ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

Published September 4, 2014.   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
Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired State Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 (submitted FY 2013)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

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

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below) Yes

Commissioner

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

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

Commissioner

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryJeanne S. Paquette

Title of SignatoryCommissioner, Department of Labor

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/28/2013

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 2014No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) works closely with the Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI) leadership and staff on many aspects of our service delivery system. The primary objective of the SRC is to be a direct influence for improving the responsiveness of DBVI’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services in Maine for people who are blind or visually impaired. During the past year, the SRC has been involved in many activities with DBVI. One of these activities includes reviewing and revising the existing consumer satisfaction survey. The SRC continues to review the surveys each year and have determined that the tool itself may need to be revised. A separate committee has been formed and tasked to look at the existing tool and then make recommendations to the entire SRC on revisions that would allow DBVI to gain more beneficial information without requiring additional time to complete the survey.

A statewide public hearing was held on June 19, 2013 using the ‘Polycom’ system which connected Career Center sites in Portland, Bangor, Presque Isle and Augusta. These locations were advertised in a number of newspapers, as well as on the Blind Forum and the DOL website, and were sent directly to the various groups of the organized blind community in the state. This time was used to review, answer any questions and address concerns of the 2014 draft State Plan. The full SRC was provided a copy of the 2014 draft state plan and given an opportunity to make comments.

Comments on the needs listed within the state plan:

SRC comment: One member noted that this year’s state plan seemed to be a big improvement over previous years. The plan seemed to have an easy flow of information; whereas in past years it seemed more difficult to understand. Another member concurred and stated that it seemed to be more concise.

Agency response: Thank you.

SRC comment: One member made a recommendation that DBVI write in the number "personnel currently needed," not just as a function of percentage filled. There should be a definition of "enough" personnel irrespective of available funding. Another member agreed, citing staff shortages are not reflected in the plan. "How many you need" should be the language. One suggestion was to review of 2010 Resolve Report, which stated shortage of 11.5 FTEs. DBVI should develop current numbers needed to provide services. It was noted that even "minor" staff losses within DBVI can constitute large percentage; one or two vacancies can put DBVI in crisis, or out of business.

Discussion continued citing that prevailing notion that absence of wait list proves over-staffing. An SRC member clarified that wait list deception that approval of application was no indicator of service provision. Another SRC member reminded the group that Maine DBVI clients need more services due to lack of rehabilitation within healthcare system. One member also cited issue of travel time in serving a dispersed client base.

Agency response: DBVI appreciates the recognition of how even small changes within our staffing can have a negative impact on client services. DBVI will work with the SRC to more clearly identify and articulate staffing needs.

SRC comment: When reviewing the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development, a SRC member commented on the issues and barriers, i.e., salary scale and lack of market adjustment to be competitive. This member recommended that this be clearly defined within the state plan.

Agency response: DBVI agrees and will compile a regional analysis of salaries of VR staff.

SRC comment: One member commented on the goal to reduce the amount of time it takes to close a case successfully. He stated that this is a high priority for the SRC. Discussion ensued around the strategy to provide an in-state immersion model for vocational rehabilitation within a training center. Many SRC members expressed their concern over the urgency to get this project underway.

Agency response: DBVI agrees with the SRC of the importance of a blindness rehabilitation and training center that utilizes an immersion model to reduce the length of time it takes to complete the rehabilitation process in this state. DBVI looks forward to continued collaboration with the SRC on this endeavor.

SRC comment: One member cited ongoing challenges around cultivating awareness of blindness services for people who need them. He stated that DBVI needs effective communication. Another member mentioned that some public education is being provided as part of the contract with the Iris Network.

Agency response: No comment.

SRC comment: One SRC member commented on the Department of Education (DOE)/DOL relationship and the concern brought up about DBVI’s staffing needs. She wanted to point out the shift in some of the DBVI positions and the work with transition students. Although this was mentioned in the state plan, she wanted to clarify that the Blindness Rehabilitation Specialists positions are moving towards becoming more focused on transition students. These positions will work with parents and the school system, and will participate in various activities such as the IEP meetings. She felt this was very positive since DBVI works with them on both sides of graduation and that would mean continuity of services since DOE only works with them up to graduation.

Agency response: DBVI appreciates the recognition from the SRC of the importance of the Blindness Rehabilitation Specialist positions working with parents and students on “both sides of graduation.”

This screen was last updated on Aug 13 2013 3:44PM by Brenda Drummond

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Jun 24 2009 1:18PM by Brenda Drummond

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

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

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

The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired has continued the use of cooperative planning to expand and enhance the work of rehabilitation for consumers who are blind or have low vision. DBVI works in conjunction with other agencies that are not in the statewide workforce investment system.

The Division works collaboratively with the University of Southern Maine/Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), and Coastal Enterprise, Inc. (CEI) a private, nonprofit Community Development Corporation in assisting and supporting VR consumers who are interested in self-employment opportunities. A work group that consists of statewide representatives from SBDC, DBVI and Client Assistance Program (CAP) meet on a quarterly basis to discuss, explore and identify areas of strengths or concerns regarding small business ownership for our consumers. This group reviews the process for continuous improvement and to ensure the success of the VR client with his/her employment goal. This work has resulted in more solid employment goals involved in self-employment. Consumers research the market for their particular goal and learn of the opportunities as well as the competition in their area.

The Division f/t Blind and Visually Impaired, in conjunction with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Corrections (DOC) have developed a ‘Procedural Directive’ to assist those individuals who are incarcerated and anticipate applying for VR services. Employment has been identified as one of the most important factors in reducing recidivism among individuals who are exiting the criminal justice system. In Maine, there are many individuals who may be eligible for VR services who are currently incarcerated and who could potentially benefit from Vocational Rehabilitation services to obtain and maintain employment upon their release. The Department of Corrections through its prisons and probation systems are committed to working collaboratively with DBVI and DVR to promote appropriate referrals, as well as the exchange of information and needed documentation to support VR eligibility determination. If individuals who are blind or visually impaired are identified as having blindness rehabilitation needs, other than for VR services, they will be referred directly to a local DBVI office.

DBVI staff have been involved in teaming efforts with the staff at the Veterans Administration (VA) Blindness Rehabilitation Program at the Togus, VA hospital to collaborate on services veterans who are blind or visually impaired. In addition, a Memorandum Of Understanding with the VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program has been developed and signed by both parties.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:09PM by Brenda Drummond

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

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

The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, along with the Department of Education (DOE) first developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 1999. In an effort to capture changes in resources and maximize our on-going efforts between agencies, a new MOU was developed. The updated version, completed in December 2010 and amended in September 2011, addresses topics such as youth in transition and reflects changes in federal and state legislation since the original MOU was written. The current MOU reflects coordination of staff training and development, strategies for determining financial responsibility, and dispute resolution procedures.

The purpose of this collaboration with DOE is to promote and establish a process that results in an effective working relationship between state agencies on behalf of, and with youth with disabilities, in order to gain the greatest benefit from their respective programs and services. Specific areas of collaboration include: consultation, technical assistance, transition planning, roles and responsibilities, financial responsibilities of each agency and procedures for outreach and identification in order to better coordinate and facilitate the process of student transition.

This transition agreement defines and strengthens the relationships with DOE and calls for identification of students with disabilities, both in Special Education and regular programs, in order to plan their transition before graduation from high school. The agreement focuses upon the needs of the individual student and allows for flexibility and professional judgment to be exercised by personnel. It also spells out the roles of each agency in referral, outreach, and the provision of service. The blindness-specific curriculum elements and services that are identified in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) facilitate the achievement of the employment goal, which is further developed in the Vocational Rehabilitation Individual Plan for Employment (IPE). DBVI, the student and parent(s) develop the IPE, utilizing the interests, strengths, and needs of the student.

Local transition events continue to be effective in connecting employment programs, vocational programs, skills of blindness instruction, and special education programs to employers as an aid to sorting out career options, developing successful work histories, and creating jobs for students. Due to limited resources and a loss of service providers, Maine Parent Federation has begun to provide training/information for parents to function as case managers for their children and espousing the notion of choice for students in transition. In addition, collaboration with Maine CITE provides opportunities for furthering the use of assistive technologies that bridge education and employment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:12PM by Brenda Drummond

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

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

The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired contracts with private non-profit providers through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, which is facilitated by the Maine Division of Purchases, Bureau of General Services. We work closely with contracted community providers to ensure that their staff is qualified to deliver rehabilitation services for individuals who are blind or have low vision. DBVI sponsors joint events, which cover a variety of topics such as the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act, with its inclusion in the Workforce Investment Act; promotion of informed consumer choice in all services; monitoring of consumer satisfaction with these services; and blindness-specific skills training.

The primary community provider for adult blindness rehabilitation services for DBVI continues to maintain its’ National Accreditation Council (NAC) accreditation for delivery of rehabilitation services for people who are blind.

DBVI also contracts with other community rehabilitation providers (CRP) on a fee for service basis. Some of the services are job development and coaching, assistive technology, low vision rehabilitation, adjustment to blindness counseling and transportation. The Division will continue the expansion of the number and types of service providers available to consumers who are blind or have low vision. New CRPs are established by applying for accreditation through either national or state accreditation processes.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:14PM by Brenda Drummond

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

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

The Division has remained committed to assuring that individuals with the most severe disabilities receive supported employment services when this is appropriate. An IPE is developed that describes the services provided, the need for extended services, if appropriate, and an assurance that the individual has been able to make an informed choice in the provision of these services and the goal itself.

DBVI staff participates in meetings with the Division of Adult Mental Health Services (DAMHS) and the Division of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disability Services (DACPDS) to discuss how to work more effectively in assisting consumers in obtaining employment with appropriate and necessary supports. The objective of these meetings is to get people together regularly to provide the opportunity for face-to-face communication so that we can better network services, increase understanding of program and resource limitations, and refine procedures. As a result of regular meetings with Community Rehabilitation Providers, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the DBVI continues to advocate with the DACPDS agency for increased state financial support for extended support and supported employment services. Another outcome of these meetings has been increased collaboration at the local level in troubleshooting individual consumer circumstances.

The Division will continue regular consultation at both state and local levels with the DHHS.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:15PM by Brenda Drummond

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

DBVI has a committee that annually monitors and assesses the needs of all staff for training that falls under the CSPD. This committee is made up of staff from each region of the state, each professional discipline within DBVI, and a representative from the SRC.

Currently, the Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired employs thirty-eight individuals that all play a role in the delivery of blindness and vocational rehabilitation services. In order to ensure a high level of skilled staff to deliver quality services to consumers, the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) plan addresses long-range college training needs for qualified rehabilitation blindness professionals and paraprofessionals. In addition, the CSPD provides short-term training needs that allow for continuous learning and the maintenance of professional certification, including Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credentials, and Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) for Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialists, Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (VRT) and Low Vision Therapists (LVT).

There are approximately 1,000 individuals that will move in and out of the Maine DBVI VR system in FFY14. Maine DBVI does not currently have a wait list for individuals seeking services. Maine DBVI has 8 (7.5 FTEs) VR Counselor II positions, and one Blindness Rehabilitation Specialist that all carry an average caseload of 70 – 75 per FTE, with an additional 20 – 30 clients at any given time that may move in or out of the system. We expect these numbers to remain fairly consistent going forward. Based on the number of personnel and the previous numbers served, the number of individuals we expect to serve over the next five years should have a range of 760-1000 per year. We predict that will include 100% of individuals with significant disabilities due to the population that DBVI serves.

Current service delivery also includes two additional Blindness Rehabilitation Specialists that focus on transition students, five VR Counselor I positions that assist in facilitating clients through the process, and 11 Orientation and Mobility Specialists throughout the state that work with VR clients.

All 11 of these O&M staff are currently ACVREP certified or certifiable. DBVI received increased state funding to add an additional O&M position in the fiscal year which brought the number of O&M positions up to the 11 noted above.

As a result of the amount of new hires among our VR Counselors, more than half of them will be working towards meeting the qualified staff requirements. Two VRC positions were filled near the beginning of the fiscal year, which were the last of the vacancies in Maine either from retirements or staff changing roles.

With the turnover within Maine DBVI over the last few years, the rate of change in the next few years is expected to be low. It can be anticipated that DBVI staffing needs could include approximately seven new staff within the next five years. The table below highlights the current vacancies within DBVI. These vacancies are within the same regional office and are currently being covered by existing staff. The chart also depicts anticipated staffing needs for the next five years due to expected vacancies from retirements.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Director 1 0 0
2 Rehab Services Manager 2 0 1
3 Regional Director Rehab Services 2 1 1
4 Blindness Rehabilitation Specialist 3 0 1
5 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor II 8 1 3
6 Paraprofessional VRC 1 5 0 1
7 Support Personnel 2 0 0
8 Rehabilitation Consultant 1 0 0
9 Business Enterprise Program Staff 3 0 0
10 Orientation & Mobility 11 0 0

 

Maine has only one in-state institution of higher education, the University of Southern Maine (USM), that offers an educational program which satisfies the standards set forth by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) for states lacking a state standard for fully qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors (i.e. qualifies to sit for the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification exam). In addition to this in-state option, there are two other institutions of higher learning, UMass Boston and Assumption College (both in Massachusetts), that also offer such an educational program.

Unfortunately, USM does not offer RSA grant funding to rehabilitation program participants. Therefore, Maine DBVI utilizes distance educational programs that offer RSA grant funding to participants in order to leverage our training funds. The University of Virginia-Commonwealth currently has a RSA sponsored program. Maine DBVI has three VRCs enrolled in this distance education graduate program. In addition, Maine DBVI has two additional VRCs enrolled in courses that will lead them to meet the fully qualified standard, with one only needing to complete two courses to be able to take the CRC examination.

As described in the table below, Maine DBVI has five VRC II staff working towards the fully qualified VRC standard.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Assumption College 0 0 0 0
2 University of Virginia-Commonwealth 3 4 1 0
3 University of Southern Maine 1 0 0 0
4 UMass Boston 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

Maine DBVI continues to have concern with the ability to recruit and retain qualified staff in Maine due to the low salary scales and the current instability in the state’s economy. Many of the positions within DBVI were successfully reclassified in recent years which has been helpful in the retention of staff. Recent recruiting efforts, which have included electronic vacancy postings on national and State of Maine websites, local postings with community providers, and through information sharing with universities and colleges across the country that offer a rehabilitation/blindness program, have yielded an increase in more highly credentialed candidates. Recruitment methods used continue to be extensive and include internet postings on a variety of specific and general job bank sites, ongoing contact with graduate programs throughout the country, promotion of Maine DBVI staffing opportunities at national conferences, networking with community rehabilitation providers, other state agencies, our contracted partners, offering professional internship opportunities to pre and post-graduate level students, and job listings in Maine Career Centers.

Maine DBVI recognizes that our staff is the most valuable resource in our work supporting consumers who are blind or visually impaired with their vocational goals. To that end the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development project is designed to support training for Division staff. In this federal fiscal year, a variety of training opportunities for all staff were planned and approved by the CSPD committee.

The Division’s goal is to encourage staff to pursue a variety of educational choices within a supportive working environment and provides the necessary time and financial support. Certifications in all disciplines are encouraged, and the training plan supports maintaining CRC, O&M and other specific professional certifications. DBVI provided many important trainings this year in an effort to provide staff with the skills to improve employment outcomes for our clients. These initiatives took significant time and effort from DBVI staff and will have a positive impact on the knowledge, policy and practice of the VR program.

Maine state government continues its efforts to better promote state jobs to person with disabilities. The Bureau of Human Resources provides a system, referred to as ‘Special Appointment’, to facilitate the recruitment of people from minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities in filling State government vacancies. Through this initiative, the individual must meet the qualifications for the position and then can be hired under this program in an “acting capacity” for up to one year. The worker receives the same pay and health benefits as other workers, but does not accumulate seniority time. If at any time during this year the supervisor deems the worker has performed their duties satisfactorily, he/she will be placed in the position as a new employee and the usual probationary period will begin. A unique feature of this initiative is that the Human Resources Department throughout all of state government is centrally connected to this process, which allows for people with disabilities from anywhere within the state to be contacted at the very first point the state becomes aware that there will be an open position. In this manner we can recruit from across a comprehensive network to fill vacancies within DBVI, as long as they meet the qualifications of our position. The Division currently has one employee that started state employment utilizing the special appointment process. It has proven to be a very successful job match for this individual.

 

Maine DBVI personnel requirements and hiring practices are aligned with the Rehabilitation Act mandates and its regulations. As stated previously, Maine DBVI does not have an established state standard for fully qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors. Therefore, it defers to the Rehabilitation Services Administration standard whereby an individual must possess a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or CRC status, or be eligible to sit for the CRC examination, when filling Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor II vacancies. Applicants and staff who possess master’s degrees in counseling or a counseling-related degree, defined as Social Work, Psychology, Special Education, and Counseling also meet the standard if a graduate course in Theories and Techniques of Counseling course was completed as part of the degree requirements and additional graduate courses have been completed with a primary focus on Assessment, Occupational Information or Placement, Medical or Psychosocial Aspects of Disabilities, and in Community Resources or Delivery of Rehabilitation Services. In Maine, DBVI requires that new hires lacking fully qualified status enter into educational plans designed to achieve fully qualified status as a condition of employment and anticipates that some new employees may require up to five years to achieve qualified status. If there are extenuating circumstances, a new plan will be developed and the time may be extended. If the employee is still unable to achieve qualified status and it affects the performance of his/her job, disciplinary steps will be put in place through the annual performance appraisal process.

DBVI also supports educational programming for existing staff seeking to meet fully qualified status and, for those who have achieved CRC status and require on-going CRC training credits. Maine DBVI qualified personnel standards for O&M/VRT/LVT staff are to be certified or certifiable by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals. The ACVREP website explains, “The Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals offers professional certification for vision rehabilitation and education professionals in order to improve service delivery to persons with vision impairments. ACVREP is committed to quality certification programs that meet rigorous recognized standards. Programs are designed to offer applicants the means to demonstrate that professional knowledge and skills that promote the provision of quality service and ethical practice. ACVREP offers certification in three disciplines: Low Vision Therapy, Orientation & Mobility, and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. Individuals who possess ACVREP certification demonstrate a level of quality and care that is unmatched in the field.” Whenever possible, Maine DBVI acquires the ACVREP endorsement to earn CEU credits for trainings provided in state.

When recruiting or hiring new staff, Maine DBVI gives preference to fully qualified individuals. If, however, it is necessary to meet a critical agency staffing need and recruitment efforts do not result in the identification and securing of suitable candidates who meet the DBVI hiring standard, individuals can be hired conditionally subject to agreement and implementation of a CSPD plan to acquire the appropriate credentials toward becoming fully qualified. CSPD plans include timeframes for completion that are responsive to the needs to the individual counselor, and agreed to by management. These plans are then incorporated into the employee’s annual performance review to ensure continuity and progress toward fully qualified status. Counselors who require a full master’s degree program to meet fully qualified status are allotted up to five years after completion of their probationary period to meet the requirements while those with related counseling master’s degrees seeking to meet CRC exam standards or are currently in a master’s in counseling program are provided accelerated timeframes dependent on remaining coursework.

Maine DBVI annually reviews the qualifications of all staff and tracks the educational plans of new hires and personnel requiring education and training to ensure that CSPD standards are achieved to the maximum extent possible. CSPD plans for rehabilitation counselors and other staff working in the DBVI VR program, who have not met the state standard are developed with supervisors upon completion of probation and reviewed as part of an annual performance review. CSPD plans reflect a balance between personnel development and operational need. The plans seek optimal training modalities and formats, as well as the most cost effective methods to utilize those institutions with RSA grants. Upon entering CSPD plans, program and coursework approval must be obtained from the DBVI Training Coordinator, who will maintain a record of all staff training activities and certifications.

 

The State of Maine uses a performance management process that requires an annual performance review for all staff. Personal Development is a section within this document that outlines the agreed upon training that the employee will attend during the year to enhance his/her skills in order to perform the job better or to ensure adequate progress to maintain credentialing.

Training funds are available for all DBVI staff members throughout the state. The CSPD committee addresses current and projected needs of staff on an annual basis within a training plan. The committee surveys all staff annually, identifying both long and short-term training needs. The CSPD committee is made up of staff from each region and discipline. This provides a streamlined method of communication and involvement. A member of the DBVI State Rehabilitation Council also serves on the committee. The chair of the DBVI CSPD maintains ongoing communications with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) CSPD chair in an effort to coordinate training for the benefit of both divisions. For example, DBVI along with the DVR, hosts a two-day statewide training event every 18 months that offers training to meet needs identified and prioritized by staff and oversight bodies (i.e. State Rehabilitation Council, CSPD Advisory Committee).

DBVI CSPD has committed in-service training grant funds to go towards a variety of training needs and have prioritized these funds across the following three areas: 1) VR personnel to meet the RSA standard, 2) Staff to maintain professional certification, and 3) Other training needs and activities that are identified through an annual CSPD survey of all staff or at regional/office/discipline levels at staff meetings, internal committee work, and at individual initiation.

In an effort to maximize training resources, staff often solicit local training resources to provide free or low cost workshops, attend trainings with a ‘train the trainer’ perspective to provide turn-around training to other staff, and share internal expertise through in-house training opportunities. In past years, DBVI has been successful at leveraging training funds through collaboration with Region I TACE center, Perkins School for the Blind training funds, and the Lovill Trust.

In the previous year, Maine DBVI has made continuous efforts to seek and identify enhanced learning opportunities, particularly through use of distance learning modalities, in providing educational forums for its staff. Videoconferencing capacity has been established on a statewide basis and has led to an extensive learning collaborative with DVR, the Career Center One Stops, the Social Security Administration, external partners such as Maine CITE, the Small Business Development Corporation, and the local workforce development boards. Maine DBVI staff also takes advantage of distance training opportunities through webinars and teleconferences such as those offered by Workforce One, Independent Living Research Utilization, Social Security Administration, Rehabilitation Services Administration, TACE center and Parent Education Advocacy Training Center.

One training that has been very successful, and has been provided by videoconferencing, is the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services new counselor training curriculum. This training entails a three-week, comprehensive overview of the VR process. It includes topic areas such as rehabilitation technology, job placement and assessment, and vocational counseling. It is available to all staff and required of new DBVI VR staff, as well as interactive training modules in casework flow and post-secondary education. In addition, DBVI utilizes a variety of internet links, on-line videos, and web resources as part of its overall training for new DBVI employees. Additionally, training opportunities and conference materials are shared through a number of statewide avenues, including the Internet and Intranet, the CSPD advisory committee, as well as counselor, managerial and supervisory networking activities and interactions.

A library of training resources, including texts, journals and videotapes addressing vocational and blindness rehabilitation topic areas, are loaned to regional offices as needed. These materials include Institute on Rehabilitation Issues publications, computer CD’s and videotapes, Consumer Choice News, professional journals, National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials, and other documents from the various National Rehabilitation and Research and Training Programs throughout the United States.

DBVI is in its third year of the In-Service Training Basic Award. Priorities will address recruitment and retention of qualified rehabilitation professionals; provide for succession planning, leadership development and capacity building, and training on the amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 made by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998.

 

In addressing issues associated with diversity and cultural needs, the Division has staff who are visually impaired who utilize and are well versed in adaptive technology used by our consumers. DBVI has an agreement with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation on referral of individuals who are deaf-blind who use American Sign Language (ASL) as their native language. DBVI has also worked with the Division of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened and a variety of other collaborative partners to create a training program for professional interpreters for people who are deaf-blind. This training has resulted in approximately twenty individuals being certified in this area. In addition, DBVI has worked with the University of Southern Maine Linguistics Department and other collaborative partners, to create a Support Service Provider (SSP) program to enhance communication for consumers who are deaf-blind or dual sensory impaired who may or may not use ASL.

DBVI staff utilizes interpreter services, such as Maine State Interpreters or Catholic Charities Maine, for individuals with whom they cannot communicate directly with due to language barriers. Language Line is available for telephone interpreting.

 

Collaboration exists on an administrative level with the Commissioners of Education and Labor working jointly in a number of capacities. There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two departments to address the needs of students with disabilities, specifically with visual impairments for DBVI.

DBVI maintains reciprocal partnerships with institutions of education, recognized for their commitment to rehabilitation services. The Division participates with the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass, Boston and Assumption College, identified as the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center for Maine, through its involvement in various advisory boards, planning committees, and training opportunities.

Specific efforts for training on IDEA and state of Maine special education regulations and transition planning have been offered through an outside consultant specializing in special education, as well as through another nationally known consultant that provided training in implementing transition plans containing disability specific strategies. Other efforts have involved collaboration with the Maine Parent Federation, Catholic Charities Maine’s Education Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Children’s program, Perkins School for the Blind, and the Iris Network.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:25PM by Brenda Drummond

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.

The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired continues to make every effort to solicit input from consumers about their needs and the services provided by DBVI for meeting these needs.

The Division and its SRC continue to discuss and explore strategies in an effort to reach out to as many potential consumers as possible. The SRC members represent a broad spectrum of consumer interest group. These individuals share information on the constituent groups that they represent. Topics that are discussed are issues related to employment and other vocational rehabilitation services, skills of blindness needed for personal independence and self-sufficiency, mobility and safe travel, personal adjustment to blindness, support groups, braille, adaptive devices and assistive technology, access to the Internet, audio and digital books, recreation and leisure activities and activities within the Business Enterprise Program. These meetings are available through the polycom system to Augusta, Portland, Bangor, Rockland, Lewiston, and Presque Isle.

DBVI continues to receive input from survey questionnaires from all closed cases to determine the satisfaction of the consumer for the services that he/she received. In addition, the DBVI Director attended various gatherings of the organized blindness community in Maine (American Council of the Blind of Maine, National Federation of the Blind of Maine, and Pine Tree Dog Guide Users), and various regional meetings with consumers and other stakeholders. Furthermore, DBVI continues to use information from the 2009 stakeholder group that was convened at the direction of the Maine legislature to “assess the current and future needs of people in Maine who are blind or visually impaired.” This stakeholder group consisted of representatives from the Department of Labor, the Department of Education, Catholic Charities Maine (education for blind children), the Iris Network (blindness rehabilitation), the Disability Rights Center, ALPHA One Center for Independent Living, the DBVI State Rehabilitation Council and members of Maine’s three consumer-driven blindness organizations.

Another rich source of information that identified areas of consumer need within DBVI is from our Site Monitoring Review conducted by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in the summer of 2011. This review identified two main areas of consumer need, which were increasing successful competitive employment outcomes (especially for transition-aged youth), and providing more clearly defined transition services.

Finally, DBVI contracted with Karen Wolffe, Ph. D., who is an internationally known authority on transition and employment for people with vision impairments, to conduct an evaluation of services provided to transition-age youth as part of the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This evaluation looked at case files and IEP’s of more than two-thirds of all transition-age students within the state’s educational system.

A. Increased Competitive Employment Outcomes

Although DBVI has more consistently met Standard and Indicator 1.3 (percent of competitive employment outcomes compared to all successful outcomes), there is still a need to increase the number of employment outcomes. This is especially true in the transition-age population, where only 13% of clients served in this group obtained a competitive employment outcome. Consumers consistently indicate the need for more opportunities for hands-on job training through things like internships, trial work experiences that are long enough to afford the individual to fully integrate their blindness skills into the job duties, and more summer youth employment opportunities. In addition, consumers indicated the need to have an in-state opportunity to be able to receive their blindness skills training in a center-based model, so they can re-enter the employment arena more quickly following a loss of vision.

B. Clearly Defined Transition Services

During their Site Monitoring Review, RSA found that DBVI provides numerous services related to transition, but that these services are not clearly articulated through documentation in the case record. In addition, RSA identified the need for DBVI to offer more formalized programs for this population. Past transition clients and parents supported this need, which they believe would afford them a better understanding of what type of services or programs are available for this population through DBVI.

Findings from the IEP evaluation indicate that students of transition age are receiving very little in the way of career education, and the need for significantly more time spent on blindness-specific training geared toward preparing a student who is blind or visually impaired for life following graduation (often referred to as the Expanded Core Curriculum). In addition, this evaluation identified a need for better and more consistent communication between blindness and education professionals working with this population.

Maine DBVI has re-established its Blindness Rehabilitation Specialist positions, which will be a liaison between the parents and students, the education system, and the blindness system. In addition, DBVI worked with its VR Counselors to more clearly identify in case notes the work they are doing when working with transition-age students, and has begun to use a special indicator in its case management system denoting transition cases.

C. Center-Based Immersion Model Service Delivery

The final report from the 2009 stakeholder group noted above indicated that there are two basic types of service delivery models for blind rehabilitation: home-based and center-based immersion programs. Currently Maine offers home-based services only and does not have a center-based nor any other immersion type of program for blindness rehabilitation. Therefore, Maine can’t provide the many significant advantages inherent in those types of programs that can be critical to effective, efficient rehabilitation to blindness and re-entry into the workforce without having to send clients to these types of programs outside of the state.

The report goes on to discuss a variety of benefits related to local access to center-based, immersion model blindness rehabilitation as a key component of Maine’s overall delivery system. The most important of these advantages is the ability to provide immediate, comprehensive training and application with a wide variety of fundamental and essential blindness skills and devices. Being able to provide this comprehensive training in this fashion can increase the pace of acquisition of these basic blindness skills which then will decrease the time needed between eligibility for DBVI services to being prepared to integrate these newly learned skills into an employment setting.

Although both home-based and immersion models have their particular advantages, neither alone can provide all the elements needed for efficient, effective adjustment to vision loss and the timely acquisition of blindness skills. A truly effective blind rehabilitation program needs to have both. However, because those experiencing vision loss typically become isolated and cut-off from others and resources quickly, nearly all can benefit substantially, psychologically and practically, from at least some time spent with others in an immersion program regardless of individual goals and situations.

Since the time the above noted report was released (early in 2010), the DBVI Director has attended annual state conventions and meetings of Maine’s three organized blindness groups (noted above), and various regional meetings with consumers and other stakeholders. Of the number of issues each of these groups have identified that negatively impact DBVI services, two have been a constant theme. They are, 1) it takes too long to deliver the blindness skills instruction consumers need to fully return to life and employment by only using the home-based delivery model, and 2) more consumers would access a center-based immersion model if they didn’t have to leave the state to do so.

Because we understand that state resources needed to fund services at this level are unlikely to be available in the short-term, we are exploring ways to change the service delivery model to reduce the time it takes to deliver blindness rehabilitation and training that will ultimately lead to a sustained increase in successful employment outcomes. As a result of currently lacking the infrastructure needed to deliver training in a center-based, immersion model services, we send clients out of state for center-based services at a costs in excess of $3,500 per month per client. We believe we can provide comparable services for less cost within Maine by creating our own infrastructure for delivering services in this manner. This investment is critical, however, because, not only is local service delivery more cost-effective than sending clients to rehabilitation centers out of state for blindness rehabilitation, but clients newly dealing with vision loss are more receptive to receiving these services in a familiar environment closer to home. Therefore, clients are more likely to accept services as part of a more targeted training program; thus, leading to more individuals becoming employed.

Outcome data related to client participation in out of state immersion model rehabilitation programs support this contention. Over the past five years not one DBVI client who has attended an out of state program has been successfully closed with an employment outcome. The data suggests that much of the reason for this lack of success has been the short time clients agreed to participate in such programs (usually between only two and four weeks), when it is well established that longer stints (usually 10 weeks or more) are more effective. Furthermore, many of these clients are still receiving home-based services to gain blindness skills effective enough to enable them to return to employment months and years following their participation in these center-based programs.

A Request for Information was advertised in federal fiscal year 2012 to determine if there were any entities in Maine who might be interested in partnering with DBVI to re-establish such a blindness and rehabilitation training center in Maine. DBVI received a response to the RFI from one such entity.

The DBVI Director continued to receive information related to the need of such a facility in Maine from attending meetings of the three organized blindness consumer groups, as well as the SRC.

D. Lack of Availability to Public Transportation

Due to a small population spread throughout a large geographic area in Maine, transportation presents a significant unmet need in most areas of the state. Specific issues included information on existing transportation that is available, and concerns regarding the timeliness and safety of some publicly funded transportation programs. In many areas of the state, public transportation is non-existent for medical appointments, transportation to work, and travel options for routine daily activities.

Consumers also identified the need to access additional training in the techniques for building one’s own personal transportation system when public transportation does not exist or is inadequate or unreliable. Many identified the need to have additional training time with an Orientation and Mobility Instructor, as well as access to peers, to work on these strategies.

DBVI O&M staff have worked with the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) to assess the need for safer pedestrian traffic at intersections and traffic circles. A collaborative training between DBVI and Maine DOT was held in the beginning of this federal fiscal year that brought together traffic engineers from across the state, as well as some consumers, to learn about pedestrian travel needs of blind consumers. This led some O&M staff to work with traffic engineers in at least three communities to assess intersections for pedestrian safety.

E. Assistive Technology

Consumers acknowledged that they need continual learning/training in assistive technology (AT) as a result of rapid changes in available AT, as well as changes in needs for technology in the lives of consumers. Consumers at every gathering noted earlier emphatically stated the need for DBVI to expand the delivery of AT services as it is something that cannot be yet obtained in the mainstream commercial business that can easily meet the needs of sighted peers. Some of the specific areas of unmet needs included: low vision devices/services, video magnifiers (CCTV), computers, assistive technology devices and software programs specific to blindness, mainstream AT software and devices useable for people who are blind or visually impaired (Apple products, for example), and information technology training on emerging technologies such as social media. In addition, consumers indicated the need for being able to access training specific to using blindness and low vision AT with upgraded software (such as when upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 2007 or 2008, or MS Office 20003 to 2010).

Consumers also identified the need for DBVI to facilitate the formation/operation of consumer led groups to work with each other on mainstream access technology pertinent to Apple products. They cited numerous instances where consumers have gone into retailers to receive instruction in the operation of their mainstream device, only to discover the staff at these retailers did not know the accessible portions of these products.

F. Awareness of DBVI Services

Consumers also identified a need for a greater awareness of the services and programs available from DBVI. Some barriers include: difficulty in finding services as a new resident of Maine, difficulty in identifying resources for adjustment to blindness counseling, not enough information identifying the Business Enterprise Program as a vocational option, and not enough information / awareness of vocational services for children, families and schools when the student is blind or has low vision.

To accomplish the above, consumers suggested conducting more public outreach activities. There were numerous recommendations made to hold public forums/informational meetings in different areas of the state on a regular basis. Consumers also noted that having various staff from DBVI present at these types of activities was effective, and very important to the consumers.

DBVI also added a Public Education component to its contract for Community Based Blindness Rehabilitation Services for Adults and Students 14 and Older who are blind or visually impaired. One individual acts as the coordinator for these services and is trained in marketing communications. This individual has been doing some innovative activities such as Public Service Announcements.

G. Current and Future Trends

The number of people with severe visual impairments in Maine is projected to double (to approximately 80,000) by 2020. In addition to the need for more people needing to access DBVI services, there have been dramatic increases in the intensity of rehabilitation needs among Mainers with visual impairments. This is evidenced by the numbers of children of transition-age with visual impairments who have complex secondary disabilities such as autism or brain injury, as well as the increased numbers of persons living with dual sensory impairments of vision and hearing. Consumers identified the need to deliver services in a way that specifically addresses such issues as they relate to blindness and visual impairment.

There continues to be an increase of non-English speaking immigrants and refugees in Maine, especially in the southern part of the state. Those who are dealing with vision loss need costly interpreter services to benefit from available blindness rehabilitation services so that they can better access vocational rehabilitation for gaining employment in their new country. Consumers identified the need to explore service delivery models that specifically addresses such issues as they relate to blindness and visual impairment.

This screen was last updated on Aug 13 2013 3:48PM by Brenda Drummond

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

DBVI looked at the total state population of individuals identified as visually impaired and eligible for services (31,300) when estimating these numbers. DBVI then took into consideration the number of referrals, expenditures, and average case costs from prior years to estimate the number of individuals who will receive services with funds provided under Title I and Part B of Title VI. DBVI estimates for FFY 2014, approximately 1,000 individuals who are blind or visually impaired will be served in Title 1 and Title VI by the Division at a cost of $3,845,952.00. Supported employment services are provided to approximately 12 consumers between the Title VI and Title I programs. DBVI has determined that many consumers are able to work in the competitive labor market without supports.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
0
Totals   $0 0

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 2:02PM by Brenda Drummond

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 following goals for the 2014 State Plan were reviewed and agreed upon by the DBVI and its State Rehabilitation Council:

Goal (1) To increase successful competitive employment closures for DBVI clients in each of the next three federal fiscal years.

Goal (2) To provide more focused activities to transition-age youth that will yield an increase in successful outcomes in each of the next three federal fiscal years.

Goal (3) To ensure that a larger number of individuals, with disabilities who may be underserved or unserved or have minority status, have access to DBVI services.

Goal (4) To increase the number of activities for public outreach, education and awareness of existing services and resources for the community and consumers who are blind or have low vision.

Goal (5) To improve opportunities and access for DBVI consumers within the larger workforce development system.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:53PM by Brenda Drummond

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.

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Sep 21 2009 4:24PM by Brenda Drummond

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

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

The Division continues to use Title VI-B money to provide services for individuals with the most severe disabilities as an integral part of our VR program. Securing long-term employment resources continues to be a primary challenge for the Division. DBVI continues to collaborate with Department of Health and Human Services – MH and MR services to explore long-term support mechanisms for those individuals completing their VR plan and who have been utilizing Title VI, Part B funds.

Based on level funding, the division’s goal will be to continue to use the Title VI-B funding on a fee-for-service arrangement, providing services to a minimum of 19 consumers with the most significant disabilities for whom supported employment is an appropriate vocational alternative. Priorities for supported employment are services to individuals who need intensive supported employment services because of the nature and severity of their disabilities. In addition to being blind or having low vision, these may be consumers with a most significant disability due to mental illness, traumatic brain injury, cognitive deficits or other severe physical disabilities.

DBVI encourages Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) to use training resources such as the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center, an RSA resource currently a part of UMass Boston. We have an in-state accreditation process for CRPs and anticipate that it will improve services to all our consumers.

The plan is to continue to purchase services for designated Title VI-B clients. Purchased services will continue to be primarily job coaching, job development, and transitional employment services for individuals with vision impairment and mental illness. We will also continue to work with relevant stakeholders, i.e., consumers and CRP’s, to expand the availability of supported employment services.

DBVI continues to identify more diversified employment opportunities in the supported employment Title VI program. The Division places a small number of blind and visually impaired consumers in supported employment settings. We are finding that many clients are able to work in the competitive labor market without supports, due to the increased availability of technology, technology adaptations and both technological and natural supports available in today’s market.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 2:56PM by Brenda Drummond

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.

The Division continues to identify and develop strategies to use Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities moving forward into 2014. These activities will be measured to provide more definitive evidence of the Return on Investment (ROI).

Goal 1: To increase successful competitive employment closures for DBVI clients in each of the next three federal fiscal years.

Objective: Reduction of the amount of time it takes to achieve a competitive employment outcome for DBVI clients from 54 months in FFY 2010 to 42 months in FFY 2013, to 36 months in FFY 2014.

Strategies:

a. Continue efforts to re-establish a center-based blindness rehabilitation facility in Maine that utilizes an immersion model to teach blindness skills in a manner that can be easily integrated into work activities and transferred to an employment setting.

b. Provide staff training on customer service techniques that promote engagement of and with clients.

c. Rebuild the statewide collaboration between the Maine Diabetes Control Project and Maine’s blindness system to more quickly identify consumers experiencing vision loss.

Objective: To increase the numbers of successful competitive employment closures for individuals who receive services from DBVI from 33 in FFY 2011 to 40 in FFY 2012, 46 in FFY 2013, and 50 in 2014.

Strategies:

a. Deliver at least one session of the DBVI Employability Skills Program each year to clients who are long-term unemployed/underemployed or otherwise are stuck in job seeking.

b. Utilize the DBVI Employability Skills Program to provide training to staff on the nuances between “work ready” and “placement ready,” and how to recognize them.

c. Collect and analyze evaluation data from clients and staff involved in the Employability Skills Program.

d. Expand the network of work experience/training opportunities whereby clients can learn to integrate blindness skills into work activities and employment sites.

e. Hold conversations with new clients that are going to be in the homemaker program about enhanced employment or working part-time.

f. Promote and make available a blindness-specific assessment at the work site for every client in an employment setting.

Objective: To expand the number of Maine employers who implement diversity hiring activities through engagement with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services’ Business Services Hiring Initiative Team from two in FFY 2012, to three in FFY 2013, and four in FFY 2014.

Strategies:

a. Continue to support the re-established Maine Chapter of the US Business Leadership Network

b. Partner with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) to expand business outreach/network

c. Identify and train local DBVI VR and CRP personnel to coordinate referrals and start up activities for new business partners in each region of the state.

d. Continue to support the BRS single point of contact Business Network personnel in their efforts to refine the referral process to the various employers connected to this project.

e. Support various DBVI VR staff to join a local Chamber of Commerce and/or service organization, and attend meetings regularly.

Goal 2: To provide more focused activities to transition-age youth that will yield an increase in successful outcomes in each of the next three federal fiscal years.

Objective: To reduce the percentage of students we “lose” from our VR Program just before or after graduation from the 40% noted by RSA during the 2011 Site Monitoring Review, to less than 10% by the end of FFY 2015.

Strategies:

a. Continue to operate the DBVI college preparation Program consisting of taking a college course in the summer between junior and senior year, living in the dorms, utilizing services available on-campus, skills of blindness instruction, and a work experience.

b. Create a summer youth employment and/or work internship experience for all students by age 16.

c. Set up a program at local schools similar to a “Junior Achievement” model to potentially operate vending machines at the students’ school? This could be a good introduction to the business world and the world of work. The students’ would need to stock equipment, control inventory, set pricing, develop procedures for cash control and profitability.

d. Maine DBVI will activate the Visually Impaired Community Action Team (VICAT) to provide support for transition-aged students.

e. Increase communication between the school and parents and DBVI.

f. Stressing the importance of attending summer immersion programs at centers like the Carroll Center or Perkins for skills of blindness advancement and socialization (or building such a program of our own in Maine).

g. Utilize the Transition Competencies Checklist with each VR eligible school-age student.

h. Re-establish DBVI positions that specifically serve this population. This would allow more early intervention and resource development, especially in the areas of career education and vocational exploration

i. Having Transition teams in each region. The teams could coordinate and/or be points of contact for exchange of info.

j. Collect and analyze the evaluation data from clients that go through these programs.

k. Hold regional meetings toward the beginning of each school year to determine VR eligibility on all students 14 years of age and older.

l. Use special indicators in the DBVI case management system to identify when a client becomes a transition client or when beginning post-secondary education so that longitudinal progress and outcomes can be more easily tracked and analyzed.

Goal 3: To ensure that a larger number of individuals, with disabilities who may be unserved or underserved or have minority status, have access to DBVI services.

Objective: DBVI will work with eye doctor offices across the state to identify an increased number of individuals eligible to be served by the division.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI will provide at least one informational seminar on our services to patients of at least one eye doctor’s office in each of our five regions in FFY14.

Objective: DBVI will work with Maine’s Section 121 VR Grant – Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation to identify an increased number of individuals eligible to be served by both programs.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI will include Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation in training and technical assistance opportunities offered or funded by DBVI.

b. A representative from the Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation will participate on DBVI’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC)

c. The Wabanaki VR Program will provide technical assistance to Maine DBVI on issues related to cultural competency and best practices in Native employment supports.

d. DBVI will provide in-service training to staff at tribal health or community centers of the four Maine tribes (Passamaquoddy Tribe, Penobscot Indian Nation, Houlton Band of Maliseets, and Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians) on an annual basis.

Objective: Maine DBVI will collect data on the numbers of individuals served – in various minority, unserved or underserved categories in FFY12 to establish a baseline and develop future goals.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI will develop and utilize a special indicator in its case management system to track individuals who belong in these groups:

• consumers associated with the correctional system

• veterans who are blind or have low vision

• consumers who are older

• consumers from other countries who are new to Maine

• consumers who are deaf-blind or with a dual sensory impairment of hearing and vision

Objective: Maine DBVI will reach out to non-English speaking immigrants and refugees experiencing vision loss and provide at least two different options for providing service to this population.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI will work with interpreter services so consumers can benefit from available blindness rehabilitative services and better their chances for employment in a new country.

b. Creating two classes to provide instruction in English as a second language in a manner adapted for blindness or visual impairment.

Objective: DBVI will continue its efforts to grow a communication network for consumers who are deaf-blind or dual sensory impaired (hearing and vision) so that there are professional Deaf-Blind Interpreters and Support Service Providers (SSP) available in each of DBVI’s five state regions.

Strategies:

a. Secure funding for coordinated operation of the Maine SSP program.

b. Work with collaborative partners to increase training opportunities for Deaf-Blind Interpreters and SSP’s.

c. Encourage more deaf-blind/dual sensory impaired consumers to take an active role on the steering committee working on the interpreting and SSP project.

d. Work with collaborative partners to identify funding for SSP’s.

e. Expand the number of trained SSP’s in the northern half of the state (Waterville and north).

Goal 4: To provide increased activities for public outreach, education and awareness of existing services and resources for the community and consumers who are blind or have low vision.

Objective: Maine DBVI will work with providers to create a better awareness of the resources available to individuals who are blind or have low vision by providing at least three public education activities in each of the five DBVI Regions.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI staff will provide in-service trainings to other service providers within their region.

b. Maine DBVI Staff will provide service awareness and assistive technology/adaptive device activities for consumers and the general public within their regions.

c. DBVI will coordinate cooperative training with Maine Department of Transportation.

d. DBVI will work with its main contractors to create a more organized and more centralized public education effort.

e. DBVI will redesign the Registry of Blindness cards, including an on-line version.

f. DBVI will make face-to-face visits to eye doctor’s offices following distribution of Registry of Blindness cards.

g. DBVI will explore collaboration with the Veteran’s Administration Blind Rehabilitation program to streamline the referral process between the two agencies.

h. Encourage all staff to regularly attend local Lions Club meetings.

Goal 5: To improve opportunities and access for DBVI consumers within the larger workforce development system.

Objective: Maine DBVI will partner with Maine’s Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Grant to identify non-VR CareerCenter customers who are blind or have low vision who may require DBVI services.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI will work with a designated point of contact with the Bureau of Employment Services.

Objective: To increase the number of DBVI clients achieving an employment outcome at one of the BRS Single Point of Contact businesses from one to three in the next year.

Strategies:

a. DBVI will have direct representation on the business liaison teams utilizing the single point of entry approach and the Walgreen’s universal design model.

b. DBVI representation on the BRS CRP project which is working very closely with the BRS Business Relations Specialist throughout the State of Maine.

 

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.

See above

 

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.

See above

 

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

See above

 

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

See above

 

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

See above

 

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.

See above

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 30 2013 1:43PM by Brenda Drummond

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

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

Below are the goals described in the FY 2013 State Plan (Attachment 4.11(c) (1)), along with activities that took place and progress made on the goals, and strategies used to help DBVI towards achieving those goals.

Goal 1: To increase successful competitive employment closures for DBVI clients in each of the next three federal fiscal years..

Objective 1: Reduction of the amount of time it takes to achieve a competitive employment outcome for DBVI clients from 54 months in FFY 2010 to 42 months in FFY 2013, to 36 months in FFY 2014.

Strategies:

a. Continue efforts to re-establish a center-based blindness rehabilitation facility in Maine that utilizes an immersion model to teach blindness skills in a manner that can be easily integrated into work activities and transferred to an employment site.

Progress to date: DBVI has held conversations with the SRC on the need for such a rehabilitation and training center in Maine. We have made a cost analysis comparison between what it has been costing to send clients to centers out of state versus what it will cost to have such a program in-state. Finally, we have begun drafting an RFP focused on using an existing building that can be renovated to create the physical center, and who can also use existing personnel in the administration of a blindness rehabilitation and training program. The effort is tied to the availability of Title 1 VR monies through the Rehabilitation Services Administration reallotment process, and via their Establishment Grant process.

b. Provide staff training on customer service techniques that promote engagement of, and with clients.

Progress to date: DBVI continued to reinforce the customer service techniques received during a training with Sean Riley, owner of Maine Hospitality Group, during a training he provided to all DBVI staff in March of 2012. We talk about the need for us to engage with clients more broadly, in a true partnership while providing their rehabilitation and training program, in all of our various discipline meetings. In addition, many of the activities in our New Staff Orientation and Training protocol are geared toward more staff integration into the larger blindness community. Finally, we had Joe Stretchey from the American Foundation for the Blind and Karen Wolffe, Ph.D. provide training to staff on specific topics, but that generally covered and reinforced more effective client engagement.

c. Rebuild the statewide collaboration between the Maine Diabetes Control Project and Maine’s blindness system to more quickly identify consumers experiencing vision loss.

Progress to date: Re-establishing a connection between the blindness rehabilitation system and diabetes education and care system in Maine was facilitated by dedicating specific staff time to these activities within our Community-based Adult Rehab. contract with the Iris Network. Initial contacts to discuss collaboration were made with Community colleagues including: hospital based Diabetes Nurse Educator at Maine Medical Center; DNE at Southern Maine Visiting Nurse Services; and Portland Public Health nurse. In addition, an In-Service training regarding diabetes, its causes, symptoms, complications and treatment/management was prepared and presented to the staff of the Iris Park Apartments to meet their need for ongoing-training. Also continued contact with the Diabetes Action Alliance of Maine. Finally, a new tracking tool for Pre-Diabetic patients to record their food and activity was received and converted to Large Print for use by visually impaired individuals as needed.

For FFY12, the average number of months from application to closure for the 48 competitive closures was 37 months. It has taken 43 months from application to closure for the 11 closures during the first two quarters of FFY13.

Objective 2: To increase the numbers of successful competitive employment closures for individuals who receive services from DBVI from 33 in FFY 2011 to 40 in FFY 2012, 46 in FFY 2013, and 50 in 2014.

Overall progress on Objective 2: DBVI achieved 48 competitive closures in 2012 and has 11 so far in this current federal fiscal year (as of March 31, 2013).

Strategies:

a. Deliver at least one session of the DBVI Employability Skills Program each year to clients who are long-term unemployed/underemployed or otherwise are stuck in job seeking.

Progress to date: The Employability Skills Program (ESP) program has been offered in 2011, 2012 and the 2013 program was scheduled to take place in late May. It was set up for juniors and seniors in college who are getting ready to begin their job search. DBVI staff were ready to run this program in May of 2013, but the number of participants that committed to attend the program was not enough for the program to be cost effective. Our target for the ESP is at least six participants, and we only had four for this college student version. We may run our standard ESP in the fall.

b. Utilize the DBVI Employability Skills Program to provide training to staff on the nuances between “work ready” and “placement ready,” and how to recognize them.

Progress to date: Many staff participated in the ESP conducted in 2011 and 2012, either through active or observational presence. More experienced staff are used in an assortment of activities provided to clients during the program, and newer staff are able to learn through observing many of the various sessions within the program. We use this train-the-trainer model so more staff can become proficient in their level of understanding what it really takes for clients to enter or re-enter the workforce.

c. Collect and analyze evaluation data from clients and staff involved in the Employability Skills Program.

Progress to date: Participants and VR Counselors do follow-up surveys related to this program. Participants complete a survey at the completion of the ESP and six months following completion of the program. VR Counselors complete their survey six months after the completion of the program. In addition, DBVI looks at participants outcomes every six months. Data indicated that six out of the seven participants from the 2011 ESP were working at the 18 month checkpoint, For the 2012 ESP, one participant was working at the six month mark, and two were working at the 12 month mark. Dr. Karen Wolffe returned to Maine this past March to train DBVI employees on how to analyze the data collected in Survey Monkey from the ESP participants.

d. Expand the network of work experience/training opportunities whereby clients can learn to integrate blindness skills into work activities and employment sites.

Progress to date: We have not measured this area in the first six months of this federal fiscal year. However, we intend to expand the number and/or variety of sites used in this year’s Summer Youth Internship program beyond the four we used last summer.

e. Hold conversations with new clients that are going to be in the homemaker program about enhanced employment or working part-time.

Progress to date: Since not everyone is ready to go to work when they come to DBVI, staff from all disciplines holds the conversation about employment with the new client. This way the client has the opportunity to hear about employment at various stages during his/her services. We have not measured this in the first six months of this federal fiscal year, but will do so by the end of the third quarter. We will accomplish this by using a special indicator in our case management system that will allow us to track this more effectively. Currently, VR Counselors maintain a quarterly projected employment closure list to continually review the status of consumers. This allows VRC to evaluate those individuals who may not be able to be closed and perhaps provide intervention to remediate the issue to enable the person to be closed as initially projected.

Region III has implemented a Group Class which has 9 participants and will continue for five full days. This will provide each of the participants with an accelerated and supplemental VRT, O&M and functional vision program and in addition provide for the much needed networking and support component of Blindness Rehabilitation.

Objective 3: To expand the number of Maine employers who implement diversity hiring activities through engagement with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services’ Business Relations Specialists from two in FFY 2011 to four in FFY 2012 to six in FY 2013.

Strategies:

f. Support the re-establishment of a Maine Chapter of the US Business Leadership Network

g. Partner with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) to expand business outreach/network

h. Identify and train local VR and CRP personnel to coordinate referrals and start up activities for new business partners, in each region of the state.

The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services has expanded its Business Employment Team from one full-time position in 2012, to two full-time Business Relations Specialists in 2013. They are dividing the state into a northern and southern region, and are focusing their network building efforts on businesses that have 100 or more employees. This model uses the single point of contact, and supports the business-to-business model begun by Walgreen’s. This team has a seat on the Maine Business Leadership Network and is connected to the Chamber of Commerce personnel through this involvement. DBVI has regional contact with our BRS business Relations Specialists, as well as regular attendance at its weekly meetings. To date, two DBVI clients have been hired through this groups efforts with Tambrands in Auburn, but numerous other opportunities are on the horizon through this model. Some of the other businesses that are close to signing on to this model are LL Bean and Lowes, while many others are in preliminary conversations with our business Relations Specialists (New Balance, IDEX, Oxford Casino, for example).

Goal 2: To provide more focused activities to transition-age youth that will yield an increase in successful outcomes in each of the next three federal fiscal years.

Objective: To reduce the percentage of students we “lose” from our VR Program just before or after graduation from the 40% noted by RSA during the 2011 Site Monitoring Review, to less than 10% by FFY 2015.

Strategies:

a. Create a college preparation Program consisting of taking a college course in the summer between junior and senior year, living in the dorms, utilizing services available on-campus, skills of blindness instruction, and a work experience.

Progress to date: A college prep program is scheduled to run in the summer of 2013, from June 20 until August 2. To date, we have four students confirmed to attend, with another three still being evaluated. The students will be taking an entry level English course for credit, and will be living in the dorms. The six-week curriculum for this program was completed in April 2013, and volunteers will be secured to teach or facilitate the various sessions.

b. Create a summer youth employment and/or work experience for all students by age 16.

Progress to date: At least 4 participants will be involved in the 2013 Summer Youth Internship. Two or three of these students will be hired as Resident Assistants for the College Prep. Program, and others will work in BEP sites or sites in the private sector.

The Division for the Blind & Visually Impaired organized a field trip for students who are blind & visually impaired to learn about the importance of first jobs. The event was part of a monthly field trip program focused on addressing disability specific skills acquisition (Expanded Core Curriculum). The students were from southern and western Maine. Our goal was to help the students understand the need for early work experiences and where/how teens get their first jobs. Many students who are blind and visually impaired do not have the same opportunities to learn about work because much of what most of us know comes from "incidental learning" which is the casual observations (visual) that people with vision do all the time- they notice that the bagger is placing objects in a bag a certain way, they notice that someone has put the product on a shelf so that the labels are facing a particular way, etc.

Our student group started their day at the Portland Career Center on March 1. We traveled to the Goodwill Retail store at the Maine Mall and spent several hours learning about the retail business process- the donation delivery, product sorting, pricing, shelving, display and purchasing using the cash register. The students had opportunities to try out the job tasks. This type of “hands on” learning is critical for students with vision impairments. Several students remarked that they didn’t realize they could perform some of the job tasks. Others noted the specific job tasks they liked and those they didn’t like.

The second half of the day was focused on learning about employer expectations, and how to get a first job. Human Resource professionals from Bonney Staffing presented to the group and provided recommendations for how to find out about jobs, contacting employers, presenting self in positive way, gaining experience etc. The students asked many questions and learned that they can be active participants in the job seeking process.

The final component of the day was a presentation by two successfully employed people who are blind/visually impaired. They described their career paths and offered suggestions for students to be proactive in their career development.

The importance of The “First Job” Vocational field trip day was a success. The students were excited to realize that they do have marketable job skills and that they want to work.

c. Set up a program at local schools similar to a “Junior Achievement” model to potentially operate vending machines at the students’ school. This could be a good introduction to the business world and the world of work. The students’ would need to stock equipment, control inventory, set pricing, develop procedures for cash control and profitability.

Progress to date: None.

d. Maine DBVI will activate the Visually Impaired Community Action Team (VICAT) to provide support for transition-aged students.

Progress to date: DBVI will use the Family Services Coordinator at Iris Network to begin this process. Preliminary talks between this person and our Lewiston office have been done.

e. Increase communication between the school and parents and DBVI.

Progress to date: DBVI has been moving its three Blindness Rehabilitation Specialist positions across the state from working with all type of VR cases to working more with parents, schools, and the blindness system. This process has been completed in the Augusta and Rockland offices, and will be completed in the Bangor and Presque Isle offices by the end of the summer. This process will begin in Portland during this upcoming summer. To date the Portland position has been running a VR transition caseload and not doing the educational components this position requires. We are not quite sure how we will cover the number of transition VR cases once we make this transfer in Portland. Also, we have no plan as yet for how to expand this work in our Lewiston office as we only have the three positions targeted to do this work.

f. Stressing the importance of attending summer immersion programs at centers like the Carroll Center or Perkins School for the Blind for skills of blindness advancement and socialization (or building such a program of our own in Maine).

Progress to date: DBVI contracted with the Iris Network to build a program for addressing these issues for the transition-aged population. A curriculum has been put together and we are just beginning to look at how to implement it as both a summer program (for 2014) as well as a number of weekends throughout the year. In addition, we have a number of clients participating in summer programs at the Carroll Center and the Perkins School for the Blind.

g. Utilize the Transition Competencies Checklist with each VR eligible school-age student.

Progress to date: The Transition Competencies Checklist was begun to be used with students 10 and older in academic year 2011-2012. Dr. Wolffe was contracted this year to build this data collection instrument, which measures what the students are doing, not just what they have been taught, electronically via Survey Monkey. This will make it easier for staff to complete the instrument, as well as for DBVI to compile the results. This electronic version will be ready for TVI’s, O&Mers, parents, and students to start using by early in May. For this academic year we have raised the starting age from 10 to 12.

h. Re-establish DBVI positions that specifically serve this population. This would allow more early intervention and resource development, especially in the areas of career education and vocational exploration.

Progress to date: As of July, 2013, DBVI will have three positions that will serve this population statewide. In addition, we are currently purchasing the Transition Tote materials from American Printing House for the Blind to facilitate early intervention and resource development, especially in the areas of career education and vocational exploration. See item e above for additional information.

i. Having Transition teams in each region. The teams could coordinate and/or be points of contact for exchange of info.

Progress to date: A functioning transition team has been formed in the Portland office. Augusta and Bangor are in the very early stages of forming such teams.

j. Collect and analyze the evaluation data from clients that go through these programs.

Progress to date: Although data collection has begun across a number of these activities, it is too soon to do any analysis of the data.

Goal 3: To ensure that a larger number of individuals, with disabilities who may be unserved or underserved or have minority status, have access to DBVI services.

Objective: DBVI will work with Maine’s Section 121 VR Grant – Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation to identify an increased number of individuals eligible to be served by both programs.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI will include Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation in training and technical assistance opportunities offered or funded by DBVI.

Progress to date: The Director of the Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation has participated in numerous training activities with DBVI staff. Some of these included our SRC Annual Training last October and a transition workshop with all of BRS transition VR Counselors in April.

b. A representative from the Wabanaki Vocational Rehabilitation will participate on DBVI’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC).

Progress to date: The Director of the Wabanaki VR Program continues to actively participate on DBVI’s SRC.

c. The Wabanaki VR Program will provide technical assistance to Maine DBVI on issues related to cultural competency and best practices in Native employment supports.

Progress to date: None.

d. DBVI will provide in-service training to staff at tribal health or community centers of the four Maine tribes (Passamaquoddy Tribe, Penobscot Indian Nation, Houlton Band of Maliseets, and Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians) on an annual basis.

Progress to date: The VRC from Wabanaki VR Program attended one of DBVI’s regional meetings.

Objective: Maine DBVI will collect data on the numbers of individuals served – in various minority, unserved or underserved categories in FFY12 to establish a baseline and develop future goals.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI will develop and utilize a special indicator in its case management system to track individuals who belong in these groups:

• consumers associated with the correctional system

• veterans who are blind or have low vision

• consumers who are older

• consumers from other countries who are new to Maine

• consumers who are deaf-blind or with a dual sensory impairment of hearing and vision.

Progress to date: Most of these indicators have been implemented into our case management system, ME Aware, which will enable us to track the individuals within these various groups. This new case management system went live in the very beginning of federal fiscal year 2012.

Objective: Maine DBVI will reach out to non-English speaking immigrants and refugees experiencing vision loss and provide at least two different options for providing service to this population.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI will work with interpreter services so consumers can benefit from available blindness rehabilitative services and better their chances for employment in a new country.

Progress to date: DBVI has paid for interpreter services in southern & central Maine so consumers can learn more about the blindness rehabilitative services that are available and how they can benefit from these services.

b. Creating two classes to provide instruction in English as a second language in a manner adapted for blindness or visual impairment.

Progress to date: There is none.

Objective: DBVI will continue its efforts to grow a communication network for consumers who are deaf-blind or dual sensory impaired (hearing and vision) so that there are professional Deaf-Blind Interpreters and Support Service Providers (SSP) available in each of DBVI’s five state regions.

Strategies:

a. Secure funding for coordinated operation of the Maine SSP program.

Progress to date: DBVI worked with Iris Network to have their Community Connections position have dedicated time to spend on the Support Service Project.

b. Work with collaborative partners to increase training opportunities for Deaf-Blind Interpreters and SSP’s.

Progress to date: DBVI Director continues to work with the Independence Without Fear program to support additional deaf-blind interpreter and SSP training opportunities. Out of this came an SSP course at USM.

c. Encourage more deaf-blind/dual sensory impaired consumers to take an active role on the steering committee working on the interpreting and SSP project.

Progress to date: We had up to three persons who are deaf-blind or dual sensory impaired (hearing and vision) participate on the steering committee so far this year. Unfortunately, two of them are moving out of state soon.

d. Work with collaborative partners to identify funding for SSP’s.

Progress to data: The Independence Without Fear steering committee has evaluated current funding possibilities through targeted funding for personal care assistants funded by DHHS and administered by ALPHA One. SSP services do not fit under this funding, so additional resources are being explored.

Goal 4: To provide increased activities for public outreach, education and awareness of existing services and resources for the community and consumers who are blind or have low vision.

Objective: Maine DBVI will work with providers to create a better awareness of the resources available to individuals who are blind or have low vision by providing at least three public education activities in each of the five DBVI Regions.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI staff will provide in-service trainings to other service providers within their region.

Progress to date: On March 4th, two staff members presented to a class at Central Maine Community College on blindness services.

b. Maine DBVI Staff will provide service awareness and assistive technology/adaptive device activities for consumers and the general public within their regions.

Progress to date: Each region is working on setting up a training area with assistive technology/adaptive equipment for consumers to demo when they come into the DBVI offices. The CareerCenters will offer JAWS and Zoomtext for consumers to use when they utilize the services within the CareerCenters.

c. DBVI will coordinate cooperative training with Maine Department of Transportation. The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired from DOL, in collaboration with DOT, hosted a nationally developed, grant funded workshop in Augusta to learn about Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS). The November 7th training, provided by two national presenters on the topic: Daniel Carter and Janet Barlow, was aimed at Orientation and Mobility Specialists, Traffic Engineers and Signal Technicians at the State and local levels. Over 50 state and municipal employees attended the training which addressed the legalities and features of APS, along with the why, how, when, and where of installation. DOT/traffic engineers are charged with the design and implementation of safe pedestrian (and traffic) flow, while O&M Specialists teach blind and visually impaired persons travel skills and how to negotiate at those intersections/street crossings. In addition to providing valuable information about accessible intersections, the training opened the door to a dynamic collaboration between these two disciplines. To date, DBVI staff have been involved with pedestrian traffic planning in Portland, Lewiston, and Augusta.

i. DBVI will work with its main contractors to create a more organized and more centralized public education effort.

Progress to date: The public education efforts by our one of our main contractors are captured and provided in written report to DBVI.

j. DBVI will redesign the Registry of Blindness cards, including an on-line version.

Progress to date: None.

f. DBVI will make face-to-face visits to eye doctor’s offices following distribution of Registry of Blindness cards.

Progress to date: DBVI Director presented to the Maine Optometric Association and had only one face-to-face meeting with a specific eye doctor.

g. DBVI will explore collaboration with the Veteran’s Administration Blind Rehabilitation program to streamline the referral process between the two agencies.

Progress to date: Staff from the VA Blind Rehab. program came to a DBVI training to present on their program so staff would gain a better understanding of how the two agencies can best serve consumers who are blind or have low vision.

Goal 5: To improve opportunities and access for DBVI consumers within the larger workforce development system.

Objective: Maine DBVI will partner with Maine’s Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Grant to identify non-VR CareerCenter customers who are blind or have low vision who may require DBVI services.

Strategies:

a. Maine DBVI will work with a designated point of contact with the Bureau of Employment Services.

Progress to date: There has been a small but impactful interaction with DBVI customers, primarily around something referred to under the DEI grant objectives as Accelerated Resource Coordination (ARC). During an ARC customers will meet with a team within a CareerCenter made up of DEI coordinators, members of BES, or NMDC, or VR, or DBVI to find a solution to a customer’s immediate, pressing need. In most cases DEI’s involvement has been to use its Flexible Employment Fund (FEF) to financially assist the customers to overcome a barrier in order to continue going to their job or finding employment.

Here are to very recent examples:

From the DEI Lead Disability Resource Coordinator in Bangor: “Andrea and I are doing an FEF with a woman who has cataracts – she was referred to us by DBVI. Also a couple of months ago we helped a woman through FEF who needed some equipment that DBVI could not pay for. Sounds like you’re looking for cases where the referral goes the other way.”

From the DEI Resource Coordinator in Presque Isle: “I referred for a customer who needed eye glasses and I had no FEF at the time. BES staff helped with job search and resume”.

Objective: To increase the number of DBVI clients achieving an employment outcome at one of the BRS Single Point of Contact businesses from one to three in the next year.

Strategies:

a. DBVI will have direct representation on the business liaison teams utilizing the single point of entry approach and the Walgreen’s universal design model.

Progress to date: DBVI has successfully placed two clients at TAMBRANDS which is one of the businesses identified through this model. TAMBRANDS is currently employing 29 VR consumers. The DBVI Regional Manager in Lewiston is our representative on this, and the LL Bean project. DBVI has also worked with Bates College to talk about DBVI consumers who may benefit from a work relationship with the college in the future.

 

The Division has remained committed to assuring that individuals with the most severe disabilities receive supported employment services when this is appropriate. An Individual Plan of Employment (IPE) is developed that describes the services provided, the need for extended services, if appropriate, and an assurance that the individual has been able to make an informed choice in the provision of these services and the goal itself.

Our goal in FFY12 was to work with 14 consumers in the supported employment program. We have increased the number of individuals we plan on working with in FFY14 up to 19.

The lack of adequate long term funding as well as the lack of a variety of natural supports, has limited the number of consumers within DBVI achieving supported employment.

 

DBVI Vocational Rehabilitation Program Federal fiscal year 2012 Evaluation Standard and Performance Indicators for the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s VR program

GOAL: To achieve successful performance on Evaluation Standard 1 (Employment outcomes) by meeting or exceeding the performance levels established for four of the six performance indicators in the evaluation standard, including meeting or exceeding the performance level for two of the three primary indicators (Performance Indicators 1.3, 1.4, 1.5). However, agencies serving blind or visually impaired individuals use a two year aggregate for reporting purposes. The chart below shows the two year aggregate number for three years.

  S&IRSA10RSA11RSA12Required Performance Level
1254261228(same or +1)
267.20%69.05%64.59%68.9
338.58%33.72%35.53%35.4
498.98%100.00%100.00%89
50.9900.8260.87759
634.69%34.09%39.51%30.4

The following data is based on a single year but states if DBVI met the standard for the two year aggregate:

Standard 1: Employment Outcomes

Performance 1.1 Change in Employment Outcomes: DBVI is showing 116 closures at the end of the fourth quarter for FFY12. This is four more than the total for FFY11. However, agencies serving blind or visually impaired individuals use a two year aggregate for reporting purposes. For FFY12, the aggregate number is 228 and the aggregate number for FFY11 was 261. Therefore, DBVI has not met this standard for FFY12.

Quarter/Year

of closures

Oct 1 2011 – Sept 30 2012

116

Oct 1 2010 – Sept 30 2011

112

Oct 1 2009 – Sept 30 2010

149

Performance 1.2 Percent of Employment Outcomes: This indicator seeks to compare successful closures against all closures after receiving services. The prescribed indicator for DBVI is 68.9%. When combining the raw data for a two year period, DBVI has a performance level of 64.5% and therefore has not met this standard.

Quarter/Year

of 26’s

of 26 & 28’s

Perf. Level

s/b+/>68.9%

Oct 1 2011 – Sept 30 2012

116

177

65.9%

Oct 1 2010 – Sept 30 2011

112

176

63.6%

Performance 1.3 Competitive Employment Outcomes This indicator is the first of three primary indicators. This indicator is to measure what % of all successful closures represents closures in competitive, self-, or BEP with hourly rate of earnings equivalent to at least the federal or state minimum wage. The prescribed % for DBVI is 35.4%. At the end of the final quarter of FFY12, DBVI had 48 closures that represent competitive, self-, or BEP with the hourly rate of earnings equivalent to at least the federal or state minimum wage. This gives DBVI a performance level of 41.4% for FFY12, which is higher than the prescribed indicator. Using the raw data for a two year aggregate, DBVI has a performance level of 35.5% which is above the required level. Therefore, DBVI has met this primary indicator for FFY12.

 

Quarter/Year

of 26’s

of 26’s

in specified category

Perf. Level

S/b =/> 35.4%

Oct 1 2011 – Sept 30 2012

116

48

41.4%

Oct 1 2010 – Sept 30 2011

112

33

29.5%

 

Performance indicator 1.4 Significance of Disability: This is the 2nd primary indicator, and measures the % of closures in competitive, self-, or BEP with the hourly rate of earnings equivalent to at least the federal or state minimum wage that were individuals with significant disabilities. The prescribed indicator for DBVI is 89%. At the end of the fourth quarter of FFY12, DBVI met this standard with 100% of the performance level. DBVI was at 100% of the performance level at this same time period a year ago. Therefore, using the two year aggregate, DBVI is at 100% and has met this primary indicator.

 

Quarter/Year

of 26’s

of 26’s

in specified category

Perf. Level

S/b =/> 35.4%

Oct 1 2011 – Sept 30 2012

116

48

41.4%

Oct 1 2010 – Sept 30 2011

112

33

29.5%

 

Performance indicator 1.5 Earnings Ratio: This is the 3rd primary indicator and is used to measure the average earnings of exiting VR clients (in competitive, self-, or BEP with the hourly rate of earnings equivalent to at least the federal or state minimum wage) to the State of Maine average earnings (as derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report “State Average Annual Pay” for the most recent available year). In order to meet this indicator, DBVI must meet a performance level of 59%. At the end of the fourth quarter of FFY12, DBVI has exceeded the required performance level with 71%. When using the two year aggregate, DBVI exceeds the prescribed level for this indicator. Therefore, DBVI has met the standard for this 3rd primary indicator.

Quarter/Year

of 26’s

in specified category

of 26’s

in specified category – ave hourly earn

ME’s

Ave hrly

Perf. Level

S/b =/> 59%

Oct 1 2011 – Sept 30 2012

48

$13.44

$18.98

71%

Oct 1 2010 – Sept 30 2011

33

$19.58

$18.53

106%

 

Performance indicator 1.6 Self-Support This indicator measures the difference between the percentage of individuals identified in Primary Indicator 1.3, who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support (SOS) at the time they apply for VR services. DBVI must have a performance level of 30.4 in order to meet this indicator. DBVI reached a performance level of 44.7 at the end of the fourth quarter of the FFY12. DBVI was at a performance level of 30.6 for this same time period a year ago. The two year aggregate is above the prescribed level for this indicator. Therefore, DBVI has met this indicator for FFY12. 

Quarter/Year

of 26’s

in specified category

Primary SOS

At application

Primary SOS

At closure

Perf. Level

S/b 30.4 (math diff)

Oct 1 2011 – Sept 30 2012

48

13

34

44.7

Oct 1 2010 – Sept 30 2011

33

15

25

30.3

 

Standard 2: Assess Equal Access Opportunity for Individuals of all Groups and Backgrounds GOAL: To achieve successful performance on Evaluation Standard 2 (Equal access), by meeting or exceeding the performance level established for Performance Indicator 2.1 or meet the performance requirement in paragraph (2) (iii) (included below). (iii) If a DSU’s performance does not meet or exceed the performance level required for Performance Indicator 2.1, or if fewer than 100 individuals from a minority population have exited the VR program during the reporting period, the DSU must describe the policies it has adopted or will adopt and the steps it has taken or will take to ensure that individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds have equal access to VR services. 

 

Performance 2.1 DBVI must meet or exceed a ratio level of .80. At this time, DBVI is serving significantly less than 100 individuals with minority backgrounds. RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served to calculate the service rate. At the end of the fourth quarter, DBVI has a service rate of 0.751, which does not meet the standard. For this same period of time a year ago, DBVI had a service rate of 0.839. 

2.1 (minorities served)

 

10/01/2011 – 9/30/2012

                          10/1/2010 – 9/30/2011

 

All

26&28

All

26&28

Total Non-minority

217

171

242

173

Total Minorities

              10

6

 

5

3

 

 

 

 

 

% Minorities in VR

4.4%

3.4%

2%

1.7%

% Minorities Srvd

 

60%

 

60%

% Non-Minority Srvd

 

78.8%

 

71.5%

Serv. Rate for Min

 

    0.751

 

0.839

s/b .80 or>

 

 

 

 

Three year comparison of Performance Standards The chart below breaks out the standards and indicators through the fourth quarter of three federal fiscal years. This data allowed us to look at the numbers and determine if we were in line with other years or there was some sort of anomaly. The numbers listed in the chart are for a single FFY. As noted earlier, RSA measures us on a two year aggregate. Therefore, even though we increased our total number of closures (S&I 1.1), we didn’t meet this standard based on the 2010 figures. Our competitive rate is the best in 2012 for all three years and we were therefore able to meet the standard. Our rehabilitation rate has increased slightly but not enough to meet the standard. 

 

 

October – September

FFY12

S&I

2010

2011

2012

1.1 ~ of 26 closures

149

112

116

1.2 ~ Rehab Rate 68.9%

73.8%

63.6%

65.5%

1.3 ~ Competitive Rate 35.4%

36.9%

29.5%

41.4%

1.4 ~ Sig. of disability 89%

100%

100%

100%

 

Title I resources continue to be used for development and expansion of assistive technology and low vision rehabilitation services for DBVI consumers in collaboration with all of our blindness rehabilitation services partners throughout the state.

A. Redesign of DBVI’s Low Vision Delivery System

The Division supported the development of low vision rehabilitation services in communities throughout Maine in order to make these vital services more accessible for consumers. The division worked with community providers to assure that quality low vision services were provided in all settings to include Ophthalmologists and Optometrists offices as well as public or private low vision clinics.

Approximately 90% of DBVI consumers within VR have some degree of usable vision. There are a lot of efforts made to maximize the individual’s remaining vision. This work is connected to employment in that many consumers use their residual vision at the worksite. DBVI works with the consumer to help them effectively use the remaining vision to be the most efficient he/she can be in their job performance and stay competitive within the workforce. It is not only important to identify the need for low vision devices techniques to increase productivity, it is also important to determine the need to switch from using one’s vision to a non-visual method to become more effective. To be able to more effectively serve the needs of these consumers, DBVI began a project to totally redesign its entire low vision delivery system. A small work group was established in 2011 to begin this redesign work. A training curriculum was developed to provide staff the ability to do a functional vision evaluation and gave staff more expertise to identify when a job site evaluation is needed or when additional training in low vision is warranted. This redesigned training process and curriculum were completed, and were conducted by DBVI staff and contracted staff. Training of existing staff was completed in November of 2012, with an additional training session for new staff being completed in March of 2013.

B. Piloting the use of Apple Products

The Apple company has created access to its products for people who are blind or have low vision by including a “voice over” option as a standard component of all its mainstream products. With this “out-of-the-box” accessibility also came the introduction of numerous applications (APPS) that enhanced independence and self-sufficiency for consumers who are blind or visually impaired.

DBVI created a pilot program that began with the iPod touch that would provide some staff the opportunity to learn and teach APPS pertinent to blindness or visual impairment, as well as to look at ways to increase staff productivity by increasing efficiency for data collection and storage.

The pilot program with the iPod Touch was completed in 2011. The next phase of this project was to conduct the same exercises with iPads, and was completed early in FY2012. The ability to use iPads with consumers has been expanded to all O&M staff in FFY13.

C. Deaf-Blind and Dual Sensory Communication

DBVI continued with its efforts to address a critical need for highly qualified professional interpreters and other well-trained staff with skills to work with our consumers of the VR program who are deaf-blind or have the dual sensory impairment of vision and hearing. Due to the limited access in Maine to anyone with this specialty training, both from within DBVI and elsewhere, the Division continued its work with a group of collaborative partners (University of Southern Maine, Helen Keller National Center, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Division of the Deaf, Late Deafened and Hard of Hearing, and The Iris Network) that began in 2011 to provide specialized training to a number of individuals who will serve as professional Deaf-Blind Interpreters, as well as volunteers within the Support Service Provider (SSP) program. The program was designed to connect these professional Deaf-Blind Interpreters and volunteer SSP’s with adults with dual sensory impairments who are in need of these types of communication access services.

To date, approximately 25 individuals have been trained and are available to provide these volunteer SSP services, while approximately 20 professional ASL interpreters have been trained as interpreters for people who are deaf-blind. This first cohort of trained Deaf-Blind Interpreters and SSP’s received opportunities for additional “hands-on” training working directly with consumers during FY2012. In addition, a process for matching consumers to the needed service providers was developed and implemented, and avenues for additional training were identified. In addition, the participation of deaf-blind consumers as part of the steering committee of collaborative partners was increased in FFY 2013, and the role of the Community Connections position at The Iris Network was expanded to administer the SSP program, as well.

D. Employability Skills Program

The Employability Skills Program (ESP) was developed to assist clients who are long-term un/underemployed, or who are somehow stuck in job seeking. Although the curriculum development and initial staff training were begun in FY2010, the curriculum and staff training were completed in FY2011. To accomplish this task, DBVI contracted with Karen Wolffe, Ph. D., who is internationally known for her work on employment for people who are blind or visually impaired.

The first cohort of clients participated in the initial ESP in June of 2011. Seven clients participated in the week-long training that used an immersion model to conduct this program. This was followed by participation in an on-going job club via telecommuting. Of the seven participants in this first cohort, six entered employment and two entered additional training subsequent to their completing the ESP experience (measured at 18 months post-ESP participation).

The second cohort participated in the ESP in March of 2012. Two participants entered employment, with the other five entering program to obtain additional training by the 12 month mark following completion of this second ESP.

A third offering of the ESP adapted to college students in their junior or senior year, was planned for May of FY13, but was cancelled due to low enrollment. We need at least six participants to make the program cost and time-effective, and only four participants had signed up for this program. We have already begun talking with our clients who are in college to market this type of program for FY14.

As part of the work with Dr. Wolffe, various evaluation processes were planned and developed. The first evaluation, which focused on ESP participants, was completed shortly after completion of the immersion portion of the program. Additional work with Dr. Wolffe was done in FY 12 and 13 to enhance our evaluation of this program. We are now at the point where we measure client progress immediately following completion of the program, and then again six months after their completion. In addition, we also measure VR Counselors at the six month mark following completion of their client’s participation, and track the progress of clients at six month intervals.

E. Center-based, Immersion Model Blindness Rehabilitation

Throughout fiscal years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and into 2013, DBVI consistently heard from consumers about the need to have a center-based, immersion model for receiving blindness rehabilitation and training within Maine. The message received from consumers was very clear in that many clients of DBVI who could benefit from this model choose not to avail themselves of it because their only option to do so at present is to leave the state.

DBVI management began discussing this need, and potential avenues for creating such a program in Maine throughout FY2011, 2012, and into 2013. Through these discussions it was realized that we could use our existing staff to provide the needed services, but that creating the needed physical facility was to foremost barrier to our moving forward, as this would need substantial funding.

As the difficult budgetary times continued in Maine, it was evident that we would need to look elsewhere for the funding needed to establish a facility that could meet this need. The use of the establishment grant process through the use of federal reallotment funds were looked at as a distinct possibility and preliminary conversations to learn more about this process began with RSA staff late in FY 2011 and continued into FY12. In addition, this concept was discussed at SRC meetings throughout that time span, as well.

F. Summer Youth Employment Internships

DBVI began to look for more formalized programming for transition-age youth that will increase the number of successful employment outcomes for this population. A number of DBVI management staff who attended national conferences and meetings learned about an emerging best practice being utilized by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB). DBVI invited Janet LeBreck, the MCB Commissioner, to Maine to introduce this model to management and VR Counselors within DBVI.

This training session with Commissioner LeBreck consisted of a review of the history and origin of this program, discussion of how they initially began this program, the various barriers and pit-falls they encountered and how they were addressed, and how they have grown the program into the success model it is today. They culminated with a descriptive analysis of their client demographics and other statistical information.

DBVI management and VR counselors agreed that this is the type of program we were looking for, and plans to begin organizing our effort were slated to begin early in FY2012. Four transition-aged students participated in this program in the summer of 2012. Internship sites at various DBVI Business Enterprise Program locations in northern and southern Maine were used for these students. Plans are underway to expand this program in FY13, again utilizing BEP sites as well as expanding to non BEP sites.

G. Transition Students

Although many of these activities were funded with state dollars, the activities were integral for the students to practice new and emerging skills in the following areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum: recreation and leisure skills, orientation and mobility skills, social interaction skills, independent living skills and self-determination skills.

• Scavenger hunt at the Maine Mall

This is an activity that has been happening for many years. The idea is that students are teamed up (2 to a team). Teams are put in 1 of 3 groups (labeled A, B or C – according to experience and skill level). Teams compete against each other in their level to be the one to find the most items on a list. The lists (made in Braille or Large print) consist of items that can be found at the mall and a list of questions to answer. Students are given $5. for items that have to be purchased (many items are free and student would not be able to purchase everything on the list with only $5, so there is a fair amount of planning, strategizing etc.). Students are given a deadline to meet and must be returned to a named location by that time, or they are docked points. Overall the activity is great for practicing and reinforcing ADLs, O&M, self-advocacy, teamwork, social skills and even Braille skills. Afternoon activity involves Gift shopping for family members which also involves some of these same ECC skills.

• Take A Risk Program

“RISK” stands for Responsibility, Independence and Skills for Kids. It was a two part program starting in November for 3 days and finishing up in April during the students’ school vacation.

It involved students who came together in order to work on developing important functional life skills including: orientation and mobility skills, social skills, recreation and leisure interests.

The students worked together in decision making to plan meals as well as to participate in program activities. They were introduced to a variety of skills and topics such as household cleaning, meal preparation, consumer savvy shopping, use of kitchen appliances, health and hygiene products and practices.

After the first session, each student chose a household chore they were to do weekly until the second session in April. Each week they would earn “vacation bucks” for doing their chore. In April the group would decide what they would do to spend their earned money in some form of recreation /leisure activity.

Both sessions they traveled to a nearby supermarket. The route involved street crossings and directional changes. They navigated through the store to shop and then returned to the location where the program was held. They prepared delicious lunches and cleaned up afterward.

The days were planned to incorporate periodic motor breaks such as “minute to win it” as well as fun games such as “Jeopardy,” which tested their knowledge and understanding of the concepts that had been introduced throughout the program.

The students seemed to really enjoy the program and have increased their awareness and abilities in a variety of important independent life skills.

• A Day at the YMCA

Students became familiar with and participated in a variety of activities that promote physical fitness and recreation. They engaged in physical activities that challenged their body movement. They were required to move safely in a gym and fitness club environment and remain oriented in various spaces of the YMCA building. They expanded their social skills through interactions with staff of the YMCA and among the group of Visually Impaired students attending the event.

Students had to bring/wear appropriate clothing for the gym and pool activities. They developed an emerging understanding of their strengths and limitations in the area of physical fitness and physical recreational activities.

• The Amazing Race

This event will focus on community travel in southern Maine via public transportation with important stops and information gathering along the way.

Each of these activities challenges the students to use/practice the ECC skills by learning to navigate safely in the designated area and follow the instructions that are provided to them.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 3:57PM by Brenda Drummond

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

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

The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired continues to provide and expand supported employment services for individuals who are blind or have low vision living in Maine. We are committed to assuring that the individuals with the most severe disabilities for whom a supported employment setting is most appropriate will have an IPE that describes the services to be provided, documents the need for post-employment services and how they will be provided, and gives assurance that extended employment services will be in an integrated setting. The applicant will receive information concerning the availability of employment options and vocational rehabilitation services to supported employment in an integrated setting. If the individual chooses not to pursue employment in an integrated setting, he/she will be referred to other systems for services.

(1) Quality of Supported Employment Services:

The Division made the commitment to participate in the development of an electronic information system – ME Aware, the case management system that monitors these services and streamlines the case management process in the VR Program. The staff now have access to up-to-date information on weekly wages, hours worked, public assistance at the time of application and closure, the cost per case, and the average cost by counselor, region, and state. We are now able to track the individuals who are eligible for VR but for whom the lack of long-term support prevents the development of a plan. The system will enable us to evaluate who is being served, costs related to supported employment, its benefit to the client, and other systemic issues.

The Division gets technical assistance in supported employment that is available through the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The agency remains committed to continuous quality improvement in order to provide better services to our customers. There is an ongoing self-evaluation process that will positively impact the quality of all service areas, including supported employment.

(2) Scope of Supported Employment:

The primary service provided to clients in supported employment continues to be job skills training. This service is performed by a job coach who also provides intervention with supervisors and peers towards integrating into the company’s social environment. Other services which are provided when a need has been identified include: supplemental assessments, job development and placement, social skills training, specific skills of blindness training, transportation, support services to parents, spouse and children, and/or facilitation of natural supports. Trial work settings should be available to assess the consumer’s ability to work in an integrated, competitive setting. The agency provides whatever is required to achieve and maintain integrated competitive employment.

The majority of supported employment services are being provided to individuals who are blind or have low vision along with developmental disabilities or with severe and prolonged mental illness. There still is some restriction in getting long-term support commitment through DHHS (formerly the Bureau of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services) due to funding limitations, and the limitation of other sources.

Due to these current restrictions and the fact that the success of the supported employment model, as a whole, will ultimately hinge on the ability of the system to continue to develop options for extended/long-term support, the Division focuses on greater utilization of natural supports and the various SSI/SSDI work incentives as well as trying to explore new ideas for extended support. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Act (TWWIA) offers additional support to persons in Supported Employment.

The Division participates in the state-funded Long-term Support Program, which allows us to purchase extended support for individuals who are blind or have low vision. In addition, DBVI receives state funds for extended support for individuals with brain injuries, who are also blind or visually impaired. Both of these appropriations are very limited in the number of people who can be supported.

(3) Extent of Supported Employment Services:

The Division served fourteen supported employment clients in FFY 2013 with one of them successfully closed in supported employment placements.

(4) Timing of Transition from Extended Employment to Integrated Employment:

In day-to-day practice, a team approach is used to determine when an individual has stabilized and reached an acceptable level for transitioning to integrated employment.

This process calls for continual communication between the DBVI Rehabilitation Counselor, a representative of the state agency providing extended support and the job coach. The team determines each agency’s responsibility, estimates of costs, time in training and the criteria for extended support. Once the agreement to provide extended support is signed, the team meets a minimum of every three months to evaluate progress, and, if needed, amend the agreement. The Division will pay the cost of the rehabilitation services only when the extended support will lead to integrated employment.

Each individual, including those with the most significant disabilities, should get the services and support that he/she needs to work in an integrated, competitive setting.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 3:51PM by Brenda Drummond

System Information

System information

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on:08/30/2013 1:43 PM

Last updated by:samedrummondb

Completed on: 08/30/2013 1:43 PM

Completed by: samedrummondb

Approved on: 09/06/2013 1:23 PM

Approved by: rscobillyj