ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

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

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

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

1.1 The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission 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 Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission [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

The Commissioner of Rehabilitation

... 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

The Commissioner of Rehabilitation

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryCharles Carr

Title of SignatoryCommissioner of Rehabilitation

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)07/01/2014

Assurances Certified By

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Rehabilitation Council Recommendations and Commission Responses The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has an active and productive State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). SRC members through their area consumer advisory councils, SRC sub committees, task forces, quarterly meetings and the annual consumer conference have conducted surveys and needs assessments that have provided input to more effectively address the needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities. Again this year, funds were deemed sufficient, for MRC to select all eligible individuals to receive vocational rehabilitation services regardless of priority category. Last year the SRC was consulted and supported the MRC in the decision to open all priority categories for services. In the event that future funding proves insufficient, the MRC in partnership with the SRC will re-evaluate the need to establish an order of selection in order to prioritize eligible individuals to receive services based on the severity of their functional limitations.

The SRC, through the SRC State Plan sub-committee, has made the following recommendations to the Commission:

The SRC recommends MRC provide or improve consumer training in soft skills and exploring realistic artistic or creative vocational goals. Soft skill training needs to be more consistent, use multiple formats and include transition aged individuals and consumers with different kinds of disabilities including specific learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Soft skills training for staff have been completed by MRC Training Department in partnership with TACE New England. Many offices offer training in soft skills to all consumers, including transition aged individuals through job clubs and stand- alone programs open for all disability groups. Training is often delivered using PowerPoint and includes opportunities to role play. Soft skills is covered in multiple ways in offices across the state. Soft skill trainings have been offered in high schools and trainings have been offered for some disability groups such as the deaf and hard of hearing. Recommendations for more disability specific trainings including for consumers with LD/ADHD have been made by the SRC. Some area offices have done specific training in this area and additional offices plan to offer such training in the upcoming year. MRC Training Department is planning to develop an e-Learning on soft skills to provide an easily accessible resource to VR counselors and Job Placement Staff. The e-learning will offer consistency of content and provide an available resource for offices to work individually or in groups with consumers in area offices. Access to the E-Learning will be available on the Commonwealths’ Learning Management System, PACE. Soft skills will be added to the list of EOHHS mandatory training for all new counselors with an expectation that all training will be completed within 90 days. All other counselors will be required to complete the e-learning within one year. Staff will also have access for a refresher or as a reference as needed. Presently, Soft skills training materials (Power Point and other resources) for staff are listed on My MRC (MRC’s intranet) under the section titles training unit. The MRC Training Department will also explore offering workshops/seminars for VR staff to assist those consumers who are interested in creative or artistic careers in developing realistic vocational goals in those fields. It is the practice of the VR division to assist all consumers in making informed career choices in their field of interest.

The SRC recommends MRC to update its technology by replacing the now obsolete Windows XP computers throughout the agency, improving and enhancing its public website, collecting valid consumer email addresses, expanding its use of social networks and by using job-matching software to facilitate the hiring process.

MRC information technology staff is currently working to update all computers with Windows XP with the new platform of Windows 7 and Office 2013. MYMRC has been updated with some new links including reference cards with tips for all office applications-Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint and there is also a link to a free on-line Office 2013 training. To date IT staff has completed updating the Administrative Office computer equipment and is working to replace obsolete equipment in the field offices. Rollout of the new equipment will be phased in with an initial eight offices receiving the new equipment with all field offices being completed by September or October, 2014. The MRC public website is a major source of information about MRC services but there have been some complaints over the years that the website has not been as user friendly and accessible as it could be. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) of which MRC is a part, consolidated all information technology (IT) services across the secretariat with the same goal to allow consumers more access to services and to allow EOHHS to become more efficient, cost effective and avoid unnecessary duplication of IT services. ITD (Information Technology Division) has implemented changes to Mass.gov the state website that makes the website more user friendly and accessible while allowing MRC more control over the organization of content and staff will continue to work closely on this issue. MRC’s Commissioner’s Office, has been using social media like Facebook LinkedIn, and twitter for the past few years and blogs through the EOHHS site. MRC is open to exploring any additional social media as it becomes available to communicate with consumers and employers. MRC developed a pilot project in 2013 to secure occupational web-based training, skills development and job matching for consumers in ten areas including: Microsoft Office Suite(2003,2007. 2010) Microsoft Word, Excel and Power; Customer Service; Call Center, Administrative Assistant and Receptionist, Office and Clerical support, Packing and Product Preparation, Shipping and Receiving, Materials Inspection, Preparation for Employment, and Equipment Assembly. MRC purchased a software program called RESUMate, a competitive tool utilized in the staffing and recruiting industries, to assist employment staff in basic job matching between available employment opportunities and consumer resumes and skills. The program was distributed to all placement staff and training provided. Agency efforts to obtain email addresses for VR consumers has led to an increase in those addresses over the past four years As the job search process becomes more electronic it becomes more important for consumers to have the tools to communicate with employers and apply for jobs on line. Many VR Counselors have been working with their consumers in assisting them to get free Gmail or Hotmail accounts.

The SRC recommends that MRC enhance relationship building with employers by using on- the- job training and having the MRC Marketing Strategy Team continue to outreach to employers about MRC services and job ready consumers.

The VR Marketing Team which consists of the Employment Service Specialists in coordination with the Job Placement Specialists continue to outreach to employers especially to those in high growth industries and working with the Employment Team on project based items, As part of the marketing effort, each area office is equipped with table throws, pull-up screens, brochures and other marketing materials for any outreach program they wish to pursue. Materials have been developed with employer input about tax credits, on the job training and other MRC services. These will be available on the agency website. An updated tax credit brochure is in the final stages of editing and approval will be available in the near future. MRC is continuing to target new employers, expand its employer account management system and its federal contractor employment initiative, (the 2nd annual Federal Contractor Hiring Event was held on March 20, 2014) to assist MRC consumers with securing competitive employment comparable with their interests and abilities. Over 170 consumers have gone to work as a result of these hiring events. Use of the MRC’s on-the-job training strategy has increased significantly. Approximately 60% of consumers who participate in an OJT obtain employment with the OJT employer and others are able to obtain employment elsewhere as a result of their participation in the OJT through which they gained a recent work experience. There were 122 OJTs developed in FY2011, 126 in FY2012, 160 in FY2013 and 162 in 2014. OJT usage increased 33% from 2011 to 2014. MRC is also developing a program to train and employ consumers as Pharmacy Technicians using on-the-job training and classroom-based trainings with CVS. The program started June 1, 2014. Incorporation of the Employment Service Specialists into the VR process has been instrumental in assisting the division in exceeding its state and federal employment goals even in these difficult economic times. In FY2013, Employment Specialists contributed 215 placements and job placement specialists contributed 488 placements to the annual overall employment outcome totals. The SRC recommends that MRC improve service delivery by outreaching to more diverse and underserved communities including the Asian community and continuing to provide quality services to individuals with learning disabilities and transition aged consumers.

MRC has made a commitment to outreach to individuals with the most significant disabilities who also are ethnic and cultural minorities through its Language Access Plan, its Diversity Committee and Bi-lingual/bi-cultural counselor group. When MRC is not able to recruit professionals with a master’s degree for caseloads that require special language skills MRC hires qualified staff with appropriate experience and a bachelor’s degree who agree to work towards obtaining a master’s degree in VR counseling. Bi- lingual counselors and other staff with specific language skills have been hired in several offices to outreach more effectively to those communities including local agencies and organizations. They meet on a regular basis statewide to share resources, to develop and/or translate new or existing agency forms, brochures and other marketing materials. In addition, MRC uses a state vendor, Language Connections who do most of the language translations for the state. This ensures dialects and sentence structure is consistent across most state agencies. Asian languages which are spoken by MRC staff include: Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, Khmer and Vietnamese. MRC will continue to explore with the SRC unserved/underserved committee ways of expanding MRC’s efforts in this area. MRC continues to outreach to transition aged youth with disabilities through local schools. MRC has at least one VR counselor assigned to each high school in the state. Counselors work closely with the local school system to meet with students, teachers and parents to explain agency services and to open VR cases. MRC was awarded a five year grant from RSA in October, 2007(with a one-year no-cost extension to September, 2013) to assist in the transition of young adults( ages 16 to 26) with significant disabilities from school to work in the metropolitan school districts of Springfield, Worcester and Boston. Over the six year period staff provided outreach to over 2,500 students at selected high schools in the three regions over the grant period with specific emphasis on traditionally un-served and underserved populations. The program served a minimum of 750 youths and successfully transitioned 450 students from high school to post-secondary education. As a result of this initiative, MRC gained extensive experience working with high school staff, youth based community resources, families and students to develop a best practices guide to working with transition age youth. MRC also plans to continue in EOHHS’s youth summer work experience program for students in the state’s human services agencies including MRC. The program includes: soft skills orientation training; paid summer work; specific skill development; peer and career mentorship; resume development; written employment references and graduation. MRC has seen an increase in the number of consumers with disabilities of LD/ADHD coming to MRC for VR services over the past decade. In 2013, these individuals constituted the second highest disability grouping. To assist VR counselors in providing high quality services to consumers the MRC has: expanded LD/ADHD support groups; completed soft skill training programs for VR staff working with LD/ADHD consumers; listed soft skill training and LD/ADHD informational materials for staff on My MRC. In addition, the MRC Training Department is planning an e-learning module for VR counselors and job placement staff to access for group or individual training. MRC will continue to work with the SRC LD/ADHD subcommittee to enhance services to this population.

The SRC recommends that MRC increase consumer awareness of Transportation Options such as the Transportation Access PASS (TAP) Program and to continue the Good News Garage donated car program to address consumer transportation needs.

Transportation remains a significant need for many consumers. This program allows individuals with disabilities to use public transportation from the MBTA and other regional transit authorities across the state at a greatly reduced rate. Transportation fact sheets are on the agency web site. MRC is currently exploring a possible collaboration with the North Shore Career Center on transportation. Good News Garage donated car program has been extended through FFY 2014. This has been a very successful program over the past several years and was the number one ranked transportation need specified by consumers. Consumers receive a donated vehicle that is repaired and inspected for safety and receive training on how to maintain and register a vehicle. Consumers must have the resources to register, insure and maintain the vehicle. Annually over 45 consumers who reside mainly in rural areas receive a donated car for use in obtaining and maintaining employment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 1:56PM by Teresa Walsh

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen has never been updated.

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

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

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

Attachment 4.8 (b) (1) RSA State Plan Federal Fiscal Year 2008

Cooperation with Agencies that are not in the Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission considers cooperation and collaboration with other agencies particularly human service agencies, to be essential and beneficial to most effectively serving people with disabilities and to providing the optimum opportunity for employment. Other agencies provide critical supports, necessary resources, and dedicated human service professionals all of which augment and enhance the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. For many years the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has worked closely and corporately with the staff of other agencies in serving mutual consumers. Collaboration often extends well beyond services to particular individuals. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission works with other agencies to:

• Affect system change • Increase resources, funding and service options • Improve communication and mutual understanding among staff • Change Public attitude toward issues of disability • Achieve common goals on behalf of those whom the agencies serve

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, in working with other agencies, takes a predictable approach to collaboration and puts forth an agenda that is common to all interagency relationships.

First, linkages, agreements or understandings are established at State, Regional and local levels. Typically, the state level, with input from regional and local personnel, develops a blueprint for collaboration and an action plan. The regional level oversees the implementation of the action plan. At the local level, the actions are activated and implemented. Comprehensive inter-agency cooperation requires the full commitment and participation of all three organizational levels.

Inter-agency cooperation in which the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission participates typically encompasses all of the following collaboration measures:

Planning: There is a statewide planning structure that establishes an action plan incorporating diverse needs and perspectives. This process results in a cooperative agreement, a memorandum of understanding, or some type of action plan to which two or more agencies are committed.

Information Exchange: A commitment is made to exchange information about resources, funding, policy and other matters necessary to mutual understanding of mission, goals, capacity, eligibility and the like.

Identification of Liaisons: Generally, both parties identify contact persons for the purpose of communication and referral and responsible persons for issues and problem resolution.

Cross-Training: All agency cooperation acknowledges the need for and addresses cross-training of personnel. This is not only critical to mutual understanding, but also is essential in effective, reciprocal utilization of services and appropriate referral.

Collaboration on Resources: Effective cooperation between agencies acknowledges that more can be done with less when resources are most effectively combined and when duplication is avoided whenever possible. Sharing or resources is much more than splitting the cost. It encompasses which agency does what for whom, when, where and how. Some of the rudiments for resource collaboration are set forth in written agreements and planning documents. Much of this collaboration, however, can only happen at the service level through honest and regular communication. Cooperation in which the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission engages strives to set the environment conducive to the frankness, openness, and, whenever possible flexibility necessary for collaboration on sharing of resources.

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has, with several agencies and organizations, written agreements, memoranda of understanding, written work plans and/or verbal commitments on which both parties have acted. Agencies with which such collaboration has occurred and has remained active locally and at the Statewide level include, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Mental Retardation, the Social Security Administration, the Division of Medical Assistance, the Department of Transitional Assistance, the Department of Employment and Training and the Department of Education.

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission further collaborates with organizations that provide services, in whole or in part, to specific constituencies. Among such organizations are the Massachusetts Association of Financial Aid Administrators, the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, the Arthritis Foundation, the Massachusetts Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Massachusetts Easter Seals, United Cerebral Palsy, the Massachusetts Head Injury Association, and the Epilepsy Association. These collaborations take the form of cooperative agreements and, sometimes, service contracts. The purpose, goals, and actions established in these agreements and contracts are very similar to the agendas set forth in interagency collaboration.

There are no programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the U.S.Department of Agriculture and no state use contracting programs.

This screen was last updated on Jul 29 2009 1:12PM by Teresa Walsh

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

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

Attachment 4.8 (b) (2) RSA State Plan Federal Fiscal Year 2015 Coordination with Education Officials: The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission works with local school districts to ensure that eligible high school students with disabilities have the benefit of transition services that lead to successful post-school outcomes in employment and post-secondary education. MRC provides outreach to assist local high schools to identify students who may be appropriate referrals for MRC programs/services. For those students who are eligible for services there will be individualized planning to determine goals and services bases on their interests, strengths, and needs. The Massachusetts Department of Education and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission established a Memorandum of Understanding in 2003 between the two agencies to ensure that students with disabilities have the benefit of transition planning that includes coordination of the public education and the public vocational rehabilitation systems. Under this agreement MRC and DOE staff provide technical assistance to local school districts regarding transition planning in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations including IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act, and maintain ongoing communication and collaboration between DOE and MRC at the state and local level. At the local level the Vocational Rehabilitation counselor may work with eligible students to offer career guidance and information about employment opportunities in their area as well as help in college planning, assistive technology, independent living, and other issues of concern to young adults. Counselors may participate in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings with the student and school staff if they are referred for vocational rehabilitation services. For those students who meet MRC eligibility and order of selection criteria; an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) may be developed, approved and implemented prior to exiting high school. Early referral while the student is still in school is strongly encouraged to allow for a smooth transition from school to work and adult life.

MRC continues to outreach to transition age youth with disabilities through local schools. MRC has at least one VR counselor assigned to each high school in the state. Counselors work closely with the local school system to meet with students, teachers and parents to explain agency services and to open VR cases.

MRC was awarded a 5-year federal demonstration grant from RSA: “Transition Works: Innovative Strategies for Transitioning Youth with Disabilities from School to Work” in October, 2007(with a one-year no-cost extension to September, 2013) to assist in the transition of young adults (ages 16 to 26) with significant disabilities from school to work in the metropolitan school districts of Springfield, Worcester and Boston. Over the six year period staff provided outreach to over 2,500 students at selected high schools in the three regions over the grant period with specific emphasis on traditionally un-served and underserved populations. The program served a minimum of 750 youths and successfully transitioned 450 students from high school to post-secondary education.

As a result of this initiative, MRC gained extensive experience working with high school staff, youth based community resources, families and students to develop a best practices guide to working with transition age youth. MRC also plans to continue in EOHHS’s youth summer work experience program for students in the state’s human services agencies including MRC. The program includes: soft skills orientation training; paid summer work; specific skill development; peer and career mentorship; resume development; written employment references and graduation.

As part of the Transition Works Grant MRC partnered with the Federation for Children with Special Needs to develop, publish, and disseminate statewide A Family Guide to Transition Services in Massachusetts in 2013. It is available in English and Spanish versions and provides students, families, and school staff with information and resources about the transition planning process for students with disabilities.

MRC is currently a Partner on the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)/Partnership Project Grant in the area of Secondary Transition. This is a 5-year State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) from the federal Office of Special Education (OSEP). MRC staff are working with six Model Site high schools to develop and provide transition training and technical assistance to school staff and plan to disseminate best practices from the Transition Works Grant to these school districts.

An interagency cooperative agreement was established between the Commission and Institutions of Higher Education (IHE). This agreement clarifies the roles and responsibilities of both the Commission and IHE to ensure consistent services for students of IHE that are also customers of the Commission. Responsibilities of IHE include: equal access to educational programs and services to persons with disabilities; to provide reasonable accommodations as needed and to arrange and/or coordinate appropriate accommodations. Responsibilities of the Commission include: providing VR services to those students with disabilities that do not fall under the responsibilities of IHE for accommodation and equal access; providing technical assistance to IHE to determine accommodation and equal access needs for students with disabilities; providing adaptive equipment and technology under an IPE for eligible students; providing vocational counseling and job placement services to qualified students with disabilities; and providing to the financial aid officer(FAO) after authorization of a written release by the qualified student, all necessary information to allow the FAO to calculate financial amounts for grants and awards. Joint responsibilities include: to collaborate in the coordination and provision of services; to communicate to ensure timely services and to share information in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 2:11PM by Teresa Walsh

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

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

Attachment 4.8 (b) (3) RSA State Plan Federal Fiscal Year 2015 Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-Profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has, for many years, worked in partnership with community rehabilitation providers to develop a wide array of programs and services to assist people with disabilities to achieve suitable employment outcomes. The MRC and community rehabilitation providers have collaborated to develop programs including: Vocational Services; Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) and a wide array of support services essential in vocational rehabilitation. This collaborative relationship has been achieved through open communication, sharing of ideas and resources, mutual support and understanding and inclusiveness of all partners in the development of and implementation of service design.

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission develops programs and services with the participation of providers in several forums. 1. Statewide Rehabilitation Council that meets twice annually. 2. Quarterly meetings with representatives of the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers. 3. Periodic district wide meetings with community rehabilitation programs. 4. Interagency and cross-disability agency councils. 5. Task specific work teams. 6. Massachusetts Association of People Supporting Employment first (MAAPSE)

In partnership with MRC, community rehabilitation program personnel actively participated in the process for competitive procurement, CIES, the disability employment pilot project work team and the mental health services work team. This included for the first time real pricing of community rehabilitation program services and performance reimbursement.

CIES program provides vocationally rehabilitative employment services for participants and the availability for extended on-going supports after closure. CIES comprises five components, each associated with a specific service outcome. Through the component based service delivery system, consumers are able to receive the comprehensive individualized services and supports they need to achieve and maintain successful employment. CIES services may carry over from year to year, with approximately 30% of consumers completing their program each year. CIES Components include: Assessment; Job-Targeted Educational and Skills Training activities; Job Development and Placement; Initial Employment Support services and On-going and Interim Support services.

Program Design

The CIES program provides consumers services toward gaining competitive employment through five component services. Consumers enter or exit different components based on needs. The measures of success for the program are the number of consumers placed in jobs for 30 days or more, called Job Placements, and the number of consumers employed beyond 90 days, called Successful Employment Outcomes (SEOs).

The State contracts with Qualified Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) to deliver CIES services. Providers are paid on a performance basis during the initiation and completion phases of services. Using a data management and billing system called EIM (Enterprise Invoice Management), the CIES team tracks program enrollment, expenditure and outcomes. Data from the EIM system allows detailed analysis of provider performance and program results. CIES providers have consistently expended about 60% of CIES resources on Job Development and Placement services. The number of consumers placed in jobs as a percentage of the number of total served has steadily increased. Budget reductions occurred through this period, based on the anticipated availability of federal funding. In FY13, 772 CIES consumers (83% of all placements) reached competitive employment, with total annual earnings of about $ 8 million (on-going support services are delivered through MRC Statewide Employment Services Department and is designed to help individuals with the most severe disabilities that have been transferred from segregated employment to integrated employment opportunities with competitive wages paid by an employer. For FY 15, the goal will be to exceed 825 placements. CIES is one of several employment tools which MRC uses to assist consumers in obtaining competitive employment. CIES is often used to assist individuals with more complex disabilities or situations into integrated employment opportunities with competitive wages paid by an employer.

The MRC CIES team continuously monitors and evaluates performance quality to ensure that consumers are given the opportunity to achieve the best possible employment outcomes, using tools such as site visits, data analysis, monthly reporting, quarterly team meetings, and annual provider and consumer surveys. The CIES program has proven its effectiveness in recent years by continuing to improve outcomes using available resources.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 2:14PM by Teresa Walsh

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

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

Attachment 4.8 (b) (4) RSA State Plan Federal Fiscal Year 2008

Evidence of Collaboration regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services

Preface

Since the 1986 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through its human service agencies, has been developing supported employment initiatives. By 1990, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) had identified the Office of Statewide Employment Services (SES) at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission as the lead office in the Massachusetts Supported Employment Initiative. SES and a representative of the EOHHS convened an Advisory Council to address the development, implementation and expansion of supported employment services in Massachusetts. This advisory Council was the first step at coordination of efforts. It continues to develop an active work plan and meets monthly to address the activities.

Also, as part of the 1986 amendments, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has worked with other human service agencies to identify and secure funding for extended supports for individuals in supported employment. Funding for extended services has been available from several sources depending on the nature of a client’s disability and the resources available to each provider agency. However in 1997 the EOHHS created a process that made it easier for state agencies to cost share the service needs of consumers. This service delivery system is currently in place. With the implementation of this initiative we have seen an increase in the available money for extended services. This funding is secured at a local level each situation handled individually.

Sources include:

• Department of Mental Health • Department of Mental Retardation • Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing • Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission State Revenue • Statewide Head Injury Program • Social Security Administration Work Incentives • Private Sector Natural Supports • United Way monies

Narrative

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has used many procedures to guarantee collaboration with respect to supported employment services and extended services. This is also evidenced in the number of joint funded programs that have developed. Some examples of these collaborative programs are joint funding of services for individuals with mental retardation between the MRC and the Department of Mental Retardation; for individuals who are psychiatrically disabled between MRC and the Department of Mental Health; for individuals who have traumatic brain injuries between the Statewide Head Injury Program of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

In October 1997, the four disability agencies in Massachusetts collaborated on the release of a competitive bid for Community Based Employment Services. This was the first ever, interagency collaboration of its kind. Because of this effort, a supported employee will be able to access their system of supports in a more streamlined fashion that incorporates consumer choice and is outcome driven. This effort is designed to offer all supports to consumers, including extended services. Through this effort the disability agencies can now easily cost share the support services for people with disabilities.

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has used many procedures to guarantee collaboration with respect to funding for extended services. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has in place interagency service agreements with the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Mental Retardation, which makes reference to funding extended services for supported employment. Coupled with this the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission administers a state funded extended services in supported employment. Because of the vigorous emphasis on supported employment in Massachusetts, the Commission and supported employment service providers have met with much enthusiasm and joint collaboration in long-term services from other human service agencies.

As previously stated, for many years MRC has been collaborating with state agencies to promote collaboration regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services. An excellent example of that continuing collaboration is a recent inititiatve that is currently underway. In July or 2006, SES, the MRC Salem Area Office and the Department of Mental Retardation, North Shore Area Office of the North East Region ventured into a partnership to collaborate resources to serve 25 individuals who are currently receiving Day Services through DMR. This supported employment initiative utilize the counseling and guidance of the VR Counselors, the program coordination of the SES Program Specialist and the Job Development and Job coaching of the Community Rehabilitation Providers and an innovative position of “Facilitator” through the Department of Mental Retardation. The agreement also assures long term support funding through DMR after successful VR closure.

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2009 11:32AM by Teresa Walsh

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The Commission employs a total of 827 persons, 459 of whom are employed in the VR Program. Of this number, 267 VR counselors and first line supervisors, 43 are managers and 149 are program, technical, or administrative staff. All numbers represent full and part-time staff, not FTE. 26.7% of Commission staff is from minority backgrounds, 74.2% are women, 16.7% are persons with disabilities, and 1.6% are Vietnam-era veterans. Most counselors carry "general caseloads" consisting of consumers representing all disability populations; a smaller number of counselors carry "specialty" caseloads consisting primarily of consumers with the same/similar disabilities (i.e., severe mobility impairments, psychiatric disabilities or special linguistic needs). The number of individuals that the Commission projects that it will serve annually by 2015 is 33,254. To adequately serve that number of individuals, the number of VR counselors, first-line supervisors and managers would need to be maintained at the current level. MRC faces many personnel challenges in the next few years. A total of 68 funded individuals, many holding supervisory and management positions, left the agency over the past two state fiscal year many through retirement. This represents an increase in the average annual attrition rate from a historical rate of 5 to 7% to 8%. In addition, MRC faces challenges in recruiting entry level VR counselors due to the small number of programs offering vocational rehabilitation counseling and the competition from private sector employment opportunities. 95 VR funded individuals are projected to retire by 2019. Many other individuals will be approaching retirement age within the next five to 10 years as the average age in the Commission is 50 with over 20 years of agency experience. Several of these individuals are in manager and administrative positions in the central office which are paid through VR monies and many more are counselor, first line supervisor and manager positions in the field. At this time, MRC is able to back fill vacant staff positions and use post retirement staff and interns to cover caseloads.

The chart below represents the vacancies that were posted for this past year with projections based on this year projected over 5 years. A vacancy in a manager position can create vacancies at lower levels of the agency for example an area director vacancy may be filled by a unit supervisor creating a vacancy at that level which would be filled by a vocational counselor creating a vacancy in a counselor position. As stated previously these totals can also be affected by funding issues at the federal and state level.

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 vocational rehabilitation counselors 267 78 124
2 managers 43 2 10
3 program/technical or administrative staff 149 9 36
4 0 0 0
5 0 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

In a given academic year, upwards of 100 undergraduate students and 125 graduate students are enrolled in degree programs either full-time or part-time as rehabilitation "majors" at the colleges and universities referenced below. Each year, upwards of 50 undergraduate students are awarded the Bachelor’s degree and upwards of 60 graduate level students graduate with credentials to qualify for certification by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification and/or licensure by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

 

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 107 0 0 34
2 Springfield College 28 3 0 0
3 University of Massachusetts at Boston 28 18 4 6
4 Salve Regina 76 12 9 21
5 N/A 0 0 0 0

 

Representatives from the Commission’s Staff Development Department will continue to visit annually with officials of the CORE accredited rehabilitation departments and officials responsible for minority outreach at Assumption College, Springfield College, Salve Regina, RI and the University of Massachusetts at Boston regarding pertinent information on the preparation of rehabilitation professionals and for the specific purpose of recruiting graduates for employment in the federal/state VR Program. Special emphasis will be given to students with disabilities and students from minority backgrounds. Additionally, Commission staff also regularly addresses rehabilitation students in the classroom setting providing them with an overview of the agency and the public rehabilitation program. Internal job postings are automatically sent to these institutions informing them of job openings and procedures to apply. A number of rehabilitation students also complete their field placement and practicum experience within the Commission affording them a realistic view of work in the Commission. The Commission has sponsored 65 paid internships since 2010; 21of those interns have been hired as full time employees.

The Commission also maintains relationships with nearly forty minority referral sources and routinely forwards all job postings to them thereby encouraging application for employment at all job levels from persons from minority backgrounds. Position openings are routinely advertised in minority and alternative newspapers and posted internally and externally on the Internet (Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employment Opportunities).

 

Consistent with CSPD requirements, personnel standards for the VR counselor position were officially changed and incorporated into Commonwealth’s Civil Service Job Specifications effective July 1, 2001. Entry-level standards are based on the highest entry-level degree requirements in the State, i.e. the Commonwealth’s licensure requirements for Rehabilitation Counselors: a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or master’s degree in an approved related field with the completion of graduate coursework in each of five (5) designated Rehabilitation Core Knowledge areas. All VR counselors and first-line supervisors who perform the essential functions of the counselor position and who do not meet the new entry-level standards are required to be on an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) and demonstrate annual progress towards meeting the appropriate requirements. Those who fail to demonstrate progress jeopardize their employment status within the Commission. New counselors are required to meet the standard prior to hire unless a situation exists where the caseload population requires a special language or skill or the job title is considered under parity for Affirmative Action purposes. In these instances, Individual Educational Plans are developed upon hire and these staff are required to meet the standard according to an agreed upon plan and schedule. All individual educational plans are submitted to the Human Resource Liaison/Training Director for final review and approval and become part of the central CSPD database and tracking system.

 

TRAINING OPTIONS In view of individual needs and abilities, the Commission has implemented a variety of options to assist staff in meeting CSPD requirements. They are as follows: CORE Accredited Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling: A number of counselors are currently enrolled in these degree programs at one of the Core accredited institutions in Massachusetts and pursue the degree on a part-time basis. Rehabilitation Related Master’s Degree at State Colleges and Universities: Since a rehabilitation-related master’s degree coupled with coursework in the five designated core areas is acceptable by the Licensing Board, the Commission approves of this degree option. Rehabilitation Counseling or Rehabilitation Related Bachelor’s Degree Programs: Counselors who do not hold a bachelor’s degree may pursue degree programs at State colleges and universities or at one of the CORE accredited institutions in Massachusetts. PROGRAM OUTCOME Progress continues to be made to ensure all staff that performs the essential functions of the VR counselor position meets the required CSPD standards. Assuming implementation continues at the current pace, we expect the following program outcomes: Currently, 267 individuals (full and part-time, not FTE) perform the essential functions of the VRC and are subject to the standards of the CSPD. Of the 267, 249 hold licensure or certification as a Rehabilitation Counselor (L.R.C or CRC) or meet the academic criteria for the L.R.C/CRC designation, the highest entry-level criteria in the State and Commission’s CSPD standard. These individuals do not require any additional coursework. Of the remaining 18 individuals who must work toward meeting the CSPD requirement three are recently hired bi- lingual VR counselors. Four were granted medical waivers and are required to update their status each semester; eight are currently enrolled and taking a minimum course per year at the University of Massachusetts. One VR counselors holds a related master’s degree and is working toward completing course work in category D of the CRC and must complete the required courses at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and taking one or two courses per year requiring approximately two years to meet the CSPD requirement. One VR counselor, hired prior to CSPD requirements are working toward earning a bachelor’s degree from Assumption College Three VR counselors attend Springfield College. One counselor attends Salve Regina University, Rhode Island. It is unlikely that the Commission will reach 100% compliance in the near future for the following reasons. The Commission has many “seasoned” counselors who will be retiring in the next few years. While completing required graduate courses in all likelihood will retire prior to completion of a master’s program in rehabilitation counseling. That said, all seasoned counselors have many years of solid/successful work experience and are closely supervised by supervisors who all meet CSPD. The Commission is also working with a very small pool of bi-lingual job candidates who hold a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. The Commission continues to partner very closely with academic programs offering bachelor and master’s degrees in rehabilitation to ensure awareness of potential job candidates and to offer students paid and unpaid internships providing students with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the public VR arena. Many interns have been hired when job openings become available. IN-SERVICE TRAINING AND CONTINUING EDUCATION The commission’s Staff Development Unit supports a wide variety of training and development programs for all staff through a comprehensive in-service training program. Over the five year grant period, a series of workshops and seminars is planned in the following priority areas: basic rehabilitation practices, advanced rehabilitation practices, WIA partnerships: employment outcomes, leadership development and succession training, computer skills, and secretarial skill development. The Commission is authorized to award Continuing Education Units from the Council on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. The Commonwealth’s Board of Allied Health and Human Service Professions to maintain licensure also accepts these credits. In-service programs carry the appropriate number of continuing education units and enable staffs who qualify to maintain their counselor certification and/or meet licensure requirements. DISSEMINATION OF REHABILITATION MATERIALS The Commission acquires and routinely disseminates rehabilitation materials to staff such as the latest publications from the Institute on Rehabilitation on Issues, training materials from the Research and training Centers, training guides and resource materials produced by recipients of RSA training grants, and products from the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials. Additionally, each counselor and supervisor has a personal computer giving them access to a wide variety of software applications and thus putting a vast amount of information in the hands of both staff and consumers.

 

Of the VR counselors, twelve are skilled in American Sign Language (ASL) and are qualified to work with consumers who are deaf; thirty are fluent in Spanish and work with Hispanic consumers; four are able to communicate in Cantonese; two in Vietnamese, three are fluent in Portuguese; three are fluent in Khmer, three are fluent in French/Haitian Creole and one counselor is fluent in Hindi and Tamil. A smaller number of area directors, head clerks and other clerical staff are fluent in American Sign Language, Spanish, Khmer, Cantonese, Mandarin, Haitian Creole or Portuguese. Eleven full and part time sign language interpreters are also on staff. The Commission also maintains a statewide contract with the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to secure additional ASL interpreters and CART reporters, as needed. Staff with specific language skills and interpreters is geographically placed so as to coincide with population and other demographics relating to target consumer groups. This strategy will continue to be applied and staff with specialized skills added, as appropriate, for the upcoming year and beyond.

 

The information in the State plan pertaining to the RSA requirements for a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development is shared with the appropriate State Department of Education unit consistent with the Individual with Disabilities Education Act to assure compliance and coordination of efforts.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 2:34PM by Teresa Walsh

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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

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

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

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 2:46PM by Teresa Walsh

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

Annual Estimates of Individuals to be served and Costs of Services (1) Number of Individuals in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Who Are Eligible For Services under This State Plan Consistent estimates, based on U. S. Census Bureau data and other sources, find that the number of individuals in the Commonwealth who may be eligible for services under this State Plan on the basis of having a disability ranges appropriate 300,000. (2) Number of Such Individuals Who Will Receive Services with Funds Provided Under Part B of Title I of the Act and Part B of Title VI It is estimated that the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission will provide services with funds provided under part B of Title I of the Act as follows. a) Individuals to be provided services to determine eligibility: 9,000 b) Individuals to be provided services to determine order of selection priority assignment and vocational rehabilitation needs: 7,678 c) Individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services necessary to render them employable consistent with an approved Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and subsequent amendments: 6,857 d) Individuals with most significant disabilities to be provided vocational rehabilitation services necessary to render them employable consistent with an approved Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and subsequent amendments: 6,715 e) Individuals with significant disabilities to be provided vocational rehabilitation services necessary to render them employable consistent with an approved Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and subsequent amendments: 118 Individuals with disabilities to be provided vocational rehabilitation services necessary to render them employable consistent with an approved Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and subsequent amendments: 24 It is estimated that the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission will provide services under part B of Title VI of the Act to approximately 432 individuals. (3) Costs of Services It is estimated that the costs of services with funds provided under part B of Title I of the Act will be $45,525,000 including Social Security Administration reimbursement. Consistent with order of selection, costs of services to individuals is estimated is as follows (does not include administrative costs). a) Individuals with most significant disabilities: i) Assessment, counseling, guidance, and placement: $37,402,464 ii) Other vocational rehabilitation services consistent with an IPE: $18,275,559 b) Individuals with significant disabilities and individuals with disabilities: i) Assessment and guidance and placement: $225,000 It is estimated that the costs of services with funds provided under part B of Title VI of the Act will be: $474,000

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 30 2014 2:50PM by Teresa Walsh

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.

Goals and Priorities for State Plan The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has developed the following goals and priorities for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs. These have been identified based on the most recent Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment conducted in collaboration with the Statewide Rehabilitation Council (SRC) during fiscal year 2013 to survey the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities. Additionally, these goals are based upon agency performance on the RSA Standards and Indicators (using the FFY 2013 data set that was recently submitted to RSA), recommendations and input from the SRC, and input from MRC Senior Management. MRC will review progress on these goals on a regular basis with senior management. Goal 1: Maximize Successful Employment Outcomes for 90 Days or Greater to exceed last year’s federal fiscal year outcome as stated in RSA Standard and Indicator 1.1 Measurement: Total Sum of Successful Employment Outcomes for MRC Consumers for the Current Federal Fiscal Year (Status 26 Closures) Target: 3,651 Data Source: Status 26 Closure Data from MRCIS Case Management System, Monthly Standards and Indicators Tracking Report Frequency: Monthly, Annually Goal 2: Increase the Rehabilitation Rate of MRC Consumers receiving Services so that the Ratio of Successful Closures versus Unsuccessful Closures (Rehabilitation Rate) exceeds the RSA Standard of 55.8% as stated in RSA Standard and Indicator 1.2 Measurement: Total Successful Employment Outcomes for MRC Consumers for the Current Federal Fiscal Year (Status 26 Closures) divided by the sum of both total successful employment outcomes (Status 26 Closures) and the total number of unsuccessful closures after receiving services (Status 28 Closures for the Current Federal Fiscal Year Target: Equal to or Greater than 55.8% Standard Data Source: Status 26 Closure Data and Status 28 Closure Data from MRCIS Case Management System, Monthly Standards and Indicators Tracking Report Frequency: Monthly, Annually Goal 3: Focus on Competitive, Integrated Employment Outcomes for MRC Consumers by Maximizing the Proportion of MRC Consumers Exiting the VR Program with Competitive or Self Employment with earnings at or above Minimum Wage (RSA Standard and Indicator 1.3) Measurement: Total Number of Successful Status 26 Closures with a RSA-911 Employment Status Code of 1, 3, 4, or 7 in MRCIS with hourly wages at or above minimum wage (the higher of either State or Federal Minimum Wage, currently is $8.00 in Massachusetts). Target: Equal to or Greater than 97% Data Source: Status 26 Closure Data from MRCIS Case Management System, Monthly Standards and Indicators Tracking Report Frequency: Monthly, Annually Goal 4: Focus on serving individuals with significant disabilities by Maximizing the Proportion of MRC Consumers with Significant Disabilities who Exit the VR Program with Competitive or Self Employment with earnings at or above Minimum Wage (RSA Standard and Indicator 1.3) Measurement: Total Number of Successful Status 26 Closures for individuals with a Significant Disability or Most Significant Disability code at closure and with a RSA-911 Employment Status Code of 1, 3, 4, or 7 in MRCIS with hourly wages at or above minimum wage (the higher of either State or Federal Minimum Wage) Target: Equal to or Greater than 90% Data Source: Status 26 Closure Data from MRCIS Case Management System, Monthly Standards and Indicators Tracking Report Frequency: Monthly, Annually Goal 5: Improve Quality of Successful Employment Outcomes for MRC consumers by increasing the average hourly wage of employed consumers and the ratio of the MRC consumer hourly wage to the state average hourly wage (RSA Standard and Indicator 1.5) Measurement: Average Hourly Wage for Status 26 Closures for individuals with a RSA-911 Employment Status Code of 1, 3, 4, or 7 in MRCIS with hourly wages at or above minimum wage (the higher of either State or Federal Minimum Wage), Average Hourly Wage divided by Fiscal Year State Weekly Wage Data from Bureau of Labor Statistics calculated using methodology as specified in RSA instructions for calculating VR agency performance on Standard and Indicator 1.5 Target: An average hourly wage for MRC consumers at or above the level required to meet Standard and Indicator 1.5 ($15.43 for FFY2013); Positive increase in Average Hourly Wage for employed consumers from prior fiscal year Data Source: MRCIS Case Management System, Bureau of Labor Statistics Weekly Wage Data Frequency: Quarterly, Annually Goal 6: Maximize the number of Consumers Exiting the MRC VR Program whose Primary Source of Economic Support is from their own Employment Earnings as Defined in RSA Standard and Indicator 1.6. Measurement: Proportion of Individuals Successfully Closed in Status 26 in the current fiscal year with a RSA-911 Employment Status Code of 1, 3, 4, or 7 in MRCIS with hourly wages at or above minimum wage (the higher of either State or Federal Minimum Wage, currently is $8.00 in Massachusetts) whose Primary Source of Support at Closure is Personal Income (Code 1) minus the proportion of those consumers whose primary source of support at application was personal income (Code 1).

Target: At or above 53% Standard Data Source: MRCIS Case Management System, Monthly Standards and Indicators Tracking Report Frequency: Monthly, Annually Goal 7: Continue to Provide Vocational Rehabilitation Services to Consumers from Diverse Ethnic and Racial Backgrounds as defined in RSA Standard and Indicator 2.1 Measurement: The service rate for consumers of minority backgrounds divided by the service rate for non-minority consumers (Service rates calculated using methodology as specified in RSA instructions for calculating VR agency performance on Standard and Indicator 2.1) Target: Ratio at or above 80% Standard Data Source: MRCIS Case Management System, Monthly Standards and Indicators Tracking Report Frequency: Monthly, Annually Goal 8: Maximize the Number and Percentage of MRC Consumers of Transition Age (Defined as Age 16-24 at Application as per RSA 107 Monitoring Tables) completing education and training programs, including post-secondary education. Measurement: Number and Percent of MRC Consumers of Transition Age 16-24 at Application Completing Education and Training Programs. Measured by the flow of Youth Consumers moving from Status 18 Training and Education into Status 20 Job Ready or Status 22 Job Placement during the month/fiscal year divided by the total number of youth consumers served in Status 18 Training and Education during the month/fiscal year Target: At or above 120 or 2% of youth consumers per month completing training or education, annual total of 1,200 or 12%. Data Source: Data from MRCIS Case Management System and EHS! Results Performance Management System Frequency: Monthly, Annually Goal 9: Maximizing the Number of Successful Competitive Employment outcomes and the percent of Placements leading to Successful Employment Outcomes through MRC’s Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) programs in partnership with Community Rehabilitation Providers Measurement: Total Number of 90 Day Successful Employment Outcomes from CIES Program; Total Number of CIES Successful Employment Outcomes divided by the total number of 30 Day Placements for the CIES Program. Target: Exceed 825 Successful Employment Outcomes for CIES for the fiscal year and greater than 75% of CIES placements result in successful employment outcomes. Data Source: MRC CIES Quarterly Cumulative Utilization Report and Analysis Report Frequency: Quarterly, Annually Goal 10: Continue to Increase Employment Outcomes through MRC’s Employment Service Specialists, Employer Account Management System, and Annual Statewide Hiring Event. Measurement: Total Number of Successful Employment Outcomes achieved through the involvement of a MRC Employment Service Specialist in the current fiscal year, Total Number of Successful Employment Outcomes (Status 26 closures) with Employers participating in MRC’s Account Management System in the current fiscal year, Total number of Successful Employment Outcomes (Status 26 Closures) from Consumers Participating in MRC’s annual Statewide Hiring Event in the current fiscal year. Target: Exceed 250 Successful Employment Outcomes for Employment Service Specialists, exceed 60 Successful Employment Outcomes for Consumers Participating in the Statewide Hiring Event, total number of Employment Outcomes from Employer Account Management System. Data Source: MRCIS Case Management System, Job Placement Database Frequency: Annually Goal 11: Continue to provide consumers with an avenue to access employment and training opportunities through participation in the Donated Vehicle Program in partnership with Good News Garage, Measurement: Number of Consumers Participating in the Donated Vehicle Program who obtain a successful employment outcome or who enter training and education (Status 18) divided by the number of consumers participating in the Donated Vehicle Program during the current fiscal year. Target: Greater than 80% of Consumers participating in the Donated Vehicle Program during the current fiscal year result in successful employment outcomes or enrollment in training or education (Status 18) Data Source: MRC CIES Quarterly Cumulative Utilization Report and Analysis Report Frequency: Quarterly, Annually Goal 12: Maximize recruitment of Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors to address attrition from retirement through utilizing paid internships with Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate students. Measurement: Total number of internships provided to VR graduate students during the fiscal year, total number of former interns hired as VR counselors during the fiscal year. Target: Provide 10 or more internships annually, leading to 3 or more interns hired as QVRCs upon completion of their internship and degree program. Data Source: Intern Tracking Reports, Human Resource Data from Staffing Reports Frequency: Annually Goal 13: Provide Quality Vocational Rehabilitation Services leading to increased successful employment outcomes to individuals with Autism. Measurement: Number of successful employment outcomes as defined by Status 26 closures for MRC consumers with a Primary and/or Secondary RSA Disability Cause Code of 08. Target: Equal or greater to 75 Data Source: MRCIS Case Management System Frequency: Quarterly, Annually Goal 14: Outreach to the Asian community through translation of key MRC documents and materials into Khmer, Vietnamese, and Mandarin Chinese as outlined in MRC’s Language Access Plan. Measurement: Completion of translation of key materials into Khmer, Vietnamese, and Mandarin Chinese Target: Completion of Translation and Posting on MRC’s website by the end of the fiscal year. Frequency: Annually

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 2:52PM by Teresa Walsh

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 Aug 27 2012 10:39AM by Teresa Walsh

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.

At the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission the Title VI B program is developed through continued collaborative planning, both programmatic and budgetary. With the assistance of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Division of Purchased Services the Statewide Employment Services Department at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has been able to implement some of the most inclusive, consumer driven and performance reimbursement services in the history of the Title VI B program. These outcomes have included: • A single definition of employment that all agencies use (one in progress) • A directory of employment and related services by state agency • Interagency funding of community based employment services (supported employment) that is performance reimbursed, and consumer driven, and allows a flexible mechanism for cost sharing supports among agencies NARRATIVE The Title VI Part B funds will be distributed consistent with Title VI, Part B requirements with the notation that rates, fees, and expenditures are subject to applicable Commonwealth of Massachusetts statutory, regulatory, and related requirements governing purchases of services and goods. Such parameters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts govern, amongst other things, methods of procurement. Further, all providers of supported employment services need to qualify through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ inter-agency contractual process. The Commission and the Commonwealth utilizes procurement methods which, to the maximum extent possible, facilitate the provision of services and affords individuals meaningful choices among the entities (providers) that provide the services. The Statewide Employment Services Department will establish the consumer need for this service on a fiscal year basis and will then fund services for those consumers in that specific geographic location. In FY’14 the SES has established the following need areas and funding levels. We are anticipating similar need areas for FY’15: Area Disability Type Funding of Clients served

Greater Boston /South District TIB MR MH PD ASP LD/ADHD $217,600 207

Western District TBI MH MR PD ASP LD/ADHD $111,638 96

Northeast District TBI MH MR PD ASP LD/ADHD $144,762 129 Statewide TBI MR MH PD ASP LD/ADHD $474,000 432

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 2:54PM by Teresa Walsh

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.

Strategies for Goals and Priorities The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, in cooperation with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), conducted a needs assessment during fiscal year 2013 to survey the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state. Goals and priorities of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment programs are established consistent with the needs and trends identified and include the following: Outreach activities to identify and serve individuals with the most significant disabilities Commission activities include outreach to community and state agencies, schools, other public institutions, and the general public by contact and presentation by MRC local office, district and administrative staff, printed brochures and agency consumer conferences. The MRC Supported Employment Program receives direct referrals from twenty five (25) MRC VR offices, Forty four (44) community rehabilitation providers, links with the local school system for transitioning youth and other state agencies such as the Department of Mental Retardation and the Department of Mental Health especially through its clubhouse programs. Identify how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities at each stage of the rehabilitation process; and describe how assistive technology services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.

 

Identify how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities at each stage of the rehabilitation process; and describe how assistive technology services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.

The Easter Seals Program of Adaptive Assistance For the purposes of this program adaptive assistance is defined to be devices, aids, and enhancements for the elimination of barriers encountered by individuals with disabilities, primarily individuals with the most significant disabilities. Adaptive assistance is defined as services that either 1) supplement or enhance functions of the individual or 2) that impact on the environment through environmental changes, e.g., workshop modifications. Rehabilitation technology specialists may prescribe both types of rehabilitation technology services in order to create and/or maximize employment opportunities for the individual with a disability. The rehabilitation technology services are provided to lead to and/or expand vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities. Persons served under this program were applicants or clients of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Target population is individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom rehabilitation technology services are being considered as potentially eliminating barriers to vocational rehabilitation and/or enhancing vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities. Population includes: 1) Applicants undergoing evaluation of vocational rehabilitation potential, especially when the disabling condition of the individual is of such a nature and severity that rehabilitation technology services could result in a determination of ineligibility; 2) Eligible vocational rehabilitation clients for whom rehabilitation technology is being considered to assist the client to attain intermediate objectives and long-range rehabilitation goals; and 3) Eligible employed individuals to eliminate barriers to and/or enhance capacities for successful job performance. Adaptive assistance evaluations, training, and consultations for individuals with disabilities served by the vocational rehabilitation program were: 1) Assessments of functional capacities of individuals with disabilities to include determinations of if and how the provision of rehabilitation technology services is likely to affect the capacity of the individual to perform successfully in competitive employment and/or enhance opportunities for the development of capacities for competitive employment; 2) Recommendations of specific rehabilitation technology for individuals with disabilities to include descriptions of related barriers to be eliminated and descriptions of functional capacities to be attained; 3) Rehabilitation technology training to affect the capacity of the individual with a disability to utilize specific assistive technology devices (equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities) and thus perform successfully in competitive employment and/or enhance opportunities for the development of capacities for competitive employment; and 4) Consultations to be provided to Commission staff to address the elimination of disability-related barriers, improvement of opportunities for competitive employment, and the development of functional capacities of individuals.

 

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

The Commission has identified individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome as being un-served/underserved. The Commission has held numerous training programs in this area for VR counseling and supervisory staff in how to identify outreach and work effectively with these individuals. The Commission through the SRC Task Force has been very active in encouraging individuals with specific learning disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to apply for Commission services. The task force has developed consumer and counselor training materials including content on LD/ADHD for the consumer handbook and other resource materials. Over the years the Task force established ongoing peer support groups and updated their web site. MRC has seen an increase in the number of consumers with disabilities of LD/ADHD coming to MRC for services over the past decade. In 2013, these individuals constituted the second highest disability grouping. To assist VR counselors in providing high quality services to consumers, the MRC has expanded LD/ADHD support groups, completed soft skills training programs for VR staff working with LD/ADHD consumers, listed soft skill training and LD/ADHD informational materials on the agency intranet site .In addition the MRC Training Department is planning an e-learning module for VR counselors and job placement staff to access for individual or group training. MRC will continue to work with the SRC LD/ADHD Task Force to enhance services to this population. Collaboration with the Department of Developmental Services with whom MRC has developed an agreement to identify day habilitation individuals and provide transition community based services to achieve supported employment outcomes. MRC will fund these individuals employment initially through supported employment monies, with DDS agreeing to use their state dollars to provide the long term supports that these individuals would need to maintain their employment. Strategies to Outreach procedures to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities: MRC has made a commitment to outreach to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are also ethnic and cultural minorities, especially to Asian communities who have been identified as under- served, by hiring bilingual staff to more effectively reach those communities and by the expectation that directors from local area offices are involved in outreach to local community agencies and organizations, especially those that serve ethnic and culturally minorities. MRC also has an ongoing statewide Bilingual/Bicultural vocational rehabilitation counselor group who meet on a regular basis to: discuss and share resources on how to outreach to and serve cultural and ethnic minorities, develop new or translate existing agency forms and brochures, and develop and conduct, in collaboration with the Commission’s staff development unit, training programs for local and district offices MRC has translated key forms and informational materials into Khmer, Vietnamese, and Mandarin Chinese as outlined in MRC’s Language Access Plan Asian languages which are spoken by MRC staff include: Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, Khmer and Vietnamese. MRC will continue to explore with the SRC unserved/underserved committee ways of expanding MRC’s efforts in this area. .

 

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

Establishing, developing or improving community rehabilitation programs:

Over the past several years, MRC and community rehabilitation providers have worked in partnership to develop a variety of programs and services to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve suitable employment outcomes. These programs include: Vocational Services; Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) and many support services that are essential in vocational rehabilitation. MRC and community providers collaborate in developing programs and services in such forums as: Statewide Rehabilitation Council that meets twice a year; quarterly meetings with representatives of the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers; periodic district wide meetings with community rehabilitation programs, interagency and cross disability agency councils; task specific work teams and the Massachusetts Association of People Supporting Employment First (MAAPSE).

 

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

MRC Research and Development Department staff conducts training with agency managers from the VR and Supported Employment Programs at agency management conferences and at district and local area offices with unit supervisors on the standards and indicators, what they mean, how they are derived from agency statistics and how they impact on agency performance. The research and development department also presents on standards and indicators to new counseling staff as part of their initial training The Commission also provides automated reports on line for managers for use to educate staff and develop strategies for correcting performance in these areas.

 

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

Strategies for assisting other components of the workforce investment system

The Commission VR Program has a presence at the Massachusetts career centers; the MRC Commissioner serves on the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB), and each Commission area director has a formal relationship with at least one career center. In addition, many area directors are on local workforce investment boards. Commission VR counseling staff make frequent visits and often conduct interviews at the local career center The Commission job placement specialists and other assigned Commission staff work closely with local career centers to provide high quality vocational rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities seeking expanded employment opportunities and to make the career centers more responsive to the needs of individuals with disabilities including providing disability sensitivity training for career center staff.

 

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.

Strategies for Innovation and Expansion: The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission reserves and uses a portion of the funds allotted to the Commission under section 110 of the Act for the 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 statewide assessment and goals and priorities identified in conjunction with the State Rehabilitation Council, the Commission funds programs to address the needs of individuals with disabilities, primarily individuals with the most significant disabilities. Needs include: 1) Marketing Initiative 2) On the job training and on the job evaluations 3) IT web-based MRCIS and Hardware Initiative 4) Car Donation Program 5) Adaptive Van Driver Evaluation and Training 6) Re-allotment funded Workforce Investment with Employment Service Specialists and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors 7) Summer Youth Internships 8) Vocational Testing-Job Matching Occupational Specific Web-Based Training Initiative

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 3:04PM by Teresa Walsh

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

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

Evaluation and Reports of Progress This attachment describes the results of an evaluation of the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program as well as the supported employment program. Vocational Rehabilitation Program Fiscal year 2013 goal achievement was as follows: Referrals: Goal: 13,500 Achieved: 17,973 Percent: 133% Applicants: Goal: 9,000 Achieved: 9,925 Percent: 110% Acceptances Goal: 7,678 Achieved: 9,619 Percent: 125% IPE’s Goal: 6,857 Achieved: 6,036 Percent: 88% Vocational Rehabilitations Goal: 3,598 Achieved: 3,650 Percent: 101% SD Rehabilitations: Goal: 3,598 Achieved: 3,649 Percent: 101% Served: Goal: 33,254 Achieved: 32,010 Percent: 96%

Fiscal year 2014 goal achievement is anticipated as follows: (through 6/4/14) Referrals: Goal: 13,500 Estimate: 11,872 Percent: 88% Applicants Goal: 9,000 Estimate: 6,428 Percent: 71% Acceptances Goal: 7,687 Estimate: 6,165 Percent: 80% IPE’s Goal: 6,183 Estimate: 4,556 Percent: 74% Vocational Rehabilitations: Goal: 3,651 Estimate: 2,272 Percent: 62% SD Rehabilitations Goal: 3,625 Estimate: 2,254 Percent: 62% Served: Goal: 33,254 Estimate: 31,391 Percent: 94%

An Identification of the Strategies That Contributed To Achieving the Goals Vocational Rehabilitation Program Strategies are based on the results of reviews, the numbers of individuals who have successfully completed their rehabilitation programs, the numbers of individuals who are receiving vocational rehabilitation services, the level of fiscal year expenditures, the level of fiscal year obligations, and anticipated revenues. MRC is not operating under an order of selection as VR funds are sufficient to provide vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals.

Explanation of Factors That Impeded Achievement of Goals Identified In Attachment 4.11 (c) (1) At this time based on available information, MRC is projected to meet its statistical goals from the FFY14 plan.

 

Supported Employment Program Fiscal year 2014 goal achievement is anticipated as follows: Referrals: Goal: 228 Estimate: 286 Percent: 125% Applicants: Goal: 224 Estimate: 210 Percent: 94%

Acceptances: Goal: 232 Estimate: 221 Percent: 95% IPE’s: Goal: 188 Estimate: 191 Percent: 102% Vocational Rehabilitations: Goal: 88 Estimate: 91 Percent: 103% S D Rehabilitations Goal: 88 Estimate: 91 Percent: 103% Served: Goal: 400 Estimate: 460 Percent: 115% Supported Employment Program Supported employment services for people with most significant disabilities are provided by an array public and private agencies utilizing a variety of descriptions, definitions, guidelines, and funding sources. Services may be fully state- supported, federally supported or benefit from a mix of funding sources. These variations have made it difficult to manage, plan and devise strategies for services or funding for employment services for people with most significant disabilities. This structure also did not allow agencies, providers and clients to effectively advocate for the development of new services or the expansion of existing ones or allow consumer choice to be built into the process. Despite these differences, the goals of the services are generally the same, regardless of the population served. At the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission the Title VI B program now is developed through continued collaborative planning, both programmatic and budgetary. With the assistance of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Division of Purchased Services, the Statewide Employment Services Department at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has been able to implement some of the most inclusive, consumer driven and performance reimbursement services in the history of the Title VI B program. These outcomes have included: • A single definition of employment that all agencies use • A directory of employment and related services by state agency • Interagency funding of community based employment services (supported employment) that is performance reimbursed, and consumer driven, and allows a flexible mechanism for cost sharing supports among agencies The Statewide Employment Services Department will establish the consumer need for this service on a fiscal year basis and will then fund services for those consumers in that specific geographic location.

 

Performance on Standards and Indicators The Provisions in the Rehabilitation Act for Vocational Rehabilitation Programs require the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to determine if each VR State Program (MRC) is complying with national evaluation standards and performance indicators. Indicators represent performance benchmarks upon which MRC is evaluated each federal fiscal year. (October – September). MRC conducted this analysis of the Standards & Indicators on the basis of the 2013 Federal Fiscal year to review the agency’s performance for that year. To achieve successful performance on these standards state VR agencies must meet or exceed four of the six performance indicators in standard 1; including meeting or exceeding the performance levels for two of the three primary indicators. The three primary indicators are as follows: 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5* The Provisions in the Rehabilitation Act for Vocational Rehabilitation Programs require the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to determine if each VR State Program (MRC) is complying with national evaluation standards and performance indicators. The Standards & Indicators represents performance benchmarks upon which MRC is evaluated each federal fiscal year. (October – September). In FY 2013, MRC was successful in passing these performance standards. We exceeded the standards for 5 of 6 indicators overall and for 2 of the 3 primary indicators. Standard & Indicator 1.1: The number of individuals exiting the VR Program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period compared to the number of individuals who exit the VR after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period. The total number of rehabilitations for the current year must exceed the number for the previous year by at least 1. o RSA Standard: 3,597 FY 2012 o MRC Performance: 3,650 FY 2013 Performance Summary 1.1: MRC passed this indicator with a gain of 253 successful closures over last year. The combined efforts of counselors, job placement specialists and employment service specialists, supported by the continuation of programs initially funded by ARRA and now funded by re-allotment monies such as on-the job training and other employment support programs, enabled us to surpass last year’s performance. The constant influx of new consumers to MRC also contributed to an increase in the number of rehabilitations.

Standard & Indicator 1.2: Of all individuals who exit the VR Program after receiving services, the percentage that are determined to have achieved an employment outcome. o RSA Standard: 55.8% o National Average: 55.0% o MRC Performance: 58.53% FY 2013 48.7% FY 2012 49.8% FY 2011 51.8% FY 2010 49.2% FY 2009

Performance Summary 1.2: At 58.53%, MRC exceeded the performance standard for RSA Indicator 1.2. This year’s score is higher than scores for the previous four years. The number of cases closed unsuccessfully in status 28 decreased until it was less than the number of successful closures. Efforts to improve performance on Standard 1.2 by increasing the number of 26 closures have been successful, as seen in 1.1 above. A monthly report, tracking Area Office performance in this area is now distributed to area managers and senior staff. Working with this information has led to a focus on counselor behavior that has had a beneficial effect. An executive committee, headed by the Assistant Commissioner for Vocational Rehabilitation, will meet regularly to determine a course of action that will sustain our performance on this Indicator. A comprehensive study of this area will assist in the development of appropriate policies and procedures to address this issue on an ongoing basis.

* Standards & Indicator 1.3: (Primary Indicator) Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentages who exit VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the state minimum wage.

o RSA Standard: 72.6% o National Average: 95.4%

o MRC Performance: 97.2 % FY 2013 97.0% FY 2012 97.4% FY 2011 98.9% FY 2010 97.0% FY 2009

Performance Summary Standard 1.3: MRC passed the RSA 1.3 Performance Standard and Primary Indicator, the overwhelming majority earning at least the state minimum wage which is $8.00/hour. Performance remained at an almost universal level this year, a sign that counselors are making more appropriate matches between consumer’s aspirations and jobs that compensate them at or above the minimum wage.

* Standards & Indicator 1.4 (Primary Indicator)

Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are also individuals with significant disabilities.

o RSA Standard: 62.4%

o National Average: 90.5%

o MRC Performance: 95.7% FY 2013 96.3% FY 2012 100% FY 2011 100% FY 2010 99.9% FY 2009

Performance Summary Standard 1.4: MRC passed the RSA 1.4 Performance Standard and Primary Indicator. MRC is changing its OOS status, which will increase the number of non-significant disabilities being served. Nevertheless, MRC still assures competitive jobs earning at least the minimum wage to those with the most severe disabilities.

* Standard & Indicator 1.5: (Primary Indicator)

The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self or BEP employment, with earnings equivalent to the least the minimum wage, ($12.74) as a ratio to the state’s average hourly earnings ($29.34) for all individuals in the state who are employed (derived from the BLS report: “State Average Annual Pay” for the most recent available year).

o RSA Standard: .52

o National Average: .536

o MRC Performance: .430 FY 2013 .434 FY 2012 .440 FY 2011 .459 FY 2010 .466 FY 2009 Performance Summary 1.5: MRC did not pass the RSA 1.5 Performance Standard, one of the Primary Indicators. There was no change from last year’s score. Massachusetts is a high per capita wage state (average wage of $29.66 based on the RSA 6/2014 preliminary release of the S&I), and the average consumer wage was $12.74- only slightly higher than last year. In order to pass this Indicator, given the current level of wages in the state, consumers would need to earn about $15.20/hour. Nationally, there has been only a very slight increase in blue collar workers’ incomes and a concomitant increase in the CPI, constraining growth in real income. Massachusetts, whose economy is knowledge based, has a growing gap between the rich and the poor. It is the 8th worst state in the size of the income gap between the rich and the poor. In the last 15 years, inflation adjusted income among the lowest fifth (in terms of income) of the Massachusetts’ population declined by -5.3%, while among the highest fifth, income increased by 29.6%. As a result, Massachusetts, along with other high wage states, will have a difficult time passing this indicator. The availability of higher paying blue collar jobs, increased unionization, more progressive taxes and fair state and federal income policies will be needed to assure income equality in Massachusetts.

Standard & Indicator 1.6:

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

o RSA Standard: 53.0%

o National Standard: 60.87%

o MRC Performance: 57.7% FY 2013 52.5% FY 2012 55.1% FY 2011 52.7% FY 2010 57.1% FY 2009 Performance Summary 1.6: MRC passed the 1.6 Performance Indicator for the first time since 2009. MRC’s score (57.7%) was 5.2 percentage points higher than last year. Intensive work with counselor training in the coding of the primary source of income in the presence of SSA and other public benefits and the installation of automatic reminders in the MRCIS (web based case management system) to avoid errors has helped our progress in this area.

Standards & Indicator 2.1:

Standard and Indicator 2.1 measures the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities.

o RSA Standard: .80

o National Average: .967

o MRC Performance: .93 FY 2013 .95 FY 2012 .95 FY 2011 .97 FY 2010 .90 FY 2009 Performance Summary Standard 2.1: MRC exceeded the RSA Performance Standard 2.1 again this year. The score was slightly lower than last year, but well above the standard for equality of service.

MRC passed 2 of 3 of the Primary Indicators and passed 5 of 6 Indicators overall. Therefore MRC passed the RSA Standards and Indicators performance evaluation for FY 2013. Furthermore:

? Standard and Indicator 1.1 With staff effort and the continuation, through re-allotment monies, of job placement programs and increased staffing , MRC was able to continue to improve performance and increase the number of successful rehabilitations achieved in FY 2013. ? Standard and Indicator 1.2 (Rehabilitation Rate) MRC’s Rehabilitation Rate improved, so that this Indicator was passed. MRC will continue to address these issues on an ongoing basis to maintain and improve our level of performance. ? Standard and Indicators 1.3 and 1.4 Although MRC’s OOS status is changing, we continue to pass these Indicators. ? Standard and Indicator 1.5 (Ratio of consumer and state wage). MRC traditionally fails to pass this indicator. Given the economic inequality in our state and the high state average wage it will be very difficult to break this pattern. However it can be done if we get every consumer the best possible job, every time. We put ARRA resources, then re-allotment funds, into hiring more counselors, job placement specialists and employment services specialists. We continue to integrate greater amounts of information on labor market conditions into our decision making. We are continuing and strengthening these efforts. ? Standard and Indicator 1.6 (Primary source of income) MRC passed this indicator in FY 2013. A great deal of work has gone into assuring the accurate coding of the primary source of income in the presence of other income such as SSA or other public benefits. We will continue our vigilance with automatic reminders programmed into the agency’s MRCIS case management system. ? Standard and Indicator 2.1 We passed this indicator with a high score. This shows a continuing commitment on the part of all MRC staff to achieve equality in service delivery. MRC counselors should be commended for their good work in dealing with the problems and needs associated with diversity, and keeping it a priority. Performance Summary Standard 2.1: MRC exceeded the RSA Performance Standard 2.1 again this year. The score was slightly lower than last year, but well above the standard for equality of service.

 

Use Of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion 1) Marketing Initiative 2) On the job training and on the job evaluations 3) IT web-based MRCIS and Hardware Initiative 4) Car Donation Program 5) Adaptive Van for Driver Evaluation and Training 6) Re-allotment funded Workforce Investment with Employment Service Specialists and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors 7) Youth Summer Internship Program 8) Vocational Testing-Job Matching Occupational Specific Web-Based Training Initiative Marketing Initiative MRC is continuing to develop innovative marketing materials for use with employers and schools to promote job opportunities for people with disabilities. MRC is partnering with the University of Massachusetts to design and regularly update new materials, which will be used by counselors and job placements specialists to build partnerships with local businesses and training centers. On-the-job training and evaluation • MRC is using re-allotment funding on an On-The-Job Training Initiative (OJT) to rapidly develop individualized, employer and industry specific job training opportunities for individuals with disabilities by capitalizing on growth opportunities in the Massachusetts economy. The Commission hired 9 employment and job placement specialist using ARRA monies. This year, the Commission hired an additional 3 employment service specialists under re-allotment funds to work with employers to develop more OJT opportunities for Commission consumers. • This public-private partnership between MRC and employers creates private industry job training opportunities for individuals with disabilities in high-growth industries, such as health care, transportation, manufacturing and customer services. The Commission has partnered with employers such as Bay state Health, Fallon Clinic, South Shore Mental Health Center, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Ideal Global Solutions. The jobs created include licensed practical nurses, medical billing and coding positions, computer technicians, residential counselors and customer service representatives. MRC has also partnered with AlliedBarton Security, Manpower, TJX and CVS to build long term employer relationships to develop more employment opportunities for MRC consumers. MRC has developed a program to train and employ consumers as Pharmacy Technicians using on-the-job training and classroom-based trainings with CVS. This program will be implemented over the next few months. As part of MRC’s federal contractor initiative, the second annual hiring event was held on March 20, 2014. On that day, 161 interviews were conducted for MRC consumers resulting in 90 hires.

IT web-based MRCIS and Hardware Initiative With these federal funds, MRC has converted its vocational case management system to a web-based application, reducing inefficiencies and speeding application processing time for consumers seeking employment. Upgrading this infrastructure will allow job counseling staff working directly with consumers to have access to the agency’s case management system from anywhere an internet connection is available. Case managers will also be able to work with more consumers with disabilities in their own communities to promote independence and employment. Replacing the existing paper file system will also allow for faster eligibility determinations, improve job training and placement timelines, and reduce administrative costs. Car Donation Program • MRC is continuing the Car Donation Program in partnership with the Good News Garage. This program matches donated vehicles to consumers who need transportation to access employment when little or no public transit or other transportation is available, • Training of consumers on how to maintain and register a vehicle is also provided. Clients must have a valid driver’s license and have the resources to register, insure and operate the vehicle to participate in the program. • To date, approximately 300 MRC consumers across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have received donated vehicles, 44 deliveries within the past year and the vast majority of consumers have gained employment as a result of their transportation needs being addressed. MRC expects delivery of approximately 45 vehicles in the next year based on the availability of resources and donated vehicles. Adaptive Van for Driver Evaluation and Training The Commission has acquired an adaptive van to be used with the MRC Driver Evaluation and Training Program. The van is being used to evaluate individuals with disabilities to determine the type of adaptive driving equipment required to assist them with driving and to provide driver training lessons and instruction to consumers on how to utilize adaptive equipment. The van has state of the art adaptive technology and is benefiting many consumers served by the Commission in helping them to go to work and live independently in the community. Re-allotment funded Workforce Investment with Employment Service Specialists and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors • 18 new Vocational Rehabilitation counselors hired from ARRA funding to increase service capacity and increase job placements for consumers. Of these 18, all have been retained by the Commission and recruited into counseling positions vacated by retiring staff. 5 VR counselors were hired through re-allotment monies during FFY14. • There has been an increase in successful employment outcomes and a significant reduction in overdue status cases since these employees were hired. • 10 Employment Service Specialists and Job Placement Specialists were hired as permanent employees to increase job placements for consumers Another 2 individuals were hired as temporary workers through re-allotment monies. These staff members work with consumers and with employers to develop programs and partnerships and identify job opportunities that will result in successful employment outcomes for consumers and helping to meet the recruitment needs of employers. • Over 65 Paid Internships were provided to Rehabilitation Counseling students as part of a strategy to reach out to VR counseling programs to recruit new, qualified counselors and more than 21 interns to date have been hired by the Commission as full time employees. Youth Summer Internship Program The Commission has developed a summer internship program for youths with disabilities in partnership with the State as a Model Employer Initiative. This program provides valuable work experience and mentorship opportunities for participants. This program has served a total of 120 paid internships since its start in 2009. This program is being resumed in Worcester this summer and may be replicated in other areas in the future. Vocational Testing=Job Matching Occupation Specific Web-based Training Initiative The Commission is developing a pilot project to secure occupational web-based training, skills development and job matching services for its consumers in: 1. Microsoft Office Suite (2003, 2007, 2010) Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point 2. Customer Service 3. Call Center 4. Administrative Assistant and Receptionist 5. Office and Clerical Support 6. Packing and Product Preparation 7. Shipping and Receiving 8. Materials Inspection 9. Preparation for Employment 10. Equipment Assembly 11. QuickBooks To date 101 consumers have been referred to the program, 38 have completed the training module, leading to 24 employment outcomes to date for individuals who started the training modules.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2014 3:16PM by Teresa Walsh

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

Attachment 6.3 RSA State Plan Federal Fiscal Year 2008

Description of Quality, Scope and Extent of Supported Employment Services

Preface

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts through its Human Services agencies and its secondary school special education programs, has been developing and expanding integrated work opportunities for individuals with disabilities, since 1978 because it became very evident that there was a vast number of people with disabilities for whom there were limited work options because of the nature and extent of support services they require in order to maintain employment. With the leadership of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Massachusetts human service agencies began to examine ways in which integrated work opportunities could be extended to persons with severe disabilities who need extensive support services to remain in the work setting as productive employees. Throughout the past 15 years, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Mental Retardation, the Commission for the Blind and the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing have been working together to shift and to share resources to create opportunities. The Department of Mental Health and the Department of Mental Retardation have shifted programs and funding to develop and expand long-term support services at integrated work sites. Through its provider contracts for EEP, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has set goals for conversion of sheltered work to supported employment and has worked with providers to develop more substantive support services that are long term and based on consumers’ choices.

Several years ago, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services with the assistance of the Statewide Employment Services Department at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation commission organized a group “Strategic Alliances” whose plans included the development of a comprehensive employment system that would:

1. Increase the number of people with disabilities engaged in appropriate employment services.

2. Create a consistent definition and support services structure regardless of the agency through which the service is provided

3. Establish a contracting process and reimbursement mechanism for employment services, which would be guided by the same rules, regulations and guidelines regardless of the administering agency, and based on client choice.

4. Permit the evaluation of funding strategies for employment services through tracking, gap identification and service and budget advocacy.

There continues to be a very positive climate for the enhancement of this process in both the Administrative and Legislative branches of State government. The recent release of the joint initiative for Community Based Employment Services and redesign of the dollars allocated for Extended Employment supports this initiative.

Narrative The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has clearly come to understand this great void in employment opportunities for many individuals with the most significant disabilities and has made a firm commitment to fill this void. Title VI, B funded programs and services represent a crucial component in the Commonwealth’s overall plan for supported employment. As several State agencies develop long-term, State funded supported employment services and programs; the Title IV B program is instrumental in bridging the gap between unemployment or under employment to competitive employment with long-term support services for several persons with disabilities.

In FY’07 the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has over 60 Qualified Community Rehabilitation Providers to offer Supported Employment services. These programs, located throughout the state, serve persons with an array of severe disabilities including autism, deaf/severely hearing impaired, severally physically disabled, long-term mentally ill, traumatic brain injured and dual diagnosed persons with mental retardation and long-term mental illness and multiply disabled individuals.

All Title VI B program participants who were enrolled in the supported employment program completed not more than 18 months of services funded by Title VI. All necessary long-term support services have been arranged to continue without use of Title I or Title VI B funding. Funding for extended long-term support services is available from several sources depending on the nature of the client’s disability and the resources available to each service provider agency. Sources include:

IRS Section 44 United Cerebral Palsy Funding Department of Mental Health Department of Mental Retardation Private Sector Business Natural Supports Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Statewide Head Injury Program Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission State Revenue Social Security Work Incentives Natural Supports

Due to the vigorous emphasis on supported employment in Massachusetts, which has been spearheaded by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Statewide Employment Services Department a collaborative effort has resulted in funding for long-term support services.

In FY’07, a five year continuation for the Request for Qualification (RFQ) was reissued for Title VI B funded Supported Employment as well as other state agencies employment programs. This will allow the Commission to continue the following goals:

1. Strengthen existing quality programs and replace ineffective/inefficient programs with new ones. Seventy providers have qualified to date.

2. Focus Title VI B funding on under-served or un-served consumers such as those who are severely physically disabled, Aspergers Syndrome, Deaf or Brain Injured.

3. Establish a large statewide pool of programs interested in and able to provide Supported Employment Programs and services, including long-term supports.

This screen was last updated on Jul 1 2009 11:34AM by Teresa Walsh