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
Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

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

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

State Treasurer

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

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

Deputy Executive Director

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

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

State Plan Certified By

As the authorized signatory identified above, I hereby certify that I will sign, date and retain in the files of the designated state agency/designated state unit Section 1 of the Preprint, and separate Certification of Lobbying forms (Form ED-80-0013; available at 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
Thomas E. Washic

Title of Signatory
Deputy Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/27/2011

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
Yes

Comments:

Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation assures that it will take the necessary actions to ensure that an SRC that meets the criteria set forth in Section 105 is fully constituted prior to the submission of the State Plan and related attachments for FY 2012. OVR assures that it will work with the newly constituted SRC to perform the functions specified in Section 101(a)(21)(ii) of the act.

Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation assures RSA that it will complete the interagency agreements or other mechanisms for interagency coordination with public IHEs in the state, as required by Section 101(a)(8)(B) of the act and 34 CFR 361.53(d).

Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will continue to report on a quarterly basis progress made toward fulfillment of the outstanding assurances. Any outstanding assurances from FY 2011 will be completed by September 30, 2012.

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Thomas E. Washic

Title of Signatory
Deputy Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/27/2011

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

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.

This attachment is the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council’s (PaRC) input to the State Plan. The following documents were used to develop these recommendations to OVR:

  • The PaRC’s annual report (FFY 2010)
  • PaRC Customer Satisfaction Survey
  • Review of items in last year’s Attachment
  • Comments received at last year’s State Plan Meetings
  • Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Monitoring Report
  • Statewide Needs Assessment
  • Workforce Development Statistics
  • OVR’s goals for the next fiscal year

Recommendations from the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council

The PaRC commends the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) for providing more services to people unemployed due to the depressed economy. The PaRC also commends OVR for their timely and aggressive statewide comprehensive needs assessment strategy. The PaRC will continue their legislative advocacy in support of additional OVR funding to serve emerging populations, including older workers, returning veterans, people with traumatic brain injuries, and people with autism spectrum disorders. The PaRC encourages OVR to suggest other legislative bills and state regulations, which support employment services and efforts, to the PaRC for their consideration.

OVR’s Response: OVR commends the PaRC for their continued advocacy with legislators on both the State and Federal level. OVR recommends PaRC members continue to meet with State legislators prior to their quarterly public meetings in Harrisburg, as well as their local offices, to educate them on the services provided by the public vocational rehabilitation program. OVR will keep the PaRC informed of any legislation or regulations which support employment services so they may include them in their position papers which are distributed to state and federal legislators.

The PaRC encourages OVR to continue to provide more disability specific training to OVR counselors on autism spectrum disorders, including recent adult diagnosis, brain injury, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

OVR’s Response: OVR will continue to provide disability specific training opportunities to counseling staff via webcast, distance learning courses with universities, and state conferences.

The PaRC continues to encourage OVR to educate all customers on the Client Assistance Program, and inform eligible populations about the transition services from school to work and the Ticket to Work program.

OVR’s Response: OVR will continue to inform customers of additional programs including the Client Assistance Program, transition services from school to work, and the Ticket to Work program. Detailed information on these programs is available on the Dept. of Labor & Industry’s website, www.dli.state.pa.us, select Disability Services, OVR.

The PaRC recommends that OVR continue to support the Citizen or Consumer Advisory Committees, associated with each OVR District Office, and to help them develop alternative formats for input, such as conference calls, etc.

OVR’s Response: OVR will continue to support Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) to provide input on local and statewide issues to the PaRC. CAC meetings should always include any and all forms of communication such as teleconference calls in order to gather input from individuals who may not be able to travel to participate onsite.

The PaRC encourages continued development of the On the Job Training (OJT) program with employers statewide.

OVR’s Response: OVR will continue to support the On the Job Training program which has resulted in increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities statewide.

The PARC recommends OVR include PaRC input in the design, location, times, and announcements for the State Plan Public Meetings.

OVR’s Response: OVR encourages the PaRC to forward any recommendations to OVR on the above issues either by email or through attendance at one or more of the public meetings held statewide.

This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 10:28AM by sapabrauchlip

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

The waiver request should also include:

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

This screen was last updated on Jun 19 2009 8:40AM by sapabrauchlip

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.

Any projections, program continuations, etc. in this Attachment are subject to the availability of supporting funding in the Plan year.

The PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation maintains negotiated Letters of Understanding with more than 270 community service providers covering in excess of 1,000 different rehabilitation, independent living and related services programs. None of these agreements falls into the categories of state use contracting programs or Rural Development programs under the US Department of Agriculture.

In addition to Letters of Understanding, OVR accesses the full complement of business, trade, vocational, and post-secondary schools in the Commonwealth as are approved by the PA Department of Education.

Physicians, hospitals, medical and medically-related practitioners and vendors as are licensed and/or certified by the appropriate Commonwealth authorities to provide services in Pennsylvania are also available for use by OVR.

This screen was last updated on Jun 10 2011 1:33PM by sapabrauchlip

  • 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.

Any projections, program continuations, etc. in this Attachment are subject to the availability of supporting funding in the Plan year.

As cited in Attachment 4.8(b) (1), the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) accesses and uses the full complement of vocational schools, colleges, etc. as are approved for such use by the PA Dept. of Education.

Following an Executive Order in 1998 and completion of a signed Memorandum of Understanding in January 2001, OVR has been a partner with Education in developing and coordinating Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) for transitioning students. When possible and appropriate as well as in accordance with PA OVR’s Order of Selection, an Individualized Plan for Employment is developed, upon completion of a comprehensive assessment of strengths, needs, and interests, prior to the student exiting the school setting. The Individualized Plan for Employment, when possible, is written to complement and support the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

The nationally recognized Pennsylvania MOU was renewed by the involved state agency partners in July 2010. This MOU implementation model addresses:

-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; and

-Procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.

The model is of note because of its inclusion of the students, as well as their families and representatives, in all levels of implementation.

Additionally, OVR works in close collaboration with the Bureau of Special Education in the PA Department of Education to implement and maintain a nationally recognized transition program that will enable students with significant disabilities to move successfully from secondary school to post-secondary education or competitive employment. The PA Transition (MOU) Statewide Leadership Team (SLT) meets quarterly to implement and review its State Plan. Subcommittees of the SLT on which OVR is represented include: Data-Driven Decision Making, Local Transition Coordination Councils, Interagency Collaboration, and Conference Planning.

OVR continues to collaborate with the Department of Education, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Department of Public Welfare to obtain professional clearances for vocational rehabilitation counselors and supervisors who work within public school systems, a requirement for all school personnel and contractors by PA Acts 34 and 151.

In September 2007, OVR was awarded a five-year, RSA Transition Grant. PA OVR is aggressively developing sites across the Commonwealth to replicate two distinct models for Transition from School to Work.

Project SEARCH, an internationally recognized employment model, has been replicated at 8 sites as of the Fall of 2010 with 3 additional sites under development for initiation in Fall of 2011, which would exceed OVR’s goal of establishing 10 sites throughout the Commonwealth by the end of the grant period.

Project Promoting Academic Success, a one-credit college course to assist high school students with disabilities to explore post-secondary education, has been replicated at 22 sites as of Fall of 2010. Additional sites will be established as opportunities arise. This exceeds OVR’s goal of establishing 20 sites throughout the Commonwealth by the end of the grant period.

OVR continues to participate in both regional as well as national Communities of Practice on Transition with its primary partner, the PA Department of Education.

This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 10:28AM by sapabrauchlip

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

Any projections, program continuations, etc. in this Attachment are subject to the availability of supporting funding in the Plan year.

As cited in Attachment 4.8(b)(1), the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) maintains negotiated Letters of Understanding with more than 270 community service providers covering more than 1,000 different rehabilitation, independent living and related services. Most of those organizations are not-for -profit community rehabilitation providers.

Letters of Understanding (LOU’s) define service programs and the corresponding conditions of purchase, including fees and effective/expiration dates, which exist between a rehabilitation service provider and OVR.

A Letter of Understanding entered between OVR and a community service provider creates a locally developed, locally negotiated, and locally sensitive response to the rehabilitation service needs of persons with significant disabilities in the diverse areas of the Commonwealth.

A Letter of Understanding is neither a contract nor an agreement. It does not commit either provider or OVR to the sale or purchase of the defined services.

The continuing use of a Letter of Understanding for OVR customers is reliant upon customer choice, satisfaction with the service, affordability, and the existence of available alternative services.

This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 10:28AM by sapabrauchlip

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) uses many avenues to assure collaboration and partnership in the delivery of supported employment and extended services. These include a formal written Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the state level between the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), and the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and at the county level with local agreements between the 21 OVR District Offices and County ODP/OMHSAS Administrative Entities.

OVR’s formal collaborative working relationship with OMHSAS and ODP is outlined in the above-mentioned MOU. This cooperation and coordination of services is further defined at the local level with agreements between the 21 OVR District Offices and the County ODP Administrative Entities. These agreements outline the responsibilities of each agency in the area of service delivery and funding. The local agreements are renewed and/or reviewed annually for the purpose of identifying and addressing mutual concerns in the area of service delivery. OVR and ODP are working to complete a coordination policy intended to be effective July 2012 for a more seamless entry into employment for individuals with developmental disabilities. This is important because the majority of supported employment services are used to support individuals within the developmental disabilities population in gaining and maintaining successful employment.

OVR also has a collaborative working relationship with the Department of Education. This relationship is outlined in the Transition from School to Work Guidelines issued to all 21 OVR District Offices and 501 school districts in Pennsylvania. A formal MOU between the Department of Education, the Department of Public Welfare, the Department of Labor and Industry, and the Department of Health was developed and implemented in December 1999 and was renewed in July 2010.

This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 10:28AM by sapabrauchlip

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Personnel Data and Projections

As of December 31, 2010, OVR had 1035 filled salaried positions and 53 vacancies. This figure includes 198 filled salaried positions at the Hiram G. Andrews Center (HGAC). Statewide, OVR had a total of 440 filled Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor positions, 21 Rehabilitation Teacher positions, and 13 Orientation and Mobility Instructor positions. The current complement of VR Counselors requires that OVR maintain an Order of Selection in order to adequately serve and meet the needs of eligible VR customers at this time.

During FFY 2010, 26,591 individuals applied for VR services, 22,440 individuals were found eligible for VR services and a total of 97,882 individuals received VR services from OVR. As a result, 9,460 individuals were placed in employment in FFY 2010. In the same time period, 3,896 individuals received Independent Living Older Blind Services and 1,763 individuals were referred to the Hiram G. Andrews Center.

OVR projects that in the next five years, approximately 115 VR Counselors will become eligible to retire from employment with OVR. This will be an average of 23 VR Counselors retiring per year. However, additional numbers of new VR Counselors will be needed due to promotions of VR Counselors to higher positions within OVR. OVR projects that an average of 20 to 25 new VR Counselors will be hired per year in the next 5 - 10 years. To assist with recruitment of VR Counselors, OVR plans to continue its expanded utilization of the “VR Counselor Internship” Program to attract qualified VR Counselors during their last semester of graduate school. There is expected to be an adequate number of VR Counselor candidates to fill vacancies over the next 5 - 10 years. However, certain locations within the state may require targeted recruitment efforts at any given time.

The approximate workload averages are as follows:

VR Counselor - 205

VR Counselor Interns - 91.5

VR Counselor Deaf and Hard of Hearing - 130

VR Counselor Placement - 160

Rehabilitation Teachers - 93

Orientation and Mobility Instructors - 106

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 VR Counselor 440 16 108
2 VR Counselor Deaf and Hard of Hearing 18 1 5
3 VR Counselor Placement 3 1 2
4 Rehabilitation Teachers 21 2 0
5 Orientation and Mobility Instructors 13 2 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

Personnel Sources

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

CORE-accredited university programs in Pennsylvania include: Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Scranton and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. These programs graduate a total of appproximately 48 students per year with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.

In addition to the 48 available students graduating from in-state graduate degree programs, Pennsylvania OVR can recruit students from CORE-approved and other

universities that offer a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling nationwide. Pennsylvania residency requirements are waived under the State Civil Service Commission for the VR Counselor Internship position and other VR Counselor classifications in OVR. This waiver provides OVR with an opportunity to recruit students nationwide and offer paid VR Counselor Intern positions to interested master’s degree students who are in their final semester of graduate school. This paid internship allows OVR to attract and recruit candidates for VR Counselor positions who have a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation while they are still in school and before they are recruited by other agencies. The residency waiver and the paid Internship position also assist in OVR’s efforts to recruit and hire individuals with disabilities and those from diverse and minority backgrounds.

Orientation and Mobility Instructors and Rehabilitation Teachers

Accredited university programs in Pennsylvania that train Orientation and Mobility Instructors and/or Rehabilitation Teachers include: Salus University, the University of Pittsburgh’s Vision Studies Program, and Kutztown State University. These programs graduate a total of approximately 45 students per year. Graduates of these approved university programs are eligible for certification in Rehabilitation Teaching or in Orientation and Mobility from the Academy for the Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP). In addition, OVR is able to recruit and hire Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Instructors who are being trained at universities nationwide and who reside outside of Pennsylvania.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Penn State University 18 0 6 13
2 University of Pittsburgh 22 0 0 16
3 Edinboro University of PA 24 0 2 9
4 University of Scranton 41 1 0 10
5 0 0 0 0

 

Section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act as Amended, or the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD), requires that State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies establish personnel standards for rehabilitation staff, including Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselors, that are consistent with any national or state-approved or recognized certification, licensing, or registration that applies to a particular profession. The purpose of an agency’s CSPD is to ensure the quality of personnel who provide VR services and who assist individuals with disabilities to achieve competitive employment outcomes through the VR program.

 

New Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

In 2002, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation raised the entry-level requirements for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor positions to reflect the requirements established by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) for Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC). Specifically, all newly hired Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors are required to possess a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Rehabilitation Administration, or Rehabilitation Education; or CRC credentials or documented proof from CRCC of eligibility to obtain CRC credentials. The revised Civil Service Announcement for VR Counselor positions became effective on October 4, 2002. As of January 2011, a total of 461 VR Counselors and VR Counselor Interns were hired under the new entry-level requirements. All 461 new VR Counselors and Interns met CSPD standards for qualified rehabilitation professionals upon being hired.

The change in entry-level standards for VR Counselors, requiring a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation or CRC credentials or CRC eligibility, includes the following components that seek to ensure an adequate supply of VR Counselors to meet OVR’s staffing needs for the next 5 - 10 years:

-Waiver of Residency - OVR has received, from the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission, a waiver of Pennsylvania residency as a condition of application for the positions of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and VR Counselor Intern.

-Review of Experience and Training - OVR received approval from the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission to implement an Experience and Training Examination as the means to assess a candidate’s qualifications for the position of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. This “review of experience and training” replaces the former written Civil Service Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Exam. The new VR Counselor Civil Service Position Announcement and the Experience and Training Review will remain open “until further notice” in order to assist with recruitment efforts and to ensure an adequate supply of qualified candidates.

-Designated Recruitment Specialist - OVR has designated a Rehabilitation Specialist position for the purpose of actively recruiting qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors within Pennsylvania and nationwide. This Specialist is assigned to work in the OVR Central Office and coordinates all OVR Counselor recruitment activities. The Recruitment Specialist, with the assistance of CORE-approved University faculty, field office staff, active OVR Advisory Councils, the Pennsylvania Social Services Union, and other key stakeholders, has developed and is implementing a proactive OVR Recruitment Plan. The goal of this plan is to attract and recruit adequate numbers of qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, including those with disabilities and those from diverse cultural backgrounds and underrepresented groups, to fill future anticipated Counselor vacancies. The Recrutiment Plan includes recruitment efforts to ensure an adequate supply of VR Counselors trained to provide services to specialty caseloads such as Counselors for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Counselors for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

-Paid Internship Program - OVR continues to utilize and expand the OVR Paid Internship Program. This includes a waiver of Pennsylvania residency, so that the Internship Program can include out-of-state residents as candidates for employment. This provides OVR with an edge in recruiting qualified VR Counselors while they are still in the final year of their Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Program. The Paid Internship Program offers a Master’s Degree candidate, enrolled in an approved CORE accredited master’s degree program in Rehabilitation Counseling, a permanent position as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor upon graduation and the successful completion of the paid internship with OVR.

Effective January 7, 2006, OVR received approval to hire VR Counselor Interns as a salaried position instead of as an hourly position. This means that VR Counselor Interns will accrue sick days and vacation days and will receive health insurance, group life insurance and other employee benefits upon their date of hire. This change adds an additional employment incentive for Intern candidates to choose to work for Pennsylvania OVR. This continues to make Pennsylvania OVR an attractive and competitive employer of VR Counselors nationwide.

Effective November 1, 2006, OVR received approval to increase the pay scale for VR Counselor Interns statewide, and to hire staff above the minimum for VR Counselor Interns who choose to work in Norristown and Philadelphia District Offices. The annual salary statewide for the classification of VR Counselor Intern was increased from Pay Scale 4 to Pay Scale 5. Norristown and Philadelphia District Offices are authorized to hire VR Counselor Interns at Pay Scale 5, Step 9. This targeted increase for new staff in southeastern district offices provides an additional recruitment and hiring incentive for this challenging recruitment area and should help to relieve the higher numbers of vacancies in these offices.

-Salary Incentives for designated classifications and locations - In order to assist with recruitment efforts, OVR received approval to hire VR Counselors and VR Counselor Interns in the Norristown and Philadelphia District Offices above the minimum effective November 1, 2006. Norristown and Philadelphia District Offices are authorized to hire VR Counselors at Pay Scale 7, Step 5, which is consistent with the increase in these areas for VR Counselor Interns. OVR also received approval for VR Counselors for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in all offices across the Commonwealth to be hired at this higher pay scale level (Pay Scale 7, Step 5). In addition, Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisors who are employed in the Philadelphia and Norristown District Offices will receive a four step pay increase.

Currently Employed Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

In order to meet CSPD requirements as outlined in the law, the Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation took action in September 2001 to raise standards for currently employed Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors. The Board directed OVR to ensure that existing VR Counselors meet the standard of possessing a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Rehabilitation Administration or Rehabilitation Education; or Certified Rehabilitation Counselor credentials; or proof of eligibility to obtain CRC credentials.

In 2008 the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) established a deadline for OVR to meet CSPD standards for VR Counselors. All VR Counselors employed by OVR must be in compliance with CSPD standards on or before October 1, 2016. As a result, VR Counselors who do not possess the necessary educational or certification credentials on October 1, 2016 will no longer be able to function as VR Counselors and will be separated from their VR Counselor position with the Department of Labor and Industry. Therefore, OVR encourages any VR Counselors who do not meet CSPD standards to consider returning to school before 2014, so that they have ample time to complete university coursework by the 2016 deadline.

OVR has conducted several surveys to research and compile information regarding the professional and educational credentials of VR Counselors. The most recent OVR survey of professional staff credentials indicated the following statistics as of January 2011 (Note: Exact numbers of VR Counselors vary monthly due to separations, promotions and new hires - 449 OVR Counselors were included in this survey):

Total Employed Counselors Who Will Meet CSPD 400

*Counselors Currently Enrolled in a University Program 3

*Counselors Currently Meeting CSPD Standards 397

Total Counselors to be Trained by OVR’s CSPD 2016 Deadline 49

*Counselors with 26+ years of service and eligible to retire 31

*Counselors with 26 years of service and eligible to retire due to age 9

*Counselors with under 26 years of service and not eligible to retire due to age 9

As a result of the survey, OVR has determined that 49 VR Counselors do not meet CSPD standards and must receive training. Of the 49 Counselors who do not meet CSPD standards, 31 VR Counselors have 26+ years of service with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and will be eligible to and are expected to retire by the 2016 deadline. Of the 49 VR Counselors who do not meet CSPD standards, 18 have less than 26 years of service, including approximately 9 who will be eligible to retire within the next 5 years due to age. VR Counselors who do not meet CSPD standards are approved to enter Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Programs according to a process agreed upon with the Pennsylvania Social Services Union.

Following completion of training for VR Counselors hired prior to October 4, 2002, OVR will no longer need a training plan for existing VR Counselors to meet CSPD requirements. As of October 4, 2002, all newly hired VR Counselors are required to meet CSPD standards as an entry-level requirement. These entry-level requirements will ensure that all VR Counselors employed by OVR will meet CSPD standards.

Current University Initiatives for OVR Counselors and progress since 2001

There are currently 3 OVR Counselors attending university programs in order to meet CSPD requirements. There are also additional classifications of OVR employees pursuing CSPD credentials in RSA grant-funded programs that are being offered at little to no cost to OVR.

George Washington University Online Master’s Degree Program

Sixty-nine (69) employees have completed coursework through the George Washington University (GWU) Online Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Program. These 69 employees now meet current CSPD requirements.

Three (3) OVR employees completed master’s degrees in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from GWU in 2010. In addition, there is 1 OVR employee enrolled in the GWU RSA grant-funded Job Development/Job Placement certificate online program recently offered in 2011.

University of Scranton

Forty (40) OVR employees have completed coursework through the University of Scranton and now meet CSPD requirements. There is presently 1 VR Counselor enrolled in the University of Scranton’s Rehabilitation Counseling Program.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

Four (4) OVR employees have completed coursework through Edinboro University and now meet CSPD requirements.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Six (6) VR Counselors have completed coursework through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and now meet CSPD requirements.

University of Pittsburgh

One (1) VR Counselor has completed coursework through the University of Pittsburgh and now meets CSPD requirements.

Other University Programs

Six (6) VR Counselors completed the Online Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Program at West Virginia University.

In January 2010, 1 VR Counselor started the Online Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Administration Program at Southern Illinois University. Anticipated graduation date is December 2012.

OVR continues to work with a variety of universities in Pennsylvania and nationwide in order to design creative and innovative ways of offering Master’s level coursework to meet the needs of the remaining VR Counselors who need training in order to meet CSPD standards.

Additional CSPD Activities

A portion of the Rehabilitation Services Administration In-Service Training Grant has been allocated for the continuing education of employees that possess CRC credentials and other certifications. Currently, more than 300 OVR staff maintain CRC credentials. This is expected to increase annually, as more staff complete university programs and as new staff meeting CSPD standards enter employment with OVR.

Orientation and Mobility Instructors and Rehabilitation Teachers

The positions of Rehabilitation Teacher and Orientation and Mobility Instructor require a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation or related field, with specialized training related to serving people who are blind or visually impaired. A master’s degree is preferred. In order to assist with the recruitment of qualified Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Instructors, a waiver of Pennsylvania residency is also in place for both of these classifications. This waiver provides OVR with an opportunity to recruit candidates nationwide for vacant positions. The OVR designated Recruitment Specialist actively recruits qualified Rehabilitation Teacher and Orientation and Mobility Instructor within Pennsylvania and nationwide.

 

RSA In-Service Training Grant

OVR was awarded a five-year grant (2010-2015) from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to financially support the agency’s plan for a comprehensive system of staff development and training. The funding from this grant will ensure staff development for OVR personnel in areas essential to the effective management of the agency’s program of vocational rehabilitation services. It will also provide for the training and development of personnel necessary to improve their ability to provide vocational rehabilitation services leading to employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, especially those with severe disabilities.

As part of developing the in-service training plan that was part of the RSA grant submission, a comprehensive needs assessment was done by OVR to determine the training needs of state vocational rehabilitation staff for the period October 2010 - September 2015. As a result of this comprehensive needs assessment, the following topics were identified as priorities for staff development and training and are planned for in the five-year training grant award received from RSA:

Rehabilitation Act Amendments and Workforce Investment Act Training

Maintenance of Appropriate Staff Certification and Licensure

Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology

Job Development and Placement

Transition Services for Youth with Disabilities

Medical Aspects

Conflict Resolution

Critical Thinking and Decision Making

Additional Training as Identified

Casework Documentation and Record Keeping

Leadership Skill and Development

Team Building and Collaboration

Stress Management

Providing Services to an Aging Population

OVR also received three Quality Award training grants from RSA to implement special continuing education programs. A Quality Award grant was approved to implement video conferencing trainings in OVR’s Central Office as well as OVR’s District Offices. Two additional Quality Award grants were received from RSA which focus on: (1) Drug and Alcohol Training; and (2) The Development and Dissemination of a Model In-Service Training for Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisors. Both initiatives will expand on OVR’s prior successes and will seek to increase competency skills for staff in order to continue increased employment outcomes for customers within these special populations.

In order to ensure that OVR’s personnel receive significant knowledge from research and other state-of-the-art methodologies, OVR uses RSA training grant funds to support presentations by university faculty, experts in the field of rehabilitation, and statewide and nationally known speakers at in-service training programs. OVR also funds staff attendance at national and statewide conferences that include speakers who are experts in current rehabilitation techniques, strategies and interventions. This includes coordination and facilitation of efforts between OVR and professional associations, such as the Pennsylvania Partners, Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns, Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Association, Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, etc., to train and retain qualified personnel.

 

Communication with Diverse Populations

Entry-level requirements for Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing require that candidates pass the Sign Communication Proficiency Interview (SCPI) before being offered a formal interview for employment. OVR district offices, in geographic areas where there are large numbers of individuals who speak Spanish, recruit and hire a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who can speak both Spanish and English. In instances where there are no Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors who can communicate with a customer in his or her native language, an interpreter is hired to assist with communication.

Recruit and Hire People who are Minorities and People with Disabilities

OVR Counselor Recruitment Intiative

Through collaborative initiatives with higher education institutions, OVR will continue to expand recruitment and outreach to students with disabilities for entry-level VR Counselor positions. Collaboration with universities on federal RSA grant applications that seek to provide scholarship opportunities for students with disabilities will further this initiative. This includes supporting the efforts of university programs to apply for and implement Long Term Training Grant programs to train VR Counselors to work for the public VR program in Pennsylvania. In addition, OVR will continue the following activities as part of its overall VR Counselor recruitment initiative:

-Expand and maintain OVR’s partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) that offer a Master’s Degree Rehabilitation Counseling Program. This includes campus visitations, presentations, and meetings with students for targeted recruitment.

-Maintain appointed membership on Coppin State University (CSU) and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Rehabilitation Counseling Program Advisory Committees. Both are HBCU’s in the Mid-Atlantic region that prepare increased numbers of minority individuals for careers in the Public VR program.

-Maintain active membership on the National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns (NAMRC).

-Visit colleges, universities, and appropriate job fairs in conjunction with the Office of Equal Opportunity in the Department of Labor and Industry in order to recruit potential job applicants who are from diverse cultural backgrounds and applicants with disabilities.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Intern classification assists with the recruitment and employment of graduate students in the field of VR in their final semester of graduate school. An internship is required by CORE accredited universities. OVR interviews and selects candidates in their final graduate semester. The Civil Service requirements to apply for a VR Counselor position are waived for staff hired through this program. Upon completion of the intern’s degree and internship, and if appropriate, the intern is hired and reclassified to a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Many qualified VR Counselors have been hired through the OVR paid internship program and more are expected to be hired through this process. Recruitment of individuals with disabilities and individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds is a priority when seeking potential candidates for the VR Counselor Intern position.

Special Populations

OVR plans to continue efforts to work with the blind and deaf communities in order to recruit and hire qualified individuals who are deaf, blind, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing. This includes recommendations and assistance provided by the OVR Advisory Committee for Persons who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the OVR Advisory Committee for the Blind of Pennsylvania. In addition, OVR has a Rehabilitation Specialist assigned to coordinate the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind Program in OVR. This specialist assists with recruitment and outreach to these special populations in order to attract qualified OVR candidates for employment.

 

Coordination with Personnel Development requirements under the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA)

The goal of the CSPD under IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act is similar and must be approached in a collaborative fashion. To that end, OVR has designated a full-time Rehabilitation Specialist who is responsible for the OVR School to Work Transition Initiative and a Training Director responsible for OVR staff development. In addition, the OVR Director of the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation Services maintains membership on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP). Similarly, a representative from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and a representative from Parent Education Network pursuant to IDEA are members of the PA Rehabilitation Council. These formal memberships and informal relationships facilitate ongoing collaboration and communication regarding personnel standards and personnel development.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act aligns with “highly qualified” requirements for special education teachers as those requirements established under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). As a member of the SEAP, OVR has the opportunity to provide input to the Department of Education in the development of meaningful and effective personnel and parent development as required by IDEA and NCLB.

Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding among the Departments of Education, Public Welfare, Labor and Industry, and Health has further offered OVR an opportunity to collaborate and provide training in order to improve services to students with disabilities who are seeking employment. The Memorandum of Understanding resulted from an Administrative Executive Order that required all relevant Commonwealth agencies to collaborate in providing services to students with disabilities. The IDEA Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1999 and subsequently renewed in 2006 and 2010 provided a springboard for the work of the State Leadership Team (SLT). The mission of the SLT is to build and support sustainable community partnerships that create opportunities for youth and young adults with disabilities to transition smoothly from secondary education to the post-secondary outcomes of competitive employment; education, training and lifelong learning; community participation; and healthy lifestyles.

Pennsylvania is being recognized as a national leader in transition practices because of the “communities of practice” efforts. An annual transition conference is planned collaboratively by the SLT and is attended by over 800 stakeholders including educators, VR professionals, agency staff, families/caregivers, youth/young adults, and advocates. Also, regional professional development in the area of transition (CSPD) is planned, developed, presented, and evaluated through this collaborative process.

In addition, OVR was awarded a Model Demonstration Project to Improve the Postsecondary and Employment Outcomes of Youth with Disabilities from the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services beginning with FFY 2008. OVR will implement the 2.25 million dollar grant over a 5-year period through the replication of two nationally recognized, evidence-based models in coordination with local transition teams and under the advisement of the PA Transition State Leadership Team. Portions of this grant will also be used for professional staff training.

The combination of these joint initiatives seeks to ensure the availability of qualified personnel to serve students and adults with disabilities seeking employment and independence in Pennsylvania.

This screen was last updated on Aug 18 2011 8:45AM by sapabrauchlip

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.

BACKGROUND

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires that state vocational rehabilitation agencies conduct a comprehensive assessment of consumer needs every three years, with an expectation that the assessment will contribute to the agency’s goal setting and planning activities. Section 321.69 of the Act states:

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

1. The State plan must include:

i. The results of a comprehensive, statewide assessment, jointly conducted by the designated State unit and the State Rehabilitation Council (if the State unit has a Council)every 3 years describing the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the State, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:

a. Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;

b. 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 part; and

c. Individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system as identified by those individuals and personnel assisting those individuals through the components of the system; and

ii. An assessment of the need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the State.

HISTORY

The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) submitted for FFY 2005-2008 a comprehensive needs assessment that used a systems research approach, utilizing data available on the Internet, as well as existing information supplied by staff and constituent activities. In addition, OVR augmented this information with data gathered from staff and stakeholder questionnaires. OVR designed the questions to address the statutory requirements for areas to be addressed in the Needs Assessment. OVR then distributed these questionnaires to staff in Central Office, the Field, and Stakeholder Groups. Tallying the responses proved to be exceedingly labor intensive and time consuming; therefore, OVR determined that the next Needs Assessment survey should be automated.

Process

The process began with a conference call to the PaRC. They recommended using an online survey tool that they would purchase for the new triennial statewide needs assessment. OVR agreed and researched potential online survey tools. Survey Gizmo seemed to meet all our practical needs, plus the following:

  • This survey tool is compliant with Section 508 of Rehabilitation Act that requires ease of use with screen readers for vision impaired customers. OVR’s BBVS staff that use assistive technology then tested a sample from Survey Gizmo.
  • Survey Gizmo has self-certified its adherence to HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 for the handling of Protected Health Information (PHI).
  • They participate in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Safe Harbor Framework. Survey Gizmo has self-certified adherence to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles.
  • In an independently conducted study of accessibility by Ohio State University of online survey tools, Survey Gizmo was at the top of the list for usability.

This information was then submitted to the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council (PaRC) for their review and approval. In a subsequent conference call, the PaRC executive committee agreed to the use of Survey Gizmo. Furthermore, they agreed to post the link on their website, to pay the fee for the survey tool, and additional expenses for distribution of alternate formats.

For the development of the survey questions, OVR solicited idea submittals from the PaRC membership and the OVR combined (BVRS and BBVS) district offices. OVR also researched the needs assessment surveys of other states online. OVR combined all of these ideas to create questions that would address the categories required by this year’s RSA guidelines. The OVR Executive Staff and the PaRC membership reviewed and approved the resulting list of questions.

Following their approval, OVR met with the PaRC project director to discuss additional details and to register with Survey Gizmo. OVR’s information technology/accessibility expert supplied guidance to ensure that we had not overlooked any accessibility issues for this online survey tool. OVR launched the survey and ran it through the month of August 2008. In addition to the link on the PaRC website, OVR published the survey information on the home page of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s website. The PaRC membership forwarded the news of the survey and the link to the online tool to their external stakeholders and individual contacts. OVR forwarded the news of the survey and the link to all of OVR and the Department of Labor and Industry, external stakeholders, community college disability services departments, rehabilitation agencies, county MH/MR offices, not-for-profit disability agencies, the State Leadership Team, the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, etc. In this same e-mail, OVR requested that these groups forward the news to their distribution lists and list serves. OVR sent Braille copies of the survey to each of its BBVS district offices.

Finally, OVR’s mailed handouts, paper copies of the survey, and prepaid envelopes to all of its district offices to distribute in their outreach activities. At the end of the month, OVR staff entered the responses marked on paper copies mailed in to Central Office and closed the survey. Survey Gizmo generated a final report of the data. OVR transmitted the report to PaRC’s Ad Hoc Committee for their analysis. In the course of two conference calls and one on site meeting at OVR’s Central Office, OVR and PaRC’s Ad Hoc Committee generated the analysis of the Needs Assessment Survey for this report.

Analysis/Results

STATEWIDE NEEDS ASSESSMENT

Sec.361.29 (a) (1) (i)

The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation began the process for a statewide needs assessment in July 2008 with a request to the PaRC for suggested survey questions. OVR responded with a survey that was user-friendly and generated almost 800 responses to questions about needs. The survey was accessible at the PaRC website for the month of August 2008, and the survey report was available for review by OVR and the PaRC soon thereafter.

Announcements to the people of Pennsylvania about the survey generally followed a broad spectrum of agencies that provide services to people with disabilities, various colleges and universities, departments and bureaus of the state that provide human services, and various advocacy groups and disability associations.

A total of 796 individuals responded to the survey. Since more than half of the respondents indicated that they are not working, but did indicate that they were aware of OVR, one could infer that respondents were looking to the future when they indicated that they do need services to get employment and additional services to help them stay employed.

The following comments are based on the needs assessment survey results, the PaRC Satisfaction Survey results for the past year, public comments made at the recent State Plan for FFY 2009 hearings, a recent OVR District Office quarterly report of community activities, and internal OVR data about the services received by current OVR customers.

(i) (A) Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities

A little less than half (46%) of the survey respondents were either people with disabilities or consumer advocates. People with visual disabilities were the largest group of respondents. Next were orthopedic, deaf or hard of hearing, and people with mental or emotional disabilities. The last grouping entailed people with developmental, cognitive impairments, and traumatic brain injuries. Of these individuals, more than half (52%) stated that they have an additional disability.

More than half (53%) of these said that their additional disability was either both mental and emotional (29%) or cognitive impairments (24%). Since 96% of OVR’s current customers have most significant disabilities, it would seem that the current order of selection has served its purpose. Also, since the BBVS focuses on the largest group of respondents, it seems that those needs are also being met sufficiently for the future.

When asked what types of services they may need now or in the future, job placement, job search, vocational training, and transportation services were selected by about half of the people. A slightly smaller group of people identified educational assistance, vocational counseling, and job coaching as current or potential needs. It is evident that most customers require these types of services, either directly by the OVR staff or by providers subcontracted.

The services provided by CareerLink are evidently essential, regardless of whether the customer enters the OVR door or the CareerLink door first. Transportation to and from jobs was listed as the most important factor (44%) affecting subsequent employment. This is a much higher percentage than the 10% of customers currently receiving transportation services as active participants in services. More emphasis seems to be warranted on creating transportation solutions that can be sustained once employment is achieved and OVR services are ended. Although supported employment services were not specifically listed on the survey, 39% of respondents selected the need for job coaching services, one type of supported employment service. The current service level for job coaching is 14%. The number of responses regarding job coaching may indicate an increased need.

(i) (B) Individuals with Disabilities Who are Minorities and Individuals with Disabilities Who Have Been Unserved or Underserved by the Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Although the survey did not address cultural or racial minorities, it did address disabilities that were previously thought minor and now seem to be growing. Specifically, people with multiple disabilities, especially secondary mental and emotional disabilities, indicated that these special needs should be addressed because of their overwhelming effect on their employment. There also seem to be growing populations who are older workers, people in transition from school to work, people who have an autism spectrum disorder, or who live in a rural community.

(i) (C) Individuals with Disabilities Served through Other Components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System as Identified by Those Individuals and Personnel Assisting those individuuals Through the Components of the System

Friends and family were substantially more instrumental in directing customers to OVR than the CareerLink. Between the friends and family and CareerLink categories, respondents listed counselor/therapists, MH/MR, and rehabilitation centers. More study is needed to determine how CareerLink approaches their service to people with disabilities and makes the connection with OVR when appropriate. Agencies that provide direct services to people seem to refer to OVR, also when appropriate. Results suggest that OVR and PaRC should review OVR’s outreach log against the survey responses to discern effective methods to serve emerging populations.

(ii) An Assessment of the Need to Establish, Develop or Improve Community Rehabilitation Within the State

Rehabilitation programs within the state offer a variety of services to people with disabilities and have worked with OVR for many years. As emerging populations mentioned above, have greater and multiple needs, rehabilitation centers need to adjust, re-focus, and implement new services that better meet their needs. Almost 64% of respondents requested the assurance that their staff has been trained on the added emphasis on mental and emotional disabilities, and that they have peer support specialists. Other emerging groups, such as the older workers (18.4%) and people with autism spectrum disorders (12.56%) also need staffs that are trained to address their specific needs. An adequate budget and staffing have been indicated as the two greatest challenges facing community agencies working with OVR.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEYS

OVR SURVEY - PROCESS

OVR surveys all successfully rehabilitated customers six and twelve months after they stopped receiving OVR services. Current resources do not permit surveying customers in other statuses who may or may not still be receiving OVR services.

The survey questions cover satisfaction with services as well as current employment and benefits information. A workgroup of OVR staff and stakeholders, including the Rehabilitation Council, met to revise the original customer satisfaction survey. The group reworked the nature of the questions, as well as the reading level, to promote a better response rate. The survey instrument for this analysis is a revision of the original survey and was implemented with the May 2006 mailing. This analysis represents the first review of a survey set using the new tool.

OVR SURVEY - FINDINGS

No formal statistical tests are applied to the data. However, we believe that the results present feedback from customers that can be used in a variety of ways. The survey response was 20% for the six-month group and 16% for the twelve-month group. This was less than the cumulative average for the previous instrument, but not so far off as to be a concern at this point. Information concerning hours worked and wages was similar to the closure data in the Rehabilitation Services Administration 911 report, although not all respondents answered the job-related questions. Counselors have received comments from customers who stated that these questions are too intrusive. However, a higher percentage of both mailing groups answered the employment questions in the new tool than with the previous one. If this trend continues, we will have met one objective of the revised instrument. In general, the relationship with the counselor seems to have the highest correlation with satisfaction. While approximately 75% of the respondents indicated they felt their counselor listened to their ideas and opinions, only 43%-49% indicated they actively participated in developing their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). One would expect to see a closer relationship between the two questions. This will bear watching, and potentially additional research. It is possible that customers are confused by the term “vocational goal” and fail to relate it to their IPE because our data show an 88% -90% match between original vocational job objective and current job. In any given month 7%-9% of the respondents will indicate dissatisfaction with their OVR services. These returns are sent to the individual district offices for immediate follow-up.

PARC SURVEY - PROCESS

Over a period of about six months, the PaRC conducted a Customer Satisfaction survey. Our members distributed the survey at the OVR Public Hearings, made them available on the PaRC and stakeholder websites, and handed them to people they encountered during the course of their everyday contacts.

PARC SURVEY - FINDINGS

Delivery of services related to a customer’s relationship with their OVR counselor showed an 80% satisfaction with their counselor’s response to calls and requests for service. Provision of qualified vendors, vendors who met customer’s needs and communication between the vendor and counselor was 70% positive. The provision of training necessary for a customer to secure employment was 70% positive. Knowledge and responsiveness to customer’s needs was 68% positive. Included in this category was knowledge of the Ticket to Work program (56% positive) and CAP (58% positive). Respondents indicated a desire for OVR counselors seem to be more knowledgeable about transition services that promote movement from school to post secondary school activities and to be responsive to employment and/or education goals (52%).

CORRELATION OF THE OVR AND PARC FINDINGS

A key element to vocational success is a positive relationship between the OVR counselor and the customer. Findings in both the OVR and the PaRC Customer Satisfaction Surveys were basically consistent with responses of 75% and 80% respectively.

PUBLIC MEETING COMMENTS SUMMARY

In winter 2008, a draft of the attachments for the State Plan for FFY 2009 was sent to all the combined OVR district offices. Meetings were publicized inviting the public to attend for the purpose of reviewing the draft and offering their comments for possible inclusion. In order to receive maximum input, meetings were scheduled for both daytime and evening hours. Several general themes emerged. Transportation was viewed as a barrier to employment, particularly for those individuals with disabilities who reside in rural areas. Some comments suggested that OVR counselors receive specialized training to work with specific disabilities such as deafness or autism. They went on to say that OVR placement counselors should collaborate more with local Rotary Clubs and Chambers of Commerce. Still other comments requested more funding for transition, supported employment, and extended services to ensure long term vocational success and advancement. Almost all of the attachments elicited comments regarding budget constraints which limited services to all, but most especially to individuals with multiple disabilities and barriers to employment.

Summary of Findings

TREND 1 Transportation services continue to be a significant concern across all instruments and all respondents. Lack of transportation is a substantial barrier to successful employment outcomes.

TREND 2 The relationship between the OVR counselors and the customer continues to be identified as a most important factor in service provision. Community respondents would like to see more disability-specific training offered to OVR counselors.

TREND 3 The demographic profile of people seeking OVR services is becoming more complex. There are opportunities for goal setting related to this trend.

TREND 4 Community rehabilitation providers are challenged by a more complex demographic, emerging population of need, changes in fiscal resources available to provide service and changes in traditional funding sources. This particularly affects supported employment services.

CONCLUSION: One objective of using Survey Gizmo was to determine whether an online survey could be an effective needs assessment tool. Results were promising both in quantity and information revealed. In concert with traditional components, clear trends emerged. The needs assessments were reviewed, along with other tools such as State Budget narratives, RSA monitoring and technical assistance documents, and ongoing feedback from the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council when OVR and the Council discussed goals for the 2009-2010 State Plan. Because the survey identified improving transportation issues as a high priority, OVR has developed Trend 1 into one of the goals in Attachment 4.11(c)(1). UPDATE Based upon information and technical assistance provided by the RSA, OVR staff has developed a proposed CSNA that will be presented to the executive staff and the State Rehabilitation Council for further development and comment. The next CSNA will tap multiple sources in addition to the survey. We will also provide: 1a. greater detail regarding our provision of services to MSD’s b. greater detail regarding our provision of services to minorities c. greater detail regarding our provision of services to the unserved and underserved d. greater detail regarding the needs of individuals with disabilities as reported by the PA CareerLink 2. recommendations on the need to include, establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state. PA OVR conducts a CSNA over a three-year time period. The current CSNA is being developed and will be reported in State Plan FFY 2012.

Update FY 2011Based upon information and technical assistance provided by the RSA, OVR staff has developed a proposed CSNA that will be presented to the executive staff and the State Rehabilitation Council for further development and comment. The next CSNA will tap multiple sources in addition to the survey. We will also provide:1a. greater detail regarding our provision of services to MSD’sb. greater detail regarding our provision of services to minoritiesc. greater detail regarding our provision of services to the unserved and underservedd. greater detail regarding the needs of individuals with disabilities as reported by the PA CareerLink 2. recommendations on the need to include, establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.PA OVR conducts a CSNA over a three-year time period. The current CSNA is being developed and will be reported in State Plan FFY 2012.

Update FY 2012

Pennsylvania has developed a three year, four tier process to complete the statewide needs assessment. For the first implementation, the process will be fully completed in one calendar year, to be ready for inclusion in the 2013 State Plan. Members from the PA Rehabilitation Council, along with OVR staff and a state government consultant, will complete the assessment. Council members and OVR staff are responsible for developing content and securing participants, while the consultant will conduct the surveys, focus groups, individual interviews, and community hearings, then render a preliminary analysis of responses. The final analysis will be made by the Council and OVR staff.

In Tier 1, five surveys will be given to five different constituencies consisting of customers, vendors, advocates, providers, and counselors. In Tier 2, the information collected from the surveys will influence the questions that will be presented in the focus groups. In turn, the focus group response will influence the questions formulated for the individual interviews in Tier 3. Tier 4 is the community hearings that allow the public to comment on all the information that has been gathered throughout this process. The surveys were administered from April 1 through May 31 of 2011. Invitations for focus groups are scheduled to go out at the end of June and take place from mid-July to the end of August.

Thus, the entire, new CSNA will be submitted in State Plan FY 2013. Thereafter, the tier system will be implemented over a 3 year period. We will report on the progress of the CSNA each year. The final year will summarize the data and generate future goals and priorities.

This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 10:28AM by sapabrauchlip

Any projections, program continuations, etc. in this Attachment are subject to the availability of supporting funding in the plan year.

Estimates of Individuals to be Served:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2009 American Community Survey, 831,557 Pennsylvanians between the ages of 18-64 report having a disability. Of these, 542,533, or approximately 35%, report being unemployed. However, Census data does not provide sufficient detail for projecting demand for services. OVR has researched commonly available data from a variety of resources to assess long-range, systemic needs for services.

Estimates of Costs of Services:

Based on the information published in the Budget Tables of the U.S. Department of Education and assuming there is no increase in the estimated FFY 2012 Vocational Rehabilitation State Grant, the allocation for the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is $128,694,693. Furthermore, there is discussion that this proposed allocation would have several programs, including Supported Employment (Title VI, Part B Funds) rolled into it. Given these fiscal constraints, OVR will strive to maintain current service levels and projects it will serve approximately 85,000 individuals in the general program and 2,600 individuals through Supported Employment.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Most Significantly Disabled (MSD) Title I $127,510,441 84,200 $1,514
Significantly Disabled (SD) Title I $1,158,252 780 $1,484
Non-Significantly Disabled (NSD) Title I $26,000 20 $1,300
Most Significantly Disabled (MSD) Title VI $1,007,805 1005 $1,002
Totals   $129,702,498 86,005 $1,508

This screen was last updated on Sep 21 2011 1:17PM by sapabrauchlip

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.

Any projections, program continuations, etc. in this Attachment are subject to the availability of supporting funding in the Plan year.

The Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council (PaRC) jointly agreed to the goals and priorities on December 20, 2010.

Goal 1: Increase Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

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

2. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.2: Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage that are determined to have achieved an employment outcome. The performance level is 55.8%

3. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.3: Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentage who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least minimum wage. The performance level is 72.6%.

4. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1A: Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are individuals with significant disabilities. The performance level is 62.4%.

5. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.5 comparing the average hourly wage of customers with significant or non-significant disabilities place in competitive employment to the average hourly wage for all workers in Pennsylvania. The performance level is .52%.

6. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 1.6: Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services. The performance level is 53.9%.

7. Exceed the performance level for Federal Performance Indicator 2.1: The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities. The performance ratio level is .80.

8. Continue to implement and refine training and services at Hiram G. Andrews Center (HGAC) to better meet the needs of students and OVR District Office staff from BBVS and BVRS.

9. Provide more disability specific training to OVR counselors, especially autism spectrum disorders, traumatic or acquired brain injury.

10. Provide more employment services to disabled veterans.

11. Increase the number of people who go through training in the Business Enterprise Program (BEP).

12. Increase employment opportunities for OVR customers through employer outreach and the development of additional On the Job Training (OJT) opportunities.

Goal 2: Increase/Improve Transition Services for Students with Disabilities

1. Meet or exceed, from the previous year, the number of youth and young adults with disabilities (age 25 and younger) who receive services by September 30, 2011.

2. Meet or exceed, from the previous year, the number of youth and young adults with disabilities (age 25 and younger) who are successfully rehabilitated by September 30, 2011.

3. Continue collaborative activities that include the five-year Transition Grant, projects with the PA Community on Transition Employment Practice Group, and development of training modules for OVR staff, families, advocates, educators, and youth.

4. Continue the Cognitive Skills Enhancement Program (CSEP) to assist District Offices in the transition needs of students with disabilities and to reflect the stated needs of VR Counselors; and continue to offer CSEP as a service to OVR customers who wish to pursue post-secondary training at HGAC or elsewhere.

5. Continue implementation of Articulation Agreements between the Commonwealth Technology Institute at HGAC and secondary schools to improve accessibility of post-secondary programs at HGAC to eligible high school students.

6. Increase transition outcomes for students through collaboration with Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services (BBVS) community partners.

This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 9:13AM by sapabrauchlip

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

Justification for order of selection

Since the Designated State Unit does not believe it will be able to serve all eligible individuals with the available resources, it has adopted an Order of Selection.

 

Description of Priority categories

First Priority: Most Significantly Disabled (MSD)

-The physical, mental, or sensory impairment(s) must seriously limit three or more of the individual’s functional capacities, and

-The individual must be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time.

Second Priority: Significantly Disabled (SD)

-The physical, mental, or sensory impairment(s) must seriously limit one or more of the individual’s functional capacities, and

-The individual must be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time.

Third Priority: Non-Significantly Disabled (NSD)

-The individual has a physical, mental, or sensory impairment that does not meet the definition for MSD or SD.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

First Priority: Most Significantly Disabled (MSD)

Second Priority: Significantly Disabled (SD)

Third Priority: Non-Significantly Disabled (NSD)

 

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

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

Given the projections of flat funding at both the Federal and State level, OVR will strive to maintain current service levels. As of January 31, 2011, OVR had a waiting list of about 243 customers whose severity of disability was either classified in the second or third priority. Based on actual FFY 2010 figures, OVR’s outcome and service goals under the Order of Selection are projected as follows for FFY 2012:

For the Most Significantly Disabled category, the number accepted is expected to be 22,000, while the number served will be 85,000. The number rehabilitated will be 9,400, of which 8,500 will be the number rehabilitated into the competitive labor market. The cost for FFY 2012 is expected to be $128,694,693, which will be revised following notification of the FFY 2012 Appropriation.

For the Significantly Disabled category, the number accepted is expected to be 10 (newly accepted, but placed on a waiting list), while the number served will be 22,000. The number rehabilitated will be 9,400, of which 8,500 will be the number rehabilitated into the competitive labor market. The cost for FFY 2012 is expected to be $128,694,693 which will be revised following notification of the FFY 2012 Appropriation.

For the Non-Significantly Disabled category, the number accepted is expected to be 10 (newly accepted, but placed on a waiting list), while the number served will be 20. The number rehabilitated will be 3, of which 3 will be the number rehabilitated into the competitive labor market. The cost for FFY 2012 is expected to be $26,000, which will be revised following notification of the FFY 2012 Appropriation.

In total, the number accepted is expected to be 22,000, while the number served will be 85,000. The number rehabilitated will be 9,400, of which 8,500 will be the number rehabilitated into the competitive labor market. The cost for FFY 2012 is expected to be $128,694,693, which will be revised following notification of the FFY 2012 Appropriation.

Priority Category Number of individuals to be served Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services Time within which goals are to be achieved Cost of services
1 84,200 9,400 7,500 12 months $127,510,441
2 780 10 10 12 months $1,158,252
3 20 3 3 12 months $26,000

This screen was last updated on Sep 21 2011 1:41PM by sapabrauchlip

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.

OVR will use Title VI, Part B Funds to provide Supported Employment services to customers throughout the Commonwealth. Services are provided by way of contracts with Community Based Rehabilitation Providers using an individualized, performance-based job coaching model. Once the Title VI, Part B Funds have been exhausted, Title I Funds are used to provide Supported Employment services.

Supported Employment (SE) services are a vital part of OVR programming. SE services secure employment for individuals with the most significant disabilities and significant disabilities who would not experience an employment outcome from less intensive job placement methods. It is anticipated that approximately 2,600 Pennsylvanians with the most significant disabilities and significant disabilities will receive performance based job coaching services in FFY 2012. Of this number, approximately 190 individuals will be funded out of the $1,007,656 Title VI, Part B Funds anticipated for distribution to Pennsylvania in FFY 2012.

An important goal for OVR is to continue to expand Supported Employment services for under-served populations. This goal includes providing quality services to rural areas to continue to increase successful outcomes for transition aged youth and to ensure accessibility of services for all potential customers. Another goal is to enhance OVR partnerships with provider agencies such as the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), and Office of Long Term Living (OLTL). These agencies provide the necessary long-term supports needed to ensure the employment success of the individual with a disability. Additionally, developing coalitions with the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN), which includes a national Community of Practice, the Statewide Leadership Team (SLT), and the Quality Improvement Employment Committee Workgroup among others facilitates the development of best practice among funding sources and service providers of supported employment services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 21 2011 3:01PM by sapabrauchlip

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.

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

OVR is constantly looking at ways to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities. With increasing needs in our PA communities, OVR opened the order of selection in the federal fiscal year 2011. Instead of only being able to serve individuals who have most significant disabilities, the new process allows OVR counselors to also provide services to individuals with significant disabilities. Without increases in staff positions to do this, it may create a burden on our offices that we are unable to maintain in the 2012 federal fiscal year. However, we expect to at least continue serving all individuals who applied for services in 2011 but have not yet reached the end of their rehabilitation plan.

OVR recognized a need to provide specialized services to Veterans. In 2009, OVR signed a Letter of Understanding with the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment programs to provide more coordinated services to veterans being assisted by both agencies. In 2010, OVR started a pilot project with 3 district offices to have dedicated veterans counselors who specialize in this area and receive additional training in providing services to veterans. In 2011, this project was expanded to 11 district offices.

OVR is working on collaborative relationships with a variety of other state agencies and community partners to increase the services that are provided to individuals with disabilities. Some examples of this include our successful community of practice around transition age youth, a joint initiative with the department of corrections to bring an offender workforce development system to Pennsylvania, and cross agency training and agreements with the Office of Developmental Programs, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Office of Long Term Living, Bureau of Autism Services, the Department of Health and many more.

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.

OVR is presently collaborating with the TACE Center at GWU to develop a training for designated Assistive Technology Coordinators to be held in 2011. A survey has been developed to further identify training needs. Mr. Tony Langdon of Pathfinder Associates will be retained by the TACE to provide OVR specific training based upon Tech Points, which specifically identifies points in the VR process where Assistive Technology needs are evaluated and addressed.

The Center for Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology (CART) at the Hiram G. Andrews Center is available to OVR customers throughout the Commonwealth. Highly trained professionals evaluate and train people in the following areas of assistive technology: positioning and mobility, computer access, augmentative communication, environmental controls, driver training and vehicle modification, devices for activities of daily living, devices for visual and/or auditory impairment, and home and work modifications. The Learning Technology Program (LTP) assesses student’s needs in the classroom and trains them in the use of assistive technology, if necessary.

The Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Lending Library provides the opportunity for any Pennsylvanian to borrow and assess assistive technology devices prior to purchase. The library is located on the Hiram G. Andrews Center’s campus, and the services are free to all Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

Describe how assistive technology services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.

OVR retains a number of approved providers who are Rehabilitation Engineers and Assistive Technology Specialists on a “fee-for-service” basis throughout the Commonwealth. Most providers will travel to the OVR customer’s home and/or worksite to provide AT evaluation and training services. Staff from HGAC’s CART will also travel to various parts of the Commonwealth to assess an OVR customer’s AT needs as well as to facilitate training when appropriate.

When appropriate and in accordance with OVR’s policies, OVR will purchase Assistive Technology Devices and Services to support its customers in their vocational goals. OVR also provides information and referral services for other resources when the agency is unable to provide funding for AT devices and services. OVR’s Statewide AT Coordinator regularly distributes information electronically to OVR’s District Offices regarding AT services, programs, and resources.

OVR regularly collaborates with the Pennsylvania Institute on Assistive Technology (PIAT) at Temple University to participate in training, maintain the PA Assistive Technology Lending Library, and develop AT resources for Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

Low interest loans are available through PATF (Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation) to customers who have a disability or any older or state resident who has need for Assistive Technology.

Identify what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities.

OVR Central Office periodically reviews the Census and the American Community Survey to ascertain the number of unemployed persons with disabilities and the general ethnic composition of the state. All district offices are charged with keeping current on the demographics of the counties they serve and arranging outreach activities to target those individuals. Most often these activities are done in conjunction with community groups well known to those we are trying to reach. Examples include but are not limited to rescue missions, free medical clinics and health centers, Take Back the Street and similar ministries, partial day programs, inner city schools, Korean Community Center, Hispanic/Latino community centers, and recreation centers. OVR also does outreach to staff and professionals in a number of areas including but not limited to state, county, and local corrections, community job fair organizers, inter-agency councils, residential facilities and managers, and bureaus and offices in other state agencies.

Identify what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program.

We review the input received from the community at our public meetings and talk to internal staff about priorities. This year, with the addition of funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), we were able to target groups of individuals considered to be unserved or underserved through the development of specific programs to serve these individuals in the following categories:

Employment Readiness Programs

Develop demonstration projects which will establish employment readiness programs to include placement assistance for customers with the most significant disabilities. Examples include, but are not limited to, intensive vocational employment readiness programs for individuals with cognitive disabilities or clubhouse model programs for individuals with mental health disabilities.

Industry Integrated Employment & Training Programs

Develop demonstration projects which will establish or expand employment programs or training programs in an industry integrated setting. The goal is to place OVR vocational rehabilitation customers with disabilities in competitive employment through training/apprenticeships/employment in industry integrated settings. Examples include, but are not limited to, restaurant, warehouse or telecommuting employment and training programs that would train the individual with a disability and then provide direct in house or community job placement with the skills obtained through the training.

Services to Underserved and Unserved Populations

Develop demonstration projects which will expand services to traditionally underserved and unserved populations, including minorities and urban and rural populations, who are persons with the most significant disabilities seeking competitive employment. Examples include, but are not limited to, intensive job development programs for individuals with the most significant disabilities or multiple disabilities, programs to prevent incarceration of individuals with disabilities, or programs serving individuals who are deaf-blind.

Twenty-three projects were funded for the FFY 2011 to develop new and innovative programs to effectively serve individuals with disabilities. These pilot projects could move into fee for service with OVR for the FFY 2012 if they are proven to be successful.

Identify plans for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs, if applicable.

Through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, OVR is developing new programs through twenty-three Community Rehabilitation Programs in PA. These programs include: Employment readiness programs for individuals with a disability of aspergers, employment readiness programs for individuals with a disability of autism, employment readiness programs for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, expansion of job coaching programs into hard to serve rural areas, industry integrated employment programs, and an expansion of two project SEARCH programs, an industry integrated employment program based on the model from the Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati.

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

OVR will continue a number of strategies initiated in FFY 2010 to increase the number of persons who become employed. These strategies allowed the agency to perform well in the economic downturn and are expected to be even more successful as the economy improves. They include: development of multiple placement opportunities with large companies such as Lowe’s, CVS, and Office Max; using On the Job Training (OJT) to encourage employers to work with our customers; continue staff training in placement and job development techniques; and provide disability specific and diversity training to assist counselors in identifying strategies to overcome barriers unique to specific demographic groups.

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

OVR has been developing strategies to increase collaborative efforts with the Bureau of Workforce Development Partnership (BWDP) Veterans Programs and the Veteran Administration’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VA-VRE) Program.

-Numerous contacts were made with staff from BWDP during the summer and early fall of 2010 in order to develop cross-agency training in October 2010. The goal was to increase knowledge and understanding between OVR and BWDP Veterans staff in order to increase collaboration/coordination of services as well as to share resources. Due to administrative issues on the part of BWDP, agency cross-training did not occur as planned in 2010 but is being considered for 2011.

-OVR conducted staff training in November 2010 for designated Veterans Counselors and Coordinators using ARRA funds. Speakers from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the VA-VRE, and the Williamsport Veterans Center presented. BWDP staff were invited to attend but were unable to participate.

-The Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center at GWU is working with OVR to develop web-based training on the 39th Institute on Rehabilitation Issues based upon the publication “When Johnny (or Jeannie) Comes Marching Home…and Back to Work” for OVR staff, which will provide cross-system training for OVR staff. Training will also be made available to BWDP staff.

- A series of videoconferences is being planned for Spring/Summer/Fall 2011. BWDP Veterans Staff will be invited to participate at local OVR District Offices.

Describe how the agency’s strategies will be used to achieve the goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1), State Goals and Priorities

In the Attachment 4.11(c)(1), State Goals and Priorities, OVR lists several objectives for each goal. These objectives serve as the strategies to achieve the goals.

Goal 1:

Objectives 1-7 are the performance standards and have been previously addressed.

Objective 8 - HGAC has established a curriculum review process to continuously assess the need for graduates of its various programs as well as student interest in them and will add, drop, or modify courses based upon its assessments.

Objective 9 - This relates to the standards and indicators section as was described in that section. The need for staff training was a constant in all needs assessment surveys, including staff surveys.

Objective 10 - OVR has added counselor specialty caseloads for veterans in each district office and is doing cross training with VA/VRE to streamline services.

Objective 11 - HGAC and BBVS are revising and shortening the BEP training program, remodeling the training area, and upgrading equipment to make the program more attractive to potential trainees.

Objective 12 - On the Job Training (OJT) was also discussed in the standards and indicators section. OVR is actively diversifying the types of OJT options available to customers and employers.

Goal 2:

Objectives 1 and 2 mirror the standards and indicators for all OVR outcomes.

Objective 3 - OVR has long been a national leader in collaborative activities related to transition. As collaborators, OVR will continue to assess effectiveness of projects and to work constantly to improve them.

Objective 4 - CSEP is a project at HGAC in collaboration with University of Pittsburgh that focuses on building cognitive skills and processing to allow students to perform better in post-secondary settings.

Objective 5 - The articulation agreements between HGAC and secondary schools lead to better career planning choices by students prior to graduation.

Objective 6 - OVR will build more effective collaborations within the blindness community to increase the effectiveness of transition planning with this demographic group.

Describe how the agency’s strategies will be used to support innovation and expansion activities.

In FFY 2011-2012, OVR will use a combination of Title I 110 money and Title I ARRA money to support Innovation and Expansion activities. The 110 funds will continue to support UCP. ARRA funded invitation to bid projects and intergovernmental agreements have begun and will continue until the ARRA funding ends September 30, 2011. OVR will analyze the outcomes of the Project SEARCH sites funded via its special RSA transition grant and consider using state contracting procedures to maintain and/or expand the projects with basic support funds.

In addition to funding PaRC staff support (UCP), OVR used ARRA funds to conduct several I&E projects across the state including but not limited to employment readiness for individuals with Aspergers, job coaching in rural communities, and employment readiness for individuals with autism. The UCP contract is to provide staff and logistical support to the PA State Rehabilitation Council.

Innovation and Expansion Activities

PROJECT: PA State Rehabilitation Council (PaRC) Support Services

Support: Contract to United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Central PA, Camp Hill, PA

Funding: $290,257

Description: To support the activities of the PaRC as that body performs its function as defined in law. PaRC activities have included review/input regarding OVR policy and related procedural issues, and participation on OVR committees. UCP provides logistical support to the PaRC and is responsible for fiscal and administrative oversight of Project funds available to and/or expended by PaRC.

Evaluation: On October 1, 2007, this award began a new grant cycle that will continue until September 30, 2011. Support services provided by UCP to the PaRC during the year continue to be consistent with those prescribed by OVR.

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

OVR is collaborating with other supported employment funding sources to overcome issues of dwindling resources. PA OVR is participating on a Cross Agency Workgroup, currently funded by the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant received by the PA Department of Public Welfare, with the Office of Developmental Programs, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and the Office of Long-Term Living to address systemic barriers to employment for persons with disabilities, particularly those identified with regard to service definitions, funding, and legislation for supported employment

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 10:28AM by sapabrauchlip

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

Goal I. INCREASE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Strengthen partnerships with the PaRC, as well as other agencies at PA CareerLink sites, and improve one-stop services for employers as well as job seekers with disabilities.

OVR has a strong partnership with the PaRC and continues to participate on their CareerLink Accessibility Committee conference calls to identify any problems/concerns for job seekers with disabilities in obtaining one-stop services. The PaRC continues to receive quarterly reports from the Bureau of Workforce Development on one-stop services for job seekers with disabilities.

Strengthen partnerships with the CareerLink sites, and improve one-stop services for employers as well as job seekers with disabilities.

Progress to Date: OVR has been developing strategies to increase collaborative efforts with the Bureau of Workforce Development Partnership (BWDP) Veterans Programs and the Veteran Administration’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VA-VRE) Program.

-Numerous contacts were made with staff from BWDP during the summer and early fall of 2010 in order to develop cross-agency training in October 2010. The goal was to increase knowledge and understanding between OVR and BWDP Veterans’ staff in order to increase collaboration/coordination of services as well as to share resources. Due to administrative issues on the part of BWDP, agency cross-training did not occur as planned in 2010 but is being considered for 2011.

-OVR conducted staff training in November 2010 for designated Veterans Counselors and Coordinators using ARRA funds. Speakers from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the VA-VRE and the Williamsport Veterans’ Center presented. BWDP staff were invited to attend but were unable to participate.

-The Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center at GWU is working with OVR to develop web-based training on the 39th Institute on Rehabilitation Issues based on publication “When Johnny (or Jeannie) Comes Marching Home…and Back to Work” for OVR staff, which will provide cross-system training for OVR staff. Training will also be made available to BWDP staff.

-Series of videoconferences being planned for Spring/Summer/Fall 2011. BWDP Veterans Staff will be invited to participate at local OVR District Offices.

PA OVR was successful in its outreach and enlistment of the Bureau of Workforce Development Partnerships in the PA Transition Statewide Leadership Team as well as in a Cross-Agency Workgroup convened to implement the PA Department of Public Welfare’s Medicaid Infrastructure Grant.

Continue to implement and refine Commonwealth Technical Institute (CTI) training opportunities at Hiram G. Andrews Center (HGAC) to better meet the needs of students and OVR District Office staff. All CTI programs experienced updates and revisions to their curriculums, and continue to be review on a regular basis. In addition, all course outlines, course syllabi, and competency lists were updated. HGAC believes that offering curriculum that leads to successful employment in relevant twenty-first century careers is paramount in preparing Pennsylvanians with disabilities for an independent and self-sufficient lifestyle.

Strengthen the collaboration between OVR and PaRC in identifying potential employers.

OVR will continue to encourage PaRC members to network in their local communities to identify potential employers and share this information with OVR placement specialists to educate them on OJT opportunities.

To publicize OVR’s services in the community to individuals with disabilities.

OVR is extremely active in promoting services to assist individuals with disabilities to return to work. Partnerships with a variety of agencies, boards and committees enable these community, education and outreach activities to be a forum for sharing information. OVR staff members are active in community based organizations, hospitals, schools, local transition groups, county government organizations, advisory groups, support groups, etc. to enhance the understanding of OVR.

OVR counselors are master’s level trained rehabilitation professionals who provide services to individuals with disabilities through 21 field offices throughout PA. When OVR assists a customer to obtain or retain employment, it truly demonstrates, promotes and publicizes the abilities of individuals with disabilities.

To expand opportunities for persons with blindness or visual impairments to access all services at HGAC.

Quality vocational evaluation services and training opportunities for customers of BBVS have expanded. A fully accessible vocational evaluation program, complete with chosen program tryout experiences for the evaluees, has been implemented. Fully accessible chosen training programs other than BEP include: ASB Medical Office Assistant; AST Culinary Arts; and General Office Clerk. HGAC has hired a Rehabilitation Teacher of the Blind to address accessibility issues. Vocational Evaluation: In addition to the Valpar Worksample (which is for customers who are blind or considerably visually impaired), the McCarron-Dial instrument was identified as appropriate for this population. This provides aptitudes as well as the achievement levels gained through the WRAT, an instrument with which our evaluators are familiar. Training has been provided on the B/VI testing method. A three-day training program by Jack Dial, of Texas who is the developer of the program, was administered. All evaluators benefited from the training with one evaluator identified as the primary evaluator with one primary back up.

To obtain signed agreements with the 6 remaining colleges/universities. Pennsylvania OVR has secured agreements with the 14 universities in the State System of Higher Education and the 14 independent community colleges in an effort to fulfill the interagency coordination requirement of Section 101(a)(8)(B) and 34 CFR 361.53(d) with public institutions of higher education (IHE). However, issues related to cost-sharing have impeded OVR’s efforts to negotiate with the 4 state-related universities--Penn State, Lincoln, Pitt and Temple. Those universities have sought guidance from RSA and negotiations will continue during the current year.

GOAL II. INCREASE/IMPROVE TRANSITION SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Continue collaborative activities that include the five-year Transition Grant, projects with the PA Community on Transition Employment Practice Group, and development of training modules for OVR staff, families, advocates, educators, and youth.

PA OVR has entered the 4th year of a 5 Year Transition Model Demonstration Grant awarded by RSA in 2007. To date, PA OVR has established 8 out of 10 Project SEARCH sites and has three additional sites under development. In addition, PA OVR has exceeded its goal of establishing 20 sites Project PAS with 22 established sites. The PA Departments of Education and Public Welfare have been essential partners in the successful establishment of these model demonstration projects.

The PA Transition Statewide Leadership Team held regional transition employment trainings throughout the Commonwealth in November, 2010 and will hold two additional statewide videoconferences in February and April 2011. PA OVR collaborates in the development, planning, and implementation of all SLT sponsored trainings. PA OVR staff also attend all trainings.

In July 2010, 97 OVR staff attended the 2010 PA Transition Conference in State College, PA. VR specific training was held during a pre-conference. Approximately, 25 OVR staff also presented at various sessions throughout the Conference.

PA OVR also continues to provide outreach and education to students with disabilities, their families, and their educators during IEP meetings, Open House events, Local Transition Coordinating Council meetings, and public service/community awareness events. PA OVR has also partnered with the PA Department of Public Welfare to implement its Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, which has focused, in part, on Work Incentives for Youth in Transition.

Continue the Cognitive Skills Enhancement Program (CSEP) to assist District Offices in the transition needs of students with disabilities and to reflect the stated needs of VR Counselors; and continue to offer CSEP as a service to OVR customers who wish to pursue post-secondary training at HGAC or elsewhere.

HGAC continues to experience an increase in the number of referrals of customers with cognitive disabilities and is taking proactive measures to prepare staff to work with this challenging and growing population. The Cognitive Skills Enhancement Program continues to provide individualized services to customers with cognitive disabilities, through collaboration between University of Pittsburgh and Hiram G. Andrews Center staff. Customers may receive services in varying levels of intensity and frequency:

-CSEP Tier I is the most intensive, full-time 15-week course that emphasizes behavioral accountability, development of social awareness skills and improving self-esteem. Participants must be HGAC residents, participate in evening programming as well as a community mentorship that allows the customer to implement the skills they learn in class.

-CSEP Tier II services provide on-going monitoring and support of Tier I “graduates” as they enter employment or vocational training.

-CSEP Tier III provides support and consultation to any customer with cognitive disabilities enrolled in a training program at HGAC.

-Group and individual therapy, assistive technology screening and training, and identification of compensatory strategies are available at all levels of the program.

Continue implementation of Articulation Agreements between the Commonwealth Technology Institute at HGAC and secondary schools to improve accessibility of post-secondary programs at HGAC to eligible high school students.

HGAC continues to expand the number of Articulation agreements between HGAC and secondary schools, as well as approved programs. Articulation agreements between secondary and postsecondary career schools allow students the unique opportunity to matriculate into postsecondary training with “advanced standing.” Although HGAC allows no more than 20% of programming to be completed via transfer of credit, in some programs, the equivalent of one term of programming can be awarded through advanced standing. Currently, HGAC has articulation agreements with Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School, Franklin County Career & Technology Center, Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center, and the Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center.

In partnership with the PaRC and other stakeholders, evaluate OVR expenses in support of post-secondary education and offer recommendations based on the findings.

OVR will provide the PaRC and other stakeholders, upon request, a list of expenditures in support of post secondary education services and be available to discuss any recommendations to either improve or expand these services.

GOAL III: IMPROVE AND INCREASE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES.

To increase the number of driver evaluation options. Attempts were made to utilize ARRA funds for the purpose of expanding the availability of evaluation and training equipment for OVR approved providers throughout the Commonwealth. These were unsuccessful due to Commonwealth procurement policies.

The Adaptive Driving Program located at the Hiram G. Andrews Center in Johnstown, PA was able to purchase new vehicles and adaptive equipment through the ARRA Funds to increase and improve adaptive driving evaluation and training services for OVR customers.

To increase the number of driver education opportunities.

Additional providers were added to OVR’s approved provider list for driver’s evaluation and training services. OVR staff also advocated for students with disabilities to receive driver education services as part of their “individualized education plan” when similar services are available to their non-disabled peers within their school district. OVR continues to provide information and referral services to students, their families and their school personnel for appropriate adaptive driving evaluation and training services. When appropriate and in accordance with current OVR policy, OVR sponsors students with disabilities in driver’s evaluation and training services.

The Driver’s Education Program at the Hiram G. Andrews Center offers students the opportunity to acquire a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license. Classroom instruction consists of 30 hours and behind the wheel training consists of 6 hours. The goal of the Driver Education program is to provide students with the skills, confidence, and attitude to safely participate in the highway transportation system. Having a valid PA driver’s license will enable students to participate in many activities such as education, recreation, employment, and social activities.

To continue and expand participation with transportation advocacy groups.

Local district office staff regularly participate in transportation advocacy efforts in conjunction with local Centers for Independent Living, Community Action Programs, and local Transportation Coalitions.

Other examples of increased transportation services include:

OVR staff participate in the 5310 Interdepartmental Task Force to review and score grant applications for non-profit organizations that have need to increase transportation opportunities for their clientele.

 

OVR established a goal of providing services to 1,650 individuals out of the $1,014,515 Title VI, Part B Funds distributed to Pennsylvania in FFY 2009. Progress to Date: During FFY 2010, OVR spent $1,007,656 in part to provide services to 2,621 people with disabilities. Of that number, 368 were placed in competitive employment, with 284 working 20 hours or more a week. OVR set a second goal to continue expansion of Supported Employment services to underserved populations such as rural areas, and to continue to increase successful outcomes for transition aged youth. Progress to Date: OVR’s efforts to reach rural areas and more transition youth have been fortified with a 5 year $2.5 million competitive award from the Department of Education that is projected to serve 3,500 youth over the term of the grant. The Pennsylvania Transition State Leadership Team will identify at least 10 sites, many in rural areas, to replicate a very successful Philadelphia OVR Project SEARCH, an employer driven program for students in their last year of high school. The second project, Post-ITT, which is already in place at the OVR Pittsburgh and Reading District Offices, provides youth in their junior and senior years with exposure to learning in a college setting. Youth earn college credit while attending classes on campus to get a more realistic view of college life. Assessments will take place to determine what assistive technology and accommodation needs the student may have.

 

All the standards and indicators were met or exceeded with the exception of one: Exceed the Federal Performance Indicator of 55.8% for persons exiting the program after receiving services who enter into employment.

GOAL I. INCREASE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

1. Exceed the number of employment outcomes from the previous year for persons exiting the program into competitive employment.

Progress to Date: OVR met this Indicator. The number of employment outcomes in FFY 2010 increased from the previous year by 154 (from 9,306 in 2009 to 9,460 in 2010).

2. Exceed the Federal Performance Indicator of 55.8% for persons exiting the program after receiving services who enter into employment.Progress to Date: OVR did not exceed this Indicator with an estimated performance level of 54.5%

The economy was a major factor. We served approximately 14, 000 more individuals in 2010 than we served in 2009. However, due to the economy, our successful closures did not significantly increase. Therefore, more cases were closed status 28 because people were unable to find suitable employment. Additionally, we had a significant turnover of counseling staff which inevitably leads to difficulty locating individuals when a new counselor takes over the caseload.

3. Exceed the Federal Performance Indicator of 72.6% for persons exiting the program into employment at or above the minimum wage.Progress to Date: OVR exceeded this Indicator with an estimated performance level of 92.5%

4. Exceed the Federal Performance Indicator of 62.4% for persons exiting the program into competitive or self-employment who have significant or most significant disabilities.

Progress to Date: OVR exceeded this Indicator with an estimated performance level of 100%5. Exceed the federal standard of .52 comparing the average hourly wage of customers with significant or non-significant disabilities placed in competitive employment to the average hourly wage for all workers in Pennsylvania. Progress to Date: OVR exceeded this indicator with an estimated performance level of .60

6. Exceed the Federal Performance Level comparing the difference between persons reporting self-support at referral and self-support at closure.

Progress to Date: OVR exceeded this Indicator. The estimated performance level was 53.97. Exceed the Federal Performance Level of a ratio of .80 of all persons exiting the program compared to persons exiting the program who are minorities.Progress to Date: OVR exceeded this Indicator with an estimated performance ratio of .87.

GOAL II. INCREASE/IMPROVE TRANSITION SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

1. Meet or exceed, from the previous year, the number of youth and young adults with disabilities (age 25 and younger) who receive services by September 30, 2010.

Progress to Date: OVR exceeded the previous year. The 2009 number was 30,985 and the 2010 number was 33,191.

2. Meet or exceed, from the previous year, the number of students with disabilities (age 25 and younger) who are successfully rehabilitated by September 30, 2010. Progress to Date: The number of youth with disabilities, age 25 or younger, who were successfully rehabilitated in 2009, it was 2,462. In 2010 it was 2,449. Since program outcomes fell short by less than one percent, changes in program activity are not warranted at this time.

 

PA OVR spent $290,257 on innovation and expansion activities in the preceding year.

Project: PA State Rehabilitation Council (PaRC) Support Services

Support: Contract to United Cerebral Palsy of Central PA (UCP) - Camp Hill, PA

Funding: $290,257

In addition to funding PaRC staff support (UCP), OVR used ARRA funds to conduct several I&E projects across the state including but not limited to employment readiness for individuals with Aspergers, job coaching in rural communities, and employment readiness for individuals with autism.

This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 2:46PM by sapabrauchlip

  • 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

OVR provides job coaching services to Pennsylvanians with disabilities through a network of community based providers. Services provided through these programs are described below:

Background

Beginning in the early 1980’s, the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) developed a system of job coaching services using a fee-for-service payment system. Initially, seventeen (17) providers of job coaching services were funded through a five (5) year, OSERS, Title III Supported Employment State Change Grant. The number of job coaching providers contracted with OVR has since grown to over 200. There are over 50 job coaching providers contracted specifically with the OVR Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services (BBVS) program. Job coaching services are now provided statewide and include time-limited and, to a much lesser degree, time-enduring services. In recent years, Pennsylvania OVR has expanded job coaching/supported employment services to include Transitional Employment through Club House programs for persons with significant mental health disabilities. Also, job coaching services have been provided on a broader basis since the late 1990’s to persons who are deaf by contracting with job coaching providers fluent in American Sign Language. OVR District Offices continue to work with other key state and private agencies, such as the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OHMSAS), the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), and the PA Department of Education (PDE). In addition, OVR partners with private community service providers to expand and develop all types of community integrated employment as defined by the individual needs of their customers.

OVR currently uses what is commonly known as the milestone job coaching method. OVR has termed its version Performance Based Job Coaching (PBJC) and has used this method of funding community based supported employment vendors since 1999. This format was based upon research completed by OVR in the mid 1990’s to determine best practices for SE service provision. The above listed format was reviewed in 2007 for effectiveness, but data was inconclusive as to the benefit of PBJC versus the previous method of funding job coaching services.

Quality Standards

OVR provides technical assistance and training for its staff through the use of seminars, conferences, and training programs. Job coaching services provided by community based service providers are reviewed every five years to look at relevance and costs related to such services. Additionally, OVR accesses resources from George Washington University’s (GWU) Region III Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center for continuous program and staff development.

Staff from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), OVR, and Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (PARF) developed statewide standards for OVR and providers of job coaching services. These standards continue to guide all contracts and contract reviews for provision of job coaching services. The standards are as follows:

1. The population to be served:

  • Individuals served are those eligible for the State/Federal vocational rehabilitation program.
  • Targeted individuals are persons with disabilities needing services to obtain, retain, or prepare for employment that is consistent with their capacities and abilities.
  • The job coaching program is responsive to customer needs and to the employment opportunities available in the community.

2. Outcomes for Job Coaching Program Participants:

  • Job coaching programs provide effective options for persons with disabilities. These options include competitive employment within the community and not in a rehabilitation facility unless the facility is an affirmative industry. An affirmative industry is one in which non-disabled and disabled populations are integrated and all employees are earning above minimum wage.
  • The program encourages, promotes, and provides for integration in the work force.
  • Acquired skills challenge the potential to be productive as defined by the employer and employment market.
  • The number of hours worked by the participants should be the maximum hours possible based upon the unique strengths, resources, interests, concerns, abilities and capabilities of individuals with the most severe disabilities. The maximum number of employee benefits possible must be sought as well. A competitive employment situation is the intended result, and ideally it is a position that is full-time with benefits and provides the best opportunity for independence.

3. The Job Coaching Provider Organization:

  • The provider mission statement is consistent with the planned services.
  • There is evidence that the provider has the ability to deliver industry integrated vocational rehabilitation services.
  • The provider demonstrates prior experience or otherwise presents the capability to deliver services, such as linkages with other services, adequate staff, training for staff, and other supports for staff, etc.
  • There is a process to measure and report the outcomes of services, e.g., automated or alternative method of service reporting and tracking.
  • There are job descriptions for all service provider staff.
  • Staff development is an integral part of the provider’s budget or annual plan. A provider may use its own staff for training purposes.
  • The provider demonstrates that persons with disabilities have a substantial role in the establishment of organizational policy and delivery of services.

4. The Service Design:

The provider presents for consideration:

  • Services
  • Staffing pattern that includes persons with disabilities
  • Model to be used
  • Integration
  • Linkage with OVR
  • Customer choice
  • Securing of training/employment
  • Retaining employment

OVR reviews, discusses, and works closely with the provider for mutually responsive programs. The OVR counselor is integral to customer progress, service delivery, and placement activities occurring in concert with the provider. A process is in place to measure and report the outcome of services.

5. Local Linkages:

The provider demonstrates a knowledge and ability to build and/or maintain, or develop linkages with other ancillary services in the community, e.g., CareerLinks (One Stop Centers), the PA Department of Education, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (OHMSAS) and Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) services, Drug and Alcohol Single County Authorities (SCA), Office of Long Term Living (OLTL), Chamber of Commerce, schools, and other extended service agencies and organizations.

Scope and Extent

Job coaching services provided to individuals include: evaluations, skills training, job modification, transportation services, coordination of ancillary services, advocacy and socialization skills, among others. All services are provided on an individual basis and are tailored to the individual’s needs to achieve a vocational goal.

Pennsylvania has established local mechanisms through which funding for intensive training and extended services is available for all eligible populations. Populations receiving job coaching include persons with: developmental disabilities, mental illness, physical disabilities, including those who receive attendant care, blindness, deafness, autism and traumatic brain injury, etc. Supported employment services are also available, but limited, within the special education, mental health and developmental disability systems.

Additionally, the Office of Long Term Living (OLTL) supports individuals who require attendant care for assistance in funding long-term employment supports. OLTL is in the process of consolidating its programs and updating them to meet the needs of their customers. It is hoped that customers of OVR who are also receiving attendant care services from OLTL can also receive long-term employment supports from that agency as well.

In Pennsylvania, four major sources of extended service funding are available to ensure availability to all populations—ODP, OMHSAS, OLTL, and the OVR State General Fund.

Actual funding available from OHMSAS and ODP varies from county to county depending on each county’s situation. Other resources sought for extended service funding are natural supports, SSA work incentives, private foundations, etc. In spite of OVR’s best efforts, certain populations are underserved in Pennsylvania’s supported employment initiative; e.g., persons with mental illness, persons who are deaf, persons with traumatic brain injury, and those requiring attendant care.

For FFY 2010-2011, OVR funded supported employment services to 2,621 persons. Of that number, 368 were placed in competitive employment with 284 of those working 20 hours a week or greater. As OVR continues transition services to school age students with disabilities, supported employment will be further expanded to this population. OVR has received a 2.5 million dollar, five-year transition grant from RSA in FFY 2009. OVR has been funding Project SEARCH programs throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania from these funds. Project SEARCH has been working with individuals who are transition age and in many cases having multiple disabilities. This SE and education/employment program has allowed the aforementioned individuals to train for and gain employment in positions that would likely not be available without the Project SEARCH program in place.

Timing of the Transition to Extended Services

The timing of the transition of an individual with a disability to extended services is dependent upon the needs of the customer and the employer, and in many cases, available funding from OMHSAS and/or ODP and/or OLTL. Extended services may not be needed for the individual who has appropriate natural supports such as the employer, co-workers, family, and friends. However, in those cases where natural supports are missing or deficient for the needs of the employee, there is the need for extended services to be offered.

The determination of the need for extended services begins at the assessment stage of the vocational rehabilitation plan in order to ensure long-term employment success for the individual. First, OVR staff, the individual, and their family determine what resources are needed for long term supports. Then, this group determines what resources are available to meet this need. From this point on, OMHSAS and ODP, and other state funding sources are necessary partners for success, as they provide much of the long-term support funding for individuals with disabilities to maintain employment. Without the involvement of these agencies throughout the rehabilitation process, the individual would miss needed resources for long-term extended services. Due to the intensive and short term nature of OVR services, other funding sources must be involved to ensure long-term success for the worker with a disability. Additionally, other agencies’ involvement (funding and resources) will determine when the individual can best transition to extended services. The team of professionals, funding agencies and community resources that can be brought to bear on the long term needs of an individual with a disability will determine the best time for the OVR customer to transition to extended services. The sooner the team can be assembled and focused on supporting the customer, the better the transition to extended services will be as well.

This screen was last updated on Aug 4 2011 2:46PM by sapabrauchlip

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