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
Louisiana Rehabilitation Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2015 (submitted FY 2014)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below) Yes

Executive Director of Louisiana Workforce Commission

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

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

Director of Louisiana Rehabilitation Services

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryMark S. Martin

Title of SignatoryDirector of Louisiana Rehabilitation Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/30/2014

Assurances Certified By

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is 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
Louisiana Rehabilitation Services

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

The Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC) continued to work with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) to ensure the services provided by LRS meet the needs of Louisiana’s citizens with disabilities. During the period from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013, the Council held four meetings incorporating public forums and consumer/counselor interviews, etc.

The following are activities/contributions made by the LRC:

• Council members received updated budget reports from LRS Director at each regularly scheduled LRC meeting. Council members were also able to ask questions and provide direct input to LRS Director and other State Office staff.

• The LRC continued to provide a forum for consumers and the public the opportunity to openly discuss LRS services and to offer suggestions for improved service delivery. The Council provided feedback to LRS on these ideas and concerns.

• LRC provided feedback and input regarding proposed changes to the LRS Technical Assistance and Guidance Manual.

• The Council provided input on the State Plan updates including 4.11(a) Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment which was completed in this time period.

• The LRC webpage continued to be utilized to distribute information about Council activities to include quarterly meeting locations and public forums.

• Regional LRS Offices invited VR consumers to speak to the Council to discuss their experiences regarding Vocational Rehabilitation service provision.

• Council members continued to monitor legislative action that may potentially impact the VR program and individuals with disabilities.

• The LRC educated State Legislators during the 2013 Legislative Session on the VR program and the services that benefit the State of Louisiana and citizens with disabilities.

• LRC members are active with other boards and groups statewide that include, but are not limited to Statewide Independent Living Council, Governor’s Advisory Council on Disability Affairs, Families Helping Families, Developmental Disability Council, Workforce Investment Council, etc.

• The Council requested and received training from LRS Administrative staff regarding performance indicators, counselor caseloads, vacancies, etc. • A Council member participated in the steering committee meetings formed by LRS to discuss and implement the Employment Initiative.

• The 2012-2013 LRC Annual Report was completed.

As a result of the LRC’s collaboration and input, LRS has improved processes to include:

• determining areas for improvement in service delivery; • providing better training to staff; • collaborating with providers/partners; and • receiving and incorporating feedback regarding revisions to the Technical Assistance and Guidance Manual.

Recommendations made by the Council and LRS’ responses:

Recommendation: LRC expressed a need for a fact sheet to be presented to legislators which would provide information on LRS, show support of the VR program by the Council, and emphasize the importance of continued appropriation of funds to the VR program.

Response: LRS provided data needed for LRC to complete and distribute an informational fact sheet during the 2013 Legislative session which provided information on funding, VR services and the benefits individuals with disability receive by becoming employed. LRC emphasized the fact that Louisiana benefits by having individuals with disabilities become productive tax paying citizens with reduced dependence on public assistance programs.

Recommendation: LRC suggested that alternative languages be made available to individuals viewing the LRS web site.

Response: LRS continues to investigate the use of internet tools that would provide alternative languages.

Recommendation: LRC suggested that a vendor list with streamlined information be created and offered to consumers during the application process.

Response: LRS counselors provide their consumers informed choice and contact information on various vendors.

Recommendation: LRC suggested that a link to the LRS video be placed on the website.

Response: LRS placed the video link to the website as per requested.

This screen was last updated on Jun 11 2014 11:16AM by Teresa Milner

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

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services is requesting approval for a waiver of statewideness in accordance with 34 CFR Section 361.26 for the following Third Party Cooperative Agreement:

LRS and Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority (JPHSA) will enter into a third party agreement to provide vocational rehabilitation services to transition age youth with developmental disabilities and individuals with mental illness in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. JPHSA will provide employment related services to only individuals who are applicants for, or recipients of, services from LRS who fall under the Order of Selection Group LRS is currently serving (OOS Group 1) as stated in the State Plan. These services will increase employment for transition age youth with developmental disabilities and individuals with mental illness. Vocational Rehabilitation services to be implemented include the following: job readiness, vocational/personal adjustment training and individualized benefits counseling.

By entering into a contractual agreement in which LRS has approved each proposed service, JPHSA, a public entity that serves Jefferson Parish citizens who have behavioral health disorders and developmental disabilities, is assuring they will provide the non-federal share of the funding for the cost of these services.

All services provided under this waiver are provided under an approved Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and authorized by the consumer’s VR counselor. JPHSA assures that all state plan requirements, including the Order of Selection, will apply to all individuals receiving services through the agreement.

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services is requesting approval for a waiver of statewideness in accordance with 34 CFR Section 361.26 for the following Third Party Cooperative Agreement:

LRS and Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) will enter into a third party agreement to provide post-secondary vocational training program to only those students (consumers) with disabilities who are applicants for or recipients of LRS. The “Program for Successful Employment” (PSE) will be designed to increase the number of consumers with disabilities completing high school through dual enrollment opportunities located on a college campus leading to competitive employment. Once exited from the local education agency, consumers will complete their courses on the BPCC campus. PSE will provide career guidance, vocational sampling and training, and job placement opportunities for those consumers in the Shreveport Region.

By entering into a contractual agreement in which LRS has approved each proposed service, BPCC is assuring they will provide the non-federal matching funds. All vocational rehabilitation services provided under this waiver are provided under an approved Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and authorized by the consumer’s VR counselor. BPCC assures that all State Plan requirements, including the Order of Selection will apply to all individuals receiving services through the agreement.

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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.

• Department of Education, Division of Special Populations • Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Behavioral Health • Department of Veteran Affairs • Louisiana Workforce Commission, Office of Workforce Development • Louisiana Workforce Commission, Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program (WOTC) • Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD) • Office of Disability Affairs • Department of Children and Family Services, Office of Disability Determination • Department of Children and Family Services, Office of Family Support, Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) • Social Security Administration • Social Security – Bendex (2002) • Central Louisiana Intertribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program (Title 121) • United Houma Nation (Title 121) • U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Program

At this time, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) is not aware of any interagency cooperation on the utilization of services and facilities of the programs carried out by the Undersecretary for Rural Development of the U. S. Department of Agriculture and State Use contracting programs. Please be advised, however, that if such liaison efforts are initiated that LRS will amend this section of Attachment 4.8(b) (1) providing the description as required.

This screen was last updated on Jun 11 2014 11:19AM by Teresa Milner

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.

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) continues to provide transition or post-school training services for those youth with disabilities leaving the secondary education system and who are pursuing employment opportunities in adult life. This is accomplished by reviewing, updating, and renewing the formal interagency agreement between LRS and the Department of Education (DOE) as needed based upon both agencies’ policy and/or procedure changes; ongoing collaboration; joint development and evaluation of goals, and specialized training for both LRS and DOE agency staff. LRS and DOE’s current agreement runs July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2016.

LRS policy requires the development and approval of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for eligible students who have official transition plans in place with the state education system. The IPEs are to be developed as early as possible in the transition process, but at the latest, by the time each Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) eligible student leaves the high school setting.

The formal interagency agreement provides for initial contact to be made with the transition student as early as age sixteen. This is accomplished by the development of criteria and timelines for an effective and efficient referral process; provision of orientation and information sessions for students and their families; and LRS counselors determining transitions students’ eligibility for VR services within the timelines established by agency policy.

For each student determined eligible for services, every effort will be made to ensure those who are in an Order of Selection (OOS) category currently being served by LRS leave the school system with an approved IPE in place that incorporates appropriate segments of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and projected employment needs, as applicable.

The formal interagency agreement also outlines both agencies responsibility to coordinate the provision of services, conduct outreach, and identify financial responsibility as needed. The DOE will assure that all students with disabilities and their families have knowledge of LRS policies and services including brochures and promotional information supplied by LRS. Information dissemination begins with the writing of the transition service page and continues through referral to LRS. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) also:

• invite LRS representatives to IEP meetings at the students request, when a transition service page is being written for a student with a disability who may be eligible for and/or interested in VR services;

• facilitate appropriate orientation meetings among LRS staff, student and family members;

• provide time for LRS staff to meet with teachers, guidance counselors, and other appropriate personnel for such purposes as information sharing/gathering at both the individual and agency levels; and

• assist in the development, provision, and evaluation of interagency vocational assessment processes and functional vocational transition programs.

LRS will use agency funds for the provision of VR services on the approved IPE that relate directly to the achievement of the agreed upon vocational goal, which is not the responsibility of the education system. The DOE will use agency funds for the provision of educational services on the approved IEP that relate directly to the achievement of the agreed upon educational goal.

LRS continues to renew and revise existing local cooperative agreements, as applicable, with the 70 school districts and 104 Charter Schools in Louisiana.

Consultation and technical assistance is provided to educational agencies in a variety of ways. VR Counselors attend IEP meetings to provide recommendations/guidance on adult services available to transitioning students, provide information relative to the VR process, and relay information regarding various training options available within the community.

Outreach is conducted by VR Counselors to identify students with disabilities through the following methods:

• LRS Transition Counselors in each region meet with a school liaison, usually the guidance counselor, to provide information regarding LRS services. The school liaison relays the information to students with disabilities and coordinates the student’s initial meeting with the LRS Transition Counselor.

• LRS Transition Counselors conduct outreach by hosting transition meetings at area high schools to provide information about VR services and to accept referrals. Information disseminated at these meetings includes agency brochures, client handbooks describing the VR processes/services, and referrals to other community resources students may need to access. Counselors work with the students, parents and educators to plan services needed for successful transition from school to work from the point that the student with a disability is identified.

• Counselors attend “Career Days” at the high schools to share information with transition students on available services that may identify career goals and to share information regarding services available to assist them in reaching their goals.

The State Office Transition Program Coordinator provides consultation and technical support to the field Transition VR Counselors in a variety of methods to include information on webinars, updates of best practice techniques gathered from the Transition Institute, and Transition Core Team meetings. The Program Coordinator works collaboratively with DOE Transition Coordinator in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities including VR services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 11 2014 11:22AM by Teresa Milner

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.

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

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) establishes cooperative agreements with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers and/or Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) through a vendorship approval process. This process is initiated at the Regional Office level when it is determined the services are needed in the region.

The potential service provider is given a copy of the CRP standards and vendorship approval guidelines and must agree to comply with these guidelines. The guidelines include adherence to 504 and 508 Accessibility, education and training certifications and other procedural standards related to quality services and payment for services. The application for vendorship is submitted to State Office by the Regional Manager, along with a recommendation of approval or disapproval of the program. The needs for new, improved or expanded services are identified through a variety of methods. These include needs identified through the comprehensive statewide needs assessment, regional shortages of service providers, increases in specific service needs, and needs identified as a result of changes in agency processes.

All rates are set by a rate-setting process in the fiscal section, are consistent statewide, and are reimbursed through a fee-for-service.

This screen was last updated on Jun 11 2014 11:29AM by Teresa Milner

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.

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) will maintain cooperative agreements on file with the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) and Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD), which ensures proper utilization of resources under the Title VI, Part C Program. These agreements are written to comply with the content requirements in 34 CFR 363.50(b) outlining each agency’s responsibility in reference to the supported employment program.

A description of each agreement follows:

OFFICE OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH (OBH)

LRS and the OBH are jointly responsible for meeting the needs of consumers with mental illness for whom supported employment is the most appropriate service. LRS will fund the Job Coach Model, the Mobile Crew Model, the Enclave Model and Evidence-based Employment Service Models for the chronically mentally ill to provide supported work services. These services will be provided, either directly or through a service provider, as time-limited vocational services to these individuals and will include: (1) short-term evaluation (any evaluation must be supplementary to an evaluation of rehabilitation potential done under the regular program), (2) job development and job placement, (3) intensive training, (4) intensive follow-along, and (5) extended follow-along.

Approximately three hundred and fifty (350) consumers could be referred for supported employment services during each fiscal year. Once eligibility for supported employment services has been established, LRS continues to collaborate with OBH to ensure that services are provided in a timely manner and to assure the development of an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The IPE shall specify the responsibilities of all parties involved in the supported employment program for the individual and shall include reporting requirements for both agencies.

During the operational phase, LRS is responsible for the provision of services as outlined in the agreement. The LRS vendor (service provider) is responsible for actual placement, training and supervision. Any problems which might impact the ultimate success of the job placement shall be immediately brought to the attention of LRS and the OBH. LRS shall maintain an open, active case on each consumer in accordance with definitions and guidelines which have been accepted for each of the program models. LRS agrees to re-open a consumer’s case at any point where additional long-term intensive training is needed, (i.e. consumer loses job and must be retrained, consumer promoted or consumer assigned new responsibilities).

OFFICE OF CITIZENS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES (OCDD)

LRS and the OCDD are jointly responsible for meeting the needs of consumers with developmental disabilities for whom supported employment is the most appropriate service. LRS will fund the Job Coach Model, the Mobile Crew Model and the Enclave Model to provide supported work services. These services will be provided, either directly or through a service provider, as time-limited vocational services to these individuals and will include: (1) short-term evaluation (any evaluation must be supplementary to an evaluation of rehabilitation potential done under the regular program), (2) job development and job placement, (3) intensive training, (4) intensive follow-along, and (5) limited follow-along.

The OCDD will provide extended services for consumers whose services are funded through contractual agreement with private providers. For consumers whose services are funded through a residential facility, extended services shall be provided by or through that facility.

Approximately three hundred (300) consumers could be referred for supported employment services during each year. Once eligibility for supported employment services has been established, LRS will collaborate with OCDD to ensure that services are provided in a timely manner and to assure the development of an IPE that includes extended services. If extended services are not confirmed, there must be a reasonable expectation that supports, including natural supports will become available. The IPE shall specify the responsibilities of all parties involved in the supported employment program for the individual and shall include reporting requirements for both agencies.

In the initial phase of a supported employment placement, the LRS counselor, the service provider, and the consumer are principal participants in initiating the services. OCDD is available for consultation and referral, etc.

During this phase, LRS is responsible for the provision of services as outlined in the agreement. The LRS vendor, or service provider, is responsible for actual placement, training and supervision. The service provider shall immediately bring any problems, which might impact upon the ultimate success of the job placement, to the attention of LRS and OCDD. Funding for extended services for consumers residing in residential facilities is the responsibility of that facility.

LRS agrees to re-open a consumer’s case at any point where additional intensive training is needed and is justified in writing, subject to availability of funds.

LRS participated in a Community of Practice teleconference facilitated by the University of Massachusetts, in partnership with OCDD agencies throughout the state, on best practices in providing services to the developmentally disabled population.

MONITORING AND EXPANSION 1. LRS will monitor the services provided within the guidelines of the existing corporative agreements and evaluate if modifications will be needed when they are renegotiated.

2. LRS will endeavor to provide access to these individuals by establishing agreements with non-profit organizations and or community or state agencies including the following:

• Social Security Administration • Department of Education • Office of Workforce Development • Employment Network of Louisiana • Associations for Citizens with Disabilities • Title VII, Independent Living Centers • Other volunteer organizations and/or resources

3. LRS will work towards establishing relationships with employers through the National VR Business Network, Community Rehabilitation Program - Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program, Business Advisory Committees, Business Leadership Networks, other Networks, and Councils to establish collaboration with businesses and corporations in order to facilitate natural supports at the job site.

This screen was last updated on Jun 11 2014 11:31AM by Teresa Milner

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

This attachment describes Louisiana Rehabilitation Services’ (LRS’) procedures and activities to ensure an adequate supply of qualified professionals and paraprofessionals to provide Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services statewide. The Louisiana Rehabilitation Council can review and comment on the agency’s Re-Training Plan upon request.

Data collection and analysis on an annual basis of qualified personnel needs and personnel development.

In order to assess the need for qualified personnel, LRS has developed and maintains a database which includes information on the number of rehabilitation personnel providing VR services, and the ratio of the number of personnel needed by the agency to adequately provide VR services statewide.

LRS is geographically divided into eight (8) regions within the state; each region has one designated transition counselor, one counselor for the deaf and one counselor for the blind. In FY 2013, LRS had a staff of 248, of which 100 were Rehabilitation Counselors with an average caseload size of 118 consumers. LRS provided VR services to 26,451 consumers. Of the individuals receiving services, the Rehabilitation Employment Development Specialists (REDS), who have varying caseload sizes, provided direct job placement services to a total of 252 consumers. One thousand four hundred twenty-six (1,426) consumers received services from Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) staff and Evaluators. As a result, 2,236 consumers exited the VR program achieving an employment outcome in FY 2013.

At this time, in an effort to adequately serve and meet the needs of consumers in all Order of Selection categories currently being served, LRS needs additional staff that would consist of 26 Rehabilitation Counselors and 1 REDS; LRS is currently assessing human resources available to determine most effective structure to meet the service needs of individuals with disabilities statewide. LRS will need to increase its staff statewide to be able to meet the growing needs of individuals with disabilities in the coming five years. Currently, LRS has 3 Rehabilitation Counselor vacancies, an additional 10 who are eligible for retirement and 17 more that will be eligible for retirement in the next 5 years. Also, Rehabilitation Counselors may be promoting to higher positions within LRS and their vacancies will need to be filled.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Rehabilitation Counselor 100 3 55
2 Rehabilitation Employment Development Specialists 4 1 2
3 Support Staff/Paraprofessionals (client services) 72 2 34
4 Field Managers (client services) 10 0 10
5 District Supervisors (client services) 22 3 37
6 Evaluators and other CRP staff 8 0 5
7 Administrative Staff (Administrative & Executive) 22 0 12
8 Support Staff/Paraprofessionals (Admin. & Exec.) 8 1 4
9 Randolph Sheppard Management Analyst 4 1 1
10 0 0 0

 

Louisiana has two universities with CORE accredited graduate programs in rehabilitation counseling; Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) in New Orleans and Southern University (SU) in Baton Rouge, a Historically Black University. SU offers an undergraduate rehabilitation counseling program. Neither program offers a doctoral degree at this time.

An annual survey conducted determined the following:

• Of the 153 students enrolled in the undergraduate program at SU none are employed by the agency.

• SU currently has 49 students enrolled in the Master’s Program in Rehabilitation Counseling with an additional 10 who completed their degree in calendar year 2013.

• LSUHSC currently has 23 students enrolled in their Masters Program in Rehabilitation Counseling with 9 who completed their degree in calendar year 2013.

As noted in the following table, a total of 19 students graduated with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling during the previous year from the two institutions listed above. All graduates from the Master’s program at both of the institutions are eligible to meet the national certification requirement and sit for the national licensure of Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Southern University, Baton Rouge - Undergraduate 153 0 0 26
2 Southern University, Baton Rouge - Graduate 49 0 38 10
3 LSUHSC, New Orleans - Graduate 23 0 17 9
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

RECRUITMENT LRS continues to be committed to the development and continued growth of professional staff members. In an effort to meet the current and projected needs for qualified personnel, the following process and activities are utilized. All strategies noted below for LRS’ Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) program encourages the hiring of staff members from minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities.

In an effort to work cooperatively with institutions of higher education in the area of recruitment, the agency participated in Career Day activities at Southern University. To ensure recruitment of individuals from minority backgrounds, LRS works closely with SU, a Historically Black University. Students are provided information on the application process for employment and information regarding advancement opportunities with the agency. LRS provides internship opportunities for graduate students in both assessment and counseling settings. In addition, brochures about the rehabilitation counseling profession are available in Spanish for staff members to distribute to consumers and at functions statewide. The universities provide program updates throughout the year, which are shared with agency staff members. Notification of agency professional position vacancies is provided to department heads at the universities to assist graduates pursuing employment. As a method of recruiting individuals with disabilities, Rehabilitation Counselors advise consumers about the career opportunities in the field of rehabilitation. LRS also utilizes cross-training of our Workforce Partners to assist in providing information to potential candidates regarding careers in the field of rehabilitation. LRS works with the State Civil Service and universities to notify potential candidates of vacancies in the field of rehabilitation services.

PREPARATION

Annually, LRS maintains a Re-Training Plan to monitor the number of Rehabilitation Counselors who do not meet CSPD qualifications. Since not all LRS’ Rehabilitation Counselors meet the CSPD requirements in the state, LRS continues the strategies noted below:

• The agency enters into an agreement when hiring new staff members who do not meet the guidelines for being “qualified” personnel; this will assure the individual’s commitment to attaining the higher educational requirement. Staff members not meeting the agency’s established requirements will be re-trained in accordance with the agency’s CSPD Re-Training Plan.

• LRS’ CSPD Re-Training Plan is maintained by the Training Section. This plan is utilized to track LRS’ progress toward meeting the CSPD mandate which is closely monitored and updated at least every six months. All professional staff members listed on the Re-Training Plan who do not have a master’s degree in rehabilitation or a closely related field are considered to be in a “re-training priority” category. LRS has established two categories – higher and lower priority groups for re-training. The lower priority group consists of the “non-masters degreed” employees that are either currently eligible for retirement or within five years of retirement eligibility. The higher priority group consists of the remaining “non-masters degreed” employees on the re-training list.

• The Program Coordinator responsible for coordination of the CSPD initiative contacts the “non-masters degreed” employees annually to discuss the mandate and the expectation that they begin training, discuss timelines for possible enrollment and works with them to address and resolve any barriers that may be preventing them from pursuing the Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling degree.

• LRS has procedures in place for the funding of academic course work, textbooks, and when necessary, travel and educational leave for Rehabilitation Counselors to be retrained in accordance with the agency’s CSPD Re-Training Plan. This policy prioritizes funding for staff members in the high priority re-training group.

• LRS staff members attend functions annually, such as are presented by the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE), Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), and Region VI Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center, to obtain information and professional training to meet the standards for CSPD. Professional and paraprofessional staff members also regularly attend training workshops delivered by other agencies, state universities, (including the two state universities offering degrees in rehabilitation counseling), and organizations for service providers promoting the enhancement of employment for persons with disabilities. LRS encourages professional development of all staff members through community involvement and membership in state associations such as the Louisiana Rehabilitation Association (LRA), a chapter of the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA), and the Clerical Association of Louisiana (CAL).

The LRS Program Coordinator, Program Manager and/or Bureau Administrator in the Training Section serve on university advisory committees, including the SU Rehabilitation Advisory Council and the LSUHMC Department of Rehabilitation Counseling. The universities are notified annually of LRS’ recommendations for improving their training so that graduates may better compete for agency employment. Universities are offered suggestions based on the agency’s needs to strengthen academic preparation and ensure that curriculums develop the necessary job-related competencies of their students.

LRS collaborates with the universities to support their research efforts in an attempt to obtain information to improve rehabilitation services and service delivery. This allows staff members to participate in studies that may bring more effective practices to the field.

RETENTION OF QUALIFIED PERSONNEL

To provide opportunities for advancement and encourage retention of qualified personnel, LRS provides professional and paraprofessional staff members the opportunity to promote. For professional staff, promotion based on work performance and the attainment of specific job-related competencies is available through the positions of Master Counselor and Master Evaluator. In order to qualify for these positions, professional staff members must possess a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, evaluation, or closely related field. If administrative opportunities are desired, professional staff may apply for positions to included District Supervisor, Regional Manager, and various State Office level positions.

Paraprofessional staff who desire to promote within the agency, can apply for the Rehabilitation Counselor Assistant position once specific competencies have been achieved. This position works closely with the Rehabilitation Counselor in managing caseload activities and in provision of services to consumers. Training grant funds are utilized, when available, to support staff in achieving the necessary competencies required.

The agency offers the following starting salaries based upon level of education and field of study as a method to attract individuals already possessing a degree in rehabilitation.

Entry Rate of Pay: Bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation - 12% above minimum Master’s degree in Rehabilitation - midpoint of the pay range Ph.D. in Rehabilitation or related field - 3rd quartile of the pay range (i.e., midpoint equals minimum+maximum/2)

Incentives available include a one-time reward (agency budget permitting) to recognize members for obtaining their CRC certification. A one-time reward is also offered to staff members completing training offered through State Civil Service to develop their leadership skills in obtaining a Certified Public Manager Certificate. In FY 2013, one (1) Rehabilitation Counselor obtained a CRC; however, incentives were not available due to budget constraints.

To retain qualified staff members, LRS coordinates training with local universities, business professionals and professional associations to assist in obtaining training and the necessary continuing education units (CEUs) required for maintenance of certification and licensure. The LRS training section is certified by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) to provide CEUs for qualifying training events coordinated or conducted by LRS.

 

LRS’ CSPD standard for qualified rehabilitation professional is a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or a related field. This is in accordance with the academic degree requirement for the national CRC licensure which is offered CRCC.

There are no national, State-approved, or State-recognized requirements for Rehabilitation Evaluators; however, in order to ensure a qualified Evaluator staff, LRS has opted to impose the same level of academic degree requirement for Evaluators as is being done for Rehabilitation Counselors, which is a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or a related field.

To ensure Rehabilitation Counselor and Evaluator positions have an adequate background to successfully enter the profession, LRS requires the following minimum qualifications:

a.) A baccalaureate degree plus one (1) year of professional level experience in social services, teaching, vocational counseling, employment counseling, psychiatric counseling, social services counseling, guidance and counseling, rehabilitation counseling, personnel, nursing, recreation therapy, music therapy, physical therapy, art therapy, rehabilitation instruction, rehabilitation evaluation, worker’s compensation dispute resolution, or worker’s compensation rehabilitation dispute resolution.

b.) A baccalaureate degree in rehabilitation counseling or master’s degree in any field may substitute for the one (1) year of required experience.

LRS decided not to change the qualification requirements for the entry-level Rehabilitation Counselor and Evaluator positions as there are only two universities in Louisiana that have accredited rehabilitation programs. Changing the entry-level Rehabilitation Counselor and Evaluator qualification requirements would have dramatically affected the ability to fill these positions, particularly those located in more rural areas.

The agency offers the following starting salaries based upon level of education and field of study as a method to attract individuals already possessing a degree in rehabilitation.

Entry Rate of Pay: Bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation - 12% above minimum Master’s degree in related field - 17% above minimum Master’s degree in Rehabilitation - midpoint of the range Ph.D in Rehabilitation or related field 3rd quartile of pay range (i.e., midpoint equals minimum+maximum/2)

Rehabilitation Counselors at the highest priority for retraining are expected to achieve the agency’s CSPD standard per 34 CFR 361.18(c)(1)(ii)(B). Rehabilitation Counselors on board with permanent status, as of 2011, who remain in the highest priority for retraining, must meet the standard by 2015. Rehabilitation Counselors hired from 2012 forward who remain in the highest priority for retraining must meet the standard within 5 years of appointment and attainment of permanent status.

The following depicts the educational breakdown of Rehabilitation Counselors and Evaluators on board as of March 2014:

Rehabilitation Counselors - 100 • Has a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling or a related field - 61 • Lower priority for retraining - 27 • Higher priority for retraining – 12 • Currently enrolled in a Masters Program – 1 • Those needing to begin training - 11 • Percent of Counselors at higher priority for retraining not currently enrolled - 11.1%

Evaluators - 8 • Has a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling or a related field - 7 • Lower priority for retraining - 1 • Higher priority for retraining - 0 • Currently enrolled in a Masters Program - 0 • Staff members needing to begin training - 0 • Percent of Evaluators at higher priority for retraining not currently enrolled - 0%

The agency recognizes that some employees in the higher priority retraining group will not be able to either pursue their master’s degree or complete all requirements of a master’s degree program by 2015. These individuals will not be eligible for advancement to the Master Counselor positions, and will not be given priority or consideration when filling supervisory and management level positions. In addition, should the agency consider instituting different sign-off requirements for levels of Rehabilitation Counselors and Evaluators, those individuals not at the masters level will have casework randomly reviewed to ensure standards are met.

Agency staff members serving on university advisory committees keep the universities abreast of the CSPD mandate and status of the agency’s compliance. In addition, vacancy announcements are shared with local universities and posted on the State Civil Service website. Universities frequently refer students to LRS for internships that may lead to full-time employment and to apply for vacant Rehabilitation Counselor positions.

 

LRS utilizes several methods of identifying training needs of professional and paraprofessional staff members, to include a Training Needs Assessment form which is available on-line. In addition, Regional Managers and State Office Program staff members may identify and request training. The Quality Assurance staff members may also request training when trends are noted during the case review process. All agency training ends with the completion of an evaluation form which allows for comments and/or to request further training.

LRS staff members take advantage of training opportunities provided through webinars and teleconferences as well as on-site training. Numerous types of training and support continue to be provided and/or coordinated by State Office Program staff members to support the field staff. Such training for FY 2013 included the New Counselor Training Academy, Vocational Guidance and Counseling, Job Placement & Development, Ethics Symposium at SU, Assistive Technology Conference “Spring into A.T.” at LA Tech, Supported Employment and Deaf Orientation.

Additionally, the agency has specific monthly in-service training requirements (4 hours per month), which are conducted by the regional field offices to ensure continuous education for all professional and paraprofessional staff members. This training is provided by experienced staff members or by knowledgeable community providers who specialize in the area of training required. Rehabilitation Counselor Associates (RCA) are required to attend all in-service training with the Rehabilitation Counselors and also attend separate training as needed. Examples of training topics include assessment, guidance and vocational counseling, eligibility, planning, disability related issues, assistive technology, disability services at colleges and universities, ethics, community-based employment outcomes, mental health, and employment related issues.

Career Enrichment/Development

The Bureau of Program Planning/Resource Development researches, develops, implements, and maintains standards to ensure staff development. Chapter 9 of LRS’ Technical Assistance and Guidance Manual is maintained by the Bureau, provides formal procedures to promote the development of qualified rehabilitation staff members as the key to quality service delivery. Staff development is funded largely through the In-Service Training Grant.

Classes are offered through the Comprehensive Public Training Program (CPTP) to all state employees at all levels to further enhance their professional skills and development. Through this program, specialized training is available in areas such as management development, supervisory techniques, skill training for non-supervisory personnel, web-based computer skills and professional development training. LRS encourages all agency staff members to participate in applicable CPTP training classes.

Acquisition and Dissemination of Significant Knowledge from Current Research and Other Sources

LRS maintains a central library that contains information on a wide variety of rehabilitation related topics, including research findings from a myriad of sources, such as the publications from the Institute on Rehabilitation Issues and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. This information is available to LRS staff members statewide on a loan basis. For the most up-to-date information, all staff members have computers on their desk with access to the Internet to be used for research purposes. Information received on various rehabilitation topics are forwarded to staff statewide for their use.

 

Career Enrichment/Development

The Bureau of Program Planning/Resource Development researches, develops, implements, and maintains standards to ensure staff development. Chapter 9 of LRS’ Technical Assistance and Guidance Manual is maintained by the Bureau, provides formal procedures to promote the development of qualified rehabilitation staff members as the key to quality service delivery. Staff development is funded largely through the In-Service Training Grant.

Classes are offered through the Comprehensive Public Training Program (CPTP) to all state employees at all levels to further enhance their professional skills and development. Through this program, specialized training is available in areas such as management development, supervisory techniques, skill training for non-supervisory personnel, web-based computer skills and professional development training. LRS encourages all agency staff members to participate in applicable CPTP training classes.

Acquisition and Dissemination of Significant Knowledge from Current Research and Other Sources

LRS maintains a central library that contains information on a wide variety of rehabilitation related topics, including research findings from a myriad of sources, such as the publications from the Institute on Rehabilitation Issues and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. This information is available to LRS staff members statewide on a loan basis. For the most up-to-date information, all staff members have computers on their desk with access to the Internet to be used for research purposes. Information received on various rehabilitation topics are forwarded to staff statewide for their use.

 

LRS continues to collaborate with the Department of Education (DOE) to jointly provide staff training for effective provision of transitional services for those youth with disabilities leaving the secondary education system and pursuing successful employment opportunities in adult life. This is accomplished through LRS/DOE’s formal interagency agreement which includes specialized training for both LRS’ and DOE’s staff members.

LRS’ Program Coordinator for Transition and DOE’s Program Manager collaborate on joint agency training and meetings throughout the year to network and share information. They are also responsible for assisting in the coordination and provision of transition services within each agency to assure effective service provision and training through the support of local interagency core teams, cross-agency training, outreach, and other needed activities; capacity building of young adult and family outreach efforts; and continuous provision of information and technical assistance.

Some examples of collaborative efforts include Transition Core Team meetings held statewide attended by the DOE, the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, Families Helping Families, and other interested individuals. These meetings are held to assist agencies who serve transition students as they exit from school to work.

LRS has a Program Coordinator specializing in Assistive Technology who conducts in-service training annually to keep field staff members abreast of the most recent technology available to assist individuals with disabilities. Specialized training is provided to our staff members working with low-incident disabilities to include such training as orientation to deafness, mobility training, sign language coursework, deaf-blindness training, and graduate level training specific to working with low-incident populations (i.e. visual impairment/hearing impairment/significant cognitive impairment).

Local Education Agencies work with LRS staff members to: • provide training on the Individual Education Plan document; • facilitate appropriate orientation meetings among LRS staff members, students and • family members; • provide time for LRS staff members to meet with teachers, guidance counselors, and • other appropriate personnel for such purposes as information sharing/gathering at both the individual and agency levels.

In line with the CSPD and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requirements for personnel qualifications, LRS has defined its state recognized certification standard as a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or a closely related field for all professional staff members working with individuals with disabilities (this is inclusive of transitioning youth with disabilities). This is in accordance with the academic degree requirement for the national CRC licensure which is offered CRCC.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2014 12:18PM by Teresa Milner

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 assessment is in response to the requirements stated in 34 CFR part 361 (361.29) which include statewide assessment, annual estimates, annual state goals and priorities, strategies, and progress reports. As mandated, LRS and the LRC jointly planned and conducted this Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment.

The findings and results of this assessment will assist LRS with planning and developing the agency’s strategic goals and objectives. METHODOLOGY

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) utilized a variety of modalities and methodologies to research and collect data to assess and identify the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities, as well as the need to establish, develop, or improve Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs).

Data from consumers, staff members, workforce partners/stakeholders, Title 121 and the public at large was obtained. Survey Monkey, accessible survey software available through the internet, was used for all surveys. Surveys in hard copy and alternate languages were also available upon request. The use of on-line surveys assisted LRS in keeping the cost of conducting the needs assessment within budget.

The Louisiana Workforce Commissions’ (LWC) Communications Section solicited participation in LRS’ statewide needs assessment surveys through a press release. The survey link was placed on the Department’s internet site and also publicized through the use of social media. As another avenue to provide input and feedback, an email address was created and monitored by a designated LRS employee.

LRS stakeholders, consumers, staff members, Workforce Partners, and Title 121 were emailed a link inviting participation in the survey. All respondents were ensured of the confidentiality of information provided.

In addition to the surveys conducted by LRS, data was accessed from a wide range of publicly available resources including the United States Census Bureau, the American Census Surveys (ACS), the Disability Compendium, and reports provided by Community Rehabilitation Programs.

Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC) Joint Collaboration Due to the recent appointment of LRC members, many were not familiar with the federally required Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA). LRS received assistance from the Region VI Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE) in conducting training for the LRC on the components of the statewide needs assessment. TACE personnel explained the Council’s responsibility for participation in conducting the assessment, provided information on federal guidelines/requirements, methods of gathering data, and outcomes/uses of the assessment results.

The LRC/LRS liaison participated in several workgroups to develop the model, methods of research and data collection. Once the surveys were developed, the liaison distributed the draft survey instruments to LRC members soliciting their input. Comments and suggestions received contributed to the final development of the survey. As exhibited above, the CSNA is the result of a joint effort between LRS and the LRC with technical assistance provided by Region VI TACE.

Target Populations The CSNA survey link was emailed to consumers, staff members, Workforce Partners, Community Rehabilitation Programs, customers of CRPs, Title 121and stakeholders. The survey link was provided for access by the public through the Louisiana Workforce Commission internet page. LRS solicited and received feedback from these target populations.

Consumer Surveys Louisiana Rehabilitation Services emailed survey links to 2,810 applicants and consumers statewide. The survey links were sent to individuals from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds, unserved/underserved populations and individuals with the most significant disabilities. Surveys included an introduction explaining the purpose and an invitation to participate. Recipients were ensured of confidentiality of all information submitted.

The consumer survey instrument was designed to:

• Be easily read and understood • Be accessible • Be completed by the individual or parent/guardian/advocate • Encourage completion (online survey) • Provide anonymity

Questions on the survey were developed with input from the LRC and TACE to access the needs of individuals with most significant disabilities, the unserved/underserved, those being served through workforce partners and to determine the need to establish, develop, and expand CRPs within the state.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Consumer Surveys Of the 2,810 survey links emailed to consumer, LRS received 220 responses. Eighty-six percent of respondents identified themselves as individuals with disabilities; 13% were identified as a parent or guardian of an individual with a disability; 3% indicated they were interested members of the public; 1% indicated they were service providers and less than 1% stated they were an advocate.

Forty-eight percent of respondents were male and fifty-two percent were female. Eight percent identified themselves as veterans.

Sixty-four percent of respondents identified themselves as Caucasian; thirty-one percent as African-Americans; and the remaining five percent as American Indian, Hispanic, Native Pacific Islander or Other.

The predominant age of respondents was between the ages of 51 – 60 years (29%); followed by the ages 18 – 30 years (25%); ages 31 – 50 years (19%); and the age range of 61 – 70 (7%). The remaining 20% of respondents did not identify their age.

Thirty-two percent of respondents indicated living with a partner or spouse; 22% with parents or guardians; 20% lived alone and 18% lived with their children.

The top disability categories respondents reported were: Mental Illness (18%); Orthopedic/Mobility (15%); Hard of Hearing (14%) and Arthritis/Rheumatism (12%).

Educational levels of respondents having some college training were 29%; 23% had either a high school diploma or a GED; 18% had a 4 year degree; 13% had a 2 year degree/technical college; 11% had either a master’s or doctoral degree; and 6% indicated that they did not complete high school.

Fifty percent of respondents indicated being employed, 24% were out of work/looking for work, 13% were students and 13% noted that they are unable to work.

The primary source of income reported included 41% who were employed; 36% receiving SSI/SSDI; 11% had other income (Savings, VA, Retirement, Pensions, Outside Loans), and 5% indicated receiving public assistance.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents reported an average household yearly income of less than $10,000; 19% reported an income of $15,001 – $25,000; 15% reported receiving $10,000 - $15,000; 15% received $50,000 and over; 11% received $25,000 – $35,000; 7% received $40,000 – 50,000; and 6% received $35,000 - $40,000.

When asked why they wanted to work, 77% of respondents stated that they want to support themselves or their family, 56% wanted to better their lifestyle, 49% to be a contributing member of society, and 35% to have medical insurance.

Workforce Partner Agencies, Stakeholders & Title 121 LRS emailed surveys to 82 identified stakeholders and the liaisons with Title 121 for further distribution. Twenty-three individuals completed the online survey.

Forty-four percent of respondents were service providers, 39% were advocates, and 26% were individuals with disabilities. Sixty-one percent had never received services from Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, 39% had previously received services but were not receiving them currently.

The gender of survey respondents were sixty-two percent female and 38% male. Ten percent indicated being veterans. When asked about their race/ethnicity, 71% identified themselves as Caucasian; 14% as African American; and 10% as American Indian or Alaskan Eskimo.

Thirty eight percent of respondents were between the ages 51 – 60 years; 24% were between 41 – 50 years old; 19% were between 31 – 40 years old; and 10% were between 61 – 70 years old.

The current living situation of respondents lived with a spouse or partner was 48%; 24% lived with children; 19% lived alone; and 14% lived with a parent or guardian.

Educational levels of respondents with 4 year college degree were 45%; 20% had either a master’s or doctoral degree; 15% had a 2 year degree/technical college; 10% had some college training; 5% had either a high school diploma or a GED; and 5% indicated that they did not complete high school.

Seventy-six percent of respondents indicated that their primary source of income is employment; 14% self-employed; 10% their spouse’s wages; and 5% indicated receiving SSI/SSDI. The average household yearly income received was $50,000 and over for 55% of respondents; $40,000 - $50,000 for 15%; $15,001 – $25,000 for 15%; $25,000 – $35,000 for 10%; and $35,001 – $40,000 for 5%.

Public Surveys Eighty-four members of the general public responded to the on-line survey that was posted on the Department’s internet site and announced by a press release. Thirty-two percent of respondents were individuals with a disability, 26% identified themselves as interested members of the general public, 19% identified themselves as a parent or guardian of an individual with a disability and the remaining respondents identified themselves as advocates or service providers.

Seventy-two respondents indicated that they had never received services from LRS. Nineteen percent indicated that they previously received services and 10% indicated that they are current consumers.

The gender of respondents was 53% female and 47% male. Ten percent of respondents indicated being a veteran. Eighty percent of respondents identified themselves as Caucasian, 11% as African American, 8% American Indian and 4% Hispanic or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

The predominant age of respondents was between the ages 31 – 50 years (40%); 51 – 60 years (29%); 26 – 30 (13%); 61 – 70 (8%); and 18 – 25 years (6%). Less than 4% of respondents indicated being under the age of 18 and 1% indicated being over age 70.

The current living situation of respondents is 49% lived with a partner or spouse; 27% lived alone; 17% lived with a parent or guardian; and 13% lived with their children.

Of those respondents indicating a disability, 25% had intellectual disabilities; 22% had orthopedic/mobility impairments; 14% cerebral palsy; 12% arthritis/rheumatism; and 12% diabetes. Twenty-five percent indicated needing an assistive device.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents had a 4 year college degree; 24% had either a master’s or doctoral degree, 15% had either a high school diploma or a GED; 12% had a 2 year degree/technical college; 12% indicated that they did not complete high school and 8% of respondents reported having some college training.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated being employed, 23% indicated that they are out of work and looking for work and 1% is out of work but not currently looking for work.

When asked about their primary source of income, 55% indicated employment; 22% SSI/SSDI; 14% their spouse’s wages; 13% other kinds of income (savings, VA, retirement, pensions); 10% parent/guardian’s wages and 1% indicated receiving public assistance.

The average household yearly income reported was $50,000 and over for 48% of respondents, $10,001 - $25,000 for 19%; less than $10,000 for 14%; $25,001 – $35,000 for 12%; and 7% indicated receiving $35,000 – $50,000.

When asking the general public why they thought individuals with disabilities wanted to work, 75% of respondents stated that they want to support themselves or their family, 56% to be a contributing member of society, 48% to better their lifestyle and 33% to have medical insurance.

The public felt that the employment needs of individuals with disabilities that are not being met included job placement services (42%); post-employment services (37%); job coaching/supported employment (37%); vocational guidance & career counseling (29%); job readiness skills - resume’ writing, interview practice, work behaviors (28%); training/tuition assistance (27%); transportation (27%); transition services (25%); assistive technology devices & services (25%); benefit planning for SSI/SSDI recipients (20%); and mental health counseling/treatment (19%).

Barriers identified by the public that prevent individuals with disabilities from getting or keeping employment included lack of employer acceptance of a disability (41%); fear of losing government benefits (40%); lack of transportation (40%); lack of public resources (33%); slow job market (31%); adjustment to disability (25%); lack of long-term support (23%); lack of child care (20%); and lack of family support (19%).

LRS Employee Surveys

LRS sent survey links via email to all agency staff members (249) including administrative, support, and direct service delivery. LRS designed two surveys, one specifically designed to obtain information from the Rehabilitation Counselors and one for all other staff members. The online surveys ensured confidentiality and anonymity.

Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services:

Survey respondents universally stated that training should be provided to LRS staff, vendors and legislators regarding the vocational rehabilitation program, services provision and budgetary needs; that more staff should be hired to increase capacity to serve (counselors and placement specialist); that more vendors are needed (especially those that provide job placement/supported employment services); and that the agency should continue to concentrate on services directly related to employment.

Support services such as transportation and counseling to assist consumers in resolving any issues that would impact employability was also noted as a need. Respondents indicated that more consumers need LRS services and could be served if additional state dollars could be secured to match the federal funding available to the state. Respondents further indicated LRS should review and consider revising the agency’s economic need guidelines.

Upon reviewing survey information of individuals receiving SSI/SSDI, the top needs identified by respondents included job placement (47%); job readiness skills (32%); job coaching (32%); and benefits planning (30%). They identified barriers to employment as being the fear of losing their government benefits (47%), lack of employer acceptance of their disability (38%), lack of medical insurance (40%) and the slow job market (37%).

Respondents receiving supported employment services identified the following as needs not being met, job placement (24%); benefit planning (14%); equipment for work; and transportation (13%).

The barriers to employment identified by respondents receiving supported employment services included the lack of employer acceptance of their disability (35%); their personal adjustment to the disability (29%); the slow job market (29%); and the lack of medical insurance/care (24%).

Individuals with disabilities who are minorities, have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program:

To assess the needs of individuals with disabilities who are minorities, unserved or underserved, LRS extracted information from various surveys including LRS consumers, Workforce Partners/Stakeholders/Title 121 and LRS employees.

When asked about barriers to employment, respondents reported the following needs: comprehensive services for the elderly, mentally ill, homeless and ex-felons to support them in obtaining/maintaining employment. Services are needed for individuals living in rural areas, individuals in order of selection categories not currently being served and those not meeting the agency’s economic need criteria.

It was noted that LRS needs to do more outreach to students who have hidden disabilities, as well as veterans and employed individuals who may need accommodations such as assistive technology devices. Transportation continues to be a need in rural communities.

Individuals with disabilities served by other components of the statewide workforce investment system:

Respondents from other components of the statewide workforce investment system were given survey links to complete the survey online.

Need identified by respondents included transportation; benefit planning; job coaching; post-employment services; transition from school to work; assistive technology devices/services; and job placement

The primary barriers identified by respondents included the lack of medical insurance/care; adjustment to disability; fear of losing government benefits; lack of public resources; lack of employer acceptance of an individual’s disability; and the lack of transportation.

An assessment of the need to establish, develop, or improve Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) within the State.

LRS received comments from the general public, workforce partners/stakeholders and agency staff members to determine the need to establish, develop, or improve CRPs within the state.

The public survey respondents indicated a need for higher qualification and training standards for vendors and CRP staff. The LRS employee survey revealed that 48% of respondents felt that new CRPs were needed to adequately serve consumers and 66% felt that the current CRPs should be improved or expanded. Forty-one percent of LRS employees felt that the CRPs present in their region did not provide an adequate range of services to meet the needs of their consumers. Fifty percent indicated that CRP staff needed more training to effectively serve individuals with disabilities.

Additionally, 40% of counselors indicated that the CRPs were unable to serve their consumers upon referral due to waiting lists and 42% of counselors indicated that the quality of services provided needed improvement.

Respondents from staff and public surveys indicated that more CRPs are needed to provide services to specific disability populations to include those having developmental delays/autism, mental illness or substance abuse diagnoses, those who are blind/deaf-blind, deaf/hard-of-hearing or individuals who are students in transition. It was also noted that students exiting the school system needed more CRPs that provide job placement and supported employment services.

In addition, respondents noted that there are not enough CRPs available to provide services to those who are mentally ill or have substance abuse diagnoses. Consumers frequently have dual diagnoses and require comprehensive services to include soft skills, mental health counseling/substance abuse counseling, financial management skills, housing assistance and support to maintain employment. Another need identified was provision of services to individuals with disabilities exiting the correctional facilities to maximize their potential in obtaining and maintaining employment.

A need for additional vendors who provide specific services to individuals who are blind or have low vision, to include orientation & mobility assessments, low vision assessments, and vocational assessments was also noted.

Additional CRPs who provide job placement services, including supported employment, are needed in the regions serving rural areas as some areas do not have CRPs that are conveniently located for consumers’ participation.

LRS surveyed a random sample of consumers participating in CRPs. Forty consumers responded. Ninety-five percent of respondents indicated that information was provided to them by the CRP regarding services offered. Ninety percent of consumers stated that they received services in a reasonable period of time.

When asked if they were treated with respect by CRP staff, 95% indicated that they had been. Seventy-nine percent felt that they were kept informed about the progress of their case, while 19% felt that they had not been kept informed. Fifty-seven percent indicated that they were placed in the job of their choice and 23% indicated they had not been placed in the job of their choice. When asked if they were satisfied with services received, 80% said that they were and 18% said they were not. Seventy-seven percent stated that they would recommend the vendor to others, while 15% would not. The overall consumer satisfaction rating was 86.3%.

IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

There are many people in Louisiana with disabilities that could benefit from vocational rehabilitation services designed to help them achieve and retain employment in integrated community settings. To meet this need, LRS maintains eight regional offices located statewide; employs a skilled workforce to help individuals plan services needed; funds community rehabilitation programs to deliver services; and collaborates with multiple agencies and community businesses to promote employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Common trends discovered in this needs assessment included the necessity for more agency and CRP staff, provision of skills training to work with specific disability populations, more funding to serve individuals with disabilities not currently being served, and provision of alternate methods of outreach.

LRS utilized the findings from the 2014 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment as a tool to help develop the agency’s strategies. The data will continue to be analyzed to drive agency goals and initiatives for the next three years. The agency will continue to work with staff members and the LRC to establish measurable timelines and tracking mechanisms to ensure that strategies are accomplished. In addition, LRS will continue to collaborate with other key workforce partners serving individuals with disabilities to determine improvements that can be achieved.

This screen was last updated on Jul 30 2013 2:57PM by Teresa Milner

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) estimates that it will serve 22,536 individuals during fiscal year 2014-2015 of the estimated 386,000 individuals with disabilities ages 16-64 in Louisiana . The estimated number LRS anticipates serving includes all cases from application through the service statuses (including cases already open the previous fiscal year; see breakout projections on the chart below).

To qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services, individuals with disabilities must be interested in obtaining or maintaining employment. In the 2011 Disability Status Report for Louisiana compiled by Cornell University, it indicates that 7.6% of working-age individuals with disabilities are actively seeking employment. Although, it would be difficult to determine how many of the 386,000 individuals with disabilities would be eligible, based on Cornell’s study at a minimum 7.6% of these individuals would be actively seeking employment and could potentially be eligible for VR services.

Of the estimated 22,536 individuals receiving services, approximately 3,715 will receive supported employment services through funds provided under Title I and through Title VI, Part B program funds.

Projected Cost for the VR Program in the Next Fiscal Year:

LRS is projecting that the VR Program will need $51,930,440 to provide services to eligible consumers. Projected revenue is State General Funds of $8,124,821 and Federal Section 110 Funds of $43,805,620.

Projected cost to serve individuals with existing Individualized Plans for Employment:

State General Funds: $1,784,849. Federal Section 110: $9,776,822 Total: $11,561,671

Projected cost for determining eligibility of new applicants:

State General Funds: $483,268 Federal Section 110: $2,647,180 Total: $3,130,448

Projected revenue State General Funds is $8,124,820 and Federal Section 110 Funds of $43,805,620:

Amount of State General Funds recommended in the 2014/2015 budget to match Section 110 Federal Funds is $8,124,820.

Amount of Section 110 Federal Funds is $43,805,620 Total Available Budget $51,930,440 Less projections of $51,930,440 For a difference of $0

ORDER OF SELECTION Estimates of costs of services for each Order of Selection category are in the chart that follows entitled Projections for Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

LRS began serving only Order of Selection Group I effective October 1, 2010. Prior to September 30, 2010 consumers who had been receiving services in Groups II – V continued to be served as per federal mandate.

LRS began serving Order of Selection Groups I & II only effective April 14, 2009. Order of Selection Groups III - V consumers reflected above and in chart below are those continuing to receive services as a result of “continuity of services.”

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Group I - Most Significantly Disabled (MSD) Title I $16,270,681 12,682 $1,282
Group I - Most Significantly Disabled (MSD) Title VI $269,250 337 $798
Group II - Most Significantly Disabled (MSD) Title I $5,544,432 6257 $886
Group II - Most Significantly Disabled (MSD) Title VI $64,502 113 $570
Group III - Significantly Disabled (SD) Title I $2,170,903 2323 $934
Group IV - Significantly Disabled (SD) Title I $123,835 510 $242
Group V - Non Significantly Disabled (NSD) Title I $66,126 314 $210
Totals   $24,509,729 22,536 $1,087

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 3:55PM by Teresa Milner

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

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

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

The goals and priorities below were jointly developed, reviewed, revised and agreed upon by Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) and the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC) in order to carry out the vocational rehabilitation program and supported employment services.

Goal & Priority I: To maximize opportunities for individuals with disabilities in achieving employment and independence.

Goal & Priority II: To ensure that Louisiana Rehabilitation Services has necessary and qualified rehabilitation personnel, both professionals and paraprofessionals, to provide the myriad of vocational rehabilitation services necessary to meet the employment and independence needs of eligible individuals.

Goal & Priority III: To maximize resources by operating Louisiana Rehabilitation Services in an efficient and effective manner to ensure quality services that lead to successful employment outcomes and pursue innovative means to leverage the state’s full federal VR grant allotment.

Goal & Priority IV: To provide vocational rehabilitation services that result in individuals with disabilities achieving quality employment outcomes by:

a. Closing a minimum of 2,236 cases annually with an employment outcome (Baseline for FY 2013 is 2,236);

b. Increasing the employment outcome of closed service cases from 25.43% (in FY 2013) to the federal minimum standard of 55.8% annually;

c. Continuing to meet or exceed the 72.6% employment outcome rate of successfully closed cases that attain the minimum wage rate or greater (99.9% in FY 2013);

d. Continuing to meet or exceed the 62.4% employment outcome rate of successfully closed cases that attain the minimum wage rate or greater and have significant disabilities (98.4% in FY 2013);

e. Continuing to meet or exceed the average hourly wage of VR closed cases with employment outcomes that attain minimum wage or greater as a .52 ratio or higher to Louisiana’s average hourly wage (.56 in FY 2013);

f. Continuing to meet or exceed the minimum standard number of 53% (74.0% in FY 2013) which is the difference between, (a) the percentage of those reporting their own income as the largest single means of economic support at application and, (b) the percentage of those making at least minimum wage or greater, reporting their own income as the largest single means of support at successful employment closure.

The goals and plans of the Supported Employment program will be:

a. To ensure the quality of supported employment services provided to eligible consumers by monitoring the vendors. The monitoring will include an evaluation of the provision of services according to the most recent technology in supported employment and to identify training and technical assistance needed.

b. Provide technical assistance and training opportunities to state office and field office staff to improve the supported employment service delivery system. The field staff will receive supported employment training directed at case management and quality supported employment services.

c. To work cooperatively with other agencies (public and private), employers and advocates to assist in developing employment opportunities and multiple options for extended services to ensure more successful supported employment outcomes.

d. To coordinate with Region VI Community Rehabilitation Program – Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE), the Department of Health & Hospitals (Office of Behavioral Health, Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities – Support Waivers Program, and Medicaid Purchase Plan) University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE), the Employment Network of Louisiana, Inc. (professional association of supported employment vendors), the Louisiana Chapter of the Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE), LSU Health Science Center Human Development Center and the Louisiana Work Pays Consortium in order to provide input to vendor agencies providing supported employment services and to solicit input from these agencies in the planning and implementation of quality supported employment services.

LRS has identified in Attachment 4.11(d) those strategies that will be used to meet these identified Goals and Priorities.

Refer to 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress for LRS performance on the standards and indicators.

Agency goals focus on improving opportunities for people with disabilities and improving satisfaction of LRS consumers through participation in an effective and efficient system of workforce investment. These goals will be pursued in a manner that enables individuals with disabilities to make informed choices.

These goals are compatible with the vision of LRS in regards to serving individuals with disabilities, which is, “To be the most effective and efficient agency providing employment services for persons with disabilities in Louisiana.”

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2014 9:56AM by Teresa Milner

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

Justification for order of selection

The diminished funding available from the state to match the federal dollars allotted has impacted the agency’s overall ability to effectively serve many individuals with disabilities in Louisiana who could potentially become employed.

The loss in funding corresponded to a decline in agency staffing, resulting in reduced capacity to administer the program and serve consumers. In 1988, when the OOS was implemented, LRS had approximately 565 staff members on hand to administer the programs under the auspices of LRS. In 2013 this number has declined to 249 (56%). Specifically, Rehabilitation Counselors have decreased by 30% over the last eleven years (from 142 in 2002 to 100 in 2013). LRS was able to hire five additional counselors in FY 2013. On March 20, 1988, LRS moved to providing Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services statewide through an OOS. This enabled the agency to continue providing services to those eligible, preserve its ability to accept applications, to provide diagnostic studies, to provide trial work experiences/extended evaluations and to determine placement in the OOS.

Effective July 20, 1999, LRS served all current consumers and new applicants determined eligible and placed in OOS Category I due to decreased funding. OOS Category II was opened in February of 2000. On March 9, 2001 LRS moved from three OOS categories to five OOS categories. In August of 2002, LRS opened OOS Category III and it was closed again in August of 2003.

OOS Category III was opened again in December 14, 2005 and in January 10, 2006, due to a waiver of the state match approved by Congress to assist the state in its recovery efforts after hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, all OOS Categories were opened. Due to this waiver, LRS was able to serve all 5 OOS categories from January 10, 2006 through April 13, 2009. From April 14, 2009 through September 30, 2010, LRS served OOS Categories I & II. Effective October 1, 2010, LRS began serving OOS I and continues to serve Category I only. LRS anticipates having funding available to open Categories II and III in the upcoming year.

 

Description of Priority categories

The OOS assures that individuals with the most significant disabilities receive priority for VR services. After determination of eligibility for VR services, each individual will then be classified by placement into one of the five following priority categories:

Most Significantly Disabled - OOS I (Severe limitations in four or more functional capacity areas): An individual with a most significant disability is one who has been determined eligible for VR services and:

1. Who has a significant physical or mental impairment which seriously limits four or more functional capacities (mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, motor skills, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; and,

2. Whose VR can be expected to require *multiple VR services over an *extended period of time; and,

3. Who has one or more physical or mental impairments 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 illness, mental retardation, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, musculo-skeletal disorders, neurological disorders (including stroke and epilepsy), paraplegia, quadriplegia, other spinal cord conditions, sickle cell anemia, specific learning disability, end-stage renal disease, or another impairment or combination of impairments determined on the basis of an assessment for determining eligibility and VR needs to cause comparable substantial functional limitations.

An individual’s placement in the Order of Selection shall not be based upon residency requirements; economic status; type of disability; age, sex, race, color, creed, or national origin; source of referral; or expected employment outcome.

*Definitions of terms in 2 above:

Multiple VR Services - are defined as vocational counseling and guidance and at least one other service needed to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment.

Extended Period of Time - Means that the individual requires VR services that are anticipated to extend three months or longer.

Most Significantly Disabled - OOS II (Severe limitations in three functional capacity areas): An individual with a most significant disability is one who has been determined eligible for VR services and:

1. Who has a significant physical or mental impairment which seriously limits three functional capacities (mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, motor skills, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; and,

2. Whose VR can be expected to require multiple VR services over an extended period of time; and,

3. Who has one or more physical or mental impairments 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 illness, mental retardation, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, musculo-skeletal disorders, neurological disorders (including stroke and epilepsy), paraplegia, quadriplegia, other spinal cord conditions, sickle cell anemia, specific learning disability, end-stage renal disease, or another impairment or combination of impairments determined on the basis of an assessment for determining eligibility and VR needs to cause comparable substantial functional limitations.

An individual’s placement in the Order of Selection shall not be based upon residency requirements; economic status; type of disability; age, sex, race, color, creed, or national origin; source of referral; or expected employment outcome.

Significantly Disabled - OOS III (Severe limitations in two functional capacity areas): An individual with a significant disability is one who has been determined eligible for VR services, and:

1. Who has a significant physical or mental impairment which seriously limits two functional capacities (mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, motor skills or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; and,

2. Whose VR can be expected to require multiple VR services over an extended period of time; and,

3. Who has one or more physical or mental impairments 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 illness, mental retardation, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, musculo-skeletal disorders, neurological disorders (including stroke and epilepsy), paraplegia, quadriplegia, other spinal cord conditions, sickle cell anemia, specific learning disability, end-stage renal disease, or another impairment or combination of impairments determined on the basis of an assessment for determining eligibility and VR needs to cause comparable substantial functional limitations. Significantly Disabled – OOS IV (Severe limitations in one functional capacity area): An individual with a significant disability is one who has been determined eligible for VR services and:

1. Who has a significant physical or mental impairment which seriously limits one functional capacity (mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, motor skills or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; and,

2. Whose VR can be expected to require multiple VR services over an extended period of time; and,

3. Who has one or more physical or mental impairments 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 illness, mental retardation, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, musculo-skeletal disorders, neurological disorders (including stroke and epilepsy), paraplegia, quadriplegia, other spinal cord conditions, sickle cell anemia, specific learning disability, end-stage renal disease, or another impairment or combination of impairments determined on the basis of an assessment for determining eligibility and VR needs to cause comparable substantial functional limitations.

Non-Significantly Disabled - OOS V: An individual with a physical or mental disability: 1. Who has been determined eligible for VR services; and

2. Who does not meet the criteria of an individual with either a “most significant” or “significant” disability.

An individual’s placement in the Order of Selection shall not be based upon residency requirements; economic status; type of disability; age, sex, race, color, creed, or national origin; source of referral; or expected employment outcome.

Individuals shall be classified in the highest priority category for which they are determined qualified. Upon placement into a priority category, individuals shall be notified in writing of the priority categories, which category they have been placed in and their right to appeal their category assignment.

LRS shall provide for continuity of services once an otherwise eligible individual is selected for services and has begun to receive services under an IPE, irrespective of the severity of the individual’s disability. LRS will continue to provide needed VR services to all individuals with an existing Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

All services, including post-employment services, shall be available to individuals receiving services under an Order of Selection insofar as such services are necessary and appropriate to the individual’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) in order to ultimately place them in successful employment.

All Agency policies and procedures governing the expenditure of funds, consumer financial participation, and use of comparable services and benefits are applicable to individuals receiving services under an Order of Selection.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

All individuals within a higher priority category for services shall be served before individuals in the next lowest priority category are served. When it is impossible to serve all individuals within a priority category, individuals shall be placed on a deferred services waiting list and served in chronological order based on the date of application (or is it eligibility). In the event that the order of selection is rescinded, individuals on deferred services waiting lists and in unserved categories will be contacted and served. Consumers determined eligible and placed in OOS Groups II – V after September 30, 2010 were placed on a waiting list and will be served as funding becomes available.

The number of consumers on the waiting list for each Order of Selection Category currently not being served is 739 (broken down by category as follows: OOS Category II - 48, OOS Category III - 345; OOS Category IV - 233, and OOS Category V - 113).

 

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

LRS anticipates serving all individuals with existing plans of service. Currently LRS is serving new consumers determined eligible and placed in Order of Selection Group I. LRS will continue to serve new consumers in OOS Group I and anticipates being able to serve new consumers in OOS Categories II and III in the upcoming year.

Estimated Number of Individuals with Existing Plans of Service in the Next Fiscal Year:

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services estimates that it will serve 22,536 individuals during fiscal year 2014-2015. This number includes all cases from application through the service statuses (including cases already open the previous fiscal year).

Projected Cost for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program in the Next Fiscal Year:

LRS is projecting that the VR Program will need $51,930,440 to provide services to eligible consumers. Projected revenue is State General Funds of $8,124,820 and Federal Section 110 Funds of $43,805,620. ?

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 13,019 1,294 1,025 FY 2015 $16,539,931
2 6,370 634 502 FY 2015 $5,608,934
3 2,323 231 182 FY 2015 $2,170,903
4 510 50 40 FY 2015 $123,835
5 314 30 24 FY 2015 $66,126

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 10:29AM by Teresa Milner

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.

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) will provide and improve the quality of supported employment services through the Title VI, Part B program to individuals with the most significant disabilities through a project designed to improve outcomes for all supported employment consumers.

Description The Order of Selection assures that individuals with the most significant disabilities receive priority for vocational rehabilitation services.

The first two Selection Groups are defined most significantly disabled as follows:

Selection Group I - The most significantly disabled individuals. (Severe limitations in four or more functional capacity areas.)

Selection Group II - The most significantly disabled individuals. (Severe limitations in three functional capacity areas.)

The goals and plans of the program will be: 1. To ensure the quality of supported employment services provided to eligible consumers by monitoring the vendors. The monitoring will utilize site reviews and include quality indicators to evaluate the assessment of employment outcomes and an evaluation of the provision of services. The monitoring will be carried out by the state and field office staff.

2. To investigate, purchase or provide technical assistance and training opportunities for state office and field office staff to improve the supported employment service delivery system. The field staff will receive supported employment training directed at case management and quality supported employment services.

3. To coordinate with Region VI Community Rehabilitation Program – Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE), the Department of Health & Hospitals (Office of Behavioral Health, Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities – Support Waivers Program, and Medicaid Purchase Plan), the University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE), the Employment Network of Louisiana, Inc (professional association of supported employment vendors), the Louisiana Chapter of the Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE), the Jefferson Parish Human Services Agency (JPHSA), LSU Health Science Center Human Development Center and the Louisiana Work Pays Consortium in order to provide input to vendor agencies providing supported employment services and to solicit input from these agencies in the planning and implementation of quality supported employment services.

4. To coordinate with other agencies (public and private), employers and advocates to establish multiple options for extended services, including the use of natural supports, to ensure more successful supported employment outcomes.

Supported Employment Models Used by LRS

1. Individual one-on-one job coach 2. Mobile crew model 3. Enclave model

Individuals to be Served It is estimated that approximately 450 individuals will be provided supported employment services with the funding available through the Title VI, Part B program in FY 2013. As LRS closed Order of Selection Group II on September 30, 2010, only individuals with the most significant disabilities, in Selection Group I will be served under this program.

This screen was last updated on Jun 11 2014 12:26PM by Teresa Milner

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.

Objective A. Provide training resources to 100% of agency staff in order to increase their efficiency in service provision through FY 2015.

Strategy 1. Implement upgrades to the Accessible Web-based Activity and Reporting Environment System (AWARE) software.

Strategy 2. Coordinate succession training for staff members interested in pursuing leadership positions.

Strategy 3. Provide in-service training to regional staff annually as identified by training needs assessments/surveys and quality assurance reviews.

Strategy 4. Provide agency funding and/or support for professional staff to obtain a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling in accordance with the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development.

Strategy 5. Develop and implement methods to increase recruitment and retention of qualified staff.

Strategy 6. Provide LRS staff with disabilities, written or electronic communication in accessible format(s) or provide other reasonable accommodations.

Objective B. Monitor and evaluate 100% of the Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) annually for quality and cost effectiveness of service provision in order to assure compliance with agency standards through FY 2015.

Strategy 1. Monitor and evaluate CRPs through a Regional Annual Renewal Process.

Strategy 2. Monitor and evaluate the cost effectiveness of service provision by reviews of a sample of CRPs through site visits on an annual basis.

Strategy 3. Annually measure consumer satisfaction with CRP services through agency survey instrument.

Strategy 4. Conduct outreach to determine potential vendors who can collaborate to serve targeted populations in rural areas including, but not limited to, those who are veterans, mentally ill, ex-felons, recovering substance abusers or homeless.

Objective C. Provide quality vocational rehabilitation services leading to employment outcomes for 2000 eligible individuals with disabilities through FY 2015.

Strategy 1. Evaluate and monitor case record documentation to maintain at least a 90% average level of compliance with agency policy and procedures.

Strategy 2. Identify private Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) to provide work ethic training in regions without REAPs.

Strategy 3. Identify private employers to partner/collaborate with to provide job development/placement.

Strategy 4. Increase Counselor presence in secondary education settings in order to improve provision of vocational rehabilitation services to transition students.

Strategy 5. Increase resources for assistive technology assessment and devices to improve employment outcomes.

Strategy 6. Develop and provide agency forms in various languages.

Strategy 7. Ensure LRS office buildings are 504 compliant.

Strategy 8. Expand employment opportunities though improved interfaces with professional organizations focused on employment.

Strategy 9. Increase outreach to targeted populations who are identified by the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment as being unserved/underserved, including those needing supported employment.

Strategy 10. Create an informational video to assist in educating the public about LRS services.

Strategy 11.Explore options for collaboration to provide transportation to consumers in rural areas.

Strategy 12. Consider revision of the agency’s current economic need guidelines.

Strategy 13. Explore options for collaboration to provide services to specific disability populations including those diagnosed with developmental delays/autism, mental illness or substance abuse, blindness/deaf-blindness, deafness/hard-of-hearing or individuals who are students in transition.

Strategy 14. Establish vocational training programs through Community Rehabilitation Providers/Workforce Partners to enable consumers to obtain employment in top demand occupations.

Objective D. Work collaboratively with the other Workforce Partners to ensure that funds and services to consumers with disabilities are accessed and utilized to the utmost extent by 2015.

Strategy 1. Explore and utilize web-based networks in order to improve consumer employment outcomes.

Strategy 2. Continue collaboration with the Second Injury Fund (SIF) to assist consumers in obtaining or maintaining employment.

Strategy 3. Explore and implement third party agreements and/or establishment projects with other Workforce Partners, Community Rehabilitation Programs and/or public/private entities based on the identified needs of consumers.

Strategy 4. Explore funding options to increase the number of Counselors dedicated to providing services to transition students.

Strategy 5. Explore feasibility of hiring a Program Coordinator to collaborate with Louisiana Workforce partners on employment initiatives.

Objective E. Increase by 12% the utilization and efficiency of services provided by LRS operated Rehabilitation Employment Assessment Programs (REAPs) by FY 2015.

Strategy 1. Provide the most efficient assessment tools to the REAP facilities.

Objective F. Increase the number of managers earning at least $25,000 annually by expanding opportunities and enhancing consumer service delivery in the Randolph-Sheppard Program.

Strategy 1. Monitor all legislation, which might impact the program’s preference (first choice at selecting to occupy available locations).

Strategy 2. Expand training for licensed blind managers to enhance skills, entrepreneurial abilities, and quality of service to consumers.

 

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.

A one (1) year contract for AT service delivery with Louisiana Tech University (CREST) is in the third quarter of this contract year. CREST professionals provide consumers with direct AT evaluation and assessment services state-wide. During the second quarter of the current contract, 34 consumers received assistive technology services. (Note: Many of those were evaluated in more than one service area. For example, when a counselor makes a referral for a wheelchair assessment, they also may request an assessment for transporting that device.) LRS and La Tech are in the process of renewing the contract with guidance from RSA.

Contract services included computer assessment, activities-of-daily-living evaluations, home and job-modification evaluations, adaptive driving and transportation evaluations, vehicle modification reports, and seating and positioning assessments for wheelchairs and wheeled mobility systems.

LRS continues to coordinate with Louisiana Assistive Technology Network (LATAN) on an expanded program, funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to provide state-wide demonstration-learning, lending, and purchasing assistance of assistive technology. LATAN is a member the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters and has participated with LRS in planning for emergency response for persons with disabilities. LATAN is conducting training to assist individuals with their personal planning for evacuations. LATAN now has a vendor number and is providing a device-rental service so consumers may have a more realistic trial use of an AT device before requesting that LRS provide them with said device. With state-executed mid-year services budget cuts, LRS has referred consumers to the LATAN finance/loan program to assist them is acquiring AT that exceeds the LRS budget scope. With a significantly lower allocation from the State Legislature, LATAN closed their facility in Shreveport, and co-located with the La Tech University campus in Shreveport. This resulted in a significant cost-savings to LATAN and allowed them to continue the collaboration with La Tech in the area of demonstration and equipment lending for extended trial of AT equipment by consumers.

In FY 2013, the AT Program Coordinator initiated a plan to co-locate the LATAN Baton Rouge facility with the Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR) Rehabilitation Counseling Department in order to save the costs of renting private facility space. Planning included an on-site-visit, with the LATAN Board recommending pursuit of this plan. The SUBR administration and faculty are currently reviewing the plan, and determining if it is feasible. Benefits to the plan include better collaboration, clinical experience of the allied health program students and graduate students, and perhaps more immersive, community involvement.

 

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.

LRS Counselors are required to conduct outreach to faculty and students statewide at high schools and colleges to educate consumers with disabilities, who are unserved or underserved, regarding available VR services. In addition, outreach is conducted at prisons for individuals in pre-release programs and at community functions regarding available services.

In rural areas, the counselors travel to meet with applicants/consumers in a convenient location to provide services and work with them to obtain employment.

Based on needs identified in the needs assessment for transition students, outreach to local school districts continues to be conducted to identify those districts who are interested in a Third Party Cooperative Agreement for transition services to increase success and improve post-secondary outcomes for students with disabilities.

LRS maintains a strong collaboration with the OBH, OCDD and the Office of Aging and Adult Services (OAAS) to identify potential source of referrals.

LRS works collaboratively with Section 121 VR programs to ensure that any service needs to Native American’s with disabilities are met. A Program Coordinator is assigned to provide technical assistance to the field concerning outreach to this population.

Outreach is performed through presentations at events sponsored by Section 121 groups and at functions attended by Native Americans. A representative from Section 121 VR programs is on the State Rehabilitation Council and acts as a liaison between the two programs.

 

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

LRS monitors and evaluates 100% of the CRPs annually for quality and cost effectiveness of service provision to determine what improvements may be needed as well as to assure compliance with agency standards.

LRS works to increase the utilization and efficiency of services provided at LRS operated Rehabilitation Employment Assessment Programs (REAPs) by 12% annually.

Based on the results of the triennial statewide needs assessment, LRS identified areas of the state where CRPs are unable to meet the current need or are not present to provide services. This information is used to explore funding options, facility and staffing needs to establish, develop or improve CRPs.

LRS continues to work with the Lighthouse of Louisiana to increase employment opportunities for consumers of vocational rehabilitation in the Baton Rouge area. Services being provided include orientation and mobility, activities of daily living skill development, job readiness, job placement and supported employment.

In addition, LRS continues to work with the establishment project, Upliftd/Alliance for the Homeless one-stop homeless center in Baton Rouge. Services currently being provided include vocational assessment, job readiness/job placement, support services for employment such as occupational tools & equipment, transportation, and information/referral to other community resources.

 

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

Strategies to improve performance are listed in the section above entitled “Describe the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities.”

 

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

LRS continues to collaborate with LWC in identifying effective ways to integrate services in the Career Solution Centers and to be involved with the Workforce Commission and its eighteen (18) Workforce Investment Areas. LRS is represented on each of the 18 boards and attends meetings as scheduled. There are eighteen (18) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) established with each of the 18 WIBs. Within the 18 Workforce Investment Areas, 63 Career Solution Centers have been established. Eighteen cost allocation plans have been completed by the WIBs, and approved by all parties. LRS has a good working relationship with the Career Solution Centers and continues to pay expenses to the local Career Solution Centers for our participation, as per the local cost allocation plans. To improve knowledge regarding assistive technology and address other accessibility issues, LRS’ Program Coordinator for Rehabilitation Technology continues to provide consultation to the Career Solution Centers. In addition, our agency’s REDS serve as the LRS liaison for all Career Solution Centers within their region and include providing “LRS Public Awareness” as well as services to consumers such as job seeking skills techniques and employment development. LRS and LWC are committed to the success of the Career Solution Centers and work collaboratively to serve individuals with disabilities at assigned Centers.

LRS continues to renew and revise existing local cooperative agreements, as applicable, with the 70 school districts and 104 Charter Schools in Louisiana in Louisiana. As part of the State Transition Plan, the DOE and LRS continue to work together to establish Regional Core teams throughout the state. The LRS’ Transition Program Coordinator continues to collaborate and partner with DOE, OCDD, Work Incentive Planning Program, Office of Community Services, LWC, and the Office of Youth Development in an effort to network, share information and utilize comparable benefits to enhance VR services to transition students. The primary focus of LRS’ collaboration is to identify and address barriers (e.g. policies, eligibility process, resource allocation); assure effective service provision through the support of local interagency core teams, provide cross-agency training, outreach, engage in capacity building of young adults and family outreach efforts; provide continued support of innovative models and practices related to transition; and provide information and technical assistance. The Program Coordinator provides guidance and information to the Rehabilitation Counselors regarding specific transition issues. The Program Coordinator is working collaboratively with CURRENTS’ Coordinator, Peggy Hale, using monthly conference calls, to discuss transition topics and provide information to LRS’ field offices. The Training Unit has developed a School to Work Job Readiness Curriculum and has trained staff to implement the curriculum with eligible students. Training will continue to be provided statewide. VR Counselors are encouraged to provide services at least once a month, when feasible, to students determined appropriate for Job Readiness training.

LRS, in partnership with Work Pay$, the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, and the LWC, participated in the planning and implementation of the Louisiana Job Fairs as part of Louisiana’s observance of the 2013 National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Due to funding shortfalls, the 2013 Job Fairs were held in three cities (Shreveport, Monroe, and Alexandria) during the month of October. The Lafayette Region was able to combine with several other organizations to hold their own job fair.

LRS’ contract with University of New Orleans’ Training Resource and Assistive-Technology Center (UNO-TRAC) to provide self-employment training services to eligible consumers interested in self-employment as a vocational option expired in June of 2013. Due to budget considerations on the part of the agency and UNO, this contract was not renewed. Fifteen (15) individuals with disabilities received assistance from LRS in establishing a small business in FY 2013.

As LRS continues to focus on increasing/enhancing quality employment outcomes, every Regional Office now has a REDS position or an Employment Specialist that provides job development/placement assistance to consumers. This assistance may include direct job placement, job shadowing, work experience, on the job training, or custom solutions.

LRS established a workgroup to direct the agency toward an employment based outcome model. State Office staff members, Regional Manager and a stakeholder representative comprise the steering committee. Three workgroups were established to review LRS processes and make recommendations in the following areas: (1) application/intake/referral/eligibility; (2) service delivery/IPE and (3) employment. These workgroups were comprised of a cross section of LRS staff including District Supervisors, Counselors and Rehabilitation Counselor Associates.

The workgroups were charged with establishing best practice models to improve services and employment outcomes for LRS consumers. Recommendations from the workgroups were reviewed by the steering committee to consider the feasibility of implementation and, if agreed upon, submitted to the LRS Director for review and approval. Some of the changes recommended and implemented included: the production of a video/DVD that provides an overview of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Each regional office was provided DVDs of the video to use as an educational tool when conducting outreach. The video was also placed on You Tube and is accessible through the LRS/LWC website.

In addition, a State Office position was recommended and hired to coordinate employment activities statewide. The Employment Initiative Program Coordinator serves as LRS’ direct contact to the VR Business Network and distributes job leads and information to the regional offices. In FY 2013, the VR Business Network provided job leads from all over the country. Some of the job leads were from the following companies: Walgreen’s, Lowe’s, Black Hills Corp., TJX Companies, Office Max, Wells Fargo, Hershey Company, DOL, Manpower, Inc., USDA, Marriott International, and many others.

LRS continues to participate with OCDD in the “Employment First” initiative, which was designed to provide employment as a first option for persons with developmental disabilities, as an alternative to institutionalization, and to provide integration/independence in the community.

 

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.

LRS will use goals and strategies in this State Plan to determine staffing for initiatives, funding appropriations, and address the VR needs identified in the triennial needs assessment to improve services to consumers with disabilities. The agency will appoint staff members to coordinate and conduct activities to achieve identified goals and strategies.

During FY 2013, LRS used the innovation and expansion funds per allowable expenditures identified in the federal regulations 34 CFR 361.35 to support the salaries, travels, and activities of the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council staff person and it members and the Statewide Independent Living Council. In addition the AWARE case management system will be supported.

LRS’ strategies to help 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.

Transportation continues to be a barrier in Louisiana, particularly in the rural areas. In order to provide services to individuals living in rural areas, VR Counselors travel to the areas to meet with consumers in their homes, at Career Solution Centers, and in offices made available by community partners.

The Governor approved HR-187 in July 2012, establishing an inter-agency workgroup to determine the feasibility of coordinating and networking organization to provide better consumer access, and more efficient use of a state-wide fleet of ADA-accessible vehicles. The AT Program Coordinator participated as the LRS representative at monthly meetings to develop a plan to be presented to the future Louisiana Legislative session. A proposal was made to proceed with a comprehensive plan to network transportation proposals and increase public awareness and access to non-fixed-route transportation services. Through collaborative efforts, a database was made available to the Regional Managers in LRS that allows searching by parish to find possible transportation services for our customers. The AT Program Coordinator continues to work with agencies providing transportation-related services to increase accessibility and availability of transportation for individuals with disabilities in the state.

To address language barriers, LRS utilizes its bilingual staff members statewide to provide interpreting services to consumers who do not speak English. When bilingual staff members are not available, interpreters are obtained to facilitate meetings with counselors or employers. In addition, LRS has staff trained in American Sign Language (ASL) to work with consumers who are deaf. Interpreters are obtained when necessary.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2014 4:34PM by Teresa Milner

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

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

The following summarizes the agency objectives/goals and the progress that has been made toward reaching them. Goals and Priorities of the agency are addressed in 4.11(c)(1). Strategies applying to each of the following objectives are addressed in 4.11(d).

Objective A. Develop a comprehensive succession plan to identify and prepare staff to meet the agency’s management position needs through FY 2015. Strategy 1. Complete an internal review of personnel and identify where current and potential gaps exist (beginning first with management positions) through FY 2013. Progress: Currently, 90% of Regional/REAP Managers, 62% of District Supervisors and 55% of State Office staff are eligible to retire within 5 years. The results also concluded a shortage of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors. Strategy 2. Ensure job descriptions are inclusive of all essential job functions for those critical job positions identified that will be vacant within the next two to five years. Progress: Job descriptions were reviewed and updated, as needed. Strategy 3. Develop a process for identifying staff members to participate in succession training that will include specific criteria and methodology for tracking progress and development by 2013. Progress: The agency utilizes a formal application process in conjunction with a selection committee consisting of the agency senior level staff. In an effort to ensure skilled and knowledgeable leaders, the agency worked with Region VI TACE to implement its first Leadership Academy in April 2014. Strategy 4. Develop personal training plans for staff members interested in pursuing leadership positions by 2013. Progress: A component of the departmental performance review includes training planned for staff, this section is completed quarterly.

Objective B. Monitor and evaluate 100% of the Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) annually for quality and cost effectiveness of service provision in order to assure compliance with agency standards through FY 2015.

Progress: In 2013, 109 of 109 CRPs were monitored; some were site visits and others consisted of case file reviews. Where remediation was noted, the Program Coordinator provided technical assistance. The agency continues to monitor CRP fee-for-service rates on an as-need basis.

Objective C. Monitor and evaluate CRPs through a Regional Annual Renewal Process.

Strategy 1. Monitor and evaluate the cost effectiveness of service provision by reviews of a sample of CRPs through site visits on an annual basis.

Progress: In FY 2013, thirty-three site visits were conducted.

Strategy 2. Annually measure consumer satisfaction with CRP services through agency survey instrument.

Progress: In FY 2013, a consumer satisfaction survey was conducted indicating that CRP program satisfaction was 93%.

Objective D. Provide training resources to 100% of agency staff in order to increase their efficiency in service provision through FY 2015.

Strategy 1.Support field office staff by visits of state office management staff to regional locations on an annual basis. Progress: State office staff members visited all regional offices in FY 2013 to provide information and training identified as a need for increasing efficiency. Strategy 2.Support field office staff by providing in-service training to regional staff on an annual basis. Progress: In-service training provided to regional office staff included Transition Services, Job Search and Interviewing, Motor Voter Training, Ethics and Sexual Harassment in the Work Place.

Strategy 3. Provide LRS staff members with disabilities, written or electronic communication in accessible format(s) or provide other reasonable accommodations. Progress: LRS provides materials in a variety of accessible formats for staff members with disabilities. Strategy 4. Collaborate with other agencies to ensure cross training will occur between LRS and other agencies. Progress: LRS staff members provided training to Career Solution Centers employees regarding Vocational Rehabilitation Services and working with individuals with disabilities. LRS staff meets monthly with potential consumers at the Career Solution Centers.

The AT Program Coordinator continues to provide training of ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines and implications for new construction or re-purposed buildings in the private and public sector of business and organizations serving the public, in coordination with the Louisiana State Fire Marshall’s office.

Strategy 5. Implement upgrades to the Accessible Web-based Activity and Reporting Environment System (AWARE), the Web-based computer system for case documentation, caseload management, budgets and expenditures, and outcome reporting.

Progress: Staff was provided training on the two AWARE upgrades completed in FY 2013.

Strategy 6. Implement LRS multi-regional training, as feasible, in order to increase opportunities for agency staff to network statewide.

Progress: LRS Training Unit coordinated and conducted four multi-regional trainings as well as two new Counselor Academies in FY 2013. VR case processes and other content to improve service delivery were covered. In addition, staff indicated the benefit of networking with their peers from other regions.

Strategy 7. Explore other funding opportunities to serve more consumers.

Progress: LRS explored the following funding opportunities in FY 2013 to include:

• A potential third party agreement with DOE to provide services to transition students. • A third party agreement with Jefferson Parishes Human Services Authority to provide services to transition students and individuals with mental illness was completed. • A third party agreement with Bossier Parish Community College in Shreveport to provide services to transition students was completed. • Collaborated with UpLiftd to provide rehabilitation services to the homeless in Baton Rouge through an establishment project. • Continued working on establishment project with Lighthouse of Louisiana. • Continued to collaborate with Workers Compensations’ Second Injury Fund Board to utilize federal funding from RSA. • A third party agreement with Grant Parish School Board to provide services to transition students was completed. • An establishment project with Acadiana Works, Inc. to provide supported employment in the underserved rural Acadiana parishes of Region 4 was completed.

Objective E. Provide VR services leading to an increase in employment outcomes to 1000 eligible individuals with disabilities through FY 2015.

Progress: In FY 2013, LRS provided services to 26,451 consumers leading to the successful employment of 2,236. This will represent the base figure. In subsequent years, LRS will provide services leading to an increase in employment outcomes by 200 per year to achieve the total increase amount of 1,000.

Strategy 1. Increase Rehabilitation Counselor contact with students with disabilities in secondary education in order to improve provision of VR services to transition students.

Progress: LRS continues to renew and revise existing local cooperative agreements, as applicable, with the 70 school districts and 104 Charter Schools in Louisiana in Louisiana. As part of the State Transition Plan, the DOE and LRS continue to work together to establish Regional Core teams throughout the state. The LRS’ Transition Program Coordinator continues to collaborate and partner with DOE, OCDD, Work Incentive Planning Program, Office of Community Services, LWC, and the Office of Youth Development in an effort to network, share information and utilize comparable benefits to enhance VR services to transition students. The primary focus of LRS’ collaboration is to identify and address barriers (e.g. policies, eligibility process, resource allocation); assure effective service provision through the support of local interagency core teams, provide cross-agency training, outreach, engage in capacity building of young adults and family outreach efforts; provide continued support of innovative models and practices related to transition; and provide information and technical assistance. The Program Coordinator provides guidance and information to the Rehabilitation Counselors regarding specific transition issues. The Program Coordinator is working collaboratively with CURRENTS’ Coordinator, Peggy Hale, using monthly conference calls, to discuss transition topics and provide information to LRS’ field offices. The Training Unit has developed a School to Work Job Readiness Curriculum and has trained staff to implement the curriculum with eligible students. Training will continue to be provided statewide. VR Counselors are encouraged to provide services at least once a month, when feasible, to students determined appropriate for Job Readiness training.

Strategy 2. Request funding to increase the number of Rehabilitation Counselors dedicated to providing services to transition students.

Progress: LRS has identified funding. As a position is vacated, and the agency has approval to fill the position, a review of the region’s staffing needs is conducted to determine if additional transitions counselors will be hired. Currently, LRS has designated one transition counselor in five of the eight regions; however, since most regions are large and include many rural parishes, general caseload rehabilitation counselors are also assigned to work with transition students.

Strategy 3. Increase staff presence with private employers through partnering and/or collaboration to do job development.

Progress: LRS contracted with TEEM (Time, Emotional competence, Energy and Money) Academy, a private non-profit, to provide job development and job placement through Rehabilitation Employment Development Specialists (REDS) for several regions of the state. In addition, LRS acquired REDS via job appointments to collaborate with employers for job development and placement in the remaining regions of the state to increase staff presence with employers throughout the state.

Last year, third party agreements were entered into with Jefferson Parish Human Services District and Grant Parish School Board to provide vocational rehabilitation services aimed at increasing the employment outcomes for transition students and those individuals with mental illness began. This year, two additional TPCA for transition services began with Bossier Parish Community college and Franklin Parish School Board.

LRS continues in its partnership with the Homeless Alliance Program in Baton Rouge and the Lighthouse for the Blind to provide job development/placement services.

Also, this year, an establishment project for a supported employment program with Acadiana Works, Inc. was started that included job development and job placement services in the underserved rural Acadiana parishes of Region 4.

Strategy 4. Increase resources for assistive technology assessment and devices to improve employment outcomes.

Progress: A one (1) year contract for AT service delivery with Louisiana Tech University (CREST) is in the third quarter of this contract year. CREST professionals provide consumers with direct AT evaluation and assessment services state-wide. During the second quarter of the current contract, 34 consumers received assistive technology services. (Note: Many of those were evaluated in more than one service area. For example, when a counselor makes a referral for a wheelchair assessment, they also may request an assessment for transporting that device.) LRS and La Tech are in the process of renewing the contract with guidance from RSA.

Contract services included computer assessment, activities-of-daily-living evaluations, home and job-modification evaluations, adaptive driving and transportation evaluations, vehicle modification reports, and seating and positioning assessments for wheelchairs and wheeled mobility systems.

LRS continues to coordinate with Louisiana Assistive Technology Network (LATAN) on an expanded program, funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to provide state-wide demonstration-learning, lending, and purchasing assistance of assistive technology. LATAN is a member the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters and has participated with LRS in planning for emergency response for persons with disabilities. LATAN is conducting training to assist individuals with their personal planning for evacuations. LATAN now has a vendor number and is providing a device-rental service so consumers may have a more realistic trial use of an AT device before requesting that LRS provide them with said device. With state-executed mid-year services budget cuts, LRS has referred consumers to the LATAN finance/loan program to assist them is acquiring AT that exceeds the LRS budget scope. With a significantly lower allocation from the State Legislature, LATAN closed their facility in Shreveport, and co-located with the La Tech University campus in Shreveport. This resulted in a significant cost-savings to LATAN and allowed them to continue the collaboration with La Tech in the area of demonstration and equipment lending for extended trial of AT equipment by consumers.

In 2013, the AT Program Coordinator initiated a plan to co-locate the LATAN Baton Rouge facility with the Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR) Rehabilitation Counseling Department in order to save the costs of renting private facility space. Planning included an on-site-visit, with the LATAN Board recommending pursuit of this plan. The SUBR administration and faculty are currently reviewing the plan, and determining if it is feasible. Benefits to the plan include better collaboration, clinical experience of the allied health program students and graduate students, and perhaps more immersive, community involvement.

The AT Program Coordinator initiated a state-wide comprehensive review of the LRS policy and guidelines, in May 2012, for the acquisition of AT and AT Services to assist him with this review, and resultant recommendations to the LRS Director, two LRS Executives, two Regional Managers, a District Supervisor, a Master-level Rehabilitation Counselor with an ATP certification, and two outside experts in Assistive Technology met monthly. In 2013 the review team reported their findings, with recommendations to the LRS Director. The approved changes have been made to the Technical Assistance and Guidance Manual.

Objective F. Work collaboratively with the Career Solution Centers to ensure that funds and services to consumers are used and leveraged to the utmost extent.

Progress: LRS continues to collaborate with LWC in identifying effective ways to integrate services in the Career Solution Centers and to be involved with the Workforce Commission and its eighteen (18) Workforce Investment Areas. LRS is represented on each of the 18 boards and attends meetings as scheduled. There are eighteen (18) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) established with each of the 18 WIBs. Within the 18 Workforce Investment Areas, 63 Career Solution Centers have been established. Eighteen cost allocation plans have been completed by the WIBs, and approved by all parties. LRS has a good working relationship with the Career Solution Centers and continues to pay expenses to the local Career Solution Centers for our participation, as per the local cost allocation plans. To improve knowledge regarding assistive technology and address other accessibility issues, LRS’ Program Coordinator for Rehabilitation Technology continues to provide consultation to the Career Solution Centers. In addition, our agency’s REDS serve as the LRS liaison for all Career Solution Centers within their region and include providing “LRS Public Awareness” as well as services to consumers such as job seeking skills techniques and employment development. LRS and LWC are committed to the success of the Career Solution Centers and work collaboratively to serve individuals with disabilities at assigned Centers.

Strategy 1. Incorporate and utilize existing web-based networks (i.e. LaVOS) in order to improve consumer employment outcomes.

Progress: In FY 2013, LRS investigated the use of the Work Number software and determined it would be a useful tool for staff as it would allow cross-checks with nationwide systems reporting income and employment information. LRS is currently using Work Number software and has been able to locate many successfully employed consumers.

Strategy 2. Assess the agency’s performance on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to improve agency performance.

Progress: Agency performance is reviewed monthly at State Office and quarterly with LWC. The five-year Strategic Plan is reviewed annually and strategies are developed or changed depending on agency/departmental need.

Objective G. Through a quality assurance programmatic case review system, evaluate and monitor case record documentation to maintain at least a 90% average level of compliance with agency policy and procedures through FY 2015.

Progress: LRS quality assurance staff randomly selected and reviewed 309 consumer service records during the 2013 review cycle (January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013). Samples were drawn statewide from records in Service and Closed Rehabilitated statuses to review the following areas of casework for compliance: Application, Eligibility, Assessment, IPE, Supervision, Closed Rehabilitated, and Fiscal. The statewide rate of counselor compliance with agency documentation requirements delineated in the QA-1 monitoring form was measured at 94.6% (> 90% is considered “Satisfactory”) for the 2013 review cycle. This compliance rating represents an increase (.3%) from the 2012 review year which was measured at 94.3%. The sample size for the 2013 review year was in compliance with RSA recommendations (2%) based on total consumer population.

Each of the eight regions achieved a “Satisfactory” rating during the 2013 review cycle for casework documentation compliance measured by the monitoring form. Regional scores ranged from 92% to 97%. Corrective action recommendations resulting from QA monitoring activities for the 2013 review year have been implemented. The QA-1 monitoring form was revised to incorporate changes in LRS guidelines implemented over the past 12 months.

Five Master Rehabilitation Counselor reviews were conducted by the Quality Assurance Unit during the 2013 review year. Four of the caseloads reviewed for promotion to Master Rehabilitation Counselor status exceeded the 90% compliance level required.

Strategy 1. Collaborate with state office programmatic staff relative to identified areas needing improvement to provide training, as applicable.

Progress: The QA unit conducted statewide in-service trainings on the QA-l during 2013. The trainings consisted of a thorough review of the 2013 QA-1 Monitoring from. Each of the questions in the nine sections of the QA-1 were reviewed to provide an explanation of the content, the rationale for inclusion on the QA-1, the documentation required to meet compliance, and identification of the related LRS policies and/or procedures in the Technical Assistance and Guidance Manual and the AWARE Manual.

Objective H. To improve service delivery to consumers by increasing competency of 100% of agency staff through professional development training opportunities by FY 2015.

Strategy 1. Provide a minimum of two annual trainings to state office and regional staff members on training needs from the agency in-service training needs tools. Progress: In-service training provided to regional office staff included Transition Services, Job Search and Interviewing, Motor Voter Training, Ethics and Sexual Harassment in the Work Place.

Strategy 2. Provide agency funding and /or support for professional staff to obtain a Master Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling in accordance with the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development. Progress: The agency currently has one counselor working toward a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. Strategy 3. Provide agency funds and /or support for new hires without a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling to attain this degree within 5 years of attaining permanent status. Progress: The agency provides funding for books and supplies, and educational leave for staff members pursuing their Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. Strategy 4. Develop and implement a plan for paraprofessional staff members to obtain training relative to the VR program per the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development. Progress: Rehabilitation Counselor Associates and other support staff participate in monthly in-service training conducted in each regional office including timely rehabilitation topics. In addition, Excel/Word training and Conflict Management Skills for Women was provided to some of the support staff.

Strategy 5. Continue to provide opportunities for professional staff to attend leadership/management training programs. Progress: The LRS Director and a Program Coordinator participated in the National Executive Leadership Institute which was held in San Diego. LRS implemented its first Leadership Development Academy. Eighteen staff members were selected to participate. Quarterly training sessions and 20 hours of mentorship training from a mid-level or senior level manager is required. Strategy 6. Develop and implement methods to increase recruitment and retention of qualified staff. Progress: Agency staff present annually to various organizations or at activities on Southern University campus in order to recruit individuals interested in working in the Rehabilitation field. LRS staff also works with Southern University and Louisiana State University Health Science Center graduate program to provide internship opportunities. Strategy 7. Inform universities offering a Master Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling about agency job openings and how to apply for vacancies through the agency process that has been developed. Progress: Agency staff provides information to Southern University and Louisiana State University Health Science Center regarding job openings and how to apply for vacancies through the Louisiana Civil Service System. Strategy 8. Provide professional development training for Randolph Sheppard Management Analysts. Progress: The RSMA’s were provided audit training.

Other training actively coordinated, planned and conducted for LRS staff members included the following: • Job Searching and Interviewing • Peer Support for Employment Success • Training Forum for State Coordinators for the Deaf • Psychometric Property of Testing – Tool Administration • Microsoft Office 2010 Word Training • Vocational Evaluation – Report Writing • Motivational Interviewing • Excelling as a Manager • WRAT-4 • Rehabilitation for Persons with Depressive Disorders • Rehabilitation for Persons with Bipolar Disorder • Conflict Management Skills for Women • Symposium on HIV-AIDS and Employment • UNO TRAC-Microsoft Excel • Motor Voter Training

Objective I. Increase by 12% the utilization and efficiency of services provided by LRS operated Rehabilitation Employment Assessment Programs (REAPs) by FY 2015.

Progress: LRS operated four REAPs serving 1,426 consumers. The average cost per consumer was $584. LRS exceeded its goal of 12% utilization of REAPs’ in FY 2013.

Strategy 1. Investigate and determine the most efficient assessment tools and incorporate these in the REAP facilities by end of FY 2015.

Progress: Assessments tools are reviewed annually and updated as needed to insure that the consumers’ evaluations are accurate.

Strategy 2. Identify and access private CRPs to provide work ethic training in regions without REAPs; and then later explore expansion in those regions with REAPs as demand warrants.

Progress: This has been conducted and every region has at least one CRP that provides this service.

Objective J. Increase the number of managers earning at least $25,000 annually by expanding opportunities and enhancing consumer service delivery in the Randolph-Sheppard Program.

Progress: The Randolph Sheppard program currently operates 75 facilities throughout the state with 65 licensed Managers operating these locations. The average income for FY 2013 was $30,672.

The Program added a new position, a Program Specialist, dedicated to third party agreements, new locations and expansion opportunities. This enabled the Program to open its first Starbucks and Einstein’s Bagel under Blind Managers. These locations have been successful and the Program hopes to expand by adding additional “branded” facilities.

Strategy 1. Monitor all legislation, which might impact the program’s preference (first choice at selecting to occupy available locations).

Progress: This is monitored annually during the legislative session.

Strategy 2. Expand training for licensed blind managers to enhance skills, entrepreneurial abilities, and quality of service to consumers.

Progress: Managers are provided upward mobility training annually. In addition, regional training is conducted to address specific problems.

Strategy 3. Merge existing low earning locations as appropriate to reach the targeted annual rate.

Progress: This continues to be investigated to determine the feasibility of combining these locations.

Factors Impeding the Agency’s Ability to Complete Goals and Strategies

LRS continues to be unable to obtain the state match to access full federal funding available. The decline in funding continues to limit services and increase staff reductions.

As of October 1, 2010, Order of Selection Category II was closed. New consumers determined eligible in Categories II - V are placed on a waiting list. Only those new consumers placed in Category I, with the most significant disabilities, are eligible to receive new plans for services.

 

Three thousand six hundred and thirteen (3,613) individuals with disabilities received supported employment services in FY 2013. The supported employment goals and plans are identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(4).

It is estimated that approximately 450 individuals will be provided supported employment services with the funding available through the Title VI, Part B program in FY 2014. Individuals with the most significant disabilities, Selection Group I, will be served under this program.

Order of Selection Category II was closed effective October 1, 2010. Only new consumers placed in Category I, with the most significant disabilities, are eligible to receive new plans for supported employment services. New consumers determined eligible in Category II are placed on a waiting list.

Due to the economic recession and continued state budget cuts, LRS is unable to obtain the state match to access full federal funding available. The decline in funding continues to limit services and increase staff reductions.

 

STANDARDS AND INDICATORS

Employment Outcomes

The Federal Performance Indicators were affected by the significant decline in the economy both on the state and national level. These affects include, but are not limited to the following:

• State budget deficits leading to mid-year cuts in the LRS budget • Cuts in LRS staff/positions and hiring freezes • Lack of funding to serve new consumers determined eligible and placed in OOS categories II - V.

Performance Indicator 1.1: The number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exit the VR program after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period.

Two thousand two hundred and thirty-six (2,236) consumers exited the VR program having achieved an employment outcome in FY 2013. LRS had 2,012 consumers who exited the VR program in FY 2012 with a successful employment outcome. LRS saw an increase of 224 successful closures for 2013 as compared to 2012.

Performance Indicator 1.2: Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage that are determined to have achieved an employment outcome.

A total of 8,788 consumer cases were closed after receiving services in FY 2013. Consumer’s cases closed as achieving an employment outcome was 2,236. Consumer success rate for FY2013 was 25.43%. This is a 24.29% decrease in the percentage with employment outcomes from the previous year. It is noted that the agency did a statewide caseload clean-up in 2013.

Performance Indicator 1.3: Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentage that exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage.

In FY 2013, 2,236 consumers exited the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment having achieved an employment outcome; which resulted in 99.9% or 2,234 consumers earning at least Louisiana’s minimum hourly wage of $7.25.

Performance Indicator 1.4: All individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-employment or BEP employment with earning equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are individuals with significant disabilities. In FY 2013, 2,234 consumers exiting the VR program in competitive, self-employment or BEP employment earned a wage greater than or equal to the $7.25 minimum hourly wage. Of the 2,234 consumers 2,198 or 98.4% were significantly disabled.

Performance Indicator 1.5: The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with earning levels equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to the state’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the state who are employed.

The average hourly earnings of individuals exiting the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment for FY 2013 was $11.55, which is a ratio of.56 to the state average hourly wage earnings of $20.61 for all individuals in the state who are employed. This is an average annual state salary of $42,869.00.

Performance Indicator 1.6: Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-employment or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services.

In FY 2013, 2,236 individuals exited the VR program in competitive, self-employment or BEP employment earning at least minimum wage. At application 448 or 20.03% reported their own income as the largest single source of support. At closure, this number increased to 2,104 or 94.14% for a positive difference of 74.0. This is an increase of 1.0 over the previous year. As a result this indicator was met and LRS continues to work diligently to meet this indicator.

Performance Indicator 2.1: The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities. In FY 2013, Louisiana had 7,204 non-minorities exiting the VR program; 4,520 non-minorities received services, for a service rate was 63.0%. Minorities exiting the VR program equaled 7,043 with 4,298 minorities receiving services with a rate of 61%; this is a.966 ratio. This is a.016 increase in the minority service rate since 2011. It is anticipated that the LRS’ VR Program will achieve results in line with those indicated in this performance standard area.

The following is a report of progress for specific Agency activities:

Second Injury Fund: In July, 2011, the Governor signed HB 502, into law providing for up to 1% of the Second Injury Funds (SIF) to be spent by LRS counselors on VR consumers. On August 1, 2013 Act 314 reauthorized the SIF and rescinded the “sunset” wording of the original Act. Five-hundred-seventy-eight (578) consumers have been successfully employed with 246 open cases in active, employment plans. To date, $2,196,779 (100%) of the SIF/LRS funds have been spent, at an average cost of $2,600 per consumer.

Transportation Initiative: In July 2012, the Governor approved HR-187 establishing an inter-agency working group to determine the feasibility of a coordinating and networking organization to provide better consumer access, and more efficient use of the state-wide fleet of ADA-accessible vehicles that are provided for elderly-disabled consumer use. The AT Program Coordinator participated as the LRS representative at monthly meetings to develop a plan to be presented to the future Louisiana Legislative session. A proposal was made to proceed with a comprehensive plan to network transportation proposals and increase public awareness and access to non-fixed-route transportation services. Through collaborative efforts, a database was made available to the Regional Managers in LRS that allows searching by parish to find possible transportation services for our customers. The AT Program Coordinator continues to work with agencies providing transportation-related services to increase accessibility and availability of transportation for individuals with disabilities in the state.

Employment Initiatives: LRS, in partnership with Work Pay$, the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, and the LWC, participated in the planning and implementation of the Louisiana Job Fairs as part of Louisiana’s observance of the 2013 National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Due to funding shortfalls, the 2013 Job Fairs were held in three cities (Shreveport, Monroe, and Alexandria) during the month of October. The Lafayette Region was able to combine with several other organizations to hold their own job fair.

LRS’ contract with University of New Orleans’ Training Resource and Assistive-Technology Center (UNO-TRAC) to provide self-employment training services to eligible consumers interested in self-employment as a vocational option expired in June of 2013. Due to budget considerations on the part of the agency and UNO, this contract was not renewed. Fifteen (15) individuals with disabilities received assistance from LRS in establishing a small business in FY2013.

As LRS continues to focus on increasing/enhancing quality employment outcomes, every Regional Office now have a REDS position or an Employment Specialist that will provide job development/placement assistance to consumers. This assistance may include direct job placement, job shadowing, work experience, on the job training, or custom solutions.

LRS established a workgroup to direct the agency toward an employment based outcome model. State Office staff members, Regional Manager and a stakeholder representative comprise the steering committee. Three workgroups were established to review LRS processes and make recommendations in the following areas: (1) application/intake/referral/eligibility; (2) service delivery/IPE and (3) employment. These workgroups were comprised of a cross section of LRS staff including District Supervisors, Counselors and Rehabilitation Counselor Associates.

The workgroups were charged with establishing best practice models to improve services and employment outcomes for LRS consumers. Recommendations from the workgroups were reviewed by the steering committee and considered feasibility of implementation and, if agreed upon, submitted to the LRS Director for review and approval. Some of the changes recommended and implemented include: The production of a video/DVD that provided an overview of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Each regional office was provided DVDs of the video to use as an educational tool when conducting outreach. The video was also placed on You Tube and is accessible through the LRS/LWC website.

In addition, a State Office position was recommended and hired to coordinate employment activities statewide. The Employment Initiative Program Coordinator serves as LRS’ direct contact to the VR Business Network and distributes job leads and information to the regional offices. In FY 2013, the VR Business Network provided job leads from all over the country. Some of the job leads were from the following companies: Walgreen’s, Lowe’s, Black Hills Corp., TJX Companies, Office Max, Wells Fargo, Hershey Company, DOL, Manpower, Inc., USDA, Marriott International, and many others.

LRS continues to participate with OCDD in the “Employment First” initiative, which was designed to provide employment as a first option for persons with developmental disabilities, as an alternative to institutionalization, and to provide integration/independence in the community.

Ticket-to-Work: LRS continues to network and collaborate with MAXIMUS, as well as many other agencies in the state, to ensure Ticket-to-Work is successful in Louisiana. LRS continues to maintain a statewide 1-800 Ticket Hotline number for individuals interested in learning more about their Ticket and how LRS would be able to assist them.

In FY 2013, LRS received $2,121,497.84; this amount was a significant increase from FY 2012’s $1,145,870.13 which was received from SSA’s reimbursement program. The Program Coordinator continues to work closely with SSA to insure all documentation is submitted properly so that claims can be processed.

Collaboration with Title 121 Programs: LRS and the Tribal programs continue to provide coordinated services under the collaborative agreement to make the rehabilitation process more responsive to the needs of American Indians with disabilities. The collaborative agreement allows for mutual acceptance of eligibility decisions, the provision of services through concurrent (joint) cases, the sharing of resources, and to continue cross-training opportunities to facilitate the development of staff persons.

Cultural Diversity: LRS employees are provided opportunities to attend cultural diversity workshops/training provided by outside entities to include conferences and university degree programs. The LRS Counselor Training Academy is also an effective venue for discussion of culture differences and information, and includes a module that addresses multi-cultural counseling issues and outreach.

Due Process: LRS had five scheduled Fair Hearings during FY 2013. Of the five fair hearing requests, one was resolved prior to the actual fair hearing; two (2) went to a fair hearing; one (1) went to mediation, and one was carried over to the next fiscal year.

Impartial Hearing Officers and Mediators are initially provided training on LRS Policy and Technical Assistance and Guidance manual materials. Copies of revised policy and technical assistance manual material is provided to the Impartial Hearing Officers/Mediators, if needed, training is provided.

Establishment Projects: LRS continues to work with the Lighthouse of Louisiana to increase employment opportunities for consumers of VR in the Baton Rouge area. Services being provided include orientation and mobility, activities of daily living skill development, job readiness, job placement and supported employment.

In addition, LRS is in the third year of the establishment project with Upliftd/Alliance for the Homeless one-stop homeless center in Baton Rouge. Services currently being provided include vocational assessment, job readiness/job placement, support services for employment such as occupational tools & equipment, transportation, and information/referral to other community resources.

LRS began an establishment project with Acadiana Works, Inc. for a Supported Employment program in the underserved rural parishes of Acadiana Region 4. Services currently being provided are community-based assessments, job readiness training, job coaching, job development, job placement, job retention, and extended ongoing support services.

 

During FY 2013, LRS used the following innovation and expansion funds per allowable expenditures identified in the federal regulations 34 CFR 361.35 to support the salaries, travels, and activities of the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council staff person and it members, the Statewide Independent Living Council, as well as the AWARE case management system:

Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC): $11,279.00 Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC): $106,870.00 AWARE System: $179,912.00 Total: $298,061.00

This screen was last updated on Jun 11 2014 12:36PM by Teresa Milner

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

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services will provide and improve the quality of supported employment services through the Title VI, Part B Program, and the Title I, Vocational Rehabilitation Program to individuals with the most significant disabilities through the use of fee-for-service reimbursement, or LRS funded grants and/or contracts awarded to supported employment providers.

The goals of the program will be:

1. To fund the vendors necessary to provide supported employment services to eligible consumers. These vendors will provide services to a diverse population of individuals with significant disabilities.

2. To ensure the quality of supported employment services provided to eligible consumers by monitoring the vendors. The monitoring will include an evaluation of the provision of services according to the most recent technology in supported employment and to identify training and technical assistance needed.

3. Provide technical assistance and training opportunities to state office and field office staff to improve the supported employment service delivery system. The field staff will receive supported employment training directed at case management and quality supported employment services.

4. To work cooperatively with other agencies (public and private), employers and advocates to assist in developing employment opportunities and multiple options for extended services to ensure more successful supported employment outcomes.

5. To coordinate with Region VI Community Rehabilitation Program – Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE), the Department of Health & Hospitals (OBH and OCDD – Support Waivers Program, and Medicaid Purchase Plan), University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE), the Employment Network of Louisiana, Inc (professional association of supported employment vendors), the Louisiana Chapter of the Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE), LSU Health Science Center Human Development Center and the Louisiana Work Pays Consortium in order to provide input to vendor agencies providing supported employment services and to solicit input from these agencies in the planning and implementation of quality supported employment services.

Supported Employment Models used by LRS:

1. Individual job/job coach model 2. Mobile crew model 3. Enclave model

It is estimated that at least 3,586 individuals can be provided supported employment services. Currently, only individuals with the most significant disabilities, Selection Group I, can be served.

The time required for transition to extended services is as follows:

1. Supported employment models:

a. Individual Placement Model - Under the individual placement model, stabilization occurs when the consumer has made substantial progress toward meeting the hours per week goal indicated on an IPE and has reached a point where intervention is no more than 25% of the consumer’s normal work time and the individual has received at least 6 months of VR services.

b. Mobile Crew and Enclave Models - For the consumer placed in an enclave or mobile work crew position, stabilization occurs when performance shows reasonable likelihood of progressing to a level sufficient to warrant "permanent employee" status (i.e., adequately performing the minimum number and types of assignments needed to merit continued employment within the limits of available supervision).

Example: The task acquisition data indicates the individual has acquired 75% of the vocational or other employment-related objectives.

2. Extended Follow-along (transition) - Regardless of the model of supported employment in effect for any given consumer, the consumer must meet the following requirements before the Counselor can provide for the transition of the consumer from LRS to the provider of extended services:

a. Job placement is stable for the consumer;

b. The consumer has substantially met the goal for number of hours of employment as indicated on an IPE; and,

c. The Supported Employment Provider agency has committed to arrange for, or develop, on-going support needed to maintain the consumer’s employment. This includes the development of natural supports.

This screen was last updated on Jun 11 2014 12:36PM by Teresa Milner