ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

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

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

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

1.1 The FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 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 FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [3] agrees to operate and administer the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program in accordance with the provisions of this State Plan [4], the Rehabilitation Act, and all applicable regulations [5], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Section 111 of the Rehabilitation Act are used solely for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and the administration of the State Plan for the vocational rehabilitation services program.

1.3 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for supported employment services, the designated state agency agrees to operate and administer the State Supported Employment Services Program in accordance with the provisions of the supplement to this State Plan [6], the Rehabilitation Act and all applicable regulations [7], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Title VI, Part B, are used solely for the provision of supported employment services and the administration of the supplement to the Title I State Plan. Yes

1.4 The designated state agency and/or the designated state unit has the authority under state law to perform the functions of the state regarding this State Plan and its supplement. Yes

1.5 The state legally may carry out each provision of the State Plan and its supplement. Yes

1.6 All provisions of the State Plan and its supplement are consistent with state law. Yes

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below) Yes

COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION

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

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

COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryPam Stewart

Title of SignatoryCommissioner of Education

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/23/2014

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2015Yes

Comments:

State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) Assurance: “Florida Vocational Rehabilitation assures that it will take the necessary actions to ensure that an SRC that meets the criteria set forth in Section 105 is fully constituted prior to the submission of the State Plan and related attachments for FFY 2016. Ten new and returning members were appointed by the Governor during FFY 2013, and additional applicants are under consideration now. While not all representative positions have been filled, significant progress has been made to constitute Florida’s SRC. Florida Vocational Rehabilitation assures that it will work with the newly constituted SRC to perform the functions specified in Section 101(a)(21)(ii) of the Act.”

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryPam Stewart

Title of SignatoryCommissioner of Education

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/23/2014

* The signatory of the assurance with the authority to execute and submit the State Plan will maintain a signed copy of the assurance(s) with the signed State Plan.

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is 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
FL DIVISION OF VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC, Council) Comments

The State of Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC, Council) and the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) continue to collaborate in strategic partnership to strengthen outreach, service and support systems. FRC members representing all standing committees formed a State Plan Task Force to study the draft 2015 State Plan. Feedback from each area was obtained in collaboration with VR to develop the State Plan:

• Public meeting comments from FRC forums held throughout the year • Customer Satisfaction Survey results • Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment Report • VR Employee Climate Survey • FRC quarterly updates • Director’s Reports • Partnership Reports • VR Performance Reports • Council and VR Discussions

Based on the FRCs review of the draft plan recommendations were developed at the May, 2014 quarterly meeting to be included in the 2015 State Plan. The Council recommendations were discussed with the VR Director’s appointed representative, Dr. Steve Collins, Bureau Chief of Planning and Performance. The result was unanimous Council approval to accept the Florida 2015 State Plan with the inclusion of the FRC recommendations.

Council recommendations are presented below:

Recommendation 1: Order of Selection In alignment with Attachment 4.11 (b), Attachment 4.11 (c) (1) and Attachment 4.11 (c) (3) the FRC encourages VR to seek all opportunities to expand access to services and remove all individuals from the wait list. Council also encourages working with the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) and legislative stakeholders to plan ahead to meet the needs of employees and funds to fulfill the mission of VR. Efforts to establish accurate budget forecasting are strongly encouraged to avoid a delay in service delivery and limited access.

The Council is concerned with the impact of recent wait list category closures on all customers especially individuals with the most significant disabilities and transition students, which highlights the need to rebuild and strengthen customer confidence in the assets of the VR program. Information and Referral processes need to be clarified and emphasized for customers who are still on the waiting list [per Section 101 (a) (5) (D) of the Act and 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 361.36 (a) (3) (iv)].

Agency Response: VR redesigned a model for projecting budget and service data in November 2013. Preliminary projection data has been, and will continue to be communicated to FRC as developed.

Acknowledging FRC concerns with the VR Information and Referral process, and the added importance of this information while service categories remain closed, VR Senior Leadership Team (SLT) will re-communicate this topic to all field staff.

As noted in Attachment 4.11(b), individuals in Priority Category 1 will start receiving services in June 2014.

Recommendation 2: VR Communication and Collaboration with FRC, customers and stakeholders Per 34 CFR 361.16 (a)(2)iii the development, implementation, and revision of policies pertaining to the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services needs to be shared with council. In light of recent VR efforts to strengthen processes FRC appreciates the improved communication and collaborative efforts; however, in order to fulfill duties FRC needs prior consultation to ensure that the voice of the customer is considered. Areas of policy interests include Order of Selection, financial participation related to exempt or nonexempt services and third party cooperative arrangements. This request for notification and solicitation of comment will allow for public input, before substantial changes may result.

FRC requests that all reports provided to RSA be made available to the Council as soon as possible.

Agency Response: As FRC has referenced in its recommendation, VR has proposed a standard process for collaborating with FRC on policy revisions, and the process is currently under revision. VR will continue to work with FRC to finalize the process to collaborate on policy development activities.

Performance data provided to RSA, such as data included in the annual state plan, Program Improvement Plan updates, and RSA-2, RSA-113, and RSA-911 reports, is currently and will continue to be shared with FRC. VR shares performance data with FRC members and program staff through quarterly Director’s Reports, updates to the State Plan Recommendations Table, and direct emails from SLT and program staff. Recommendation 3: Budget The Council applauds the Divisions efforts to establish strong protocol to ensure sound fiscal accountability and access for Floridians to rehabilitation services. Both entities are pleased with the anticipated funding boost from the State of Florida and the Federal Government that will reopen categories for service. The Council wants to emphasize the importance of the partnership and collaborative benefits of establishing sound protocol and sharing all fiscal concerns with FRC.

Agency Response: VR will continue to provide FRC with fiscal projections and updates on fiscal concerns. VR provides fiscal data to FRC during VR Director’s reports at quarterly meetings, monthly conference calls, and via email as needed.

Recommendation 4: Customer Services FRC recommendations: • FRC encourages VR to increase innovative job placement approaches and strategies to improve the rehabilitation rate. • Increase employee training in understanding the benefits of customer self-advocacy and development of their own Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE.) • VR is also encouraged to include discussion during Counselor training modules of the importance of soliciting, hearing and listening to the customer voice.

FRC commendations: • The proactive inclusion of social media communications such as the development of a Facebook page, a Twitter account and LinkedIn access. • The formal notification to customers of counselor change or reassignment. • The Division efforts to coordinate and ensure the use of quality and accurate data are commendable and will benefit all communications with stakeholders. • The collaborative efforts with the Department of Economic Opportunity and other interested parties to develop a Jobs Portal for businesses and individuals living with disabilities to access employment is impressive and in line with state and federal initiatives. • The decrease in customer complaints and the development of a new customer satisfaction survey contract.

Agency Response: VR welcomes FRC suggestions on innovative job placement approaches and strategies, as it is a common goal to increase the number of employment outcomes for VR customers. As noted in Attachment 4.11(d), VR intends to procure one new Innovation & Expansion contract per area, during the plan year. VR will keep FRC informed when this process begins.

VR recognizes customer feedback as a valuable part of its continuous improvement. VR, in collaboration with FRC, is currently negotiating a new contract to evaluate customer satisfaction. Results from the existing customer satisfaction survey are uploaded to the VR shared drive, where it is accessible to all employees.

Various modules of the VR counselor curriculum provide training on customer feedback and input, informed choice, disability etiquette, and specialized techniques for communicating with customers with mental health or intellectual disabilities. Active listening is a topic for future training modules. With recent implementation of VR’s learning management system, new approaches to providing counselor training are being explored. FRC recommendations related to employee training will be carried forward into those discussions.

Recommendation 5: Public Comment The Council is appreciative of the VR support offered at all FRC public forums, however there needs to be continued collaboration regarding the benefits of public comment. The Council recognizes VR and other stakeholders for their support in expanding public outreach efforts to obtain customer involvement and input. FRC will continue to hold open forums but would encourage the agency to conduct public meetings when proposed changes to the agency’s procedures may impact customers.

Agency Response: VR will continue to conduct public meetings, similar to the Order of Selection Public Forum held in November 2013, at its discretion and when deemed necessary, in accordance with federal and state regulations.

Recommendation 6: Job Placement Strategies VR needs to strengthen engagement efforts with business leaders to develop long-range employment options for our customers and ways to maximize the employers return on investment. The FRC encourages VR to become a leader in identifying growing employment markets and potential areas for workplace re-engineering. Emphasis on the availability of accommodations, self-employment and the use of the Discovery program will increase customer job possibilities and financial independence.

Agency Response: VR acknowledges the importance of educating and partnering with business leaders throughout the state. Area offices are actively involved in Disability Employment Awareness events, employer recruitment and educational activities with the purpose of increasing employment of individuals with disabilities.

In addition, VR anticipates the statewide expansion of Discovery services to be completed during FFY 2015. Once providers and staff in all areas are trained on the Discovery program, focus will shift to capacity building and increasing the number of vendor and transition age participants.

Area-level On-the-Job Training (OJT) expansion projects aim to increase opportunities for transition and post-secondary students, and recruit employers with appropriate job openings. These projects involve VR employees, outreach coordinators, and representatives from local colleges, universities, and technical schools. Post-secondary education programs, with VR support, are focusing on developing employment driven education models.

The online job portal developed by the FL Dept. of Economic Opportunity will enhance communication between job seekers and employers. VR will provide desk support for the job portal.

Recommendation 7: Transition Transition services are a critical component of employment success for many individuals and the Council wishes to increase the number of students with disabilities who have access to VR services. Based on discussions and customer feedback:

• VR is encouraged to develop Innovation and Expansion grant opportunities for community colleges to assist 18-22 year old individuals transitioning from school to work. • Council encourages VR to work with exiting high school students who may be impacted by the waitlist and category closures in regard to information and referral guidance. • It is recognized that VR needs to engage students earlier in their schooling. • In terms of recently developing diploma and certificate stipulations within the state FRC will dialogue with VR and with the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) to understand the impact on transition students. • Council encourages VR to craft a consistent message of achievement for transition students and families beyond budgetary constraints. • The lack of detail on future third party cooperative arrangements offered to all 67 school districts as currently stated in this 2015 plan, is of concern. • FRC is concerned with a recent policy draft regarding financial participation which may require transition students to pay for training services in some circumstances.

Agency Response: As noted in Attachment 4.11(d), VR intends to procure one new Innovation & Expansion contract per area, during the plan year. VR will keep FRC informed when this process begins.

As noted in Attachment 4.1(c)3, providing information and referral guidance to customers on the waiting list is an established part of the Order of Selection procedure. Acknowledging FRC concerns with the VR information and referral process, and the added importance of this information while service categories remain closed, VR Senior Leaders will re-communicate this topic to all field staff.

VR adopted an early referral process in SFY 2009 allowing counselors to provide service information to interested students and families at age 14 and to other eligible students during their last two years of school. Students at risk of dropping out of school can be referred to VR at any age. They can also receive referrals for students involved in Community Based Work Experience at age 16.

Area-level OJT expansion projects aim to increase opportunities for transition and post-secondary students and recruit employers with appropriate job openings. These projects involve VR employees, outreach coordinators, and representatives from local colleges, universities, and technical schools. As discussed with FRC, specific details on the upcoming Third Party Cooperative Arrangement (TPCA) contract were not included in the state plan draft at this time because the contract is pending approval from FDOE. It was agreed upon by VR and FRC during the May 2014 meeting, that if the contract is approved before state plan submission, details will be added to the plan and shared with FRC.

Recommendation 8: Federal Performance Indicators The Council is still concerned that VR is on a performance improvement plan based on the two failing federal indicators. The Council recommends and continues to encourage efforts towards data integrity and accuracy that will enhance effective and efficient service delivery. The Council wants to acknowledge that VR is assessing their customer database to increase successful rehabilitation closures.

Agency Response: As noted in Attachment 4.11(d), VR has already implemented, or started work on several strategies that will increase customer employment outcomes, as measured by the Federal Performance Indicators. In addition to data validation initiatives, other strategies include expansion of Discovery and Customized Employment services, increased use of Benefits Planning for Social Security recipients, revising the VR Vendor Profile to provide more information to customers, and implementation of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) and Peer Specialist models for customers with mental health disabilities.

Recommendation 9: Counselor Recruitment, Retention and Employee Development In alignment with Attachment 4.10, the FRC recognizes VR’s efforts to encourage personnel development and training for division employees. The Council recognizes the reported increase in VR employee morale per the climate survey; however, there remains a major concern about high employee turnover and pay parity relative to counselor compensation in other states. To strengthen employee retention efforts FRC encourages further strategic planning in partnership with VR on ways to elevate compensation to reach the national averages and to identify alternative recruitment and retention efforts for counselors.

Agency Response: VR welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with FRC on future strategies to increase employee recruitment, retention, and compensation. Beyond this, additional changes to employee salary are legislative decisions, and VR welcomes FRC support to pursue compensation changes.

Several initiatives have been implemented that will increase employee engagement and morale, including a learning management system, flexible work schedules, onboarding and mentoring program revisions, curriculum revision, increased leadership and career development opportunities (in conjunction with FL Certified Public Manager training), and succession planning. These opportunities will allow employees to increase their professional skills, and provide more transparency to career paths available within VR.

Recommendation 10: Outreach Outreach is an important and needed component when working with our customers, employers, and stakeholders as highlighted in federal code, literature, public contact, Ombudsman’s reports and the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. Per public comment the FRC encourages VR to make the IPE available in Spanish, to expand outreach and rural access to services while encouraging self-advocacy. FRC supports an increased focus on serving under and un-served populations, the Migrant Worker and Native American populations in the state and students with disabilities transitioning from school to work. The FRC strongly encourages engagement of public school district guidance counselors to expand awareness of options and services available to assist students and their families to adapt to an employment environment. Council and VR will continue to engage, recruit, and recognize business leaders across the state to promote employing persons with disabilities.

Agency Response: VR acknowledges the importance of outreach to all individuals in need of VR services, as well as outreach to community business leaders. Area offices are actively involved in Disability Employment Awareness events, employer recruitment and educational activities with the purpose of increasing employment of individuals with disabilities.

In addition, VR anticipates the statewide expansion of Discovery services to be completed during FFY 2015. Once providers and staff in all areas are trained on the Discovery program, focus will shift to capacity building and increasing the number of vendor and transition age participants.

Area-level OJT expansion projects aim to increase opportunities for transition and post-secondary students and recruit employers with appropriate job openings. These projects involve VR employees, outreach coordinators, and representatives from local colleges, universities, and technical schools. Post-secondary education programs, with VR support, are focusing on developing employment driven education models.

Additional outreach efforts by VR include collaboration with the Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe, and assistance with planning the CANAR fall conference.

VR appreciates the legislative outreach and educational efforts of FRC and congratulates them on meeting with every Florida’s legislator during the recent state legislative session and two previous sessions.

Recommendation 11: FRC Membership In alignment with criteria set forth in Section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.17 the FRC continues to focus on meeting FRC membership regulations. Discussions, correspondence, and meetings with the State of Florida Governor’s Appointment Office are ongoing and a top priority in partnership with VR. At the time of the 2015 State Plan Task Force meeting in May the Council is anticipating additional appointments or reappointments, thus increasing the number of stakeholders officially represented on the Council. The FRC appreciates VR’s continued support to maintain the Council’s federally-mandated membership requirements.

Agency Response: VR will continue to support and collaborate with the FRC in its focus to meet federally mandated membership regulations.

Recommendation 12: National Involvement In alignment with Attachment 4.11 (c) (1), the FRC recognizes the need for networking and collaboration with other State Rehabilitation Councils on a national level to share processes that can enhance VR services. The FRC appreciates VR’s continued support of and funding for national involvement and participation in vocational rehabilitation areas of concentration. Also appreciated are the opportunities and funding to participate in the National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils and Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation committees and conferences. The FRC also applauds VR’s sharing of best practices and effective evaluation processes with other agencies and partners both statewide and nationally.

Agency Response: VR appreciates recognition for national involvement on key issues. These opportunities have allowed employees to represent Florida VR and share best practices with other VR agencies. VR also receives best practices from other agencies. VR will continue to collaborate and build partnerships with its national stakeholders, as well as support the FRC is its national involvement efforts.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2014 4:48PM by Elizabeth Moody

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

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

Overview The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) provides services throughout the state, including School to Work Transition services that expand and improve vocational rehabilitation options for eligible customers. VR has entered into Third Party Cooperative Arrangements (TPCA) with some local school districts, but services are not currently available in all areas of the state. The State Plan cannot assure that the expanded services provided through the TPCAs will be available in all political subdivisions (school districts) of the state. A Waiver of Statewideness is requested in this State Plan.

Types of Services Provided School and Community-Based Transition Services for Students with Disabilities VR currently has TPCAs with 17 school districts. Once existing arrangements expire in June 2014, VR will offer new TPCA to Florida’s 67 school districts. The one-year arrangement will provide community-based work experiences to eligible students who have Supported Employment (SE) service needs identified in their Individual Educational Plan and Individualized Plan for Employment. The new model will contract to reimburse school districts for services provided to VR-eligible students with the most significant disabilities and facilitate a seamless transition into postsecondary employment with supports.

On-the-Job Training (OJT) through VR providers delivers needed community-based work experiences to VR-eligible students who do not require the intense supports provided through the new TPCA. OJT services will be available statewide.

Written Assurances VR assures the Rehabilitation Services Administration that it has TPCAs with certain school districts and will provide written assurances as required. Specifically, each arrangement is formalized through the contract procurement process and contains the following:

1. The local school district will certify to VR that funds used for match funds are non-federal and are not used for match in any other federally- or state-assisted project or program.

2. VR approval will be obtained for all TPCA services.

3. All local school districts with TPCAs will abide by the state’s Order of Selection policy.

4. TPCA services are services not typically provided by local school districts, and that TPCA services are only available to persons applying for, or already receiving VR services.

5. All other state plan requirements will apply to all services provided under the scope of the arrangement.

6. Program expenditures and employees providing services under the cooperative arrangement are under the administrative supervision of VR.

Third Party Cooperative Arrangement During state fiscal year 2013-14, VR had arrangements with the school districts in the following counties:

1. Baker 2. Bay 3. Bradford 4. Calhoun 5. Columbia 6. Gadsden 7. Gulf 8. Hendry 9. Leon 10. Manatee 11. Monroe 12. Nassau 13. Pasco 14. Taylor 15. Volusia 16. Wakulla 17. Walton

The current arrangements will expire on June 30, 2014. New Third Party Cooperative Arrangements will be offered to all 67 school districts at that time.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2014 4:50PM by Elizabeth Moody

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

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

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

The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) maintains cooperative agreements with agencies and other entities not carrying out activities under the Workforce Investment System. The state of Florida no longer participates in the National Rural Development Program. A description of current VR partners and agreements is below.

The Able Trust The mission of The Able Trust is to assist citizens with disabilities in the vocational rehabilitation process. This includes administering grants, as well as educational and public awareness programs. VR customers and other Floridians with disabilities receive direct support through funded community rehabilitation program employment projects and individual grants from The Able Trust. The Able Trust is a non-profit corporation that relies upon contributions and gifts. VR does not provide any Title I funds to The Able Trust. The agreement promotes cooperation between The Able Trust and VR, which includes as provided for in Florida Statutes, the annual submission of The Able Trust’s budget, annual report, annual audit, and any changes to the Articles of Incorporation or by-laws to the VR director. The Able Trust informs the VR director of all board meetings, as required by Florida statute. VR reviews the above documents and makes the necessary certification, based on statute.

Agency for Persons with Disabilities The cooperative agreement between the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and VR contains a detailed and specific focus on collaborative planning and funding of Supported Employment services. Specifically, the agreement addresses the transition of secondary students to the community, to provide a seamless transition of services. The cooperative agreement includes local strategies and joint obligations for both agencies.

Both agencies have a common goal of assisting eligible persons to achieve greater independence through employment. The specific goal of this agreement is to coordinate support and services throughout the state, maintaining maximum customer satisfaction and informed choice.

Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program, Florida Department of Health VR and the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program have agreed to expand referrals between the two agencies in order to improve employment outcomes for persons with a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury. The effort will include joint statewide training for those involved in the project and identification of local referral liaisons.

Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, Inc. VR and the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, Inc. agree to share specific information about their customers to optimize service delivery. Both agree to specific procedures that facilitate the delivery of services to their respective and mutual customers. Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology offers an Alternative Financing Program for the purchase of assistive technology to all residents of Florida who have disabilities.

Florida Independent Living Council, Inc. VR coordinates with Florida Independent Living Council, Inc., and the Centers for Independent Living throughout the state. Through memoranda of agreement, VR provides funding, outlines roles and responsibilities, and ensures cooperative planning.

Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind VR and the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind agree to cooperate in serving students and customers who are deaf or hard of hearing, and in establishing transition meetings. Activities are implemented to increase public awareness of programs serving these customers and to improve transition between the school and local counselors.

Florida Small Business Development Center Network Coordination with this network is carried out at the local level on a case-by-case basis. VR customers who are seeking self-employment can use a Business Planning Team. A representative from the Small Business Development Center Network can serve on such teams to help VR customers assess their potential for self-employment and analyze the various issues that need to be taken into account.

Institutions of Higher Education VR has Memoranda of Understanding with the Presidents of Florida’s public universities and the Florida College System. Both Memoranda outline the purposes, roles and responsibilities of VR and the educational institutions, as well as financial and programmatic responsibilities. The Memoranda of Understanding provides information regarding financial assistance, sharing of assessment findings, accommodations, rehabilitation technology services, academic advisement, counseling, confidentiality, and other topics.

The Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe The Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe is located in southern Georgia and is the recipient of the Federal Section 121 Grant under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended. There is not a 121 program in Florida. However, VR and the Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe have a Memorandum of Understanding to coordinate services for eligible Native Americans with disabilities residing on or near the Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe Tama Reservation within a 150-mile radius. The agreement outlines the responsibilities of both groups, including services for joint customers and technical assistance.

Mental Health Program, Florida Department of Children and Families VR coordinates with the state mental health authority to assist customers who have mental illnesses. One of these is participation on the Florida Assertive Community Treatment Team, a community-based, outreach-oriented method of delivering services to individuals with mental illnesses coordinated by the Mental Health Program. VR provides staff liaisons with many of these teams to help serve this group of customers in a comprehensive manner. In addition, VR is an active member of the State Mental Health Planning Council of Florida. The cooperative agreement promotes coordination so that appropriate services can be delivered to maximize customer choice and satisfaction.

Division of Blind Services, Florida Department of Education Both VR and Blind Services serve individuals with visual impairments. This agreement specifies the roles and responsibilities of each division, including those for individuals with one-eye pathology, bilateral visual impairment, multiple disabilities, and for individuals who are deaf-blind.

Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, Florida Department of Education; Division of Blind Services; Florida Department of Health; Department of Economic Opportunity The Florida Interagency Agreement for the Transfer of Assistive Technology, signed in 2006, establishes a framework for an efficient transition of technology as individuals with disabilities move through the continuum from educational services to employment. Specifically, the agreement ensures children and youth with disabilities and their families, educators, and employers are informed about the continued use and transfer of assistive technology devices. These devices may remain with the person as he or she moves from home to school and to post-school activities in order to assist in meeting transition needs. The agreement outlines the conditions for coordination, the authority for transfer of property by local education agencies, financial responsibilities, and other topics.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Employment Standards Administration Both agencies agree to further the common goal of providing VR equal employment opportunities and protecting against discrimination. VR will provide expertise on matters relating to disability issues and employment, cross-referral of individuals with disabilities, and will participate in interagency training programs, staff meetings, and conferences. Both agencies agree to a coordinated public outreach effort.

Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises, Inc. (PRIDE) VR uses the services and manufactured items produced in correctional work programs through PRIDE. PRIDE is a Florida corporation that provides these goods and services as a state-use contracting program. A similar product or service of comparable price and quality, found necessary for use by a state agency, may not be purchased from a source other than PRIDE. In addition, contracts between VR and any private vendor require all items be purchased through PRIDE. This is consistent with Section 946.515, Florida Statutes.

Rehabilitation Foundation of Northwest Florida The purpose of this agreement is to maximize funding of vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with physical disabilities residing in northwest Florida. The Foundation contributes $25,000 to VR toward meeting its non-federal funding requirements. In turn, VR will allocate an additional $92,250 in federal funds to match the Foundation’s contribution for vocational rehabilitation services in the following northwest Florida counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton.

The intent of these cooperative efforts is to increase the services leading to quality competitive employment outcomes that are responsive to the strengths, resources, interests, and capabilities of individuals with disabilities residing in northwest Florida. VR agrees to provide quarterly reports of expenditures to the Foundation’s Trustees. Each report will include the number of individuals served and a description of services provided under the terms of the agreement.

Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Act One of VR’s ongoing objectives for the Ticket to Work Program is to increase the number of partnerships with Employment Networks (Employment and Rehabilitation Service Providers). VR hopes to expand the resources available to customers to meet the current and future levels of demand. It is also the goal of VR to ensure that customers have a choice in service providers available within their communities. VR has also implemented an Employment Network Referral and Partnership Agreement that creates more opportunity to develop partnerships with Employment Networks. The agreement features a transitional approach by assisting Social Security Administration customers in their efforts to achieve self-sufficiency through core VR services followed by ongoing support services from employment networks. During the 2014-2015 federal fiscal year, VR will monitor the Agreement’s effectiveness in meeting the previously stated goal.

United States Department of Veterans Affairs The need to serve Florida veterans who have disabilities led to the development of an agreement between the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and VR. The agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of VR and the Department of Veterans Affairs. It clarifies which agency can provide specific services. It also includes information regarding shared planning, joint activities, and coordination.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2014 4:55PM by Elizabeth Moody

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

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

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) updated the interagency agreement coordinating transition services with state education officials in July 2006. It is a state-level agreement, including agencies charged with providing transition services to students leaving high school and going to postsecondary education/training, support services, and/or employment. The agencies listed below agree to meet regularly to share information, ideas and current initiatives, collaborate on training and special projects, cooperate in planning and budgeting, and generally support any areas of work that are mutually beneficial. These agencies include:

• Florida Department of Education: o Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services o Division of Vocational Rehabilitation o Division of Blind Services • Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities • Florida Department of Health, Children’s Medical Services • Florida Department of Children and Families, Mental Health Services

This formal interagency agreement serves as a transition services model for improved collaboration, communication, coordination, and cooperation among local education agencies and local offices of VR, Division of Blind Services, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Children’s Medical Services, and Mental Health Services.

VR continues to dedicate a program administrator who is the central point of contact for the School to Work Transition Program. The administrator serves as the liaison for the 67 school districts and the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. The administrator coordinates and plans for effective transition services delivery with VR’s employees and external stakeholders statewide. The administrator is responsible for training internal employees and making presentations about VR transition services at conferences statewide in an effort to increase understanding and awareness of the agency’s role in assisting eligible students with disabilities.

Additionally, the VR administrator provides transition-related technical assistance to the Florida Rehabilitation Council. The administrator serves as a representative on the State Secondary Transition Interagency Committee and works closely with the regional representatives of Project 10: the Transition Education Network. Project 10 is funded through a grant from the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services within the Florida Department of Education, to the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. Project 10 helps Florida school districts and stakeholders increase their ability to provide secondary transition services to students with disabilities in order to improve their academic success and postsecondary outcomes. Project 10 helps educators, parents, students, agency representatives, and others interested in Florida’s transition efforts by providing capacity building to implement secondary transition services, interagency collaboration, transition legislation and policy, and student development and outcomes. VR counselors serving transition students participate in each area’s local interagency councils. The interagency councils are a collaborative effort between VR and Department of Education partners, public high schools, adult service agencies, workforce programs, parents, students, advocates, and employers working together to meet the transition needs of students with disabilities.

The VR Director or designee serves on the State Advisory Committee (SAC) for the Education of Exceptional Students. This committee is administered by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS), within the Department of Education. The SAC includes parents of children with disabilities, individuals with disabilities, educators and administrators from secondary and postsecondary institutions, foster care and juvenile justice representatives. The SAC also includes representatives of various state agencies that provide transition and other services to children, youth and young adults with disabilities. The committee advises the state education agency on what children with disabilities need and helps them develop corrective action plans to address findings in related federal monitoring reports. The committee also helps the state education agency develop evaluations and policies, implement policies, and report data. The committee may comment publicly on rules and regulations proposed by the state relating to the coordination of services for children with disabilities.

VR adopted an early referral/application process for transition students during SFY 2008-2009 to better coordinate with the state and local education agencies. Brochures for the VR School to Work Transition Program are available to students and families so they can begin gathering information at age 14. Referrals for VR services begin at age 16 for students with disabilities engaged in community-based work experiences, or in the last two years of secondary school for other students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who are at high risk for dropping out of school are referred at any age. This additional time allows the counselor to develop a rapport with the transition student and family, explore vocational options and comparable benefits, and begin necessary guidance and counseling.

Provisions for Development and Approval of Individualized Plans for Employment for Students with Disabilities The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), Supported Employment IPE, Individual Support Plan, and/or Care Coordination Plans are completed or updated as early as possible prior to graduation or leaving school to allow a seamless transition to a student’s desired postsecondary outcome.

VR counselors, with assistance from VR technicians, serve as representatives to work with all public high schools statewide and any private high school requesting assistance. They provide outreach and vocational rehabilitation services orientation to students, school officials, parents, and others involved in transition services. Only the counselor may determine a student’s eligibility for VR services, develop an approved IPE, and sponsor the delivery of necessary transition services to assist the student with planning, preparing for, and achieving successful postsecondary employment.

Information on Formal Interagency Agreements with Respect to:

Employment First As an employment leader, VR strongly encourages partner agencies, organizations, and employers to promote integrated employment in the community as the first and preferred option for individuals with disabilities. People with disabilities who are employed experience enhanced independence and quality of life. They are also contributing to the rich diversity of the workforce so the entire community benefits.

Technical Assistance and Consultation Local education agencies are strongly encouraged to have written agreements with VR, the Division of Blind Services, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Children’s Medical Services, and Mental Health Services employees. The agreement addresses consultation, coordination, and the provision of technical assistance to each other, as well as to students and their families/guardians/surrogates so they can plan for the transition from high school to postsecondary activities and becoming part of the adult community.

Transition Planning by VR and Educational Agency Representatives for Development and Completion of the Individual Educational Plan Local education agencies work collaboratively with VR, the Division of Blind Services, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Children’s Medical Services, and Mental Health Services in the Transition Individual Educational Plan process. Local education agencies that are considering transition services during the Individual Educational Plan meeting will invite representatives from any other agency who may be responsible for providing or paying for transition services, after obtaining permission from the parent, guardian or age-of-majority student. If the agency representative does not attend the meeting, the school will do its best to get someone else to come. If the agency representative will not attend the meeting, the school will then look for alternative ways to provide for the student’s transition needs. The local education agency must reconvene the Transition Individual Educational Plan team to identify alternative strategies for providing a student’s transition needs if an agency fails to do so.

In order to plan effective transition services for students with disabilities, it is essential that all invited partner agencies encourage and support participation in the Transition Individual Educational Plan process.

VR invests 20 to 25 percent of its statewide staffing resources to transition services to serve students with disabilities in Florida’s 67 school districts and the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. Additional improvements to the Rehabilitation Information Management System for transition students’ data collection were implemented on October 31, 2013 to comply with the Rehabilitation Services Administration. The enhancements will enable VR to conduct differential analysis to better evaluate agency performance and identify how to best improve service delivery and outcomes for students with disabilities.

Roles and Responsibilities The roles and responsibilities for each partner agency as required by federal and state regulations are as follows:

1. Local education agencies provide free and appropriate public education for students with disabilities, including preparation for transition from school to work or other postsecondary activities.

2. VR and the Division of Blind Services assist with student transition from secondary school to work through postsecondary training, education, or direct placement services necessary to achieve a successful employment outcome.

3. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities tries to "reduce the use of sheltered workshops and other noncompetitive employment day activities and promote opportunities for gainful employment for persons with developmental disabilities who choose to seek such employment," (Chapter 393, Florida Statutes). Additionally, Chapter 393, Florida Statutes states, "to promote independence and productivity, the agency shall provide support and services, within available resources, to assist customers enrolled in Medicaid waivers who choose to pursue gainful employment." If an individual is eligible for Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ waiver services and employment is a needed service, then this service must be provided to meet standards as outlined in Florida rule.

4. Children’s Medical Services ensures a smooth and successful transition process to adult healthcare services and providers for youth and young adults with special healthcare needs.

5. Mental Health Services, in partnership with families and the community, provides a system of care that enables children and adults with mental health or emotional disabilities to live successfully in the community, become self-sufficient or to attain self-sufficiency at adulthood, and realize their full potential. Mental health support and services enable adults and transitioning students to participate in community activities such as employment and other valued community roles.

Specific Purpose Specific intent of the interagency agreement is to:

1. Provide guidance to the local education agencies, VR, the Division of Blind Services, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Children’s Medical Services, and Mental Health Services’ front-line employees, when serving students transitioning from school to work or postsecondary activities.

2. Provide information to parents/students so they know what they can expect from the local education agencies, VR, the Division of Blind Services, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Children’s Medical Services, and Mental Health Services during the transition process.

3. Provide parameters to the local education agencies, VR, the Division of Blind Services, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Children’s Medical Services, and Mental Health Services’ administrators/managers/nursing supervisors when developing, negotiating, and implementing local cooperative agreements.

4. Encourage and support the participation of all agency personnel in the IEP process at the local level through the development of guidelines, policies, and/or procedures.

Financial Responsibilities The Department of Education, VR, the Division of Blind Services, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Children’s Medical Services, and Mental Health Services are committed to meeting financial responsibilities as required by law. Agency/Division heads for the organizations will periodically identify areas for improved programmatic and financial efficiencies and develop strategies to meet financial responsibilities, including joint appropriations requests from the state legislature and negotiations with federal agencies. Each party is financially responsible for the services it provides under its own laws and rules.

Conditions and Terms of Reimbursement If a non-education agency fails to provide or pay for services for which they are responsible, and which are also considered special education and related services, the local education agency (or state agency responsible for developing the child’s Individual Educational Plan) shall provide or pay for these services to the child in a timely manner. The local education agency or state agency may then claim reimbursement for the services from the non-education agency that was responsible for the provision of the services and failed to provide or pay for these services, and that agency shall reimburse the local education agency or state agency in accordance with the terms of this agreement.

Procedures for Outreach to and Identification of Students with Disabilities who need Transition Services

Outreach and Identification of Students Local education agencies are strongly encouraged to enter into written agreements with VR, the Division of Blind Services, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Children’s Medical Services, and Mental Health Services employees, on the outreach methods used to inform students with disabilities who may need, and could benefit from these agencies.

Brochures, flyers, website resources, presentations, transition fairs, or informational letters are available to the local education agency, students, and their parents or guardians, to explain the role that VR and other agencies play in the transition process, and the agencies’ referral/application policies and procedures.

VR has executed 17 Third Party Cooperative Arrangements for SFY 2014. The goal of these arrangements is to create new or expand existing transition services with a vocational rehabilitation focus. The costs are shared between the agencies. In order for the cooperating agency to receive matching vocational rehabilitation dollars, it must provide a cash match of non-federal funds. Recipients of the Third Party Cooperative Arrangements began providing job coaching to eligible students with a Supported Employment IPE in SFY 2011.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2014 5:00PM by Elizabeth Moody

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

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

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) has a variety of agreements with private non-profit organizations. These include contracts, rate agreements, and other cooperative, non-financial agreements.

Specifically, VR provides contracts for three core components: employment services, supported employment, and On-the-Job Training (OJT). Additionally, some VR services are purchased through registered vendors. All new vendors/providers, whether through a contractual or vendor relationship, must go through a registration and approval process. VR reviews the qualifications of vendors providing services to our customers in order to ensure the quality of these services, as well as the safety of the public. In addition to approving and registering vendor/provider services, VR conducts employment verifications on all customer placements facilitated by vendors/contract providers.

VR policy ensures that customers have a choice of qualified service providers to select from. Customers are also informed if the provider has employees experienced in working with special disability populations, foreign languages, and other communication skills. VR Customers have a choice of necessary services, service providers, and the setting in which to receive the services included in the written Individualized Plan for Employment.

Currently, VR has over 230 combined rate contracts that include employment, supported employment, and OJT services. Additionally, VR maintains the following contracts and/or agreements:

• 16 agreements with the Centers for Independent Living located throughout the state to provide independent living services • 17 Third Party Cooperative Arrangements with local school districts • 15 contracts with Employment Networks • Additional contracts with agencies for services such as delegable VR services, outreach for migrant and seasonal farm workers, interpreting services, and rehabilitation engineering

VR currently has one innovation and expansion project through the University of South Florida, Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology. This project involves the use of virtual reality simulators for customers with severe disabilities.

VR also has collaborative, non-contractual arrangements and agreements with non-profit organizations that provide referrals, other vocational rehabilitation services, and comparable benefits. For example, through coordinating with Centers for Independent Living, individuals with disabilities receive life skills training, employability skills training, and support such as transportation, clothing, and emergency funds. Relationships with organizations that serve customers with hearing impairments provide opportunities for support groups, sign language classes, and placement assistance.

Throughout the state, many counselors serve as liaisons with specific groups and organizations. Individuals are referred to those groups if it is determined that they can benefit from their services. Services are coordinated with numerous non-profit hospitals and clinics for referrals and medical assistance. Foundations and associations such as the Easter Seals Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Kidney Foundation, Brain Injury Association of Florida, Epilepsy Foundation, Family Network on Disability of Florida, and others provide individual and family support groups and disability education to mutual customers.

It is the intent of VR to continue with the above referenced contractual agreements, cooperative arrangements, and liaison relationships through FFY 2015.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2014 5:02PM by Elizabeth Moody

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

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) has cooperative agreements with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Department of Children and Families, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program and other stakeholders to identify and provide supported employment and extended services for individuals with the most significant disabilities. Six broad-based objectives govern Florida’s interagency supported employment programs.

1. Continue to develop and enhance supported employment for persons with the most significant disabilities. The state system for the provision of supported employment reflects: (a) mutually agreeable definitions of the services to be provided; (b) administrative responsibility of the intensive component of supported employment services to eligible individuals as the primary responsibility of VR for individuals with the most significant disabilities; and (c) administrative responsibility of the extended services component as the primary responsibility of other stakeholders, including the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the Department of Children and Families, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program. 2. Continue to improve the statewide management of supported employment programs by avoiding duplication of effort and funding while ensuring accountability. This process will provide a coordinated system of program development for supported employment services. The process includes the coordination of statewide planning and request for proposal process, the coordination of programmatic and fiscal responsibilities prior to beginning any new program, and the promotion of consistency in funding, reporting, and monitoring.

3. Maximize the quality of service delivery ensuring a comprehensive, continuous, efficient and effective referral process, individual program planning, coordination of intensive vocational services with extended services, information collection and dissemination, confidentiality, and technical assistance.

4. Identify issues, policies, and practices that present systemic barriers to effective participation of individuals with the most significant disabilities, and develop appropriate resolutions to remove such barriers.

5. Continue to implement an interagency planning process for budget coordination, which defines and projects the number of people in need of intensive and extended services for each fiscal year and facilitates program and fiscal planning.

6. Support the belief that all individuals with disabilities can work if provided appropriate services and supports and that a team approach is needed to facilitate quality and appropriate services.

VR now partners with other state agencies and organizations in implementing Employment First, a national effort to assure individuals with disabilities are offered employment on a preferred basis in planning their lives. Employment First is consistent with VRs belief that individuals with disabilities, even the most significant disabilities, can achieve meaningful employment when provided with appropriate supports.

Executive Order 13-284 (Reaffirming Commitment to Employment for Floridians with Disabilities) was signed by the Governor of Florida in October 2013. The Order mandates that an Interagency Cooperative Agreement be developed and requires agencies and organizations to participate in the Agreement. VR is one of the mandated partners and played a significant role in drafting the Order.

The following Agencies were named as mandatory partners:

• The Department of Education- Division of Blind Services • The Department of Education- Division of Vocational Rehabilitation • The Department of Education- Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities • The Department of Children and Families- Mental Health and Substance Abuse • The Department of Economic Opportunity • Workforce Florida • The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council

The Interagency Cooperative Agreement formalizes efforts to improve employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and promote collaboration and service innovation.

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities and VR are reviewing the current articulation agreement between the two agencies. Input is solicited on needed updates to reflect any current issues in the service delivery system. The agreement will be updated based on criteria as mandated in Executive Order 13-284 as appropriate.

Supported Employment Services VR is responsible for Phase One of Supported Employment Services. In Phase One, VR provides intensive vocational services until the individual and employer are satisfied with the supported employment placement, and then the individual transitions to a plan for extended services. Supported employment services consist of intensive, time-limited vocational rehabilitation services (the responsibility of VR) and extended services, also known as Phase Two. Phase Two funding is provided by other funding sources that may be, but are not limited to, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Children and Families Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program, or other identified funding sources.

Extended Services The purpose of the extended services is to maintain the individual in supported employment and enhance the individual’s involvement in the workplace culture and career advancement. The nature of services provided during the intensive and extended services of supported employment may be similar to the initial services but may differ in intensity.

VR and its partners continuously seek alternative methods to provide extended services (e.g. social security incentives, natural supports, etc.). VR has encouraged supported employment providers to focus on developing natural supports and to focus efforts on encouraging employers to accept the support role since this is the most natural arrangement for employers and VR customers. VR will try to secure funding for extended services for all individuals with the most significant disabilities receiving supported employment services.

Allowances would be made for individuals who, while receiving extended services, require re-intervention of intensive services through VR because they have destabilized on the job. When appropriate, VR will again assume the responsibility and cost of providing intensive vocational services, including necessary job-related support services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2014 5:08PM by Elizabeth Moody

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

As of March 31, 2014, VR has 931 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Of this number, there are 415 counseling positions providing vocational rehabilitation services. Seventy-eight (78) supervisory and/or area level managerial positions support the counseling positions. There are 438 managerial/administrative, paraprofessional, technical, and administrative support positions. In addition to the 931 FTEs, there are 75 contracted positions providing VR services under state supervision. Forty-eight of those are counselors. For the period April 1, 2012, through March 31, 2013, the percentage of counseling positions vacated was 37.6%, 20.5% for field supervisors, and 17.8% for program administration. For the period April 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014, the percentage of vacated counseling positions was 24.8%, 6.4% for field supervisors, and 15.2% for program administration. Positions are vacated for many reasons, including termination, promotion, lateral position transfers, or retirement. VR continues to employ strategies to address turnover.

Assurance of an adequate supply of qualified rehabilitation professionals and paraprofessional personnel is the major driver for VR’s Human Resource Development Section. Data from numerous sources is used to determine current and projected needs, as well as VR’s progress toward meeting them.

The state’s automated People First personnel system maintains employment histories to help project human resource needs. The state continues to make available a deferred retirement option program (DROP) that allows individuals to continue working for the state for five years beyond their original retirement date. Because it is impossible to anticipate how many individuals will accept the deferral option, projecting future employment needs is difficult. However, it is known that there are currently 86 individuals in DROP, 70 individuals with 30 or more years of service, and 137 individuals over the age of 62.

VR collects data from the Rehabilitation Information Management System (RIMS) to calculate the counselor-customer ratio. This is another tool for assessing current and projected staffing needs. The average counselor-customer caseload is 125, in relation to assisting customers from the application phase to case closure. This ratio is based on both regular counselor positions and contracted counselor positions.

VR uses People First and RIMS data, as well as internal reports, to obtain:

• The number and classification of authorized positions for each local unit and state headquarters in relation to the number of individuals served • The number and classification of personnel currently needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services • The projected number and classification of personnel who will be needed in five years to provide vocational rehabilitation services • The state institutions of higher education that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals, by program type • The number of students in each of these institutions, by program type • The number of students graduating from each program and the credentials they have received

The annual projected staffing requirements for the VR counselor and field supervisor positions are listed below. The projections for the VR counselor, field supervisor, and program administration positions are based on the vacated position percentages of 24.8%, 6.4%, and 15.2% for SFY 2014-2015.

Approximately 22-25 percent of the estimates above represent Transition Counselor needs. When factoring in population growth, the projected five-year staffing need is slightly higher than that noted above, but would require that VR be provided with additional FTEs, which is unlikely in the current economic climate.

In order to ensure the continuity of quality rehabilitation services and to address employee vacancies and turnover in particularly difficult to fill geographic areas, VR has contracted for employees. The contracts ensure that qualified personnel are hired to provide necessary rehabilitation services. A VR supervisor or counselor/analyst supervises these employees and performs the activities that federal regulations (34 CFR 361.13) specify are the responsibility of VR, and cannot be delegated to private providers. These activities include:

• All decisions affecting eligibility for VR, the nature and scope of available services and the provision of these services, and the suspension, reduction and termination of these services • The determination to close the records of services of an individual who has achieved an employment outcome • Policy formulation and implementation • Allocation and expenditure of VR funds • Participation as a partner in the Career Source service delivery system

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 VR Counselor 415 47 96
2 Field Supervisors 78 1 15
3 Program Administration 438 27 34
4 0 0 0
5 0 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

As recently as five years ago, Florida had six Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling (MRC) programs, five of which were CORE-accredited. Florida now has three CORE-accredited programs (Florida Atlantic University and the University of South Florida, and the recently accredited Florida International University).

In addition to the Florida public universities referenced above, Florida VR uses the resources of Auburn University, Southern University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Arkansas – Little Rock, the University of West Virginia and the University of Wisconsin-Stout, all of whom provide online Masters-level rehabilitation programs. VR also uses the resources of the University of North Texas and San Diego State through the Consortium on Distance Education in Rehabilitation. VR will continue to use additional programs, as appropriate.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Florida Atlantic University 24 1 7 9
2 Florida International University 5 1 0 4
3 University of South Florida 153 2 0 53
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

VR maintains close relationships with universities within and outside of the state, including minority institutions such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities and disability-specific organizations. VR employees collaborate with universities in securing grant funding, use university employees to assist in training and education activities, and provide practicum and internship slots for students.

VR acknowledges that it will not be able to recruit an adequate number of qualified CRC rehabilitation counselors to replace those retiring and departing for other reasons. VR is currently engaged in activities indicated below to address recruitment, preparation, and retention of counselors.

 

There is not a state-approved or recognized certification, licensure, or registration of Vocational Rehabilitation counselors. VR, in conjunction with the Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC) established the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) educational eligibility requirement as its standard.

Efforts are made to recruit and hire counselors who meet the CRC educational eligibility status. If VR is unsuccessful in finding enough qualified applicants, it will accept those who meet the minimal initial standard for individuals providing counseling and guidance services. The individual(s) must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and one year of experience counseling individuals with disabilities. Alternative majors other than social, behavioral, or rehabilitative science may be considered along with the minimum qualification requirements for the position. When evaluating the suitability of alternative majors, the hiring authority should consider the major area of study’s applicability to the required knowledge, skills, and abilities. A master’s degree from an accredited university in a social, behavioral, or rehabilitative science can substitute for the year of required experience.

Though VR hires counselors without the CRC, it prefers that counselors actually acquire the credential. As an incentive to do so, VR adds $3,000 to the base pay of employees who earn their certification. Approximately 48% of current personnel meet the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) standard. Those hired in 2007 or before who do not meet the standard had until 2012 to meet it. Individuals hired in subsequent years who do not meet the standard have five years to do so. Thus, individuals hired in 2014 will have until 2019 to meet the standard; those hired in 2015 will have until 2020, and so on.

The State of Florida allows employees to use a tuition waiver to enroll in six hours (or less) of courses per semester on a space-available basis at public universities. This approach is how many counselors worked to reach the CSPD standard until fall 2006.

In recent years, VR has implemented a more aggressive approach in meeting the CSPD standard. A significant portion of the in-service training grant has been allocated solely to VR’s CSPD activities. The tuition waiver program will continue to be used as much as possible, since it represents a significant savings to VR. In-service training grant funds will be used to pay tuition for individuals who cannot get the coursework they need through the waiver program, such as those who are not near a public university or who otherwise cannot use the waiver program. In-service training grant funds are also allocated for textbook reimbursement. The Human Resource Development (HRD) Section has implemented a data system to track academic classes taken and progress toward certification eligibility.

 

HRD efforts will continue to be oriented toward appropriate and adequate training for all employees, with substantial in-service grant resources allocated to the CSPD effort. Although the in-service training grant is the main funding source for funding these activities, it is not sufficient to fund all staff development and training activities. Supplemental funds are provided from other budget resources.

Although there has been an emphasis on helping counselors in meeting the CSPD standard and on developing the technical, managerial, and leadership skills of the supervisors and managers, VR provides staff development opportunities to employees at every level.

VR continues to offer individual training allocations for each staff member. This allocation can be used for job-related professional development activities, such as attending conferences, purchasing books, CDs, DVDs or other materials; taking online short courses; or any other approved professional development activity. Supervisory approval is required for these professional development activities to ensure that staff participates in activities consistent with their individual needs and job responsibilities and requirements. The resources of the regional Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center are used, as available and appropriate. The HRD Section provides consultation and technical assistance to VR employee as needed.

VR has purchased, and is in the process of implementing, a learning management system (LMS). The LMS will be implemented, using a phased-in approach, during calendar 2014. The system will not only track learning participation, but will also serve as a host for online learning activities for all employees. Additionally, VR purchased licenses for WebEx for training purposes. Every effort is made to ensure that the correct medium is used to address each particular issue. The ability to post interactive training on the LMS will greatly expand the capacity of VR to provide a more extensive and comprehensive array of learning activities for all employees.

VR produces a monthly newsletter for all employees, as well as a quarterly newsletter for supervisors to share information about what is happening in the different areas, keep them up to date on new policies and procedures, and offer articles that can help them do their jobs better.

Whether offered directly or contracted by the HRD Section, VR’s staff development and training programs are designed with the goal of maintaining a well-prepared, competent workforce equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to successfully facilitate the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. VR is responsible for ensuring that employees, including contracted employees, receive necessary development and training. Accordingly, HRD includes contracted employees at all training programs.

Needs Assessment and Evaluation A bi-annual training needs assessment is conducted using information from a number of sources. These include a formal needs assessment instrument, performance evaluation data, training evaluation sheets obtained from every sponsored program, exit interviews, and supervisory input. The needs assessment data determines program development and modification.

Annual performance evaluations are conducted on each employee, with intermittent evaluation, if indicated. Performance is evaluated according to standards and goals established at the beginning of the evaluation period. Employees are evaluated in the context of their knowledge, skills, and abilities within the field of rehabilitation, and on policy about priority of service to individuals with the most significant disabilities. If circumstances change, training and professional development activities are provided to help the employee meet his/her goal in support of VRs mission.

In-Service Training Grant Funds are requested for the in-service training grant based on current and anticipated needs. VR continues to provide a variety of in-house training programs, including counselor training, supervisory training, policy training, new legislation, casework review training, etc.

In carrying out its staff development and training program, VR addresses several topics in its training curricula. The training curricula include (but are not limited to) modules on the following: preliminary assessment, eligibility determination, assessment, IPE development, vocational counseling (within the modules on eligibility determination and individualized plan for employment development), job placement, rehabilitation technology, cultural competence, ethics, supported employment, transition from school-to-work, medical and psychological issues, caseload management, and special programs.

VR places emphasis on the professional development of unit supervisors, area supervisors, and area directors. Topics are selected based on policy or procedure changes, new initiatives, audit and review findings, and general professional development.

Counseling and non-counseling employees, including administrative employees, will continue to be provided training in core subjects through distance and on-site learning. As caseloads grow, the role of the paraprofessional technician becomes more and more critical to the effective management of caseloads. All counseling staff will continue to work toward CRC eligibility and/or degrees in rehabilitation or counseling through tuition waivers and other mechanisms, and the in-service training grant.

Engineers from the Rehabilitation Technology Engineering Program, contracted through the University of South Florida, provide training on rehabilitation technology and engineering. The contract ensures that rehabilitation technology engineers are available statewide.

State labor market information, as well as national data, provides information on the employment and advancement of qualified individuals with disabilities. Job announcements are published online through the People First website, providing access to all state jobs through one internet portal.

Manuals related to policy and rehabilitation information management are available online. Employees can access the internet to find information about medical and psychological conditions, rehabilitation technology, Federal/State Plan, legislation and regulations, and employment-related information.

 

VR employees need to be able to work with Florida’s diverse population. One way VR does this is to actively recruit counselors and support employees who have diverse backgrounds. VR places advertisements in ethnic newspapers and collaborates with local civic and social service groups. Bilingual individuals are on staff, but interpreters or translators will continue to be used when a counselor is unable to communicate directly with a customer in his/her preferred language. VR will continue partnerships with local vendors to offer this service.

American Sign Language interpretation needs are met using a combination of employee positions and arrangements with local interpreter service providers. In some areas, difficulty in hiring qualified individuals has led to positions being vacant for prolonged periods. In those situations, and to supplement needs beyond those that can be served by qualified VR employees, arrangements are in place with local providers for interpreter services. Whenever appropriate, VR will reschedule appointments or use text communication devices with individuals in situations when either staff interpreters or local interpreters are not available. VR also has assistive listening devices available in most offices for VR employees to communicate with Individuals who are hard of hearing or late-deafened and do not know sign-language.

VR meets the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance by providing materials in Braille and large print, through having sign language interpreters and offering text-based communication access, including real-time translation (CART) services. In addition, VR arranges for foreign language translators when needed.

 

Presenters provide orientation and training for employees serving transition students with disabilities from VR, the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS), and transition partners. Cross-training between BEESS and VR staff is emphasized through interagency agreements as presented in Attachment 4.8 (b) (2). The Department of Education’s State Education Agency (SEA) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) profiles are used to gather important statistical information on graduation rates, dropout rates, Individual Educational Plan compliance, and postsecondary outcomes for students with disabilities. Additionally, BEESS and VR continue to share and analyze student data to identify students with Individual Educational Plans who can benefit from VR services and any potential gaps in service.

VR updated the Rehabilitation Information Management System (RIMS) to collect additional transition data elements effective October 1, 2013 based on directives from the Rehabilitation Services Administration. Enhancements included identifying students with 504 Plans and will improve agency efforts to deliver services to all eligible students with disabilities. VR strives to help LEAs meet the mandates of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. VR support includes offering an early VR referral and application process, VR Transition Staff Contact List, VR Transition Brochures, and coordination of the Individual Educational Plan with the Individualized Plan for Employment when served by both agencies. VR endorses evidence-based LEA services that benefit students with disabilities, including educating students in the least restrictive environment with their non-disabled peers and having access to the original curricula. VR counselors continue to attend regular in-service training that specifically targets school to work transition issues and helps meet the requirements of the CSPD.

VR and transition partners continue to make presentations and participate in annual transition conferences to better serve students with disabilities by building capacity at the national, state, and local levels. These events allow for agency updates, contributing information on promising initiatives and sharing evidence-based best practices. When VR employees and local educators are assigned to teams at events, they use this time to discuss and learn from one another about transition practices and issues. This information is often incorporated into VR staff trainings.

A transition training module is provided during New Counselor Training which includes resources from the VR School to Work Transition Program. The VR School to Work Transition Guidelines and Best Practices is a resource for VR transition teams to assure statewide consistency in coordinating services to students with disabilities. VR employees have access to the “Effective Practices for Working with the School System” and the “Outreach for the School System” presentations developed to improve collaboration between VR and the LEAs.

At the local level, VR employees participate in various interagency groups to improve local coordination and services to students, families, schools, employers, and agency partners.

This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2014 5:30PM by Elizabeth Moody

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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

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

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

During FFY 2010-2011, the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) conducted a comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA) to identify factors that affect VR customers’ ability to get and keep jobs, and any barriers or limitations they may experience. The CSNA project consisted of five major components: state demographic profiles, customer surveys, a VR field staff survey, stakeholder interviews, and focus groups. Results of the CSNA guided agency planning and development of state plans for federal fiscal years 2013 through 2015.

VR and the Florida Rehabilitation Council partner to conduct the needs assessment every three years. Attachment 4.11 (a), summarizing the results and recommendations of the current needs assessment, was included in full with the FFY 2013 state plan. An update to the recommended strategies is included below. The 2016 State Plan will include a full summary of the next CSNA results.

CSNA Recommendation- Provide tools, support, tutoring, and educational opportunities for specific job skills. Current Strategic Reference-1.3.2. Design and implement enhancements to the Vendor Profile document for customer use in making informed choices regarding employment providers. - 1.3.3. Increase transition services for students with significant disabilities. Previous Strategic Reference- No previous reference

CSNA Recommendation- Ensure employability skills training activities are offered by contracted service providers. Current Strategic Reference-1.3.2. Design and implement enhancements to the Vendor Profile document for customer use in making informed choices regarding employment providers. - 1.3.3. Increase transition services for students with significant disabilities. Previous Strategic Reference- No previous reference

CSNA Recommendation- Identify and prioritize VR services to standardize and reduce variance in types and quality of services provided. Current Strategic Reference-3.1.2. Complete RIMS modules for Field Services Processes to better align the tools with business processes. Previous Strategic Reference- No previous reference

CSNA Recommendation- Explore and implement the use of new technologies to provide services in rural areas. Current Strategic Reference-1.3.1. Facilitate communication between job seekers with disabilities and employers through enhanced technology. Previous Strategic Reference- No previous reference

CSNA Recommendation- Assess the effectiveness and volume of job coaching services provided to customers. Current Strategic Reference-1.2.3. Design and implement contract monitoring and fraud detection processes. Previous Strategic Reference- Objective 4.1 Design and implement contract monitoring and fraud detection processes.

CSNA Recommendation- Provide a specific and standardized training curriculum to VR field staff on difficult to place customer groups. Current Strategic Reference-2.1.1. Institute a process for on-boarding, mentoring, training, succession planning, and leadership development for all VR employees, including the implementation of a Learning Management System. Previous Strategic Reference- Objective 1.1 Provide statewide training on hard to place customer groups (e.g., ex-offender re-entry, cognitive, supported employment phase 2).

CSNA Recommendation- Provide specific interpersonal skills training for customers who have primary disabilities in mental health, cognitive, developmental, or brain injury categories. Current Strategic Reference- VR will implement additional mental health training for counselors, and develop transitional employment, Individual Placement and Support and peer specialist models to improve success with individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. - VR will expand the use of Discovery and Customized Employment. Previous Strategic Reference- Objective 3.3 Design and implement psychosocial mental health training to selected VR employees to deliver effective services for individuals with mental health and substance abuse disabilities. - Implement a recovery and trauma informed care model, and provide training to VR employees.

CSNA Recommendation- Develop specific agreements with other agencies and organizations to optimize support resources and ensure that counselors have full referral access to those resources (e.g., food, clothing, transportation). Current Strategic Reference- Operationally, VR continues to develop agreements with and partner with other agencies and organizations to provide customers more access to community resources. Previous Strategic Reference- VR will assume a leadership role to foster cooperation and collaboration at the federal, state, and local levels for partners involved in the employment of individuals with disabilities. - 3.6 Design and implement a comprehensive directory of community resources.

CSNA Recommendation- Eliminate activities and tasks in the field that are unnecessary for delivering timely and high-quality services (e.g., excessive reviews and approvals, unnecessary paperwork or data entry, etc.). Current Strategic Reference-3.1.2. Complete RIMS modules for Field Services Processes to better align the tools with business processes. Previous Strategic Reference- Conduct a gap analysis and develop user requirements for a case management system that meets VR’s business needs. - Investigate feasibility of data sharing with partners to expedite eligibility determination. - Investigate and modify inefficiencies within RIMS to minimize duplicate data entry.

CSNA Recommendation- Fully deploy customer contact standards across all VR areas and contract providers. Current Strategic Reference- VR revised a Field Service Operating Procedure in 2013, to address specific customer contact steps during case transfers. Previous Strategic Reference- Objective 3.2 Design and standardize customer contact process and standards.

CSNA Recommendation- Develop and implement a comprehensive VR marketing plan to specific stakeholder groups, employment service providers, vendors, and employers. Current Strategic Reference-1.2.4. Conduct vendor outreach to increase available services for customers. - 1.2.5. Expand vendor pool for employment and supported employment services. Previous Strategic Reference- Objective 1.2 Standardize and systematically market to employers and existing employer networks (e.g., Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Center, Business Leadership Networks, etc.) both statewide and on a local basis.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2014 6:19PM by Elizabeth Moody

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

Number of Individuals in the State Who are Eligible for Services under this State Plan According to the 2008-2012 American Community Survey estimates for Florida, a total of 1,112,586 working age adults with an employment disability may qualify for vocational rehabilitation services.

Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served with Funds Provided Under Part B of Title I and Part B of Title VI of the Act From October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2015, the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) anticipates a workload of 60,085 individuals. Because of limited resources, VR has determined that vocational rehabilitation services cannot be provided to all individuals with disabilities in the state that apply for services. The following are projections for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2015.

The estimated numbers of eligible individuals to receive vocational rehabilitation services by priority category are provided in the table below. The table also includes estimated funds needed to provide services, as well as the average cost of services per customer.

Additionally, the cost for assessment services for FFY 2015 is projected at $12,869,964. Total revenue needed for IPE and assessment services for FFY 2015 is $116,714,785. The available revenue for FFY 2015 for IPE and assessment services is estimated to be $115,053,434. The available revenue is less than the estimated revenue needed for FFY 2015, requiring VR to continue Order of Selection.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Priority Category 1 Title I $54,272,417 33,396 $1,625
Priority Category 2 Title I $49,285,834 26469 $1,862
Priority Category 3 Title I $286,570 220 $1,302
Title VI 6000
Totals   $103,844,821 66,085 $1,571

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2014 6:31PM by Elizabeth Moody

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

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

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

VISION To become the first place people with disabilities turn when seeking employment and a top resource for employers in need of qualified employees.

MISSION To help people with disabilities find and maintain employment, and enhance their independence.

Three Year Strategic Goals and Priorities (FFY 2014-2016) During FFY 2011, VR, in collaboration with the Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC), completed its three-year comprehensive statewide needs assessment. Information obtained from the needs assessment, management reports, and feedback from VR employees and customers, is used to evaluate current goals, objectives, and projects.

Following the planning process established last year, the Senior Leadership Team completed a thorough review of the strategic plan, and then held a planning retreat to determine which projects will be included in the updated strategic plan. The Team confirmed all changes and made final revisions during a final planning meeting before presenting the updated strategic plan for FRC review.

FRC members representing all standing committees then formed a State Plan Task Force to study the draft 2015 State Plan. Listed below are the goals, objectives, strategies resulting from the Senior Leadership Team’s planning process and FRC’s study of the draft 2015 State Plan.

Goal 1: Improve Customer Success and Satisfaction

Objective 1.1: Improve the assessment of customer satisfaction

Strategy: 1. Negotiate a new contract for multiple, innovative means of assessing customer satisfaction. Performance Measure: Ensure successful execution of the new contract and monitor for contractual compliance.

Objective 1.2: Improve vendor and contracted services processes

Strategy: 1. Develop background screening process for specific providers. Performance Measure: Implement background screening program.

Strategy: 2. Review and revise vendor management process. Performance Measure: A plan and routine progress reports will be submitted to VR Senior Management Team for review.

Strategy: 3. Design and implement contract monitoring and fraud detection processes. Performance Measure: Finalize risk assessment of all contracts and establish a baseline of current performance. Develop standardized tools for routine monitoring, and train appropriate employees on their use. Develop schedule of routine contract monitoring.

Strategy: 4. Conduct vendor outreach to increase available services for customers. Performance Measure: Specific outreach activities to find new vendors. Recommendation to add referral identification question(s) to document to track referral source.

Strategy: 5. Expand vendor pool for employment and supported employment services. Performance Measure: Increase in number of employment and supported employment vendors available where needed

Objective 1.3: Increase employment opportunities for VR customers

Strategy: 1. Facilitate communication between job seekers with disabilities and employers through enhanced technology. Performance Measure: Review and revise FL Job Connections site and connect it to the national Talent Acquisition Portal and the FL Dept. of Economic Opportunity disability web portal.

Strategy: 2. Design and implement enhancements to the Vendor Profile document for customer use in making informed choices regarding employment providers. Performance Measure: Baseline use of vendor profile and measure increase in use.

Strategy: 3. Increase transition services for students with significant disabilities. Performance Measure: Revise TPCA requirements, offer to all school districts, and implement new contracts.

Goal 2: Improve Employee Development and Workplace Environment

Objective 2.1: Improve the system for developing VR employees

Strategy: 1. Institute a process for on-boarding, mentoring, training, succession planning, and leadership development for all VR employees, including the implementation of an LMS. Performance Measure: Improvement in climate survey items Q8 (Opportunities to learn and grow) and Q11 (Satisfaction with training provided by VR)

Objective 2.2: Provide a safe, accessible, and adequately equipped work environment

Strategy: 1. Develop a process to report defective/unsafe working conditions, and provide safety and facilities management training to area employees. Performance Measure: Improvement in Climate survey item Q17 (Physically safe work environment)

Strategy: 2. Strengthen facilities processes and provide appropriate field staff additional supports. Performance Measure: Resources include move manual, statewide safety manual, statewide first aid info, safety furniture inspection instructions.

Strategy: 3. Improve the accessibility of VR facilities, based on the results of a comprehensive evaluation with customer participation. Performance Measure: Improvement in climate survey item Q4 (Accessible work environment); percent of ADA compliant work units

Goal 3: Improve VR Support Processes

Objective 3.1: Improve information technology applications

Strategy: 1. Use SharePoint to improve information sharing, collaboration and team projects. Performance Measure: Increase in team sites

Strategy: 2. Complete RIMS modules for Field Services Processes to better align the tools with business processes. Performance Measure: Percent of RIMS modules completed

Objective 3.2: Improve VR business intelligence

Strategy: 1. Integrate key elements of VR management reports (financial, human resource, operational performance, and customer satisfaction) for use by all management teams and employees, including the development of a live performance dashboard. Performance Measure: Number of identified management reports revised and implemented.

Florida’s overall economic climate continues to influence program performance. As of March 2014, Florida’s unemployment rate was 6.2%, which equates to approximately 588,000 individuals not working. Florida’s unemployment rate continues to be lower than the national average of 6.7%.

Employment outcomes for VR customers mirror state economic improvements, increasing by 735 during FFY 2013, for an annual 6,792 employment outcomes. Despite the increase in employment outcomes, VR continues to experience a rehabilitation rate below target. This is due to a focused effort to close inactive cases. Although these efforts temporarily caused the rehabilitation rate to drop, VR anticipates an eventual shift in the ratio of successful closures to unsuccessful closures. This will result in an increased percentage of employment outcomes, as measured by Federal Performance Indicator 1.2.

In addition to the projects noted in VR’s strategic plan, specific strategies have been identified to improve VR service planning, delivery and monitoring. The following strategies have been submitted as a plan to specifically address improvements needed, that will positively impact customer services and VR performance on Federal Standards and Indicators.

• Complete an analysis of unsuccessful case closures to determine specific counselor/consumer contact standards to implement. • Increase job development and job matching services for individuals with disabilities via the state jobs portal. • Implement additional mental health training for counselors, and develop transitional employment, Individual Placement and Support and peer specialist models to improve success with individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. • Expand the use of Discovery and Customized Employment. • Establish additional casework quality assurance review practices to validate data entry. • Develop a data validation program to detect errors prior to reporting. • Expand its use of Benefits Planning referrals for Social Security recipients that will promote self-support. • Rewrite business rules in the automated case management system modules to reduce data input error.

This screen was last updated on Aug 6 2014 10:20AM by Elizabeth Moody

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

Justification for order of selection

The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) determined that sufficient resources were not available to provide rehabilitation services to all individuals with disabilities that apply. Consequently, VR established an Order of Selection within the state to ensure that individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected first for vocational rehabilitation services, those with significant disabilities second and all other eligible individuals selected last. The determination to invoke an Order of Selection was based on use of funds in the preceding years, projected funding, projected number and types of referrals, number of eligible individuals, and counselor case loads.

On August 4, 2008, the Order of Selection was implemented, closing all categories. On February 15, 2010, VR determined that sufficient fiscal and human resources were available to serve all Priority Category 1 individuals and opened Priority Category 1. Priority Category 2 was opened on August 2, 2010. Priority Category 3 remained closed at that time.

The Order of Selection remains in effect statewide and does not select one type of disability over another. The Order is not established based on age, sex, marital status, religion, race, color, national origin or political affiliation, and is not based on the vocational goal of the individual with a disability. Elements that relate to the significance of disability are the only factors used in the Order of Selection.

As of April 14, 2014, 1,408 individuals with disabilities in Priority Category 3 remained on the waiting list.

 

Description of Priority categories

Individuals With Most Significant Disabilities (Priority Category 1)

An eligible individual with a disability which: 1. Seriously limits three or more functional capacities in terms of an employment outcome; 2. Requires three or more primary services; 3. Requires services which must be provided over an extended period of time (at least 12 months); and 4. Requires services that are not likely to be corrected through surgical intervention and/or other treatment modes.

Individuals with Significant Disabilities (Priority Category 2)

An eligible individual with a disability which: 1. Seriously limits one or two functional capacities, in terms of an employment outcome; 2. Requires two or more primary services; 3. Requires services which must be provided over an extended period of time (at least six months); OR 4. The individual is a recipient of Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as a result of disability or blindness.

Other Eligible Individuals (Priority Category 3)

An eligible individual with a disability which: 1. Limits one or more major life’s activities; and/or 2. Services are expected to last less than six months.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

Order of Selection Policies Individuals needing Supported Employment services are assessed as having a most significant disability. Additionally, individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits as a result of being determined to be disabled or blind are assessed as having at least a significant disability and are evaluated to determine whether they meet the criteria for individuals with most significant disabilities.

After an individual is found eligible for VR services, an Order of Selection determination is completed. Additional evaluations or assessments to make this determination may be needed. The VR counselor and individual jointly determine the individual’s Order of Selection priority category by evaluating his or her functional limitations, anticipated services needed, and the duration of the services.

This policy does not affect an individual who began to receive services under an approved individualized plan for employment prior to the implementation date of Order of Selection, or those individuals who are in need of post-employment services.

VR officially notifies all individuals of their individual Order of Selection determination. Individuals not immediately activated for development of an employment plan are offered Information and Referral services and the option to be placed on a waiting list until employment plan development services can be initiated. Individuals on the waiting list are contacted annually to determine if additional information is available. As resources become available, those with the most significant disabilities are selected first for vocational rehabilitation services, those with significant disabilities second and all other eligible individuals selected last.

 

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

Due to limited financial and human resources, VR closed Priority Category 2 on November 15, 2013, and closed Priority Category 1 on February 19, 2014. In response to the need to initiate services to persons on the wait list, additional funding of $1,400,000 from nonrecurring general revenue state matching funds was appropriated to the Department of Education for SFY 2014. This funding allowed for additional federal funding of $5,172,770. As a result, VR will being serving customers on the Priority Category 1 wait list, on a limited basis, beginning in June 2014.

Service Costs for FFY 2015 Total projected costs for IPE services are $103,844,821. Cost for assessment services for FFY 2015 is projected as $12,869,964. Total estimated revenue needed for FFY 2015 is $116,714,785. The available revenue for FFY 2015 for IPE and assessment services is estimated to be $115,053,434. The available revenue is less than the estimated revenue needed for FFY 2015, requiring VR to continue Order of Selection.

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 33,396 3,852 7,654 25.7 $54,272,417
2 26,469 4,131 5,024 16.7 $49,285,834
3 220 244 23 57.6 $286,570

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2014 6:43PM by Elizabeth Moody

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

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

Goal 1: Increase the number of individuals with most significant disabilities who receive Supported Employment services.

Plans: • Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) will continue to provide supported employment (SE) services on a statewide basis through Title VI, Part B funds and Title I funds. Statewide allocation of funds allows for equal delivery of services throughout Florida. Individuals may receive SE services using a combination of Title I and/or Title VI, Part B funds, and revenues generated from Social Security reimbursements, community rehabilitation partners, and other program revenues. • Fully expend Title VI-B funds for purchase of Supported Employment services after reserving no more than five percent for program administration. • Provide a variety of training and awareness programs designed to increase the awareness of Supported Employment as a vocational service for individuals with the most significant disabilities. • Review pilot and innovative employment practices and assess the feasibility of replicating programs with successful strategies.

Goal 2: Use Title VI-B funds to achieve the maximum number of quality employment outcomes for individuals with most significant disabilities.

Plans: • Use Title I funds, supplemented with Title VI-B funds, to provide Supported Employment services as specified in the Individualized Plan for Employment. • Purchase Supported Employment services based upon established performance benchmarks. The contract for supported employment focuses on performance and reinforces the focus on successful outcomes for individuals served.

Goal 3: Increase Supported Employment training opportunities for VR Counselors, Community Rehabilitation service staff, families, and individuals.

Plans: • Increase Supported Employment training opportunities for VR counselors, providers, families, and individuals. • Participate in the development of a consortium of providers designed to identify, share, and promote innovative employment practices. • Promote awareness of social security benefits planning as a way to fund extended services. • Continue to provide joint training opportunities for employees from VR and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). • Provide funding to support collaboration between VR and other community resources through networking and leadership activities. • Continue to be an advisory member on a wide variety of grants from the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council that provide training and collaborative activities for providers, counselors, and other agency employees. By participating in these activities, more employers become aware that people with developmental disabilities and other underserved populations are able to work in their communities.

Goal 4: Leverage resources for extended ongoing support services.

Plans: • Continue to work with APD to make sure that referred customers know about the extended service resources they can get through Medicaid Waiver Funding and/or general revenue funding. • Continue to work with a network of providers to provide technical assistance and support of innovative projects that promote employment for individuals with the most significant disabilities. • Provide training on the availability of funding ongoing support through Ticket to Work-Employment Network partnerships, natural supports, and Social Security Work Incentives as possible resources for ongoing supports. • Encourage using employer and natural supports as a possible resource for ongoing supports. • Enhance relationships with businesses and employers to let them know that on-the-job supports for individuals in supported employment are available. VR will continue efforts to strengthen community partnerships to increase access to appropriate employment services. • VR and APD are conducting a series of training for employees of both organizations. Identification of all possible sources for extended services is a primary objective of that training.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2014 6:44PM by Elizabeth Moody

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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

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

Council Support The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) continues to provide support for the Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC) and Florida Independent Living Council (FILC). VR allocates funds for the operation of FRC to achieve the goals and objectives in their strategic plan. FRC participates as an active strategic partner with VR in carrying out the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act. VR and FILC operate under a three-year contract, which aligns with the three-year state plan for Independent Living.

Use of Innovation and Expansion Funds VR currently has one innovation and expansion project, described below. VR intends to procure a new innovation and expansion contract for each of its six areas, and anticipates implementation of the new contracts during FFY 2015.

1. University of South Florida, Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology- Use virtual reality, simulators, robotics, and feedback interfaces to allow the vocational rehabilitation population to try various jobs, tasks, virtual environments, and assistive technologies prior to entering the actual employment setting.

Results gained through the continued Innovation and Expansion contract will contribute to improved employment opportunities for VR customers. In addition to the innovation and expansion project, VR’s SFY 2014-16 Strategic Plan includes a number of strategies that are anticipated to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities:

• 1.1.1. Negotiate a new contract for multiple, innovative means of assessing customer satisfaction. • 1.3.1. Facilitate communication between job seekers with disabilities and employers through enhanced technology. • 3.1.1. Use SharePoint to improve information sharing, collaboration and team projects. • 3.2.1. Integrate key elements of VR management reports (financial, human resource, operational performance, and customer satisfaction) for use by all management teams and employees, including the development of a live performance dashboard. • 1.2.4. Conduct vendor outreach to increase available services for customers. • 1.2.5. Expand vendor pool for employment and supported employment services. • 1.3.3. Increase transition services for students with significant disabilities. • 2.1.1. Institute a process for on-boarding, mentoring, training, succession planning, and leadership development for all VR employees, including the implementation of an LMS.

 

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.

Rehabilitation Technology

Rehabilitation Technology is provided through a contractual agreement with the Center for Engineering and Technology Program at the University of South Florida. The program provides rehabilitation technology assessment and evaluation services for VR’s customers across all stages of the VR process. Rehabilitation technology includes a range of services and devices that supplement and enhance individual functions. It includes services like job redesign or worksite modifications that improve the work environment.

VR sponsors the Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology Project that is directed by the Assistive Technology Advisory Council in accordance with Section 413.407, Florida Statutes. The project provides for the coordination and delivery of appropriate, cost-effective, state-of-the-art assistive technology services and devices on a statewide basis. The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, Inc. (FAAST), is a not-for-profit corporation for which the Assistive Technology Advisory Council acts as the board of directors, manages the project, and provides administrative and technical support to the council.

FAAST is responsible for administering a low interest loan authority that provides funding to individuals with disabilities who may be unable to qualify for traditional loans and bank financing to purchase assistive technology devices.

Assistive technology includes both devices and services. A device is any item or piece of equipment used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability. Many high-tech and low-tech devices are available to help people with disabilities in daily living tasks, communication, education, work, and recreation.

 

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.

VR continues to assess its services to individuals with the most significant disabilities and individuals who may be unserved or underserved, as well as those with the most significant disabilities who may be from minority populations. Strategic projects and local-level outreach activities include the following:

• 1.3.1. Facilitate communication between job seekers with disabilities and employers through enhanced technology. • 1.2.4. Conduct vendor outreach to increase available services for customers. • 1.2.5. Expand vendor pool for employment and supported employment services. • 2.2.3. Improve the accessibility of VR facilities, based on the results of a comprehensive evaluation with customer participation. • 1.3.3. Increase transition services for students with significant disabilities. • 1.1.1. Negotiate a new contract for multiple, innovative means of assessing customer satisfaction. • 3.2.1. Integrate key elements of VR management reports (financial, human resource, operational performance, and customer satisfaction) for use by all management teams and employees, including the development of a live performance dashboard. • 3.1.2. Complete RIMS modules for Field Services Processes to better align the tools with business processes. • Continue to explore partnership opportunities with community/faith-based organizations. Develop contact lists of faith-based and other diverse programs as resources for partnership opportunities. • Continue to identify outreach activities conducted by VR area offices for under-represented populations. Conduct outreach in local communities to promote VR as an agency, and assist individuals with disabilities who are minorities or who may be unserved or underserved to return or remain in the workplace. • Continue to conduct outreach to migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families through contracts with community-based organizations and other partners. • Continue to implement activities outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding with the Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe.

 

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

VR assesses its business processes and organizational capacity on an ongoing basis to make consistent improvements. Results of the FFY 2011 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment did not indicate a need to establish or develop community rehabilitation programs. Strategies to improve business relationships with community rehabilitation programs include:

• 1.2.1. Develop background screening process for specific providers. • 1.2.3. Design and implement contract monitoring and fraud detection processes. • 1.3.2. Design and implement enhancements to the Vendor Profile document for customer use in making informed choices regarding employment providers. • 1.1.1. Negotiate a new contract for multiple, innovative means of assessing customer satisfaction. • 1.3.1. Facilitate communication between job seekers with disabilities and employers through enhanced technology. • 1.2.4. Conduct vendor outreach to increase available services for customers. • 1.2.5. Expand vendor pool for employment and supported employment services. • 1.2.2. Review and revise vendor management process.

 

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

Federal Performance Indicators

Indicator 1.1: Change in Employment Outcomes (RSA Target: Increase over prior year) Previous Year (2012): +562 Actual Performance (2013): +735

Indicator 1.2: Percent of Employment Outcomes (RSA Target: 55.8%) Previous Year: (2012): 45.78% Actual Performance (2013): 44.03%

Indicator 1.3: Competitive Employment Outcome (Primary) (RSA Target: 72.6%) Previous Year (2012): 99.69% Actual Performance (2013): 96.47%

Indicator 1.4: Significance of Disability (Primary) (RSA Target: 62.4%) Previous Year (2012): 98.48% Actual Performance (2013): 98.68%

Indicator 1.5: Earnings Ratio (Primary) (RSA Target: 52%) Previous Year (2012): 52.10% Actual Performance (2013): 51.88%

Indicator 1.6: Self-Support (RSA Target: 53%) Previous Year (2012): 51.46% Actual Performance (2013): 61%

Indicator 2.1: Ratio of Minority to Non-Minority Service Rate (RSA Target: 80%) Previous Year (2012): 94.49% Actual Performance (2013): 96.11%

Florida’s overall economic climate continues to influence program performance. As of March 2014, Florida’s unemployment rate was 6.2%, which equates to approximately 588,000 individuals not working. Florida’s unemployment rate continues to be lower than the national average of 6.7%.

Employment outcomes for VR customers mirror state economic improvements, increasing by 735 during FFY 2013, for an annual 6,792 employment outcomes. Despite the increase in employment outcomes, VR continues to experience a rehabilitation rate below target. This is due to a focused effort to close inactive cases. Although these efforts temporarily caused the rehabilitation rate to drop, VR anticipates an eventual shift in the ratio of successful closures to unsuccessful closures. This will result in an increased percentage of employment outcomes, as measured by Federal Performance Indicator 1.2.

VR will continue to collaborate with partners at the state and local levels to maximize employment services for people with disabilities. Florida VR anticipates that all projects within its Strategic Plan will have a positive impact on program performance. Specific activities include the following.

• 1.3.2. Design and implement enhancements to the Vendor Profile document for customer use in making informed choices regarding employment providers. • 1.1.1. Negotiate a new contract for multiple, innovative means of assessing customer satisfaction. • 1.3.1. Facilitate communication between job seekers with disabilities and employers through enhanced technology. • 3.2.1. Integrate key elements of VR management reports (financial, human resource, operational performance, and customer satisfaction) for use by all management teams and employees, including the development of a live performance dashboard. • 3.1.2. Complete RIMS modules for Field Services Processes to better align the tools with business processes. • 1.3.3. Increase transition services for students with significant disabilities. • Implement additional mental health training for counselors, and develop transitional employment, Individual Placement and Support and peer specialist models to improve success with individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. • Expand the use of Discovery and Customized Employment. • Establish additional casework quality assurance review practices to validate data entry. • Develop a data validation program to detect errors prior to reporting. • Expand its use of Benefits Planning referrals for Social Security recipients that will promote self-support.

 

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

VR remains geographically aligned with the workforce regions and holds memoranda of understanding (MOU) with 17 regional workforce boards. During the 2012 legislative session, the Florida Legislature approved a consistent naming convention for all workforce boards in an effort to re-brand them for customers. That change became effective in March 2014. Because of this, VR will update all MOUs to reflect these adjustments during this state plan cycle. The following strategies will increase partnership with the statewide workforce investment system to assist individuals with disabilities.

• 1.3.1. Facilitate communication between job seekers with disabilities and employers through enhanced technology. • 1.2.4. Conduct vendor outreach to increase available services for customers. • 1.2.5. Expand vendor pool for employment and supported employment services. • 3.2.1. Integrate key elements of VR management reports (financial, human resource, operational performance, and customer satisfaction) for use by all management teams and employees, including the development of a live performance dashboard. • 3.1.2. Complete RIMS modules for Field Services Processes to better align the tools with business processes. • Update implementation of the three-party Memorandum of Agreement between VR, the Department of Economic Opportunity, and the Workforce Investment Board. • Continue implementation of the Memoranda of Understanding with 17 Regional Workforce Boards. • Collaborate with and offer training to Career Source and Employment Networks to provide services. • Continue area directors’ participation on the local Workforce Investment Boards. • Continue to promote VR’s presence in Career Source through co-location of VR’s units in Career Source Centers; employees being out-stationed; and/or through regular visits by VR employees to Career Source Centers.

 

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

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

In 2013, VR made great progress in accommodation and access to services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Specific accomplishments included completion of revised best practices guides for services and communication and the hire of a specialized consultant in the field of deaf-blindness to develop best practices, provide consultation, training, and advocacy with stakeholders involved in these cases.

VR has also repurposed a recently vacated FTE into a Deaf-Blind Interpreter position, which will be filled during FFY 2014. Key administrators from VR-General and VR-Blind Services have scheduled monthly meetings to revise and update the MOA, develop strategies, discuss training needs, create informational guides as needed by both agencies on this population, and provide case consultation.

Additional VR strategies and activities to increase equal access to individuals requesting services are as follows.

• 2.2.3. Improve the accessibility of VR facilities, based on the results of a comprehensive evaluation with customer participation. • 1.3.1. Facilitate communication between job seekers with disabilities and employers through enhanced technology. • 1.1.1. Negotiate a new contract for multiple, innovative means of assessing customer satisfaction. • 1.2.4. Conduct vendor outreach to increase available services for customers. • 1.3.3. Increase transition services for students with significant disabilities. • 2.2.1. Develop a process to report defective/unsafe working conditions, and provide safety and facilities management training to area employees. • 2.2.2. Strengthen facilities infrastructure and provide appropriate field staff additional supports. • 1.2.5. Expand vendor pool for employment and supported employment services. • 3.2.1. Integrate key elements of VR management reports (financial, human resource, operational performance, and customer satisfaction) for use by all management teams and employees, including the development of a live performance dashboard. • Continue to use interpreters and translators and VR’s online resources, as well as the websites of other partners and stakeholders (where permitted), to reach underserved populations and increase communication with customers. • Offer reasonable accommodations to give equal access to services, and make sure that materials and other program information are available in English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole for various agencies, employers, churches, community leaders, health clinics, and other settings. • Continue to assign counselors and consultants to serve specialized populations, such as the deaf and hard-of-hearing, transition students, mental health customers, and brain and spinal cord injury customers.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2014 6:53PM by Elizabeth Moody

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

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

The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), in collaboration with the Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC), established five strategic goals for FFY 2013. These goals and priorities were developed based on an analysis of VR’s performance on the federal standards and indicators, the preliminary result of the statewide needs assessment, and input from customers, providers, and other stakeholders.

The following section provides VR’s evaluation and report of progress in achieving the goals. Also, this attachment reports review information about FRC’s customer satisfaction survey research and other activities.

Review of VR Program Goals for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2013

Goal 1: Strengthen Leadership and Collaboration

Objective 1.1: Assume a leadership role to foster cooperation and collaboration at the federal, state, and local levels for partners involved in the employment and independence of individuals with disabilities. Indicators: 1. Percent of VR responsibilities met as outlined in MOU. 2. Percent of Memoranda of Agreement and Memoranda of Understanding in compliance. 3. Number of local level provider and employer network group meetings.

Actual: VR currently maintains 17 memoranda of understanding with regional workforce boards, and 21 memoranda of agreement with employment networks.

Objective 1.2: Increase compliance with requirements and promote best practices by the Centers for Independent Living. Indicator: 1. Cumulative percent of Centers for Independent Living in full compliance with evaluation standards met.

Actual: An evaluation application was developed and implementation is still in process. Internet connectivity was a previous barrier to implementation of the evaluation tool, but the application has been localized and does not require connectivity, making it accessible in field locations. The application is currently being tested, and VR anticipates full implementation during FFY 2014.

Current Status of Goal 1: During the SFY 2013 planning retreat, all strategies included under Goal 1 were determined to be operational activities that VR conducts, and will continue to conduct, as routine business process. Therefore, these strategies were dropped.

GOAL 2: Improve Service Delivery through Strengthened Workplace Environment and Improved Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Employees

Objective 2.1: Assess overall employee satisfaction. Indicator and Target: 1. Overall Employee Satisfaction. Target: 93%

Actual: VR administered the employee climate survey in January 2013, and achieved an 80% response rate. Over 87% of respondents indicated satisfaction with VR as a place to work.

Objective 2.2: Improve employee satisfaction. Indicator: 1. Percent of employees satisfied with targeted topic areas (see key strategies for this objective).

Actual: 1. Assess the feasibility of more flexible work schedules. Flexible work schedules were implemented in May 2013. Since implementation, 194 employees have used the option. 2. Redesign employee suggestion program. This program was discontinued in January 2014. Despite the lack of a formal suggestion program, VR employees have many ways to submit feedback and ideas for improvement, such as surveys, email, and process improvement events. 3. Assess alternative supervisor/leadership development curriculums. This strategy was revised to include all employee training, career pathing, and mentoring.

Climate Survey items and scores related to Objective 2.2 are as follows: • Item 6. I feel encouraged to come up with new and better ways of doing things at work- 77.37% agreement • Item 8. In the past 2 years, VR has provided me opportunities to learn and grow- 83.61% agreement • Item 14. I participate in making decisions that affect how I perform my job duties- 79.29% agreement • Item 37. My input seems to matter when I provide it at work- 79.10% agreement • Item 40. I am encouraged to take initiative in my work unit- 85.58% agreement

Objective 2.3: Improve advancement opportunities for VR employees. Indicator: 1. Internal Promotion Rate Actual: During FFY 2012-13, 79 VR employees were promoted internally. Climate Survey Item 15. VR provides employees with opportunities for career advancement and promotion- 68.67% agreement

Objective 2.4: Improve service delivery by enhancing employee skills. Indicator: 1. Percentage of all VR employees successfully completing identified training (defined as demonstration of knowledge and demonstration of behavior).

Actual: Strategies under this objective were revised in the upcoming strategic plan to address all aspects of employee development.

Objective 2.5: Provide professional comfortable office environments that are accessible, safe, and secure. Indicator and Target: 1. Employee satisfaction with office environment (accessible, comfortable, safe). Target: 90%

Actual: VR Employee Climate Survey results indicate that almost 82% of respondents agreed that their work environment was physically safe, and over 85% indicated agreement that their work location was accessible. In addition, VR queried all offices and replaced necessary furniture and equipment. VR continues to operationally monitor its facilities, communications, programs, personnel practices, and technology to ensure compliance with ADA.

Current Status of Goal 2: During the SFY 2012-13 planning retreat, Goal 2 was revised to include onboarding, mentoring, succession planning, leadership development, career pathing, and development of a learning management system.

GOAL 3: Improve Customer Success and Satisfaction

Objective 3.1: Improve the assessment of customer satisfaction. Indicator and Target: 1. Percentage of customers indicating overall satisfaction. Target: 80%

Actual: 76%- Closed cases; 77%- Open cases

In addition to data collected through the customer satisfaction survey, VR uses data collected by the Ombudsman Unit to analyze customer success and satisfaction. Below is a summary of customer inquiry and mediation requests fielded by the Ombudsman Unit during FFY 2013. The number of all customer complaints is projected to decrease from FFY 2013 to the end of FFY 2014.

Type of Request Number of Requests Information & Referral- 436 Clarification of VR Process- 237 Complaints- 1,343 TOTAL 2,016

Complaint Type Number of Complaints Applicant/Eligibility- 43 Nature and Content of IPE- 217 Quality of VR Counseling Services- 505 Delivery/Quality of Other Services- 281 Cost of Services- 42 Termination of Services/Closure- 102 All Other Complaints- 153 TOTAL 1,343

Mediation Type Number of Mediation Requests Resolved in area through Administrative Review or informal mediation- 26 Mediations (Formal)- 0 Referred to Fair Hearing- 8 Pending- 2 Request denied (Untimely)- 3 TOTAL 39

Objective 3.2: Increase the rehabilitation rate. Indicator and Target: 1. Rehabilitation Rate (RSA Indicator 1.2). Target: 55.8% Actual: 44.03%

Objective 3.3: Increase the percentage of employment outcomes for identified customer groups: psychosocial/mental health disabilities; cognitive and developmental disabilities; transition-age, and individuals with disabilities seeking self-employment. Indicators and Targets: 1. Percentage of individuals with psychosocial/mental health disabilities who are receiving services under an IPE Target: 38% Actual: 39.95% 2. Percentage of employment outcomes for individuals with psychosocial/mental health disabilities who have received services under an IPE Target: 43% Actual: 41.46% 3. Percentage of individuals with cognitive/developmental disabilities who have received services under an IPE Target: 25% Actual: 25.35% 4. Percentage of employment outcomes for individuals with cognitive/developmental disabilities who have received services under an IPE Target: 45% Actual: 45.06% 5. Percentage of individuals with self-employment as a goal receiving services under an IPE Target: 1.50% Actual: .42% 6. Percentage of employment outcomes for individuals with self-employment as a goal who have received services under an IPE Target: 1.00% Actual: .89% 7. Percentage of individuals receiving services under an IPE who are transition-age youth Target: 33% Actual: 40.36% 8. Percentage of employment outcomes for transition-age individuals who have received services under an IPE Target: 28% Actual: 29.71%

Objective 3.4: Increase the number of individuals who are self-supporting at closure compared to at application. Indicator and Target: 1. Percentage of individuals served that are self-supporting at closure compared to at application (RSA Indicator 1.6). Target: 53% Actual: 51.46%

GOAL 4: Improve VR Support Processes and Systems Objective 4.1: Improve vendor processes. Indicators and Targets: 1. Percent of vendors completing the registration process within ten days. 2. Average time for vendor registration.

Actual: Strategies under this objective were revised in the upcoming strategic plan to address vendor management, outreach and monitoring needs.

Objective 4.2: Improve contract and invoice payment processes. Indicator and Target: 1. Percent of invoices paid on time. Target: Contractual requirement is within 10 days

Actual: Strategies under this objective were revised in the upcoming strategic plan to address VR’s business intelligence, information management, and support infrastructure needs. On average, invoices are paid within seven days. The timeframe begins when an invoice is deemed accurate and approved.

Objective 4.3: Update data systems and technology to better support customers and staff. Indicator: 1. Percentage of project milestones completed on time.

Actual: Strategies under this objective were revised in the upcoming strategic plan to address VR’s business intelligence, information management, and support infrastructure needs.

GOAL 5: Improve the System for Evaluating Quality Objective 5.1: Design an integrated management system for business processes, reporting performance, and improving performance. Indicators and Targets: 1. Percent of indicators trending in the right direction. 2. Percent of strategic projects on schedule.

Actual: Strategies under this objective were revised in the upcoming strategic plan to address VR’s business intelligence, information management, and support infrastructure needs.

Explanation of Performance: Strategies that contributed to achievement of goals and priorities

Goal 1, related to strengthening leadership and collaboration, included routine activities such as regular meetings with other agency partners (e.g., Agency for Persons with Disabilities), stakeholder groups (e.g., Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Florida Rehabilitation Council, Florida Independent Living Council), and workforce boards. Additional leadership and collaboration activities include VR participation on the Governor’s Commission for Employment for Persons with Disabilities, partnership councils, and national groups such as the Rehabilitation Program Evaluation Network, Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Centers, the Institute for Rehabilitation Issues (IRI), the VR Program Evaluation Summit, and Council of State Administrators of VR. Collaboration with other agencies and national and community partners allows Florida VR to share and receive best practices.

Goal 2, related to workplace environment and strengthening recruitment and retention of employees, included continued activities to procure a division-wide learning management system, as well as the development of a standardized approach for training vocational rehabilitation technicians. In addition, a number of employee safety practices were adopted and explained to employees across the state.

Goal 3, related to customer success and satisfaction, included a number of activities related to increasing employment outcomes for specific disability groups. Examples of activities include the trial of services using a Discovery approach, expanding self-employment efforts, and specialized training for VR employees working with transition-age students. Goal 3 also addressed measures and activities to complete VR’s Program Improvement Plan, which was accepted by the Rehabilitation Services Administration in FFY 2012.

Goal 4, related to VR support processes and systems, included the development of an approach to identify vendors performing outside of the norm, enhancements to the Rehabilitation Electronic Billing Application (REBA), and continued conversion of the Rehabilitation Information Management System (RIMS) to a “.net” platform, which included multiple training activities for VR employees. For example, VR completed a benchmarking study of vendor performance management and reporting practices used by other state VR agencies. This study resulted in the development of a vendor profile of performance and services for use by counselors and VR customers. The study also resulted in the development of a vendor monitoring report to identify and prioritize contract monitoring activities.

Goal 5, related to improving the system for evaluating quality, included the development of the Bureau of Planning and Performance, which created a new Strategic Project Management Office (SPMO). The SPMO is charged with managing the strategic planning process and tracking key VR strategic projects. The bureau also created additional business intelligence capacity to collect key data and report it to VR employees on strategic or as-needed bases. These new developments intended to achieve Goal 5 are still in the design and implementation phases.

Barriers that impeded achievement of goals and priorities

As noted above, VR developed the Bureau of Planning and Performance. Previous attempts to collect and integrate data from various sources proved to be difficult, which led to the development of the SPMO and enhanced business intelligence capacity (which is still underway).

In this strategic planning cycle, VR senior leaders participated in several planning meetings. Using the consensus-building process implemented last year, VR senior leaders reviewed the progress made toward strategies, prioritized strategies still in progress, and agreed on the strategies that would continue into the revised plan. Senior leaders considered employee feedback from the climate survey, feedback from customers, general process performance, and the requirements for the collection and reporting of information to the Rehabilitation Services Administration in order to develop revised goals, objectives, and strategic projects for the current year.

Senior leaders agreed that the plan will be reviewed and updated quarterly. Plans include the intention to provide all the support needed for strategic project teams to ensure their success. Arrangements are in place so that anyone can provide feedback on the plan, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using a dedicated email address on the Florida VR website, Strategic and State Plans page located at www.rehabworks.org/plans.shtml. The email address is vrplan@vr.fldoe.org.

 

This is an update of VR’s progress in providing supported employment services. For specific information about the goals and strategies, see Attachments 4.11 (c) (4) and 6.3.

Review of Attachment 4.11 (c) (4)

Goal 1: Increase service capacity for individuals with the most significant disabilities

Actual Performance: 1. VR allocated Title VI-B funds among its six areas on the same basis as Title I funds to ensure individuals with most significant disabilities have equal access statewide to VR services. 2. Training for new counselors includes an increased focus on innovative ways to increase employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities. 3. Training was provided to VR and APD counselors to increase their knowledge of how to best develop follow along services for joint customers. 4. VR is a partner in the Employment First Initiative in Florida, created by Executive Order Number 13-284 issued by Governor Scott. This order mandates the development of an Employment First Interagency Cooperative Agreement between various named agencies and organizations. It also requires each agency to develop a Strategic Action Plan designed to increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Goal 2: Use Title VI-B funds to achieve the maximum number of quality employment outcomes for individuals with the most significant disabilities

Actual Performance: VR provided supported employment services, when appropriate, to individuals with most significant disabilities, including those with developmental disabilities, who may benefit from supported employment services. Data below represent VR performance in serving customers under Title VI-B.

Average number of active cases: Previous Year (2012): 5,331 Actual Performance (2013): 4840

Number of Individualized Plans for Employment: Previous Year (2012): 1,602 Actual Performance (2013): 1619

Number of Employment Outcomes: Previous Year (2012): 516 Actual Performance (2013): 520

VR’s desire to provide supported employment services was complicated by the lack of sufficient partner resources for commitment of long-term supports. As budgets are reduced at state and local levels, creative resource sharing and options are being explored with stakeholders.

In response to these challenges, VR increased its collaboration with the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and other stakeholders to develop pilot projects designed to increase employment opportunities for individuals with most significant disabilities.

Goal 3: Use the five percent permitted for administration to fund development and delivery of training and technical assistance

Actual Performance:

1. VR collaborated with APD at all organizational levels. The Supported Employment Administrator provided training with the APD Employment Chief to VR/APD Staff Members to promote teamwork in providing the needed phases of Supported Employment to mutual customers.

2. The Supported Employment Administrator continues to provide training on service delivery for individuals with the most significant disabilities to new counselors, as well as follow-up training and technical assistance to seasoned counselors and supervisors at conferences, meetings, workshops, and upon request.

3. VR Administrators provided training to families and members in the community as requested. These sessions are designed to provide information and a vision that supported employment services are designed for individuals with the most significant disabilities. They provide families and customers with the information they need to become successfully employed. The sessions were provided to the groups and organizations listed below. Additional presentations are made throughout the year by field staff to local stakeholder entities.

• Florida Developmental Disability Council • Family Care Council • Waiver Support Coordinators • Florida Rehabilitation Council • Florida Project Search • Certified Business and Technical Assistance Consultant Area Training • Transition Committees • Individualized Trainings • Family Disability Network • Florida Department of Education Employees • Family Café • Visions • AmeriCorps • Florida ARC

4. VR administrators provide technical assistance and consultations on individual cases as requested by supervisors, family members, VR employees, and individual customers.

5. A number of strategies were used to support collaboration between VR and other community resources through networking and leadership activities listed below.

a. Representation on the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and Employment Task Force. This included helping develop pilot projects on a wide array of employment topics. Administrators were involved as Task Force Members, on Advisory Committees, and as Monitors of Projects. The projects complimented and supported VR’s mission of helping individuals get or keep a job. b. Representation on the National Disability Institute’s Asset Development Advisory Committee. c. Presentations on Supported Employment at conferences around the state; audiences included professionals, families, and students regarding employment options. d. Participation as a Board Member for the Florida Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE). e. Representation on the Statewide Employment First Initiative by VR’s Supported Employment and Transition Administrators. This included helping develop the Cooperative Agreement and the Collaborative Strategic Action Implementation Plan supporting employment as mandated by the Governor’s Executive Order Number 13-284.

GOAL 4: Leverage resources for extended ongoing support services

Actual Performance: 1. VR has initiated a pilot for Discovery Services to help individuals with most significant disabilities become employed. Discovery improves the quality of the placements, increases the success of the job placements and reduces the need for intense follow up supports. This service is available in four of the six VR Areas and it is anticipated the other two VR Areas will be included in the project by the end of the 2014 calendar year.

2. VR employees continue to serve as resource members on Business Leadership Networks to educate businesses and employers about on-the-job supports for individuals in supported employment.

3. VR and APD Administrators work together to provide training for VR counselors, waiver support coordinators, and for APD field staff on best practices in Supported Employment and the roles and responsibilities of all partners. Training included a focus on all of the possible extended service options.

4. VR employees participate as requested in APD hosted conference calls, as well as quarterly meetings designed to make the Supported Employment service delivery system for mutual customers an effective and efficient one.

5. The Supported Employment Administrator provides training to field staff on the multiple options available for extended services. Of particular focus has been the development of Natural and Employer Supports available on the jobsite.

6. A VR senior consultant is exploring possible strategies and options for providing services to individuals with mental health disorders and is working to develop collaborative relationships within the Mental Health system.

Explanation of Performance: The strategies reported above helped VR continue progress in providing successful services and employment outcomes for individuals with most significant disabilities.

Review of Attachment 6.3

Actual Performance: 1. VR, in collaboration with the Department of Education, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, contracts with 17 school districts to help provide community-based work experiences to students with disabilities.

2. VR Administrators presented at the Family Care Council, Family Café, Employment, Business Leadership Network, Florida Developmental Disability Council, and the VISIONS Conference in an effort to increase awareness about using natural supports and emphasized its use as a realistic option for successful job maintenance.

3. The VR Supported Employment Administrator partners with APD to provide joint skills-development training on supported employment to counselors and waiver support coordinators, and provides technical assistance, as needed. APD’s employment Chief and VR’s Supported Employment Administrator have developed a training for employees from both agencies that encourages and mandates collaboration in serving and supporting mutual customers. The trainings were provided throughout the state and follow-up webinars will be available to sustain the training.

4. The VR Supported Employment Administrator provides training to Certified Business and Technical Assistance Consultants and VR employees to encourage the use of Supported Self-Employment as an employment option for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Explanation of Performance: The strategies reported above helped VR improve services and employment outcomes for individuals with most significant disabilities.

Barriers continue to be the lack of funding from partners for extended services. Much of the effort in the last year has been focused on addressing this and identifying alternative sources of support.

 

Federal Standards and Indicators

Indicator 1.1: Change in Employment Outcomes (RSA Target: Increase over prior year) Previous Year (2012): +562 Actual Performance (2013): +735

Indicator 1.2: Percent of Employment Outcomes (RSA Target: 55.8%) Previous Year: (2012): 45.78% Actual Performance (2013): 44.03%

Indicator 1.3: Competitive Employment Outcome (Primary) (RSA Target: 72.6%) Previous Year (2012): 99.69% Actual Performance (2013): 96.47%

Indicator 1.4: Significance of Disability (Primary) (RSA Target: 62.4%) Previous Year (2012): 98.48% Actual Performance (2013): 98.68%

Indicator 1.5: Earnings Ratio (Primary) (RSA Target: 52%) Previous Year (2012): 52.10% Actual Performance (2013): 51.88%

Indicator 1.6: Self-Support (RSA Target: 53%) Previous Year (2012): 51.46% Actual Performance (2013): 61%

Indicator 2.1: Ratio of Minority to Non-Minority Service Rate (RSA Target: 80%) Previous Year (2012): 94.49% Actual Performance (2013): 96.11%

Explanation of Performance: Employment outcomes for VR customers mirror state economic improvements, increasing by 735 during FFY 2013 for an annual 6,792 employment outcomes. Despite the increase in employment outcomes, VR continues to experience a rehabilitation rate below target. This is due to a focused effort to close inactive cases. Although these efforts temporarily caused the rehabilitation rate to drop, VR anticipates an eventual shift in the ratio of successful closures to unsuccessful closures. This will result in an increased percentage of employment outcomes, as measured by Federal Performance Indicator 1.2.

VR is developing a vendor performance profile that will allow customers more informed choice when selecting vendors. The profile will feature vendor information related to their performance and customer base, including types of jobs gotten by customers and average wage and hours for jobs received. The vendor profile will allow VR customers to be better informed about what they can expect before selecting a vendor.

 

In FFY 2012-13, with the agreement of the FRC, VR continued to use funds designated under this section to support the functions of the FRC and FILC, and to support opportunities for improving the efficiency of service delivery.

Actual Performance: VR continues to support and collaborate with the FRC and FILC as required in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. In FFY 2013, a total of 19,421 independent living plans were developed, and 35,607 independent living goals were set through the network of 16 Centers for Independent Living.

In FFY 2011, VR completed a competitive procurement and awarded four contracts to providers for Innovation and Expansion projects. The innovative services include virtual reality simulators for customers with severe disabilities, vocational services and assistance for transitioning youth with most significant disabilities, and assistance and support for individuals with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury or significant mental illnesses. Of the initial contracts awarded, a rehabilitation engineering innovation grant one will continue into FFY 2015. The grantee is the Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology at the University of South Florida. VR anticipates that services made available through the continued Innovation and Expansion contracts will contribute to greater employment opportunities for its customers.

Explanation about Progress: The collaborative efforts helped strengthen leadership and improved services, which led to increased employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. It is anticipated that the continuing Innovation and Expansion project will contribute positively to VR’s rehabilitation rate and provide for more informed customer choice and options.

Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC) The FRC works in partnership with VR to increase competitive job opportunities, enhance independence, and improve the quality of life for Floridians with disabilities. Working in strategic partnership during FFY 2014, FRC members reviewed VR’s performance and met with VR employees to understand, monitor, and provide feedback on policy and procedures. The FRC discussed the quality and impact of VR services, financial participation, order of selection, and the waiting list. FRC members also met with Florida legislators and others to educate, advocate, and get feedback about VR services, budgetary requirements, and the needs of VR customers.

The FRC strategic plan follows the Florida Department of Education and VR strategic plans to provide a guide for FRC’s focus and activities:

Goal 1: To enhance VR Support and Service Systems To meet the objective of recognizing, implementing, and expanding the use of best practices, FRC sends representatives to the Evaluation Summit each year and encourages other State Rehabilitation Councils to do the same.

The FRC Chair also participates with the National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC). The FRC reviewed the NCSRC best practice recommendations for state plans and found that it was already including many of them.

This strategic goal includes monitoring customer satisfaction. During FFY 2014, FRC and VR will improve the survey process and select a new survey contractor. Each survey question will be reviewed as part of contractual requirements, set to begin in September 2014.

The FRC currently contracts with Florida State University to conduct two independent surveys. The surveys measure customer satisfaction first, at the time customers begin working on their Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE), and second, at case closure. The survey results help FRC and VR find ways to strengthen and improve delivery of services. For FFY 2013, the rate of overall satisfaction for both surveys, open and closed cases, was approximately 75 percent.

Surveys were sent to more than 12,000 people. With a 21 percent return rate, the results presented below are based on 2,523 responses. • Survey Item 1 - Accessibility of VR offices Current customers- 92% satisfaction vs. Customers with closed cases- 71% satisfaction Recommended actions: Continue to make accessibility improvements in offices, as needed

• Survey Item 2 - Treated with courtesy and respect Current customers- 96% satisfaction vs. Customers with closed cases- 85% satisfaction Recommended actions: Continue to encourage employee self-development and training

• Survey Item 3 - Understand needs and feelings Current customers- 88% satisfaction vs. Customers with closed cases- 61% satisfaction Recommended actions: Include employee training for effective and efficient service delivery to VR customers.

• Survey Item 4 - Appropriateness of services received Current customers- 91% felt appropriate vs. Customers with closed cases- 63% felt appropriate. Recommended actions: Evaluate the ratio of successfully closed cases and unsuccessfully closed cases to identify future employee training opportunities

• Survey Item 5 - Other service needs but have not received Current customers- 67% no other service needs vs. Customers with closed cases- 46% no other service needs. Recommended actions: Increase employee training in a variety of areas and encourage customer self-advocacy. Although, with the Codes of Federal Regulation (CFRs) and Florida Statutes VR is somewhat limited in the service options available.

• Survey Item 6 - Informed of choices in providers and goals Current customers- 82% indicated informed vs. Customers with closed cases- 62% indicated informed. Recommended actions: Encourage employee training and collaboration with community partners

• Survey Item 6b - Able to make choices in providers and goals Current customers- 93% satisfaction vs. Customers with closed cases- 75% satisfaction Recommended actions: Encourage employee training and customer self-advocacy in developing individualized employment goals

• Survey Item 7 - Services provided promptly Current customers- 71% considered prompt vs. Customers with closed cases- 47% considered prompt. Recommended actions: Improve communication by VR employees and encourage customer self-development of IPE

• Survey Item 8 - Services made life better Current customers- 91% indicated services made life better vs. Customers with closed cases- 49% indicated services made life better. Recommended actions: Monitor this area of customer response during the year to see if the staff training FRC recommended improves customer outcomes

• Survey Item 9 - Overall satisfaction with services received from VR Current customers- 88% satisfied vs. Customers with closed cases- 52% satisfied. Recommended actions: Monitor this area as the FFY 2014 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment is developed and implemented

Qualitative data from the Customer Satisfaction Survey is reviewed regularly and compiled each year. There are a few consistent comments that the FRC continues to monitor.

Goal 2: To establish and strengthen collaborative strategic partnerships The FRC continues to work with VR to create a strong partnership. To encourage partnerships with outside groups, the FRC participates in the Employment First initiative with the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and other grass roots organizations and reports are presented at each quarterly meeting. It is also reaching out to the mental health council. The FRC and the Division of Blind Services Council currently work together so the interests of our shared customers can be better served.

The FRC holds public forums every quarter in different areas of the state to hear from VR customers and stakeholders. These forums are designed to gather comments on any topic, including the State Plan throughout the year. All comments and feedback provided are reviewed and are used in developing FRC comments and recommendations to VR.

To expand outreach, every effort has been made to increase the list of stakeholders receiving notice of all public forums. Outside partners are also spreading the word about the public forums. VR communications posted twitter announcements and created a Facebook event notification this year.

The FRC held five public forums during SFY 2014. Three forums were held in person in Fort Myers, Tallahassee, and Sarasota. The other two were held on a conference call. All five forums could be accessed through a telephone conference line or Communication Access Real-time Transcription (CART) services online.

Approximately 65 individuals attended the regularly scheduled forums, not including FRC and VR representatives. An additional public forum held in November to announce the change in open categories in the order of selection was attended by approximately 150 participants.

Individuals who attended the public forums included VR Ombudsmen, customers, stakeholders, parents, providers, and vendors. Other agencies that were represented included the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, FILC, Centers for Independent Living, the Department of Children and Families, the Disability Rights of Florida (client assistance program), Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, Business Leadership Network area representatives, Disability Solutions (service dog trainers), Project 10, the Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, and Florida legislative delegates and representatives.

FFY 2014 public forum attendees commented about on-the-job training, Business Leadership Networking, the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development, the ending of transition service arrangements, information on how to file a complaint, VR support of small business development, requests for funding partner initiatives, as well as customer needs for sign language interpreters, an IPE in Spanish, and to establish a process for notification when counselors change. The FRC works with VR to track responses, and helped institute new policy based on comments and concerns brought forward.

Goal 3: To advocate for employment of persons with disabilities The FRC visited every state and federal legislative delegate to deliver packets that included information about VR’s budgetary needs, the cost of services, return on investment, the number of individuals successfully employed, and average wages. The FRC provided a profile highlighting the positive contributions of VR’s customers in the delegates’ home districts, as well as their direct impact and statewide accomplishments. Other areas of advocacy with public groups and employers are included in other goals.

The FRC continues to monitor development and implementation of the statewide jobs portal with VR, the Department of Economic Opportunity, and other stakeholders. The FRC also tracks service delivery to VR transition customers. VR employees keep FRC up to date about the needs of this special population.

Goal 4: To strengthen the management of FRC internal operations The FRC is working to be good stewards of federal and state funds, and used multiple methods to streamline advocacy efforts. This included using homework assignments to keep members informed and involved in responding to the needs of VR and its customers. The FRC conducted one quarterly meeting by conference call instead of holding a meeting in person. FRC employees are taking advantage of all training and mentoring opportunities to ensure job satisfaction and retention.

The FRC continues to focus on meeting federally mandated membership regulations. To maintain its membership, the FRC has developed a workgroup to engage and communicate with the Governor’s appointment office. Discussions, correspondence, and meetings with the appointment office are ongoing and a top priority. Currently, the FRC expects several new appointments to increase the number of stakeholders represented on the council and move closer to achieving federally mandated membership requirements.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2014 7:21PM by Elizabeth Moody

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

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

Quality VR is committed to providing quality supported employment (SE) services to people with the most significant disabilities. VR supports the individual in making employment choices consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, and interests.

VR counselors help individuals pursue the goals detailed in the individualized plan for employment (IPE) by using supported employment resources to the individual’s best advantage. VR actively involves customers and families as appropriate in assessment, planning, and decision making throughout the service delivery process.

VR evaluates the effectiveness of its services and makes improvements to them as needed. A key component of evaluating the services is the individual and employer’s satisfaction with the services and supports, as well as the successful employment outcome.

Extended services are provided and/or funded by sources other than VR. VR works collaboratively with other state agencies and organizations to ensure that extended ongoing support services identified on the individualized plan for employment are available for as long as the customer needs them. VR counselors monitor Supported Employment cases closely and evaluate the case for employment stability prior to closure.

VR has a statewide coordinator who monitors supported employment-related issues that develop in the field and serves as a resource person to field staff. The coordinator also serves as advisor to administrative employees in implementing programmatic policies in accordance with federal dictates, develops effective programmatic procedures, recommends training for supported employment staff, and other typical functions of a coordinating and liaison nature.

Scope The scope of supported employment services is an intensive array of services that include all services under Title 1, the coordination of extended ongoing support services, and the development of natural supports.

Phase 1 Supported Employment Services are those services needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in supported employment. Supported employment makes possible competitive employment for individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred, and because of the severity of their disability, need ongoing support services in order to maintain their job.

These services are for a period not to exceed 18 months and are funded by VR. Under special circumstances, the customer and VR counselor may jointly agree in writing to extend the time to achieve the employment outcome identified in the IPE.

Post-employment services may be provided when supports and services are needed which exceed the responsibility of the extended ongoing support service provider.

Services are individually designed around the needs and desires of the customer and may include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Initial placement and stabilization in the workplace • Job Coaching • Assistive Technology • Specialized Job Training • Social Skill Training • Formal and informal work site related expectations (e.g., time and attendance, dress, communication)

VR is expanding a pilot program that adds Discovery as a service option to the array of supported employment services. It offers a more intensive person-centered planning approach for those individuals with the most significant and complex disabilities who may need a more customized approach to employment. This service is anticipated to roll out beyond the pilot in the coming years.

Extent VR will continue to look to expand supported employment services by educating community members, providers, and relevant stakeholders.

The amount of supported employment services provided is determined by the following: a statewide needs assessment; analysis of historic performance data; number of students exiting schools; and data provided by agency partners (e.g., Department of Children and Families, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, and the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program).

Supported employment services are provided as long as resources are available through collaborative efforts to improve funding for Phase 2 Follow-Along extended supports.

VR will:

• Continue to use cooperative agreements with APD and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, including maximizing funding for shared customers. • Implement the Interagency Articulation Agreement between VR and APD, as well as the cooperative agreement with the Department of Children and Families, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse to decrease barriers for individuals working with multiple agencies while seeking employment. VR is actively engaged in reviewing the articulation agreement between VR and APD, and will make appropriate updates to the agreement. • Continue to implement the cooperative agreements at the local levels with appropriate stakeholders. • Develop strategies to clearly articulate the roles and responsibilities of each agency involved in the cooperative agreements. • Maximize the quality of service delivery ensuring an efficient and effective referral process, individual program planning, coordination of intensive vocational services with extended services, information collection and dissemination, confidentiality, and technical assistance. • Implement an interagency planning process between VR and APD that defines and projects the number of people in need of intensive and extended services each fiscal year and facilitates program and fiscal planning. • Expand available services through the School to Work Program’s collaboration with local school districts. • Emphasize providing services to all racial/ethnic minorities. • Seek additional resources for Phase II services through legislative funding requests and/or collaboration with agency partners, including APD, Agency for Healthcare Administration, Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Department of Education, and others. • Collaborate with community organizations, employers, families, and support groups to develop natural supports for supported employment extended services. • Partner with Mental Health’s Florida Assertive Community Treatment teams to provide supported employment services to individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses and individuals exiting psychiatric/mental health facilities. • Participate in the Interagency Services Committee to expand initiatives and increase employment outcomes for persons with developmental disabilities. • Distribute information and train counselors about Social Security Work Incentives. Increase the awareness of using a Plan for Achieving Self-Sufficiency or other work incentives as an option for funding extended services. • Provide training on using natural supports, including self-pay, family/friends, and employers. • Provide technical assistance on the use of natural supports to help customers on the job site. • Provide opportunities for counselors, providers, and support coordinators to receive training on innovative employment strategies designed to promote employment success for individuals.

ADDITIONAL STRATEGIES – PHASE II

Transition to Extended Services Transition occurs a minimum of 90 days after “stabilization.” Responsibility for funding ongoing support service transitions at this time from VR to the source of funding for the ongoing support services.

Supported employment outcome closure of a person successfully rehabilitated in a supported employment outcome occurs when the following criteria are met: (a) 90 days following stabilization and 60 days from transition to closure (to assure on-going supports are successful following transition); or (b) a minimum of 150 days of continuous employment following stabilization.

Extent of Extended Support Services VR has developed a supported employment (SE) action plan to address the needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities and others who may require supported employment services. VR’s action plan focuses on improved collaboration, enhanced employee and provider skills, and better use of existing resources.

The service approach for supported employment eligible customers uses the nationally accepted "best practices" models of supported employment services. Key to the approach is an emphasis on person-centered planning and facilitation of natural supports. Individualized job development is conducted by SE employees based on job-matching assessment information and the customer’s informed choice. SE customers are assisted with employment planning and placement by selected providers, and job skills training is provided at the job site either by job coaches or through natural supports of existing resources.

VR continues to: • Emphasize providing services to all racial /ethnic minorities • Seek additional resources for Phase II services in collaboration with VR partners • Collaborate with community organizations, families, and support groups to develop natural supports as an option for assisting customers on the job site • Participate on interagency committees to expand initiatives and increase employment outcomes • Distribute and provide technical assistance to counselors on the use of Social Security Work Incentives to help with funding Phase II services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2014 7:24PM by Elizabeth Moody