ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
New York Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

1.1 The New York State Education Department Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services is authorized to submit this State Plan under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended [1] and its supplement under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act [2].

1.2 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, the NYSED Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services(formerly VESID) [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

Deputy Commissioner Adult Career and Continuing Education Services

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

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

Deputy Commissioner Adult Career and Continuing Education Services

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Kevin G. Smith

Title of Signatory
Deputy Commissioner Adult Career and Continuing Education Services

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

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2012
No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
NYSED Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (formerly VESID)

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

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

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is mandated under the Rehabilitation Act to work in partnership with the Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services - Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR). Together, the SRC and ACCES-VR partner to ensure that individuals with disabilities receive timely and effective vocational rehabilitation services. The SRC relies on the following committees to carry out its responsibilities: the Executive Committee; the Membership Committee; the Policy and Procedures Committee; the Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee and the Workforce Development Committee. The SRC Chairperson, Committee Chairpersons and the ACCES-VR SRC Liaisons constitute the Executive Committee that coordinates the work of the committees based on their strategic planning and the statutory obligations of the SRC.

ACCES-VR and the SRC work cooperatively in setting strategic priorities and in developing agency policy for the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services for eligible New Yorkers with disabilities. ACCES-VR convenes ad hoc policy development committees when undertaking substantive policy changes. These committees are typically chaired by an ACCES-VR policy and partnerships unit staff person along with representation from VR management, vocational rehabilitation counselors and key stakeholders. A SRC representative has served as an integral part of every ACCES-VR ad hoc policy development team convened over the course of the reporting period.

 The following is a summary of recommendations made by the New York State Rehabilitation Council over the course of Federal Fiscal Year 2010:

ACCES-VR Policies and Operations

SRC Recommendations: The SRC strongly supported ACCES-VR’s efforts to avoid implementing an order of selection (OOS) and recommended several changes to the proposed criteria established for implementation of an OOS. In addition, the SRC expressed strong support for the New York State Education Department (SED) and the NYS Office of State Comptroller to approve hiring new VR counselors.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR found the SRC review of the draft OOS criteria very helpful in examining the cross set of considerations associated with the development of the ACCES-VR OOS policy and procedures. Based on SRC input, the criteria for implementing an OOS was modified to include tracking the nature and scope of complaints from ACCES-VR’s Quality Assurance Unit and the New York State Client Assistance Program. The SRC also contributed to setting minimum counselor to consumer ratios to maintain ACCES-VR’s capacity to deliver services.

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR should modify their consumer satisfaction survey to include individuals who had received services under an individualized plan for employment (IPE) but were closed unsuccessfully (status 28 consumers). ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR amended its consumer satisfaction survey protocols to include status 28 consumers.

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR should update its policies and primary forms and brochures to support the full participation of eligible ACCES-VR consumers with limited English proficiency (LEP). The SRC also recommends that key ACCES-VR outreach materials, forms and brochures be made available in other languages and reviewed by a cross-section of representatives from these communities.

ACCES-VR Response: With SRC input, ACCES-VR established statewide policy and procedures to assist VR counselors procure language interpreter services. ACCES-VR also revised several key brochures to ensure their availability in alternative languages. The brochures that were translated included: “Applications for VR Services”, “A Guide for Developing Your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)”, “ACCES-VRs Basic Guide”, “What Can I Do If I Disagree with the ACCES-VR IEP Decision about My Case”. These documents were translated into Spanish, Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Haitian Creole and distributed to ACCES-VR for distribution to interested consumers.

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR might develop more efficient strategies for conducting their federally mandated comprehensive statewide needs assessment to include the identification of available and ongoing data sources and consider collaborating with other agencies represented on the SRC that have similar obligations to conduct needs assessments.

ACCES-VR Response: SRC made a substantive contribution to ACCES-VR’s approach to undertaking its most recent comprehensive needs statewide assessment and will continue to work with the SRC Quality Assurance Committee to develop more efficient and collaborative approaches to developing future assessments.

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR should consider instituting internal mechanisms for sorting key service delivery and outcome data on a regional basis. These data would inform and support district office managers in meeting unique local and regional needs and might serve to highlight regional variations in service delivery trends.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR is in the process of developing performance indicators for its Unified Contract Services (UCS) that will assess the requisite resource requirements to sort service delivery and outcome data on a regional basis.

SRC Recommendations: Replicate the Model Transition Program (MTP) initiative and undertake activities to sustain partnerships and best practices established under MTP.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR has worked with Cornell University to analyze the data from the MTP, and includes the identification of best practices. Results are available on their website. In addition, there is training available from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Institute (RRTI) that can be found on RRTI’s web site.

SRC Recommendations: Identify opportunities to better integrate employers into the rehabilitation process.

ACCES-VR Response: The City University of New York (CUNY) Linking Employment, Academics and Disability Services (LEADS) initiative has placed significant emphasis on facilitating student access to ACCES-VR sponsored internships. The ACCES-VR Syracuse District Office is also working closely with the Office for Disabled Student Services and the Career Service Offices at Onondaga Community College and LeMoyne College to develop work experiences for students with disabilities to enhance the students overall career development.

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR should consider maintaining a close working relationship with the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC) and Office of Mental Health’s (OMH) Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG).

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR continues to coordinate the MISCC Employment Committee and remains fully engaged with the principal managers and stakeholder groups associated with the MIG.

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR should commit all records of its consumers served under the UCS into the new MIG interagency database, the One Stop Operating System (OSOS), as soon as the system goes online. The potential of the system expands beyond the coordination of services and offers job postings and job matching resources for employers interested in hiring qualified workers with disabilities. By excluding ACCES-VR consumers from this database, the VR consumer who seeks employment will not have equal access to job openings and will not be represented to NYS employers. In turn, NYS business will not have access to the full spectrum of talent available that exists among NYS residents with disabilities.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR is committed to the success of the OSOS under development through the MIG. For phase I implementation, ACCES-VR has recommended that all UCS Placement providers and Independent Living Centers have access to the new system.

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR should solicit consumer input into the design of the supported employment provider directory. The SRC also recommends that the directory include provider data on successful employment outcomes including the demographic information on disability, age and employment outcomes.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR identified the primary use of the directory as a reference for VR counselors and will consider how best to make this information available to consumers following an initial rollout of the Supported Employment Information Directory (SEID).

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR might consider greater utilization of work related benefits counseling to assist consumers who fear that work activity will jeopardize their benefits. Benefits counseling can be instrumental in assisting consumers negotiate the benefits systems, earnings, asset accumulation and related concerns.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR has established Unified Contract Services (UCS) with 25 Independent Living Centers statewide and recognizes utilization of these services have been limited. ACCES-VR personnel have been encouraged to make better use of benefits counseling services available through the Social Security Administration’s Work Incentive Planning and Advisement (WIPA) network. ACCES-VR is also working with its MIG partners and Buffalo University’s Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) to provide staff development regarding benefits counseling service.

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR should adopt and implement the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Partnership Plus Program.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR has committed to participation in the Ticket to Work Partnership Plus Program and appreciates the input the SRC has provided developing and finalizing the new Ticket to Work policy and procedures. ACCES-VR’s initial approach to implementing the Ticket Partnership Plus option will be based on referrals to employment networks to assist individuals in maintaining employment over time.

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR should work closely with Cornell University in the development of an Employer Web-based Resource Directory.

ACCES-VR Response: Together the ACCES-VR’s Statewide Coordinator for Workforce Development and Business Relations and the SRC Workforce Development Committee collaborated with Cornell University in designing and launching the comprehensive Employer Web-based Resource Directory.

SRC Recommendations: Review and revise the ACCES-VR Self Employment policy, particularly in light of the work undertaken by the MIG’s NY Makes Work Pay initiative on customized self employment.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR has conducted several regional meetings among its regional personnel and the self employment service providers (e.g., NYS Small Business Development Centers, Chambers of Commerce and community loan fund programs) to foster more effective local collaborations in support of self employment services and supports. ACCES-VR will continue to evaluate emerging practices, including the Makes Work Pay self employment initiative, to identify value added approaches to supporting self employment and entrepreneurial ventures. These efforts will lay the groundwork for developing more effective practices.

SRC Recommendations: Policy revisions in general should be shared for public comment before finalized.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR routinely solicits public comment on all significant policy reforms. This feedback is typically solicited during State Plan town meetings and dedicated statewide public forums when the release of these policies fails to coincide with State Plan town meetings.

SRC Recommendations: The SRC should be kept informed of the NYS High School Exiting Summary/Credential that will replace an Individualized Education Program (IEP) diploma.

ACCES-VR Response: The SED’s Office of P-12 Education has assigned a special education program manager to serve on the SRC. The P-12 education representative provides regular updates on the status of development associated with IEP diploma reforms.

SRC Recommendations: The SRC should be kept informed on the status of the National Work Readiness Credential.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR shares the SRC’s interest in tracking the development of this credential. However, limited scheduling time during FFY 2010 did not allow for an updated presentation by the lead agency, NYS Department of Labor. ACCES-VR will arrange for a work readiness update for the SRC in FFY 2011.

SRC Policies and Operations

SRC Recommendations: ACCES-VR should support the SRC’s request for securing representation from the New York State Department of Labor’s (DOL) Statewide Workforce Investment Board (SWIB).

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR formally communicated with the SWIB Chairperson, Mr. Richard Calo of IBM, and requested the SRC DOL representative, raise this request for representation with DOL management. The ACCES-VR Deputy Commissioner will continue to pursue SWIB representation through the NYS DOL.

SRC Recommendations: Other state agency partners should be invited to SRC to give presentations on their employment agendas.

ACCES-VR Response: During the reporting year, representatives from the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities presented on their Employment First initiative. The DOL presented on their web-based employment programs (e.g., Job Zone and Job Programs Search). The Office of Mental Health presented on the Personal Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) and provided several updates on the activities of the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant. ACCES-VR remains committed to utilizing the SRC quarterly meetings as an important mechanism to promote interagency communication and collaboration.

SRC Reporting

SRC Recommendation: SRC recommended that the FFY 2009 Annual Report be sent formally to the Board of Regents (BOR) on December 31, 2009 with a letter requesting that it be a discussion or information item at the BOR February or March meeting.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR agreed with the intent of the recommendation and the 2009 SRC annual report was shared with the BOR though the BOR’s schedule did not allow the Regents to review the report at the February or March meeting. ACCES-VR did commit to getting the FFY 2010 Annual Report on the Regents agenda during 2011.

SRC Recommendation: SRC recommended that the submission of the FFY 2010 Annual Report to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) be delayed until the end of the year outcome data could be incorporated. The SRC recommended the FFY 2010 Annual Report be formally distributed to the Board of Regents at one of its spring 2011 meetings.

ACCES-VR Response: ACCES-VR recognizes SRC’s interest in delaying submission of the SRC annual report until VR data from the reporting year is finalized and available for publication in the report. ACCES-VR and the SRC are obligated to comply with the RSA reporting deadline of 90 days following the end of the federal fiscal year (e.g., December 31, 2010). ACCES-VR will make preliminary data available to assist with meeting the federal SRC annual reporting requirements.

This screen was last updated on Jul 25 2011 10:02AM by Gerri Malone

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2009 11:28AM by Gerri Malone

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.

Cooperation with Agencies that are Not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and with Other Entities: Attachment 4.8(b)(1)

Coordination and planning with other New York State (NYS) agencies are critical functions in improving access to appropriate vocational training and employment opportunities, particularly for individuals with significant disabilities who often have multiple needs requiring the intervention of more than one State agency. Other State, federal and local agencies are a significant referral source for the individuals referred to VESID for services. VESID continues to coordinate and work cooperatively with agencies that are not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System to increase employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities. However, VESID is not currently involved in a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture. VESID’s vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs are not directly involved in state use contracting programs.

Coordinating the support needs of people with disabilities (such as transportation, medical care, housing, case management, family supports and work incentives) is essential for many individuals to be able to obtain and maintain their integrated employment. Interagency cooperation and coordination in service delivery is a driving force within Title IV of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and Chapter 515 of the Laws of 1992 (New York State Integrated Employment legislation). This interagency collaboration occurs at both the State and local levels through coordinated planning and service delivery initiatives, as well as through the implementation of formal Memoranda of Agreement.

Memoranda of Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding

VESID works closely with a variety of entities to enhance vocational rehabilitation services and placement opportunities for VESID consumers. These efforts are described in the Memorandums of Agreement and the Memorandums of Understanding. Several of the key agreements include:

• Memorandum of Agreement for the Workforce Investment Act: Title II, Adult Education and Family Literacy between the New York State Education Department and Local Workforce Investment Boards, June 30, 2000 • Memorandum of Agreement to Provide Services to Individuals who are Deaf/Blind, November 1999 between the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals (VESID) and Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH)

• Memorandum of Interagency Understanding regarding Supported Employment, October 1999 between VESID, CBVH, Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD)

• Memorandum of Understanding between the State Education Department’s Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities and the OMH, October 1999 • Memorandum of Understanding between the State Education Department’s Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), April 1999

• Statement of Collaboration between the New York State Education Department’s Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities and New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association (NYSFAAA), March 1, 1998

• Joint Agreement between the New York State Education Department’s Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities and the Office of Higher and Professional Education (OHPE), August 4, 1994

• Joint Agreement between the New York State Education Department’s Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities and Public Institutions of Higher Education (IHE), (SUNY and CUNY) August, 2007

Designing Our Future

In January 2006, the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) presented the Designing Our Future recommendations to the Board of Regents. The primary goal of VESID is to assist individuals with disabilities in obtaining employment that is consistent with their skills, abilities and interest. It is expected that the job opportunities available to individuals with disabilities will be consistent with those accessed by the general non-disabled population. Therefore, VESID seeks to provide quality training in marketable, high demand professions that enable VESID consumers to effectively compete with their non-disabled peers.

As part of Designing Our Future, VESID has developed strong interagency partnerships and is leading key initiatives aimed at improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities in New York State:

• VESID is chairing the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC) Employment Committee which is developing a comprehensive statewide strategy;

• VESID coordinates the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team that focuses on providing supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities in cooperation with the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) and the NYS Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH);

• VESID and the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) are forming an OASAS-VESID Statewide Team to create joint policies, procedures and training to better serve individuals with chemical dependencies;

• VESID and the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) Disability Program Navigator Initiative are working cooperatively to improve the effectiveness of Disability Program Navigators at the One Stop Career Centers across the State to ensure access for people with disabilities; and

• The VESID Veterans Service Action Plan is working closely with State and federal Veterans’ organizations to make sure that veterans with disabilities obtain the services necessary to return to work.

Description of Designing Our Future Partnership Initiatives

The employment rate for people with disabilities in New York State is 33.5 percent as compared to 76 percent of people without disabilities (Cornell University RRTC on Disability Demographics and Statistics, 2006 Disability Status Report: New York). The challenge for New York State is to close the employment gap by increasing the number of individuals with disabilities entering the workforce. To ensure this outcome, VESID must invest in partnerships with public and private entities. It is through leveraging of resources and collaboration of efforts that individuals with disabilities will be able to fully participate in employment opportunities available in the State of New York.

To better integrate individuals with disabilities into the New York State workforce and increase employment outcomes, VESID must partner with other stakeholders. VESID completed the initial design phase of this strategic planning effort with considerable input from partner agencies, providers, consumers and staff. Implementation of the new design will be an important feature. The implementation of the following partnerships will assist VESID in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities statewide:

NYS Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC)

Through legislation and executive action, New York State has established the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC) to implement the Supreme Court Olmstead Decision, which requires states to provide services to individuals with disabilities in the least restrictive community settings. The formation of the MISCC was the result of Chapter 551 of the laws of 2002.

In January 2008, OMRDD’s Commissioner, at the recommendation of the full MISCC, asked VESID to lead an executive-level interagency committee focused on employment of individuals with disabilities. VESID, in cooperation with the Commissioner of OMRDD and the MISCC, established the MISCC Employment Committee. VESID’s Assistant Commissioner was the designated chair for the Employment Committee. In December 2008, the MISCC Employment Committee submitted its initial report to the Governor and New York State Legislature with a comprehensive set of recommendations for closing the employment gap in New York State. VESID will continue to play a leadership role on the MISCC Employment Committee as priority recommendations are implemented.

Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team VESID initiated the re-formation of an interagency work team to discuss ongoing concerns with the implementation of supported employment intensive and extended services in New York State. The Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team consists of mid-level managers from OMRDD, OMH, CBVH and VESID. The Team meets monthly to discuss program issues, facilitate cross-systems implementation and identify program areas for further development. The Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team remains committed to continuous quality improvement in employment services. During 2009, the State agencies will work on revisions to the Supported Employment Memorandum of Understanding to reflect a renewed commitment to supported employment. Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Several years ago, VESID and OASAS established the Brooklyn/Queens Consortium as a pilot project to coordinate and integrate provisions of vocational rehabilitation services to persons in recovery. Based on the successful work of this regional consortium, VESID and OASAS agreed to renew statewide collaboration. A Statewide Team is being established to undertake the following activities:

• Evaluate the referral process developed by the Brooklyn/Queens Consortium to determine how this can be a model for statewide implementation; • Research current VESID and OASAS data in providing employment services to this population; • Update VESID Alcoholism Policy (2001) and develop a Technical Assistance Brief on Chemical Dependencies; • Examine VESID and OASAS collaboration in the context of other Statewide collaborative initiatives (MISCC, OMH and DOL); • Develop collaborative VESID-OASAS and Provider Agency cross-training curriculum and training plan; and • Update the VESID and OASAS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The existing MOU between VESID and OASAS has been in effect since 1999.

Model Transition Programs

In 2008, VESID reported establishing a transition consortium involving school districts, VESID (Vocational Rehabilitation and Special Education), Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education (EMSC), Office of Higher Education (OHE) and other stakeholders to improve students’ access to educational, vocational and community supports as they transition from school to employment or to post-secondary training. This consortium developed into the Model Transition Program (MTP). The MTP provides funding for 60 projects that include more than 180 private and public high schools to develop school-wide plans, activities and programs to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities to postsecondary placements. These placements include college, vocational training programs and competitive employment with and without supports. The primary goal of the MTP is to facilitate future employment opportunities for students with disabilities. At the end of this project, successful transition strategies will be identified and shared with high schools throughout the State. Over the period of the MTP, thousands of students with disabilities will be made eligible for vocational rehabilitation programs and services.

To assist in meeting the objectives of MTP projects, the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo provides training in key areas in support of these activities. Using data provided by the projects, Cornell University is working with VESID’s vocational rehabilitation administration to identify critical elements of the data collection, analysis and reporting processes.

During the first academic year, significant progress has been made in the implementation of transition activities, formation of partnerships, training, and data collection/analysis. As reported by Cornell University, MTP has generated extensive individual student data regarding participating student demographics, employment and postsecondary preparation, VESID referrals, and collaborative service delivery. As of June 2008, a total of 9,454 students have received transition services; over half of those were expected to achieve a Regents Diploma. Highlights include:

• Sixty-five percent (6,104) of the MTP students had measurable postsecondary goals in their Individualized Education Program (IEP). • Sixty-one percent (5,769) of students participate in career development activities. • Nineteen percent (1,782) of MTP students participated in paid/unpaid work experiences, most of this being part-time work. • Eighteen percent (1,664) of MTP students participated in activities aimed to facilitate transition to postsecondary education. Most of these were college information nights and assistance with college applications. • More than 3,000 referrals to VESID have been made.

Due to shifting budgetary demands, the MTP projects will conclude on November 30, 2009. VESID will complete an evaluation of the program and will continue coordination with school districts to sustain the gains achieved during the project. Using data provided by the projects, Cornell University is working with VESID’s vocational rehabilitation administration to identify critical elements of the data collection, analysis and reporting processes. Successful transition strategies will be identified and shared with high schools throughout the State.

VESID-DOL Disability Program Navigator MOU

VESID and the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) are in the process of completing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for VESID to contribute toward the statewide Disability Program Navigator (DPN) initiative. VESID will contribute $1.2 Million in VR funds over the next two years to support the network of DPNs at the local workforce investment areas (LWIAs) across the State. The role of the DPN is to promote accessibility to the full range of “One Stop” system employment services for people with disabilities. VESID funding will support eight full-time equivalents, about 23 percent of the total $2,605,000 operating budget for the total Statewide DPN program for Program Year 2008.

VESID Business and Industry Initiatives VESID Placement and Marketing Representatives in the 15 District Offices have continued to build on the following collaborations: statewide disability employment training initiative with Cornell University; local job placement and marketing initiatives with the Society for Human Resource Management; and continued coordination with several local Chambers of Commerce and The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) unions across the State. The agency is also strengthening its regional alliance with national businesses through participation in the CSAVR/RSA collaboration on the National Employment Team (The NET). Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) The DDPC is a State agency charged with providing input services to families with members who have developmental disabilities. The Council is directed by an appointed membership that includes parents and persons with disabilities as voting members who direct the activities of the Council. The DDPC has played a key role in innovation in New York State. VESID works with the DDPC to review employment grants related to developing sector-based employment using Project Search, promoted by the United States Department of Labor. Department of Health (DOH)

VESID continues to work cooperatively with the DOH in the delivery of services to individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), the implementation of the Medicaid “buy-in” program and the use of Medicaid for medically necessary physical and mental restoration during the rehabilitation process. In 2001, VESID and DOH collaborated on a Technical Assistance Brief on Acquired Brain Injury which is part of the VR Policy Manual at: http://www.vesid.nysed.gov/publications/briefs/braininjury/home.html .

Federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs/State Division of Veterans’ Affairs

VESID maintains an ongoing liaison with the Federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation program to assure that veterans with service connected disabilities are able to access appropriate services from both agencies. VESID continues to work with the State Division of Veterans’ Affairs and is participating on an advisory council developed by the State Division of Employment and Training Officers in a number of State agencies to coordinate the provision of services to veterans with disabilities.

VESID has joined with other offices within the State Education Department (SED) to mutually support veterans’ services. SED, including VESID, is actively engaged in a statewide veterans and family interagency collaboration under the leadership of the NYS Division of Veterans Affairs and the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). This statewide initiative is engaged in crafting and implementing a State Plan for New York’s Veterans and Families.

VESID has initiated ongoing outreach to veterans with a particular emphasis on returning veterans with disabling conditions from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). This campaign includes a consistent VESID presence at veterans’ job fairs and veteran Stand Down events across the State. Efforts are underway to develop a comprehensive veterans’ services web page linking VESID consumers with a wide range of underutilized veteran/family employment-oriented service options for all branches of service and reserves.

VESID has convened an internal workgroup representing all levels of the vocational rehabilitation service system to identify best practices and gaps in services. The action plan will promote best practices statewide and identify new services and/or strategies for effective veterans’ services.

Conclusion

During the next year, VESID and its partner State agencies will invigorate the dialogue on how to close the employment gap for individuals with disabilities. The State agencies will strengthen collaboration for achieving an increase in integrated employment outcomes. We will examine barriers to more effective employment services, identify evidence-based employment practices and implement strategies that will improve the overall performance of our employment programs. We will assure that the full array of employment services meet high standards for performance and result in successful employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities in New York State.

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2009 11:28AM by Gerri Malone

  • 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.

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

Coordinating services to in-school youth with disabilities is a continuing priority for VESID, which administers both the special education and vocational rehabilitation programs. It is VESID’s policy for vocational rehabilitation counselors to seek school referrals within two years prior to school exit, coordinate vocational rehabilitation with school service planning and use school records to the maximum extent in determining eligibility. This policy reflects the relationship defined in the Joint Agreement Between the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities and the Office Of Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education to Improve Transition Planning and Services for Students with Disabilities (1992). The basic principles of the Agreement are: • The provision of transition services ensures that students with disabilities are prepared for employment, postsecondary education, or community living when they leave school. • School districts have the primary planning and programmatic responsibilities for the provision of transition services for their students. • School districts are financially responsible for transition services mandated for school districts by federal or State laws and regulations. • VESID (VR) is fiscally responsible for providing vocational rehabilitation services that are not otherwise mandated through special education requirements, in accordance with VESID’s vocational rehabilitation policy. • VESID (Special Education) continues to be responsible for the coordination of educational programs and services for students with disabilities in lifelong learning systems, including higher education, adult education and other activities beyond high school. • Referrals to VESID (VR) will be made on the basis of clearly defined functional criteria and referral procedures. A system will be established to evaluate outcomes and employment success for the in-school referrals made to VESID. • VESID (VR) district office staff will be informed of students who require transition services and will have the opportunity to participate in the transition planning for such students. • The Office of Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education (EMSC) and VESID will work in collaboration with school districts and other State agencies to ensure a coordinated approach to the provision of transition services and to eliminate the duplication of assessments, services and reporting. • VESID (VR) will work in collaboration with Independent Living Centers to enhance their role in working with students with disabilities, their families and educational personnel during the transition planning and service delivery process. • The student and the student’s family are a primary source of information regarding the student’s needs, goals and services. The vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselor’s role with in-school youth is primarily one of planning for the continuity of career preparation for the student’s years after leaving school. However, if the student needs vocational rehabilitation services to make a smooth transition to permanent employment directly exiting school, the counselor can fund these services. VESID works with schools to ensure that, to the maximum extent possible, the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is completed before vocational rehabilitation-eligible students receiving special education leave school.

Caseload statistics are monitored to determine the progress of VESID in serving and placing youth, defined as individuals with disabilities who are less than 22 years of age at the point of referral to the vocational rehabilitation program. In FFY 2008, VESID served 38,241 youth. Statewide trend data for the past five years indicate a steady and significant increase in the number of youth on the VESID caseload.

VESID will collaborate in the following activities to improve the transition of youth with disabilities from secondary education to post-school employment outcomes:

VR Transition Policy Improvement

The number of students with disabilities receiving VR services has increased over the last eight years. Additionally, the percent of students with disabilities that make up the State active caseload increased from 24 percent to 37 percent during this same period of time. In order to meet the increased demand for VR services to youth, VESID used a collaborative approach to develop policy based on current research and best practices.

The transition process needs to address a wide array of student skills for learning, working, community living and self-determination. Schools cannot address all of these needs in isolation of community services and programs. In addition to what the student can learn in school, there must be planning for what types of services students will need once they graduate from their programs. VESID VR is one of the key systems to facilitate the transition process from school to postsecondary placements and/or employment.

In 2008, VESID revised its vocational rehabilitation transition policy, establishing an affirmative role for VR Counselors in transition from school to work. Transition from school to work is a critical time for young adults with disabilities. Similar to their non-disabled peers, youth with disabilities benefit from career planning and normative work experiences during young adulthood. This increases the likelihood that they will successfully enter the job market as young adults. To address this need, VESID revised the 421.00 Youth in School - Transition Referral, Planning and Services Policy in August 2008. After gathering public comment, changes to this policy were based on the work of a policy development work team consisting of transition counselors and supervisors from the VESID Vocational Rehabilitation District Offices, VESID’s Office of Special Education and from the State Rehabilitation Council.

The policy reinforces VESID’s commitment to begin working with students with disabilities two years prior to the student’s expected school exit. It outlines the role of the vocational rehabilitation counselor as an active participant in the transition planning process. The policy clarifies what documentation can be obtained from school districts to assist the VR counselor to determine the students’ eligibility for VR services and to expedite post-school services.

Two years prior to expected school exit, the VESID VR counselor works with the school district to identify in-school youth who are likely to be eligible for VESID VR services. The VESID counselor assists students with disabilities to obtain employment consistent with their strengths, abilities, career interests and informed choice.

While local school districts are responsible for providing education and transition services to students with disabilities who are still in high school, the VESID VR counselor can provide transition services that involve preparing for the student’s future employment. The VESID VR counselor, together with the student and the student’s family, and working with the school district, coordinates VR services for students with disabilities. As an active participant in the transition planning process, the VESID VR counselor:

1. Informs students, parents and school staff about VESID VR services related to employment; 2. Works with the school district to identify students who may benefit from VR services and determines eligibility for VR services; 3. Counsels students and their parents about career planning and employment related to the individualized education program (IEP) and engages students in assessing post-school options; 4. Advises students, parents and school staff during the transition planning regarding current labor market information, community resources and other community-based services, such as independent living centers; 5. Contributes to the transition planning by communicating with school-based staff so that students, parents and school district staff can avail themselves of the VESID VR counselors’ expertise in post-school options; 6. Develops the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) prior to school exit which outlines the student’s employment goal and the services necessary to achieve the employment goal; 7. Provides transition services if they are beyond the scope of special education and within the scope of VR services; and 8. Provides employment-related services.

The policy is intended to ensure that students with disabilities have clear post-school plans and are engaged in postsecondary activities leading to employment.

State Plan Priorities and Goals

VESID will include youth as part of its priority in achieving an increase in high quality employment outcomes and has established separate goals for youth in its annual goals and priorities.

Services to Groups for Consultative and Technical Assistance to Educational Agencies

VESID can provide VR services to groups under 34 CFR 361.49 (a) (7) for consultative and technical assistance services for planning the transition of students to post-school employment activities. Federal regulations required VESID to develop written parameters as described in 34 CFR 361.49 (b) for these services. VESID is planning to use services to group funds for contracts with the regional transition coordination sites, transition projects with school districts as a result of a pending request for proposals (RFP) procurement process and for projects through selected Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) in several regions. Contracts will contain clearly defined services and measures for ensuring that the services to groups are actually carried out.

VESID implemented the following projects:

Model transition Project (MTP)

Starting in June 2007, the Model Transition Program (MTP) put many aspects of the revised VR Transition Policy into practice: specifically, the role of VR counselors, referral timeline, and eligibility and VR services. In addition, close coordination between the school districts, community partners and the local VESID office have been enhanced with the MTP. The MTP provides funding for 60 projects that include more than 180 private and public high schools to develop school-wide plans, activities and programs to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities to postsecondary placements. These placements include college, vocational training programs and competitive employment with and without supports. The primary goal of the MTP is to facilitate future employment opportunities for students with disabilities.

Due to shifting budgetary demands, the MTP projects will conclude November 30, 2009. VESID will complete an evaluation of the program and will continue coordination with school districts to sustain the gains achieved during the project. Using data provided by the projects, Cornell University is working with VESID’s vocational rehabilitation administration to identify critical elements of the data collection, analysis and reporting processes. Successful transition strategies will be identified and shared with high schools throughout the State.

CUNY Project

The CUNY Linking Employment, Academics, and Disability Services (LEADS) project incorporates many aspects of the VR College and University Training Policy. Through this MOU, VESID and CUNY are collaborating to provide employment-related services such as assessment, eligibility determination, financial assistance, academic support, career counseling and job placement, to students with disabilities enrolled on designated CUNY campuses. To date, over 1,000 referrals have been made to VESID.

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2009 11:29AM by Gerri Malone

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

Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers: Attachment 4.8(b)(3)

VESID works continuously with non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers to increase access to integrated employment opportunities. VESID’s district offices work with non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers to target resources to meet the consumer demand for employment outcomes. These programs assist consumers in achieving community-focused outcomes, such as supported employment, situational assessment, direct placement services and community-based training.

VESID currently manages over 400 Unified Contract Services (UCS) and Supported Employment (SE) contracts with non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers across the State. VESID has redesigned the UCS and will be issuing a new request for proposal (RFP) in 2009 for Supported Employment. VESID has initiated the following activities to inform the network of non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers about these changes to improve the delivery of vocational rehabilitation contractual services to consumers: • UCS RFP- VESID issued an RFP in May 2008 for organizations and individuals able to provide vocational rehabilitation entry, assessment, assistive technology/rehabilitation technology, work readiness, job placement, driver rehabilitation and related adjunct services for individuals with disabilities throughout New York State. Current and new providers were invited to apply. o Contracts were awarded effective January 1, 2009 and will continue for a five-year period through December 31, 2013 with annual performance reviews. o Training was provided to all possible applicants during statewide information meetings and a bidder’s conference. Training was provided to all approved vendors in Fall 2008.

• Supported Employment- A new five-year Supported Employment RFP is being issued for implementation on October 1, 2009, which will continue the hourly based payment methodology. VESID has also begun reviewing the concept of a performance based approach to the provision of Supported Employment services in New York State. This approach will be vetted with VESID providers across the State and incorporated into the SE system sometime during the five-year RFP. At that point, a new RFP will be issued.

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2009 11:29AM by Gerri Malone

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.

Evidence of Collaboration Regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services: Attachment 4.8(b)(4)

New York State, in response to recommendations made by other State agencies, service providers, advocacy organizations, parents and consumers, has moved to improve the State’s delivery system for supported employment by establishing clear roles and responsibilities for this vocational service outcome. Through the passage of Chapter 515 of the Laws of 1992, integrated employment, including supported employment, is implemented through a collaborative interagency process in New York State. VESID has been designated as having the primary statewide responsibility for program development and administration of integrated employment, including intensive supported employment services. Relevant State agencies are still responsible for the extended phases of supported employment and are working collaboratively with VESID to ensure the provision of comprehensive supported employment services in New York State.

In addition to Chapter 515, the framework for implementing supported employment has been established by the interagency "Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Supported Employment," the "Principles and Operating Guidelines for Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Employment" and the "Quality Indicators for Supported Employment." These documents constitute the policy and procedural base for the delivery of supported employment services in New York State.

As a requirement of Chapter 515, the State Education Department, through VESID, in collaboration with the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH), must develop an implementation plan for integrated employment. This implementation plan sets forth the manner in which appropriate responsibilities for funding and administering intensive and extended supported employment services are to be identified.

Implementation Strategies Used to Increase Employment Outcomes

The integrated employment outcomes that have been achieved occurred by implementing specific interagency strategies and action steps. The strategies and action steps were developed from implementation themes established through interagency consensus. The four major implementation themes driving these strategies include: • employment opportunities and employer partnerships; • consumer empowerment and informed choice; • coordination and delivery of supports; and • management and administration of the system.

These implementation strategies were agreed upon through interagency consensus and were revised as necessary to accommodate the employment needs of consumers and the employment opportunities offered by employers. The following summarizes the major implementation strategies and employment outcomes achieved as a result of these strategies:

• increased the use of options that promote consumer choice;

• increased activity with regional employer consortia and/or business advisory councils;

• established local marketing efforts;

• promoted the development of entrepreneurship;

• facilitated school-to-work transition opportunities;

• established formal methods of assessing consumer satisfaction;

• increased coordination between VESID and mental health providers;

• increased coordination to enhance support services;

• restructured consumer assessment methodology to a community-based approach;

• coordinated job development and placement activities;

• promoted cost effectiveness through innovative service delivery mechanisms; and,

• coordinated program development, requests for proposal (RFP) and program evaluation activities. Provider Guidelines for Supported Employment

At the request of service providers, advocacy organizations, consumers, family members and other key State agencies, VESID revised the "Provider Guidelines for Supported Employment” in May 2008 to assist in establishing a common base of accepted practices and procedures for supported employment. These guidelines, which are on the VESID website, are intended to facilitate service delivery and cooperation between VESID and supported employment service providers.

Through Chapter 515 of the Laws of 1992, VESID has been assigned the responsibility for administering, establishing standards and monitoring the intensive service component of supported employment programs. VESID also has responsibility for the provision of extended services to individuals who are not eligible for such services through other sources.

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2009 11:29AM by Gerri Malone

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

 

Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD):

Attachment 4.10

 

ACCES-VR is committed to establishing and maintaining a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD), designed to ensure an adequate supply of qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors. 

Qualified Personnel Providing Vocational Rehabilitation Services

 

            ACCES-VR relies on two systems to assess its qualified personnel needs. These systems are the New York State Education Department’s (SED) Fiscal and Human Resources Information Management System and the VR Reporting System. ACCES-VR collects data from these systems to track information about its vocational rehabilitation counselors who meet CSPD requirements and the number of consumers served and then uses the information to make trend data projections.

 

            ACCES-VR hires vocational rehabilitation counselors (VRCs) who meet CSPD requirements to provide vocational rehabilitation services. ACCES-VR employs vocational rehabilitation counselor assistants (VRCAs) to perform a variety of paraprofessional tasks to support the VRCs in assisting individuals with disabilities in obtaining or retaining employment. The VRCAs interact with consumers and perform administrative tasks to facilitate service delivery. ACCES-VR does not employ any other type of rehabilitation staff, such as mobility instructors or rehabilitation teachers. 

 

            As of September 30, 2010, ACCES-VR had 336 VRCs. The data reflected an adequate supply of qualified rehabilitation professionals as summarized in the following table: 

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 336 16 100
2 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Assistant 89 13 46
3 0 0 0
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

 

 Collecting and Analyzing Data 

      As discussed in Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Service: Attachment 4.11(b)(1), ACCES-VR uses trend data projections to estimate the number of individuals that will be found eligible for ACCES-VR services. Based on these projections, ACCES-VR determined that 100 new VRCs will be needed to serve its consumers over the next five years. The estimate is based on the anticipated number of individuals to be served, the number of VRCs and supervisory counseling staff age 50 or older with 25 years of service who will be eligible for retirement within the next five years, and others who may leave the agency.  

There are 89 FTE VRCA positions filled. It is estimated that ACCES-VR will need 46 new VRCAs over the next five years. The estimate is calculated based on 102 positions designated for VRCAs, the number of VRCAs age 50 or older with 25 years of service who will be eligible for retirement within the next five years, and others who may leave the agency.

 

The number of consumers being served decreased from 68,015 last year to 58,904 this year. The anticipated need for VRCs in the next five years decreased from 135 last year to 100 this year. The projected need for VRCAs increased from 35 last year to 46 this year. The current level of counselors and counselor assistants allows us to adequately serve current numbers of eligible individuals. 

 

Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) Accredited Programs

 

The Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) is the agency that provides accreditation to Master’s programs in Rehabilitation Counselor Education at institutions of higher education. Three of the six CORE programs in New York State have closed since 2006. The remaining CORE accredited programs in NYS are: University at Buffalo – State University of New York (SUNY), Hofstra University and Hunter College – City University of New York (CUNY). 

 

            The following information is data reported for academic year 2009-2010:

 

·        SUNY Buffalo offers a graduate program in rehabilitation counseling to  students attending on-campus or via the distance learning program on-line.    Student enrollment increased from 48 to 52 students from the previous year.    The number of students that reported having a disability or being non-white   increased from 21 to 23 students.

·        Hofstra University student enrollment increased from 36 to 45 students. The number of students that reported having a disability or being non-white decreased from 29 to 24 students. 

·        CUNY Hunter College student enrollment increased from 75 to 84 students. The number of students that reported having a disability and/or being non-  white increased from 27 to 100 students. The increase is attributed to the use     of student self reporting and includes students who graduated from the  program that year.

 

Overall, student enrollment at NYS CORE programs increased from 163 students last year to 181 students in academic year 2009-2010. The diversity of qualified candidates also increased. The number of students identifying themselves as individuals with a disability or non-white increased from 78 last year to 147 this year. 

ACCES-VR maintains a contact at each of these institutions of higher education and collects the following student data:

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 SUNY-Buffalo 52 0 0 12
2 Hunter 84 0 0 22
3 Hofstra University 45 0 0 5
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

 

Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel

 

ACCES-VR has several initiatives to address the current and projected needs for qualified personnel. These initiatives include:

 

·        A Recruitment Plan;

·        Counselor Internships; and

·        Plan to Support VRCs to Meet CSPD

 

Recruitment Plan

 

ACCES-VR implements a recruitment plan to attract professional rehabilitation counselors and graduate students from diverse backgrounds to consider employment in New York State. In 2006-2008, the plan included visits to colleges in close proximity to New York State and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in southeastern United States. In 2010, visits focused on CORE programs at colleges and universities in NYS and contiguous states. The benefits of working in New York State were shared with Program Directors and students in graduate Rehabilitation Counseling programs. They were also advised of the internship opportunities and application process for taking the NYS Civil Service exam for vocational rehabilitation counselors. To be cost-effective, school visits have been reduced and the use of phone and videoconferences increased.

 

Counselor Internships

 

A paid internship program was created to provide second-year graduate students an opportunity to perform their internship in one of the ACCES-VR field offices. This initiative allowed students to complete the requirements for their degree with the State VR program, while allowing ACCES-VR to train and recruit the future workforce. The fact that students were paid was an extra incentive for them to work with ACCES-VR. The internship program is comprised of two components: a practicum and an internship. These are offered three times each year, and recently graduated students can work in intern status while pursuing full time employment at ACCES-VR.

 

More than 60 students have participated in the internship program since 2006 with 24 being hired as VRCs. In 2010, ACCES-VR provided four practicum experiences, two less than last year. There were 28 internships, a decrease from the 36 internships provided in 2009. Due to fiscal considerations, paid internships have been significantly reduced, from 34 in 2009 to 13 in 2010. 

 

Plan to Support VRCs to Meet CSPD

 

New York State does not have State certification or licensure for VRCs. To be in compliance with the professional standards for VRCs as required by the Rehabilitation Act as amended, New York State selected the national standard as the requirement for VRCs to meet. The national standard is a Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) certificate or a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or counseling and notice of eligibility to participate in the CRCC certificate examination.  

 

In 2007 ACCES-VR surveyed counseling staff and determined 67 VR counselors did not meet the national criteria. In collaboration with staff from the SED Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), a plan was developed to provide financial and administrative assistance to VRCs to meet the standard. The plan included a review of counselor credentials to determine Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) eligibility and payment for tuition, fees and books for required coursework. As a result of ACCES-VR’s work with VRCs to obtain necessary documentation, retirements and staff changes, the number of counselors who do not meet the national standard was reduced to 25. 

 

Twenty-one counselors need a full degree and four need specific course work. Staff will need to begin their course work by 2013 and complete all coursework by 2018. The participation of VRCs in an educational program to meet the standard is monitored on an ongoing basis to evaluate compliance with SED personnel standards.

 

 

 

Personnel Standards: Highest Standard for the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

 

ACCES-VR employs VRCs who have, or are eligible to obtain, qualification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). All vocational rehabilitation counselors are required to have:

 

·      a current Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)  certificate; or

·      a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, including a supervised internship, from a CORE accredited program; or

·      a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or Counseling and notice of eligibility to participate in the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) certificate examination.

 

VRCs considered for appointment to a "Manual Communication" or "Spanish Language" position are required to demonstrate proficiency in the manual sign language or in the Spanish language. Proficiency must be at a level which will permit them to perform the duties of the position satisfactorily.

 

Personnel Standards: Civil Service Qualifications for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Assistant

 

            ACCES-VR employs VRCAs to assist VRCs in the administrative, para-professional and routine communication tasks that enhance the vocational rehabilitation process. The VRCAs do not determine eligibility nor do they provide vocational rehabilitation services to consumers. 

 

            To be eligible for employment, VRCAs must meet the following qualifications:

 

·      Bachelor’s degree in vocational rehabilitation, social work, counseling, or psychology; or

·      Bachelor’s degree and one year of qualifying experience; or

·      60 semester college credit hours and two years of qualifying experience; or

·      Four years of qualifying experience.

 

      Qualifying experience: In order for experience to be considered qualifying, the primary responsibilities of a position must have involved professional or paraprofessional duties in one of the following areas:

 

either A. providing direct services beyond routine personal care or supervision to physically, mentally or learning disabled adults or adolescents in a rehabilitation program or facility.

 

or    B.  providing vocational or educational services to disabled adults or disabled adolescents in the areas of assessment, counseling, job coaching, guidance, placement or job development.

 

 

Staff Development

ACCES-VR implemented the In-Service training program to provide training and education opportunities for all VR staff to strengthen staff skills in the delivery of quality services to consumers. Training is an important part of the development of qualified staff to meet the requirements of CSPD and to meet and maintain professional certification.

 

An annual training needs assessment is conducted to identify staff training needs and interests. With input from managers and the State Rehabilitation Council, a staff training program is developed. The results of the needs assessment survey are also shared with the Region 2 Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE), which assists ACCES-VR in providing training to VR professionals. 

 

In FFY 2009-2010, 728 staff, including 289 CRCs, participated in 76 training opportunities. ACCES-VR provided funds through an In-Service Training Grant to eight staff to pursue certificate, non-degree, undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degree courses. The following training programs were offered to ACCES-VR staff during FFY 2009 -2010:

 

·         Assessment: World of Work Inventory; Functional and Situational       Assessment and Guide to Background Checks.

 

·         Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling: Transitioning School-Age Students with Disabilities; Ethical Issues in Rehabilitation; Psychopharmacology; Code           of Professional Ethics; Documentation and Record Keeping; An Introduction            to Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Rehabilitation Counselors; Solution             Focused Brief Therapy; Managing Challenging Behaviors.

           

·         Job Placement/Employment: New York Association of Training and         Employment Professionals (NYATEP) provided training on workforce and           economic development; National Disability Employment Awareness Month             (NDEAM); Employment for Veterans; New York Makes Work Pay; Nassau     Placement Network provided training on Strategies for Developing Natural     Supports in the Workplace; Ethical Issues in Job Placement; Job      Development; Training Techniques in Employment Settings and Paths to     Employment for Ex-Offenders.

 

·         Rehabilitation Technology: Case Management System (CaMS) and       Technology Updates on CaMS.

 

·         Disability-Related Training: Brain Injury; Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard-of-Hearing     and Late Deafened; Autism Spectrum; Understanding Addictions; Addiction,           Relapse and Recovery; Psychiatric Disabilities and Mental Health and           Substance Use Disorder.

 

·         Policies and Procedures: Assessment; Role of Liaison Relationships in          Vocational Rehabilitation; Consumer Involvement; Writing an Effective Case  Note and Caseload Management.

 

·         Financial Procedures and Controls: Unified Contract Services and     Supported Employment Contract.

 

·         Supported Employment - Supported Employment Training Initiative           (SETI): Orientation to Supported Employment; Job Coach Series; Job       Development I and II; Supported Employment Program Management;    Extended Services and Natural Supports; Ethical Issues in Job Placement            and Supported Employment and Counseling Skills for Direct Service Providers.

 

·         Other Related Training:  New York Association of Training and Employment     Professionals, Inc. (NYATEP), Workforce; New York State Rehabilitation    Association (NYSRA); New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation      Services (NYAPRS); Association for Persons in Supported Employment             (APSE); Assistive Technology; Home-Based Training; Strategies for        Supervision Success and NY Association on Independent Living, Inc (NYAIL)        - The 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Advancing the             Promise for Justice.

 

Procedures for Acquisition and Dissemination of Training

           

Training and education opportunities for VR staff are funded through the In-Service training grant. ACCES-VR collaborates with other State agencies and disability organizations to provide disability and/or systems trainings to staff. ACCES-VR also partners with Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) to increase staff skills and enhance their knowledge. This partnership expands training opportunities for staff and gives ACCES-VR additional resources to maximize funding for trainings. Additionally, this partnership provides trainings for Certified Rehabilitation Counselors to earn continuing education credits to meet the Ethics certification requirements.

 

Other key partnerships include the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS); Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE), New York State Rehabilitation Association (NYSRA), New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Inc. (NYAPRS) and the New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC). 

 

Training is provided through a variety of modalities such as seminars, workshops, individual district office training, distance learning technology, and attendance at local, regional and statewide training programs and conferences. ACCES-VR has taken advantage of video-conferencing training opportunities as much as possible to facilitate training opportunities and to keep cost down. Consideration is given to the diversity of staff, skill levels, and experiences when developing training programs. 

 

 

Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs

 

To ensure that ACCES-VR adequately provides services to applicants or eligible individuals, ACCES-VR has personnel able to communicate in the native language of individuals who have limited English speaking ability or who use other modes of communication, such as sign language. When such staff is not available, ACCES-VR obtains the services of other individuals who are able to communicate in appropriate modes with applicants or eligible individuals. ACCES-VR contracts with outside agencies and individuals for interpreter or communication services, and uses only certified or State-approved interpreters for the deaf when sign language interpreter services are required in the provision of VR services.

 

 

 

Coordination with Personnel Development and Training under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Through its administration of vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs, ACCES-VR coordinates policy and services relating to transition services for students with disabilities from school to adult services and provides vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities, ages 16 and older. The coordination of meaningful transition services for students with disabilities from school-age to postsecondary settings is a priority area for ACESS-VR. Within the State Education Department, ACCES-VR coordinates with the Office of Special Education now housed within the State Education Department’s Office of P-12 Education (effective July 1, 2010). The program managers jointly review and share training information and, when relevant, coordinate efforts by inviting our respective staff to receive training on transition, accommodations, assessment and knowledge of specific disabilities.

            ACCES-VR has a number of VRCs across the State dedicated solely to transition. In some offices, ACCES-VR is demonstrating a “transition team” concept to determine if this approach leads to better outreach to school districts and to students with disabilities.

 

The chart below indicates that new applications for youth (ages 14-21) have significantly decreased during FFY 2010 year. As a result of the completion of the MTP program, the number of youth served has decreased slightly, while the number of school districts with which ACCES-VR coordinates services have remained the same.

 

ACCES-VR continues to work closely with schools to enable the smooth transition of students with disabilities from school to work. For FFY 2010, there is an increase in the numbers of youth achieving a successful employment outcome. The continued increase in employment outcomes for youth is most promising.

 

  Youth with Disabilities  (Applicants age 14-21)   FFY 2006 FFY 2007 FFY 2008 FFY  2009 FFY 2010
New youth applicants (age 14-21)11,77713,56618,03618,40614,469
Youth served29,61431,69638,24144,27943,709
Youth employed as a result of ACCES-VR services3,5753,6904,1404,2024,318
School districts with students in ACCES-VR open caseload644669682693693

 

 

 

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 17 2011 3:40PM by Gerri Malone

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.

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

The 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act require that a needs assessment be conducted jointly with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) every three years to collect data about the rehabilitation of New Yorkers with disabilities. The needs assessment must identify the vocational rehabilitation needs of: • Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;

• Individuals who are minorities and individuals who are unserved and underserved by vocational rehabilitation; and

• Individuals who are served through other components of the workforce investment system.

In addition, the assessment must identify the need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs.

The New York State Office of Educational and Vocational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) jointly conducted the comprehensive statewide needs assessment with the SRC to determine the rehabilitation (and other) needs of individuals with disabilities residing in New York State. During 2009 and 2010, VESID and the SRC jointly developed and agreed to a work plan and conducted targeted activities to address each of the regulatory requirements. The SRC and VESID agreed that the primary purpose of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment was to identify gaps in VR services. We adopted the definition that a gap is the difference between the real and ideal conditions that is both acknowledged by community values and potentially amenable to change.

Information was gathered from consumers, advocacy groups, disability advisory councils, community rehabilitation programs, VR staff, and other partner agency representatives. The comprehensive statewide assessment process also includes a review of New York State’s disability statistics, RSA 911 data, a focus group, a community forum and public input gathered by VESID and its State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) members during FFY 2011 State plan public meetings. VESID also conducted or collaborated on several key surveys that directly address the requirements of this comprehensive statewide needs assessment. This document represents the FFY 2011 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment as required by Section 101(a)(15)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.29 in describing the results of a comprehensive, statewide assessment, jointly conducted by VESID and the SRC.

Methodology: Assessment Activities

The SRC and VESID jointly developed a work plan for the comprehensive statewide needs assessment that included the following:

• An analysis of population statistics for New York State that describe the numbers and percentages of people with disabilities in New York State, their employment status, educational levels and income; • A description of VR participation rates of minority individuals in comparison to individuals in the overall population in New York State and to national VR statistics;

• An analysis of VR services to individuals with the most significant disabilities, individuals with mental health disabilities, youth, individuals receiving SSI or SSDI, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including individuals with autism spectrum disorder and individuals with substance use disorders;

• The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation in the Fifth Edition 2008 Model State Plan (MSP) for Rehabilitation of Persons who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing or Late Deafened report that hearing loss is the most prevalent, chronic, physically disabling condition in the United States today;

• The findings from the State Plan Public meetings, held in January and February 2010, which focused on asking participants about the vocational rehabilitation needs of minorities, unserved and underserved individuals;

• The results of a focus group discussion on youth with mental health disabilities (conducted in May 2009) and a community forum with MH service recipients on VR services in New York City (July 2009);

• The results of the consumer satisfaction survey for individuals served during FFY 2009 (SUNY Potsdam February 2010);

• The results of an analysis for data from the Model Transition Program in comparison to the VR Program’s overall services to youth (Cornell University, February 2010);

• An analysis of critical issues facing individuals with disabilities served through other components of the workforce investment system based on a survey of the NYS Department of Labor Disability Program Navigators (January 2010);

• The results of a study of community rehabilitation programs by the Chapter 515 Interagency team focused on expanding the statewide assessment of needs by conducting a survey of supported employment providers. (Center for Essential Management Services, March 2010); and

• An analysis of the results of a survey of community rehabilitation providers on what is needed to effectively transform our rehabilitation service support system to increase integrated employment for individuals with disabilities (December 2009).

VESID is committed to making effective use of the findings from the comprehensive statewide needs assessment, moving from research to practice and using what is learned to shape policy, procedures, training, operations and practice.

Key Findings of Population Statistics for New Yorkers with Disabilities

The New York State Disability and Employment Status Report issued by the Employment and Disability Institute, Industrial Labor Relation School of Cornell University, provides information on individuals with disabilities in New York State. Based on the most recent study, the following findings provide an overall context for the vocational rehabilitation program to consider the potential needs of individuals with disabilities in New York State:

• The employment and earnings gap between New Yorkers with disabilities and those without, like the rest of the U.S., continues to grow exponentially. According to the 2007 American Community Survey (Cornell University, 2009), there are over 1.4 million working-age adults with disabilities in New York State (11.1% prevalence rate). The prevalence rate is slightly lower in NYS than the national average of 12.3%.

• The employment rate of working-age people with disabilities (ages 21-64) is 33% as compared to 72% for people without disabilities, a gap of 39%.

• The education system continues to struggle to adequately prepare students with disabilities for employment and financial independence. Even with recent growth in the performance outcomes for students with disabilities, the gaps in performance remain significant with only approximately 43% of New York’s students with disabilities graduating with a regular high school diploma.

• Opportunities to participate in higher education are limited. Many institutions of higher education have not put in place the level of supports needed by individuals with disabilities to succeed. Only 16% of working-age individuals with disabilities in New York hold a Bachelor’s degree as compared to 36% of non-disabled individuals.

• For working-age individuals with disabilities working full-time/full-year, the median annual labor earnings equaled $34,500 compared to $41,800 for those without disabilities, a gap of $7,300.

• The median household income of working-age adults with disabilities in New York is $35,200 and $71,100 for families without disabilities in New York, a gap of $35,900. • The poverty rate of working-age adults with disabilities in New York is 28% as compared to 11% for non-disabled adults, close to 2.5 times the poverty rate for people without disabilities.

In addition to these statistics, one in five working-age adults with disabilities in New York are recipients of SSI (279,000 individuals). These findings draw a clear link between the experiences of poverty and disability. New findings from the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) show that the share of people experiencing income poverty who have physical or mental health impairments and/or learning disabilities is far larger than conventionally understood. The paper, “Half in Ten: Why Taking Disability into Account is Essential to Reducing Income Poverty and Expanding Economic Inclusion” (September 2009), reviews recent research on disability and poverty. The report asserts that: “Disability is both a fundamental cause and consequence of poverty.” This understanding has implications for the VR Program and its interests in working closely with programs in New York State aimed at alleviating poverty or assisting persons from public assistance to employment. Currently, two percent of individuals served came to VESID as TANF recipients and 12.7% came to VESID as Safety Net participants.

The employment gap is an issue of vital concern to the public-private vocational rehabilitation system, but should also be a concern to the entire workforce investment system and all partners under the Workforce Investment Act. The employment rate for individuals with disabilities is suppressed by factors such as access to housing, transportation, health care (including treatment for mental illness, substance abuse and chronic disabilities), childcare, and opportunities for asset accumulation. All of these factors impact the employment rate for individuals with disabilities and closing the employment gap will require a much broader public policy approach across federal, state and local economic initiatives and programs.

Based on estimates from the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS), 49,300 individuals with disabilities between the ages of 21 and 64 are not working but are actively looking for work, based on the disability definitions in the ACS. (Retrieved on March 17, 2010 from www.disabilitystatistics.org) The ACS disability definitions are not the equivalent of the eligibility criteria for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, so it is not valid to infer that all of these individuals would necessarily be VR eligible. VESID’s open caseload (Status 02-24) at the end of FFY 2009 was 68,000 individuals, which exceeds the measure of job seekers with disabilities, based on the ACS definition. Characteristics of Individuals Served including Minority Individuals and Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities

During FFY 2009, the characteristics of people who participated in vocational rehabilitation services reflected the diversity of the general population in New York State as follows: • 68.7% White persons, a higher percentage than in the general population of New York State (60.0%); • 29.1% Black or African-American, a higher percentage than in the general population of New York State (17.3%); • 13.3% Hispanic, which is below the percentage of persons of Hispanic or Latino origin in the general population of New York State (16.7%); • 1.9% American Indian/Eskimo/Aleut a higher percentage than in the general population of New York State (.6%); • 2% Asian-American, which is below the percentage of persons of Asian-American origin in the general population of New York State (7.0%); and • 0.6% Pacific Islander, a higher percentage than in the general population of New York State (.1%).

Based on an analysis of individuals whose cases are closed after receiving VR services (based on FFY 2008 RSA-911 data, retrieved from http://www.rsamis.ed.gov on March 17, 2010), at the time of services: • Almost 39% had mental and emotional (psychosocial) disabilities, nearly 8 percentage points higher than the national average for VR agencies;

• Almost 35% had cognitive impairments, about 8 percentage points above the national average for VR agencies; and

• More than 20% had physical impairments and about 5 percent had visual or communication impairments.

Needs of Special Populations including Individuals with Most Significant Disabilities and those Individuals considered Unserved and Underserved

In order to better understand the needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities, including the need for supported employment and those that are unserved and underserved, VESID, jointly with the SRC, conducted a range of activities, one of which was an analysis of data on participation in VR services.

The following summaries are intended to provide a context by which VESID can systematically assess the demand for VR services from special populations that are considered to have unique needs. This data analysis will focus on the following populations who are consistently identified as unserved and underserved as well as their participation in the supported employment program:

• individuals with mental health disabilities; • youth (application to VR prior to age 22); • individuals on SSI or SSD; • individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities; • individuals with autism spectrum disorders; • individuals with substance use disorders; and • individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing or late deafened.

Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities

Of the total number of individuals served during FFY 2009 in all statuses, 55.4% or 60,748 individuals served were considered to have a most significant disability. The designation of most significant disabilities will be examined for each of the special populations.

Individuals with Mental Health (MH) Disabilities

• Individuals with mental health diagnosis have consistently made up 19.5% of the total number of consumers served by the VR Program (who are eligible and/or receiving services). In 2009, this represented 11,717 individuals.

• The overall number of individuals with psychiatric disabilities who are eligible and/or engaged with a plan for employment increased by close to 1,000 additional persons during 2009.

• In FFY 2009, the percent of individuals with psychiatric disabilities who achieved an employment outcome (Status 26) was 18.6% of all employment outcomes, representing 2,261 individuals. This is a decrease of 175 individuals when compared to the previous year and mirrors an overall decrease in employment outcomes.

• Of the total services in all VR statuses, 72.8% of individuals with mental health disabilities were considered to have a most significant disability.

Strategies to improve outcomes for this population were gathered from the focus group on youth with MH disabilities, the Community Forum with MH recipients and at the State Plan public meetings. The findings from those activities related to services to individuals with MH disabilities will be described later in this narrative.

Youth in Transition

• The overall number of youth with disabilities (individuals who applied for VESID VR services prior to age 22) increased significantly, by almost 3,000 individuals during 2009.

• Youth with disabilities now make up 44.4% of the total number of consumers served by the VR Program (who are eligible and/or receiving services). In 2009, this represented 26,717 individuals.

• Of the total services in all VR statuses, 61.7% of youth (applicants prior to age 22) were considered to have a most significant disability.

• In FFY 2009, youth who achieved an employment outcome (Status 26) was 34.6% of all employment outcomes, representing 4,202 individuals. This is an increase of 62 individuals when compared to the previous year.

• The increase in outcomes for youth, while small, is significant in a year where the overall employment outcomes for VESID consumers decreased. It is an indicator that changes in VESID policy and practice with transition age youth are having an impact on performance.

Individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Individuals receiving SSI or SSDI comprised 26.3% of the total number of individuals served by the VESID’s VR Program (who are eligible and/or receiving services). In 2009, this represented 15,818 individuals.

• The overall number of individuals receiving SSI or SSDI who are eligible and/or engaged with a plan for employment increased by more than 350 during 2009.

• Of the total services in all VR statuses, 70.3% of individuals receiving SSI or SSDI were considered to have a most significant disability.

• In FFY 2009, the percentage of individuals receiving SSI or SSDI who achieved an employment outcome (Status 26) was 26.5% of all employment outcomes, representing 3,216 individuals. This is a decrease of 475 individuals when compared to the previous year and mirrors an overall decrease in employment outcomes.

On a positive note, the percentage of individuals receiving SSI or SSDI who are eligible and/or receiving services matched the percentage achieving employment outcomes, indicating that individuals may be achieving employment outcomes at a rate commensurate with their overall participation in VR services.

VESID, working with the SRC, examined data on consumers who receive SSI and SSDI and their service utilization patterns, average cost per case, the employment rate and functional limitations. It is clear from the data that SSI/SSDI beneficiaries’ employment rate is lower than the overall employment rate of other VESID consumers. Strategies to improve outcomes for this population were suggested which include:

• Increased use of benefits planning services; • Analyzing data for services that are correlated with successful closures for this population; • Using consumer satisfaction surveys of closed cases to determine whether SSI/SSDI beneficiaries are more or less satisfied than other recipients of public benefits; and • Utilize other sources of information about successful practices with this population through wage reporting data and surveys of District Managers and counselors.

Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The VR Program has been engaged in a strategic collaboration with the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) for several decades, and over the past 20 years, has worked extensively in the joint implementation of supported employment services. In order to better understand the rehabilitation needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (including individuals with autism spectrum disorders), we conducted an analysis of those currently served.

• Individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities comprised 17.9% of the total number of individuals served by the VESID’s VR Program (who are eligible and/or receiving services). In 2009, this represented 10,799 individuals.

• Of the total services in all VR statuses, 80.4% of individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities were considered to have a most significant disability.

• In FFY 2009, the percentage of individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who achieved an employment outcome (Status 26) was 18.6% of all employment outcomes, representing 2,263 individuals.

• In FFY 2008, VR performance on US Department of Education (RSA) Indicator 1.2 was 59.8% and at 59.5% for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, essentially even.

• For FFY 2009, VR performance on Indicator 1.2 for all individuals dropped to 52.8%, but was slightly higher at 54.1% for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Note: For the purposes of this comprehensive statewide needs assessment, intellectual disability and developmental disability is defined as primary impairment due to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, cerebral palsy, congenital condition or birth injury, epilepsy, or mental retardation.

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

VESID was a key participant on the NYS Interagency Task Force on Autism that examined how New York supports people diagnosed with ASD within the State’s multiple service systems that exist to support individuals with many different needs.

• Individuals with ASD comprised 2.4% of the total number of individuals served by the VR Program (who are eligible and/or receiving services). In 2009, this represented 1,472 individuals. • Of the total number of individuals with ASD served, 88% were considered to have a most significant disability.

• In FFY 2009, the percentage of individuals with ASD who achieved an employment outcome (Status 26) was 1.5% of all employment outcomes, representing 183 individuals.

• The number of Americans diagnosed with an ASD has risen dramatically in recent years. Estimates vary, but generally place the present incidence rate of ASD among children between one in every 91 to 150 individuals.

New York State’s service agencies, including VESID, held public forums in 2007 and heard about the tremendous needs facing people living with a diagnosis of ASD. In 2008 and 2009, VESID worked with the New York State OMRDD and other state agencies on the Interagency Task Force on Autism, that examined how New York supports people diagnosed with ASD within service systems that exist to support individuals with many different needs. The recommendations were presented in a formal report to the governor of New York State in the Interagency Task Force on Autism Report, issued in January 2010, to guide New York State to improve its support of individuals with ASD in the coming years.

The documented needs for the New York State service delivery systems, including the vocational rehabilitation program, were:

• increased ability of physicians and specialists to screen for, assess and competently diagnose individuals with ASD; • greater availability of accurate and reliable information about ASD and available services and supports; • greater availability of evidence-based services and practices; • additional assistance for individuals to prepare for post-school employment; • improved provision of service coordination across the lifespan; • improved coordination of service delivery across multiple systems; • more information about the needs of those who don’t now meet standards for service eligibility; • overcoming language barriers in the provision of information and services; and • a coordinated research agenda that can deliver improved ASD practices across the State.

Individuals with Substance Use Disorders

VESID formed a cross-agency work team in March 2009 to identify the vocational rehabilitation needs of individuals with substance use disorders and to develop technical assistance, guidance and training for VR counselors and an updated Memorandum of Understanding with the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). The work team represented VESID field office counselors and supervisors, OASAS staff and individuals from treatment and community rehabilitation programs. This team was provided with the following data related to individuals with substance use disorders currently served by the VR Program:

• Individuals with substance use disorders make up 17.3% of the total number of consumers served by the VR Program (who are eligible and/or receiving services). In 2009, this represented 10,439 individuals.

• In FFY 2009, the percent of individuals with substance use disorders who achieved an employment outcome (Status 26) was 19.4% of all employment outcomes, representing 2,359 individuals.

• Of the total served in all VR statuses, 43.4% of individuals with substance use disorders were considered to have a most significant disability.

The OASAS-VESID Statewide Team identified the need to integrate recovery principles into the practice of vocational rehabilitation and supporting recovery for individuals with substance use disorders with employment as an integral part of that recovery. The Team identified the following principles as being necessary to meet the vocational rehabilitation needs of individuals with substance use disorders: • Recovery is an experience that encompasses the belief, hope and expectation that a person with a substance use disorder can move beyond the limitations of the disorder and engage in a process of healing;

• For the individual, the recovery process may be marked by transformational or incremental change, occurring at a different pace across a number of zones: physical, intellectual, emotional, relational, personal (daily living) and spiritual. It is non-linear and reflects the natural process of growth and self-awareness, where there may be occasional setbacks. It involves transcending the stigma of addiction and using language as a means for individuals in recovery to give voice to their experiences and aspirations for personal and social change; and

• The challenge for vocational rehabilitation is to understand how vocational rehabilitation services can significantly contribute to an individual’s recovery by enabling individuals to pursue high quality employment outcomes consistent with the person’s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice.

Individuals who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing or Late Deafened

The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation in the Fifth Edition 2008 Model State Plan (MSP) for Rehabilitation of Persons who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing or Late Deafened report that “Hearing loss is the most prevalent, chronic, physically disabling condition in the United States today.” Applying estimates of the prevalence of the population to contemporary population data from the United States Census, it is estimated that more than one in every ten Americans, or 30.6 million among 300 million, have a hearing loss. Approximately 18 million of these persons are of working age (16 to 64 years old). The employment status of working age (21-64) persons with hearing loss varies depending on level of loss. McNeil (1993) reported that 63.6% of persons with some functional limitation in their hearing ability were employed and 58.2% of those totally unable to hear normal conversational speech were employed. In comparison, 80.5% of all persons ages 21-64 without a disability were employed.

Hearing loss is becoming more prevalent among the general population. In an analysis of National Health Interview Surveys from 1971 to 1981, Ries (1985) reported that prevalence rates for hearing problems across all ages have increased steadily from 71.6 to 82.9 per 1,000 of the general population. The greatest increases occurred in the under 17 age group and 45 to 64 age groups. These trends have continued with the aging of the “baby boomer” population who are experiencing age-related hearing loss, and with people living longer.

• The Cornell University 2008 Disability Status Report (for New York) report that although self-reported, NYS prevalence of hearing impairment among non-institutionalized people ages 21 to 64 in 2008 was 1.6% or 188,400 individuals.

• As of September 30, 2009 there were 1,502 (3.0% of all active cases) VR consumers identified as deaf and 700 (1.0%) consumers identified as hard of hearing, as a primary impairment.

• On August 11, 2009, NYS VESID participated in the Model State Plan Survey sponsored by CSAVR Committee on VR Services for Individuals who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing, & Late-Deafened. Results are pending.

• A national needs assessment completed by the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Center identified current and future needs of interpreter education programs. The results of the assessment indicated that the number of interpreters available for deaf staff and consumers has decreased. A major factor impacting the availability is increased employment with agencies providing video relay services.

2010 State Plan Public Meetings

As part of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment for FFY 2011, VESID and the SRC focused the state plan public meetings on identifying and discussing the vocational rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing in New York State, including those who are minorities and those with the most significant disabilities. Along with a review of data, the intent of the three public meetings held in Buffalo, Albany and New York City during January and February 2010 was to discuss with our partner agencies and individuals with disabilities the needs of unserved and underserved people with disabilities residing in New York State. The main questions asked of all public participants were:

• Who are the groups that may be unserved or underserved by the VR Program? • In what ways are these groups unserved or underserved? • What are your suggestions on how VESID can close these identified gaps?

The SRC jointly developed this approach, approved the strategy and attended these meetings.

Key informant data was gathered and analyzed to develop an understanding of common themes and elements that currently affect the rehabilitation needs of individuals. The following themes emerged from the meetings, as well as from other verbal and written information obtained from participants:

• Young adults with mental illness have a set of needs distinct from adults with mental illness; • Individuals with mental illness continue to be underserved by the VR Program and VR counselors need to have confidence in the employment potential of mental health recipients and to be recovery-oriented in the practice of VR; • Individuals receiving social security disability or supplemental security income need benefits counseling to have better outcomes; • Inconsistencies in implementation of policy or certain practices in different regions affect how certain groups or individuals are served by VR counselors across the State; • Transition services provided to youth need to include work experiences prior to school exit; • Students with disabilities need job coaching and assistance to secure after school or summer jobs for youth; • Individuals with most significant disabilities need supported employment to leave segregated work and program settings; • Individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities need to have opportunities for postsecondary training in integrated settings, such as community colleges, with supports; • Veterans, particularly Iraqi and Afghanistan War vets with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and substance use disorders are not making use of Veteran Affair’s or State VR programs; • Individuals with disabilities over age 50 and displaced older workers with disabilities still need VR services; • Many individuals receiving TANF or Safety Net have disabilities and need substantial supports to succeed in work; • Individuals with limited English proficiency with disabilities are underserved due to language and/or cultural barriers; • Individuals who are deaf or deaf/blind don’t participate as fully in VR services; • Individuals with substance use disorders may not realize they could be eligible for VR services; • VR counselors need to spend more personal time with individuals in order to be effective; and • Transportation is still a factor in rural areas and for individuals in all areas who cannot use public transportation due to accessibility limitations.

Roundtable Discussion of Experts on VR Needs of Youth with Mental Health Disabilities

VESID conducted a discussion with individuals who specialize in services for youth with mental health disabilities with experts representing the NYS Mental Health Association, the NYS Office of Mental Health and VESID Special Education staff. The discussion identified the following critical needs for this population of youth:

• Diagnostic challenges exist in identifying the “mental impairment” necessary for VR eligibility. Schools use the broad term “emotionally disturbed”; • The adolescent brain changes significantly between the teen years and mid-twenties lending difficulty to determining VR eligibility. Youth with mental illness have diagnoses that are fluid, not permanent; • An absence of a coordinated system of service delivery presents significant challenges for youth and young adults with mental illness as they age out of youth services. Aging out of the youth service, many youth between the ages of 18-22 straddle multiple educational and service systems. They can simultaneously be a youth in one system and an adult in another; • There is a high unemployment rate for youth with mental health issues. They face unemployment, underemployment, stigma and discrimination when trying to enter the workforce.

Roundtable Recommendations

Several recommendations were made by the experts who participated in this roundtable:

• Engage youth with mental health issues in their own future planning process, focusing on each individual’s strengths;

• VESID should develop a systems approach to provide care by having multi-agency (i.e. NYS Office of Mental Health and their local providers) sharing of resources and responsibilities, including professionals, families and youth, to develop and design individual service programs based upon the individual’s needs and strengths; and

• Employment should focus more on a “place and train” model rather than a “train and place” model.

Specific actions steps for future consideration are: • Conduct focus groups with youth and with Parent Centers as part of the VR State Plan Public Meeting Process; and

• Develop a learning collaborative with the VESID Youth in School Policy Development Team and related interagency partners (e.g. NYS DOL Youth Employment Coordinator, OMH, DDPC). Schedule a series of two or three roundtable discussions to identify and prototype effective practices.

Findings and tentative recommendations will be shared with SRC and VESID leadership to develop goals, priorities and strategies as appropriate.

Community Forums with Mental Health Service Recipients

In July 2009, VESID’s New York City District offices, with the VESID Director of Operations, participated in a consumer forum sponsored by the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) and Community Access, a New York City-based non-profit community agency. NYAPRS is a statewide coalition of people who use and/or provide recovery-oriented community based services. Approximately 160 consumers participated. The format allowed for a constructive exchange of information and ideas, questions and answers among VESID, NYAPRS and individuals with MH disabilities, who sometimes refer to themselves as “recipients” in the MH system.

The participants identified challenges in their experiences including:

• Difficult communication issues between the consumer and VESID counselors; • Reported delays by VR counselors in responding to phone calls; • Vocational planning appears arbitrary to the consumer rather than based on unique employment factors of the individual; • Consumers report that they are unaware of due process despite multiple notifications by VESID at key points in the VR process; • Consumers report they are required to participate in multiple and unnecessary evaluations and that often the results are not helpful or shared with the individual; • Individuals are denied a vocational goal or service of choice based on the evaluation and that training is limited to menial jobs and higher education is discouraged; and • VESID services do not seem to be mental health friendly and the eligibility process takes too long.

The following recommendations were identified as next steps: • Development of Consumer Advisory Council – VESID agreed to start with a pilot advisory council for the NYC Offices. This is in the process of being implemented. • Supported Employment Pilot – VESID will work with OMH to address service needs for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. The pilot will incorporate application of the “Individualized Placement and Support” model with existing providers who are jointly funded by VESID and OMH. Further meetings are scheduled with OMH to identify potential pilot sites.

Consumer Satisfaction Survey

In 2009, VESID contracted with the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research at SUNY Potsdam to have a consumer satisfaction survey conducted. The survey was sent to consumers who had completed the service delivery process sometime during the previous year (2008), and who terminated from services either employed (status 26) or not employed (status 28).

The survey consisted of 23 questions which were printed in English and Spanish. Participants were selected randomly, controlling for status, gender and district office. A total of 5,001 persons were selected for the pool. Of these, 2,500 were closed in status 26 and 2,501 were in status 28.

There were 533 surveys returned. This is a 10.7% response rate. The following represents a summary of responses to key areas:

• When asked about general satisfaction with quality of service 77% of respondents indicated satisfaction with VESID service. Approximately 79% of respondents would recommend VESID to someone else. The level of satisfaction has fallen 3% since the previous survey in 2008.

• Questions were asked about the time it took to reach counselors, the time it took to begin receiving services and treatment by staff. Almost 77% (81% in 2008) of respondents indicated that VESID staff could be reached within three days. Sixty-eight (75% in 2008) percent of respondents felt that the time it took to begin receiving services was acceptable to them. Almost 89% (93% in 2008) felt they were treated courteously by reception staff and approximately 87% (90% in 2008) agreed that they were treated courteously by counseling staff.

• Almost 72% (76% in 2008) of consumers surveyed in 2009 agreed they were encouraged to participate in planning. Since all of these respondents should have had a plan in place given their closure statuses, it is puzzling that only 68.7% (72.5% in 2008) recognized this at the time of the survey. It is consistent with the previous finding regarding the extent to which consumers felt encouraged to participate in planning. This result also suggests that counselors need to emphasize the plan and planning process during counseling. It is important to keep focused on the plan for consumers during service delivery so they can see how they are accomplishing their goals. This clarity of purpose and action may assist the consumer in achieving their goals.

• Approximately 60% (65% in 2008) of consumers recall being informed about due process.

• With regard to employment, over 78% (75% in 2008) of respondents indicated being satisfied with their jobs.

In summary, the general satisfaction with VR services dropped slightly in this most recent consumer satisfaction survey. It also continues to be below the established target of 95 percent. These results also reflect that 23 percent of the responders rated VESID services as poor or very poor. As VESID and the SRC Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee review and analyze the findings, we will jointly explore what the findings mean in terms of practice and what aspects of the findings are most significant from the VR participant’s perspective.

Model Transition Program Assessment

Cornell University investigated the effectiveness of the Model Transition Program (MTP) that ran from 2007 through November of 2009. They conducted an online survey to learn about how VESID counselors evaluate the MTP from their experiences and to establish the best practice strategies for youth with disabilities through collaborating with local high schools. The VESID Case Management System (CaMS) identified a total of 184 VR counselors or staff who has worked with one or more consumers who were referred by the MTP. Of them, 84 participated in the voluntary survey.

The Cornell evaluators identified the following findings. • Collaboration between schools and VR agency was improved by MTP staff, which resulted in their students having well prepared VESID application packages. • VR counselors saw that the MTP consumers were more exposed to job search resources and job experiences. • Sixty-eight percent thought that the MTP caused an increase of their caseload size; however, they did not expect that their job will be less busy after the MTP is over. • VR counselors appeared to think that MTP led VR counselors to attend more events developed by the MTPs, which resulted in more and better collaboration between schools and community partners including VESID. Forty-five percent of them thought having a liaison between schools and VR was helpful.

The Cornell evaluators identified the following best practice strategies. • VR counselors believe that a students’ level of motivation, students’ social skills and the extent of family support are important factors in students’ successful employability outcomes. • Students who had measurable post-secondary goals on their Individualized Education Program, graduated with a regular or Regents diploma and completed a comprehensive vocational assessment are more likely to become employed. • Paid/unpaid work experiences in the community or in school prior to VR referral were perceived as the most important factor to achieve successful employment outcomes. • When asked to identify factors related to successful outcomes, VR counselors felt that students who identify realistic goals for the future are more likely to have a successful employment outcome. An early referral process supports a stronger linkage between high school and adult agencies, promoting the employment and community integration of young adults with disabilities.

Rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities who have been served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system

Department of Labor (DOL) Disability Program Navigator

During fall 2009, the New York State Department of Labor (DOL), through its Disability Program Navigators (DPN), conducted an online survey of One-Stop Career Centers on the critical issues facing individuals with disabilities in New York State.

VESID funded eight DPN positions through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DOL for project years 2009 and 2010 (through June 30, 2010). The purpose of the MOU was to promote programmatic and systemic accessibility of the One Stops. The second purpose was to ensure any systemic changes would be sustainable; therefore, DPNs were requested to set up advisory panels at One Stops to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities at the One Stops.

As part of this project, VESID established a State-level program liaison to DOL and to all of the DPNs. Over the past year, the DOL and VESID program liaisons met monthly with the DPNs to better understand and coordinate cross-systems services and to better meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. A statewide list of local liaisons was identified between the DPNs and the VESID District Offices to facilitate stronger communication linkages.

Need to establish, develop, and/or improve community rehabilitation programs

Chapter 515 Interagency Team Survey of Supported Employment Providers

In May 2009, VESID focused on expanding the statewide assessment of needs by conducting a survey of supported employer providers to promote greater success for consumers with the most significant disabilities by making services more efficient and effective. The survey was conducted as a cooperative effort among OMH, OMRDD, CBVH and VESID with the Center for Essential Management Services (CEMS) under the auspices of the Disability Statistics Research and Training Center at Hunter College. The survey was sent electronically to 198 supported employment provider organizations.

The Chapter 515 Interagency Team initiated the survey to gain information from providers to improve the supported employment service delivery system in NYS, particularly to get data on how well the referral process is working and how it might be improved.

Although there are a variety of information sources used by supported employment providers to help identify the needs of consumers, there are three that particularly stand out. These are psychological evaluations, information from the consumer and family members, and information from the referring counselor. When asked to rate each of the information sources on several qualities, these three again are viewed favorably in terms of the amount of information made available, the content of the information, and the overall value of the information.

The results of this survey, including each state agency’s response to the findings, are described in the Chapter 515 Statewide Supported Employment Survey: Final Report issued in March 2010. For VESID, this process is one component of its State Plan Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment.

A presentation of the survey findings was shared with supported employment service providers at the annual conference of the New York State Rehabilitation Association (NYSRA) in September 2009. The State agency representatives (VESID, OMH, OMRDD and CBVH) and researcher (CEMS) summarized the findings and engaged the providers in a dialogue on what were the most significant findings and listened to provider perspectives on what recommendations should emerge as priorities. These included:

1. Consumers should be referred with a job goal that is realistic so that their motivation is more in line with the labor market possibilities; 2. Situational assessments would be desirable for all consumers but there is not adequate funding to support this; 3. Consumers should be referred only if they have adequate work supports, such as ability to manage transportation; 4. Referral information should include explanations of past vocational efforts of consumers, particularly those that failed; 5. Regarding eligibility for extended funding, it would be good to know as soon as possible if consumers are eligible for Medicaid; 6. CBVH and VESID assessment standards should match Medicaid waiver requirements for extended follow-along. Often, individuals’ motivation drops while they are waiting for Medicaid issues to be resolved. 7. Early assessments need to identify supports both on and off the job; 8. Only Article 16 clinics know how to assess and provide documentation for OMRDD. VESID should not use independent psychologists for that purpose; 9. Article 31 clinics (OMH) are often sources of referral, but they don’t understand the vocational side. These clinicians need to be on board.

NY Makes Work Pay and Developing Integrated Employment Options through the Community Rehabilitation Providers

New York State is presently engaged in a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, entitled New York Makes Work Pay (NY-MWP) that will assist New York in removing obstacles and creating new pathways to employment for New Yorkers with disabilities. Under the auspices of the NY-MWP, the Cornell University Employment and Disability Institute worked with the New York State Rehabilitation Association (NYSRA), a statewide association of community rehabilitation providers, to survey the community rehabilitation providers of vocational services across the State to identify the overarching issues that they face in building the infrastructure necessary to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities, while identifying new or existing opportunities to enhance employment services. One primary focus is to move more individuals with most significant disabilities from segregated employment to integrated employment.

The initial survey identified barriers to integrated employment for people currently participating in segregated programs. A few of these barriers included reliance on Medicaid funding, lack of alternative integrated program models, and employer-based alternatives to sheltered employment. These findings will be the basis of an ongoing effort by NYSRA, in conjunction with the NY-MWP, to support community rehabilitation providers in developing plans for transforming their segregated work centers into integrated employment programs. Impact of Findings and Results on VESID’s Priorities, Goals and Strategies

During FFY 2011, VESID will work closely with the SRC to systematically review and discuss the finding of each section of this report and develop specific recommendations related to priorities, goals and strategies. As needed, additional data will be gathered, particularly in areas related to serving transition-age youth and individuals with the most significant disabilities through supported employment. VESID will work with the SRC to refine its goals and enhance existing strategies or develop new ones to achieve the goals that are identified in the current State Plan or that are added in the future through the review of this report.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2010 4:38PM by Frank Coco

Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Service: Attachment 4.11(b)

 ACCES-VR expects that during the Federal Fiscal Year 2012, fiscal and personnel resources will be sufficient to serve all eligible persons who apply for services. This expectation is based on ACCES-VR’s projections of federal and State funding, referral levels, eligibility rates and service needs, including persons with significant disabilities and staffing plans. In meeting this expectation, ACCES-VR affirms that it will: • continue to provide a full range of services to all persons currently receiving services; • provide assessment services to all persons expected to apply next fiscal year; • serve all persons expected to be determined eligible next year; and, • meet all statutory program requirements.

Estimates of the Number of Individuals in the State who are Eligible for VR Services and the Number of Eligible Individuals who will Receive VR Services:

As required in 34 CFR 361.29(b)(1), ACCES-VR estimates that during the 2012 Federal Fiscal Year, 39,000 individuals with disabilities will be found eligible for VR services. This estimate is based on the applicant numbers during FFY 2010. Based on a five-year trend formula, ACCES-VR could potentially serve 118,700 individuals during FFY 2012.

However, this figure is based exclusively on trend data for past five years and does not necessarily account for the many complex factors that affect service delivery. Using trend analysis, the FFY 2011 State Plan estimated that 111,200 individuals would be served, but year-to-date data indicates that we are serving fewer individuals than projected. Due to the conclusion of several special projects, ACCES-VR expects to serve fewer individuals than projected in the FFY 2011 State Plan. The difference between the trend projection and the actual number must be taken into account for FFY 2012. The best estimate for the number of individuals who will be served during FFY 2012 is 107,400 individuals - level with the FFY 2010. The total estimated cost for services is $225.3 million.

As required in 34 CFR 361.29(b)(2), ACCES-VR estimates that under Title I and Title VI Part B, approximately 13,700 of the estimated 107,400 individuals served during FFY 2012 will receive supported employment services. All of these individuals receiving supported employment services will be served using a combination of Title VI Part B funds and State funds.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Title I $225,300,000 107,400 $2,097
Title VI part B* $1,300,000 14800 $87
Totals   $226,600,000 122,200 $1,854

This screen was last updated on Jul 25 2011 10:06AM by Gerri Malone

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.

 

            ACCES-VR and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) jointly developed the State’s goals and priorities. Together, the SRC and ACCES-VR reviewed and agreed upon priorities, goals, strategies and performance measures that are consistent with Section 106 of the Act and with regulations found in 34 CFR 361.

 

Priority 1: Increase the employment rate and earnings for individuals with disabilities served by ACCES-VR.

 

Goal 1.1: Increase the percentage of individuals exiting the VR program after receiving services that achieve an employment outcome and exceed the national standard of 55.8 percent. 

 

RSA Performance Indicator 1.2: Of all closed cases after receiving vocational rehabilitation services, at least 55.8 percent will have achieved an employment outcome.

Baseline for FFY 2010: 45.9 percent which does not meet the RSA Performance Standard.

Target for FFY 2012: Meet the RSA Performance Standard of 55.8 percent.

 

Goal 1.1.A Youth: Increase the percentage of youth with disabilities (applicants prior to age 22) exiting the VR Program after receiving services that achieve an employment outcome and exceed the national standard of 55.8 percent.

Baseline FFY 2010: 42.5 percent which does not meet the RSA Performance Standard.

Target FFY 2012: Meet the RSA Performance Standard of 55.8 percent.

 

Goal 1.1.B Supported Employment: Increase the percentage of individuals who achieve an employment outcome after receiving supported employment (SE) services.

Baseline for FFY 2010: For all consumers who were closed during the year after having an SE Individualized Plan of Employment (IPE) and SE Authorization, the employment rate was 43.3 percent which does not meet the RSA Performance Standard.

Target FFY 2012: Meet the RSA Performance Standard of 55.8 percent.

 

Goal 1.1.C Social Security Participants: Increase the percentage of individuals who are recipients of SSI, SSDI or SSI/SSDI and achieve an employment outcome that exceeds the national standard of 55.8 percent.

Baseline 2010: Of all SSA participants who were closed during the year after receiving VR services the percentage who achieved an employment outcome was 39.4 percent

Target FFY 2012: Meet the RSA Performance Standard of 55.8 percent.

 

 

 

 

Related Measures:

RSA Performance Indicator 1.1 The number of individuals exiting the VR program who have achieved an employment outcome must equal or exceed performance in previous period.

Baseline FFY 2010: 12,092 individuals achieved an employment outcome, a decrease of 59 from the previous year.

Target for FFY 2012: ACCES-VR will exceed the final FFY2011 result for indicator 1.1.

 

RSA Performance Indicator 1.4 The percentage of individuals having significant disabilities who achieve competitive employment with earnings of at least minimum wage is 62.4 percent or higher.

Baseline for FFY 2010: 98.2 percent

Target for FFY 2012: 98.5 percent

 

Goal 1.2: Improve earnings of individuals achieving an employment outcome by increasing the percentage who earn at least 200% of the federal poverty level ($416/week) at closure.

Baseline for FFY 2010: 23 percent of all individuals achieving an employment outcome (2,710 individuals) earned above 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Target for FFY 201228 percent of all individuals achieving an employment outcome will earn above 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

 

Related Measures:

RSA Performance Indicator 1.3 The percentage of individuals who achieve an employment outcome with earnings equivalent to at least minimum wage will be 72.6 percent or greater.

Baseline for FFY 2010: 95.4 percent

Target for FFY 2012: 97.5 percent

 

RSA Performance Indicator 1.6 Increase the percentage of individuals who report earned income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR Program; the national standard is 53 percent or greater.

Baseline for FFY 2010: 59.8 percent

Target for FFY 2012:  64.8 percent

 

Goal 1.3: Increase the average hourly earnings of individuals employed after participating in postsecondary training when compared to the average hourly earnings of all employed individuals in the State and approach the national benchmark ratio of .52 (Variation on RSA Performance Indicator 1.5 – See Related Measures below.)

Baseline for FFY 2010: Average wage of individuals with postsecondary training is $11.42 per hour; .40 of the State Average Wage.

Target for FFY 2012: $11.99 per hour is .42 of the State Average Wage.

 

 

 

Related Measures:

RSA Performance Indicator 1.5 Average hourly earnings of individuals employed after receiving VR services will be equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to the State’s average hourly earning for all individuals in NYS who are employed; wage equals .52 or more; (.52 x $28.54 = $14.84).

Baseline for FFY 2010: $10.70 per hour is .37 of the State Average Wage.

Target for FFY 2012: $14.84 per hour would equal .52 of the State Average Wage.

 

Priority 2: Increase services to unserved and underserved groups.

 

Goal 2.1: The service rate for identified unserved and underserved populations will be commensurate with the NYS population rates for those populations based on race, ethnicity and disability.

 

RSA Performance Indicator 2.1: The ratio of the percent of individuals with a minority background to the percent of individuals without a minority background exiting the program who received VR services; RSA Performance standard > or = .80

Baseline for FFY 2010: .87

Target for FFY 2012: Service ratio of all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from non-minority backgrounds; .90 

 

Priority 3: Improve the quality of ACCES-VR services.

 

Goal 3.1: Increase consumer satisfaction with VR Program services.

Baseline for FFY 2010: 76 percent

Target for FFY 2012: 90 percent of respondents expressing satisfaction on key questions contained in VR’s consumer satisfaction surveys.

 

Goal 3.2: Increase collaboration with community partners, particularly the State agency partners who share responsibility for achieving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Baseline for 2010: ACCES-VR is in the process of developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) for a cooperative effort through its Disability Employment Initiative to improve service options and results for individuals with disabilities served through the one stop centers.

Target for 2012: NYS DOL and ACCES-VR will implement promising practices that improve service results for individuals with disabilities. 

 

Goal 3.3: Increase collaboration with employers that may lead to employment outcomes.

Baseline 2011: The ACCES-VR Business Relations Unit is continuing to establish business relationships and develop business accounts. Collaborative projects with The NET and other national, state and regional resources have yielded quality employment outcomes. 

Target for 2012: ACCES-VR will document the number of formal collaborative business relationships it establishes and the number of employment outcomes each of these relationships yields.

This screen was last updated on Aug 17 2011 3:40PM by Gerri Malone

  • 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 20 2009 3:20PM by Gerri Malone

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.

 

 Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

 (Supported Employment): Attachment 4.11(c) (4)

 

Federal Title VI, Part B funds for supported employment services were initially used to develop model programs to determine the most effective structure for supported employment and to determine what types of services and supports work best with different populations. However, Title VI, Part B resources alone do not provide sufficient funds to meet the overall demand for supported employment services. For FFY 2010, ACCES-VR’s total funding level for supported employment contracts was $31 million of which $1.3 million was Title VI, Part B funds. The $1.3 million Title VI, Part B funds served approximately 14,800 individuals. At present, Title VI, Part B funds represent less than five percent of the total funds ACCES-VR uses for intensive supported employment services. ACCES-VR will continue the operation of the supported employment services established under Title VI, Part B. These funds will continue to be used to supplement, but not supplant, Title I funds.

 

Supported Employment Programs

ACCES-VR is in the second year of a five-year cycle of supported employment contracts with approximately 200 supported employment providers. While these continue the hourly fee-for-service payment system, ACCES-VR has begun planning for a performance-based contracting system that would fund based on specific milestones and outcomes. Over the past year, ACCES-VR conducted a survey of supported employment providers to identify potential payment points and levels that would work best in a performance-based contract. As ACCES-VR develops more specific proposals, community rehabilitation programs will be consulted as appropriate to the procurement process. ACCES-VR has also begun more closely monitoring utilization of both intensive and extended costs due to funding limitations.

 

Through the authority of Chapter 515 of the NYS Laws of 1992, ACCES-VR is assigned the responsibility for administering, establishing standards and monitoring the intensive service component of all supported employment programs in New York State. ACCES-VR also has the responsibility for the provision of extended service to individuals who are not eligible for such service through other sources.

 

ACCES-VR, with the cooperation of the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH) established the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team in October 2006 to discuss ongoing concerns with the implementation of supported employment intensive and extended services in New York State. The Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team consists of employment program managers from the respective State agencies. The Team meets monthly to discuss program, data and funding issues, facilitate cross-systems implementation and identify opportunities for program improvements.

 

            During the past year, the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team worked on the following areas:

 

·         Interagency Communication on Program Changes– ACCES-VR and OMH Central Office managers are meeting regularly to coordinate service delivery in counties where OMH Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) is being implemented. OMH and ACCES-VR coordinate technical assistance to local areas where changes in extended service providers have occurred to maintain collaboration around service delivery. OMH and ACCES-VR have started planning discussions on an Individualized Placement and Supports demonstration pilot in Suffolk County that would implement evidence-based supported employment practices.

 

·         OPWDD Supported Employment Initiative - OPWDD and ACCES-VR continue to meet regularly to discuss areas of mutual interest. In examining the respective eligibility protocols for each program, OPWDD developed a directory of assessment providers and clinics who are capable of generating specific documentation necessary to pursue OPWDD eligibility. This will be used by VR Counselors and community service providers when working to establish OPWDD eligibility. OPWDD, ACCES-VR and Independent Living (IL) are also exploring ways that VR and IL services may be able to ensure more youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities enter employment or postsecondary education upon school exit. Local discussions will be held between the ACCES-VR District Offices and the OPWDD regional office on how to best coordinate supported employment services.

·         Supported Employment Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - The State agencies are continuing discussions on revisions to the Supported Employment MOU.  The State agencies will continue to enhance their collaboration and deliberate on revisions to the Supported Employment MOU to reflect a renewed commitment and higher expectations for achieving integrated employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. These dialogues help to assure that ACCES-VR is meeting program needs for individuals with significant disabilities in NYS.

·       New York Interagency Supported Employment Reporting (NYISER) Data System Conversion – The Medicaid Infrastructure Grant in New York State is held and led by the Office of Mental Health (OMH). OMH and the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) have embarked on a project to transform the DOL information system, known as the One Stop Operating System, into a data and case services system that includes consolidation with all the components of NYISER. There are confidentiality and other administrative issues which will need to be resolved prior to implementation.

 

ACCES-VR combines Title VI, Part B and Section 110 funds to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities. Individuals served through supported employment services include individuals with all types of disabilities. ACCES-VR maintains agreements (Memorandum of Understanding and Integrated Employment Implementation Plan, Chapter 515 of the Laws of 1992) with OPWDD, OMH, and CBVH, which define ACCES-VR as the sole source for intensive funding. Program evaluation includes review of data from interagency quarterly reports as well as on-site reviews, including consumer interviews. Successful and exemplary practices have been disseminated to the staff of the State agencies involved and to other project sites.

Supported Employment Goals and Priorities

ACCES-VR’s Title VI, Part B program goals are to:

·        provide services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who might not be traditionally considered appropriate for competitive employment; develop techniques for unserved and underserved populations, such as persons with acquired brain injuries, deafness, multiple disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, significant learning disabilities and significant mental illness;

·        develop quality programs that could be used for replication purposes; and

·        establish successful supported employment programs that will provide technical assistance to other programs.

 

The discussions that occur in the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team monthly meetings help to achieve the above goals as well as to meet our challenge to close the employment gap between individuals without disabling conditions and individuals with disabilities. Program performance and costs are reviewed at least annually. Service re-negotiations occur based on overall performance, including performance on projected outcomes agreed to by ACCES-VR and the provider.

 

ACCES-VR vocational rehabilitation counselors manage the individual program of each consumer participating in intensive supported employment. This includes developing the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and monitoring its implementation. The programs funded under Title VI, Part B represent previously underserved individuals. Every effort is made to improve the project’s performance through continuing technical assistance and service delivery improvements.

This screen was last updated on Jul 25 2011 10:06AM by Gerri Malone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Describe how the agency's strategies will be used to:

  • achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1);
  • support innovation and expansion activities; and
  • overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and the state Supported Employment Services Program.

 

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

 

ACCES-VR reserves and uses a portion of federal funds allocated under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act for innovation and expansion (I&E) activities, including support of the needs assessment, equitable access and technology. In addition to specific innovation and expansion activities as required, ACCES-VR is engaged in many strategic initiatives to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities which are described in detail in this attachment.

Council Support

 

Funds are allocated for the operation of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) to meet the goals and objectives set forth in the SRC resource plan. The SRC is a full and active partner in the development of ACCES-VR policies, regulations and procedures. The mission of the SRC is to objectively review, analyze, guide and communicate with other entities on behalf of individuals with disabilities, including the Commissioner of the New York State Education Department and ACCES-VR. The SRC assists ACCES-VR in fulfilling the requirements of the Federal Rehabilitation Act for the delivery of quality, consumer- responsive vocational rehabilitation services.

 

Funds are allocated to support all ACCES-VR State Operations, including oversight for the New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC), related contract administration and the development and oversight of the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL).

 

Technology

 

ACCES-VR has policies that delineate how assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities at each stage of the rehabilitation process. Rehabilitation technology is an individualized service that assists individuals with disabilities to achieve full participation in education, rehabilitation, employment, transportation, independent living and recreation. ACCES-VR supports rehabilitation technology that is necessary to achieve the individual’s vocational objectives and goals.

 

An individual’s need for rehabilitation technology is considered at any stage of the vocational rehabilitation process. When determining an individual’s eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs, rehabilitation technology is provided if necessary to assess and develop an individual’s capacity to perform in a work environment. Before an individual is determined ineligible because he or she cannot benefit from services, rehabilitation technology must be considered.

 

ACCES-VR uses VR funds for assistive technology at every stage of the rehabilitation process, through purchase, lease or loan to eligible consumers who otherwise could not access services. Two ACCES-VR policies that provide in depth information about the provision of a broad range of technology services are 1370.00 Rehabilitation Technology Policy and 441.00 Vehicle Modifications, Adaptive and Automotive Equipment Policy. ACCES-VR is reviewing the Vehicle Modifications, Adaptive and Automotive Equipment Policy to determine if improvements can be made.

 

            ACCES-VR has service contracts, called the Unified Contract System or UCS, in place with community rehabilitation programs. Some of these contracts contain provisions for assistive technology services from those qualified providers. 

 

ACCES-VR is using technology to improve service delivery to consumers. ACCES-VR also allocates a portion of the I&E funds to improve its electronic case management system in order to reduce the administrative burdens placed on counseling staff, thereby making access to services simpler and quicker. In addition, ACCES-VR has initiated work teams to develop recommendations and an implementation plan related to:

·       Implement technology enhancements to the CaMS electronic record of      service, providing additional tools for VR Counselors to manage caseload and     for managers and supervisors to provide oversight;

 

·       Develop the Supported Employment Information Directory (SEID). The SEID is currently being implemented to provide critical data to counseling and management staff to assist them with their job responsibilities. The system provides information on each community rehabilitation provider to better enable vocational rehabilitation counselors to assess services and provide options to consumers. Supervisors will be able to review performance and cost against other data in the system that will assist in their management of the contracts.

                                                          

Outreach To Individuals with Disabilities who are Minorities

 

            As a result of the finding in the ACCES-VR’s Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment in the FFY 2011 State Plan, ACCES-VR and the SRC decided to initiate strategies to address issues raised by the study for all major populations in the State who have Limited English Proficiency. ACCES-VR, with the participation of the SRC, established a Limited English Proficiency Work Team to review the multiple language needs of its consumers.

 

            ACCES-VR translated primary forms and brochures which are now available for public use; they include the: “VR Application”, “ACCES-VR Brochure”, “ACCES-VR Basic Guide”, “Due Process Brochure” and “Developing the IPE”. These brochures were translated into the following languages: Spanish, Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Haitian Creole.

 

            ACCES-VR also developed a “Procedure for Purchasing Language Interpreter and Written Translation Service for Consumers with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)” which provides direction to VR counselors on when and how to purchase language interpreter and written translation services.

 

      ACCES-VR will share this information as it continues to work with community rehabilitation programs and Independent Living Centers to ensure that they have the staff training, outreach capacity and commitment to meet the needs of the State’s minority populations.

 

Outreach to Serve Individuals with Disabilities who have been Unserved or Underserved

 

Students with disabilities have been identified as a priority population for ACCES-VR and it has worked to increase access for students with disabilities into the vocational rehabilitation system at an earlier age. ACCES-VR has identified youth with disabilities that will transition from secondary schools to adult service and employment as an underserved population, although ACCES-VR data substantiate that close to one-half of our current caseload were youth at application. The coordination of meaningful transition services for students with disabilities from school age to postsecondary settings is a priority area for vocational rehabilitation and special education collaboration. Within the State Education Department, ACCES-VR coordinates with the Office of Special Education now housed within the State Education Department’s Office of P-12 Education (effective July 1, 2010). The program managers jointly review and share training information and, when relevant, coordinate efforts by inviting our respective staff to receive training on transition, accommodations, assessment and knowledge of specific disabilities.

     ACCES-VR works closely with schools to enable the smooth transition of students with disabilities from school to work. Most promising is the continued increase in employment outcomes for youth, which have increased for the third consecutive year even though the overall employment outcomes have decreased. 

 

      Several strategic actions have been implemented to increase the number of transition students participating in vocational rehabilitation services and to increase their achievement of quality employment outcomes. ACCES-VR is focused on aligning the internal changes in VR policies with the development of partnerships with the secondary schools and postsecondary institutions within the State. These strategic actions are:

 

·        ACCES-VR participates in the Office of Children and Family Services Education Committee; a multi-agency committee focused on addressing the transition needs of children aging out of the foster care system.

·        The Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education includes an appointed member of the ACCES-VR Management team. This facilitates close communication between the special education and vocational rehabilitation programs.

·        The CUNY Linking Employment, Academics, and Disability Services (LEADS), developed with the City University of New York (CUNY), is a collaboration between ACCES-VR and CUNY to provide employment-related services to students with disabilities enrolled on designated CUNY campuses. Employment teams provide services on each campus, facilitating both the educational and employment process of students with disabilities with the goal of competitive employment. 

 

      In addition to a focus on serving youth, ACCES-VR has several other initiatives and strategic activities described in this attachment and in other sections of the State Plan aimed at improving services to unserved and underserved populations. ACCES-VR sustains strong interagency partnerships in New York State and is an active participant in the following strategic activities:

 

·         the NYS Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC) and chairing       the Employment Committee of that Council;

·         the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) and its 

            Strategic Planning, Adult Issues and System Coordination Committees;

·         the Business Advisory Council of the Mental Health Association of New York        State;

·         the Mental Health Planning Advisory Council of the NYS Office of Mental  Health (OMH); and

·         the NYS Department of Health (DOH) Traumatic Brain Injury Coordinating             Council.

 

            Through participation in these Councils and their respective networks of consumers, families and providers, ACCES-VR is able to continuously improve its responsiveness to the needs of these populations. 

 

Improving Community Rehabilitation Programs

 

      ACCES-VR is working to continuously improve the capacity and service delivery of community rehabilitation programs, including supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities: 

 

·         Unified Contract Services (UCS) Redesign. ACCES-VR provides a wide range of vocational rehabilitation services through community rehabilitation programs. The UCS contracts are flexible to meet emerging needs, respond to changes in the larger federally funded vocational rehabilitation services system and better utilize available resources. Services provided under the UCS contracts offer more consumer choice; updated compensation for services purchased where appropriate; and include performance standards that allow for assessment of provider effectiveness. Purchased services under UCS contract include: services to assist with entry into the ACCES-VR program; assessment; assistive technology/rehabilitation; work readiness; job placement; driver rehabilitation and related adjunct services such as benefits counseling; non job-related coaching supports; mobility training; and transportation. The current contract period is January 1, 2009- December 31, 2013.

 

·         Supported Employment Training Institute (SETI). The Supported Employment Training Institute continues to provide instruction to community rehabilitation providers in a variety of supported employment related topics. SETI provides workshops to community rehabilitation providers on situational and functional assessment, ethics, job development and placement, job coaching, natural supports, report writing and other topics aimed as developing the skills of direct service staff. Additionally, SETI maintains its website which is a knowledge resource for VR counselors, job developers and job coaches in community rehabilitation programs.

 

·         Supported Employment Policy, Procedures and Guidelines Revisions. ACCES-VR is in the process of updating 1310.00 Supported Employment Policy and Procedure to reflect new evidenced based models of supported employment, develop use of natural supports, enhance compliance procedures and to better align provider guidelines with policy and procedure.

 

·         Supported Employment Contract Redesign. As part of a continuous improvement effort, ACCES-VR is planning for the next supported employment contract by exploring options for performance-based contract methods defining specific milestone and outcome payments that would improve service delivery.

 

·         Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team. ACCES-VR has established and leads the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team consisting of ACCES-VR, the Commission on the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH), the Office of Mental Health (OMH), and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) which meets monthly on supported employment issues. The team is working to assure cooperative implementation of the State Education Chapter 515 Integrated Employment law. Chapter 515 primarily focuses upon supported employment, including a memorandum of understanding which outlines the responsibilities of each agency in terms of intensive and extended services. This past year, the Chapter 515 Team focused on communicating programmatic changes with our respective field offices related to several new initiatives within the partner agencies and how those changes impact employment services.

 

 

Strategies to Improve the Performance Related to Goals, Priorities and Performance Indicators

 

Priority 1: Increase the employment rate and earnings for individuals with disabilities served by ACCES-VR.

 

Goal 1.1: Increase the percentage of individuals exiting the VR program after receiving services that achieve an employment outcome and exceed the national standard of 55.8 percent. 

 

RSA Performance Indicator 1.2: Of all closed cases after receiving vocational rehabilitation services, at least 55.8 percent will have achieved an employment outcome.

 

Strategies

 

·         Collaborate with the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) and the Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) on efforts aimed at implementing better methods for individuals with developmental disabilities to obtain and maintain employment, such as sector-based approaches, e.g. Project Search. Continue collaborative planning with OPWDD on their Pathways to Employment initiatives, including the enhanced supported employment pilots and the Students Work Too effort.

·         Identify job ready consumers and move them quickly into UCS or DOL’s Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) job placement services.

·         Develop protocols for identifying individuals who are “at risk” for Status 28 closure and determine if other supports are needed to sustain the individual in the VR process toward an employment outcome.

 

Goal 1.1.A Youth: Increase the percentage of youth with disabilities (applicants prior to age 22) exiting the VR Program after receiving services that achieve an employment outcome and exceed the national standard of 55.8 percent.

 

Strategies

 

·         Develop stronger local partnerships with school districts and postsecondary institutions, particularly through local transition and postsecondary consortiums.

·         Use paid employment and volunteer experiences to develop work experience for youth. Provide experiential learning and work experiences through summer, part-time and temporary work experiences.

·         Work collaboratively with other State agencies and community organizations with programs that serve transition-age youth to establish participation in ACCES-VR services.

 

Goal 1.1.B Supported Employment: Increase the percentage of individuals who achieve an integrated employment outcome after receiving supported employment (SE) services.

 

Strategies

 

·         Improve the quality of supported employment services by training ACCES-VR and supported employment providers on updated supported employment policy, procedures and guidelines to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the supported employment.

·         Apply evidenced-based supported employment for individuals with serious mental illness by collaborating with OMH on demonstrating the Individual Placement with Supports (IPS) model at selected sites. Train ACCES-VR counselors who serve as liaisons to mental health programs on implementation and provide on-going technical assistance.

·         Explore use of “customized” employment techniques and other promising practices for supported employment and placement services.

 

Goal 1.1.C Social Security Participants: Increase the percentage of individuals who are recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI/SSDI and achieve an employment outcome that exceeds the national standard of 55.8 percent.

 

Strategies

 

·         Assess the effectiveness of the current strategies for benefits counseling, particularly examine the difference between paid and unpaid advisement services to determine how benefits counseling can be most effective within the VR process.

·         Provide benefits counseling earlier in the vocational rehabilitation process. Train VR program staff on the available benefits counseling options when training on ACCES-VR’s updated policy, “Serving Individuals who are SSI and SSDI Participants” and the related “Ticket to Work Procedures”.

·         Initiate a pilot project with the ACCES-VR district office and community benefits advisors (e.g. WIPA, DEI, ILC and/or UCS) to more intentionally integrate benefits counseling services into the IPE and throughout the VR process to determine if this results in better outcomes, including higher weekly earnings.

·         Encourage employment networks (ENs) to continue benefits counseling after VR case closure through continued services under the partnerships plus option.

·         ACCES-VR is cooperating with the Social Security Administration’s SSDI demonstration project in western New York counties called BOND – the Benefits Offset National Demonstration. District Managers from western and central NY have been trained on the program and are fully supporting its implementation.

·         Develop a formal information exchange agreement with the Social Security Administration to facilitate VR services to SSA beneficiaries.

 

Goal 1.2: Improve earnings of individuals achieving an employment outcome by increasing the percentage who earn at least 200% of Poverty ($416/week) at closure.

 

Goal 1.3: Increase the average hourly earnings of individuals employed after participating in postsecondary training when compared to the average hourly earnings of all employed individuals in the State and approach the national benchmark ratio of .52

Strategies

 

·         Improve earnings for individuals by establishing a higher standard for an employment outcome in the development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and providing services that lead to weekly earning above the 200 percent of poverty level of $416/week whenever possible. Establish regional goals to achieve these higher wage outcomes.

·         Create incentives in future supported employment and placement contracts for placement outcomes with higher wages (e.g. substantial gainful activity level).

·         Focus on postsecondary education as a means to increasing skilled employment. Increase percentage of individuals receiving postsecondary education and training.

·         Develop collaborations with Disabled Student Services and College Career Centers to ensure that students who are participating in ACCES-VR postsecondary training have opportunities for work experience in the course of their education. The ACCES-VR Syracuse District Office is using Work Try-Out to provide work experiences for some college students, in cooperation with Onondaga Community College and Le Moyne College. This is a promising practice that ensures that students obtain work experience that may lead to better quality employment outcomes upon graduation.

 

Priority 2: Increase services to unserved and underserved groups.

 

Goal 2.1: The service rate for identified unserved and under served populations will be commensurate with the NYS population rates for those populations based on race, ethnicity and disability.

 

RSA Performance Indicator 2.1: The ratio of the percent of individuals with a minority background to the percent of individuals without a minority background exiting the program who received VR services; RSA Performance standard > or = .80

 

Strategies

 

·         Monitor VR participation and outcome measures for those individuals with serious mental illness and with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including individuals with autism spectrum disorders, who are considered at risk for being underserved by the VR Program and by the broader employment system.

·         Engage the Independent Living Centers in a coordinated effort to provide outreach to other community-based organizations who serve unserved and underserved populations.

·         Increase the coordination and participation of VR consumers in adult education and Literacy Zone services, as well as increase the provision of services to English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

·         Collaborate with DOH AIDS Institute to pilot a referral process from community- based AIDS organizations to local VR Offices, DOL staff at one-stop centers and independent living centers in selected areas.

·         Increase access to interpreters, translators and rehabilitation technology to consumers requiring this assistance particularly deaf and individuals who are hard of hearing.

·         Utilize the appropriate supports for individuals who use ESOL and apply for VR services.

·         Train ACCES-VR counselors in cultural competency and continuously assess organizational linguistic competency.

 

Priority 3: Improve the quality of ACCES-VR services.

 

Goal 3.1: Increase consumer satisfaction with VR Program services.

 

Strategies

 

·         Increase capacity of VR counselors through the provision of continuous training and technical assistance on policy and practice aimed at achieving quality employment outcomes.

·         Improve the quality of post employment services, including to develop the capacity of individuals to earn higher weekly wages as well as to obtain ongoing supports aimed at economic self-sufficiency, natural supports, asset accumulation and benefits advisement.

·         Increase communication to consumers, employers, providers and other stakeholders (associations, school districts) regarding ACCES-VR services and provide opportunities for feedback on services.

 

Goal 3.2: Increase collaboration with community partners, particularly the State agency partners who share responsibility for achieving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

 

Strategies

 

·         ACCES-VR will develop a Memorandum of Understanding with NYS Department of Labor for a cooperative effort through its Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) to improve service options and results for individuals with disabilities served through the one-stop centers.

·         NYS DOL and ACCES-VR will implement promising practices that improve service results for individuals with disabilities. 

·         Through the DEI initiative, implement the Integrated Resource Team’s concept in local one-stop centers by incorporating ACCES-VR counselor participation, yielding more employment outcomes for consumers.

·         Collaborate with OASAS on “recovery-oriented” approaches to employment and vocational rehabilitation services and train staff.

 

Goal 3.3: Increase collaboration with employers that may lead to employment outcomes

 

Strategies

 

·         ACCES-VR will continue to take a leadership role in the National Employment Team’s (the NET) business initiatives increasing employment opportunities within NYS.

·         The ACCES-VR Business Relations and Workforce Development Coordinators in each district office will establish and maintain a current list of job ready individuals in order to more effectively respond to job market opportunities.

·         The ACCES-VR Business Relations and Workforce Development Unit will establish relationships and develop statewide and regional small business partnerships accounts.

·         Revitalize existing placement consortiums and coordinate efforts to leverage and maximize development and placement resources.

 

No single strategy in and of itself, particularly over a relatively short period of time, will necessary result in significant changes in specific performance measures. 

 

Consumer Satisfaction Survey

 

In 2010, ACCES–VR contracted with the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research at SUNY Potsdam to conduct a consumer satisfaction survey. The survey was sent to consumers who had completed their vocational rehabilitation services during the previous year (2009), and whose cases were closed either employed (status 26) or not employed (status 28). 

 

The survey consisted of 27 questions which were printed in English and Spanish. The survey was available on the Internet in English. Five thousand (5,000) participants were selected randomly; 2,501 in status 26 and 2,499 in status 28. There was a 10.7 percent response rate. 

 

            Results showed:

 

·         When asked about general satisfaction with quality of service 76 percent of respondents indicated satisfaction with ACCES-VR service. Approximately 73 percent of respondents would recommend ACCES-VR to someone else.

·         Questions were asked about the time it took to reach counselors, begin receiving services and treatment by staff. Approximately 74 percent of respondents indicated that ACCES-VR staff could be reached within three days. Sixty-six percent (66%) of respondents felt that the time it took to begin receiving services was acceptable to them. Over 89 percent felt they were treated courteously by reception staff and approximately 86 percent agreed that they were treated courteously by counseling staff. 

·         Approximately 65 percent of respondents reported being informed about their right to a review the ACCES-VR decision, but 49 percent reported being informed about the Client Assistance Program (CAP).

·         A larger percentage of the respondents in both closure statuses were employed in 2010 than in 2009, in all paid employment categories.

·         Many respondents, from both closure groups, changed employment status from the time that they left ACCES – VR services.

·         Of the respondents who were employed, over 80 percent indicated that they were satisfied with their jobs. Approximately 57 percent of the respondents who were working part-time reported that it was their choice to do so.

·         Almost half (48 percent) of the respondents who were working reported earning $200 or less per week.

·         The largest percentage (35 percent) of the respondents who were working reported that their health benefits are received through Medicaid.

·         Respondents in closure status 26 were more likely to view their service delivery experiences more favorably.

·         Respondents who were employed at the time of the survey were more likely to respond positively regarding satisfaction with services provided by ACCES - VR.

 

            This analysis should enable us to better evaluate our strategies to date and refine them in light of our results on the performance indicators and related measures for State Plan goals and priorities. 

 

Strategies for the Statewide Workforce Investment System To Assist Individuals with Disabilities

 

            ACCES-VR continues to develop and implement strategies focused on enhancing ACCES-VR’s role as a partner in the One Stop System. The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) and ACCES-VR collaborated in the work of the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) network. When that program ended, DOL and ACCES-VR formed a new partnership around the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI). ACCES-VR expects tangible results related to increased access to the full range of one-stop centers services for ACCES-VR consumers as well as other individuals with disabilities seeking employment. Through the DOL-ACCES-VR DEI collaboration:

 

·         ACCES-VR will provide financial support for Disability Resource Coordinators in selected one-stop centers to align with NYS DOL’s Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Program. Through the development of an MOU, ACCES-VR will contribute $300,000 per year for three years (a total of $900,000 over a three-year period) to support four full time equivalent Disability Resource Coordinator positions.  

·         Align new required DEI Employment Network requirements to the ACCES-VR Ticket To Work procedures for serving SSI and SSDI participants.

·         Coordinate technology efforts between DOL and ACCES-VR to continue to enhance service accountability for achieving established performance benchmarks. Enhancements to the DOL One Stop Operating System will be made through the OMH Medicaid Infrastructure Grant – New York Makes Work Pay. This should allow for better tracking of outcomes and wage data.

·         Continue close coordination with DOL through participation in the State Agency Advisory Group for the new DEI program with a focus on facilitating communication practices and coordination of services among partners in local workforce areas. DOL is also an active participant on the ACCES-VR State Rehabilitation Council. 

 

Equitable Access

 

ACCES-VR is committed to increasing the options for integrated employment opportunities in New York State without regard to the age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, or marital status of any individual. ACCES-VR is implementing the following strategies:

 

·         ACCES-VR has professional staff able to communicate in the native language of individuals who are non-English speaking or who use other modes of communication, such as sign language. When such staff is not available, ACCES-VR contracts with outside agencies and individuals for interpreter or communication services. 

·         ACCES-VR ensures that vocational rehabilitation counselors are aware of how an individual’s cognitive disability might affect his or her ability to participate in the vocational rehabilitation process and the need to provide supports and accommodations to these individuals in the VR process. 

·         ACCES-VR has translated primary forms and documents into four languages and developed a procedure to purchase language and written translation services.

·         ACCES-VR is working along with NYS Division of Parole and CBVH to develop a process to facilitate access to VR services for those individuals re-entering the community, as timeliness is critical for successful re-entry. This mirrors some of the work that is already done on the local level through participation by ACCES-VR District Offices in local re-entry consortiums. In Brooklyn, ACCES-VR has a leadership role in coordinating the re-entry consortium. In Syracuse, ACCES-VR has a VR Counselor assigned to drug court, helping to divert drug offenders from prison whenever possible through the provision of quality employm

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 17 2011 3:40PM by Gerri Malone

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

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

 Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998, requires the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to evaluate State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies based on their performance on evaluation standards and indicators. Performance on these standards is used to determine whether a State VR agency is complying substantially with the provisions of its State Plan. States that do not meet the performance criteria will be required to develop a program improvement plan jointly with RSA. In addition to the required performance indicators, ACCES-VR has established additional measures related to the priorities and goals described in Attachment 4.12(c)(1) Annual Goals and Priorities. The following results are based on the most recent data available on the federal performance indicators and the priorities and goals, as described in Attachment 4.12(c)(1).

Priority 1: Individuals with disabilities, including youth, will be employed in integrated work settings consistent with their abilities, interests and achievements.

Goal 1.1.1: Increase the total number of individuals who achieve an employment outcome (RSA Performance Indicator 1.1). Performance for FFY 2009: 12,151, a decrease from FFY 2008 Performance for FFY 2010: 12,092, a decrease from FFY 2009

Results: ACCES-VR had a slight decrease in the number of individuals achieving an employment outcome for FFY 2010. In FFY 2010, the number of employment outcomes decreased by 59 placements. The employment outcome numbers are influenced by many factors, including the overall economic climate in the State. Unemployment in New York State increased during 2008 through 2010 as the recession deepened. The most recent data also indicate that the annual average number of unemployed in New York State climbed from 813,400 in 2009 to 824,100, an increase of 10,700 or less than one percent. The annual statewide unemployment rate increased from 8.4 percent in 2009 to 8.6 percent in 2010, its highest annual level since 1992. The .2 percentage point in the statewide rate is a slight increase as compared with 2009. In New York City, the unemployment rate fell from 10.4 percent in January 2010 to 8.9 percent in January 2011. (Data source: Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program, New York State Department of Labor) With an increased supply of skilled workers available to employers due to these job losses, job seekers with disabilities, who may not have the experience of these more seasoned workers, are at a distinct disadvantage in the job market. The decrease in VR performance was most likely influenced by the significant downturn in the economy. The number of individuals who applied for VR service during FFY 2010 decreased from 48,367 in 2009 to 39,384 in FFY 2010.

Goal 1.1.2: Increase the total number of youth (applicants at age 14 – 21) who achieve an employment outcome.

Performance for FFY 2009: 4,202, an increase from FFY 2008 Performance for FFY 2010: 4,318, an increase from FFY 2009

Results: ACCES-VR continues to focus on effectively assisting youth in transition, and this particular indicator shows a continued increase (+114) in FFY 2010. The overall increase in youth served is a promising indicator that we will continue to increase employment outcomes in future years. This is the fourth year that ACCES-VR is reporting the results for this goal related to its priority on integrated quality employment. Youth accounted for a significant portion of the overall employment outcomes. It is likely that the results of this indicator have been affected by the collaboration of the ACCES-VR counselor with students, families and school personnel. The results show that continued collaboration with schools and work experiences for students are essential benchmarks of successful transition to work.

Goal 1.2.1: Increase the percentage of individuals exiting the VR Program after receiving services who achieve an employment outcome and exceed the national standard of 55.8 percent (Performance Indicator 1.2).

Performance for FFY 2009: 52.8 percent does not meet the standard Performance for FFY 2010: 45.9 percent does not meet the standard

Results: The percentage of individuals with disabilities who achieved employment after receiving vocational rehabilitation services from ACCES-VR in FFY 2010 is 45.9 percent which is below the national standard of 55.8 percent by three percentage points. Although ACCES-VR District Offices continue to make significant efforts to increase employment outcomes, the results are affected by the significant downturn in the economy. In order to reverse this trend, the VR Program will have to work diligently with its community partners to identify employment opportunities for VR participants and use strategies such as Work Try Out or On the Job Training to provide a competitive advantage when appropriate.

Goal 1.2.2: Increase the percentage of youth with disabilities (applicants at age 14-21) exiting the VR Program after receiving services who achieve an employment outcome and exceed the national standard of 55.8 percent.

Performance for FFY 2009: 51.1 percent does not meet the standard Performance for FFY 2010: 42.5 percent does not meet the standard

Results: This employment goal for youth has experienced a decrease during the last two federal fiscal years. While the percentage of youth at application who had previously achieved an employment outcome after receiving services exceeded the standard and increased for three consecutive years (FFY 2006 through FFY 2008), the downturn in the economy combined with a significant increase in the number of youth participating in VR services resulted in a high number of status 28 closures during FFY 2010 (5,831).

Goal 1.3: Increase the percentage of individuals achieving an employment outcome who earn at least minimum wage (RSA Performance Indicator 1.3) and exceed the national standard of 72.6 percent.

Performance for FFY 2009: 94.4 percent exceeds the standard Performance for FFY 2010: 95.4 percent exceeds the standard

Results: The FFY 2010 rate of 95.4 percent is a slight increase from the FFY 2009 rate of 94.4 percent of individuals obtaining employment through ACCES-VR earning at or above minimum wage. For both years, ACCES-VR far exceeds the national benchmark standard of 72.6 percent. The slight increase is encouraging and may be due to a renewed focus on the quality of employment outcomes.

Goal 1.4: Increase the percentage of individuals having significant disabilities who achieve competitive employment (RSA Performance Indicator 1.4) and exceed the national standard of 62.4 percent.

Performance for FFY 2009: 98.3 percent exceeds the standard Performance for FFY 2010: 98.2 percent exceeds the standard

Results: Individuals are considered to have a significant disability when they have a physical or mental impairment which seriously limits one or two functional capacities such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, cognition, work tolerance, or work skills and whose vocational rehabilitation will require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time. ACCES-VR assisted a substantially greater percentage of individuals with significant disabilities to achieve competitive employment compared to the national standard. For FFY 2010, 98.2 percent of individuals obtaining employment through ACCES-VR earning at least minimum wage had significant disabilities, a very slight decrease from the FFY 2009 rate of 98.3 percent. This rate has been consistent since FFY2000. ACCES-VR has sustained a consistently higher percentage of individuals having significant disabilities who achieve competitive employment than the national benchmark. The national benchmark standard is 62.4 percent. ACCES-VR is serving a high percentage of individuals with significant disabilities and has developed a strong infrastructure to competently serve these individuals through its partnerships with the State offices for mental health, developmental disabilities, blind and visually impaired, health (AIDS Institute) and alcoholism and substance abuse services.

Goal 1.5.1: Increase the average hourly earnings of individuals employed after receiving ACCES-VR services when compared to the average hourly earnings of all employed individuals in the State and approach the national benchmark ratio of .52. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.5 - Average hourly earnings of individuals employed through ACCES-VR who earn at least minimum wage compared to the average hourly earnings of all employed individuals in the State.)

Performance for FFY 2009: .38 does not meet the standard (.36 for FFY 2008) Performance for FFY 2010: .37 does not meet the standard

Results: Performance on this indicator decreased slightly from .38 in FFY 2009 to .37 in FFY 2010. This change is due primarily to the increase in the overall state average wage. The average FFY 2010 VR hourly wage actually increased from $10.55 to $10.70. Concurrently, the average State wage also increased from $27.59 to $28.54. To meet the standard for this indicator in 2010 in New York State, the average VR wage would need to be $14.84. ACCES-VR results for this standard remain below the national benchmark, which is set at a ratio of .52. This ratio reflects the relationship of hourly wages earned by individuals at the time of closure (typically 90 days after attaining employment) to the average hourly wage for all workers in the State. The benchmark ratio of .52 is set at just above half of the overall state hourly wage. There are many structural forces in the New York State economy that make it challenging for individuals participating in VR to earn a livable wage. Many of the individuals served by ACCES-VR, given the economic need criteria for many VR services, are low-income individuals. A high percentage of individuals served by the VR Program are determined to have significant and most significant disabilities. The wide gap in wage distribution in New York State also makes this performance measure particularly problematic for low-income individuals participating in VR services. New York State also has the highest average wage of all 50 states. A recent study by the Center for an Urban Future (www.nycfuture.org, New York by the Numbers, December 2009) substantiated that nearly a third of all adult workers in New York City are employed in low wage jobs. Statewide, the percentage of workers in low wage jobs is only slightly lower at 31 percent. When New York is compared to other states, only Rhode Island and Hawaii have a higher percentage of adult workers in low wage jobs. Given these factors, ACCES-VR is still committed to improving its performance on this indicator and assisting VR participants in obtaining higher wage employment outcomes. As an alternative to this performance indicator, ACCES-VR examines the percentage of individuals who earn above the 200 percent poverty level, which is a commonly accepted standard for economic self-sufficiency.

Wage Earners at or above 200 percent of Poverty for FFY 2006: 4,053 individuals or 32 percent

Wage Earners at or above 200 percent of Poverty for FFY 2007: 4,184 individuals or 33 percent

Wage Earners at or above 200 percent of Poverty for FFY 2008: 4,170 individuals or 33 percent

 Wage Earners at or above 200 percent of Poverty for FFY 2009: 3,444 individuals or 30 percent

Wage Earners at or above 200 percent of Poverty for FFY 2010: 2,710 individuals or 23 percent

For FFY 2010 slightly less than one quarter of VR wage earners are above the 200 percent of poverty level. ACCES-VR will establish wage earners at or above 200 percent of poverty as an alternative measure to track progress on wages for VR participants (see Attachments 4.11(c)(1) and 4.11(d)). Through its efforts to promote greater participation in postsecondary education and training, ACCES-VR still expects that this strategy will eventually yield more significant increases in earnings.

Goal 1.5.2: Increase the average hourly earnings of individuals employed after participating in postsecondary training when compared to the average hourly earnings of all employed individuals in the State and exceed the national benchmark ratio of .52 (Variation on RSA Performance Indicator 1.5).

Performance for FFY 2009: .42 does not meet the standard Performance for FFY 2010: .42 does not meet the standard

Results: The average VR wage of individuals who participate in postsecondary training had remained steady for three years (FFY 2006 at $11.65, FFY 2007 at $11.65 and FFY 2008 at $11.64 per hour) but dropped consecutively during FFY 2009 to $11.49 and FFY 2010 to $11.41. As would be expected, individuals who participate in postsecondary training are earning higher wages on average when compared to all VR participants. These individuals are still securing jobs, on average, at wages below the .52 threshold established by RSA. These individuals are earning about $3.43 less per hour than the required threshold. One factor that might account for lower wages is that ACCES-VR job seekers, while gaining postsecondary training to increase their overall wages, may still be at a disadvantage in comparison to their non-disabled counterparts who may have more work experience, in addition to training, upon entering the job market. Job seekers without disabilities may be tapping into the higher wage opportunities at a greater rate than job seekers with disabilities. The VR program sponsored 1999 Task Force on Postsecondary Education and Disabilities cited concern that students with disabilities often had difficulty accessing educational internships as well as on-site recruiting opportunities, as compared to non-disabled students. These concerns are still viable today. ACCES-VR will continue to use the strategy of supporting higher education and workforce credentials as a means to higher wage employment and careers by developing specific strategies to address postsecondary work experience in Attachment 4.11(d).

Goal 1.6: Of all individuals who achieve paid employment, increase the percentage of individuals who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR Program when compared to what was reported at application. (RSA Performance Indicator 1.6 is the percentage increase of individuals who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support from the time of application for ACCES-VR services to the time of successful closure in employment with earnings of at least minimum wage. The national standard is a difference greater than or equal to 53 percent.)

Performance for FFY 2009: 61.1 percent difference exceeds the standard Performance for FFY 2010: 59.8 percent difference exceeds the standard

Results: In FFY 2010, a difference of 59.8 percent of individuals with disabilities reported their own earnings as the largest single source of support from the time of application to successful closure. This was a decrease of 1.3 percentage points from FFY 2009, but exceeds the national benchmark of 53 percent. Even though there is a slight decrease in FFY 2010, it does not appear to be a significant change. However, this performance indicator has slowly but steadily decreased each year from FFY 2006. ACCES-VR continues to strive for quality placements and building its network of providers to achieve better employment outcomes with VR participants.

Priority 2: All services for which ACCES-VR has responsibility will be consumer-focused, cost-effective, meet high standards and continuously improve.

Goal 2.1: The service rate for individuals from minority backgrounds will exceed the national standard and will be comparable to the service rate for individuals not from minority backgrounds (RSA Performance Indicator 2.1, national standard >= .80).

Performance for FFY 2009: .87 exceeds the standard Performance for FFY 2010: .87 exceeds the standard

Results: In FFY 2010, minority individuals with disabilities received vocational rehabilitation services at a rate of 87 individuals for every 100 non-minority individuals. ACCES-VR continues to exceed the national standard on this indicator. The national standard ratio is .80. ACCES-VR has consistently met the performance standard for this indicator since its inception. It is also noteworthy that ACCES-VR seems to be serving a higher percentage of black or African-American individuals in comparison to the general New York State population. One factor assisting ACCES-VR in meeting this standard is its efforts to hire staff whose diversity reflects the communities we are serving.

Goal 2.2: Consumer satisfaction with ACCES-VR services will increase annually toward the target of 95 percent of respondents expressing satisfaction on key questions contained in ACCES-VR consumer satisfaction surveys.

Performance for FFY 2009: Consumers who were closed in status 26 were surveyed in 2008 and again during 2009.Results indicate that 77 percent of VR participants who received services under an IPE report general satisfaction with VR services and 79 percent would recommend VR services to someone else.

Performance for FFY 2010: In 2010, the Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services - Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES – VR) contracted with the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research at SUNY Potsdam to have another consumer satisfaction survey conducted.

The survey was sent to consumers who had completed the service delivery process sometime during the previous year (2009), and who terminated from services either employed (status 26) or not employed (status 28). The survey consisted of 27 questions which were printed in English and Spanish. The survey was available on the Internet in English. Participants were selected randomly, controlling for status, gender and district office. A total of 5,000 persons were selected for the pool. Of these, 2,501 were closed in status 26 and 2,499 were in status 28.

There were 534 surveys returned. This is a 10.7 percent response rate. The number of responses to the survey was considered acceptable when compared with average survey response rates.

The response rate by closure status: Status 26: 334 of 2501 (13.4 percent) Status 28: 200 of 2499 (8.0 percent)

Results: The 2010 consumer satisfaction survey was sent to consumers who were closed in status 26 and status 28. Results indicate that 76 percent of respondents were satisfied with the quality of ACCES-VR services. Approximately 73 percent of respondents would recommend ACCES-VR to someone else.

The general satisfaction with VR services has dropped in this most recent survey. It also continues to be below the established target of 95 percent. These results also reflect that 24.1 percent of the responders rated ACCES-VR services as poor or very poor. This represents a slight increase in the level of dissatisfaction among consumers surveyed. The addition of surveying consumers in status 28 may have resulted in a rise in the level of dissatisfaction with VR services.

ACCES-VR and the SRC Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee will review and analyze the findings to explore what the findings mean in terms of practice and what aspects of the findings are most significant from the VR participants’ perspective

 

Evaluation of Supported Employment Goals ACCES-VR’s Title VI, Part B program goals are to:

• provide services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who might not be traditionally considered appropriate for competitive employment;

Results: Through the cooperative efforts of ACCES-VR, the Commission for Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH), the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD-formerly the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities), as tracked by the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team, during the State Fiscal Year 2010 (April 1, 2009 – March 31, 2010), a total of 15,286 individuals with the most significant disabilities were working in supported employment as a result of intensive services provided by ACCES-VR and CBVH and in extended services by OMH, OPWDD and ACCES-VR.

These individuals require the supports available through the supported employment strategy to maintain competitive employment. This is an increase from last year when a total of 14,716 individuals participated in supported employment intensive and extended services. New York State continues to demonstrate a substantial commitment to a coordinated supported employment program.

• develop techniques for unserved and underserved populations, such as persons with acquired brain injuries, deafness, multiple disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, significant learning disabilities and significant mental illness;

Results: ACCES-VR is engaged in a number of initiatives to develop the quality of supported employment services. For example, OPWDD developed a pilot project which is designed to demonstrate innovative employment strategies for individuals who want to work but who have been unable to become successfully employed for a variety of reasons. This initiative is currently under evaluation. ACCES-VR and OPWDD will use what they learn from this initiative to enable individuals with the most significant intellectual and developmental disabilities, including brain injury, multiple disabilities and autism spectrum disorders, to become successfully employed consistent with their strengths, abilities and interests. ACCES-VR and OMH continue to discuss developing a pilot project in Suffolk County with selected mutual providers that demonstrates fidelity to the evidence-based Individualized Placement and Support principles developed by a long-standing national demonstration project by Dartmouth University and validated by SAMHSA.

• develop quality programs that could be used for replication purposes; and

Results: Another major effort is ongoing training for supported employment providers. ACCES-VR awarded a contract to SUNY Buffalo for the purpose of providing statewide training to the entire network of supported employment providers across the State through the Supported Employment Training Institute (SETI). This intensive effort highlights the best practices of existing programs and helps to replicate those practices. Working in close collaboration with ACCES-VR Central and District Office staff, SETI provides technical assistance to these programs in their efforts to provide high quality supported employment services. SETI also covers topics related to techniques for serving emerging and challenging populations, i.e. individuals with autism spectrum disorders or multiple learning disabilities. ACCES-VR also continues to conduct periodic monitoring visits to supported employment providers and engages the providers in making technical improvements and taking corrective action when necessary.

• establish successful supported employment programs that will provide technical assistance to other programs.

Results: The State agency partners (OMH, OPWDD, CBVH and ACCES-VR) will continue to enhance their collaboration and deliberate on revisions to the Supported Employment Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that reflect a renewed commitment and higher expectations for achieving integrated employment outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities. This MOU will outline principles for State level coordination and local implementation. While considerable progress was made on the content of the supported employment agreement across agencies, there are a few procedural items that need further refinement.

Over the past year, ACCES-VR has continued its collaborative role in facilitating a focused dialogue around supported employment with our State agency and community rehabilitation program partners. ACCES-VR has met monthly with the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team, consisting of representatives from ACCES-VR, CBVH, OMH and OPWDD.

 

see information listed above in text box 1

 

Continuous Quality Improvements ACCES-VR remains committed to continuous quality improvement in vocational rehabilitation services. ACCES-VR will use data to evaluate the impact of its policies, procedures and practices. Priorities and goals will be measured and modified to respond to findings from ACCES-VR’s comprehensive statewide needs assessment (See Attachment 4.11(a)). These evaluation and assessment activities will be used by ACCES-VR and the SRC to align policies, procedures, training and practice to achieve the goals of the program. NYSED, with the joint efforts of the SRC, is committed to operating a statewide comprehensive, effective, efficient and accountable VR Program that provides vocational rehabilitation services to eligible individuals with disabilities, consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities and informed choice, so that they may prepare for and engage in gainful employment.

>Innovation and Expansion Activities

ACCES-VR has allocated $4,085,729 towards innovation and expansion activities. These funded activities included:

Newly designed orientation services - A total of $2,756,239 was allocated for contracting with community rehabilitation programs to provide orientation services to ACCES-VR consumers under the Unified Contract Services. State Rehabilitation Council support - A total of $17,643 was allocated for the operation of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), particularly the travel costs of the Council members, to meet the goals and objectives that it sets forth in its resource plan.

Postsecondary students with disabilities - A total of $726,000 was allocated to the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Linking Employment, Academics, and Disability Services (LEADS). Funds were used to support employment teams on 17 CUNY campuses to provide employment-related services facilitating both the educational and employment process of college students with disabilities toward the goal of competitive employment.

Collaboration strategies with one-stop service areas - ACCES-VR allocated $585,847 to develop collaboration strategies to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve employment outcomes through the One-Stop services offered by the New York State Department of Labor Disability Program Navigators.

This screen was last updated on Aug 17 2011 3:40PM by Gerri Malone

  • 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

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

Individuals with most significant disabilities who participate in VESID supported employment programs engage in job planning, counseling, assessment, job development, intensive job-site training and extended job retention services. Training is also provided to direct service personnel, such as job coaches and job coaching supervisors. New York State’s Chapter 515 of the Laws of 1992 on integrated employment, including supported employment, is implemented through a collaborative interagency process in New York State. VESID is designated as having the primary responsibility for integrated employment, including intensive supported employment services. The State agencies responsible for the extended phase of supported employment work collaboratively with VESID to ensure the provision of comprehensive supported employment services in New York State.

In addition to Chapter 515, the framework for supported employment is established by the following polices and procedural documents:

• the October 1999 Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Supported Employment; • the Guidelines for Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Employment (March 2007); and • the Quality Indicators for Supported Employment.

Supported employment providers, in cooperation with the State agencies, have the following responsibilities:

• Actively involve consumers and their families, in assessment, planning and decision making throughout the service delivery process.

• Consider the individual’s and employer’s satisfaction with the nature and frequency of provider’s services and with the job placement itself;

• Through a consumer-centered decision-making process, pursue the goals detailed in the VESID Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) by using supported employment resources to the best advantage of the individual;

• Report in a timely fashion on programmatic and fiscal details;

• Deliver supported employment services in accordance with federal and State standards and the contractual obligations for the service; and,

• Strive continuously to evaluate the effectiveness of the services and make improvements to the services and the results. Eligibility for Supported Employment

Supported employment services may be provided to any individual who is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services and who meets the criteria stated below, as documented in the record of service:

1. Has a most significant disability, as defined in Section 205.00 of VESID Policy on Individuals with Significant Disabilities;

2. Has not traditionally participated in competitive employment or whose employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a most significant disability; and

3. Has had a comprehensive assessment of rehabilitation needs which identifies supported employment as an appropriate vocational objective and has:

a) the ability to engage in a vocational program leading to supported employment; b) a need for ongoing support services in order to perform and sustain competitive work; c) the ability to work in a supported employment setting; and d) met the criteria for extended service funding.

An Individual with a Most Significant Disability:

(a) has one or more physical or mental disabilities, determined by an assessment of eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs which cause substantial functional limitations; and

(b) has a severe physical or mental impairment which seriously limits three or more functional capacities (such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) impacting an employment outcome; and

(c) whose vocational rehabilitation will require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time.

Supported Employment Program Standards

Service quality standards for supported employment have been established through the development and issuance of provider guidelines. Issued in March 2007, the “Guidelines for Supported Employment” were revised with the assistance and involvement of collaborating State agencies, service providers and advocacy groups, with the intent to facilitate access to services and to ensure the quality and consistency of service delivery. The current guidelines incorporate language changes consistent with the Rehabilitation Act Amendments and corresponding federal regulations and reflect additional changes to bring them into alignment with current contract provisions and with reporting process enhancements. The guidelines also establish a common base of accepted practices and procedures among VESID and supported employment service providers. The guidelines are available on VESID’s website at: http://www.vesid.nysed.gov/supportedemployment/seguidelines0307.htm .

Supported Employment Program Reporting

Each supported employment project is required to complete individual and quarterly narrative reports in a format specified by the supported employment contracts. The monthly reporting format requires the provider to assess the person’s progress in relation to the IPE, indicating any assessment, job development/placement and intensive training services. In addition, onsite reviews are conducted by VESID through a program review protocol to ensure compliance with contract requirements.

Scope of Supported Employment Services

Supported employment services provide all the services necessary to assist the person with:

• Learning specific work duties and performance standards;

• Learning formal and informal site-related expectations (e.g., time and attendance, dress, communication protocol);

• Acquiring site-appropriate work-related behaviors when dealing with supervisors and co-workers;

• Acquiring the sense of belonging to the work force;

• Understanding and using the benefits of employment (e.g., spending pay, using leave, participating in employee programs, working under direction from the supervisor, socializing with co-workers); and

• Developing a community support system that accommodates and positively reinforces the employee’s role as a worker.

The strategies are customized to the needs of the individual, assisting the individual in meeting employer expectations and improving interpersonal skills. Job coaches use any available community resources in meeting consumer needs as a means of assisting the individual in maintaining employment. Supported Employment Data

VESID, the Office of Children and Family Services’ Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH), the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) and the Office of Mental Health (OMH) track participation of individuals in their respective supported employment programs. The New York State Interagency Employment Reporting System (NYSIERS) collects data on individuals with disabilities in supported employment programs. This interagency system integrates data from the respective State agencies coordinating supported employment. The NYSIERS database includes:

• hours of pre-employment services, which include screening and assessment, job development, job placement and advocacy;

• hours of onsite and offsite interventions;

• total hours of service provided;

• extended services funding source; and

• average weekly work hours and wages paid.

Discussions are underway to streamline the NYSIERS data that supported employment providers are required to provide. Each year, the State agencies review their progress and issue an annual report on supported employment. The State Fiscal Year 2006 report is available on the VESID webpage at: http://www.vesid.nysed.gov/vrpolicy/06chapter515/home.htm.

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2009 3:21PM by Gerri Malone

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