ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Kentucky Office for the Blind State Plan for Fiscal Year 2015 (submitted FY 2014)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

1.1 The The Kentucky Office for the Blind 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 The Kentucky Department for Workforce Investment [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

State Treasurer

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

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

Executive Director

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryAllison Flanagan

Title of SignatoryExecutive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/25/2014

Assurances Certified By

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

Comments:

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryAllison Flanagan

Title of SignatoryExecutive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/25/2014

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
The Kentucky Office for the Blind

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

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

The agency’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is established under the Kentucky Revised Statutes 163.470 and meets the requirements of 34 CFR 361.29. The SRC is a valued partner with the Office for the Blind (OFB) participating in the administration of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The Council meets quarterly to review policies, program information, and other pertinent issues.

As a part of the agency’s commitment, the Office for the Blind provides funding support for the SRC to be used in reimbursement of expenses to Council members, publication of the SRC Annual Report and conducting the Consumer Satisfaction Survey through the University of Kentucky. In FFY 2013 the budget was 75,944, and for FFY 2014, the budget is 73,800. The projected budget for FFY 2015 is 56,000.

The Office for the Blind works with the SRC and makes every effort to seek input for needed improvements and recommendations. This occurs through formal and informal communication, as well as the committee work of the members. OFB works in partnership with the SRC in ensuring that individuals served receive the needed services and supports to gain independence through employment and increased skills acquisition.

The State Rehabilitation Council and its subcommittees guide OFB operations. The committees are: Executive, Bylaws and Nominating, Business and Employment Opportunities, Government and Public Relations, Planning, and Consumer Services.

OFB staff gave performance and program operation updates at each SRC quarterly meeting in FFY 2013. The Kentucky Office for the Blind reported its performance measures on the standards and indicators, satisfaction survey, numbers served and outcomes for the various programs offered to consumers for 2013, at the October 25, 2013 quarterly meeting. The University of Kentucky Research Program and the Human Development Institute conducted the 2012 Satisfaction Survey and presented the results of that survey to the SRC at their May 25, 2013 meeting.

This attachment is the Kentucky State Rehabilitation Council’s input to the State Plan. A copy of the 2015 State Plan attachments in draft form was distributed to the SRC for review and approval.

Input was received and recorded in the written minutes of the Committee Reports and of the Council that met on October 12, 2012, January 25, 2013, April 26, 2013, July 26, 2013, and October 25, 2013. The Council now holds its quarterly meetings in January, April, July and October to coincide with the federal reporting quarters. This ensures that they get the most current reporting information at each meeting.

The Kentucky Office for the Blind did not reject any recommendations from the SRC during the past year. Summaries of the Council’s activities and recommendations, as well as OFB responses, are listed below.

SRC Recommendations for Gaining Input for the Order of Selection

Recommendation: After review and discussion at the January 25, 2013 quarterly meeting, the State Rehabilitation recommended that the agency hold five public hearings throughout the state to gather input on the closing of categories.

Information on changes of the potential closing of additional categories under Order of Selection was sent out to Council members in advance of the January 25, 2013 quarterly meeting. The upcoming public hearings were discussed at the meeting and input was gained from members who were invited to attend the public hearings. The full Council was informed of the results of the review and consulted regarding the decision. In 2013, agency staff and the SRC reviewed, on a quarterly basis, data on numbers served, number placed on a -waiting list, and agency fiscal resources to determine the need to open or close categories.

OFB Response: The Office for the Blind accepted said recommendation and conducted statewide public hearings in FFY 2013 to provide consumers, staff, advocates and other interested individuals, the opportunity to share their comments regarding the annual revisions to the State Plan to be in effect from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. A statewide press release notified the public of the hearings, noting the times and locations. The closing of additional categories of service under the current Order of Selection was o an agenda item addressed at each hearing. Copies of the Order of Selection priority categories were made available on the OFB website prior to the hearings held in February 2013 in Lexington, Florence, Louisville, Paducah and Hazard.

During FFY 2013, budgets and fiscal resources were reviewed monthly by agency management. Information was presented to the State Rehabilitation Council at each quarterly meeting. The Office for the Blind continued to endure fiscal deficits that resulted in cuts to all aspects, including administration. While efforts in reduction of expenses created some savings, it was not enough to offset the deficit. Unfortunately, the loss of state funds over the past five years has resulted in the agency being unable to match 5,062,622 of federal funds, therefore, leaving those federal dollars for other states to utilize. The agency relinquished amount was 1,225,400 for FFY 2013.

The OFB Executive Director and leadership were transparent in communicating the agency’s financial status to the Council and advocacy organizations’ leadership who were supportive of the decision to close categories. Based on a thorough analysis of OFB’s budget, through an administrative cost review by the Executive Director, Executive Leadership Team, and the State Rehabilitation Council, as well as input from the public hearings, priority categories two and three were closed on April 1, 2013. SRC Recommendations for the State Plan Goals and Priorities

Recommendation: At the May 18, 2012 meeting, the committee made a recommendation to the full Council to accept the following proposed goals for the FFY 2014 State Plan. After review and discussion, the State Rehabilitation Council accepted the committee’s recommendations that the Kentucky Office for the Blind establish the following goals for FFY 2013-2015.

OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Performance Indicators annually.

Increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment.

Use resources effectively and efficiently in order to maximize funds in serving individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired in the Commonwealth.

Provide full-time employment and career opportunities for Kentuckians who are legally blind, while providing quality vending and food services for government and business through Kentucky Business Enterprises.

Develop, design and implement a professional development leadership program for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning.

Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

As reported in this attachment for last year’s State Plan, the full Council discussed the methods for obtaining input for the 2012 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. Information gained from the assessment was used for the planning and formulating of goals and strategies submitted in the 2014 State Plan. See Attachment 4.11 (a) for the complete report and a summary of findings and recommendations. At the January 25, 2013 meeting, the State Plan and upcoming public hearings were discussed by the Planning Committee. In their report to the full Council, they asked for members who had questions, concerns or suggestions to submit them and reminded members that the goals and priorities for the State Plan had been formulated, voted on and approved at the May 2012 meeting.

Based on the input received, there were six concise and measurable goal areas set. These goals were based on the 2012 Statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessment, the 107 Monitoring Report, the federal Standards and Performance Indicators, real time data through the Case Management System, strategic planning and other sources of information.

OFB Response: The Office for the Blind accepted the SRCs recommendations for the setting of the above goals and priorities from the 2012 Needs Assessment for the State Plan. OFB followed all of the above recommendations for gaining input for the State Plan. As specified by the guidelines of the assessment project plan submitted by Dr. Amy Flowers in 2012, a number of data sources were used for this year’s report. Other sources were utilized as well. See Attachment 4.11 (a) for the complete report.

SRC Recommendation on Annual Report Theme

Recommendation: The Planning Committee recommended at the October 25, 2013 meeting that the theme for the Annual Report be Challenges, Commitment and Change. The full Council approved the theme. The SRC requested that the 2013 Annual Report contain success stories about consumers.

OFB Response: OFB accepted the recommended theme for the 2013 SRC Annual Report and worked with the Council members on compiling the report. OFB worked with the Council in providing the content for the annual report. At their request it contained facts that informed the public about the Office for the Blind and the Council, such as OFB 2013 program statistics, agency budget update, 2014 State Plan Goals and Priorities, the 2012 Satisfaction Survey results, consumer success stories, employer stories and contact information for the agency. It also included a letter from the SRC Chair and a list of all 23 Council members. The Annual Report was sent out electronically to all SRC members for their review prior to publication. It was also provided to the public on the OFB website.

SRC Recommendation on Gathering Input for State Plan and Needs Assessment

Recommendation: The Council recommended to the agency to jointly gather input for the 2015 State Plan and the 2015 Comprehensive Statewide Needs assessment in 2014.

At the October 12, 2013 meeting, the Planning Committee discussed the State Plan, the Satisfaction Survey and the conducting of the 2015 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment. The Council discussed the fact that, due to budget constraints, the Needs Assessment would be conducted in-house. The Planning Committee reviewed the draft plan for conducting the 2015 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment at the July 26, 2013 meeting. They reported to the full Council that they would use the same format to conduct the CSNA that had been used previously. They continued to work on the plan at the October 25, 2013 and January 24, 2014 meetings.

OFB Response: OFB accepted the recommendation regarding gathering input to the State Plan and CSNA. In 2014, public hearings to gather input were held March 25th in Covington, April 21st in Lexington, May 13th in Louisville and June 2nd in London.

SRC Recommendation for Report from State ADA Coordinator

Recommendation: At the April 2013 meeting, in a discussion of budgetary matters, it was noted that half the salary of the State ADA Coordinator was charged to the Office for the Blind’s budget. The Council made a motion that the State ADA Coordinator be scheduled to give a report of services provided to the agency by that office.

OFB Response: OFB accepted thee SRC recommendation and scheduled the State ADA Coordinator to speak to the Council. At the July 26, 2013 meeting, the Coordinator presented a report of the duties of his office as well as statistics on the cases investigated and trainings held. The SRC members asked questions and were provided with a written summary of the report. In 2013 and currently in 2014 the Office for the Blind is working with the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet leadership in resolving this budgetary issue to assure compliance.

SRC Request to Change Meeting Schedule

At the October 12, 2012 meeting the SRC recommended that the length of the committee meetings be extended in order to have more time to discuss important matters. It was also recommended to change the meeting months to January, April, July and October from February, May, August and November to ensure that the Council gets the most current reporting information at each meeting.

OFB Response: OFB accepted and agreed with the SRC recommendation for more time for the committees and for moving the meetings to coincide with agency reporting dates. The committee meetings were extended to 45 minutes each and the meeting months were changed.

SRC Committee Activities

Satisfaction Survey

A copy of the 2012 Satisfaction Survey Executive Summary, as well as the Survey Highlights, were distributed to SRC members, via email, prior to the April 26, 2013 SRC meeting where Christina Espinosa, from the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute, delivered a presentation for the Council on the Survey results. Ms. Espinosa’s handouts covered data which she also delivered through a PowerPoint presentation. She reported a total of 275 participants responding which was a 92.9% response rate. Overall, the results of the study indicated that consumers expressed high degrees of satisfaction with their experiences. She reported that 85.3% of all participating consumers rated services they received through OFB as a 1 or 2, on a five point scale where 1 = “excellent” and 5 = “poor”. Generally, participants had positive regard for their counselors and other OFB staff. Satisfaction with specific services (McDowell Center, assistive technology, orientation and mobility) was also high. In addition, for those with a case closed successfully, 91.5% indicated that their needs were met through the services received, by responding with a 1 or 2.

Government and Public Relations Committee

The Government and Public Relations Committee are given quarterly updates on marketing and outreach events by the OFB staff. They reported these out to the full Council at every meeting. The committee reported throughout the year on the progress being made with the new Kentucky Career Center marketing and website, which included OFB.

As part of the soft drink contract, the Office for the Blind receives money for scholarships. An SRC member from this committee was part of the Scholarship Awards team and was integral in selecting the 24 individuals who received scholarships in 2013. A ceremony was held in August 2013 to present the Coca-Cola Scholarships to the winners. This year the scholarships awarded totaled 61,500.

At the January 25, 2013 meeting, the Government and Public Relations Committee reported that cuts in state funding, would impact the amount of matching funds received by the agency from the federal government. They recommended that SRC members start contacting their legislators to lobby for additional funding for the Office for the Blind to enable them to draw down full federal funding. At the April 26, 2013 meeting they appointed a committee member to spearhead that effort for the Council. At the July 26, 2013 meeting the committee reminded the Council that the agency was limited on their advocacy to legislators for more funding and that it was incumbent upon all Council members to do so on OFB’s behalf. At the October 25, 2013 meeting, members of the committee asked for volunteers for a subcommittee to work on a talking points document to use when contacting legislators. The subcommittee met and finalized a document that was sent to the full Council. In March 2014, two members of the committee spoke to the KY House of Representatives’ Appropriations and Revenue Committee on OFB’s behalf.

OFB staff report quarterly the number, scope and type of events staff attend such as job fairs, health fairs, Career Center presentations, eye physicians, events at hospitals, nursing homes and transition fairs. The agency expressed appreciation for the Council’s involvement and support of the Scholarship Awards. In 2013 staff participated in 206 events statewide.

The agency was very supportive and appreciative of the SRC’s initiative to advocate for more funding for OFB. At every meeting the Executive Director urged members to talk to their legislators about the impact of the cuts requesting that they contact her with any questions and concerns. The Executive Director sent budget information to the committee and subcommittee to use when compiling their talking points document. She thanked the Council for their efforts in contacting their legislators and asked them to continue their advocacy efforts for the future needs of the agency.

SRC Input into CSPD

The Council had the opportunity to review and comment on the development of plans, policies and procedures for CSPD. There were no changes to the current policies and procedures for CSPD. The CSPD attachment to the 2015 State Plan was sent to the SRC for review and comments in June 2014.

SRC New Member Orientation and Training

The Council strongly encourages new and existing members to participate in the State Rehabilitation Council Online Training Series, developed by the Rehabilitation Services Administration in cooperation with the National Rehabilitation Continuing Education Programs. Two new Council members completed the SRC Online training series in 2013. Tours of the McDowell Center are also offered to all new members.

The SRC Chair attended the RSA sponsored SRC Forum in June 2013. He gave a report on the training to the full Council at the July 2013 meeting where he encouraged all members to take a more active role on the SRC. He told the Council that it had been stressed at the training that it was very important in their role as an SRC member to get consumer input.

Executive Director’s Fiscal Reports to the SRC

The Executive Director kept the Council updated on budgetary issues at each quarterly meeting. In October, the Council was informed that the agency continued to deal with a budgetary shortfall and was 1.2 million behind for fiscal year 2013. OFB had spent 9.5 million in the last fiscal year, which was 13 percent higher than budgeted and had to use 280,000 of the 2013 state funds. The proposed budget for FFY 2014 was 9.5 million and included funding for the training and supported employment grants as well as the IL/OIB funds. On a positive note, it was reported that Kentucky Business Enterprises revenues and Social Security reimbursements had increased; however not enough to offset rising expenses.

At the January 25, 2013 meeting, the Executive Director reported that the agency’s operating budget had been set at 9.4 million for FFY 2014, 1.1 million less than the previous year and the budget for the following year would be only 8.7 million. The agency had made as many administrative cuts as possible and would be closing Categories 2 and 3 on April 1. The agency would continue to make cuts where feasible and generate revenue through grants, maximizing Social Security reimbursements, establishing and increasing partnerships with the general agency and other partners tapping into additional resources.

At the April 26, 2013 meeting the SRC was told that the Executive Director had met with State Budget Office officials and high ranking members of the Education Cabinet to explain how the cutting of state funds lead to the loss of federal match money and has resulted in the closure of categories of service to OFB consumers.

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 11:47AM by Cora McNabb

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen has never been updated.

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

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.8 (b)(1): Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities: Cooperation with Agencies That Are Not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities

The agency will assure that the Governor of the State, in consultation with other appropriate agencies, will have in place interagency agreements or other mechanisms for interagency coordination between any appropriate public entity including the state Medicaid Program, public institutions of higher education and a component of the statewide workforce investment system. This will ensure the provision of vocational rehabilitation services described in subparagraph (A) other than those specified in paragraph (5) (D), and in paragraph (1) through (4) and (14) of Section 103 (a) of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, that are included in the individualized plan for employment of an eligible individual, including the provision of such vocational rehabilitation services during the duration of any dispute. Such agreements shall include the following: (i) A description of a method for defining the financial responsibility of a public entity for providing such services, and a provision stating the financial responsibility of such public entity for providing such services.

(ii) Information specifying the conditions, terms, and procedures under which the office shall be reimbursed by other public entities for providing such services. (iii) Information specifying procedures for resolving interagency disputes under the agreement. (iv) Information specifying policies and procedures for public entities to determine and identify the interagency coordination responsibilities of each public entity to promote the coordination and timely delivery of vocational rehabilitation services (except those services specified in paragraph (5)(D) and in paragraphs (1) through (4) and (14) of Section 103 (a) of the Act. Responsibilities of Other Public Entities

If any public entity other than the office is obligated under Federal or State law, or assigned responsibility under State policy or under regulations set forth in the 1998 Amendments to the Act, to provide or pay for any services that are also considered to be vocational rehabilitation services (other than those specified in paragraph (5) (D) and in paragraphs (1) through (4) and (14) of Section 103 (a), such public entity shall fulfill that obligation or responsibility, either directly or by contract or other arrangement.

If a public entity other than the office fails to provide or pay for the services for an eligible individual, the office shall provide or pay for such services to the individual. The office may claim reimbursement for the services from the public entity that failed to provide or pay for such services. Such public entity shall reimburse the office pursuant to the terms of the interagency agreement or other mechanism described in the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, according to the procedures established in such agreement or mechanism pursuant to the established conditions, terms and procedures of reimbursement.

Signed agreements between respective officials of the public entities that outline and identify the responsibilities of each public entity relating to the provision of services shall be in place. The Office for the Blind has developed collaborative relationships with several agencies and entities within and without the statewide workforce investment system both private and public agencies and programs. OFB works cooperatively with the following agencies to avoid the duplication of services and enhance the service delivery process for consumers who are blind and visually impaired. 173 school districts statewide consisting of 1,233 schools inclusive of 564 Visually Impaired Students and 18 Deaf Blind ages 3-21. Nine special education cooperative networks across the state created to enhance educational opportunities for Kentucky’s children providing technical assistance, training; professional development, specialized services and research.

Department of Behavioral Health, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through their fourteen (14) Community Mental Health Centers for supported employment. The Correctional System in assisting consumers with visual disabilities who are offenders. The Kentucky Business Leadership Network, which is affiliated with the U. S. Business Leadership Network, is to promote enduring partnerships between business and industry and agencies that provide vocational support services for Kentuckians with disabilities (currently inactive but plans are place to reestablish the network). Community rehabilitation providers in the provision of employment services. Kentucky Association of Persons in Supported Employment whose mission is to “promote the improvement of Supported Employment services for persons with significant disabilities experiencing barriers to employment through education, advocacy, collaboration, policy change, elimination of barriers, empowerment and community participation”. OFB has a staff person serving on the State APSE board. Department of Medicaid Services Department of Community Based Services-Public Assistance Programs Local Ophthalmologists and Optometrists and their respective professional associations in accessing needed services for consumers. These are key collaborative relationships that OFB has established. Staff attend state conferences, distribute marketing materials and maintain working relationships with local offices and the area ophthalmologists and optometrists (patient referral and services). American Printing House for the Blind, the world’s largest source for adapted educational and daily living products. Kentucky School for the Blind, K-12 public school serving Kentucky students who are blind and visually impaired; Short Course program (1-12 weeks) of specialized instructional is also available to students throughout the school year; Kentucky Federation of the Blind an advocacy organization that improves blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. OFB is involved through representation at their state and national conventions and representation of this advocacy organization sit on the State Rehabilitation Council. Kentucky American Council of the Blind strives to improve the well being of all blind and visually impaired people by serving as a representative national organization of blind people. OFB is involved through representation at their state and national conventions and representation of this advocacy organization sit on the State Rehabilitation Council. Local Chambers of Commerce –OFB staff represent the agency across the state on local chamber organizations International Centers specializing in advocacy and services to the foreign born and serve refugees, asylees, and immigrants (Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green). The Veterans Administration- OFB works collaboratively with the VA in planning for needed services due to an increase in visual impairments as a result of injuries associated with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Area Employers in the development of working relationships increasing the number of successful employment outcomes for consumers University of Kentucky Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute is a University Center of Excellence established by federal legislation to promote team-based approaches to provide services for individuals with disabilities and their families. Other community based organizations such as Health clinics, HUD, Diabetes Foundation, The Lions Club and other community resources for consumers The Kentucky Assistive Technology Service (KATS) is a statewide network of organizations and individuals connecting to enhance the availability of assistive technology devices and services to improve the productivity and quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Visually Impaired Preschool Services offering service to infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers who are visually impaired; and to maximize each child’s developmental potential through direct services, advocacy, and community education Kentucky Outreach and Information Network (KOIN)- Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services/Department of Public Health planning committee for communication and message distribution to special populations during a public health emergency or other disastrous event. The Kentucky Functional Needs Collaborative (KFNC) is a project of the Kentucky Department of Public Health. Their goal is to ensure an effective public health emergency response system in Kentucky for populations with functional and access needs. In 2012, the USDA Rural Development invested more than 727 million in rural Kentucky communities across the Commonwealth for the areas of Community Facilities, Housing, Water and Environmental, Business Cooperative Programs. Agency staff are aware of these programs and provide information and referral to consumers for these programs to meet their individual needs. OFB staff are integral members of many statewide councils and their respective subcommittees such as the SILC, Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Transition Interagency Council. Coordination with the Statewide Independent Living Council and Independent Living Centers The Office works in coordination with the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). A member from SILC sits on the Agency State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind. The Office for the Blind Independent Living Program Manager represents the Agency on the SILC. As outlined in the SILC state plan OFB provides monies for costs associated with salary for a part-time shared staff for the statewide independent living council. OFB staff work collaboratively with the Independent Living Centers across the state in the service delivery process for consumers with visual impairments.

State Use Contracting

Under the state procurement code, administered by the Finance and Administration Cabinet, there are preferences to be given by governmental entities and political subdivisions in purchasing commodities or services from specified entities. Specifically, first preference is given to the products made by the Department of Corrections and Division of Prison Industries. Second preference shall be given either to: (1) the Kentucky Industries for the Blind or any other nonprofit corporation with which the Office for the Blind contracts to further its statutory purposes; or (2) qualified nonprofit agencies for individuals with severe disabilities i.e., Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP). This means that state and local governmental agencies are to purchase directly from Correctional Industries or an Industries contracted with by OFB and/or a CRP without having to utilize the competitive procurement processes. The Finance and Administration Cabinet is to publicize/distribute a list of those products and services. OFB confers its statutory state use preference upon LC Industries to afford them the preferential procurement opportunities for their products and services, which may expand employment opportunities for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. Requirements related to the Statewide Workforce Investment System

As a partner of the One-Stop Career Center service delivery system the office shall carry out the following functions consistent with the Act, Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and the regulations in 20 CFR part 662: 1) Make available to participants through the One-Stop service delivery system the core services (as described in 20 CFR 662.240) that are applicable to the program administered by the office under this part; 2) Use a portion of funds made available to the program administered by the office under this part, consistent with the Act and this part, to: i)Create and maintain the One-Stop service delivery system; and ii) Provide core services (as described in 20 CFR 662.240) 3) Enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Local Workforce Investment Board under section 117 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 relating to the operation of the One-Stop service delivery system that meets the requirements of section 121c) of the Workforce Investment Act and 20 CFR 662.300, including a description of services, how the cost of the identified services and operating costs of the system will be funded, and methods for referrals. 4) Participate in the operation of the One-Stop service delivery system consistent with the terms of the MOU and the requirements of the Act and this part. 5)Provide representation on the Local Workforce Investment Board under section 117 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Cooperation and Collaboration within The Workforce Investment System

Governor Steve Beshear envisions a workforce system in the Commonwealth of Kentucky that breaks down the silos that have dominated the landscape of workforce development for many years. The system will fully integrate state and local resources to create a seamless system to serve the employer community, as well as the individuals who will use the system.

The goals of the plan are as follows: Align the Commonwealth’s workforce development system with Kentucky’s education objectives Align the Commonwealth’s workforce development system with economic development strategies Simplify the workforce development service delivery system Improve service to achieve a customer-centered delivery system

In the summer of 2009, the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board began a process to develop a strategic plan to transform Kentucky’s workforce development system to meet the challenges of a changing global economy and address the most immediate concerns of the current financial crisis. Kentucky’s transformational objectives include 25 initiatives designed to form a user friendly, customer-centric system that brings alignment to education, economic development and workforce activities. The WorkSmart Kentucky Plan lays out the foundation to improve operational collaboration at both the state and local levels. The action steps included in this plan are organized as follows:

System Transformation – These tactics are common to several of the committees, thus are designed to help achieve multiple goals with the same action item. These actions represent some of the best opportunities to impact the system as a whole.

Education Alignment – Tied to the goal of aligning the state’s workforce and education systems, these tactics are focused on improving training education attainment.

Economic Development Alignment – Action steps designed to leverage state and local economic development and workforce resources are the focus.

System Simplification – Opportunities to create a simpler, more useable system are identified.

Customer Service – Steps to assure the system meets the needs of both employer and job seeker/employee customer bases are presented.

Over the past three years the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board has seen unprecedented successful implementation of 21 of 25 strategic initiatives, due in large part to the commitment of project champions, managers, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, local workforce investment boards, and partner organizations, agencies and cabinets. The Office for the Blind has been committed to this process and is an active partner in the implementation of the initiatives.

In August of 2013, the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board voted to update the WORKSmart Kentucky Strategic Plan earlier than originally anticipated due to the fact that a large number of strategic initiatives had been or were being implemented. The board’s decision was based on the fact that changes were occurring at every level of the public workforce development system at a rapid pace and an update would provide an opportunity to check on progress and realign strategies with changing economic and social forces.

The updated plan is designed to be used in conjunction with the original WORKSmart Kentucky strategic plan. The major initiatives and next steps of the plan are as follows:

Entrepreneurship (increased opportunities in a culture of innovation) Earn and Learn Opportunities (registered apprenticeships) Accelerated GED (removes the barrier of time investment) Economic Development Academy (training of multi-discipline professionals across the state) TECH High-Phase II (change in the vulture of technical education to one of collaboration and aspiration to lead and become a sought after service)

The following is a list of the some of the initiatives that contain modifications and enhancements that were in the WorkSmart Plan of 2010:

Sector Strategies Kentucky Work Ready Communities Business Services Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky Career Center Customer Flow

The Office for the Blind is actively involved on committees and workgroups for the following initiatives.

Branding and Identity: This is an initiative to infuse a cultural shift in the delivery of services offered to our employer and job seeking customers, as well as instill credibility within the economic development community. Our priority is to promote a consistent message that will infuse continuity in the delivery of all services offered within the Commonwealth’s workforce system. In addition, the goals for the system branding are to create a sense of value and promote a heightened level of professionalism and customer service.

One-Stop Certification Process: This initiative is designed to build continuity and consistency in the delivery of services in the one-stop career centers. Partnerships, common forms, and a truly integrated approach to serving.

Business Services Redesign: This effort will create a proactive, solutions-based approach to the services offered to the business community. This initiative will promote a coordinated effort toward service delivery in a strategic manner. The objective is to maximize business services resources by aligning them with economic development goals around business development.

Team-Based Case Management: One of the cornerstone elements that local workforce investment area directors agree should be part of the branding architecture for Kentucky’s workforce system is a consistent approach to case management. To achieve this level of service and unify the approach across the system, casemanagers will be required to attend training and professional development on a continuing basis.

Partner for Success: This initiative brings together management and front-line staff from within and throughout the workforce development system. This strategy brings a holistic approach to services through an integrated method toward trainings, networking opportunities and nurturing an awareness of the array of services that partner agencies offer. This initiative also identifies gaps in service and duplications of system offerings.

Workforce Academy: This “train the trainer” approach to workforce activities will promote a consistent training atmosphere that will increase knowledge throughout the workforce system and across partner agencies. Online trainings and a certification process will instill value in the work that is done to serve employers and job seeking customers. One of the key topic areas that will further our interest of integration is cross-functional supervision of our systems multiple agencies.

All Office for the Blind staff participated in the first phase of Workforce Academy “Foundations for the Future: Building Kentucky’s 21st Century Workforce System consisted of Four Modules in FFY 2013. The training was delivered across the state in each of the Workforce Regions. Staffs were assigned by cohorts with other workforce staff from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Office of Employment and Training (OET), WIA, and other partner staff. The Modules were: 1) Building a Foundation for Transformation, 2) Building a Future for Kentucky’s Workforce System, 3) Setting the Standard and 4) Putting It Altogether My Local Plan of Action. In 2013, the Workforce Academy Steering Committee began working on Phase II of the training. The Committee worked with a consultant on the development of the next training module on the “Core Certification Process” delivered through elearning beginning in January of 2014. The next module on “The Transformational Leader” is in the development process and will be delivered to all managers in the workforce system from OVR, OFB, OET and the partnering organizations in June and July of FFY 2014.

In FFY 2013, the Team Based Case Management Committee continued its work on the development of a common intake, referral, and assessment process. The team is also responsible for integrated case management interfaces with information technology development.

Since the implementation of the WorkSmart Kentucky Strategic Plan, a priority has been developing unified and collaborative approach to service delivery in our business services model. It is critical that all the government agencies working to meet the employment needs of business and industry work together taking a solutions-based approach to meeting their needs. This is being done through regional Business Services Teams. The Kentucky Office for the Blind was been selected to participate in the 2013-2014 Learning Collaborative on Vocational Rehabilitation Management through UMass Boston/Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI)/ Research and Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) on VR Program Management. Under the project, the goal was for OFB to build the partnership with the WIA partners as well as the employers and transform the Business Service Teams to fit the need of all customers, especially those who are blind and visually impaired. Multiple meetings were held with OFB and partner agency staff from the pilot areas as well as with upper management from OFB, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Office for Employment and Training, and the Department of Workforce Investment. A consultant was hired with expertise in this area to assist with the facilitation of collaboration among the partners in this process assuring a meaningful and lasting transformation in the system. The next step in this process is the identification of common goals among partners that are crucial to this process.

The Brand: Kentucky Career Center. The Brand Promise: As a team of experts, we are dedicated to providing Kentucky employers with a qualified, skilled workforce and the people of Kentucky with career, job training and educational opportunities. With the unique ability to connect employees and employers through the combined efforts of state and local partners, we will become a valuable, competitive and best in-class asset in the growth of our regional and national economy. By guiding, empowering and inspiring our customers, we will continue our mission to create success stories across the Commonwealth. The roll-out plan for an external launch of the new marketing brand occurred in 2013. The brand promise was adopted, customer journeys identified. Events occurred across the state making the public aware of the new brand and the brand promise.

The Partner for Success initiative brought together all the partners in the Department of Workforce Investment to develop a unified approach to delivering holistic services. The goal of these institutes was to create networking opportunities, create awareness of the services each partnering agency delivers and assemble the full array of services delivered to our customers in a manner that is efficient, effective and holistic. In, FFY 2013 leadership training was delivered to over seventy-five staff from all of the agencies.

The one-stop Certification team is made up of all partners representing one-stop services. The Core Team completed Standards for Employer Services, Jobseeker Services, Management Standards and Affiliate Center Standards that were approved by the KWIB and are being implemented. In FFY 2013, base standards were adopted and self-assessments were completed. Technical assistance grants were approved for eight workforce areas.

Reciprocal referral services with the Office of Employment and Training and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation: The Office for the Blind, Office of Employment and Training and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation have established reciprocal referral services which allow for more efficient services to individuals with disabilities. OFB and OVR have a memorandum of agreement and jointly plan activities to improve services in the state for individuals with multiple impairments, including individuals with dual sensory loss. The Central Office administrative functions for these three workforce programs are centrally located in Frankfort to assure collaboration among the workforce partners.

The office enters into agreements with other entities that are a component of the statewide workforce investment system and replicates those agreements at the local level between the individual offices of the agency and the local entities carrying out the One-Stop service delivery system. These agreements may provide for the provision of inter-component staff training and technical assistance that may include, but is not limited to the following areas:

i. the availability of benefits of and information on eligibility standards for vocational rehabilitation services; and ii. the promotion of equal, effective, and meaningful participation by individuals with disabilities in workforce investment activities in the State through the promotion of program accessibility, the use of nondiscriminatory policies and procedures, and the provision of reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids and services and rehabilitation technology for individuals with disabilities

Said agreement may also provide for the use of information and financial management systems that link all components of the statewide workforce investment system, that link the components to other electronic networks, including non-visual electronic networks, and that relate to such subjects as employment statistics and information on job vacancies, career planning, and workforce investment activities.

The use of customer service features such as common intake and referral procedures, customer databases, resource information and human service hotlines.

The establishment of cooperative efforts with employers to facilitate job placement; carry out any other activity that the Office and the employers determine to be appropriate.

The identification of staff roles, responsibilities, and available resources, and specification of the financial responsibility of each component of the statewide workforce investment system with regard to paying for necessary services (consistent with State law and Federal requirements);

Specification of procedures for resolving disputes among such components.

Since the implementation of the Workforce Investment Act, the office continues its collaboration, cooperation and commitment to these centers and the other partners. The office has established relationships with other entities within the Workforce Investment System and works jointly in the service delivery process. The office secures yearly a grant through the Office of Adult Education that provides testing and other educational opportunities for adults at the Charles McDowell Center.

The office participates in the ten Workforce Investment Act System local boards throughout the state as well as serving on different committees of those boards.

The office has access to job orders through an agreement with the Office of Employment and Training. Counselors can access job orders from their computers through EKOS. In 2011, the Commonwealth undertook a major project for the enhancement of EKOS, known as America’s one-stop Operating System (AOSOS). Through an RFP process, the Commonwealth selected Focus Suite software from a vendor, Burning Glass Inc., in Boston, Mass. Focus/Career has replaced both the Commonwealth’s self registration for job seekers and e3.Ky.gov employer portal at no cost to job seekers or employers. Focus/Talent is utilized by employers who prefer to enter their company information and job posts, which are automatically processed into the EKOS database and viewable to job seekers in the EKOS Self Service Module on America’s Job Exchange (AJE) and Job Central (JC). These enhancements have streamlined the process and are assisting job seekers in maintaining and updating resumes as additional training is received. Office for the Blind VR Counseling Staff participated in Burning Glass training so they are knowledgeable of the system. Through existing partnerships and new partnerships created for serving businesses while continuing to serve individuals, Kentucky has developed a network that provides placement and assessment of jobs and individuals to meet the employment needs of a Community. The Kentucky Workforce Investment Board’s WORKSmart Kentucky is a plan that includes cross agency and business sector statewide initiatives.

The Office for the Blind works with the local offices in obtaining vocational training for consumers eligible under the Dislocated Workers program. OFB provides informational materials to the one stop Career Centers as to services the agency provides allowing for self-referral of customers. OFB assists the local one-stop Career Centers with orientation and information sharing with potential customers.

The office will identify and delineate staff roles, responsibilities and available resources and specification of the financial responsibility of each component of the statewide workforce investment system with regard to paying for the necessary services that are consistent with State law and Federal requirements. Regional and local office managers work with partner agencies to determine most convenient office hours to serve customers. The office will specify procedures for resolving disputes among such components. The office shall provide for the development of Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) at local levels between the office and local entities carrying out activities through the statewide Workforce Investment System.

Information and Referral Assurance

The office has implemented an information and referral system to ensure that individuals who have visual disabilities will be provided accurate vocational rehabilitation information and guidance using appropriate modes of communication, to assist such individuals in preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining employment. The office assures the referral of these individuals to other appropriate Federal and State programs if it is unable to serve them.

Appropriate referrals made through the system shall: (i) To be to the Federal, State or local programs, including programs carried out by other components of the statewide workforce investment system in Kentucky that is best suited to address the specific employment needs of an individual with a disability; and (ii)include, for each of these programs, provision to the individual: (I)a notice of the referral by the designated State agency to the agency carrying out the program; (II) information identifying a specific point of contact within the agency carrying out the program; and (III) information and advice regarding the most suitable services to assist the individual to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment.

All applicants and eligible individuals or, as appropriate, the applicants’ representatives or individuals’ representatives, will be provided information and support services to assist the applicants and individuals in exercising informed choice throughout the rehabilitation process, consistent with Section 102 (d) of the Rehabilitation Act Amendment of 1998. The Client Assistance Program is available for additional assistance and advocacy during the entire rehabilitation process. 

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 9:48AM by Cora McNabb

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.8 (b) (2): Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities: Coordination with Education Officials

Coordination with Education Officials and Outreach Activities

OFB maintains cooperative agreements with other agencies to provide for mutual collaboration in transition planning for each student. This occurs in the IEP meetings. Participants should include the student, parents or guardians of the student, appropriate school officials, an OFB VR counselor or designee, appropriate professionals from other agencies and other interested parties. OFB Counselors are responsible for initiating outreach to students with disabilities to identify those who are in need of transition services. This will take place as early as possible during the transition planning process.

Outreach efforts shall inform education staff, students, families, and authorized representatives about OFB services, eligibility criteria, the application process, and the scope of services available to eligible individuals. Many opportunities for the OFB Counselor to engage in outreach activities exist including IEP meetings, transition fairs, parent nights, school meetings, school based events for agencies, and career fairs. Attendance at these events fosters and advances collaboration with education staff, students, and families and may allow the counselor to provide outreach on a broad level. The OFB Transition Coordinator is also responsible for outreach activities. The coordinator makes connections with the KSB Outreach Consultants and Quality Programs for Students Who Are Visually Impaired (QPVI) groups. The coordinator also serves on the Kentucky Interagency Transition Council, which is an interdisciplinary group of individuals that represent agencies whose role is to assist youth with the transition process. Connections made at the council help to facilitate referrals among these agencies, as needed, to serve the needs of OFB transition aged individuals.

The Community Based Work Transition Program

The CBWTP is a cooperative effort between participating local school districts, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), and the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky (HDI). The Office participates with the Department of Education and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in the Community Based Work Transition Program. The CBWTP is a fee-for-service reimbursement program. School districts that have been approved to participate in the program submit an annual program budget to the OVR and pay a local match of 25 percent. OFB does not require the 25 percent match. The amount received by school districts from OFB is based on actual services provided, outcomes achieved and billed to OFB at agreed upon milestones by employment coordinators during the student’s participation in the CBWTP.

The program is administered by individual school districts that hire employment specialists to provide students with community-based evaluation, work experience and job placement during the final two years of high school. The CBWTP teaches students the skills they need to be “career ready” and provides transition services through instruction, community experiences, employment, and functional vocational evaluation Through the CBWTP, students are provided with 160 hours of individual career exploration and training in their community from a job coach. During the first year of the program, up to 80 hours are devoted to the student exploring career interests and options. During the second year, the job coach provides up to 80 hours of job training and transition assistance to help the student maintain employment in their chosen career path.

Students are determined to be eligible for OFB services based on the same criteria as all other consumers of this agency. OFB Counselors, with a signed release of information provided by the student and or parent/guardian as appropriate, shall obtain all appropriate school records including medical, psychological, vocational, educational, recreational and other informational records relating to the student’s disability, impediments to employment and rehabilitation needs. These records are provided by the local school district at no cost to OFB.

The CBWTP provides the following core services: a) Exploration determines the students’ interests, preferences, strengths and nature of desirable job characteristics. b) Job Development seeks fitting jobs based on the findings of the exploration/evaluation; c) Job Analysis furthers understanding about the culture of the participating business so that suitable job responsibilities may be negotiated based on student interests, competencies, and contributions.

Also during job analysis, the respective roles of employees and the CBWTP student employment coordinators are established regarding instruction and support for the student on the job, and d) Follow-up Services ensures successful employment after graduation. Provision of these types of personalized services can lead to reduced dropout rates, improved student attitude, and academic success.

The CBWTP provides OFB counselors with valuable information to help students to transition smoothly and successfully after high school graduation. When school districts and OVR work collaboratively and correctly with the CBWTP, most students will exit school with a job and the necessary supports in place. In addition to providing core services and information, the CBWTP personnel provide technical support to each school district and OFB counselor. The CBWTP personnel develop instructional materials and curriculum, provide and coordinate statewide CBWTP workshops, provide follow-up consultations and other support according to district needs, collect relevant project data, develop support plan for schools that do not meet their positive employment outcomes, conduct audits of school programs, and help with mediation when problems arise between interested parties.

Roles of staff and consumers are as follows:

The school administrator coordinates application to CBWTP, hires the student employment coordinator(s) and oversees CBWTP for quality and fiscal control.

Teachers coordinate the development of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and transition plan, implement the Individual Education Plan, assist with completion of each student’s career assessment and provide support and expertise to the student employment coordinator(s).

OFB Counselors determine student eligibility for the CBWTP, develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for all eligible students after the career exploration portion of CBWTP is complete, support and provide expertise to the student employment coordinator(s) and pre-authorizes services for payment.

CBWTP personnel at the Human Development Institute (HDI) at the University of Kentucky: develop instructional materials and curriculum, provide or coordinate statewide CBWTP workshops, provide follow-up consultations and other support according to district needs, collect relevant project data, program review, help with mediation when problems arise between interested parties, develop and monitor support plans and conduct program audits.

The student employment coordinators (hired by school districts) coordinate student activities (i.e. exploration, evaluation, training, job placement and follow-up, exploration based on students strengths and interest, career Assessment). They work with the student to determine the nature of ideal job characteristics (including ideal job tasks, co-workers, work environment, etc.), and identify types of businesses and employers that are consistent with the ideal training. They coordinate student instruction on the job, work with employers and students to develop and negotiate personalized jobs based on ideal job characteristics, job placement to assists in the attainment of employment. They follow-up with the student on the job and periodically check on the stability of the position. They maintain the required documentation for billing all activities and services. Additionally, they provide input to teachers on the students’ performance, and actively seek advancements for the students.

The student and his or her family: contribute ideas for designing the evaluation (what is known, what kinds of information need to be learned, etc.), participate in employment planning meetings including the development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and provide feedback to student employment coordinator.

Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB)

The Office participates with the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) to provide transition services to students attending KSB. There is a memorandum of understanding in place between the Office for the Blind and the Kentucky School for the Blind. The desire of OFB and KSB is to coordinate their efforts in providing appropriate and timely services. The role of KSB is to provide transition services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to students in a secondary school setting. Transition services may include school and community-based work experiences, vocational/career technical training, career exploration, preparation for post-school activities, specialized transportation, and assistive technology services. It is KSB’s responsibility to allocate resources to implement the services agreed upon in the IEP. OFB’s role is one of planning and preparing for when the student transitions from the school system. OFB is responsible for providing transition services that are beyond the scope of secondary education and required for the student to participate in the VR program or reach an employment goal.

The Kentucky School for the Blind Outreach Services provides an outreach teacher consultant to each of the nine (9) Special Education Cooperatives. The consultants coordinate training and professional collaboration for co-op faculty. The World of Work is a program through the Kentucky School for the Blind for students. Students receive instruction in resume writing and interviewing skills. Students are then placed in a temporary job in their interest areas as a form of career exploration.

The Summer Work Program is a collaborative effort between the Kentucky School for the Blind, OFB, and the Louisville Zoo. Ten students have the opportunity to work at the Louisville Zoo for a two week period in order to gain work experience. Students participate in an interview to gain entry into the program. The Office monitors progress of the program and students through attending regularly established IEP and ARC meetings. OFB reimburses the KY School for the Blind (KSB) for the participant’s wages during the program. An authorization for payment is processed upon receipt of an invoice, an evaluation from a Louisville Zoo employee, and an evaluation from KSB staff.

OFB Charles W. McDowell Rehabilitation Center can provide vocational assessments and career exploration activities for students statewide and those attending KSB during the summer between their junior and senior year in high school. A collaborative effort is made to assist in the Community Based Instruction Program, vocational assessments, and annual Individual Education Plans and Individual Learning Plans.

Kentucky Deaf-Blind Transition Project

The Office participates with the Kentucky Deaf-Blind Transition Project, which helps promote cooperative transition services for youth who are deaf-blind, and who are students at the Kentucky School for the Blind, the Kentucky School for the Deaf, or any other school the student may be attending. The Office has a Deaf Blind Coordinator who is responsible for helping to facilitate these services for youth.

The Office for the Blind and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation have a cooperative Dual Case Agreement. OVR and OFB desire to minimize duplication of effort and maximize the use of both agencies’ resources in serving individuals with disabilities, which will enhance the ability of these individuals to achieve maximum independence by becoming employable. Individuals with disabilities may require services from both OFB and OVR to achieve their vocational goals and objectives. Individuals must require the unique services and meet eligibility for both agencies and that a dual case is needed for best chance of independence and employment.

Local Workforce Investment Areas

Currently in process is the development of Memorandums of Understanding with the local workforce investment areas regarding Career Center Operations inclusive of core, intensive and training services. OFB VR counselors actively participate on local WIA Board’s Youth and One Stop committees to enhance and make accessible programs and services for youth in transition.

Kentucky Association on Higher Education and Disability

KY AHEAD is a professional organization whose purpose is to promote communication among professionals in post-secondary education in order to improve the development and implementation of services for persons with disabilities. On campus disability centers are an essential resource for students with disabilities attending post-secondary educational institutions. VR counselors are encouraged to develop relationships with disability center staff and should strongly encourage college students to utilize the services available at the centers. Every effort is made to arrange for a student to meet with staff at the disability center prior to entry into a post-secondary program in assuring a smooth transition for the individuals.

Kentucky Special Education Cooperative Network

The Kentucky Special Education Cooperative Network consists of nine (9) special education cooperatives located across the state. These cooperatives were formed to better meet the needs of the multiple school systems across Kentucky’s 120 counties. All 174 local school districts, and the Kentucky Schools for the Blind and Deaf are members of a special education cooperative. Each cooperative has VI teachers and an AT specialist to assist students with visual needs and they the school districts employ other specialty service providers such as Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Physical Therapist, and Speech Therapists. OFB works collaboratively with each cooperative network across the state in the provision of information and referral for students of all ages. OFB works with others in assuring that every resource is available to students in their formative years in order for them to access needed services and acquire needed skills preparing them for the world of work.

INSIGHT

This is a Post-secondary Preparation Week for Students Who Are Blind or Significantly Visually Impaired is a collaborative project between the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation, Kentucky School for the Blind, Kentucky School for the Blind Charitable Foundation, Kentucky Office for the Blind, MCP Orientation and Mobility Services, and Morehead State University. A memorandum of agreement is in the development and approval process with OFB and the collaborative partners at the writing of this plan.

INSIGHT is a unique program designed to provide college bound students an opportunity to experience some of the challenges encountered when entering a university or community college. Participants gain an increased awareness of the educational, recreational, and social challenges of the post-secondary environment. Participants are engaged in a variety of activities, “specialized classes” and monitor a summer session class while staying in the Morehead campus dormitories for a ten-day period.

OFB has a representative on the INSIGHT Planning Committee. Counselors receive notice of students in their service area that have been accepted to participate in the INSIGHT Program. OFB counselors meet with the student to determine their eligibility for services if they are not already a consumer of OFB. The counselor makes the determination as to whether support will be provided for the individual to attend INSIGHT. If OFB will be supporting the consumer, an authorization for payment will be generated.

Information on Formal Interagency Agreements

The Agency in conjunction with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has agreements with all public institutions of higher learning in the state to meet the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Title IV of the Workforce Investment Act) 29 W.S.C. Section 721 (a) (*) (B), to develop agreements between the state vocational rehabilitation agencies and public institutions of higher education who serve mutual individuals with disabilities.

Office for the Blind and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation maintain Cooperative Agreements with the Institutions of Higher Education in the Commonwealth. They are as follows: Murray State University; Kentucky State University; Northern Kentucky University; University of Kentucky; Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges; Morehead State University; Eastern Kentucky University; University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University. The agreements outline the responsibilities of all parties. The Universities are to provide equal access to educational programs and activities to students with disabilities. They are to provide, arrange, and/or coordinate requested reasonable accommodations and be responsible for the costs of services and accommodations as required by applicable Federal and State law. OFB and OVR are to provide vocational rehabilitation services to eligible individuals that do not fall under the responsibilities of the IHE for accommodation and equal access. OFB and OVR will provide technical assistance upon request as well as vocational counseling and job placement as needed upon graduations. The joint responsibilities outlined under these agreements address collaboration in the coordination and provision of services inclusive of information sharing and communication.

The Office participates with the Kentucky Department of Education and 21 other state agencies on the Kentucky Interagency Transition Council. This Council’s agreement, entitled “The Kentucky Interagency Agreement on Transition Services” provides for a statewide system of coordination among agencies in the delivery of transition services. Currently, this agreement is under revision.

The purpose of this interagency cooperative agreement is to improve the cooperative and collaborative efforts between the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), the Kentucky Office for the Blind (OFB), and the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) for a more effective and efficient integrated school-to-work transition planning and vocational rehabilitation service delivery system to eligible secondary school students with disabilities.

These agreements are designed to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from the receipt of educational services in school, to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services and including provisions for: (i) consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including vocational rehabilitation services; (ii) transition planning by Office staff and staff from the educational institution for students with disabilities that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs. (iii) the roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities of each agency, and including provisions for determining State lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and (iv) procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need the transition services.

The roles of each agency are outlined as follows:

The VR counselor will work with referral from special and general education staff as well as form the individual, family and other agencies to identify students that are in need of transition services. The VR counselor will provide general coordination, information, and outreach activities about services to the local educational agency and student for use in transition planning. When students reach the age of sixteen the Counselor will take a more active role in the provision of transition services on an individual basis. The counselor will attend IEP meetings or individual plan meetings for 504 students to the maximum extent possible to assist in the coordination of services.

Personnel employed by OVR and OFB will have appropriate access to confidential student information. To improve the coordination of transition services between education and vocational rehabilitation, each agency will be responsible for making timely referrals according to the guidelines in the agreement. To determine eligibility for services OFB and OVR counselors will use existing information from other agencies. The local education agency and OFB or OVR will use a collaborative team process to develop the transition services section of the Individualized Education program and the Individualized Plan for Employment for the transitioning student. Both the IEP and the IPE will include, if appropriate a statement of agency responsibilities or other linkages.

OFB and OVR are responsible for: the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities; an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs and counseling and guidance and work-related placement services for individuals with disabilities.

Provision for Development and Approval of Individuals Plans for Employment

Under IDEA, schools are responsible for initiating transition planning at the age of 16 for each student identified with a disability. Since school faculty and staff are academic specialists, it is very important for the VR counselor to have early influence on the student’s vocational future helping to avoid weak or unrealistic vocational training. The VR counselor acts as a vocational specialist forging the educational and future vocational needs of the child realistically together. The VR counselor is educated on the federal and state laws associated with transition and acts as an advocate for the student and parents. VR counselors may attend transition related meetings as early as age 14 and act as a consultant in the student’s IEP. Early contact and intervention not only saves the VR counselor considerable time and effort, it allows the student and parents the opportunity to plan a realistic vocational path that will lead them to the vocational goal of their choice.

OFB maintains agreements with other agencies and schools to provide for mutual collaboration in the development of an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) for each student. Transition planning begins in the IEP meetings in the school setting. Participants should include the student, parents or guardians of the student, appropriate school officials, an OFB VR counselor or designee, appropriate professionals from other agencies and other interested parties.

VR counselors should attend student IEP meetings during the 8th through the 12th grades and take an application no later than the beginning of their junior year. The VR counselor will be responsible to use their professional judgment to determine the appropriate time. The school system will continue to have the primary responsibility for accommodations and student’s educational needs. Once the student graduates OFB will become the primary agent. It is mandatory that the IPE be developed with the student 3-6 months after eligibility or prior to graduation, whichever comes first.

Prior to graduation, an IPE is developed for each student determined eligible and meets the current order of selection for vocational rehabilitation services. The IPE should address the student’s transition service needs, as applicable, in the areas of instruction, related services, daily living, community, work experience, and/or assessment.

OFB recognizes that it is the primary responsibility of Kentucky schools to coordinate and provide transition planning and services for students with disabilities. The VR counselor will provide consultation and technical assistance to assist the school. If a school is unable or unwilling to provide essential transition services, OFB may become actively involved to ensure responsible educational planning for the student. Under certain conditions, with the approval of the Regional Manager, the VR counselor may directly assist schools in their responsibilities. OFB developed an agreement for the provision of specialized equipment for students. The agreement allows for that equipment to remain with the student upon graduation when an assessment determines this is in the best interest of the individual. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and AT staff determine the students postsecondary needs upon graduation taking into consideration technology changes and the need for upgraded or more advanced technology.

Post-secondary transition is driven by the student’s vocational goal. The student should go to work or attend advanced education to prepare to go to work. During high school transition the VR counselor should consider the post-secondary vocational goal and proactively encourage activities for the student that will promote a smooth transition to work. Such activities should be considered an investment in the student’s future:

A. High school classes that directly or indirectly supports the student’s vocational goal;

B. Work transition or summer employment related to the student’s vocational goal;

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 10:47AM by Cora McNabb

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.8 (b)(3):  Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers 

The Office for the Blind works collaboratively with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in maintaining agreements with providers of private, non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers to support achievement of successful competitive employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.  The Office maintains agreements with providers of private, non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers to support achievement of successful competitive employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The Office works with Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) through a vendor application process to ensure quality services to agency consumers. The Office currently works with 65 CRPs providing services resulting in competitive employment outcomes and 85 CRPs providing services resulting in supported employment outcomes. The Office works with Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) through a vendor application process to ensure quality services to Office consumers. The Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP) must submit a Vendor Application form.   All vendor applications forms are submitted to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for review and approval of the agency as a provider. 

The process for approval of a vendor as a supported employment provider is more involved and is outlined below: Vendor requests or obtains an application from OVR or OFB

Upon completion of the application it is returned to the OVR branch

OVR branch staff review the application and obtain needed clarification if needed.  Staff may meet with the provider for further technical assistance

Application is approved and vendorship is established OVR Branch assists the provider with training and other information

All vendors are required to participate in the Supported Employment training provided through the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute.

Monitoring occurs for all vendors during the year by OVR Branch staff

All vendorships are reviewed for continuation yearly

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 9:40AM by Cora McNabb

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

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

ATTACHMENT 4.8(b)(4): Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities: Evidence of Collaboration Regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services

The Office for the Blind has collaborative relationships with other state agencies in the provision of supported employment and extended services for individual with the most significant disabilities.

The agency participates with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Interagency Council, the Kentucky Interagency Transition Council, Kentucky Association for People Supporting Employment First, the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute and the Office of Special Instructional Services in the Department of Education, the Center for Independent Living and other public and private not for profit agencies, to provide a network of supported employment service providers. Major objectives of this collaboration, are to promote best practices in supported employment, to expand the number of qualified supported employment service providers in various regions of the state where services are few, and to expand and enhance extended services which follow the termination of supported employment services provided by the two State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies.

The Office for the Blind works collaboratively with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in maintaining agreements with providers of private, non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers through a vendor application process for supported employment services.

The agency participates with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the University of Kentucky Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute and the Department of Education in the Community Based Work Transition Program (CBWTP). The student considered appropriate for this program will be a consumer that is considered to have a Most Significant Disability and require the unique services of a job trainer in order to obtain and maintain employment. The goal of this program is for each student to be job placed in the most integrated setting prior to graduation, with necessary supports in place to maintain that employment. In this program each participating school district employs a student employment coordinator who supports students in determining appropriate types of work, securing desired positions, learning the job, and maintaining employment. The employment coordinator works closely with students and their families/guardians, teachers, VR counselors, adult service providers, and other interested parties.

EXTENDED SERVICES

Extended services are available throughout the Commonwealth from the 14 Regional Boards for mental Health or Individuals with an intellectual Disability (MHID) that operate with funds provided by the Department Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, Individuals with visual disabilities who have developmental disabilities and who also have mental disabilities may meet the criteria for extended services funding from the centers. Extended services are also available from providers of supported employment services who receive funding from organizations such as Easter Seals and United Way. Extended services may also be arranged through systems of natural supports whereby employers, volunteers, and family members and friends of individuals with disabilities may provide supports for the duration of employment of these individuals. Documentation is required in the Individualized Plan of Employment (IPE) when this occurs. Extended services are arranged for each individual in supported employment at the time of the development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The type and source of extended service depends on the needs of the individual. In order to be approved to be a supported employment vendor for the agency, the supported employment agency must make extended services available using a funding source other than the agency. Kentucky like other states faces the challenge of securing adequate funding for ongoing extended support services. The Office for the Blind along with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and several other state and public agencies are working in cooperation with the Kentucky Association for Persons in Supported Employment (KY APSE) in order to locate further funding sources for extended services and to expand supported employment services to areas of the state in which these services are lacking.

ASSURANCE OF CONFIDENTIALITY The Office for the Blind assures that information submitted in reports will include a complete count, except as provided in subparagraph (E) of Section 103, of the applicants and eligible individual, in a manner permitting the greatest possible cross-clarification of data and that the identity of each individual for which information is supplied to other agencies of public entities will be kept confidential.

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 9:41AM by Cora McNabb

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

ATTACHMENT 4.10: Comprehensive System for Personnel Development Data System 

The Kentucky Office for the Blind maintains a system to collect and analyze on an annual basis data on qualified personnel needs and personnel development.  Information is analyzed on an annual basis for the number of personnel employed in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for the blind and visually impaired.  The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) reviews this information as well as the State Rehabilitation Council.  This ensures that the provision of quality services is consistent throughout the Commonwealth.  In addition, the number of personnel, category, and qualifications of personnel needed by OFB, and a projection of the numbers of personnel that will be needed in five years are calculated.  These calculations are based on projections of the number of individuals to be served.  Personnel training files are maintained that contains records of each individual’s training activities.  Assessments are conducted annually and utilized in the development and maintenance of their official career development plans as well as training, certification and educational activities. 

OFB has developed and maintains a system for review of all staff assignments, based on demographic data such as population, geographic area, caseload sizes and labor market analyses.  In addition, the office solicits input from field management staff in identifying areas of understaffing, or of specific need.

Fourteen individuals or 16 percent left the agency during FFY 2013 (a 12 percent increase over the prior year) with four of these fourteen staff lost to retirements (3 percent).  Seven of the fourteen staff leaving employment with OFB were with the agency five years or less.  There were five new hires or 6 percent during the 2013 fiscal federal year.  Due to budget constraints only critical service positions were filled.  The following table denotes the length of experience of existing staff current at the submission of the plan for the agency. 

Years of Service with the Agency

Percentage of Staff 20 years or higher 2012 12 percent 2013 17 percent 2014 19 percent

Percentage of Staff 15 - 19 years 2012 13 percent 2013 7 percent 2014 6 percent

Percentage of Staff 10 - 14 years 2012 9 percent 2013 18 percent 2014 19 percent

Percentage of Staff 5-9 years 2012 23 percent 2013 24 percent 2014 18 percent

Percentage of Staff 4 years or less 2012 43 percent 2013 34 percent 2014 38 percent

There are seventeen individuals that are included in the 19 percent of staff that have been with the agency 20 years or higher.  Of those seven or 41 percent are VR assistants and four or 24 percent are program administrators.  The other eight staff are orientation and mobility (1), assistive technology (1), VR Counselor (1), Nurse (1), Vocational Evaluator (1), and one instructor (1).  Another factor OFB must consider is those individuals that have lower years of service with the agency but have additional service years in state government making them eligible for retirement. Additionally there are staff that are close to retirement age without the qualifying years of service.  This is approximately another 8 percent of the staff of which three of the eight staff are central office administrators.  

Currently 65 percent of Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling staff has been in their position ten (10) years or less.  35% have been with the agency 11 years or longer.  59 percent have been with the agency 5 -10 years and 24 percent under 5 years.  In 2013 there was turnover in three of the eighteen counseling positions or 23 percent.  One counselor took a position with the general agency allowing for upward salary movement and the other two staff moved out of state due to family issues.  The Agency places an emphasis on the professional development, educational advancement and skills acquisition for all OFB staff. OFB must work within the constraints of a state personnel cap. Currently the personnel cap is set at 98 full-time. The following tables show the number of personnel, categories, vacancies, and projected personnel needs for the Administrative and Program Staff, Business Enterprises, IL/OIB and the Charles W. McDowell Center.  The current total number of personnel is 89 with one vacancy.  The open position for a VR Counselor is critical to services and will be filled with the most qualified candidates following all established procedures as soon as candidates can be recruited, hired and approved by the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and State Office of Personnel.  All attempts will be made to employ rehabilitation professionals certified in their areas of expertise.

Currently, there are positions that were not filled based on a thorough budget analysis, demographic data such as population, geographic area, caseload sizes and labor market analyses.  In addition, the office solicits input from field management staff in identifying areas of under staffing, or of specific needs.

As was reported in the prior year, a member of fiscal unit resigned, the Executive Staff Advisor, and the decision was made that our agency and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will combine our fiscal operations.  This decision was based on budget constraints at the time and the need for the provision of a more efficient approach and consistency of operations for the two agencies under the same funding umbrella.  The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation posted and hired an individual for their fiscal unit that will be assigned to OFB.  That individual was a member of our Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and received training and mentoring under the OVR fiscal unit to assure that a solid knowledge base was in place for that individual.   The decision was made by both agencies to transfer that individual to OFB full time in May of this fiscal federal year.  An assistant director for Consumer Services was hired in November of 2013.    

All critical vacancies in the VR field staff area were filled during FFY 2013.  Currently, as outlined in the grid the number of staff for the IL/OIB program was reduced from ten to eight.  This is due to two vacancies occurring in the IL/OIB positions in the current year (2014) that have not been filled due to budget constraints.  Existing staff have absorbed the service needs of those counties.   The largest change in staffing again this year as reported in last year’s attachment is for the area of the Kentucky Business Enterprises program. As outlined in the grid the number of staff was reduced from seven to six a reduction of 14% in FFY 2013. As reported last year the number of staff was reduced from eleven to seven or 36% percent in FFY 2012.    As positions became vacant the ELT discussed the needs of the program looking at the numbers served in correlation with the number of staff, workload and agency resources.  One effecting factor was the need to purchase new vending machines to replace the old outdated equipment in vending locations.  The Assistant Director has absorbed the duties of the retiring director in 2012.  There was turnover for two of the vending repair technicians in 2013 and only one vacancy was filled.  A Central Office fiscal staff retired in July of 2013 and the administrative assistant for this unit absorbed the duties of this position.  Currently, the ELT is assessing the need to fill vacancies due to the workloads of existing staff.  

In FFY 2013, the Charles McDowell Rehabilitation Center staffing was reduced by one position.  The individual in the Orientation and Mobility position made a lateral move to an instructor position making the decision not to pursue a OFB must work within the constraints of a state personnel cap.  Currently the personnel cap is set at 98 full-time.  The following tables show the number of personnel, categories, vacancies, and projected personnel needs for the Administrative and Program Staff, Business Enterprises, IL/OIB and the Charles W. McDowell Center.  master’s degree and professional certification.  

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Central Office Administrative Staff 9 0 5
2 Vocational Rehabilitation Program Stafff 44 1 11
3 Business Enterprises Staff 6 0 4
4 Rehabilitation Center Staff 22 0 11
5 Independent Living Older Blind Staff 8 0 2
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

 The University of Kentucky is the only institution in the state that offers a Master’s of Rehabilitation Counseling (MRC) program.  This is a comprehensive accredited graduate program in rehabilitation counseling.  The on line Accelerated Distance Learning Masters program can be completed in sixteen months without on-campus attendance and at in-state tuition rates.  Participants in the program are eligible to test for rehabilitation counselor certification after completing 75 percent of their course work in their final semester.  A compressed video site is located at the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville.  OFB partners with this agency so that a large number of individuals throughout the state have direct access to rehabilitation courses.  This provides the opportunity for staff to fulfill their Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) requirements and move up in the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor series.  When individuals enroll in other masters level programs out of state, those programs are evaluated to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor examination prior to being approved for tuition assistance.  Two out of state distance learning programs OFB considers for staff are Auburn and Wisconsin Stout. 

OFB staff participates on the University of Kentucky Advisory Council.  Three OFB staff attended the annual Advisory council meeting held December 2013 Dr. Ralph Crystal PHD., CRC Program Coordinator presided over the meeting.  The role of the advisory board members was reviewed along with program activities.  This included an overview and discussion of program activities, faculty research and projects, updates from the field and future directions of the program.  This year the University discussed with the Advisory Council the affiliation agreement between the CORE accreditation agency and Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).  The University is considering applying for accreditation that would give them duel accreditation as a CORE and CACREP affiliated program.  The Council unanimously agreed that this was a good decision.

OFB obtains information from The University of Kentucky annually regarding the number of students enrolled and the number graduating from the program with certification or licensure and /or with credentials to qualify for certification or licensure.  The following information was obtained regarding the number of students enrolled in the MRC through the University of Kentucky.  One (1) OFB staff completed the UK MRC program in 2013 and that individual passed the CRC. 

The University of Kentucky has developed and released the Visual Impairment Program for Visually Impaired teachers under the Special Education Department with enrollments around 12.  The O & M program is targeted for start up the fall of 2015 or 2016 pending funding.   In 2012, the agency did not have any O & M practicum/internship students fulfilling their required hours with the agency. 

Currently, there are three orientation and mobility instructors on staff. One hundred percent of O & M staff (3/3) is certified.  In 2014 OFB will continue to support staff as needed to pursue this field of study in keeping with its staff/consumer ratios and the personnel cap.  The one staff that was enrolled in an out of state program has discontinued their studies and moved to an instructor position at the McDowell Center.

 

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 Kentucky 133 34 34 58
2 0 0 0 0
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

 Recruitment And Retention Of Qualified Personnel Including Staff From Minority Backgrounds And Individuals With Disabilities

The Kentucky Office for The Blind shall aggressively recruit, equip, train and work to retain qualified professionals through coordination with institutions of higher education, professional and paraprofessional associations including personnel from minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities. OFB recognizes our staff as our greatest resource and is committed to the provision of training state personnel in assuring the provision of quality services to individuals resulting in positive employment outcomes.  OFB will remain current on rehabilitation trends and best practices in the field for the purpose of developing and maintaining its internal training program and securing external training opportunities for its personnel. 

OFB utilizes the state of Kentucky’s Personnel Career Opportunities System (COS) an on-line recruitment system in recruitment efforts. OFB strives to achieve a more diverse workforce by recruiting and hiring individuals from protected classes.  Recruitment of individuals with disabilities and those from minority backgrounds enables the agency to have highly competent individuals from all segments of society to accomplish its mission.  The University of Kentucky’s Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Counseling has partnered with Kentucky State University (a historically black liberal studies public institution) and the two state rehabilitation agencies to create an endorsement curriculum at Kentucky State to recruit students into the field of rehabilitation counseling.  UK has a “University Scholars Program” with Kentucky State University (KSU).  There were no students from KSU in 2013 that stated an interest in participating in an internship with the Kentucky Office for the Blind.  Potential applicants are identified through recruitment, posting, and advertising according to the cultural diversity initiative and the agency’s Affirmative Action goals.  When applicants are needed, OFB must request applications from Kentucky Department of Personnel registers.  Individuals must be on the register identifying as qualifying for the position.   OFB works to leverage its successful performance in recruiting individuals who are minorities or with disabilities in the following ways:

Work closely with consumer groups, attending local chapter meetings, national meetings.

Hires the most qualified individual realizing that as an agency OFB strives to promote cultural diversity in recruiting disabled or minority candidates inclusive of bilingual candidates.

Encourage existing minority staff to play an active role in policy and program development, service delivery and program monitoring activities.

Ensure that programs are accessible to minorities.

Follow EEO guidelines and Affirmative Action Procedures.

Utilize Division of Consumer Services demographic and population data to determine the number of minorities and individuals with disabilities in regions, and develop strategies to increase recruitment from these regions.

Encourage minorities and individuals with disabilities to play an active role in the Office for the Blind’s State Rehabilitation Council, participate in forums and provide input into policy and procedures. OFB acknowledges the difficulty of recruiting and hiring individuals who are Certified Rehabilitation Counselors.   In this narrow occupational field of qualified individuals who hold their certification there is a shortage and competitive salary expectations of graduates usually exceeds salary constraints of the OFB. Additionally, OFB has found it difficult to hire and maintain staff in the rural areas throughout the state because candidates from outside these areas are often unwilling or unable to acclimate to the cultural differences.    

The Kentucky Office for the Blind has a personnel classification system in place that enables salary competitiveness with other states. States surrounding the northern and western borders of Kentucky offer higher entry-level salaries based on state demographics and wage studies.  There are certain expectations for Masters Level, Masters with Certification, and a Masters Certification with Limited Managerial Responsibilities for existing staff.  The system allows for higher entry-level wages for new hires based on their education, certification and experience levels.  OFB works with the University of Kentucky in providing student’s of the MRC program opportunities to complete their practicum and internship hours with the agency.  This is a benefit to the student giving them hands on field experience as well as a potential recruitment tool for OFB.  In 2013, the agency had four UK/MRC (4) practicum/internship students working toward fulfilling their required hours with the agency.  Year to date in 2014, the agency has four UK/MRC students.

The Office of Diversity & Equality (ODE) in collaboration with Governmental Services Center (GSC) has a Minority Management Trainee Program (GMMTP).  This is a recruitment and development tool to increase the representation of minority managers in state government.  This program offers an experience that enables participants to cultivate the skills needed to serve Kentucky’s citizens in an effective and responsive manner. Participants receive in-depth, practical training through classroom instruction, on-the-job experience and special projects.  Individuals must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the program:  1) be an ethnic minority, 2) Have one (1) year of state government service, 3) Qualify for a grade 10 or higher job classification and 4) Aspire to be a manager and demonstrate exceptional management potential.   

The Governor’s Office of Minority Empowerment typically holds a statewide conference annually and OFB staff attend this conference.

OFB offers financial incentives to encourage staff retention and promote the achievement of CSPD requirementsM.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling and or C.R.C. as well as other professional disciplines such as Orientation and Mobility and Assistive Technology.  The office offers for all staff educational tuition assistance, payment of initial certification and maintenance fees, study time allowance per week for staff enrolled in school, alternate hours access to distance learning through state buildings, technology upgrades across the state to allow access to distance learning and training opportunities for maintaining certification requirements through training seminars and professional development conferences.  

 

Personnel Standards

The Office for the Blind is committed to improving the qualifications of its staff and achieving higher standards in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services.  The office is committed to achieving 100% qualified rehabilitation staff by 2016, taking into consideration vacancies created by turnover, retirements and upward mobility of staff.  

OFB has set standards that are consistent with  the highest entry-level academic degree needed for any national or state approved or recognized certification, licensing or registration requirements. In the absence of these requirements, other comparable requirements (including state personnel requirements) that apply to the profession or discipline will be considered.

Those certifications currently utilized are in the disciplines of:

Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist (CRCC/CVE) Certified Work Adjustment Specialist (CRCC/CWA) Certified Career Assessment Associate (CRCC/CCAA) Certified Rehabilitation Counseling (CRCC/CRC) Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (ACVREP/CVRT) Certified Low Vision Therapist (ACVREP/CLVT), Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (ACVREP/COMS), Assistive Technology Professional (ATP/RESNA), Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP/CSUN) Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (ADED/CDRS) Certified in Literary Braille (NCLB/NBPCB)   The agency shall pay initial certification and ongoing maintenance fees for employees and will provide opportunities for continuing education courses in areas required for employees to maintain appropriate professional certification.  OFB will take steps to re-train and hire personnel to ensure that such personnel meet appropriate professional standards in the state.  Immediately following the passage of the 1992 Rehabilitation Act Amendments the state agency informally implemented hiring policies that provide a preference to individuals with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, or individuals who are eligible to hold a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Status.  This procedure was formalized with the enactment of the federal standards for the Comprehensive System for Personnel Development in 1997.           

Currently OFB has eighteen (18) rehabilitation counselor positions and with one vacancy at this time.  During FFY 2013, four OFB counseling staff resigned from their positions.  Two accepted positions out of state within the field of rehabilitation (private), one accepted a position with the general agency and one moved into an assistive technology position internally.  These resignations were not anticipated.  All four of the counseling staff had been in their position less than three years. OFB tries to utilize best practices promoting retention among direct support professionals  applied across an intergenerational workforce recognizing the differences in baby boomers and generation X’s and Y’s.  For these three staff, systems level practices that could have fostered better retention would be improving wages and benefits.  Three of them took positions that allowed for upward mobility and higher wages.   In 2013, eighty-nine percent of Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling staff meet CSPD holding their MRC (16/18).  Seventy-three percent held their MRC/CRC (13/18).  Currently, with one vacancy 16/18 meet CSPD or 88 percent holding their MRC and 11/17 or 64 percent hold their MRC/CRC.  Two new counselors hired this fiscal year hold a master’s degree in a qualifying area and are enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Kentucky this fall.  Currently they work under the supervision of a MRC/CRC. In 2013, an Assistant Director of Consumer Services was hired that holds the MRC/CRC. The Executive Director holds an MRC/CRC, two Regional VR Administrators of which both hold their MRC/CRC, two (2) central office administrators and 1 of 2 or 50 percent holds a Masters/CRC.

2013 Counselor and Administrator Statistics

Currently there are 12 VR counselors, two field administrators and two central office administrators that hold a MRC/CRC. There are three VR counselors that hold a MRC. There is one central office administrator that holds a qualifying degree and is a CRC. There are two VR Counselors that hold a qualifying degree and are enrolled in the UK Certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling and one counselor that holds a qualifying degree with a Certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling from CSUN.

Within the Office for the Blind, other employees hold a Doctorate, Master’s Degrees, Bachelors, or are currently enrolled in a Masters Program or hold other certifications.  There is diversity in the type and scope of educational levels and experience of the OFB personnel.  Seventy percent hold a bachelors degree, fifty-seven percent hold a master’s degree and thirty-three percent of the staff hold a certification in a specialized area (CRC, CDRS, LSW, COMS).  

100 percent of Orientation and Mobility Staff hold Certification (3) and their Masters 89 percent of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors hold MRC/CRC and 73 percent hold MRC meeting CSPD (two vacancies) 100 percent Deaf Blind Coordinator holds a MRC and CRC 100 percent of Bioptic Instructors also hold MRC and CRC, one (1) or 50 percent CDRS 80 percent Vocational Rehabilitation Administrators hold MRC/CRC and 80 percent hold a Masters 30% of IL/OIB Counselors holds a Masters Two (2) certified CVE on Staff & one (1) holds CRC as well as a doctorate in Psychology (licensed) 100 percent of AT staff have a Masters Degree with three (3) MRC 100 percent Rehabilitation Instructors have a Masters Degree 29% of staff in the agency hold their CRC.

Fifty percent (1/2) of bioptic driving staff hold a CDRS with zero turnover in their positions.  

One hundred percent of O & M staff (3/3) is certified.     The one staff who was working toward a degree in this area made the decision to discontinue her studies and moved into an instructor role at the rehabilitation center.

In 2013, the one Assistive Technology Specialist that held RESNA Certification retired. Two of six or 33 percent hold an MRC/CRC. One hundred percent of AT staff hold a Masters; however, increasing the certification levels of AT staff remains a challenge for OFB.  One of the AT Specialist holds the AT Applications Certificate through CSUN.  Two of the AT specialist staff are using the ATP RESNA preparatory materials and prepare for RESNA certification.   At this time there is no interest among the AT instructors to enroll in the CSUN program.  Given this OFB sought out information regarding a newly developed AT training program through World Services for the Blind.  They have developed a training curriculum specific to AT and the Blind and visually impaired.  The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare rehabilitation professionals to become certified in assistive technology, as the certifications are finalized by the Academy for the Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals.  OFB is working with them in potentially hosting training in FFY 2015.

As reported in this attachment there was a reduction of two IL/OIB staff reducing the number of staff to eight.  Three of eight or 38 percent (3/8) of Il/OIB Counselors or 38% hold masters in a related discipline area.  1/10 or 10 percent hold their social work certification and 5/8 or 62% hold a bachelor’s degree.  None of the IL/OIB or rehabilitation center staff are certified through ACVREP.  This was not an area of concentration for staff although their discipline is certainly supported through the Association of Educators for the Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) and the certifying body ACVREP.  OFB is working with staff to make them aware of their options for continuing education giving them the option to secure additional coursework to prepare and qualify for certification through ACVREP. 

 In 2013, one hundred percent or 5/5 of the Rehabilitation Center instructional Staff held a Master’s degree.  The Braille instructor holds a masters in Vision Therapy and is concentrating on gaining more field experience prior to retaking the exam for her discipline area.  The HRD coordinator continue to work with the Rehabilitation Center staff to make them aware of their options for continuing education allowing them the coursework to prepare for certification through ACVREP as well.   Staff already holding a masters degree in a related field may not have an interest in additional coursework or certification through ACVREP or see the value of it.   Some staff in the instructional area also chooses the option to obtain masters in rehabilitation counseling through the University of Kentucky.   

 STRATEGIES FOR ATTAINING AND MAINTAINING THE HIGHEST ENTRY LEVEL STANDARDS; TIME FRAMES

To ensure that professionals providing services are appropriately and adequately trained and prepared in accordance with standards that are consistent with national certification standards that apply to the profession or discipline in which staff are employed, or standards sufficient to ensure the provision of quality vocational rehabilitation services, the Office for the Blind has established standards and objectives for each personnel classification and makes every attempt to provide activities to attain and maintain these standards. The OFB shall not discriminate on the basis of disability with regard to training and hiring.  Based on the Rehabilitation Act Amendment of 1998 recommendations and the professionalism valued by the Office for the Blind, the agency has set the following standards for hiring Professional Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists and training current Professional Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists.  These standards are in agreement with Kentucky’s statutes and regulations. 

Hiring New Employees- OFB will hire the best possible candidate based on the following priority list:  

Master’s Degree in appropriate discipline  (Rehabilitation Counseling, Orientation and Mobility, Education) with national   certification from the appropriate Certification Commission.                                              Currently enrolled in an accredited Master’s Degree program in Rehabilitation Counseling, have successfully completed 40 graduate program hours, and will be eligible to hold CRC certification within two years of hire.

Master’s Degree from an accredited college or University in a related field and will be eligible to hold CRC certification within three years of the date of hire.

 Bachelors Degree in a qualifying acceptable discipline that would allow acceptance into the graduate program and a commitment that they will enroll within one year of their initial probationary period.

Preference in hiring and promotion will be given to those individuals who are the most qualified candidates meeting national certification standards from minority backgrounds or individuals with disabilities.  There are cases in which the state agency is unable to recruit individuals who meet the national standard.  In those instances, the positions will be filled with an individual who has a Bachelor’s Degree, and the new employee is expected to meet the national standard within three years of the date of hire. OFB financially assists with the provision of training for those individuals who are current employees working toward obtaining a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and provides other benefits such as time to attend class or work on assignments.  OFB offers opportunities for maintaining certification requirements through training seminars and professional development conferences.

Advancement of Current Office for the Blind Employees.

OFB promotes acceptable candidates who are current employees when they are the best-qualified applicants for the position.  OFB has established a career ladder that is based on the achievement of a Master’s Degree with certification as the highest level on the ladder.

Current employees with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation or appropriate area of discipline with certification supplemented by six (6) years of experience in counseling, assessment, employer relations or rehabilitation technology.

Current employees with a Master’s Degree in appropriate area of discipline supplemented by two (2) years of professional experience in rehabilitation counseling, assessment, employer relations or rehabilitation technology.  Certification will be required within three

Current employees with a Bachelor’s Degree in appropriate area of discipline supplemented by two (2) years experience in a state vocational rehabilitation agency and the completion of a rehabilitation core curriculum met through in-service training or other strategies.  Certification appropriate to the job will be required within six (6) years.

Employees will be required to obtain a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation or the appropriate discipline and obtain certification with the highest level of any national or State approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration, or other comparable requirements that apply to the area in which they are providing vocational rehabilitation services. 

 The following professional personnel classifications are included in the above standards:   Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Independent Living Counselor Rehabilitation Instructor Vocational Evaluator Assistive Technology Specialist Orientation and Mobility Specialist

 

Policies And Procedures Relating To The Establishment And Maintenance Of Standards To Ensure That Personnel Are Prepared And Trained

OFB shall ensure that personnel in all classes of positions are adequately trained and prepared through a system of individual Career Development Plans. Personnel are referred to available on-line approved training programs through Universities, TACE and other training sources. Rehabilitation technology and significant research and information from studies of consumer needs and satisfaction surveys shall be emphasized in individual plans and in training programs.   Funding for all training for human resource development activities including tuition, books, in-service training programs and individual career development plans is supported from the money received for the agency In-Service training grant.  The funding for FFY 2013 is 17,757 under the basic award and 85,000 under the quality award. 

Staff Development

The HRD components of training, organizational development and career development form the basis of the Human Resource Development Plan.  Staff career development is a combination of education, training and experience related to their specific professional disciples.  In order to adequately meet HRD needs of staff, OFB utilizes a variety of training resources and opportunities throughout the Region.   OFB works with the general agency OVR and the Southeast TACE for our region identifying available resources to meet the training needs of staff. 

Through a system of Individual Human Resource Development (HRD) OFB has developed procedures and activities to ensure that all employed personnel are appropriately and adequately trained and prepared.   This includes standards that are consistent with national or state approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration or other comparable requirements that apply to the area in which such personnel are providing vocational rehabilitation services. 

OFB utilizes internal and external resources for training.  Numerous specialized training seminars and programs are available throughout the state.  When it is cost effective, the agency participates in national training opportunities.  Employees participate in training, based on individual needs and career development plans.  Employees then are asked to share the information with others as appropriate.  OFB continues to provide training on the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 as well as training on the ADA, Workforce Investment Act and the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA). 

Central office and other support staff as well as members of the State Rehabilitation Council will be included in all appropriate HRD activities.  OFB is vested in using technology and is actively identifying potential web-based training programs that will allow staff the opportunity to utilize these alternative training methods for increased professional development. The agency is in the process of the design and implementation of an infrastructure for the provision of on-line learning (see section below on elearning). Currently, OFB staff access elearning through webinars and courses through outside educational and training sources.   Information is circulated to staff from Region IV Southeast TACE Serving Individuals with Most Significant Disabilities Network News Flash (MSD Network News Flash) publication and other list serves. 

Implementation, planning and coordination of HRD training activities are the responsibility of the HRD Unit.  Currently, upon approval tuition assistance is available for all OFB staff if the course of study is directly related to their position.   Priority is given to staff in crucial CSPD positions that are eligible for scholarship opportunities enabling them to work toward their Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling or other specialty areas such as Orientation and Mobility and Assistive Technology.   In addition, The University of Kentucky has available RSA-CSPD Training Scholarships to employed state rehabilitation counselors to pursue a masters’ degree.   The agency does give staff information and opportunities to utilize other university programs.

Career development allows employees the opportunity to develop and expand their career goals.  At the new employee orientation, a training track on career development is conducted stressing that a career is a combination of education, training and experience related to a specific occupation.   Staff is apprised that career development is the responsibility of each employee and his/her immediate supervisor and that career planning is managed and addressed in conjunction with the employee evaluation system.   Individual career plans are developed for employees in conjunction with their initial performance plan that will provide opportunities for OFB personnel to upgrade their skills and qualifications and to advance within the agency to higher level paying positions.   Career Plans are reviewed at the annual performance review in January and revised as needed.

The Office for the Blind conducts an annual training needs assessment used to provide appropriate in-service training programs; as well as provide information to update individual career development plans to meet identified needs.  Areas identified by staff in 2013 were the following:  1) Communication Skills (i.e. oral/written, presentations, customer service and active listening);  2) Specific topics were Dealing with Difficult families and Negotiation Skills, Eye Diseases, SSI and SSDI, and Ethics; 3) Professional development for the areas of Conflict Resolution, Assertiveness, Problem Solving and Decision Making; 4) Supervisor Topic Areas were motivation, the 21st Century Worker and Basic Supervisory skills; 5) Health Related topics were Stress Management and Workplace Violence; 6) Technology or Computer Related topics were databases and spreadsheets and powerpoint.  There were forty-eight respondents to the needs assessment. Around 60% indicated that their preferred delivery mode of training is face to face (i.e. workshops, conferences); however, 49 percent also choose on-line training.   Nineteen staff responded to the question regarding tuition attendance with 8 of 19 indicating an interest in tuition assistance for further education. 

OFB is supportive of staff in keeping current with up to date best practices and makes sure that staff receive current research and practices.  This is done through shared information through workshops, conferences, presentations, publications (Braille Monitor, Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind’s Journal of Vision Impairment and Blindness, and National Federation of the Blind, Reflections) as well as internet site resources.

Leadership Development/Capacity Building

The loss of veteran staff to retirements has leveled off and OFB is positioned at this time with a young workforce.  For 2013 and year to date for 2014 there has been progress in the area of leadership program development for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning.  There are four training objectives to accomplish under the basic training grant from FFY 2011 – 2015.

In October of 2013, Office for the Blind had the opportunity to be a part of a succession planning project with TACE.  We were selected as one of the state agencies along with Florida and Mississippi.   The TACE consultant for the project is Doug Wilson.   Year to date we have had seven (8) conference calls.  The project required a time commitment for the monthly conference calls and assignments in relation to the development of the project.  The project introduced new concepts and processes to the agency for the area of succession planning.  OFB identified the central office administrator as a critical need position for the project focus.  For this area there was identification of key results areas and core competencies for this position.  To assure that staff has a basis for this area core competencies for the manager position level were also identified assuring that this group is positioned to move to the next level.  In process now is the identification of training goals and objectives.  The agency has decided to have both a standard and blended approach to this model for training.  The project has been titled: “Talent Management”.   Implementation of this pilot program will be FFY 2015. 

Additionally in place is the ALEAP program the Academy of Leadership Exploration and Preparedness Program.   The Office for the Blind and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation training HRD staff worked jointly in the development of a leadership program that would cross both agencies and pool resources.   The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation had in place an existing leadership program.  The program was revamped to include the core competencies identified.   ALEAP I was launched in January of 2013.     The program is aligned with both agencies with some differences given the scope of work of each.  The program is designed to provide staff with opportunities to learn about and develop foundational skills.  Staff first must participate in the prerequisite required courses (online and classroom setting) through the State Personnel Governmental Services Center.  A total of eleven courses are required requiring 50 -60 hours of instruction.   Upon satisfying ALEAP I set requirements staff are eligible to make application to ALEAP II.    Ten staff have completed the application process and were accepted into ALEAP I.  Five of the ten individuals or 50 percent have completed the required coursework.  The remaining five staff will continue working on the course requirements.  ALEAP II will be developed during the 2014 and 2015 FFY years.  Recently, the State Personnel Governmental Services Center has introduced a new course a “Certificate of Supervisory Essentials” for State Government employees that is under review to be considered as a part of ALEAP II. 

In order to disseminate information on rehabilitation best practices, research and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, the Office for the Blind staff received and participated in the following trainings for 2013. 

Assessment Vocational Counseling and Job Placement

A two (2) day training was held March 26 and 27 in 2013.  There was 37 field staff as well as center based staff in attendance. The training covered assessment, eligibility determination and order of selection as well as transition and case documentation.

OFB will continue to support and provide training relevant to rehabilitation technology.   Assistive Technology staff attended the University of Kentucky Tenth Annual Institute in Assistive Technology in June of 2013.  As stated, OFB sought out information regarding a newly developed AT training program through World Services for the Blind.  OFB is working with them in potentially hosting training in FFY 2015.

Dissemination of Knowledge from Research and Other Sources

Current information and research in the field of rehabilitation received by the Office for the Blind is distributed to staff statewide or if applicable posted on our website as a document or as a link to obtain pertinent information.  IRI journals, The Braille Monitor, The Braille Forum, Future Reflections, the Journal of Vision Impairments, and other journals and publications specific to the field are distributed to staff.   Staff can make specific requests for information and research is done in the area for specific needed information to determine the need to subscribe to a publication or purchase books or materials for the staff.  Information on Webinars are distributed to all staff via email on a weekly if not daily basis. 

OFB has representation on the Region IV Employment Partner’s Team.   This allows state agency personnel from the Southeast and across the Nation to enhance their skills and share resources.  OFB is able to leverage regional employer relationships and enhance our strategies for achieving successful employment outcomes for people with disabilities. 

National and Regional Training

OFB makes every effort to have representation at and participate in national and regional training events.  In 2013 OFB staff attended the following National Conferences:   AER sponsored Guide Dogs for the Blind two day seminar in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 21-23 ( 2); the 2013 American Foundation for the Blind Leadership Conference and AER statewide conference in Chicago, IL, April 17 – 20 (1);  National Council of State Agencies for the Blind Business Enterprise Program in PA (1); National Employment Conference in Arlington, VA (1); CSAVR/NCSAB (one administrator); the CSUN ATACP (assistive technology specialist); Randolph-Sheppard Act IN (1); the 6th Annual Summit VR Program Evaluation & Quality Assurance (1); 2013 National Rehabilitation Association Conference in NY (1) and the 37th Annual ADED Conference in Columbus, Ohio in August (2). 

New Employee Orientation

Given budget constraints for the Office for the Blind during the FFY 2013, only crucial service delivery positions were filled when vacancies occurred (i.e. orientation and mobility instructors, managers, counselors).  Given that only three individuals were hired during the year and the periods of time that lapsed between each hire the format fororientation changed.   New Employee Orientation was held on a one on one basis for each staff in Central Office as well as in the field, online and with their direct supervisor upon hire.  Training on the amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The ADA, Diversity, Career Development, The Role of the VR Counselor and other pertinent topics was covered.  New Employee Orientation will be held in the fall and spring of each federal calendar year based on staff hiring patterns.

In House and State Sponsored Training Events

In 2013, staff participated in several in house and other state trainings offered. 

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office for the Blind collaboratively worked with TACE in pooling resources and meeting an urgent need for both the General and Blind Agencies. Subcontractors of TACE Sally Siewert and Anita Hope submitted a proposal for the supervisory series.  The Kentucky Rehabilitation Association sponsored the training.   The Art and Science of Supervision will be held the week of June 24 and Session 2 Performance Management – Process for Achieving Goals was held the week of August 12 with the final session on Behavioral Interviewing held in November.  Ten supervisory level staff attended this training.

State Conferences attended were: the State Association of Persons in Supported Employment Conference (10), Assistive Technology staff attended the University of Kentucky 10th Annual Institute in Assistive Technology in July and Independent Living and Older Blind Counselors attended the University of Kentucky 30th Annual Summer Series on Aging in June.   Staff attended the Southeastern Rehabilitation National Conference (SERNA) (31) in Louisville in May of 2013.

Staff participated in teleconferences, webinars and online trainings through TACE  on a variety of topics  (quality assurance, interpreting  and how to read an eye report, VR and the ADA, innovative strategies for serving youth, customized employment and significant disabilities, social media, building inclusion, caseload management, ethics, self-management, autism, job development, psychiatric disabilities).  Staff participated in other trainings and seminars such as, “Threading Diversity Throughout the Community”, “AgrAbility”, and “Guide Dogs for the Blind”.  Staff participated in trainings provided through the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Office for Employee and Organizational Development at Kentucky State University (Customer Service,  Business Writing, State Government Ethics, Anti-Harassment and Work Place Violence, Facilitation Skills, Personal and Shared Accountability, Performance Evaluations, Hiring & Selection Process, Employee Discipline and Documentation,  Coping with Difficult Behaviors, Conflict Management, Structured Behavioral Interviewing and Managing Working Relationships).  Staff participated in training through the KY Finance and Administration Cabinet on Financial Analysis.   At the Charles W. McDowell Center monthly mini trainings were held for staff on the following topics:   “Motivational Interviewing”, “Healthy Working Relationships with Co-Workers”, “The VR Counselor and Services” and “Traumatic Brain Injury”.  VR field (counselors, assistants and other support staff) received in house training on the following:  1) Cost Allocation, 2) Case Management System/Coding, 3) Case Reviews, and 4) Transition.

CRC credits were awarded to certified counselors attending trainings for approved for content area.

Ticket to Work/Benefits Planning

In June of 2013 the staff (VR Counselor) that held WIPA CWIC certification left their position with the agency.   OFB is committed to this area and identified additional staff to participate in the WIPA CWIC training and through the VCU Work Incentive Planning and Assistance National Training Center.   This individual is working toward certification.  The staff that has oversight of the coordination of the case management system and social security participates in monthly Ticket to Work teleconferences through the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Effective Practices Webinar Series and Work Incentive Seminar Events (WISE).   This individual also participated in Ticket-to-Work training through SSA.  Staff is knowledgeable regarding work incentive resources that are available on line and at no cost.  Staff are knowledgeable of the process to obtain Benefits Analysis services through a BIN Liaison or a certified a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC). 

On-line/ Elearning

Under the Quality In-Service Training Grant the target goal for this objective is the development and implementation of an online training program with 50 participants.  A memorandum of understanding is in place covering 50 Angel seats, eLearning development, training, server streaming and instructional design support. There were several barriers during the first two years of implementation 2010-2012.  In 2013 there were five courses are in the design stage (Career Development, Documentation, Confidentiality and several courses under New Employee Orientation). The eLearning program modules were not ready for implementation in 2013. This project is one that has proved to be most challenging.  There is a lot that goes into the learning, design and implementation of an online program.   Given the volume of learning of staff, their lack of experience in this area, the learning curve and the design of the curriculum in ANGEL and the time required on this project progress on this objective is not as far along as anticipated.  Year to date in  FFY 2014 a lot of progress has been made in this area.  Curriculum design and development is now complete for nine courses in the online program.   Two of the nine courses have been implemented.  New Employee Orientation Basics is available for new staff through eLearning. The remaining seven courses require further editing.  Most of it is minor in the form of adding quizzes, additional reading assignments or video feed.

OFB renewed its site licenses from the American Foundation for the Blind allowing all staff statewide to access eLearning statewide. Through this eLearning contract staff has accessible and authoritative webinars, courses, and continuing education credits from the American Foundation for the Blind, the longtime leader in vision loss professional development.  The training addresses the many aspects, implications, and far-reaching effects that vision loss has on an individual, the family, and society containing Four Modules with multiple sessions under each.   The training encompasses topics for the following areas:  aging, technology, rehabilitation, education, orientation and mobility and employment.  Under this site license, staff also have opportunities to participate in elearning webinars through the American Foundation for the Blind on pertinent topics such as “Contrast and Lighting”, “Reading without Seeing” and “Glaucoma”.  CRC and ACVREP ceu’s are awarded per courses under each module. 

Department of Workforce Development Cabinet Training: Workforce

Kentucky’s transformational objectives include 25 initiatives designed to form a user friendly, customer-centric system that brings alignment to education, economic development and workforce activities.  The WorkSmart Kentucky Plan lays out the foundation to improve operational collaboration at both the state and local levels. Workforce Staff are involved in the committees and activities of the initiatives.  The initiatives are focused on systems change.  One initiative, Workforce Academy will provide training for all partners at every level of the system to be demand-driven and solutions based.  Workforce Academy is a statewide training required for all Department of Workforce Staff.  All Office for the Blind staff will participated in Workforce Academy in 2013 FFY.  This first phase the “Foundations for the Future: Building Kentucky’s 21st Century Workforce System consisted of Four Modules that occurred across the state in each of the Workforce Regions.  Staff was assigned by cohorts with other workforce staff from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Office of Employment and Training, WIA, and other partner staff.  The Modules were: 1) Building aFoundation for Transformation, 2) Building a Future for Kentucky’s Workforce System, 3) Setting the Standard and 4) Putting It Altogether My Local Plan of Action.

In 2014 all Workforce and Career Center staff will receive online training for “Core Certification”.  Additionally, all staff at the manger level and above will participate in a two day workshop on the topic of “Transformational Leadership”.

 

Communication with Diverse Populations

OFB staff works with the Assistive Technology Unit and the Accessible Textbook Services to ensure that all materials are presented in the most accessible mode of communication that the consumer requires.  The Accessible Textbook Unit also assists with producing training manuals and other job related information (personnel manuals, safety information) for consumers and their employers.   All agency counselors are involved in an inter-agency project with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) for Deaf-Blind intervention and receive extensive training in techniques for working with individuals who are Deaf-Blind.  OFB has one individual designated to function as the Deaf-Blind Coordinator who has her MRC and is a CRC that works with the OVR in this area.   The Deaf-Blind Coordinator provides training at the annual regional staff meetings to VR field staff.  On-going training opportunities ensure that skill levels are maintained or increased.

OFB utilizes a Williams Sound FM system for consumer and staff usage.  The system will accommodate ten (10) individuals who are hard of hearing.  The FM system is utilized for consumer meetings, trainings, conferences, counseling and other service activities.  The FM system works for one speaker and several listeners.  Counselors have access to Pocket Talkers utilized for conversing one on one with individuals who are hard of hearing.  In order to accommodate consumers with different levels of hearing loss, OFB has a variety of headphones for use such as head earphones, mon/bi/ in the ear, and neck loops for hearing aids that work with the FM system and Pocket Talker.  

ASL and Foreign Language Interpreters are contracted as necessary to ensure that individuals who are deaf or who are from diverse cultural backgrounds and need interpreters to access services will be able to communicate in their native languages.  Certified interpreters shall provide interpreter services for the deaf.  Voice Description is provided for any videos and classroom teaching techniques.   All materials utilized and distributed by the OFB are available in an accessible format, including large print, cassette tape, CD ROM, disc, audio recordings, Spanish or Braille with respect to the individual’s informed choice.  In an effort to assist staff with communication in a foreign language with consumers as needed Language Line is available as a resource. 

 

Coordination Of Comprehensive System Of Personnel Development Under The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

OFB shall coordinate its CSPD plans within the Kentucky Personnel System, to match the standards and qualifications of our personnel with personnel development under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, and the standards under the Rehabilitation Act, as amended.

The Kentucky Interagency Transition Council meets on a quarterly basis to address continued fulfillment of the Kentucky Interagency Agreement on Transition Services for Youth With Disabilities.  The Office for the Blind, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Education are three of the twelve state agencies that are parties to the agreement.  One of the provisions of this agreement is cooperative training and staff development concerning transition issues.  OFB staff attend Community Based Work Transition training offered by the University of Kentucky‘s Human Development Institute.   In addition, staff attends the statewide annual Kentucky Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Conference and the Kentucky AHEAD Conference (professionals in post-secondary education providing services to persons with disabilities) each year receiving valuable training and resources.

Rehabilitation counselors work collaboratively with the special education cooperatives, high school education teachers, local directors of special education, and job coaches for students transitioning from high school into employment.  OFB Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors attend IEP and ARC meetings working with the team in establishing a vocational goal.  This assures the development of the students IPE in conjunction with the vocational rehabilitation IEP.  OFB provides support to teaching instructors, school staff and job coaches regarding blindness issues and other areas of expertise such as Orientation and Mobility and Assistive Technology to ensure successful placements.  Often rural schools do not have the needed resources; therefore OFB staff offer their expertise based on the individual needs of the student working closely with all staff involved with IDEA. 

The State Rehabilitation Council

Members of the State Rehabilitation Council participate in planning and implementation of HRD activities, marketing and public relations, satisfaction of services annual reporting and they are involved in professional development conferences as part of the planning process and as participants.  The State Rehabilitation Council had the opportunity to give input, review and comment on the development of the plan and related policies and procedures at the quarterly meetings held in October, January, April and July of 2013.  The Council’s Program Planning Committee works directly with the agency for this purpose.

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 11:46AM by Cora McNabb

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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

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

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

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2012 3:43PM by Cora McNabb

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

 ATTACHMENT 4.11(b):  Annual Estimates of Individuals To Be Served and Costs of Services

 Kentucky’s population based on U.S. Census 2012 estimated data is  In 2012, the prevalence of disability in Kentucky was 16 percent are reported to have a disability with 3 percent reporting a visual disability and the poverty rate of working-age people with disabilities was 34 percent.  (2012 Disability Status Report, Employment and Disability Institute at the Cornell University ILR School).

Prevent Blindness America reports that of that population 3,046,951 aged 18 years and older have vision impairments or an age-related eye disease.  There are 16,802 individuals aged 40 and older who are blind and 37,503 who have low vision or 2.6 percent of the population.  This does not include counts of individuals under the age of 40.  Prevent Blindness reports that “If appropriate preventive steps are not taken, costs will burgeon as the population of Kentucky ages and life expectancy increases. The number of Kentucky residents with impaired vision, including blindness, could more than double over the next three decades”.   For FFY 2015 the Kentucky Office for the Blind will have one category out of four open in Order of Selection. 

The following charts give data that represents estimated performance for FY 2014 under this State Plan based on historical data from prior years.  The estimated service and category numbers are reflective of the average number of new applicants that we expect to receive in 2013 and it is inclusive of the carryover of consumers from the prior year. The costs are reflective of the actual direct service cost to consumers for the current year to date 2014 and the prior service costs for 2013. 

They are not inclusive of indirect costs associated with those services.  These goals are reflective of rising cost in tuition (4-5 percent across the state) and medical care.  At the writing of this plan, OFB does not anticipate additional state funding cuts.  According to an April 29, 2014 press release from the Council on Postsecondary Education the Council on Postsecondary Education set tuition and mandatory fee ceilings that limit the amount public campuses can charge resident, undergraduate students over the next two academic years.  For the comprehensive and research universities, the Council set ceilings that average 4 percent a year, with a maximum allowable increase in either year of 5 percent. A campus choosing a 5 percent increase in either year would be limited to a 3 percent increase in the other.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, January 2014 The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) has the potential to extend coverage including the 647,000 uninsured Kentuckians approximately 15 percent of the population.  Diabetes, a leading cause of eye problems in Kentucky population rates are currently at 10.7 percent  Kentucky again this year is ranked number one in the nation for the percentage of Blind & Disabled SSI recipients currently at 4 percent of the state population.

Kentucky’s workforce is one of the nation’s least healthy, and the state has a disproportionate number of working-age people who are not in the workforce because of health problems.   The state ranks first in the nation for the highest smoking rate (28 percent), cancer deaths and preventable hospitalizations; second in heart disease and poor physical-health  days; third in heart attacks and poor mental-health days; and in the top 10 in diabetes, cholesterol and sedentary lifestyles.  As a result, Governor Steve Beshear has made improving the health and wellness of Kentucky’s children, families and workforce one of his highest priorities.

 Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in April 2014 from a revised 7.9 percent in March 2014, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The preliminary April 2014 jobless rate was .6 percentage points below the 8.3 percent rate recorded for the state in April 2013. The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped to 6.3 percent in April 2014 from 6.7 percent in March 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In April 2014, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,064,835, a decline of 372 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was up by 3,508, while the number of unemployed decreased by 3,880.

2015 Estimated Outcome Goals and Timeframes 10/01/2014 through 9/30/2015

The estimated numbers for the FFY 2015 year take into account that Categoires Two and Three are closed.  Included in the estimated amounts are services needed by any eligible individuals in Categories Two and Three who began to receive services under an individualized plan for employment prior to the effective date of the order of seletion closing of additional categoires (April 1, 2013), irrespective of the severity of the eligible individual’s disability; and individuals requiring post employment services.

Category One

Estimate to be Served - 1,100

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 239

Estimated Average Costs per person - 1,272

Estimated Associated Costs per Category - 1,400,000

 Category Two

Estimated to be served - 131

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 59

Estimated Average Costs Per Person - 1,526

Estimated Associated Costs Per Category - 200,000

  Category Three

Estimated to be served - 6

Estimated of Employment Outcomes - 3

Estimated Average Costs per person - 1,916

Estimated Associated Costs per Category -  11,500

   Projected Performance for  FY 2015 under Title VI, Part B

ESTIMATE OF TO BE SERVED 50 TOTAL ESTIMATED ASSOCIATED COSTS 62,000 AVERAGE ESTIMATED COST PER PERSON $1,240.43 EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES ESTIMATES 5

*Expenditures exceeding the Title VI-B 2015 allotment  will be covered with funds from the 110 program.   CATEGORY DEFINITIONS: 

Priority Categories means the following rank of categories of eligible individuals to be followed in the order of selection:

Priority Category One Eligible individuals with the most significant disability whose severe impairment seriously limits three (3) or more functional capacities in terms of employment outcome; and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over an extended period of time.

Priority Category Two Eligible individuals with a significant disability whose severe impairment limits two (2) functional capacities in terms of an employment outcome and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over an extended period of time. (This category is closed )

Priority Category Three Eligible individuals with a non-significant disability whose impairment seriously limits one (1) functional capacity in terms of an employment outcome and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over a period of time.  (This category is closed ).

Priority Category Four All other individuals.  (This category is closed).

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
One Title I $1,400,000 1,100 $1,272
Two Title I $200,000 131 $1,526
Three Title I $11,500 6 $1,916
Totals   $1,611,500 1,237 $1,302

This screen was last updated on Jul 28 2014 6:52PM by Cora McNabb

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

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.11 (c)(1): State’s Goals and Priorities

The Kentucky Office for the Blind’s mission is: To provide opportunities for employment and independence to individuals with visual disabilities. This attachment identifies the goals and priorities of the State in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs. Identified in this section are the revisions in the goals and priorities for FFY 2013-2015 developed collaboratively with the State Rehabilitation Council based on the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment.  The Council felt these goals were relevant for the FFY 2015 State Plan.

Based on the input received there are six concise and measurable goal areas set based on the 2012 Statewide Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, an analysis of the Agency’s performance on the federal Standards and Indicators, real time data from the case management system, the results of the satisfaction survey and the strategic planning process as well as the findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

1. OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Indicators annually.

2. To increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment.

3. Use resources effectively and efficiently in order to maximize funds in serving individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired in the Commonwealth.

4. KBE will provide full-time employment and career opportunities for Kentuckians who are legally blind, while providing quality vending and food services for government and business.

5. To develop, design and implement a professional development leadership program for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning.

6. Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

The following Priorities were established:

• Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities.

• Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

EVALUATION ASSURANCE

The Agency in collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council shall conduct an annual evaluation to determine the extent to which these priorities have been achieved, and if not achieved, the reasons that they were not achieved, and a description of alternative approaches that will be taken. The annual evaluation shall be conducted at such time as to permit the consideration of findings in the development of the State Plan and its annual updates.

If the annual evaluation determines that specific goals have not been achieved, alternative plans shall be developed, with the advice of the State Rehabilitation Council and from findings of the evaluation, focus group surveys, consumer satisfaction surveys, public forums and consumer planning workshops.

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 9:41AM by Cora McNabb

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

Justification for order of selection

ATTACHMENT 4.11 (c)(3):

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires an Order of Selection of individuals to be served, ensuring that individuals who have the most significant disabilities will be given first priority whenever all eligible individuals who apply cannot be served.  The State Rehabilitation Council will be consulted regarding the need to establish the priority categories and the administration of Order of Selection consistent with 34 CFR 361.36.   OFB monitors services and expenditures on an ongoing basis to determine the need to open or close categories. 

 The following list includes factors that are considered in making the determination for changes to or the continuation of Order of Selection:

Availability of state general funds to match available federal VR funds

All Fiscal Resources carryover funding, program income

Annual imposed state fiscal budget cuts

Staff capacity in relation to the set personnel cap

Application, referral and caseload trends including I & R and the Waiting List

Costs associated with the purchase of services (tuition, medical restoration)

Estimated costs of services identified in the individual plan for employment

SRC, Consumer and Stakeholder Input

The order of selection gives first priority to those individuals with the most significant disabilities as defined by the OFB. The criterion to determine individuals with the most significant disabilities and the subsequent order of categories to be followed in selection of individuals to be provided services, is based on a refinement of the criteria set forth in the definition of individual with a significant disability, specifically, the degree by which an individual’s impairment seriously limits his or her functional capacities and the number of rehabilitation services needed by an individual.  

Justification of Order of Selection

The Kentucky Office for the Blind is operating under a statewide Order of Selection due to budget constraints and a significant decrease in state funding. 

The initial date for implementation of Order of Selection was January 1, 1995.  There were Five Priority Categories with only eligible individuals in Priority Categories One through Four being served.  The effective date was May 4, 2007 for additional changes to Order of Selection.  During the 2003 site monitoring with RSA, OFB staff consulted with RSA representatives on the Order of Selection and the need for regulatory changes.  Category Five was removed and definition changes were made to Categories One through Four refining the criteria to be closely aligned with the federal policy. 

FFY 2013 Review

As reported in last year’s State Plan, agency staff and the SRC reviewed on a quarterly basis data on numbers served, the number placed on a waiting list, and agency fiscal resources to determine the need to open or close categories.  The decision was made based on fiscal resources to close additional categories in April of 2013.  During FFY 2013 budgets and fiscal resources were reviewed monthly by agency management.  Information was presented to the State Rehabilitation Council at each quarterly meeting.   The Office for the Blind continued to endure fiscal deficits that resulted in cuts from all aspects including administration.  While efforts in reduction of expenses created some savings it was not enough to offset the deficit. 

Unfortunately, the loss of state funds over the past five years has resulted in the agency being unable to match 5,062,622 of federal funds, therefore, leaving those federal dollars for other states to utilize.  The agency relinquished amount was 1,225,400 million for FFY 2013. 

During the month of February, public hearings were held across the state to solicit input from our consumers, staff, and advocates to share comments regarding the annual revisions to the State Plan and the decision to close priority categories two and three with an effective date of April 1, 2013.    Five public hearings were held across the state in Lexington, Florence, Louisville, Hazard and Paducah. 

Given that the Executive Director and agency leadership were transparent in their communications regarding the financial status of OFB with the State Rehabilitation Council and the leadership of the advocacy organizations they were supportive of the decision to close categories.  Based on a thorough analysis of OFB’s entire budget through an administrative cost review by the Executive Director, Executive Leadership Team, and the  State Rehabilitation Council priority categories two and three were closed on April 1, 2013.

In FFY 2013 year to date there are 32 consumers determined eligible for services and placed on a waiting list.  They are as follows:  21 PC2, 2 PC3 and 8 PC4.

Year to date for FFY 2013 there was 1 consumers determined eligible for services in PC3  that made the decision not to be placed on a waiting list and requested that their case be closed. 

Year to date Administrative expenses in 2013 are lower with cost effective measures that were implemented.  

Given the inability of the agency to match federal funds due to state general fund cuts  it is anticipated that there will be no carry forward of dollars into 2014.

Current average year to date for 2013 caseload size is 79 which is a decrease of around 11% from 2011 ( 89).

FFY 2014 Review

In FFY 2014, agency staff and the SRC reviewed on a quarterly basis data on numbers served, the number placed on a waiting list, and agency fiscal resources to determine the need to open or close categories.  Since April of 2013, OFB has only category one open. During FFY 2014 budgets and fiscal resources were reviewed monthly by the agency Executive Leadership Team (ELT).  Information was presented to the State Rehabilitation Council at each quarterly meeting.  

Unfortunately, the loss of state funds over the past several years has resulted in the agency unable to match federal funds leaving those federal dollars for other states to utilize.  Over the past three years, Office for the Blind has made every effort in to reduce expenses and this has created some savings and made an impact on the bottom line of the budget.  Based on the agencies current spending and revenue, OFB has begun to make some positive gains.

 There were some unanticipated expenses in FFY 2014 that the agency had to absorb.   They are as follows:

All state agency IT operations were transferred under the Commonwealth Office of Technology and services and equipment was assigned a schedule of fees raising costs for this budget area.  To add to costs in this area upgrades and new technology purchases were crucial to allow staff the needed resources to deliver VR services to consumers

All state agencies incurred additional line item costs associated with retirement

Increased facilities costs

A positive cost increase were raises for state employees for the first time in six years

An increase in indirect costs

 Year to date in FFY 2014:

There are 86 consumers determined eligible for services and placed on a waiting list.  They are as follows:  50 PC2, 15 PC3 and 18PC4.

Three consumers (2 PC2, 1 PC4) determined eligible for services exited from Out of Selection year to date whom made the decision not to be placed on a waiting list and requested that their case be closed. 

Year to date Administrative expenses in 2014 are lower with cost effective measures that were implemented.  

Year to date Counselor Caseload budgets are under in expenditures.

The agency will be unable to match federal funds due to past state general fund cuts 

Anticipated carry forward of dollars into 2015 is projected to be around 450,000.

Current average year to date for 2014 caseload size is 72 which is a decrease of around 9 percent from 2013 (79).

Fee increases for Surgery Centers and Low Vision and Bioptic Eye Exams will occur in 2014

On June 6, the Executive Leadership met and reviewed the Expenditure/Budget report history.   Upon review, OFB identified resources to serve some individuals but not all individuals in a priority category.  The date of application will be utilized as a criterion for ranking individuals within a priority category.   The State Rehabilitation Council was consulted and informed of the this and was in full agreement with the decision.  The Executive Director issued an implementing memorandum to staff, with instructions that appropriate services delayed under the order of selection may be provided for those individuals on the waiting list in Category Two by date of application effective July 1, 2014. 

 The decision was based on the following:

Lower caseload sizes and referral flow

Projected carryover of funds into 2015

VR counselor caseload expenditures are under budget

For the remainder of the FFY 2014, The Executive Leadership along with the State Rehabilitation Council will carefully monitor and review all information in making the determination of whether to open Priority Category Two effective October 1, 2014.  

 

Description of Priority categories

Order of Selection Priority Categories

Currently the agency has four priority categories with Priority Category One open and Two, Three and Four Closed.  They are as follows:

Priority Category One Eligible individuals with the most significant disability whose severe impairment seriously limits three (3) or more functional capacity in terms of employment outcome; and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over an extended period of time. (Open)

 Priority Category Two Eligible individuals with a significant disability whose severe impairment limits two (2) functional capacities in terms of an employment outcome and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over an extended period of time. (This category is closed)

Priority Category Three Eligible individuals with a non- significant disability whose impairment seriously limits one (1) functional capacities in terms of an employment outcome and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over a period of time.  (This category is closed)

Priority Category Four All other individuals.  (This category is closed). 

  DEFINITIONS

Applicant means an individual who has submitted an application for vocational rehabilitation services.  An individual is considered to have submitted an application when the individual, or the individual’s representative, as appropriate, has filled out and signed an agency application form or has otherwise submitted a signed written request for services, and the individual is available for an assessment to determine eligibility and priority for services.

Legally Blind, as defined in Kentucky Revised Statutes 163.460 (2), means a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correction or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

Visually Impaired, as defined in Kentucky Revised Statutes 163.460 (3), means a condition of the eye with correction, which constitutes or progressively results for the individual in a substantial disability to employment.

Eligible Individual means an individual with a primary impairment of blindness or another visual impairment, who the Office for the Blind (OFB) has determined is an individual with a disability who requires vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, enter, engage in, retain or advance in employment.

Functional Capacities means the following:

Orientation and Mobility: The ability to travel independently to and from destinations in the community;

Self-Care: means the ability to engage in activities of daily living including:  personal grooming; home management; health and safety needs;

Communication: The ability to comprehend, respond, and exchange information through: spoken words; written words, sign language, Braille, concepts,  gestures or another means;

Work Skills: The ability to do specific tasks required for a particular

Work Tolerance: The ability to sustain required levels of functioning in work related activities with or without accommodations;

Interpersonal Skills: The ability to make and maintain personal, family and community relationships; and

Self-Direction: The ability to independently plan, initiate, problem  solve, organize and carry out goal-directed activities.

Individual With a Significant Disability, as defined in Section 7 (21) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998, means:

An individual with a disability as defined under Section 7 (20) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998;

Who has a significant physical or mental impairment, which for such individual constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment; and seriously limits one or more functional capacities (such as mobility, communication, self?care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome;

Whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time; and

Who has one or more physical or mental disabilities resulting from amputation, arthritis, autism, blindness, burn injury, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, deafness, head injury, heart disease, hemiplegia, hemophilia, respiratory or pulmonary dysfunction, mental retardation, mental illness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, musculo?skeletal disorders, neurological disorders (including stroke and epilepsy), paraplegia, quadriplegia, and other spinal cord conditions, sickle cell anemia, specific learning disabilities, end?stage renal disease, or another disability or combination of disabilities determined on the basis of an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs to cause comparable substantial functional limitations. 

Individual With The Most Significant Disability  means an eligible individual with a significant disability whose severe impairment seriously limits three (3) or more functional capacities in terms of employment outcome; and whose rehabilitation requires two (2) or more services over an extended period of time.

8. Presumption of Eligibility for Social Security Recipients and Beneficiaries means that an individual who has been determined eligible under Title I or Title XVI of the Social Security Act is:

Considered to be an individual with a significant disability; and

Presumed to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services under Title I (provided the individual intends to achieve an employment outcome consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual) unless the office can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that such individual is incapable of benefiting from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of employment outcome due to the severity of the disability of the individual. 

Order Of Selection means the order to be followed in determining which priority categories of eligible individuals shall be provided vocational rehabilitation services when the Office for the Blind does not have funds to provide such services to all eligible individuals ensuring that first priority for services is given to those individuals who have the most significant disabilities.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

ORDER OF SELECTION SERVICE

DETERMINATION AND ADMINISTRATION

If the Executive Director and State Rehabilitation Council determine that the agency lacks available funds to serve all consumers, the office shall follow an order of selection to give priority for services according to a ranking of categories of consumers based on the severity of the disability. The Executive Director of the Office for the Blind shall direct the order of selection by designating in written memorandum, the priority categories to be served.

Order of Selection will not use any of the following factors in determining eligible individuals:

Residency duration,type of disability; age, gender, race, color, or national origin,source of referral, type of expected employment outcome, need for specific services or anticipated cost of services, or the income level of the individual or its family.

The order of selection shall be implemented on a statewide basis.

The order of selection shall be implemented to assure that eligible   individuals with the most significant disabilities are provided services before other eligible individuals. The order of selection shall not affect:

a)   The acceptance of referrals and applicants;the provision of assessment services to determine whether an individual is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, and the individual’s priority under the order of selection; services needed by any eligible individual who has begun to receive services under an individualized plan for employment  prior to the effective date of the order of selection, irrespective of the severity of the eligible individual’s disability; and individuals requiring post employment services.

The office will ensure that all funding arrangements for providing services under the State plan, including third-party arrangements and awards under the establishment authority, are consistent with the order of selection.

An eligible individual shall be immediately reclassified into a higher priority category whenever appropriate justification exists in the case record of the individual.

The office shall conduct an assessment to determine whether an individual is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services and the individual’s priority under the order of selection.  The VR Counselor determines the eligibility of the individual and their priority category based on a review of the data from the assessment which may include but is not inclusive of:

Ophthalmology and Optometrist vision reports Functional Limitations Checklist Medical  and Psychological Reports Educational Background Work History Other pertinent information 

In the order of selection each eligible individual within a closed priority category   shall be placed on a waiting list until such time as the priority category is opened.  The process for the waiting list is as follows: 

a)  Once an individual has been determined eligible within a closed priority category by the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor the individual will receive notification through the counselor in writing of:

1)  Their assignment to a particular category; 2)  the priority categories currently being served; 3)  their right to appeal their category assignment and the availability of the Client Assistance Program (4)  information and referral services; and (5)  they are given the option to be placed on a waiting list by date of application until such a time the priority category can be opened and the individual employment plan can be developed and initiated.

The waiting list will be maintained by the Director of Consumer Services.

The waiting list will be reviewed quarterly by the Director of Consumer Services and Regional Managers.                    Consumers will be contacted annually to inform them the status of Order of Selection and their specific priority category.  Additional information (I & R) will be given.  The consumer will be asked regarding their preference for remaining on the waiting list.   At the time when funds become adequate and a priority category will be opened the following sequence of action will occur for those individuals in a closed category:

Priority Category Two (2) will be opened and individuals on the waiting list will be served by date of application.The office will assure that eligible individuals, who do not meet the order of selection criteria for the priority categories, shall have access to services provided through the information and referral system in accordance to the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.  These services will include referral to other Federal and State programs including the statewide workforce investment programs.  The process for this is as follows:

a)  The agency will provide the individual with a notice of referral; b)  the notice will contain a point of contact for the program or service; an individual is being referred to and; c)  any relevant information regarding services for the individual relating to the preparation, securing, obtaining or retaining of employment; and d)  documentation of the nature and scope of information and referral services provided will be included in the individual service record and entered in the Case Management System (CMS).

Individuals who are presumed to be significantly disabled because they receive SSA benefits will be further assessed to determine if they meet the agency’s criteria for “individual with a most significant disability.”

Consumers making the decision not to be placed on a waiting list after they receive notification of their priority category will be closed.  They will receive  notification from their VR Counselor that their case will close and of their right to appeal the agency’s decision, including information on how to contact CAP.  The notification will include information on how they may reapply for services in the future if their circumstances change or if the agency makes changes to order of selection.

Notification and Appeal

When a request for services by an eligible individual is affected by the order of selection, the individual shall be immediately notified of such in writing, and provided with information on procedures for individual rights for appeal, and how the Client Assistance Program may provide help in the process.

Changes in Order of Selection Priority Categories

Annually, prior to the beginning of each fiscal year the Executive Director, State Rehabilitation Council and Management Staff will reevaluate the agency circumstances to determine whether or not the agency’s resources are sufficient in serving all individuals or there is a need to implement, establish or make changes in order of Selection.  At such time that the agency finds that it is able to serve those individuals in any closed priority category, that category will be re-opened.  If the Agency finds that they have the resources to serve some individuals but not all individuals in a priority category the date of application will be utilized as a criterion for ranking individuals within a priority category.   The timeline for this would be a year, unless the agency’s financial situation should change drastically.  Circumstances that would allow this to occur include a decrease in the number of referrals or other sources that would result in additional funds, which could be utilized to serve these individuals. 

When a priority category is to be opened for services, the Executive Director shall issue an implementing memorandum to staff, with instructions that appropriate services delayed under the order of selection may be provided.

Annual Outcomes and Costs

The grids below outline the current service population numbers and costs.  Actual numbers served and the costs associated with them are listed for 2013.  Service Numbers and costs for 2014 and 2015 are estimated based on current numbers year to date from queries run in the Case Management System (CMS).  

 

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

Annual Outcomes and Costs

The grids below outline the current service population numbers and costs.  Actual numbers served and the costs associated with them are listed for 2013.  Service Numbers and costs for 2014 and 2015 are estimated based on current numbers year to date from queries run in the Case Management System (CMS). 

2013 YEAR END ACTUAL OUTCOMES AND COSTS 10/1/12 THROUGH 9/30/13 Active Cases PC 1 1,086 PC 2 303 PC 3 31 PC 4 Closed Total 1,420 Number of Employment Outcomes

PC 1 199 PC 2 124 PC 3 13 Total 336

Actual Associated Costs Per Closure (26)

PC 1 503,251 PC 2 216,999 PC 3 41,900 PC 4 Closed Total 762,140

Actual Associated Costs Per Category PC1 1,225,028 PC2 362,115 PC3 51,005

Total 1,675, 361

The above grid for the FY 2013 year takes into account that Categories Two and Three were closed effective April 1, 2013.  Included in the estimated amounts are services needed by any eligible individual who began to receive services under an individualized plan for employment prior to the effective date of the order of selection, irrespective of the severity of the eligible individual’s disability; and individuals requiring post-employment services. 

The actual total costs of services and administration for 2013 was:  $ 8,872,492.

2014 ESTIMATED OUTCOME GOALS AND TIMEFRAMES 10/1/2013 through 9/30/2014

ESTIMATE OF NUMBER SERVED PC 1 1,090 PC 2 220 PC 3 13 PC 4 Closed Total 1,323

TOTAL ESTIMATED ASSOCIATED COSTS PER CATEGORY PC 1 1,300,000 PC 2 350,000 PC 3 25,000 PC 4 Closed Total 1,675,000

AVERAGE ESTIMATE COST PER PERSON PC 1 1,193 PC 2 1,591 PC 3 1,923 PC 4 Closed Total 1,266

NUMBER OF ESTIMATED EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES PC 1 225 PC 2 89 PC 3 7 PC 4 Closed Total 321

Included in the estimated amounts are services needed by any eligible individual who began to receive services under an individualized plan for employment prior to the effective date of the order of selection, irrespective of the severity of the eligible individual’s disability; and individuals requiring post-employment.    In addition it takes in to account those individuals who were on a waiting list eligible for services under Priority Category II (approximately 50) targeted to be served effective July 1, 2014. 

* Year to date for FFY 2014 there are a total of 86 consumers determined eligible for services in Priority Category 2, 3 and 4 placed on a waiting list.    All consumers were given information and referral to meet their individual needs.

A. Individuals entering services in 2014 with individualized plans for employment=894                                                                                           Estimated Total Costs:  $7,240,718 B.  Estimated determined eligible entering services in 2014=   295 Estimated Total Costs:   

C. Total Projected Services and Administrative Costs inclusive of facilities, salaries, benefits, outreach activities, and required statewide studies:  $9,240,718

D. Projected revenues and projected number of qualified personnel for the program. Revenues are projected at a minimal growth and the number of personnel will not increase with a state imposed cap.  This will allow the Kentucky Office for the Blind adequate revenue and personnel (98) to cover the costs identified in A, B & C and to ensure the provision of the full range of services to individuals selected for services under the order of selection for the 2014 calendar year.

2015 ESTIMATED OUTCOME GOALS AND TIMEFRAMES 10/1/2014 through 9/30/2015

ESTIMATE OF NUMBER SERVED PC 1 1,100 PC 2 131 PC 3 6 PC 4 Closed Total 1,237

TOTAL ESTIMATED ASSOCIATED COSTS PER CATEGORY PC 1 1,400,000 PC 2 200,000 PC 3 11,500 PC 4 Closed Total 1,511,500

AVERAGE ESTIMATE COST PER PERSON PC 1 1,272 PC 2 1,526 PC 3 1,916 PC 4 Closed Total 1,302

NUMBER OF ESTIMATED EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES PC 1 239 PC 2 59 PC 3 3 PC 4 Closed Total 301 *The above grid estimated numbers for the FY 2014 year takes into account that Categories Two and Three are closed.  Included in the estimated amounts are services needed by any eligible individuals in Categories Two and Three who began to receive services under an individualized plan for employment prior to the effective date of the order of selection closing of additional categories (April 1, 2013), irrespective of the severity of the eligible individual’s disability; and individuals requiring post employment services. 

A.   Estimated of individuals entering services in 2015 with individualized plans for  employment = 825            

Total Estimated Costs:  7,151,783

B.  Estimated determined eligible entering services in 2015 = 275   Total Estimated Costs:  1,897,451

 C. Total Projected Services and Administrative Costs inclusive of facilities, salaries, benefits, outreach activities, and required statewide studies:  9,049,234

Projected revenues and projected number of qualified personnel for the program.Revenues are projected at a minimal growth and the number of personnel will not increase with a state imposed cap.  This will allow the Kentucky Office for the Blind adequate revenue and personnel (98) to cover the costs identified in A, B & C and to ensure the provision of the full range of services to individuals selected for services under the order of selection in 2015.

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 1,100 239 127 10/01/2014 - 9/30/2015 $1,300,000
2 131 59 15 10/01/2014-9/30/2015 $350,000
3 6 3 1 10/01/2014-9/30/2015 $25,000

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 9:42AM by Cora McNabb

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

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

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

During FY 2013 the amount of Title VI, Part B funds spent was 58,043.  There were 44,827 carry-forward monies from 2012 expended in FFY 2013.  The amount of current Fiscal Year Title VI B Allotment carried over to FY 2014 was 28,294.  The FY 2013 allotment was 41,510.  The Office for the Blind will allocate funding from Title VI, Part B to ensure that individuals with the most significant disabilities have access to the provision of supported employment services on a statewide basis.  These funds are only a supplement to the funds provided under Title I of the Act.   Title VI, Part B funds will only be used in the provision of Supported Employment services to those individuals determined eligible through comprehensive assessments determining that it is an appropriate objective.  These monies allocated will be fully expended with no more than five percent for administrative costs. Expenditures exceeding the Title VI-B allotment will be covered with funds from the 110 program.  OFB served 60 consumers through supported employment in 2013 with 4 successful closures.  Of note in 2013 overall more individuals were served; however successful closures remain low.  However; 44 of the 60 individuals or 73 percent are still in active status.  The main focus and goal for fiscal year 2014 will be to increase the Supported Employment successful outcomes.  Year to date we have served 48 individuals with 2 successful closures.

Supported Employment is competitive work (for the maximum hours possible) in an integrated work setting for individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred.  Services will be outlined for consumers with the most significant disabilities in the individualized plan for employment based on his/her informed choice, individual strengths, resources, capabilities, needs, abilities and preferences.   Job skills’ training when needed is provided on-site.  All services provided under the individualized plan for employment will be coordinated with other Federal or State program plans. 

The Office for the Blind is committed to the principle that individuals with the most significant disabilities (MSD), including those who have not traditionally experienced competitive work, are capable of engaging in employment in integrated settings. The agency and State Rehabilitation Council have agreed upon the goals and priorities in this attachment for Supported Employment.

The goals and priorities in this attachment reflect the commitment of OFB to increase employment outcomes for individuals who are blind through supported employment.  Transition is included as an area of focus specifically addressing increased collaboration with the Kentucky School for the Blind.

The main issue in Kentucky for Supported Employment is the lack of consistent available funding for extended services as well as a limited number of service providers statewide.  Area providers are not experienced or well trained in the provision of supported employment services and placement best practices for the blind and visually impaired population.  This is a specialty area of expertise that many providers do not have and are unwilling to expend time, monies and resources to training staff in this area.  Additionally, OFB consumers typically do not fit the set criteria set by the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities making them eligible for the provision of ongoing supports.  

OFB continues to place an emphasis on growth and expansion for the area of supported employment for 2013 – 2015.  Over the past three years there has been some progress noted with the initiatives occurring.  

Based on the information gathered and analyzed from the comprehensive statewide needs assessment conducted in FFY 2012, the Agency’s performance on the federal Standards and Indicators, the 107 monitoring report, real time data from the case management system, the Strategic Planning process and other sources of information the following goals for the distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds were set for the FFY 2013- 2015.  A review of the set goals and priorities will occur annually for any needed revisions for the State Plan.

The Kentucky Office for the Blind set the following goals for the distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds.

Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities.

Strategy 1: Develop a work plan for the recruitment and training of CRP’s Measure:  Development of a work plan and trainings held Target:  Implementation of training plan   Strategy 2: VR Counseling Staff will collaborate with Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP’s) to maximize resources and ensure quality services.

Measure:  CRP Expenditures and of referrals

Target:  Increase in CRP expenditures from the prior year             Increase the of consumers referred from the prior year   Strategy 3:  Leadership will continue to participate in statewide training meetings with CRP Directors and their staff to identify and resolve issues and share best practices to improve services for individuals who are blind and visually impaired including the most significant disabilities.

Measure:  of Supported Employment PEO’s

Target:  Increase in the of consumers placed from the prior year. 

Goal 2:  Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

Strategy 1: The Office for the Blind State Transition Coordinator will collaborate with special education and other public and private, non-profit partners to enhance VR transition Services. 

Measure:  Number of individuals participating in the Community Based Work Transition Program.  Number of Transition presentations Target:   Increase in the number of students participating in the Community Based work transition program. Increase in the number of presentations from the prior year.

Strategy 2:  Statewide Transition Coordinator will facilitate the development and establishment of collaborative partnerships with VR Counseling Staff and VI teachers statewide.

Measure: of positive employment outcomes

Target:   Increase in the number of successful rehabilitation for transition students from the prior year.

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 9:42AM by Cora McNabb

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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

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

ATTACHMENT 4.11(d): State’s Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion ActivitiesTo Address Needs Identified in the Comprehensive Assessment and to Achieve Identified Goals and Priorities

The Kentucky Office for the Blind’s mission is: To provide opportunities for employment and independence to individuals with visual disabilities. Describe the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities

To accomplish this mission, the strategies included in this section were developed for the established goals and priorities outlined in Attachment 4.11 (c) (1). Each goal is assigned to an OFB staff person or work group to assure that each strategy action step is carried out and goals are met. The designated staff person or work group will report quarterly on a grid for each goal strategy. A quarterly report will be compiled of the results of the steps taken in meeting the set goals and reviewed by the OFB steering committee and State Rehabilitation Council. The Council and Steering Committee will quarterly review the summarized reports monitoring the agencies performance in meeting the State Plan Goals and Priorities. 

Additionally, through quality assurance processes OFB provides internal and external methods and examinations to identify areas where improvement and training are needed. Internal and external methods utilized are WEBI (real time data reporting through CMS), the Agency’s performance on the federal Standards and Indicators, Group Review, findings and recommendations of the 107 monitoring review, Satisfaction Surveys, Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment and the Strategic Planning Process. 

Data is pulled and evaluated from the Web Intelligence system (WEBI) monthly or as needed (daily, weekly). The data is reviewed for positive or negative issues and trends in services, data integrity, and standards and indicators. OFB Staff receive monthly tips regarding data put into the case management system to ensure that information is input correctly. Any issues that arise are addressed with staff as soon as possible. 

OFB utilizes a case review process titled Group Review to Improve Professional Skills (G.R.I.P.S). This system evaluates counselors and assistants case review results as a team. Regional managers review one case per VR counselor during designated months. Specialized topics will be selected to identify specific trends or policy needs such as deaf/blind, closures, post secondary training, transition and secondary impairment of brain injury or stroke. Annually, a group case review is conducted with all of the counselors reviewing the same case. This provides the opportunity for discussion of strengths and weaknesses related to case management, documentation, service provision, and data input. Case Review Form will be reviewed annually in December for any additions which will allow for consistency of the same review form throughout the calendar year. A database will be maintained in central office to collect information. 

Satisfaction Survey Process

Consumer satisfaction is considered an important component of service quality. The Kentucky Office for the Blind (OFB) seeks to determine the satisfaction level of people who have received services as an ongoing tool to improve performance. At the request of the State Rehabilitation Council to the Kentucky Office for the Blind, the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky coordinates a telephone survey with the Survey Research Center. The purpose of the study is to assess customer satisfaction of all consumers who receive services from the Office for the Blind and whose cases are closed successful and unsuccessful during the federal fiscal year.

Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Every three years the Office for the Blind jointly with the state rehabilitation council conducts a statewide comprehensive needs assessment in order to satisfy requirements in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The assessment identifies additional VR service needs, such as an emerging disability groups, or needs resulting from changes in the state populations. Under this project the Office works with the state rehabilitation council in the development of goals for the assessment, develops a plan for the assessment, conducts the assessment, gathers information, analyzes the results, develops findings, develop conclusions and potential action strategies to form state plan goals, priorities, and strategies.

Strategic Planning

These are the specific activities that each State must undertake to ensure its effectively implementing rehabilitation programs and services. These strategies promote expansion and improvement. Through the strategic planning process OFB sets goals in order to accomplish its mission and address major issues facing the organization. Every three years the Office sets realistic goals and objectives developed from a SWOT analysis. This process allows us to build on identified strengths; shore up your weaknesses; capitalize on opportunities; and recognize any threats the Office is facing. Input for strategic planning is gathered from staff, consumers, the public at large and the State Rehabilitation Council. That information is summarized and used along with satisfaction survey results, the comprehensive statewide needs assessment and other internal data through CMS and used to formulate a three year-strategic plan.

Monitoring Reports

Section 107 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act), requires the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to conduct annual reviews and periodic on-site monitoring of programs authorized under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act to determine whether a state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency is complying substantially with the provisions of its State Plan under section 101 of the Rehabilitation Act and with the evaluation standards and performance indicators established under Section 106. In addition, the commissioner must assess the degree to which VR agencies are complying with the assurances made in the State Plan Supplement for Supported Employment (SE) Services under Title VI, part B, of the Rehabilitation Act. OFB takes into account all the findings and recommendations of the monitoring report in its planning, identifying service trends and making needed improvements to program operations. The monitoring report was utilized in the setting of goals and priorities for the 2013 State Plan.

 

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 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.

The Kentucky Office for the Blind provides a wide range of assistive technology devices and subsequent support for individuals who are blind or visually impaired statewide for the vocational rehabilitation and the independent living/older blind programs. First for individuals who are working or are pursuing a career OFB’s trained assistive technology specialist conduct a comprehensive evaluation to ensure that the correct products are selected so that they meet the individual’s needs. AT staff members fully train consumers to use the devices and work with employers to ensure that proper ongoing support is in place.

Assistive technology specialist also provides service to consumers enrolled in OFB’s Independent Living and Older Blind program. Similar to the services above, products are demonstrated that may enhance a person’s quality of life. If the consumer chooses to purchase a device, training and support will be provided if necessary. OFB’s Assistive Technology services are provided on a state-wide basis. Each regional office has a minimum of one AT Specialist so that residents of each county have a relatively close service provider.

The agency also operates a residential training facility, the Charles McDowell Center that consumers can benefit from when more long term training and support is necessary. There are two assistive technology specialist staff housed at the center. At application, through the assessment process the vocational rehabilitation counselor identifies issues surrounding employment specifically related to job tasks.

Once an individual is determined eligible a referral is made to assistive technology services. The VR Counselor provides information through the referral inclusive of but not limited to: vision reports and a description of work related job tasks specifically any the individual is experiencing difficulty performing. Assistive technology staff reviews the referral information from the counselor and perform an initial assessment of the individual in their applicable environment (employment, home or academic).

The process is individualized for each consumer based on their needs. At any point while the case is open or when post employment services are appropriate the vocational rehabilitation counselor will refer the individual for assistive technology services. This may be due as a result of increased job duties for the individual or perhaps there is the need for current or updated technology on the job.

For transition students, the vocational rehabilitation counselor provides information in the referral sheet to the assistive technologist regarding any technology that the student used while in high school and home environment, post secondary information and the vocational goal.

If an individual needs in depth training, then the assistive technology specialist makes a recommendation to the vocational rehabilitation counselor for a referral for training at the Charles W. McDowell Rehabilitation Center. The vocational rehabilitation counselor coordinates services with the consumer regarding more comprehensive long term training at the residential center. Once the individual completes their training and returns home, the Assistive technology specialist will follow-up by phone or a home visit.

OFB provides consultation services to business partners related to job accommodations with a goal developing, establishing and maintaining employer relationships. This allows OFB to determine if a particular job is an overall good match for our consumer base (blind and visually impaired). Recommendations are then made to the employer regarding reasonable accommodations. Additionally, accessibility testing is provided based upon need. An example, would be consulting with a company that was upgrading to a soft phone environment. OFB assistive technology staff role in the process is to be a bridge between the employer interests and the consumer’s opportunity for employment. This gives the employer security that an agency is behind them increasing their interest in the working partnership. This consultation service also gives the employer a place to return to in the future to meet their ongoing needs. Employers may contact OFB in instances when an existing employee is interested in applying for promotional opportunities within the company.

OFB will make referral and access additional resources through the Kentucky Assistive Technology Network (KATS) and the Kentucky Assistive Technology Loan Corporation (KATLC) for individuals. The KATS Network, the Kentucky Assistive Technology Act Program, serves Kentucky residents of all ages with disabilities of all types, their families, employers and employment service providers, educators, health care and social service providers, and others seeking information about assistive technology (AT) and accessible information technology. KATLC is a program funded by both private and public money to help Kentuckians with disabilities obtain assistive technology to improve their independence or quality of life.

 

Identify what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities; and what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program.

Identify what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities; and what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program.

Individuals who are minorities have equal access to vocational rehabilitation services. OFB is committed in its effort to build the capacity to effectively serve individuals with most significant disabilities who are minorities. OFB will provide vocational rehabilitation services to all individuals who have visual disabilities who are eligible for services regardless of gender, race, national origin, religion, color, disability or age.

The Agency assures the provision of services to American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing in the state to the same extent as it provides services to other significant populations or individuals residing in the state.

Management and staff shall focus on the agency mission, which is employment, in assignment of tasks, planning and utilization of work time, initiation of self-directed work teams, and innovative projects. This includes expanding the diversity of the Agency in terms of employment outcomes to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are minorities Staff shall ensure that persons with the most significant disabilities who are minorities will receive the same employment related services that non-minority and individuals with disabilities receive.

OFB works to develop outreach activities to minorities to facilitate increased consumer referrals to the Agency. OFB encourages staff to get to know key community leaders and minority organizations to facilitate outreach. The Office follows Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines and Affirmative Action Procedures. The Office encourages existing minority staff to play an active role in policy and program development, service delivery and program monitoring activities.

The Office provides cultural diversity training to staff in order to develop a better understanding of different cultures and value systems. Staff participates in the Governor’s Equal Employment Opportunity Conference and Minority Empowerment Conferences.  

Service demographic and population data is utilized to determine the number of minorities in regions and develop strategies to increase percentages. OFB will utilize different methods and channels of communication in targeting minority populations. This will include usage of the "Language Line" that will enable our staff to communicate with non-English speaking applicants in their native language.

The following goal and objectives listed below align with this section:

Goal 1: OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Performance Indicators annually Objective 1.7: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA Standard for service rates for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities Indicator: Minority Service Rate will meet or exceed the RSA Standard of 80.00 ratio.

 

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

OFB identified the following two priorities in this attachment that aligns with this area.  They are as follows:

Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities; and

Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

 These two priorities are fully outlined in the Goals, Strategies and priorities section of this attachment.  OFB is looking at the potential of establishment grants in order to support the establishment, development, or improvement of a public or other non-profit Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP).  This is an area of focus in the current conducting of the triennial statewide comprehensive needs assessment. 

 

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

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

The employee performance evaluation system includes all the federal Standards and Indicator for each vocational rehabilitation counselor and manager performance evaluations. Standards and indicators data is reviewed on a quarterly basis for all caseloads (18). The case management system provides real time data on the status of the Standards and Indicators and a variety of other reports.

The following goals and objectives listed below align with this section:

Goal 1: OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Performance Indicators annually.

Objective 1.1 Increase in the number of positive employment outcomes.

(RSA Performance Indicator 1.1) Indicator: OFB will meet or exceed by one the number of employment outcomes (354) achieved for FY 2011.

Objective 1.2: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of cases with employment outcomes (RSA Performance Indicator 1.2). Indicator: Percentage of cases with employment outcomes at our above the RSA standard of 68. percent.

Objective 1.3: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome who exited the OFB program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.3) Indicator: Percentage of individuals achieving and employment outcome at or above the RSA Standard of 35.4 percent

Objective 1.4: OFB will continue to meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of individuals with significant disabilities of all individuals who exit the VR program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.4) Indicator: Percentage of individuals with significant disabilities exiting the VR program at or above the RSA standard of 89 percent.

Objective 1.5 OFB will continue to meet or exceed the RSA standard for the average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the OFB program in competitive, self, or KBE employment with earning levels equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to Kentucky’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the state who are employed. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.5) Indicator: The ratio to the average Kentucky hourly wage for all categories at or above the RSA standard at 59.54 percent. Objective 1.6: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for self-sufficiency resulting from employment based on the percentage of change between application and closure. (RSA Standard 1.6). Indicator: Percentage of change between application and closure at or above 31.47 percent.

Objective 1.7: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA Standard for service rates for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities Indicator: Minority Service Rate will meet or exceed the RSA Standard of 80.00 ratio.

Goal 2: To increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment

Objective 2.1: Increase the number of individuals with successful employment and/or independent living outcomes.

Goal 6: Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

Objective 6.1: Develop new collaborative relationships with employers, community organizations & government agencies to promote employment opportunities.

 

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

As detailed  in  ATTACHMENT 4.8 (b)(1):  Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities:Cooperation with Agencies That Are Not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities the Office for the Blind is involved in several organizations and identifies resources available for consumers.

Kentucky’s transformational objectives include 25 initiatives designed to form a user friendly, customer-centric system that brings alignment to education, economic development and workforce activities.  The WorkSmart Kentucky Plan lays out the foundation to improve operational collaboration at both the state and local levels.

Governor Steve Beshear envisions a workforce system in the Commonwealth of Kentucky that breaks down the silos that have dominated the landscape of workforce development for many years. The system will fully integrate state and local resources to create a seamless system to serve the employer community, as well as the individuals who will use the system.

 The goals of the plan are as follows:

 Align the Commonwealth’s workforce development system with Kentucky’s education objectives

Align the Commonwealth’s workforce development system with economic development strategies

Simplify the workforce development service delivery system

Improve service to achieve a customer-centered delivery system

In the summer of 2009, the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board began a process to develop a strategic plan to transform Kentucky’s workforce development system to meet the challenges of a changing global economy and address the most immediate concerns of the current financial crisis.   Kentucky’s transformational objectives include 25 initiatives designed to form a user friendly, customer-centric system that brings alignment to education, economic development and workforce activities.  The WorkSmart Kentucky Plan lays out the foundation to improve operational collaboration at both the state and local levels.    The action steps included in this plan are organized as follows:

System Transformation – These tactics are common to several of the committees, thus are designed to help achieve multiple goals with the same action item. These actions represent some of the best opportunities to impact the system as a whole.

Education Alignment – Tied to the goal of aligning the state’s workforce and education systems, these tactics are focused on improving training education attainment.

Economic Development Alignment – Action steps designed to leverage state and local economic development and workforce resources are the focus.

System Simplification – Opportunities to create a simpler, more useable system are identified.

Customer Service – Steps to assure the system meets the needs of both employer and job seeker/employee customer bases are presented.

 Over the past three years the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board has seen unprecedented successful implementation of 21 of 25 strategic initiatives, due in large part to the commitment of project champions, managers, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, local workforce investment boards, and partner organizations, agencies and cabinets.  The Office for the Blind has been committed to this process and is an active partner in the implementation of the initiatives.

In August of 2012, the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board voted to update the WORKSmartKentucky Strategic Plan earlier than originally anticipated due to the fact that a large number of strategic initiatives had been or were being implemented. The board’s decision was based on the fact that changes were occurring at every level of the public workforce development system at a rapid pace and an update would provide an opportunity to check on progress and realign strategies with changing economic and social forces.

The updated plan is designed to be used in conjunction with the original WORKSmart Kentucky strategic plan.   The major initiatives and next steps of the plan are as follows:

Entrepreneurship (increased opportunities in a culture of innovation)

Earn and Learn Opportunities (registered apprenticeships)          

Accelerated GED (removes the barrier of time investment)

Economic Development Academy (training of multi-discipline professionals across the state)

TECH High-Phase II (change in the vulture of technical education to one of collaboration and aspiration to lead and become a sought after service)

The following is a list of the some of the initiatives that contain modifications and enhancements that were in the WorkSmart Plan of 2010:

Sector Strategies

Kentucky Work Ready Communities

Business Services Redesign

Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky

Career Center Customer Flow

 The Office for the Blind is actively involved on committees and workgroups for the following initiatives.

Branding and Identity: This is an initiative to infuse a cultural shift in the delivery of services offered to our employer and job seeking customers, as well as instill credibility within the economic development community. Our priority is to promote a consistent message that will infuse continuity in the delivery of all services offered within the Commonwealth’s workforce system. In addition, the goals for the system branding are to create a sense of value and promote a heightened level of professionalism and customer service.  

One-Stop Certification Process: This initiative is designed to build continuity and consistency in the delivery of services in the one-stop career centers. Partnerships, common forms, and a truly integrated approach to serving.

Business Services Redesign: This effort will create a proactive, solutions-based approach to the services offered to the business community. This initiative will promote a coordinated effort toward service delivery in a strategic manner. The objective is to maximize business services resources by aligning them with economic development goals around business development.   Team-Based Case Management:  One of the cornerstone elements that local workforce investment area directors agree should be part of the branding architecture for Kentucky’s workforce system is a consistent approach to case management. To achieve this level of service and unify the approach across the system, case managers will be required to attend training and professional development on a continuing basis.

Partner for Success: This initiative brings together management and front-linestaff from within and throughout the workforce development system. This strategy brings a holistic approach to services through an integrated method toward trainings, networking opportunities and nurturing an awareness of the array of services that partner agencies offer. This initiative also identifies gaps in service and duplications of system offerings.

Workforce Academy: This “train the trainer” approach to workforce activities will promote a consistent training atmosphere that will increase knowledge throughout the workforce system and across partner agencies. Online trainings and a certification process will instill value in the work that is done to serve employers and job seeking customers. One of the key topic areas that will further our interest of integration is cross-functional supervision of our systems multiple agencies.

OFB is committed to improving system linkages with the Department for Workforce Investment agencies the Office of Employment and Training, Office of Career and Technical Education and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and other partner organizations.   Collaboration allows for effective coordination of services and referrals and increased education and awareness regarding individuals with disabilities.  Increased program visibility occurs with representation and coverage by Counselors in local One-Stop Career Centers on an itinerate basis as well as OFB being located full time in four Career Centers across the state.

 The following goals and strategies  for the FFY 2014 State Plan listed below align with this section:

Goal 6:  Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment

Objective 6.1:Develop new collaborative relationships with employers, community organizations & government agencies to promote employment opportunities.

 

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.

Based on the identified needs through the FFY 2012 comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, the 107 monitoring report, the Agency’s performance on the Federal Standards and Indicators, real time data through the case management system, strategic planning and other sources of information the State Rehabilitation Council and the Kentucky Office for the Blind have established the following Goals and Priorities and Strategies for FFY 2013- 2015. Every year there will be a formal review of the Goals and Priorities and Strategies to determine the need for any revisions assuring their revelance for the agency. These goals, priorities and strategies align with the required areas above.

Priorities

Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities.

Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

Goals and Strategies

Goal 1: OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Indicators annually. Objective 1.1 Increase in the number of positive employment outcomes. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.1) Strategies: 1. Vocational Rehabilitation Services staff will develop relationships with employers and their professional organizations in order to educate them about hiring individuals who are blind and visually impaired. 2. Recruit and retain quality rehabilitation services staff assuring the provision of quality services that will result in positive employment outcomes for consumers. 3. Provide training for all new and existing staff that will increase their skills and abilities in providing quality services and supports that move consumers into successful employment.< Indicator: OFB will meet or exceed by one the number of employment outcomes annually.

Objective 1.2: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of cases with employment outcomes (RSA Performance Indicator 1.2). Strategies 1. OFB VR Counselors will provide benefit planning and referral information to consumers 2. OFB will utilize its’ case review process “Group Review to Improve Professional Skills (GRIPS)”. The GRIPS will provide an opportunity for advanced skill development and improved quality assurance through group review of case files to strengthen its quality assurance processes in order to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of services. 3. Vocational Rehabilitation Services staff will work with the business services teams in the Kentucky Career Centers in making linkages, avoiding duplication in making contacts with employers, and maximizing employment opportunities for consumers. Indicator: Percentage of cases with employment outcomes at our above the RSA standard of 68.9 percent.

Objective 1.3: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome who exited the OFB program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.3)< Strategies: 1. Ensure proper coding of consumers employment wages through case reviews. 2. Increase collaboration and partnerships with other agencies in order to maximize opportunities and resources for consumers. 3. Increase follow up and on site contacts and/or meetings between VR field staff and employers in order to discuss issues, concerns, provide technical assistance, training, and to ensure job retention and upward movement for consumers. Indicator: Percentage of individuals achieving and employment outcome at or above the RSA Standard of 35.4 percent

Objective 1.4: OFB will continue to meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of individuals with significant disabilities of all individuals who exit the VR program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.4) Strategies: 1. Continued development of relationships with community rehabilitation providers in order to assist individuals that are underserved with the most significant disabilities through supported employment. 2. Review unsuccessful closures across the life of the case identifying trends, issues needing addressed and areas of improvement to in order to increase the number of individual with significant disabilities entering employment. 3. Develop and maintain close working relationships with state and local partners (e.g. ILC’s, Medicaid Waiver, CRP’s, etc.) to maximize resources and develop appropriate support systems.

Indicator: Percentage of individuals with significant disabilities exiting the VR program at or above the RSA standard of 89 percent.

Objective 1.5 OFB will continue to meet or exceed the RSA standard for the average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the OFB program in competitive, self, or KBE employment with earning levels equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to Kentucky’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the state who are employed. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.5) Strategies: Increase employer relationships so that there will be opportunities for upward movement and higher salaries for consumers. 2. Work collaboratively with the Kentucky Business Enterprises program to increase the number of licensed blind vendors. 3. Implement Quality Assurance procedures to assure proper coding of consumers’ employment wages in the case management system. Indicator: The ratio to the average Kentucky hourly wage for all categories at or above the RSA standard at 59.54 percent.

Objective 1.6: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for self-sufficiency resulting from employment based on the percentage of change between application and closure. (RSA Standard 1.6). Strategies: 1. OFB will place a greater emphasis on jobs with higher wages through job clubs and career exploration. 2. Vocational counseling and guidance will have a focus on self-sufficiency. 3. Determine the need for further services and make appropriate referral to other state and federal programs to assure the needs of consumers are met. 4. Referral to benefits planning services and supports necessary for consumers to obtain and utilize those public benefits and work incentives needed to achieve their desired employment outcomes Indicator: Percentage of change between application and closure at or above 31.47 percent.

Objective 1.7: OFB will meet or exceed the RSA Standard for service rates for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities. Strategies: 1. OFB will continue its recruitment efforts among minority students, including students with disabilities through the provision of internships with Kentucky State and the University of Kentucky. 2. OFB will continue to explore innovative approaches to increase and expand program services to Kentucky’s minority populations, including Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, and African American persons. 3. Collaborate with community leader contacts through religious and civic organizations and non-profit organizations that are close to the pulse of the minority community. Indicator: Minority Service Rate will meet or exceed the RSA Standard of 80.00 ratio.

Goal 2: To increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment.

Objective 2.1: Increase the number of individuals with successful employment and/or independent living outcomes. Strategies: 1. Cultivate relationships with area employers (includes the Employment Initiative) Indicator: Employment Initiative Reports, Performance S & I 2. Provide quality training statewide that is job specific and targeted to address any deficiencies identified in quality assurance reviews, federal performance indicators results or training needs assessments. Indicator: and scope of trainings 3. Benefits planning occurs that supports individuals to set goals for increasing self-sufficiency Indicator: served identified through CMS 4. Identify new and strengthen current relationships with potential referral sources of persons needing independent living services, especially n geographic areas or among populations identified as underserved. Indicator: served IL/OIB programs

Goal 3: Use resources effectively and efficiently in order to maximize funds in serving individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired in the Commonwealth.

Objective 3.1: Diminish internal administrative costs in an effort to maximize consumer service funds. Strategies: 1. Reduce administrative overhead costs while preserving quality service delivery Indicator: Percent of administrative cost reductions from prior year

Objective 3.2: Assure an efficient and effective service delivery system within an available budget.

Strategies: 1. Office leadership will analyze counselor caseloads and staff allocations and reallocate positions Indicator: Analysis of caseloads and position reallocation 2. Conduct cases reviews and provide technical assistance to improve efficiency and effectiveness in order to maximize services and employment outcomes within the available budget. Indicator: Percent reduction of errors

Objective 3.3: Improve the efficient and effective processing and payment of authorizations and invoices for services so that the system will provide the support needed for the field staff. Strategies: 1. Office leadership will continue to work to improve the management information systems by identifying and correcting coding issues. Indicator: number of trainings 2. Identify high service costs areas and evaluate the need to implement policy changes Indicator: Analysis of expenditures completed annually

Objective 3.4: Maximize federal match dollars for the Vocational Rehabilitation program. Strategies: 1. Research and explore all available options and opportunities. Indicator: Reporting of Federal money drawn down

Goal 4: KBE will provide full-time employment and career opportunities for Kentuckians who are legally blind, while providing quality vending and food services for government and business.

Objective 4.1: Maximize training opportunities for vendors and KBE staff Strategies: 1. Offer and conduct annual vendor training for potential licensees Indicator: of trainings 2. Offer and conduct annual upward mobility training for current vendors Indicator: number of trainings 3. Offer and conduct training for KBE staff Indicator: number of trainings

Objective 4.2: Provide New Vending Opportunities Strategies: 1. Communicate with federal and state agencies to acquire new locations Indicator: number of new locations 2. Work with the State Blind Vendor committee to seek out possible opportunities Indicator: quarterly meetings 3. Survey at least one potential location each month Indicator: new locations secured

Objective 4.3: Improve existing vending locations Strategies: 1. Actively seek potential satellite locations Indicator: of potential satellite locations identified 2. Offer training and services to improve business practices Indicator: number of trainings occurring

Goal 5: To develop, design and implement a professional development leadership program for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning.

Objective 5.1: Provide critical leadership skills training to increase competency of executive leadership maximizing the effective management of the VR program. Strategies: 1. Develop and deliver training on management (processes) and leadership (behaviors) skills both of which are essential to the agency. Indicator: number of trainings completed 2. Develop and deliver training on building effective teams, managing unsatisfactory performance and progressive discipline, consistency and fairness, productivity, effective hiring practices, personnel regulations, and employee performance reviews. Indicator: number of trainings completed

Objective 5.2: Develop and implement a leadership preparation program for staff identified as potential future leadership. Strategies: 1. Develop the framework for curriculum development through an assessment and evaluation of needs. Indicator: Assessment of needs completed 2. Develop training that will increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of identified staff preparing them or advancement or promotion into more challenging roles. Indicator: Full implementation of leadership development program

Objective 5.3: Recruit, employ, retain and train the most qualified and highly skilled rehabilitation staff. Strategies: 1. Maximize training funds to support staff in professional training and development activities. Indicator: 100% draw down of training funds annually 2. Host a two-day AT Expo and Conference event designed to increase knowledge and promote skills acquisition by providing current information and training on assistive technology. Indicator: of staff participating in AT Expo 3. Development and implementation of in house online learning modules. Indicator: Online modules development and implementation Goal 6: Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

Objective 6.1: Develop new collaborative relationships with employers, community organizations & government agencies to promote employment opportunities. Strategies: 1. Collaborate with key partners (SRC, CRP’s and Workforce Development Partners) to enhance connections with the employer community. Indicator: Performance of S & I 2. Collaborate with the Career Center Business Services Team to expand relationships, avoid duplication of contacts with employers, and maximize employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Indicator: Level of involvement in Business Services Team 3. Expand relationships with the State and Local Workforce Investment Boards and Workforce Development Partner agencies in order to accomplish the initiatives described under the KWIB strategic plan Indicator: of committees and initiatives staff attend

Objective 6.2: Develop a marketing approach and plan to guide OFB’s partnership efforts with eye physicians. Strategies: 1. Identify through WEBI existing eye physicians that serve as a regular referral source to each caseload. Indicator: WEBI report 2. Identify caseloads that do not have a regular referral flow from an eye physician. Indicator: List of caseloads low on referrals from eye physicians 3. Develop and implement a marketing plan to address the identified gaps in referrals and caseloads. Indicator: Development and implementation of a plan addressing

Objective 6.3: Increase available resources & seek to leverage funding, staff resources, in-kind and programmatic support & other forms of assistance from partners Strategies: 1. OFB collaborates with other statewide partners increasing their capacity to serve individuals with disabilities, and refers eligible individuals who can benefit from the resources and services available at no cost. Indicator: of referrals to other sources, scope and type increases over the prior year (I & R) 2. Complete an assessment to identify existing resources and identify where gaps exists. Indicator: Assessment of needs and available resources 3. Develop electronic tools to assist staff, partners, and consumer’s access information about available services and benefits Indicator: Development and implementation of tools

Objective 6.4: Enhance working relationships with consumer advocacy organizations. Strategies: 1. Advocacy organizations will present at new employee orientation. Indicator: of presentations 2. Advocacy organizations members will present at the McDowell Center Classes. Indicator: presentations< 3. Quarterly meetings will be held with advocacy organization leadership Indicator: number of presentations

Objective 6.5: Increase effective communication with consumers & staff regarding mission, goals, priorities & program outcomes. Strategies: 1. Develop methods of effective communication to directly engage, inform and update partners, staff, consumers, stakeholders and other entities (newsletter, presentations, training, exhibits). Indicator: distribution of newsletter 2. Make formal and informal presentations, at functions and activities of other groups and organizations. Indicator: number of marketing events and of state/national conferences attended Innovation and Expansion Activities Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities will be used to increase and enhance employment opportunities for individuals who have the most significant disabilities and support of the Statewide Rehabilitation Council. The areas of focus for Innovation and Expansion Activities are as follows: > 1) Annual Support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council 2) Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities. 3) Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

Annual Support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council The Office for the Blind will continue to provide annual support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council through administrative support and direct expenses necessary to operate the State Rehabilitation Council. There is a projected budget of 47,800 for FFY 2013. Fiscal tracking mechanisms are in place in order to capture annual support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council. In FFY 2013 the Office will spend Innovation and Expansion funding in the support of the SRC for reimbursement of expenses and personnel costs for the agency designated liaison for the SRC. This includes:

SRC Annual Report Publication, the SRC Consumer Satisfaction Survey of all closed cases contracted through the University of Kentucky. Reimbursement of expenses in accordance with Section 105 (g) of the Act.

OFB provides basic support dollars to the Statewide Independent Living Council. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office for the Blind share costs for a part time coordinator position for Statewide Independent Living Council. Funds for the split position come from the Independent Living Part B funds.

Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities.

Strategy 1: Develop a work plan for the recruitment and training of CRP’s Measure: Development of a work plan and trainings held Indicator: Implementation of training plan

Strategy 2: VR Counseling Staff will collaborate with Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP’s) to maximize resources and ensure quality services. Measure: CRP Expenditures and of referrals Indicator: Increase in CRP expenditures from the prior year Increase the of consumers referred from the prior year

Strategy 3: Leadership will continue to participate in statewide training meetings with CRP Directors and their staff to identify and resolve issues and share best practices to improve services for individuals who are blind and visually impaired including the most significant disabilities. Measure: of Supported Employment PEO’s Indicator: Increase in the of consumers placed from the prior year.

Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population Strategy 1: The Office for the Blind State Transition Coordinator will collaborate with special education and other public and private, non-profit partners to enhance VR transition Services. Measure: number of individuals participating in the Community Based Work Transition Program. of Transition presentationsEquitable access to and participation of Individuals with Disabilities State Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Service Program

OFB will take the necessary steps to ensure that there is equity of access and participation programs regardless of gender, race, national origin, color, disability or age. OFB has addressed barriers that may occur for equitable access through Goal 1 Objective 2 and through the Innovation and Expansion activities that are set as priorities.

 

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 9:43AM by Cora McNabb

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

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

 ATTACHMENT 4.11(e) (2): Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use Of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities

The goals and priorities for the Kentucky Office for the Blind for the FFY 2013 State Plan for the time period of 2013 - 2015 were developed in collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council and input from consumers and other stakeholders.

They are based on the comprehensive statewide assessment conducted in FFY 2012, the Agency’s performance on the federal Standards and Indicators, the 107 monitoring report, real time data from the case management system, the Strategic Planning process and other sources of information. 

They are as follows: 

OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Indicators annually.

To increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment.

Use resources effectively and efficiently in order to maximize funds in serving individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired in the Commonwealth.

KBE will provide full-time employment and career opportunities for Kentuckians who are legally blind, while providing quality vending and food services for government and business.

To develop, design and implement a professional development leadership program for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning.

Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

This attachment contains the reporting of Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities for FFY 2013 calendar year. These goals were established from the 2012 Statewide Needs Assessment for the reporting time period of FFY 2013 through FFY 2016 the Agency’s performance on the federal Standards and Indicators, the 107 monitoring report, real time data from the case management system, the Strategic Planning process and other sources of information.  This is the first year for reporting on these goals and strategies. 

Goal 1:  OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Indicators annually.  (see the reporting section for this goal in this attachment)

Goal 2: To increase opportunities for independent living and improve the quality of vocational rehabilitation services for Kentuckians with visual disabilities in order for them to prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain competitive employment.

Objective 2.1: Increase the number of individuals with successful employment and/or independent living outcomes.  Strategies: Cultivate relationships with area employers (includes the Employment Initiative)  Indicator:  Employment Initiative Reports, Performance S & I 2012-57 new employer contacts 2013-179 new employer contacts *The expectation is still that each counselor would make and keep 2 appointments per month, which would come to 432 appointments per year.

2. Provide quality training statewide that is job specific and targeted to address any deficiencies identified in quality assurance reviews, federal performance indicators results or training needs assessments. Indicator:  and scope of trainings March 2013 VR Counselor and field staff training

3.Benefits planning occurs that supports individuals to set goals for increasing self-sufficiency Indicator:  served identified through CMS 2012 – 0 2013-5

4. Identify new and strengthen current relationships with potential referral sources of persons needing independent living services, especially in geographic areas or among populations identified as underserved. Indicator:  served IL/OIB programs 2012- 898 individuals received services 2013-780 individuals received servicies 

Goal Two Outcomes Reporting: There was a 13 percent decrease in the number served through the IL/OIB program.  As reported in the CSPD attachment the IL/OIB program was reduced from ten to eight.    Existing staff have absorbed the service needs of those counties.  As a result there were reduced numbers for this program.   There is a full reporting of the Performance Indicator 1.1:  The number of employment outcomes under Goal 1.  A two (2) day training was held March 26 and 27 in 2013.  There was 37 field staff as well as center based staff in attendance.   The training covered assessment, eligibility determination and order of selection as well as transition and case documentation.  In June of 2013 the staff (VR Counselor) that held WIPA CWIC certification left their position with the agency.   OFB is committed to this area and identified additional staff to participate in the WIPA CWIC training and through the VCU Work Incentive Planning and Assistance National Training Center.   This individual is working toward certification.  Staff will receive training in FY 2104 on Benefits Planning and an emphasis will be placed on making sure staff take advantage of this service for consumers. 

Goal 3:  Use resources effectively and efficiently in order to maximize funds in serving individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired in the Commonwealth. Objective 3.1: Diminish internal administrative costs in an effort to maximize consumer service funds. Strategies:  Reduce administrative overhead costs while preserving quality service delivery Indicator:  Percent of administrative cost reductions from prior year 16 percent reduction from 2012 -2013

Objective 3.2: Assure an efficient and effective service delivery system within an available budget Office leadership will analyze counselor caseloads and staff allocations  and reallocate positions Indicator:  Analysis of caseloads and position reallocation Business Enterprises, VR field assistants and IL/OIB positions were not filled in  2013 Conduct cases reviews and provide technical assistance to improve  efficiency and effectiveness in order to maximize services and  employment outcomes within the available budget. Indicator:  percent reduction of errors As a result of case reviews training on supported employment and CRP’s has    Occurred (i.e. identification extended services, referral for SE services, SE overview).  Primary verification process for authorizations was implemented in FY 2013.

Objective 3.3: Improve the efficient and effective processing and payment of authorizations and invoices for services so that the system will provide the support needed for the field staff. Strategies: 1. Office leadership will continue to work to improve the management  information systems by identifying and correcting coding issues. Indicator: number of trainings A two (2) day training was held March 26 and 27 in 2013.  2.     Identify high service costs areas and evaluate the need to implement  policy changes Indicator:  Analysis of expenditures completed annually In 2012 there was a policy change that occurred for the areas of Education and Cataract Surgery.

Objective 3.4: Maximize federal match dollars for the Vocational Rehabilitation program. Strategies: 1.   Research and explore all available options and opportunities. Indicator:  Reporting of Federal money drawn

Goal 3 Outcomes Reporting: In the CSPD attachment of this plan a full reporting of the analysis of position vacancies, filling of positions and reallocation is reported.  Only critical staff vacancies were filled in FFY 2013.   OFB uses a Group Review to Improve Professional Skills

(G.R.I.P.S), Case reviews occur seven times during the fiscal year conducted by the two regional managers and annually a peer review is conducted with the VR counseling staff.  Through this process in 2013 there were several issues identified in relation to supported employment.   Currently under the primary verification process about 10 percent of cases sent for payment are chosen randomly.  Staff must provide supporting documentation for the payment process (i.e. bills, reports, invoices) for selected cases Over the past three years, Office for the Blind has made every effort in to reduce expenses and this has created some savings and made an impact on the bottom line of the budget.  Every effort was made to cut administrative costs (i.e. phone administration, office supplies, shredding, pest control, lawn maintenance) instead of service costs associated with consumers.     As a result there has been progress and based on the agencies current spending and revenue, OFB has begun to make some positive gains.    Implementation took place on June 1, 2012 for the Tuition Policy and Cataract Surgery.  As reported in the Order of Selection attachment OFB was not able to fully match its federal dollars.

Goal 4:  KBE will provide full-time employment and career opportunities for Kentuckians who are legally blind, while providing quality vending and food services for government and business.

Objective 4.1: Maximize training opportunities for vendors and KBE staff Strategies: Offer and conduct annual vendor training for potential licensees Indicator:  of trainings 2012- 4 2013-0

2. Offer and conduct annual upward mobility training for current vendors Indicator:  number of trainings 2012 -1 2013-1

3.  Offer and conduct training for KBE staff Indicator:  number of trainings 2012- 8 staff 2013-6 staff

Objective 4.2: Provide New Vending Opportunities Strategies: Communicate with federal and state agencies to acquire new locations Indicator:  of new locations identified and evaluated 2012-15 locations surveyed and 6 accepted 2013-14 locations surveyed and 7 accepted   2. Work with the State Blind Vendor committee to seek out possible opportunities Indicator: of quarterly meetings 2012-4/4 2013-4/4

3. Survey at least one potential location each month Indicator:    new locations secured 2012-6 2013-7

Objective 4.3: Improve existing vending locations             Strategies: 1. Actively seek potential satellite locations Indicator:  of potential satellite locations identified 2012-6 identified and opened 2013-7 identified and opened

2. Offer training and services to improve business practices Indicator:  of trainings occurring 2012-9 vendors trained 2013-10 vendors trained   Goal Four Outcomes Reporting:  Although the Business Enterprises Program has experienced staff turnover and cuts due to budget constraints the outcomes for the program remained stable.  The number of staff was reduced from eleven to six a reduction of 55% in from FFY 2012 until FFY 2013. A vendor training was not held in 2013.  There were existing licensed vendors that were waiting for a vending location to secure employment.  Additional training to license new vendors could not be justified until these vendors were placed.   Once a vendor is licensed it raises their expectations of obtaining a site.  Delaying training until existing vendors are placed prevents new vendors from experiencing a longer wait from licensure to placement.  A vendor training was held in 2014.  

Goal 5: To develop, design and implement a professional development leadership program for the agency rehabilitation staff for effective succession planning.

Objective 5.1:  Provide critical leadership skills training to increase competency of executive leadership maximizing the effective management of the VR program Strategies 1.Develop and deliver training on management (processes) and leadership (behaviors) skills both of which are essential to the agency. Indicator: of trainings completed Supervisory Series through Kentucky Association of Rehabilitation Leadership occurred.  (3 sessions lasting two – three days). 2.Develop and deliver training on building effective teams, managing unsatisfactory performance and progressive discipline, consistency and fairness, productivity, effective hiring practices,  personnel regulations, and employee performance reviews. Indicator:  of trainings completed Supervisory Series through Kentucky Association of Rehabilitation Leadership occurred.  (3 sessions lasting two – three days).

Objective 5.2:  Develop and implement a leadership preparation program for staff identified as potential future leadership. Strategies 1.Develop the framework for curriculum development through an assessment and evaluation of needs. Indicator:  Assessment of needs completed 2.  Develop training that will increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of  identified staff preparing them or advancement or promotion into more  challenging roles. Indicator:  Full implementation of leadership development program

Objective 5.3: Recruit, employ, retain and train the most qualified and highly skilled rehabilitation staff. Strategies: 1. Maximize training funds to support staff in professional training and Development activities. Indicator:  100% draw down of training funds annuallyTraining grant funds were drawn down in full for 2011, 2012; however they were not fully expended in 2013. 2. Host a two-day AT Expo and Conference event designed to increase  knowledge and promote skills acquisition by providing current information and training on assistive technology.     Indicator:  of staff participating in AT Expo 93 staff in attendance 3.   Development and implementation of in house online learning modules. Indicator:  Online modules development and Implementation Moderate Progress

Goal Five Outcomes Reporting: In 2013, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office for the Blind collaboratively worked with TACE in pooling resources and meeting an urgent need for both the General and Blind Agencies. Subcontractors of TACE Sally Siewert and Anita Hope submitted a proposal for the supervisory series.  The Kentucky Rehabilitation Association sponsored the training.   The Art and Science of Supervision will be held the week of June 24 and Session 2 Performance Management – Process for Achieving Goals was held the week of August 12 with the final session on Behavioral Interviewing, Change and Conflict Resolution was held in November.  Ten supervisory level staff attended this training.  The Academy of Leadership Exploration and Preparedness Program (ALEAP)  is a jointly developed program between Office for the Blind and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.  ALEAP I was launched in January of 2013.     The program is designed to provide staff with opportunities to learn about and develop foundational skills.  A total of eleven courses are required requiring 50 -60 hours of instruction through the State Personnel Governmental Services Center.   Ten staff completed the application process and were accepted into ALEAP I.  Five of the ten individuals or 50% have completed the required coursework.   ALEAP II will be developed during the 2014 and 2015 FFY years.      There is a complete reporting of professional training and development activities to in the CSPD attachment for the FFY 2013.  There were several obstacles or barriers to progress that had hindered OFB’s performance in drawing down grant funds for FFY 2013.  It was  difficult to adhere to the set timeframes of the grant.  Primarily, the Grant Project Director was on intermittent sick leave during this grant cycle year as a result of a serious illness and this did impact the progress and performance in carrying out the grant goals. There were 248 individuals attending the AT conference (staff, consumers, vendors, school VI teachers, state rehabilitation council members, general agency staff, and university staff).  Of those 248 attendees 93 were Office for the Blind Staff. Under the Quality In-Service Training Grant the target goal for this objective is the development and implementation of an online training program with 50 participants.  A memorandum of understanding is in place covering 50 Angel seats, eLearning development, training, server streaming and instructional design support. In 2013 there were five courses are in the design stage (Career Development, Documentation, Confidentiality and several courses under New Employee Orientation). The eLearning program modules were not ready for implementation in 2013. OFB renewed its site licenses from the American Foundation for the Blind allowing all staff statewide to access eLearning statewide.  Through this eLearning contract staff has accessible and authoritative webinars, courses, and continuing education credits from the American Foundation for the Blind, the longtime leader in vision loss professional development.  CRC and ACVREP ceu’s are awarded per courses under each module. 

Goal 6:  Enhance and build Office for the Blind internal and external collaborative relationships and Partnerships to advance opportunities for individuals to progress toward independence and employment.

Objective 6.1:  Develop new collaborative relationships with employers, community organizations & government agencies to promote employment opportunities. Strategies: Collaborate with key partners (SRC, CRP’s and Workforce Development Partners) to enhance connections with the employer community. Indicator:  Performance of S & I 2012- 100% S & I met 2012-89% S & I met   2.Collaborate with the Career Center Business Services Team to expandrelationships, avoid duplication of contacts with employers, and maximize employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Indicator:  Level of involvement in Business Services Team See Outcomes Narrative Below 3.Expand relationships with the State and Local Workforce Investment Boards and Workforce Development Partner agencies in order to accomplish the initiatives described under the KWIB strategic plan Indicator: of committees and initiatives staff attend Initiatives: Workforce Academy, Partner for Success, Core Certification, Case Management and the Business Services Teams.

Objective 6.2: Develop a marketing approach and plan to guide OFB’s partnership efforts with eye physicians. Strategies: 1. Identify through WEBI existing eye physicians that serve as a regular referral source to each caseload. Indicator:  WEBI report  No progress in 2013 2. Identify caseloads that do not have a regular referral flow from an eye physician. Indicator: List of caseloads low on referrals from eye physicians No progress in 2013 3. Develop and implement a marketing plan to address the identified gaps in referrals and caseloads. Indicator:  Development and implementation of a plan addressing gaps No progress in 2013

Objective 6.3: Increase available resources & seek to leverage funding, staff resources, in-kind and programmatic support & other forms of assistance from partners Strategies: 1. OFB collaborates with other statewide partners increasing their capacity to serve individuals with disabilities, and refers eligible individuals who can benefit from the resources and services available at no cost. Indicator:  of referrals to other sources, scope and type increases over the prior year (I & R) 86 individuals placed on the waiting list received referrals to other sources. 2. Complete an assessment to identify existing resources and identify where gaps exists. Indicator:  Assessment of needs and available resources No progress in FFY 2013

3. Develop electronic tools to assist staff, partners, and consumer’s access information about available services and benefits Indicator:  Development and implementation of tools No progress in FFY 2013

Objective 6.4: Enhance working relationships with consumer advocacy organizations. Strategies: 1. Advocacy organizations will present at new employee orientation. Indicator:  of presentations 2012 -1/1 2013- 0/0

2. Advocacy organizations members will present at the McDowell Center Classes. Indicator:  number of presentations 2012- 4/4 quarterly presentations 2013- 4/4 quarterly presentations

3.  Quarterly meetings will be held with advocacy organization leadership Indicator: number of  meetings 2012- 4/4 2013-4/4

Objective 6.5: Increase effective communication with consumers & staff regarding mission, goals, priorities & program outcomes. Strategies: 1. Develop methods of effective communication to directly engage, inform and update partners, staff, consumers, stakeholders and other entities (newsletter, presentations, training, exhibits). Indicator:  of newsletter 2012- 4/4 quarterly 2013- 0/4 2.   Make formal and informal presentations, at functions and activities of other groups and organizations.                Indicator:  of marketing events and of state/national conferences 2012 – 2/2 National Conventions attended and 2/2 State Conventions attended 2013 – 1/2 National Conventions attended and 2/2 State Conventions attended 2013- Established baseline for Marketing and Outreach Events

Goal Six Outcomes Reporting: The Kentucky Office for the Blind was selected to participate in the 2013-2014 Learning Collaborative on Vocational Rehabilitation Management through UMass Boston/Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI)/ Research and Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) on VR Program Management. Under the project, the goal was for OFB to build the partnership with the WIA partners as well as the employers and transform the Business Service Teams to fit the need of all customers, especially those who are blind and visually impaired.  Multiple meetings were held with OFB and partner agency staff from the pilot areas as well as with upper management from OFB, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Office for Employment and Training, and the Department of Workforce Investment.  There is a full reporting of OFB’s activities in ATTACHMENT 4.8 (b)(1):  Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities:  Cooperation with Agencies That Are Not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities on the KWIB initiatives and other partnering organizations.   OFB made a concentrated effort in strengthening its ongoing relationships with the advocacy organizations.  Quarterly meetings occurred with the advocacy organization presidents of the Kentucky chapters for the National Federation of the Blind, the American Council of the Blind and the Blue Grass Council of the Blind.  As well chapter representatives presented at staff trainings and the consumer classes at the rehabilitation center.  OFB staff attended state conventions and presentations were given on agency program services as well as fiscal updates.

 

Reporting of Supported Employment Program Goals

The Kentucky Office for the Blind set the following goals for the distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds.

Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities. Strategy 1: Develop a work plan for the recruitment and training of CRP’s Measure:  Development of a work plan and trainings held Target:  Implementation of training plan No progress in FFY 2013

Strategy 2: VR Counseling Staff will collaborate with Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP’s) to maximize resources and ensure quality services. Measure:  CRP Expenditures and of referrals Target:  Increase in CRP expenditures from the prior year 2012-52,040 2013-61,525 15 percent increase in expenditures

Increase the of consumers referred from the prior year 2013 baseline number for referrals - 34

Strategy 3:  Leadership will continue to participate in statewide training meetings with CRP Directors and their staff to identify and resolve issues and share best practices to improve services for individuals who are blind and visually impaired including the most significant disabilities. Measure:  of Supported Employment PEO’s Target:  Increase in the of consumers placed from the prior year. 2012-1 2013-4 75 percent increase

Outcomes Goal One Reporting: OFB made limited progress in this area for FFY 2013.   There was an increase in the number of positive employment outcomes of 75% over the prior year; however of note is the total number is at four.  There was also an increase in the amount of expenditures as reported above which correlates with the higher number of PEO’s.  There was no progress in the development of a work and training plan.  OFB is looking at the potential of establishment grants in order to support the establishment, development, or improvement of a public or other non-profit Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP).  This is an area of focus in the current conducting of the triennial statewide comprehensive needs assessment.  This would be for the purpose of providing services that promote competitive employment in integrated settings, particularly for individuals who are blind and visually impaired (MSD).  Based on current feedback CRP’s feel this is an area of weakness for them in serving this target population.

Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population Strategy 1: The Office for the Blind State Transition Coordinator will collaborate with special education and other public and private, non-profit partners to enhance VR transition Services. Measure:  Number of individuals participating in the Community Based Work Transition Program.  Number of Transition presentations Target:   Increase in the number of students participating in the Community Based work transition program.  Baseline 2013 – 1 student Increase in the number of presentations from the prior year.

Strategy 2:  Statewide Transition Coordinator will facilitate the development and establishment of collaborative partnerships with VR Counseling Staff and VI teachers statewide. Measure: of positive employment outcomes Target:   Increase in the number of successful rehabilitations for transition students from the prior year. 2012-43 percent 2013-39 percent Outcomes Goal Two Reporting: There was limited progress in FFY 2013 for this area.  This will be a focus area for FFY 2014 - 2015.   Year to date in 2014 there has been forward movement on these initiatives.  One positive thing that occurred was a statewide transition conference was held for students, staff and VI teachers.

 

 Reporting Requirements/Standards And Indicators

Number of Applicants Determined Eligible Receiving Services

During FY 2013, there were 1,582 active cases in the vocational rehabilitation program.  There were 336 individuals who had employment outcomes all of whom 100 percent were significantly disabled.  Of those individuals who achieved employment outcomes as a result of vocational rehabilitation services, 313 have incomes above minimum wage. 

1998 REHABILITATION ACT STANDARDS AND INDICATORS

OFB is committed to providing the highest quality services to persons with blindness or visual impairments and to the development of and adherence to a full system of accountability.  The office recognizes the following standards of excellence that include evaluation standards and performance indicators.  These Vocational Rehabilitation standards comply with all requirements of the Workforce Investment Act, The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 as well as the goals listed under the strategic plan for the U.S. Department of Education.

Pursuant to section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, the office will assess its performance on these standards and indicators and the state performance measures established under section 136 (b) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to the extent the measures are applicable to individuals with disabilities.  The Office for the Blind will report these results on an annual basis.

Goal 1:  OFB will exceed or meet the federal Standards and Indicators annually.

Objective 1.1 Increase in the number of positive employment outcomes. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.1) Strategies  1. Vocational Rehabilitation Services staff will develop relationships with employers and their professional organizations in order to educate them about hiring individuals who are blind and visually impaired. 2. Recruit and retain quality rehabilitation services staff assuring the provision of quality services that will result in positive employment outcomes for consumers. 3. Provide training for all new and existing staff that will increase their skills and abilities in providing quality services and supports that move consumers into successful employment.

Evaluation Standard One:Employment Outcomes Performance Indicator 1.1: The number of employment outcomes;RSA Standard: equal or exceed previous year This performance indicator was not

Goal One Outcomes Reporting  The number of employment outcomes for 2012 was 368.  The number of employment outcomes for FY 2013 was 336.  This is a decrease in 32 or 9 percent over the prior year. 

Given the decrease for 2013, the two year average is a negative number total at -18.  Overall the agency was still able to place a number of individuals into SGA that are receiving SSI or SSDI.  The numbers served for 2013 (1,086) stayed relative steady to that in 2012 (1,111) for Priority Category One. However, with the closing of Priority Category Two, there was a notable difference with 445 served in this category in 2012 compared to only 303 served in 2013.  This accounted for a 32 percent drop in the number served in this category.  For Priority Category Three there was a 38 percent drop in the number served from 50 (2012) to 31 (2013.  This obviously had an overall effect in the number of positive employment outcomes for FFY 2013. Another factor was the impact of policy change.  Implementation took place on June 1, 2012 for the Tuition Policy and Cataract Surgery policy changes were implemented on July 1, 2012.  The  cataract policy tightened with specific visual requirements allowing for an exception.  In 2012, 40 percent of the positive employment outcomes had received funding for cataract surgery and in 2013 only 33 percent.

Other factors identified that led to a lower number of positive employment outcomes relates to the number of applicants and referrals.  From 2011 through 2013 there was a 20% drop in the number of applicants and in the number of referrals.  The Assistant Director of Consumer Services is working with the two regional managers for the state in the development of a marketing and outreach plan for the VR Counselors.   In July counseling staff will receive training on the plan and timeframes for implementation to increase referrals across the state.  Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in April 2014 from a revised 7.9 percent in March 2014, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The preliminary April 2014 jobless rate was .6 percentage points below the 8.3 percent rate recorded for the state in April 2013. The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped to 6.3 percent in April 2014 from 6.7 percent in March 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In April 2014, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,064,835, a decline of 372 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was up by 3,508, while the number of unemployed decreased by 3,880. Again, although Kentucky has seen an upturn in unemployment rates, as in other states given the economic downturn competition in the job market remains high.  Individuals who are blind must complete with high numbers of individuals on the unemployment rolls seeking employment.  Open positions draw a large pool of highly qualified individuals with diverse skills and abilities.  This increases the competitiveness of the pool of candidates and narrows an individual’s opportunity for successful employment. 

The agency continues to address this area through:

Increased staff training Involvement in job fairs Training and educational opportunities for consumers that will increase their competitiveness in the job market Aligning resources with other state agencies Tapping into all the available resources for consumers Increased outreach to referral sources Objective 1.2:  OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of cases with employment outcomes (RSA Performance Indicator 1.2).

Strategies 1. OFB VR Counselors will provide benefit planning and referral information to consumers 2. OFB will utilize its’ case review process “Group Review to Improve Professional Skills (GRIPS)”.  The GRIPS will provide an opportunity for advanced skill development and improved quality assurance through group review of case files to strengthen its quality assurance processes in order to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of services. 3.  Vocational Rehabilitation Services staff will work with the business services teams in the Kentucky Career Centers in making linkages, avoiding duplication in making contacts with employers, and maximizing employment opportunities for consumers.

Performance Indicator 1.2: The percentage of cases with employment outcomes; RSA Standard:  68.9 percent

The percentage of cases with employment outcomes for FY 2013 of the total number of cases was 71.93 percent.   This performance indicator was met.

 Objective 1.3:  OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome who exited the OFB program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage.  (RSA Performance Indicator 1.3)

Strategies 1. Ensure proper coding of consumers employment wages through case reviews. 2. Increase collaboration and partnerships with other agencies in order to maximize opportunities and resources for consumers. 3. Increase follow up and on site contacts  and/or meetings between VR field staff and employers in order to discuss issues, concerns, provide technical assistance, training, and to ensure job retention and upward movement for consumers

Primary Indicator One (Performance Indicator 1.3):  Percentage of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome who exited the OFB program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. RSA Standard: 35.4 percentage. For FY 2013 this indicator was met with a percentage of 100 percentage.

Objective 1.4: OFB will continue to meet or exceed the RSA standard for the percentage of individuals with significant disabilities of all individuals who exit the VR program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.4) Strategies 1. Continued development of relationships with community rehabilitation providers in order to assist individuals that are underserved with the most significant disabilities through supported employment. 2. Review unsuccessful closures across the life of the case identifying trends, issues needing addressed and areas of improvement to in order to increase the number of individual with significant disabilities entering employment. 3. Develop and maintain close working relationships with state and local partners (e.g. ILC’s, Medicaid Waiver, CRP’s, etc.) to maximize resources and develop appropriate support systems. 

Primary Indicator Two (Performance Indicator 1.4): Percentage of individuals with significant disabilities as a percentage of all individuals who exit the VR program into competitive, self, or KBE employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage. RSA Standard: 89 percent

For FY 2013 this indicator was met with the percentage at 100 percent

Objective 1.5 OFB will continue to meet or exceed the RSA standard for the average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the OFB program in competitive, self, or KBE employment with earning levels equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to Kentucky’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the state who are employed. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.5)

Strategies" 1.   Increase employer relationships so that there will be opportunities for upward movement and higher salaries for consumers. 2.   Work collaboratively with the Kentucky Business Enterprises program to increase the number of licensed blind vendors. 3.   Implement Quality Assurance procedures to assure proper coding  of consumers’ employment wages in the case management system.

Primary Indicator Three (Performance Indicator 1.5): The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the OFB program in competitive, self, or KBE employment with earning levels equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to Kentucky’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the state who are employed. RSA Standard: .59

For FY 2013 this indicator was met with the ratio to the average Kentucky hourly wage for all categories at 66.48 percent

Objective 1.6:  OFB will meet or exceed the RSA standard for self-sufficiency resulting from employment based on the percentage of change between application and closure. (RSA Standard 1.6).

Strategies 1. OFB will place a greater emphasis on jobs with higher wages through job clubs and career exploration. 2. Vocational counseling and guidance will have a focus on self-sufficiency. 3. Determine the need for further services and make appropriate referral to other state and federal programs to assure the needs of consumers are met. 4.  Referral to benefits planning services and supports necessary for consumers to obtain and utilize those public benefits and work incentives needed to achieve their desired employment outcomes

Performance Indicator 1.6:  Self-sufficiency resulting from employment;RSA Standard:  30.4 mathematical difference For FY 2013 this indicator was met with the percentage change between application and closure at 35.81 percentage. 

Objective 1.7:   OFB will meet or exceed the RSA Standard for service rates for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities

Strategies 1. OFB will continue its recruitment efforts among minority students, including students with disabilities through the provision of internships with Kentucky State and the University of Kentucky. 2. OFB will continue to explore innovative approaches to increase and and program services to Kentucky’s minority populations, including Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, and African American persons.

3.    Collaborate with community leader contacts through religious and civic  organizations and non-profit organizations that are close to the pulse of the minority community. Evaluation Standard Two:  Minority Access

Performance Indicator 2.1:Service rates for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities for FY 2013 was 93.99 percent.  RSA Standard:  80.00 ratio

Outcomes Reporting: This performance indicator was met.   The agency has a plan in place for minority outreach. Individuals who are minorities have equal access to vocational rehabilitation services.  OFB is committed in its effort to build the capacity to effectively service individuals with most significant disabilities who are minorities.  OFB will provide vocational rehabilitation services to all individuals who have visual disabilities who are eligible for services regardless of gender, race, national origin, religion, color, disability or age.  The Agency assures the provision of services to American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing in the state to the same extent as it provides services to other significant populations or individuals residing in the state.

 

 INNOVATION AND EXPANSION ACTIVITIES

During FY 2013, the State Rehabilitation Council had a budget of 75,944. These dollars came from Title I funds. The projected budget for FY 2014 is 75,300 and for 2015 is 56,000.  OFB provides basic support dollars to the Statewide Independent Living Council.   The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office for the Blind share costs for a part time coordinator position for Statewide Independent Living Council.  Funds for the split position come from the Independent Living Part B funds.

For the FFY 2015 State Plan Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities will be used to increase and enhance employment opportunities for individuals who have the most significant disabilities and support of the Statewide Rehabilitation Council.  The areas of focus for Innovation and Expansion Activities are as follows:

Annual Support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council

Increase supported employment outcomes and other supports to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired with most significant disabilities

Develop and implement a statewide model for more effectively serving the transition population

Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities will be used to increase and enhance employment opportunities for individuals who have the most significant disabilities.  The Areas of focus for Innovation and Expansion Activities are as follows:

Annual Support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council

The Office for the Blind will continue to provide annual support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council through administrative support and direct expenses necessary to operate the State Rehabilitation Council.  Funding will be provided for payment for contractual services to complete the annual client satisfaction survey, reimbursement of expenses and personnel costs and all costs associated with the publishing of the SRC Annual Report.  These funding arrangements are consistent with 34 CFR 361.35. 

Progress Fiscal Tracking mechanisms were put in place in order to capture FFY 2013 annual support for the Statewide Rehabilitation Council.  IN FY 2013, the agency spent 75,944 in Innovation and Expansion funding in the support of the SRC for reimbursement of expenses and personnel costs for the agency designated liaison for the SRC.  This includes the SRC Annual Report Publication, the SRC Consumer Satisfaction Survey of all closed cased contracted through the University of Kentucky.  Reimbursement of expenses is in accordance with Section 105 (g) of the Act.

A copy of the 2012 Satisfaction Survey Executive Summary, as well as the Survey Highlights, were distributed to SRC members, via email, prior to the April 26, 2013 SRC meeting where Christina Espinosa, from the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute, delivered a presentation for the Council on the Survey results. Overall, the results of the study indicated that consumers expressed high degrees of satisfaction with their experiences. 85.3% of all participating consumers rated services they received through OFB as a 1 or 2, on a five point scale where 1 = “excellent” and 5 = “poor”. Generally, participants had positive regard for their counselors and other OFB staff.  Satisfaction with specific services (McDowell Center, assistive technology, orientation and mobility) was also high. In addition, for those with a case closed successfully, 91.5 percent indicated that their needs were met through the services received, by responding with a 1 or 2. 

The SRC Planning Committee gave input in 2013 on the OFB State Rehabilitation Council’s Annual Report. The theme for the Annual Report Challenges, Commitment and Change was approved by the full Council. The 2013 Annual Report contained facts that informed the public about the Office for the Blind and the Council, such as OFB 2013 program statistics, agency budget update, 2014 State Plan Goals and Priorities, the 2012 Satisfaction Survey results, consumer success stories, employer stories and contact information for the agency.  The Annual Report publication is available to the public on the OFB website at http://blind.ky.gov.

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2014 10:17AM by Cora McNabb

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

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

PRINCIPLES Supported Employment is paid competitive work that offers ongoing support services in integrated settings for individuals with the most significant disabilities. Supported employment is intended for individuals for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a most significant disability, and who need ongoing supports to maintain their employment. This includes transitional employment for individuals with the most severe disabilities due to mental illness. This employment outcome is obtained by providing intensive service and is maintained through the provision of extended service. The level of employment participation may be full-or part-time based on the interests and abilities of the individual. Individuals will be compensated at or above minimum wage, but not less than the customary or usual wage paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by individuals who are not disabled.

The Office for the Blind is committed to the principle that individuals with the most significant disabilities, including those who have not traditionally experienced competitive work, are capable of engaging in employment in integrated settings. Supported Employment services provide for a system of intensive, life-long work and community and natural supports, allowing individuals needing these services the tools to perform competitive work in an integrated setting. The Office for the Blind is committed to the principle that there is no disability too significant, which would impede an individual’s ability to work.

PROCEDURES The Office for the Blind established written procedures in the OFB Counselor Manual whereby all rehabilitation counselors may provide supported employment services to those individuals who have the most significant disabilities and who qualify for services under the definition of supported employment. These procedures contained in the Counselor Manual include competitive work, integrated work setting, on-going support services, transition services, transitional employment, eligibility requirements, funding, vendors, referral, individual plan for employment, outreach, application, assessment, job development, job placement, on the job skills training with job coaches or employment specialists, community supports, post-employment services and extended services for the duration of the individual’s current employment or future employment.

The Office for the Blind uses the same process as our sister agency Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) in establishing vendors and payment schedules. The Agency coordinates with OVR supported employment efforts, which include developing agreements with supported employment vendors. The Agency partners with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, consulting with vocational rehabilitation counselors and supported employment vendors concerning program issues, tracking supported employment caseloads, and advising necessary staff concerning training activities and program changes.

COLLABORATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES

The Office for the Blind participates with other state agencies, including the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, Interagency Council, the Kentucky Interagency Transition Council and the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute with the purpose to collaborate in the provision of supported employment services. The Agency collaborates with the Community Based Work Transition Program in identifying and providing financial support for those high school students who qualify for supported employment services and who are eligible for Office for the Blind services.

PROGRAM PROVIDERS OF SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT

There are 85 not for profit community programs statewide providing supported employment services. These services include personal futures planning, job development, job site training, job coaching and counseling.

QUALITY OF SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES Organizational systems, which help to assure the quality and effectiveness of supported employment, are in place. The Office for Vocational Rehabilitation has an established program, which provides technical assistance and training to service providers and monitors quality assurance. The Office for the Blind assists these same providers through staff training and consultation to ensure that the unique needs of individuals who are blind are met.

Supported Employment services are supplemented with unique services, which may be necessary for individuals who are blind. These services include rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology, orientation and mobility, Braille, daily living skills, communication skills, advocacy and independent living skills.

Consumer waiting lists in the Commonwealth are lengthy. This is due to the number of supported employment providers and the lack of adequate funding and the set criteria for accessing that funding for extended services. This is further complicated by the lack of knowledge of area providers regarding the blind and visually impaired. Counselors offer to partner with provider staff assisting them with job placement in order to address specific needs issues surrounding blindness that present a major challenge. The Office for the Blind follows the rates of payment process and agreements; however, efforts are made to work individually with all providers advocating for our consumer base.

TIME LIMITED SUPPORT SERVICES

Supported employment services provided by the agency are time limited. During the initial phase of SE, a comprehensive assessment is imperative. There is collaboration between Office for the Blind and provider staffs in the development of the IPE in order to further define services with the consumer. A fee schedule is set for reimbursement of these initial services. Job Placement and Retention payment points are outcomes based.

Ongoing support services can be provided for a time not to exceed 18 months unless special circumstances are noted in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and the vocational rehabilitation counselor, the consumer, and the supported employment provider are in agreement that further time is needed to reach the vocational goals of the consumer. The employment goal of the individual shall be consistent with these criteria: the maximum numbers of hours per week in employment possible in an integrated setting, based on the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual.

TIMING OF TRANSITION FROM SUPPORT SERVICES TO EXTENDED SERVICES

The time limited supports must be identified as to OFB involvement and the service provider must be in agreement that they will provide these supports or identify another agency or program in agreement to provide extended services of support to the individual for the duration of employment. On-going support services identified by the agency will be specified in an Individualized Plan for Employment. At a minimum, these extended services shall include twice monthly monitoring at the work site. If the IPE provides for off-site monitoring, it must, at a minimum consist of two face-to-face meetings with the Supported Employment consumer and at least one contact with the employer each month.

OFB will continue to provide short-term blindness specific skills, such as Orientation and Mobility in the case when there are substantial changes involving the consumer’s employment or status of their job. This option for supportive services alleviates some of the fears of providers in accepting referrals from OFB.

EXTENDED SERVICES Extended Services are ongoing support, follow-up services, and other appropriate services that are needed to support and maintain a consumer in supported employment after the consumer is no longer being funded and/or supported by the agency. In order to be approved to be a supported employment vendor for the agency, the supported employment agency must make extended services available using a funding source other than the agency. This will typically begin after the 18-month period in which the consumer has been receiving services funded by the agency and after the consumer has successfully transitioned into work. Examples of follow-up services include facilitation of natural supports on the work site and regular contact with the employer, the consumer, family members or advocates of the consumer, and/or other suitable informed advisors. This follow-up is intended to reinforce and stabilize successful employment. Systems of natural supports, including agreements with community service organizations and employers, may be initiated to provide extended supports for the duration of the employment of the individual. Office for the Blind staff is called upon to consult as needed.

TRANSITION FROM SCHOOL TO EMPLOYMENT

The Office for the Blind may also provide supported employment services for youth in transition from school to employment. These services are a coordinated set of activities for a student designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities. They must promote or facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the student’s IEP and IPE developed prior to graduation. OFB has a cooperative agreement with the Kentucky School for the Blind and its outreach program for a comprehensive assessment to occur the summer between the student’s junior and senior year. This is often conducted at the agency’s rehabilitation facility at the Charles W. McDowell Center. This includes all students encompassing those referred for supported employment as well as those entering the post secondary education system. The assessment provides the counselor information to assist with the development of the IPE and the identification of needed services. The Office participates with twenty other state agencies in the Kentucky Interagency Transition Council. The purpose of this organization is to provide a system of collaboration among agencies and schools in a shared responsibility for the education and employment of youth with disabilities. Through an Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) for each individual, the IPE is coordinated with the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and if appropriate, the Individualized Developmental Disabilities Plan (IDDP).

OFB staff serves in a consultative and technical assistance role to educational agencies in transition planning for students at the seventh and eighth grade level. The agency provides information and referrals to needed services to schools for all age levels as a proactive preventive measure in offsetting challenges or issues for this population before they occur.

This screen was last updated on Jul 28 2014 4:19PM by Cora McNabb