH to expand and improve the ADRS supported employment program. This includes efforts in the areas of Employment First, extended supports, and collaborating on grants.

Alabama Head Injury Foundation (AHIF) ADRS continues its relationship with the Alabama Head Injury Foundation. This relationship is directed towards maintaining a service delivery system to address the needs of consumers affected by traumatic brain injury.

Community Rehabilitation Programs ADRS continues an excellent working relationship with a wide network of community rehabilitation programs throughout the state. These CRPs are a critical link in our service delivery effort.

Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) ADRS has an ongoing partnership with the ADECA. The agency has worked cooperatively to pursue grants to serve people with disabilities.

Alabama’s Special Camp for Children and Adults with disabilities (CAMP ASSCA) Camp ASCCA is a totally accessible outdoor camp designed to address the special needs of people with disabilities.

The Alabama Disability Advocacy Program (ADAP) ADAP is the Alabama arm of the Protection and Advocacy program for people with disabilities. ADAP makes referrals to Alabama’s toll free number for information on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Disability Rights and Resource (Birmingham) Montgomery Independent Living Center (BILC) and the Mobile Independent Living Center (MILC) DRR and the MILC provide independent living services. The three centers assisted ADRS with the distribution of the Statewide Needs Assessment survey in 2008. The agency also receives referrals from the Independent Living Centers.

Governor’s Office on Disability (GOOD) GOOD serves as a clearinghouse for resources related to people with disabilities. ADRS maintains an ongoing relationship with the Office and its director, Graham Sisson.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) ADRS partners with OFCCP to provide affirmative action training to employers on issues related to hiring and retaining workers with disabilities. ADRS hosted a major conference for employers in conjunction with OFCCP staff to provide information to employers on the 503 Federal Hiring mandates.

Federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) The OPM state director is actively involved in ADRS consumer employment activities including new services to employers and implementation of federal mandates to hire people with disabilities into federal jobs.

Social Security Administration (SSA) The Agency maintains an excellent working relationship with the SSA. An agency state office specialist in Social Security, Donna Bowden, is very knowledgeable regarding Social Security issues. She has given numerous presentations on the Ticket to Work, Work Incentives Improvement Act, not only to ADRS staff, but other agencies staff.

Veterans Administration (VA) The agency is collaborating with the VA to serve and place into employment veterans completing the VA vocational rehabilitation program. The VA is able to provide many rehabilitation services, but needs assistance with job placement. A cooperative agreement was completed in 2006. The agreement defines the role of the agency and the VA in the referral process. The agency has a group of liaison counselors who will receive referrals and disburse them to local counselors throughout the state.

Rural Development Office of Alabama The agency established contact with the Rural Development Office of Alabama in FY 2014. The invitation was made to provide referrals to the agency of people with disabilities in rural areas who may need agency services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2014 11:23AM by saalharrisiiij

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

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

ATTACHMENT4.8 (b)( 2)

COORDINATION WITH EDUCATION OFFICIALS

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) has a history of placing special emphasis on coordination of school-to-work activities. ADRS is committed to assisting students with disabilities in making a smooth transition to the world of work. ADRS Transition programs are coordinated with state and local education officials.

At the state level, ADRS participates as an equal partner in the Alabama State Interagency Transition Team (SITT). The SITT is an interagency work group led by the State Department of Education, Special Education Services Division. The purpose of this group is to identify any existing barriers to effective transition services, develop state and local policies/procedures that eliminate or reduce those barriers and promote a comprehensive, coordinated transition service system. The SITT collaborates to host an annual Transition Conference.

ADRS sponsored many members’ attendance at the annual Transition Conference. This conference provides an opportunity for counselors and transition staff to be updated on the latest successful trends and practices related to transition. It is well attended by education officials. This allows ADRS staff excellent interaction opportunities with education staff and teachers. Dates have been set for the Transition Conference in the upcoming fiscal year. ADRS will utilize this conference as a training opportunity for staff serving transition students.

Another initiative at the state level is the collaboration of ADRS and the State Department of Education in the development of a formal interagency agreement which specifies how VR staff and local education agency personnel will cooperate. The agreement describes scope of services to be provided by the State Department of Education (SDE) and ADRS; the financial responsibilities of each party; the methods of consultation and technical services needed to formulate IEPs; the role of each agency in transition planning; and methods and strategies for identification of students needing transition services. Transition planning, sharing of student information, and consultation activities are stated in the agreement. All activities described in this attachment, regarding working with educational institutions are formalized in the interagency agreement.

At the local level, the ADRS has procedures in place to ensure the agency is actively involved in the transition of students with disabilities from school to work. The agency has a counselor assigned to each high school to act as transition counselor. The counselor visits the school on a regularly scheduled basis to meet with teachers and guidance counselors in order to provide vocational rehabilitation information and receive referrals of students with disabilities in need of rehabilitation services. The VR counselor meets with the student and parents in order to explain rehabilitation services to enable a student’s informed choice regarding these services. School records and other information needed for eligibility determination is obtained. Once eligibility is determined efforts are made to begin determining rehabilitation needs and a vocational goal. Counselors make every effort to participate in IEP meetings. This provides the counselor the opportunity to have issues addressed in the IEP related to disability. The counselor also provides some level of expertise regarding accommodations the student may need related to disability. Information gathered through IEP meetings is used by the counselors to develop the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) prior to a student’s exit from school. These procedures are specified in the formal interagency agreement with the Alabama State Department of Education.

At the local level, as well, ADRS is committed to providing jointly funded (half funded by the local school system) job coaches in local education agencies. This is accomplished through cooperative agreements with local education agencies. The job coaches are responsible for assisting students in their exiting year in finding competitive paid employment. Currently, ADRS has 33 jointly funded job coaches in place through third-party cooperative agreements.

The VR Transition counselor may utilize a vocational evaluation provided by a community rehabilitation program to obtain specific information regarding the student’s vocational potential and possibilities. If needed, this is usually completed after the junior year, but may occur earlier. Results of such an evaluation are shared with the school for use in formulating subsequent IEPs. This information may also be utilized formulation of the student’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) prior to leaving school.

The counselor follows the student through to graduation. When the student has completed high school the next phase of the rehabilitation process is implemented. This may include college, vocational training, community rehabilitation services, or employment, depending on the interests and needs of the individual student.

ADRS recognizes the roles and responsibilities of each agency. Educational responsibilities rest with educational agencies which includes the cost of accommodations for students with disabilities. Transition counselors are trained to be sure responsibilities of the education agency are not transferred to ADRS while the student is in school. The educational agency is responsible for ensuring students with disabilities are provided equal access to education. The school is responsible for providing school records to be used in determining eligibility and planning a rehabilitation program. ADRS utilizes school records and other available information in order to develop a rehabilitation program. These roles and responsibilities are delineated in the formal interagency agreement with the Alabama State Department of Education.

Outreach efforts by the agency are very strong in the area of transition. As noted above, a counselor is assigned to each school. Most often, working with transition cases will be the exclusive work assignment of a counselor that the agency refers to as a ‘transition counselor’. In the more rural areas, a counselor may work with other cases in addition to transition cases. The performance evaluation of a transition counselor is based on their success in working with transition consumers. These counselors work with teachers, guidance counselors, school nurses, psychomotrists and other education staff to identify students with disabilities who need transition services.

ADRS is working with RSA to ensure that all third party cooperative arrangements with educational agencies will be written in compliance with 34 CFR 361.28

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2014 11:27AM by saalharrisiiij

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.8(b) (3)

COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS WITH PRIVATE, NONPROFIT VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICE PROVIDERS

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) maintains a viable working partnership with 23 Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) statewide. The CRPs play a vital role in assisting the department to meet its mission of providing quality employment outcomes for individuals with severe disabilities.

Currently, the Accreditation Commission (CARF) accredits 22 of the CRPs in Alabama and 2 providers who are in a “provisional status” and have agreed to meet CARF standards in a twelve month time frame. As the nature of services provided by CRPs continues to change, the options regarding standards and accreditation requirements will change.

Within the CRP section area, one State Office Administrator supervises the general CRP programs, another State Office Administrator supervises the Supported Employment programs and both share an Administrative Assistant. All three employees report to the Assistant Commissioner of VR general field services.

The CRP Administrator is responsible for initiating agreements with non-profits and for profits from which ADRS consumers receive services. CRP section staff review the qualifications of both nonprofits and for profits, meet to discuss fees and payment rates, and monitor service delivery through management/data reports and field visits.

In 2005 the agency instituted a system to ensure that all community based service providers who desire to provide services meet CARF standards and maintain their accreditation. This requirement provides some assurance that CRP’s address issues like ADA accessibility, accountability, safety, staff qualifications, accommodations, and affirmative action in hiring persons with disabilities and address any special communication needs of consumers.

Currently, the CRP Administrator meets with CRP staff to discuss services and formulate an agreement that establishes agreed upon fees for each CRP. This information is shared with local counselors so that appropriate service authorizations can be made to the CRPs. The department has formally developed and implemented the “Stages to Employment Payment System” (STEPS), which is a three-step outcome based payment schedule that is efficient, requires minimal paperwork, and focuses on the individual needs of the consumer served. To date this effort has met with positive feedback and all CRPs are utilizing this service/payment system.

The department continues to work cooperatively with CRPs statewide to improve services at the local level. There is a continuous need for services. The development and establishment of new programs will change with the assessment of consumer needs.

Based on an assessment of the capacity and effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation services currently provided by CRPs statewide, a number of trends appear to be taking place:

• Increased emphasis on serving individuals that are considered underserved, individuals with the most significant disabilities, and individuals residing in rural areas of the state

• Increased emphasis on consumer choice • Increased emphasis on serving ADRS consumers in their home communities

• Increased emphasis on integrated employment

• Increased incentives based on performance

• Increased emphasis on community based services

• CRPs are becoming more diversified regarding services provided and funding streams

• More options regarding accreditation requirements as providers and the nature of service provision changes

• Increase of supported employment long term supports

The department’s commissioner, the assistant commissioners for general field services, and blind/deaf services, and the CRP specialists meet regularly with all community rehabilitation program directors. These meetings provide the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual concern, improve communication, and focus on the continuous improvement of the partnership.

Supported employment is available in Alabama to individuals who require intensive and extended support services for an appropriate and successful employment outcome. Supported employment services are available through some 41 community based providers in the state. These services are currently provided in all regions of the state through cooperative agreements with community-based organizations and agencies. The availability of job coach services is provided in most of the state’s network of 24 community rehabilitation programs. Additionally, specialized center based services for blind and deaf consumers are being expanded and developed in local communities throughout the state.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services continues to stay abreast of national issues regarding community rehabilitation facilities through its attendance and participation in conferences of state and national significance including the International Conference on Employment and Community Services sponsored by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Collaborative efforts between ADRS Computer Services and the CRP section have recently developed computer generated reports that assist the CRP section in tracking targeted CRP goals and outcomes such as numbers of individuals successfully employed, cost per successful closure, and average wage.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2014 11:30AM by saalharrisiiij

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

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

ATTACHMENT 4.8(b)(4)

EVIDENCE OF COLLABORATION REGARDING SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES AND EXTENDED SERVICES

Supported Employment (SE) is available in Alabama for individuals with the most significant disabilities who require intensive support services, and extended support services for an appropriate and successful employment outcome. These services are provided in all regions of the state by 41 approved community-based organizations.

Supported Employment services are available to individuals regardless of their disability. Currently, the primary disabilities served include persons with significant intellectual disabilities, severe mental illness, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders, visual and hearing impairments, severe orthopedic impairments, traumatic brain injury, and other severe disabilities.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services currently utilizes a Milestones service and payment process. Milestones, a service and outcome based payment system, has significantly improved the quality of supported employment throughout the state, while proving to be more cost effective for the Agency. Providers of supported employment are paid for successful outcomes achieved by individuals participating in supported employment. The Milestones program segments the rehabilitation process into four distinct areas: (1) Determination of Needs and the Discovery Process, (2) Hire, (3) Job Retention/Coaching and (4) Closure.

Extended supports including natural supports are available at the job site, and are provided for the duration of the employment. Providers of long term supports are required to document twice monthly contact with each consumer successfully working in the community, and to maintain this documentation in case files for the duration of that consumer’s job. This information is reported monthly to the ADRS Supported Employment Coordinator for tracking purposes.

To ensure the highest quality of services, training is provided throughout the year to address issues related to supported employment, including the provision of extended services. This training is available to all SE providers as well as other agencies that may collaborate to provide supports to an individual working in the community. These agencies include the Alabama Department of Mental Health, The Alabama Department of Education, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Project SEARCH, a statewide initiative to improve transition services for students with most significant disabilities began in Alabama in FY 2012 with two pilot sites. Alabama now has 6 SEARCH sites and we will continue to work to expand this transition program in our state. All sites have a state team member assigned to them to help with implementation and fidelity. Trainings take place throughout the year and the teacher and job coach both attend national SEARCH training as well.

In FY 2014, ADRS and ADMH piloted our first Project GATE. Project GATE (Gaining Access to Employment) moves consumers with most significant disabilities from sheltered work to training in industry. This innovative and collaborative training program blends funding from both key agencies. It provides opportunities for higher wages, more innovative and opportunities to provide customization. Job coaches are on site and training the interns. The first group of participants just completed their training and were all offered jobs in the host industry.

Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama Medicaid, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Alabama Department of Post-Secondary Education continue to work towards Employment First legislation. Additionally, the lead agencies (ADMH and ADRS) have been very active in regional trainings to assist providers, families, and advocates to better understanding Employment First and to address fears and concerns from these groups. The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services is also participating with the Alabama Department of Mental Health in the Employment First Leadership Mentoring Program Community of Practice through the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Additional training, to the Employment First Team, is being provided via Vision Quest (through ODEP). Partners on the Employment First Tem are working as a local unit and in concert with other states to better understand how to successfully infuse integrated employment into the Medicaid Waiver and State Plan Options.

Collaboration continues between the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, and Auburn Center for Disability Research Services to bring the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of Supported Employment to Alabama. Additional partners include with the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, and Dartmouth University. These agencies recently submitted a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) Grant. IPS focus on competitive employment as an essential and vital part of recovery for those with significant mental illness.

Training and educational activities continue with Alabama Association of Persons Supporting Employment First (AL-APSE), the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Education and the Developmental Disabilities Council to offer training activities that improve the consistency of service delivery by job coaches and supported employment providers. This training is coordinated by ADRS and the ADMH and offered by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports. SE job coaches, School job coaches, Job developers and coaches from private and nonprofit, as well as other state agencies are welcome to attend. Project SEARCH teachers and job coaches attend this 3 day interactive training as well.

ADRS will partner with ADMH, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs-Workforce Development, Alabama Department of labor, Community College System, Job Corps, Department of Veterans Affairs, the AL Department of Veterans Affairs, Reintegration Apprenticeship, the WIA Indians and Native American programs to implement the DEI grant. This grant provides funding to increase the number of youths with disabilities ages 19-24 served through American Job Centers and improve their employment and training outcomes while increasing the Job Centers capacity to serve people with disabilities. The goal of the grant is to increase access to existing employment, training and educational opportunities available through the states workforce partners, which will promote a culture of employment as a priority for persons with disabilities.

This screen was last updated on Jul 8 2014 12:35PM by saalharrisiiij

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development: ADRS maintains a comprehensive system of data on personnel needs. This is maintained within the agency’s human resource division. This data system allows for the input of personal information about each staff member and includes all possible training opportunities for staff to attend. It can also record historical information about each training, maintain participant lists, and track continuing education credit hours as needed.

As reported in the latest RSA-2 information (December 2013), ADRS has 411 individuals providing vocational rehabilitation services throughout the four personnel reporting categories. The total number of consumers served by the staff in 2013 was 31,246. The majority (77%) of individuals served were coded in case files as having significant disabilities or higher.

RSA-2 Personnel Reporting Categories: Administrative Staff 20 Counselor Staff 189 Staff Supporting Counselor Activities 200 Other Staff 2 Total 411

The 189, classified as “counselor staff,” can be somewhat deceiving because it takes into account specialty staff that may not be considered actual vocational rehabilitation counselors. This number is currently closer to 155 rehabilitation counselors who provide services through our field offices and One-Stop Career Center sites. Each of these counselors currently averages a caseload of approximately 143 consumers. New vocational rehabilitation counselor positions (FTEs) are not being requested in next year’s budget because all of the current vacancies cannot be filled due to the mandated statewide hiring freeze and budgetary constraints. This year the agency was granted a blanket approval to hire direct service and direct service support staff that are federally funded.

A database is used to track the educational backgrounds and experience of the 189 active counselors and field supervisors within the department for the express purpose of encouraging and enabling all staff to reach the state’s highest definition of ‘qualified rehabilitation professionals.’ This database supports already existing systems and contains information gathered from educational transcripts required upon application to this job classification.

The agency also employs orientation and mobility instructors, interpreters, rehabilitation teachers and rehabilitation employment specialists. A qualification for orientation mobility instructor is an ACVREP or NOMC certification. Interpreters must be licensed by the Alabama Licensure Board for Interpreters and Transliterators. A rehabilitation teacher must have at least a bachelor’s degree and one year experience; however, most of the rehabilitation teachers have master’s degree. The business relations consultants (formerly known as rehabilitation employment specialists) may come from a business background or a vocational rehabilitation service background with appropriate degrees. Seventy-six (76) “counselor staff” and thirteen (13) “administrative staff” will be eligible to retire within the next five years. These numbers represent actual positions currently filled and do not include those budgeted positions presently not filled. There are many unfilled positions due to the hiring freeze. This number also does not represent the average turnover rate among these personnel categories. In addition, supervisor and state office positions are included in this number (76) because counselors are often promoted into these supervisory roles, leaving counselor vacancies. Therefore, based on the rehabilitation counselor turnover rate, we can project the need for approximately thirty-six (36) counselors over the next five years to remain staffed at the current budgeted level. The average turnover rate for rehabilitation counselor in the last year was .60%, and for senior rehabilitation counselor .27%. Fifty percent (50%) of the turnover was related to retirements, the other fifty (50%), due to resignations and dismissals.

It is difficult to project the number of ‘Staff Supporting Counselor Activities’ and ‘Other’ staff. An estimate would be fifty (50) supporting staff over the next five years. This is based on the approximate departmental turnover rate of .49%, projected retirements, and unfilled positions. The Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) bill passed by the Alabama legislature in 2002 allowed an employee to technically retire, but remain on the job at their regular salary. The opportunity to maintain experienced employees for a period of up to five additional years was an advantage for the department. The Alabama Legislature passed a bill ending enrollment in the DROP program beginning May 2011. Though several staff remain in the DROP, it is no longer an option for others. Consequently, the department continues to be involved in succession planning, despite the current statewide hiring and freeze. Merit raises were reinstated in January 2014.

The department’s Leadership Training Institute (LTI) has 94 graduates still working for the department, twenty (20) of them graduated last year. This training works to prepare existing staff to assume leadership roles. These graduates actively compete for leadership roles when vacancies occur. Another method of preparing LTI graduates for leadership roles is involving them in departmental task forces and special assignments. It gives current leadership the chance to see how well LTI graduates perform and the strengths they possess.

All rehabilitation counselors hired to work with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services must possess master’s degrees from an accredited university in specific fields of study and become “eligible to sit” for the CRC exam. In February of this year, the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) changed the eligibility criteria to sit for the exam. Though anticipated, this temporarily dropped 14 additional counselors/supervisors out of the ranks of eligibility. Fortunately ADRS was able to immediately enroll 9 counselor/supervisor staff into appropriate coursework. They finished in May 2014 and are now eligible again.

There are currently sixteen (16) counselors who do not meet the state CSPD requirement. Seven (7) counselors took online coursework this spring. One (1) is finishing up her “work experience” criteria. The eight (8) remaining have been offered opportunities to further their education either by distance education or on campus, thus enabling them to enhance their knowledge and effectiveness and provide for succession planning.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Rehabilitation Caseload Counselor 155 7 65
2 Rehabilitation Field Supervisors 20 0 3
3 Rehabilitation Specialists 13 1 3
4 Orientation & Mobility Specialists 5 1 0
5 Interpreters 11 1 2
6 Rehabilitation Audiologists 4 2 0
7 Rehabilitation Teachers 20 1 2
8 Rehabilitation Technology Specialists 6 0 1
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

Currently, Alabama has five universities to offer the Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. The universities, recent enrollment figures, and last year’s graduation numbers are listed below. (As reported by the universities)

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Alabama A&M University 50 0 7 8
2 Alabama State University 43 10 0 9
3 Auburn University 19 0 16 29
4 Troy University 97 0 0 25
5 University of Alabama 46 0 0 4

 

Recruitment and Retention Issues: ADRS works diligently to implement strategies necessary to address personnel issues. Since 2002, the department has a dedicated staff specialist devoted to the issues of recruitment and retention. This individual works with the executive leadership team and task forces to create and implement a recruitment and retention plan that is updated annually to address the projected personnel needs of the department. However, ultimately the State Department of Personnel is the entity that provides and oversees hiring practices, salary schedules, and staff vacancies among other personnel issues. Within the strategic planning and implementation process, the following issues are addressed:

1.) Maintain a strong relationship with key personnel at the State Department of Personnel and universities offering educational opportunities for potential ADRS employees. Unpaid internships will continue to be offered as a recruiting tool for students in the field of rehabilitation. Paid internships will be re-instated once the hiring freeze is lifted. The professional trainee job class will be used to attract individuals to pursue professions in rehabilitation requiring experience such as rehabilitation teacher and rehabilitation employment specialist. This will allow dedicated individuals to train while gaining the experience needed to be eligible for hire. A hiring procedure known as ‘disability preference’ continues to enable ADRS to recruit qualified individuals with disabilities. Other avenues to recruit individuals with disabilities are made possible through specialty areas such as rehabilitation teaching and orientation and mobility. Also educating consumers with the potential to pursue rehabilitation professions is a recruitment tool as well as supporting entry level staff to pursue professional positions through a process of “grow your own.” The establishment and expansion of the agency’s Educational Leave program has allowed employees to pursue advanced education to become eligible for professional positions.

2.) Continuation of promotions of deserving rehabilitation counselors to the senior rehabilitation counselor level. Promotions are based on exemplary performance of job duties and the ability to take on additional duties within the unit. This provides incentive for younger counselors to remain with the department and helps address the issue of supervisory succession planning. The counselors who are promoted and retained are then in line to fill supervisory vacancies, with proper training.

3.) Regularly scheduled exhibits at various professional and disability organization meetings to share employment opportunities with potential candidates. Exhibits are used for recruiting students into the field of rehabilitation and for recruiting professionals into positions within the department. Several ADRS administrators serve on advisory boards for rehabilitation counseling programs and also sit on interviewing panels for RSA scholarship recipients.

4.) Maintain an active role on the advisory committees of Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University. Both universities are known as historically black colleges/universities and provide an opportunity to recruit students from more diverse backgrounds to positions within the department. The ADRS mentoring program places rehabilitation counselors with students from diverse backgrounds as a tool to educate and recruit them into the field of rehabilitation.

Seasoned and retired staff is encouraged to work as adjunct professors within the graduate rehabilitation counseling programs which affords a practical application of information to the students. 5.) Develop more marketing tools, created through annual meetings with educators, to increase interest in the field of rehabilitation from high school students and encourage undergraduate students to pursue Master’s level work in one of the rehabilitation programs. There is a new initiative to use the contacts of departmental transition counselors to recruit high school students across the state. There has also been increased participation in high school career events to educate students of the many professions within the department. . The ADRS public website has been updated to include an expanded career opportunities section that can be accessed by college career services, advocacy groups, and students. This section provides information on career opportunities and employee benefits available within the department. The development of an orientation program for new employees will serve as a recruitment and retention tool. It is designed to provide necessary training any new employee will need to effectively interact with individuals who have disabilities as well as knowledge regarding legal obligations and work procedures.

 

Personnel Standards: The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services adopted a standard which states rehabilitation counselors would be “eligible to sit” for the CRC exam by October 2009. This standard is easily obtainable by a majority of new staff, because they are graduating from rehabilitation specific programs. Almost all other staff hold related degrees, which fortunately contain coursework in the theories and techniques of counseling, a critical component in an individual’s ability to be “eligible to sit” under current CRCC reviewing practices. Transcripts are required as part of the state personnel application process allowing coursework to be reviewed by the hiring supervisor and the human resource division of the department.

87 possess a master’s degree and CRC certification (45%)

Additionally, 90 possess a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling (CORE program) or required coursework and experience and are eligble to sit for the CRC exam (92%)

There are currently sixteen (16) counselors who do not meet the state CSPD requirement. Seven (7) counselors took online coursework this spring. One (1) is finishing up her “work experience” criteria. Two (2) are awaiting the results of their CRC exam. The six (6) remaining have been offered opportunities to further their education either by distance education or on campus, thus enabling them to enhance their knowledge and effectiveness and provide for succession planning.

These employees who either possess a master’s degree in a non-related field, or possess a related degree but without the necessary coursework or supervised experience have been presented with opportunities to acquire a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling through RSA long term training grant programs or obtain the necessary coursework through the RSA in-service training grant. All have been made aware of the requirement to meet the state standard. Those who chose to remain or were hired by the department beyond the required timeframe have had their signature authority removed for determinations of eligibility and rehabilitation plans. These rehabilitation counselor specific duties must be reviewed, approved, and signed by a senior counselor or supervisor meeting the CSPD standard. Current and closed consumer files are reviewed by the department’s Quality Assurance section to assure compliance with this policy until the staff meets the CSPD requirement.

ADRS and state personnel adopted new minimum qualifications in 2012 to strengthen the application process. By requiring that qualified candidates must be eligible to sit for the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) by the end of their probationary period (up to one year) ADRS now has the ability to terminate employees who do not complete the necessary requirements. This change has helped to align the state personnel qualifications more closely with the CSPD standard. However, there appears to be an effect on the number of qualified applicants in areas of the state where there is not a rehabilitation counseling program.

The listed salary range of our beginning rehabilitation counselor positions is $33,902.40- $51,376.80. The senior rehabilitation counselor pay range is $37,389.60-$56,685.60. Each pay range consists of eighteen steps. Newly hired counselors can start at step three of the eighteen step range, or $35,589.60, in order to help in recruiting efforts.

 

Staff Development and Training: The department has an extensive in-service training program. Each staff member completes a professional development plan (PDP) with his/her supervisor at the time of the annual performance appraisal. The PDP focuses on deficit areas where training is needed to enable an individual to better perform his/her job. The department uses information gathered through the PDP process to develop necessary and appropriate training programs. The department also maintains a departmental training team. This team meets to identify, plan, and coordinate training. A department wide training plan, reviewed by this team on an on-going basis, targets core subjects as well as new topics related to particular job classifications or specialty areas. These topics may include, but are not limited to, the Americans with Disabilities Act, case management, Social Security work incentives, employment development, WIA, medical aspects of disability, disability etiquette, assistive technology and multicultural issues.

The department utilizes Registrar? learning management software to track training records for each staff member. This software allows for input from both field and state office staff. Registrar? will track an individual’s training record, training dates, and future training needs. Video conferencing and video-on-demand are tools available to serve VR employees statewide. This system has broadened the counselors’ ability to participate in training programs, webinars, and receive valuable time-sensitive information without spending time away from their office and consumers while significantly reducing travel/training costs.

The video conference technology, video on demand capabilities, and internal intranet site all allow the department to disseminate information from the federal level to the local level at speeds often much faster than standard personnel meetings and supervisory instruction. Training and program evaluation staff are utilizing the SharePoint platform as a training tool. The goal is to continue to expand its use for business intelligence, staff collaboration, team and project collaboration as well as to develop SharePoint forms and workflow applications. Although instructor led training continues to serve an important role and appropriate staff are encouraged to attend training conferences to meet specific needs, these technologies have definite benefits when timing is critical.

The department’s Leadership Training Institute (LTI) has been continuously changed and updated since 1994 to include new approaches and concepts of leadership. This training, offered eight times since its inception has proven to sufficiently meet the changing needs of the department by preparing staff to fill vacant leadership positions statewide. The most recent LTI class (2013) included 16 VR field counselors. The RSA technical assistance and continuing education (TACE) regional partnership offers web-based and instructor led courses for continuing education opportunities and works with ADRS leadership to develop specific training to address policy and procedure changes in the VR program. The State Department of Personnel offers supervisory training in the areas of performance appraisal, progressive discipline, FMLA, sexual harassment, employment law, interview and selection, and the dynamics of supervision. A portion of these trainings are required for all new supervisors.

 

Communication with diverse populations: ADRS maintains regular communication with programs providing specialized training in the areas of deafness and blindness. Communication is maintained with Western Oregon University to train staff in the area of deafness. Staff members serving the deaf and hard of hearing populations attend an annual training conference to address issues relative to deaf services and to meet with students at the Alabama School for the Deaf. The department also remains actively involved with Mississippi State University’s blind program. Mississippi State also assists the blind programs with consumer satisfaction surveys. Staff members serving the blind and low vision populations attend training programs annually to address issues relative to blind services. The department possesses Braille and large print producing capabilities in local offices to address the needs of Braille and large print users. UbiDuos are available in the reception areas and resource rooms of all local offices to assist staff and consumers with communication and hearing difficulties.

ADRS has partnered with Alabama A&M University to target and recruit candidates for the rehabilitation counseling program in either the blindness or deafness tract. This two year Master’s program includes the second year in Mississippi (MSU Vision Specialist) or Tennessee (UT’s Orientation to Deafness) for the specialized training. A&M currently has 2 students in the blindness tract and 2 in the deafness tract. ADRS and the A&M faculty committed to 5 candidates for the fall 2014 academic year. Priority to receive the RSA long term training scholarship will be given to students interested in pursuing sensory specialties. Also, ADRS rehabilitation counselors with general caseloads, but with an interest in working with consumers with sensory impairments, may qualify for specialty training through the RSA in-service training grant.

ADRS applicants and eligible individuals who speak limited English can be provided interpreters or are able to access vendors for remote interpreter services. The ADRS consumer guide has been translated into Spanish. Spanish instruction is encouraged by using technology and individual instruction either online or in person for staff.

 

Coordination with IDEA initiatives: Approximately half of ADRS cases served and the closures obtained, involve transition students. This year, 16,626 transition students received services and 2,272 were successfully employed. The department continues to strengthen the jointly funded job coach program with twenty-nine (29) local school systems across the state and two (2) with the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB). This program is designed to place students with disabilities who are in their final year of school into competitive jobs in their local communities before they leave school. The program is cooperatively managed by local VR service staff and school system staff and employs thirty-four (34) full-time and part-time job coaches. Students, parents, rehabilitation counselors, local school special and regular education staff, and the job coaches, work together to plan for students’ successful and smooth transitions to adult life and work.

ADRS continues efforts to develop and improve transition partnerships, programs and service models to meet the needs of students with more-significant disabilities and overcome barriers to employment and community living. College Prep Program services were offered at five sites around the state, with more than 200 students participating. Collaboration with the Special Education Division of the Department of Education and the Department of Corrections continues as ADRS implements the Prison Transition Initiative for youth with disabilities incarcerated in adult prisons.

ADRS established a statewide Transition Workgroup to develop a strategic plan for strengthening and improving transition services. This workgroup developed a transition “Boot Camp” which was held in 2013 and attended by over 100 vocational rehabilitation counselors and supervisors who work with transition caseloads. ADRS also supports many local transition events such as career fairs, transition expos, mentoring days, and summer employment readiness program.

ADRS is represented on the State Interagency Transition Team (SITT). This is an interagency work group designed to identify existing interagency barriers to effective transition services and develop appropriate remedies. This group consists of representatives from ADRS, Division of Special Education, Auburn University, University of Alabama, Department of Mental Health, Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Alabama Association of Higher Education and Disability, and the Young Adults in Transition (YAIT) group. This group encouraged local areas to establish Community Transition Teams to address transition issues for youth with disabilities.

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is annually provided an opportunity to give input about the department’s CSPD initiatives. Current and future personnel issues are presented by field services program directors. Detailed information is presented through discussions, handouts and questions and answers. Comments and suggestions are requested at any time throughout the year.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2014 3:14PM by saalharrisiiij

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.11(a)

STATEWIDE NEEDS ASSESSMENT/COMMUNITY REHABILITATION PROGRAM IMPROVEMENT

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) and the State Rehabilitation Council jointly conducted the triennial Statewide Needs Assessment during FY 2014. A variety of sources were utilized in order to obtain information needed for the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment of Individuals with disabilities residing in the state, particularly their vocational rehabilitation needs. ADRS utilizes a variety of sources in order to accomplish the needs assessment. ADRS is engaged in multiple stakeholder groups, including service providers from other Alabama agencies that serve individuals with disabilities. Data was collected from these organizations which were incorporated into our Needs Assessment Analysis. Agencies included the State Rehabilitation Council, The Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities, the Alabama Department of Education, the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Community Rehabilitation Programs, Centers for Independent Living, Governor’s Office on Disability, and the agency’s own Rehabilitation Technology Specialists, Supported Employment Providers, Vocational Rehabilitation Field Staff and Workforce Development.

The agency also utilized information with its ongoing relationships with various consumer groups including the Alabama Association for the Deaf, the National Federation of the Blind, the American Council of the Blind, the Alabama Head Injury Foundation, the Alabama Deaf-Blind Coalition, and the Alabama Workforce Board. The agency also utilized input from the agency’s Blind Advisory group, Deaf Advisory group, which provided valuable information about rehabilitation needs. The above listed agencies provide the agency with a rich source of information as to the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities in the State of Alabama.

It was not surprising that the needs of individuals with most significant disabilities, minorities and underserved participants, and individuals with disabilities served by components of Workforce Investment System were very similar.

Underserved Individuals With Disabilities: Autism continues to be an emerging underserved disability. Data indicate that 1 in 68 children born fall on Autism spectrum disorder scale. Job placement is need of this group. It is especially important due to the difficulty people with autism have on the job due autistic behaviors.

Services to those of Hispanic decent: The agency’s data for the years FY 11 through FY 13, indicate a need for additional outreach to the Hispanic community. According to United States census of 2010, the Hispanic community in Alabama has grown by 144% since the census of 2000. This indicates a need for outreach to this underserved population

The deaf-blind population is one at which the agency is directing a concentration of services. A significant number of this population resides in Talladega, Alabama due to the presence of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind.

Veterans are also an underserved population. Many are returning from the wars with significant disabilities. The agency is on a Governor’s task force to improve services to veterans.

Rehabilitation needs indicated for individuals with the most significant disabilities (MSD): Information from this group indicates a need for expansion of Supported Employment services in the state. While we have expanded the number of supported employment providers in recent years, the agency’s method for determining which consumers are MSD is resulting in more consumers eligible for and requesting supported employment. It is in the rural areas additional service providers are needed.

Rehabilitation needs of minorities: Services to individuals with disabilities who are minorities paint an interesting picture in Alabama. While African Americans comprise 27% of the total populous, African Americans made up 44% of those participating in VR services over the last three years. Additionally, in FY 2012, African Americans comprised 41% of the successfully closed rehabilitation cases. Nevertheless, increased number of job placements for individuals with the most significant disabilities and minority groups is noted as a need.

.

Common needs among the various underserved populations included the need for additional job placement and an increase in wages. Also, as is the growing trend across the United States, more employers are offering part-time employment. Our placement efforts will be directed toward locating full-time employment for consumers.

Services To Rural Areas: Alabama is a predominantly rural state. Consequently, there is an ongoing need to improve services to rural areas. While the agency has staff assigned to serve every county, the challenge can be to locate service providers in the local areas. This is particularly applicable to those needing supported employment, thus the agency’s ongoing expansion of supported employment providers.

Vocational rehabilitation needs of individual service to other components of the Statewide Workforce System: Service needs were identified as included additional placement services, higher wages, and more services to veterans.

Funding: Funding estimates are difficult to determine to serve the above populations, but the agency is always seeking additional state funding to match available federal dollars.

Need To Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs: Alabama has a long and lasting partnership with “Brick and Mortar” rehabilitation facilities such as Easter Seals and Goodwill and other independent organizations and agencies. This relationship has been in existence for over 50 years and has worked well to cover the needs of agency consumers in many geographic areas of the state. However, ADRS does not foresee growth in developing new large Community Rehabilitation Programs. This is due to the trend in the last five years of establishing small independent businesses and agencies providing more community-based services. ADRS will expect to maintain the same standards as has been held for previous organizations serving its consumers.

Additionally, the future of vocational rehabilitation is to provide community based experiences as opposed to those in the confines of a CRP facility. We can expect more vocational assessments, work adjustment experiences, and paid work experiences to occur in the community.

Further, as ADRS moves towards serving consumers with more significant disabilities, we can anticipate the need for specialized and well trained staff in the various community service programs to provide services to these consumers. The role of the traditional rehabilitation facility professionals are now more involved within the community, becoming familiar with employment trends, and skills needed to serve individuals with the most significant disabilities.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2014 3:18PM by saalharrisiiij

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

It is estimated 25,000 will elgible for services under the Plan.

It is estimated 31,000 people with disabilities will be served under part B of Title I and 770 will be served under Part B of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act.

It is estimated $73,667,000 will be expended under Title I and $3,000,000 under Title VI.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Part B if Title I Title I $73,667,000 31,000 $2,376
Part of Title VI Title VI $3,000,000 770 $3,896
Totals   $76,667,000 31,770 $2,413

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2014 3:26PM by saalharrisiiij

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

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

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

Attachment 4.11 (c) (1)

The goals below were jointly developed and agreed to by the agency and the State Rehabilitation Council. The SRC and the agency jointly reviewed the goals and jointly agreed to any revisions.

These goals were developed after analysis of available information on the operation and effectiveness of the VR program including reports and recommendations from the SRC; the statewide needs assessment; recommendations from the most recent RSA 107 Review; recommendations from consumer interest groups.

STATE PLAN GOALS FY 2015

1. Increase by 20% the placement of individuals with the most significant disabilities. 2. Increase wages of consumers successfully rehabilitated to a level that will comply with RSA Indicator 1.5. 3. Increase by 10% case service funds spent on consumers receiving supported employment services and increase by 10% the number of consumers receiving supported employment services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2014 3:26PM by saalharrisiiij

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Sep 15 2009 2:34PM by rsacoclopeinj

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.11(c)(4)

GOALS AND PLANS FOR DISTRIBUTION FOR TITLE VI PART B FUNDS

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) has an extensive history and commitment to providing supported employment within the state. Currently, ADRS matches Supported Employment State Grant funds at a ratio of four to one. The Department anticipates continuing this level of funding for FY 2015.

ADRS distributes supported employment funds to its rehabilitation counselors who in turn purchase needed supported employment services through a network of approved vendors utilizing a Milestones outcome based payment system. This process provides payments to authorized supported employment providers for assisting individuals to reach Milestones toward successful employment. Supported Employment providers are reimbursed for the following Milestones:

1. Milestone 1: Determination of Needs (20% of total) (Discovery Profile can be substituted making it approx. 26%) 2. Job Development and Hire (20 % of total) 3. Job Coaching and Retention (25 % of total) 4. Successful Closure (Employment Stability for 90 days) (35% of total)

***80% of funding occurs on and after the person is employed (74% with Discovery)

Each provider receives funding based on the milestone achieved for each person served. Provider goals are based upon past performance, input from the ADRS liaison counselor, and the estimated need for supported employment services in each service area of the state. The Department’s goal for FY 2015 is for 250 consumers to obtain competitive, integrated employment in their community. Supported employment services are provided utilizing an individualized, customer driven approach, encompassing each person’s individual support needs to ensure an appropriate and successful job match.

Additionally, The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services has committed to increasing successful supported employment outcomes through collaboration with other agencies and organizations. ADRS is currently participating in the following collaborative efforts to help achieve supported employment priorities:

• Project SEARCH, an innovative transition program for students, was piloted in two areas of Alabama beginning in 2012. We currently have six (6) Project SEARCH sites. These programs are collaborations between our department, the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Alabama Department of Education, the Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities, local school systems, and local supported employment programs. The State Team is working to expand this program and hopes to have seven SEARCH sites in FY 2015. • This year long internship offers unique highly skilled training opportunities leading to competitive employment opportunities for students with the most significant disabilities.

• Collaborative efforts continue as we work with the Alabama Department of Mental Health and the SELN (State Employment Leadership Network) through the Institute for Community Inclusion. The goal is create systems change and develop resource information, effective employment systems and work as partners to maximize resources in Alabama. Through this collaboration we hope to increase the number of consumers that will be referred for community based integrated employment, and be able to utilize the waiver for long term support. To date, this collaboration has resulted in the addition of 5 Mental Health providers contracting with ADRS to become Supported Employment providers. • Certificate Based Job Coach Training is collaboration between our agency, the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Department of Education, the Council for Developmental Disabilities, and Alabama APSE (Association of Persons Supporting Employment First). This training ensures consistency of service delivery for supported employment providers and provides access to the latest marketing and training techniques. Training is provided by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports. We offer this training twice a year to SE Job Coaches, School Job Coaches, Job Coaches with Department of Mental Health and other community job developers and job coaches. This year, job coaches specializing in sensory impairments also participated in this training as we work to collaborate more closely with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) and their AIDB regional center staff located throughout the state. • Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities, Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama Medicaid, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Alabama Department of Post-Secondary Education have been working to secure Employment First legislation and continue to participate in the Employment First Leadership Mentoring Program Community of Practice through Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). These partners will continue to collaborate with human service agencies that work with people with disabilities and the workforce investment/development agencies to support the concept of Employment First. Additionally, several partners are participating in the Vision Quest training, offered through ODEP, to assist Alabama with options to infuse integrated employment into the Medicaid waiver, State Plan Options and increased collaboration to better serve consumers as they move towards integrated, community based employment options. • ADRS will collaborate with local school systems to improve transition services; ensuring students who are appropriate for SE services have access to community based Supported Employment providers while in high school. SE providers will be active in the local high schools to present information regarding their programs to parents, students and staff. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in community based assessments or begin the Discovery Profile before they exit school, to facilitate a seamless transition to Supported Employment Services. • The Comprehensive Assessment of Alabama Vocational Rehabilitation Supported employment Services was completed by Auburn University Center for Disability Research and Service. This plan provides a foundation for specific recommendations to strengthen Supported Employment in Alabama. • The Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Auburn University Center for Disability Research and Service recently submitted a grant proposal to Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for implementation of Dartmouth Individual Placement and Support model for Supported Employment in Alabama. Partners in the grant include Dartmouth University and the Department of Veterans Affairs in Alabama. This evidence based program provides individualized placement and support for adults with serious mental illnesses as an essential and vital part of their recovery. • The GATE program (Gaining Access to Employment) is a training program that takes consumers from sheltered work or day habilitation and fully immerses them in industry training. This collaboration between the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Alabama Department of Mental Health began is being piloted in North Alabama and we hope to replicate this program in other areas of the state. Funding is braided between the two participating agencies.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2014 3:27PM by saalharrisiiij

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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

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

The sections below will describe methods and strategies to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities in Alabama.

 

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.

Strategies to Provide Access to Technology Services and Devices on a Statewide Basis During all Phases of the Rehabilitation Process The agency has a statewide network of degreed and qualified rehabilitation technology specialists. The team members are located strategically throughout the state so all staff have access to their expertise. This team meets on a quarterly basis to discuss among themselves, and with partner agency, staff various advances and new products in rehabilitation technology. These meetings provide vendors the opportunity to demonstrate new and innovative pieces of technology to demonstrate to the team. This team will act as a training agent for other agency rehabilitation staff throughout the state. Team members will attend unit meetings throughout the state to discuss and demonstrate technology to frontline counseling staff. The team members will also continue to attend national conferences, such as the Assistive Technology Industries Association (ATIA) conference, where they will be exposed to innovative technology. The rehabilitation technology team will continue to present at various conferences throughout the year. This includes the Supported Employment conference, and other conferences as appropriate. Having this team of rehabilitation technology specialists provides a resource for counselors to purchase and utilize technology for consumers throughout the rehabilitation process, including evaluation, IPE development and implementation, training, and employment. Adaptive Driving Technology: The agency also has a state of the art adaptive driving program. The agency has seven vehicles, including a high tech vehicle. These vehicles are used by six certified driving instructors who provide adaptive drivers training to people disabilities statewide. The program is unique in that through a cooperative arrangement with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Driver’s License Division, one of the agency’s adaptive driving staff has been certified to give the driver’s license road test to our consumers and confer upon them a driver’s license. The agency is utilizing its own technology in an effort to deliver technology information to staff. The agency now has Video on Demand. This is through the agency’s training division and provides the opportunity to staff to view various training videos related to technology and other rehabilitation issues. A technology symposium was conducted at Auburn University in October of 2013. The agency had staff in attendance. Conferences such as this one provide staff with knowledge and information as to how technology can be used during the rehabilitation process.

 

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.

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. Strategies to Identify and Serve Individuals with Disabilities who are Minorities with the Most Significant Disabilities and to Serve Underserved and Unserved Populations The agency will continue its successful outreach to minority consumers. The agency has made significant efforts over the past four years to identify and work with the most significantly disabled. The agency developed an instrument to determine who are the most significantly disabled of applicants for services. This is known as the Functional Limitation Priority Assessment tool (FLPA). The rehabilitation counselors answer specific questions about various limitations that consumer has and then a score is derived which will indicate if a consumer is most significantly disabled, significantly disabled, or disabled. Recent revisions were made to this tool and implemented October 1, 2013. The agency has also developed a system of Dashboards which provide a graphic view of caseload data for the counselors and supervisors. The counselors and supervisors can review this data to determine the number of most significantly disabled which are being served and successfully rehabilitated. The agency recognizes the need to identify and serve people of Hispanic descent. Census data shows the Hispanic in Alabama has grown by 144% since the 2000 Census. The agency has established an account with language Line Solutions to provide interpreting on a real time basis so staff can converse with non-English speaking consumers and minimize any language barriers. The agency will contact various agencies serving Hispanics throughout the state, explain agency services, provide referral materials, and contact information. We will also maintain data on the number of Hispanics served to monitor progress on this issue. Services to the deaf: The agency will provide a wide range of services to the deaf population. First, the agency will continue its practice of serving consumers who are deaf through specialty counselors who have sign language skills. These counselors are familiar with the needs of the deaf and are involved in the deaf community, thus able to relate very well to our deaf population. The agency will continue its use of a network of staff interpreters throughout the state. These interpreters will assist deaf consumers in obtaining various types of services, particularly services from employers. The interpreters are able to establish a link between the employers and consumers who are deaf that are recently hired. We also will continue to work with a network of deaf support specialists. These specialists assist deaf consumers in various aspects of the rehabilitation process and in getting acclimated to a new employment situation. The agency will continue to conduct its annual training conference for counselors serving the deaf. A unique aspect of this conference is that students from the Alabama School for the Deaf come to the conference to spend time with the rehabilitation counselors. This interaction is very effective in forging a working alliance between the counselor and consumers who are at the Alabama School for the Deaf. The agency will continue its active involvement in the One-Stop Career Center system involving deaf consumers. The agency has established a Video Interpreting Network so that when a consumer who is deaf comes through the career center an interpreter will be available. Troy University, in Troy, Alabama in partnership with ADRS, the Department of Mental Health and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, has established an interpreter for the deaf training program. The agency is establishing internships for these students within the agency. This will increase the supply of interpreters and eventually mean more support for deaf consumers. In conjunction with this, the agency is attempting to establish a "professional trainee" position. These students would occupy these positions for one year, then transition into employment with the agency. The agency will continue its activities through the interagency agreement that has been established with higher education institutions throughout the state. This agreement delineates the specific responsibilities of the agency and that of each institution of higher education for individuals who are deaf. A Deaf-Blind Symposium will be held that will focus on employment, technology, and rehabilitation needs of deaf-blind consumers. The agency will utilize the Deaf Advisory Committee to help shape ADRS policy in terms of service provision to the deaf community. The Committee also serves as an advocate to legislators and other state officials and is a subcommittee of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). College prep for the deaf will be conducted at three campuses: Troy University, Auburn University, and Jacksonville State University. Services for the blind: The agency maintains an excellent service delivery system to consumers who are blind or visually impaired. A network of rehabilitation counselors for the blind, technology specialists, vision rehab assistants, rehabilitation teachers, and orientation and mobility specialists provide these services to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Additionally, there is a State Office specialist who oversees blind services. The agency provides a wide range of services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. A technology symposium is conducted on an annual basis that provides staff serving the blind and visually impaired consumers the opportunity to view a wide range of technology related to visual impairment and individuals who are deaf-blind. The symposium will be conducted during FY 2015. The Summer Work Experience Program - Our consumers who are in high school and college successfully will participate in the 2015 Summer Work Experience. This program continues to offer young adults who are blind, or have low vision, the opportunity to work for six weeks, 40 hours a week, earning minimum wage. The participants salaries are paid out of the counselors’ case service budgets. The Summer Work Experience program provides an opportunity for a real work experience. ADRS has partnered with Central Alabama Community College and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind to offer a comprehensive approach in providing a support system to students that have a visual or hearing loss that are interested in attending college. This Dual Enrollment Program involves the campuses of the Alabama School for the Deaf, the Alabama School for the Blind and the EH Gentry Rehabilitation Facility for individuals that are blind and deaf as well as the various campuses under the community college program. Central Alabama Community College offers dual enrollment to visually impaired and hearing impaired high school students and graduates needing assistance to be successful in college. Services to Veterans with Disabilities: The agency will increase its services to disabled veterans as an underserved disability group. The agency is participating on a Governor’s task force, the Alabama Veterans Network (AlaVetNet), to improve services to disabled veterans. The task force has brought together a wide variety of agencies that have services to offer veterans, including those with disabilities. The final report will to the Governor June 30, 2014. Information from the report will be used to increase services to veterans. The agency will renew its relationship with the rehabilitation counselors employed by the Veterans Administration in an effort to make contact with disabled veterans.. These agency counselors will receive referrals on veterans and initiate the vocational rehabilitation process to assist them in entering employment. The agency will maintain a state office position related to veterans, some of the duties of which will include the oversight of veteran referrals and the monitoring of their progress through the VR process. The agency receives referrals from an organization in Huntsville, Alabama known as Still Serving Veterans. This organization assists veterans in returning to civilian life. The agency has completed an interagency agreement and will work cooperatively in processing referrals to assist veterans who may need employment services. The agency completed an interagency agreement with the Veterans Administration in Montgomery, Alabama to formalize the referral process referenced above. That agreement is still in effect. Services to Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The agency has an active program in serving individuals with traumatic brain injury. The agency has a staff person who oversees various grants related to traumatic brain injury. The agency has a task force related to brain injury. It includes members of various social service organizations who may have contact with individuals who have traumatic brain injury. This organization meets on a quarterly basis for the exchange of information which will benefit services to individuals with traumatic brain injury. The agency has a network of TBI care coordinators located strategically throughout the state. The role of the care coordinator is to receive the initial referral of someone with a brain injury, then assist the individual and family in accessing the state’s network of services for persons with TBI. This includes services of the agency and services of other agencies. Alabama has two specialty caseloads in Mobile and Birmingham dedicated to serving individuals with TBI. These two counselors also serve as a resource to other counselors in the state who may receive a TBI referral. Services to Minorities: Over the past three years 44.6% of the consumers served and 42% of the consumers closed rehabilitated in the agency were minorities. The population of the state is approximately 30% minority. Consequently, minority numbers are well represented in the agency’s service delivery system. Nevertheless, outreach efforts will continue at the local level to be sure that minorities are aware of agency services and programs. They agency has a staff member specifically related to diversity. This individual has completed a diversity plan which has been approved by the administration of the agency. This plan indicates the strategies to hire minority staff to work within the agency. The agency conducted diversity training for all agency staff. This training addressed the needs of diverse consumers the agency serves. Another effort of outreach to minorities is continuation of a grant which the agency has from the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). DHR requested agency assistance in providing placement services for hard to place individuals. The grant was given to the agency and individuals were hired utilizing those grant service funds to specifically work with this population. The agency is receiving referrals on many of these individuals who have a significant impediment to employment and may be in need of vocational rehabilitation services. Services to Individuals in Supported Employment Programs: The agency recognizes a critical factor in a successful supported employment is long-term supports. The agency will continue its dialogue with state and private entities that can be involved in the provision of extended services for supported employment consumers. The following are efforts the agency is making to provide supported employment services. The agency has a state specialist overseeing the expansion and effectiveness of the agency’s supported employment efforts. An additional staff member was hired in FY 2014 and will make efforts to expand supported in FY 2015. The agency has added SEARCH sites in FY 2014 with plans to establish at least one more in FY 2015. These sites provide real life work experiences that can lead to supported employment. Work cooperatively with Department of Mental Health as they move consumers to towards community based employment from sheltered workshops. Training on Certificate Based Job Coach Training in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Department of Education, and the Council for Developmental Disabilities, and Alabama APSE (Association of Persons Supporting Employment First), The Network on Employment continues. This training ensures consistency of service delivery for supported employment providers and provides access to the latest marketing and training techniques. Training is provided by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports. Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama Medicaid, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Alabama Department of Post-Secondary Education have submitted a bill to the legislature in the Employment First collaborative initiative. The partners are also participating in the Employment First Leadership Mentoring Program Community of Practice through Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). These partners will continue to collaborate with human service agencies that work with people with disabilities and the workforce investment/development agencies to work together to support the concept of employment first. ADRS will collaborate with local school systems to develop and implement a transition initiative; ensuring students who are appropriate for SE services have access to providers prior to their exit from high school. SE providers will be active in the local high schools to present information regarding their programs to parents, students and staff. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in community based assessments before they exit school, to facilitate a seamless transition.

Services to Individuals with Autism: Autism is an emerging disability with increasing numbers requesting services from the public rehabilitation program. This holds true for Alabama. Staff has participated in several training programs during the current fiscal year related to autism. It is expected this will continue in FY 2014. Also, a staff member has been in the state office has job duties to develop and enhance the agency’s autism program. The agency will to provide consultation to supported employment projects and CRPs who need technical assistance and support in serving this expanding population. This effort is intended to build capacity within our existing provider network. We have identified Triumph, Inc., a successful supported employment provider for individuals with autism, to serve as the consulting organization. Triumph continues as a vendor to provide supported employment services. A Project SEARCH will be conducted at a hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Though not limited to consumers with autism, the area has a number of consumers who have autism and will participate in Project SEARCH. The agency conducted statewide regional training for staff on Autism in FY 2013 utilizing autism specialists at Triumph Services. We will continue various training in FY 2015 and utilize include Lakeshore Rehabilitation Facility staff.

 

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

Strategies to Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP) As the agency continues on the path of serving the more significantly disabled, there may be the need to enhance the assessment and evaluation capability of CRPs. Two potential areas of Community Rehabilitation Program improvement were noted: increased availability of comprehensive learning disability evaluations and services to individuals with autism. One strategy to expand learning disability evaluations will be to attempt to utilize existing learning disability projects to train other Community Rehabilitation Program staff. The sharing of knowledge and practices will assist the agency in expanding this service. The agency will invite CRP staff to specific trainings in order to improve and elevate skills of CRP employees. The Assistant Commissioner, Facilities Section, that previously led the four person agency CRC section retired and was not replaced. The CRP and Supported Employment Specialist of the CRP section were placed directly under the Assistant Commissioner for VR General Services. This creates a closer alignment between these two sections and should enhance services.

 

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

All Performance Indicators were met with the exception of 1.5, Average Hourly Wage. Improvement on Performance Indicator 1.5: Strategies to improve this indicator will include the following: The agency will utilize the Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) system. This system allows the agency to upload a client’s resumes and background to an electronic system that can be utilized by employers on a national basis. This opens doors of opportunity to consumers on a national level since a company may have a location in Alabama but the recruiting and employing authority may be located in another state. This may open doors to higher paying jobs. The agency is revamping and updating its Retaining A Valued Employee (RAVE). RAVE is a service to employers to assist them in procuring rehabilitation services needed to retain an employee who is having difficulties on the job due to disability. It results in referrals of long standing employees needing rehabilitation services who are receiving higher wages due to time on the job. Successful rehabilitation of these referrals results in a higher average wage for the agency. The agency hosted a large conference on the 503 Regulations regarding the hiring of people with disabilities by federal contractors. The conference provided opportunities to establish relationships with federal contractors that hopefully will result in hiring of our consumers. This relationship combined with the President establishing $10.10 as minimum wage for those employed by federal contractors sets the stage for wage increases and moving the agency closer to achieving Indicator 1.5. The agency’s coordinator of employer development will provide supervisors and counselors monthly information on federal employment opportunities paying good wages. Also, Business Relations Consultants will be asked to carefully search for higher paying jobs as they contact employers. We will train counselors on means of obtaining labor market information. The agency will consult with neighboring states attaining this indicator to investigate what strategies they are employing. There will be a continuous effort to get counselors to discuss training with consumers, since training can lead to higher paying jobs. The agency will continue participation in the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) National Employment Team (NET).The agency employment development coordinator is very active nationally and regionally in this initiative.

 

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

Strategies for Assisting Components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System in Assisting Individuals with Disabilities The agency maintains a very productive relationship with the Workforce System of Alabama. First, the Commissioner of the agency sits on the Statewide Workforce Board. Consequently, the agency has a voice at the table to advocate for the needs and issues of individuals with disabilities. The agency has counselors stationed on a permanent basis in One-Stop Career Centers in several of the larger cities in the state. These staff receive referrals and also provides advice and information to other staff in the One-Stop Career Centers on how to serve individuals with disabilities. The agency will have numerous staff participate in the state Workforce Conference, when conducted, involving all partners and other service providers related to the Statewide Workforce Investment System. The agency sits on the planning council of this conference so that various breakout sessions related to the needs of individuals with disabilities are included on the agenda. Lastly, as mentioned previously, the agency has established a Video Interpreting Network. Should a deaf individual come into the local One-Stop Career Center, a video interpreting situation can be set up for that individual to be served.

 

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

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

Goal 1: Increase by 20% the placement of consumers with the most significant disabilities. Electronic Recruiting: The agency is using an electronic recruiting system entitled the Alabama Business Leadership Employment (ABLE) Network. This is an electronic recruiting tool to be used by employers to hire agency consumers for jobs. Counselors will place job ready consumers in an applicant pool in the ABLE system. Employers can use the system to review the qualifications of agency consumers for jobs. Confidentiality of consumer identification is protected by the use of a distinct case number rather than the consumer’s personal identifying information. This system may improve placements by allowing direct recruiting by employers. Skills, Employability, Assets (SEA) Page in SMILE: The agency has updated its electronic casework system, SMILE (System for Managing Information on the Leading Edge), in FY 2009. The SEA page is a repository for information about the consumer’s job related skills, employability characteristics, and overall assets related to employment. This information is collected by the counselor and deposited into the ABLE system described above. This information will enhance the consumer’s possibility of being recruited through the ABLE system. High Performer Practices: Individual counselor performance data will be reviewed from FY 2014, specifically, the number of successful placements, including consumers with the most significant disabilities, that meet the quality standards of wages, benefits and job retention a year post closure. The agency will then invite high performing counselors to a forum to identify effective work habits and casework practices to be shared with all counselors. Self-Employment Training for VR Staff: Self-employment is a viable employment option for some VR consumers. The agency conducted self-employment training for selected VR staff in 2006. There have been significant staff changes since that time. It is appropriate now to train new staff on possibilities presented by self-employment. A new state office specialist was hired in the summer of 2011. A significant portion of that person’s duties will be related to self-employment. Outreach efforts will be made to locate and serve individuals with the most significant disabilities. Goal 2: Increase wages of consumers successfully rehabilitated to a level that will comply with RSA Indicator 1.5. The agency will utilize the Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) system. This system allows the agency to update client resumes and background to an electronic system that ca be utilized by employers on a national basis. This opens doors of opportunity to consumers on a national level since a company may have a location in Alabama but the recruiting and hiring authority is located in another state. This may open doors to higher paying jobs. The agency is revamping and updating its Retaining A Valued Employee (RAVE). RAVE is a service to employers to assist them in procuring rehabilitation services needed to retain an employee who is having difficulties on the job due to disability. It results in referrals of long standing employees needing rehabilitation services who are receiving higher wages due to time on the job. Successful rehabilitation of these consumers may result in a higher average wage for the agency. The agency hosted a large conference on the 503 Regulations regarding the hiring of people with disabilities by federal contractors. The conference has provided opportunities to establish relationships with federal contractors that hopefully will result in hiring of our consumers. This relationship, combined with the President establishing $10.10 as minimum wage for those employed by federal contractors, sets the stage for wage increases and moving the agency closer to achieving Indicator 1.5. The agency coordinator of employer development will provide supervisors and counselors monthly information on federal employment opportunities paying good wages. Also, Business Relations Consultants will be asked to carefully search for higher paying jobs as they contact employers. We will train counselors on various methods of obtaining labor market information. The agency will consult with neighboring states attaining this indicator to investigate what strategies they are employing. There will be a continuous effort to get counselors to discuss training with consumers, since training can lead to higher paying jobs. Another strategy will involve gathering statewide and local data about the number of consumers currently involved in training. This data will be looked at on a statewide and local basis and also on an individual unit basis throughout the state. This will provide information as to which units and caseloads are providing training to consumers. Labor market information will be gathered and shared with counseling staff about projections for future career opportunities within the state. This will assist the counselors in directing consumers towards training that will lead towards prompt employment. The agency will utilize its corps group of Business Relations Consultants to assist in identifying businesses that will provide internship (training) opportunities for consumers. Internships and on-the-job training opportunities are excellent methods to assist consumers in getting needed training, immediate employment, and also an increase in the average starting wage of the consumers of the agency. A work group of counselors, Unit Supervisors, and Business Relations Consultants was convened in May of 2014. The purpose of the group was to develop methods and strategies to increase wages for consumers. The product developed by this group will be used as a training to be utilized statewide for staff training on this issue.

Goal 3: The agency will increase by 10% case service funds spent on consumers receiving supported employment services and increase by 10% the number of consumers participating in supported employment. Strategies to expand supported employment, including long term supports: Continuation of Certificate Based Training (job coach training) in collaboration with Alabama Association of Persons in Supported Employment (APSE), The Network on Employment. This training ensures consistency of service delivery for supported employment providers and provides access to the latest marketing and training techniques. Training is provided by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports. Efforts will be made to increase the number of Project SEARCH sites. We anticipate adding additional Supported Employment vendors next year as we try and expand services to those clients previously served in sheltered workshops who will be moving to community based employment. ADRS will collaborate with local school systems to develop and implement a transition initiative; ensuring students who are appropriate for SE services have access to providers prior to their exit from high school. SE providers will be active in the local high schools to present information regarding their programs to parents, students and staff. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in community based assessments before they exit schools, to facilitate a seamless transition to Supported Employment Services. Continue legislative efforts to pass Employment First legislation. Collaborative efforts will be made to address the issue of long term supports in supported employment. This will include a review of how other states address this issue. Collaborative efforts will continue with the Alabama Department of Mental Health and the SELN (State Employment Leadership Network) through the Institute for Community Inclusion. The goal is to create systems change and develop resource information, effective employment systems and work as partners to maximize resources in Alabama. Through this collaboration we hope to increase the number of consumers that will be referred for community based integrated employment, and be able to utilize the waiver for long term support. To date, this collaboration has resulted in the addition of 5 Mental Health providers contracting with ADRS to become Supported Employment providers. The Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Auburn University Center for Disability Research and Service recently submitted a grant proposal to Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for implementation of Dartmouth Individual Placement and Support model for Supported Employment in Alabama. Partners in the grant include Dartmouth University and the Department of Veterans Affairs in Alabama. This evidence based program provides individualized placement and support for adults with serious mental illnesses as an essential and vital part of their recovery.

USES OF INNOVATION AND EXPANSION FUNDS The agency will utilize a portion of funds allotted to the state for the following innovation and expansion activities in FY 2015. The agency will expand its Business Intelligence dashboards to include information on state and local labor market information. Expansion of the agency’s training capacity for blind consumers through utilization of specialized training facilities, such as the Louisiana Center for the Blind. Summer work programs for the blind will be conducted in order to allow students who are blind to experience the world of work. The development of expanded center based services for the blind in order to provide services closer to an individual’s home. Revision of the agency’s Self-employment Manual utilizing agency staff and three members of the State Rehabilitation Council. Completion of the revision will be followed up by training a counselor from each of the agency’s 19 units to serve as the unit’s self-employment specialist. Staff serving the deaf will attend the Southeastern Regional Institute on Deafness (SERID) to increase knowledge and capacity to serve individuals who are deaf. Utilization of additional supported employment vendors. Support expanded participation in agency matters by members of the State Rehabilitation Council.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2014 3:27PM by saalharrisiiij

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

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

Five FY 2014 GOALS: Goal 1 Job Placement Services: The agency will accomplish sufficient outcomes that meet quality standards to achieve Performance Indicator 1.1. The agency did achieve sufficient outcomes to meet Performance Indicator 1.1. Factors that contributed to the accomplishment of goal included: monthly production calls from the Assistant Commissioners to the local supervisors to discuss progress towards unit goals. Also, the economy has somewhat improved and the unemployment rate in the state has slightly decreased. This provided additional job opportunities for agency consumers. Finally, ability to fill counselor vacancies, thus keeping caseloads fully staffed. Goal 2 Vocational Training: The agency will increase by 5% the number of eligible individuals, including minorities, who receive vocational training. The agency did not achieve this goal. Training for non-minorities increased by 3% and for minorities there was a 1% increase. While the agency made substantial progress toward this goal, factors which may have influenced the not achieving this goal include some initiatives that were begun relative to this goal, but not completed. The agency began on initiative with the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) to look at labor market information and how it is utilized by staff with counseling consumers. Labor market information can be used to direct consumers to appropriate training programs. A second factor may be the need to do additional training with counselors to consider career training rather than just immediate employment. Performance goals can sometimes make counselors feel pressured to move rapidly toward closure as opposed to counseling toward career goals. There is still work to be in the agency’s shift from quantity focus to quality focus.

Goal 3 Rehabilitation Technology Services: The agency will increase by 5% the number of individuals that receive assistive technology services throughout the rehabilitation process. The agency did achieve this goal. In FY 2013 the agency increased by 26% the number of consumers receiving technology services. Case service expenditures increased by $123,758 or 13.8%. Factors which contributed to the achievement of goal included adequate financial resources to provide necessary technology. Also, the agency has been able to fill Rehabilitation Technology specialist vacancies, as well as contract with a technology specialist in an area where there was difficulty in locating an appropriately qualified person to take the job. Also, many young consumers come to the agency having used technology in school or at home and expect it in the rehabilitation service delivery process. Also, about half of the agency’s counselors have less than five years of experience, indicating they are only a few years are out of school. They, too, are tech savvy and incorporate technology into the service delivery system. Finally, the successful employment is increasingly technology dependent, so it is imperative we incorporate technology into our services, so as to prepare consumers for the current world of work.

Goal 4 Increase Availability of Counselors to Consumers: The agency will develop strategies to keep caseloads at levels that would ensure counselors have adequate time to interact effectively with the consumers. The agency has achieved this goal. Caseloads went from an average of 141 at the end of FY 2012 to an average of 132 at the end of FY 2013. The agency’s Commissioner worked with the State Finance Director, to get permission to fill counselor vacancies and, thus, ensure that counselor positions are maintained at an adequate level. Also, training has continued with supervisors and counselors to serve consumers who really need a comprehensive rehabilitation program, not just a medical or tuition bill paid.

 

Goal 5 Expand the agency’s supported employment program, including long term supports: The agency has expanded the supported employment program. The agency increased to 41 the number of supported employment providers. Factors contributing to this success are as below. Continued collaboration with Alabama APSE (Association of Persons Supporting Employment First)-The Network on Employment, Alabama Department of Mental Health, Technical Assistance Continuing Education Center (TACE), and the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities (DD Council), to provide training to staff, transition job coaches, and Milestone’s employees. Collaborated with the Alabama Department of Mental Health and completed trainings with local mental health service providers and ADRS staff on moving consumers from facility based services to community based, competitive employment. This training helped participants gain a better understanding of application and eligibility process, services each agency offers, Medicaid waivers, SS implications, and work incentives. Collaborated with Alabama Association of Persons Supporting Employment First (AL-APSE) and Alabama Department of Mental Health to offer job coach training to new job coaches, job developers, school job coaches, mental health job coaches and case managers. This training is conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University. Collaborated with other state agencies utilize waiver funds to provide employment supports to consumers who are unable to continue working without continuous on-site support. Added four vendors who will be providing supported employment services in underserved areas. Implemented four new Project Search sites in Alabama. This model, founded by Cincinnati’s Children Hospital is an innovative, transition/work model for students with most significant disabilities. Two employment sites, utilizing two school systems, were piloted in August, 2012. This collaborative effort involves the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Department of Mental Health, and the State Department of Education, the Developmental Disabilities Counsel, two local school systems and two supported employment providers. Implemented summer work programs to address transition services and employment services for students who have not traditionally benefitted from supported employment programs in order to increase their readiness for work, social skills and employability, and expose them to various employment opportunities to enhance more positive outcomes. The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services maintains a Supported Employment Specialist staff member to monitor supported employment services and provide training and technical assistance.

 

PERFORMANCE ON STANDARDS AND INDICATORS Performance on Standards and Indicators: The agency achieved all indicators with the exception of Indicator 1.5, Average wage. Factors that negatively impacted the achievement of Indicator 1.5 include: 1.) A large number of transition cases that typically go to work at entry level wages. The data support this conclusion as 49.2% of all active cases are between ages 14-24 and 41.1% of successful closures fall in this age group. This age group typically goes to work at lower wages. Additionally, only 23.9% of successfully closed cases had a degree or employment certification beyond high school. Consequently, it might be expected 76% of cases would begin at or near entry level wages. 2.) It is also reasonable to conclude a relationship exists between indicator and 1.5 and shortcomings on Goal 2 above. Data clearly demonstrates that consumers with higher levels of training and education will obtain higher paying jobs. 3.) Alabama has in the past two decades invested heavily in attracting automotive manufacturing companies. In fact, Alabama is home to three manufacturing plants and their suppliers. This bumps up the state’s average wage, which is a factor in calculating this indicator.

 

Innovation and Expansion State Rehabilitation Council: Innovation and Expansion(I&E) funds were used to support activities of the State Rehabilitation Council Reinventing Transition: I&R finds were used to support an initiative to “reinvent” school to work transition services in Alabama. The most recent RSA 107 Review necessitated the agency revamp the ways and methods of providing transition services. The agency convened a team of rehabilitation counselors and supervisors to redesign the transition program. The group came up with five committees to develop areas to enhance transition services. 1. The Assessment committee dealt with how assessment services can be improved and expanded. 2. The Outreach committee reviewed transition program changes to be as a result of the 107 Review and developed materials to go to educator to explain the necessary changes. 3. The Resources committee compiled various transition resources that might be distributed and utilized statewide. 4. The Technology committee explored areas of technology that might improve transition services. 5. The Training committee examined the training needs of staff serving transition students. Transition Boot Camp: I&E funds were used to conduct a “Boot Camp” for transition counselors and educators. This intense two day training provided up to date information on transition services.

This screen was last updated on Jul 8 2014 12:34PM by saalharrisiiij

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

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

ATTACHMENT 6.3 QUALITY, SCOPE, AND EXTENT OF SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) remains committed to the provision of quality services to individuals with the most significant disabilities through the provision of supported employment services. ADRS provides supported employment services through a collaborative/partnership effort with 41 service providers statewide in FY 2014. These providers offer services to individuals with a variety of significant disabilities without restrictions regarding disability type. The SE providers are distributed throughout the state in order to ensure maximum availability to those in need of supported employment. Service providers receive funds for the provision of supported employment through an outcome based payment system. Providers must submit evidence that each milestone has been achieved. Some milestones include consumer and employer satisfaction surveys. Consumer satisfaction is designed to reflect satisfaction with the job or identify any consumer concerns or issues. The employer satisfaction survey is designed to reflect the consumer’s job performance, stability and training needs. Supported employment funds are distributed to each provider agency based on the milestone achieved by each individual served.

In FY 2013 the SE program:

• Purchased supported employment services from 37 in FY 2013 agencies across the state to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities.

• In FY 2013, 277 consumers with supported employment plans were closed successfully employed. These individuals averaged approximately 22 hours per week and earned an average of $7.87 per hour. When the consumers are stable in their employment and fully acclimated to their job extended services are provided. Of those achieving employment 880 individuals continued to be followed in long term support. ADRS continues to seek methods to increase participation of individuals with all types of disabilities in supported employment programs. Initiatives for improving transition services are being implemented as well as working with the Department of Mental Health improving services to those with serve mental illness.

• Efforts continued to collaborate closely with Alabama APSE (Association of Persons Supporting Employment First)-The Network on Employment, Alabama Department of Mental Health, Technical Assistance Continuing Education Center (TACE), and the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities (DD Council), to provide training to staff, transition job coaches, and Milestone’s employees. ADRS continues to expand services within the state to increase opportunities for individual access to supported employment services. Since FY 2013, four new vendors have been added and efforts continue to work to work to improve and expand services to individuals from underserved areas. One vendor discontinued providing SE servoces. The quality of these services continues to improve with the implementation of the following initiatives:

• Participated in the Boot Camp for new counselors which included information on Supported Employment, Milestones, Discovery and Project SEARCH for transition students • In collaboration with the Alabama Department of Mental Health completed trainings with local mental health service providers and ADRS staff on moving consumers from facility based services to community based, competitive employment. This training helped participants gain a better understanding of application and eligibility process, services each agency offers, Medicaid waivers, SS implications, and work incentives. Since this training we have contracted with four mental health providers offering SE services. • Collaborated with Alabama Association of Persons Supporting Employment First (AL-APSE) and Alabama Department of Mental Health to offer job coach training to new job coaches, job developers, school job coaches, mental health job coaches and case managers. This training is conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University and offered twice a year. This year the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind sent local and regional staff personnel who serve those with sensory impairments. • Planned Gaining Access To Employment (GATE) project. A program designed to assist consumers in sheltered work or day habilitation who wish to do so move into real jobs in industry in the community. It is a partnership with industry and the Department of Mental Health. • Worked to expand service provision by adding four vendors who will be providing supported employment services. • Implemented two new Project Search sites in Alabama. This model, founded by Cincinnati’s Children Hospital is an innovative, transition/work model for students with most significant disabilities. Two employment sites, utilizing two school systems, were piloted in August, 2012. This collaborative effort involves the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Department of Mental Health, and the State Department of Education, the Developmental Disabilities Counsel, two local school systems and two supported employment providers. Other school systems have expressed an interest in having this program and we expect to expand to five sites next year. We presented this outstanding transition program at the ARC Conference, the Transition Conference, AL-APSE and to local school systems. • Application for a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) grant to implement a Dartmouth Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model in Alabama. • Representatives from Alabama Department of Mental Health attended training at Dartmouth University on IPS Supported Employment. Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services also attended earlier this year. These agencies continue to collaborate with Dartmouth University to bring this program to Alabama, and implement this program through local mental health providers. IPS focuses on competitive employment as an essential and vital part of recovery for those with significant mental illness. • Another SE Specialist was added in April of 2014 in order to provide needed staff to support expansion of supported employment efforts. • The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services provides a Supported Employment Specialist to monitor supported employment services and provide training and technical assistance. Each supported employment provider operates under a milestone/outcome based program to ensure quality outcomes and appropriate employment options based on individual choice. Consumers are offered the opportunity to participate in community based assessments to facilitate an informed decision regarding their employment goal. Job development is provided on an individual basis to locate employment based on the consumer’s interests, skills, limitations and community living needs. Job coaching is also provided at the work site to ensure that the individual has the necessary training, skills and supports to work. Once the consumer is stable in the workplace, extended services are planned and implemented to protect the long term success of the job. Consumer and employer satisfaction regarding the services provided are measured at the time of employment and again before case closure. Extended services are a continuation of ongoing support services provided to individuals with the most significant disabilities. These extended supports are provided at the completion of stabilization, during the successful rehabilitation Milestone and beyond ADRS case closure.

This screen was last updated on Jul 8 2014 12:34PM by saalharrisiiij