ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

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

1.2 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, the Illinois Department of Human Services [3] agrees to operate and administer the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program in accordance with the provisions of this State Plan [4], the Rehabilitation Act, and all applicable regulations [5], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Section 111 of the Rehabilitation Act are used solely for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and the administration of the State Plan for the vocational rehabilitation services program.

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

Secretary Department of Human Services

... 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

Secretary Department of Human Services

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Michelle R.B. Saddler

Title of Signatory
Secretary, Department of Human Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/30/2011

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 2012
Yes

Comments:

DHS-DRS provides the following written assurances, which commit DRS, to 1) establish a State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) that meets the criteria set forth in Section 105 of the act, as required in Section 101(a)(21)(ii), so that the DRS can work with the SRC to fulfill the responsibilities listed in Section 101(a)(21)(ii) and complete interagency agreements or other mechanisms for interagency coordination with public institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the state for the provision of VR services in accordance with Section 101 (a)(8)(B) and 34 CFR 361.53(d) by September 30, 2012, and 2) to report on a quarterly basis the progress being made toward fulfillment of the assurances.

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Michelle R.B. Saddler

Title of Signatory
Secretary, Department of Human Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/30/2011

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

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

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) meets regularly with DRS administrators and staff to provide perspective on key issues of concern to the Council. SRC meetings feature a presentation from the State VR Director as well as presentations concerning ongoing issues of interest to the disability community.

SRC Comment: We applaud the effort that the administration of DRS has made. Specifically, they have attended meetings and shared some reports of annual agency progress, developed and completed a comprehensive needs assessment, and was open to the possibly funding a Graduate student to possibly assist the administration with the development, distribution, and constructive feedback process of the Draft of services for IL-DRS. Progress has been made this year, but the potential exists for more can be done and this shares some recommendations.

DRS Response: DRS remains open to discussion of additional mechanisms for cooperation and collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council.

SRC Comment: The needs assessment was completed and based on responses to the Future Direction Survey, DRS has developed specific initiatives. These include: the Transition Momentum, Outreach to Underserved Populations, Business Partnerships and Policy Review Goals initiatives. It was noted to be important that these initiatives were identified, and progress needs to be followed through. Noting these initiatives is noteworthy, but more work is needed. It was suggested that these goals and also overall agency goals and progress toward reaching these goals are reported quarterly to the SRC. The SRC wants to monitor the action steps on these initiatives.

DRS Response: DRS agrees to provide regular reports to the SRC on progress toward the State Plan goals.

SRC Comment: In addition, the SRC advocates for the development and dissemination of the needs survey for adolescents involved in transition. Specifically, the transition survey has been completed and needs to be sent out as the first phase of the three year needs assessment. The second phase will be to survey VR customers. It is imperative that this survey should be developed with the input of the SRC. We commend DRS involvement of the SRC, in the development of the first of the three year process. The adult survey was completed and identified transition as a need, but new specific information that facilitates improved transition services may emerge through this research.

Also, many members felt that specialized interagency training for transition professionals is needed. The emphasis on collaborative training for the benefits of students with disabilities will likely result in building a “transition bridge” of services that will lead to streamlined coordination of transition services.

DRS Response: DRS intends to circulate the transition survey in the fall of 2011. This project has been delayed due to staff shortages but DRS remains committed to completion of this activity. We believe that the data from the survey will be particularly helpful in developing the planned transition initiative.

SRC Comment: We also discussed the involvement of SRC to give input in the development of a policy on how VR counselors inform customers of all the available Employment Networks (ENs) after case closure and customers have a need for follow-up services and/or retention services. There seems to be limited information about other ENs that exist outside of DRS.

DRS Response: DRS welcomes input from the SRC in this area of service development. DRS is in the early stages of developing a plan for notifying Ticket eligible customers of the ENs in the state that can assist with follow-up services directed at maintaining employment.

SRC Comment: In addition, the SRC had some discussion on the budget and wanted to have more informative updates on DRS budget and how the money is allocated and if the money is resulting in meeting goals and objectives. This will give SRC a better idea of whether money is being spent to meet the goals and objective on the Plan and assist the SRC in better advocating for the needs of citizens of Illinois who receive services from DRS.

DRS Response: The DRS Strategic Management unit and the DRS Fiscal unit will work together to establish a reporting methodology that meets the requirements of the SRC for fiscal reporting relating to State Plan goals.

SRC Comment: Generally, DRS articulates an increase in the first rate services (e.g., number of applications, timely eligibility determinations) and successful rehabilitation outcomes are top priorities for IL-DRS. The goals likely will be challenging due to the overall employment and funding constraints inherent in State agencies at this time.

DRS Response: DRS agrees that the goals are challenging and may be difficult to achieve. However the establishment of challenging goals has proven to be a motivating factor for VR staff in the past, and has a reasonable likelihood of succeeding in the future as well.

SRC Comment: DRS has a need for training in collaboration to improve their knowledge of, skills, and ability to work with others such as Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) and Centers for Independent Living (CILs). In addition, DRS could work with the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE) at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale as a source of this type of training.

DRS Response: DRS agrees to consult with the entities named above in examining options for staff training that will improve the capacity of DRS staff for interagency cooperation.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 5:37PM by Douglas Morton

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

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

The Division of Rehabilitation Services maintains a considerable number of Third Party Agreements with other units of government, primarily school districts. These Third Party Agreements are designed to increase the availability of vocational rehabilitation services to specific populations of people with disabilities. DRS has a contract with each entity that is consistent with Federal regulations (34CFR361.26) and includes the following provisions: (a) the vocational rehabilitation services to be provided are identified; (b) the local agency assures that non-Federal funds are made available to DRS; (c) the local agency assures that DRS approval is required before services are provided; and (d) the local agency assures that all other State plan requirements, including the Order of Selection policy, are applied to persons receiving services through the agreement.

The following is a list of the Third Party Agreements now in place.

1. William Rainey Harper College

The purpose of this agreement is to provide post-secondary training to students in northern Cook County with hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and other disabilities who are eligible for VR program services. The college is a two-year community college, which serves the northern part of Cook County. It is located in Palatine, Illinois.

2. The Evaluation and Development Center

The purpose of this agreement with the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is to provide a continuing program of rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities in Southern Illinois. This agreement provides evaluation and placement, independent living, residential, information and referral, and rehabilitation engineering services to customers eligible for services from the VR program. This program primarily serves the Illinois counties of Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Perry, Saline, Williamson, and Union.

3. Secondary Transitional Experience Program (STEP)

The purpose of this program is to provide rehabilitation services for customers who are still in secondary school. DRS has 146 contractual arrangements with school districts and cooperatives throughout the state. Of that number 136 are third-party contracts and 10 are not. These arrangements resulted in VR services being provided to approximately 15,750 students during FY2011. STEP services typically include: classroom instruction that provides opportunities for career exploration and the development of job readiness skills; independent living and community mobility skills training; and multiple work experiences in both school and community-based work sites. DRS anticipates that approximately 16,000 students will be served in the STEP program in FY2012.

List of School Districts and Cooperatives with Secondary Transitional Experience Program (STEP) Contracts

Third-Party STEP Contracts

Alton Community School District 11 Alton, IL

Anna Jonesboro Community High School Anna, IL

Belleville Township High School District 201 Belleville, IL

Bethalto Community Unit 8 Schools Bethalto, IL

Carlyle Community Unit 1 Carlyle, IL

Collinsville Unit 10 Collinsville, IL

East Alton - Wood River High School Wood River, IL

East St. Louis District 189 East St. Louis, IL

Edwardsville Community Unit 7 Edwardsville, IL

Frankfort Community High School West Frankfort, IL

Granite City School District 9 Granite City, IL

Highland Community Schools District 5 Highland, IL

JAMP Special Education Services Grand Chain, IL

Jersey Community Schools District 100 Jerseyville, IL

Regional Office of Education - Madison County Edwardsville, IL

Mascoutah Community School District 19 Mascoutah, IL

Mt. Vernon Township High School Mt. Vernon, IL

Nashville High School 99 Nashville, IL

O?Fallon High School O?Fallon, IL

Perandoe Special Education District Red Bud, IL

South Eastern Special Education Ste. Marie, IL

Education Development Center of St. Clair County Belleville, IL

Triad Community Unit School District 2 (Educational Dev. Ctr) Troy, IL

Tri-County Special Education District Murphysboro, IL

Wabash & Ohio Valley Special Education District Carmi, IL

Williamson County Special Education District Marion, IL

Belvidere Community Unit School District 100 Belvidere, IL

Bi-County Special Education Cooperative. Sterling, IL

Black Hawk Area Special Education District East Moline, IL

Bradley-Bourbonnais Community HS Bradley, IL

Canton Union School District 66 Canton, IL

Community Unit School District 2 (Serena HS) Serena, IL

Dixon Unit School District 170, LCSEA Dixon, IL

Freeport School District 145 Freeport, IL

Galesburg Community Unit School District 205 (Knox Warren) Galesburg, IL

Harlem Community Unit School District 122 Machesney Park, IL

Henry-Senachwine Community Unit School District 5 Henry, IL

Henry-Stark Special Education District c/o Kewanee HS Kewanee, IL

Kankakee School District 111 Kankakee, IL

Kankakee Area Special Education Cooperative. Kankakee, IL

LaSalle County School District 160 (Seneca High School) Seneca, IL

LaSalle-Peru Township High School LaSalle, IL

Northwest Special Education Cooperative Freeport, IL

Ogle County Educational Cooperative Byron, IL

Ottawa Township High School District 140 Ottawa, IL

Peoria Public School District 150 Peoria, IL

Princeton Township High School Princeton, IL

Putnam County Unit District 535 Granville, IL

Rockford Public School. District 205 Rockford, IL

Special Education Association of Peoria County Bartonville, IL

Special Education District of McHenry County Woodstock, IL

Streator Township High School Streator, IL

Sycamore Community Unit School District - Northwestern Illinois Association Sycamore, IL

Tazewell Mason County Special Education Association Pekin, IL

West Central Community Unit School District 235 Biggsville, IL

Winnebago County Special Education Cooperative Rockton, IL

Woodford County Special Education Association Metamora, IL

Board of Education District U-46 Elgin, IL

Community High School District 99 Downers Grove, IL

Community Unit School District 155 Crystal Lake, IL

Community School District 200 Wheaton, IL

Community Unit School District 300 Algonquin, IL

Community Unit School District 303 Mid-Valley Joint Agreement St. Charles, IL

DeKalb Community Unit District 428 DeKalb, IL

DeKalb County Sp Ed Association DeKalb, IL

DuPage High School District 88 Villa Park, IL

Easter Seals Therapeutic Day School Tinley Park, IL

Aurora East High School District 131 Aurora, IL

Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Elmhurst, IL

Fenton High School District 100 Bensenville, IL

Glenbard Township H S District 87 Glen Ellyn, IL

Indian Prairie Community Unit School District 204 Aurora, IL

J. Sterling Morton High School Berwyn, IL

Joliet Township High School District 204 Joliet, IL

Kendall County Sp Ed Cooperative Yorkville, IL

LaGrange Area Dept. of Special Ed LaGrange, IL

Lake Park High School Roselle, IL

Lincoln-Way Community High School New Lenox, IL

Lockport Area Special Education Lockport, IL

Marengo Community H S Dist 154 Marengo, IL

Naperville Community Unit School District 203 Naperville, IL

Peotone Community Unit School Peotone, IL

Plainfield Community Community School District 202 Plainfield, IL

School Association for Special Education DuPage County Naperville, IL

Southern Will County Cooperative for Special Education Wilmington, IL

Sycamore Community School District 427 Sycamore, IL

Valley View School District 365U Romeoville, IL

West Aurora School District 129 Aurora, IL

AERO Special Education Cooperative Burbank, IL

Board of Education of City of Chicago Chicago, IL

Community High School District 218 Oak Lawn, IL

Lansing School (ECHO/TIE Joint Agreement) South Holland, IL

Elmwood Park Community Unit School District 401 Franklin Park, IL

Evanston Township High School Evanston, IL

Northfield Twp District 225 Glenbrook High School Glenview, IL

Lake Forest High School Lake Forest, IL

Leyden HS - Martin Enger School Northlake, IL

Maine Township High School District 207 TS 3rd party also has SEP contract Park Ridge, IL

Mannheim School District 83 Franklin Park, IL

New Trier Township High School Winneka, IL

Niles Township District Special Education 807 Morton Grove, IL

Northern Suburban Special Education District Highland Park, IL

Northwest Suburban Special Education Org. Mount Prospect, IL

Oak Park River Forest High School Oak Park, IL

Proviso Township High School Maywood, IL

Ridgewood Community High School District 234 - Maple Park Academy Norridge, IL

Southwest Cook County Cooperative. Assoc. Special Education Oak Forest, IL

Special Education District of Lake County Gages Lake, IL

SPEED Special Education Joint Agreeement 802 Chicago Heights, IL

Thornton Twp High School District 205 Harvey, IL

Township High School 113 Highland Park, IL

Waukegan Community School District 60 Waukegan, IL

Decatur Public Schools District 61 Decatur, IL

Eastern IL Area Special Education (Matton) Charleston, IL

Educational SVC Reg. Office Champaign and Ford Counties Rantoul, IL

Ford County Special Education Cooperative Gibson City, IL

Franklin Community High School Franklin, IL

Iroquois Special Education Association Gilman, IL

Jacksonville High School Jacksonville, IL

Livingston Co. Special Services Pontiac, IL

Mid-State Special Education Taylorville, IL

Quincy Public Schools (Special Education Adams County) Quincy, IL

Regional Office of Education (McLean-Dewitt) Normal, IL

Sangamon Area Special Education District Springfield, IL

Schulyer County Community Unit District 1 Rushville, IL

Scott County Unit District 1 Winchester, IL

Springfield School District 186 Springfield, IL

Staunton Unit District 6 Staunton, IL

Vermillion Association for Special Education Danville, IL

Villa Grove Community Unit 302 Villa Grove, IL

West Central II Special Education Cooperative. Macomb, IL

Non-Third Party STEP Contracts

South Central Community Services Chicago, IL

The Cove School Northbrook, IL

Allendale Association Lake Villa, IL

Arlyn Day School Wilmette, IL

Beacon Therapeutic & Treatment Center Chicago, IL

Summit School East Dundee, IL

Larkin Center Elgin, IL

Nexus (Indian Oaks Academy) Manteno, IL

Bartlett Learning Center Bartlett, IL

Children’s Home Association of Illinois Peoria, IL

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 2:35PM by Douglas Morton

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

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

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

General Information on Interagency Cooperation

Illinois DRS maintains cooperative agreements and working relationships with a wide variety of state, local and education entities that provide services to individuals with disabilities. DRS presently has over 25 interagency agreements in effect with other state agencies. DRS has a long-standing agreement with the Illinois State Board of Education regarding the provision of transition services to students with disabilities age 14 and older. This agreement is currently under review for the purposes of making extensive revisions in FY2012. The revised agreement will place greater emphasis on the roles of each party in preparing students for the transition to employment, education and training.

Presently DRS provides VR services to over 15,000 students with disabilities each year through contracts with 146 school systems. DRS provides vocational rehabilitation services to another 3,000 high school students with disabilities outside of the contractual system. DRS also has agreements with 12 state universities and 36 community colleges in Illinois regarding funding for services to students who are VR customers.

DRS has contracts and working agreements with over 130 not-for-profit community rehabilitation programs, which serve over 5,000 VR customers each year, providing vocational evaluation, job placement and supported employment services. DRS maintains working relationships with the Statewide Independent Living Council, as well as the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, and has contracts with centers for independent living to provide a variety of rehabilitation services.

Illinois does not have an agency receiving a grant under part C of Title I of the Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians. Also, Illinois does not have a separate VR agency for individuals who are blind.

State Use and Rural Development Programs

DRS does not presently have formal interagency agreements with state use programs operated within Illinois. The Department of Human Services Procurement Office, which coordinates purchasing activities, maintains procedures for purchasing from designated state use sources on behalf of the Department. DRS does not have formal interagency agreements with Rural Development Programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Agreements with Components of the Workforce Investment System

Each DRS local office has developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with local one-stop workforce centers in their service area. The MOU process has been in place since 2001 and is well understood by all parties. The local office supervisor takes an active role in representing the VR program in the one-stop system, and is responsible for updating the MOU each year. The MOU detailed information on referral procedures when there is no physical VR program presence at the one-stop center. When there is a VR presence at the center, the MOU describes the funding arrangements regarding utilization of the space and infrastructure costs. To the greatest extent possible, DRS prefers to make in-kind contributions to the one-stop center.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 4:36PM by Douglas Morton

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

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

Cooperation with Education Officials

The DRS interagency agreement with the State Board of Education identifies financial roles and responsibilities for transition services. The overall responsibility for funding a student’s educational program lies with the local education authority, with support from the State Board of Education. DRS provides funding for vocational rehabilitation services, both through the STEP program and through general VR caseloads. DRS has contracts with 146 school districts, of which 136 involve the use of school funds as VR matching funds. DRS coordinates and provides support for operational costs of regional Transition Planning Councils. DRS establishes qualifications for personnel it employs, and the State Board establishes qualifications for personnel working for school districts

In 2009 DRS developed a contract addendum for each school with a third-party contract. This addendum specified requirements relating to federal VR regulations that were not otherwise listed in the existing contract. This included language regarding compliance with the DRS order of selection policy, verification that only individuals who were applicants to or eligible for the VR program would be served, and a clarification of roles and responsibilities for school and DRS staff. These addendums remained in force for the 2010-2011 school year. For the 2011-2012 school year, the information contained in the addendum will be incorporated as an exhibit in the contract document signed by each school district. This will be an ongoing element of STEP contracts.

DRS provides consultation and technical assistance to educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities. This is accomplished through a number of mechanisms. DRS has assigned qualified rehabilitation counselors to act as liaison to every high school in Illinois. A fundamental part of the liaison role is to provide consultation and technical assistance to educators involved in the transition process.

Transition Planning Councils in each area of the state work with school districts to identify students with disabilities needing transition services. Aggregate services needs are reported annually to the State Transition Council. Through the counselor liaison relationships, students with disabilities have ready access to the VR program. DRS counselors provide consultation regarding vocational services and provide general information on disability services available in the community. DRS also sponsors the Next Steps parent-training program to assist families in understanding their children’s needs regarding transition services.

Illinois has a committee dedicated to transition issues, the Interagency Coordinating Council, that develops policy and establishes roles and responsibilities. DRS participates on the Council along with the State Board of Education and other state agencies involved in serving youth with disabilities. DRS also coordinates regional Transition Planning Councils, with school and community rehabilitation programs also participating. State law requires that transition planning begin at age 14 ½. DRS assists local schools in building a vocational focus as the student progresses through the school system. The Secondary Transition Experience Program (STEP) is funded by DRS and provides financial support for students with disabilities during the high school years. Participation in DRS services -- either through STEP or directly with a DRS VR counselor-- is included in the student’s IEP, with most services provided by school personnel. After finishing school, most students are transferred to a regular DRS VR caseload, to pursue a vocational goal or post-secondary education

In 2005 DRS adopted a rule (89 Ill. Admin. Code 572.50 (c)) which states that all transition students served by the DRS vocational rehabilitation program must have an IPE developed as soon as possible, but no later than the last semester the student is expected to be in high school.

Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education

In Illinois there is no single government agency responsible for the administration of higher education in the state. There are two agencies with regulatory responsibility for higher education in Illinois. The Illinois Board of Higher Education is responsible for regulating the activities of public and private colleges and universities in the state that offer four-year programs and graduate programs. The Illinois Community College Board has a similar role for two-year community colleges throughout the state. Because there is no single administrative entity, DRS must initiate individual agreements with each institution.

Since 2001 DRS has worked to develop cooperative working agreements with institutions of higher education that serve vocational rehabilitation program customers. The primary focus of the agreements has been arrangements for payment of auxiliary services and supports provided to students who are VR customers. In particular, the agreements have focused on payment for sign language interpreter services and computer-assisted real time captioning services for students who are deaf. While there are many other types of services involved in the agreements, these represent the highest cost services.

Consequently, DRS has pursued a strategy of a gradual reduction in financial support for auxiliary services to students with disabilities. In 2001 DRS developed a plan to reduce the VR share of auxiliary services to a maximum of 50 percent by 2004. DRS announced a statewide schedule in its 2007 State Plan that has no reached its conclusion, with DRS contributing no funds to pay for auxiliary services for students with disabilities in Illinois colleges and universities.

In 2009 DRS distributed agreements to each public institution of higher education in Illinois which reiterated the new policy, and which also specified the general categories of services VR will pay for, and provided a mechanism for dispute resolution. These agreements will continue to be in effect throughout the 2011-2012 school year.

It should be noted that there have been few disputes about payment for auxiliary aids and services since DRS began this process six years ago. It is DRS policy that no student be denied services due to a dispute between DRS and an institution of higher education. In such circumstances, DRS will pay for the auxiliary services and seek reimbursement from the institution at a later date.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 4:38PM by Douglas Morton

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

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

Non-Profit Rehabilitation Providers

DRS has contractual agreements with non-profit rehabilitation providers to provide services to VR customers. DRS works with the Facilities Advisory Council consisting of provider representatives to discuss issues and identify service needs in an ongoing manner. Cooperative agreements with non-profit rehabilitation service providers are developed when necessary to specify responsibilities relating to a project. Development of such cooperative agreements are initiated by local office supervisor and completed with approval from the community resources division of DRS.

DRS has contracts and working agreements with over 130 not-for-profit community rehabilitation programs, which serve over 5,000 VR customers each year, providing vocational evaluation, job placement and supported employment services. DRS maintains working relationships with the Statewide Independent Living Council, as well as the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, and has contracts with centers for independent living to provide a variety of rehabilitation services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 4:40PM by Douglas Morton

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

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

General Information

DRS has contracts and working agreements with not-for-profit community rehabilitation programs, which serve over 5,000 VR customers each year, providing vocational evaluation, job placement and supported employment services. DRS also has contracts with centers for independent living to provide a variety of rehabilitation services. DRS believes that supported employment services are generally available when needed for individuals with most significant disabilities.

Supported Employment and Extended Services

For many years DRS has had a number of contracts and cooperative working agreements with community provider agencies to provide both supported employment and extended services to individuals with most significant disabilities. DRS has a standing committee of community rehabilitation programs known as the Facility Advisory Committee which meets regularly to discuss service arrangements, including but not limited to, supported employment and extended services. DRS believes that this group is the best mechanism for communicating with provider agencies and maintaining a grasp of the demand for these services. DRS also has an interagency cooperative team that involves the DHS Division of Mental Health to provide ongoing support services to individuals with serious mental illness.

In FY2012 DRS expects to continue the following levels of funding for supported employment activities. Supported employment services provided with Title VI-B funds: approximately 200 individuals, total funding $1.1 million, approximately 25 provider agencies.. Supported employment provided with Title I funds: approximately 2,250 individuals, total funding $4.5 million, approximately 40 provider agencies.

DRS will not be able to provide the same level of extended services as in the past, due to an elimination of state general revenue funding for this program. In state fiscal year 2011 $1.04 million in state funds were used for extended services, with 47 provider agencies receiving contracts. In state fiscal year 2012 no state funds will be available for extended services.

DRS is working to identify other sources of funding for extended services. DRS intends to pursue funding arrangements with the DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities and Division of Mental Health. DRS will also work with community provider agencies to further emphasize the use of natural supports as an alternative to paid extended services.

DRS also intends to pursue ongoing changes in its supported employment program. In 2010 DRS issued a notice of changes to supported employment policy, emphasizing the need to limit the amount of time spent on pre-employment activities (known collectively as “job development”) and focus on gradual reduction in worksite support services through use of the support reduction plan portion of the IPE. It is expected that these changes will reduce the number of individuals expected to require paid extended services during the next two years, with a corresponding increase in the utilization of natural supports.

DRS intends to work with provider representatives to develop new methods of provision of supported employment services that promote independence and reduce reliance on paid extended services.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 2:43PM by Douglas Morton

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) is dedicated to ensuring an adequate supply of qualified professionals and paraprofessionals are available. This is accomplished through the strong commitment to providing and making available training programs to all staff especially staff who provide direct services to individuals with disabilities

Personnel Data

Sufficiency of Current Staffing Levels

DRS believes it has sufficient staff on hand to staff the VR program. Each staff category has a normal number of vacant positions, and DRS works aggressively to fill vacancies as soon as possible, in conjunction with DHS personnel managers. There has been little growth in the overall VR caseload in the last several years, which means that DRS has sufficient staff available to serve people with disabilities meeting its order of selection policy, and has the capacity to fill vacant positions to continue to meet that level of need.

DRS has 223 VR counselors with 15 vacant positions, and 25 rehabilitation and mobility instructors, with one vacant position. These staff are supported by rehabilitation case coordinators, of which DRS has 124 on hand with 12 vacant positions. Therefore of these key positions only about seven percent are vacant, which is a manageable level that does not present a significant challenge to identify replacement staff.

Specialty counselor positions have a slightly higher vacancy rate, but one that still allows DRS to provide services to select populations. DRS has 25 counselors certified to communicate in sign language and four vacancies in this category, as well as 27 counselors fluent in Spanish, and three vacancies in that category.

Remaining positions in the VR system have very few vacancies. The job titles of field office supervisor, field support unit staff, business enterprise for the blind program staff, central office staff and management personnel (bureau chiefs and assistant bureau chiefs) have limited vacancies, and in most cases an individual in an acting capacity is awaiting permanent appointment.

Caseload Data

The 223 VR counselors on staff had an average caseload of 129 individuals as of May 31, 2011, with a statewide total of 28,816 active cases and a total of 40,135 served during the preceding 11 months. The 24 rehabilitation and mobility instructors on staff had an average caseload of 27 individuals and a statewide total of 649 active cases and a total of 987 served during the preceding 11 months. This is consistent with historical patterns and represents a manageable number of cases given the number of staff on hand.

Projected Number of Replacement Staff in Next Five Years

DRS does not anticipate any retirement incentives or other circumstances that would result in increased staff departures during the next five years. The average age of counseling staff is much lower than it was prior to the last retirement incentive program in 2002, so it is expected that there will be a fairly regular replacement rate for staff during the next five years.

The number of staff on hand and projected annual number of replacements by title are: rehabilitation counselors 223 (15 projected replacements); rehabilitation case coordinators 124 (10) ; rehabilitation and mobility instructors 24 (2); field office supervisors 38 (4); field office administrative support 14 (2); field support unit staff 22 (2); business enterprise program for the blind staff 12 (1); central office staff 62 (5); bureau chiefs 2 (0); assistant bureau chiefs 5 (1).

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Rehabilitation counselor 238 15 75
2 Rehabilitation case coordinator 136 12 50
3 Rehabilitation and mobility instructor 27 3 10
4 Field office supervisor 41 3 20
5 Field office administrative support 17 3 10
6 Field support unit staff 25 3 10
7 Business enterprise program for the blind staff 12 0 5
8 Central office staff 66 4 25
9 Bureau chief 2 1 1
10 Assistant bureau chief 7 3 3

 

University Training Program Data

Illinois Rehabilitation Education Programs

The five CORE accredited counselor education programs located in Illinois are:

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago; Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago; Northern Illinois University, DeKalb; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; University of Illinois, Champaign

Enrollment and Expected Graduates

The total enrollment in the MA programs in rehabilitation counseling at the five universities for the 2010-2011 academic year was 167. This represents a small increase from 162 in the previous school year.. The number of graduates decreased markedly from 59 in the 2009-2010 school year to 37 for the 2010-2011 school year. The estimated replacement rate for DRS counselors is 15 per year. While many of these graduates will choose not to work for DRS, DRS believes that these programs make a significant contribution to its ability to hire new staff and replace staff who leave DRS. In Illinois graduates with an MA in rehabilitation counseling who pursue CRC certification are eligible to become licensed as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) through the State of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 University of Illinois 6 0 0 1
2 Southern Illinois University 66 0 0 11
3 Northern Illinois University 25 4 0 7
4 Northeastern Illinois University 23 0 0 6
5 Illinois Institute of Technology 47 0 0 12

 

Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel Recruitment and Retention

Each year DRS estimates the number of staff needed to operate the VR program, particularly the number of rehabilitation counselors needed. In addition, DRS works with university programs to estimate the number of students graduating from the programs. DRS has strengthened its relationships with the five university programs providing master’s degree training for rehabilitation counselors, through formation of the University Coordinators Meeting which currently meets twice a year to discuss educational needs, hiring practices and internships.

DRS has surveyed the five university programs and has information on the expected number of graduates each year. This information is analyzed in relation to administration estimates of the number of rehabilitation counselor positions that will need to be filled in the next year. In the last 12 months DRS has hired 14 new VR counselors.

Based on the information available from the university programs and the number of applications for posted vacancies, DRS believes that there are adequate numbers of qualified personnel available to fill all needed rehabilitation counselor positions.

The newest counselor-training program was established in 2005 at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). The program is available to all students but especially focuses on Hispanic enrollments. DRS administration has been in frequent communication with the new NEIU program, and has arranged for a presentation to the faculty and students. DRS has made several presentations to program staff and students regarding employment with our agency.

DRS actively recruits minority individuals and individuals with disabilities for rehabilitation counselor and other positions. The Department of Human Services personnel unit works with DRS to publicize available positions in DRS, attending numerous job fairs likely focusing on minority students and students with disabilities. The State of Illinois has recruiting policies, which assist minority individuals in obtaining employment in key positions, and also encourages training and education for current employees. State policy also encourages the hiring of individuals with disabilities. DRS worked with the state personnel agency to create a position dedicated to monitoring and assisting with the hiring of persons with disabilities in state jobs.

In addition to recruitment, DRS works actively to promote the retention of individuals with disabilities and individuals from minority backgrounds. These efforts include those sponsored by the Department of Human Services, of which DRS is a part, as well as through other state government organizations and membership associations. The purpose of these activities is to facilitate the training and professional development of staff from these populations, to promote understanding of the need for a diverse workforce, and to encourage the participation of staff in a variety of cooperative efforts aimed at making a contribution to the organization.

These efforts include: (a) the Upward Mobility program, which is designed to further the careers of state employees from minority backgrounds as well as individuals with disabilities. This program provides support for a variety of training and educational opportunities for staff during the course of their employment with the state. (b) the Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities, which engages state employees with disabilities in activities related to promoting the hiring and career advancement of people with disabilities. DRS administration is closely involved in the operations of the ICED. (c) The Illinois Association of Minorities in Government sponsors an annual conference addressing issues of concern to state employees from minority backgrounds. Each year DRS sponsors the attendance of staff to attend the IAMG conference. (d) the Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees also holds an annual conference, which focuses on state employees from Hispanic/Latino backgrounds. DRS sponsors staff to attend this conference each year. DRS believes that its sponsorship of attendance at these conferences and encouragement of membership in these organizations is a positive step in promoting a diverse workforce and a means of ensuring a high rate of job retention among its employees with disabilities and employees from minority backgrounds.

Internships

DRS has informal agreements with the five rehabilitation counselor training programs in the state to provide internship and practicum placement options for graduate students. At present DRS is not able to offer paid internships to counseling students. We continue to provide unpaid internships whenever possible, both to support the universities and students as well as to provide a job preview to students interested in working for DRS when they complete their training.

Strategies for Retaining, Recruiting and Hiring Personnel

DRS uses several strategies to recruit, hire and retain rehabilitation personnel. Key elements are promotion and publicizing the VR program, locating job candidates, monitoring the state hiring process, and identifying methods to encourage retention of staff.

The University Coordinator Committee is composed of representatives from the five rehabilitation education programs in the state. DRS administrators meet twice a year with this committee to develop an understanding of the current training capacity of the programs, and to facilitate communication about DRS hiring practices and vacancies. DRS works with the DHS personnel unit to conduct outreach activities to individuals who may be interested in state employment. DHS maintains a regular schedule of job fairs, community events and recruitment initiatives that include a focus on hiring minority individuals.

DRS offers unpaid internship and practicum opportunities in its field offices to graduate students from the five rehabilitation education programs. These are arranged with the university faculty and DRS administrators as needed. DRS also makes presentations to undergraduate students to expose them to the field of vocational rehabilitation and provide them with information on graduate rehabilitation education programs.

DRS has an ongoing team composed of staff and administrators that focuses on issues related to hiring and retention of qualified staff. This group attempts to identify strategies that motivate staff to continue their employment, including rewards and recognition for high-level performance.

 

Personnel Standards State Degree Standard. For several years, the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) has had the requirement for all new counselors of a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a closely related field. The Master’s degree requirement for DRS vocational rehabilitation counselors is supported by state licensing categories as well. The applicable licensing requirement in the state is for a "Licensed Professional Counselor" license, which is issued by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. This license is a generic counseling license and is not specifically for vocational rehabilitation counselors. The license requires a Master’s degree in counseling, rehabilitation counseling, psychology or related field. For purposes of the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD), the requirement of a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field will be considered the state standard.

Completion of 1998 Goal. On October 1, 2008 DRS completed its 10-year plan to implement its degree standard for all rehabilitation counselors employed by the agency. All counselors how meet the standard.

Counselor Participation in Graduate Education. DRS no longer is involved in providing graduate training for rehabilitation counselors. DRS does assist staff hired as social service career trainees (SSCT) with the cost of graduate training to reach the state degree standard. These individuals are employed to serve specialty caseloads and must demonstrate fluency in either Spanish or American Sign Language. They are hired as trainees without meeting the state standard and are allowed four years to complete a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. During that time they do not perform any of the non-delegable functions of a qualified rehabilitation counselor.

DRS uses a computer data base for tracking the progress of each staff person employed as a SSCT. The DRS personnel unit maintains ongoing contact with each SSCT and keeps a record of all courses taken and credits earned in his or her graduate training program. Individuals must make progress that will enable them to complete their MA degree in 48 months, and are terminated if it is determined that they cannot complete course requirements in the remaining time. SSCT staff must also obtain positive performance reviews from the field office supervisor and participate in required inservice training throughout their term of training.

Hiring of Individuals Not Meeting the State Standard

DRS hires individuals who do not meet the state degree standard only when the individual has a language skill that will meet the needs of VR customers and when an individual with such skills who also meets the degree standard is not available. DRS hires Social Service Career Trainees who have a bachelor’s degree in counseling or social services and who can demonstrate fluency in Spanish or in American Sign Language. DRS has experienced ongoing difficulties in hiring individuals with Master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling who also possess these language skills. Therefore, DRS has chosen to hire trainees with language skills who can work effectively with VR customers while pursuing a Master’s degree.

Individuals hired as Social Service Career Trainees attend graduate school at DRS expense and are required to obtain a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling within 48 months of the date they are hired. DRS provides assistance in identifying a graduate program and allows for flexible work hours to attend classes.

Counselor Data by Degree Status and Trainee Status

DRS employs 74 individuals with a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling: 65 of these are certified rehabilitation counselors and nine are counselor trainees. DRS employs 146 individuals with Master’s degrees in a field closely related to rehabilitation counseling: 141 of these are certified rehabilitation counselors and five are counselor trainees. DRS employs three individuals as social service career trainees who do not have a Master’s degree and are currently in graduate training. SSCT staff are not qualified rehabilitation counselors. Their work must be signed off by the office supervisor who meets the qualifications of the CSPD.

 

Staff Development The DRS Staff Development Section (SDS) oversees the needs assessment, development, implementation, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of all training programs offered within DRS. SDS has three full-time trainers and a manager position that is currently vacant, in addition to three support staff. SDS is responsible for providing training to DRS VR staff as well as coordinating training from other sources and maintaining the training data base which tracks the number of training hours for each staff person.

Training Requirements. All DRS staff are expected to participate in training events annually. Annual employee performance evaluations are designed to include training needs and expectations as identified by both the employee and the supervisor. Certain training events sponsored by DRS are mandated for attendance by staff in particular titles, such as rehabilitation counselors and rehabilitation case coordinators.

SDS initiates new training activities and also responds to specific requests for training from DRS administrators and field office supervisors. SDS coordinates the New Employee Orientation (NEO) training in which each new DRS staff person participates in the first months of his or her employment. This includes an overview of agency policies as well as a review of how the VR program operates in Illinois.

While the NEO training is conducted centrally, nearly all other training is conducted in local offices or at convenient locations around the state to save on travel costs. In many cases, training events are provided at the initiation of field office supervisors or regional administrators in response to local concerns. DRS has initiated a proposal to secure funding for additional distance learning opportunities, both for staff convenience and to reduce travel expenses. DRS anticipates that new equipment for conducting webinars and other distance training will be installed during FY2012 for use in a variety of training events.

The following table training courses provided by the Staff Development Section in the last year, as well as statewide conferences attended by DRS staff with financial support from DRS.

Training Provided by DRS Staff Development Section Rehabilitation Instructor Group Training Job Placement - Employment in a Down Economy Job Placement - Ex-Offenders with Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Issues Job Placement - Customers with Hearing Loss Casework Perspectives in VR Casework for College Training Cases Valuing Diversity in the Workplace Conflict and Stress Management Real Colors (Working in Teams) Platinum Customer Service Customer Service and Telephone Skills Projecting a Professional Image Deafblindness Training - Helen Keller National Center Working with Ex-Offenders with Disabilities Business Mentorship and Self Employment Recovery and Rehabilitation Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Training New Trends in Self Employment Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf Group Training Conferences Supported by DRS Illinois Rehabilitation Association Illinois Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Illinois Association of Agencies and Community Organizations for Migrant Advocacy Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees Illinois Association of Minorities in Government Latino Mental Health Conference Statewide Transition Conference

Ongoing Staff Development

DRS provides ongoing training to staff in all areas of counseling, including counseling and guidance. All staff are required to take a five-day New Employee Orientation training course that focuses on the role of the counselor in the counseling relationship. A major emphasis is placed on role-playing various situations where counseling and guidance skills are used. Another major emphasis is on assessment of the individual’s rehabilitation needs, beginning with the initial interview.

Placement skills are emphasized in training activities including regional meetings held annually, as well as on-site training in field offices. Training focuses on job development skills, communication with employers and preparing customers for job interviews. Job placement assistance is also provided to counselors through relationships with Employment Resource Specialist (ERS) staff located around the state. Each field office has an ERS assigned to assist counselors with job placement concerns. ERS staff can also act as a companion to the counselor on the computerized case management system, sharing information and making case notes to promote effective job placement.

DRS makes training available in rehabilitation technology to all staff. DRS employs rehabilitation technology specialists who provide on-site consultation to counselors and assist them in developing plans for provision of rehabilitation technology to VR customers. DRS also has contractual staff who focus on rehabilitation technology issues and provide on-site training and consultation. DRS works in conjunction with the Illinois Assistive Technology Project, the state’s AT grant recipient, to promote understanding of rehabilitation technology needs and identification of technology resources. DRS makes use of the rehabilitation technology program at the University of Illinois at Chicago as both a training resource and a service provider for VR customers.

Dissemination of Research Materials to Staff. DRS makes use of its intranet system to provide linkages to research sources and other new information relating to the field of rehabilitation. DRS also maintains a close relationship with the Illinois Rehabilitation Association (IRA) including providing assistance in sponsoring the IRA annual conference. The IRA conference features presentations on new developments in the rehabilitation field including presentations on research from university professionals as well as rehabilitation practitioners. Staff are encouraged to become members of the IRA and NRA and therefore receive the NRA’s professional publication Journal of Rehabilitation. In addition, key categories of staff such as rehabilitation counselors for the deaf and mental health specialist counselors, participate in regional and statewide groups that share current research relevant to their fields of study. The DRS initiative in evidenced-based services for persons with mental illness (also known as individual placement and support services) involves sharing research findings in a structured way with staff.

Training Technology

In 2006 DRS received a five-year training grant from RSA to support staff development in terms of leadership, casework procedures, and World Class Customer Service. Total funding for the grant is approximately $600,000. In addition application was made to RSA for a Quality Project, which outlines a program for new employee orientation and veteran employee refresher to casework policy and procedure. As a part of the Quality Project a Checkpoint procedure has been developed which includes a modular, self-paced format (to be concluded within one year) to monitor employee progress and understanding of policies and procedures. In addition, DRS has applied for funds to facilitate use of distance learning technology in conjunction with the community college network. This will enable DRS to provide training around the state while reducing travel expenses and increasing access to training for staff in more remote locations.

 

Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs Describe how the designated state unit has personnel or obtains 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. Communication with Diverse Populations

DRS maintains rehabilitation counseling staff with expertise in communicating with diverse populations. A group of Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf (RCDs) are employed throughout the state. These individuals are fluent in sign language and conversant with deaf culture, and provide the full range of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals who are deaf. The Bureau of Blind Services employs rehabilitation counselors and rehabilitation instructors who are professionally qualified to provide rehabilitation services to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. DRS strongly encourages the use of Braille as part of training for individuals who are blind. In addition, rehabilitation counselors and rehabilitation case coordinators are employed who are qualified to communicate with individuals whose primary language is Spanish. Staff are tested in order to qualify for bilingual positions.

At times, DRS has difficulty locating staff who meet the degree requirements for a rehabilitation counselor and who also speak Spanish or are fluent in sign language. As noted above, DRS policy allows individuals with these skills to be employed as Social Service Career Trainees if they have the relevant communication skills and are enrolled in a graduate program that will enable them to meet the degree standard and become a rehabilitation counselor. A relatively new option for DRS is the counselor training program at Northeastern Illinois University, which was established in order to train individuals who are bilingual in Spanish and English.

DRS also works with individuals whose primary language is one other than English, Spanish or sign language. While the numbers of such individuals is relatively small, it is equally important to be able to communicate effectively with them about their rehabilitation needs. The Illinois Department of Human Services maintains a computerized resource directory, which includes information on translation services for a variety of languages, including Polish, Vietnamese and Arabic among others. DRS counselors can link with these resources to provide translation services. DRS has also piloted the use of a telephone-based translation service which can provide instant translations in over 100 languages and which requires only the use of two telephones. When professional translators are not available, DRS works with family members or volunteer translators from community or religious organizations who can assist the individual.

 

Coordination of Personnel Development Under the individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act Describe the procedures and activities to coordinate the designated state unit’s comprehensive system of personnel development with personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. Coordination of the CSPD and Inservice Training

Relationship to IDEA DRS staff provide services annually to thousands of young people with disabilities, most of whom receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Approximately 15,00 young people participate in the Secondary Transition Experience Program (STEP), which provides work experience during the high school years. The Next Steps program provides advocacy training to parents of students with disabilities. Part of the Next Steps training program includes providing information on the importance of transition planning.

DRS staff who work with high school students participate in training offered by the Illinois State Board of Education and its Transition Systems Change project. DRS maintains an administrative liaison position with the State Board to facilitate communication about transition issues, including available training options. Also, DRS has staff who serve on the Education of Students with Disabilities Advisory Committee.

There is no direct connection between DRS training efforts and the personnel development plan under IDEIA. DRS staff are closely involved in the statewide network of Transition Planning Councils (TPCs), which consist of rehabilitation and education professionals, as well as employers and school administrators. The purpose of the TPCs is to facilitate transition from school to work and to identify local issues that affect transition. DRS staff are involved with the schools in their communities and frequently attend training events sponsored by schools.

Relationship to Inservice Grant DRS training is based on its needs assessment and the leadership of its administration. The RSA inservice training grant is used to fund much of the training needed by DRS staff. Other grant opportunities are sought out as they become available. Two separate proposals have been submitted for training related to graduate education for targeted rehabilitation counselors, for example. In addition, state funds are requested each year based on the anticipated training needs.

The focus of the most recent inservice grant is on casework procedure with new training opportunities being offered in the following areas: state and federal VR program regulations; casework practices in the areas of assessment, IPE development, and documentation; the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits system; supported employment; and medical aspects of disability.

The in-service training grant also focuses on the necessity for the Director, key administrators and other identified presenters as determined by the needs assessment to hold semi-annual regional meetings for all staff and supervisory meetings three times per year.

State Rehabilitation Council

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is actively involved in DRS training. Staff Development Section staff make presentations to SRC on relevant training topics at the request of SRC. In addition, an SDS staff member serves as staff liaison to the SRC. SRC also makes recommendations to DRS regarding training issues it considers relevant. SRC staff have participated in meetings with university personnel related to graduate training issues. In this forum, the SRC representative has the opportunity to raise training issues directly with senior administrators and university program administrators.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 4:52PM by Douglas Morton

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

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

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

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment Results of the Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities and Need to Establish, Develop, or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs

Comprehensive Needs Assessment Background

The DRS comprehensive needs assessment is conducted every three years, with the last CSNA completed in FY 2010, which covered FY 2008-FY 2010. In 2010 a series of data collection activities was undertaken to provide a new focus for evaluating the needs of VR customers in the state. The comprehensive needs assessment was conducted jointly by DRS and the State Rehabilitation Council. The statewide needs assessment was completed in FY2010 and the next comprehensive needs assessment will be completed in FY2013 and covere FY 2011-2013.

Overview of Needs Assessment Activities

The 2010 needs assessment activities included surveys of the following groups: (a) a sample of current and former VR customers; (b) all community provider agencies with a financial agreement with DRS; (c) all school districts involved in the STEP program; (d) DRS council members and other stakeholders; and (e) DRS staff. The sample of VR customers was stratified to insure inclusion of individuals with low-incidence disabilities, individuals from minority backgrounds and individuals with most significant disabilities. Members of each of these groups has a different perspective on the service needs of people with disabilities in Illinois.

In addition, DRS held a series of four community forums around the state to solicit input on local service needs and the future direction of the Illinois VR program. In the past DRS has found the community forum format to be a productive means of engaging with stakeholders.

Demographic Information

DRS has analyzed demographic data from a number of sources to obtain a perspective on trends that are likely to have an impact on the operation of the VR program. Illinois is a state with low population growth, with the overall population growing by only 3.3 percent from the 2000 Census to the 2010 Census.. In part, this is due to a negative rate of domestic migration, that is, more people move out of the state than move into the state. This has been offset by international migration, particularly in the Chicago metropolitan area. While the overall birth rate in Illinois remains around the national average, the birth rate among persons themselves born outside the U.S. is significantly higher and the source of primary population growth excluding immigration. Overall the Latino population in Illinois is the only notable source of population growth, with declines or negligible growth noted for other population groups. The very low average age of the Latino population means that the greatest impact on the adult VR services system will not be felt for several years.

The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) data for 2008 (released in 2009) presents a problem for estimating the needs of people with disabilities. Due to a change in the questions asked of ACS respondents, the overall proportion of working age individuals with a disability declined from 9.9 percent in 2007 to 8.2 percent in 2008. For the most part this was due to eliminating a question about “employment disability”, that is, asking respondents if they had a physical or mental condition that interfered with their ability to work at a job or business. In addition, wording of other questions was changed and the overall estimate of people with disabilities was lowered.

The 2007 ACS estimate was around 830,581 individuals aged 16-64 with a disability, while the 2008 estimate was 675,300 persons in that age group with a disability, a reduction of 155,300 persons. It can be assumed that the reduced estimate would not affect the overall estimate of persons likely to need VR services, since those individuals are likely to have been counted in either survey formulation. The 2008 survey found that around 370,000 individuals reported one type of disability, while around 306,000 reported two or more types of disabilities. These individuals can be presumed to be more likely to need VR services in order to be employed.

Using the ACS disability prevalence rates and the 2010 Census population values, the number of working age individuals (18 to 64) with a disability is estimated to be 665,096, a rate of 8.22 percent with any type of reported disability. For the 16 to 64 age group, the number of persons with a disability is estimated to be 679,903. Of the number, 305,993 are estimated to have two or more disabling conditions, an indication of the significance of disability as it relates to possible participation in the vocational rehabilitation program.

The 2008 ACS survey found that only around 40 percent of working age individuals with a disability were employed, compared to 78 percent of working age individuals who do not have a disability were employed. In other words, individuals with a disability in Illinois are only half as likely to be employed as those who do not have a disability. This is consistent with previous Census surveys and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Other data sources consulted included the Cornell University disability statistics center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention risk assessment survey. These rely to a greater or lesser extent on Census surveys, including the ACS. The Cornell data is useful for comparison of Illinois to other states. Overall the rate of disability in these data sets suggests that the rate of disability in Illinois is somewhat lower than in other states.

In summary, Illinois is a state with slow growth and a population of persons with disabilities that is fairly stable in size. While this suggests that demand for service is unlikely to increase significantly in the near future, it is worrisome that the employment rate for people with disabilities is declining in Illinois, particularly the rate of year-round, full-time employment. Individuals in the latter category are most likely to achieve self-sufficiency, and persons who lose such employment would be highly likely to seek VR services in order to return to work.

Needs of Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities

DRS collected survey data on individuals with a primary disability of intellectual disability, mental illness, and brain injury since these individuals are very likely to be classified as having a most significant disability, and constitute the overwhelming majority of individuals who receive supported employment services. Survey results indicated that the most urgent needs were for job placement (45.4% rated as “need now”), vocational training (35.9%), job coaching or supported employment (36.7%) and on-the-job training (36.8%). There was less interest in assistive technology (12.1%) or self-employment (14.1%), and moderate interest in benefits planning services (22.9%).

In addition, an analysis was conducted of all customer responses to the needs assessment survey, with 892 individuals responding. Respondents were grouped according to the number of disabling conditions reported, comparing persons indicating only one condition to those reporting two or more. Results of this analysis were mixed. In some instances, individuals reporting one condition reported a higher level of need than did those reporting multiple conditions. For example, persons reporting a single condition indicated a more urgent need for college training services (36.2% “need now”) than did individuals reporting multiple conditions (20.04%). In most other instances, however, individuals reporting multiple conditions indicated a more urgent need. This included: vocational counseling (32.6% vs. 26.8%); job coaching (33.5% vs. 22.1%); assistive technology (27.3% vs. 15.8%); and advocacy (34.9% vs. 18.7%). This suggests that survey respondents were reporting a level of need consistent with their reported disabilities, with individuals having more disabling conditions having more urgent service needs.

DRS proposes to address these needs in several ways. First is through our ongoing efforts to maximize the availability of supported employment services. From 1998 to 2002 DRS implemented a major expansion of supported employment services, and has since maintained that level of effort. Utilizing for targeted SEP funds as well as general VR funds, DRS provided supported employment services to 2,700 individuals with most significant disabilities. While few respondents to the needs assessment surveys used the term “supported employment”, our experience suggests that this service option is the most flexible means of addressing the needs of this population. Also, the DRS Quality Assurance unit has conducted an ongoing study of supported employment service cases in order to identify patterns of successful service provision.

Another method of addressing the needs of the most significantly disabled population is the use of benefits planning services, now known as work incentives planning and assistance (WIPA) services. DRS has coordinated the provision of WIPA services in most counties in the state, and works in close cooperation with other benefits entities to assist VR customers in the management of Social Security and Medicaid benefits while they are working. This includes training for individuals with disabilities and an emphasis on the use of PASS plans to promote independence.

In addition, DRS continues to work in cooperation with the network of centers for independent living to coordinate necessary independent living services for VR customers. This includes the ongoing effort to assist individuals with most significant disabilities in moving out of nursing facilities and into their own homes in the community. This is accomplished through contractual relationships between DRS and independent living centers around the state. DRS also works to increase the number of persons in the VR program who also participate in independent living or home care programs.

Needs of Individuals with Disabilities Who Are Minorities

Analysis of results of the 2010 needs assessment surveys show that individuals who are minorities with disabilities expressed a stronger need for services and indicated a lower availability of services, than did respondents who were not from a minority group. This resulted from a consistently higher usage of the “need now” rating category among minority respondents. This difference was statistically significant, although there were no significant differences among the various minority groups in their survey ratings. The rankings of service needs for minority and white customers were nearly identical, however, presenting a challenge for interpreting the results. Although the minority customers expressed a more urgent need, the services they indicating needing were ranked the same as for non-minority customers.

Respondents expressed a stronger need for most services compared to non-minority respondents. These include: job placement services (51.6% rated as “need now”), vocational evaluation (36.3%), vocational training (45.2%) transportation (36.5%), job coaching (34.9%), supported employment (40.1%) and on-the-job training (51.3%). Overall, minority respondents utilized the ?need now? rating category for 37.4 percent of their responses, compared to 16.5 percent of responses from non-minority respondents.

Statistical data from the Census and from DRS service data indicate that the minority population is increasing at a faster rate than the general population, and therefore DRS anticipates that the proportion of minority individuals with disabilities in the VR program will increase in the near future. The growth of the Latino population is a consistent phenomenon that can be observed in all areas of the state, including less densely populated areas in the south.

DRS will address these needs in several ways. First, DRS has developed a set of monthly and quarterly data reports that provide information on employment outcomes, rehabilitation rates and average case expenditures for customers from different racial and ethnic groups. A new report in 2010 provides data at the statewide, regional and office level for the RSA service rate ratio. Second, DRS local offices will include outreach goals as part of local office plans developed for the ongoing organizational transformation effort. Finally, DRS participates in efforts coordinated by the Department of Human Services that aim to improve communication with minority individuals and communities in Illinois, including individuals who speak languages other than English and Spanish, and who may be immigrants.

The population in Illinois grew significantly for three demographic categories: persons who are Hispanic or Latino, persons of Asian backgrounds, and persons classified as multiracial. The Latino population grew 33 percent overall and 31 percent among those aged 17 or younger, while the Asian population grew by 38 percent overall and 32 percent among those aged 17 or younger. The multiracial category increased by 20 percent overall and by 44 percent among persons aged 17 or younger.

DRS intends to develop an initiative to identify additional individuals in both the Latino and Asian categories during the next two years. It is important for DRS to be able to respond to population growth in a meaningful way and make the VR program available to individuals who can benefit from services.

Needs of Individuals Who Have Been Unserved or Underserved by the VR Program

The needs assessment survey attempted to identify individuals who are deaf-blind by sampling individuals classified as blind and individuals classified as deaf. Individuals from either group who subsequently identified as having a second sensory impairment were included. A total of 18 individuals were included in the deaf-blind respondent group. Most of the individuals tended to give relatively low urgency ratings. As a group they were more likely than other groups to use the rating category “may need in the future”. The greatest level of need indicated by respondents in this group was for assistive technology (52.1% indicating a need), advocacy (44.8%) and job placement (38.4%). Further investigation will be needed into the relatively low ratings of service needs by this group.

In 2011 DRS held two major training sessions for staff to increase knowledge of the deaf-blind population and increase skills in working with this population. Specialists from the Helen Keller National Center came to Illinois to conduct the training for counselors specializing in serving deaf and blind customers. DRS typically assigns deaf-blind customers to deaf specialist counselors, who consult with blind services staff in developing a service plan.

DRS will address the needs of these groups through continuing efforts that target specific disability groups. In 2006 DRS began providing an ongoing program of training in the medical aspects of rehabilitation to all counseling staff, both as a refresher course as well as an update on disability trends and current disability issues.

DRS is involved in an ongoing effort to implement a system of individual placement services (IPS) programs, formerly known as evidence-based supported employment programs, for individuals with serious mental illness. The IPS model is designed to provide employment services that are tailored to the specific needs of this population, which have traditionally been underserved by VR programs nationally. This has been a major undertaking involving extensive cooperation with the DHS Division of Mental Health, community providers, and university consultants. A number of new agencies have received placement contracts from DRS and a special evaluation process is underway.

Needs of Individuals with Disabilities Served Through Other Components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System

Persons responding to the DRS needs assessment surveys made few mentions of the workforce system as such. It is likely that people with disabilities have not yet come to view the one-stop centers as a focus for receiving services. DRS will continue its efforts in making use of the workforce system, but it is acknowledged that much additional work is needed to increase awareness of the services available from that system for Individuals with disabilities. DRS receives a regular data report on referrals made to and received from one-stop centers across the state. Overall patterns of referrals have changed little in the last few years.

DRS also is exploring additional opportunities to work more closely with one-stop employment centers. Memorandums of understanding are updated each year between the local DRS office and the corresponding one-stop center. These agreements address financial and in-kind contributions towards the operation of the one-stop center, as well as methods of referral and sharing of resources and equipment. In FY2012 DRS does not anticipate any additional co-location into one-stop centers, but efforts to increase cooperation will continue. These include expanding methods of communication, including electronic and computer connections, between DRS offices and local workforce centers.

Community Rehabilitation Programs

DRS believes that the system of community rehabilitation programs in the state is adequate to meet the needs of vocational rehabilitation program customers. Nothing in the needs assessment process suggests a need to establish or expand the CRP system. DRS meets regularly with a statewide committee of CRP representatives (the Facility Advisory Council) to improve services provided by CRPs in Illinois.

This screen was last updated on Jul 20 2011 2:40PM by Tonya Stellar

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates of Individuals to Be Served and Costs of Services This section provides the estimates for Illinois of the number of individuals eligible for the VR program under Title I and Title VI B, including the number likely to meet the order of selection, the number to be served by the VR program, as well as the costs of the services to be provided during Fiscal Year 2012, defined as the period beginning October 1, 2011 and ending September 30, 2012.

Population Estimate

Based on Census data, DRS estimates that there are 679,900 individuals with disabilities in Illinois who are potentially eligible for VR services under Title I, Part B, of which an estimated 374,000 are unlikely to meet the DRS order of selection policy. In addition, DRS estimates that there are 76,500 individuals with disabilities who are potentially eligible for VR services under Title VI, Part B.

Service Estimates

DRS estimates that there are 305,900 individuals who are potentially eligible and likely to meet the DRS order of selection policy, with 43,000 being served under Title I, Part B and 200 served under Title VI, Part B, for a total of 43,200 persons to be served in FY2012.

Of that number, DRS estimates that 27,520 will be classified in the most significant disability category and 15,250 in the very significant disability category. DRS estimates that 430 individuals previously certified in the significant category will be served although that category has been closed since FY2005.

DRS estimates that there will be about 12,500 new cases in FY2012, of which one-third will be in the very significant category and two-thirds in the most significant category.

DRS changed its order of selection policy in 2005. Individuals who were receiving services prior to that time constitute the individuals in the significant disability category. DRS does not anticipate opening that category of the order of selection at any time in the future. The number of individuals in the significant disability category will continue to decrease as those individuals now receiving service are closed from the system.

Projected Outcomes

DRS projects that it will achieve a total of 6,520 employment outcomes in FY2012. Of that number, 3,585 are projected to be in the most significant disability category, while 2,870 will be in the very significant disability category and 65 will be in the significant disability category.

Projected Spending

DRS estimates that total spending for FY2012 will be $144,000,000, of which $113,000,000 will be VR funds and $31,000,000 will be state funds. The estimated average spending per customer is $3,333, of which $2,615 will be VR funds and $718 will be non-federal funds.

DRS estimates that $10,800,000 of the total will be administrative costs while the remainder will go toward provision of rehabilitation services. In addition, DRS estimates that the cost of serving individuals not meeting the order of selection policy would be prohibitive. DRS projects that about 15 percent of individuals estimated to be eligible will be served in FY2012. If only five percent (18,700) of the estimated 374,000 individuals were to be served, the projected cost using the average cost of $3,333 per person would be $62,327,000. This is clearly not possible given the program budget

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Most significant disability Title I $93,600,000 27,520 $3,401
Very significant disability Title I $49,320,000 15250 $3,234
Significant disability Title I $1,080,000 430 $2,511
Non-significant disability Title I $0 0
Totals   $144,000,000 43,200 $3,333

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 4:56PM by Douglas Morton

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

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

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

The major goals for DRS for FY2012 are listed below. They are based on the needs assessment process described elsewhere in the state plan, an internal staff and administrative process, and surveys of stakeholder groups. The goals and priorities in this Plan were jointly developed and agreed to by DRS and the State Rehabilitation Council. Any revisions to the goals and priorities were jointly reviewed and agreed to by DRS and the SRC. Many of the goals included in this plan are also incorporated into the DHS Strategic Plan. DRS intends that the goals established here will be for a two-year period of FY2012 and FY2013.

Goals and priorities contained in this Plan are based on an analysis of DRSs performance on the RSA standards and indicators, as well as other available information on the operation and effectiveness of the VR program, including reports from the SRC and findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted by RSA under Section 107 of the Rehabilitation Act.

DRS conducted a Future Direction Survey of stakeholders and staffing early 2011 that consisted of both goal ratings as well as open ended responses to questions about expansion of VR services and key priority areas. Survey responses were used extensively in development of the goals.

The Illinois VR program has identified three goal areas for FY2012 (from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012): performance goals; program initiatives; and policy review.

Performance Goals

1. Employment Outcomes

DRS will increase the number of competitive employment outcomes to 6,000 in FY2012 and 6,600 in FY2013.

2. Average Wages

DRS will increase the average hourly wage earned by individuals achieving a competitive employment outcome from $ 10.20 in FY2011 to $ 10.45 in FY2012 and $ 10.65 in FY2013.

3. Average Hours Worked

DRS will increase the average hours worked per week by individuals achieving a competitive employment outcome from 27.5 in FY2011 to 28.3 in FY2012 and 29.0 in FY2013.

4. Timely IPE Development

DRS will increase the percentage of IPEs developed on time from 91 percent in FY2011 to 92 percent in FY2012 and 93 percent in FY2013.

5. Timely Certification of Eligibility

DRS will increase the percentage of eligibility certifications completed on time from 89.5 percent in FY2011 to 90 percent in FY2012 and 91 percent in FY2013.

6. BBS Independent Living Closures

The DRS Bureau of Blind Services will increase the number of individuals achieving an independent living outcome from 340 in FY2011 to 360 in FY2012 and 385 in FY2013.

7. Casework Quality

DRS will achieve and maintain a 90 percent casework quality rating in FY2012 and FY2013 as determined by Quality Assurance reviews of a statewide sample of cases.

8. Customer Satisfaction

DRS will achieve and maintain an 85 percent overall customer satisfaction rating in FY2012 and FY2013 as determined by a survey of a random sample of VR program customers.

9. Employer Satisfaction

DRS will achieve and maintain an 80 percent overall employer satisfaction rating in FY2012 and FY2013 based on a survey of a random sample of businesses employing VR program customers.

Program Initiatives

Based on responses to the Future Direction Survey, DRS has developed the following initiatives for the next two fiscal years.

Transition Momentum Initiative

Survey respondents expressed a concern that more needed to be done to assist transition age youth with disabilities beyond the STEP program and other traditional approaches. There was a sense that any momentum established during the high school period was lost during the time immediately following graduation.

DRS will establish transition initiative projects in selected offices across the state. Each office will develop a plan designed to maintain skills and work habits gained during the high school years. Emphasis will be placed on making improvements in IPE development, case tracking and ongoing support services.

The goal of the transition initiative projects is to have 90 percent of transition students exiting school be gainfully occupied in employment, postsecondary education or vocational training by 2013.

Outreach to Underserved Populations

There were many comments on the Future Direction Survey that DRS needed to improve services to minority customers from various groups, specifically Latinos and Asian groups. Data from the 2010 Census demonstrated that these are the two fastest growing groups in Illinois. In addition to assuring that communication is available in a customer’s preferred language, there is a need to provide services in a culturally sensitive manner.

DRS will develop outreach initia6tive projects in selected offices across the state. These offices will be selected based in part on Census data indicating a higher need for outreach. Each office will develop a plan designed to increase the number of service applications made by individuals in the targeted groups.

The goal of the outreach initiative projects is to increase the number of individuals receiving VR services in the targeted groups by 15 percent by 2013.

Business Partnership Iniatives

DRS received a wide variety of suggestions from the survey, with the general notion that DRS could do a better job relating to employers.

In this initiative, targeted offices will develop partnerships with at least three new employers in their communities. A particular focus will be on employers with several different types of jobs available, opening up job possibilities for a wider range of VR customers.

The goal of the business partnership initiative is to achieve 150 employment outcomes directly traceable to newly-established partnerships in FY2012 and an additional 200 employment outcomes in FY2013.

Policy Review Goal

DRS intends to conduct an extensive policy review in FY2012 relating to services purchased from community rehabilitation programs (CRPs). This is part of an ongoing process in recent years which has focused on obtaining the greatest value for funds spent on purchased services, while maintaining an effective service provider network across the state.

DRS will be contracting with a consulting firm to conduct an impartial review of the rates paid for CRP services. These rates have not been changed in several years and do not reflect current costs associated with providing services.

In addition, DRS will be reviewing its supported employment program policies. The purpose of the review is to determine whether the $4.5 million in VR basic grant funds currently used for supported employment services is the most effective means of serving individuals who require a higher level of assistance in becoming employed, but who may not require the level of support associated with supported employment.

The goal of the policy review is to establish a new rate structure for CRP services by the beginning of FY2013.

Public Hearing Comments

DRS held public hearings on the draft State Plan on June 20, 2011 in Chicago and June 22, 2011 in Springfield. A copy of the draft plan was circulated by e-mail to an extensive list of provider agencies, advocacy organizations and other stakeholders. The notice encouraged submission of comments by e-mail as well as in person at the public hearings.

Comment: What plan does DRS have for individuals currently being served in the extended services program? Since the budget for this program has been eliminated, how will these individuals be able to remain employed?

DRS Response: DRS has begun an examination of the case record of each individual currently receiving extended services from DRS. Due to the elimination of state funding, the program will end on June 30, 2011. A preliminary analysis suggests that many individuals can be transitioned to natural supports in the workplace, given the length of time with the same employer and the limited amount of paid support. Other individuals may require other support in order to remain employed. DRS is investigating other funding sources for the longer term continuation of extended services, but it is unlikely that these will be available in the short term.

Comment: The DRS community college initiative is scheduled to end in September 2011. What will happen to the individuals currently enrolled in this program? Are there plans to continue services until the customers graduate from college?

DRS Response: DRS intends to continue a version of the community college initiative in FY2012 after ARRA funding ends, in that individuals attending a public community college will not be subject to the financial analysis for college-related services. DRS strongly supports community college training as a means of promoting successful employment for its customers.

Comment: The network of agencies providing Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services strongly supports the continuation of the Job Stability Initiative after the ARRA initiative ends in the fall.

DRS Response: DRS will continue the job stability initiative after the conclusion of ARRA. This initiative enables customers with a serious mental illness to receive post employment support after they have achieved a successful employment outcome. The experience of IPS providers during the last year suggest that this service makes a significant contribution to individuals maintaining employment for a longer period of time.

Comment: Providers are concerned about the DRS policy changes regarding supported employment. The main concern is the limitation on job development to 96 hours of service. This seems arbitrary and does not allow for individual variability in the time it takes to achieve employment. Is DRS considering lifting this limitation?

DRS Response: DRS issued a policy directive in 2010 which was intended to achieve greater compliance with state and federal supported employment rules. One element of the policy change was to place greater emphasis on the 18-month limit for supported employment services. Another key element was to place a limitation on the amount of time an individual would spend in pre-employment activities (known as “job development”) and to increase the amount of time an individual would receive on-the-job supports after obtaining employment. After a series of discussions with provider representatives, DRS placed a limit of 96 hours of paid support for “job development” activities for supported employment cases. DRS will enforce this limit during FY2012. Exceptions to the 96 hour limit will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Comment: Community rehabilitation program managers are very concerned about the rates paid for CRP services, particularly job placement but also supported employment. The rates have not been raised in several years and do not reflect the increases in the cost of living. DRS should give strong consideration to raising rates to enable CRPs to continue to provide services to DRS customers.

DRS Response: DRS has initiated a contract with a research group that will evaluate the cost of providing CRP services and make recommendations for changes in rates paid to CRPs. DRS believes that this is preferable to making “cost of living” adjustments that are based on the existing rate structure. DRS anticipates that the new rates will be in place for FY2013.

Comment: Community providers expressed a concern that the ARRA Employer Training Initiative places CRPs at a disadvantage in being able to place VR program customers into community jobs. DRS should consider increasing rates paid to CRPs to allow them to offer a similar incentive to employers.

DRS Response: DRS will not continue the employer training initiative after the end of the ARRA period.

Comment: DRS should consider development of an enhanced job placement model which pays for job placement in a manner similar to existing job placement contracts, but which also allows for payment of on-the-job supports on an hourly basis for a period of time after the individual becomes employed. This would increase the success rate for VR customers and enable them to remain employed for longer periods of time.

DRS Response: DRS will consider alternate contract mechanisms for CRP services so long as they are performance-based and contribute to the success of VR program customers.

Comment: What is the DRS policy toward continuation of ARRA-funded projects? Although the ARRA funding will come to an end, many of the projects supported by ARRA are worthy of continued DRS support.

DRS Response: In 2009 DRS made a commitment to stakeholders that it would review all ARRA-funded projects and consider the most successful projects for ongoing funding. DRS intends to live up to that commitment as the ARRA period winds to a close. All projects will be evaluated and projects rated as most successful in helping VR customers achieve successful employment will be given an opportunity to apply for continuation funding. This process will take place in FY2012.

Comment: Community rehabilitation program agencies are concerned about deteriorating relationships between CRPs and DRS in many areas of the state. One major concern involves a reduction in the number of referrals from DRS to CRPs and the resulting impact on the CRPs in the capacity to generate income from performance contracts. Providers would like a commitment from DRS to improve the working relationship with CRPs.

DRS Response: DRS will work with community provider agencies to resolve existing problems and develop strategies for improving communication in the future. DRS will also review the pattern of referrals to CRPs and investigate situations where referrals appear to have been noticeably reduced.

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 3:12PM by Douglas Morton

  • 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

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection Justification for order of selection Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection Policy

Illinois DRS has operated under an order of selection since 1979. Illinois last made a major change to its Order of Selection process in June 2005. That policy was modified in 2009 as described in this plan. The overall purpose of the policy is to reflect the priorities of the agency and provide for an equitable distribution of resources to individuals with most significant disabilities.

The 2005 policy changes included: (a) an addition of a fourth category, known as very significant disability, which is in between the significant disability and most significant disability categories; and (b) an increase in the number of serious functional limitations and the number of required services in order to be placed into the most significant disability category,

The category of significant disability was closed for two reasons. First, rising costs and budget pressures meant that DRS believed there was a probability that funds would not be sufficient to serve individuals in open order of selection categories. Second, a policy decision was made to target individuals with most significant disabilities, and to re-define that category to include individuals with a higher number of functional limitations. DRS continues to serve individuals who were receiving VR services in the significant disability category prior to the policy change.

Funding Considerations

All funding arrangements for providing services will be consistent with the order of selection. If any funding arrangements are determined inconsistent with the order of selection, DRS will renegotiate these funding arrangements so that they are consistent with the Order of Selection.

Estimated Spending

DRS estimates that total spending for the VR program in FY2012 will be $144,000,000. Of that amount, an estimated $113,000,000 will be VR funds, while $31,00,000 will be non-federal matching funds. This is equivalent to the required non-federal match for FY2012 and therefore there is no projected surplus match for the fiscal year.

Average Spending per Person

DRS estimates that average spending per person served in the VR program in FY2012 will be approximately $3,333, of which $2,615 are VR funds and $718 are non-federal match funds.

 

Description of Priority categories

Description of Priority categories The priority categories established under this rule are based solely on the definition of “individual with a significant disability” defined in the Rehabilitation Act (section 7 (21) (A) ) and in regulations (34CFR361.36(d)(2) and 34CFR361.5(b)(31)).

Policy Change

DRS changed it Order of Selection policy in 2009. This policy places individuals receiving SSI or SSDI into the category of individual with a significant disability, unless the analysis of functional limitations and service needs places them into the category of very significant disability or most significant disability. Under the DRS policy, the category of significant disability is not an open category. However there have been very few instances to date of individuals receiving SSI or SSDI benefits being placed in that category.

Waiting List

Individuals certified as eligible for VR services but who do not meet the order of selection policy are offered the opportunity to be placed on a waiting list. Individuals who choose to be placed on a waiting list are informed that the probability is very low that DRS will open the order of selection, based on the history of the OOS policy. The computerized case management system reminds the counselor once a year to send a letter to the individual asking if they wish to continue having his or her name on the list. Individuals on the waiting list are entitled to receive information and referral services, as well as guidance and counseling services, and are encouraged to make use of other elements of the state?s workforce investment system.

Funding Considerations

All funding arrangements for providing services will be consistent with the order of selection. If any funding arrangements are determined inconsistent with the order of selection, DRS will renegotiate these funding arrangements so that they are consistent with the Order of Selection

Description of the Order of Selection Policy

There are three key elements to the order of selection policy: Categories of Eligible Individuals; Criteria for Significant Disability, Very Significant Disability and Most Significant Disability; and Determination of Serious Limitation to Functional Capacities. Together these elements define the relevant concepts and methods used to evaluate individuals and place them into a category under the policy. Each of these elements is described in detail in the following section.

Categories of Eligible Individuals

a) Pursuant to the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 USC 701 et seq.), DHS-DRS has established the following Order of Selection for the priority of provision of services to eligible individuals which counselors must follow when purchasing services for customers:

1) those individuals determined to have the most significant disabilities;

2) those individuals determined to have very significant disabilities;

3) those individuals determined to have significant disabilities; and

4) individuals determined to have disabilities.

b) For the purposes of administering services under the Order of Selection, the Director of DHS-DRS will determine at the beginning of each fiscal year, or more often as necessary, which of the categories under subsection (a) will be open for service.

c) Eligible individuals in a closed category under subsection (a) may choose to be placed on a waiting list for services.

Criteria for Significant Disability, Very Significant Disability and Most Significant Disability

Documentation of the determination that an individual has a most significant disability, a very significant disability, or a significant disability must be in the individual’s VR case file, as well as documentation concerning the evaluation of his or her rehabilitation potential.

a) Prior to determining the significance of an individual’s disability, it must be determined that he or she:

1) has a disability, or a combination of disabilities, that causes a substantial physical or mental impairment that is similar, but not limited to, the following list of disabilities:

A) amputation, B) arthritis, C) autism, D) blindness, E) burn injury, F) cancer, G) cerebral palsy, H) cystic fibrosis, I) deafness, J) head injury, K) heart disease, L) hemiplegia, M) hemophilia, N) respiratory or pulmonary dysfunction, O) mental retardation, P) mental illness, Q) multiple sclerosis, R) muscular dystrophy, S) musculo-skeletal disorders, T) neurological disorders (including stroke and epilepsy), U) paraplegia, V) quadriplegia (and other spinal cord conditions), W) sickle cell anemia, X) specific learning disabilities, or Y) end stage renal failure disease;

2) has a disability, or a combination of disabilities, that seriously limits his or her functional capacities, as listed in Section 553.150 of this Part; and

3) requires VR services over an extended period of time at least six months or longer.

b) If an individual meets the requirements of Section 553.140(a), then the following criteria must be met to determine the significance of his or her disability:

1) To be considered an individual with a most significant disability, he or she must be an individual who has a disability that seriously limits three or more of his or her functional capacities and who requires two or more substantial VR services, in addition to the routine services of counseling and guidance, and information and referral to ensure a successful employment outcome.

2) To be considered an individual with a very significant disability, he or she must have a disability that seriously limits two of his or her functional capacities, and must require one or more substantial VR services, in addition to the routine services of counseling and guidance, and information and referral to ensure a successful employment outcome.

3) To be considered an individual with a significant disability, he or she must have a disability that seriously limits one of his or her functional capacities and must require one or more substantial VR services, in addition to the routine services of counseling and guidance, and information and referral to ensure a successful employment outcome.

c) An individual who has been determined eligible for disability benefits pursuant to Title II (SSDI) or Title XVI (SSI) of the Social Security Act is considered to be presumed eligible for VR services and an individual with a significant disability, unless the analysis of his or her functional limitations and service needs, as described above, place the individual into a higher category of the order of selection.

Determination of Serious Limitation to Functional Capacities

a) For the purpose of determination of the degree of significance of disability, functional capacities shall include:

1. mobility - the physical ability of an individual to move from place to place and move the body into certain positions. This includes such activities as: walking, climbing, kneeling, stooping, sitting, standing, and similar activities;

2. self-care - the ability of an individual to perform activities related to his or her health and hygiene. This includes such activities as: grooming, bathing, eating, house keeping, medical management, and money management;

3. self-direction - the ability of an individual to organize, control and regulate his or her own personal, social, and work life. This includes such activities as: maintaining schedules and routines, following directions and established rules, organizing activities for oneself, and adjusting to changing circumstances;

4. work skills - the ability of an individual to demonstrate skills necessary to perform jobs that exist in the current employment market, regardless of demand for the particular occupation or the individual’s prior work experience. This includes such activities as: learning and maintaining work skills, cooperating with others in a work setting, using adequate decision making and problem solving skills, and using academic skills commonly required in the workplace;

5. work tolerance - the ability of an individual to consistently and adequately perform a job based on the physical, emotional, environmental, and psychological demands of a specific work environment. This includes such activities as: maintaining performance on the job regardless of changes in environment such as cold and heat, demonstrating the strength and endurance to perform the job in question, and working the schedule typical of other employees in the same job;

6. interpersonal skills - the ability of an individual to establish and maintain appropriate relationships with other individuals in the work place. This includes such activities as: engaging in necessary work-related communications, demonstrating behavior that is appropriate and acceptable in the work environment, cooperating with others in a team setting, and showing understanding and tact in dealing with others; and

7. communication - the ability to convey and receive information efficiently and effectively. This includes such activities as: hearing and understanding ordinary spoken language; making one’s self understood in ordinary conversation; writing or printing short notes and communications; and reading and correctly interpreting short notes, signs, and instructions.

b) A serious limitation to a functional capacity shall exist when the rehabilitation counselor determines it or instructor that the customer, because of his or her disability, has functional limitations in performing the major components of the activity or activities listed in subsections (a)(1) through (7) or needs accommodation to perform the activity.

c) The rehabilitation counselor or instructor shall use the criteria of consistency and substantiality when evaluating the degree of limitation to functional capacity. Consistency means that the individual’s disability always or almost always limits the individual’s functioning. Substantiality means the individual’s disability has a major, significant impact on functioning and that the individual cannot perform the activity or finds it very difficult to perform the activity.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order The priority of categories to receive VR services under the DRS order of selection policy are:

1. Individuals determined to have the most significant disabilities;

2. Individuals determined to have very significant disabilities;

3. Individuals determined to have significant disabilities; and

4. Individuals determined to have disabilities.

For FY2012 the categories of most significant disability and very significant disability will be open to services, unless a determination is made by the DRS Director that circumstances allow for a change in the categories open to service.

 

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

Service and outcome goals and the time within which the goals will be achieved Service Projections for FY2012

Projections for services to be provided and expected outcomes are listed below, as well as in the table on the following page.

Persons Served

DRS estimates that 43,200 persons will be served in the VR program in FY2012, of which 430 will be persons with significant disabilities, 15,250 will be persons with very significant disabilities, and 27,520 will be persons with most significant disabilities. FY2012 is defined as the period from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012.

Persons Rehabilitated

DRS estimates that 5,230 persons will be rehabilitated by the VR program in FY2012 (October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012), of which 55 will be persons with significant disabilities, 2,340 will be persons with very significant disabilities, and 2,925 will be persons with most significant disabilities. The same time period applies to all categories listed above, as reflected in the data table below.

Estimated Spending

DRS estimates that total spending for FY2012 will be $144,000,000, of which $113,000,000 will be VR funds and $31,000,000 will be non-federal matching funds. This is equivalent to the required non-federal match for FY2012 and therefore there is no projected surplus match for the fiscal year.

Average Spending per Person

DRS estimates that average spending per person served in the VR program in FY2012 will be $3,333, of which $2,615 will be VR funds and $718 will be non-federal funds.

Justification for the Order of Selection Policy

Based on many years experience working with an order of selection policy, DRS maintains that only individuals in the most significant and very significant categories can be served under the program budget. The average cost per person served continues to rise each year. The cost to serve only five percent of the estimated population of potentially eligible persons not expected to meet the existing order of selection policy is approximately $60 million. DRS believes that the potential demand for services, particularly for college training services, is significant and that opening additional categories would result in a higher average cost per person served.

DRS estimates that there will be no excess matching funds for FY2012. Due to technical changes in the state’s budgeting process, DRS no longer is assigned a level of matching funds higher than the expected requirement for the year. In the DRS budget a significant portion of matching funds are provided by entities with third-party contracts, and cannot be estimated with great precision.

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 27,520 3,585 2,650 Oct 1 2011 to Sept 30 2012 $93,600,000
2 15,250 2,870 2,120 Oct 1 2011 to Sept 30 2012 $49,320,000
3 430 65 45 Oct 1 2011 to Sept 30 2012 $1,080,000
4 0 0 0 Oct 1 2011 to Sept 30 2012 $0

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 2:54PM by Douglas Morton

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

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

During FY2012, the Supported Employment Program (SEP) has set forth the following goals using Title VI, Part B funds.

1. Serve customers recently placed into supported employment in a manner consistent with federal regulations, with an emphasis on moving as many individuals as possible into natural supports at the conclusion of ongoing support services.

2. Continue to expand the scope of those who receive services to include persons who are deaf-blind, persons with traumatic brain injuries, persons who are mentally ill, persons with significant hearing impairments and other persons with the most significant disabilities.

3. Develop new mechanisms for funding paid extended services, including cooperative agreements with other state agencies and local units of government.

4. Evaluate the most effective means of achieving employment outcomes for individuals traditionally served in supported employment services.

5. Evaluate the rates paid to providers for supported employment services and adjust rates as necessary to ensure the availability of supported employment services.

For FY2012, DRS will serve and employ 200 persons in supported employment. In FY2010 DRS served 221 individuals in supported employment using Title VI Part B funds and an additional 2,504 using other funds.

B. Utilization and Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

Title VI, Part B funds are used to purchase SEP services for customers. The Department administers its Supported Employment Program using two mechanisms: contracting with community organizations to provide supported employment services or arranging individual placements through DRS vocational rehabilitation counselors in local offices (case services). Contracts have been established with 25 entities throughout Illinois to provide services to eligible customers.

DRS has maintained a system of negotiated rates with individual service provider agencies. The policy review of the CRP rate structure will determine whether this practice continues after FY2012.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 5:17PM by Douglas Morton

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies for Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

ILLINOIS GOALS FOR FY2012

Goals and Priorities

The major goals for DRS for FY2012 are listed below. They are based on the needs assessment process described elsewhere in the state plan, an internal staff and administrative process, and surveys of stakeholder groups. The goals and priorities in this Plan were jointly developed and agreed to by DRS and the State Rehabilitation Council. Any revisions to the goals and priorities were jointly reviewed and agreed to by DRS and the SRC. Many of the goals included in this plan are also incorporated into the DHS Strategic Plan. DRS intends that the goals established here will be for a two-year period of FY2012 and FY2013.

Goals and priorities contained in this Plan are based on an analysis of DRSs performance on the RSA standards and indicators, as well as other available information on the operation and effectiveness of the VR program, including reports from the SRC and findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted by RSA under Section 107 of the Rehabilitation Act.

DRS conducted a Future Direction Survey of stakeholders and staffing early 2011 that consisted of both goal ratings as well as open ended responses to questions about expansion of VR services and key priority areas. Survey responses were used extensively in development of the goals.

The Illinois VR program has identified three goal areas for FY2012 (from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012): performance goals; program initiatives; and policy review.

Performance Goals

Employment Outcomes

DRS will increase the number of competitive employment outcomes to 6,000 in FY2012 and 6,600 in FY2013.

Average Wages

DRS will increase the average hourly wage earned by individuals achieving a competitive employment outcome from $ 10.20 in FY2011 to $ 10.45 in FY2012 and $ 10.65 in FY2013.

Average Hours Worked

DRS will increase the average hours worked per week by individuals achieving a competitive employment outcome from 27.5 in FY2011 to 28.3 in FY2012 and 29.0 in FY2013.

Timely IPE Development

DRS will increase the percentage of IPEs developed on time from 91 percent in FY2011 to 92 percent in FY2012 and 93 percent in FY2013.

Timely Certification of Eligibility

DRS will increase the percentage of eligibility certifications completed on time from 89.5 percent in FY2011 to 90 percent in FY2012 and 91 percent in FY2013.

BBS Independent Living Closures

The DRS Bureau of Blind Services will increase the number of individuals achieving an independent living outcome from 340 in FY2011 to 360 in FY2012 and 385 in FY2013.

Casework Quality

DRS will achieve and maintain a 90 percent casework quality rating in FY2012 and FY2013 as determined by Quality Assurance reviews of a statewide sample of cases.

Customer Satisfaction

DRS will achieve and maintain an 85 percent overall customer satisfaction rating in FY2012 and FY2013 as determined by a survey of a random sample of VR program customers.

Employer Satisfaction

DRS will achieve and maintain an 80 percent overall employer satisfaction rating in FY2012 and FY2013 based on a survey of a random sample of businesses employing VR program customers.

Strategies

In order to make a significant increase in competitive outcomes, DRS is placing a strong emphasis on increasing the number of referrals to the program and the number of applications taken. DRS administrators began a round of visits to local offices in April 2011, bringing the message that considerably more effort needed to be made to reach out to new sources of referrals and to reduce the proportion of referrals who do not complete an application for VR services. Staff have been encouraged to reach out to disability advocacy organizations and centers for independent living, as well as physicians, psychologists and social service agencies who come into contact with people with disabilities. Each office is expected to develop a plan for outreach and will be given a target number of referrals for the upcoming year.

DRS will also continue its series of focused training on job placement issues. In the last year this has included training on job placement for individuals with mental illness, individuals who have hearing impairments, individuals with disabilities who have drug and alcohol problems, and individuals who have a record of a criminal conviction. Since 2009 DRS has placed an emphasis on counselors increasing their skills in the area of direct job placement. In addition, in FY2012 DRS will train counselors in developing on-the-job training opportunities with employers. While OJT opportunities have been a longstanding option in VR, the utilization of this service has been reduced somewhat in recent years. DRS intends to place an emphasis on development of OJTs as a way of developing relationships with employers and expanding employment opportunities for customers.

DRS also intends to conduct a series of quality assurance forums across the state in FY2012. These will differ from a traditional staff training activity in that there will be a focus on quality assurance concepts, the laws and regulations that govern the VR program, and the relationship between the day-to-day activities of a VR counselor and the performance of the VR agency on key quality measures.

Program Initiatives

Based on responses to the Future Direction Survey, DRS has developed the following initiatives for the next two fiscal years.

Transition Momentum Initiative

Survey respondents expressed a concern that more needed to be done to assist transition age youth with disabilities beyond the STEP program and other traditional approaches. There was a sense that any momentum established during the high school period was lost during the time immediately following graduation.

DRS will establish transition initiative projects in selected offices across the state. Each office will develop a plan designed to maintain skills and work habits gained during the high school years. Emphasis will be placed on making improvements in IPE development, case tracking and ongoing support services.

The goal of the transition initiative projects is to have 90 percent of transition students exiting school be gainfully occupied in employment, postsecondary education or vocational training by 2013.

Outreach to Underserved Populations

There were many comments on the Future Direction Survey that DRS needed to improve services to minority customers from various groups, specifically Latinos and Asian groups. Data from the 2010 Census demonstrated that these are the two fastest growing groups in Illinois. In addition to assuring that communication is available in a customer’s preferred language, there is a need to provide services in a culturally sensitive manner.

DRS will develop outreach initia6tive projects in selected offices across the state. These offices will be selected based in part on Census data indicating a higher need for outreach. Each office will develop a plan designed to increase the number of service applications made by individuals in the targeted groups.

The goal of the outreach initiative projects is to increase the number of individuals receiving VR services in the targeted groups by 15 percent by 2013.

Business Partnership Imitative

DRS received a wide variety of suggestions from the survey, with the general notion that DRS could do a better job relating to employers.

In this initiative, targeted offices will develop partnerships with at least three new employers in their communities. A particular focus will be on employers with several different types of jobs available, opening up job possibilities for a wider range of VR customers.

The goal of the business partnership initiative is to achieve 150 employment outcomes directly traceable to newly-established partnerships in FY2012 and an additional 200 employment outcomes in FY2013.

Strategies

The main strategy behind these three program initiatives is a revision to the concept of the office plan that has been used in DRS for several years. While each office will work on all three initiatives, there will be a key initiative assigned to each office. So around a third of DRS offices will place their major emphasis on the transition initiative, while the others will concentrate on either the business partnership initiative or the outreach initiative. Assignments will be made based on an analysis of needs and performance. Offices serving areas where the population of minorities with disabilities is not reflected in the caseload composition, for example, would be more likely to have a major emphasis on minority outreach, while offices that have numerous business partnerships would be less likely to have that as their emphasis.

Each office will be directed to identify a set of external resources. This may include community agencies serving minority communities, university resources with knowledge of transition services, or the national business network established by CSAVR. All offices will need to identify how they will make use of the other components of the workforce system in their community.

DRS central office will provide support to the office teams in developing their plans. This will include specialized training in each area along with financial resources consistent with the office plan. DRS will establish communication networks using its intranet system, encouraging sharing of ideas and techniques among offices around the state.

Policy Review Goal

DRS intends to conduct an extensive policy review in FY2012 relating to services purchased from community rehabilitation programs (CRPs). This is part of an ongoing process in recent years which has focused on obtaining the greatest value for funds spent on purchased services, while maintaining an effective service provider network across the state.

DRS will be contracting with a consulting firm to conduct an impartial review of the rates paid for CRP services. These rates have not been changed in several years and do not reflect current costs associated with providing services.

In addition, DRS will be reviewing its supported employment program policies. The purpose of the review is to determine whether the $4.5 million in VR basic grant funds currently used for supported employment services is the most effective means of serving individuals who require a higher level of assistance in becoming employed, but who may not require the level of support associated with supported employment.

The goal of the policy review is to establish a new rate structure for CRP services by the beginning of FY2013.

Strategies

The primary means of achieving the policy goals will be through the rate setting study to be conducted in the fall of 2011 by an independent consulting group. The purpose of the study is to determine the cost of providing CRP services and recommending rates that will enable CRPs to remain in business and provide VR services to DRS customers. The study will also involve a comparison to rates and service mechanisms in other state VR agencies.

DRS will work with representatives of the Facilities Advisory Council to review the results of the rate setting study and identify options for new service arrangements. DRS will also work with the Region 5 TACE at SIU to examine service arrangements in other states that may be worthy of further investigation as models for Illinois.

Strategic Approaches

Strategies for Identifying and Serving Individuals with the Most Severe Disabilities Who Are Minorities.

Individuals with most severe disabilities who are minorities are included in general efforts to expand services to minority persons with disabilities. DRS has an ongoing outreach program for Latinos with disabilities, utilizing community agencies and bilingual, bicultural staff. DRS targets African Americans with disabilities in communities with a primary African American population through the local office planning process. DRS provides a monthly report to each office supervisor that gives detailed data on persons served and persons achieving employment outcomes by race. This report enables managers to better understand the results experienced by individuals from various racial groups served by the local office. Any significant disparities are to be addressed in the local office plan. The purpose of the local office plans is to identify solutions based on local needs and resources.

In 2009 DRS developed a contract with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to work with community agencies to conduct outreach to Asian Americans with disabilities. In 2010 DRS developed contracts with three community agencies that are not traditional providers of rehabilitation services to implement outreach activities in conjunction with UIC. DRS also sponsored training for counselors working with transition students in Chicago Public Schools regarding cultural awareness in providing rehabilitation services.

Strategies to Overcome Identified Barriers to Program Participation by Individuals with Disabilities

The major barrier to participation in the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment program for individuals with disabilities concerns access to services. Because these programs are targeted at individuals with disabilities, there is no general barrier to participation on the basis of disability status. Rather, specific barriers arise when an individual is unable to participate in a program or communicate his or her needs to program staff. DRS provides a variety of access methods to individuals with disabilities, including the use of Braille and large print, sign language, computer assisted real time captioning and other specialized assistive technology. All DRS office locations are physically accessible, as are all program locations and public meeting sites. Individuals who do not speak English are provided with translation services in order to participate in the vocational rehabilitation program. Every effort is made to eliminate these types of barriers to participation.

Strategies to Establish, Develop or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs

Illinois has a well-developed network of community rehabilitation programs across the state, as well as an active trade association for those organizations. DRS does not believe that new community rehabilitation programs need to be developed at this time. DRS remains in contact with these organizations through ongoing discussions with the Facility Advisory Council, which has a rotating membership of program directors, who meet regularly with DRS administrators. The program manager for contracts as well as the bureau chief for field services attends meetings. The VR Director is closely involved with discussions about CRP services, both with the trade association as well as individual CRP directors.

DRS also has specific liaison relationships between VR counselors and community rehabilitation programs in their service area. In addition, DRS has project officers who monitor contracts with community rehabilitation programs and are very knowledgeable regarding the service capacity of the agencies and the needs of their customers. These organizational arrangements provide a high level of communication about service needs as they relate to community rehabilitation programs.

DRS believes that community rehabilitation program agencies will continue to play an important part in the overall system of services in Illinois. Because DRS anticipates an increase in employment outcomes in FY2012, DRS expects that the number of employment outcomes achieved in FY2012 with the assistance of community rehabilitation programs will increase, but remain at approximately the same proportion of total outcomes as in the past. In FY2009 DRS implemented a new system for making referrals to CRPs and documenting service provision and payments. The system has resulted in a significant decrease in billing errors and has improved the accuracy of referrals from DRS to CRPs. This system was enhanced in FY2010 with further improvements in accuracy of reporting and timeliness of referrals.

DRS has made a commitment for FY2012 to contract with a research firm to conduct an extensive study of the rates paid for CRP services, specifically as they relate to the cost of providing services. While there is a general impression that DRS rates are low, there is no empirical evidence to support a general rate increase. The results of the rate-setting study will enable DRS to establish a solid basis for rates, as well as a framework for future rate adjustments.

While DRS continues to emphasize the need for counselors to purse direct placements whenever possible, this does not mean a reduction in the number of outcomes associated with community provider agencies. Making effective use of both state and private resources is the most certain way to continue to achieve quality results for DRS customers.

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

DRS will continue its efforts in making use of the workforce system, but it is acknowledged that much additional work is needed to increase awareness of the services available from that system for Individuals with disabilities. DRS is exploring additional opportunities to work more closely with one-stop employment centers. Memorandums of understanding are updated each year between the local DRS office and the corresponding one-stop center. These agreements address financial and in-kind contributions towards the operation of the one-stop center, as well as methods of referral and sharing of resources and equipment. In FY2012 DRS does not anticipate any additional co-location into one-stop centers, but efforts to increase cooperation will continue. These include expanding methods of communication, including electronic and computer connections, between DRS offices and local workforce centers. DRS Employment Resource Specialists work with VR counselors and customers to make effective use of one-stop centers, and make efforts to raise the visibility of people with disabilities and their needs when working with one-stop center staff.

Strategies for Improving Performance on the Standards and Indicators

DRS believes it is capable of meeting the majority of the indicators set forth by RSA. The most problematic indicator for DRS is 1.5, which compares the wages of persons closed into competitive work with the average state wage. Because Illinois is a high-wage state, it is unlikely that DRS will pass this indicator. DRS has a high rating on many of the other indicators, based on the priority for serving individuals with most significant disabilities and a positive ratio for services to minority persons with disabilities. DRS has refocused its overall goals for rehabilitated closures for the next two year period, given the failure to pass Indicator 1.1 in recent years.

Although Illinois failed on Indicator 2.1 in 2008, it has succeeded in obtaining a passing score in both FY2009 and FY2010. This indicator measures the equitability of service provision for minority and non-minority customers. DRS developed a monthly data report to track competitive closures by minority status and encourages program managers to monitor this data regularly. DRS believes it should be possible to pass this indicator each year.

In addition, DRS contracted with the University of Illinois at Chicago to conduct an extensive analysis of VR closure data over the last five years. One element of the analysis we to identify any discrepancies in service provision or successful outcomes for minority customers. Preliminary data show that there were few discrepancies noted for minority customers, although analysis in ongoing. UIC investigators will complete their analysis in the fall of 2011. Results will be shared with VR program administrators who will address any pattern of underserving minority customers.

Strategies for Serving Individuals Unserved or Underserved by the VR Program

DRS recognizes that many groups do not have access to the VR program to the same degree as others. DRS has a number of strategies to address these needs and improve access. DRS employs specialist staff for services to deaf-blind individuals, a low-incidence disability with a high need for vocational assistance. DRS specialists work in consultation with VR counselors to provide services to deaf-blind customers, including training and job placement. DRS used ARRA funding in 2011 to conduct two training events on deaf-blindness for counselors serving either blind or deaf specialty caseloads. The training events featured experts from the Helen Keller National Center, the primary resource in the US for deaf-blind services.

DRS also seeks to improve response to underserved groups by providing training to improve staff knowledge of various disabilities. DRS provides an ongoing program of training in the medical aspects of rehabilitation to all counseling staff, both as a refresher course as well as an update on disability trends and current disability issues.

DRS continues in its efforts to implement a system of individual placement and support services (IPS) programs, formerly known as evidence-based supported employment programs, for individuals with serious mental illness. The IPS model is designed to provide employment services that are tailored to the specific needs of this population, which have traditionally been underserved by VR programs nationally. This has been a major undertaking involving extensive cooperation with the DHS Division of Mental Health, community providers, and university consultants. A number of new agencies have received placement contracts from DRS and a special evaluation process is underway. The results of the program thusfar have been encouraging, and therefore DRS intends to continue a gradual expansion of the IPS program. In 2010 DRS developed a post-employment support pilot project (the job stability initiative) for individuals who have achieved a successful employment outcome but who can benefit from ongoing support. This pilot project has been well-received by the IPS provider agencies.

Strategies Relating to Assistive Technology Services

DRS recognizes the importance of assistive technology services in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities. It is the intention of DRS to provide a broad range of AT services at all stages of the rehabilitation process, and to make the services available on a statewide basis. Toward this end, DRS provides training to staff on AT services, both at the initial staff training an on an ongoing basis. DRS employs technology specialists and arranges for contractual staff to be available to work with VR counselors to identify customer needs, locate AT providers, write plans and provide AT services. Staff are available to provide on-site consultation with VR counselors as well as on-site evaluation of customer needs. DRS also has a central office purchasing specialist that works one-on-one with VR counselors to arrange purchasing of AT equipment and maximize use of VR funds. DRS also works closely with the Illinois Assistive Technology Project (the state AT grant recipient) to educate people with disabilities about AT products and services as well as demonstrate products that may be of use to individuals with disabilities. DRS provided a large award of ARRA funds to enable IATP to upgrade and modernize assistive technology supporting its services.

DRS is in the process of creating new job descriptions for staff in the rehabilitation technology unit, so that individuals with more specific credentials will be hired into vacant positions. This will enable DRS to hire staff with better qualifications for working with assistive technology and improve our capacity to provide services to customers.

Methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities

Expansion and improvement of VR services is an important goal for DRS. While budget concerns in recent years limited to expansion of services, DRS made use of ARRA funding to provide a significant expansion of services to customers. While ARRA funding was time limited, it provided the opportunity to test new ideas and approaches to services. For example, DRS issued $10.6 million in grants to community providers in 2010 to develop innovative approaches in two categories: job placement for adults with disabilities; and job placement and work experience training for transition age youth with disabilities.

DRS intends to continue several of the ARRA projects in FY2012, following an evaluation of the effectiveness of each project. This evaluation will look at the number of successful employment outcomes as one measure, but also at the degree to which an innovative idea was put in place and used to demonstrate a new method or strategy for VR services. A wide range of projects was developed, from promotion of internships for college students with disabilities, to small scale business creation and self-employment options. These projects end in August 20111 and will be evaluated in the following months.

Service improvement is an ongoing concern for the agency. Quality assurance efforts have proven useful in achieving performance improvements in the area of timeliness of IPE development and certification of eligibility, as well as in completion of assessment summaries. DRS worked with the University of Illinois to review quality assurance data and make recommendations for improvements in the QA system that will contribute to positive program results.

Other activities have centered on tightening control over the fiscal system that drives payments to providers. In the last two years DRS has significantly decreased payment errors due to increased monitoring of billing statements, additional checks on status changes, and development of a better notification system for initiating CRP services. DRS is continuing this improvement process through the development of an online data entry system for community providers. Nearly all information exchanged between providers and DRS is on paper, typically faxed or scanned. While this is a quick method of transferring information it does allow for entry into either the customer data base system or the fiscal payment system. DRS management information staff have developed a secure method for community providers to enter service data into the customer data base system. This will be verified by DRS counselors who will initiate the payment process. This system will be expanded gradually beginning in August 2011 and will be completed in early 2013.

Strategies for Innovation and Expansion Activities

DRS has two approaches for the use of funds set aside for innovation and expansion. The first involves to continuation of ARRA-funded projects that have been determined most successful and effective. When the ARRA process began, DRS informed providers that the most worthy projects would be considered for ongoing funding. DRS intends to fulfill that commitment by evaluating all ARRA projects and selecting a subset of those projects for continuation funding. If it is determined that the number of successful projects exceeds available funding, DRS will initiate a competitive process to determine which projects will receiving continuation funding. DRS expects the evaluation and selection process to be completed by January 2012.

The second innovation approach involves the decentralized planning process initiated several years ago. Each DRS office is responsible for identifying a mechanism to reach its goals as part of overall agency goals. For the goals established in this plan, this will include developing a plan concentrating on one of the three program initiatives: transition; business partnerships; and outreach to minority communities. The office plan concept has proven successful in many instances over the years, although at times the plans were lacking in focus. This year the idea is to have a sharp focus on a particular initiative and concentrate staff on that concept.

DRS will also set aside some of the innovation and expansion funds for supporting activities identified in local office plans. Rather than assign a specific dollar amount to each office, DRS will make funds available based on an internal proposal process. Funding will be awarded to projects in support of office plans to the degree that the plan demonstrates a relationship between the project and achievement of the agency’s goals. For example, an office concentrating on the business partnership initiative may request funding for hiring an expert consulting in cooperative business ventures, while an office focusing on the transition initiative may request funding for resume kits for 500 students.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 2:57PM by Douglas Morton

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

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals A. Evaluation Findings

DRS actively evaluates the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program on an ongoing basis. This section provides an annual update regarding developments in the evaluation process.

Achievement of State Goals

The following section discusses each of the current DRS goals for the VR program, the progress made in achieving the goal. Data are reported for federal fiscal year 2010 (October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010).

The Illinois VR program has identified five goal areas for FY2010 (from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010). The planning concept developed by DRS envisions a small number of key goals with multiple indicators for each goal. For each indicator, a target value is identified for each year.

The five goal areas are: Independence, Productivity, Job Quality, Service Quality and Customer and Staff Experience.

Goal Area: Independence Goal : Provide services that will enable DRS customers to achieve the highest level of independence

Indicator 1: Number of persons moved from nursing homes into the community through the reintegration project in conjunction with independent living centers and who are referred for VR services.

Target: Serve 30 individuals in the VR program in FY2010 who are enrolled in the community reintegration program

Results: For FY2010 162 individuals were reintegrated, more than double the number in the previous year. Of that number 18 individuals were enrolled in VR during FY2010.

Indicator 2: Number of Bureau of Blind Services customers completing independent living rehabilitation plans through the VR program

Target: Achieve 249 non-competitive rehabilitated closures in BBS.

Results: For FY2010 341 BBS customers completed independent living plans.

Indicator 3: Number of persons receiving core independent living services through independent living centers who are concurrently served in the VR program

Target: Jointly serve 100 individuals in the VR and IL programs

Results: For FY2010 DRS provided independent living services to 7,917 individuals. Of the number, 75 also participated in vocational rehabilitation services.

Indicator 4: Number of new cases concurrently served by the VR program and the Home Services Program

Target: Jointly serve 125 individuals in the VR and Home Services programs

Results: In FY2010 7,950 individuals begin receiving Home Services. A total of 1,246 HSP customers also participated in the VR program in FY2010, approximately the same number as in the previous year.

Goal Area: Productivity

Goal: Achieve a high level of productivity by efficiently serving eligible customers and helping them attain successful outcomes

Indicator 1: Index of pre employment VR measures (applications, certifications, new IPEs)

Target: Achieve a statewide score of 81,617 for FY2010

Results: The index value for FY2010 was 73,201, a decrease from the figure of 74,785 for FY2009.

Indicator 2: Number of competitive outcomes achieved by VR program customers

Target: Achieve a total of 5,592 competitive outcomes in FY2010

Results: For FY2010 4,619 competitive outcomes were achieved. The comparison figure for FY2009 was 4,812 competitive outcomes.

Indicator 3: Number of high school students completing transition plans with the assistance of the VR program

Target: Achieve a total of 700 students who graduated in 2009 and are closed as competitive outcomes by December 31, 2009.

Results: Data was not available on this measure.

Goal Area: Job Quality

Goal: Increase the quality of jobs obtained by VR program customers

Indicator 1: Average hourly wage achieved by VR program customers entering competitive employment

Target: Achieve an average hourly wage of $10.43 for FY2010

Results: The average hourly wage for FY2010. was $10.18, virtually unchanged from the FY2008 average of $10.15.

Indicator 2: Average hours worked per week by VR customers in competitive employment

Target: Achieve an average work week of 32.5 hours in FY2010

Results: The average hours worked per week for FY2010 was 27.9, a slight decrease from the figure of 28.3 hours per week observed in FY2009.

Indicator 3: Percentage of jobs obtained by VR customers which provide health insurance coverage

Target: Achieve an average of 33 percent of workers receiving employer paid health insurance in FY2010

Results: Data for FY2010 showed a continued decline in employer-paid health insurance coverage for DRS customers, with 21.1 percent receiving coverage in FY2010, compared to 26.9 percent in the previous year.

Indicator 4: Dollars received in Social Security reimbursement for VR customers who become employed and earn above the substantial gainful activity level

Target: Achieve a total reimbursement of $4,000,000 in FY2010

Results: Approximately $ 1,500,000 was received in FY2010, compared to around $ 1,900,000 which was received for FY2009. This reflects a period of staffing shortages in the Social Security reimbursement and Ticket to Work units within DRS.

Goal Area: Service Quality

Goal: Continually improve the quality of services provided by DRS in all program areas

Indicator 1: Index of key Quality Assurance indicators

Target: Achieve a compliance rate of 90 percent in FY2010

Results: The weighted QA quality index score for FY2010 was 82.4 out of 100, compared to the FY2009 of 80.3 out of 100.

Indicator 2: Compliance with RSA timeliness requirements for eligibility and plan development

Target: Achieve a compliance rate of 90 percent in FY2010

Results: For FY2010 timely certification completion rose to 89.3 percent, compared to 88.2 percent in FY2009. In part this represents implementation of a more accurate method of calculating timeliness. For IPEs, 91.2 percent were on time in FY2010, compared to 90.1 percent in FY2009.

Goal Area: Customer & Staff Experience

Goal: Create a work environment that results in a positive experience for customers and staff.

Indicator 1: Overall customer satisfaction measure

Target: Achieve a base rate of 82 percent satisfied or very satisfied in FY2010

Results: The average VR customer satisfaction rating for FY2010 was 85.7 percent, compared to 86.3 percent in FY2009. This represents the overall positive evaluation percentage on key survey items in each year.

Indicator 2: Statewide staff morale measure

Target: Achieve a rate of 82 percent satisfied or very satisfied in FY2010

Results: The staff morale survey was not completed in FY2010.

Indicator 3: Satisfaction survey of community providers

Target: Achieve a rate of 82 percent satisfied or very satisfied in FY2010

Results: The provider satisfaction survey was not completed in FY2010.

Indicator 4: Satisfaction survey of employers hiring DRS customers

Target: Achieve a rate of 82 percent satisfied or very satisfied in FY2010

Results: The employer satisfaction survey was not completed in FY2010.

Additional Goals for FY2010:

B. Strategies Contributing to Success

The key factors contributing to DRS success in making progress include: a focus on measurement of performance; follow up on quality assurance findings; targeted staff training; outreach to employer and business groups; and an emphasis on serving individuals with most significant disabilities. Through use of its OneNet intranet system, DRS has provided a great deal of data on performance that is available to all staff, supervisors and administrators in DRS. This gives all DRS personnel an opportunity to focus on results and be aware of trends. DRS also makes use of a new online report distribution system for providing performance feedback to field supervisors. This makes data more readily available to supervisors who can use the information to work with staff in need of additional support.

Qualify assurance findings, particularly those emphasizing a need for improvement in casework quality, are made available through training events as well as online reports. This gives staff and supervisors another element on which to focus attention and develop improvement plans. Working with business and employer groups has increased in recent years, centering on identifying employers who offer good jobs with benefits and who are willing to cooperate with VR counselors in meeting the needs of customers. While many VR counselors are not accustomed to working with business groups, the assistance of employment resource specialists have helped develop many new employment opportunities for customers.

C. Factors Limiting Success

DRS has had made limited progress or seen declines in quality variables such as hours worked per week and the percentage of customers with employer-paid health insurance. This is part of a national trend in the work environment where fewer employers offer health insurance benefits and more jobs are of the part-time variety. Jobs in retail and food service- which are traditional areas for entry-level jobs- only magnify these trends of the larger workforce. Manufacturing jobs, which offered long hours, including overtime, and health benefits, are disappearing in Illinois and elsewhere. There is little VR can do to overcome these trends.

Another factor is the relative youth of DRS customers. DRS has a high percentage of cases who begin receiving VR services while in high school. While some go on to college, most pursue employment and face limited earning opportunities given their skills and level of education. DRS customers who attend college have earnings 45 percent higher than those who complete only high school. However, the high-school educated group makes up about a third of all competitive outcome closures for DRS, resulting in wages that rise slowly. Similarly, individuals with less education and lower wages are also less likely to receive health insurance benefits with their job.

In addition, data provided by RSA indicate that about half of the transition age youth closed into competitive work by DRS work in food service, retail, or building and grounds maintenance, compared to about a third of transition age customers in comparable VR agencies. Concentration on these lower skilled jobs further contributes to the overall lower wage and lesser level of benefits experienced by customers earning competitive outcomes through DRS.

Another factor limiting success in casework quality is the relatively low level of experience of the VR counseling staff. After two early retirement incentives in the last five years, there are fewer long-term counselors available to provide guidance to newer staff. In addition, due to changes in the state hiring process, many field office supervisors are individuals who do not have a background in the VR program and thus do not have a wealth of experience to offer. Therefore, training and remediation efforts have increased to meet the needs of staff. DRS believes that this situation will improve in time, both due to better training and increased experience. It is unlikely that such a large influx of inexperienced staff will take place in the foreseeable future.

Staff have shown performance improvements in the area of timely certification of eligibility and in timely IPE development, following extensive data reporting and training by DRS administration. The cause of the poor performance is difficult to identify, although it appears to be related to counselor experience and capacity for planning caseload activities. DRS has devoted resources to improvement of its computerized case management system to assist in effective scheduling. Also, new management information reports have been developed to help office supervisors pinpoint issues related to timeliness

 

Supported Employment

Goal: For FY2010, DRS will serve and employ 200 persons in supported employment using Title VI Part B funds. This figure is lower than in previous years, due to the increased cost of providing supported employment services.

Results

In FY2010 DRS served 221 individuals in supported employment using Title VI Part B funds and an additional 2,504 using other funds. A total of 401 individuals were closed into competitive employment after having participated in supported employment services.

Other Supported Employment Goals:

During FY2010, the Supported Employment Program (SEP) set forth the following goals using Title VI, Part B funds.

1. Serve customers recently placed into supported employment until they move to the Extended Services program or receive natural supports.

Results: Through June 2011, all DRS customers served in supported employment were moved into either paid extended services or unpaid natural supports at the conclusion of their VR case. The DRS computerized case management system requires the counselor to enter the planned post-SEP environment when developing an IPE including supported employment. After July 1, 2011 paid extended services are not available until alternative funding sources are identified.

2. Continue to expand the scope of those who receive services to include persons who are deaf-blind, persons with traumatic brain injuries, persons who are mentally ill, persons with significant hearing impairments and other persons with the most significant disabilities.

Results: DRS supported employment services are targeted only at individuals who are classified in the order of selection policy as having a most significant disability.

3. Continue to work on developing agreements with other state agencies to cover the cost of extended services.

Results: DRS has not been able to establish agreements with either the Division of Developmental Disabilities or the Division of Mental Health.

4. Explore and develop other means of providing job support for SEP customers after DRS closes their cases, such as development of natural supports and mentoring in the workplace, increased use of Social Security work incentive programs, as well as Work Incentives Planning and Assistance services.

Results: DRS counselors are strongly encouraged to move customers into a natural supports environment at the conclusion of a supported employment case. The availability of paid extended services remains very limited.

 

Standards and Indicators

The following table shows how the Illinois VR program performed relative to the RSA evaluation standards and indicators for the most recent period reported.

Illinois VR Performance on Standards and Indicators Federal FY2010 Data

Indicators FY 2010 Description Minimum and Achieved Values 1.1 Change in number of employment outcomes +1 -257 Fail 1.2 Percent employed after receiving services 55.8: 56.25 Pass 1.3 Percent competitively employed 72.6 91.87 Pass 1.4 Percent of competitive outcomes with a significant disability 62.4 100.0 Pass 1.5 Earnings ratio compared to state average earnings 0.52 .431 Fail 1.6 Percent indicating they are self-supporting 53.0 56.90 Pass 2.1 Service rate ratio for minority customers .80 .867 Pass

As shown in the table above, Illinois passed on five of the seven indicators. Illinois failed on indicator 1.5 as it has done each year. DRS failed to increase rehabilitated closures (1.1) in FY2010 after having passed this indicator the previous year. For standard 2, DRS passed Indicator 2.1 for the second successive year.

Discussion: Indicator 1.1 The number of rehabilitated closures fell by 257 (4.9%) in FY2010 compared to FY2009. This is a smaller percentage decrease than the 6.3 percent drop noted between FY2008 and FY2009. DRS believes that this is due to the deterioration in the employment market in Illinois, as well as to having a relatively larger percentage of less experienced rehabilitation counselors. DRS has strongly encouraged development of direct job placement skills by counselors. Two mandatory training events were held in FY2010 designed to improve staff skills in working effectively with employers by marketing customer skills. Follow-up training was provided in FY2011. In addition, DRS developed an employer training initiative that gave counselors a new approach to direct job placement. DRS also established $5.9 million in job placement contracts with community provider agencies utilizing ARRA funds. It is uncertain how long the state’s unemployment situation will affect the employment options for VR program customers.

 

Use of Expansion and Innovation Funds

DRS used funds allotted for expansion and innovation to initiate and maintain its World Class Customer Service effort. As noted above, the World Class initiative is an organizational transformation project that is ongoing, and which is designed to make dramatic changes in organizational performance by changing business processes. Since 2007 many elements of the World Class initiative has been incorporated into DHS initiatives known as Platinum Customer Services and Going the Extra Mile. DRS played a key role in helping expand World Class concepts to the larger DHS agency. A major expense has been the training of staff. Over 900 staff participated in a three-day training process facilitated by an organization development consultant and trainer. Additional innovation expenses involved implementation of local office plans developed as part of the World Class initiative.

Each DRS local office team developed objectives designed to help achieve the agency’s goals, provide services more quickly and to enhance the customer experience to the point of delighting customers. Requests for funds to implement local office plan objectives were approved on a case-by-case basis. Another significant expense has been the implementation and continuing development of a new computerized virtual case management system, which is designed to improve the efficiency of staff, reduce paperwork and eliminate duplicate data entry. In addition, this system has significantly improved our capacity to monitor the quality of services provided to customers. DRS community providers will begin entering data directly into the case management system in FY2012. DRS expects all data entry to be accomplished electronically by the end of FY2013.

State Rehabilitation Council Activities

DRS works closely with the State Rehabilitation Council. Title I funds are used each year for SRC activities that include quarterly Council meetings, committee meetings, printing costs, travel and other miscellaneous expenses. Title I funding is also used to fund other SRC activities, such as community meetings. A DRS administrator serves as the Council Liaison and handles all aspects of the Council’s activities. The Bureau Chiefs for Field Services and Blind Services alternate their attendance at each meeting and the Director participates in Council meetings unless a scheduling conflict prevents it. In those instances, the Bureau Chiefs and the Liaison serve as the representative. In the last two years, the SRC has made greater use of videoconferencing facilities to reduce travel for members, thereby reducing travel costs. DRS spent approximately $10,000 on SRC expenses in the last fiscal year.

This screen was last updated on Jul 20 2011 2:13PM by Tonya Stellar

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

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

A. Goals

During FY2012, the Supported Employment Program (SEP) has set forth the following goals using Title VI, Part B funds.

A. Goals

During FY2012, the Supported Employment Program (SEP) has set forth the following goals using Title VI, Part B funds.

1. Serve customers recently placed into supported employment in a manner consistent with federal regulations, with an emphasis on moving as many individuals as possible into natural supports at the conclusion of ongoing support services.

2. Continue to expand the scope of those who receive services to include persons who are deaf-blind, persons with traumatic brain injuries, persons who are mentally ill, persons with significant hearing impairments and other persons with the most significant disabilities.

3. Develop new mechanisms for funding paid extended services, including cooperative agreements with other state agencies and local units of government.

4. Evaluate the most effective means of achieving employment outcomes for individuals traditionally served in supported employment services.

5. Evaluate the rates paid to providers for supported employment services and adjust rates as necessary to ensure the availability of supported employment services.

For FY2012, DRS will serve and employ 200 persons in supported employment. In FY2010 DRS served 221 individuals in supported employment using Title VI Part B funds and an additional 2,504 using other funds.

B. Utilization and Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

Title VI, Part B funds are used to purchase SEP services for customers. The Department administers its Supported Employment Program using two mechanisms: contracting with community organizations to provide supported employment services or arranging individual placements through DRS vocational rehabilitation counselors in local offices (case services). Contracts have been established with 25 entities throughout Illinois to provide services to eligible customers.

DRS has maintained a system of negotiated rates with individual service provider agencies. The policy review of the CRP rate structure will determine whether this practice continues after FY2012.

C. Supported Employment Models to be Used During FY2012

DRS utilizes two supported employment models: (1) the individual work model; and (2) the enclave (clustered) model. With the support of DRS, supported employment services in recent years has moved more in the direction of the individual work model. Currently, over 90 percent of the models used are the individual work model and fewer than 10 percent utilize the enclave model (with up to eight persons in a group).

DRS intends to phase out the use of the enclave model over the next two fiscal years. DRS believes that this model is not consistent with achievement of competitive employment in integrated settings.

D. Transition to Extended Services

Due to the elimination of state funds for extended services, DRS is placing a renewed emphasis on the use of natural supports in the workplace as the best means of providing extended services at the conclusion of supported employment services. This means that providers must pay attention to the importance of maintaining a support reduction schedule during the time an individual is receiving supported employment services. DRS issued a policy directive in 2010 emphasizing the need to reduce support consistently throughout the supported employment time period.

E. Scope of Services

In FY2012 DRS expects to continue the following levels of funding for supported employment and extended services activities. Supported employment services provided with Title VI-B funds: approximately 200 individuals, total funding $1.1 million, approximately 25 provider agencies.. Supported employment provided with Title I funds: approximately 2,250 individuals, total funding $4.5 million, approximately 45 provider agencies.

DRS does not have a state appropriation for extended services for FY2012. Therefore the level of services maintained to date will not be able to continue. DRS is investigating additional sources of funding to support individuals who require paid extended services at the conclusion of supported employment services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 5:27PM by Douglas Morton

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Last updated on 08/08/2011 at 3:13 PM

Last updated by Douglas Morton

Completed on 08/08/2011 at 3:13 PM

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Approved on 08/12/2011 at 3:23 PM

Approved by Tonya Stellar

Published on 09/01/2011 at 7:41 AM

Published by Ken Schellenberg

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