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
Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency State Plan for Fiscal Year 2015 (submitted FY 2014)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

1.1 The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services Board 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 Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services Board [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

Executive Director, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency

... 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

Executive Director, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency

... 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 SignatoryGreg Schmieg

Title of SignatoryExecutive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/27/2014

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2015No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities (Option A was selected/Option B was not selected).

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is committed to its role as a joint partner with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) 110 Program in carrying out significant responsibilities to promote the effective delivery of VR services provided statewide by the VR Program, Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (including the Cave Spring Center) and the Business Enterprise Program. The SRC strives for individuals with disabilities to have opportunities to become successfully employed and productive citizens who are actively engaged in their communities.

The members of the Council work in strategic partnership with the Georgia VR program to plan for individuals with disabilities to receive the services and supports they need to achieve gainful employment and self-sufficiency. Council members are dedicated and dynamic volunteers from diverse populations representing individuals with disabilities, VR professionals, advocates, educators, business people and service providers, among others.

The SRC and VR Program jointly develop and review critical elements of the State Plan annually. In its assessment of the efficacy of the VR delivery system, the Council is pleased to provide input to VR for the State Plan. The SRC developed recommendations based on information gathered from feedback from customers and their families, program staff and community partners throughout the year. The Council strongly believes that the following recommendations will improve the effectiveness of the SRC and the VR Program.

1. SRC Recommendation: The VR Program is dedicated to providing quality services to individuals with disabilities in Georgia. To this end, adequate funding is essential. Due to the economy and resulting budget cuts over the past decade, the level of state funding for the VR Program has been insufficient to fully match the available federal VR 110 grant for Georgia. The SRC recommends that the VR 110 Program work with the SRC, Georgia VR Services Board (GVRSB), and GVRA to bolster efforts to educate the Governor’s Office and state legislators about the need for additional state funds to fully match the available federal grant in order to reduce the waiting list and assist more individuals with disabilities to achieve their employment goals and increase their ability to live independently. Agency Response: VR accepts this recommendation and will need the support of the SRC and community advocates in seeking additional funds.

2. SRC Recommendation: The SRC believes that collaboration and cooperation is a key to success for enhancing services to assist more people with disabilities, including underserved populations, to achieve their employment goals. Thus, it recommends that the VR 110 Program work closely with the SRC, GVRSB, GVRA, Statewide Independent Living Council, community rehabilitation service providers, Workforce Investment Act programs, employers and the business community, local Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Centers, state agencies with mutual clients, and other strategic partner agencies to achieve that goal. Furthermore, the SRC recommends that VR expand collaboration with public and private partners, particularly state agencies with mutual customers and mutual goals, to maximize the effective use of state and federal funding to assist more people with disabilities to go to work.

Agency Response: VR accepts the recommendation and will depend on the assistance of the Council to develop and increase collaborative efforts and partnerships.

3. SRC Recommendation: In order to provide, expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities, skilled staff members are essential. The SRC recommends that VR continue its efforts to recruit and retain qualified staff, with an emphasis on hiring qualified individuals with disabilities, to provide quality services that will result in more people with disabilities becoming successfully employed. Specifically, the SRC recommends that VR conduct a compensation study for Certified Vocational Counselors, then evaluate and adjust their salaries accordingly. VR should also develop career ladders and growth opportunities to enhance staff retention.

Agency Response: VR accepts the recommendation and will work with the SRC to implement the strategies described in Attachment 4.10 for the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development to augment recruitment and retention of qualified VR staff. Also, VR will work with GVRA to conduct a compensation study and implement a strategy to adjust salaries as appropriate, and will work with GVRA to enhance career ladders and growth opportunities for staff.

4. SRC Recommendation: One of Georgia VR’s top priorities is to augment services to increase employment outcomes for customers in underserved populations, such as those with sensory disabilities. The SRC recommends VR continue efforts to enhance quality services for people who are Deaf, Blind, and Deaf-Blind and other underserved disability populations. The SRC supports sensory specific caseloads to provide services to individuals with sensory disabilities and specialized training for staff to address the unique needs of clients with sensory disabilities.

The SRC also recommends that the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (including the Cave Spring Center) continue to implement program improvements as they serve consumers with sensory disabilities and other underserved populations.

Agency Response: VR accepts the recommendation and looks forward to the active support of the SRC.

5. SRC Recommendation: Another top priority is to assist more students with disabilities in transitioning from school to work. The SRC recommends that VR continue to provide staff training on transition, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and transition-related services, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Workforce Investment Act programs. Additionally, the SRC recommends that VR work with post-secondary institutions and their disability services offices to gain information on best practices and solutions and increase marketing efforts to families, community members, secondary and post-secondary education staff and other related partners to improve transition of students with disabilities from high school to post secondary education, graduation and employment. In addition, VR should continue to emphasize staff training on services and policies and continue to promote consistent communication to customers, partners and advocates throughout the state.

Agency Response: VR accepts the recommendations and will work with SRC members involved in education and transition to address them.

6. SRC Recommendation: The SRC recognizes how important it is for veterans with disabilities to have timely access to VR services that assist them to return to their homes with competitive employment. The SRC recommends that VR continue implementing strategies to increase public awareness of VR services and to increase the number of veterans with disabilities served and assisted to go to work. Such strategies should include training for VR staff that focuses on common issues experienced by returning veterans including traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder as well as utilizing partner agency services including local VA Medical Centers, post-secondary institutions, and Workforce Investment Act programs to enhance transition from military employment to community reintegration, training and employment.

Agency Response: VR accepts the recommendation and will continue implementing strategies to increase services to more veterans with disabilities and enhance the effectiveness of services.

7. SRC Recommendation: Council members visited VR offices around the state to talk with staff and learn about how improvements could benefit VR clients. During these visits, the SRC observed poor working conditions with a variety of facility needs in some offices. Some locations seem to be isolated from where the clients need services. The SRC recommends that VR review all offices and determine the best service delivery model of office locations based on population centers to create a priority list for improving facilities to enhance the environment for services to customers, partners and staff, and as part of a recruitment and retention strategy for staff. The SRC further recommends that VR examine the use of technology to eliminate the need for some offices and increase the number of mobile field staff meeting with clients in more convenient locations.

Agency Response: VR accepts the recommendation, and it has been in the process of working with GVRA to improve efficiency and effectiveness by relocating, renovating or closing offices as needed. Also, VR will continue to explore the use of technology to allow field staff to be more mobile and enhance service delivery. VR will appreciate the support of the SRC as it continues this process.

8. SRC Recommendation: The SRC recognizes the importance of good data for program evaluation as well as integrity and consistency in reporting, so the Council was pleased when GVRA recently established a Manager of Data Analysis and Reporting. The SRC commends GVRA for this move and recommends that the duties of this position include mining data on underserved disability populations in Georgia for the comprehensive needs assessment and ways to better reach and serve those populations. The SRC looks forward to having this position provide reports that will assist the Council in its evaluation of the VR program.

Agency Response: VR accepts the recommendation, and the GVRA Manager of Data Analysis and Reporting will work with the SRC to provide information it needs.

9. SRC Recommendation: The SRC appreciates that the new VR case management system called Georgia Rehabilitation Agency Client Information (GRACI) has been implemented and that it will improve efficiency and effectiveness for VR services. The SRC recommends that VR explore opportunities to expand access to GRACI in areas such as for community rehabilitation providers to improve reporting with notes on clients’ progress and outcomes based on services as well as authorizations and invoices, and for broader access to VR services and customer service through online requests.

Agency Response: VR accepts the recommendation and will continue to study and implement these opportunities.

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2014 4:34PM by sagapattersond

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen has never been updated.

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 Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency/VR Program believes that cooperation and collaboration with agencies and entities is essential to assisting people with disabilities to work in Georgia. Such ongoing collaboration maximizes resources and addresses all aspects impacting individuals’ ability to obtain, retain, and maintain employment. VR is strongly allied with partners of the Statewide Workforce Investment System. However, the agency also maintains cooperative agreements and working partnerships with agencies and entities outside the workforce investment system. The Georgia Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) works with VR to develop the State Plan for Independent Living. A major part of this plan is the development of a network of Centers for Independent Living (CILs); private, nonprofit, community-based corporations that assist people with significant disabilities to live more independently and reach their goals to independence. In an effort to maintain and strengthen this partnership and to further the common goal of providing the best possible services to Georgians with disabilities, VR and the Georgia Independent Living Network (GILN), entered into a cooperative agreement. The GILN includes The Statewide Independent Living Council of GA, disABILITY Link, disABILITY Link NW, Living Independence for Everyone, Walton Options for Independent Living, Disability Connections, Disability Resource Center, Bainbridge Advocacy Individual Network, and Multiple Choices. As a participant in a cooperative agreement with the Social Security Administration, the VR Program’s Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project, known as Georgia Rehabilitation OUtreach Program (GROUP) provides information and assistance to Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities, including transition-to-work aged youths. WIPA services help beneficiaries understand the role of work incentives and how employment will impact their Social Security and state benefits, thus allowing them to make informed choices about work. GROUP has joined alliances with the Social Security Administration’s Area Work Incentives Coordinators, Shepherd’s Benefits Navigators and Georgia Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) to form the WIPA Network Group. These agencies collaborate on various Ticket to Work and Work Incentives initiatives across the State regarding the impact of working on social security and health care benefits. The Albany Advocacy Resource Center/EmployAbility Program began in October 2006. This program is a collaboration between VR and EmployAbility to train and place persons with disabilities to work. The program has three steps. The first step is the referral that includes assessment, work adjustment and job readiness training. The second step includes job development. The third step is job retention and follow-up. The goal of the program is to place difficult to place clients and to open doors to employment that have not traditionally been available to VR clients in southwest Georgia. The Muskogee Vocational Rehabilitation (MVR) program applied for and received its first 121 Project Grant in 2000. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program has maintained a cooperative relationship with the MVR Program since its inception. MVR aims to empower American Indians with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society. Through this partnership with the Lower Muskogee Creek Indian Tribe, the VR Program provides disability assessment, evaluation, and referral services to clients of the tribe. Georgia VR has several staff members who are dedicated to assisting the MVR Program with providing vocational rehabilitation services to its tribal members. The VR regional director in that area schedules regular meetings with MVR staff to ensure that interagency referral and information sharing exist to assist in eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment. To ensure increased collaboration, VR includes MVR staff in appropriate agency training programs and VR staff is provided training on the Indian culture and its relationship to disability and work. VR staff are active members of Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR), and represent VR at annual Native American summits, conferences, and on the MVR Advisory Council. The MVR director is an active member of the State Rehabilitation Council. VR shares a strong and effective partnership with the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE). The two agencies have established a state level cooperative agreement to assure that cooperation and collaboration exist in implementing and maintaining a system of vocational rehabilitation service delivery to eligible students with disabilities. In addition to the state level agreement, VR also establishes annual collaborative agreements between VR and local school systems (LSS) to provide dedicated rehabilitation counselors for transition students. Each involved LSS receives intensive, dedicated rehabilitation services for the purpose of earlier identification of and intervention with students with disabilities. There were 79 collaborative agreements in FY 2010. VR and the LSS share financial responsibilities under the collaborative agreement; each agency contributes monetary and in-kind services to support projects that promote transition for students with disabilities. Georgia coordinates with GDOE, GCDD, LSS, Supported Employment Providers and local businesses to provide Project Search in several counties to special education students in their last year of eligibility for high school. After rotating through three internships with local businesses, the students secure employment with VR supported employment services. The Department of Corrections Transitional Centers and the Vocational Rehabilitation Program have a long-standing partnership assisting offenders who have disabilities. Traditional Centers are community-based centers that are located across the state. They prepare offenders nearing the end of their prison term for life in the community and VR services help the offenders prepare for and maintain employment. The Georgia State Use Council and the Georgia Department of Administrative Services administers the State Use law through the non-profit Georgia Enterprises for Products and Services (GEPS). Some of Georgia’s Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) are partners in GEPS, along with other non-profit partners. Some VR clients receive services from those CRPS as appropriate based on their individualized plans for employment, but the VR case management system does not specifically track information on GEPS. The VR Program does not have a formal agreement but encourages VR field staff to develop informal relationships with the Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture staff and become knowledgeable about their programs and potential comparable benefits that those programs may offer. To avoid duplication of effort and to enhance the number of individuals served, the VR Program and State Rehabilitation Council have developed working relationships and coordinate activities with other Georgia councils. Linkages and productive relationships exist with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, Mayors Committees on Employment of People with Disabilities, Georgia Mental Health Planning Council (MHP), Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, Inc., Georgia Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Commission, the Council on American Indian Concerns, and other Georgia rehabilitation service agencies. VR regional programs continue to establish cooperative relationships with community organizations and businesses that affect the lives of people with disabilities. These organizations include, but are not limited to, chambers of commerce, city and county governments, criminal justice systems, urban leagues, churches, health care and social assistance services, housing authorities, and educational institutions.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2013 4:33PM by sagapattersond

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 Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program recognizes the critical relationship between education, employment, independence and self-sufficiency. Therefore, VR makes outreach and services to students with disabilities a top priority. VR provides equal access to services to eligible students with disabilities, whether they participate in special education or in general education classes and services. Of the clients served by Georgia VR in FY 12, over 5,500 were students transitioning from school to post-secondary opportunities with employment as the predominant outcome, and 1,014 students achieved a successful employment outcome.

The VR Client Services Policy Manual (CSPM) states that transition services are to be provided to eligible students with disabilities to facilitate the transition from the receipt of educational services in secondary school to the receipt of VR services oriented toward an employment outcome. CSPM 450.1.02

The coordinated transition activities are based on the individual student’s needs, taking into account the student’s preferences and interests, and include: consultation and technical assistance to assist schools in planning for the transition of students with disabilities; outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transitioning services; transition planning that facilitates the development and completion of the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and Individualized Transition Plan (ITP); development of an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE or "Work Plan") which identifies the work plan goal and the VR services to enable the student to obtain the employment outcome. The Work Plan is to be completed and signed by the student prior to his/her graduation from high school. CSPM 450.1.03; CSPM 450.1.04

Georgia VR operates under an order of selection, detailed in Attachment 4.11(c) (3), which is applicable to all VR clients, including students transitioning from school to work.

Georgia VR shares a strong and effective partnership with the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE). The two agencies established a formal interagency Cooperative Agreement to assure that cooperation and collaboration exist in implementing and maintaining a system of VR service delivery to eligible students with disabilities. An updated Cooperative Agreement between GDOE and GVRA is currently under revision and is scheduled to be signed in July 2013. It will remain in effect for ten (10) years, unless a revised agreement is developed and signed prior to the end of that time frame.

The Cooperative Agreement aligns with VR’s CSPM, section 450, including consultative and technical assistance services provided by VR to GDOE and the local education agencies (LEA). This Cooperative Agreement stipulates that VR shall provide GDOE the eligibility criteria for VR services; work collaboratively with local school systems to identify and locate students with disabilities who may be in need of VR services; and develop, in conjunction with the eligible student, an IPE prior to the student’s graduation, including the VR services that are determined to be appropriate for the student. The Cooperative Agreement defines terms and specifies the roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency. In particular, GDOE is responsible for identifying and referring to VR those students with disabilities who do and do not qualify for special education and related services but who appear to meet the requirements for eligibility for VR services.

In addition to the state level agreement, VR also establishes annual Collaborative Agreements with interested LEAs. Each involved LEA receives intensive, dedicated rehabilitation services for earlier identification of and interventions provided to students with disabilities to facilitate successful employment outcomes. In FY 2012, 78 LEAs took advantage of this opportunity. VR and the LEA share financial responsibilities under the Collaborative Agreement. Each agency contributes monetary and in-kind services to support projects that promote transition for students with disabilities. The VR Counselor works with each eligible student to develop a work plan and determine the VR services appropriate to the students’ goal. While the student is in school, existing resources in the school and in the community sponsor needed services. However, VR will sponsor required employment-related services if they are unavailable through the school/community and if a student is eligible for those services under the VR Program.

A goal of the VR team is to facilitate the successful transition of students with disabilities from school to successful employment after graduation. VR is involved in school transition planning and IEP meetings with students, parents, and school personnel. VR counselors participate in community resource fairs, attend parent/teacher functions, and serve on interagency transition councils to further promote the availability of VR services. In addition, VR team members share information on community resources, partner in the transition process, and provide workshops on VR services and support opportunities for groups of students, families and school personnel.

All the activities noted above are included in VR’s procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services. Collaboration with community partners, as well as educational, disability and advocacy groups, is essential to identifying students with disabilities who need transition services. These relationships include the local Workforce Investment Boards, Family Connections, Local Interagency Planning Teams, local Community Service Boards, the Georgia Advocacy Office, Center for Disability in Leadership, Inclusive Post Secondary Consortium, Healthy Transitions Initiatives, state, regional and local interagency transition councils, Project Search partners, parent mentor groups, Children’s Medical Services, supported employment (SE) providers, local four-year, two-year, and technical colleges, Department of Family and Children’s Services, Department of Community Health, and local employer committees.

In FY 2012, VR joined with GDOE, Southeast Technical Assistance & Continuing Education Center, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), and Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) to produce the TASH Conference and Expo. The Employment for Youth in Transition conference within the TASH Conference featured best practices in youth transition that result in integrated employment for young people perceived as the most challenging to serve. School staff, VR counselors and Georgia Department of Labor employees involved in workforce development attended the joint conference.

Georgia VR coordinates with GDOE, GCDD, LEAs, SE providers and local businesses to provide Project Search, a transition model for SE, in several counties. This model facilitates special education students during their last year of eligibility for high school to experience three internship rotations with local businesses and then the students secure employment through VR’s SE services.

Efforts continue to strengthen ties with High School/High Tech and for those partners to collaborate on services to transition students. High School/High Tech is a comprehensive community based enrichment program providing transition-aged youth with disabilities a link to academic and career-development experiences through job exploration, career counseling, and post-secondary education options, primarily focusing on science, engineering and technology-related careers. The VR Coordinator of Transition Services promotes school to work activities through participation on statewide committees and relationships with strategic partners, including the Statewide Transition Steering Committee, the GDOE State Advisory Panel for Special Education, and Healthy Transitions Initiative, a grant-funded project of DBHDD and the Atlanta Workforce Board’s Youth Council.

The Statewide Transition Steering Committee is comprised of teachers and school vocational counselors, private employment representatives, other service providers, parents and advocacy groups, post-secondary and state agency representatives including VR. This Committee meets at least three times during the year to address transition issues, share resources, and develop strategies to challenge current practices in meeting the needs of students with disabilities.

In FY 2012, this Committee developed the Customized Supported Employment pilot project called Discovering Jobs: Linking Discovery to Employment that was launched in four counties. The on-going pilot utilizes a continuum of services and the Discovery process for students with significant cognitive disabilities as strategies to improve employment outcomes. The students are in various stages of the process but all ten students are pursuing goals of competitive employment based on their unique talents and strengths.

Members of the GDOE State Advisory Panel for Special Education include representatives from parents/parent mentors, advocates, both special and regular education teachers, school administrators and special education directors, the Department of Corrections, and the VR Program. Through regular involvement with these groups, the VR coordinator for transition services shares information about VR services and learns about other services and resources that may enhance transition services statewide.

Another transition effort is the Healthy Transitions Initiative, which is designed to improve the services available to transition age youth (16 to 24 years old) with serious mental health conditions as they transition to independence. Services are designed to improve education, employment, and housing outcomes as well as access to mental health services. VR continues to be an active partner in this initiative.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2013 4:51PM by sagapattersond

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 Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program attributes its success in part to long-standing relationships with a network of private nonprofit Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) and other community partners/programs located throughout Georgia. These programs provide a wide variety of employment and work readiness services to VR consumers that include vocational evaluation and training; work adjustment and skills training; supported employment and job coaching; job development, placement, and retention; extended/transitional employment; and specialized services for persons who have visual or hearing impairments.

The VR Program understands the need for additional service providers to maximize services for unserved and underserved populations in rural areas throughout Georgia and will implement strategies described in Attachment 4.11 (d) to expand those service providers.

As of FY 2012, VR has 211 service agreements, 86 collaborative agreements, 18 CRP contracts and 37 non-CRP contracts to provide services that assist people with disabilities to go to work.

Cooperative agreements (including contracts and/or memoranda of understanding) have been established with all entities from which VR purchases services. Each agreement defines the scope and nature of services provided by both agencies; establishes principles for the development of working between the two agencies; establishes criteria by which the cooperative operations may be reviewed and evaluated in order to determine their effectiveness; defines programs and establishes criteria for admission, monitoring and successful completion of services.

Each cooperative agreement includes the following information:

Purpose of the agreement that outlines program services, number of persons to be served, and timeframe for provision of services; Legal basis for handling interagency disagreements; Role, function, and responsibility of each agency, and referral and reporting procedures; Consumer staffing and consumer rights to informed choice about their VR services; Financial procedures for submission of invoices for services provided, and payment amounts and schedules based on consumer outcomes; Supervision and number of work hours for each consumer receiving services; Outcome measurements; and Statement of assurance of compliance.

VR reviews each provider agreement at least once annually. If needed, agreements are amended based on changes in law and/or methods for improving the provision of services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2013 4:54PM by sagapattersond

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 Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program defines supported employment (SE) as competitive employment in an integrated setting with on-going supports for the employee for the life of the job. SE services typically include job coaching, specialized job training, natural supports, individually tailored supervision and extended services. VR is authorized to pay for these SE services except extended services; therefore, VR coordinates with SE providers to plan for those extended supports. VR provides SE as a bundle of services for one fee that is paid in increments to the provider at specific milestones until the client is stabilized on the job and transitioned to extended services. The service provider is then responsible for extended services.

Georgia VR establishes collaborative agreements with SE providers who agree to provide the services at the established fee rate, which includes the plan for extended services that are not funded by VR. Extended Services are those services needed to support and maintain the individual’s employment and are provided for as long as the individual is employed at the same job. In order to have a collaborative agreement with VR, a provider must agree to provide a minimum of two contacts per month at the worksite after the employee reaches stabilization. If off site monitoring is deemed more appropriate, two face-to-face contacts plus one employer contact are required. VR cannot pay for these extended services provided after the employee reaches stabilization; therefore VR assists the provider and client to set up natural supports in the workplace Natural supports and extended supports are individualized and include a wide variety of services tailored to the needs of the individual. As needed, VR will also provide post employment services that are not available from the extended service provider such as job station redesign or repair and maintenance of assistive technology.

VR does not currently include job development and job placement in the bundle of SE services. Job development and placement are functions provided by VR staff, although often the SE provider assists in identifying appropriate job leads for the clients. VR continues to review the possibility of increasing the milestone payments for SE services and allowing an option to authorize job development and placement among the other bundled services.

One of the guiding principles of SE services is the use of all available resources and strategies to meet the needs of clients and employers. VR negotiates collaborative agreements with providers to specify the roles of consumers, service providers and employers and to share service provider resources. Currently there are 86 collaborative agreements between GVRA/VR and non-profit community based organizations.

The VR Program collaborates with a statewide network of private, non-profit Community Rehabilitation Programs and Community Service Boards (CSBs) for the provision of SE services. These agencies prepare VR consumers for permanent jobs through SE and complementary services.

The CSBs fall under the umbrella of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), which is the state agency that serves consumers with mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases. The CSBs provide a wide scope of outpatient, day, residential housing services and community-based services to include SE. VR recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with DBHDD that will allow for an improved coordinated effort to serve those with the most significant disabilities specifically in the provision of SE. Furthermore, one of the primary goals of this agreement is to identify funding that will supplement the VR milestone payments, particularly for extended services.

The VR Program also collaborates with the state Department of Education, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and contracted SE providers to meet the employment needs of transitioning students with significant disabilities through the Project Search SE model. This model assists these students in preparing for, engaging and maintaining competitive employment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2013 5:05PM by sagapattersond

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) Vocational Rehabilitation Services Support Team, (VRSST), has the primary responsibility for the relationship with educational institutions and maintenance of the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD). Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The goals of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program for CSPD are to:

• Maintain the established standard that all Georgia VR Counselors are certified by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).

• Monitor and provide support for the counseling series positions to comply with and transition into the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) position including providing preparation support to take the CRC exam.

• Actively utilize the counseling series to provide an avenue for development of non- counseling staff members to move into counseling positions.

• Continue to develop, improve and implement foundational courses for the direct services delivery positions to ensure qualified personnel provide services to people with significant disabilities.

• Expand the development and implementation of intermediate level courses for direct services delivery positions.

• Continue to provide in-service training opportunities for all VR staff members to ensure that quality services are provided by qualified VR personnel and to link that training to staff members’ competencies and business outcomes. Georgia VR collects personnel data regarding the number of positions and vacancies in each job category, the number of incumbents, years of service, credentials and certifications, education as well as eligibility for retirement during the next five years. It also collects data on staff developmental performance, career plans and goals.

The Human Resource Development Team (HRDT), in cooperation with VR leadership, employs the principles of human performance improvement to expand core capacity and capabilities. Areas of specific responsibility are: workforce performance evaluation, training needs assessment, performance consulting, training design and development and synthesis of post training data collected. From concept to incorporation the HRDT determines appropriate interventions to expand core capacity and capability linked to business outcomes.

Georgia VR has approximately 747 allocated positions for professional and paraprofessional rehabilitation staff. During FFY 13, VR received 8,739 applications for services; developed 324 work plans; placed 3,727 Georgians with disabilities into integrated employment (status 22); and closed 3,651 client cases as successfully employed for longer than 90 days (status 26 closures). The total number of clients served in FFY 13 was 34,411, and caseloads averaged 103 clients.

Georgia VR had 534 filled positions during FY13. The vacancy rate on September 30, 2013 for the program was approximately 29 percent and the vacancy rate for the counselor series positions was approximately 33 percent. VR continually recruits to fill the CRC positions and uses the Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor position only when there are no CRC applicants. The Rehabilitation Case Work Associate position has been used to develop staff members into the CRC position. Contributing factors to the vacancy rate during this federal fiscal year include: competition from other employers offering higher salaries; an insufficient applicant pool of Certified Rehabilitation Counselors or those eligible to sit for certification; a continued hiring freeze while settling into an independent agency status and limited Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Scholarships.

Over the next five years, fourteen percent (14%) of all staff members are eligible to retire if each chose the minimum of 30 years of service. Using the Individual Development Plan (IDP) for each counseling staff member, the HRDT, the Administrative Operations Coordinators (AOC), and the VR Leadership Team (VRLT) track, monitor and anticipate significant knowledge base changes due to the loss of experienced staff. Additionally, the managers use the IDP to coach for succession planning. The primary goal is to develop and maintain adequate and competent staff to provide quality services to individuals with disabilities. The chart below reflects information on the number of positions and expected vacancies for VR staff members who provide direct services to VR clients and their supervisors as of September 30, 2013. When the vacancies are filed, this level of personnel is considered to be adequate to meet the needs of Georgia VR clients.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Regional Director 10 2 3
2 Rehabilitation Unit Manager 45 11 11
3 Certified Rehabilitation Counselor 207 65 21
4 Rehab Counselors for Deaf and for Blind - 10 CRC 29 7 1
5 Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor 34 14 0
6 Rehabilitation Case Work Associate 3 3 0
7 Rehabilitation Employment Specialist 62 8 5
8 Rehabilitation Job Readiness Specialist 40 7 9
9 Rehabilitation Assistant 109 12 19
10 AWT Director, Engineers, OTs, and Techs 20 9 2

 

Georgia VR continues to maintain established relationships with Institutions of Higher Education that can assist with meeting its CSPD requirements. VR currently collaborates with the following universities to provide graduate level rehabilitation counseling coursework that will assist counselors in meeting the CRCC Certification standard required of Georgia VR Counselors: Georgia State University, Thomas University, University of Kentucky, Auburn University, San Diego State University, University of North Texas, and Texas Tech University. Since Georgia VR counselor qualifications align with the CRCC Certification, the VR works with schools that have an accredited Master’s program in Rehabilitation Counseling.

Since becoming an independent agency, GVRA has not had any staff participate in the on-line Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling program offered by University of Kentucky. This option to support staff in their development toward becoming a qualified and certified Georgia VR counselor may be revisited as funds become more available. VR works closely with Georgia State University to host interns from their program.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Georgia State University 17 0 7 8
2 Thomas University 160 6 11 36
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a personnel data collection and planning tool for the preparation and retention of qualified staff and is a regular part of the Performance Management Process. The IDP is reviewed, at a minimum, semi-annually and serves as a record for performance development and career goals.

Managers use the IDP as a coaching tool during performance reviews as well as a tracking tool of the progress of staff in the counseling series to attain or maintain certification. An expanded IDP is also used with non-counseling staff who express a career goal of Georgia VR counselor. Knowledge of this goal and progress towards it provides a built-in resource for potential employee/applicants for anticipated vacancies.

All VR staff members are encouraged to pursue advanced training and/or certifications that increase the quality of the VR services they provide. Some of the certifications Georgia VR staff members are obtaining include Certified Resume Writer with the Professional Association of Resume Writers, Career Development Facilitator from the National Career Development Association and Employment Services and Rehabilitation Leadership and Management Certificates from Auburn University.

Recruitment:

Efforts to promote recruiting and hiring of individuals with disabilities and from culturally diverse backgrounds are part of the Georgia VR personnel process. Periodically, VR uses online and print resources such as the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA) website, Deaf Digest and Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) publications to increase Georgia VR’s visibility for recruitment of persons with diverse backgrounds. VR maintains affiliations with disability organizations and advertises career opportunities in disability related publications. Active recruiting opportunities exist during conferences such as the Southeast NRA and the Southeast Regional Institute on Deafness where Georgia participants are visible and active.

Relationships with various programs within Georgia state departments have yielded an experienced source of applicants with backgrounds in employment services, social services and medical knowledge. VR has a positive reputation as an employer that provides individualized developmental opportunities for all staff members, very similar to the quality of service provided to Georgia VR clients.

Internship Opportunities:

VR continues to receive requests for paid as well as unpaid internships from new counseling graduates from institutions of higher education. During this last reporting period, VR hosted 13 interns from whom VR hopes to recruit new, CRC eligible graduates. Job announcements are posted continuously on the State of Georgia Job Site, Careers.Georgia.gov.

Retention:

VR continues to be challenged with the high attrition rate of counselors. The counselor quality standard of the CRC sometimes leads to filling a position at the Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor level when there are no CRC applicants. VR will then use the IDP to support that Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor to attain the CRC. However, after support is provided to attain the CRC and experience gained with Georgia VR, many new counselors are finding more lucrative positions elsewhere within school systems and federal employment sites.

The On-Boarding developmental process for new staff members provides an historical, in-depth, position-specific orientation and training. Previously this was conducted primarily through local mentoring by subject matter experts and individual instruction. VR had planned to implement a more uniform On-Boarding process that was regularly duplicated every three months for each job class. However, a freeze on hiring and budget constraints required a change in plans during FY 14 that resulted in the use of an on-line delivery of content followed by individual follow-up to ensure comprehension. This method served to support the few hires during this period and reduced travel time and expense. Based on the success of this method, VR is investigating modifications to update and continue a variation of this process. The VRLT affirmed a renewed commitment for all new staff members to receive the most effective on-boarding experience possible.

During this fiscal year, two statewide new employee orientation events were conducted for 21 participants. The first orientation in January 2013 consisted of 15 individuals. The second, in September 2013 only had six participants. The orientation provides an opportunity for executive leadership staff to interact with new employees in a relaxed and supportive environment. Participants receive historical VR and disability awareness information. After each class, participants’ evaluations provide input on improvements to the event resulting in a continuously responsive and updated event. This On-Boarding orientation is incorporated into the new process.

Succession Planning:

Changes in management and administrative leaders have been a frequent occurrence over the past few years within Georgia VR. Retirements continue to be anticipated, and the need for succession planning is a forefront issue. VR is providing specific leadership training internally as well as collaboratively with the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center.

The New Supervisor Series (NSS) training continues to be extremely successful and sought after. Patterned after the Regional Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program sponsored regional Institute for New Supervisors, the original training was developed with input from Georgia VR management. During FFY 13, only three new supervisors were hired, providing a challenge for how to conduct classroom training to only three individuals. A few new classes were identified as potential additions to the NSS curriculum, Building Team Resilience and Leading Your Unit as a Team. These were taught separately to the previous NSS participants and the three new supervisors were able to attend. Plans are to combine these new classes into an overall NSS curriculum and to modify the delivery to include adding on-line modules to distribute content with follow-up exercises and discussion. Changes to the original program include shorting the duration of the entire program to try to stay within three to six months. Unfortunately, due to the lack of hiring, delivery of the entire NSS curriculum has been delayed.

Evaluation results of the new courses that were offered were extremely positive, and the flexibility of the instructors has allowed continued refinement. With the new perspective of On-Boarding, the NSS will also be updated to offer the more flexible format. This should allow for training to be provided more quickly to new supervisors while still maintaining the networking cohesion of the original year long program.

 

The Georgia VR goal is to hire and retain staff with the competencies necessary to improve individual performance and agency outcomes fro employment of individuals with disabilities. Georgia state law does not require certification or licensure for rehabilitation professionals or paraprofessionals; therefore, the Georgia VR’s established CSPD standard for the VR Counselor position is the CRC credential awarded by the CRCC. The Certified Rehabilitation Counselor is the VR staff person with the authority to determine eligibility, determine priority category, develop Work Plans (IPE) including all amendments and all reviews, authorize funds, and close cases. One hundred percent (100%) of Georgia’s CRCs meet the CSPD standard and are eligible to independently perform core functions. There are 50 staff members who have IDPs that are guiding them towards achieving the CRC standard. Of these 50 individuals, 41 are provisional counselors and nine are working on completing a full Master’s degree program. Of those nine, two are on the entry counseling series level of Case Work Associate and seven are in non-counselor series positions.

Of the 41 provisional counselors, 18 were promoted to CRC counselor positions during this fiscal year and two others have passed the exam and are awaiting promotion. One Case Work Associate completed her Masters, passed her CRC and was promoted to the CRC position. Two individuals are scheduled to take the CRCC exam during the remainder of calendar year 2014. The remaining candidates either need to complete their Master’s program and/or additional coursework or need CRC supervision to sit for the exam. Georgia VR is committed to providing training to assist personnel, particularly VR counselors, to meet the highest requirements in the State.

VR continually recruits to fill CRC positions and uses the Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor position only when there are no CRC applicants. The minimum qualifications that VR uses to hire on the Provisional Rehabilitation Counselor position are: Eligibility for CRC Certification which requires a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Counseling or Counseling related field (Counselor Education, School Guidance Counseling, Community Counseling, Counseling Psychology, etc.) and One (1) year of related experience or Interns who are within 12 weeks of graduation from a regionally accredited Master’s Rehabilitation Counseling Program. Note: Successful completion of an Internship will be deemed equivalent to one year of professional experience, and it is the requirement of the person filling this position to obtain and maintain Certification from the CRCC.

VR leadership is comprised of two categories of management level positions, those located in the field with supervision of direct service staff organized regionally and those centrally located in Atlanta with statewide responsibilities. The two management level positions located regionally are Regional Director (RD) and Rehabilitation Unit Manager (RUM). The statewide level management positions are identified as managers of the VRSST and are centrally located in Atlanta. Most of the professionals in these leadership positions also hold the CRC credential.

 

Georgia VR monitors and manages the developmental activities as outlined by the CSPD State Plan and supported by RSA’s In-Service Training Grant (ISTG). During FY 14, the ISTG Project Director resigned. The Performance Improvement Coordinator (PIC) assumed the grant duties as well as the management of the HRDT. The HRDT is now comprised of five HRDs and one PIC. More retirements are expected in this team during FY 15.

The HRDT gathers information on regional and individual developmental needs to establish the statewide plan that addresses performance improvement in VR. Based on that information, VR spends grant funds to plan, support and execute training opportunities to meet the CSPD standard including degree programs, CRC accredited training and skills development opportunities.

Additionally, ISTG funds directly support position-specific statewide knowledge and skills development for all unit positions through the provision of core courses for each position. Foundation courses are a mainstay for all field support staff to assure their consistent orientation on the core job competencies and capabilities necessary to perform their job duties and responsibilities. Similarly, intermediate and advanced courses are constructed to enhance proficiency and provide optimum professional development.

To reinforce the extensive training on VR’s new job development process that the Rehabilitation Employment Specialists (RES) received last year, the HRDT provided statewide technical assistance to units. The purpose was to devise local job development implementation plans involving counselors and support staff to refine the job referral process for clients seeking employment. This job development process approach continues to require technical assistance as a systems change initiative. By the end of FY 14, plans will be in place to support the new change. From that point forward, the training will become a core foundational course for RES staff and their managers.

Staff Performance Evaluations:

Annually, VR managers review individual results against performance standards for rehabilitation staff to determine if they are consistent with actual job functions, agency values, and Rehabilitation Act mandates. This review includes the IDPs to meet CSPD requirements and developmental goals of other staff. The annual Performance Management Process review for all VR staff includes activities and initiatives that are tied to increasing successful employment outcomes for clients.

VR regularly reviews professional development training support services and resources including materials from the National Clearing House of Rehabilitation Training, RESNA, Southeast TACE center, and publications of the Institute for Rehabilitation Issues (IRI). These sources help to update and advance staff members interdisciplinary knowledge and skills in assistive technologies, and improve upon the quality and breadth of employment outcomes.

Assistive Work Technology Support:

The VR Assistive Work Technology (AWT) Unit is comprised of internal specialists who provide continuous information and service to staff and VR clients in the area of rehabilitation technology. Teams of Rehabilitation Engineers, Rehabilitation Technologists, Rehabilitation Technicians and Occupational Therapists have the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to provide technology expertise to service delivery teams.

Team responsibilities may include: providing technology assessments for consumers and businesses; making home and van modification recommendations; installing and resolving issues with computer equipment; identifying needs for specialized seating services; providing training in use and care of assistive technology; and designing and fabricating assistive technology when necessary. VR is committed to maintaining AWT staff with modern skills and knowledge of vocational rehabilitation theory and practice. Georgia VR integrates the use of progressive resources to enrich AWT staff knowledge, skills and abilities.

 

VR is accessible to consumers who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing through the Georgia Relay 711 service, through videophone direct communication, and Video Relay Service. All counselors have copies of an ASL version of the GEORGIA VR Client Handbook DVD to share with clients. Additionally, VR maintains qualified team members who communicate in sign language with consumers. VR counselors and managers who provide services to Deaf clients are required to have an Intermediate or higher proficiency level in ASL as demonstrated by the Sign Language Proficiency Interview. Also, VR holds vendors who provide direct communication with clients to the same standard. Finally, VR contracts with agencies and private vendors to provide sign language interpreting and transliterating services for individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind.

Georgia VR provides Braille, reader service, computer disks, flash drives, data in the preferred electronic media that is compatible with assistive technology such as JAWS, large print, and other forms of assistance for individuals who have visual impairments.

As with other Georgia state agencies, VR utilizes the “LanguageLine Solutions: Interpreting, Translation, Localization, Testing and Training” services to communicate with all non-English speaking consumers and constituents. LanguageLine Solutions provides multilingual translation services in 200 languages over-the-phone, video remote interpreting as well as on-site. VR encourages staff members to participate in academic courses to enable them to communicate with persons whose second language is English. There continues to be a need for more counselors who can communicate with Georgia’s Hispanic population. VR currently has a staff person of Latino heritage in each of the geographic areas identified as having large Hispanic populations to meet communication and cultural needs.

Also, in FY 14 GVRA collaborated again with the Georgia Department of Labor on the annual update of the Multi-Lingual Directory that is a list of staff in both agencies who volunteer to list their proficiencies in speaking, reading or writing twelve languages other than English along with their office location and telephone numbers to assist customers as needed.

 

In coordination with the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), VR is dedicated to providing quality services to Georgia’s students with disabilities under the auspices of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Georgia VR shares a strong and effective partnership with GDOE. The two agencies have revised a state level Cooperative Agreement to assure that cooperation and collaboration exist in implementing and maintaining a system of VR service delivery to eligible students with disabilities. Additionally, Collaborative Agreements exist between VR and 80 local education agencies to provide more effective and quality services to transitioning youth in a timely manner.

The VR Transition Coordinator continues to be an active participant on the Georgia Statewide Transition Steering Committee, whose overall purpose is to bring together all interested parties statewide to provide input and participate in all possible avenues affecting the successful transition of youth with disabilities from school to work and independence. VR participates in planning, presenting and attending statewide transition conferences that bring together staff from GDOE, VR, and other appropriate agencies with parents and students to share effective transition strategies.

The VR Transition Coordinator shares appropriate and relevant information with field personnel, particularly VR Counselors for Transition and other VR Counselors working with students, through the dissemination of transition-related resources, webinars and on-going conference calls. Georgia VR, GDOE, Georgia Advocacy Office, Center for Disability in Leadership of Georgia State University, and Georgia Tools For Life are currently collaborating on a website, which will be linked to the GVRA website to provide a comprehensive repository of transition-related information and training opportunities.

The GDOE Director of Special Education for Services and Supports is a member of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). She shares information and makes recommendations to enhance VR transition services and outcomes.

This screen was last updated on Aug 7 2014 3:56PM by sagapattersond

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.

In collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council, the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) conducted a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) to determine the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) service needs of individuals with disabilities across Georgia. From the summer of 2012 through spring 2013, GVRA and the SRC participated in activities and gathered data to inform the CSNA and develop goals, priorities and strategies for the VR 110 Program. In Georgia, the 110 Program includes the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program, the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWS), Cave Spring Vocational Rehabilitation Center (CSVRC) and Business Enterprise Program (BEP).

To develop the summary of needs for this assessment, GVRA and the SRC considered input from sources that include but are not limited to: Statewide listening sessions with more than 270 stakeholders in 12 cities; Public Hearings statewide; Input from stakeholders who could not attend public hearings answered the same questions posed at the public hearings via written statements, email comments, or Internet surveys; GVRA Board members and public input during monthly Board meetings; Listening sessions with VR and BEP staff; Written Regional summaries of VR staff confidential surveys; Focus group discussions and written surveys of RWS and CSVRC students and staff; Georgia Statewide Coalition of the Blind; Community Rehabilitation Programs and other VR service providers; Georgia Association of Training and Employment Supports; Statewide Independent Living Council and Georgia Independent Living Network; Georgia 2011 American Community Survey census and disability data; Research from various rehabilitation journals and articles; Partner agencies’ websites; and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Technical Assistance visit in March 2013 as well as follow up information.

While not specific to the four regulatory questions asked for the CSNA, an overarching need is to obtain enough state match funds to maximize the available federal grant and serve more individuals with disabilities in Georgia. The 2011 ACS survey estimates there are 663,904 Georgians ages 18-64 with a disability. In FY 12 VR served 41,551 individuals or 6.3% of that population. Due to a lack of state funds, GVRA had to initiate a waiting list on October 3, 2012 for VR clients seeking services. As of June 2013, there are about 5,900 clients on the VR Waiting List.

Using very general estimates, there are $105 million available federal funds for the FY 14 VR 110 grant which requires about $28.5 million in state matching funds to fully utilize the federal grant. GVRA needs an additional $12 million in state match to reduce the Waiting List and assist more individuals with disabilities to go to work. GVRA has developed strategies to collaborate with the GVRA Board, SRC, and stakeholders to advocate for more state funds, third party collaborative agreements, interagency transfers and donations to acquire that state match.

Georgia VR has consistently exceeded the federal performance standard for the percentage rate of services to individuals with disabilities who are minorities. The 2011 Georgia census percentages for the total population as compared to the percentages of VR clients served in FY 12 are: Caucasian 63.2 of total and 48 of VR clients; African American 31 of total and 48 of VR clients; Hispanic or Latino 9.1 of total and 2% of VR clients; Asian 3.4 of total and less than 1 of VR clients; American Indian or Alaska Native less than 1 of total and less than 1 of VR clients; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander persons less than 1 of total and less than 1 of VR clients; Persons reporting two or more races 1.8 of total and less than 1 of VR clients. While VR has increased the number of staff members who speak Spanish and other languages and has increased outreach activities over the past several years to the Latino and Asian communities, particularly in counties such as Fulton, Hall and Gwinnett, individuals from these communities have not sought VR services as much as members of other races.

In May 2013, the overall unemployment rate in Georgia was 8.3%. Individuals with disabilities are often said to experience unemployment at well over three times that rate, and the results of the CSNA confirmed that more VR services are needed to assist these individuals to achieve their employment goals. The VR 110 Program and the SRC analyzed the information and input resulting from the CSNA activities to summarize this CSNA for FY 14 – FY 16 (October, 2013 through September, 2016) for the questions below. Recommendations from the CSNA were incorporated into the State Goals and Priorities Attachment 4.11 (c) (1), State’s Strategies Attachment 4.11 (d), and Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Fund Attachment 4.11 (c) (4). Analysis of input from all CSNA sources resulted in the following answers to the questions specified in federal regulations at CFR §361.29.

What are the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services needs of: (A) Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services? • Counseling and guidance • Work readiness and job skills training • Community Work Adjustment Training (CWAT), including customized CWAT providers • Marketing and communication materials and brochures, including for unique programs • Vocational evaluation and assessment • Transition services, including increases statewide in Transition VR Counselors through agreements with local education agencies, High School/High Tech sites, and Project Search sites • Better transition preparation and coordination with state technical colleges and the state university system • Interviewing skills, resume preparation, job seeking skills • Assistive work technology • Transportation • Assistance in overcoming barriers such as criminal backgrounds, poor/inconsistent work history, lack of family support, concerns about losing Social Security disability benefits. • Job matching and job placement, including job development services in addition to facility based services • Supported Employment (SE) and Customized Employment (CE), including more opportunities and qualified service providers especially in rural areas • Job and resource fairs

(B) Individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved? • Communication, cultural sensitivity and services for clients with limited English proficiency or communication impediments, including those who use American Sign Language (ASL). • Vendors who can fairly administer evaluations for clients with limited English proficiency (including ASL), with access to appropriate evaluation testing tools, to document disabilities and associated functional limitations as well as recommendations to overcome those. • Specialized staff training and services for veterans. • Specialized staff training and services for individuals with Autism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Chronic Mental Illness. • Information and planning assistance for Social Security disability recipients and their families on the positive impact of working. (C) Individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system? • Improved communication with VR about opportunities provided by local Workforce Investment Boards and other workforce system partners. • Assistance with transportation and child care. • Educate WIA partners on the employment potential and abilities of individuals with disabilities

What are the needs to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs? • Develop more Orientation and Mobility services and more Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Training service providers, particularly in rural areas and at various times including evening • Develop more qualified SE Job Coaches especially in rural areas, and more long term SE providers • Develop more CWAT opportunities • Have access to Certified Vocational Evaluators at more Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) • Have CRPs provide more comprehensive training reports • Require employment outcomes for CRPs • Develop more service providers in rural areas • Provide more work adjustment training • Improve communication with all parties including joint meetings with clients, VR field counselors and CRP staff to discuss progress and plan successful outcomes • Increase fees for CRPs • Provide staff for specialized sensory services such as Interpreters at CSRC and RWS • Renovate the old dorm and historic cottages at RWS for appropriate job training and classroom space. • Hold quarterly regional meetings for VR, RWS, CSVRC, CRPs, CILS and other strategic partners to improve communication, hold joint training sessions, and enhance services for joint customers.

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 5:05PM by sagapattersond

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

The 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) survey estimates there are 645,732 Georgians ages 18-64 with a disability. In FFY 13, VR served 34,411 individuals, 5.3% of that population.

The estimates below are separated into the alphabetical categories of the Order of Selection as described in Attachment 4.11 (c) (3).

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
A. Title I $23,677,500 8,610 $2,750
B. Title I $11,760,000 6720 $1,750
C. Title I $9,780,000 3260 $3,000
D. Title I $2,380,000 1360 $1,750
E. Title I $1,312,500 1050 $1,250
F. Title I $250 7 $35
G. Title I $250 4 $62
A. Title VI $223,750 109 $2,052
B. Title VI $89,750 40 $2,243
Totals   $49,224,000 21,160 $2,326

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2014 2:38PM by sagapattersond

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.

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) 110 Program includes the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program, the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWS), Cave Spring Vocational Rehabilitation Center (CSVRC) and Business Enterprise Program (BEP). The Georgia VR 110 Program developed priorities and defined them in the goals and objectives below with input from: the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services Board (GVRSB); the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC); clients, parents, advocacy groups, service providers and other stakeholders; leaders and staff of the four programs; public and private partners (including those in the Workforce Investment Act system); the 2013 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment Attachment 4.11 (a) process that included listening sessions and public comment hearings; the Rehabilitation Services Administration technical assistance visit; and analysis of the federal performance indicators.

These priority goals and objectives embrace all VR clients based on their individual needs, including those who need supported employment. Also, the process to develop these goals and objectives resulted in specific strategies described in Attachment 4.11(d) to achieve these goals and objectives. The GVRSB and the SRC approved these goals and objectives and will support the strategies to achieve them.

GVRA Mission: Employment and independence for Georgians with disabilities.

GVRA Vision: Every Georgian with a disability can work and live independently.

Goal I – Maximize available federal funds to assist more individuals with disabilities to achieve their employment goals

Objectives

A. GVRA will expand strategic partnerships with public and private partners to maximize available resources through collaborative and cooperative agreements with other state agencies and private donations to increase the amount of VR state matching funds from those sources by 10% by FY 16.

B. GVRA will collaborate with the GVRSB, SRC, advocates and service providers to educate the Governor’s Office and state legislators to increase state allocations by 25% each year for VR services between FY 14 and FY 16.

C. VR will increase by 10% the number of individuals with disabilities who become employed by FY 16.

D. RWS and CSVRC will transform their vocational services to increase by 15% by FY 16 the number of VR clients who become successfully employed after graduating from those programs.

E. BEP will implement strategies to increase the number of vending sites and the number of new licensed blind vendors by 5% by FY 16.

Goal II – Expand transition services to assist more students with disabilities to go from high school to work or post secondary education/training.

Objectives

A. GVRA and VR will collaborate the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) and with local education agencies to increase the number of collaborative agreements by 10% by FY 16 to increase access to transition services for more students with disabilities and implement creative new transition initiatives.

B. GVRA and VR will collaborate with the Georgia Board of Regents and implement strategies to increase the graduation and employment success rate of clients whose individual work plans include college or university degrees by 5% by FY 16.

C. GVRA and VR will collaborate with the Technical College System of Georgia to implement strategies to increase the graduation and employment success rate of clients whose individual work plans include technical college programs by 5% by FY 16.

D. VR will collaborate with community partners to increase the number of High School/High Tech and Project Search sites statewide and increase by 20% by FY 16 the number of high school students with disabilities who participate in those programs.

E. RWS and CSVRC will implement strategies to increase by 15% by FY 16 the number of VR clients transitioning from high school who become successfully employed after graduating from those programs.

Goal III – Enhance services to unserved and underserved populations to increase their employment outcomes.

Objectives

A. VR, RWS and CSVRC will enrich services to meet the specialized needs of customers who are Blind, Deaf or Deaf-Blind to increase their employment outcomes by 5% by FY 16.

B. VR, RWS and CSVRC will enhance customer service to increase employment outcomes by 5% by FY 16 for individuals with disabilities who have language and/or communication barriers including those who use American Sign Language.

C. VR will increase the number of veterans served by 50% and increase the number of those who become employed by 20% by FY 16.

D. VR will collaborate with partners and service providers to implement strategies that increase Supported Employment outcomes for individuals with the most significant disabilities by 10% by FY 16.

E. VR will collaborate with partners and service providers to implement strategies that increase Customized Employment outcomes for individuals with the most significant disabilities by 10% by FY 16.

F. GVRA and VR will collaborate with the Georgia Department of Corrections and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice to strengthen services and increase the number of individuals with disabilities who transition from incarceration to work by 20% by FY 16.

Goal IV – Help employers meet their human resources needs though hiring qualified individuals with disabilities.

Objectives

A. VR will increase the number of employers who hire VR clients by 10% by FY 16.

B. RWS and CSVRC will each develop at least one new customized skills training program for high demand occupational areas each year between FY14 and FY 16.

C. VR and BEP will work with the licensed blind vendor managers who operate large food service operations to assist them to increase by 5% by FY 16 the number of VR clients hired to fill available vacancies in those operations.

Priority Facility Needs

Over the past six years, the VR 110 State Plan described the priority needs for new facilities for the two state-owned residential rehabilitation centers to meet the needs of VR clients who are primarily ages 18 – 22 transitioning from high school to work or post secondary education: the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWS) located in rural Warm Springs, about 60 miles south of Atlanta; and the Cave Spring Vocational Rehabilitation Center (CSVRC) in the mountains of northwest Georgia in Cave Spring, about 20 miles from Rome.

The FY 2014 needs assessment confirmed that there is an ongoing need for these residential rehabilitation programs that provide individualized services to prepare VR clients to achieve employment. GVRA will merge CSVRC with RWS in July 2013 to centralize and standardize VR residential services for better collaborative planning resulting in programmatic and economic efficiencies as well as improved employment outcomes for clients. These programs will implement a new model of service delivery that streamlines the admissions process and offers a variety of services based upon unique individual client needs. These enhancements will enable RWS and CSVRC to serve more clients with disabilities and expedite employment outcomes.

Both campuses use a unique model of assessment to identify clients’ distinctive skills, abilities and interests that contribute to employment and the conditions they need to be successful at work. This assessment model uses an intensive “Discovery” period to move beyond traditional psychometric measures and rehabilitation assumptions based upon diagnostic variables. Using an “a la carte” approach to services, clients will identify specific services needed to reach their employment goals through academic education, life skills training, innovative programs of study and job placement services. Support services will include options for driver education, health education and management, psychological services, therapeutic recreation and specialty clinics. Additionally, the new programming at RWS and CSVRC will allow referral sources to benefit from a wider array of services to assist clients in realizing employment success.

In FY 2011, RWS opened the new 150-bed residential facility that is a model for the nation in its accessibility and functionality, serving VR clients with any type of disability. Additional 110 funds are needed to renovate current cottages and the current Education and Training building and the old VR Unit (VRU) dormitory attached to it for growth of the VRU programs on campus. For example, students participating in short term programs such as Certified Nursing Assistant and Forklift Operation need designated residential options to support increased enrollment and year round availability of student housing for these programs. Another example of program growth requiring residential options is the proposed pilot called “A Better Life” between VR, RWS, the Georgia Department of Corrections and a private non-profit partner. This program will provide services for eligible women parolees with disabilities to transition from prison to work. As part of this collaborative, the women will receive individualized rehabilitation services at RWS to prepare them to reenter the community with VR counseling, guidance and assistance to become employed. Housing in an apartment style environment is needed as part of the RWS training to facilitate transition from prison to community living. This project is expected to increase employment and reduce recidivism for participants.

At almost 50 years old, the RWS Education and Training (E & T) building needs to be replaced by a modern building designed to meet technological and space requirements to deliver high quality and innovative instruction. A new facility will provide a flexible use space allowing for cost effective configuration changes to support future growth of programs of study and varied training areas. Attached to this building is the old VRU dormitory that is also approaching 50 years old. This old six-floor dormitory remains empty, with several floors closed due to safety concerns. This building needs to be renovated to increase residential space on campus or demolished. GVRA is requesting funds for architectual and engineering studies of how to demolish the old dormitory while retaining the E & T building for renovation into more modern, appropriate and flexible classroom and training space;to replace the roof of that building; and to meet the renovation needs of the cottages. Some of these improvements will be classified as construction while others are considered maintenance. The new CSVRC facility opened in FY 2012 with a 52-bed dormitory and a new building for offices, classrooms and training space. Like the RWS new residential facility, the CSVRC facility is a model of accessibility and functionality for individuals with all types of disabilities. Since the old facility was completely razed to allow for construction of this new facility, there are no renovation needs. However, additional 110 funds are needed for additional staff and training, particularly to meet the needs of students with sensory disabilities, and to complete the programmatic infrastructure to complement the new residential rehabilitation complex. Also, additional funds are needed to implement the planned Phase Two for a gym, conference and meeting space, and four transitional independent living apartment units.

This screen was last updated on Sep 8 2014 1:39PM by sagapattersond

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

It is the intent of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program to serve any and all persons in the state who are eligible for VR services. However, because of limited resources for the potentially eligible population in the state, the Georgia agency has determined that VR services cannot be provided to all individuals with disabilities in the state that apply for services. Therefore, VR established the Order of Selection (OOS) with priority categories.

 

Description of Priority categories

The current Georgia OOS Priority Categories are described below. The only elements that are used in the OOS are those that relate to the severity of disability.

Category A. An eligible client with: 1. Permanent mental or physical impairment 2. 2 or more functional capacities affected 3. 2 or more primary services required 4. 2 or more services require provision over an extended period of time (at least 6 months) Note: Meets criteria for Most Significant Disability

Category B. An eligible client with: 1. Permanent mental or physical impairment 2. 2 or more functional capacities affected 3. 2 or more primary services required 4. 1 service requires provision over an extended period of time (at least 6 months) Note: Meets criteria for Most Significant Disability

Category C. An eligible client with: 1. Permanent mental or physical impairment 2. 1 functional capacity affected 3. 2 or more primary services required 4. 2 or more services require provision over an extended period of time (at least 6 months) Note: Meets criteria for Significant Disability

Category D. An eligible client with: 1. Permanent mental or physical impairment 2. 1 functional capacity affected 3. 2 or more primary services required 4. 1 service requires provision over an extended period of time (at least 6 months) Note: Meets criteria for Significant Disability; persons receiving SSI or SSDI will be placed in this priority category or higher.

Category E. An eligible client with: 1. Permanent physical or mental impairment 2. 1 functional capacity affected 3. 2 or more primary services required 4. No service requires provision over an extended period time (under 6 months)

Category F. An eligible client with: 1. Permanent physical or mental impairment 2. 1 functional capacity affected 3. 1 primary service required 4. Service requires provision over an extended period of time (at least 6 months)

Category G. All other eligible individuals who do not meet the criteria for the above categories

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

Due to issues relating to the transition from the Georgia Department of Labor to the present Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) in July 2012, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) deemed the grant as high risk and placed the grant under special conditions. GVRA then closed all priority categories in October 2012. All new applicants after October 4, 2012 and clients who were not receiving services under an Individual Plan for Employment were placed on a waiting list.

In August 2013, VR opened the waiting list for individuals with the most significant disabilities, Priority Category A, based on the date the individual entered the waiting list. In February 2014, VR began serving clients on the waiting list in Priority Categories B-E (with Priority Categories F-G remaining closed). VR also began serving new applicants at that time. VR has contacted all clients who were on the waiting list and initiated services for those who still desired to participate in developing an Individual Plan for Employment. There is currently no waiting list for VR services, and VR plans to continue serving clients in Priority Categories A-E.

Over the past few years, VR collaborated with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) to revise the current OOS so that it would be a more functional financial management tool and more effectively described by staff and clients. The proposed OOS was discussed at statewide public hearings, revised accordingly and approved by the SRC and the GVRA Board. The planned implementation date included in last year’s Georgia VR State Plan was April 2014, which did not occur considering the implementation and training phases of the new VR case management system and VR reorganization activities.

After consultation with RSA, VR leaders recognized the potential to review and revise that proposed OOS for even greater clarity and effective administration, while continuing its priority on serving individuals with the most significant disabilities. VR will work with the SRC to review and refine that OOS, including public hearings as appropriate. Meanwhile, Georgia will continue to operate the OOS described above and reflected in the estimates in the chart below.

 

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

The RSA chart below displays services and outcome goals along with the time in number of months based on the current OOS definitions. The last column reflects the average annual cost of services for each individual in that category. Please note that the GVRA/VR priority categories are alphabetic rather than numeric, and there are different numbers and times for Statuses 26 and 28. So the numbers in the RSA chart below correspond to the Georgia OOS as follows:

1 is Category A for 26s, and 2 is Category A for 28s;

3 is Category B for 26s, and 4 is Category B for 28s;

5 is Category C for 26s, and 6 is Category C for 28s;

7 is Category D for 26s, and 8 is Category D for 28s;

9 is Category E for 26s, and 10 is Category E for 28s.

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 8,610 2,394 0 41 $2,750
2 8,610 0 457 40 $2,750
3 6,720 646 0 38 $1,750
4 6,720 0 138 42 $1,750
5 3,260 380 0 43 $3,000
6 3,260 0 62 36 $3,000
7 1,360 228 0 32 $1,750
8 1,360 0 36 34 $1,750
9 1,050 152 0 27 $1,250
10 1,050 0 29 34 $1,250

This screen was last updated on Aug 15 2014 5:03PM by sagapattersond

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.

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program 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 equitable service delivery throughout Georgia. 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.

In FY 13, Georgia’s SE expenditures were $617,500 in Title VI and $45,500 in Title I funds for a total of $ 663,000 for 323 clients, which includes encumbrances carried over from the previous year. Additionally, during FY 13, VR closed 172 clients who received SE services and were successfully employed for at least 90 days, which is 4.7% of the total number of successful placements during this reporting period.

Compared to FY 12, there was a decrease of 31% of clients receiving SE services, and a decrease of 37% of clients who were closed successfully following SE services. On October 4, 2012 the VR program closed all priority categories, which prevented services from being provided for individuals who were not receiving services under a work plan as of that date, to include supported employment services.

To meet the SE needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities, VR maintains collaborative efforts and working relationships with a network of approximately 85 service providers as described in Attachment 4.8 (b)(4). VR continues to provide SE services using direct case service authorizations and service agreements. VR will continue monitoring SE services and build capacity with qualified providers, particularly those who are in the underserved areas of the state.

Goals and Priorities: VR will increase the total number of clients receiving SE services statewide by 5% over the last complete federal fiscal year.

1. VR will increase the number of clients who received SE services and were closed successfully employed for at least 90 days by 5% over the last complete federal fiscal year.

2. VR will expand the current number of SE providers statewide by 5% over the last complete federal fiscal year.

Strategies to Improve Outcomes: VR will continue efforts to strengthen community partnerships to increase clients’ access to SE services. VR will enhance access through current providers by working to expand their capacity and/or service areas and by adding new providers particularly in underserved and unserved areas of the state. Examples of activities to augment community partnerships include: expanding Project Search; developing Memorandums of Understanding with other agencies; and collaborating with providers to leverage Employment Networks opportunities.

1. VR will revise the Client Services Policy and Procedures to include best practice and evidence-based models of Supported Employment. The VR counselor will authorize the model that is most appropriate for the individual being served, thus leading to the optimal employment outcome. These SE models include:

• Traditional Supported Employment which is used for individuals who qualify for supported employment services and are in need of intensive job coaching, on-going supports and extended supports; but are not in need or appropriate for job carving/job negotiation.

• Customized Supported Employment is a best practice model of supported employment for individuals who have the most significant disabilities due to intellectual or developmental disabilities (however, individuals with the most significant disabilities related to traumatic brain injuries or significant and complex language barriers may benefit from this model as well). Customized Supported Employment emphasizes a person-centered discovery process that leads to competitive employment that was negotiated/carved to best meet the job seeker and employer’s needs.

• Individual Placement and Supports (IPS) is a specific evidence-based model of Supported Employment that was developed for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. The IPS approach is to place an individual into employment as soon as possible, as it is believed that employment is an essential component of recovery. The SE services are integrated and coordinated with mental health treatment and vocational rehabilitation services and are monitored for adherence to the IPS model.

• Project Search is an international school to work immersion program involving collaboration between VR, secondary schools, businesses, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, and supported employment providers to assist transitioning youth with developmental disabilities acquire work skills and competitive employment.

2. VR will continue to track the number and locations of clients receiving SE services and the number of successful outcomes to identify underserved and unserved areas of the state. VR will continue to monitor and evaluate the SE service statewide and develop strategies to address areas needing additional attention in order to meet the goals of the program.

3. VR will continue to utilize a performance based fee structure for the provision of SE services. A revised rate structure will be implemented that will coincide with the revised policies and provider guidelines. VR will provide SE providers with training and technical assistance, and will monitor and follow up with them to facilitate compliance with the changes.

4. As part of the collaborative process with SE partners, including Community Rehabilitation Programs and Community Service Boards, VR will continue to review and evaluate SE service policies and revise them as appropriate to meet the needs of people with the most significant disabilities as well as service providers and employers.

5. VR will utilize the newly implemented electronic case management system to monitor and report SE service utilization. VR will identify key reporting elements to assist in service monitoring, provider monitoring and appropriate utilization of the supported employment models.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2014 10:25AM by sagapattersond

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.

Introduction: In order to achieve its goals and priorities as described in Attachment 4.11(c) (3), the 110 Program will implement a variety of strategies statewide including those described under the following categories. These strategies were developed with input from the GVRA Board, State Rehabilitation Council, VR 110 Program leaders and staff, the Statewide Independent Living Council and the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment that included advocacy groups and constituents, public and private partners, and comments received at the public hearings. Some of the strategies listed under distinct categories will be more applicable to one goal than another, but ultimately all strategies will coalesce to contribute to the 110 Program successfully accomplishing these goals described in Attachment 4.11(c) (1).

Strategies to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities include the following:

Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) will improve the pay structure for Certified Rehabilitation Counselors and other Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), Roosevelt Warm Springs (RWS), and Cave Spring Vocational Rehabilitation Center (CSVRC) staff to address recruitment and retention issues, reduce turnover, and improve efficiency and effectiveness so that more VR clients go to work.

VR will implement a redesigned organizational structure for the most effective use of positions to provide excellent customer service and increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

GVRA will reorganize programs to align CSVRC with RWS for the two residential vocational rehabilitation programs to coordinate and complement their vocational training programs and effectively assist more individuals with disabilities to reach their post secondary education, training and work goals.

GVRA will increase recruitment efforts to fill agency vacancies with qualified individuals with disabilities. Also, GVRA will collaborate with the Governor’s Office to urge all state agencies to work with VR to fill their vacancies with qualified VR clients.

GVRA will collaborate with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services Board, the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), community stakeholders, businesses and partners to share a common message that VR is good for business by helping employers meet their workforce needs and business goals with qualified individuals with disabilities. This will be part of the steps to educate and advocate for more state funds to maximize the available federal funds for VR services.

VR will develop a pool of employers who are willing to spread the word of how hiring individuals with disabilities through VR helped them reach their business goals and improved their bottom line. VR will also develop a pool of former clients who are willing to share their stories of how VR services assisted them to overcome barriers and achieve their employment goals.

VR will complete the testing phase and implement the new Georgia Rehabilitation Agency Client Information (GRACI) case management system that will allow the VR field staff to spend less time on paperwork and more time with the clients. GRACI will provide greater flexibility and access to information to provide more timely and effective services. This new system will have multiple advantages to improve efficiency and accountability.

GVRA and VR will partner with the University of Georgia (UGA) Fanning Institute to develop and implement leadership training and skills building opportunities for both GVRA staff and VR clients.

GVRA will continue to use the In Service Training Grant and VR 110 funds to provide specific training for VR 110 staff to increase their skills and abilities to provide effective services to VR clients that lead to successful employment outcomes.

GVRA, the GVRSB and the SRC will join forces with the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) to advocate for improved access to transportation and alternatives to meet the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities in order for them to go to work.

 

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.

VR has a statewide Assistive Technology (AT) Unit staffed by a director who oversees teams of field service personnel including Rehabilitation Engineers, Occupational Therapists, Rehabilitation Technologists, Rehabilitation Technicians and Braille Production staff who are available to all 110 Programs. Upon referrals from the statewide VR Counselors, these staff members provide customized services to VR clients at any stage of the rehabilitation process from information for the evaluation and assessment phase, through assistance for the clients to successfully complete components of their individual plans for employment, to ultimately assisting the clients to become employed. The AT teams’ assistance to VR clients throughout the rehabilitation process includes providing services to employers for specific job placement or to assist an individual employee with disabilities to retain employment.

The VR AT team will continue to conduct continuing education or technical assistance sessions statewide to inform VR field personnel about how AT can assist at all stages of the rehabilitation process, particularly at evaluation. In order to develop a more valid evaluation and assessment of a client’s work potential and to identify a feasible vocational goal, the AT team can provide useful recommendations. For example, VR Counselors should first obtain a low vision evaluation and provide appropriate devices if recommended for a client with low vision in order to achieve more accurate results in other types of evaluations and assessments.

The VR AT Unit will continue to provide technical assistance and training to BEP upon request. This includes collaboration to ensure that appropriate AT devices are installed in BEP facilities and that specific AT services and devices are provided as needed for licensed blind vendors to be able to maintain and improve operations.

The VR AT Unit will provide technical assistance and training to assist employers statewide in providing accommodations in order to obtain or retain employees with disabilities.

The VR AT Unit will continue to collaborate with the VR Performance Improvement Coordinators to use technology to streamline the delivery of staff training to meet needs of GVRA employees with disabilities.

Custom fabrication is an important aspect of successfully matching an AT device to the client. Many states that have in-house AT teams have their own strategically located fabrication shops for Rehabilitation Engineers and AT Specialists to customize AT equipment and devices for clients. The Georgia VR Program does not currently have such facilities that could provide for more efficient and effective services. The AT Unit will analyze the feasibility of setting up fabrication shops in multiple locations statewide and make recommendations to enhance services to VR clients based on the results of this study. The VR AT Unit will provide information and referrals clients and employers regarding Tools for Life, AT Resource Centers, and Credit-Able, the Georgia AT Loan Guarantee Program, for low interest loans to Georgians with disabilities for AT devices, home modifications or vehicle modifications. These resources are available to clients and employers who want to accommodate their worksites for employees when such AT devices, modifications or accommodations are not covered under VR policy.

 

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.

The VR Director of Deafness Services and the VR Counselors for Deaf will continue to conduct statewide outreach efforts including meetings in cities across the state in partnership with the Georgia Association of the Deaf, Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired (GACHI), and DBHDD Deaf Services to reach out to Deaf consumers across the state, educate them about each program and answer their questions and concerns. Often, many of the participants at these meetings are minorities.

VR will collaborate with GACHI to develop and provide specialized training to staff in VR (including job placement and other support staff), RWS, CSVRC, CRPs and other service providers to enhance services leading to employment for clients who are Deaf.

GVRA leaders and staff will continue to interact with the Georgia Coalition on Blindness and attend the quarterly meetings to provide information and outreach, enhance relationships and develop partnerships to improve VR services to the underserved population of individuals who are blind or have low vision.

The VR Director of Deafness Services and the VR Counselors for Deaf are collaborating with the Heller Keller National Center to conduct a statewide needs assessment of Deaf-Blind individuals. This assessment will provide Georgia VR with a snapshot of the needs, challenges and successes of this community of consumers. These activities will be a form of outreach to individuals in the survey who are not VR clients. Also, the assessment will identify how to best use available resources to reach these individuals and provide effective VR services to assist them to go to work.

GVRA will continue to implement initiatives such as TEAM 26 as outreach to the underserved population of veterans with disabilities to help them achieve gainful employment through robust jobs and resources fairs across the state. The project name, TEAM 26, is an acronym meaning Total Employment for American Military with the number 26 as the VR status code indicating successful employment outcomes. Many of the veterans who attend these fairs are minorities.

GVRA will continue to develop and enhance relationships with the Veterans Administration, the Georgia National Guard, the Wounded Warrior Program and various veterans groups to increase the number of veterans with disabilities who receive VR services and achieve their employment goals.

VR will conduct outreach as part of its collaboration with the Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe Section 121 Grant VR Program to coordinate services to assist more Native Americans with disabilities to reach their employment goals.

GVRA will continue to collaborate with the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) to maintain a multi-lingual directory of staff willing to provide interpreting services as needed for individuals who have limited English proficiency. There are over 20 different languages represented on this directory.

VR will continue to conduct outreach to potential Hispanic and Asian individuals with disabilities through their community groups and faith based organizations, websites and newsletters.

GVRA will develop collaborative agreements and Memoranda of Understanding with the Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice to implement pilot projects and creative service delivery models that assist individuals with disabilities to transition from incarceration to work.

GVRA will use funds through the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) grant for Community Work Incentive Coordinators to conduct outreach to individuals with disabilities receiving Social Security disability benefits and to assist them in understanding the various incentives available for them to go to work. These individuals often include minorities, unserved and underserved populations.

 

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

GVRA will continue to enhance relationships with CRPs by holding joint meetings to exchange ideas and recommendations for improvements, communicating timely, and developing joint training to enhance staff skills and abilities to better serve VR clients.

GVRA will increase the accountability of outcome based contracts with the CRPs to provide VR services to clients. This will include specific training for VR Regional Contract Specialists and CRP staff to clarify policies and procedures and expectations that CRP services will assist VR clients to go to work.

GVRA will work with CRPs to review the fee schedule, reporting and billing procedures and identify potential improvements. The implementation of GRACI will improve the efficiency of the authorization and invoice process for more timely and appropriate payments to CRPs for VR services.

 

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

All of the strategies described in this attachment will contribute to Georgia meeting or exceeding the evaluation standards and performance indicators.

 

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

GVRA and VR will collaborate with the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) to plan meetings and training sessions with high school transition coordinators and special education teachers, TCSG local disability coordinators, and VR field staff to improve communication and facilitate the transition of more students with disabilities from high school into TCSG programs that have higher records of job placement after graduation.

VR staff members will continue to assist with job fairs held by TCSG and Georgia colleges and universities.

VR will continue to collaborate in many ways with the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) Career Centers to assist individuals with disabilities to go to work and to assist employers to meet their workforce needs. VR Rehabilitation Employment Specialists (RESs) work closely with GDOL Employer Marketing Representatives to: obtain information about companies opening locally or when existing companies are hiring; hold job fairs; share job leads; and avoid duplication of efforts. RESs participate in meetings of the GDOL Employer Committees, and some have held positions such as Treasurer of those committees. VR Counselors work closely with the GDOL Veteran Representatives to assist veterans with disabilities to apply for VR services when needed and to coordinate rather than duplicate services to achieve employment goals. VR staff members also cooperate with the GDOL program that assists ex-offenders to obtain employment and facilitate services for ex-offenders with disabilities.

VR staff will participate on Local Workforce Investment Board Youth Councils to facilitate interagency collaboration, coordinate services, fill gaps and avoid duplication of efforts to assist more youth with disabilities to go to work.

 

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 addition to the strategies described above, specific strategies to achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11 (c) (1) include:

VR will develop and implement “College Prep 101” training programs for high school students with disabilities whose vocational goal requires technical college certificates or degrees or state college and university degrees so that they will be better prepared to overcome challenges and graduate from college.

VR will expand early intervention activities for clients at risk of dropping out of college or technical training to assist them to successfully graduate and go to work.

VR will increase career planning and job development activities for VR clients in their senior year of college to increase the number successfully closed in employment after graduation.

VR will continue to provide state level leadership and coordination of the Georgia High School High Tech (HSHT) program. This program is designed to bring together community partners to assist high school students with all types of disabilities transition “from learning to earning” by reducing the dropout rate, increasing enrollment in post-secondary education and training through participation in education, vocational and employment related activities. HSHT provides participants opportunities to explore employment options and/or post-secondary education options leading to gainful employment with an emphasis on careers in higher paying technology fields.

VR will collaborate with DOE to implement a comprehensive transition assessment that will identify each individual transition student’s unique interests, abilities, strengths, training needs, labor market needs, parent/guardian expectations, independent living needs and funding sources specific to college training. This assessment will incorporate DOE’s 17 career cluster pathways.

VR team members, including VR counselors and AWT staff, will continue to meet with the Post Secondary Advisement Committee that it formed with representatives from DOE, TCSG and the Board of Regents to faciliate partnerships and innovative strategies to assist transition students to more smoothly go from high school to post secondary education.

GVRA/VR will collaborate with DOE, DBHDD, UGA’s Institute of Human Development and Disability and other required state partners to pursue the PROMISE Grant sponsored by Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and the Social Security Administration. This federal grant opportunity is targeted at youths 14 to 16 years of age who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and their families, in an effort to improve their education and career outcomes. If awarded, GVRA will engage in inter-agency collaboration and implement a model demonstration project to provide a set of coordinated services and supports over the next five years in an effort to achieve the desired outcomes.

In collaboration with the University of Georgia’s Center of Excellence, VR state coordinators will provide training and technical assistance to VR field staff and service providers regarding using appropriate assessment and evaluation tools and supported employment models for those with the most significant disabilities

RWS and CSVRC will use their unique Discovery Model for individual plan development and service delivery to maximize the success for program participants to be ready for further post secondary education or training and ultimately achieve successful employment.

VR, RWS and CSVRC will provide training to staff and implement and/or expand creative services to assist more individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury to go to work. VR will involve Community Work Incentive Coordinators to counsel high school students and their families on available Social Security work incentives to promote employment and overcome fears of losing disability benefits by attempting to go to work.

GVRA will formalize the partnership with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) to provide Supported Employment (SE) using the Individual Placement and Supports Model and to provide Customized Employment (CE) for joint consumers.

VR will work in collaboration with DBHDD, Georgia Department of Education (DOE), Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO) and SE providers to identify best practices for referral processes, employment support needs, and utilization of funding sources to avoid duplication and maximize the effective provision of SE services to transition students with the most significant disabilities.

VR will identify and use qualified providers who are trained in customized SE to maximize employment outcomes for transitioning youths with developmental disabilities

VR will identify providers that are skilled in services for those with sensory disabilities and will continue to work to identify gaps in services or barriers for those individuals to receive services that lead to employment outcomes.

The VR Director of Deafness Services and the VR Counselors for Deaf will collaborate with the Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired to conduct surveys and other methods to gain feedback on customer satisfaction and identify ways to improve VR Deafness services.

VR will support staff, including job placement and other team members as well as counselors, to attend the Southeast Regional Institute on Deafness (SERID) annual conference each year for specialized training to meet the needs of clients who are Deaf and Deaf-Blind.

VR state coordinators will collaborate with subject matter experts to identify and deliver training to VR field staff and will partner with DBHDD, DOE, and service providers specialized in working with traumatic brain injury or autism spectrum disorder to improve service delivery that lead to employment outcomes for those individuals.

VR will continue to increase collaboration with the Georgia AgrAbility Program to assist more farmers with disabilities to continue their farming businesses.

The VR 110 Program will develop and enhance relationships with the Georgia National Guard, the Veterans Administration, the Wounded Warrior Program, and other veterans groups to streamline referrals and effectively assist more veterans with disabilities to go to work.

VR will identify and utilize appropriate assessment and evaluation tools and service providers to meet individual client’s needs, to include both transition and adult populations.

VR leaders and staff statewide will continue to develop and maintain relationships with Centers for Independent Living to enhance cross referrals of individuals with disabilities as appropriate, particularly in the area of self advocacy.

The VR and BEP State Directors will facilitate meetings between VR and BEP managers and staff and BEP licensed blind vendor managers who operate large food service operations with a variety of jobs. At these meetings, staff will develop and implement efficient and effective procedures for VR to assist these blind vendor managers in filling vacancies with qualified VR clients.

VR will continue to meet with employers to enhance existing relationships and develop new relationships to assist those employers to meet their workforce needs with qualified VR clients.

VR will assist employers to meet their business goals and affirmative action plans by hiring more individuals with disabilities.

GVRA will use 110 funds to support SRC and SILC functions and activities with I and E funds.

There were no barriers identified for equitable access or participation in the VR or SE Programs. The barrier to services due to insufficient funds applies equally to individuals as they come to VR Offices and complete applications. After eligibility determinations and assignment of priority categories, VR will work through the waiting list equitably to serve individuals according to the Order of Selection with the individuals with the most significant disabilities served first.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2013 12:28PM by sagapattersond

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

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

Georgia’s progress toward achieving the Goals and Objectives in Attachment 4.11 (c) (1) of the FY 2011 – 2013 State Plan is described below with FY 2013 results. If the strategies contributing to success apply to more than one objective, they are summarized after each goal. Otherwise, they are noted individually by objective, along with factors impeding achievement noted where appropriate.

Goal I. Assist people with disabilities to go to work. Objectives and FY 2013 Results:

Objective a. At least 55.8% (the federal performance standard) of the people with disabilities who commit to a work plan and participate in the VR Program will attain employment for a minimum of 90 days.

Results: In FY 13, a total of 10,422 individuals exited the VR Program in Georgia after receiving services, and 3,651 of these individuals were closed as successfully employed resulting in an employment outcome rate of 35.03%.

Objective b. The Business Enterprise Program (BEP) and VR will increase the number of appropriate VR client referrals, and the BEP will increase the percentage of those VR referrals who achieve blind vendor licensure status and BEP careers.

Results: In FY 13, BEP increased employment opportunities by adding 11 attachments (small locations that act as supplemental income for stand-alone locations whose sales have dropped) and one new location. BEP assisted 2 (decrease from 10 last year) VR referrals to complete the BEP training course and become licensed blind vendors.

Objective c. The Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWSIR) will increase by 10% (15 students) the number of VR Unit students graduating work ready as demonstrated by the students’ achievement of 16 standard work readiness behaviors.

Results: In FY 13, RWSIR served 236 students including 160 new admissions. At the end of FY 13, 91 students met graduation requirements and 97 continued into FY 14. RWS experienced a decrease of 60 graduates (34%) from the prior year.

Objective d. The 110 Program will expand capacity for comprehensive vocational assessments in areas of the state that have insufficient vocational evaluation resources.

Results: The VR Program continues to authorize vocational evaluation services provided by Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) and other approved vendors. VR purchased approximately 1,269 vocational evaluations during FY 13, a decrease of 431 (25%) from FY 12.

Objective e. The VR Assistive Technology (AT) Unit will increase access to assistive technology devices statewide to enable clients to go to work.

Results: In FY 13, the VR AT Unit received 1,139 VR client referrals from counselors, a decrease of 487 (30%) from FY 12 and provided 12,646 individualized services (devices, home and vehicle modifications, work site accommodations, other AT recommendations, etc.) statewide in support of work goals, an increase of 1,591 (11%) compared to FY 12. In addition, the VR AT Unit provided job accommodations assessments for 646 of these clients, which is a decrease of 206 (24%) from FY 12.

Impeding Factors for Goal I: Due to issues relating to the transition from the Georgia Department of Labor to the present Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) in July 2012, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) deemed the grant as high risk and placed the grant under special conditions. GVRA then closed all priority categories in October 2012. All new applicants after October 4, 2012 and clients who were not receiving services under an Individual Plan for Employment were placed on a waiting list.

In August 2013, VR opened the waiting list for individuals with the most significant disabilities, Priority Category A, based on the date the individual entered the waiting list. In February 2014, VR began serving clients on the waiting list in Priority Categories B-E (with Priority Categories F-G remaining closed). VR also began serving new applicants at that time. This delay in services affected results for all goals and objectives in FY 13.

Goal II. Enhance services to unserved and underserved populations. Objectives and FY 2013 results:

Objective a. The 110 Program will augment services for customers who are Blind, Deaf or Deaf-Blind to increase employment outcomes for this population by 5% (23 additional clients successfully employed).

Results: VR served 3,852 clients with sensory disabilities in FY 13, a decrease of 589 (13%) from FY 12. VR assisted 557 clients with sensory disabilities to be closed as successfully employed in FY 13, a decrease of 108 (16%) from FY 12.

Impeding Factors: As described above, all priority categories were closed in October 2012 with all new applicants after October 4th and clients who were not receiving services under an Individual Plan for Employment placed on a waiting list for most of FY 13. This delay in services affected results for all goals and objectives in FY 13.

Objective b. The 110 Program will increase outreach and training to enhance customer service and increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities who have language and/or cultural barriers.

Results: During FY 13 the 110 Program continued a variety of outreach and training efforts to enhance customer service for individuals who have language and/or cultural barriers. GVRA programs utilize several options including the “LanguageLine Solutions: Interpreting, Translating, Localization, Testing and Training” services for all non-English speaking consumers and constituents. VR is accessible to consumers who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing through the Georgia Relay 711 services, videophone direct communication, and video relay service. Objective c. The 110 Program will expand customized VR services for eligible veterans to increase employment outcomes.

Results: GVRA developed a customized program in FY 13 called Total Employment for American Military – 26 (for status 26 closures) known as TEAM 26. TEAM 26 project staff members worked with local VR staff to develop partnerships with employers, federal and state agencies, community rehabilitation providers, private providers and other stakeholders to hold four Jobs and Resources Fairs statewide targeting veterans with disabilities. With approximately 500 veterans attending the these fairs in FY 13, over 100 were referred to the VR Program for further services, while over 150 received viable employment opportunities at the fairs. TEAM 26 project staff conducts ongoing individualized follow up with information and referrals to every veteran who attended the fairs. Objective d. RWSIR will enhance transitional residential services, particularly for persons with autism, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries.

Results: During FY 13, RWSIR continued to plan for renovation and expansion of campus cottages and other facilities to meet the need for residential transitional living training and staff office space to better serve these individuals.

Goal III. Enhance transition services for students with disabilities. Objectives and FY 2012 Results:

Objective a. The VR Program will increase by 5% the number of transition students who go to work during the fiscal year.

Results: In FY 13, VR assisted 841 clients who received transition services to become successfully employed for longer than 90 days, a decrease of 173 students (17%) from FY 12.

Impeding Factors: Georgia VR continues to view transition services as a priority. However, the closure of priority categories for most of FY 13 impacted the ability for VR to serve more students. Also, there were multiple counselor vacancies that impacted VR’s ability to meet the needs of youth with disabilities. Therefore, VR made hiring counselors to serve transition caseloads a priority, which should improve results in subsequent years. Additionally, the new case management system implemented in 2014 will improve the capacity to code transition cases accurately so that all cases receiving transition services are captured. Objective b. The VR Program will collaborate with local school systems and the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) to maintain the number of dedicated transition VR counselors located in the schools.

Results: VR established Collaborative Agreements with 83 local school systems in FY 13, an increase of 5 (6%) over FY 12, to enhance transition services to students with disabilities.

Strategies: The VR Transition Coordinator made presentations statewide to local school systems, developed beneficial relationships through collaboration on the State Transition Steering Committee and with other partners serving youth with disabilities, and participated in conferences on transition services. All contributed to the increase in collaborative agreements. Objective c. RWSIR will expand its partnership with the Technical College System of Georgia and develop at least two new certificate skills training programs for VR Unit students.

Results: During FY 13, RWSIR did not establish new programs due to ongoing efforts to convert the vocational program to the new RWS model of individualized programming and the need to further develop Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs of study. Recruitment efforts began in FY 13 to fill the position of CTE Director, and RWS hired a fulltime Horticulture Instructor in FY 13. These efforts continued into FY14.

Objective d. The BEP will create internships or mentoring opportunities for students who are blind to work with licensed blind vendors and/or explore careers in that field.

Results: In FY 13, due to budget constraints in the VR Program, the BEP did not have referrals to collaborate with VR and the Center for Visually Impaired for the summer internship program or other mentoring. They expect to resume these activities in FY 15. Objective e. Cave Spring Rehabilitation Center (CSRC) will implement plans to replace its facility, and RWSIR will complete its new residential complex; both RWSIR and CSVRC will enhance staffing patterns, training and program infrastructure to increase capacity and client services.

Results: Both RWSIR and CSRC completed their new residential facilities in FY 12. During FY 13, RWSIR continued to improve staffing patterns to support the conversion to a RWS model of individualized programming focused upon discovering each student’s unique contributions to employment, the interests each individual student has, and those supports and conditions that will allow them to experience success.

Objective f. The VR Program will increase marketing efforts with parents, school nurses, counselors, teachers and administrators to increase referrals of Section 504 students.

Results: VR counselors and the VR team continued efforts during FY 13 to inform and educate partners about VR’s ability and interest in providing transition services to students with disabilities that are receiving services under Section 504. VR leadership and staff members gave presentations to faculty of local educational agencies and other transition-related strategic partners to increase their understanding of VR and the services available to all students with disabilities. Goal IV. Help employers meet their human resources needs. Objectives and FY 2012 Results:

Objective a. The 110 Program will increase the number of employers who hire VR clients.

Results: In FY 13, while there was not an increase, VR continued to maintain approximately 600 employer accounts who were encouraged to hire VR clients.

Objective b. The VR AT Unit will provide technical assistance and training to assist employers in hiring and retaining employees with disabilities. Results: During FY 13, the VR AT Unit continued to provide technical assistance and training to individual employers on assistive work technology, disability sensitivity and job accommodations upon request as well as in workshops. As described above, the VR AT Unit provided job accommodations assessments for 646 VR clients to assist employers to hire them.

Objective c. RWSIR will develop a new skills training program customized for at least one local employer.

Results: In FY 13, RWSIR further developed the Horticulture program of study by hiring a Horticulture Instructor who is designing the program to allow students to gains skills and potential employment with Callaway Gardens and local area nurseries.

Objective d. VR and BEP will work with the licensed blind vendors who operate large food service operations to assist them in hiring VR clients to fill available vacancies in those operations.

Results: In FY 13, the licensed blind vendor managers employed 174 individuals with disabilities based on self-reports from Form 256, an increase of 24 (16%) over FY 12.

Strategies: The 110 Program leaders and staff collaborated with a wide variety of partners and emphasized developing relationships and giving employers excellent customer service to achieve their business goals through filling their workforce needs with qualified individuals with disabilities.

Progress in Meeting Priority Facility Needs:

Construction of the new state of the art residential rehabilitation complex for RWSIR was completed in September 2011, and all VR students began residing there in October 2011. As part of the transition into the new residential complex, RWSIR integrated multiple VR Unit programs to enhance staffing patterns and to allocate staff resources based upon individual student needs and a full schedule of service activities. An integrated staff schedule of employment development, health management, behavioral, counseling and case management, recreational and residential staff will be available to clients for more hours of the day and night. During FY 13, RWSIR converted at minimal cost the medical outpatient facility, Blanchard Hall, to house departments and programs in the vocational program including counseling and case management, vocational assessment services and psychology services. RWSIR also continued planning to meet needs for renovation of cottages for additional residential transitional training and renovation of the Education and Training building to provide appropriate and adequate space for growth in training programs to prepare clients for careers in high demand fields and for staff offices to serve those clients. The new CSVRC facility was completed in November 2011 on time and under budget. The new facility is ADA Plus and is designed and built to be accessible for all disabilities. Two buildings at approximately 17,000 square feet each replaced four buildings that totaled 30,000 square feet. The administration building contains classrooms, training, admissions, evaluations, a mini-career center and administrative offices. The residential structure includes 52 beds, four kitchens, three common living areas, internet café, infirmary, and three offices for dorm staff. Additionally, there are three greenhouses and a sales shed to sell plants and bushes to the public that provide job training opportunities for VR clients.

 

Overall Goal - The VR Program will continue to provide SE services on a statewide basis through Title VI, Part B funds and Title I funds. Result - For FY 13, Georgia’s SE encumbrances were $617,500 in Title VI and $45,500 in Title I funds for a total of $663,000. These funds provided services for a total of 323 clients, and VR closed 172 clients who received SE services and were successfully employed for at least 90 days.

1. Goal – VR will increase the total number of clients receiving SE services statewide by 5% during FY 13. Result – This goal was not met. There was a decrease of 31% of individuals receiving Supported Employment services.

2. Goal – VR will increase the number of clients receiving SE services in underserved and unserved areas of the state by 5% during FY 13. Result: This goal was not met. The decrease of individuals served impacted all areas and all populations due to the closing of all priority categories in October 2012 impacted all areas and all populations.

3. Goal – VR will raise the number of clients who received SE services and were closed successfully employed for at least 90 days by 5% in FY 13. Result: This goal was not met. VR successfully closed 172 individuals during FY 13, which was a 37% decrease compared to FY 12. This was due to the decrease in overall individuals served.

Strategies and Impeding Factors: The VR program entered into memorandum of understandings (MOUs) with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities during FY 13. These MOUs provide a foundation for interagency collaboration and the coordination of best practice and evidenced based supported employment services. As result, individuals with the most significant disabilities will have the opportunity for integrated service delivery and optimal employment services, which include Project Search, Customized Supported Employment, Individual Placement and Supports and Traditional Supported Employment.

A key barrier to reaching the goals for FY 13 was the closure of all priority categories in October 2012 for most of the fiscal year. Individuals who were not receiving services in an Individual Plan for Employment were put on a waiting list, as well as all new applicants; thus they were not able to receive services in FY 13. This impacted the number served, particularly those who were in underserved areas, as well as the number successfully employed and closed.

 

Georgia VR passed four of the seven federal performance indicators in FY 13 as described below using the federal definitions.

Evaluation Standard 1- Employment Outcomes: A Designated State Unit (DSU) shall assist any eligible individual, including an individual with a significant disability, to obtain, maintain, or regain high-quality employment.

Performance Indicator 1.1 reflects the number of individuals exiting the VR Program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exited the VR Program after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period. Required Performance Level: Equal or exceed the previous performance period.

During FY 13, Georgia VR closed 3,651 individuals as successfully employed compared to the 5,120 individuals who were closed as successfully employed in FY 12, a decrease of 1,469 VR clients employed, resulting in Georgia not passing this indicator.

Explanation for not meeting RSA standard: Due to issues relating to the transition from the Georgia Department of Labor to the present GVRA in July 2012, RSA deemed the grant as high risk and placed the grant under special conditions. GVRA then closed all priority categories in October 2012. All new applicants after October 4, 2012 and clients who were not receiving services under an Individual Plan for Employment were placed on a waiting list for most of FY 13. This resulted in not meeting Performance Indicator 1.1.

Performance Indicator 1.2 reflects the percentage of individuals who achieved an employment outcome as compared to all individuals who exited the VR Program after receiving services. Required Performance Level: At least 55.8%

A total of 10,422 individuals exited the VR Program after receiving services and 3,651 of these individuals were closed as successfully employed. This resulted in an employment outcome rate of 35.03% which did not meet this indicator.

Explanation for not meeting RSA standard: Due to issues relating to the transition from the Georgia Department of Labor to the present GVRA in July 2012, RSA deemed the grant as high risk and placed the grant under special conditions. GVRA then closed all priority categories in October 2012. All new applicants after October 4, 2012 and clients who were not receiving services under an Individual Plan for Employment were placed on a waiting list for most of FY 13. This resulted in not meeting Performance Indicator 1.2.

Performance Indicator 1.3 shows what percentage of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome in competitive, self, or Business Enterprise Program (BEP) employment, had earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage of $7.25. Required Performance Level: At least 72.6%

Georgia VR closed 3,651 clients in employment with 3,480 of these individuals making at least minimum wage. This resulted in a performance rate of 95.32% that exceeded this indicator.

Explanation for meeting RSA standard: Georgia VR places a priority on assisting clients to become employed in competitive, integrated jobs making minimum wage or higher. VR worked collaboratively with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, local school systems and businesses to maintain the Project Search model for SE that targets high school students with significant disabilities who want to obtain employment in higher paying jobs. As a result of training, regular reviews of performance indicators and proactive community involvement by VR placement team members, Georgia places very few individuals earning below minimum wage including those in SE. Performance Indicator 1.4 indicates what percentage of all individuals who exited the VR Program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least minimum wage, were individuals with significant disabilities. Required Performance Level: At least 62.4%

Georgia VR closed 3,480 individuals with competitive employment outcomes and 3,088 of these individuals had significant disabilities. This resulted in a performance rate of 88.74% that exceeded this indicator.

Explanation for meeting RSA standard: Georgia VR operates under an Order of Selection system and ensures that priority goes to serving individuals with the most significant and significant disabilities.

Performance Indicator 1.5 reflects the average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR Program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least minimum wage as compared to the average hourly earnings for all employed individuals in the State. Required Performance Level: >=0.52

In FY 13, the average hourly wage for VR clients with competitive employment outcomes was $10.77 and the average hourly wage for employed Georgians was $21.81. The ratio was 0.486 which did not meet this indicator.

Explanation for not meeting RSA standard: Georgia puts emphasis on serving transition high school students as well as transitioning ex-offenders who typically make minimum wage when they begin their careers. Additionally, a more competitive job market negatively impacted starting salaries. Georgia is a state with a relatively high average hourly wage for all employed Georgians which impacts the ratio. Finally, the closure of priority categories negatively impacted services to clients who could have been placed in higher wage jobs. These factors resulted in not meeting Performance Indicator 1.5.

Performance Indicator 1.6 indicates of all individuals who exit the VR Program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who reported their own income as the largest source of economic support at exit and the percentage who reported their own income as the largest source of support at application. Required Performance Level: >=53

In FY 13, 583 clients reported their primary support was their own income at application compared to 3,033 clients who reported this at closure. Georgia’s performance ratio was 70.40 which exceeded this indicator. Explanation for meeting RSA standard: Georgia VR continues to serve many clients who at application were still participating in secondary education and dependent on family members, but by completion of VR services were employed and reporting their own wages as their primary means of support. Also, VR used Work Incentive Planning Assistance services throughout the state which educates Social Security Administration (SSA) disability beneficiaries about work incentives thereby increasing the number of beneficiaries who seek employment that provides greater income than SSA benefits.

Evaluation Standard 2 - Equal Access to Services: This standard measures whether individuals from minority backgrounds have been provided equal access to VR services at the same rate as non-minority individuals.

Performance Indicator 2.1 reflects the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as compared to the service rate for all non-minority individuals. Required Performance Level: .80

Of the total number of clients exiting the Georgia VR Program, 9,532 were minorities and 8,394 were non-minorities; of those exiting the VR Program after receiving services, 5,316 were minorities and 5,106 were non-minorities. This resulted in a service ratio of 0.917 which exceeded this indicator.

Explanation for meeting RSA standard: The state met this indicator because Georgia VR developed and maintained good working relations with referral sources and community partners who referred both minority and non-minority individuals for services.

Plan for Improvement: With the opening of Priority Categories A-E in February 2014, VR implemented a system to work through the waiting list and develop work plans for all clients still interested in VR services. VR worked expeditiously to serve those on the waiting list along with new applicants. This should help VR to meet Performance Indicators 1.1, 1.2 and 1.5 in the future. Also, GVRA established a new Business Relations Unit in May 2014 to expand relationships with employers that will lead to more jobs with higher wages for individuals with disabilities. The new VR case management system has been implemented with all field staff trained in April 2014. As the learning curve decreases, performance and results should increase. GVRA and VR will increase outreach and marketing. GVRA and VR are collaborating on more initiatives with RWSIR, BEP, partners and stakeholders to develop unique services resulting in more employment outcomes. GVRA and VR will work with RSA to develop a Performance Improvement Plan with more specific strategies.

 

Georgia spent $31,589.28 in I & E funds in FY 13 to support SRC activities. These funds provided for travel to SRC meetings and public hearings, meeting rooms, meals, interpreters, CART Captioning services, publications such as the annual report and brochures, conference registration fees, and supplies. During FY 13, Georgia used I & E funds for the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and expended $253,350 in support of SILC operations and activities such as quarterly meetings, public hearings, website costs, etc.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2014 4:00PM by sagapattersond

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

The supported employment (SE) concept assumes that all persons, regardless of the degree of their disability, have the capacity and should be afforded the opportunity to engage in competitive employment with appropriate support services.

The quality, scope, and extent of SE services of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program assists VR clients with the most significant disabilities to obtain competitive employment that is consistent with their capabilities, priorities, resources, strengths, and informed choice.

A person who has a most significant disability and has not been able to obtain or maintain competitive employment due to the nature of their disability, but has a desire to work, and needs job coaching, on-the-job training, follow-up and extended support services, is eligible for SE services.

VR will apply the appropriate model of SE services to meet individual needs, including practice models such as Customized SE, evidence-based models such as Individualized Placement and Supports, and transition models such as Project Search to assist the individual to achieve competitive employment in an integrated setting.

Competitive employment is employment that is full-time or part-time in an integrated setting and earning at least minimum wage or the prevailing wage for the position. The individual client and his/her VR Counselor will jointly establish in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) appropriate goals for the number of hours per week that will maximize the individual’s vocational potential.

An integrated setting provides daily contact in work settings with employees without disabilities and/or the public. The setting must allow interaction to the same extent that individuals without disabilities in comparable positions interact with others.

The quality of SE outcomes is assessed individually. Issues such as consumer and employer satisfaction, earnings, benefits, family support, availability of dependable transportation, co-worker support, socialization, work environment, and support services are important. The VR Counselor meets regularly with the SE provider and consumer to monitor progress, counsel and assist the client as needed prior to VR program completion. VR contract specialists conduct periodic reviews with SE providers for quality assurance purposes annually.

The scope of SE services varies based on the amount, intensity, and kind of support needed by each individual. In addition to assisting the client in securing competitive employment, the intent of SE is that the services will assist the consumer with: learning specific work duties, performance standards, and work place/employer expectations; learning the specific work-related behaviors to include the appropriate interpersonal skills; learning and understanding workplace culture, rules and policies; understanding and using the benefits of employment; learning self-advocacy skills; developing a community support system that accommodates and positively reinforces the employee’s role as a worker; and identifying natural supports that will assist with maintaining successful employment.

As part of the eligibility determination process for VR services, SE will be considered as a possible vocational outcome for individuals with the most significant disabilities. The VR Program provides time-limited SE services available through a network of approved VR service vendors. These services may include:

Job Development and Placement: VR provides job development and placement services as necessary to place the individual into integrated competitive employment consistent with his or her informed choice, or to determine on the basis of clear evidence that an employment outcome cannot be achieved.

On-the-job Training/ Job Coaching. VR provides intensive on-the-job and other training services the client to the extent necessary to achieve stable job performance, or to determine on the basis of clear evidence this cannot be achieved.

Follow-up Services: VR provides monitoring and follow-up services from the time of job placement until the transition to extended support services. These follow-up services include regular contact with the employer and the consumer in order to reinforce and stabilize the job placement. At a minimum, these services include an assessment of the individual’s employment stability and the need for extended services to maintain stable employment

Extended Services/On-Going Support: A caveat of SE is the provision of extended support for the life of the job following the completion of VR paid services. This support is individualized and consists of services needed to support and maintain the consumer’s employment. It shall consist of no less than two contacts with the consumer and his/her employer per month.

Transition to extended employment generally occurs within 18 months of the date of SE job placement. Generally, transition to extended employment occurs when the SE specialist, the VR counselor, and the consumer determine that employment stabilization has been achieved. VR measures stabilization for each individual by considering all circumstances with the client including support needs, consumer choice and satisfaction regarding services, and employer feedback. On a case-by-case basis, as determined in the individual’s IPE, the 18-month limitation may be extended in order to assist the individual with obtaining stable employment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2013 7:50PM by sagapattersond