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
Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation Division State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

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

1.2 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, the Vermont Agency of Human Services [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

Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services

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

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

Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Douglas Racine

Title of Signatory
Secretary Vermont Agency of Human Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/26/2011

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:

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Douglas Racine

Title of Signatory
Secretary Vermont Agency of Human Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/26/2011

* 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
Division 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. Yes

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.

4.2(c) Summary of Input and Activities

Cooperation and Coordination with the State Rehabilitation Council

The SRC and DVR continue to enjoy a collaborative working relationship. SRC members are invited to participate on various DVR planning and implementation committees. The DVR Director provides quarterly written and oral updates on programs, activities, and outcomes. In addition, DVR Program Managers, Regional Managers and field staff frequently make presentations to the full SRC and gather feedback and suggestions to improve services.

The SRC continues to be revitalized after a major turnover in membership in September 2007 and the hiring of a new coordinator in July 2007. The SRC is organized into the following subcommittees:

Performance Review: The Performance Review Subcommittee reviews DVR progress and performance in meeting the state plan goals and priorities. In FFY 10 the subcommittee focused the bulk of its efforts on the development of the Needs Assessment. The subcommittee reviewed and reported on data from each of the following sources:

• The DVR Consumer Satisfaction Survey

• The DVR Staff Satisfaction Survey

• The RSA Performance Indicators

• The DVR Employer Satisfaction Survey

The subcommittee also worked with the DVR Program Evaluation Unit to evaluate services and outcomes across DVR populations.

As part of the Needs Assessment process the SRC conducted site visits to all twelve DVR district offices. SRC members all went through the initial orientation and intake process at each office. They provided feedback on customer service and paperwork processes. This data was included in the Needs Assessment findings.

The data collection part of the Needs Assessment process was completed in December 2010. The final version of the DVR Needs Assessment was complete and submitted to RSA in March 2011.

Advocacy: The Advocacy Subcommittee focused on promoting the value of DVR services and employment for people with disabilities in the state. The committee focused on specific areas of interest such as work incentives for individuals receiving state/federal cash and healthcare benefits and the needs of youth in transition. In FFY 2010 the committee has focused on the following issues:

• The impact of state-level cuts in programs serving Vermonters with disabilities.

• The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefit Offset Pilot: The SSDI program includes a major disincentive to employment. Results from a four-state pilot study suggest policy change would result in more beneficiaries working at higher levels.

• The Vermont Medicaid for Working People with Disabilities program.

• Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act.

• Reauthorization of the Social Security Administration (SSA) Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Program (WIPA).

The Advocacy Subcommittee (in particular the Chair, Sam Liss) was instrumental in putting forward a bill to the Vermont State Legislature to improve the work incentives in the Medicaid for Working People with Disabilities program. The bill is currently under consideration. The Advocacy Committee also organized local visits with state legislators in partnership with local DVR offices in the spring of 2011.

Policy and Procedures: The Policy and Procedures Subcommittee is responsible for reviewing the entire VR Policy and Procedure manual on a three-year cycle including the spending guidelines. The subcommittee suggests changes to promote best practices, improve customer service and to ensure the manual is consistent with VR regulations. In the past year the committee has:

• Started a cycle of review of the complete policy manual including chapters covering confidentiality, application, certification, comparable benefits, informed choice, and order of selection;

• Started work on a new chapter covering services to groups; and

• Started a review of the SRC bylaws and recommended a number of changes to the full SRC.

Steering: The Steering Subcommittee consists of the chair of the SRC and the chairs of three subcommittees as well as the DVR liaison and director. The Steering Subcommittee organizes the work of the SRC as a whole.

The SRC provided input into the development of the state plan goals and priorities. Specifically they recommended the following:

Feedback from Public Meeting Held on June 14th 2011.

Comments submitted by Don Parrish, Vermont Client Assistance Program and DVR Responses

2. Coordination with Education Officials to Facilitate the Transition of Students with Disabilities from School to the Receipt of Vocational Rehabilitation Services p. 4

b. “DVR continues to have sixteen designated School Transition Counselors and a Senior Transition Counselor operating out of all twelve DVR District Offices.” It is unclear whether this means you have 16 counselors in each district office or you have 16 counselors for the State who are working out of the district offices.

DVR Response: DVR has a total of 16 transition counselors.

In the chart on page 4, it is interesting to note that Percent of All Rehabs is consistently lower than the Percent of All Served for youth age 14-24.

DVR Response: The percent of rehabs is lower for because some of these young people transition to the adult caseload when they turn 22. As a result the transition DVR counselors do not get credit for some rehabilitations.

Attachment 4.10: Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Chart on p. 6 Under what category does Supported Employment coordinator fall?

DVR Response: Special Program Coordinator

1st line under chart states that “DVR anticipates serving 10,010 consumers in FFY 2011, or 79 consumers for each FTE.” Although this may be an accurate statement, it might be misleading to some. If you consider the consumer/counselor ratio, the number is closer to 145 consumers for each FTE.

DVR Response: There are many valid ways to look at this data. Mr. Parrish’s calculation of the counselor to consumer ratio is also an important way to look at this data. It should be noted that in many cases VR consumers also receive services from contracted staff including VABIR employment consultants or supported employment staff.

2nd paragraph under chart claims that DVR has adequate capacity to meet the current need, even though counselors sometimes have “to perform administrative functions to cover for limited case aide capacity.” Even without performing administrative functions, I question whether counselor capacity is adequate. Vermont DVR has lost staff over the past few years due to budget constraints and the number of clients is larger than ever before. Despite efficiencies and new initiatives, which DVR excels at, counselors are expected to do more with less, and this can only lead to a reduction in quality of services provided.

In repeating my last year’s comments, I am concerned about the effect this is having on clients; having to wait longer periods between the time of referral and application, increased time frames between meetings with counselors, and delays in meeting their employment goal. Federal regulations require that determinations of eligibility, development of the individual plan for employment, or the provision of services not be delayed due to the number of clients being served. See 34 CFR 361.36

Without an increase in the number of counselors serving those eligible individuals, the delay will continue to increase, and the order of selection should be revisited and the priority categories should be revised to reflect the need to serve clients in a timelier manner.

DVR Response: DVR is interested in adding new DVR counselor positions and has done so when possible. We have added 6 counselor positions for the General Assistance project and will be adding two new counselor positions in 2011 in part to serve referrals through the Social Security Administration, Benefit Offset National Demonstration.

In addition, to date we have not seen any data to suggest DVR consumer services are being delayed. For example, we have not seen delays in individuals being found eligible or plan development. In addition our customer satisfaction ratings have increased despite some reduction in positions. However, we share Don’s concern about this issue and we plan to conduct a deeper analysis in the coming year of this issue with the SRC.

4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

p. 12 1st paragraph after bullets talks about “Not-so-secret-shopper,” to give SRC members the same experience as customers in the process of applying for services. Although a useful tool, it must be pointed out that the counselors knew who these SRC members were ahead of time, so there is a possibility the experience was not quite the same as with a client.

4.11(c)(1)

(1) State’s Goals and Priorities…

p.18 Chart No. 4 Under targets (b) survey of employers

It would be helpful to know how many employers were surveyed to get a better idea of what the percentages actually mean…how many employers in state, how many surveyed, etc.

DVR Response: This data is in the DVR/SRC Needs Assessment.

p. 19 Chart No. 7 Under goals and priorities

Youth not mentioned under bulleted populations, yet have Youth in Targets

DVR Response: The targeted youth include a cross section of the populations mentioned in the bullets.

The first five bulleted populations (column 1) have no targets for 2012.

Why are they considered a goal if they are not targeted?

DVR Response: Because there are no planned initiatives to measure. We want to continue to identify the need even if we do not have resources to address the need. Our intent is to continue to look for opportunities and resources to address the need.

4.11 (d) Strategies to Achieve the Goals and Priorities

Strategy 1

p.20 2nd paragraph 2nd bullet

VR should be applauded for changing to a performance based contracting for supported employment services. This is a very good thing.

Strategy 10

p. 24 1st bullet indicates there are more jobs than consumers. If this is the case, why are there so many 28 closures? According to VR statistics, approximately 30% of all closures are 28 closures. If there are more jobs than consumers, why do the numbers remain static?

DVR Response: The reason why individuals are closed in status 28 are varied and not always related to the availability of jobs. As noted in the planned strategies section, DVR is planning to conduct a comprehensive assessment of 28 closures to understand this issue in more detail.

Also it suggests that anecdotal reports indicate individuals with higher levels of training and education are not accessing VR services. There is also anecdotal evidence that suggests that those particular individuals have a difficult time accessing VR services and feel that VR is not capable of serving them.

DVR Response: DVR data suggests consumers with higher levels of education do very well in the program and achieve good outcomes. DVR plans targeted outreach to eligible individuals with higher education.

411 (e)2 Evaluation and reports of progress;…

Goal and Priority 6: All DVR staff will have the skills and competencies… p. 29 Actual Data for FFY 2010:

The 7% decrease (between 2007 and 2010) in staff reporting that they had enough information to do their jobs is disturbing and should be followed up on.

DVR Response: We agree. This decline maybe reflective of some increased turnover in senior counseling staff.

Goal and Priority 7: Increase capacity to serve un-served or underserved… p. 30 Actual Outcomes

The report states that an effort was initiated to provide case management services for individuals in the following five categories

• Individuals with measured IQs between 70 and 80

• Individuals with TBI

• Individuals with psychiatric disabilities

• Individuals in the Autism Spectrum range of disorders

• Individuals with other significant disabilities who require case management services

This is a very important need within the disability community.

It then goes on to state that the program was cut due to funding issues and there is no expectation to be able to implement it in the foreseeable future. As stated previously, this would have begun to address the issue of a substantial number of individuals with the most significant disabilities not being served, or served well, while Order of Selection Priority Category II and III individuals are receiving services. 34 CFR 361.36(a)(3)(iv) states in part that “the State plan must…assure that…individuals with the most significant disabilities will be selected first for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services…”

DVR Response: VR eligibility is not the issue with the populations targeted above. They are eligible for services under the current order of selection. The challenge is that many individuals need longer term support to maintain employment. The DVR program is by federal regulation time limited. Our efforts have been focused on identifying a source of long term case management supports to supplement VR services and ensure individuals maintain employment.

Goal and Priority 9: DVR will work to improve the outcomes of community-supported… p. 31 Actual FFY 2010 outcomes:

It is disheartening to see a decrease in status 26 closures below those of 2007. It is more disturbing to see the actual number of those working to have increased from SFY 2009 to SFY 2010 by only 36 individuals. If there were 170 individuals who were successfully closed in FY 2010, and the increase in those working from FY 2009 to FY 2010 is only 36, what happened to the other 134 individuals after working for at least 90 days?

Although it is understandable that figures may decrease during an economic downturn, it is difficult to understand the high number of successful closures that are not being sustained.

DVR Response: DVR agrees. This is why we have implemented performance based contracting and other strategies to address the issue.

Goal and Priority 10: DVR will work to improve outcomes… p. 33 FFY 2010 Outcomes

Again, it is disappointing to see the number of those “supported in employment” decreasing by over 30%. To decrease from 803 to 552 in five years is incredible. (See comments under Goal and Priority 9) The corrective actions taken by VR are commendable, but it is important that there is follow-through on this as the year progresses, especially on the issues of insufficient staff within the agencies and the recognition that “employment is critical to a person’s recovery.”

DVR Response: DVR agrees the decline is unacceptable. This is why we have implemented the corrective measures.

In general, Vermont’s VR does an incredible job in serving the disability community, especially relative to the different programs around the U.S. However, there are still areas that could stand improvement, and these are addressed in the comments above. But there are two areas that should have particular attention.

1. Despite claims that VR has adequate counselor capacity to meet the current need, there is at least anecdotal evidence to suggest that, although clients are being served, the timeliness of services, which affects the quality of services, has been eroded over the past several years due to cuts in staff and an increase in initiatives that VR has taken on. Re-allotment money has helped with these new initiatives, but the capacity of each counselor to serve an ever-expanding number of clients, can only increase so much through efficiencies. Even to sustain today’s level of effectiveness, it is critical that the number of counselors be increased, which would require a change in the hiring freeze by the State, and in turn, more funding directed to new hires.

Without an increase in the number of counselors serving those eligible individuals, the delay will continue to increase. Unless there is a concerted effort to provide more staff, the order of selection should be revisited and the priority categories should be revised to reflect the need to serve clients in a timelier manner.

DVR Response: DVR has increased the number of VR counselors. Six VR counselors were added as part of the General Assistance Program and two VR counselor positions were added to support the Social Security Administration, Benefit Offset National Demonstration. In addition, Vermont DVR has one of the highest per capita proportion of VR counselors in the nation.

Mr. Parrish refers to anecdotal evidence suggesting the quality of services has been eroded. However, the 2011 VR Consumer Satisfaction Survey indicated consumer satisfaction has increased since 2008 across almost all measures. Overall, consumer satisfaction has increased to 91%. In addition, despite the most challenging economy since the great depression DVR employment outcomes have increased.

Regardless, we take Mr. Parrish’s concerns seriously about staff workload and service quality. We agree we should monitor the timeliness of services and quality carefully.

2. Those individuals who do not qualify for supported employment services through a Designated Agency, or do not meet a priority category when found clinically eligible, are not being adequately served. The initiative to provide case management services for individuals under Goal and Priority 7, that was cut due to a lack of funding, could have begun to resolve the problem of substantial numbers of individuals with the most significant disabilities not being served, or served well, and should take priority when any new funding is available, including re-allotment money.

DVR Response: As noted earlier, the issue is long term support funding. We cannot use federal vocational rehabilitation funds to provide long term supports. Therefore we cannot use re-allotment funds for this purpose.

Submitted by Don Parrish

Client Assistance Program

June 2011

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2011 11:48AM by James Smith

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 30 2009 9:26AM by James Smith

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.

4.8(b) Cooperation and Coordination with Other Agencies and Other Entities

1. Cooperation with Agencies That Are Not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and Other Entities

The Vermont TANF agency, the Vermont Economic Services Division (ESD), has engaged in a variety of initiatives designed to meet federal requirements for work participation rates. One initiative is an ongoing contractual relationship with Vermont DVR to provide VR services for TANF participants with disabilities. A VR counselor is designated in each DVR office to work with a caseload of individuals presenting with multiple barriers to employment. In addition, each VR counselor in the Reach Up program works with a part-time Employment and Training Specialist who provides work readiness and follow-along services. The DVR Reach Up program utilizes an individualized service model that focuses on graduated steps to employment including job try-outs, supported volunteer placements, job shadowing and job coaches combined with incentives for completion. Several counselors facilitate or engage a facilitator to run groups such as job clubs, skills groups and self-empowerment groups. The varying approaches support participants in gradually increasing their work participation while learning how to overcome functional barriers.

Through a collaborative effort with DVR, ESD and Vermont Adult Learning staff, a progressive assessment system was developed to provide an individualized approach to assessment. Depending upon roles, all staff working in the broader Reach Up program have assessments available to screen for psychosocial barriers, work readiness, learning styles, achievement levels, substance abuse, etc.

DVR has engaged in a partnership with ESD to serve Vermonters receiving ongoing General Assistance benefits. A DVR counselor is designated in each DVR region to serve GA customers with disabilities. In addition to counseling staff, each region has a dedicated Employment and Training Specialist to process ongoing GA benefits and provide assistance in work search, job placement and follow along activities.

Vermont DVR has been assisting individuals to apply for Social Security disability benefits for the past decade. Assistance has focused on individuals with very severe disabilities, often undiagnosed and untreated, that prevent them from being successful in employment. The goal is to assist those with severe disabilities to receive a more stable source of support that allows them to pursue treatment options that may lead to reengagement with DVR to work on employment goals. Populations being served are those receiving TANF benefits, those on DVR caseloads, offenders exiting prison, and individuals receiving General Assistance, an emergency benefit program for individuals with medical and other barriers to employment.

In FFY 10, 340 individuals across all four population groups were successful applicants for Social Security disability benefits. The Department for Children and Families recently awarded VR funding for two additional positions to support this work on behalf of persons receiving General Assistance due to the success of this program and the high number of chronic recipients of General Assistance who have severe disabilities but because of homelessness and lack of treatment have been unable to work. Disability benefits will allow these people the stability they need to engage in rehabilitation and employment.

In addition to Social Security assistance, DVR serves offenders with disabilities to achieve employment. Employment is a critical component to prevent recidivism and to assist offenders released from prison to successfully reenter their communities. DVR has designated DVR Counselors in each district office to serve as a single point of contact for the Department of Corrections.

Currently there is one Offender Reentry Employment Specialist based in Burlington who is dedicated to employment assistance to offenders with disabilities. Jointly funded by VR and the Department of Corrections, this specialist runs employment groups and does one-on-one job placement for individuals exiting jail or who are on probation. In partnership with the VT Association of Business, Industry and Rehabilitation (VABIR), five additional employment specialists have been hired who will replicate this work in Barre, St. Johnsbury, Rutland, Bennington, and Springfield. Procedures for referral and service provision are being developed and individualized for each community and include partners such the Community High School of VT, which will provide pre-vocational and job readiness services; Probation and Parole; Community Justice Centers; Reach Up; VR; and other organizations such as housing programs that are funded to assist offenders. Individuals with disabilities and individuals with correctional histories intersect in the VR population as well as Reach Up, General Assistance, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. The new Offender Reentry Employment Specialists will provide job placement and support services and will sit on their local Creative Workforce Solutions teams to coordinate employer outreach.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2011 11:50AM by James Smith

  • 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.

2. Coordination with Education Officials to Facilitate the Transition of Students with Disabilities from School to the Receipt of Vocational Rehabilitation Services a. Although the Career Start Project funding ended September 2007, DVR continues to work with multiple local and State-level education and human services partners on transition issues for youth with disabilities. The Career Start Committee, comprised of a variety of partners including high level staff from DOL, DOE, DS, parenting and community groups, among others, is convened by DVR and continues to meet quarterly. This group continues to implement the action steps described in their “white paper”: Successfully Transitioning Vermont’s Youth with Disabilities from High School to Employment, Further Education and Independent Living (created September 2006). b. DVR continues to have sixteen designated School Transition Counselors and a Senior Transition Counselor operating out of all twelve DVR District Offices. These counselors work directly with all of Vermont high schools plus a variety of technical centers, and alternative and independent schools. Since 1999, the number of transition-aged youth served by DVR has increased by almost 85%. Transition Counselors have dedicated caseloads and they meet with students in their local high schools, sometimes beginning as early as their freshman year, and focus on both short and long-term goals. Counselors also serve as a community resource to the schools, they collaborate with interagency partnerships, and they work as catalysts for change to improve the transition process for youth with disabilities.

Youth age 14 - 24 served* and achieved a successful employment outcome since 2002:

Youth Percent of Youth Percent of

FFY Served All Served Rehabs All Rehabs

2000 831 22% 213 19%

2001 973 24% 260 22%

2002 1,224 25% 285 23%

2003 1,405 26% 307 23%

2004 1,534 28% 349 26%

2005 1,633 29% 371 26%

2006 1,672 30% 399 27%

2007 1,687 31% 394 27%

2008 1,895 34% 461 30%

2009 2,121 34% 451 30%

2010 2,338 34% 454 30%

*"Served" is defined as having an open case with an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) during the year (this does not include individuals in referral or application status). c. Core Transition Teams, composed of both education staff and adult agency/community representatives, work at the local level to develop, provide, and manage an effective transition process for students with disabilities who are at least 14 years old and may need “transition services” involving interagency partners. These Teams identify available resources and supports pertaining to individual student needs and desires for life after high school. They attempt to resolve individual and systems issues that prevent effective transitions. There are presently active Core Transition Teams in every region. These Teams are generally convened by the DVR Transition Counselors. A third annual Core Transition Team statewide conference took place in May, 2009. d. The DVR Director and staff meet quarterly with the Special Education Director (Vermont Department of Education - DOE) and staff to coordinate the annual Core Transition Team event stated above, to discuss support and collaboration regarding improvement for Indicators 13 and 14, and to stay coordinated on other transition issues. DOE Transition staff provide technical assistance to the DVR Transition Counselors, and the DVR Transition Counselors coordinate information and education with schools in their local service areas. e. Both DVR and DOE staff are members of the ongoing Youth in Transition (YIT) State Team that is sponsored by the Agency of Human Services (AHS) to coordinate transition services between AHS, DOE and the Vermont Department of Labor (DOL). This group has been meeting for about two years and is providing input to the policy makers in each agency. Additionally, DVR staff is assisting in implementation of a 5-year SAMHSA grant awarded to the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to focus on creating a system of care for transition-aged youth with emotional and behavioral disturbances (EBD). f. Financial responsibilities for services provided to students with disabilities are addressed in the Interagency Agreement between the Agency of Human Services and the Department of Education as signed in June 2005. That agreement states that, “For eligible students, DVR will pay for services to the extent that funds are available at the time the services are needed, including assistive technology services and devices, that are identified in an approved IPE in keeping with DVR’s order of selection for services that: i. are consistent with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and implementing regulations including but not limited to 34 C.F.R. §361.53; the IDEA, including but not limited to 34 C.F.R. §§300.5, 300.6, 300.347(b), and 300.348; the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, PL 108-364; and Vermont State Plan; and ii. promote or facilitate the accomplishment of vocational rehabilitation goals and any intermediate rehabilitation objectives identified in the student’s IPE to ensure the student’s successful transition to employment, post-secondary education, or training within 12 months of the student’s exit from school.”

The Department of Education remains responsible for ensuring a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for all students with disabilities. The Agreement goes on to state: “The IDEA does not limit the responsibility of non-educational agencies from providing or paying for some or all of the costs of FAPE to children with disabilities. However, this shall not be construed to expand or otherwise alter state and/or federal law requirements imposed on any non-education agency.”

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2011 11:51AM by James Smith

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

3. Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-Profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers

DVR maintains Social Security Administration, Ticket to Work cooperative agreements with most of the private non-profit employment service providers in the state. Agreements exist with all the community mental health and developmental services agencies. In the spring of 2008 DVR negotiated a new Ticket to Work cooperative agreement with the agencies in anticipation of the new regulations anticipated to be published later that year. The new agreement has been in place since July 1, 2008 and has generated a lot of interest from providers. We anticipate the Ticket will generate significant new revenue for supported employment services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2009 9:26AM by James Smith

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.

4. Evidence of Collaboration Regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services

In FY 2010 DVR will fund 36 programs serving people with developmental disabilities, people with significant mental illness, youth with emotional/behavioral disabilities, and people with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Title VI-B funds account for about $294,000 and about $2 million a year is provided by Section 110 funding. Supported Employment Projects fund direct on-site and off-site supports for people with significant disabilities engaged in real, competitive work. The employment rate for customers who receive both DVR and mental health services is more than twice the rate of those who receive only mental health services. According to RSA data, Vermont’s rate of placements in supported employment is almost five times the national mean.

DVR has a well established agreement with the Vermont Division of Disability and Aging Services (DDAS) to provide extended services for individuals with developmental disabilities. The primary source of funding for extended services for individuals with developmental disabilities is Home and Community-based Medicaid Waiver funds. In addition, DVR also has a well established agreement with the Department of Mental Health to provide extended services for adults with significant mental illness. The primary source of funding for individuals with severe mental illness is the Community Rehabilitation and Treatment (CRT) Case Rate funding.

For individuals with other disabilities, no state funding for extended services exists in Vermont. As a result there are limited options for providing extended services for individuals with brain injuries, sensory disabilities, severe learning disabilities and other disabilities. There are some limited options to use Social Security Administration, Impairment Related Work Expenses or Plans to Achieve Self Support. However, these options are only feasible in a small minority of cases.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2009 9:27AM by James Smith

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Attachment 4.10: Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development

(1) Qualified personnel needs

A. DVR has a total of 129 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff positions. The Division operates using a matrix management structure headed by the Division Director. The breakdown of staff is in the following table:

DVR anticipates serving 10,010 consumers in FFY 2011, or 79 consumers for each FTE.

DVR believes we have adequate DVR counselor capacity to meet the current need. The primary area of need for additional staff is for case aides and administrative support in the district offices. The expansion of new programs and the increase in consumers served has placed increased pressure on these positions. Some districts have a single case aide, which can result in a bottleneck around administrative functions. In addition, VR counseling staff sometimes have to perform administrative functions to cover for limited case aide capacity. We hope to add case aide capacity in the coming year.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Division Director 1 0 1
2 Senior Managers 4 0 1
3 VR Counselors 71 5 15
4 Benefits Counselors 7 0 2
5 Case Aides and Administrative Support 17 1 3
6 EAP Manager and Staff 6 0 1
7 Special Project Coordinators 6 1 1
8 Program Evaluation and Operations Staff 3 0 0
9 Business Account Managers 3 0 0
10 Assistive Technology Manager and Staff 5 1 1

 

(2) Vermont has no accredited graduate school offering a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. To meet the Comprehensive System for Professional Development (CSPD) standards, a counselor needs either a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or a master’s degree in a related field plus completion of four additional core rehabilitation courses.

The percentage of our current counselors having completed the CSPD dropped slightly from last year to 69 %. This is primarily because we added 6 new counselors through the General Assistance program as well as normal attrition.

Assumption College had a total of 41 students who graduated in 2010 with a master’s or CAG degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. These graduates would be qualified to fill counseling vacancies without additional coursework. Vermont has attempted to recruit students who received a master’s or CAG degree in a related field such as Social Work, Special Education, School Guidance, Mental Health Counseling, or Community Mental Health Services from New England colleges. All of these graduates could be candidates for counseling vacancies if they are willing to complete the four core courses.

In the spring of 2011, three counselors completed their graduate programs at the following institutions: Assumption College (2), and Johnson State College (1). Seven counselors have a master’s degree in a related field and they are in the process of taking the four core courses. Two counselors are in the lowest priority category due to disability, having been granted ADA accommodations for graduate study allowing them to audit the four core courses rather than to take them for graduate credit.

The following is a breakdown of the educational plans for DVR staff. These plans fall into a four-category system, based on the availability of existing financial resources.

Category one: Current staff who meet the highest standards for education and/or certification.

Forty-eight (48) counselors have either obtained their CRC, a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, or a master’s degree in Counseling or a closely related field, and have met requirements for their core courses.

Category two: Staff who do not yet meet the highest standards and are currently enrolled in an approved graduate or undergraduate program.

Four (4) counselors are enrolled in graduate programs in rehabilitation counseling or related fields. Those who finish their graduate programs in related fields will also have to take the four core courses if they are not included in their current curriculum.

Category three: Staff who have graduate degrees in counseling or a related field are required to take four core courses in order to comply with the CSPD requirements. These courses are based on the course areas suggested by the CRC Commission. Since Vermont does not have a graduate program in Rehabilitation Counseling, it has been necessary to develop these courses via distance learning or through collaboration with Vermont colleges and Assumption College. The four course areas are: Medical or Psychological Aspects of Disability; Job Placement or Career Counseling; Vocational Assessment; and Foundations of Rehabilitation.

Seven (7) counselors have master’s degrees in counseling or a related field and need to take the four core courses. Because San Diego State University has an RSA long-term training grant and the program director there has made enrollment simple for non-matriculated students who only need to complete the 4 core courses and because staff who have completed SDSU courses report a high degree of satisfaction with the course content and because the courses are offered frequently, our counselors in this category are now exclusively using SDSU on-line courses. This is not required; they are free to enroll in the other RSA long-term grant-funded programs but they seem not to be well oriented toward the CSPD requirements.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Assumption College 1 1 2 0
2 Johnson State College 1 1 1 0
3 Springfield College 1 1 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

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

DVR has been able to fill counselor vacancies as they occur. State personnel policies require DVR to consider qualified applicants on the Reduction in Force list before other applicants. DVR advertises openings through the State recruitment system, through local newspapers, on-line on CareerBuilder.com and by listing openings through college placement services. Assumption College advertises counselor openings on their website http://www.rcep1.org/rehabjobs/index.php. Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf have been recruited by contacting specialized training organizations such as Gallaudet University.

DVR works with Assumption College, Johnson State College and Springfield College to provide educational programs to prepare people to become DVR counselors and to provide on-going education. These training opportunities are available and accessible to all counselors including those from minority backgrounds and those with disabilities. Vermont has a small but growing minority population. Consequently, DVR recruits regionally and nationally for counselors through the website run at Assumption College. This has led to an increase in our out-of-state applications.

To assist in recruiting candidates with disabilities, DVR has advertised openings through disability-related organizations such as the Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights, the Vermont Center for Independent Living, and the State Independent Living Council. We also encourage people we serve as VR consumers to apply for positions.

 

(c) Personnel Standards

The Division follows standards set forth in the Comprehensive System for Professional Development (CSPD). This prescribes a national standard for vocational rehabilitation counselor qualifications. This standard gives highest priority to counselors with a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. The second level of priority is for counselors with related degrees in social work, psychology, mental health counseling or special education. This group must complete four additional courses to meet the standard: Foundations of Rehabilitation, Career Counseling, Vocational Assessment, and Physical and Psychological Aspects of Disability. When unable to recruit qualified candidates that meet the two highest levels we hire counselors with Bachelor’s degrees and support their graduate training through our RSA training grant. Though not required by the Division nor by RSA, many of our counselors continue to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC) through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

In order to recruit counselors who meet the highest standard we advertise in the state’s two largest newspapers: The Burlington Free Press and the Rutland Herald/Barre Montpelier Times Argus. We also post openings in CareerBuilder.com. Positions are also posted in the TACE New England website. We have been able to receive inquiries about openings from around the country. In order to attract candidates from the graduate programs in counseling, social work and special education we regularly contact the graduate program directors of Vermont and neighboring state programs.

In order to provide graduate training for counselors with master’s degrees in related fields to meet the CSPD requirements we have been encouraging counselors to take advantage of on-line courses funded by RSA long-term training grants. This year counselors have found San Diego State University to be the easiest program in terms of frequency of course offerings and ease of enrollment. The timelines for meeting graduate training are written into the job specifications that all candidates have access to in the State of Vermont Department of Human Resources. Counselors are required to meet the standard within three years. All staff training information is stored on an Access database maintained by the Division’s Human Resource Administrative Assistant. Supervisors are given quarterly updates to monitor progress.

New counselors are also required to attend a six-day training program taught by the Human Resource Manager that reviews Vermont’s Policies and Procedures Manual. All staff are expected to attend training seminars produced by the Division and by TACE Center – New England. No specific requirement exists for the number of hours of training; however, supervisors address training expectations through employees’ annual performance evaluations.

In addition to counselors, there are other groups of employees that share similar expectations for on-going training: Human Services Case Aides and Employment Consultants. These employees often work closely with our consumers and are expected to provide a high level of customer service. Their work is supervised by a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. The Employment Consultants also receive training through the local TACE Center – New England based out of the University of Massachusetts and Assumption College.

The DVR Benefits Counselors receive ongoing training and support provided by a Project Coordinator. The local Social Security Administration (SSA) Area Work Incentives Coordinator provides quarterly trainings to the Benefits Counselors on a variety of SSA Work Incentives issues. He is also available to provide consultation as needed around challenging cases or specific issues. SSA also provides training and technical assistance for benefits counselors through contracts with Cornell and Virginia Commonwealth University. DVR is the SSA Work Incentives Planning and Assistance grantee for the State of Vermont. The six Benefits Counselors working under that project are certified by SSA as Certified Work Incentive Counselors (CWIC). To achieve certification, Benefits Counselors must attend a week-long training and complete a comprehensive “take home” assignment that is evaluated by Virginia Commonwealth University staff.

 

(d) Staff development

In FFY 2010 DVR partnered with the TACE New England Center to offer the following trainings for VR counselors:

Functional Assessment in Vocational Rehabilitation: These trainings were offered three times over the course of the year. Over ninety staff attended the three sessions.

Ethics for Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals: These trainings were offered two times in FFY 10 and a total of sixty-eight staff attended.

Employment Services for People Dually Diagnosed with Substance Abuse/Alcoholism and Mental Illness: This training was offered once and attended by thirty-two VR staff.

In addition, we offered training in each of Vermont’s 6 regions on the basics of job coaching for our mental health and developmental disability supported employment programs through a contract with the University of Vermont Center on Disability and Community Inclusion.

Starting in FFY 2010, DVR started an ambitious effort to implement videoconferencing in all twelve districts and the VR central office. A major barrier to training is the time and expense involved in staff travel to a central location. For example, a counselor from the VR Bennington office would spend six hours of travel time to attend training at the VR Central Office. Videoconferencing will make training much more accessible to staff.

 

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs

The Agency of Human Services has a contract with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program for on-site interpretation and translation services. If an appropriate interpreter is not available, the Refugee Resettlement Program has a contract with Language Learning Enterprise Inc . in Washington D.C., which provides telephonic interpretation.

 

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

The DVR Director and other senior managers meet quarterly with the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Education and the Special Education Director to coordinate activities and trainings, especially around transition issues.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 8:23AM by James Smith

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.

4.11 (a) Statewide Assessment

Historically DVR and the SRC worked with an external contractor to conduct the Needs Assessment. The advantage of this approach was that DVR and the SRC got an external view of the organization. However, this approach had two primary disadvantages: first, available contractors often lacked a deep understanding of the DVR program. As a result, the findings were often superficial and general. The second disadvantage of this approach was that SRC members lacked involvement in the process. SRC members wanted the opportunity to review data directly and ask deeper questions.

For the 2011 Needs Assessment, DVR and the SRC decided to take a more “hands on” approach to the process. DVR collects data from a variety of sources on an ongoing basis and it was determined that DVR and the SRC could conduct a deeper assessment over time using these multiple sources. Rather than conducting a one-time assessment, DVR and the SRC used the data sources it routinely reviews as the basis for the needs assessment. This has allowed for a more comprehensive review of need in the state.

METHODOLOGY

In late fall 2009 the SRC Performance Review Committee in partnership with James Smith, the DVR Budget and Policy Manager, developed a work plan for the Needs Assessment. As a first step the group identified the available sources of process and outcome data they wanted to review over a year period.

The following outlines the data sources reviewed:

Consumer Satisfaction Survey

• Phone Survey of 700 DVR consumers.

• Collected every two years to allow DVR to measure trends.

• Provides direct customer feedback from a large sample.

• Individual comments as well as ranked responses.

• Includes supported employment consumers.

• Speaks directly to “rehabilitation needs” of persons with disabilities.

Employer Satisfaction Survey

• Phone survey of 300 employers.

• To be collected every two years to allow DVR to measure trends.

• Provides direct employer feedback from a large sample.

• Individual comments as well as ranked responses.

• Speaks to employer perspective of DVR and VABIR services.

DVR Employee Satisfaction Survey

• Survey of all VR staff. Focused on staff morale, communication, working conditions, etc.

• Provides information on challenges and opportunities faced by DVR staff in providing services.

• Will provide data on operational issues such as resources, caseload size, etc.

RSA Standards and Indicators

• VR consumer outcome data measured against six federal standards.

• Basic measures of VR outcomes according to the federal standards.

• If VR is not meeting or marginal with any of the standards, it should be addressed in the needs assessment.

DVR Program Evaluation Team

• Program Evaluation Unit (PEU) has the capability to run data queries for the SRC on a range a questions not covered by the RSA Standards and Indicators.

• PEU can collect data on longer-term employment outcomes, population estimates (not served by VR), numbers served across programs (VR, DOL, corrections, etc.).

* Comparison of services and outcomes across populations served by the program.

• Long-term employment outcomes, post-VR closure.

• Assess eligible population and potential unmet need (e.g. proportion of SSA disability beneficiaries served by VR).

• General population estimates using census and other data.

The SRC Performance Review Subcommittee then assigned review of the data from each of the above categories to a smaller task group. Each task group consisted of SRC members and DVR staff. The task groups reviewed the data and developed a task group report they then submitted to the larger Performance Review Committee. This work was completed between January 2010 and October 2010.

In June 2010 the Performance Review Committee developed a list of additional research questions/areas of interest to be submitted to the DVR Program Evaluation Unit. The Program Evaluation Unit researched these questions/areas of interest through the summer and fall of 2010. These questions/areas of interest included the following:

• DVR services for individuals who are minorities including: o Access to the program o Outcomes

• DVR services for veterans: o Access to the program o Outcomes

• Outcome comparisons across different disability groups: o Individuals with psychiatric disabilities o Individuals with developmental disabilities o Individuals with physical disabilities o Individuals with traumatic brain injuries

• Access to services and outcomes for individuals with Alcohol/Substance Abuse/Dependence disorders.

• Employment outcomes for DVR consumers with post-secondary degrees.

• Supported Employment Services: o Supported Employment Services for Adults with Mental Illness o Supported Employment Services for Adults with Developmental Disabilities o Unmet need for supported employment services for individuals who do not meet MH and DD eligibility criteria for services.

• Overall impact of the DVR program on the total estimated population of eligible Vermonters: o Access to services o Outcomes

• Current and projected needs for services given the aging population in Vermont. o Will DVR have more or fewer applicants? o What will the impact be on the order of selection?

In addition to the above research, the SRC conducted “Not-so-secret shopper” visits to each of the twelve DVR District Offices. SRC members came as VR customers to experience the process a new customer would go through applying for services. The process data from those visits is also included in the findings.

SUMMARY OF MAJOR FINDINGS

The SRC Performance Review Subcommittee and the DVR Implementation Team (I Team), consisting of a mix of DVR field staff, managers and central office staff, reviewed all the findings from the Needs Assessment. It is important to note both groups agreed the Needs Assessment demonstrated that the Vermont DVR program is a remarkably effective program with exceptional outcomes. The fact alone that Vermont DVR increased employment outcomes in 2010 during the worst recession since the 1930’s is one indicator of that fact. However, it is also important for continuous improvement that any program look at and attempt to address areas of need.

The two groups went through a process of assessing and prioritizing the needs for the purpose of strategic planning. We felt it important that we prioritize findings to help guide DVR management and the strategic planning process. The two teams identified the following areas as the major findings of the needs assessment:

The numbering of the following items do not reflect any particular ranking.

[1] The Need to Improve Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Mental Illness

The assessment revealed that individuals with mental illness have a lower rate of employment than other disability groups. Two major factors were identified as contributing to this finding:

• The significant decline in employment outcomes and rate in the community mental health, Community Rehabilitation and Treatment (CRT) supported employment programs. The employment rate in this system has dropped from 26% in 2006 to 16% in 2010.

• The lack of ongoing case management supports for adults with mental illness who do not qualify for adult mental health services. Many individuals with mental illness are unable to retain employment because of lack of case management support in the community. DVR counselors identify between 200 and 400 applicants with mental illness per year who fall into this category.

[2] The Need to Evaluate “Unsuccessful” (status 28) Closures

Both the SRC and the I Team felt that DVR should conduct an evaluation of status 28 closures. Both groups had lots of questions about the implication of 40% of the post-plan closures being status 28 closures. Among the questions were:

• What percentage of the status 28 closures is the result of factors unrelated to the effectiveness of the DVR program? For example, the individual becomes employed and feels no need to stay in contact with their DVR counselor.

• For those individuals who do not become employed, are there specific barriers or needs that DVR should attempt to address?

• How much does DVR spend on individuals closed in a status 28 compared to status 26?

[3] The Need to Engage Veterans with Disabilities, Especially Those Not Eligible for the VA VR Program

Data from the needs assessment suggests veterans are less likely to access the DVR program than eligible non-veterans. This is consistent with anecdotal reports from field staff that eligible veterans are reluctant to access the DVR program. This data suggests DVR should continue and intensify its efforts to engage veterans including outreach to veterans organizations, partnering with the VA VR programming, and partnering with the Department of Labor veterans staff.

[4] The Need to Expand Employer Outreach and Marketing Efforts

The employer satisfaction survey indicated that a substantial portion of employers were unfamiliar with DVR or VABIR, our primary community rehabilitation partner. Even for employers with whom DVR does have a relationship, it appeared that program engagement was often inconsistent. Based on the survey it appears that DVR and VABIR need to:

• Have more consistent routine contact with employers with whom we have a relationship.

• Conduct more outreach to employers who are not current clients of VABIR and DVR.

It is important to note that this data was collected before DVR implemented a major initiative, Creative Workforce Solutions (CWS), to improve and expand employer outreach. CWS includes the creation of:

• Eleven (11) Business Account Managers focused on employer outreach.

• The formation of inter-agency employer outreach teams at the local level to coordinate job development efforts across programs.

• The implementation of Salesforce, an account management software system designed to track employer outreach.

It will be interesting to see the impact of these efforts on future survey results. Regardless, we expect employer outreach to be a major focus of DVR efforts for the next three years.

[5] The Need to Improve Outcomes for DVR Consumers with Alcohol/Substance Abuse Dependence/Abuse Disorders

Data from the VR 911 clearly illustrated that VR consumers with alcohol or substance abuse/dependence disorders are increasingly less likely to get to plan status and when they do, they are increasingly less like to achieve their employment goal. Field experience mirrors the data findings for this population. VR counseling staff consistently report that alcohol and substance abuse/dependence disorders present the most significant barriers to employment. This clearly needs to be an area of focus for DVR in the coming three years.

[6] The Need to Assess the Impact of DVR Support of Post-Secondary Education Services

DVR data revealed that individuals served by the program with post-secondary degrees are more likely to achieve an employment outcome and earn more money than individuals with high school diplomas or less. However, what is less clear is the impact of DVR investment in post-secondary education. A high proportion of case service funds are invested in this service but DVR has never conducted a formal evaluation of the impact this service.

[7] The Need to Communicate Clearly to VR Applicants Regarding their Expectations of DVR Services and Continue to Work on Improving Communication Between DVR and DVR Consumers

Feedback from the 2008 DVR consumer satisfaction survey was overwhelmingly positive. For consumers who did have complaints about the DVR program two themes emerged from the 2008 and prior surveys. These themes appeared to relate to the consumer’s expectations about what the DVR program can and cannot provide and to ongoing communication between the DVR counselor and the consumer.

DVR has made a number of efforts to help give consumers a clear picture of what DVR can provide and what are the limitations of the program. This has included efforts to provide improved and more consistent orientation to the program. In addition, in response to the 2008 survey DVR established some expectations for staff around communication between staff and consumers, for example minimum expectations for the time it takes to return phone calls.

DVR is presently conducting the 2011 survey. It will be very interesting to see any movement in the above areas. It is important to note that in 2009 DVR lost 15% of its staff. This may have an impact on consumer satisfaction, especially on responsiveness of staff given the loss of capacity.

[8] The Need to Establish Case Management Supports for DVR Consumers Who Are Not Eligible for Community Mental Health or Developmental Services

Based on the reporting from VR counselors, about 700 individuals per year who are found eligible for the VR program need some kind of ongoing case management support. The DVR 2007 Needs Assessment identified this as a major area of need. Despite substantial efforts since the 2007 Needs Assessment DVR has not been able to put in place case management supports for non-CRT or non-DDAS consumers. In 2008 a pilot project to put these services in place in six sites was shelved because of the fiscal crisis. As a result this gap in the service system remains an ongoing challenge for the VR program.

Populations identified as needing these supports are:

• Adults with mental illness who are not eligible for community mental health services

• Adults with developmental disabilities who are not eligible for developmental services

• Adults on the autism spectrum who are not eligible for developmental services

• Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

• Adults with physical disabilities

[9] The Need to Increase Consumer Earnings

Even though the DVR data on the RSA Performance Indicator 1.5 was well above the federal standard, the I Team felt DVR should always endeavor to increase consumer earnings. The average hourly earnings at closure in 2009 were $11.24 per hour, which compares to the Vermont “Livable Wage” of $16.75 for a single person.

The I Team was interested in looking at the impact of funding short-term training leading to certification in specific fields (e.g. LNA, CDL). DVR used ARRA funds to support a significant expansion in these training options. This presents an ideal opportunity to assess whether investment in these types of training will result in higher wage employment.

[10] The Need to Outreach to Eligible Individuals Who are Non-English Speakers

While the numbers are relatively small, the census data clearly indicated DVR is under-serving this population. DVR should explore strategies to engage eligible non-English speakers and community organizations representing this population.

[11] The Need to Streamline and Automate Case Work and Financial Processes for DVR Staff and Consumers

The results of the staff satisfaction survey suggest staff are struggling with managing the paperwork and administrative processes associated with providing services. Given that the Division is operating with reduced staff and increasing numbers of customers, it is important DVR examine how to streamline processes.

In addition, SRC members, as a result of their “not-so-secret shopper” visits, reported that they felt DVR paperwork requirements were burdensome for consumers. They suggested DVR review all required paperwork processes and eliminate or streamline redundant processes.

The Vermont Needs Assessment also included an assessment of the vocational rehabilitation service needs of individuals who are unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program. Among the individuals indentified in the needs assessment as unserved or underserved are:

* Adults with mental illness who are not eligible for community mental health services

• Adults with developmental disabilities who are not eligible for developmental services

• Adults on the autism spectrum who are not eligible for developmental services

• Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

• Adults with physical disabilities

* Veterans with disabilities

* Adults with alcohol and substance abuse/dependence disorders

* Adults with disabilities for who are non-English speakers.

As a result of the Needs Assessment DVR is planning a number of strategies to outreach and/or improve services to these groups. These strategies are laid out in Attachment 4.11 (D).

The Needs Assessment did not not generate any significant findings regarding about individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system (primarily the Department of Labor in Vermont). However, DVR and the Vermont Department of Labor signed a Memorandum of Agreement in the Spring of 2010 committing the two agencies to develop operational guidelines for serving joint consumers. This operational agreement will include implementation of coordinated employer outreach and implementation of a continuum of progressive employment options with VR and WIA funds. We believe that strong engagement with DOL will result in more individuals with disabilities being served through that system.

The Needs Assessment also looked at the need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs in the state of Vermont. In the Vermont context the community rehabilitation programs consist of the following:

* Fourteen community mental health and developmental disability agencies that provide supported employment services.

* One community rehabilitation program, the Vermont Association of Business, Industry and Rehabilitation (VABIR).

The Needs Assessment clearly found that the supported employment programs serving individuals with severe mental illness had experienced a significant decline in emplyment outcomes. This is clearly a priority area for improvement. DVR in partnership with the Department of Mental Health has committed to some significant improvement initiatives outlined in 4.11 (D).

VABIR is responsible for the bulk of employer outreach for DVR and for the Creative Workforce Solutions initiative. As noted earlier, the employer satisfaction survey indicated that a substantial portion of employers were unfamiliar with DVR or VABIR. It is imprtant to note these results pre-dated the Creative Workforce Solutions intiative which has invested significant new VR and VABIR resources in employer outreach. However, this is clearly an area for improvement that VR and VABIR have identified and developed strategies to address as outlined in 4.11 (D).

This screen was last updated on Aug 19 2011 4:06PM by James Smith

4.11(b) Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Services

1. Based on 2008 Census Bureau information, DVR estimates that there are 51,195 Vermonters between the ages of 16 and 64 with a disability. All of these people are potentially eligible for services under this Plan.

2. An estimated 10,635 individuals will receive services in FFY 2011 with funds provided under either Part B of Title I of the Act or under Part B of Title VI. Since DVR operates under an Order of Selection for Services, it is anticipated that 9,643 Priority Category 1 customers will be served; 818 Priority Category 2 customers; and as many as 17 Priority Category 3 customers.

3. Total costs to serve individuals in all three categories will be approximately $17,900,592 . Estimated costs of services for each category are:

Title I Title VI-B

Priority Category 1 $16,466,904 $294,000

Priority Category 2 $1,379,056 $0

Priority Category 3 $54,632 $0

TOTALS $17,900,592 $294,000

The following table shows the number of individuals served in the past two years and the number DVR anticipates serving during the current and next fiscal years:

FFY 2009 Actual

Category 1

Served 8,771

Rehabs 1,311

Category 2

Served 819

Rehabs 165

Category 3

Served 43

Rehabs 4

Total Served 9,633

Total Rehabs 1,480

FFY 2010 Actual

Category 1

Served 9,024

Rehabs 1,349

Category 2

Served 805

Rehabs 173

Category 3

Served 23

Rehabs 6

Total Served 9,852

Total Rehabs 1,528

FFY 2011 Projected

Category 1

Served 9,643

Rehabs 1,354

Category 2

Served 818

Rehabs 180

Category 3

Served 17

Rehabs 6

Total Served 10,478

Total Rehabs 1,540

FFY 2012 Projected

Category 1

Served 10,085

Rehabs 1,342

Category 2

Served 807

Rehabs 198

Category 3

Served 2

Rehabs 2

Total Served 10,894

Total Rehabs 1,542

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Priority Category I Title I $16,466,904 9,643 $1,707
Priority Category I Title VI $294,000 181 $1,624
Priority Category II Title I $1,379,056 818 $1,685
Priority Category III Title I $54,632 17 $3,213
Totals   $18,194,592 10,659 $1,706

This screen was last updated on Aug 19 2011 4:06PM by James Smith

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.

4.11 (c) Goals and Priorities

(1) State’s Goals and Priorities for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs.

FFY 2010 Goals and Priorities

Goal 1. Consumer satisfaction with DVR services will increase.

Measure: Biennial consumer satisfaction survey.

Target: DVR will maintain overall consumer satisfaction at or above the 91% level in 2011 survey in the 2013 survey.

Goal 2. Consumer earnings will increase beyond the rate of inflation.

Measures: RSA Performance Indicator 1.5 (DVR wages compared to state average) and 1.6 (own income as primary source of support).

Targets: 1.5: DVR consumer wages will increase from 62% in 2010 of state average to 64% of state average in 2012. 1.6: DVR will increase the percentage of consumers achieving self support from 43.9% in 2010 to 46% in 2012.

Goal 3. More consumers will be employed and the rate that consumers maintain employment will increase.

Measures: RSA Performance Indicator 1.2 (percentage of DVR consumers achieving an employment outcome). Vermont Unemployment Insurance data to track employment retention post-DVR closure.

Targets: 1.2: DVR consumers achieving an employment outcome will increase from 60% in 2010 to 65% in 2012. Percentage of DVR consumers who retain employment two years post closure will increase from 70% to 72%.

Goal 4. Vermont employers will increase their use of DVR as an employment agency.

Measure: DVR tracking of employer contacts and employers hiring DVR consumers statewide.

Target: (a) By the end of FFY 2012 DVR will have recorded 1,000 employer contacts in Salesforce

(b) In an FFY 2010 survey of employers in the community, only 12% indicated they had met a Creative Workforce Solutions representitive and only 31% indicated any familiarity with DVR. By FFY 2013 these measures will increase as follows: 30% of employers will report they had met with a Creative Workforce Solution representitive and 50% will report some familiarity with DVR.

Goal 5. DVR employees will be satisfied with their jobs.

Measure: Results from biennial DVR staff satisfaction survey.

Target: DVR staff satisfaction will be maintained at 92% (2011 rating) or higher.

Goal 6. All DVR staff will have the skills and competencies to do their jobs.

Measures: Feedback from staff on biennial DVR staff satisfaction survey. Feedback from consumers on biennial consumer satisfaction survey.

Targets: In 2011, 93% of staff said they had enough information to do their jobs. This will increase to 95% by 2013.

Goal 7. Increase capacity to serve un-served or underserved populations; specifically:

• Individuals with measured IQs between 70 and 80

• Individuals with TBI

• Individuals with psychiatric disabilities

• Individuals in the Autism Spectrum range of disorders

• Individuals with other significant disabilities who require case management services

• Individuals exiting the correctional system.

• Individuals with alcohol/substance abuse dependence/abuse disorders (AODA)

• Individuals with disabilities who are veterans

• Individuals with disabilities who are not primary English speakers.

Measure: Implementation of services targeted at underserved populations.

Though Creative Workforce Solutions, partner with Department of Corrections to replicate VABIR/VR Pilot designed to provide job placement for individuals with disabilities who are exiting the correctional system.

Implement the Youth Employment Specialist model to serve youth with cross-disabilities statewide.

Increase the % of AODA consumers who achieve plan status from 57% (FFY 2009) to 62% by FFY 2013. Increase the rehabilitation rate of AODA consumers from 47% (FFY 2009) to 55% by FFY 2013.

Increase the post plan closures for eligible veterans from 137 in FFY 2010 to 200 by FFY 2012

Increase the post plan closures for individuals with disabilities who are not primary English speakers from 42 in FFY 2010 to 80 by FFY 2013.

Goal 8. DVR will work in collaboration with the DOL to ensure people with disabilities have access to services through the state workforce investment system.

Measures: Implementation of coordinated employer outreach. Implementation of a continuum of progressive employment options with VR and WIA funds

Targets: By the end of FFY 2012 all VDOL staff conducting employer outreach on behalf of the Vermont Agency of Human Services consumers will use Salesforce to track employer outreach.

By the end of FFY 2012 DVR and DOL will have an operational agreement around the blending of VR and WIA funds for progressive employment.

Goal 9. DVR will work to improve the outcomes of community supported employment providers serving individuals with developmental disabilities and cross disabilities.

Measures: Number of 26 closures achieved through the supported employment programs. Total number of people with developmental disabilities employed with supports.

Targets: Total 26 closures in State Fiscal Year 2010: 170

26 closure goal for State Fiscal Year 2012: 200

In State Fiscal Year 2010 a total of 955 people were working in supported employment programs. This will increase to 1,000 by State Fiscal Year 2012.

Goal 10. DVR will work to improve the outcomes of community providers serving individuals with severe mental illness.

Measures: Number of 26 closures achieved through supported employment programs for adults with psychiatric disabilities.

Total number of people with psychiatric disabilities employed with supports

Targets: Total 26 closures in State Fiscal Year 2010: 74

26 closure goal for State Fiscal Year 2012: 150

In State Fiscal Year 2010 a total of 552 people were working in supported employment programs. This will increase to 900 by State Fiscal Year 2012.

Goal 11: DVR will assist individuals with disabilities access to a broad array of assistive technology devises and assistive technology services throughout the rehabilitation process.

Goal 12: DVR will effectively outreach and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities including those with the most significant disabilities.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 8:59AM by James Smith

  • 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

DVR does not have enough funds to offer paid services to Priority Category 3 customers at the time they are determined eligible. At the end of every quarter, DVR and the SRC reviews the number of Priority Category 3 customers who have been determined eligible in each quarter since services were last provided to customers in this category. Based on resources available, a determination is made on whether or not to serve Category 3 customers. If the decision is made to provide paid services to Category 3 customers, all in the group who were determined eligible in the same quarter are eligible for services regardless of their service needs.

DVR does a good job of getting the maximum services for consumers out of the available resources. DVR increased the number of employment outcomes from 443 in 1991 to 1,528 in 2010, over a threefold increase. This was achieved without any significant increase in funding. As an agency we understand how to provide services efficiently and economically. We also have aggressively pursued funding from other sources, in particular through grants and SSA Reimbursement and Ticket to Work payments. However, without an infusion of new funds to the core Title I and Title VI-B programs it is difficult to imagine how DVR can further expand services or significantly improve the quality of our outcomes. We understand that the Administration and Congress determine the appropriation for VR and that the State Plan may not be the appropriate vehicle to advocate for new funding. Regardless, we want to go on record as stating we strongly believe DVR needs additional funding to truly meet the employment needs of eligible Vermonters.

 

Description of Priority categories

Vermont continues to operate under the order of selection established in FFY 1999. With the approval of the State Rehabilitation Council, the Category definitions have been rewritten to clarify the intent of the Rehabilitation Act to serve those most in need of services:

Priority Category 1: Individuals who have been determined by DVR to have the most significant disabilities are those who have two or more areas of functional loss requiring multiple services over a period of 6 months or more, either for the provision of a required service, or for the duration of the use of a provided good.

Priority Category 2: Individuals who have been determined by DVR to have significant disabilities are those who have one area of functional loss requiring multiple services over a period of 6 months or more, either for the provision of a required service, or for the duration of the use of a provided good.

Priority Category 3: Individuals who have been determined by DVR to have non-significant disabilities are those who have one or more areas of functional loss not requiring multiple services over a period of 6 months or more.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

Priority Category 1 and Priority Category 2.

 

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

Individuals found eligible under Priority Category 1 and 2 will recieve the full range of services available under vocational rehabilitation program.

As noted earlier, DVR does not have enough funds to offer paid services to Priority Category 3 customers at the time they are determined eligible. At the end of every quarter, DVR and the SRC reviews the number of Priority Category 3 customers who have been determined eligible in each quarter since services were last provided to customers in this category. Based on resources available, a determination is made on whether or not to serve Category 3 customers.

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 10,085 1,342 650 FFY 12 $15,000,000
2 807 198 47 FFY 12 $1,300,000
3 2 2 2 FFY 12 $10,000

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 11:25AM by James Smith

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.

4.11 (c) (4) Goals and plans for distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

Six (6) programs or services were funded by DVR in FFY 2011 using Title VI-B funds to serve approximately 181 individuals with developmental disabilities. Total funding obligated for FFY 2011 was $331,300.

$2,222,534 in Title I funds were used in FY 2010 to supplement Title VI- B funds for supported employment programs. These funds supported an additional 1,282 consumers, for a total of 1,472 consumers in 36 programs. The largest groups of customers served were people with mental illness (441), individuals with significant developmental disabilities (453), youth with emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBD) (435), and individuals with TBI or cross disabilities (143).

For FFY 2012 it is expected that approximately $330,000 in Title VI-B will be available to fund supported employment programs. DVR does not anticipate any substantial change in its overall funding commitment to supported employment through Title I, Title VI-B and other legislative appropriations for FFY 2011.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 11:28AM by James Smith

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.

4.11 (d) Strategies to Achieve the Goals and Priorities

Strategy 1: DVR will implement a coordinated approach to employment services across the Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS) under Creative Workforce Solutions (CWS)

Goal and Priority Area Addressed: 4

Planned Activities

CWS is a legislatively-mandated initiative to be led by DVR to coordinate employer outreach across AHS Departments and Divisions. A consolidated and coordinated approach to employment services under a single entity will provide equal access to meaningful work at a livable wage for all AHS program participants. It will also provide employers with a single point of contact for coordinated job development and placement services and post-placement supports to ensure job retention.

DVR believes this redesign will have a positive impact on employment outcomes for AHS consumers across populations including individuals in the Reach Up program, community mental health services, corrections, and developmental services. CWS will improve employment outcomes of people with disabilities in Vermont in the following ways:

• It will improve access to VR services for eligible individuals within other systems, in particular the Vermont Reach Up program and the correctional system.

• Performance based contracting for supported employment services will help promote a focus on increasing employment outcomes for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.

• Coordinated employment outreach and the addition of Business Account Managers will increase the number of employment opportunities for VR and supported employment consumers.

As part of CWS DVR will do the following:

• In partnership with VABIR, DVR will hire and manage twelve Business Account Managers (BAM) serving all twelve AHS districts. The BAM staff will be dedicated to generic employer outreach and job development on behalf of all AHS populations.

• The BAM staff will coordinate local CWS employment teams statewide made up of supported employment program staff and vocational staff serving all AHS populations.

• DVR will create a CWS Governance Group representing four departments and seven divisions providing employment services for AHS consumers..

• In partnership with VABIR, DVR will maintain data systems for CWS including employer tracking through Salesforce and a consumer tracking system.

• DVR will develop a systematic training program for employment specialists including all CWS partners. Training will be delivered through a state institution and will lead to a CWS certification.

• DVR will ensure alignment between DVR and CWS and the unique missions of the two programs.

• DVR will implement an employer survey in 2012 to evaluate the impact of CWS, the BAMs, progressive employment and other innovations on the employer’s perspective.

Strategy 2: DVR will support field and CO staff to manage and prioritize activities and workload.

Goal and Priority Areas Addressed: 1, 5 and 6

Planned Activities:

• DVR will contract with Porter Knight, a well-known organization and productivity expert, to provide organizational training for field and CO staff.

• DVR will complete an initiative designed to streamline administrative processes and reduce or redesign redundant paperwork.

• DVR will acknowledge projects and committees that field staff are involved in, and ensure this is taken into account in DVR planning and management.

• Complete work started by DVR transition counselors to develop strategies to manage expanding caseloads.

Strategy 3: DVR will improve communication with consumers regarding expectations for DVR services.

Goal and Priority Areas Addressed: 1, 5 and 6

Planned Activities

• DVR will develop a consistent statewide orientation to VR services which will be implemented in all twelve districts.

Strategy 4: Through the implementation of performance-based contracting, DVR will improve employment outcomes of CRT, DS and JOBS supported employment programs.

Goal and Priority Areas Addressed: 9 and 10

Planned Activities

• DVR will implement performance-based grants with the supported employment programs including financial incentives and penalties. The performance standards will include rehabilitation targets, employment rate targets and consumer earnings targets. The grants will also include a corrective action and earn-back provision, allowing programs to recoup penalties if they demonstrate significant improvement.

Strategy 5: DVR will increase vertical and horizontal communication within VR through implementation of videoconferencing in all twelve districts and central office.

Goal and Priority Areas Addressed: 5 and 6

Planned Activities

• DVR will implement videoconferencing technology in all twelve DVR district offices and central office. This technology will be used for staff training, cross-district team meetings (transition counselors, benefits counselors, etc.), regional manager meetings, and for statewide all-staff meetings. It will also allow district offices to meet with each other for medical consults, peer review and sharing of best practices.

Strategy 6: DVR will establish comprehensive and statewide emergency preparedness processes and protocols.

Goal and Priority Areas Addressed: 5 and 6

Planned Activities

• This effort was initiated in many offices in 2010. DVR will conduct an inventory of the work done so far.

• Where appropriate, DVR will conduct office safety drills in coordination with State Buildings and General Services (BGS) and the AHS Field Services Directors. DVR will develop protocols for staff who are out-posted outside DVR offices.

• DVR will provide de-escalation training for all staff.

Strategy 7: DVR will increase capacity to serve underserved populations through the implementation of special projects.

Goal and Priority Area: 7

Planned Activities

• DVR will implement the General Assistance (GA) Project statewide with six GA VR counselors and eight VABIR employment specialists. The Vermont General Assistance program provides emergency assistance for individuals with no other source of support. DVR and the Vermont Division of Economic Services (ESD) have determined that up to 90% of chronic GA participants are persons with disabilities and thus are VR-eligible. For VR-eligible individuals, the GA project will provide general VR services plus intensive job placement supports through designated employment specialists.

• Implement Youth Employment Specialist model in four sites in DVR paired with transition counselors. Since 2000, DVR has substantially increased the number of specialized DVR rehabilitation counselors serving youth in transition. This has resulted in a major expansion in the number of youth in transition served by DVR from 828 in 2000 to 2,338 in 2010. To respond to this need, DVR is piloting a Youth Employment Specialist position in four sites.

• DVR will continue implementation of the Veterans Project in partnership with the VR VA and other veterans’ organizations. DVR has designated six counselors as veterans specialists in each district. The veterans specialist counselors will outreach to local veterans’ organizations and coordinate where appropriate with the VA VR. Hib Doe, the VR Regional Manager for the St. Albans and Newport districts (and himself a veteran), will be the statewide coordinator for the effort.

Strategy 8: DVR will continue to become a data-driven organization.

Goal and Priority Areas: All

Planned Activities

• DVR will complete the development of a flexible and user-friendly electronic case management system. DVR signed a contract for the development of an electronic case management system with S3 Incorporated on May 2, 2011. The project will be kicked off on May 12, 2011. Development will take at minimum one year, so the actual system will not be implemented statewide till the middle of calendar year 2012.

• DVR will develop and implement a “dashboard” to track case service expenditures and Ticket to Work payments by region, district and counselor.

Strategy 9: DVR will systematically recognize exemplary staff performance throughout DVR, and will recognize the roles of all team members in supporting the customer.

Goal and Priority Areas: 5 & 6

Planned Activities

• The DVR Training Coordinator will seek staff input to help define high performance and identify meaningful methods of recognition.

• The DVR management team will increase use of the merit bonus system.

• DVR will develop a systematic mechanism to collect local success stories and best practices and share what works within the organization.

Strategy 10: DVR will explore strategies to diversify the DVR caseload.

Goal and Priority Areas: 1, 2, 3 and 4

Planned Activities

• With increased employer outreach through CWS, DVR is finding more and more job opportunities that the agency cannot provide consumers to fill. DVR is interested in exploring whether there are VR-eligible individuals the agency is not currently serving who could take advantage of these jobs. Anecdotal reports suggest VR-eligible individuals with higher levels of training and education are not accessing the VR program, even though they could benefit from it.

Strategy 11: DVR staff will have the tools to deliver services quickly to VR consumers.

Goal and Priority Areas: 1

Planned Activities

• DVR will implement a mechanism to provide gas cards and phone cards to consumers to meet urgent needs.

Strategy 12: DVR will implement strategies designed to enable VR consumers to access higher wage employment through short-term training and better use of labor market data.

Goal and Priority Areas: 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6

• Since FFY 2009, DVR has set aside ARRA funds to support short-term training opportunities such as CDL and LNA programs. Also DVR has increased funding dedicated to post-secondary college programs. While there is anecdotal information suggesting these strategies are improving consumer outcomes, DVR has not studied the data. Therefore, in FFY 2012 DVR will evaluate the impact of funding short-term training and post-secondary education on employment outcomes.

• In FFY 2012, DVR plans to train staff to better use labor market information to help consumers make the best possible decisions regarding their career choices. DVR will be contracting with nationally-recognized expert Paul Harrington to help us with this project. DVR received a training grant to fund Paul Harrington’s participation.

Strategy 13: DVR will implement activities designed to reduce the number of individuals who are closed in a status 28 (not employed).

Goal and Priority Areas: 1, 3, 6 & 7

Planned Activities

• DVR will conduct comprehensive evaluation of status 28 closures to identify any specific trends or issues that DVR might need to address.

• It was identified in the Needs Assessment that individuals with alcohol and substance abuse disorders have significantly worse outcomes than other populations. Through the DVR training grant, DVR will provide training options for DVR staff around providing effective services for this population.

Strategy 14: DVR will partner with the Vermont Department of Labor around employer outreach and providing employment training options for dual VR/DOL customers.

Goal and Priority Areas: 4 & 8

• DVR and DOL will, where appropriate, implement coordinated approach to employer outreach through CWS.

• DVR and DOL will implement of a continuum of progressive employment options (job shadows, training placements and OJT arrangements) with VR and WIA funding.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 11:30AM by James Smith

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

4.11 (e) (2) Evaluation and reports of progress: Evaluation of the extent to which goals in 4.11 (c) (1) identified in the FFY 2010 State Plan were achieved.

The following summary provides an update on Vermont DVR’s progress toward achieving the goals and priorities identified in the FFY 2010 State Plan. Not all of the data measures are collected annually so in some cases no new data is available since the FFY 2010 State Plan was completed.

Goal and Priority 1: Consumer satisfaction with DVR services will increase

Measure: Biennial consumer satisfaction survey.

Target: DVR will maintain overall consumer satisfaction at or above the 2008 level of 89% in the 2010/11 Survey.

Actual Data 2011: Overall consumer satisfaction was measured at 91% in the 2010/2011 consumer satisfaction survey.

Next Data Point: The next consumer satisfaction survey will be conducted in the summer of 2013.

Comments: DVR is thrilled to maintain and actually increase consumer satisfaction during a very challenging economic downturn. During this period DVR lost 16% of its workforce and experienced an increase in new referrals. Despite this, we managed to maintain very high consumer satisfaction ratings.

Goal and Priority 2: Consumer earnings will increase beyond the rate of inflation

Measures: RSA Performance Indicator 1.5: DVR wages compared to state average, and 1.6: own income as primary source of support.

Targets:

RSA Performance Indicator 1.5: DVR consumer wages will increase from 60% of state average to 65% of state average.

RSA Performance Indicator 1.6: DVR will increase the percentage of consumers achieving self-support from 43.1% to 53%.

Actual Data for FFY 2010:

RSA Performance Indicator 1.5 for FFY 2010: 62%

RSA Performance Indicator 1.6 for FFY 2010: 44%

Regarding Performance Indicator 1.5, DVR did see a small increase in consumer earning compared to the state average, from 58.2% in FFY 2008 to 61% in FFY 2009 and to 62% in FFY 2010. DVR did not achieve the stated goal of 65%. However, within the context of the economic downturn that started late 2008, we believe these results are pretty positive. It is also important to note DVR exceeds the federal standard by 10% with a three-year upward trend.

Regarding Performance Indicator 1.6, DVR actually saw a rebound in this measure from 44% in FFY 2008 to 40% in FFY 2009 to 44% in FFY 2010. DVR has never recently been able to meet the federal standard. We have analyzed this issue over the years and found that two Vermont VR practices impact this measure:

• The high proportion of consumers served through supported employment. Many of the individuals served through supported employment programs have very significant developmental or mental health disabilities. A high proportion work very part-time to supplement their benefits.

• DVR serves a significant proportion of consumers who are already working and who are already self-supporting. These individuals cannot be included in the calculation.

To meet this standard DVR would have to reduce the number of individuals served in these two categories. We do not believe this would be the right thing to do.

Goal and Priority 3: More consumers will be employed and the rate at which consumers maintain employment will increase

Measures:

RSA Performance Indicator 1.2: Percentage of DVR consumers achieving an employment outcome.

Vermont Unemployment Insurance data to track employment retention post-DVR closure.

Targets:

RSA Performance Indicator 1.2, DVR consumers achieving an employment outcome, will increase from 65% to 67%.

Percentage of DVR consumers who retain employment two years post-closure will increase from 69% to 80% as measured by Vermont Department of Labor Wage Data.

Actual Data for FFY 2009:

RSA Performance Indicator 1.2, DVR consumers achieving an employment outcome for FFY 2009, was 60%.

Regarding Performance Indicator 1.2, DVR noted the percentage of consumers declined from 66.77% in FFY 2008 to 61% in FFY 2009 to 60% in FFY 2010. We have no doubt the economic downturn contributed to this decline. Regardless, DVR and the SRC have committed in the FFY 2012 State Plan to take a deeper look at consumers closed without an employment outcome and to implement strategies to address the issue.

In this context it is also important to note the total number of employment outcomes DVR has achieved has remained steady or actually increased over the past five years as follows:

1,452 in FFY 2006

1,456 in FFY 2007

1,523 in FFY 2008

1,480 in FFY 2009

1,528 in FFY 2010

Job retention for VR consumers two years post-closure increased slightly to 70%. We know that this retention statistic is an underestimate because it is based on Vermont Department of Labor Wage Data, which does not include out-of-state employment, federal employment and self employment.

Goal and Priority 4: Vermont employers will increase their use of DVR as an employment agency

Measure: DVR tracking of employer contacts and employers hiring DVR consumers statewide.

Targets: DVR will establish in FFY 2010 a data system for tracking employer contacts. This system will be used by employment consultants statewide to track employer contacts.

After establishing baselines DVR intends to:

(a) Increase the aggregate number of employers engaged with DVR by 10%

(b) Increase the number of employers who initiate contact with DVR by 10%

Actual Data for FFY 2010:

As noted in other sections of the State Plan Amendment, DVR selected a commercial solution for tracking employer outreach. Salesforce is a commercial customer relations tool that is used extensively for sales and marketing in the private sector. During FFY 2010 DVR hired a programmer to modify Salesforce specifically for the Creative Workforce Solutions initiative. The tool was introduced to users in December 2010 and broadly implemented in the spring of 2011. User feedback has been very positive.

In FFY 2012 we expect to be able to collect baseline data on employer contacts across Agency of Human Services programs including VR, supported employment for individuals with psychiatric and developmental disabilities, TANF programs, and Corrections employment programs.

Clearly, we did not meet our goals for implementation and the establishment of baseline data in FFY 2010. The effort was delayed because of a variety of challenges and because we initially selected an inappropriate tool for the system. We dropped that tool in favor of Salesforce. Early reports from users suggest this was the right decision. Frontline job developers are very happy with Salesforce and its capabilities.

Goal and Priority 5: DVR employees will be satisfied with their jobs

Measures: Results from biennial DVR staff satisfaction survey.

Targets: DVR staff satisfaction will be maintained at 95% (2007 rating) or higher.

Actual Data for FFY 2010:

DVR decided not to conduct a staff satisfaction survey in the spring of 2009. The reason for deferring the survey was that DVR experienced a 14% reduction in staff during this period. This process included a number of layoffs. DVR management determined that it would be insensitive to conduct a satisfaction survey in the middle of such a difficult process. Therefore the satisfaction survey was deferred to 2010.

The following were some of the primary major findings from the survey:

• 92% indicated they were satisfied with their jobs.

• 86% agreed they got enough information to do their jobs properly.

• 94% had a clear understanding of how their work contributed to the mission of the agency.

• 93% felt supported by co-workers.

• 82% had trust and confidence in the organization.

• 97% felt that customer service was a priority for the organization.

Goal and Priority 6: All DVR staff will have the skills and competencies to do their jobs

Measures:

Feedback from staff on biennial DVR staff satisfaction survey

Feedback from consumers on biennial consumer satisfaction survey

Targets:

In 2007, 93% of staff said they had enough information to do their jobs. This will increase to 95% by 2009.

In 2006, 84% of DVR consumers said they were satisfied with the services provided. By 2008 88% of consumers will be satisfied with the services provided.

Actual Data for FFY 2010:

In the 2010 Survey 86% of staff said they had enough information to do their jobs. This is a modest decline from 2007 (93%). DVR is not clear why there is a small decline. The new training coordinator will be tasked to look into this issue. Some factors may include:

• The recent expansion of DVR programs has increased the complexity of the agency.

• There has been some turnover, so we have a number of newer staff.

Data from 2010 Customer Satisfaction Survey: In the 2008 Survey 88% of consumers are satisfied with services provided. In the 2010/2011 Survey 91% of consumers indicated they were satisfied with services provided, a 3% increase.

Goal and Priority 7: Increase capacity to serve un-served or underserved populations, specifically:

• Individuals with measured IQs between 70 and 80

• Individuals with TBI

• Individuals with psychiatric disabilities

• Individuals in the Autism Spectrum range of disorders

• Individuals with other significant disabilities who require case management services

Measures:

Increase in access to case management services for non-categorical populations.

Decrease in status 8, 28 and 30 closures for these populations.

Targets:

DVR will partner with mental health and developmental services to pilot two sites to implement non-categorical case management services in 2009.

DVR will track closures for consumers in these two sites and assess the impact on status 8, 28 and 30 closures.

Actual Outcomes:

DVR, in partnership with the Department of Mental Health, initiated a significant effort to provide case management services for individuals in the above groups. Many individuals in these groups require ongoing case management services as part of their employment plan. They often lose jobs because they lack the necessary supports outside of the workplace. This pilot would have gone a long way toward filling that need. Unfortunately, the program was cut as part of the unprecedented fiscal crisis that hit the nation in the fall of 2008. We do not expect to be able to start the pilot in the foreseeable future.

However, DVR has partnered with the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council to establish a pilot to serve youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Burlington area. The pilot has hired a Youth Employment Specialist to partner with a DVR counselor to work with youth in transition from school to adult life. The Youth Employment Specialist will develop a variety of real work opportunities and work experiences for youth in their last two years of high school and the period immediately following high school exit.

Goal and Priority 8: DVR will work in collaboration with DOL to ensure people with disabilities have access to services through the state workforce investment system

Measures:

The number of people with disabilities who access the DOL One Stop services.

Targets:

DOL provided baseline data for 2007. 750 people with disabilities accessed One Stop Services and 277 entered employment. For FFY 2009 this will increase to 800 served and 350 entering employment.

Actual FFY 2010 Outcomes:

Data for 2010 pending.

 

Goal and Priority 9: DVR will work to improve the outcomes of community-supported employment providers serving individuals with developmental disabilities and cross disabilities.

Measures:

Number of status 26 closures achieved through the supported employment programs

Total number of people with developmental disabilities employed with supports

Targets:

Total status 26 closures in State Fiscal Year 2007: 175

Status 26 closure goal for State Fiscal Year 2010: 200

In State Fiscal Year 2007 a total of 885 people were working in supported employment programs. This will increase to 1,000 by State Fiscal Year 2010.

Actual FFY 2010 Outcomes:

DVR received mixed data findings regarding the supported employment outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities. The total number of VR consumers achieving an employment outcome (status 26 closures) dropped from 175 in SFY 2007 to 163 in SFY 2008, increased slightly to 178 in SFY 2009, and decreased to 170 in SFY 2010. The total number of people with developmental disabilities working in supported employment in Vermont increased from 909 during SFY 2009 to 955 during SFY 2010.

While Vermont did not meet the targets established in the FFY 2010 State Plan, we feel these results are creditable given the economic environment. Given the extent of the economic crisis since 2008, the supported employment programs have done well to maintain the level of employment outcomes (status 26 closures) and the total number of people employed.

In addition, the State Division of Disability and Aging Services (DDAS) has continued to place a strong emphasis on supported employment services despite tight fiscal times. For example, DDAS continues to include employment as a funding priority in the system of care plan for people with developmental disabilities. While recent DDAS budget rescissions of Medicaid dollars have led to reduced supported employment ongoing support services, they have not yet been reduced at the same level as other community support services. Anecdotally, we have heard that it is becoming more difficult for individuals exiting secondary school to obtain funding for employment supports. Every year, there is significant debate in the legislature about the number of newly DS-eligible individuals that the State can afford to provide funding for. Community supports cost less than employment supports which leads to an inclination to allocate funding in a manner that provides for the maximum hours of support with an individual per week. DDAS holds public hearings each spring to review options for changing the system of care and its related funding priorities plan as a response to the current fiscal climate. There continues to be a concern that DDAS may feel forced to restrict access to Medicaid-supported employment services.

DDAS and DVR jointly sponsored the establishment of a statewide supported employment leadership team during SFY 2009. This team had a purpose of developing an actionable supported employment strategic plan for implementation during SFY 2010. The budget threats during SFY 2010 caused this group to put itself on hiatus and ongoing fiscal threats have caused this group to remain on hiatus. DDAS also maintains a full-time staff person, Jennie Masterson, focused on supported employment. Ms. Masterson works closely with the DVR Supported Employment Coordinator in jointly monitoring supported employment programs.

Vermont VR received 1.58 million dollars of ARRA stimulus funding. We actively engaged with the network of supported employment providers so that they have had meaningful access to the employment initiatives funded by ARRA. Vermont community supported employment providers have been accessing these resources to augment their efforts to facilitate competitive employment. Vermont VR currently expects to expend our ARRA allotment by late spring of 2011.

Ticket to Work (TTW) revenue is beginning to become a notable revenue source for Vermont DS employment providers. $143,000 was collected during calendar year 2010 which will be added to their SFY 2012 grants. $34,972 of this calendar year 2010 revenue (which is the community provider share according to VT DVR’s joint Employment Network agreement) will be disbursed to providers of employment services to persons with developmental disabilities. Vermont VR projects growth in this revenue source over the next few years.

Goal and Priority 10: DVR will work to improve the outcomes of community providers serving individuals with severe mental illness

Measures:

Number of status 26 closures achieved through supported employment programs for adults with psychiatric disabilities

Total number of people with psychiatric disabilities employed with supports

Targets:

As noted below, Jerry Wood, the DVR Supported Employment Coordinator, determined that the original targets established in FFY 2008 were based on faulty data collection.

In State Fiscal Year 2007 a total of 803 people were working in supported employment. This will increase to 900 by State Fiscal Year 2010.

FFY 2010 Outcomes:

The VR Program Evaluation Unit (PEU) and Jerry Wood, the Supported Employment Coordinator, have been working together to improve the data collection and reporting procedures in order to eliminate the errors reported on in the FFY09 state plan. We believe the increased focus on accurate data collection and reporting is resulting in more accurate information. A current report indicates that during SFY10 VR served 441 individuals through supported employment programs with 74 resulting rehabilitations. We believe our reporting is more accurate for FFY10 than it was in FFY09. Jerry and the PEU plan on continuing their work for the rest of this fiscal year.

We have good data on the other measure, the total number of people with severe psychiatric disabilities who are employed. The total number of individuals with mental illness supported in employment decreased from 803 in SFY 2007 to 768 in SFY 2008 to 678 in SFY 2009 to 552 in SFY 2010. It is noteworthy that the overall enrollment of individuals with mental health disorders in Vermont’s CRT programs (community mental health programs which house Vermont’s supported employment programs for people with mental illness) decreased from 2971 individuals in SFY 2007 to 2928 individuals in SFY 2008 to 2,850 individuals in SFY 2009 to 2,736 individuals in SFY 2010. The employment rate reflects a decrease in the percentage of CRT participants supported in employment from 27% in SFY 2007 to 26% in SFY 2008 to 24% in SFY 2009 to 20% in SFY 2010. DVR believes the overall number of individuals supported in employment is by far the more important measure of progress. The decrease is worrying because it suggests fewer individuals are getting jobs, let alone sustaining them. Information from the first two quarters of SFY 2011 provides leading indicators that VR employment outcomes for this group are beginning to increase. The Vermont Department of Mental Health (DMH) is working closely with VR to facilitate a turnaround in this employment rate trend.

Information from the DVR/SRC Needs Assessment and anecdotal reports from field staff suggest that there are not sufficient numbers of employment staff within the community mental health agencies to provide the necessary supports. In addition, there continues to be significant turnover in some programs which represents a loss of experienced staff. DMH has increased the Medicaid unit rate for employment services to begin to address the disproportionate turnover of employment staff versus case management staff. Also it has been reported that some agencies or agency staff do not value employment as a core mental health service.

During the past year, DMH has asked VR for help as it applied for and received two grants, each with a focus of improving employment outcomes. The first has been labeled as a Transformation Grant and it aims to engage persons aged 18 – 26 in adult mental health services. The grant recognizes that surveys indicated that young people tend not to want to engage with the adult mental health system and their top priority tends to be becoming employed. The second grant intends to facilitate increased engagement of mental health center treatment staff in recognizing that employment is critical to a person’s recovery. This grant is known as the Supported Employment Champion Grant. The mental health staff involved with this grant will develop stronger relationships with VR Work Incentives staff and will receive training on Work Incentives and supported employment.

In response to the overall decrease in overall employment of individuals with mental illness along with the noted capacity issues, DVR has implemented a number of overlapping strategies including a DVR/DMH Mental Health and Employment Leadership Committee made up of state and agency staff and consumer representation. With financial assistance from Vermont’s Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG), the Leadership Group successfully framed and has been guiding a statewide strategic planning process that has lead to a rollout of a five-year strategic plan. The MIG is supporting this rollout by providing for incentives and technical assistance for a community mental health provider who volunteers to develop a local strategic plan and/or an employment program action improvement plan which is based upon the results of an IPS (Individual Placement and Support) Fidelity Review. All ten of Vermont’s mental health supported employment providers have been participating in this MIG-sponsored statewide routine implementation of IPS Fidelity Reviews to support the consistent implementation of supported employment processes which are based on the SAMHSA evidenced-based practice.

Additional continuous improvement activities are occurring to support the increase of successful supported employment outcomes for people with mental illness. DVR did a SWOT analysis of supported employment efforts specifically focusing on VR processes that lead to good outcomes. As a result, VR affirmed a set of process practices for VR counselors, managers and administrators which were formally implemented on October 1, 2009. At a one year statewide review in October 2010, VR managers and counselors affirmed that the DVR supported process practices have been implemented statewide. VR and DMH have performed a preliminary review of the results of the State Health Authority Yardstick (SHAY) which is an evaluation of how well the state supports employment related activities within its mental health system. Recommendations received through the SHAY are informing DVR and DMH as they work with community mental health in improvement activities.

Vermont DVR’s and DMH’s concern about the declining employment participation rate of individuals with mental illness was validated in the recommendations of the SHAY. In partnership with DMH, DVR developed an array of performance incentives which were implemented July 1, 2010. Community mental health CRT programs are able to earn performance incentive payments based upon three measures: the percentage of CRT participants who are employed; the mean earnings of employed participants; and the percentage of employed participants who were unemployed more than six months before starting work. DVR and DMH developed a points system for determining the incentive amount. If programs surpass a particular points level, they will receive an increased share of Ticket to Work (TTW) revenue (e.g., 60% rather than 50% of TTW revenue received because of mutually-served consumers).

In addition, DVR and DMH continue to support training and technical assistance in evidence-based supported employment practices through the New Hampshire/Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center.

Ticket to Work revenue is beginning to provide a boost in resources and an incentive to increase outcomes for agencies. Vermont’s supported employment providers received $80,000 in TTW revenue (which is the community provider share according to VT DVR’s joint Employment Network agreement) during SFY 2011 which was collected during calendar year 2009. $143,000 was collected during calendar year 2010 which will be added to their SFY 2012 grants. $74,893 of this calendar year 2010 revenue (provider share under DVR joint Employment Network agreement) will be disbursed to providers of employment services to persons with mental illness. Vermont VR continues to project growth in this revenue source over the next few years.

 

Performance Indicator 1.1: In FFY 2010 DVR achieved 1,528 employment outcomes. DVR exceeded the FFY 2009 (1,480) and FFY 2008 (1,523) outcomes achieved. We feel this is a significant accomplishment given the economic environment.

Performance Indicator 1.2: DVR noted the percentage of consumers achieving an employment outcome declined from 66.77% in FFY 2008 to 61% in FFY 2009 to 60% in FFY 2010. We have no doubt the economic downturn contributed to this decline. Regardless, DVR and the SRC have committed in the FFY 2012 State Plan to take a deeper look at consumers closed without an employment outcome and to implement strategies to address the issue.

Performance Indicator 1.3: DVR has consistently achieved a competitive employment rate between 97% and 99%. Vermont DVR does not support sheltered or non-competitive employment.

Performance Indicator 1.4: Because DVR has been in an order of selection we serve very few individuals who do not have a significant disability. Since 2003 on average 99% of consumers served have a significant disability.

Performance Indicator 1.5: Regarding Performance Indicator 1.5, DVR did see a small increase in consumer earning compared to the state average, from 58.2% in FFY 2008 to 61% in FFY 2009 and to 62% in FFY 2010. DVR did not achieve the stated goal of 65%. However, within the context of the economic downturn that started late 2008, we believe these results are pretty positive. It is also important to note DVR exceeds the federal standard by 10% with a three-year upward trend.

Performance Indicator 1.6: Regarding Performance Indicator 1.6, DVR actually saw a rebound in this measure from 44% in FFY 2008 to 40% in FFY 2009 to 44% in FFY 2010. DVR has never recently been able to meet the federal standard. We have analyzed this issue over the years and found that two Vermont VR practices impact this measure:

• The high proportion of consumers served through supported employment. Many of the individuals served through supported employment programs have very significant developmental or mental health disabilities. A high proportion work very part-time to supplement their benefits.

• DVR serves a significant proportion of consumers who are already working and who are already self-supporting. These individuals cannot be included in the calculation.

To meet this standard DVR would have to reduce the number of individuals served in these two categories. We do not believe this would be the right thing to do.

 

Early in 2010 the Division was invited by the Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS) to develop a proposal to redesign employment services across departments. DVR submitted a preliminary proposal to the Secretary in March 2010 and a more complete version was submitted to the state legislature in April 2010. It was approved and put into statute in June 2010.

The VR redesign has implemented a consolidated and coordinated approach to employment services under a single entity called Creative Workforce Solutions (CWS). The goal of CWS is to provide equal access to meaningful work in the competitive job market for all AHS program participants. It also offers employers a point of contact for coordinated job development and placement services across AHS programs. We believe this approach will significantly improve ease of access for employers.

All AHS employment services are coordinated through CWS. CWS will establish common standards and tools for marketing and account management. Employer contacts statewide are being managed through a common account management system using Salesforce a commercial sales tool. At the local level CWS Business Account Managers coordinate employer outreach through local employment teams built on the existing employment coalitions. The redesign is based on proven approaches developed by DVR to serve a wide variety of AHS customers based on these key principles:

? A dual customer focus on the employers’ as well as the consumers’ needs.

? A performance-based approach to staff and contract management.

? Individualized approach to the employment needs of our consumers.

? A system of progressive employment that gradually increases hours and responsibilities based on the skills and needs of the individual.

? A focus on career development and placements that respect individual choice.

? Effective assessment prior to placement, and follow-up and support post-placement.

The service infrastructure behind CWS will varies based on consumer need, program requirements and program infrastructure. Some AHS programs already have well-established employment services and these programs coordinate employer outreach through CWS. Other programs that have almost no or limited community-based employment services contract for employment services directly from CWS, based on the level of demand in their program.

DVR believes this redesign will have a positive impact on employment outcomes for AHS consumers across populations including individuals in the Reach Up program, community mental health services, corrections, and developmental services. In addition DVR believes this redesign, with have a have a positive outcome on the employment of people with disabilities in Vermont in the following ways:

• It will improve access to VR services for eligible individuals within other systems in particular the Vermont Reach Up program and the correctional system.

• Performance based contracting for supported employment services will help promote a focus on increasing employment outcomes for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.

• Coordinated employment outreach and the addition of Business Account Managers will increase the number of employment opportunities for VR and supported employment consumers.

Based on field experience we believe a high percentage of individuals in the Reach Up program and exiting the correctional systems are people with disabilities. However, because of lack of appropriate assessment, stigma, lack of information and other issues they have historically not accessed the VR program. The CWS redesign will facilitate referral to the VR by breaking down the silos between programs. As a result individuals with disabilities will be better served by the system as a whole.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 1:28PM by James Smith

  • 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

6.3 Quality, scope, and extent of supported employment services (Section 625(b)(3) of the

Act; 34 CFR 363.11(c) and .50(b)(2))

In State Fiscal Year 2008, the Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation funded thirty-seven (37) Supported Employment grants serving four distinct disability groups: 1) fourteen (14) programs for individuals with developmental disabilities; 2) ten (10) programs for adults with significant mental illness; 3) ten (10) programs for youth with emotional and behavioral disabilities; and 4) three (3) programs for individuals with traumatic brain injury. This funding resulted in almost 500 individuals with significant disabilities becoming employed in the competitive job market.

DVR is able to support individuals with the most significant disabilities to find and keep stable competitive work through its valuable relationship with the Division of Disability and Aging Services (DDAS) and the Department of Mental Health (DMH).

Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

DVR works closely with DDAS to provide supported employment services and DVR funds are viewed, along with Medicaid funds, as an integral part of the overall employment budget for individuals with developmental disabilities. This funding blends DVR funding with individual Medicaid Waiver funds to create a seamless structure of upfront and ongoing support. DVR funds are specifically allocated to provide assessment, training, and placement services until closure, with Medicaid Waiver funds providing the necessary long-term follow-up.

DVR and DDAS no longer support employment workshops and Vermont closed its last workshop for individuals with developmental disabilities in 2002. That same year, Vermont was ranked #1 in the nation in the number of people with developmental disabilities who received supported employment to work per 100,000 of the state population.1 In the past two years, the numbers of individuals with developmental disabilities employed in competitive jobs have continued to increase.

Adults with Significant Mental Illness

DVR has also worked closely with DMH to support the integration of employment into the broad array of clinical mental health services available to individuals with significant mental health issues. Similar to its relationship with DDAS, DVR funding is blended with DMH capitated Medicaid to provide a seamless structure of upfront and ongoing support. DVR funds are specifically allocated to provide assessment, training, and placement services until closure, with the DMH capitated Medicaid funds providing the necessary long-term follow-up.

The collaboration between DVR and DMH has resulted in higher employment rates. In 2002, the Vermont Performance Indicator Project noted that the employment rate for individuals who received VR services combined with mental health services (through DMH) was more than twice the rate of individuals who only received mental health services.2

DVR and DMH have also worked closely to support evidence based supported employment. Vermont was the first state to pilot a Johnson and Johnson-Dartmouth initiative, now in 10 states, which continues to demonstrate that adherence to the principles of evidence based supported employment are key to increasing employment rates.

Youth with Emotional and Behavioral Disturbances

The JOBS Program is an innovative supported employment and intensive case management service for youth with emotional and behavioral disturbances (EBD) that uses work as a means to reach this challenging population. As a result of a unique partnership between the Department of Mental Health’s Child, Adolescent and Family Unit (CAFU), the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Corrections, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and contract agencies, the JOBS Program is operational in ten (10) sites across the state.

JOBS involves employers and the business community in meeting the needs of youth through intensive job development, placement, and on and off-site training support. JOBS differs from other traditional employment models by providing intensive case management services to assist in meeting other areas of need in a young person's life, e.g., dealing with legal issues, homelessness, drug/alcohol abuse, and probation and parole.

Within this model, DVR funds are used to provide the employment focus and upfront employment assessment, training, and placement services, while the case management and ongoing support is provided through state general funds (contributed by the different state departments noted above) which are matched to Medicaid through a fee-for-service arrangement with the CAFU in DMH.

The program continues to be very successful. Out of the 243 youth served by the JOBS Program in 2006, 72% were employed, 66% had a reduction in corrections involvement, and 61% received a High School Diploma or GED.

Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury

DVR also works with the Division of Disability and Aging Services (DDAS) to provide seamless employment support to individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury. Similar to the collaboration that serves individuals with developmental disabilities, the DVR funds are used for the up-front assessment, training, and placement services, while individual Medicaid waiver funds are used to provide the ongoing support.

___________________________________________

1 The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities: 2002 Study Summary, Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities & Department of Psychiatry, University f Colorado, January 2004.

2 Vermont Mental Health Performance Indicator Project, Vocational Rehabilitation and CRT Employment, November, 2002.

This screen was last updated on Jun 30 2009 1:35PM by James Smith

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