ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

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

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

1.2 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, the Department of Human 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

Director Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

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

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

Director Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Nancy J. Smith

Title of Signatory
Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/28/2012

Assurances Certified By

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

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

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.2 (c) Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council; Response of the Designated State Unit; and Explanations for Rejection of Input or Recommendations FY 2013

Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council; Response of the Designated State Unit; and Explanations for Rejection of Input or Recommendations

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) has had a State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) for more than twenty-five years. The SRC mission statement is:

“The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) provides individuals with disabilities a strong, substantive role in shaping the programs and services established to support their employment goals and aspirations and to provide consumers of vocational rehabilitation services a mechanism to influence at the systemic and policy level the direction of vocational rehabilitation programming.”

The SRC committees include:

1. The Consumer Satisfaction Committee which addresses issues related to the access of DVR consumers to effective vocational rehabilitation services. The committee presents reports and recommendations to the entire State Rehabilitation Council for review and confirmation. The committee is responsible for the Consumer Satisfaction Survey.

2. The Employment Committee which forges partnerships between businesses and vocational rehabilitation services to facilitate consumer transition into employment. The committee advocates for Partners With Industry projects within Colorado’s business and industrial communities.

3. The Legislative Committee works to ensure that the SRC is updated in a timely fashion about all vocational rehabilitation and/or disability related legislation and budgetary issues. This committee monitors the Colorado State legislative and budgetary processes and educates the full SRC about relevant legislation or activities of interest.

4. The Membership/Recruitment Committee works to ensure that membership of the SRC is in compliance with the mandates of the 1998 Amendments of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The committee also assures that members and associate members participate and contribute to the SRC and its mission. The committee recommends potential SRC members for Governor Appointment and is responsible for the initial orientation and on-going training of SRC members.

Minutes are maintained of all SRC meetings and retreats, which summarize the advice and recommendations provided to DVR. Each standing and ad hoc committee of the SRC is staffed by appropriate Division of Vocational Rehabilitation personnel to assure that the SRC is apprised of DVR’s developing issues and to assure that the SRC has ample opportunity to provide input into DVR’s administrative and program activities.

SRC has the following established goals for each committee:

Consumer Satisfaction Committee:

The Consumer Satisfaction Committee will establish a consistent written process for referrals of students to DVR from every available school district to all DVR staff by March 1, 2011.

(Committee members report that collaborative partnership efforts resulted in the following work towards this goal.)

• A current list of DVR supervisors was provided to Transition Team Leaders. The list of supervisors and a list of DVR counselors will be updated each year in August and February and provided to Transition Team Leaders. We are researching possibilities of posting the list on the CDE website.

• The list of Transition Team Leaders for each district and any other specifically designated contacts will be updated at the beginning of school and provided to DVR Supervisors in September.

• A sample Working Agreement template is being refined and will be made available to education/DVR teams with support to develop local agreements that cover each school district in the State.

• A series of module trainings have been developed and will be provided for DVR counselors. Modules will be posted on the DVR intranet for future access. Module topics include: Transition 101, Legislation (related to transition); How to Read School Records; Communicating with Youth; and SWAP 101. DVR staff are the lead on these trainings. CDE team members will attend as available.

• To increase educators’ awareness of DVR eligibility and service provisions, an information packet is being developed specifically for educators and will be disseminated at the Transition Leadership Institute in September. The link to the newly released DVR video will be included in the packet as well as being posted on the CDE website for access by educators and families.

• To assist in clarifying differences in services, a document showing side by side comparison of 504/ADA/IDEA will be revised and distributed.

Employment Committee: A minimum of five of the key members of the Colorado Legislature will be educated about the importance of fully funding DVR programs from an employment and employer perspective as measured by achievement of the goal of having five employers meeting with the key Legislators before the Long Bill is approved in 2011.

(Committee members report the following subset of goals and results towards these goals.)

• Goal: Continue working on federal employment issues for people with disabilities.

*Result: The employment committee has worked with DVR to advance the opportunities for people with disabilities. The Schedule A hiring authority has been used for hiring in the federal sector.

• Goal: Connect with the City and County of Denver on human resources hiring of people with disabilities.

*Result: After numerous attempts the Employment Committee has been unable to obtain a meeting with the City and County of Denver. We are still pursuing a meeting with human resources.

• Goal: Research issues and gather information on employment statistics from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

*Result: The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, at the request of the Employment Committee, has established statistics that they are starting to report to the full State Rehabilitation Council quarterly.

• Goal: Research and gather information and discuss issues around employment for the blind.

*Result: The Employment Committee has requested the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to report, along with other employment statistics, numbers on employment for the blind community.

The following are the Employment Committee’s new goals for FY 2012-2013.

• Continue working on federal employment issues for people with disabilities.

• Connect with the City and County of Denver and other cities and counties in Colorado on human resources hiring of people with disabilities.

• Research issues and gather information on employment statistics from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation including employment information on the blind.

• Research issues and gather information on employment statistics from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation disaggregated by disability category.

Legislative Committee: The Legislative Committee will create a focused plan to educate key Legislators about the financial benefit to the state and to government that results from DVR’s work. The plan will be implemented by the SRC by January, 2011.

(Committee members report the following subset of goals and their work towards these goals.)

• Goal 1. To have initial contact with representatives prior to beginning of legislative session to schedule meeting. There is no current progress to report, but members will continue to focus on accomplishing this task.

• Goal 2. A marketing plan targeting legislators using such tools as an elevator speech, public service announcements and social media. A flier has been updated and distributed to SRC. The social media is in the works.

• Goal 3. Invite legislators to attend SRC meetings. Members felt there was a greater likelihood of response if SRC waited until the end of the legislative sessions to send out invitations. One SRC member, Gavin Attwood, has some connections with different legislative members and is going to see who he can get.

• Goal 4. Committee updated their fact sheet. Members will create new fact sheet for the fall 2012 session and will begin to develop a progress report after the end of the current legislative sessions.

• Goal 5. Develop a one minute video to educate legislators that could be sent by email and posted on You Tube, Facebook or sent by email to the offices of the legislators. Members are exploring options to possibly partner with University of Denver or Colorado State University to complete this task, as well as looking into options for someone to write the script.

The Legislative Committee will start focusing on new goals for next year (FY 2013) in the upcoming meetings of Summer 2012.

Membership Committee: By March 2011, the Membership Committee will develop a continuous and sustainable plan for recruiting, recommending, and developing a pool of possible members for the SRC in accordance with federal and state executive order guidelines (RSA).

(Committee members report the following subset of goals and their work towards these goals.)

• The Membership Committee has worked with DVR’s Business Outreach Specialists to educate them with firsthand knowledge of the Who, What and Where of the SRC, and the benefits of partnership by the employers that they support.

• Members discussed alternative scheduling as well as alternating business groups as contributors to the SRC.

• Meeting via Teleconference for employers outside of the Denver Metro area.

• Rotating business members to participate on scheduled projects.

• The SRC welcomed three new business members in 2012.

• The consistent focus remains on recruiting business members for SRC.

These committees will continue to work throughout 2012 to achieve their established goals and to set new goals.

The SRC committee also worked closely with DVR to discuss the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA), developing appropriate questions to be included in the customer satisfaction survey and in examining the survey results. A discussion of the survey results, of common themes found across surveys, and of Colorado’s C-stat reporting measures, resulted in the following formal SRC recommendations and strategies to DVR.

Although these goals are closely related to previous recommendations from SRC, discussions about the CSNA results and current C-stat measures support the need for these to be areas of on-going focus as they highly impact services to, and successful employment outcomes for, DVR consumers. In addition, progress had just begun being made on various strategies and tasks but had not been completed due to the unusually high turnover in DVR management staff this past year. SRC and DVR feel these goals are important and the work planned for them should continue. Following you will see the goals for the upcoming year and new state plan, as well as any progress already completed on them and any future activities planned for them.

Goal 1

Increase Rehabilitation Counselor Retention

Strategies:

a) Explore strategies for retaining DVR’s recently hired staff

DVR has been examining options for incentives or pay adjustment for hard to fill locales/positions and areas with higher costs of living. The state of Colorado completed an Employee Engagement Survey and DVR is looking at these survey results to determine how the information can be useful as it pertains to DVR staff. In addition, DVR is creating its own Employee Engagement work group to identify why staff leave DVR, what might encourage them to stay, etc.

b) Explore use of exit surveys to better identify reasons for staff departures

Although DVR was not able to implement exit surveys last year, DVR has recently hired an HR liaison and one of the main functions of this position will be to conduct exit interviews of all staff departing DVR to look for trends, patterns and reasons for departures so that strategies can then be discussed to address any issues found.

c) Build better relationships between vendors and counselors

A vendor committee was formed in August 2011 with the purpose of looking at both DVR’s Fee Schedule and all vendor issues that DVR faces. The goal is to be proactive, address concerns by staff and vendors, and improve the overall quality of vendors for DVR. Information obtained from the consumer surveys, staff surveys and vendors’ surveys completed as part of this year’s CSNA show that this goal is important to all parties involved within the DVR process in helping consumers reach their goals. DVR will continue to identify ways to build and foster relationships between vendors and counselors.

d) Decrease caseload sizes

This is a new goal in which DVR will examine ways to decrease caseload sizes or workloads to allow counselors to spend more one-on-one time with each consumer.

e) Assist counselors in reducing stress levels; ways to deal with stress

This is also a new goal in which DVR will explore different types of stress experienced and approaches to decrease stress to employees.

f) Utilize current list of universities with rehabilitation counseling programs to recruit and hire staff; add list of other accepted degrees that meet the minimum qualifications to the list and reach out to these schools as well

DVR’s employee council created a list of all universities with rehabilitation counseling programs across the nation, including contact names and numbers. The contacts at these colleges have been provided with information on where students can find State of Colorado job postings and have been encouraged to share this information with their students. SRC has recommended that DVR explore the option of expanding this list to include other types of degree programs that meet Colorado DVR”s minimum hiring qualifications, such as counseling majors.

DVR human resource liaison will engage in outreach efforts to effectively recruit and hire graduates of nationally core accredited universities.

Goal 2

Increase Consumer Engagement to Reduce Consumer Attrition as Evidenced by Increased Number of Implemented IPEs

Strategies:

a) Explore options to conduct a longitudinal study of why consumers “exit” programming

- Review customer satisfaction surveys from SRC perspective as well as examine results from CSNA customer satisfaction survey to focus in on this issue

- Continue to explore and implement use of motivational interviewing strategies; tracking how often these strategies are used and results of using these strategies

- Administer statewide skill development around the foundations of conducting strong intakes and keeping consumers engaged in the DVR process

- Improve education to consumers and referral sources about the DVR process and what it involves

- DVR will explore ways to use its quality assurance process to find effective ways to keep consumers engaged in the DVR process

- Continue to educate schools and students about DVR services and DVR process

- Inform prospective consumers of documentation required prior to intake

- DVR will explore the use of focus groups and key informant interviews in addition to traditional surveys to find out what does and does not keep consumers engaged

- As recommended last year, DVR is working with a national consultant to examine internal processes and improve approaches to handling barriers consumers may experience when navigating the DVR system

Goal 3

Increase Successful Employment Outcomes

Strategies:

- Review and capitalize on information received from a) CSNA survey to consumers actively seeking employment and b) CSNA survey to counselors with high production/high quality outcomes, sharing ideas and providing training on common themes found within these surveys

- Continue to be forward thinking to effectively identify current and future employment trends across Colorado to educate counselor and consumers about these trends

- As recommended by SRC last year, DVR will strengthen their Business Outreach Specialist program and utilize DVR’s newly established Work Supports and Employer Engagement Unit to effectively increase employment outcomes statewide

- DVR has implemented a statewide core competency as a part of each staff member’s performance plan targeted to increase employment outcomes for DVR participants.

DVR is in agreement with the areas of recommendation identified by the SRC and will strive to focus on making quality improvements in these areas. DVR looks forward to continuing to use the SRC members’ expertise, skills and creativity as a valuable resource for achieving its goals and objectives, resulting in increase quality and quantity of successful employment outcomes for DVR consumers.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 10:08AM by sacodesmedte

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Jul 9 2009 11:48AM by sacoklingmang

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)

Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment System

FY 2013

Cooperation with Agencies That Are Not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) has cooperative relationships with an extensive number of public and private agencies and programs, including local school districts, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), community mental health centers and other mental health programs, community colleges, universities, county human services agencies, community centered boards serving persons with developmental disabilities, the corrections system, and other agencies.

The Division’s employees are integral members of many interagency teams and regularly collaborate with agencies and programs to facilitate the provision of services to its primary customers.

In all of the coordination activities throughout the State, the goal is to reduce the duplication of services and to maximize the DVR customer’s opportunity to obtain an employment outcome of their choice.

Mental Health Programs

DVR is currently implementing its statewide provision of services. DVR offices work cooperatively with a number of mental health programs. The Mental Health Supported Employment Project operates under a formalized agreement between DVR and The Division of Behavioral Health and involves local level supported employment agreements with thirteen (13) Mental Health Centers and two (2) non-profit organizations throughout the State. DVR will approach currently nonparticipating Centers for inclusion into this program. Services consist of job coaching, placement, and on-going support.

The purpose of this project is to enhance employment opportunities for individuals with chronic mental illness (CMI) or Persons In Recovery. This program has resulted in increased integrated employment opportunities for these individuals.

Throughout the regions the DVR offices work with the community mental health centers serving the area. Counselors and supervisors provide orientation and training sessions for mental health center staff and their clients. Where the community mental health centers have established vocational and supported employment programs, DVR often partners with these centers to meet the needs of our mutual clients. The cooperative planning and service delivery result in improved service delivery, increased client satisfaction, and greater numbers of successful employment outcomes.

DVR staff meets with staff from various vocational departments at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP) to provide orientation and training regarding rehabilitation eligibility and service delivery. These sessions include discussions of referral processes as well as ways to better coordinate transition of individuals from the institutionalized setting into successful community based employment outcomes.

County Human Services Agencies

DVR also cooperates with County Departments of Human/Social Services to enable Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients with disabilities to reduce their dependency on public assistance through employment. Counselors and supervisors have increased efforts and activities with county social service agencies in working with recipients of TANF, who have disability related employment issues.

DVR works closely with TANF offices across the state to coordinate services. In addition, some staff serve on various TANF committees. A DVR counselor serves as a member of the TANF 60 Month Review Committee, which includes members from various agencies & disciplines who vote on individual’s requests for extension of TANF benefits (beyond the 60 month lifetime allowed). This committee also works together to make recommendations for participants, such as referrals to DVR, to mental health services, and to other appropriate agencies.

The TANF 60 Month Review Committee can also mandate specific tasks (must attend 8 therapy sessions within “x” amount of time, must have the Med 9 form completed and signed, must participate in life skills activities, etc.) that recipients must complete in order to have continuation of TANF benefits). Agency staff have also been involved with Colorado Dept. of Human Services’ Self-Sufficiency Services, working together to improve TANF recipients access to needed services and quality employment.

Educational Partners

The School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) is established through a series of 44 contracts with local school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to provide vocational rehabilitation services to eligible individuals between the ages of 16-25 with mild to moderate needs in employment. Services are provided through a case management model, and are community based. Services typically consist of: referral development, acquiring diagnostic information, vocational goal development, counseling and guidance, placement, work adjustment training, job seeking skills training, job coaching and one-year of post-status 26 closure follow-up support.

Each supervisory district has multiple SWAP contracts. On average, 140 of Colorado’s 178 school districts are currently involved in operating a SWAP partnership within the local communities that are established within those districts. On average, over 2,500 youth are served each year through SWAP. The SWAP effort has increased awareness of the existence of DVR among educators and has resulted in increased numbers of students being referred to DVR for services. The increased service delivery has also increased the number of individuals obtaining successful employment outcomes. Interest in expanding the number of educational units participating in the SWAP continues to grow.

As part of DVR’s service delivery to clients, many individuals attend community colleges and universities. DVR offices work closely with the many offices dedicated to support of students with disabilities at each institution. In addition at the state level. DVR has a representative who is a member of the Consortium of Support Programs for Students with Disabilities. This membership allows for ongoing communication between the community colleges, universities and DVR in areas related to accommodation issues and other related topics. This assists DVR customers in the completion of their areas of study and enables them to move more successfully into their chosen employment outcome. This also supports the ongoing renewal of the memorandums of understanding between DVR and the six college boards within this state which detail the collaborative provision of services to students with disabilities who are in an institution of higher education and who are also recipients of services through DVR.

Community Centered Boards

Community Centered Boards (CCB) serving persons with developmental disabilities are important partners in DVR’s effort to assure the availability of quality vocational rehabilitation services throughout the state. Currently, DVR has two counselors whose offices are co-located on site at the local CCB site. In the other areas of the state, DVR counselors and supervisors meet frequently with Community Centered Board staff to coordinate service delivery. These counselors focus on promoting successful community employment outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities who have been determined eligible and are recipient of services through the CCB system. In addition, the Coordinator of Supported Employment for DVR meets regularly with the vocational specialists at the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) to discuss issues impacting services.

The collaboration between DVR and the CCBs is especially evident in DVR’s delivery of supported employment services. For DVR customers who meet Community Centered Board eligibility for service delivery, the CCB is almost always the provider of extended ongoing support services to assure the success of the supported employment outcome. DVR staff, working together with CCB staff, assist and facilitate customer’s expression of choice in service delivery options, employment outcomes, and providers of services through networks of “approved service agencies”. DVR staff attend board and committee meetings to facilitate an effective working relationship between our agencies. DVR, the CCBs and the Division of Developmental Disabilities have completed a pilot project in which they collaboratively increased and improved successful employment outcomes for consumers who are on CCB waiting lists for services.

The Corrections System

DVR acknowledges that many individuals who have been convicted of criminal acts are also individuals with disabilities. DVR staff coordinates services with probation offices, parole offices, as well as working directly with many of the youth and adult correctional institutions in the state. For individuals who meet DVR eligibility, staff work to coordinate services that compliment the release plans that are mutually developed by the individual with the disability and the correctional program they are attached to.

Outreach to Employers

Outreach to employers is an important focus of service delivery in Colorado. Various DVR staff members are part of their local business association meetings, such as Connect North, Alameda Gateway and Jewell/Wadsworth Area Business Association. Counselors regularly participate with employers in training sessions and meetings, which enhances employer’s awareness and understanding of the abilities of clients we serve and the employee potential we offer. Also, DVR has a federal employment specialist who is actively involved in linking federal job openings with DVR-involved job seekers. This specialist also works to develop new federal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

DVR now has newly formed unit, The Work Supports and Employer Engagement unit, which will coordinate the activities of fifteen Business Outreach Specialists located around the state. Their duties will be to market DVR’s capabilities to businesses and in return to gain an understanding of their business needs. This knowledge will allow DVR to better prepare consumers for employment, and match their qualifications with business needs. DVR continues to coordinate closely with the Workforce Centers to provide additional job placement services to consumers.

Colorado AgrAbility

The Colorado AgrAbility Project promotes success in agriculture for people with disabilities or other physical challenges and their families. Colorado AgrAbility is part of a nationwide network of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs begun through the 1990 Farm Bill. Colorado AgrAbility works in collaboration with Colorado State University and Goodwill Industries of Denver. The goal of the National AgrAbility Project is to inform, educate, and assist farmers, ranchers, farm workers, and their families with disabilities, so they can continue to have successful careers in agriculture.

Colorado AgrAbility can help by a) assessing agricultural work sites and tasks, b) recommending farm equipment adaptation, home modifications, and adaptive equipment, c) referring families to local service providers, and d) providing informational and educational winter workshops from the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension for farmers, ranchers and family members with disabilities and the professionals who work with them.

BUSINESS OUTREACH

DVR has 15 Business Outreach positions stationed throughout Colorado. Over the past two years, these staff members have received training on employer needs-based strategies for job development/placement. DVR also holds a license from Employment Management Professionals (EMP) to deliver training to community partners. Three areas of the state have delivered the licensed material to youth service and supported employment providers.

Strengthening of processes to include selection and implementation of an employer data collection method and coding for job ready status are now underway as part of DVR’s Job Placement Steering Committee. This group is reviewing internal and external job placement service delivery methods and defining staff roles and responsibilities to improve job matches resulting in employment outcomes.

Federal Business Outreach Specialist (BOS)

In April 2010, Colorado DVR hired its first Federal Business Outreach Specialist (BOS) to focus exclusively on developing federal employment opportunities for DVR participants. His work has entailed training for external and internal staff, recruitment assistance for federal agencies, and retention services for current federal employees with disabilities. Since the beginning of state fiscal year 2011, DVR’s Federal Business Outreach initiative has resulted in over 40 Disability Awareness Training sessions with federal agencies throughout the state. In addition, federal employment training has been administered to the majority of DVR offices throughout Colorado, and to VR professionals throughout Region 8 via webinar. DVR’s Federal BOS also traveled to North Dakota in May 2011 to administer a two-day federal employment training session for North Dakota DVR staff.

The overall strategy for job development with federal agencies is to bypass the competitive hiring process by utilizing the federal government’s non-competitive Schedule A hiring authority for individuals with disabilities. Instead of posting open positions publicly, many agencies in Colorado are first turning to Colorado DVR and other organizations that work with people with disabilities for recruitment assistance. This strategy contributed to an 86% increase in successful employment outcomes for DVR participants with federal employers in Colorado from state fiscal year 2010 to state fiscal year 2011.

The US Department of Labor recently proposed a new rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their workforces be people with disabilities, among other requirements. In a proactive response to the proposed rule change, Colorado DVR is partnering with the US Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP), to offer a Veterans and People with Disabilities Recruitment Symposium in Aurora, CO on June 19, 2012. The event will include presentations from the OFCCP, Colorado DVR, and other community organizations that represent veterans and people with disabilities. The final hour of the event will be a job fair that will give the employers in attendance an opportunity to meet with job seekers who are veterans and people with disabilities.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program Initiatives

Screening and Identification Protocol for TBI:

The TBI Program is partnering with the general DVR program to develop and pilot a screening and identification protocol for traumatic brain injury. The Director of the TBI Program is facilitating a work group comprised of representatives from each of the DVR regions.

The scope of this work group includes the following tasks:

1) Evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based training to meet the needs of vocational rehabilitation counselors to ensure that counselors have a foundational knowledge of brain injury.

2) Review the Ohio State University TBI identification screening tool to ensure it works within DVR’s intake process.

3) Develop an assessment matrix in partnership with neuropsychologist/psychologist in the field.

4) Develop an evaluation criteria and a method/protocol for data collection and data review.

5) Evaluate the effectiveness of the protocol and develop recommendations regarding either implementing this protocol statewide or not.

Once the work group has the training and protocol in place it will be piloted in the Boulder/Longmont and the Colorado Springs offices for one year. We are hoping to kick off the pilot in August 2012. During that period we will be evaluating if this protocol is effective and determining if this is something we would like to roll out statewide.

Employment Series:

The TBI Trust Fund Program is partnering with the following agencies to provide education on what to consider when thinking about returning to employment following a brain injury. The TBI Program is partnering with; the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado, Cerebral Palsy of Colorado benefits planners, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Independent Living Centers across the state to conduct these workshops titled “It’s All About Employment; Returning to Work After Brian Injury. The target audience is individuals with brain injury interested in employment.

Participants of the workshop gain insight into how their brain injury may effect how they return to work. They also learn about vocational and benefit resources available to help them return to work. To date we have conducted 6 workshops and covered the following regions of the state:

•Colorado Springs- Nov. 2010 •Craig – June 2011 •Grand Junction- June 2011 •Alamosa- August 2011 •Denver-March 2012 •Fort Collins- May 2012

Partnership with the Colorado Department of Education:

The TBI Trust Fund Program has a partnership with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) to provide training to increase skills and knowledge of the systems and people that serve children with brain injury. Brain Injury Education and Health Consultants:

In partnership with the TBI Trust Fund, the CDE employs Brain Injury Education and Brain Injury Health Consultants. The goals of these Consultants are to:

•Develop a network of school based brain injury teams

•Develop a method for identification, assessment and intervention for children with brain injury

•Implement a hospital to school transition protocol (including emergency departments)

•Provide coordination, training and technical assistance for the Regional Brain Injury Liaisons

Regional Brain Injury Liaisons:

The TBI Trust Fund partners with County Health Departments and School District personnel to provide region based training and systems development support. Regional Liaisons are located across the state of Colorado. They are public health professionals, school psychologists, school nurses, teachers, and school based occupational therapists etc. The goal is to increase the understanding of the unique needs/gaps in each region of the state and to address these needs/gaps on a regional level to ensure all children in Colorado with brain injury have their needs met. The goals of the Regional Brain Injury Liaisons are to:

•Identify training needs in their region

•Build capacity of the region through training and consultation

•Facilitate transition from hospital and emergency departments to school/community

•Develop a safety net for children with brain injury

Potential Future Initiatives within DVR:

1) The TBI Program would like to work with DVR General Program to provide cross training for the TBI Trust Fund Care Coordinators and DVR staff so that each can be a more effective partner and support to the other as they serve adults with brain injury.

2) The TBI Program is beginning conversations with the Manager of the Program and Program Development Unit to possibly develop a statewide brain injury resource team. This team would be comprised of DVR field staff from each region of the state. They would either currently possess or be provided with specific training in brain injury. This team would act as a resource to all DVR counselors in terms of how to most effectively provide assessment, planning and support for DVR participants with brain injury.

3) The TBI Program, along with DVR counselors, are beginning discussions with the Coordinator of Supported Employment, the IL Program Coordinator and the manager of the Work Supports and Employer Engagement regarding needed long term supports (supported employment) for participants with brain injury.

Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH has grown from one original program site at Cincinnati Children’s to over 200 across 40 states and four countries. In August 2012, a new Project SEARCH site will open with the Department of the Interior (DOI) at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, CO. Seven bureaus will be hosting Project SEARCH students during the 2012-2013 school year, including Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Business Center, Office of Natural Resources Revenue, US Geological Survey and National Park Service.

Project SEARCH at the Denver Federal Center is a collaboration with the following community partners:

•Department of the Interior •Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) •Jefferson County Schools •Developmental Disabilities Resource Center (DDRC) •The Arc of Jefferson, Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG)

DVR has worked extensively as a sub-contractor under the Medicaid department on the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant. The employment infrastructure building resources of the MIG have opened up numerous opportunities for grant activities focused on individuals with disabilities, service providers and employers.

DVR has been a significant resource for information and program planning for the new Medicaid Buy-In Program for Working Adults with Disabilities. The program rolled out March 1, 2012, and enrollment has exceeded expectations each month.

The MIG is sponsoring or directly developing resources focused on youth and adults with disabilities aiming to change perceptions related to employment and employment supports. The following represent a number of the projects:

Individuals with Disabilities:

A calendar featuring work incentives information such as SSA employment supports (Impairment-Related Work Expense, Plan for Achieving Self Support, Expedited Reinstatement, etc.) and other programs such as Earned Income Tax Credit was mass-produced and distributed to individuals through DVR offices, community-based organizations, etc.

MIG staff members are creating a web resource specifically designed for youth with disabilities featuring state and national level resources on topics such as: education, preparing for work, finding employment, securing health insurance, transportation, etc. Underway is a video vignette series featuring youth who access fixed route transportation systems, such as door-to-door and “Para-Transit” models.

Service Providers:

The MIG has prioritized work incentives training for service providers (including DVR staff) in an attempt to create strengthened capacity for reliable, encouraging information for individuals considering work. The grant has sponsored staff from over 30 community-based providers to obtain in-depth training and many audiences have received general information overviews resulting in “Tier 1” and “Tier 2” levels of expertise. The MIG also sponsored DVR staff education on work incentives through the 2012 statewide conference.

The MIG staff is working to expand the service delivery capacity of Employment Networks (ENs) through piloting an off-the-shelf “Ticket-to-Work” case management tool, sponsoring training through the National Employment Network Association, and assisting DVR staff to understand the benefits of SSA’s Partnership Plus model.

Employers:

Through MIG resources, DVR has held disability awareness training (DAT) events for businesses throughout Colorado. The events have featured information from the national campaign, “Think Beyond the Label”. DVR has also had opportunity to interface with human resource organizations at conferences and other association events.

Several vignettes have been developed for use with employers which highlight successfully working individuals with disabilities. The vignettes, posted on You Tube and available for use in DAT training, feature topics such as accommodations, hidden disabilities, etc.

The MIG and Youth:

The MIG, through stakeholder-driven employment initiatives, is working to address the needs of youth with disabilities. The planned webpage for youth has been remarkably expanded and will be more of a full web resource with multiple categories and subcategories. Content is now in a final stage, and once web design is complete, the MIG will market the resource through school district staff, parent centers, etc.

The MIG is specifically addressing the transportation options of youth through a creative project with Very Special Arts of Colorado. Several youth with disabilities will be photographed through their commute to work or other activities and these photos will be converted to video vignettes for illustrating the power of fixed route systems of employment.

BOND (Benefit Offset National Demonstration) Project

DVR is in the second year of a seven-year partnership with Abt Associates and Cerebral Palsy of Colorado implementing the Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND) project throughout Colorado and Wyoming. Funded by the Social Security Administration (SSA), BOND is operating in ten different locations across the United States. Using a rigorous study design the intent of the BOND Project is to explore and evaluate the effectiveness of a variety of service levels and work incentives that, when offered to Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) beneficiaries, result in the beneficiaries obtaining and maintaining successful employment outcomes.

Within the BOND Project, DVR provides to work incentive counseling, service coordination, and information and referral services, to SSDI beneficiaries who are referred and randomly selected. DVR also assures that these beneficiaries who return to work receive financial incentives not available to other SSDI beneficiaries. DVR’s participation in this Project will enable DVR to be on the cutting edge of new approaches and strategies for service delivery that are intended to improve the effectiveness of services provided to SSDI beneficiaries supporting a return to work and a better quality of life for the beneficiaries.

ADA NETWORK

DVR is a strong partner with the recently renewed Rocky Mountain ADA Center based out of Colorado Springs. This organization provides technical assistance and information to a six state region. Ten DVR staff members are a part of the center’s ADA Network. These staff members, primarily DVR Business Outreach Specialists, receive advanced training on the ADA and the Amendments Act and are available for training upon request. The Rocky Mountain ADA Center is committed to on-going training and collaboration holding bi-monthly network calls, annual national training sponsorships, and regular educational opportunities. Other Collaboration

•DVR has entered into a partnership with the Denver Zoological Foundation to provide work adjustment and vocational skills training, in a zoological setting, to DVR’s young consumers. It is anticipated that braiding of funds will continue in the future to support ongoing activities and possibly expansion of this effort. Similar opportunities have been created such as the collaborative relationship with Sunny Acres, a senior community, which provides adjustment and training opportunities in housekeeping, grounds maintenance, kitchen and dining work, clerical and personal care.

•In Fort Collins, DVR staff meets regularly with the Veterans Administration to create employment opportunities for disabled veterans. In addition, each staff member is assigned as a liaison to work closely with a major agency such as the local workforce center boards, local mental health agencies, local school districts, etc.

•A number of agencies and workgroups and regional staff have developed grant proposals, and implemented new grants that have expanded services to persons with disabilities. In the past these have included:

-the United Cerebral Palsy Association, which has two Projects with Industry Grants -the Colorado Deaf/Blind Network -the Deafness-developmental Disability Workgroup -Shalom -Platte River Industries, and -the Brain Injury Association of Colorado.

DVR continues to keep an eye on innovative grant opportunities to help participants reach successful employment outcomes. DVR is currently exploring possibilities such as The PROMIS Grant and The ADD Grant.

•DVR also has relationships with:

-the Division for Developmental Disabilities -local Community Centered Boards -the School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) -the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC) -The Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council, etc.

•DVR also works closely with the following agencies:

-National Federation for the Blind -Cerebral Palsy of Colorado -Craig Hospital -Mi Casa -The Women’s Bean Project -Bayaud Industries -Goodwill Industries -Aspen Diversified, and -Other NISH contractors, hospital indigent programs, and substance abuse treatment centers.

•Chamber of Commerce memberships are being used by some DVR field offices to generate relationships with more local employers. DVR anticipates more field offices to become members of their local Chambers of Commerce.

•DVR counselors working with the deaf and hard of hearing work closely with:

-The Colorado Commission of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing -the deaf program at the Independent Living Center in Colorado Springs - Domestic Violence Ended (DOVE) -the Mental Health Center of Denver’s deaf program -Marion Downs -the Assistive Technology Program -Light House -Helen Keller Institute -Mid America Regional Interpreter Education Center -Local high schools deaf programs, transition teams and special education staff, and others.

•In addition, counselors for the deaf and hard of hearing also work closely with the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind’s Bridges to Life program. This is a transition program that teaches teens to live independently, how to make friends and “date” appropriately, how to budget, and much more. This program also partners with the Department of Education, DVR and Pikes Peak Community College to assist the teens in taking introductory courses that meet their needs.

•All counselors and local supervisors have increased interactions with all vendors of services due to the Division’s Provider Agreement requirement. Working with vendors to identify their credentials and types of services available, will give clients more information to make better-informed choices about the services and vendors they choose to work with.

There are no special programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or State use contracting programs operating outside of the statewide workforce investment system in any part of Colorado.

This screen was last updated on Jul 16 2012 4:59PM by sacodesmedte

  • 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.

ATTACHMENT 4.8 (b)(2)

Coordination with Education Officials

FY 2013

Coordination with Education Officials

Since 1985, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) has participated with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), as well as with local school districts and Boards of Cooperative Education, in supporting a comprehensive transition planning and service delivery process for youth with disabilities. DVR has organized a Youth Services and Transition Unit within Administration falling under the leadership of the Deputy Director of Field Services. This Unit is responsible for assuring the quality provision of vocational rehabilitation to Colorado’s youth with disabilities.

DVR continues to monitor and assure implementation of the state-level agreement between DVR and CDE. This agreement promote flexible and collaborative planning and service delivery among DVR, local education agencies and local school districts, and other state and community agencies for youth transitioning from school to work and/or post-school activities which will lead to employment. It promotes accessible, timely and uniform vocational rehabilitation services for all Colorado students who have a disability and require VR services. Additionally, it encourages education agencies to develop, implement and promote pre-vocational services and career exploration for students with disabilities prior to referral to DVR. Finally, it assures that VR services complement services provided by education agencies, and that the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for students who are eligible for VR services will be developed and approved before these students leave the school setting (or if Colorado DVR is operating under an order of selection, before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting). The key tenets of this agreement have been developed into a desktop guide, which is updated regularly entitled, the “CDE/DVR Cooperative Services Handbook for Youth in Transition.” Thousands of these handbooks are distributed annually to youth, parents, educations, VR counselors and community-based agency providers.

Each year, we strive to include DVR and Education staff in ongoing activities which promote a seamless transition for youth exiting out of education into the adult world of employment. As we move forward into the upcoming federal fiscal year, training will be made available trough a variety of modalities depending upon the identified needs of local partners. Within the current fiscal year, both DVR and CDE had the opportunity to participate in teleconference, intranet and in person training to address the need for foundational information pertaining to the roles and responsibilities of our partnership. Additionally, a series of transition modules are being presented to all DVR Counselors to ensure a working knowledge of the law, transition 101, working with youth and how to read school records. These transition modules will become part of the new staff orientation and be made available later next year on DVR’s intranet for staff to access. Endeavors to cross train staff will continue to aid in greater awareness and understanding of service delivery and how each partner’s efforts can compliment one another for better student outcomes. DVR works in conjunction with CDE to align training allowing us to model in the field our expectations for collaboration. This approach to cross training advances local procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities. For example, DVR continues to participate in annual regional cadre meetings facilitated by CDE to reinforce the continuum and linkages to adult services.

DVR plays an integral role in annual institutes facilitated by CDE for local education teams to elevate awareness and expand our presence within education. The purpose of the institutes is to improve the quality of services in the area of secondary special education and transition services at the local level through knowledge, capacity building, dissemination and outreach with over site from the National Secondary Transition /Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC). Efforts focus on improving indicator outcomes resulting in effective transition practices for youth with disabilities both at the state and local levels. DVR commits content experts, technical assistance to local teams and counselors to aid in linkages.

Together with CDE, DVR takes an active role in state youth groups/committees promoting ongoing collaboration between community agencies in the provision of comprehensive transition services. Our ongoing participation in such groups promotes better coordination of services and shared resources at both the state and local levels. It enables us to participate in the development of processes, procedures, guidelines and practices for more effective transitioning planning and services. As described below, we will continue to partner with those groups which are of value.

During the past three years, DVR has furthered their involvement with the Advisory committee on Homeless Youth (ACHY). DVR actively elevates awareness to the issue of homelessness which impacts young adults with disabilities adversely affecting their ability to access services and ultimately become contributors to the success of Colorado’s workforce. At the state level DVR has a presence on the Advisory Committee on Homeless Youth (ACHY”) and support working, local relationships between DVR counselors, School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) providers and the educational liaison for this population. Annually, we endorse the Homeless and Runaway Youth Awareness Month in November by supporting local events state wide, promoting the Green Light Project, collecting essential hygiene products so youth can be job ready. DVR will continue to maintain an active role in promoting access to vocational rehabilitation services for youth with disabilities who are homeless by participating at the state level in ACHY and disseminating information to local DVR offices and partners.

Individuals ages 15-19 are one of the highest at risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and when acquired, these youth and their families struggle with unexpected challenges including how to navigate adult service systems. Collaborating with the TBI Trust Fund has provided a means to help families and medical service providers to understand both education and adult employment systems ultimately better preparing youth to identify and receive the support they need to secure employment. DVR and education partnered to present at the 2011 National TBI Conference in Denver where training was provided to families, service providers and medical professionals designed to lessen the gap between education and employment for youth with TBI. These efforts will continue to expand at the state level through future training by requests such as the Tri-County Health Center and the Latino Chamber of Commerce.

In 2008, the Colorado General assembly created the Colorado Autism Commission in order to obtain additional information on people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the State, which DVR was invited to participate. The Commission was tasked with identifying existing services and the gaps in these services as experienced by the ASD community and to determine appropriate actions to remedy these shortcomings through the preparation of a Ten Year Strategic plan. Efforts on the Autism Commission are being further explored through Ad-Hoc groups. DVR continues to participate by representing adult services in the Ad-Hoc group which promotes education to family members, service providers and other professionals about issues which impact the life of younger individuals with ASD existing from the K-12 education system into the adult world, including employment. This year efforts were explored and will continue to identify effective ways to prepare family members for the transition and how we can be effective at helping them understand adult service options.

The Mental Health Advisory Council recognizes the growing need of youth with mental health disabilities exiting the school system and preparing to enter employment as a population needing expanded efforts. DVR and our CDE counterparts contribute time and support to the subcommittee Under 26 Transition Work Group that along with representatives from other stakeholders combined their efforts to provide a four-part interactive webinar series this fiscal year to address what works for youth in transition ages 14 - 25.

Colorado was awarded a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) in 2010, which will expire in 2012. One purpose of the MIG is to support the implementation of Colorado’s Medicaid Buy-In Program (MBI) for working adults (ages 16 – 64) with disabilities. The MBI will impact the transition of youth from post secondary as well as those exiting out of high school and entering the work force, once implemented making it important for DVR to promote information about MIG to youth and their families to ensure they are informed of their choices as it pertains to work and benefits. Other efforts linked to the MIG include expanding DVR’s website to include a page for transitioning youth on those resources which commonly impact employment decisions, and to serve as a resource bank for related education staff unable to leave their classrooms to identify community linkages which they must make for existing youth. Working within our agency, this webpage is anticipated to be available for the upcoming school year (2012-2013) and will be maintained by the Youth Services and Transition Unit.

DVR has a designated position that is responsible to establish and build working relationships with federal agencies in order to learn about their hiring needs and promote filling those vacancies with qualified people with disabilities. This position, the Federal Business Outreach Specialist, works closely with the field to make available information pertaining to openings which are youth specific. This year, through the Federal Business Outreach Specialist’s contacts preparations were explored and will be implemented in the new fiscal year for DVR’s first Project SEARCH site with the Department of Reclamation. Project SEARCH High School Transition Program is a unique, business led, one year school –to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and hands-on training through worksite rotations. This program will open new opportunities for youth who require more supported employment for those youth diagnosed with chronic mental illness, autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities. As this newly formed partnership is beginning, DVR’s Youth Services and Transition Unit will remain involved as they explore the possibilities of expanding the project state wide.

In collaboration with Hands On Education Services, Inc., DVR’s Federal Business Outreach Specialist explored and brought to Colorado this unique program and partnership with Hyatt. Hands On Education is for those individuals who are too high functioning for intensive supportive employment, but may not qualify for a traditional training program due to their disability related impediments. The program is ideal for anyone who requires or would benefit from a short-term training program making it an excellent training alternative for many youth existing high school special education programs. Colorado’s efforts to build upon this working relationship for career entry outcomes for our youth will continue.

DVR has maintained an average of forty School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) sites. These forty sites involve approximately 150 of Colorado’s 178 school districts. SWAP services over 2,500 youth annually, and is a collaborative initiative between DVR and local school districts, which is supported by CDE. The purpose of SWAP is to provide successful employment outcomes, increased community linkages and new patterns of services for youth with disabilities who are eligible VR consumers. Colorado anticipates moving into next year with thirty-eight sites and over 140 school districts.

DVR continues to maintain memberships on the Colorado State Youth Council (SYC), which is a subcommittee of the Colorado Workforce Development Board. One goal of the SYC is to identify and support existing strategies, practices and projects that demonstrate success, and to augment and place successful practices throughout Colorado. Each year, local communities are invited to submit local promising practices to the SYC that effectively address the needs of youth who are transitioning into adulthood. Submissions are scored against the National Center on Workforce and Disability’s (NCSD) evidence-based Design Guideposts for Success. These are: school preparation; youth development and leadership; career preparation; connecting activities; and family involvement and supports. The SYC recognizes selected promising practices every other year at the Think Big Youth Forum. The Think Big Youth Forum is sponsored by the SYC, the Colorado Department of Labor, the Office of Workforce Development, the Colorado Department of Education and DVR. The Youth Forum brings together statewide youth practitioners from vocational rehabilitation, education and workforce development for two days of professional development. The promising practices recognized at the Forum are highlighted and receive a monetary award to further the efforts of the practice or program.

DVR has partnered, and will continue to partner, with local school districts and the Denver Zoological Foundation to provide horticultural and zoological training and work experiences to students with disabilities. The benefits of providing work based learning for youth is evident as youth identify career interest, skills and abilities, learn about work place expectations and job requirements which improve post school outcomes. As a result, additional work experience opportunities for youth are being explored around the state by partnering with local employers, workforce centers, education and DVR. Currently, we have several ongoing hand-on paid work experiences in employment settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and gardening centers. DVR anticipates continuation of this type of collaboration.

DVR participates as an active member of the Colorado/Wyoming Consortium of Disability Service Providers. This Consortium boasts membership from all Colorado and most Wyoming institutions of higher education as well as from CDE. This group has worked to develop disability documentation and accommodation guidelines that support an informed transition by youth with disabilities and their families, from the secondary into the post-secondary setting. Additionally, this group holds professional development workshops on a regular basis.

In addition to collaborating with CDE to host training activities, DVR and CDE present jointly throughout the state at conferences, training events and workshops. For example, counselors attend job and resource fairs, back-to-school nights, and parent-teacher conference nights. They present information about DVR at residential treatment centers, residential childcare facilitates and at teacher in-service events. DVR plans to continue these types of outreach, education and consultation activities with our school partners for the purpose of providing consultation and technical assistance to assist them as they plan the transition of students with disabilities form school to post-school services, including vocational rehabilitation. DVR developed and annually updates an outreach and presentation toolkit for DVR counselors who are working with school districts, youth and parents. In the upcoming fiscal year, education and DVR will take steps to insure there is an effective and consistent referral process in place for all youth between our agencies at the local level. In collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), the Youth Services and Transition Unit are working to design a working agreement template for DVR Supervisors to use when partnering with their area districts/BOCES. This working agreement will define responsibilities of DVR and of education in providing transition services to minimize duplication, to ensure access to services for youth and to support ongoing and effective working relationships. As part of this endeavor, due to staff turn over, local contact information for an identified DVR and district liaison will be made available and kept current on the state websites for easy access.

DVR continues to be actively involved in Colorado’s Disability Mentoring Day. Disability Mentoring Day promotes career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through job shadowing and hands-on career exploration.

The DVR Youth Services and Transition Unit will continue to be available as a resource for the State Independent Living Council (SILC) and any work they may do in the upcoming year to provide and increase transition services to youth. Ongoing involvement in this initiative, and the role that DVR could play, will continue to be explored.

This fiscal year, DVR attempted to take advantage of the opportunity to design and implement statewide model demonstration projects through partnerships in employment that stimulate and advance system change in order to expand competitive employment in integrated settings for youth and young adults with developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities by applying for the Administration of Developmental Disabilities Employment Systems Change Grant (ADD Grant). Although we were not among the recipients to be awarded the ADD Grant, DVR and its partners were not deterred and began looking for other funding opportunities to aid in meeting the needs of young people with disabilities enter and succeed in competitive, integrated employment. As we enter into the new fiscal year, partners are once again coming together to explore the PROMISE grant, an interagency effort to improve outcomes for children, and the families of children, receiving Supplemental security Income (SSI) benefits. The request for application for PROMISE is due out later next year.

DVR and Education have entered into an interagency agreement to help guide the provision of transition services in Colorado, which has been done at the state level. This agreement defines the responsibilities of VR and of education in providing transition services to minimize duplication, to ensure access to services for youth and to support ongoing and effective working relationships. The agreement also generated the development of the Cooperative Services Handbook for Youth in Transition, a supplemental to the interagency agreement. Both the agreement and handbook help partners to identify roles and responsibilities, understand each system’s financial responsibilities and discuss the provision for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsibilities for transition services. This information is reinforced through ongoing training with partners from both education and DVR.

To see agreement and handbook, go to http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdesped/download/pdf/CoopSvcsHndbk_YouthTrans.pdf

This screen was last updated on Jul 16 2012 5:12PM by sacodesmedte

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 Non-Profit Organizations

FY 2013

Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers

DVR currently has few formal cooperative agreements with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers.

DVR does administer two programs mandated by Title VII of the Act:

•the Colorado Independent Living Core Services (CILCS) program and •the Older Individuals who are Blind (OIB) program.

Both programs are currently run out of Colorado’s statewide network of nine Centers for Independent Living (Centers), which provide services to individuals with significant disabilities who face barriers to living self-directed lives in their communities.

Under the CILCS program, Centers provide independent living skills training, individual and systems advocacy, peer counseling, assistance with social security applications, transportation, housing and many other services that support consumers to set and achieve their goals of living independently in their community. This diverse and extensive list of service types allows Centers to provide the holistic support that many consumers with significant disabilities may need.

The OIB program serves people who are 55 and older who are blind or have impairments to their vision. Consumers tend to be people who are experiencing vision loss from age-related factors and who are concerned about losing independence, either in their home or in their community. The OIB program helps consumers learn new skills and identify community resources that will support their participation in full, independent lives. The OIB program is funded through an RFP process to eligible vendors across the State in a three year grant cycle

In addition, DVR has a Traumatic Brain Injury program which has agreements with two non-profit agencies. The first is with Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado to complete intakes and eligibilities for the TBI program. The second is with Denver Options who serve as Care Coordinators for adults with brain injury, serving approximately 700 individuals annually statewide.

Private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers have been and continue to be a long-standing resource used by the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to obtain necessary services for its consumers. DVR also works cooperatively with CP of Colorado with the Community Work Incentive Coordinators.

Cooperative relationships between DVR and providers of vocational rehabilitation services are formalized through a written Provider Agreement. The Provider Agreement process is designed to assure adherence to three procurement requirements:

•That all qualified vendors have the opportunity to compete for business with DVR if they choose, and •That all vendors will be treated equitably and will be paid for their services in accordance with a standard method of rate setting procedures, and •That there will always be a written contract in place when annual expenditures to any vendor reach $25,000, as required by State Law, while assuring continuity of service provision to consumers.

This effort has resulted in a consistent structure for establishing working relationships with service providers throughout the state and at the same time helps assure equitable payment across providers for the same types of services at the least possible cost.

Our provider agreement system is market-based, meaning that services are purchased based on competitive market rates instead of provider costs. The procedures require a vendor to complete the DVR Provider Agreement form that serves to register them as potential provider of specific services. Subsequent services purchased by DVR are limited to those identified on the agreement for which the vendor is registered.

Execution of the Provider Agreement obligates vendors to meet certain qualifications related to standards that have been developed by DVR for the provision of specific services. Vendors also agree to abide by the established payment procedures and rates for each service DVR might purchase. Registration as a DVR vendor does not obligate vendors to provide services to DVR consumers nor does it obligate DVR to purchase services from any given vendor. Initial approval of the Provider Agreement, once signed by the vendor, is done at the local DVR field office. Approval then goes to DVR’s staff authorized to sign provider agreements under contract waiver H1115. This method encourages the DVR field office and the service provider to establish a strong understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities in the provision of services to consumers. It also puts the responsibility on the DVR field office supervisor to review the agreement for consistency between services offered and appropriate compliance with standards and credentials prior to their approval. Specific services identified on the Individual Plan for Employment are authorized by DVR counselors.

DVR believes that these procedures help ensure that adequate contracting procedures are used and certify that:

•Purchases of services and goods maximize the efficient and effective use of public funds, and

•Services and goods will only be purchased from qualified providers, and

•All vendors who wish to provide services to DVR consumers have the opportunity to do so and are subject to a consistent set of terms and conditions, and

•Most importantly, DVR’s consumers will have a wide range of options to choose from when selecting service providers.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 10:43AM by sacodesmedte

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

FY 2013 Evidence of Collaboration Regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), Office of Workforce Development, the Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC), Mental Health Service Organizations, Division for Developmental Disabilities (DDD), Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) and employers have an extensive history of collaborative and cooperative efforts to provide supported employment opportunities in Colorado for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

The 1998 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 further emphasizes the need for state agencies and other entities to develop innovative cooperative agreements as a strategy to leverage State/Federal dollars and encourage inter-agency cooperation. Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation believes that expansion of supported employment to all individuals needing supports to maintain competitive, integrated employment cannot be accomplished without such collaborative efforts.

DVR maintains a formal statewide intra-agency agreement with Division of Behavioral Health (DBH). This agreement identifies plans for the provision of supported employment services for individuals with mental illness and considered to have a most significant disability. The agreement provides for collaboration in the provision of supported employment services, identifies specific services to be provided, provisions for training and technical assistance, responsibilities of each agency, standards of performance, and methods to evaluate performance. The agreement is reviewed annually and amended when appropriate.

Division for Developmental Disabilities (DDD), Department of Human Services

DVR and DDD continue to work in collaboration to effectively plan and coordinate provision of supported employment services to individuals with the most significant developmental disabilities by the DDD community services agencies and DVR to avoid duplication of services and, thereby, maximize available resources. As a result of this collaboration, much has been achieved in making community-based, integrated employment available for persons with developmental disabilities.

Within this collaborative relationship, DVR is responsible for the provision of supported employment services, including, but not limited to, job coaching. However, due to the expertise and proven history of DDD in training individuals with the most significant developmental disabilities, the local DDD community service provider is typically used by the rehabilitation counselor to provide such training and other supported employment services.

The DDD community service provider must be registered with DVR to be able to provide supported employment services to DVR consumers. Services are purchased in accordance with DVR’s fee schedule and service providers must meet the standards and credentials as required for the provision of specified supported employment services. Systems have been designed to encourage local level development of supported employment strategies between all DVR field offices and DDD supported employment service providers.

Division of Behavioral Health, Department of Human Services Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) have maintained a formal intra-agency agreement to provide vocational services to individuals with the most significant mental health disabilities. This agreement represents a collaborative effort to increase access to quality vocational services and to ensure the availability of supported employment opportunities for individuals with the most significant disabilities due to mental illness.

The agreement stipulates collaborative planning and coordination of services by the local mental health centers, private agencies, and rehabilitation offices to eliminate duplication of services and maximize available resources. It also contains provisions for purchase of supported employment services, including transitional employment services. Such services are only purchased from vendors approved by both DBH and DVR, such as mental health centers, and community-based programs. However, the rehabilitation counselor and consumer are responsible for determining the appropriate services and developing the supported employment Individualized Plan for Employment. Service providers must be registered with DVR to provide supported employment services under the DVR/DBH cooperative agreement.

Improvements have been realized in interagency planning, training, information sharing, and resolving mutual programmatic and procedural concerns. There has been ongoing cooperation at the State level between DVR and DBH. The greatest challenge facing the supported employment program is to solidify adequate funding for the ongoing extended support services necessary to assist individuals with the most significant disabilities in maintaining community-based employment.

In Colorado, collaboration among relevant state agencies, private nonprofit organizations and other community resources for the provision of extended ongoing support services takes many forms, ranging from informally established local cooperative working relationships between direct providers and consumers of supported employment services to formally negotiated statewide agreements among State agencies. Informal working agreements are developed to coordinate activities, such as transition from intensive supported employment services to extended services, the types of extended services to be provided, identifying qualified individuals to provide extended support, and referral to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) for post-employment services.

The primary entities involved in these types of collaborative efforts are local rehabilitation offices, local school districts, Work Force Centers, independent living centers, local community rehabilitation programs, mental health centers, developmental disabilities service providers and other available service providers, including advocates and family members. In some locations, local consortiums have been formed, and some of these groups have received financial support from the local, State and/or Federal level. However, funding for extended support services is still insufficient in most local communities. Therefore, although supported employment depends on these informal collaborative efforts, more efforts are needed to enhance the availability of extended support services following completion of intensive supported employment services authorized under Titles I and VI, Part B of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

Due to recommendations by RSA in their last site visit beginning July 1, 2012, there will be 15 Mental Health Supported Employment Programs around the state to provide services to participants eligible for supported employment. The new process involves billing for services for individual eligible participants according to their needs. There are incentives for achieving successful outcomes. For participants living in areas where there is not an available program, DVR will utilize vendors for the time limited services and the Mental Health Centers have agreed to provide extended services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 1:08PM by sacodesmedte

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

ATTACHMENT 4.10

Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

FY 2013

Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

The Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) has a strong commitment to employing and retaining an adequate workforce of qualified vocational rehabilitation personnel, both professional and paraprofessional.

Collection and Analysis of Data

DVR currently has access to three existing data systems that identify the number of persons employed by DVR by personnel category. The primary one is maintained by the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Personnel Office. This is the database that maintains payroll information on employees, including their dates of hire, official job classifications, and home addresses. An additional spreadsheet is maintained internally within DVR by the Human Resource Specialist. It contains information on offices and regions to which staff are assigned, functional job titles, and other information about the position. Finally, DVR’s new electronic case management system, CO-AWARE, also contains staff information about positions to which employees are assigned. DVR uses a combination of these three data systems as well as supervisory records to continuously gather and analyze information about the qualifications of the 259 full time positions assigned to DVR staff.

Currently, 126.5 of the 259 positions are vocational rehabilitation counseling positions. The remaining 132.5 full time positions consist of 45.5 administrative assistants; 9 program assistants; 3 office managers; and 20 district and regional supervisors; 14 Business Outreach Specialists; 12 rehabilitation teachers and orientation and mobility instructors; 7 Business Enterprise staff and 20 central office administrative staff, 1 Assistive Technology Coordinator and 1 Assistive Technology Specialist.

DVR has determined that it needs all of the 259 appropriated Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions to effectively achieve its mission. At the current point in time, DVR has the following vacancies: 11 rehabilitation counseling positions; 4 administrative assistant positions, 1 Business Outreach Specialist position, and one central office administrative staff position.

The ratio of the number of vocational rehabilitation counselors to the number of consumers currently being served in applicant and active statuses (02 through 24, excluding 08) is approximately 1 vocational rehabilitation counselor for every 95 consumers. The ratio of vocational rehabilitation counselors to field support staff is approximately 3 to 1.

Projections of the number of individuals to be served, including those with significant disabilities, are based on projected increases for the general population and incidence rates for disabilities, using Colorado census data and State demographics. These projections, in combination with DVR attrition and retirement rates, are used to predict personnel needs for the next five years.

The rate of attrition of DVR staff averages about 10-12%, or approximately 25-30 staff per year. However, during the last fiscal year, four of DVR’s top management personnel (the administrator of field services and all three regional supervisors) retired. In addition, DVR leadership determined that a fourth regional supervisor should be added to the management team in order to better serve Colorado’s consumers and the district structure that exists across a geographically diverse state. These five management positions have since been filled, all with existing DVR staff, mostly from the district supervisory ranks as well as from one other management position. This, in turn, created a situation where DVR’s highest quality rehabilitation counselors competed for and have been promoted to fill those supervisory positions, consequently leaving those rehabilitation counselor positions open.

Given this unique situation as well as the more traditional personnel changes, it is projected that DVR will need to recruit approximately 50-65 new rehabilitation counselors during the next three years. In addition, DVR anticipates the need to continue to recruit high quality support staff; approximately 15 during the next three years given the average attrition rate for the agency.

Personnel Standards

Colorado does not have state-approved or state-recognized certification, licensing or registration requirements for many of the personnel classifications used by DVR, specifically rehabilitation counselors. In collaboration with Colorado’s Department of Personnel and Administration, DVR has worked this year to clarify and refine the established minimum qualifications, ensuring that they are consistent with the highest entry-level academic degree (Master’s) needed for national level certification.

One of the levels at which rehabilitation counselors can be recruited is the Rehabilitation Intern level. The minimum qualifications for this classification requires a Master’s degree but allows for a substitution of a Bachelor’s degree combined with a specific duration of work experience in the field of serving individuals with disabilities. Once an individual is hired into this position, he or she is given a total of five years after employment to complete the necessary coursework or accrue the necessary employment experience to meet the minimum qualifications of a rehabilitation counselor I position. When necessary, recruiting at this level can bring in individuals from diverse backgrounds, allowing them to upgrade their qualifications while working under closer supervision. This option is especially useful in outlying areas of the state such as Alamosa and Sterling.

Minimum Counselor Qualifications

REHABILITATION COUNSELOR I: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from a program fully accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) OR: Possession of a current Commission on Rehabilitation Counseling Certification credential (CRCC)

OR: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master’s degree in Counseling, Psychology, Special Education, Social Work, Behavioral Science, Disability Studies or closely related human services field AND two (2) years of experience working directly with individuals who have disabilities providing services appropriate to the work assignment.

REHABILITATION COUNSELOR INTERN: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master’s Degree in one of the following: Counseling, Rehabilitation Teaching, Education, Orientation and Mobility, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Behavioral Science, Human Services, or closely related human services field. Substitution: Bachelor’s Degree in a Human Services related field plus 2 (two) years of experience working directly with individuals who have disabilities. Condition of Employment: Agreement to complete additional educational and work requirements within 5 years of becoming a certified state employee.

DVR established expectations that all staff fully meet CSPD requirements through implementation of a CSPD tuition assistance policy in March of 2000 for those individuals who needed additional training in order to meet the established qualifications. The policy required staff who did not meet the standard to develop and implement individual education plans. These plans were phased in over several years, in order to spread out the costs and minimize the loss of productivity. The policy remains in effect currently and DVR provides full tuition assistance as well as purchasing of required books for those needing to take additional coursework.

When necessary, the Human Resource Development Specialist works with individuals and their supervisors to ensure that training plans are in place and implemented appropriately in order to meet CSPD requirements. In-Service Training funds are the primary source for any financial assistance that is provided to employees needing to upgrade their qualifications.

Every effort possible is made to recruit fully qualified staff. In the event someone is hired at the above-mentioned intern level, a specific plan for education and oversight is developed and implemented. It is anticipated that the Intern level will be used only when, due to special skills requirements (e.g., American Sign Language or Spanish) or geographic area, recruitment of individuals who fully meet the minimum qualifications of Rehabilitation Counselor I is not feasible or successful.

For vocational rehabilitation counselors who will be serving large numbers of consumers who are deaf, the hiring process includes an additional screening to evaluate their skills in American Sign Language communications. Orientation and mobility instructors and rehabilitation teachers also must meet the minimum qualifications established and outlined above as their technical classification within the Department’s personnel system is Rehabilitation Counselor.

Current Status of Qualified Personnel

DVR first established policy to require all DVR rehabilitation counselors to meet minimum qualifications in 2000. At that time, DVR established a target 5 year period by which all existing rehabilitation counselors would meet the requirement. Since attaining that target, DVR has maintained the established minimum qualifications for newly hired staff in collaboration with the Department’s Division of Human Resources.

In the rare instances when DVR has had to hire an individual at the Rehabilitation Counselor Intern level, those individuals have been given five years after their training/probationary year to fully meet the qualifications for a Rehabilitation Counselor I position.

Of the 113.5 individuals currently in filled rehabilitation counselor positions within DVR (there are currently 11 vacant rehabilitation counseling positions), 2 individuals are currently categorized as rehabilitation interns and are working on completing their masters degrees and are enrolled in CORE accredited programs. In addition, DVR currently has two rehabilitation counselors with CSPD plans to specialize in vision rehabilitation therapy and orientation and mobility.

Coordination with Institutions of Higher Education

Colorado currently has only one educational program that specifically prepares vocational rehabilitation professionals. The University of Northern Colorado (UNC), which is located in Greeley, operates a Master’s level program that prepares vocational rehabilitation counselors. Graduates of the rehabilitation counseling program possess the credentials necessary to clearly meet the minimum qualifications for a Rehabilitation Counselor I position. Faculty at UNC indicates that there are approximately 24 individuals currently enrolled in their graduate level Rehabilitation Counseling programs and 6 who graduated with Master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling in May, 2011. UNC reports they currently have eight new students starting their program in the Fall of 2012.

In addition, DVR maintains an ongoing relationship with several other CORE accredited Rehabilitation Counseling programs including Utah State University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Kentucky and San Diego State University, University of Wisconsin Stout and Hunter College. All of these programs offer distance education programs and are especially convenient for staff who work in areas of the State that are beyond commuting distance from the UNC program in Greeley, as well as for those whose disabilities limit their mobility.

The Division also works to coordinate with several other institutions of higher education across Colorado that offer Master’s level degrees in counseling and counseling-related areas. Individuals obtaining this level of degree, when combined with the appropriate acceptable work experience, meet the minimum qualifications as well. One example of this includes Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. Adams State caters to many of Colorado’s rural areas and offers a master’s program in community counseling from which several current staff have graduated. Adams State location in the San Luis Valley, an area of the state with a high representation of individuals of Hispanic background, helps to increase the availability of individuals with minority backgrounds.

DVR’s plan for recruiting qualified personnel, including qualified individuals from minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities, includes collaboration with all of the relevant educational programs mentioned above as well as several additional graduate programs with programs in vocational rehabilitation. DVR also recruits using the Utah State University Clearinghouse website to post counselor openings.

The state of Colorado continues to approve a waiver to DVR to enable the hiring of qualified counselors from outside of the state. This is extremely beneficial in recruiting efforts. Additionally, during the past six months, DVR’s Employee Council members have been instrumental in establishing a list of appropriate training institutions and their associated contact details and reaching out to these institutions in a structured manner to specifically recruit for Rehabilitation Counselor positions.

DVR believes that the private sector is another good resource for recruiting experienced, competent staff. Through its relationships with various professional associations for counseling and other disciplines, DVR maintains a network for recruiting vocational rehabilitation counselors who have experience in the private sector.

Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is an expectation for supervisors and is reflected in their performance plans. This has proven to be an effective tool in balancing the diversity of staff to represent all consumers. DVR is also in a position to offer all accommodations necessary to recruit and retain qualified staff with disabilities who may need accommodations to successfully compete for and do their job when hired.

DVR believes strongly in being able to provide quality services to everyone who applies for vocational rehabilitation services. Consequently, DVR strives to meet the communication needs of all participants. Following is a graph comparing the current ethnic population distribution as reported by the United States (U.S.), State of Colorado, and DVR participants.

Communication with Diverse Populations

Race U.S. CO DVR Statistics Statistics Statistics One race 97.3% 96.6% 79.6%

White 74.2% 83.3% 73.8%

Black 12.6% 3.9% 6.7%

American Indian or Alaskan 0.8% 1.0% 2.4%

Asian 1.8% 2.6% 1.1%

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0.2% 0.1% 0.3%

Other 4.8% 5.6% -

Two or more 2.7% 3.4% 20.4%

Hispanic or Latino 16.4% 20.8% 15.7%

Data obtained from American Community Survey 2010 Data and from DVR 911 reports

This data indicates that compared to the American Community Survey 2010 data, Colorado DVR is currently serving:

-72% more black/African Americans than the average population of Black/African Americans reported as living in Colorado -140% more American Indian or Alaskans than the average population of American Indian or Alaskans reported as living in Colorado -200% more Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander participants than the average population of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander reported as living in Colorado

At the present time, at least 30% of DVR’s field offices have one or more staff members who speak fluent Spanish. All offices in the areas with a high Hispanic population have at least one staff member who is also Hispanic. Other staff members have completed intensive Spanish-language training programs, with the goal of achieving a functional level of fluency. DVR also have staff members who speak a variety of other languages, such as German, Afrikaans, Swahili, Flemish, Dutch, Greek and Polish.

In addition, all offices have access to translation resources. DVR is located in an office within the Department’s organizational structure that also includes the Division of Refugee Services and is working in close collaboration with that Division to capitalize on the knowledge, expertise and resources available to provide the best possible rehabilitation services to common consumers.

All communities with a significantly large population of individuals who are deaf are assigned at least one staff member who is proficient in American Sign Language. In the past when none of the applicants for the position possessed sign language skills, the individual who was hired was sent to the intensive sign language training program for vocational rehabilitation counselors for the deaf out of state. This training was supplemented with classroom instruction in sign language.

There are approximately seven community-based organizations throughout Colorado that provide interpreting services as well as numerous private vendors. Offices without staff members who can interpret have local agreements with these organizations and individuals to provide interpreting services.

Approximately 10 students are currently enrolled in the Interpreter Preparation Program at Front Range Community College in Westminster Colorado which is in the northern part of Colorado. In addition, 8 students graduated from the Sign Language Interpreter Preparation Program at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs in May 2012, which serves the more southern areas of Colorado. Regis University in Denver, Colorado is just beginning to offer a Bachelor’s of Applied Science degree with a Community Interpreting Specialization as well. This is expected to sufficiently address future interpreter needs.

Every DVR office in the State has access to a telephone relay service available through Colorado’s local telephone provider and those offices that serve a high number of individuals who are deaf are equipped with video relay equipment.

The capacity to provide materials in Braille is available through equipment located in the Colorado Springs and Denver Metro Offices. Additional needs are addressed through the Boulder Public Library and private transcribers. This has been adequately meeting the current level of need. Many consumers, at this time, prefer materials electronically, and this is accommodated routinely. Materials are also routinely made available in large print.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Rehabilitation Counselors 127 11 63
2 Administrative Assistants 46 4 23
3 Program Assistants 9 0 5
4 Office Managers 3 0 2
5 District/Regional Supervisors 20 0 10
6 Business Outreach Specialists 14 1 7
7 Rehab Teacher/Orientation & Mobility Instructor 14 0 7
8 Business Enterprise Staff 7 0 4
9 Central Office Administration Staff 20 1 10
10 0 0 0

 

Collection and Analysis of Data

DVR currently has access to three existing data systems that identify the number of persons employed by DVR by personnel category. The primary one is maintained by the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Personnel Office. This is the database that maintains payroll information on employees, including their dates of hire, official job classifications, and home addresses. An additional spreadsheet is maintained internally within DVR by the Human Resource Specialist. It contains information on offices and regions to which staff are assigned, functional job titles, and other information about the position. Finally, DVR’s new electronic case management system, CO-AWARE, also contains staff information about positions to which employees are assigned. DVR uses a combination of these three data systems as well as supervisory records to continuously gather and analyze information about the qualifications of the 259 full time positions assigned to DVR staff.

Currently, 126.5 of the 259 positions are vocational rehabilitation counseling positions. The remaining 132.5 full time positions consist of 45.5 administrative assistants; 9 program assistants; 3 office managers; and 20 district and regional supervisors; 14 Business Outreach Specialists; 12 rehabilitation teachers and orientation and mobility instructors; 7 Business Enterprise staff and 20 central office administrative staff, 1 Assistive Technology Coordinator and 1 Assistive Technology Specialist.

DVR has determined that it needs all of the 259 appropriated Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions to effectively achieve its mission. At the current point in time, DVR has the following vacancies: 11 rehabilitation counseling positions; 4 administrative assistant positions, 1 Business Outreach Specialist position, and one central office administrative staff position.

The ratio of the number of vocational rehabilitation counselors to the number of consumers currently being served in applicant and active statuses (02 through 24, excluding 08) is approximately 1 vocational rehabilitation counselor for every 95 consumers. The ratio of vocational rehabilitation counselors to field support staff is approximately 3 to 1.

Projections of the number of individuals to be served, including those with significant disabilities, are based on projected increases for the general population and incidence rates for disabilities, using Colorado census data and State demographics. These projections, in combination with DVR attrition and retirement rates, are used to predict personnel needs for the next five years.

The rate of attrition of DVR staff averages about 10-12%, or approximately 25-30 staff per year. However, during the last fiscal year, four of DVR’s top management personnel (the administrator of field services and all three regional supervisors) retired. In addition, DVR leadership determined that a fourth regional supervisor should be added to the management team in order to better serve Colorado’s consumers and the district structure that exists across a geographically diverse state. These five management positions have since been filled, all with existing DVR staff, mostly from the district supervisory ranks as well as from one other management position. This, in turn, created a situation where DVR’s highest quality rehabilitation counselors competed for and have been promoted to fill those supervisory positions, consequently leaving those rehabilitation counselor positions open.

Given this unique situation as well as the more traditional personnel changes, it is projected that DVR will need to recruit approximately 50 new rehabilitation counselors during the next three years. In addition, DVR anticipates the need to continue to recruit high quality support staff; approximately 15 during the next three years given the average attrition rate for the agency.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 University of Northern Colorado - Rehab Counseling 24 1 0 6
2 University of Kentucky - Rehab Counseling 0 1 0 0
3 Hunter College - RT/OM 0 2 0 0
4 Front Range CC/Sign Language Interpreter Program 10 0 0 8
5 Pikes Peak CC/Sign Language Interpretrer Program 0 0 0 8

 

Current Status of Qualified Personnel

DVR first established policy to require all DVR rehabilitation counselors to meet minimum qualifications in 2000. At that time, DVR established a target 5 year period by which all existing rehabilitation counselors would meet the requirement. Since attaining that target, DVR has maintained the established minimum qualifications for newly hired staff in collaboration with the Department’s Division of Human Resources.

In the rare instances when DVR has had to hire an individual at the Rehabilitation Counselor Intern level, those individuals have been given five years after their training/probationary year to fully meet the qualifications for a Rehabilitation Counselor I position.

Of the 113.5 individuals currently in filled rehabilitation counselor positions within DVR (there are currently 11 vacant rehabilitation counseling positions), 2 individuals are currently categorized as rehabilitation interns and are working on completing their masters degrees and are enrolled in CORE accredited programs. In addition, DVR currently has two rehabilitation counselors with CSPD plans to specialize in vision rehabilitation therapy and orientation and mobility.

Coordination with Institutions of Higher Education

Colorado currently has only one educational program that specifically prepares vocational rehabilitation professionals. The University of Northern Colorado (UNC), which is located in Greeley, operates a Master’s level program that prepares vocational rehabilitation counselors. Graduates of the rehabilitation counseling program possess the credentials necessary to clearly meet the minimum qualifications for a Rehabilitation Counselor I position. Faculty at UNC indicates that there are approximately 24 individuals currently enrolled in their graduate level Rehabilitation Counseling programs and 6 who graduated with Master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling in May, 2011. UNC reports they currently have eight new students starting their program in the Fall of 2012.

In addition, DVR maintains an ongoing relationship with several other CORE accredited Rehabilitation Counseling programs including Utah State University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Kentucky and San Diego State University, University of Wisconsin Stout and Hunter College. All of these programs offer distance education programs and are especially convenient for staff who work in areas of the State that are beyond commuting distance from the UNC program in Greeley, as well as for those whose disabilities limit their mobility.

The Division also works to coordinate with several other institutions of higher education across Colorado that offer Master’s level degrees in counseling and counseling-related areas. Individuals obtaining this level of degree, when combined with the appropriate acceptable work experience, meet the minimum qualifications as well. One example of this includes Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. Adams State caters to many of Colorado’s rural areas and offers a master’s program in community counseling from which several current staff have graduated. Adams State location in the San Luis Valley, an area of the state with a high representation of individuals of Hispanic background, helps to increase the availability of individuals with minority backgrounds.

DVR’s plan for recruiting qualified personnel, including qualified individuals from minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities, includes collaboration with all of the relevant educational programs mentioned above as well as several additional graduate programs with programs in vocational rehabilitation. DVR also recruits using the Utah State University Clearinghouse website to post counselor openings.

The state of Colorado continues to approve a waiver to DVR to enable the hiring of qualified counselors from outside of the state. This is extremely beneficial in recruiting efforts. Additionally, during the past six months, DVR’s Employee Council members have been instrumental in establishing a list of appropriate training institutions and their associated contact details and reaching out to these institutions in a structured manner to specifically recruit for Rehabilitation Counselor positions.

DVR believes that the private sector is another good resource for recruiting experienced, competent staff. Through its relationships with various professional associations for counseling and other disciplines, DVR maintains a network for recruiting vocational rehabilitation counselors who have experience in the private sector.

Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is an expectation for supervisors and is reflected in their performance plans. This has proven to be an effective tool in balancing the diversity of staff to represent all consumers. DVR is also in a position to offer all accommodations necessary to recruit and retain qualified staff with disabilities who may need accommodations to successfully compete for and do their job when hired.

 

Personnel Standards

Colorado does not have state-approved or state-recognized certification, licensing or registration requirements for many of the personnel classifications used by DVR, specifically rehabilitation counselors. In collaboration with Colorado’s Department of Personnel and Administration, DVR has worked this year to clarify and refine the established minimum qualifications, ensuring that they are consistent with the highest entry-level academic degree (Master’s) needed for national level certification.

One of the levels at which rehabilitation counselors can be recruited is the Rehabilitation Intern level. The minimum qualifications for this classification requires a Master’s degree but allows for a substitution of a Bachelor’s degree combined with a specific duration of work experience in the field of serving individuals with disabilities. Once an individual is hired into this position, he or she is given a total of five years after employment to complete the necessary coursework or accrue the necessary employment experience to meet the minimum qualifications of a rehabilitation counselor I position. When necessary, recruiting at this level can bring in individuals from diverse backgrounds, allowing them to upgrade their qualifications while working under closer supervision. This option is especially useful in outlying areas of the state such as Alamosa and Sterling.

Minimum Counselor Qualifications

REHABILITATION COUNSELOR I: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from a program fully accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) OR: Possession of a current Commission on Rehabilitation Counseling Certification credential (CRCC)

OR: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master’s degree in Counseling, Psychology, Special Education, Social Work, Behavioral Science, Disability Studies or closely related human services field AND two (2) years of experience working directly with individuals who have disabilities providing services appropriate to the work assignment.

REHABILITATION COUNSELOR INTERN: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master’s Degree in one of the following: Counseling, Rehabilitation Teaching, Education, Orientation and Mobility, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Behavioral Science, Human Services, or closely related human services field. Substitution: Bachelor’s Degree in a Human Services related field plus 2 (two) years of experience working directly with individuals who have disabilities. Condition of Employment: Agreement to complete additional educational and work requirements within 5 years of becoming a certified state employee.

DVR established expectations that all staff fully meet CSPD requirements through implementation of a CSPD tuition assistance policy in March of 2000 for those individuals who needed additional training in order to meet the established qualifications. The policy required staff who did not meet the standard to develop and implement individual education plans. These plans were phased in over several years, in order to spread out the costs and minimize the loss of productivity. The policy remains in effect currently and DVR provides full tuition assistance as well as purchasing of required books for those needing to take additional coursework.

When necessary, the Human Resource Development Specialist works with individuals and their supervisors to ensure that training plans are in place and implemented appropriately in order to meet CSPD requirements. In-Service Training funds are the primary source for any financial assistance that is provided to employees needing to upgrade their qualifications.

Every effort possible is made to recruit fully qualified staff. In the event someone is hired at the above-mentioned intern level, a specific plan for education and oversight is developed and implemented. It is anticipated that the Intern level will be used only when, due to special skills requirements (e.g., American Sign Language or Spanish) or geographic area, recruitment of individuals who fully meet the minimum qualifications of Rehabilitation Counselor I is not feasible or successful.

For vocational rehabilitation counselors who will be serving large numbers of consumers who are deaf, the hiring process includes an additional screening to evaluate their skills in American Sign Language communications. Orientation and mobility instructors and rehabilitation teachers also must meet the minimum qualifications established and outlined above as their technical classification within the Department’s personnel system is Rehabilitation Counselor.

Current Status of Qualified Personnel

DVR first established policy to require all DVR rehabilitation counselors to meet minimum qualifications in 2000. At that time, DVR established a target 5 year period by which all existing rehabilitation counselors would meet the requirement. Since attaining that target, DVR has maintained the established minimum qualifications for newly hired staff in collaboration with the Department’s Division of Human Resources.

In the rare instances when DVR has had to hire an individual at the Rehabilitation Counselor Intern level, those individuals have been given five years after their training/probationary year to fully meet the qualifications for a Rehabilitation Counselor I position.

Of the 113.5 individuals currently in filled rehabilitation counselor positions within DVR (there are currently 11 vacant rehabilitation counseling positions), 2 individuals are currently categorized as rehabilitation interns and are working on completing their masters degrees and are enrolled in CORE accredited programs. In addition, DVR currently has two rehabilitation counselors with CSPD plans to specialize in vision rehabilitation therapy and orientation and mobility.

 

Staff Development

Each year, DVR receives a grant from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) which is dedicated to providing in-service training for DVR staff. As part of the application process, an assessment of training needs is conducted, utilizing information from a variety of sources, including needs identified by staff as well as feedback from the State Rehabilitation Council, State plan hearings, any consumer satisfaction data, results of State-wide studies and analyses, Federal and State audits, and Federally-mandated priorities.

This needs assessment is used to design the training plan which will best fit the most common needs of different categories of staff, including, as appropriate, training on the requirements of the Workforce Investment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Social Security work incentive programs, informed choice and other provisions of the 1998 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, and culturally diverse populations.

In addition to the RSA grant, DVR allocates additional necessary funds to ensure that all training needs are met. When supervisors identify skill deficits of individual staff members, appropriate training in the community may be arranged and sponsored through in-service training. In-service training funds are also used to send staff to workshops, seminars, conferences, and formal training programs, including relevant graduate work, as well as for participation in training provided via distance education models.

Staff members who aspire to supervisory or administrative roles are encouraged and supported to take advantage of the Department of Personnel Supervisory Certificate Program and the Department of Human Services Supervisory Training and Review (STAR I & II) program. The Department’s Staff Development unit also continues to conduct an internal leadership program to prepare individuals for leadership and administrative positions. DVR’s succession planning further indicates that there will be an ongoing need for vocational rehabilitation counseling staff and DVR will continue recruitment efforts accordingly.

Colorado DVR had an unprecedented turnover in management staff this past year and has worked hard to fill these positions with current staff. DVR is reestablishing its strong leadership roles which can be seen by the training offered to staff who have filled these vacancies. The four staff promoted to Regional supervisors are currently attending the Emerging Leaders training in Washington, with two of these staff trainings supported by TACE. In addition, Region 8 TACE has worked closely within their region to develop VR specific trainings, such as the Supervisor series, which Colorado’s five new regional supervisors are participating in.

DVR does seek to take advantage of all relevant training opportunities for its staff. Through the Department of Human Services DVR staff will continue to be able to obtain quality training on diversity, equity and cultural competency. Leadership training is one of the top priorities for the Region VIII TACE Program, and DVR will take full advantage of the training that they produce.

DVR has been and will continue to incorporate the principles of informed choice into all aspects of new training curricula including policy and procedural training as well as assistive technology training provided to DVR counselors. Such training efforts will include a focus on helping consumers develop skills necessary to analyze their own strengths, resources, capacities, concerns, priorities, abilities, interests, etc. so that they can come to their own informed conclusions related to the development of their rehabilitation program. DVR believes that these efforts will help counselors become better facilitators and help consumers develop better skills to become more independent and self directed, as they go through the rehabilitation process.

DVR is committed to maintaining a staff with state-of-the-art skills and knowledge of vocational rehabilitation theory and practice. A library of materials, in a variety of formats, including print, audio tape, video tape, and CD-ROM, is maintained as part of the In-Service Training program. Staff are encouraged to check out materials which will assist them in better serving individuals with disabilities.

DVR regularly reviews the offerings available through a variety of sources, including the National Clearing House of Rehabilitation Training Materials, and orders those which will add value to its collection. The Region VIII TACE program also maintains a library of materials, which are available for loan. As a result of staff feedback, DVR will be offering up additional case management training, foundational policy training, disability specific training, and will look at revitalizing the use and effectiveness of motivational interviewing techniques.

DVR’s future plans involve making optimal use of computerization, including the Internet and Intranet, to stay current on research findings and state-of-the-art advances and to disseminate materials to staff. DVR is also utilizing various modalities such as videoconferencing and webinars to reduce cost and increase participation in order to provide more efficient ways of training. Coordination of the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development and In-service Training

As part of its implementation of transitions services and DVR’s School-to-Work Alliance Program (SWAP), DVR has a contract with the Colorado Department of Education to provide training and technical assistance to DVR counselors and local education staff to enable them to work more effectively with students as they are transitioning from school to work. (See FY 2013 Attachment 4.8(c) for more information concerning training efforts in conjunction with that provided under IDEA and the SWAP program.)

DVR counselors serving SWAP youth and the school district employees with whom they partner have also been provided copies of the new counselor training modules developed by the Region VIII TACE. In-Service Training funds are used to provide continuing education for staff, with a special priority for rehabilitation technology needs and communications skills.

State Rehabilitation Council

DVR maintains a close working relationship with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and feedback from that group regarding training issues is solicited and incorporated where appropriate.

 

DVR believes strongly in being able to provide quality services to everyone who applies for vocational rehabilitation services. Consequently, DVR strives to meet the communication needs of all participants. Following is a graph comparing the current ethnic population distribution as reported by the United States (U.S.), State of Colorado, and DVR participants.

Communication with Diverse Populations

Race U.S. Colorado DVR Statistics Statistics Statistics

One race 97.3% 96.6% 79.6%

White 74.2% 83.3% 73.8%

Black 12.6% 3.9% 6.7%

American Indian or Alaskan 0.8% 1.0% 2.4%

Asian 1.8% 2.6% 1.1%

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0.2% 0.1% 0.3%

Other 4.8% 5.6% -

Two or more 2.7% 3.4% 20.4%

Hispanic or Latino 16.4% 20.8% 15.7%

Data obtained from American Community Survey 2010 Data and from DVR 911 reports

This data indicates that compared to the American Community Survey 2010 data, Colorado DVR is currently serving: -72% more black/African Americans than the average population of Black/African Americans reported as living in Colorado -140% more American Indian or Alaskans than the average population of American Indian or Alaskans reported as living in Colorado -200% more Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander participants than the average population of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander reported as living in Colorado

At the present time, at least 30% of DVR’s field offices have one or more staff members who speak fluent Spanish. All offices in the areas with a high Hispanic population have at least one staff member who is also Hispanic. Other staff members have completed intensive Spanish-language training programs, with the goal of achieving a functional level of fluency. DVR also have staff members who speak a variety of other languages, such as German, Afrikaans, Swahili, Flemish, Dutch, Greek and Polish.

In addition, all offices have access to translation resources. DVR is located in an office within the Department’s organizational structure that also includes the Division of Refugee Services and is working in close collaboration with that Division to capitalize on the knowledge, expertise and resources available to provide the best possible rehabilitation services to common consumers.

All communities with a significantly large population of individuals who are deaf are assigned at least one staff member who is proficient in American Sign Language. In the past when none of the applicants for the position possessed sign language skills, the individual who was hired was sent to the intensive sign language training program for vocational rehabilitation counselors for the deaf out of state. This training was supplemented with classroom instruction in sign language.

There are approximately seven community-based organizations throughout Colorado that provide interpreting services as well as numerous private vendors. Offices without staff members who can interpret have local agreements with these organizations and individuals to provide interpreting services.

Approximately 10 students are currently enrolled in the Interpreter Preparation Program at Front Range Community College in Westminster Colorado which is in the northern part of Colorado. In addition, 8 students graduated from the Sign Language Interpreter Preparation Program at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs in May 2012, which serves the more southern areas of Colorado. Regis University in Denver, Colorado is just beginning to offer a Bachelor’s of Applied Science degree with a Community Interpreting Specialization as well. This is expected to sufficiently address future interpreter needs.

Every DVR office in the State has access to a telephone relay service available through Colorado’s local telephone provider and those offices that serve a high number of individuals who are deaf are equipped with video relay equipment.

The capacity to provide materials in Braille is available through equipment located in the Colorado Springs and Denver Metro Offices. Additional needs are addressed through the Boulder Public Library and private transcribers. This has been adequately meeting the current level of need. Many consumers, at this time, prefer materials electronically, and this is accommodated routinely. Materials are also routinely made available in large print.

 

Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) continues to work closely with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), as well as with local school districts and Boards of Cooperative Education in supporting a comprehensive transition planning and service delivery process for youth. DVR has organized a Youth Services and Transition Unit within Administration, falling under the leadership of the Deputy Director of Field Services. This Unit is responsible for assuring the quality provision of vocational rehabilitation services to Colorado’s youth with disabilities to better assist students with disabilities in achieving employment outcomes.

This screen was last updated on Jul 16 2012 11:11AM by sacodesmedte

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)

Results of Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities

FY 2013 Results of the Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities

Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) 2012

As required by CFR 361.29, every three years, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), in conjunction with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), conducts a comprehensive statewide needs assessment of the needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the State, particularly the vocational rehabilitation needs of: 1) Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including the need for supported employment services; 2) Individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals who have been unserved or underserved by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; 3) Individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system as identified by those individuals and personnel assisting those individuals through the components of the system.

The purpose of this report is to summarize the results of this year’s assessment conducted in the spring of 2012.

DVR’s efforts to sustain a consistent and comprehensive approach to its planned three year “rolling” assessment have been impacted by a variety of factors, most notably the intensive undertaking by the agency to utilize ARRA funding to purchase, adapt, customize, train and implement a comprehensive electronic case management system. This project has required the time and energy of a multitude of DVR staff, including management personnel, and has in part, required DVR to use all of the information it has gathered through a variety of assessment activities to ensure the finished system addresses the needs of a diverse population of individuals across the state with disabilities as well as the staff using the system to effectively deliver rehabilitation services.

The CO-AWARE system was implemented statewide on May 2, 2011, after three weeks of intensive training conducted with all DVR staff across Colorado. The CO-AWARE system replaces all of DVR’s previous data systems, including an archaic mainframe system from which DVR previously produced all required federal reports. Now that the system has been successfully implemented, DVR will focus on thoroughly learning and taking advantage of the robust data analysis capabilities available in CO-AWARE and will explore the role it can play in the effective conduct of future CSNA activities.

Another recent factor that has impacted DVR’s CSNA activities relates to staff resources and turnover within the agency. The responsibility for the CSNA and state planning activities has been organizationally relocated to a different unit within the agency due to staff retirements. In conjunction with this reorganization, DVR planned to establish a specific position with dedicated responsibility for CSNA, state planning activities and supplemental program evaluation activities; a position that would coordinate closely with DVR’s current quality assurance and training staff and efforts. Departmental hiring freezes and layoffs in other divisions within the Department delayed DVR’s efforts to fill this position.

Consequently, this position was not filled until mid January of this year (2012), leaving the new staff member five months to learn the job, conduct the full Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, and complete all state plan attachments. Due to time constraints, it was determined that the surveys completed (as described above) would be the most efficient way to reach the most people and elicit the most feedback given the timeframe it needed to be completed in.

Given all of these circumstances, DVR plans to begin incorporating a wider variety of assessment tools and a more inclusive range of information gathering activities to reach the largest amount of people as possible. In addition, DVR will begin looking at which methods would be most effective in increasing response rates, especially from those populations in which smaller response rates were seen this year. DVR is committed to identifying strategies that will effectively inform the agency regarding its ongoing efforts to provide the highest quality vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible Coloradoans with disabilities who strive to achieve successful employment.

In order to identify the needs of the above mentioned, it was decided that it would be important to obtain information from as many sources possible, including DVR participants, DVR staff members, stakeholders, community partners, DVR vendors and the general public. The surveys focused on gathering information about individuals’ experiences with DVR, including what was working well for them and where they experienced barriers to effective relationships and service delivery.

Consequently, the following eight surveys were completed:

1. General Survey posted on DVR’s website

2. General Consumer Satisfaction Survey

3 Consumers Seeking Employment Survey

4. All DVR Staff Survey

5. High Production/High Quality Counselors’ Survey

6. School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) Survey

7. General Vendor Survey

8. Placement Vendor Survey.

Data collection included a multi-method approach with surveys provided in paper and electronic formats, as well as other alternative methods. Each survey was distributed in the manner in which it was thought would capture the most feedback from each particular source. Following is a table of all surveys sent.

Survey Date sent Date closed sent out by mail sent out by email provided to DVR offices responses % Return rate SWAP 3/7/2012 3/23/2012 0 90 0 65 72.20% All DVR staff 3/8/2012 3/28/2012 0 243 0 140 57.60% High production/ high quality counselors 3/8/2012 3/28/2012 0 37 0 25 67.50% General Website 3/8/2012 3/30/2012 25 SRC 138 50 per office 119 Consumers looking for work 3/12/2012 3/30/2012 543 477 0 104 10.19% General Consumer Satisfaction 3/21/2012 4/6/2012 1000 5214 0 891 14.30% Placement vendors 3/12/2012 3/30/2012 620 216 0 37 4.40% All vendors 3/12/2012 3/30/2012 0 3674 0 390 10.62%

The information from the surveys was analyzed and presented to DVR’s State Rehabilitation Council and the Rehabilitation Leadership Team, who in turn provided, discussed and strategized the application of the feedback with all Regional and District supervisors within DVR. The results were ultimately shared with all DVR staff. In addition, survey results were then shared with Dr. Scott Sabella, TACE Region 8 Center Director and Mr. Robert Jahner, TACE 8 Technical Assistance Advisor, who also provided input and feedback.

Examination of the survey responses indicated multiple areas that all parties’ surveyed (participants, vendors, family members, stakeholders and community partners, DVR staff, etc.) saw as concerns, leading to some common themes across all surveys.

Common themes across surveys:

• Hire more staff/decrease caseload size • Increase consumer motivation/responsibility towards employment search • Need for timelier movement through the process • Need for increased communication/follow up • Improve use of comprehensive assessment process to reach strong employment goal • Increase education of and outreach to employers.

Examination of responses also highlighted to DVR current issues participants are facing in which they need additional assistance or resources. The emerging needs for participants are identified as follows:

Emerging needs of consumers:

• Overcoming the barrier of finding employment in an economic downturn • Job placement/development services assistance • Education and training • Opportunities for persons with disabilities to accumulate work experience • Employer and public education about the ability of persons with disabilities • Overcoming health and functional limitation barriers such as work tolerance, stamina, etc. • Transportation • Client skills development • Counseling/therapy services • Benefits assistance, understanding of benefits, and access to or referral to benefits planner • Providers, lack of providers or provider support • Motivation of consumers, readiness for work

In addition, survey responses also highlighted areas of need for the DVR agency. Concerns were indicated in the following areas as topics that DVR needs to look at internally in order to improve services provided to its participants and are indicated as follows:

Emerging needs for the agency:

• Timeliness • Communication with clients, client contact • Customer service • Improvement in partner collaboration • Streamlining of vocational rehabilitation process • Caseload/work sizes.

Several questions were asked in more than one survey in attempt to get perspective from all parties who interact with DVR. Following are data obtained from eight graphs that indicate overall results from these questions across all surveys. (Responses from individual surveys are seen later in the report.)

One question asked of participants or those persons working closely with participants, such as family members, counselors and service providers was what the participant’s primary disability was. Answers to this question were as follows:

Consumer’s Primary Disability • ADD/ADHD – 4% • Alcohol/Drug Addiction – 4% • Blind/Visual Impairment – 4% • Autism Spectrum Disorder – 8% • Deaf/Hard of Hearing – 8% • Developmental Disability – 8% • Orthopedic – 8% • Learning Disability – 17% • Traumatic Brain Injury – 17% • Emotional/Mental Health – 22%

This information shows what areas the people DVR serves feel is their main disabling condition.

DVR also asked in various surveys which disability respondents felt makes it most difficult to get and keep a job, with the results listed in order from most difficult as follows:

Disability that makes it most difficult to get/keep a job: 1. Emotional/Mental Health 2. Traumatic Brain Injury 3. Learning Disability 4. Deaf/Hard of Hearing 5. Alcohol/Drug Addictions 6. Developmental Disability 7. Blind/Visual Impairment 8. Autism Spectrum Disorder

This question was asked to determine which areas people see as biggest areas of concern, in order to then determine which disabilities staff may need to be more educated about when discussing employment goals and barriers to employment with consumers, as well as speaking about accommodations with consumers and/or employers.

In order to address issues facing our consumers when looking for work, several surveys asked respondents to indicate out of a list of ten to seventeen factors, what they thought the five top barriers were to people with disabilities in getting and keeping a job. Following are the overall seven highest answers indicated from respondents across all surveys:

Top Five Barriers to Employment • Economy – 6% • Lack of Transportation – 10% • Health/Physical Limitations – 13% • Amount of Hours They Can Physically/Mentally Work – 16% • Slow Job Market/Economy – 16% • Employer Attitudinal Barriers – 20% • Lack of Work Experience – 19%

This information assists DVR with planning in regards to areas counselors may need to pay closer attention to when developing plans with participants. It will be important to be thorough in asking questions with each individual to address all areas of concern to ensure increased potential for successful employment outcomes.

To ensure thoroughness in provision of DVR services, a question was asked of respondents about what other services they felt consumers could benefit from. Response choices included services DVR can pay for as well as various referral services, other services and an option to write in answers. The top ten responses were:

Other Services Consumers Could Benefit From: • Paid Work Experience – 6% • Physical/Mental Restoration – 6% • Vocational Counseling and Guidance – 6% • Vocational Training – 6% • Website for People with Disabilities – 6% • Education/Other Training Opportunities – 12% • Job Placement – 12% • Supportive Services – 12% • Job Seeking Skills Training – 17% • Learning How Their Disability Affects Their Ability to Work – 17%

A similar question asked was targeted at trying to find out if those surveyed felt there are additional services that persons with disabilities need to become successfully employed that DVR does not currently provide but would be beneficial. Responses were interesting in that numerous responses that were written in were actually services that DVR does currently provide or that are available, leading DVR to conclude that further education of available services is needed.

Other Services Needed:(in order from greatest need) 1. Housing Assistance 2. Referrals to Other Programs/Resources 3. Basic Computer Skills Training 4. Advocacy 5. Strengthen Comprehensive Assessment Process/Stronger Job Goals 6. Peer Support Groups/Socialization Opportunities for Consumers 7. Networking Opportunities 8. Motivational Skills, Soft Skills, Work Ethic 9. More Long Term Support Options for All Types of Disabilities 10. More Help with Medical Needs

Services Respondents Thought DVR Didn’t Provide, But Does: • Benefit Specialists – 11% • Follow-up from DVR Counselor – 11% • Job Seeking Assistance – 11% • Self-Employment Services – 11% • Transportation Assistance – 11% • Emotional Counseling/Therapy – 23% • Paid Work Experience – 22%

Two of the final questions asked across all surveys were aimed at finding out what more DVR could do to improve their services and what else DVR should know or consider when setting future goals.

What Can DVR Do To Improve Services?: • Training to increase understanding of disabilities & their impact – 5% • Transportation assistance for youth – 5% • Be more creative in finding jobs for everyone – 9% • Increase amount of contact with consumers -9% • Increase follow-up – 9% • Listen to consumers more/treat with more respect – 9% • Be timelier – 18% • Hire more counselors/decrease caseload sizes – 18% • Increase communication – 18%

What Else Should DVR Know When Setting Goals?: (listed from most important)

1. Hire more counselors/decrease caseload sizes 2. Increase communication/follow up 3. Timelier services/responses 4. Increase communication and education to employers 5. Increase collaboration and interagency work 6. Have more empathy/understanding for consumers/treat with more respect 7. Evaluate staff and hold them accountable

Although information gleaned from all surveys was used when determining the State’s Goals and Priorities, close attention was given to these common themes found across surveys as this is information that was consistently provided by all types of persons that interact with DVR and consequently was deemed as high priority.

Next is a summary of each survey, how each survey was distributed, the number of surveys sent, the number of responses to each survey and the response rate.

NOTE: Due to space constraints on the RSA website, some of the survey summaries and documentation are not included in this document. The complete attachment with all information and data has been submitted via a WORD document to RSA representative, Corinna Stiles.

1. General Website Survey This survey was posted on DVR’s website so it would be available to anyone for completion (participants, family members, stakeholders, vendors, staff, community partners, etc.) An email was sent to 163 partners and stakeholders with the link to complete the survey. In addition, postcards were printed and put in all DVR offices across the state so visitors to these offices would also have an opportunity to provide feedback. The hope with this survey was to obtain feedback from as many types of people that interact with DVR as possible (consumers, parents/family members, providers, stakeholders, employers, etc.) about what is working well within Colorado DVR, what areas need attention, what areas there may be gaps in, and to find out if there were emerging issues that needed attention. The survey was open for completion for three weeks and 119 people completed it.

A summary of the results of this survey are as follows:

1. Please indicate your role with or relationship to DVR. Community Centered Board 21.8% Consumer receiving DVR services 15.1% Advocacy organization 14.3% Workforce center staff 10.1% Other 10.1% Independent living center 8.4% Mental health center 6.7% Parent/family member of consumer receiving services 6.7% Vendor 5.0% Health organization 1.7% Educational institution 0.0% Note: “Other” responses included Adult Protective Services, SRC member, Human Services staff, etc)

2. What is your knowledge/understanding of who DVR is and what we do? 1. Agency that provides necessary services to help people w/ disabilities return to work 2. Help people find and keep a job 3. Provide school and or other training 4. Help people live independently 5. Help remove barriers/provide supports to employment 6. Help people with disabilities find a job goal that fits their disability 3. Please rate how much you think individuals with disabilities need the following services(s) in order to help them get or keep a job and/or live independently. 1. Job placement: High Need - 86.4% 2. Job seeking skills training: High Need - 80.7% 3. Adjustment training: High Need - 77.3% 4. Job coaching: High Need - 73.0% 5. Supportive services: High Need - 72.9% 6. On the job training (OJT): High Need - 72.0% 7. Vocational training: High Need - 71.9% 8. Vocational counseling and guidance: High Need - 69.8% 9. Physical/mental restoration: High Need - 68.1% 10. Assessment (situational & vocational assessment): High Need - 67.8% 11. Specialized services for the Blind, Deaf, Blind/Deaf: High Need - 61.9% 12. Other: High Need - 58.5% 13. Educational or other training opportunities: High Need - 58.1% 14. Learning how their disability affects ability to work: High Need - 58.0% 15. Assistive technology: High Need - 56.1% 16. Self employment information/services: High Need - 39.8% 17. Homemaker services: Medium Need - 35.9% NOTE: “Other” responses included job carving, financial assistance, independent living services, personal care, benefit counseling, etc)

4. Are there other services that are not listed above that you feel would be helpful to people with disability when they are trying to get or keep a job and/or live independently. No 46.2% Yes 37.8% N/A 16.0%

5. If you answered yes to the above question, please describe what other services may be helpful to people with disabilities when they are trying to get or keep a job and/or live independently. 1. Benefit specialist 2. Advocacy and advocacy training 3. More contact with client; be more proactive in outreaching/contacting client rather than waiting on them to contact you 4. Ongoing counseling/therapy for consumers throughout DVR process 5. Peer support groups and socialization opportunities for consumers 6. Increase services/opportunities in rural areas (job opportunities, services, etc) 7. Better comprehensive assessment and help finding job goal that is a good fit for consumers situations 8. Help with organizational, social, problems solving skills

6. Please indicate the top five barriers that you feel prevent or hinder persons with disabilities in getting and keeping a job and/or living independently. Employer attitudinal barriers/discrimination 69.0% Lack of transportation 52.2% Amount of hours one can physically work 43.4% Slow job market/economy 43.4% Lack of work experience 42.5% Disability benefits 40.7% Lack of long term supports 37.2% Lack of available vocational rehabilitation services 35.4% Health/physical limitations 30.1% Lack of qualified service providers 23.9% Criminal records/convictions 22.1% Lack of adequate medical care/insurance 15.9% Lack of adequate/stable housing 13.3% Other 11.5% Language/cultural barriers 9.7% Lack of family support 5.3% Lack of child care 4.4% TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) 0.0%

7. Please indicate your reaction to the following statements. (Answers below indicate highest category of response.) DVR services help people w/ disabilities achieve their goals: Agree - 51.3% DVR services help improve employment options for persons with disabilities and help them get to work: Agree - 49.1% DVR explains its program in a way people can understand it: Agree - 47.3% DVR helps people with disabilities have better job choices than before they worked with DVR: Agree - 45.5% DVR encourages consumer choice and involvement in choice of job goal, services needed and providers: Agree - 44.6% DVR staff treat people with respect and courtesy: Agree - 44.2% DVR staff understand disability issues and the concerns of people with disabilities trying to get and keep a job: Agree - 41.6% DVR listens and answers questions/concerns: Agree - 40.5% DVR services prepare people for the kind of job they want: Agree - 38.9% DVR staff are timely with their communication and return phone calls/contact within 48 hours: Agree - 33.0% If I had complaints or concerns about DVR services, I was satisfied with how DVR responded: Agree - 22.5% DVR provides services to help consumers reach their goals in a timely manner: Disagree - 32.4%

8. Have DVR services met your expectations? No 47.8% Yes 38.9% N/A 13.3%

9. If DVR services have not met your expectations, what could DVR have done differently? 1. Be timelier at all stages of the process 2. Improved communication (be proactive and reach out to consumers instead of waiting for them to contact you) 3. Listen more to consumers 4. Work more closely with consumers and help them more (paperwork, forms, job search) 5. Have a more respectful and caring attitude 6. More options for persons with developmental disabilities 7. Have a wider variety of job opportunities/be more creative in helping find jobs 8. Explain services to consumers better; list of services available for consumers

10. Overall, how would you rate the quality of services DVR provides? Good 34.9% Poor 25.7% Fair 19.3% Excellent 18.3% N/A 1.8% 11. What is DVR doing well? 1. Meeting individual needs 2. Employ compassionate, well trained, professional staff 3. Good, collaborative working relationships with partners 4. Not much 5. Helping consumers to find and/or keep a job 6. Providing education and training opportunities 7. They are persistent and keep trying 8. Respond well 9. Good service provision

12. What could DVR do differently to improve the services we provide? 1. Be more responsive, timelier and communicate more effectively 2. Training to increase understanding of disabilities and their impact on individuals 3. Decrease caseload sizes/hire more staff to allow more one-on-one time with consumers 4. Listen more to consumers 5. Be more creative in finding jobs for everyone 6. Increase DVR funding 7. Explain/list all services available for consumers 8. Increase or provide more educational or other training opportunities for more consumers 9. Hire more vendors and pay them more

13. Please tell us anything else you think we should know for setting future goals and priorities for improving DVR services. 1. Hire more staff/decrease caseload size to allow more one-on-one time with consumers 2. Improve follow through and communication 3. Be timelier throughout the process 4. Increase collaboration and interagency work 5. Be more patient, respectful and understanding 6. Hold staff accountable 7. Ask for client input more 8. Provide more employment opportunities and more creative employment opportunities (hire business professionals to do outreach) 9. Educate and outreach to the community about DVR services

2. General Consumer Satisfaction Survey

This survey was sent to a) all consumers with email addresses in our system (5,214) and b) to a random sample of 1,000 consumers via their mailing/home addresses for a total of 6,214 surveys sent. The purpose of the general consumer satisfaction survey was to target consumers with open cases with DVR to ask how DVR is doing, to find out what is working well, what areas we could make improvements in, and if there were services that were not being provided that were needed. DVR planned to use the information obtained in setting goals and priorities for the upcoming years to improve the services we provide. The survey was open for completion for two weeks and there were 891 responses for a response rate of 14.3%.

A summary of the results of this survey are as follows:

1. What is your primary disability? Deaf/hard of hearing 22.6% Emotional/mental health 13.5% Orthopedic 10.2% Blind/visual impairment 7.4% Traumatic brain injury 7.1% Learning disability 5.5% Neurological 5.5%

2. Please indicate other disabilities you also have that make it difficult to obtain/maintain employment. No other disabilities 39.7% Other (consumers listed multiple disabilities) 20.0% Emotional/mental health 17.6% Learning disability 9.1 % Deaf/hard of hearing 9.0% Blind/visual impairment 6.1%

3. How old are you? 46-65 53.0% 22-45 38.8% Younger than 21 4.3% Older than 65 3.9%

4. Please indicate your race/ethnic background. White 82.2% Hispanic/Latino 10.1% African American or Black 6.7% American Indian or Alaskan native 3.5% Other 2.9% Asian 1.0% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.1%

5. What is your gender? Female 51.3% Male 48.7%

6. What is your level of education? Some college, voc or trade school (no cert or degree) 32.5% Bachelor’s Degree 20.9% High School Diploma/GED 16.8% Associate’s Degree 14.5% Master’s Degree 6.8% Other 6.4% Less than a high school diploma 2.0%

7. Did you ever receive Special Education services while in school? No 71.2% Yes 28.8%

8. Where is your DVR office located? Denver Metro 24.6% Colorado Springs 9.8% Fort Collins 8.8% Aurora 7.6% Golden 5.7% Northglenn 5.5% Boulder 5.1% Greeley 4.2% Greenwood Village 3.9% Grand Junction 3.3% Other 3.3% Longmont 3.0% Glenwood Springs 2.0% Frisco 1.3% Alamosa 1.2% Durango 1.1% Montrose 0.9% Edwards 0.8% Craig 0.6% Lamar 0.4% Sterling 0.4% Rocky Ford 0.1% Limon 0.0%

9. Please indicate your employment status. Not currently working/worked in past 58.8% Working 31-40 hours/week 10.4% Working 11-20 hours/week 9.1% Working more than 40 hours/week 7.2% Working 0-10 hours/week 6.5% Working 21-30 hours/week 4.2% Never employed 3.8%

10. How did you first hear about DVR? Other 23.6% Friend/family member 19.2% Doctor/health care provider 18.5% Counselor/therapist 17.1% School Staff 8.6% Employer/employment agency 5.3% Internet 3.7% Brochure 1.6% Drug/alcohol Counselor 1.1% Magazine/newspaper/other advertising 0.2% (“Other” responses included Social Security, Workforce Center, Social Services, Attorney)

11. Why did you apply for DVR services? I wanted to 59.4% Someone else thought it would be good for me to do so 40.6%

12. When you applied for DVR services, what were your expectations or how did you think vocational rehabilitation could help you? 1. Help getting a job 2. Help with college/school/other training 3. Help finding a career that matched my abilities/that I could do 4. Help with hearing aids 5. Unsure/No expectations 6. Help learning how to adjust to my disability 7. Help connecting with employers/businesses 8. Help becoming independent/self sufficient 9. Help with assistive technology

13. During the referral and eligibility process, what, if any, barriers or challenges did you experience? 1. None 2. Amount of time it took 3. Communication difficulties 4. Difficulty completing evaluations and having evaluation reports get to counselor/difficulty and length of time to obtain existing medical records 5. Problems with my disability got in the way 6. The way staff made me feel 7. Paperwork and process too involved 8. Number of staff changes 9. Transportation issues

14. Please rate your need for the following services in order to help you get or keep a job and/or live independently. Educational services 45.9% Job placement 45.5% Vocational counseling and guidance 40.8% Vocational training 39.6% Physical/Mental restoration 36.7% On the job training (OJT) 30.3% Learning how my disability affects ability to work 26.8% Job seeking skills training 26.5%

15. If you received the following service(s), please rate how helpful the service was in helping you get or keep a job and/or to become more independent. Adjustment training Very helpful Assessment (situational/vocational) Very Helpful Assistive technology Very Helpful Educational services Very Helpful Physical/mental restoration Very Helpful Supportive Services Very Helpful Vocational counseling and guidance Very Helpful Vocational training Very Helpful Other Very Helpful Job coaching Somewhat Helpful Learn how disability affects ability to work Somewhat Helpful Homemaker Not Helpful or NA Job placement Not Helpful or NA Job seeking skills training Not Helpful or NA On the job training (OJT) Not Helpful or NA Self employment info/services Not Helpful or NA

16. Were there other services that are not listed above that would have been helpful to you in getting and keeping a job and/or living independently? 1. Housing assistance 2. Better vendors 3. Ability to switch counselors 4. More help with medical needs 5. Advocacy 6. Help with finances/budgeting 7. Help with purchase/repair of vehicles

17. Please choose the top five barriers you feel prevent or hinder you from getting and keeping a job and/or leading a fuller and more independent life. Economy 69.5% Health/physical limitations 69.2% Amount hours can physically work 47.8% Employer attitudinal barriers 45.8% Lack of work experience 40.0% Other 33.6% Disability benefits 30.8% Lack of medical care/insurance 30.5% Lack of available rehabilitation services 22.3% Lack of transportation 22.1% Lack of long term supports 20.7% Lack of qualified service providers 17.8% Criminal record/convictions 12.1% Lack of adequate/stable housing 11.8% Lack of family support 9.7% Language/cultural barriers 9.3% Lack of child care 5.1% TANF 2.0%

18. Please check the section that best reflects your satisfaction with vocational rehabilitation services. DVR staff treat me with respect and courtesy: Strongly agree - 64.3% DVR staff is kind and helpful: Strongly agree - 61.7% My DVR counselor listened to my needs and concerns: Strongly agree - 60.4% My experience with DVR was good and I would recommend it to others : Strongly agree - 48.2% I was involved in choosing my job goal: Strongly agree - 48.1% My DVR counselor understood my disability and my needs: Strongly agree - 46.9% My job goal matches my skills, abilities and capabilities: Strongly agree - 46.2% My DVR counselor/other staff called me back within 48 hours: Strongly agree - 43.0% Overall, DVR assisted me appropriately to obtain employment related goals: Strongly agree - 34.7% I was involved in choosing the services/vendors I needed to reach my job goal: Strongly agree - 34.2% Overall my services were provided in a timely manner: Strongly agree - 33.9% My counselor helped me to understand my disability and how it might affect my ability to work: Strongly agree - 32.8% My quality of life has improved as a result of DVR services: Strongly agree - 32.6% DVR services have helped me get a job: No opinion - 42.2% The types of jobs available to me now are better than when I first started working with DVR: No opinion - 41.1% I got the help I needed to find work that fit my job goal: No opinion - 37.4% The services I received from DVR helped me reach my job goal: No opinion - 34.0% *NOTE: For the responses whose highest responses were “no opinion”, the second highest ranking for each of these statements was “Strongly agree”.

19. Overall, how would you rate the quality of services you received from DVR? Excellent 44.0% Good 26.2% Poor 15.3% Fair 14.6%

20. What could DVR have done differently to improve the services you were provided? 1. Timelier/faster services/quicker movement through the process 2. Better follow through/follow up with consumers in all stages of process; reach out to consumers instead of waiting for them to contact you 3. Listen to consumer better and treat consumer with more respect and courtesy 4. Improved, more frequent and clear communication from DVR staff 5. Counselor should be more involved and help consumer more with paperwork, forms, job search (more one on one contact with consumers) 6. Hire more counselors and decrease caseload sizes; more stability in counselor positions 7. Streamline the process with less hoops to jump through/less cumbersome process 8. Be more up front in telling consumers what services are available; have a list of all services possible

21. What else could DVR have done to assist you in reaching your job goals? 1. Provide more direct or one-on-one help with job seeking skills and job placement 2. Follow through, communicate more effectively and more often and listen to consumer more 3. Provide more educational and/or other training opportunities 4. Work more to find a job goal that better fits my disabilities 5. Provide a list or give clients a better understanding of all services that are available

22. Please tell us anything else you think we should know for setting future goals and priorities for improving DVR services. 1. Provide better follow through and reach out to consumers to help keep them engaged 2. Hire more counselors and decrease caseload size to provide more stability with counselor positions 3. Evaluate staff and hold them accountable; reprimand when needed 4. Have more empathy and understanding of consumer’s situations, needs and treat them with respect 5. Timelier services 6. Improve communication with all parties (consumers, vendors, partners…) 7. Help consumers look more closely at their disability to find a job goal that is a good fit for their situation 8. Be more involved in job seeking and placement activities with consumer 9. Develop more relationships with employers willing to hire people with disabilities

When reviewing the data from the general customer satisfaction survey, it was noted that of the 891 respondents, 191 self-reported as minorities.

In question 17 “Please choose the top five barriers you feel prevent or hinder you from getting and keeping a job and/or leading a fuller and more independent life”, there were at least five areas that minorities saw as bigger barriers to employment than did non-minorities. These areas included a) disability benefits, b) lack of available rehabilitation services, c) lack of transportation, d) lack of qualified service providers, and e) lack of adequate/stable housing.

3. Consumers seeking employment survey

This survey was sent to a) 477 consumers via their email addresses and b) 543 consumers via their mailing addresses for a total of 1,020. The purpose of this survey was to seek information from consumers actively looking for work to find out what has been helpful to them in their job search, how we might improve services to help them obtain employment and to find out if there are areas of service that we are missing that need to be addressed. The goal was to determine if there are strategies to help improve or increase the quality and number of successful employment outcomes DVR consumers. The survey was open for completion for two weeks and there were 104 responses for a response rate of 10.19%.

A summary of the results of this survey are as follows:

1. What is your primary disability? Emotional/mental health 26.0% Deaf/hard of hearing 22.1% Orthopedic 14.4% Traumatic brain injury 9.6% Learning disability 7.7% Neurological 6.7% Developmental disability 5.8% Autism spectrum disorder 4.8% Blind/visual impairment 2.9% Alcohol/drug addiction 0.0%

2. Do you have other disabilities? No other disabilities 51.9% Emotional/mental health 11.5% Learning disability 10.6% Deaf/hard of hearing 8.7% Neurological 7.7% Traumatic brain injury 4.8% Alcohol/drug addiction 3.8% Blind/visual impairment 2.9% Autism spectrum disorder 1.0%

3. How old are you? 46-65 years old 53.8% 22-45 years old 39.4% Older than 65 4.8% Less than 21 years old 1.9%

4. What is your gender? Female 56.7% Male 43.3%

5. What is your level of education? Some college, vocational or trade school (no certificate or degree) 28.8% Bachelor’s degree 26.0% Associate’s degree 16.3% High school diploma or GED 14.4% Master’s degree 11.5%

6. Please indicate your race and/or ethnic background. White 78.8% African American or Black 9.6% Hispanic/Latino 7.7% Asian 2.9% American Indian or Alaskan Native 1.0% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 1.0%

7. Where is your DVR office located? Colorado Springs 20.2% Denver Metro 16.3% Aurora 10.6% Boulder 9.6% Fort Collins 9.6% Northglenn 6.7% Longmont 5.8% Pueblo 5.8% Grand Junction 4.8% Greeley 4.8% Greenwood Village 2.9% Golden 1.9% Montrose 1.0% Alamosa 0.0% Craig 0.0% Durango 0.0% Edwards 0.0% Frisco 0.0% Glenwood Springs 0.0% Lamar 0.0% Limon 0.0% Rocky Ford 0.0% Salida 0.0% Steamboat Springs 0.0% Sterling 0.0%

8. Please indicate how involved you feel you were in the process of choosing your job goal and in making decisions about your job development plan. Very involved 63.5% Somewhat involved 24.0% Somewhat excluded 6.7% Very excluded 5.8%

9. Please indicate how willing your counselor is to listen to your ideas about what type of job you want and what services you think you need to get a job. Very willing 59.6% Somewhat willing 26.0% Somewhat unwilling 11.5% Not willing 2.9%

10. Please rate how easy it is to talk to your counselor about matters related to your job search. Very easy 54.8% Somewhat easy 18.3% Somewhat difficult 16.3% Very difficult 10.6%

11. Please rate how helpful your counselor was in assisting you in figuring out a good job goal that fits your strengths, abilities, and capabilities. Very helpful 51.0% Somewhat helpful 37.5% Not helpful 11.5%

12. Please rate how helpful your counselor is in assisting you in determining the services you need to be able to successfully reach your job goal. Very helpful 46.2% Somewhat helpful 36.5% Not helpful 17.3%

13. Does your rehabilitation counselor give you information about job openings that fit your job goal? Yes 56.7% No 43.3%

14. How useful/appropriate are the job openings provided to you by your rehabilitation counselor? Did not receive job leads from my rehabilitation counselor 32.7% Very useful/appropriate 28.8% Somewhat useful/appropriate 25.0% Not useful/appropriate 13.5%

15. How satisfied are you with the amount of contact you have with your DVR counselor during your job search? Very satisfied 35.6% Somewhat satisfied 34.6% Somewhat dissatisfied 17.3% Very dissatisfied 12.5%

16. Please identify the person(s), if there is anyone else, that has or continues to help you with your job search. Job developer hired by DR 35.6% No one 26.0% Business Outreach Specialist (BOS) 21.2% Friend or family member 20.2% Other DVR staff 14.4% SWAP staff 0.0%

17. How helpful has the assistance you receive from the person(s) you designated in the question above been to you in finding a job? Very helpful 43.3% Somewhat helpful 35.6% Not helpful 21.2% 18. If you have worked with a Business Outreach Specialist (BOS), job developer or SWAP staff, how satisfied are you with the amount of contact you have with them during your job search? Very satisfied 35.6% Somewhat satisfied 28.8% Somewhat dissatisfied 20.2% Very dissatisfied 15.4%

19. How long has DVR been helping you look for a job? 0-6 months 28.8% 1 year to 2 years 27.9% 7 months to 1 year 26.0% More than 4 years 9.6% 2 years to 4 years 7.7%

20. How many hours a week do you spend looking for work? 0-5 hours 27.9% 6-10 hours 27.9% 16-20 hours 14.4% 11-15 hours 13.5% More than 30 hours 8.7% 21-25 hours 4.8% 26-30 hours 2.9%

21. How many applications do you complete each week? 0-5 58.7% 6-10 26.9% 11-15 5.8% 20 or more 4.8% 16-20 3.8%

22. What are the top five barriers you feel are preventing or hindering you from getting a job? Slow job market/economy 89.4% Employer attitudinal barriers 61.5% Lack of work experience 57.7% Lack of work experience 57.7% Health/physical/mental limitations 56.7% Amount of hours I can physically/mentally work 40.4% Lack of qualified service providers 28.8% Disability benefits 27.9% Lack of available rehabilitation services 23.1% Lack of transportation 23.1% Lack of long term supports 20.2% Lack of adequate or inadequate medical care/medical insurance 19.2% Lack of family support 17.3% Language/cultural barriers 15.4% Criminal record 7.7% Lack of adequate/stable housing 7.7% Lack of child care 2.9% TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) 1.0%

23. DVR staff can directly provide the following services to assist consumers with their job search. Please indicate if you receive(d) any of these services(s) directly from DVR, and if so, how helpful the services(s) were to you during your job search. (The answers below are those with the highest response rates.) Statement Response and Response Rate Resume (preparation of resume, copies of resume): Very helpful - 41.3% Placement clothing: Very helpful - 31.7% Job seeking skills training: Very helpful - 31.7% Job club: Very helpful - 10.6% Resume (preparation of resume, copies of resume): Somewhat helpful - 27.9% Job seeking skills training: Somewhat helpful - 21.2% Job club: Somewhat helpful - 8.7% Placement clothing: Somewhat helpful - 5.8% Job club: Did not receive - 70.2% Placement clothing: Did not receive - 58.7% Job seeking skills training: Did not receive - 39.4% Resume (preparation of resume, copies of resume): Did not receive - 27.9%

24. Please rate your overall satisfaction with the assistance you have received from DVR to get a job. Very satisfied 41.3% Somewhat satisfied 25.9% Somewhat dissatisfied 19.2% Very dissatisfied 14.4%

25. What changes could DVR make to improve our ability to assist consumers in finding employment? 1. Increase networking and contact with employers willing to hire people with disabilities 2. Help me more 3. More training for counselors on how to work with consumers with higher levels of education/experience or higher level career goals 4. Listen to consumers more 5. Be timelier throughout the process 6. More stability in counselor positions 7. Improved communication 8. Improved follow through 9. Increased educational/training opportunities 10. Increase counselors knowledge about more career fields 11. BOS increase contact/communication/help more with job search

26. What other services might help you to find a job? 1. More educational/training opportunities 2. Connect more with employers; esp. those willing to hire people with disabilities 3. Basic computer skill training 4. Website of jobs for people with disabilities 5. More help for consumers with higher levels of education/experience 6. Assistance with transportation 7. Increased counseling/therapy

27. Please tell us anything else you feel we should know when we plan our future goals and priorities for improving how DVR assists people to find employment. 1. Increase communication and follow up 2. Provide more educational/training opportunities for consumers 3. More stability in counselor positions/Fill vacancies faster 4. Hire more staff/decrease caseload sizes 5. Increase communication with employers (work incentives, benefits of hiring person with a disability, have employers come meet DVR consumers…) 6. More job options for those with higher levels of education/experience 7. Be more caring and understanding 8. Increased basic computer skills training

4. All DVR Staff This survey was sent to all DVR staff via email. The purpose of this survey was to obtain information from staff about what is working well, what they are struggling with, how we could improve services, how we could be more effective in providing services, what areas we may need to provide more training in, etc. We hope to use the information received to help us set our goals and priorities for the upcoming years to help us improve the services we provide. The survey was open for completion for two weeks. The survey was emailed to 243 staff and 140 responded, equaling a response rate of 57.6%.

A summary of the results of this survey are as follows:

1. Please indicate your position within the agency. Rehabilitation Counselor I/II 53.2% Support Staff 12.9% Administration 12.9% Supervisor I/II 9.4% Teacher 5.8% Business Outreach Specialist 5.8%

2. Where is your DVR office located? Denver Metro 18.0% Administration office (1575 Sherman) 11.5% Colorado Springs 10.8% Fort Collins 8.6% Pueblo 5.8% Boulder 5.0% Aurora 4.3% Golden 4.3% Northglenn 3.6% Greeley 2.9% Alamosa 2.2% Edwards 2.2% Greenwood Village 2.2% Steamboat Springs 2.2% Durango 1.4% Montrose 1.4% Frisco 1.4% Glenwood Springs 1.4% Craig 0.7% Lamar 0.7% Longmont 0.7% Business Enterprise Program 0.0% Limon 0.0% Salida 0.0% Rocky Ford 0.0% Sterling 0.0%

3. How long have you worked for DVR? 3-5 years 27.3% 0-2 years 26.6% 6-10 years 16.5% 11-15 years 13.7% Over 20 years 10.8% 16-20 years 5.0%

4. Please estimate the percentage of your time that you spend on the following work activities. The following is a list of activities staff spend most time on, ranked from most time spent to least: 1. Direct work with participants 2. General administrative functions (paperwork, copying, filing, phones…) 3. Community outreach 4. Research/information gathering 5. Training/mentoring other staff 6. Other (committee meetings, attending trainings…)

5. Please think about the time you spend working directly with participants or arranging services for them. Please estimate the percent of time that you spend working in the following areas. The following is a list of activities staff spend most time on, ranked from most time spent to least: 1. Intake 2. Assessment 3. Evaluation/diagnostics 4. Job seeking skills training 5. Vocational counseling and guidance 6. Job placement

6. Please estimate the percentage of people with disabilities who you feel have a need for the following service(s) to help them to get or keep a job and/or live independently. The following is a list of the services staff feels are those of highest need. (ranked from highest need) 1. Job placement 2. Job seeking skills training 3. Vocational counseling and guidance 4. Learning how their disability affects their ability to work 5. Physical/mental restoration 6. Job coaching 7. Educational services 8. Vocational training 9. Adjustment training

7. Are there other services needed by participants that DVR does not currently provide that would be helpful for their employment and/or independence? 1. Housing assistance 2. Referrals to other programs or assistance/resources 3. Basic computer skills training 4. Paid work experience 5. Job seeking/job club/networking opportunities 6. More opportunity for supported employment/more long term support options

8. Please select the top five barriers that you feel prevent or hinder participants from getting and keeping a job and/or leading a more independent life. Criminal records/convictions 64.7% Slow job market/economy 55.4% Health/physical limitations 41.0% Employer attitudinal barriers 39.6% Amount of hours they can physically/mentally work 38.8% Lack of transportation 36.7% Lack of work experience 36.0% Drug use (legal or illegal drug usage) 30.2% Disability benefits 25.2% Lack of adequate medical care/insurance 24.5% Lack of qualified service providers 24.5% Lack of long term supports 19.4% Lack of consistent means of communication 15.8% Other 13.7% Lack of adequate/stable housing 10.8% Language/cultural barriers 4.3% Lack of family support 4.3% Lack of child care 3.5% Lack of available vocational rehabilitation services 2.2% TANF 2.2%

9. Please tell us how DVR can improve the services we provide to people with disabilities to help them reach their employment and/or independent living goals. 1. Hire more staff, (especially counselors) and decrease caseload sizes to allow more one-on-one time with consumers 2. Increase the number and quality of vendors, especially for diagnostics and placement 3. Increase consumer motivation and consumers responsibility 4. Increase effectiveness of vocational counseling and guidance and knowledge of local job markets to help create stronger employment goals (strengthen comprehensive assessment process) 5. Increase education of employers regarding hiring people with disabilities 6. Increase education for partners, referral sources, consumers of DVR…. about who DVR is, what we do and stress “employment focused” 7. Increased use of BOS’ for placement 8. Increase consistency among counselors regarding following policy and fee schedule 9. Increase use of CMT/MET

10. Please rate how confident you are in your ability to effectively perform the following tasks. (Answers below indicate response with highest confidence level.) Statement Response Provide good customer service to participants. Very confident - 78.4% Provide good customer service to internal customers. Very confident - 77.5% Explain DVR services to participants Very confident - 75.2% Provide customer service to community partners Very confident - 71.3% Explain DVR services to community partners Very confident - 71.0% Conduct effective intakes Very confident - 68.1% Enter data accurately Very confident - 63.5% Provide effective counseling and guidance Very confident - 54.3% Synthesize medical documentation for eligibility Very confident - 51.4% Determine necessary and appropriate services Very confident - 49.6% Training and mentoring staff Very confident - 45.9% Determine appropriate job goals Very confident - 45.2% Developing effective community partnerships Very confident - 38.7% Support staff to increase levels of performance Very confident - 36.3% Resolving billing issues Very confident - 35.8% Resolving customer complaints Somewhat confident - 41.2% Recruiting vendors Somewhat confident - 25.7% Registering vendors Somewhat confident - 25.4% Holding staff accountable to performance standards Somewhat confident - 18.5%

11. Please describe any barriers you feel prevent you from performing your job in the most effective manner. 1. Heavy/large workload 2. Lack of support from supervisor 3. Lack of communication 4. Not enough time to do everything that needs to be done 5. Lack of available technology (old versions of software, no cell phones, internet access) 6. Vendor issues 7. Inequity among staff/offices 8. Governmental policies and bureaucracies/amount of paperwork 9. Time to resolve IT issues 10. AWARE issues (performance issues, need for more training…) 11. Lack of resources/materials

12. Please indicate how satisfied you are with the level of support you receive from: (Answers below indicate responses with highest percentage response.) Statement Response Peers: Very satisfied - 62.8% Supervisor: Very satisfied - 50.7% Work supports and employer engagement unit: Somewhat satisfied - 67.2% Programs and program development unit: Somewhat satisfied - 65.6% Organizational and planning development unit: Somewhat satisfied - 64.8% Operations/infrastructure unit: Somewhat satisfied - 64.6% Field management team: Somewhat satisfied - 53.0%

13. If you are unsatisfied with any unit, what could they do to better support your work? 1. Respondents indicated they were unsure what each unit did 2. Increased communication, more frequent communication, more transparent communication 3. Be equitable and stop showing favoritism 4. Make staff accountable 5. Remember what it is like in the field 6. Be open to listening to all staff and all ideas 7. Be timelier and respond more quickly to staff 8. Appreciation/recognition 9. Provide more training, support and teambuilding for administrative/support staff

14. If very satisfied by any unit, what makes their support so effective? 1. Their responsiveness and timeliness 2. They communicate well 3. They are knowledgeable 4. They are appreciative and supportive 5. They are available when I need help 6. Their teamwork approach 7. Their professionalism

15. How knowledgeable are you about the roles of the following programs within DVR? (Answers below indicate highest response rate for each selection.) SWAP: Very knowledgeable - 52.5% Business Enterprise Program (BEP): Somewhat knowledgeable - 50.0% Client Assistance Program (CAP): Somewhat knowledgeable - 49.6% DD Supported Employment: Somewhat knowledgeable - 48.2% Independent Living Center (ILC): Somewhat knowledgeable - 44.6% TBI Program: Somewhat knowledgeable - 43.4% Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG): Somewhat knowledgeable - 41.3% Mental Health Contract (Fund 07): Somewhat knowledgeable - 41.0% Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND): Somewhat knowledgeable - 34.5%

16. Rate how available or suitable the following resources are to support your effectiveness in completing job tasks. Adequate work space: Very available or suitable - 64.0% Effective new staff training: Somewhat available or suitable - 53.7% Communication from leadership: Somewhat available or suitable - 47.5% Adequate technology: Somewhat available or suitable - 46.0% Effective work environment: Somewhat available or suitable - 46.0% Pertinent professional development opportunities: Somewhat available or suitable - 44.2%

17. If you answered not available or not suitable above, what changes would increase your effectiveness? 1. Keep up with the times, esp. in regards to technology (software programs, laptops for everyone, cell phones…) 2. Improved communication from management to field 3. Better workspace 4. Increase training opportunities (more training for all staff, increase the number of new counselor trainings per year, send notifications of trainings out sooner) 5. More opportunities for administrative/support staff (promotional opportunities, teambuilding activities) 6. More promotional opportunities for everyone within their specialty areas (administrative/support staff, BOS’…)

18. Are you considering leaving employment with DVR within the next year to five years? Yes 51.8% No 48.2%

19. If you are considering leaving DVR, why are you considering leaving? 1. No opportunities for advancement 2. Lack of raises and performance incentives 3. Career change 4. Relocation/moving 5. I feel I can use my skills better somewhere else 6. Work environment 7. Favoritism 8. Unhappy with supervisor 9. Not all staff are held accountable 10. Lack of self confidence/ need more training 11. Too many felons and no training to know how to work with them 12. Cannot afford to work where I live

20. If you are considering leaving, what would help you want to stay? 1. Pay raise/cost of living increase 2. Decreased workload/smaller caseload size 3. Increase in morale and working conditions 4. Promotional opportunities 5. Being treated better by supervisor; more support from supervisor 6. More accountability for all staff 7. Pay for performance/years of experience and skills 8. Fill counselor vacancies

21. In general, how do you rate your knowledge of other agencies and systems that are resources fro DVR consumers? Good 61.9% Adequate 17.3% Fair 10.1% Excellent 9.4% Poor 1.4%

22. Please tell us anything else you think we should know for setting goals and priorities for improving DVR services. 1. Fill vacancies and do so more quickly 2. More equity across the state (resources, caseload sizes…) 3. Accountability for staff 4. Smaller workloads/caseload sizes 5. Limit services for clients (number of years their case can be open, number of times they can apply for services…) 6. Educate and build relationships with employers and partners 7. Increase in pay 8. Treat staff with more respect and appreciation 9. Training for all supervisors, not just new ones 10. BOS’ involved in more direct placement and be out in the field more

Rehabilitation Needs of:

a) individual’s with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services

*individual job placement for people with developmental disabilities *job placement/job coaching in rural areas *natural supports on the job for individuals *ongoing/long term/extended supports for people without funding (individuals with mental illness not associated or working with a mental health center, people with developmental disabilities on DD wait list, individuals with traumatic brain injuries, and most significant with physical disabilities…) *customized supported employment options *transportation resources, especially in rural areas or those who do not qualify for Access A Ride *training needed for job development providers, especially those working with people with mental health issues

b) individual’s with disabilities who are minorities

*training to staff in multicultural awareness *transportation resources *outreach and availability of VR services to inform and recruit potential eligible consumers *service providers *education about/referral for available disability benefits c) individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program *outreach regarding availability of VR services to potential referral sources and agencies to inform and recruit potential eligible consumers *education to employers about benefits of hiring consumers *long term supports for persons with autism, TBI, mental health, persons on wait lists for other agencies *transportation *referrals/resources for medical services

d) individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system

*increased partnerships and collaborative relationships with workforce investment system *disability awareness training for workforce center staff *continue to expand partnerships and encourage coordination of services *employer and public education about the ability of persons with disabilities 2) need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state

*increase vocational services in rural areas *explore ways to work with mental health centers who do not provide supported employment, but may be able to provide ongoing/extended support for consumers *development of more community based alternatives

Other needs indicated across all surveys by all respondents included:

-lack of work experience -timelier/faster services/quicker movement through the process -better follow through/follow up with consumers in all stages of process, reach out to consumers instead of them reaching out to you -more one on one help with paperwork, forms, job search -more educational and/or training opportunities -learning how disability affects ability to work -gauging “readiness” for work -more help with finding job goal to fit needs -develop more relationships with employers willing to hire people with disabilities -basic computer skill training -paid work experience -job seeking/job club/networking opportunities -information about local job markets -on the job training -life skills, social skills, problem solving skills, organization skills -better assessment of abilities -disability awareness training for employers -advocacy/advocacy training -referrals to other programs -employer and public education about the ability of persons with disabilities -overcoming health and functional limitation barriers -benefits assistance, understanding and access/referral to -motivation and readiness to work

This screen was last updated on Jul 19 2012 4:16PM by sacodesmedte

ATTACHMENT 4.11 (b)

Annual Estimates of Individuals to Be Served and Costs of Services

FY 2013 Annual Estimates of Individuals to Be Served and Costs of Services

DVR currently has all priority categories open and has no waiting lists for services. It is anticipated that the number of individuals applying for services in the upcoming year will continue to rise as the economic situation in Colorado continues to be unpredictable. DVR estimates the increase will be approximately 5% over current year applications.

The following charts show the projected numbers of individuals DVR anticipates serving in FFY 2013 and the numbers of individuals anticipated to receive eligibility determinations in FFY 2013.

INDIVIDUALS SERVED AND THE COST OF SERVICES BY PRIORITY CATEGORY* Projected October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013

Individuals Served Cost of Services Individuals with most significant disabilities 12,349 $13,012,303 Individuals with significant disabilities 6,358 $6,989,030 Individuals with least significant disabilities 1,566 $1,378,277 TOTALS 20,273 $ 21,379,610 *This does not include the funds paid for DVR’s SWAP program.

NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS WHO WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR SERVICES BY PRIORITY CATEGORY Projected October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013

Eligible Individuals Cost of Services for Eligible Individuals Individuals with most significant disabilities 4,474 $4,615,114 Individuals with significant disabilities 2,311 $2,950,881 Individuals with least significant disabilities 452 $1,065,311 TOTALS 7,237 $8,631,306

Title I and Title VI-B Funds

Typically, DVR uses 100% of its Title VI-B funds for the direct authorization of supported employment services. Title I funds are also used for supported employment services provided under cooperative agreements as well as for individual supported employment programs. As identified above, DVR’s policy is to assure the provision of supported employment services to all who need it and DVR uses both Title VI-B funds and Title I funds for this purpose.

When Title VI-B funds are not available, DVR uses Title I funds to assure that supported employment services are not interrupted. Thus, it is impossible for DVR to separate its programmatic supported employment plans and goals into separate components for each funding source. Rather, DVR develops programming strategies for its entire supported employment program, which includes the use of Title VI-B and Title I funds.

• Total number of individuals to be served using Title VI-B funds for supported employment – 657 • Total cost of services for individuals to be served using Title VI-B funds for supported employment - $675,216

Individuals To Be Served and the Cost of Services By Priority Category*

Projected October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013 • Number of individuals with most significant disabilities to be served – 12,349 • Cost of services for individuals with most significant disabilities to be served - $13,012,303 • Number of individuals with significant disabilities to be served – 6,358 • Cost of services for individuals with significant disabilities to be served - $6,989,030 • Number of individuals with least significant disabilities to be served – 1,566 • Cost of services for individuals with least significant disabilities to be served - $1,378,277 • Total number of individuals to be served – 20,273 • Total cost of services for individuals to be served - $21,379,610* *This does not include the funds paid for DVR’s SWAP program.

Number of Individuals Who Will Be Eligible For Services By Priority Category

Projected October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013 • Number of eligible individuals with most significant disabilities – 4,474 • Cost of services for eligible individuals with most significant disabilities - $ 4,615,114 • Number of eligible individuals with significant disabilities – 2,311 • Cost of services for eligible individuals with significant disabilities - $2,950,881 • Number of eligible individuals with least significant disabilities – 452 • Cost of services for eligible individuals with least significant disabilities - $1,065,311 • Total number of eligible individuals – 7,237 • Total cost of services for eligible individuals - $8,631,306

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Individuals w most significant disabilities served Title I $13,012,303 12,349 $1,053
Individuals w significant disabilities served Title I $6,989,030 6358 $1,099
Individuals w least significant disabilities serve Title I $1,378,277 1566 $880
Individuals w most significant disabilities elg Title I $4,615,114 4474 $1,031
Individuals w significant disabilities elg Title I $2,950,881 2311 $1,276
Individuals w least significant disabilities elg Title I $1,065,311 452 $2,356
Title VI B Title VI $675,216 657 $1,027
Totals   $30,686,132 28,167 $1,089

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 2:15PM by sacodesmedte

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)

State’s Goals and Priorities

FY 2013

State’s Goals and Priorities

Based on continued results of the comprehensive statewide assessment of the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities that were described in section 4.11(a) of this state plan, as well as the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (DVR) internal needs, DVR collaborated with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) throughout FFY 2012 to validate and continue the following long term priorities and goals for the vocational rehabilitation program.

Due to the rare circumstances of Colorado DVR having four top management positions become vacant this past year, there has been a focus on filling these positions and reorganizing the management structure. In addition, filling these vacancies from within existing DVR staff left other vacancies in regional supervisory positions, and then consequently counselor vacancies. Consequently, work on goals and strategies of FY 2012 state plan was interrupted several times over the last year due to these staff changes.

Many positive strategies were started or implemented but not carried out to the extent desired. DVR and the SRC felt that the previous goals and work begun on them was important and needed to continue now that staffing issues have stabilized. Thus, many of FY 2013 goals, priorities and strategies are similar and DVR is eager to begin working towards these.

Goal 1 - Increase the number of successful employment outcomes for DVR consumers

Measure: 1) By September 2013, DVR will increase the number of successful employment outcomes by 2% over previous year. 2) Decrease consumers’ dependence on public assistance

Ongoing Strategies: a) Further analyze CSNA surveys to look at high producing, high quality counselor’s processes and approaches b) Better analyze labor market and industry trends and educate staff and consumers regarding findings c) Educate counselors on use of CO-AWARE resources to more effectively manage caseloads for successful outcomes d) Continue to provide foundational education and training for DVR staff, including coding accuracy in CO-AWARE e) All DVR staff have employment outcomes as a measureable core competency in performance plans f) Establish guiding principles for the job placement process g) Analyze data related to Standard & Indicator 1.6 - Self Support

Goal 2 – Increase the visibility and public awareness of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Measure: Establish a baseline and track the number of formal outreach and educational activities conducted by DVR staff to employers, partners, and other community members

Ongoing Strategies: a) Utilize the new Work Supports and Employer Engagement Unit to coordinate the work of Business Outreach Specialists regarding coordination of education and awareness activities completed by other staff b) Conduct series of legislative and educational open houses across the state c) Continue to enhance the functionality of the DVR website and ensure it provides current and appropriate information and educate staff, consumers and partners about the availability of the DVR website d) Explore the use of social media resources to increase visibility and awareness of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Goal 3 – Improve the experience of DVR consumers as they move through the rehabilitation process toward successful employment outcomes

Measure: Consumer satisfaction as measured by consumer surveys, focus groups and other forms of customer feedback to establish a baseline and show an increase in customer satisfaction

On-going Strategies: a) Conduct focus groups and key informant interviews with DVR consumers and partners to gain feedback and discover what keeps people engaged and moving to successful employment outcomes b) Improve DVR processes from customer’s prospective c) Analyze CSNA surveys to determine common themes and trends around service quality d) Continue work of vendor committee focused on identifying and addressing vendor issues identified by staff, consumers and vendors to improve the overall quality of vendor services e) Examine strategies to increase consumer engagement

Goal 4 – Create an environment within DVR that is conducive to maintaining a full and competent staff.

Measure: 1) Staff retention as indicated by ratio of filled to vacant FTE’s 2) Analysis of staff satisfaction surveys and employee engagement survey results

On-going Strategies: a) DVR regions will explore progressive solutions to implementing cross-training and team approaches to service provision and processes b) DVR will continue to analyze opportunities and implement solutions for expanding various job classifications within DVR (rehabilitation counselor series, rehabilitation technician series, VRT/OM series, Business Outreach Specialists series and other promotional opportunities for effective DVR staff) c) DVR will implement an effective approach to conducting exit interviews with staff who are leaving the agency d) DVR will continue to identify and provide staff development opportunities to all DVR service delivery staff, especially newer rehabilitation counselors e) New supervisors within DVR will receive training on creating a retention culture

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2012 2:22PM by sacodesmedte

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

Justification for order of selection

Order of Selection

The Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) implemented an Order of Selection on March 1, 1993 in anticipation of projected economic and funding difficulties, to ensure DVR’s ability to manage limited funds, and to guarantee continuity and fairness in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to persons eligible for VR services. This action resulted from increased costs for vocational rehabilitation services, increased demand for services, an increased numbers of applicants with significant disabilities, and Colorado DVR to match all available Federal funds. However, since Order of Selection was implemented, DVR has had to restrict services only 3 times.

 

Description of Priority categories

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has developed the following criteria to identify an individual with:

A Most Significant Disability:

• The individual must have an impairment or impairments which, alone or in combination, are severe, • The individual must be seriously limited from achieving an employment outcome due to serious functional loss in three or more of the functional capacities identified in Section 7(15)(A) of Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112) as amended through 1998 (Public Law 102-569), • The individual must need at least two core vocational rehabilitation services* to address the functional losses imposed by the significant impairment(s) in order to attain an employment outcome, and • It will take a minimum of five (5) months to complete the services.

A Significant Disability:

• The individual must have an impairment or impairments which, alone or in combination, are severe, • The individual must be seriously limited from achieving an employment outcome due to serious functional loss in one or two of the functional capacities identified in Section 7(15)(A) of Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112) as amended through 1998 (Public Law 102-569), • The individual must need at least two core vocational rehabilitation services* to address the functional losses imposed by the significant impairment(s) in order to attain an employment outcome, and • It will take a minimum of five (5) months to complete the services.

* Core vocational rehabilitation services includes all vocational rehabilitation services other than supportive services (maintenance, transportation, services to family members, and personal assistance services); services secondary to core vocational rehabilitation services, such as training materials and supplies when training is being provided as a core vocational rehabilitation service; or, generalized counseling, guidance, and placement which are provided during the vocational rehabilitation process in connection with the provision of vocational rehabilitation services but are not identified as a needed vocational rehabilitation service on the IPE.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

In accordance with Section 101(a)(5)(A)(ii) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, DVR has designated that individuals with disabilities will receive vocational rehabilitation services in the following order of priority:

FIRST : Eligible individuals with the most significant disabilities

SECOND: Eligible individuals with significant disabilities

THIRD: Eligible individuals with a disability that does not meet the criteria of A Most Significant Disability or A Significant Disability.

 

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

The most recent service restriction occurred in the fall of 2008 when, due to severe overall resource constraints, DVR activated waiting lists under Order of Selection, with a restriction on all three priority category levels. Subsequent to this, DVR committed to using $2.8 million of ARRA funding to remove consumers from the Wait List. In April, 2009, DVR began removing consumers with most significant disabilities from the Wait List, based on the earliest application dates. In May 2010 DVR was able to remove all remaining consumers off the Wait List and opened all priority categories.

DVR has worked diligently to identify and utilize effective mechanisms for tracking and projecting encumbrances and expenditures in a way that will allow the Division to effectively manage Order of Selection implementation decisions. At the current time, DVR anticipates having sufficient human and fiscal resources to continue to serve eligible individuals without enacting waiting lists into the foreseeable future.

Priority Category Number of individuals to be served Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services Time within which goals are to be achieved Cost of services
1 12,008 1,438 3,616 3-5 years $11,857,841
2 6,175 767 1,866 2-4 years $6,478,057
3 1,519 191 821 1-3 years $1,317,311

This screen was last updated on Jul 19 2012 10:48AM by sacodesmedte

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 of Title VI, Part B Funds

FY 2013 Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) will continue to earmark available grant funds obtained under Title VI, Part B (Supported Employment Services), towards the administration of the supported employment program and the purchase of services in accordance with the 1998 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. No more than 5% of supported employment grant funds will be used for administrative activities, including, but not limited to, data collection and analyses, training, and consultation costs. At least 95% of grant funds under Title VI, Part B will be used to purchase supported employment services under Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) for individuals with the most significant disabilities who have been determined eligible for supported employment. (The types of services to be purchased remain the same as those identified in Attachment 7.3 of the State plan.)

DVR’s administrative priority is to assure the provision of supported employment services to all who need it. DVR’s new electronic case management system provides the utility to ensure that Title VI-B funding is the primary source of payment for supported employment service until that funding is exhausted, at which point funding continues to be provided through Title I.

To successfully meet the supported employment needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities, DVR has continued the collaborative efforts and working relationships between local DVR offices and mental health centers, and between local DVR offices and agencies serving consumers with developmental disabilities. DVR counselors and vocational staff from the above agencies work together to identify individuals who would be appropriate referrals to DVR for supported employment services. DVR continues to work actively within the realm of education to assure that youth with the most significant disabilities are accessing career, transition and employment services, including supported employment services, along with all Colorado youth. DVR has worked to infuse best practices within these areas, so that the needs of youth with the most significant disabilities are considered and met. Colorado DVR and Department of Education state-level staff work and travel as a team throughout the state, to respond to requests and to provide training, technical assistance and facilitation to local community agencies, such as schools and adult organizations, as these entities struggle to provide collaborative transition services to youth with the most significant disabilities.

Wellness and Recovery for Thousands through Employment and Education (WRKE)

The Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) was awarded a five year grant in the fall of 2010 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) to provide evidence based supported employment and education to participants of the Mental Health Center of Denver, Jefferson Mental Health, and Metal Health Partners serving Boulder and Broomfield Counties. The programs serve transition age youth and adults jointly with local DVR counselors in these areas. Job seeking skills, job placement, and job coaching are provided through the grant at no additional charge to DVR. The Omni Institute is conducting on ongoing assessment of the program.

Typically, DVR uses 100% of its Title VI-B funds for the direct authorization of supported employment services. Title I funds are also used for supported employment services provided under cooperative agreements as well as for individual supported employment programs. As identified above, DVR’s policy is to assure the provision of supported employment services to all who need it. DVR develops programming strategies for its entire supported employment program, which includes the use of Title VI-B and Title I funds.

The Division’s programmatic activities for supported employment services and programs funded under both Titles I and VI-B are intended to increase the number of persons receiving supported employment services and to improve employment outcomes for these individuals. The Division believes that the most effective and efficient strategy to accomplish this is by expanding and strengthening its collaborative linkages with relevant State agencies and/or private not-for-profit agencies for the provision of supported employment and extended support services. The activities to be conducted during 2013 reflect a continuation and refinement of activities performed over the last several years.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 1:37PM by sacodesmedte

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.

ATTACHMENT 4.11 (d)

State’s Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

FY 2013 Strategies to Address Needs in the Comprehensive Assessment and to Achieve Identified Goals and Priorities

FY 2013 Update

DVR completed its comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA) this year. Eight surveys were created and distributed to DVR participants, staff, stakeholders, vendors and other DVR partners. The following is an updated list of DVR’s goals and strategies and the various tasks DVR will undertake as a result of the findings in the CSNA.

Goal 1 Increase the number of successful employment outcomes for DVR consumers

On-going strategies: • DVR will increase the number of successful employment outcomes by 2% over the previous year. • DVR will decrease consumers’ dependence on public assistance. • DVR will further analyze CSNA surveys to look at high producing, high quality counselor’s processes and approaches • DVR will better analyze labor market and industry trends and educate staff and consumers regarding findings • DVR will educate counselors on use of CO-AWARE resources to more effectively manage caseloads for successful outcomes • DVR will continue to provide foundational education and training for DVR staff, including coding accuracy in CO-AWARE • DVR has assigned all DVR staff employment outcomes as a measureable core competency on performance plans • DVR will establish guiding principles for the job placement process • DVR will analyze data related to Standard & Indicator 1.6 - Self Support

Associated tasks: • DVR will review and capitalize on information received from a) CSNA survey to consumers actively seeking employment and b) CSNA survey to counselors with high production/high quality outcomes, sharing ideas and providing training on common themes found within these surveys • DVR will continue to be forward thinking to effectively identify current and future employment trends across Colorado to educate counselor and consumers about these trends • DVR will strengthen their Business Outreach Specialist program and utilize DVR’s newly established Work Supports and Employer Engagement Unit to effectively increase employment outcomes statewide. Business Outreach Specialists and other staff will continue their efforts to reach out to and develop solid relationships with area employers through education and formal and informal presentations. • DVR has implemented a statewide core competency as a part of each staff member’s performance plan targeted to increase employment outcomes for DVR participants.

Goal 2 Increase the visibility and public awareness of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

On-going strategies: • DVR will establish a baseline and track the number of formal outreach and educational activities conducted by DVR staff to employers, partners, and other community members • DVR will utilize the new Work Supports and Employer Engagement Unit to coordinate the work of Business Outreach Specialists regarding coordination of education and awareness activities completed by other staff • DVR will conduct series of legislative and educational open houses across the state • DVR will continue to enhance the functionality of the DVR website and ensure it provides current and appropriate information and educate staff, consumers and partners about the availability of the DVR website • DVR will explore the use of social media resources to increase visibility and awareness of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Associated tasks: • The Federal Business Outreach Specialist continues to network with human resources staff throughout the Federal Center and within the various federal agencies, such as The Bureau of Reclamation, The Bureau of Land Management, US Geological Society and US Fish and Wildlife Services to educate and encourage use of Schedule A hiring efforts and to promote hiring of persons with disabilities. In addition, he continues to provide Disability Awareness Trainings to potential employers and cooperatively works to create and host job fairs at the federal level. • In the coming months, DVR open house events are planned for a number of offices in addition to employer education events in connection with October’s Disability Employment Awareness Month. DVR will continue to have MIG resources through December 31, 2012. DVR, through the MIG, has been a sponsor of the national “Think Beyond the Label” campaign. • The State Rehabilitation Council and DVR leadership will continue to identify and implement activities and events to educate partner state agencies, legislative staff and members, and other community partners and stakeholders. • DVR Business Outreach Specialists and other staff will continue to serve as members on various human resource associations, as part of local workforce center boards, as liaisons with various agencies, such as the Community Centered Boards, Veteran’s Administration, local mental health agencies, local school districts, etc.

Goal 3 Improve the experience of DVR consumers as they move through the rehabilitation process toward successful employment outcomes

On-going strategies: • DVR will improve consumer satisfaction as measured by consumer surveys, focus groups and other forms of customer feedback to establish baseline and show an increase in customer satisfaction • DVR will conduct focus groups and key informant interviews with DVR consumers and partners to gain feedback and discover what keeps people engaged and moving to successful employment outcomes • DVR will improve DVR processes from customer’s prospective • DVR will analyze CSNA surveys to determine common themes and trends around service quality • DVR will continue the work of the vendor committee focused on identifying and addressing vendor issues identified by staff, consumers and vendors to improve the overall quality of vendor services • DVR will examine strategies to increase consumer engagement

Associated tasks: • DVR’s Vendor Committee continues to meet regularly to work on vendor and fee schedule issues that impact services to consumers. Work is currently focused on a) job placement services and rates, b) vendor orientation, and c) defining what “quality” means, what qualifications vendors should have and how to measure quality. Other areas the committee will continue work on are the Fee Schedule, new rates for resume preparation, implementation of paid work experience as a new service for participants and Agribility. Lastly, a job placement pilot project will start in August 2012 to determine if new milestone payments will work. • DVR identified counselors who have had consistently high production over the last several years, as well as those with high quality casework as identified through the quality assurance review process. A survey was sent to these staff as part of the CSNA. DVR will analyze data obtained from this survey to look for common themes and patterns. The information gleaned from this group will be analyzed and shared among all staff for potential replication of best practices, thus improving the quality of services to DVR participants. • DVR will examine opportunities to hold focus groups with participants who exited the DVR system prior to implementation of an IPE to discuss what barriers they feel they faced, what the reasons were that they exited services, and what they feel would have helped keep them engaged in DVR services.

Goal 4 Create an environment within DVR that is conducive to maintaining a full and competent staff.

On-going strategies: • DVR will increase staff retention as indicated by ratio of filled to vacant FTE’s • DVR will analyze staff satisfaction surveys and employee engagement survey results to determine strategies to improve working conditions to be more conducive to maintaining staff • DVR regions will explore progressive solutions to implementing cross-training and team approaches to service provision and processes • DVR will continue to analyze opportunities and implement solutions for expanding various job classifications within DVR (rehabilitation counselor series, rehabilitation technician series, VRT/OM series, Business Outreach Specialists series and other promotional opportunities for effective DVR staff)

Associated tasks: • DVR has been examining options for incentives or pay adjustment for hard to fill locales/positions and areas with higher costs of living. The State of Colorado completed an Employee Engagement Survey and DVR is looking at these survey results to determine how the information can be useful as it pertains to DVR staff. In addition, DVR is creating its own Employee Engagement work group to identify why staff leaves DVR, what might encourage them to stay, etc. • DVR recognizes that staff morale has suffered due to the lack of raises and increase in costs of benefits over the last several years. Due to this, DVR is exploring options to improve morale and find ways to encourage staff to want to continue working with the agency. DVR is working with human resources to try and expand the rehabilitation counselor series to allow for more upward mobility opportunities for staff who wish to advance to a more responsible position as a rehabilitation counselor without moving into supervisory positions. In addition, DVR is working to create a rehabilitation technician position which would allow advancement/career path options for administrative staff. This position would also give rehabilitation counselors more time to spend with their consumers in the hopes of keeping consumers more engaged in services and providing overall higher quality services to consumers and consequently increased and improved employment outcomes. • DVR has recently filled an internal human resource position. A main focus of this position will be to conduct exit interviews with staff to learn more about reasons staff are departing and to find out what incentives may have increased their decision to remain with the agency. DVR will then examine the findings of the exit surveys and explore strategies to keep employees engaged, motivated and eager to stay with the agency. • DVR will examine ways to decrease caseload sizes or workloads to allow counselors to spend more one-on-one time with each consumer’s. DVR will also examine ways to assist staff in reducing stress. • DVR also conducted a statewide staff survey this year to identify not only training needs, but to solicit information from staff about factors that contribute to their continued satisfactory employment here at DVR so the agency can further explore how to replicate those types of conditions and environments.

 

Identify how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities at each stage of the rehabilitation process; and describe how assistive technology services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.

DVR has two dedicated staff positions (Assistive Technology Coordinator and Assistive Technology Specialist). The Assistive Technology Specialist works with individuals with blindness or low vision, however referrals are accepted from consumers with other disabilities. The Assistive Technology Coordinator works primarily to provide services statewide to assist participants with their rehabilitation technology needs.

In addition, DVR has numerous statewide vendors that we are able to purchase assistive technology related services from, including but not limited to assistive technology evaluations, ergonomic evaluations, assistive technology devices, etc.

 

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.

DVR believes strongly in being able to provide quality services to everyone who applies for vocational rehabilitation services. DVR regularly uses Census Bureau data to identify areas of the state that have a higher population of individuals who are minorities to determine any populations that it may be underserving. In addition, DVR strives to meet the communication needs of all participants. Following is a graph comparing the current ethnic population distribution as reported by the United States (U.S.), State of Colorado, and DVR participants.

Communication with Diverse Populations

Race U.S. Statistics Colorado Statistics DVR Statistics One race 97.3% 96.6% 79.6% White 74.2% 83.3% 73.8% Black 12.6% 3.9% 6.7% American Indian or Alaskan 0.8% 1.0% 2.4% Asian 1.8% 2.6% 1.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0.2% 0.1% 0.3% Other 4.8% 5.6% - Two or more 2.7% 3.4% 20.4% Hispanic or Latino 16.4% 20.8% 15.7% Data obtained from American Community Survey 2010 Data and from DVR 911 reports

This data indicates that compared to the American Community Survey 2010 data, Colorado DVR is currently serving ? 72% more black/African Americans than the average population of Black/African Americans reported as living in Colorado ? 140% more American Indian or Alaskans than the average population of American Indian or Alaskans reported as living in Colorado ? 200% more Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander participants than the average population of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander reported as living in Colorado

At the present time, at least 30% of DVR’s field offices have one or more staff members who speak fluent Spanish. All offices in the areas with a high Hispanic population have at least one staff member who is also Hispanic. Other staff members have completed intensive Spanish-language training programs, with the goal of achieving a functional level of fluency. DVR also have staff members who speak a variety of other languages, such as German, Afrikaans, Swahili, Flemish, Dutch, Greek and Polish.

In addition, all offices have access to translation resources. DVR is located in an office within the Department’s organizational structure that also includes the Division of Refugee Services and is working in close collaboration with that Division to capitalize on the knowledge, expertise and resources available to provide the best possible rehabilitation services to common consumers.

DVR is in the initial stages of building a working relationship with the Colorado Refugee Services Program. Staff have begun to meet to discuss how to work together more effectively. One DVR counselor in the Denver Metro area is working to develop a referral process to serve refugees with disabilities. In addition, in the future, DVR plans to invite Colorado Refugee Services staff to speak with all field supervisors across the state.

 

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

DVR established a Vendor Committee in August 2011. The purpose of the committee is to a) utilize DVR staff throughout Colorado to effectively determine rates and standards for goods and services that vendors provide and, b) to be proactive, address concerns by staff and vendors, and improve the overall quality of vendors for DVR.

This committee is comprised of staff members from all job classifications from each region of the state and includes administrative assistants, counselors, and supervisors. Meetings are held quarterly, unless it’s deemed that more frequent meetings are needed. Members received input from all DVR staff regarding vendor issues and fee schedule issues and then prioritized these by importance of need. Sub committees were then developed and have been meeting in between the regularly scheduled quarterly meetings to work on issues such as a) job placement services and rates, b) vendor orientation, and c) defining what “quality” means, what qualifications vendors should have and how to measure quality. Other areas the committee has focused on have been updating the Fee Schedule, new rates for resume preparation, implementation of paid work experience as a new service for participants and Agribility. Lastly, a job placement pilot project will start in August 2012 to determine if new milestone payments will work.

In addition, as part of the Comprehensive Statewide

 

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

DVR is working to increase the number of employment outcomes by 2% this year. Strategies DVR is exploring to make this occur are:

a) Further analyze CSNA surveys to look at high producing, high quality counselor’s processes and approaches b) Better analyze labor market and industry trends and educate staff and consumers regarding findings c) Educate counselors on use of CO-AWARE resources to more effectively manage caseloads for successful outcomes d) Continue to provide foundational education and training for DVR staff, including coding accuracy in CO-AWARE e) All DVR staff have employment outcomes as a measureable core competency in performance plans f) Establish guiding principles for the job placement process g) Analyze data related to Standard & Indicator 1.6 - Self Support

 

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

DVR staff work closely with workforce staff around the state. DVR staff serve as members on various workforce boards, they participate on various committees and councils through the workforce center such as youth councils, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) committees, as well as working collaboratively with workforce centers to host job fairs for youth, job fairs for seniors, etc. DVR is also co-located with several workforce centers throughout the state, such as the offices in Golden, Frisco, Edwards and Salida. This arrangement lends itself to collaborative partnering for people with disabilties seeking employment. DVR staff are available to consult with workforce center staff about accommodation needs, accessibility and rehabilitation technology.

 

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.

DVR believes strongly in the content of the state plan and obtained input from all levels of DVR staff including administration, field services supervisors, rehabilitation counselors, and support staff. In addition, with a new dedicated position to the state plan, DVR plans to provide education and outreach to all DVR staff about the goals, priorities and strategies.

ATTACHMENT 4.11 (d)

State’s Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

FY 2013 Strategies to Address Needs in the Comprehensive Assessment and to Achieve Identified Goals and Priorities

FY 2013 Update

DVR completed its comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA) this year. Eight surveys were created and distributed to DVR participants, staff, stakeholders, vendors and other DVR partners. The following is an updated list of DVR’s goals and strategies and the various tasks DVR will undertake as a result of the findings in the CSNA.

Goal 1 Increase the number of successful employment outcomes for DVR consumers

On-going strategies: • DVR will increase the number of successful employment outcomes by 2% over the previous year. • DVR will decrease consumers’ dependence on public assistance. • DVR will further analyze CSNA surveys to look at high producing, high quality counselor’s processes and approaches • DVR will better analyze labor market and industry trends and educate staff and consumers regarding findings • DVR will educate counselors on use of CO-AWARE resources to more effectively manage caseloads for successful outcomes • DVR will continue to provide foundational education and training for DVR staff, including coding accuracy in CO-AWARE • DVR has assigned all DVR staff employment outcomes as a measureable core competency on performance plans • DVR will establish guiding principles for the job placement process • DVR will analyze data related to Standard & Indicator 1.6 - Self Support

Associated tasks: • DVR will review and capitalize on information received from a) CSNA survey to consumers actively seeking employment and b) CSNA survey to counselors with high production/high quality outcomes, sharing ideas and providing training on common themes found within these surveys • DVR will continue to be forward thinking to effectively identify current and future employment trends across Colorado to educate counselor and consumers about these trends • DVR will strengthen their Business Outreach Specialist program and utilize DVR’s newly established Work Supports and Employer Engagement Unit to effectively increase employment outcomes statewide. Business Outreach Specialists and other staff will continue their efforts to reach out to and develop solid relationships with area employers through education and formal and informal presentations. • DVR has implemented a statewide core competency as a part of each staff member’s performance plan targeted to increase employment outcomes for DVR participants.

Goal 2 Increase the visibility and public awareness of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

On-going strategies: • DVR will establish a baseline and track the number of formal outreach and educational activities conducted by DVR staff to employers, partners, and other community members • DVR will utilize the new Work Supports and Employer Engagement Unit to coordinate the work of Business Outreach Specialists regarding coordination of education and awareness activities completed by other staff • DVR will conduct series of legislative and educational open houses across the state • DVR will continue to enhance the functionality of the DVR website and ensure it provides current and appropriate information and educate staff, consumers and partners about the availability of the DVR website • DVR will explore the use of social media resources to increase visibility and awareness of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Associated tasks: • The Federal Business Outreach Specialist continues to network with human resources staff throughout the Federal Center and within the various federal agencies, such as The Bureau of Reclamation, The Bureau of Land Management, US Geological Society and US Fish and Wildlife Services to educate and encourage use of Schedule A hiring efforts and to promote hiring of persons with disabilities. In addition, he continues to provide Disability Awareness Trainings to potential employers and cooperatively works to create and host job fairs at the federal level. • In the coming months, DVR open house events are planned for a number of offices in addition to employer education events in connection with October’s Disability Employment Awareness Month. DVR will continue to have MIG resources through December 31, 2012. DVR, through the MIG, has been a sponsor of the national “Think Beyond the Label” campaign. • The State Rehabilitation Council and DVR leadership will continue to identify and implement activities and events to educate partner state agencies, legislative staff and members, and other community partners and stakeholders. • DVR Business Outreach Specialists and other staff will continue to serve as members on various human resource associations, as part of local workforce center boards, as liaisons with various agencies, such as the Community Centered Boards, Veteran’s Administration, local mental health agencies, local school districts, etc.

Goal 3 Improve the experience of DVR consumers as they move through the rehabilitation process toward successful employment outcomes

On-going strategies: • DVR will improve consumer satisfaction as measured by consumer surveys, focus groups and other forms of customer feedback to establish baseline and show an increase in customer satisfaction • DVR will conduct focus groups and key informant interviews with DVR consumers and partners to gain feedback and discover what keeps people engaged and moving to successful employment outcomes • DVR will improve DVR processes from customer’s prospective • DVR will analyze CSNA surveys to determine common themes and trends around service quality • DVR will continue the work of the vendor committee focused on identifying and addressing vendor issues identified by staff, consumers and vendors to improve the overall quality of vendor services • DVR will examine strategies to increase consumer engagement

Associated tasks: • DVR’s Vendor Committee continues to meet regularly to work on vendor and fee schedule issues that impact services to consumers. Work is currently focused on a) job placement services and rates, b) vendor orientation, and c) defining what “quality” means, what qualifications vendors should have and how to measure quality. Other areas the committee will continue work on are the Fee Schedule, new rates for resume preparation, implementation of paid work experience as a new service for participants and Agribility. Lastly, a job placement pilot project will start in August 2012 to determine if new milestone payments will work. • DVR identified counselors who have had consistently high production over the last several years, as well as those with high quality casework as identified through the quality assurance review process. A survey was sent to these staff as part of the CSNA. DVR will analyze data obtained from this survey to look for common themes and patterns. The information gleaned from this group will be analyzed and shared among all staff for potential replication of best practices, thus improving the quality of services to DVR participants. • DVR will examine opportunities to hold focus groups with participants who exited the DVR system prior to implementation of an IPE to discuss what barriers they feel they faced, what the reasons were that they exited services, and what they feel would have helped keep them engaged in DVR services.

Goal 4 Create an environment within DVR that is conducive to maintaining a full and competent staff.

On-going strategies: • DVR will increase staff retention as indicated by ratio of filled to vacant FTE’s • DVR will analyze staff satisfaction surveys and employee engagement survey results to determine strategies to improve working conditions to be more conducive to maintaining staff • DVR regions will explore progressive solutions to implementing cross-training and team approaches to service provision and processes • DVR will continue to analyze opportunities and implement solutions for expanding various job classifications within DVR (rehabilitation counselor series, rehabilitation technician series, VRT/OM series, Business Outreach Specialists series and other promotional opportunities for effective DVR staff)

Associated tasks: • DVR has been examining options for incentives or pay adjustment for hard to fill locales/positions and areas with higher costs of living. The State of Colorado completed an Employee Engagement Survey and DVR is looking at these survey results to determine how the information can be useful as it pertains to DVR staff. In addition, DVR is creating its own Employee Engagement work group to identify why staff leaves DVR, what might encourage them to stay, etc. • DVR recognizes that staff morale has suffered due to the lack of raises and increase in costs of benefits over the last several years. Due to this, DVR is exploring options to improve morale and find ways to encourage staff to want to continue working with the agency. DVR is working with human resources to try and expand the rehabilitation counselor series to allow for more upward mobility opportunities for staff who wish to advance to a more responsible position as a rehabilitation counselor without moving into supervisory positions. In addition, DVR is working to create a rehabilitation technician position which would allow advancement/career path options for administrative staff. This position would also give rehabilitation counselors more time to spend with their consumers in the hopes of keeping consumers more engaged in services and providing overall higher quality services to consumers and consequently increased and improved employment outcomes. • DVR has recently filled an internal human resource position. A main focus of this position will be to conduct exit interviews with staff to learn more about reasons staff are departing and to find out what incentives may have increased their decision to remain with the agency. DVR will then examine the findings of the exit surveys and explore strategies to keep employees engaged, motivated and eager to stay with the agency. • DVR will examine ways to decrease caseload sizes or workloads to allow counselors to spend more one-on-one time with each consumers. DVR will also examine ways to assist staff in reducing stress. • DVR also conducted a statewide staff survey this year to identify not only training needs, but to solicit information from staff about factors that contribute to their continued satisfactory employment here at DVR so the agency can further explore how to replicate those types of conditions and environments.

Other strategies used to support innovation and expansion include:

*Developing and implementing an “Accessible Document Training”. This training will teach staff how to make sure documents are accessible for everyone.

*CO-AWARE, our new case management system, has been live for a little over a year now. Staff will be provided advanced training to learn additional features to allow them to work more efficiently and effectively, allowing them to serve consumers better. In addition, CDVR is upgrading the employer module of the AWARE system. This module will expand DVR’s reach to more employers. DVR staff will be able to track and monitor employers, enter job openings, and track when participants apply for posted job openings in the system. In addition, staff will be able to search for people based on their IPE goals to match them with job openings.

In addition, DVR has been provided the opportunity to work with a national consultant who assists government programs in examining their processes in order to improve their services.

The consultant is assisting DVR in determining what barriers participants encounter at various stages of the DVR process. The goal is to reduce or eliminate identified barriers.

This work will expand on the findings of the CSNA and will help DVR identify additional barriers participants might encounter. DVR is excited about this opportunity as we feel it supports goal 3 above, "to improve the experience of DVR consumers as they move through the rehabilitation process toward successful employment outcomes".

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 19 2012 4:17PM by sacodesmedte

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

Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities

Throughout FFY 2012, The Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) has made progress toward identified goals and priorities by utilizing various strategies. Additionally, the agency has also responded to various challenges, not specifically identified in previously stated goals and priorities and continues to serve all eligible individuals. However, there has been unprecedented turnover in DVR’s management staff, with six of the agency’s top management staff retiring in the past eighteen months. This provided an opportunity to reorganize the management team and regional breakdown, promoting greater efficiency. The division has worked hard to fill all vacancies with qualified individuals and was able to do so by promoting from within. This created several vacancies among district supervisor positions, as well rehabilitation counselor positions

DVR efforts have been focused on re-building its management staff at all levels and providing training to persons in these positions so they will be well prepared to assist consumers toward their employment goals. In addition, all DVR staff have begun utilizing the division’s new electronic case management system, CO-AWARE, which was implemented on May 2, 2011. While this represented a significant change in how staff do business, all staff have been diligent in learning, understanding and being able to fully manipulate this system in the most efficient manner.

GOAL 1: Increase the Number and Quality of Employment Outcomes

Strategy A: Identify, explore and replicate effective practices that are employed by exemplary counselors. • During new counselor training, staff utilize previous work done around promising practices. New counselors are provided with information about “Qualities of Effective VR Counselors”, case management strategies based on previous focus groups and current caseloads of successful counselors, and time management strategies to enhance their ability to manage the multiple priorities VR counselors deal with daily. There has been discussion about identifying current exemplary counselors to begin a new focus group and gather some of the current strategies used. • One of the surveys for this years’ comprehensive statewide needs assessment was targeted to counselors identified with high production/high quality work. Data was pulled from the CO-AWARE system to identify counselors who consistently exceeded production goals over the last five years, as well as counselors whose work was deemed as high quality as a result of previous quality assurance results. These counselors were then surveyed and asked questions about patterns, tips, techniques, etc. that they use to identify what is consistently being done that assists counselors in obtaining successful outcomes. The goal is to now take the information learned and share it with other staff and/or use it to develop training to present to staff to help others increase their performance. In addition, DVR continues to use its quality assurance case review process to identify cases that represent best practices across the rehabilitation process and to use these as training examples for other staff.

• Exemplary counselors are employed as Mentor/Trainer Counselor II’s who then train new staff and existing staff about best practices, enhancing the quality of services and employment outcomes and to encourage ongoing focus of “employment”. • The northeast district set a goal to improve the number of successful closures and accomplished this by restructuring the Business Outreach Specialist job duties to specifically target rural employers, creating many more positive employment relationships throughout their district. In addition, their staff worked closely with their local workforce center to design plans to do a better job matching job openings for participants. These activities included helping with job clubs and attending regular monthly interagency collaboration meetings. In addition, counselors focused more effort on outcomes, tracking and adjusting service delivery to improve employment outcomes. This plan was so effective that they have chosen to continue to build on their success by promoting their partnership by expanding the job club to two other workforce centers and in starting a job club in a county where none has existed before. In addition, counselors are using strategies they learned from the Cognitive Motivational Training to make sure participants stay engaged and motivated. • The Northeast district supervisor prints a monthly production report for each counselor and monitors the flow of participants through the rehab process to ensure there are no roadblocks to the flow. The supervisor in cooperation with the lead mentor/trainer counselor has developed a plan to provide routine and focused training for counselors who get “stuck” at different points in the rehab process. The mentor/trainer counselor in this region has a performance objective to impact the number of successfully rehabilitated closures for chronically low producing counselors in the district. • DVR counselors are being trained to do a thorough comprehensive assessment to ensure quality employment outcomes.

Strategy B: Continue to monitor caseload activity data and implement effective strategies to improve service delivery for consumers. • One strategy that DVR utilized to improve service delivery for customers was completion of various customer satisfaction surveys. Surveys were provided to all DVR offices to be left in the reception area and/or to be given to participants requesting input about their satisfaction. In addition, this same survey was posted on the DVR website for participants and stakeholders to complete. DVR also sent out a general customer satisfaction survey to participants with open cases as well as an additional survey to consumers actively looking for work. Results of these surveys can be found in Attachment 4.11(a). • DVR has invested in providing Cognitive Motivational Training (CMT) to its DVR counselors. DVR plans to use its quality assurance process as one way of identifying counselors using various CMT techniques and to monitor their effectiveness. Strategies identified as successful will then be shared with other staff and trainings will be developed as needed to encourage wider use of these approaches. • DVR has also provided training to six individuals to become Motivational Enhancement Training (MET) facilitators in hopes of finding ways to keep consumers engaged in DVR services. 65 DVR participants have completed the MET program since it began in March 2011, with the following results: o 3 individuals (5%) have been closed rehabilitated. An additional 4 individuals (6%) are currently working and will achieve 90 days of employment soon. o 7 individuals (11%) elected to have their case with VR closed, recognizing they were not ready or interested in pursuing work. An additional 6 individuals (9%) have had their case with VR closed for various other reasons (e.g. moved, unable to contact, failure to cooperate, etc.) o 19 individuals (29%) have continued with services, 5 of whom are actively seeking employment (8% of all MET participants). The remaining 14 are developing plans or engaged with other services necessary to eventually achieve employment. o 11 individuals (17%) continue to have open cases, but have not been making progress toward their employment goal and will continue to be monitored. These results show promise that the use of motivational interviewing techniques can be successful in helping participants identify the benefits of working or not working and can help them determine what they may need in order to be successful in their employment pursuits. • DVR staff have been using the new CO-AWARE case management system for a little over a year now. Staff are becoming more cognizant of the various types of reports available in this system to help them monitor their own caseloads, watch for “activities due”, help them keep track of eligibility and plan time frames, number of individuals in each status, etc. In addition, supervisors are also learning what types of reports they can utilize to assist their staff in enhancing service delivery and achievement of employment outcomes.

Strategy C: Continue to conduct employer outreach and education. • DVR is an active partner in the implementation of Colorado’s Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG), which operates through 12/31/12. A key component of the MIG has been to connect, communicate and coordinate with employers to build Colorado’s employment infrastructure and to remove barriers that keep business and qualified applicants with disabilities apart. To this end, and led by the DVR Business Outreach Specialists, DVR offices throughout Colorado created and hosted local community-based employer events. These events provided education and information about employing persons with disabilities. In addition, they have also connected job-seekers and potential employers, brought together employers for the purpose of education and outreach, and focused on federal employers and federal contractors. The DVR statewide Business Outreach Program will continue connecting with employers in the future by hosting outreach and education events. • A Business Outreach Specialist who works primarily with individuals who are blind has begun assisting her participants in creating videos of themselves completing job tasks associated with the types of work they are pursuing. She reports that she found some employers were hesitant to hire her consumers as they could not visualize or imagine how an individual who is blind could do the job. These videos can be uploaded to You Tube with the link indicated on the participants resume or application directing employers to their video. An example of this is a participant who is blind who is seeking employment as a floral designer. Potential employers can go to her video to see how she is able to complete the functions of this type of job. • The Federal Business Outreach Specialist has been working with local federal agencies to promote student employment programs. The first of these programs is The Workforce Recruitment Program which is a database of college students with disabilities. Employers can browse the database when filling positions to hire summer and permanent positions. Another program is the Student Educational Program, which provides federal internship opportunities for students.

Other progress towards this goal includes: • Staff across the state are reaching out to the high schools to identify students who have a disability, but may not have an IEP. Some efforts toward this include scheduling meetings with school counselors, school nurses, audiologists, and other staff who may work with these students to educate them about DVR services.

GOAL 2: Increase the visibility and public awareness of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, by increasing the number of public outreach activities

Strategy A: Educate Colorado State Agencies, Legislators and other community members about DVR’s employment focused services and benefits to Colorado. • The Federal Business Outreach Specialist presented at a Disability Employment Awareness Month Event at the Denver Federal Center. This event was hosted by the Bureau of Reclamation and several agencies within the Department of the Interior were in attendance. This presentation included training approximately 75 people, including federal employers and job seekers about Schedule A hiring practices. Following the presentation, job seekers were given the opportunity to meet with representatives from various federal agencies, including Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, US Geological Society and US Fish and Wildlife Services. • Region I hosted an open house in which Colorado state agencies as well as a County Commissioner were educated about individuals with disabilities, the DVR mission, and DVR’s employment focused services and benefits to Colorado. • In the Northeast district, the supervisor and Business Outreach Specialist are members of the local workforce board meetings and interdisciplinary meetings. As well, they work closely with the local social services representatives. In addition, each counselor in this district is assigned as a liaison with a specific major agency, such as the Community Center Board, the Veteran’s Administration, the local mental health agency, the local school district, etc. Having these specific liaisons enhances communication, helps develop better relationships and provides for smoother flow of services to participants. • Many of DVR’s Business Outreach Specialists and other staff are actively involved in various networking opportunities where they are able to talk about DVR’s mission, services and employment focus. Some examples of this include: o Staff members are working with Colorado’s Department of Human Services to try and implement hiring processes to fill state positions by using hiring practices similar to the Federal Schedule A letter o Presentations to and membership in various Human Resource associations, such as the Society of Human Resource Professionals and Colorado Association of Non-Profits o Serving as members of transition teams across the state o Staff serving as members on Workforce Investment Boards o Attending Ex-Offender/Department Of Corrections meetings monthly with other local community organizations to discuss job opportunities, employers and issues pertaining to offenders o Staff are providing Disability Awareness Trainings to both employers and community partners across the state o Staff are serving on various networking groups such as the Community Resource Network and Chamber of Commerce

Strategy B: Continue to enhance the functionality of the DVR website and ensure it provides current and appropriate information. • DVR continues to update its website to ensure information is current and accurate. The website contains an “Introduction to DVR Services Video”, DVR success stories, links for participants, partners and employers, current news and resource information, information about associated councils and boards as well as links to office locations and other resources. The website can also be used as a place to post announcements. • Region I adapted the Pueblo DVR orientation video to make it applicable statewide and added captioning and ASL interpretation for accessibility. The video was then used on the DVR website, increasing the functionality and currency of the website. • DVR has provided vendor resource materials on the DVR website to provide easily accessible information and guidance to vendors. • The Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, through stakeholder-driven employment initiatives, is working to address the needs of youth with disabilities and has chosen to utilize DVR’s website as one means of doing this. The planned webpage for youth has been remarkably expanded and will be more of a full web resource with multiple categories and subcategories. Content is now in the final stage, and once web design is complete, the MIG will market the resource through school district staff, parent centers, etc.

Strategy C: Enhance the quality of DVR’s outreach strategy and materials for employers. • DVR completed its marketing plan and the development of the DVR specific brand marketing tools. Staff have been educated about these materials and they are now available for use when outreaching to employers.

In addition, DVR continues to utilize numerous other ways to outreach to employers, including: • Staff have completed multiple Disability Awareness Training events increasing the visibility and public awareness of DVR, as well as educating participants about individuals with disabilities. • Business Outreach Specialists across the state have increased the number of employer contacts and outreach throughout the past year. • DVR staff have also reached out to employers in their area to identify employees with disabilities who could benefit from support to maintain their existing employment. • Offices throughout the state are partnering with local agencies to conduct job fairs, resource fairs and other events, increasing opportunities for employment for participants while also educating more employers about DVR services and gaining more public awareness through increased visibility.

GOAL 3: Improve the quality of providers from whom DVR purchases services

Strategy A: DVR will develop and conduct an on-going consumer survey to measure the quality of services provided by DVR vendors. • DVR has been conducting ongoing surveys in order to determine the best ways to improve the quality of providers and services to DVR participants. a) The first of these surveys was a Provider Relations survey sent October of 2010 to internal staff about the efficiencies of registering vendors and general vendor issues. The biggest outcome from this survey was that DVR was able to reduce the time it takes to register a new vendor from 6-10 days to 1-2 days. b) The next survey was a Vendor Quality survey, also sent to internal staff in June of 2011 to rate vendor quality, identify main areas of concern, finding vendors, and fee schedule issues. The most important outcome of this survey was identifying job placement as a 1 concern, which then helped structure Vendor Committee priorities. c) A job placement vendor survey was sent in November 2011 to internal staff to ask specifically about reports and communication with vendors. The outcome has helped DVR to define what a quality vendor is. d) In March of 2012, two surveys were sent to vendors as part of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment. The first of these surveys was sent to all DVR vendors to identify what was working well in partnering with DVR and what they thought could be done differently to improve relationships with DVR. The second of these surveys was sent to vendors providing placement services to DVR participants. The goal was to determine what barriers were impeding their ability to find DVR participants’ jobs, what might help them increase the number of employment outcomes they assist individuals in getting, and what might help improve the quality of the employment outcomes obtained. These results are talked about further in attachment 4.11(a).

e) The most recent survey sent out by the Operations Support Unit was to members of the Vendor committee in June 2012. This survey asked members about the structure of meetings, what’s working, and what is not in order to determine ways to improve effectiveness of the committee. Results of this survey are still pending. f) DVR will continue to look at other mechanisms for gathering feedback about the quality of services received by our consumers and are considering options such as focus groups and key informant interviews in order to have more face-to-face interaction/feedback.

Strategy B: DVR will review and update provider standards and qualifications. • A subcommittee of the DVR vendor committee (see below) is currently trying to determine what a “quality” vendor is. In doing so, they are reviewing provider standards and qualifications for various services to determine the minimum qualifications providers need to meet. They continue to meet on a regular basis and will make recommendations for appropriate changes to the Rehabilitation Leadership team.

Strategy C: DVR will review and refine procedures for recruitment and registering of providers. • DVR established a Vendor Committee in August 2011. The purpose of the committee is to a) utilize DVR staff throughout Colorado to effectively determine rates and standards for goods and services that vendors provide and, b) to be proactive, address concerns by staff and vendors, and improve the overall quality of vendors for DVR. This committee is comprised of staff members from all job classifications from each region of the state and includes administrative assistants, counselors, and supervisors. Meetings are held quarterly, unless it’s deemed that more frequent meetings are needed. Members received input from all DVR staff regarding vendor issues and fee schedule issues and then prioritized these by importance of need. Sub committees were then developed and have been meeting in between the regularly scheduled quarterly meetings to work on issues such as a) job placement services and rates, b) vendor orientation, and c) defining what “quality” means, what qualifications vendors should have and how to measure quality. Other areas the committee has focused on have been updating the Fee Schedule, new rates for resume preparation, implementation of paid work experience as a new service for participants and Agribility. Lastly, a job placement pilot project will start in August 2012 to determine if new milestone payments will work. • Region I presented two Provider Orientation trainings to vendors to increase the awareness of DVR expectations in terms of the quality of services and outcomes. • The Operations Support Unit will be providing various training sessions for DVR staff over the next several months. Topics will include Fee Schedule, Vendor Registration form and process, corporate accounts, vendor module in AWARE, and job placement information. The training will vary and be a collaborative effort with the AWARE team, the Vendor Committee, and the DVR training team. These meetings will be Go-To meetings/training and offer the opportunity to discuss any changes and answer questions from around the state. • The Northeast district was noticing difficulty getting consistent quality services from vocational vendors in their area and also struggled with having a good selection of medical providers. The supervisor worked with staff to identify, recruit and register additional medical providers and have met with their local vocational service providers to train and enhance the quality of the services and reports they have been providing. • DVR created a new process to streamline and improve the timeliness of the vendor registration process. This along with how the new AWARE system has standardized the authorization process has greatly improved the ability of counselors to work efficiently and effectively with vendors and participants.

GOAL 4: Create an environment within DVR that is conducive to maintaining a full and competent staff

Strategy A: DVR will reinitiate the request to expand the job classification series for rehabilitation counselors. • DVR continues to work with human resources to look at different options and possibilities for career advancement opportunities for rehabilitation counselors who wish to remain with the agency, but who are not necessarily interested in becoming supervisors. Previous concepts included expanding the classifications within the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor series. This proposal stalled due to turnover within the Colorado Department of Human Resources (CDHS) human resources unit and turnover within DVR’s management team. Now that staffing issues have been resolved, this will become a high priority for DVR to focus on this coming year. • DVR also created a job description for a Rehab Tech position, which is currently being reviewed by human resources staff. Research of other states utilizing this position showed that having these positions was helpful in improving consumer engagement and also allowed rehabilitation counselors more time to focus on their areas of expertise when meeting with consumers, such as counseling and guidance and movement toward successful employment outcomes. In addition, these positions will allow support staff increased career path options.

Strategy B: DVR will research and implement an effective approach to conducting exit interviews with staff who are leaving the agency. • Due to the turnover in staff and the number of staff vacancies, DVR did not have an opportunity to begin implementing this strategy. DVR has recently filled an internal human resource position and a major focus of this position will be to conduct exit interviews with staff who are leaving the agency. Goals of the exit surveys will be to identify reasons staff are leaving (other than retirement) and to inquire about what would increase staff’s desire to stay with the agency.

Strategy C: DVR will conduct a needs assessment survey and continue to identify and provide skill development opportunities for staff. • DVR completed a small scale needs assessment in preparation of its statewide conference asking all staff what training opportunities they felt they needed or would like to see. In addition, DVR supervisors were surveyed to determine what they felt their staff could most benefit from. Breakout sessions at the statewide conference were developed to meet the needs identified in the surveys. Ongoing staff trainings are being developed and expanded in a more formal fashion. • Region I Supervisors conducted needs assessments among DVR staff to determine skill development needs, and implemented training to address those needs through in-services and new counselor training.

Other progress towards this goal includes: • The Northeast district struggled in previous years in finding qualified applicants that were residents of Colorado and who wanted to work in a rural setting. Two things happened within the past year and a half that have made a huge difference. Human Resources allowed an out of state waiver to recruit more qualified applicants for RC positions, thus increasing the pool of applicants for all open positions. The second factor was collaboration with our in-state university, the University of Northern Colorado, to recruit and train more qualified rehabilitation counselors. As a result, DVR has been able to recruit skilled interns and hire counselors to fill vacancies who have the motivation, skills and education to provide the quality customer service needed, as well as staff who choose to work and live in a rural environment. • Some of the other changes made to help recruit and maintain skilled staff include more flexibility with flex schedules, the approval of a flex place option, better communication from administration about promotional opportunities and a variety of valuable and relevant training opportunities. • With the amount of turnover in management staff and the number of new people in these positions, there has been a focus on providing solid training to all levels of new staff. Regional supervisors are in the process of completing the Emerging Leaders training in Washington. A new training process, in addition to mentoring, has been put in place for all new district supervisors, as well as an on-line supervisor handbook has been created for easy reference.

 

Progress toward achieving goals and plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds (Supported Employment) Typically, DVR used 100% of its Title VI-B funds for the direct authorization of supported employment services. Title I funds are also used for supported employment services provided under cooperative agreements as well as for individual supported employment programs. As identified above, DVR’s policy is to assure the provision of supported employment services to all who need it and DVR uses both Title VI-B funds and Title I funds for this purpose. When Title VI-B funds are not available, DVR uses Title I funds to assure that supported employment services are not interrupted. Thus, it is impossible for DVR to separate its programmatic supported employment plans and goals into separate components for each funding source. Rather, DVR develops programming strategies for its entire supported employment program, which includes the use of Title VI-B and Title I funds.

 

Progress on Standards and Indicators Below, please see chart showing DVR’s progress on required Standards and Indicators for FFY 2011, the last complete fiscal year. (Please note that these results are final but still preliminary as we continue to wait on the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) to finalize their average state wage data.) STANDARD 1 REQUIRED RESULT Indicator 1.1 - Change in Employment Outcomes >= 0 +1114 (This FFY 2011: 2349) (Last FFY: 1235) Indicator 1.2 - Percentage of Post-IPE Closures that are Successful Employment Outcomes 55.8% 53.9% Indicator 1.3 - Percentage of Successful Employment Outcomes that are in Competitive Employment 72.6% 93.8% Indicator 1.4 - Percentage of Successful Competitive Employment Outcomes that are for Persons with Significant Disabilities 62.4% 92.2% Indicator 1.5 - Average Hourly Wage for All Successful Competitive Employment Outcomes vs. the Average Hourly Wage for all Colorado Workers 52.0% 50.0% (Based on Average CO Wage of $23.76 and Min Wage of $7.25) Indicator 1.6 - For Successful Competitive Outcomes, the Percentage whose Primary Support is Own Income at Application vs. at Closure 53.0% 51.6% STANDARD 2 REQUIRED RESULT Indicator 2.1 - Percentage of All Closures – Persons from Minority Backgrounds vs. Persons from Non-minority Backgrounds 80.0% 88.7%

 

Innovation and Expansion Activities

Use of Title I Funds for FFY 2012 Innovation and Expansion Activities

Total expenditures of Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities for Federal FY 2012 were as follows:

Support of the State Rehabilitation Council $ 15,693 Support of the State Independent Living Council $ 46,602

Support of the State Rehabilitation and State Independent Living Councils The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation values and appreciates the collaborative efforts of both the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and the State Independent Living Council (SILC). This positive collaborative working relationship has resulted in valued input and contributions to help DVR staff develop goals and priorities as well as strategies to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities as identified in the comprehensive needs assessment. In addition, the SRC is actively involved on an ongoing basis any time that DVR revisits and updates its service delivery policies and procedures. In FFY 2013 DVR will continue to use Title I funds for innovation and expansion to provide staff support and to pay for the operating, travel, and per diem costs of members of the SRC and the SILC.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 1:51PM by sacodesmedte

  • 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

FY 2013

Quality, Scope and Extent of Supported Employment Services

The 1998 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, reinforce and expand the roles of both vocational rehabilitation counselors and consumers with regard to supported employment services. Effective delivery of supported employment services for individuals with the most significant disabilities requires professionals to become even more creative in looking beyond the traditional array of practices and services. Therefore, the skill and experience of vocational rehabilitation counselors are key to the development of successful supported employment programs. Ongoing training efforts continue to focus on helping counselors and other involved professionals understand the importance of and develop skills necessary to assure thorough consumer evaluation; realistic goal setting; development of precise plans of services, including objective progress reporting for the continuous process; and, meaningful recordkeeping.

Direct utilization of Titles I (Vocational Rehabilitation Services) and VI B (Supported Employment Services) case services funds facilitates the counselor’s ability to provide supported employment services for individuals with the most significant disabilities. The resources available through the Title VI-B program are used only to provide supplemental evaluations and supported employment services, as identified in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), to assist eligible individuals with the most significant disabilities to obtain and secure community-integrated employment. Title VI-B funds are not used for services necessary to conduct the preliminary and comprehensive assessments to determine eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs or to provide job skill training unless it is provided at the worksite.

Supported employment services (see service definitions at end of document) are provided to enable individuals with the most significant disabilities to obtain employment, to learn job skills, and to maximize their hour and wage employment opportunities in the competitive labor force. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation will continue to provide a wide range of supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or has been interrupted or intermittent and who need supported employment services and extended ongoing support services to attain and maintain integrated competitive employment.

Any other vocational rehabilitation service may be provided when necessary to prepare and support the individual in supported employment. Such services include, but are not limited to, physical and mental restoration services; vocational adjustment and other vocational and academic training; occupational licenses, tools and equipment; specialized services for the blind and/or deaf; and, support services, such as maintenance, transportation, services to family members, and personal assistance services.

DVR’s required documentation for supported employment for an eligible individual with the most significant disability will include the individual’s weekly work goal, job stabilization criteria, the supported employment services to be provided, the type and frequency of monitoring contacts which will be provided during the provision of supported employment services, and a description of extended services needed.

Supported employment services provided under Title VI-B and Title I are limited to eighteen months unless the IPE reflects that a longer period is necessary to achieve the weekly work goal and attain job stabilization before the individual with the most significant disabilities transitions to extended services. IPEs for supported employment are developed for a maximum of eighteen months. However, the IPE can be amended to provide a longer period of services when substantial progress has been made in attaining the weekly work goal and the individual and counselor agree that a longer period of services is needed to fully attain the weekly work goal and/or stabilize employment. Such circumstances typically mean that the individual’s performance has shown steady progress during the last three months and that the individual has attained a minimum of 75% of his or her weekly work goal by the eighteenth month.

A national emphasis in supported employment to normalize the work setting for individuals with most significant disabilities is stronger than ever. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation agrees that it is important to minimize the intrusiveness of the job coach model and to replace it with a model of natural supports by utilizing supervisors, co-workers, and Employee Assistance Programs, when available and appropriate to the individual’s needs. The Division will continue to strive to support and expand the use of natural supports in the work place, including supervisors, co-workers, independent living centers, friends or volunteers/mentors, and family members, as the preferred supported employment model.

During the provision of supported employment services, assessing job stabilization and transition to extended services is the final phase of the vocational rehabilitation counselor’s involvement in the provision of supported employment services. Job stabilization, which occurs when the individual can and is reasonably expected to continue to perform all job duties acceptably, should be attained prior to transition to extended services. The timing and flexibility of the transition process is critical to ensure that the individual’s placement is not jeopardized once the job coach fades from the job site. Training and technical assistance will continue to be provided to counselors and other service providers on how to identify the appropriate time to fade job coaching services and when extended support services, including natural supports, should begin. DVR and the Division of Behavioral Health have developed written guidelines for mental health centers, which provide supported employment services to eligible individuals with serious mental illnesses, to clarify their role in the provision and funding of extended services.

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation believes that the need for supported employment cannot be met by vocational rehabilitation agencies alone but requires the collaborative efforts of all providers of services to individuals with the most significant disabilities. In accordance with this belief, DVR continues to analyze and address the systems barriers in Colorado which have historically hindered local delivery of supported employment services.

DVR, the Division for Developmental Disabilities (DDD), and the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) have created an environment, through collaborative policy development and innovative funding initiatives, which encourages local provider agencies to enhance existing supported employment services. These efforts continue through cooperative agreements between DVR and DBH to expand and develop methods to provide effective supported employment services to mutual consumers. DVR is also working on obtaining a new cooperative agreement with the Division of Developmental Disabilities towards these goals.

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s strong commitment to facilitate coordination and development of community-based supported employment services for individuals with the most significant disabilities is also reflected in the prioritization of supported employment initiatives. As a result, increasing numbers of community rehabilitation programs throughout the State have developed supported employment services to supplement those provided by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Supported Employment Services

Applicant An individual who submits an application for vocational rehabilitation services in accordance with section 5.12 of the DVR Policy Manual. (located at http://dvrcolorado.com/partners.php)

Competitive Employment Full or part time work in the competitive labor market, in an integrated setting, for which compensation is at or above the customary wage and benefits paid by the employer to persons who do not have disabilities for the same or similar jobs. Compensation, in the absence of an appropriate waiver, must reflect at least minimum wage.

Eligible Individual An applicant for vocational rehabilitation services who meets the eligibility requirements of section 6.1 of the DVR Policy Manual. (located at http://dvrcolorado.com/partners.php)

Extended Services Ongoing support services and other appropriate services that are needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in supported employment and that are provided by a State agency, a private non-profit organization, employer or any other appropriate resource after transition from support provided by DVR. The funding must come from providers other than DVR. The federal guidelines indicate that contact by the extended support provider be made with the employer and the employee at least twice a month to monitor job stability. If under special circumstances, especially at the request of the consumer, the IPE provides for off-site monitoring through twice monthly meetings with the individual.

Facility-Based Services Services provided in structures or environments designed specifically to furnish goods and services to persons with disabilities and other special populations, such as community rehabilitation program facilities, clubhouses, independent living centers, special residential facilities, extended employment sites, segregated enclave program sites, etc.

Functional Capacity Area Set of life activities or skills in which the ability to function is significant to successful independence and/or employment. Eight such areas have been identified for purposes of severity of disability: mobility, motor skills, interpersonal skills, communication, work tolerance, work skills, self-care and self-direction.

Individual with a Most Significant Disability An individual with a most significant disability has a severe physical or mental impairment that seriously limits at least one factor in three or more functional capacity areas (mobility, motor skills, interpersonal skills, communication, work tolerance, work skills, self-care and self-direction) in terms of an employment outcome; and, whose successful vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require the provision of two or more core vocational rehabilitation services for at least five months.

Integrated Settings • Integrated Service Setting A setting typically found in the community in which the individual with a disability interacts with persons, other than service provider(s), who do not have disabilities. • Integrated Work Setting An employment setting typically found in the community in which the individual with a disability interacts with persons who do not have disabilities other than service provider(s), to the same extent as persons who do not have disabilities in comparable positions.

Job Coaching Training provided by an individual, other than the employer (unless under a program of natural supports in a supported employment placement), to an eligible individual after he/she has been placed in a paid employment situation. Job coaching services include job skill training at the work site, work site orientation, monitoring of the individual at the job site to assess employment stability and coordination or provision of specific services at or away from the work site to maintain employment stability.

Job Seeking Skills Training Training to teach eligible individuals how to conduct job searches, how to prepare resumes and complete applications, and how to interview effectively.

Job Shadowing A community-based situational assessment provided in a real work setting where the eligible individual observes and possibly assists in the performance of a specific job so that he/she has a sufficient understanding of job requirements to assist when making an informed choice among potential employment outcomes.

Job Site Evaluation A limited situational assessment (up to three hours) which consists of observing an individual with a disability on a specific job to determine if the job and/or work setting is appropriate for the individual and/or to determine accommodations that may be needed.

Job Placement Job placement services are services to help an individual obtain suitable, stable, and satisfactory employment in an integrated setting which is consistent with the individual’s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. Job placement services include the provision of individualized job search assistance, assistance in completing work applications and arranging for interviews, on site job analysis, on site consultation with employers, recommendations for work –site job modifications, and orientation to the work place, as appropriate to the individual’s specific needs.

Job Stability When an employed individual is reasonably expected to continue to perform all job duties acceptably without the provision of further, vocational rehabilitation services.

Personal Adjustment Training Training provided to help eligible individuals develop compensatory skills and/or to adjust behavior in the areas of independent living, communications, homemaking, personal mobility and ability to travel in the community, and personal functioning. It includes rehabilitation teaching services and mobility training for individuals who are visually impaired, blind or deaf-blind.

Physical and Mental Impairment Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or, any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness and specific learning disabilities.

Placement Bonus The placement bonus is paid to the approved vendor when a consumer is successfully closed rehabilitated through the Program. Each of the following conditions must be met: (1) Placement represents competitive employment in an integrated community setting; (2) The consumer and the vocational rehabilitation counselor agree that the employment situation is suitable, stable, and satisfactory; Note: A job is considered stable when it is consistent with the vocational goal in the consumer’s IPE/amended IPE(s), as well as their strengths, resources, priorities, interests, concerns, abilities, capabilities and informed choice. (3) It is anticipated that the employment will continue.

Post-Employment Services One or more vocational rehabilitation services that are provided subsequent to the achievement of an employment outcome and that are necessary for an individual to maintain, regain or advance in employment, consistent with the individual’s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice.

Priorities and Concerns For purposes of determining a suitable employment goal, this phrase includes work and personal factors of primary importance to the individual, types of aid and support needed for engaging in work, earnings requirements, matters creating stress for the individual, financial concerns and other factors that are critical to successful participation in a VR program.

Provider The individual and/or organization which will render a necessary good or service.

Situational Assessment A type of vocational evaluation conducted to assess work behaviors, interpersonal skills and job-related skill levels for purposes of establishing eligibility or developing and Individualized Plan for Employment. Situational assessments may take place in community-based settings, including real life work settings, or in facility-based settings, such as community rehabilitation program facilities.

Supported Employment Services Competitive employment in an integrated setting, or employment in an integrated setting in which individuals are working toward competitive employment, consistent with the individuals’ strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice with ongoing support services for individuals with the most severe disability.

Time Limited Supported Employment Services Time limited support services and other appropriate services needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in supported employment that are provided by DVR for a period of time not to exceed 18 months, unless under special circumstances the eligible individual and the rehabilitation counselor jointly agree to extend the time to achieve the employment outcome identified in the Individualized Plan for Employment.

Transitional Employment A series of temporary job placements in competitive work in integrated settings with ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities due to mental illness. In transitional employment, the provision of ongoing support services must include continuing sequential job placements until job permanency is achieved.

Vendor A provider to whom the DVR can pay for a particular service.

Weekly Work Goal An estimate of the maximum number of hours per week which the eligible individual with a most significant disability can work to achieve the identified employment outcome within eighteen (18) months. The weekly work goal must be consistent with the eligible individual’s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2012 1:53PM by sacodesmedte

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