State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Washington Department of Services for the Blind State Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 (submitted FY 2013)
Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications
1.1 The WA State Department of Services for the Blind is authorized to submit this State Plan under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended  and its supplement under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act .
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 WA State Department of Services for the Blind  agrees to operate and administer the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program in accordance with the provisions of this State Plan , the Rehabilitation Act, and all applicable regulations , 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 , the Rehabilitation Act and all applicable regulations , 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
... 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
... 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
Preprint - Section 2: Public Comment on State Plan Policies and Proceduress
2.1 Public participation requirements. (Section 101(a)(16)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.10(d), .20(a), (b), (d); and 363.11(g)(9))
(a) Conduct of public meetings.
The designated state agency, prior to the adoption of any substantive policies or procedures governing the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under the State Plan and supported employment services under the supplement to the State Plan, including making any substantive amendments to the policies and procedures, conducts public meetings throughout the state to provide the public, including individuals with disabilities, an opportunity to comment on the policies or procedures.
(b) Notice requirements.
The designated state agency, prior to conducting the public meetings, provides appropriate and sufficient notice throughout the state of the meetings in accordance with state law governing public meetings or, in the absence of state law governing public meetings, procedures developed by the state agency in consultation with the State Rehabilitation Council, if the agency has a council.
(c) Special consultation requirements.
The state agency actively consults with the director of the Client Assistance Program, the State Rehabilitation Council, if the agency has a council and, as appropriate, Indian tribes, tribal organizations and native Hawaiian organizations on its policies and procedures governing the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under the State Plan and supported employment services under the supplement to the State Plan.
Preprint - Section 3: Submission of the State Plan and its Supplement
3.1 Submission and revisions of the State Plan and its supplement. (Sections 101(a)(1), (23) and 625(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; Section 501 of the Workforce Investment Act; 34 CFR 76.140; 361.10(e), (f), and (g); and 363.10)
(a) The state submits to the commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration the State Plan and its supplement on the same date that the state submits either a State Plan under Section 112 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 or a state unified plan under Section 501 of that Rehabilitation Act.
(b) The state submits only those policies, procedures or descriptions required under this State Plan and its supplement that have not been previously submitted to and approved by the commissioner.
(c) The state submits to the commissioner, at such time and in such manner as the commissioner determines to be appropriate, reports containing annual updates of the information relating to the:
- comprehensive system of personnel development;
- assessments, estimates, goals and priorities, and reports of progress;
- innovation and expansion activities; and
- other updates of information required under Title I, Part B, or Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act that are requested by the commissioner.
(d) The State Plan and its supplement are in effect subject to the submission of modifications the state determines to be necessary or the commissioner requires based on a change in state policy, a change in federal law, including regulations, an interpretation of the Rehabilitation Act by a federal court or the highest court of the state, or a finding by the commissioner of state noncompliance with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361 or 34 CFR 363.
3.2 Supported Employment State Plan supplement. (Sections 101(a)(22) and 625(a) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.34 and 363.10)
(a) The state has an acceptable plan for carrying out Part B, of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act that provides for the use of funds under that part to supplement funds made available under Part B, of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the cost of services leading to supported employment.
(b) The Supported Employment State Plan, including any needed annual revisions, is submitted as a supplement to the State Plan.
Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan
4.1 Designated state agency and designated state unit. (Section 101(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.13(a) and (b))
(a) Designated state agency.
- 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.
- The designated state agency is a state agency that is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities (Option A was selected/Option B was not selected).
- In American Samoa, the designated state agency is the governor.
(b) Designated state unit.
- 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:
- 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;
- has a full-time director;
- has a staff, at least 90 percent of whom are employed full-time on the rehabilitation work of the organizational unit; and
- 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.
- The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
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
- 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.
- is consumer controlled by persons who:
- are individuals with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit major life activities; and
- 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;
- includes family members, advocates or other representatives of individuals with mental impairments; and
- undertakes the functions set forth in Section 105(c)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(4).
(b) The state has established a State Rehabilitation Council that meets the criteria set forth in Section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.17
(c) If the designated state unit has a State Rehabilitation Council, Attachment 4.2(c) provides a summary of the input provided by the council consistent with the provisions identified in subparagraph (b)(3) of this section; the response of the designated state unit to the input and recommendations; and, explanations for the rejection of any input or any recommendation.
(Option B was selected)
4.3 Consultations regarding the administration of the State Plan. (Section 101(a)(16)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.21)
The designated state agency takes into account, in connection with matters of general policy arising in the administration of the plan and its supplement, the views of:
(a) individuals and groups of individuals who are recipients of vocational rehabilitation services or, as appropriate, the individuals' representatives;
(b) personnel working in programs that provide vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
(c) providers of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
(d) the director of the Client Assistance Program; and
(e) the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.
4.4 Nonfederal share. (Sections 7(14) and 101(a)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 80.24 and 361.60)
The nonfederal share of the cost of carrying out this State Plan is 21.3 percent and is provided through the financial participation by the state or, if the state elects, by the state and local agencies.
4.5 Local administration. (Sections 7(24) and 101(a)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47) and .15)
The State Plan provides for the administration of the plan by a local agency. No
If "Yes", the designated state agency:
(a) ensures that each local agency is under the supervision of the designated state unit with the sole local agency, as that term is defined in Section 7(24) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47), responsible for the administration of the vocational rehabilitation program within the political subdivision that it serves; and
(b) develops methods that each local agency will use to administer the vocational rehabilitation program in accordance with the State Plan.
4.6 Shared funding and administration of joint programs. (Section 101(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.27)
The State Plan provides for the state agency to share funding and administrative responsibility with another state agency or local public agency to carry out a joint program to provide services to individuals with disabilities. No
If "Yes", the designated state agency submits to the commissioner for approval a plan that describes its shared funding and administrative arrangement. The plan must include:
(a) a description of the nature and scope of the joint program;
(b) the services to be provided under the joint program;
(c) the respective roles of each participating agency in the administration and provision of services; and
(d) the share of the costs to be assumed by each agency.
4.7 Statewideness and waivers of statewideness. (Section 101(a)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.25, .26, and .60(b)(3)(i) and (ii))
This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.
(a) Services provided under the State Plan are available in all political subdivisions of the state.
(b) The state unit may provide services in one or more political subdivisions of the state that increase services or expand the scope of services that are available statewide under this State Plan if the:
- 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;
- 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
- 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:
- identification of the types of services to be provided;
- written assurance from the local public agency that it will make available to the state unit the nonfederal share of funds;
- written assurance that state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect; and
- 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:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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,
- 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.
- 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.
- The State Plan description must:
- 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
- include information on a formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency that, at a minimum, provides for:
- 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;
- 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;
- roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and
- procedures for outreach to 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.
- There is in the state a recipient(s) of a grant under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near federal and state reservations. Yes
- 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:
- strategies for interagency referral and information sharing that will assist in eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment;
- 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
- 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.
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:
- Qualified personnel needs.
- 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;
- The number of personnel currently needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services, broken down by personnel category; and
- 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.
- Personnel development.
- A list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals, by type of program;
- The number of students enrolled at each of those institutions, broken down by type of program; and
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- The written plan required by subparagraph (c)(2) describes the following:
- specific strategies for retraining, recruiting and hiring personnel;
- the specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the standards required by subparagraph (c)(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
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:
- individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
- 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
- individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide work force investment system.
- The need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
- 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:
- number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services under the plan;
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order; and
- 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.
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(d) describes the strategies, including:
- 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;
- 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;
- as applicable, the plan of the state for establishing, developing or improving community rehabilitation programs;
- 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
- strategies for assisting other components of the statewide work force investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.
- Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the designated state agency uses these strategies to:
- 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);
- support the innovation and expansion activities identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) of the plan; and
- 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.
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(e)(2):
- 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;
- identifies the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals and priorities;
- describes the factors that impeded their achievement, to the extent they were not achieved;
- assesses the performance of the state on the standards and indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
- 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:
- 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
- support of the funding for the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 105(d)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(i), and the funding of the Statewide Independent Living Council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 705(e)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 364.21(i).
(b) Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the reserved funds identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) will be utilized.
(c) Attachment 4.11(e)(2) describes how the reserved funds were utilized in the preceding year.
4.13 Reports. (Section 101(a)(10) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.40)
(a) The designated state unit submits reports in the form and level of detail and at the time required by the commissioner regarding applicants for and eligible individuals receiving services under the State Plan.
(b) Information submitted in the reports provides a complete count, unless sampling techniques are used, of the applicants and eligible individuals in a manner that permits the greatest possible cross-classification of data and protects the confidentiality of the identity of each individual.
Preprint - Section 5: Administration of the Provision of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
5.1 Information and referral services. (Sections 101(a)(5)(D) and (20) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.37)
The designated state agency has implemented an information and referral system that is adequate to ensure that individuals with disabilities, including individuals who do not meet the agency's order of selection criteria for receiving vocational rehabilitation services if the agency is operating on an order of selection, are provided accurate vocational rehabilitation information and guidance, including counseling and referral for job placement, using appropriate modes of communication, to assist such individuals in preparing for, securing, retaining or regaining employment, and are referred to other appropriate federal and state programs, including other components of the statewide work force investment system in the state.
5.2 Residency. (Section 101(a)(12) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.42(c)(1))
The designated state unit imposes no duration of residence requirement as part of determining an individual's eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services or that excludes from services under the plan any individual who is present in the state.
5.3 Ability to serve all eligible individuals; order of selection for services. (Sections 12(d) and 101(a)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.36)
(a) The designated state unit is able to provide the full range of services listed in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the state who apply for services. Yes
(b) If No:
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(c)(3):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order of selection; and
- 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.
- 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:
- assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology;
- 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;
- 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;
- job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services;
- rehabilitation technology, including telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices; and
- 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:
- progress of the individual toward achieving the employment outcome identified in the individualized plan for employment;
- an immediate job placement; or
- 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:
- 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
- whose record of services is closed while the individual is in extended employment on the basis that the individual is unable to achieve an employment outcome in an integrated setting or that the individual made an informed choice to remain in extended employment.
(b) The designated state unit carries out the annual review and reevaluation for two years after the individual's record of services is closed (and thereafter if requested by the individual or, if appropriate, the individual's representative) to determine the interests, priorities and needs of the individual with respect to competitive employment or training for competitive employment.
(c) The designated state unit makes maximum efforts, including the identification and provision of vocational rehabilitation services, reasonable accommodations and other necessary support services, to assist the individuals described in paragraph (a) in engaging in competitive employment.
(d) The individual with a disability or, if appropriate, the individual's representative has input into the review and reevaluation and, through signed acknowledgement, attests that the review and reevaluation have been conducted.
5.9 Use of Title I funds for construction of facilities. (Sections 101(a)(17) and 103(b)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.49(a)(1), .61 and .62(b))
If the state elects to construct, under special circumstances, facilities for community rehabilitation programs, the following requirements are met:
(a) The federal share of the cost of construction for facilities for a fiscal year does not exceed an amount equal to 10 percent of the state's allotment under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act for that fiscal year.
(b) The provisions of Section 306 of the Rehabilitation Act that were in effect prior to the enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 apply to such construction.
(c) There is compliance with the requirements in 34 CFR 361.62(b) that ensure the use of the construction authority will not reduce the efforts of the designated state agency in providing other vocational rehabilitation services other than the establishment of facilities for community rehabilitation programs.
5.10 Contracts and cooperative agreements. (Section 101(a)(24) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.31 and .32)
(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.
The designated state agency has the authority to enter into contracts with for-profit organizations for the purpose of providing, as vocational rehabilitation services, on-the-job training and related programs for individuals with disabilities under Part A of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act, upon the determination by the designated state agency that for-profit organizations are better qualified to provide vocational rehabilitation services than nonprofit agencies and organizations.
(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.
Attachment 4.8(b)(3) describes the manner in which the designated state agency establishes cooperative agreements with private nonprofit vocational rehabilitation service providers.
Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration
Section 6: Program Administration
6.1 Designated state agency. (Section 625(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(a))
The designated state agency for vocational rehabilitation services identified in paragraph 1.2 of the Title I State Plan is the state agency designated to administer the State Supported Employment Services Program authorized under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act.
6.2 Statewide assessment of supported employment services needs. (Section 625(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(b))
Attachment 4.11(a) describes the results of the comprehensive, statewide needs assessment conducted under Section 101(a)(15)(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and subparagraph 4.11(a)(1) of the Title I State Plan with respect to the rehabilitation needs of individuals with most significant disabilities and their need for supported employment services, including needs related to coordination.
6.3 Quality, scope and extent of supported employment services. (Section 625(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(c) and .50(b)(2))
Attachment 6.3 describes the quality, scope and extent of supported employment services to be provided to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are eligible to receive supported employment services. The description also addresses the timing of the transition to extended services to be provided by relevant state agencies, private nonprofit organizations or other sources following the cessation of supported employment service provided by the designated state agency.
6.4 Goals and plans for distribution of Title VI, Part B, funds. (Section 625(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(d) and .20)
Attachment 4.11(c)(4) identifies the state's goals and plans with respect to the distribution of funds received under Section 622 of the Rehabilitation Act.
6.5 Evidence of collaboration with respect to supported employment services and extended services. (Sections 625(b)(4) and (5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(e))
Attachment 4.8(b)(4) describes the efforts of the designated state agency to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and other appropriate entities to assist in the provision of supported employment services and other public or nonprofit agencies or organizations within the state, employers, natural supports, and other entities with respect to the provision of extended services.
6.6 Minority outreach. (34 CFR 363.11(f))
Attachment 4.11(d) includes a description of the designated state agency's outreach procedures for identifying and serving individuals with the most significant disabilities who are minorities.
6.7 Reports. (Sections 625(b)(8) and 626 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(h) and .52)
The designated state agency submits reports in such form and in accordance with such procedures as the commissioner may require and collects the information required by Section 101(a)(10) of the Rehabilitation Act separately for individuals receiving supported employment services under Part B, of Title VI and individuals receiving supported employment services under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act.
Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration
7.1 Five percent limitation on administrative costs. (Section 625(b)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(g)(8))
The designated state agency expends no more than five percent of the state's allotment under Section 622 of the Rehabilitation Act for administrative costs in carrying out the State Supported Employment Services Program.
7.2 Use of funds in providing services. (Sections 623 and 625(b)(6)(A) and (D) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.6(c)(2)(iv), .11(g)(1) and (4))
(a) Funds made available under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act are used by the designated state agency only to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are eligible to receive such services.
(b) Funds provided under Title VI, Part B, are used only to supplement and not supplant the funds provided under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act, in providing supported employment services specified in the individualized plan for employment.
(c) Funds provided under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act are not used to provide extended services to individuals who are eligible under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act.
Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services
8.1 Scope of supported employment services. (Sections 7(36) and 625(b)(6)(F) and (G) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54), 363.11(g)(6) and (7))
(a) Supported employment services are those services as defined in Section 7(36) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54).
(b) To the extent job skills training is provided, the training is provided on-site.
(c) Supported employment services include placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice of individuals with the most significant disabilities.
8.2 Comprehensive assessments of individuals with significant disabilities. (Sections 7(2)(B) and 625(b)(6)(B); 34 CFR 361.5(b)(6)(ii) and 363.11(g)(2))
The comprehensive assessment of individuals with significant disabilities conducted under Section 102(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and funded under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act includes consideration of supported employment as an appropriate employment outcome.
8.3 Individualized plan for employment. (Sections 102(b)(3)(F) and 625(b)(6)(C) and (E) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.46(b) and 363.11(g)(3) and (5))
(a) An individualized plan for employment that meets the requirements of Section 102(b) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.45 and .46 is developed and updated using funds under Title I.
(b) The individualized plan for employment:
- specifies the supported employment services to be provided;
- describes the expected extended services needed; and
- identifies the source of extended services, including natural supports, or, to the extent that it is not possible to identify the source of extended services at the time the individualized plan for employment plan is developed, a statement describing the basis for concluding that there is a reasonable expectation that sources will become available.
(c) Services provided under an individualized plan for employment are coordinated with services provided under other individualized plans established under other federal or state programs.
Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council
Required annually by all agencies except those agencies that are independent consumer-controlled commissions.
Identify the Input provided by the state rehabilitation council, including recommendations from the council's annual report, the review and analysis of consumer satisfaction, and other council reports. Be sure to also include:
- the Designated state unit's response to the input and recommendations; and
- explanations for the designated state unit's rejection of any input or recommendation of the council.
The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) has met four times since the last State Plan update. Meetings were all held in Seattle and were open to the public, including a phone conferencing system with call-in information advertised ahead of time allowing interested consumers to take part regardless of where they live throughout our state. The agenda included a public comment period and allowed for opportunity for input on any subject related to the business of the agency including the vocational rehabilitation, independent living and employment of blind Washington citizens.
Topic areas included the following:
-DSB budget packages
-Legislative Session update
-State/Federal Fiscal Year closes
-Budget 101 Training
-Use of federal carryover funds
*Review of the State Plan Update
*SRC Client Satisfaction Survey & Responses
*SRC Annual Retreat
-Additional FTE Allocations
*Youth Programs Update
-Youth Employment Solutions (YES I) – Career exploration and work experience program
-Youth Employment Solutions II (YES II) – Summer work experience program
-Summer Camp for Independent Living Skills (SCILS) – Independent living skills workshops for youth ages 9-13
*SRC Annual Report
*SRC Member Recruitment
*Vocational Rehabilitation Program
-Successful Employment Outcomes
-Outreach Efforts to the Latino & Asian Communities
-Orientation & Training Center
-Comprehensive Needs Assessment preparation
*Reappointment of DSB Director
*Upcoming DSB/RSA Program Evaluation
*Additional Staff Support for the SRC
Communication & Collaboration
Since a number of our members are new appointees the SRC devoted a considerable amount of time this year in training the Council about the various programs, activities and procedures of DSB. These presentations included: a discussion of the vocational rehabilitation process along with presentations from two participants, a presentation from the Child and Family Program, the development of the customer service survey, updates on the State Plan, and a detailed presentation on the agency’s budget process.
In addition, the SRC is exploring, in collaboration with the DSB, possible ways in which we could increase staff support for the Council. Also, the SRC worked with the Department to develop an annual calendar of strategic timelines which will keep us focused on meeting the established duties and responsibilities as prescribed under Federal and State law. Further, in 2013, the SRC is committed to re-evaluating the functions of our committees and to reactivating the Executive Committee. We believe that these outcomes of our retreat will strengthen the working partnership between the Department and the SRC.
The agency has enjoyed the dialogue and information sharing among the State Rehabilitation Council members over the past year. Staff from many areas of the program have been invited to formally present to the SRC membership at each quarterly meeting on the daily workings, strengths and challenges of the agency’s activity and performance from a staff perspective. A representation of Orientation and Training Center students presented to the SRC on the impact and benefits of the training center from their more consumer-oriented perspective. There has been lively discussion, querying and feedback among staff and the SRC membership, and a broader perspective gained on all sides. The agency appreciates the SRC’s leadership in gathering data and information in which to become more knowledgeable about the agency’s day-to-day workings. The agency feels understood and well-represented by the SRC membership.
The SRC Chair and Council have been very engaged and active in their roles, and the agency recognizes the Council’s need for stronger administrative/staff supports. We have been able to re-negotiate some contracted services such as the undertaking and delivery of the annual customer satisfaction survey and increased budget to revise and strengthen the SRC administrative/staff supports. We are acting on the SRC’s request for additional administrative/staff supports. We anticipate the contracted administrative/staff supports will include assistance for compilation of the SRC Annual Report, managing the SRC customer satisfaction survey, coordination of aspects of the comprehensive needs assessment for the agency, and assistance for SRC activities such as member recruitment drives and committee activity.
SRC Annual Retreat
In September 2012, the SRC held a half-day retreat at DSB’s Seattle office. The purpose of the retreat was to: 1) clarify the role that state and federal policymakers had in mind for the SRC; 2) identify what we want to focus on during the upcoming year in partnership with DSB to accomplish this role; and 3) explore how we can organize and operate to accomplish these goals. The Center for Continuing Education and Rehabilitation served as facilitator and their knowledge and expertise were invaluable throughout the afternoon’s discussion. As a result of the retreat, the SRC established administrative and operational protocols which we believe will improve the flow of communication and information between DSB and the Council.
The agency was supportive of the retreat. SRC members appeared to become more aware and knowledgeable of the context and responsibilities of the State Rehabilitation Council membership, and developed a stronger, more active working relationship as a result of the retreat.
New Member Orientation & Recruitment
During 2012 the SRC also heard presentations from our members who represent various entities as required by the Rehabilitation Act. Reports were given by the Statewide Independent Living Council, the Client Assistance Program, the Section 121 Native American Vocational Rehabilitation Project, the Parent Training and Information Center, and a Community Rehabilitation Service Provider. We were unable to have a presentation from the State Workforce Investment Board because of serious health issues facing this Council member. Subsequently, this member did resign from the SRC for personal reasons.
In 2012 two members of the SRC resigned and two new members were appointed.
The SRC reviewed membership status at each quarterly meeting and partnered with DSB to identify potential applicants & strategize about successful recruiting efforts. The Membership Committee was also active in trying to recruit members. It proved to be a challenging year for recruitment as many individuals were contacted but none applied for appointment. In addition, the SRC was informed by the State Workforce Investment Board that they wouldn’t be appointing a member to the Council as a result of lack of resources (staffing & funding). The SRC will continue to partner with DSB to identify potential applicants to serve on the Council.
Recruitment for full SRC membership is an important goal for the agency. The agency recognizes the importance of a full and active Council; the Governor’s office is also very supportive of recruitment activities for full representation on the SRC.
The SRC lost membership in the past year due to unexpected and external factors. We have deep challenges meeting the requirement for representation by the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB); our previous representative left the board due to personal health reasons, and requests for a replacement have been repeatedly denied by the SWIB due to lack of available personnel.
By adding additional administrative/staff supports for the SRC, the agency is hoping to provide the Council with increased means to be effective in their recruitment efforts. The agency is working in tandem with the SRC to identify strong candidates to fill targeted positions. It is a critical need in the upcoming year.
This screen was last updated on Jun 24 2013 7:05PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.7(b)(3) Request for Waiver of Statewideness
This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.
This screen has never been updated.
Attachment 4.8(b)(1) Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment System
Describe interagency cooperation with and utilization of the services and facilities of agencies and programs that are not carrying out activities through the statewide workforce investment system with respect to
- Federal, state, and local agencies and programs;
- if applicable, Programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture; and
- if applicable, state use contracting programs.
The Washington State Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) believes that collaboration with stakeholders is essential to assisting people with disabilities to successfully become employed. Such an ongoing effort maximizes resources and addresses the quality of life issues that can impact the ability of a person with a disability to obtain and maintain employment. We have active collaboration and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the following organizations and agencies:
American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs Statewide Agreement - DSB has an existing statewide agreement with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs (AIVRP) to work cooperatively to facilitate access to vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians with disabilities who want to work. The agreement represents the cooperation, coordination, and collaboration necessary to create an effective service delivery partnership designed to increase employment opportunities for those served by our programs. Parties to the statewide agreement include (9) specific Tribal programs, three of which represent several affiliated tribes who are served under a confederated alliance with neighboring nations.
In October 2012, representatives from DSB, DVR, and the Tribal VR Programs met together to discuss the commonalities of our programs and the unique differences that distinguish traditional public VR programs from the American Indian VR program.
DSB has continued meeting with several tribes from the northwest and southwest portions of Washington and staff from DVR quarterly to improve the way tribal members are served through the public VR agencies.
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) – DVR is a strong VR partner, sharing expertise, information, referrals , training and customer cases. DSB staff have developed strong relationships with DVR’s Regional Counselors for the Deaf, and two DSB counselors have participated in DVR’s Motivational Interviewing training through American Sign Language.
Division of Developmental Disabilities - Some of DSB’s customers have developmental disabilities in addition to blindness. DSB actively coordinates services with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). This coordination takes the form of sharing of costs, providing natural supports, and working collaboratively to ensure seamless service delivery.
Public Institutions of Higher Education - DSB and DVR have entered into an agreement with Public Institutions of Higher Education in Washington. This agreement works to help collaboration occur for our customers who are going to Higher Education schools. One of the primary components in the agreement concerns cost sharing for certain high cost accommodations.
Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) – The WSSB is a strong partner with DSB for coordination of transition-age information, referrals and services. DSB has an interagency agreement defining the Living Independent for Today and Tomorrow (LIFFT) post-high school adaptive skills training program, and partners closely with WSSB staff in coordinating summer youth work experience programs.
Center for Change in Transition Services (CCTS) – The Center for Change in Transition Services (CCTS) is a Washington State Needs Project funded annually by federal resources from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The goal of CCTS is to improve post-school outcomes for students with disabilities in the state. CCTS has provided transition services training, resources and technical support to DSB staff in support of the agency’s transition youth services.
Washington Sensory Disability Services (WSDS) – DSB staff partner with WSDS in providing referrals and services to children who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, or deaf-blind, by providing training and other support to families and service providers.
Blind Youth Forum – A quarterly meeting of partner agencies (DSB, WSSB, WSDS, LHB, WTBBL) to collaborate and share resources on blind youth issues within Washington State
Lilac for the Blind, Sight Connections, Vision for Independence Center (VIC), Tacoma Area Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities (TACID) & Edith Bishel - DSB works closely with these private, non-profit blind and low vision agencies. These agencies often refer clients to DSB, provide meeting space for DSB staff and customers, and offer support programs to our customers.
Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. (LHB) – DSB partners with this private, for-profit blind and low vision organization for referral of customers, collaboration in shared issues of blindness, and coordination of services.
Lions Low Vision Clinics - DSB works with Lions Low Vision Clinics around the state. DSB staff has also been presenters at several Lions Low Vision Fairs as well as sitting on some Lions Boards. They refer people to our agency as well as providing services to some of our customers.
National Federation of the Blind – WA (NFB-WA) & Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) – The agency collaborates and communicates with Blindness consumer groups in Washington State to promote opportunities for our customers, collaborate in shared issues of blindness, and to solicit input for consumer priorities and expectations in service provision.
Office of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (ODHH) – ODHH is a state agency that provides resources for our Deaf Blind customers, including telecommunication-related services, reasonable accommodations to access DSHS services and human services via regional service centers of the deaf and hard of hearing. ODHH manages the funds for the Deaf Blind Service Center, which provides information, referral and Support Service Providers for environmental interpretation.
The Deaf Access Center - DSB’s Yakima office works closely with The Deaf Access Center. Customers are referred jointly and service provision is shared to customers who have both visual and hearing impairments.
The Hearing Speech and Deafness Center - The Hearing Speech and Deafness Center is housed in Seattle and is a resource for our Deaf-Blind customers in 13 Washington Counties through a contract with the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Helen Keller National Center - The Helen Keller National Center is a resource for DSB on Deaf-Blind resources and sometimes provides contracted services to DSB customers as well as trainings for DSB staff for working with DSB customers.
Veterans Administration - DSB has begun a series of meetings to improve the coordination of services between DSB and the different components of the Veterans Administration (VA). This includes connecting our regional teams and the different components of the VA’s American Lake facility. The governor has signed an executive order encouraging the increase of hiring of veterans and procurement from veteran-owned businesses within state government.
Goodwill Industries of Tacoma - DSB has formed a long-term partnership with Goodwill in Tacoma. Goodwill provides a training center, CRP services, and has a computer lab that is accessible to our customers.
Yakima Special Needs Coalition - This group is a gathering of many community programs working on issues of transportation for individuals with disabilities. The lead agency for the coalition is People for People our primary regional transportation provider for individuals that cannot access the public transit. Our focus this past year has been on emergency response and providing transportation to those individuals with disabilities that would need transportation services to evacuate safely from the Yakima County area. This action was in response to the Naches/ Nile Valley hillside collapse that stranded many residents in that area from being able to get to the surrounding communities. Another accomplishment that this group had a large part in was assisting the Yakama Nation in securing a grant to bring a transportation service to the Yakama Indian Reservation serving all residence on the reservation native and non-native folks. This system called the Phato Transportation Service allows people to get from remote parts of the lower valley into the businesses and employers Monday through Friday and is free of charge. Having this service has actually benefited two of our very own DSB customers to be able to accept jobs within the city of Toppenish while they live out in the rural area of Wapato and Harrah. DSB staff have acted as part of this planning group to connect with the other agency providers, county officials, and others that serve people with disabilities as a form of outreach to increase the areas knowledge of DSB and our services available to their customers.
The Washington State DSB does not currently carryout activities in programs by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This screen was last updated on Jun 24 2013 7:07PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials
- Describe the designated state unit's plans, policies, and procedures for coordination with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services, including provisions for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting or, if the designated state unit is operating on an order of selection, before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting.
- Provide information on the formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency with respect to
- consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including VR services;
- transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and educational agency that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs;
- roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services;
- procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.
Coordination with Early Intervention Services
Ages Birth – 3
The Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) is signatory to a Memorandum of Understanding in coordination of early intervention services along with the following agencies:
•Department of Early Learning
•Department of Social and Health Services
•Department of Health
•Health Care Authority
•Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
DSB helps coordinate and provide services for families with children ages 0-3 who have visual impairments. The children are referred through outreach efforts among community partners such as local children’s hospitals and eye care physicians. DSB staff provide families with advocacy, referral & information, and training services. DSB partners with service providers to provide an annual Baby Jamboree training and family support event.
Coordination with K-12
Ages 3 – 13
DSB’s Birth through 13 specialists provide on-going supports for children with visual impairment and their families through age 13, as needed. They provide children and their families with advocacy, referral & information, and training services. DSB staff organize independent living day camps each summer for youth ages 9 – 13. The Summer Camp for Independent Living Skills (SCILS) camp provide an opportunity to meet peers, to learn the skills to do household chores in order to share in the family labor, and to learn adapted methods for play and recreation. DSB staff are active in Braille promotion activities such as the Braille Challenge, and coordinate with statewide consumer organizations to facilitate youth conference activities.
Ages 14 – 24
DSB’s Vocational Rehabilitation policy, WAC 67-25-399 – Vocational Rehabilitation Services - Transition Services for Students, allows application to the VR program at age 14, and requires the development of an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for all eligible high school students before their high school graduation.
DSB is signatory to an October 2011 letter of interagency agreement among the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). The memorandum of understanding clarifies responsibility and coordination of roles in providing services and programs for those students who are both eligible for special education services under IDEA, and who are also eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. The agreement remains in effect until August 31, 2014.
The agreement outlines each agency’s overall role and responsibilities relating to the provision of transition services to high school students with disabilities. This agreement provides for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment (IPE) before each student determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting.
Under this agreement, DSB routinely consults with and provides technical assistance to high schools and educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post school activities, including vocational rehabilitation services.
DSB’s agreement with OSPI also states that we will coordinate services with students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEP). The Interagency Agreement lays the groundwork for each agency’s roles and responsibilities.
DSB’s primary services while a student is in high school are outreach, information & referral, and counseling & guidance to prepare early planning for post-school career, higher education, VR services and youth-related activities.
DSB authorizes and pays for any services needed to establish a transition student’s eligibility for DSB services, and only funds services outside the scope of the school district’s FAPE (free appropriate public education) responsibility.
The DSB/DVR/OSPI agreement lists several procedures that are to be used to increase the number of students identified as needing transition services as well as ensuring that the services are provided as soon as possible. Some specific procedures include:
•An OSPI representative is a member of the State’s Rehabilitation Council.
•Developing a system to exchange and disseminate data and information.
•Working with county/community councils to provide training and technical assistance relating to transition services.
•Providing outreach to increase education about Vocational Rehab services to underserved populations and students with disabilities.
•OSPI will list DSB transition contact information on the OSPI website.
•DSB transition specialists will conduct outreach and ongoing consultation statewide to teachers of the visually impaired, students, families and others in the education community.
At age 14, blind and visually impaired students become eligible to apply for vocational rehabilitation services. Case management activities are coordinated among the Birth-through-13 Specialists and the VR Counselors to facilitate the move into VR services. DSB staff also coordinate closely with local school districts and the Washington State School for the Blind to identify blind and visually impaired children who are eligible for VR services.
DSB staff are able to develop early relationships with blind children and parents, providing a vocational context within IEP Implementation Teams and an important link to what skills need to be learned in school in order to be prepared for adult life after graduation.
DSB staff organize a sequential set of summer youth programs to aid in preparation for post-high school life. Blind and low vision individuals who have early exposure to adaptive skills training, vocational exploration and active socialization have a head start to becoming functional, employed and fully integrated adults. The Department of Services for the Blind knows not all learning can be accomplished in the classroom, and offers the following progression of workshops to complement the learning that is available through the public education system. These summer youth programs serve to give each participant a safe environment to discover their potential, to connect with others, and to believe in themselves. The programs are a key to the agency’s success in quality of employment outcomes for transition age youth.
Summer Camp for Independent Living Skills (SCILS)
Ages 9 – 13
In day-camp format, training and activities offered for age-appropriate skills development. While learning to do household chores, making food, preparing shopping lists and going shopping, the participants always break the one rule of the program (“Don’t have fun”) and learn that they are capable of taking family responsibilities like their sighted peers. As one participant described the experience: “I realized I wasn’t alone, I am like everybody else…I can have fun like my sister does”.
Youth Employment Solutions 1 (YES1)
Ages 14 to 15
The two-week program offers career exploration activities that include career interest and aptitude assessments, worksite visitations, guest speakers, mock applications, interviews, resume development, recreational & daily living experiences, and job shadowing.
Youth Employment Solutions 2 (YES2)
Ages 16 to High-School Graduation
The six-week program offers paid employment experience based on student interests, experience and ability. The residential living component of the program provides students the opportunity to refine their daily living skills often for their first time away from home and parental supports: they plan, purchase and prepare their meals; manage money and time-management needs; and maintain a tidy household. Traveling daily to work hones independent travel skills and navigation by public transportation. Community speakers and student-planned activities encourages deeper integration into the greater community.
After High-School Graduation
The five-week summer program is held on campus at Eastern Washington University (EWU). It prepares students for college in a real way: they attend a five-credit university course, get oriented to the Disability Student Services, learn to advocate for accommodation needs, get an experience away from home and life in a dorm, and practice their travel and self-management skills. Participants get a taste of the different pace and performance expectations within the college setting.
DSB actively supports blind youth interested in leadership to attend the Youth Leadership Forum, and DSB staff have an active role in organizing the YLF summer program as agency representatives on the Governor’s Committee on Disability and Employment.
DSB coordinates with the Washington State School for the Blind in developing the annual Career Fair, and helps support attendance at the school’s annual track meet. DSB has a formal agreement with the WSSB to clarify referral procedures, expectations and costs for the year-long post-graduate life skills residential “Learning Independence for Today & Tomorrow” (LIFTT) program that WSSB conducts during the school year.
The LIFTT program is a complement to the DSB adult-oriented Orientation & Training Center, providing recent high school graduates a learning environment for essential adaptive skills of Blindness in an age-appropriate setting. Participants in the LIFTT program are able to enroll in Clark College courses if they are college-bound, and/or are able to participate in work experience sites among the community while learning the intensive skills of Blindness.
WSSB and DSB collaborate to develop statewide transition needs assessment and strategic planning process.
There is active information and data sharing among WSSB, DSB, the Washington Sensory Disability Services, local educational districts and partner service organizations in a formalized Blindness Youth Forum, which meets quarterly. Partners through the network plan joint outreach efforts, coordinate referral of potential VR eligible youth, and implement process improvements for assessment & training services statewide in the areas of daily living skills, orientation and mobility, communication skills, access to technology, vocational aptitudes, interpersonal and social skills, and academic preparation for transition-age youth.
Through active partnering, DSB staff can connect with local school districts and employers to provide community-based work experiences; develop career fairs, transition workshops and special intensive adaptive skills-training workshops around the state.
DSB currently maintains an office on the campus of the Washington State School for the Blind which fosters frequent interactions between Transition students who are working with the VR Counselors in preparation of graduation. This arrangement also provides easy access for school personnel who are collaborating with the VR staff in the planning and provision of career exploration and work experience opportunities for these students. A DSB staff member is also on the WSSB’s Board of Education.
This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2013 2:56PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.8(b)(3) Cooperative Agreements with Private Nonprofit Organizations
Describe the manner in which the designated state agency establishes cooperative agreements with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers.
Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs)
DSB, in collaboration with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), employs a milestone service-based fee structure with private, non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers for employment services. The most commonly purchased CRP services include: vocational evaluation, trial work experience, job placement, intensive training, job retention, and transitional employment.
Community Rehabilitation Program providers were qualified through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process administered by the general agency which defined CRP services and fees, and the qualifications that a CRP must meet. DSB contracts with qualified CRPs using a Service Delivery Outcome Plan (SDOP) process which clearly describes: goals, objectives, outcomes expected, timelines for achieving the goals, and fees to be paid. These service delivery outcome plans are agreed to by the VR customer and/or their representative and require the signatures and approval of all parties who are involved in the service delivery process.
For those CRPs who do not contract with the general agency, DSB has developed an in-house vendor qualification process, which qualifies individual CRP staff rather than the agency as a whole. All staff must pass a federal background check.
VR Service Providers
DSB has also established a qualification process for vendors who provide pre-employment services such as Rehabilitation Teaching, Orientation & Mobility and Assistive Technology training. Prior to permitting direct-unsupervised access with VR customers, all vendors/providers of services are required to complete and pass background checks through an FBI fingerprinting process. In requiring both the technical qualification process and the criminal background check of providers, DSB has taken the necessary steps to ensure that when VR customers choose to utilize community providers, they are afforded the utmost safety and the highest quality services that are available.
This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2013 2:58PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services
Describe the efforts of the designated state agency to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and other appropriate entities in order to provide the following services to individuals with the most significant disabilities:
- supported employment services; and
- extended services.
Washington DSB primarily provides Supported Employment services to individuals with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to individuals with disabilities due to mental health. Of these customer groups, individuals with developmental disabilities represent the vast majority of Supported Employment outcomes.
The comparable benefit resources available in Washington State to provide extended services are limited. Diligent efforts by DSB staff have facilitated extended services through state benefits, natural supports, employers and self-pay. DSB continues to promote the use of Ticket to Work as a potential income source for developmental disability (DD), mental health (MH), and traumatic brain injury (TBI) service providers to provide extended support services to our customers.
Through local associations with the Division of Development Disabilities (DDD), an umbrella agency of the Department of Social and Health Services, DSB has developed on-going working relationships for the provision of extended services via Supported Employment.
Local area DDD staff and regional administrators are aware of the availability of VR services through the Department of Services for the Blind, and our agency also continues to work with employers and other natural supports to identify long term funding and support for extended services. In addition, DSB works closely with the Region X Technical Assistance Continuing Education in rehabilitation (TACE) who sponsors and promotes SE training activities throughout the state and region.
Participation and attendance to these events by DSB staff offers continuous opportunities for VR personnel to network with other entities who are actively involved in SE placement efforts.
DSB staff also network with a variety of resource and service providers through their attendance at various statewide Supported Employment conferences that are sponsored by local organizations. These events draw registrants from public and private agencies to promote and provide services to people with the most significant disabilities.
This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2013 3:00PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development
Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development
Washington State Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) actively employs 59 personnel to serve approximately 1,300 individuals per year:
*15 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors
*7 Rehabilitation Technicians
*7 Adaptive Technology Specialists
*1 Assistive Technology Technician
*10 Rehabilitation Teacher/ Orientation & Mobility Specialists
*7 Rehabilitation Teacher 3s
*2 Statewide Coordinators for Blind/Visually Impaired (Youth & ILB)
*3 Regional Team Leaders
*1 Orientation and Training Center Manager
*1 Employment Outreach Specialist
*1 VR Programs Manager
*1 Office Assistant 3
*1 Procurement and Supply Specialist
*1 Executive Assistant
*1 Assistant Director
*We hire readers/drivers as accommodation for Blind staff, with 12 part-time on-call staff currently on hand to provide these services as needed
•In 2012 and 2013, the agency made deliberate efforts to increase and improve service coverage statewide.
-While in past years the agency had been restricted from increasing its FTE cap, we requested of the state legislature an approval for additional 5 FTE to better meet customer needs. We have projected funds to support those new positions in a sustainable manner for over the next 5 – 10 years
-Through natural attrition, we have reclassified some positions to meet current needs
-In the past year, we have added the following positions:
*A new VR Counselor position serving King County
*A new Adaptive Technology Specialist position serving the central Washington corridor
*A reclassified Rehabilitation Teacher/ Orientation & Mobility Specialist position serving the south Puget Sound area
-By end of 2013 we intend to recruit & fill for the following new positions:
*Adaptive Technology Specialist serving the south Puget Sound area
*Rehabilitation Teacher/ Orientation & Mobility Specialist serving the Orientation & Training Center (OTC)
*Rehabilitation Technician serving the Seattle office
Teaming Vision - The Department of Services for the Blind values and encourages a culture where qualities of Teamwork, Respect, Accountability, Innovation, and Nurturing thrive and are demonstrated at all levels of the organization.
•Background - The structure of multi-disciplinary teams was designed to increase collaboration, ownership and accountability among all staff, resulting in higher quality skills, greater independence and high quality employment outcomes for DSB customers.
•People working in silos duplicate limited labor & resources and complicate processes for agency customers. By working together, we refine our communications and maximize our skills, abilities, and available resources, providing the customer a more seamless, higher quality experience. This multi-disciplinary team structure also maximizes existing staff skills and opportunities for professional growth and creativity.
•The agency’s success in consistently achieving high-quality employment outcomes for our customers is likely due to the strong culture of teaming. The counselor is not a lone ranger scrambling for appropriate resources for a customer’s needs, but works in concert with a skilled team to collaborate and address customer needs thoroughly and early in the process.
•In-house adaptive skills and technology assessments conducted swiftly after eligibility provide the customer with a rich set of information in which to make choices and move forward. Our agency places high emphasis on technology - the internal Assistive Technology staff address technology needs early and in concert with the team; the high-quality jobs our customers achieve can be seen as a result of the agency’s emphasis on technology.
Cross-Functional Multi-Disciplinary Work Teams - Within each regional team, there are cross-functional team roles:
•Rehab Teachers/Orientation & Mobility Specialists
•Orientation & Training Rehab Teachers
•Adaptive Technology Specialists & Technician
•IL (Birth – 13) Specialists
•IL (14 – 55) Specialists
•Vocational Rehab Counselors
Each multi-disciplinary team at DSB is unique in structure, approach and function. Teams are dynamic and fluid, and they evolve over time. Teams share the same mission, vision and values, are responsive to their customers and strive for continuous improvement.
Benefits of Multi-disciplinary Teaming for Customers and Staff -
•Customers are better prepared to enter the contemporary workforce as a result of their experience with multi-disciplinary work teams
•Customers benefit from better services and more timely responses. In the event of staff vacancies, absences, etc., services are not interrupted
•Participants with multiple disabilities, complex, and specialized needs have access to more staff expertise
•Customers are closer to and participate in the decision making process
•DSB team members gain valuable feedback from informal interactions and formal performance evaluations
•DSB team members share accountability for performance targets
•Multi-disciplinary teams increase equity of service delivery across the state through resource sharing.
The Customer Services/Vocational Rehabilitation Program is divided into 3 Regional Teams statewide—North, South and East. There is also a residential training center component of the VR program, called the Orientation and Training Center.
The three Regional Team leaders each supervise 14, 16, and 11 staff respectively. The training center manager supervises eight staff.
In addition to monitoring and supporting the daily activities of staff, the three Team Leaders and OTC Program Manager take a proactive role to provide consistent, timely coaching, mentoring, and training. Team Leaders also conduct monthly case reviews which help to assure compliance and adherence to agency procedures, timelines and high quality customer service standards. Twice yearly the team leaders organize groups of peer staff to review the quality of case documentation and services.
•In FFY12, DSB experienced several vacancies in VR counselor and Rehabilitation Teacher/Orientation and Mobility positions. There was a change in Assistant Director for Customer Services, the agency’s equivalent of “chief of field services”, and there was a change in the South Region Team Leader position.
Positions in FFY2012 were filled within an average of 71 days of vacancy.
•In FFY2013, we have continued to have turnover in the Rehab Teacher/Orientation and Mobility staff (due to health reasons), and have created new positions (AT Specialist in Yakima; VR Counselor in Seattle). We have also recently begun recruitment for three new positions (Rehab Tech 1 in Seattle; AT Specialist in Lacey; Rehab Teacher/O&M in OTC). There are active recruitments at this time to fill those positions.
•The Employment & Outreach Specialist position continued to provide career class training duties in the Orientation and Training Center.
•A Rehab Technician position was reclassified to a Rehab Teacher position in order to meet substitute training needs at the Training Center, and to prepare for future staff retirements.
•The Department’s Administrative Policies set forward procedures for adjusting the workforce to meet emerging needs. In the past year, the Customer Service AD, Executive Team management, the Team Leaders and teams have worked together to determine the most appropriate staffing adjustments, by securing and analyzing up-to-date customer and service delivery data. The teams this past year have evaluated changing workload needs and recommended staffing changes, specific job classifications and location of program reclassified as well as new positions.
•The need for internal developmental assignments to fill hard to recruit positions is considered through the performance evaluation process among Team Leaders and staff, and is supported by management.
The following is the logic stream for estimated vacancy rates:
•Given the average 5-year employee turnover rate of 20% multiplied by the 59 total number of the VR workforce, it is likely that 11 to 13 vacancies might be anticipated over the next 5 years.
•The number of VR personnel expected to retire in the next five years is six (6).
By planning for an increase of the staffing level to 62 FTE by end of FFY2013, we have increased our 3-year targets for numbers served to reach 1400, and increased our employment outcome targets to 165 annually, to be achieved by FFY2016
Services to IL Older Blind continue to be contracted out to community providers.
|Row||Job Title||Total positions||Current vacancies||Projected vacancies over the next 5 years|
|1||VR Counselor 3 & 4||15||0||4|
|2||Rehab Tech 1 & 2, OA3 & PSS2||9||1||1|
|3||Rehab Teacher 3 & RT/O&M Specialist||15||1||5|
|4||AT Specialist & AT Technician||7||1||0|
|5||Regional Team Leaders & OTC Program Mgr.||4||0||2|
|6||Special Programs Mgr. & Emp & Outreach Spec.||2||0||0|
|8||Assistant Director Customer Services||1||0||0|
Western Washington University (WWU) is the only graduate program in the state of Washington that directly prepares vocational rehabilitation professionals.
Western Washington University currently enrolls 37 students in the Masters of Rehabilitation Counseling program. Of the 37 enrolled, 23 students are sponsored by RSA grants.
•In FFY 2012, Western Washington University’s Rehabilitation Counseling program graduated 12 students. This coming June 2013 the program expects to graduate 18 students from the program.
•Two of those soon-to-graduate WWU Masters in Vocational Rehabilitation students are currently conducting internships at DSB. Both interns have visual impairments. We as an agency are making deliberate efforts to develop future counseling talent with visual impairment as part of agency succession planning; we currently only have one VR Counselor on staff who is blind, and she is set to retire in the next five years.
All of our current counseling staff meets CSPD standards as they have all either earned a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling or possess a valid Certified Rehabilitation Counselor credential.
•DSB plans to continue to hire only qualified VR counselors in these positions, as the agency has adopted this level of education as a minimum requirement.
•In FY12, specific training needs of our counseling staff and other VR professionals were primarily met through the utilization of training resources within the region and by working closely with the Technical Assistance Continuing Education (TACE). In support of the professional development of our staff, the RSA In-service Training Grant funding was fully utilized during the past year to strengthen their ability to provide quality services to customers with significantly disabilities.
•Throughout FY2013, our business and training involvement with TACE/CCER, other state agencies, and institutions of higher education will continue to enhance our opportunities to effectively recruit qualified staff and counselors into positions where they are needed.
|Row||Institutions||Students enrolled||Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates from the previous year|
|1||Western Washington University||37||0||10||12|
The Department actively coordinates with Washington and regional colleges/universities offering studies towards degrees in vocational rehabilitation specifically, Western Washington University, the University of Idaho, Western Oregon University, San Diego State University, Fresno State University, Arizona State University, and Utah State University. The purpose is to secure information on enrollment quantity, and on graduates with certification or licensure, or with credentials to qualify for certification or licensure during the past year, as well as on minority and disability status.
The Department maintains a broad recruitment mailing and website posting list, which we will continue to use to advertise vacant vocational rehabilitation positions. Recruitment information is also posted on the agency web site and on several other web sites that support rehabilitation professionals. The Washington State Small Agency Human Resources (SAHR) agency is our state mandated centralized HR resource, and they provide DSB with strong supports in recruitment and screening of applications since July 2011.
All 15 of the Department’s VR counselors meet the Washington State standards for CSPD which requires a CRC and/or a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.
In FY09, the agency implemented a VRC4 level position through internal promotion only. Previously, all DSB VRCs were VRC3’s. The VRC4 position does not increase the number of counselor positions statewide, nor does it reduce the number of customers served statewide. The VRC4 position builds in a career ladder by promoting VRC 3’s to VRC 4’s based on a comprehensive review to determine if they meet the distinguishing characteristics that demonstrate superior counseling skills and the ability to handle the most complex cases. The review includes information from team participation, case records, and performance appraisals. Since implementation in 2009, we have reclassified 10 of the 15 VRCs statewide to this higher job class. In the past year, we reclassified one VRC3 into the promotional VRC4 position, acknowledging and compensating for outstanding work, experience and leadership among peers. This VRC4 option enhances our retention of qualified counselors.
The agency has had a history of promoting professional development efforts among our Rehab Technicians. We have supported Rehab Techs in their educational and professional development to become vocational rehabilitation counselors, an AT Specialist, a Low Vision Specialist, and a Rehabilitation Teacher/O&M Specialist. We had reclassified senior Rehab Technicians to a higher level Rehab Tech 2 job class in order to acknowledge the increased direct client activities they are responsible for.
The agency promotes a healthy positive atmosphere, and makes effort to provide staff with clear and consistent communications regarding performance expectations, agency decisions and agency initiatives. We are consistently rated among the highest of state agencies for staff satisfaction.
As previously noted, DSB has fully adopted a standard for recruitment and development of qualified counselors in accordance with Rehabilitation Act regulations. That standard requires a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or the person to hold a valid Certified Rehabilitation Counselor credential.
•Currently, all 15 VR counselor positions meet that standard and there are no future plans to modify these criteria for the VR counselor positions.
•Specific training needs of our counseling staff and other VR professionals are primarily being met through the utilization of training resources within the region with occasional support being secured through national workshops and conferences.
•As a small Department, we do not conduct regular credit earning workshops in rehabilitation. To remedy that, we continue our coordination with our regional TACE at University of Washington to identify educational opportunities as well as develop new resources for earning credit through in-service training and other alternative approaches. Our business and training involvement with TACE, other state agencies, and institutions of higher education will continue to enhance our opportunities to effectively recruit qualified staff and counselors into positions where they are needed.
•DSB has designated a staff person to facilitate securing staff CEUs for various internal and/or external trainings.
Rehab Teachers/ Orientation & Mobility Specialists
DSB supports our RT/O&M staff in securing the required continuing education CEUs to maintain their certification. We have supported staff in developing and securing formalized training in areas of Low Vision assessment, updated Orientation & Mobility concepts, and ethics.
The Department’s five-year In-service Training Plan for Rehabilitation, Training Needs Assessment, describes how the Department assesses and prioritizes ongoing training needs through input from the following sources:
•Results of audits, evaluations, state and federal compliance reviews, and agency case reviews identify critical areas that need to be addressed through staff training and provide the basis for our annual VR Program Training Plan.
•Annually, a formal comprehensive Performance and Development Plan (PDP) is completed and discussed with each employee. The PDP is a standard tool used with all State of Washington employees to evaluate job performance, performance expectations for the coming year, and with an emphasis on individualized staff development needs. Specific development and/or training needs are identified for each employee, by the employee and supervisor that should be addressed during the following or year to come.
•The Department’s Affirmative Action Plan.
•Strategic Plan priorities and objectives requiring training as part of implementation.
Once all needs are identified and compiled, the Field Services Team Leaders meet and plan the training agenda and prioritize the training needs of Department employees.
Comprehensive training plans are developed and implemented for all direct service delivery positions during the first 6 – 12 months of hire. Training is conducted by the Team Leader, a VRC4 mentor/coach, and/or various members of the cross functional teams.
As previously noted, full utilization of the FFY12 In-Service Training Grant by the Department’s staff was managed and conducted in accordance to the priorities that were identified through multiple sources. These included:
•The Training Needs Assessment
•Results of annual performance evaluations
•State and federal compliance reviews
•Agency case reviews
All of these sources helped to identify critical areas that needed to be addressed through staff training and they provide the basis for our annual VR program training plan and priorities.
DSB will continue to utilize regional training resources including: TACE at the University of Washington, the City University in Spokane, the Center for Change in Transition Services (Seattle University), the Washington State Department of Personnel’s Human Resources Development Division, and private organizations and agencies for various rehabilitation related topics.
While the Department continues to encourage entry level VR staff to pursue higher level positions including that of VR counselor, the agency also encourages lateral movement when alternate job skills appear to be better matched and suited to an employee’s skills and aptitudes. Para-professional staff who express an interest in furthering their professional knowledge and skills within the field of vocational rehabilitation, with supervisory approval and as budget allows, are provided with financial support from DSB through tuition reimbursement upon successful completion of coursework.
VR staff have participated in a broad array of professional development training activities that were identified in the training priority categories outlined under “Evidence of Need” in the 2010-2015 Department of Education In-Service Training grant application.
Some of those training activities focused on: Vocational Assessment, Assistive Technology, updates to VR laws, rules, and regulations, Mental Health issues of VR clients, strategies for providing effective Vocational Rehabilitation to underserved populations, and Motivational Interviewing techniques to increase our customers self-awareness of obstacle’s that interfere with their goal in achieving competitive employment.
Our agency has partnered with the Region 10 Center for Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE) to participate in regional teleconferences with six other State VR agencies where we discussed: training needs, training activities, and opportunities that are pertinent to our respective agencies.
In using this regional forum to identify common VR training themes within each State agency, TACE has developed on-line training courses and made them available for VR agency staff to increase their knowledge and skills and better serve VR Customers. These on-line training courses provide access to all staff without the typical constraints associated with traditional training, and this style of training has made a positive & direct impact on our staff as they are able to immediately utilize this knowledge to support our customers in their VR program activities.
These TACE-sponsored teleconferences have also fostered the opportunity for our staff to participate in some of the training activities that were being offered and conducted by the Alaska VR Agency, the Idaho General VR agency, the Oregon Commission for the Blind (VR) agency, and the Washington VR General agency, The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR).
The cooperative inter-agency arrangements made by the VR Agencies in Region 10 to share their training resources for the purpose of improving the professional skills of staff is a good example of how DSB has taken the opportunity to maximize the limited resources of time and money, to our advantage. Our staff has the ability to participate in a larger pool of sanctioned VR training events- offered by a variety of VR agencies- who share identical goals to better serve VR Customers in achieving competitive employment outcomes.
In addition, DSB partnered with Western Washington University to secure “Motivational Interviewing” advanced training techniques for our Counseling staff and Rehabilitation Technicians.
As earlier noted, our agency has been partnering with the Washington General VR agency which has invited our staff to participate in many of their agency sponsored training events that occur throughout the state. With DVR having hundreds of employees compared to the 75 employees at DSB, they have been required to develop and provide a broader array of training options- with greater frequency- to keep pace with staff turn-over, various levels of staff experience & education, & CSPD requirements.
As a smaller agency with fifteen VR Counselors, our strong relationship with the general agency has been advantageous to our staff as we have been able to capitalize on additional training options offered by DVR which ultimately support the rehabilitation efforts of our customers.
Department of Services for the Blind has also partnered with Tribal VR agencies of Washington State by attending and participating in events such as the 2012 Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation annual conference held in Seattle. Members from the eight confederated tribal VR programs in Washington State, as well as from throughout the country, were in attendance. The conference was nothing less than a learning opportunity for our staff as Tribal members presented information about cultural sensitivity and the cultural differences which are present when serving Native Americans within the VR program. Our on-going partnership with each of these Tribal VR Programs - via staff attendance at quarterly regional meetings and active partnership in shared VR cases - continues to enhance our working relationships with Native American customers who are blind and receiving VR services from our agency.
Out-of-state travel restrictions were lifted in July 2011, and staff have been able to attend out-of-state trainings and conferences, such as the annual California State University at Northridge Adaptive Technology Conference.
AT staff are committed to reading technology and industry journals and reporting new information on adaptive technology devices to their peers. The team presents formal peer trainings quarterly, and regularly invites AT vendors to demonstrate and loan updated technologies. All AT Specialists attended the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in February, 2013. A Jaws scripting training was held onsite for both AT Specialists and the agency’s IT staff. Acquiring up-to-date information and disseminating it to co-workers is an essential practice in the fast-changing field of Assistive Technology, and the team has proven to be effective in maintaining the technology skills that are needed to support the gamut of customer jobs on complex technology platforms.
Several of our staff members speak diverse languages such as Spanish, German, French, Japanese, American Sign Language, and Korean. Where it makes sense to do so, our staff are willing and able to communicate directly with customers and community members in their native or preferred language. We currently provide 6 staff with 5% extra assignment pay for language skills: 3 for ASL and 3 for Spanish.
Where it does not make sense to rely on staff language skills, or where we do not have access to those skills, we access community resources to communicate with diverse populations. Individuals who are Deaf-Blind or Hard-of-Hearing/Blind may communicate with staff via voice relay service. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are utilized when needed for any in-person meeting, training or event.
Department policies, procedures and community resources ensure that applicants and recipients of program services who have limited English speaking ability are provided with the appropriate mode of communication to fully benefit from public VR services.
The Department continues to employ personnel who are familiar and confident in the use of an array of communication modes to fully benefit the recipients of the program based on the preferred method of communication of the customer.
To address the needs of our customers who have limited English speaking ability and want to speak English more fluently, we have contracted with an English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) provider housed in our Orientation and Training Center. We are able to serve both residential and commuting students in providing literacy coursework accessible to individuals with vision impairment.
DSB coordinates with special education programs through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), and through collaborative projects with the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB).
Our staff who work with transition-age youth coordinate transition activities and conduct in-service training activities throughout the state to teachers of the visually impaired and other Special Education personnel. In addition to providing in-service training, they work with school district staff and DSB counselors to ensure customers receive services and information necessary to facilitate a smooth transition from school to adult services.
Based on assessments and training provided by the Department, DSB staff provide recommendations and information to school districts, WSSB, parents and students about vocational rehabilitation services including availability, referral, and eligibility requirements that support a coordinated transition plan from school to post-school services.
Consultation is also provided as early as necessary to special education staff regarding IEP planning and development. DVR, DSB and OSPI staff shares data and reports relevant to program development and planning.
This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2013 5:35PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment
Provide an assessment of the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:
- individuals with most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
- individuals with disabilities who are minorities;
- individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program; and
- individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system.
Identify the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
The Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) was conducted during FY 2011 and its intent was to consider the vocational rehabilitation needs of blind and visually impaired citizens of Washington State and the capacity of the agency to meet those needs with the existing internal and external resources available. This assessment was completed with direct involvement, guidance and input from the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), and it was conducted by internal staff using a variety of data gathering methods.
The assessment was completed to not only satisfy the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act, but to determine whether our program goals, objectives, & strategies are sufficient to meet the needs of all our existing customers, whether our efforts are producing the outcomes by which our performance is measured, and determine if there is a need to develop new business priorities as we face on-going State budget cuts that adversely affect our ability to meet the expanding needs of Washington State residents who are blind and visually impaired.
The information obtained from the CSNA was used in three primary ways:
1. Agency management staff used the information for improving program operations. This included evaluating where staff should be located, prioritizing outreach, and providing data to our legislature.
2. Providing data and making presentations to community partners so that opportunities for people who are blind in Washington could be enhanced. This included our Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Partners, our local National Industry for the Blind affiliate, WorkForce affiliates, and community organizations.
3. Presentations were made to the SRC to help them have useful data to help guide our agency.
a. Assessing the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities:
Participant Satisfaction Surveys
The agency has a long history of conducting participant satisfaction surveys with individuals who have open VR cases as well as those with recently closed cases. This has been an activity that occurs in conjunction with annual individual counselor case reviews in which cases are drawn from each counselor’s caseload and reviewed for quality assurance by: Team Leaders, a VR Program manager, and peers (who work outside the region where the review is occurring). All cases that are selected for review are automatically designated for a live customer satisfaction survey via telephone contact. This “live” survey process requests feedback from the participant on the services provided by the counselor and other internal team members i.e., Orientation and Mobility Specialists, Assistive Technology Specialists, Rehabilitation Teachers, Low Vision Specialists, etc. and, also seeks feedback from the participant regarding their satisfaction with external service providers and vendors.
The entire case review and the customer surveys typically takes several days to complete, and once concluded, the Quality Assurance Team meets with the counselor and other team members to provide feedback related to the management of the caseload. If specific issues are noted from the case review and/or participant survey, they are immediately addressed with the DSB staff who are involved with the customer, and Team Leaders use the information from the participant survey and case review to set performance and development expectations for the counselor in the coming year.
If there are issues related to external service providers/vendors, or the needs of VR customers that can’t be remedied through existing business processes or procedures, these concerns are taken to the Assistant Director of Customer services for further discussion and action. Unmet customer needs are typically a situational occurrence that can be resolved at the local level. In those instances where customers have pointed out the need for process improvement – the agency has been receptive to making changes that will improve service delivery and increase the likelihood of our customers achieving successful competitive employment outcomes.
Closed Case Participant Satisfaction Survey
The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) developed a closed case Satisfaction Survey that requests information from previous VR customers who were actively involved in the VR Program (development of the Individual Plan for Employment ) and subsequently had their cases closed– both successful and unsuccessful outcomes.
Historically, this survey was sent to each participant in the appropriate alternative format with the request that it be completed and returned. The response rate had been disappointing low and the SRC elected to contract the survey work to be conducted via personal “live” contact via a phone discussion with each customer. At the time of this writing, the contract to conduct the next round of “live“ satisfaction surveys is complete, customer/contact information has been provided to the vendor, and this process will be initiated in early Fall 2011 with the survey results being reported to the SRC by late Fall.
We are aware that there will be former VR customers who may have been contacted on two separate occasions during the course of the counselor case review process and the SRC “closed” case satisfaction survey, however the questions are different and the results of the surveys focus on improving individual counselor performance as well as overall program performance.
The Director and members of the SRC conduct community meetings each quarter to provide information on the services offered by the agency and to seek feedback and comments regarding services provided and services needed by customers and potential customers. Both paper and electronic mailings are sent to all stakeholders including current VR customers, consumer groups, service providers, vendors, and other interested parties. A general announcement is also published, and the agency makes available the option for conference calling so that anyone who wishes to participate in the meeting can do so. Feedback and public comments made by the attendees are recorded and action items are developed for follow-up. This process provides agency personnel with important feedback from customers who may express ideas of what changes may be needed to improve and enhance service delivery throughout the state.
Agency staff have attended and participated in meetings with members from the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE), an agency whose mission is to foster public/private collaboration in the development of employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities. The purpose of these meetings were twofold: to provide information about DSB services to community leaders and WISE staff who specialize in working with individuals who have development disabilities & are blind and visually impaired, and to solicit feedback on potential resources and methods which are required for those individuals who need on-going job supports in order to maintain their jobs.
DSB agency staff have also attend meetings with community rehab providers (CRP’s) who offer a variety of services to individuals with disabilities on a fee for service basis. Through discussions and vendor feedback on the challenges in working with blind and visually impaired individuals, our agency has offered “vendor training” sessions titled: “Understanding Blindness and Successful Employment Outcomes”. These training sessions offered CRP’s the opportunity to openly discuss their fears and concerns in being able to work with blind customers, and provided them with information on the wide range of abilities of people with blindness and low vision as well as low and high tech accommodations. By identifying the concerns that community rehabilitation program personnel are experiencing when working with our customers, and offering them proven methods that have led to successful outcomes, we are better able to help these entities- to help our customers achieve meaningful employment.
Agency personnel also participated in VR Tribal meetings to discuss strategies and partnerships in serving disabled Native Americans who are blind & visually impaired to become gainfully employed. These meetings offered a greater awareness of the cultural beliefs, philosophical differences, and approaches that exist between Native VR services and traditional VR. They also promoted access to vocational rehabilitation services and increase employment opportunities for those who are served by DSB and the American Indian Vocational Rehab Program. These meetings included representatives from several Tribal Nations, the General VR agency, and RSA.
Meetings with Higher Education
The Department of Service for the Blind and the general VR agency have participated in meetings with the Council of Presidents representing Washington’s four-year institutions and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. These meetings have supported the existing interagency agreement between the state’s public institutions of higher education and the vocational rehabilitation programs. This process has brought together Administrators and direct service staff of all of the parties concerned to discuss, assess, and improve how we are conducting business on behalf of our mutual customers.
(A) Individuals with significant disabilities, including Supported Employment
As reflected in our FY11 RSA-113 report for the third quarter, 96.1% of the individuals who are currently receiving services from DSB are identified as being “significantly disabled”. Historically, the percentage of new cases that have been determined eligible with significant disabilities ranges in the 92-97 percentile. While the agency has been quite effective in meeting the rehabilitation needs of most VR customers, and we assist between 130-147 individuals to achieve competitive employment on a yearly basis, we readily acknowledge that our Rehab Rate is below standard, and the number of new applicants has not been increasing at the level that we anticipated –given our current outreach efforts.
Because DSB is not in an Order of Selection and does not expect to invoke an Order of Selection in the foreseeable future, the agency is able to provide immediate services to all eligible customers regardless of the significance of their disability. In regards to Supported Employment needs of VR customers, Washington State provides counties with public funding for work opportunities to those who may be best suited for work in community rehabilitation programs i.e., sheltered workshops or work centers, however long-term funding is not always available to those who are working in an integrated setting. While we have been successful in working with Job Developers to secure suitable “competitive” employment sites for SE customers, the long term support that is needed following the placement and stabilization has been more challenging than in years past. DSB currently has (25) VR customers who have been identified as needing long-term support and have Individual Plans for Employment. With many of these cases, our agency staff was required to seek out extended services where ever they could, and this frequently led to the identification of “natural supports” offered by co-workers where the disabled individual is employed. This arrangement of complete reliance on co-worker support has been of increasing concern as this option relies heavily on the goodwill offered by the employer and co-workers – which is a fragile alliance given the volatile economic climate. Although we have not experienced any recent occurrences of a former SE customer needing to reapply for services because their “natural support” system ended, we continue to struggle with finding “paid” options to aid this group with their long-term employment needs. There does not appear to be an obvious solution to this complex economic issue as State revenue sources dwindle, unemployment rises, and the economy falters – leaving customers with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and traumatic brain injuries fewer options for their long-term employment needs.
(B) Individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been un-served or underserved.
The agency is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds have equal access to Vocational Rehabilitation services. The agency is also committed to staffing the Vocational Rehabilitation program with rehabilitation professionals and paraprofessionals from diverse cultures and minority groups in order to recruit and better serve potential customers with disabilities from minority backgrounds. The agency utilizes an Affirmative Action Plan to ensure that a balanced and diverse workforce exists.
The agency continues to maintain its strong relationship with all of the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs across Washington State, and this year our staff has been invited to participate in and attended several Tribal VR meetings that involved all of the Confederated Tribes of Washington. Our staff was invited to present information to Tribal members and leaders about the agency, and learn about the cultural differences & the unique elements that are found in traditional Native VR programs. In Spring 2011, the general VR agency, Washington Department of Services for the Blind, and the Confederated Tribes of Washington came together and developed a “Memo of Understanding” that will be used as guidance in providing VR services to mutual customers. Because of the many Tribal representatives who are involved in this service agreement, we expect the finalization to occur in late 2011.
In an effort to gauge whether DSB is adequately serving individuals from minority backgrounds in relation to the population of Washington State, we have obtained demographic percentages from the most recent publication available from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey for 2009. The table below shows our involvement in terms of service to individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds and it reflects the current percentage of customers who have self-identified themselves as belonging to a specific race. Our performance with respect to service to minority groups out performs the incidence in the state population with two exceptions: Hispanic/Latino & Asian. Overall, service to minority groups by the agency is 28.2% measured against the 22.2% estimated to exist in Washington State.
ETHNICITY ESTIMATE / % WA POPULATION /% VR CASELOAD
American Indian/ Alaska Native 1.4 4.9
Asian 6.6 5.4
Native Hawaiian /Pacific Island Pacific. 0.4 2.1
African American 3.4 9.2
Hispanic/Latino 9.6 8.7
Our concern has been and will continue to be a focus on increasing services to the Hispanic/Latino communities statewide. One of the geographic areas within the state where there are significant numbers of individuals of Hispanic/Latino descent is Central Washington. This area is located just east of the Cascade Mountains and stretches along the I-82 corridor from Wenatchee to Walla Walla. This is a large agricultural territory covering a two hundred miles of highway between the two cities and all the communities in between are served by agency staff located in our Yakima office. In an effort to increase service to this group and better serve those already on the case load, we hired a bi-lingual/bi-cultural Hispanic Rehabilitation Technician (paraprofessional) to support the Central Washington caseload. This staff person provides a valuable resource for better communication in Central Washington, with the Hispanic/Latino communities, and this individual has proven to be a valuable asset for improved access to our services. The agency has also hired a bi-lingual (Spanish & English) speaking receptionist in our Seattle office where all statewide incoming (1-800) calls are taken. This individual has proven to be invaluable as she fields inquiries and provides agency information to individuals who speak Spanish and are in need of initiating VR services. All of our counselors and staff within their respective service areas have been encouraged to make contact with local Hispanic organizations to increase the awareness of the agency’s existence, explain the scope of our services, and to recruit eligible customers into the VR program.
The estimated percentage of Asians living in Washington State is reported to be 6.6% of the population, and our current open statewide caseload reflects 5.4% of cases/individuals who have identified themselves as being Asian. This difference is not statistically significant; however, we recognize the need to increase our outreach to underserved groups and we have made the effort and commitment to focus attention in this direction. Our staff has contacted the IndoChinese Cultural Central, the Korean Woman’s Association, and the Asian Counseling and Referral Center in an effort to increase VR applications from these sources. In having several individuals on staff who have Asian ancestry (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, & Filipino- and fluently speak the language), we are planning to continue a focused outreach effort into these communities in hopes of increasing service delivery to these underrepresented groups. If our outreach efforts are successful, these actions should earn the agency a passing grade for FY-12 with regards to RSA Standard 2.1- minority service rate- which we failed by (3) cases (fewer than 100 minorities existing the VR program during the past year).
Individuals with disabilities who have been un-served or underserved
The Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM) population estimates show a steady trend of increasing ethnic diversity in the state during the past years. As the ethnic diversity of the state increases, it will become more difficult with limited resources to provide quality services to these groups. Our assessment of the current caseload and applicant pool suggest that individuals from minority backgrounds with limited or no English speaking ability are significantly underserved.
There are limited English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in the state that use non-visual teaching techniques which are necessary for the instruction of monolingual blind and visually impaired participants. There are significant numbers of individuals who have immigrated to Washington that have limited or no English speaking skills and who are often illiterate in their native language. We have partnered with one program in Western Washington; St. James Cathedral, that provides ESL instruction to participants in their native language, on a “one-on-one” basis using non-visual techniques. We have made considerable effort to research and identify an existing curriculum for teaching “groups” using non-visual techniques in order to develop the resources within the adult education system. English speaking ability has not precluded participation - to eligible individuals - in any VR program activity- however it is a significant barrier to most when customers initiate a job search. We will continue to outreach this underserved group and seek out and develop resources necessary for them to fully access services.
Individuals with disabilities who have been served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system
The agency continues to collaborate with statewide WorkSource Centers to improve accessibility for our blind and visually impaired participants, and during this past year, DSB staff attended three WorkForce Board meetings where recommendations were made on how to direct un-served individuals - who may qualify for VR services - to DSB. We have provided technical assistance and training to WorkSource staff on assistive technology (equipment and software) that would allow equal access to services at the centers. Additionally, we have provided sensitivity training to WorkSource staff on working with the unique needs of our participants.
At the time of this update/submittal, there have been no reported cases of blind or visually impaired individuals being unable to access the WorkForce Investment system even though we are aware that there are WorkSource Centers that are not fully equipped with assistive technology to make their systems and programs completely accessible to our customers. Some of this is due to funding constraints and some due to a lack of a coordinated effort within the system. We continue to challenge the workforce investment system in our state to recognize the needs of our blind customers who are job ready so that they may make use of services that are the available to all citizens.
Need to establish, develop, and/or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state
Department of Services for the Blind and the general VR agency have partnered together to establish criteria for using qualified vendors/ Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) and to set-up a performance based “milestone” payment process. No longer are CRP’s being paid for their efforts – which frequently resulted in no meaningful outcome for the VR customers. Much to the displeasure of many providers, they are now being compensated for the results they achieve rather than extensive excuses for being ineffective. For services such as: vocational evaluations, community based assessments, trial work experiences, job placement, job retention, transitional employment, and intensive training services there are three levels of service activities that can be purchased by the VR agency, and each level has a higher fee structure associated with it. Deciding on which service level the customer will need, may be based on the significance of disability, prior work history, and/or involvement required by the CRP to achieve the outcome. During the period when the new fee structures were being considered, CRP’s expressed reluctance in wanting to work with blind customers because the vendors lacked knowledge and familiarity about this group. They considered customers of the “blind” agency to be more challenging because they appeared to have insurmountable barriers to employment e.g. (transportation issues, inability to store and retrieve information, the need for costly accommodations, inability to select appropriate work attire, etc.). In receiving this open and honest feedback, DSB took these concerns to heart and offered a series of statewide vendor trainings to address the expressed issues made by CRP staff. In having frank discussions with our VR agency blind staff about the “abilities” of visually impaired individuals, providing them with demonstrations in the use of adaptive equipment, and dispelling the myths of blindness, we were able to achieve two objectives. Eliminate the fear that CRP’s had in working with our customers, and offer them a market advantage over other CRPs’ by classifying them as being “preferred providers”.
For CRP’s who participated in the blindness awareness training, the status of being a “preferred provider” gave them two assurances: First, their agency/organization would be highly recommended for consideration to customers who were deciding on which vendor to select for the service(s) they needed. Second, these preferred providers would have met the local VR agency staff during the training sessions and be acquainted with our agency personnel who were responsible for providing support services to the customers.
The advantage in having CRP staff meet the Vocational Rehab Counselor, Assistive Technology staff, Low Vision staff, Orientation & Mobility instructors, & Rehab Technicians, are the links which are established between those individuals who are supporting the customer to achieve a successful outcome. With CRPs’ knowing the specific roles that various VR agency staff were responsible for, they could – if needed - seek timely advice and/or assistance to resolve potential issues.
In knowing that there is a high turn-over in personnel who work for low wages at these CRP’s, our local Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors maintain frequent contact with the Managers of these organizations to assure that updated training is provided to new personnel. For those CRP’s who have yet to agree and commit their staff to receiving blindness awareness training, DSB staff have targeted these agencies for outreach. We know that in having a greater pool of viable vendors/providers who are educated and informed about the abilities of our blind customers, these CRP’s can profit from our business, and our customers can achieve the results that will ultimately lead them into competitive employment. In addition, these CRP’s are made aware that the Information related to their performance is collected and used to assist participants to make informed choices regarding which vendors are providing the quality of services that they require. Being on-board as a “preferred provider” with DSB can be a profitable business decision for CRP’s and during this current economic climate that decision could be the difference to being open for business or not.
DSB continues to use a “qualifying process” for contractors who provide assistive technology training to our participants and while the initial result reduced the number of service providers, we are assured that those who passed the process are rendering the highest level of quality services. Locating qualified assistive technology vendors has been a difficult task due to the extensive training and in-depth knowledge that is required of these professionals. The agency currently has six (6) Assistive Technology staff who are dedicated to this specialty, and we have used our AT staff to network and search for viable candidates within their respective communities who are qualified and interested in becoming vendors for the agency.
This screen was last updated on Aug 12 2011 4:38PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates
The American Community Survey (ACS) provides reliable estimated data for the number of individuals in the state who experience visual function limitations.
•The ACS three year estimates (2009-2011) show an estimated 130,000 Washington state citizens of all ages who experience a visual difficulty, or almost 2% of the entire population.
•The estimated number of individuals of traditional working age in Washington State who experience visual difficulty (ages 18 – 64) is estimated in the ACS at around 65,000; the 2010 census data corroborates the ACS 3-year estimated data with a count of 62,697 individuals ages 18 - 64 reporting a visual difficulty.
•The 2010 census shows that 27,205 of those of traditional working age (age 18 – 64) with visual difficulties report they were employed at the time of the census, 4,785 unemployed, and 30,708 not in the labor force. Almost 57% of Washington citizens of traditional working age were not actively employed at the time of the 2010 census.
•The ACS 3-year survey shows an estimated 8,205 citizens ages 5 – 17 experience a visual difficulty; some of this age group would qualify for VR services (at age 14 and older). Thirty-two (32) of the 1330 VR customers served in FFY2012 were age 17 and younger.
•The ACS 3-year survey shows an estimated 53,768 citizens ages 65 and older experience a visual difficulty; some of this age group might also qualify for VR services, as the traditional working age expands beyond age 65, and retirees look to supplement fixed incomes with part-time work. The oldest VR customer served in the agency in FY2012 was age 79; sixty (60) of the 1330 VR customers served in FFY2012 were over age 65.
The agency is not under order of selection at this time, and there is no anticipation the DSB will need to enact an order of selection and restrict service delivery in the near future.
|Category||Title I or Title VI||Estimated Funds||Estimated Number to be Served||Average Cost of Services|
|General Grant||Title I||$8,297,916||1,340||$6,192|
|Supported Employment||Title VI||$59,895||25||$2,395|
This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2013 4:13PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.11(c)(1) State Goals and Priorities
The goals and priorities are based on the comprehensive statewide assessment, on requirements related to the performance standards and indicators, and on other information about the state agency. (See section 101(a)(15)(C) of the Act.) This attachment should be updated when there are material changes in the information that require the description to be amended.
- Identify if the goals and priorities were jointly developed and agreed to by the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.
- Identify if the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, jointly reviewed the goals and priorities and jointly agreed to any revisions.
- Identify the goals and priorities in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.
- Ensure that the goals and priorities are based on an analysis of the following areas:
- the most recent comprehensive statewide assessment, including any updates;
- the performance of the state on standards and indicators; and
- other available information on the operation and effectiveness of the VR program, including any reports received from the State Rehabilitation Council and findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.
To identify goals and priorities, DSB utilized data derived from the comprehensive needs assessment conducted in 2011, and built upon that assessment data through meetings, surveys and public forums with DSB customers, employees, partners, service providers, Rehabilitation Council members, the Client Assistance Program (CAP), tribal program representatives, school representatives and others. The State Rehabilitation Council co-sponsored four public forums, where a call-in phone line allowed for statewide input from Washington State residents and agency customers.
Analysis of customer satisfaction surveys, performance data and RSA statistics show that DSB provides very high quality services and outcomes. The RSA sum of ranks provides strong evidence that DSB places emphasis on careers that provide living wages and benefits, within a competitive and integrated context. The agency wants to maintain and build on this excellence in quality of services and outcomes.
The RSA annual standards and indicators show a need to increase numbers of customer participation in vocational rehabilitation services. We have identified communities that appear to be underserved by our agency based on general population demographics, and analyzed performance data and customer/staff feedback to identify regions where agency resources are taxed or can be bolstered.
DSB staff met with the State Rehabilitation Council to solicit feedback on the content of the state plan.
For Fiscal Year 2013 the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) will have the following goals and priorities:
Goal 1: Improve and Expand Customer Services
Strategy 1a: Expand service provision by adding targeted service delivery staff positions.
Strategy 1b: Create a comprehensive outreach plan for agency, with emphasis on target under-served communities
Strategy 1c: Expand the work experience program through the Orientation and Training Center
Strategy 1d: Expand training capacity and range of curricula offered at the Orientation and Training Center
Strategy 1e: Refine and localize the Physician’s Referral Network resource to create local relationships and increase active awareness of agency services among eye care physicians
Strategy 1f: Develop creative partnerships with local employers, such as through the National Employment Team (NET) network of employers
Strategy 1g: Re-enforce customer informed choice in vocational rehabilitation process by incorporating Motivational Interviewing techniques and practice
Measurement of success: Increase in number of customers served compared to FFY 2012
Measurement of success: Increase in number of referrals of targeted underserved communities (Hispanic/Latino and Asian) compared to FFY 2012
Measurement of success: Comprehensive Outreach Plan is developed and disseminated
Measurement of success: Increase in number of work experience activities within the Orientation & Training Center
Measurement of success: Overall customer satisfaction with agency’s service provision is greater than 80% satisfied for cases closed in previous year
Measurement of success: New partnership(s) with employer(s)are established
Measurement of success: Majority of those exiting without an employment outcome report in Customer Satisfaction Survey that decision to exit was their own, and not due to agency
Goal 2: Improve the economic vitality of residents who have visual disabilities through high quality employment outcomes, wages and benefits.
Strategy 2a: Prepare customers for the most current workplace technology environments
Strategy 2b: Maintain emphasis on discovering the right career fit for each customer, and support the training needed for the customer to become marketable in that field
Strategy 2c: Create and refine job preparation training programs that are accessible for job seekers with visual impairment to help customers become more active and planful in their job search
Strategy 2d: Develop and support internship opportunities for customers to gain work experience, strengthen resumes and build networks within their career field
Strategy 2e: Identify, develop and encourage entrepreneurial qualities of VR customers, and provide supports for setting up small businesses and self-employment opportunities
Strategy 2f: Emphasize through outreach the importance for earliest possible referral, to be able to save a current job rather than find new employment after losing a job due to visual challenges
Measurement of success: Achieve over 150 successful employment outcomes in the federal fiscal year
Measurement of success: Retain top rankings in RSA sum of ranks for quality of employment outcomes, including percentage of outcomes that: are competitive; are above minimum wage; meet Substantial Gainful Activity; have high mean weekly wage, hours worked and medical insurance
Measurement of success: Maintain a rehabilitation rate above the general agency standard of 55.8%
Measurement of success: Maintain an average wage of more than $18 an hour
Measurement of success: Increase success rate of self-employment as employment outcome
Goal 3: Be a resource of quality expertise on issues of vision impairment and employment.
Strategy 3a: Continue partnering with agencies and organizations in the community around blindness and low vision issues
Strategy 3b: Continue to provide staff expertise as resource for state & local projects and committees around disability and employment
Strategy 3c: Continue to provide trainings around issues of blindness and adaptive technology for employers, agencies and Washington State residents
Measurement of success: Outcomes reported due to successful partnering
Measurement of success: Impact reported due to involvement of DSB staff among community
Measurement of success: Training attendees report high satisfaction and increased awareness of issues of blindness
Goal 4: Create organizational excellence
Strategy 4a: Refine customer management system to meet new regulations and improve staff efficiencies
Strategy 4b: Increase use of mobile tools among staff for increased efficiency in the field
Strategy 4c: Improve efficacy and clarity of agency’s multi-directional internal communication and decision-making processes
Measurement of success: High overall ranking by DSB staff among all state agencies in the annual Washington State Employee satisfaction survey
Measurement of success: Staff report they are clear about their work expectations and responsibilities in the annual Washington State Employee satisfaction survey
Measurement of success: All VR employee annual performance evaluations are completed 100% by date due
Measurement of success: DSB is ranked among top three agencies in the RSA sum of ranks on the FFY 2012 Report Card
This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2013 4:22PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection
- Identify the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services.
- Identify the justification for the order.
- Identify the service and outcome goals.
- Identify the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.
- Describe how individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected for services before all other individuals with disabilities.
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 12:25PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.11(c)(4) Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds
Specify the state's goals and priorities with respect to the distribution of funds received under section 622 of the Act for the provision of supported employment services.
All of our Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, Rehabilitation Technicians and Team Leaders are well versed in the provision of SE services and understand the issues related to eligibility, vocational assessment, and creating vocational plans that provide, counseling, training & placement services and address the need for on-going long-term support services.
DSB (in cooperation with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)) has identified and qualified Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) providers in local areas across the state to provide specialized Supported Employment services (assessment, skill building, job development, job coaching and arrangements for extended services). Title VI Part B funding is utilized to support SE services provided by CRPs on a performance based, fee-for-service basis.
DSB provides training and technical assistance relating to blindness to all CRPs who express an interest in working with individuals who have the potential to achieve an employment outcome through Supported Employment.
For FFY 2013:
•DSB will serve 25 Supported Employment (SE) customers
•More than five (5) SE customers will achieve competitive & integrated employment outcomes
•DSB will spend over $59,000 on SE services.
This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2013 4:15PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies
This attachment should include required strategies and how the agency will use these strategies to achieve its goals and priorities, support innovation and expansion activities, and overcome any barriers to accessing the vocational rehabilitation and the supported employment programs. (See sections 101(a)(15)(D) and (18)(B) of the Act and Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA)).
Describe the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities.
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.
Outreach with the goal of increased awareness and participation in DSB’s vocational rehabilitation services is a top initiative among the agency’s staff and teams.
Every staff person is responsible for being able to tell the story of rehabilitative services, the philosophy behind vocational rehabilitation, and the impact of rehab services on individuals and the community.
Local work teams are responsible for coordinating outreach activities among local community organizations, partner service providers, educational districts, and community residents.
Outreach activities need to be supported in a coordinated manner across the state and agency. A strategy of developing a comprehensive outreach plan is in place in order to identify and catalogue an array of effective outreach tools, methods, and approaches, and to target outreach for target populations such as employers, transition-age youth, and the underserved Hispanic/Latino and Asian communities in Washington State.
DSB staff work closely with the various Tribal 121 and general agency partners to ensure all parties have a full awareness of what each partner does, as well as creating new opportunities for referrals and joint case service delivery. Partners in each region meet quarterly to discuss VR issues and develop collaboration opportunities.
Partner agencies statewide that work with issues faced by youth and Blindness (such as the Washington State School for the Blind, the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library, the Washington Sensory Disability Services, the Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., local ESD directors, and DSB) meet quarterly to share information, strategize shared goals, and deepen collaboration.
DSB will continue to fund projects that were initiated through 2010 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) monies. The agency is maintaining and refining the Physician’s Referral Network that was developed to connect potential customers to our services through their eye professional - the most common point of contact for our population base. We continue to encourage, develop and support internship opportunities, self-employment business plans, and job readiness workshops.
Last year DSB worked to enhance Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) provider skills throughout the state to better understand the needs of our customer base and ensure effective processes for working with our agency. The on-going challenge with quality CRP service provision is found in frequent staff turn-over within CRP agencies, which leaves a CRP workforce inexperienced in the issues of blindness. This requires frequent re-training of CRP agency staff. We provided 9 trainings throughout the state for organizations and individuals who were interested in working with DSB. These trainings were well attended and provided a great opportunity for us to show the CRPs what our customers are capable of. Going forward we will need to help smooth out the process for CRPs to become vendors with DSB. We consistently need to broaden the number of CRPs who are willing and skilled to work with our customers. DSB has dramatically increased the number of qualified CRP providers available to our customers and staff.
DSB has had a long history of emphasizing assistive technology as a way for our customers to achieve the fullest outcome possible from their VR experience. One of the ways we do this is by supporting the team of Assistive Technology Specialists that serve within the customer service teams. These staff members also meet quarterly to make sure they are current on new trends in their service delivery model. Customers receive an assistive technology assessment when they begin receiving services as well as at the time of employment. DSB also ensures that our customers have the assistive technology needed to be successful during the VR process. These services are provided statewide by our 8 Assistive Technology Specialists. We added an Assistive Technology position housed in the Yakima office to provide better coverage in the Central Washington corridor. We have plans to add an additional Assistive Technology Specialist in the Lacey office, to better cover the South Puget Sound area. All AT Specialists attended the California State University – Northridge (CSUN) Adaptive Technology conference to refresh and renew technical skills and keep current. A beginning Jaws scripting training was provided to all AT Specialists to strengthen their skills in scripting issues, and an advanced training is planned.
DSB will work with other components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System by participating on various workgroups and committees. We will enter into various memorandom of understanding with the twelve statewide WorkSource Development Councils (WDCs), and will work to ensure our customers have equal access to the core services through the local WorkSource centers.
DSB will work to overcome barriers relating to equitable access of services. Some methods for achieving this are:
*DSB staff will participate in workgroups seeking to improve service delivery processes for non-visual secondary/co-occurring disabilities such as deafness, developmental disabilities, and mental health issues.
*DSB will actively implement its Memorandum of Understanding and agreements with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Tribal VR partners to ensure no service delivery gaps arise.
*DSB will maintain policies that continue to allow us to serve all customers in need of service regardless of the customer’s religion, ethnicity, national origin, race, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
The strategies identified below are related to the goals of Attachment 4.11(c)(1) and to address concerns that have been identified relating to the standards and indicators. One of the standards and indicators that DSB has identified as needing improvement is improving the number of successful rehabilitations and the success rate of cases that go into plan. These strategies should improve those areas.
Goal 1: Improve and Expand Customer Services
Strategy 1a: Expand service provision by adding targeted service delivery staff positions. We have requested of the Washington State legislature to approve an increase to the agency’s FTE cap, adding an additional five (5) direct service positions statewide. Through analysis and feedback mechanisms, we have identified these as the top priority needs for additional staffing:
•VR Counselor in King County
•Assistive Technology Specialist in Yakima, covering Central Washington corridor
•Assistive Technology Specialist in Lacey, covering South Puget Sound
•Orientation & Mobility instructor for the Orientation & Training Center
•Rehabilitation Technician to provide administrative supports, Seattle
We expect by adding these staff, which the agency will be able to sustain over time, we will expand and improve the quality and quantity of service.
Strategy 1b: Create a comprehensive outreach plan for agency, with emphasis on target under-served communities. In order to have an effective, planful and meaningful outreach strategy statewide, we need to develop a comprehensive outreach plan in order to identify and catalogue an array of effective outreach tools, methods, and approaches, and to target outreach for target populations such as employers, transition-age youth, and the underserved Hispanic/Latino and Asian communities in Washington State.
Strategy 1c: Expand the work experience program through the Orientation and Training Center. The agency has been successful in incorporating the work of the training center within the context of the vocational rehabilitation program services – there is a strong vocational aspect within all adaptive skills learning in the Center. The work experience program, providing a term of work experience with a local employer, has diminished at the loss of a staff who had been responsible for organizing the experiences. The agency is committed to re-invigorating this essential aspect of the Orientation and Training Center’s educational program, allowing students who have learned new adaptive skills the ability to practice and grow confident in those skills within a real work context.
Strategy 1d: Expand training capacity and range of curricula offered at the Orientation and Training Center. Customer interest in attending the Orientation & Training Center has increased, and there is a growing waiting list each term for applicants to attend the residential program. Our goal is to target the bottleneck areas in the ability to take on new students – we plan to add residential living space, and to add an Orientation & Mobility instructor, as that instruction relies on a 1 to 1 teacher-student ratio. We hope to expend literacy training and develop English as a Second Language options for our customers with visual impairment with challenges in literacy. We hope to expand our distance Braille classes to meet training needs statewide, and are looking to develop other distance learning courses.
Strategy 1e: Refine and localize the Physician’s Referral Network resource to create local relationships and increase active awareness of agency services among eye care physicians. We have over 350 eye care professionals connected within the Physician’s Referral network. They have been kept active through a centralized set of communications. We are hoping to move maintenance of relationship building among eye care physicians and DSB staff more locally where it makes sense, and will be working to develop a plan to do so.
Strategy 1f: Develop creative partnerships with local employers, such as through the National Employment Team (NET) network of employers. Many exciting partnerships are occurring through the NET nationally, yet regionally we have been less successful in replicating skills-training programs that prepare customers for targeted employment in specific industries, such as through Walgreens and Costco distribution centers, or Hyatt Hotels. It is a goal to collaborate with regional VR agencies to work to develop creative opportunities with local employers for our customer base.
Strategy 1g: Re-enforce customer informed choice in vocational rehabilitation process by incorporating Motivational Interviewing techniques and practice. We have had a core group of counselors involved in progressively advance training and practice of Motivational Interviewing (MI) techniques. The MI technique is a client-centered, directional method of engaging intrinsic motivation-to-change behavior. MI seeks to develop discrepancy and explore & resolve ambivalence within the client in order to more efficiently achieve his or her goals (target: employment). MI helps clients think differently about their behavior and what might be gained through change. Either way, it is their choice. MI techniques support the fundamental tenet of Informed Choice as detailed in the Rehabilitation Act. MI techniques help clients envision a better future, and become increasingly motivated to achieve it. We hope to support a core train-the-trainer group within the agency to continue to promote this client-centered approach.
Goal 2: Improve the economic vitality of residents who have visual disabilities through high quality employment outcomes, wages and benefits.
Strategy 2a: Prepare customers for the most current workplace technology environments. Up-to-date assistive technology and adaptive skills of blindness assessment, tools and training are critical components to the preparation of customers for the workforce of today. The goal of our AT and rehab Teacher staff is to keep apprised of the latest technology advances, through peer-training, attending conferences, developing professional networks and relationships, and locating and securing needed staff training talents. The strength of the multi-disciplinary team environment keeps the awareness of the importance of technology at the forefront of staff and customer attention.
Strategy 2b: Maintain emphasis on discovering the right career fit for each customer, and support the training needed for the customer to become marketable in that field. A continued emphasis on strong and meaningful vocational assessment, and on supporting the education that supports the results of that assessment, is a long-held value of this agency, which we believe assists in our historic high quality of employment outcomes.
Strategy 2c: Create and refine job preparation training programs that are accessible for job seekers with visual impairment to help customers become more active and planful in their job search. The targeted skills in these workshops help customers overcome and address barriers to employment due to disability, and help move and support individuals out of potential stagnation due to the challenges of the job search.
Strategy 2d: Develop and support internship opportunities for customers to gain work experience, strengthen resumes and build networks within their career field. Internship experiences within the competitive & integrated workplace can develop strong relationships and build employer confidence in our customer talents that sometimes leads to a job offer. While not all internship opportunities become employment opportunities, many of our customers have gaps in their work history, or have never experienced using their newly-learned adaptive skills of blindness within a work setting – for these individuals, an internship opportunity can make them more marketable in their later job search efforts.
Strategy 2e: Identify, develop and encourage entrepreneurial qualities of VR customers, and provide supports for setting up small businesses and self-employment opportunities. The economic recovery nationally is being energized through the development of small, home-grown businesses. Self-employment can offer the right individual with the right business plan an opportunity for high economic success. To run a small business takes the right set of entrepreneurial qualities in order to be successful – we hope to develop a training program that allows customers to explore and identify for themselves whether self-employment is a good fit for them. Once they identify they want to become an entrepreneur, they can be supported to develop a self-employment plan, or train to become a BEP operator.
Strategy 2f: Emphasize through outreach the importance for earliest possible referral, to be able to save a current job rather than find new employment after losing a job due to visual challenges. Our message to eye care professionals and to individuals is that an early referral can save a job that an individual likes, knows, and is good at. By ignoring the impacts of vision loss while on the job can lead to performance issues and soured relationships with management, and a job can be lost. We emphasize a pro-active approach to prevent job loss, unnecessary entry into the disability system, and the emotional stress of seeking and learning new employment.
Goal 3: Be a resource of quality expertise for our state’s Blind, Low Vision, & Deaf-Blind residents, and for our community partners
Strategy 3a: Continue partnering with agencies and organizations in the community around blindness and low vision issues. DSB staff has regularly and will regularly continue to work with other partners in the community to provide awareness around blindness and the resources available to help those who are blind. This allows us to offer collegial assistance, increase awareness throughout the greater community, and more readily locate and access services and resources available to our customer base.
Strategy 3b: Continue to provide staff expertise as resource for state & local projects and committees around disability and employment. DSB has staff members that will serve on key boards and committees to make sure the needs of people who are blind are considered. Some examples include: Washington State School for the Blind Board of Education; Washington State Talking Book & Braille Library Patron Advisory Council; Blindness Youth Forum; and Tech Act Board. This allows us to offer collegial assistance, increase awareness throughout the greater community, and more readily locate and access services and resources available to our customer base.
Strategy 3c: Continue to provide trainings around issues of blindness and adaptive technology for employers, agencies and Washington State residents. These trainings will help to increase awareness of blindness related issues and become a resource for enhanced services in the future.
Goal 4: Create organizational excellence
Strategy 4a: Refine customer management system to meet new regulations and improve staff efficiencies. The customer management system (System 7) has become more stabilized for staff and management data entry and retrieval. We have expanded the agency programs that use the system for client activity documentation, to now include the Orientation and Training Center staff. The agency continues to have a goal for managing all programs and fiscal processes within the one customer management system, and work continues towards that goal. While the system has stabilized in the past year, and help ticket issues are down, there continues to be need to refine and streamline the processes in order to minimize staff documentation time, and maximize direct customer service time.
Strategy 4b: Increase use of mobile tools among staff for increased efficiency in the field. Washington State has expansive territory. In order to reduce windshield time, and to create efficiencies in documentation while staff are on the road, we are exploring the integration of mobile technologies to interface with our network and customer management systems in order to allow staff greater access while in the field. This should maximize direct customer service time and help reduce indirect tasks such as documentation and travel.
Strategy 4c: Improve efficacy and clarity of agency’s multi-directional internal communication and decision-making processes. An effective organization relies on clear, meaningful, responsive and inclusive communication from all areas and levels within the agency. In order for management to know and understand priorities for front-line staff, and for front-line staff to incorporate process changes seamlessly and consistently, clear lines of communication need to be developed and maintained. For business services to more effectively assist a VR staff to comply with state and federal purchasing requirements, program silos need to be removed and shared language, mission and goals need to be understood. To effectively ease the transfer of a customer’s main training service provision from the field to the Orientation and Training Center, and then back to the field after OTC graduation, there need to be lines and systems for communication established and cared for. The agency has the goal to improve communications in all directions in order to develop the strongest, most cohesive service delivery system possible.
This screen was last updated on Jun 25 2013 4:28PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals
For Federal Fiscal Year 2012 the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) had the following goals, strategies and targets for measuring success:
Goal 1. To Improve and Expand Customer Services.
Overview of work accomplished towards Strategies for Measure 1 in FFY2012:
Strategy 1.a: Refine the way our organization is structured to provide integrated services in a manner that makes agency programs and funding streams seamless to our customers.
The agency continued to work towards a streamlined organizational structure in FFY2012. There were many challenges, and instances of redirection and reassessment. External factors created both opportunities for change and refinement as well as added complexities. FFY2012 saw many triumphs in process-improvement.
The integration of all areas of service provision was strengthened within the team structures in FFY2012. Regional systems were developed to address local complexities for referral flow and service provision for Independent Living Part B customers, as well as improving the systems for transition-age youth recruitment and service delivery. The Orientation and Training Center deepened its connection and interaction with the VR field work, enhancing the vocational focus within the training center and making transition from the center back to the field more seamless for the customer. Business Services staff became more integrated among the VR teams, improving shared language, understanding and procedure among all staff in order to minimize the impact of fiscal requirements in delaying service provision.
The agency continued to move away from the old transition-age service delivery model of a Child & Family Specialist in each region managing transition-age cases up to the senior year before transferring to a more local vocational rehabilitation counselor. In all regions, VR counselors now are responsible for transition-age services from application, potentially at age 14. This change in process is designed to make the earlier switch-off from the Birth-through-13 Specialist to VR Counselor to allow for improved relationship building among the counselor and customer, and to make the transition services more seamless for the customer and family.
The agency requested of the state legislature the addition of five new staff positions in order to better meet customer need. The state-imposed FTE cap had been very restrictive in allowing the agency to best meet the customer service need; we did not request additional funding, simply the ability to increase our service delivery capability. In planning for this increase, management, staff and the SRC
Strategy 1.b: Create and refine job preparation training programs that are compatible with our customers to help our customers become more focused on their job search.
The Targeted Intensive Job Search Boot Camps and Follow-Along Program is geared toward customers who have been looking for work for 6 months or more, and who appear to be having few fruitful results in their job search. These customers benefit from a refocus of their job search process.
Intensive Job Search Boot Camp workshop
•Customers attend three day workshop
•Agenda for each workshop is individualized based on gaps and needs identified through pre-survey of each participant, and can include:
•Basics of job search
•Barrier and self-sabotage identification, and solution planning
•Problem solving techniques
•Developing and implementing a Marketing plan for job search
•Developing and using tracking systems for job search
Follow-along sessions - These six-week, two hour group follow-along sessions have topic driven agendas, and focus on implementation of the customer’s action plan that was developed in the intensive workshop. The group process assists in developing strategies and providing peer & professional feedback. Elements of the follow-along group work include:
•Group accountability and responsibility
•Individual ownership of outcome and process
•Tailored action plan development and implementation
•Barrier and problem solving skills and implementation
•6 weeks of support to move action steps forward
•Targeted job search and reframing process as a small business looking for customers
Customer benefit and expectations - These workshops and follow along sessions focus on re-tooling, re-starting, re-tuning, and re-energizing the customer’s job search. The intensive workshop ensures all the customers receive the foundational information required to develop job search action plans. All attendees work with others to learn what is working or not working for them, share ideas on local resources and employers, and develop a peer group each can work with in the future as they take ownership of their own job path.
DSB benefits and expectations -
•Less time between entering job search status and employment
•Moves customers that are “stuck” toward an outcome: employment, training or closure
•Provides a group process to create peer reliance and less agency dependency
•Assists in identifying barriers to the employment process and developing action plans to solve them
•Supports DSB customers toward achieving their employment goals
Strategy 1.c: Refine format for how our Orientation and Training Center (OTC) structures terms.
Increase terms to 7 weeks to allow more training time per term and provide greater up-front orientation and assessment to incoming students
Students are better oriented to the apartments and better acclimated to the program before training.
Strategy 1.d: Refine the Physician’s Referral Network source that creates a regular pipeline of customers.
This continues to be an area for improvement in the coming year. The agency has maintained the centralized communications and relationship maintenance of the over 350 eye care professional member referral network. It continues to be a rich source for vocational rehab referrals, especially for those who are early in the experience of vision loss and are still employed. We hope to localize some of the relationship maintenance over the next year.
Strategy 1.e: Develop internship possibilities for our customers during difficult economic times.
The agency supported 17 internship opportunities statewide in the past year, three of which converted into full time employment. Some of those 17 individuals continue in the internship activity, and others ended the experience and continue in their job search activities, with a recent paid and relevant work experience added to their work history.
Strategy 1.f: Increase our ability internally to provide Low Vision evaluations and follow-up to our customers.
All field Rehab Teachers/Orientation & Mobility Specialists statewide have been trained in providing low vision evaluations, and are confident in recommending and training on appropriate low vision aids. This skill is an adjunct to their other O&M and adaptive daily living skills assessment and training duties, so a system of prioritization for in-house low vision assessment is required. For those customers who are not yet in a school or work stage of their vocational rehab plan, it is likely that low vision assessment services will be outsourced to external local providers. However, our internal strength to meet the worksite and higher education-related low vision needs of our customers has been improved statewide.
Measurement of success: Achieve over 150 successful outcomes in FFY 2012. We fell just short of this measurement, with 147 employment outcomes for FFY2012.
Measurement of success: Increase by 5% the number of customers served compared to FFY 2009. This measure was achieved, with a 13.8% increase in numbers served during that period of time: from 1179 customers served in FFY2009 to 1337 served in FFY2012.
Measurement of success: Increase by 5% the number of referrals for vocational rehabilitation services compared to FFY 2009. This measure was also exceeded, with an increase in referral of over 13% for the time period. This indicates effective outreach activities.
Measurement of success: Reach a rehabilitation rate of 63% in FFY 2012. We did not achieve this measure for FFY2012. The rehab rate was 58.8%, significantly higher than the standard of 55.6% set for the general and combined agencies. Since we do business in the same way as the general agency, the higher standard set for Blind agencies will never be achieved by this agency. We do not rely on homemaker successful outcomes the way Blindness agencies may have in the past, but focus on competitive and integrated employment for our customers, most of whom have significant disabilities. To exceed the standard set for the general agency will be the new goal of this agency; we acknowledge that we will fail this particular RSA standard and indicator because of the way we choose to do our vocational rehabilitation work.
Measurement of success: Reach an average wage of more than $18 an hour for our customers in FFY 2012. We did not reach this goal, but came close to the goal with an average hourly wage statewide of $17.07 for all employment outcomes for the year. This was down from the previous year’s hourly wage of $19.35 per hour, and may be a factor of the economic recovery pushing wages down. The average hourly wage for all job retention cases matched the previous year’s $19.35, with non-job-retention cases averaging a slightly less $17,02 per hour.
Goal 2. To be an Expert Resource for Blind, Low Vision, & Deaf-Blind Citizens and our Community Partners.
Strategy 2a: Continue partnering with other agencies and organizations in the community around blindness and low vision issues (some examples include: National Federation of the Blind of Washington, Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, Washington Council of the Blind, and Washington School for the Blind).
Some examples of collaboration and partnering include the below:
CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CAP)
•Communications continued with individual teams this quarter; no significant issues emerged.
•CAP presented at June SRC meeting.
•Staff from CAP attended Counselor and North region meetings.
•Cases that were staffed with CAP resolved in a positive way. DSB’s decisions demonstrated policy compliance, best practices and good case management, etc.
AMERICAN INDIAN VR PROGRAMS STATEWIDE AGREEMENT
July – Oct 2012
•DSB hosted TVR/DVR/DSB meetings for both north and south regions
•Staff attended CANAR conference; hosted information booth
•7.01 meetings occurred in North Region.
•DSB will host in October in both North and South Regions.
•A new MOU for 2012 was approved and the agreement has gone out to all parties for signature.
•All regions are meeting with their local tribal groups and have participated in training, educational programs, job fairs, etc. North Region tribes were also invited to a DSB and AT/LV Lab tour in Seattle. Meredith & Sheila participated in Katrina Walters training . The East Region has worked with the Spokane tribe and provided AT demonstration and assessed the AT needs of their Educational Center Lab. The South Region met with the Cowlitz tribe. Overall, a lot more is occurring beyond the 701 meetings.
July – Oct 2012
•DSB met with Workforce partners
•Mark Adreon attended two meetings convened by the Workforce Board to help develop the Strategic 5-year plan for the Workforce Board. It was a stakeholder meeting consisting of roughly 70 stakeholders throughout the state including business, community/technical colleges, workforce boards, state agencies, and community partners.
•The West Central and SWAT teams have been actively attending monthly Diversity Taskforce meetings.
•DSB hosted the Puget Sound Diversity Employment Network (PSDEN) at our Seattle location. The 70 attendees consisted of employers, community based organizations, state agencies, community/technical colleges, and job seekers. This event provided an opportunity for three DSB customers to present a live resume.
•Mark Adreon facilitated a Boot Camp with the Tacoma office for 7 customers and connected those 7 customers to Tacoma WorkSource Center. All Boot Camp attendees with DSB will sign up with WorkSource Centers.
•The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board held a special meeting Wednesday, December 21, 2011 to recommend a continued integrated approach rather than a unified approach, regarding the next five-year State WIA and Wagner-Peyser Plan.
•The West Central team has been active in the Diversity Taskforce attending monthly meetings.
•Mark Adreon has partnered with Renton Worksource with Boot Camp participants.
•The Puget Sound Diversity Employment Network (PSDEN) formerly Diversity Task Force convened 10 monthly meetings during the year 2011 at 10 different locations throughout King County and south sound. DSB is a 10 year member of the Steering Board for this group and actively participates in all events. The networking events were attended by 100 plus people representing employers, community based organizations, state agencies, and job seekers. During the year DSB had 6 customers provide a live resume at one of these events with DSB counselors in attendance. The PSDEN in conjunction with SHRM developed and hosted the second annual Diversity and Inclusions Conference with over 200 attendees. DSB had a strong presence at this event including a vendor table to showcase DSB Employer and Employment services.
STATEWIDE EDUCATIONAL AUTHORITIES
July – Oct 2012
•DSB joined coalition of statewide providers of youth Blindness services, meeting monthly to develop shared strategies for outreach and collaboration
•Higher ED MOU in process; missed deadline due to changes in DSHS general terms & conditions template
•Meeting to discuss renewal of MOU with Higher Ed is scheduled for August
•DSB assisted partner DVR with Transition manual materials
•EIS MOU renewal process continues
•MOU discussions with OSPI for LIFFT continues
•In the process of looking at Interagency Agreement for Infant & Toddler Early Intervention Program – last renewed in 2007.
•In the process of renegotiating MOU with WSSB for LIFFT services in the 2012-13 school year.
INLAND/SEATTLE LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND
July – Oct 2012
•DSB met with Amy Koehl & Constance Engelhardt to discuss new LH initiatives
•DSB planning tour for LH staff in November
•Plans for Lighthouse / Sight Connections / DSB barbecue planned for September.
•DSB staff demonstrated technology for Deaf Blind Community Class.
•Met with Director for Blindness Programs at ACB convention.
•Michael met with staff in the LHB Employee and Community Services Program to discuss DSB services and how DSB and LHB can partner.
•Meredith Stannard and Arlene Itou participated in the LH CARF accreditation process.
WATAP ADVISORY COUNCIL
•WATAP staff met with AT Team to discuss ways to partner and to initiate discussion for MOU agreement with UW Rehab Team.
•Teaming with DVR AT Team; invited to AT Team meeting to discuss partnering.
•Naomi Namekata will serve on the Tech Act Advisory Council as representative for DSB. Discussion will include how to deepen partnerships with other assistive technology providers and consumer groups. The Council board includes representatives from agency partners such as OSPI, DVR, WorkSource, and IL Centers and holds a majority representation of consumers of AT.
Strategy 2b: Continue to provide staff resources to various state and local projects and committees.
DSB staff served on the following boards and committees in FFY2012:
•Washington School for the Blind Education Board
•Governor’s Committee on Disability and Employment
•Pacific Northwest AER
•Blindness Youth Summit
•Youth Leadership Forum
Strategy 2c: Continue to provide trainings around blindness for employers and agencies.
Measurement of success: Increase by 5% the number of customers served compared to FFY 2009. This measure was achieved, with a 13.8% increase in numbers served during that period of time: from 1179 customers served in FFY2009 to 1337 served in FFY2012.
Measurement of success: Increase of 5% the number of referrals for vocational rehabilitation services compared to FFY 2009. This measure was also exceeded, with an increase in referral of over 13% for the time period. This indicates effective partnering activity.
Goal 3. Create Organizational Excellence.
Strategy 3a: Revise our service category codes in our case management system so that we can have better, more consistent data.
The agency has streamlined the long list of service category options that counselors enter into the vocational plan, and streamlined the processes for adding services and vendors into the plan and authorization. The agency is revising the service structure and providing training on best practice for documenting completed services in order to be sure to capture all services provided through the vocational rehabilitation plan. While the system had been strong in capturing paid services, all services provided internally by in-house staff had been under-reported due to the way the customer management system had been structured. This issue is being resolved.
Strategy 3b: Improve existing components and purchase new components for our case management system.
The customer management component to coordinate and schedule Orientation and Training Center services has been fully implemented. The training center staff are trained and have been utilizing the System 7 data base to enter in all customer activity. This change helps align the field work and training center work, allowing common practices and easy access for staff to learn the history of activity.
The agency has contracted with a user analyst vendor to provide support services in managing the issues, refinement and upgrade of the customer management system. Dissemination of the documentation of changes has become systematized, with easy and consistent access by user staff. Lines of communication among agency and vendor of customer management system have been improved and made more effective as a result. Builds are tested and put live in real-time now, whereas before they were backed up for months.
Upgrade options for the customer management system have been previewed, and are currently in development. All fiscal processes will be conducted through the System 7 customer management system (currently only customer case processes are managed in System 7). A dashboard feature that will allow users quick, instant performance data is planned. Mobile access to the customer management system is in testing so staff can be more efficient with documentation tasks while in the field meeting with customers.
Measurement of success: See a statistically significant improvement regarding DSB staff’s sense of whether they have the tools necessary to do their job on the next employee satisfaction survey compared to the previous employee satisfaction survey.
The Washington State Employee Satisfaction Survey for 2012 showed high ratings for staff satisfaction in DSB. The agency was not ranked due to statistical validation issues regarding agency staff size, but the scores for the agency equaled those of the top three ranked agencies in the state.
Measurement of success: Be ranked among top five agencies in the RSA sum of ranks on the FFY 2011 Report Card for results in mean weekly wage (all employment outcomes); percent of outcomes at or above federal minimum wage; state minimum wage; and percent of all outcomes that are competitive employment outcomes.
In the 2011 sum of ranks, DSB ranked top among all vocational rehabilitation agencies for elements such as percent of outcomes at or above federal minimum wage; state minimum wage; and percent of all outcomes that are competitive employment outcomes.
Strategy for Supported Employment:
The agency’s goals for supported employment in FFY 2012 included the following:
•DSB will serve 30 Supported Employment (SE) customers
•10 SE customers will achieve competitive employment outcomes
•DSB will spend over $45,000 on SE services
In FY2012, DSB processed 42 cases for individuals who required long-term VR supports, and provided services to 30 SE customers, meeting our target.
Of the total 147 employment outcomes, ten (10) were identified as SE customers, with an average hourly wage of $9.18 and average hours per week of 15. Nine additional closed employment cases were identified as closed with supports in an integrated setting. When considering all 19 employment cases that required supports in an integrated setting, the average hourly wage rose to $18.50 and average hours per week to 21. We met our goals.
For the year, DSB spent all of our allotted $63,940 SE monies, above our targets.
For the life of the ten SE cases with employment outcomes in FFY2012, the case cost was $64,473. For the seven SE cases that closed in FFY2012 without an employment outcome, the life of case cost was $25,596, totaling over ninety thousand ($90,000) spent in the life of SE cases that closed in FFY2012.
DSB passed 4 out of 6 of the indicators in Standard 1, and passed all three of the primary indicators for Standard 1.
The agency passed Indicator 1.1 handily, with an increase of 18 employment outcomes for the period.
The agency did not meet the expected Rehab Rate standard for Indicator 1.2. The Rehab Rate is set to a much higher standard for Blind agencies than it is for general or combined agencies. Since we do business in the same way as the general agency, with almost 100% competitive and integrated employment outcomes, the higher Rehab Rate standard set for Blind agencies will never be achieved by this agency. We do not rely on homemaker successful outcomes the way Blindness agencies may have in the past, but focus on competitive and integrated employment for our customers, most of whom have significant disabilities.
We acknowledge that we will fail this particular RSA standard and indicator 1.2 because of the way we choose to do our vocational rehabilitation work. In acknowledging the high quality of DSB’s employment outcomes, with high wages and number of hours worked per week, and exceptionally high percentage of competitive outcomes, we are happy with our Rehab Rate just slightly below the standard for Blindness agencies. To exceed the standard set for the general agency will be our internal commitment for this agency; we have consistently bested the general agency standard each year.
The agency achieved competitive employment outcomes at a rate exceptionally higher than the 35.4% minimum set in Indicator 1.3. Almost every employment outcome was competitive and integrated.
The agency also achieved rates of employment outcomes for individuals with significant disability at much higher rates than the minimum for Indicator 1.4. Over 96% of our employment outcomes were achieved by individuals with significant disabilities, well above the minimum standard of 89%.
The ratio of DSB customer wages compared to the general population is strong, as noted in Indicator 1.5.
Finally, the number of people who are self-supporting at case closure compared to those who are self-supporting at application is nearly double; Indicator 1.6 is exceeded.
DSB did not get rated for Standard 2 as the agency had fewer than 100 persons who identified as an ethnic or racial minority that exited from the program in FFY2011. Our ratio was slightly below the minimum standard of .80, but was not statistically significant because of the small number (less than 100) who exited the program.
For the FFY2012, there was no use of innovation and expansion monies, and no I&E activity.
This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2013 3:47PM by Marla Oughton
Attachment 6.3 Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services
- Describe quality, scope, and extent of supported employment services to be provided to individuals with the most significant disabilities
- Describe the timing of the transition to extended services
In Washington State, Supported Employment services are funded by two primary sources, Federal grant funding via RSA and through Washington State Division of Developmental Disabilities. To a much lesser extent, Social Security PASS plans have also been used by VR participants to maintain long-term supported employment. All of these resources enhance the quality, scope, and extent of services proposed under the Act. The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) of the customer who selects Supported Employment as an employment outcome must identify the source of extended supports or, if the source of extended services cannot be identified at the time of implementation of the plan, the IPE must identify the services, activities, and/or progress measures designed to identify the nature, type, scope, requirements and source of extended services in a manner consistent with the Act and the implementing regulations. The Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) does not provide extended services as defined in 361.5(b)(20). Supported Employment services are provided only to those individuals with the most significant disabilities and who have an identified likely source of long term support.
The quality of the Supported Employment program under Title VI includes the following components:
1. The use of State staff that have an extensive history and knowledge of Supported Employment (SE) to provide coordination, guidance, and consultation to all statewide counselors. This includes the development and implementation of Individualized Plans for Employment under Title VI C or Title I. All regional offices have received training and updates on current Supported Employment policy and procedures. The training is provided on an ongoing basis to individual staff, to field offices where several rehabilitation staff participates in joint service delivery to Supported Employment participants, as well as at regular statewide counselor meetings where Team Leaders conduct in-service training on various rehabilitation topics.
2. The provision of SE training to VR staff occurs throughout the year in team meetings, unit meetings, and statewide conferences where "best practices" are outlined and discussed. The Department of Services for the Blind utilizes the resources of the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment, a non-profit agency that promotes employment for people with disabilities. During their annual conference, our VR staff are provided with information on such topics as: Innovative Project Design and Demonstration, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Financial Systems Analysis and Design, Information Technology Assessment, and Organizational Development and Management Coaching.
3. Program evaluation measures are applied for all SE cases. This includes a review of vendor success rates who provide SE services to DSB participants, Supervisory reviews of SE cases to assure that employment placements comply with wage standards and they occur in integrated settings, and finally customer satisfaction surveys are conducted on every case that is closed.
4. Establishment and maintenance of a viable vendor network. The Department of Services for the Blind works in partnership with the general VR agency in Washington State to identify and certify Supported Employment vendors who are used by both agencies. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and DSB share an extensive statewide vendor network and both VR agencies provide ongoing information and assistance to these vendors to maintain qualified employment and training resources for our customers. Supported Employment vendors are paid for achieving measurable outcomes and are not remunerated for merely spending time “searching for employment.” This performance based method of service provision assures the customer, SE vendor, and the designated state unit that an employment expectation is the measure by which all stakeholders achieve success.
Extended services for customers that need them are ideally identified at the beginning of the VR process. Occasionally this will require more time to find extended services when they are not initially apparent. The transition to extended service providers occurs during the time of employment stabilization and prior to case closure.
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 5:01PM by Marla Oughton