ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Alaska Dept of Labor and Workforce Development - Division of Vocational Rehab State Plan for Fiscal Year 2015 (submitted FY 2014)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

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

1.2 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development [3] agrees to operate and administer the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program in accordance with the provisions of this State Plan [4], the Rehabilitation Act, and all applicable regulations [5], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Section 111 of the Rehabilitation Act are used solely for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and the administration of the State Plan for the vocational rehabilitation services program.

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below) Yes

Director Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

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

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

Director Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryCheryl A. Walsh

Title of SignatoryDirector Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/23/2014

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2015Yes

Comments:

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryCheryl A. Walsh

Title of SignatoryDirector Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/23/2014

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

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

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

The State of Alaska has a State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) consistent with Section 105 the Act and 34 CFR 361.17. In Alaska, the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee (SVRC) serves as the SRC. The SVRC meets quarterly at various locations throughout the State thus enabling them to gain a comprehensive, first hand understanding of the statewide vocational rehabilitation program. One meeting is held in a very rural/remote community in order for the members to experience the socio economic environment and cultural influences, identify partnership opportunities, and to speak with some of the individuals with disabilities who reside there. Knowledge gained through these experiences assists DVR to continuously improve it service delivery.

Recommendations and Notable Suggestions Made to DVR:The SVRC made several suggestions to DVR during FY2013. The following are several of the more notable suggestions. These suggestions were discussed in greater detail regarding the applicability and impact they would have on DVR and services to consumers. All suggestions were considered and reviewed to determine if they warranted being accepted, modified in part or whole or rejected.

1. Several suggestions were made throughout the year by the various SVRC members regarding improving response rates for surveys, both from consumers and partner agencies. The Division agreed to make a more concentrated effort to monitor all survey response rates. Specific survey suggestions and actions are listed below.

Suggestion 1: Provide notification to consumers at the time of closure that a future survey would be forth coming.

DVR Action: The Division Director agreed with the SVRC’s suggestion and implemented a language change to the closure letters sent to all individuals who were closed after plan implementation. Staff were notified of this change. The closure letter now includes the following statement: "You will soon be receiving a confidential survey from the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee (SVRC) inquiring about your experience and the services you received from DVR. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey to help us improve our program."

In addition, DVR more closely monitors survey submissions, sending follow up surveys to individuals who were non-responsive.

Suggestion 2: The SVRC Committee Chair suggested that CRPs be required to respond to Division surveys as part of their vendor approval with the Division.

DVR Action: The suggestion has merit, although DVR recommends taking a different approach to produce better survey response results without being overly demanding. This suggestion was modified to involve the division CRP Specialist directly when sending survey requests to CRPs, such as those sent as part of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA). Having the CRP Specialist involved with enhance working relationships between DVR and the individual CRPs.

Suggestion 3: The SVRC discussed whether using Survey Monkey might increase the return rate of the consumer satisfaction surveys.

DVR Action: The Division began using Survey Monkey in FY2012 on a limited basis but accepted the suggestion to expand the use of Survey Monkey to follow up with non-respondents. The Program Evaluation Unit of the division also uses Survey Monkey to survey partners, staff, AIVRS (Tribal VR), CRPs and other partners for the CSNA and will implement the same follow up procedures in an attempt to increase all survey response rates. Impact results will not be known until the next CSNA in 2016.

2. The SVRC strongly suggested that DVR support "Employment First" principles. At the time, legislation was pending in both the House and the Senate directing all state agencies to focus on employment in the general workforce as the first and preferred outcome for all working-age Alaskans with disabilities. The SVRC understood that they could not lobby for specific legislation.

DVR Action: Although the Division agreed with the suggestion, the DVR Director explained that she must remain neutral on legislation that the Governor has not taken a position on. Together, the SVRC and the Director agreed that providing information about the value of work in an individual’s life would support the legislation in an appropriate manner.

3. The SVRC suggested that DVR continue to fill the Transition Coordinator as a full time position.

DVR Action: DVR considered several options regarding the vacant Transition Coordinator position and ultimately decided to continue to keep that position solely dedicated as a Transition Coordinator focusing on improving transition and employment services to youth. Recruitment began August 2013 and the position was filled in October 2013.

4. SVRC does not support the State of Alaska Universal Space Standards for state personnel and was specifically concerned about how the standards will impact client confidentiality and suggested that DVR appeal this procedure.

DVR Action: DVR agreed with the suggestion and submitted a waiver to Division of Administration requesting an exception for counselors and managers to maintain private offices to protect client confidentiality. The waiver was approved June 2013.

Consumer Satisfaction Survey: In accordance with 34 CFR § 361.17 (h) (4), the SVRC in collaboration with DVR conducts an on-going Consumer Satisfaction Survey in an effort to ensure that DVR is meeting its programmatic responsibilities to the individuals receiving vocational rehabilitation (VR) services while providing the highest level of service possible. The survey contains a series of statements designed to measure the individual’s attitudes and satisfaction levels.

A survey was either mailed or emailed to all those individuals whose cases were closed during federal FY2013 after having received VR services under an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The information gathered from this process was used in the comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA), DVR’s strategic plan and DVR’s state plan. 922 individuals were surveyed with a response rate of 18.9%.

The survey looks at four broad areas: Program Satisfaction: How did DVR do in general?• 80% of all respondents expressed overall satisfaction with DVR’s services. • 86% said they would refer a friend or relative to DVR.

Program Information: Was the individual provided adequate information about the VR program?• 95% responded they knew the purpose of DVR was to help them find a job.

Participant Involvement: Was the individual involved in selecting both VR services and the vocational goal?• 90% indicated they helped choose their vocational goal. • 88% indicated they helped plan the VR services they received.

Participant and Staff Interaction: How well did the DVR staff interact with the individual?• 91% reported they were treated with courtesy and respect. • 89% said DVR staff were available when needed.

Activities of the SVRC Throughout the past fiscal year, the SVRC has:• Collaborated with DVR on the development of the State Plan and the State Plan for Assistive Technology. • Collaborated with DVR on the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) which included surveying the satisfaction of all individuals who had an open case and providing input on the methodology and results of the CSNA.• Participated in a strategic planning process to identify goals and priorities for DVR.• Sponsored an on-going consumer satisfaction survey of individuals who received services under an Individualized Plan for Employment. • Hosted public forums in both urban and rural areas of the State and garnered consumer satisfaction with DVR services. • Conducted outreach efforts to recruit new members to the SVRC. • Educated and provided information on DVR and employment of people with disabilities to the Alaska State Legislature. • Convened a one-day meeting focusing on Assistive Technology (AT). Participants included AT providers, the AT Committee, individuals who use AT, and others. Toured Assistive Technologies of Alaska (ATLA).• Toured the Access Alaska Reuse Center and learned about how they are reconditioning and repurposing used assistive technology to for Alaskans.• Conducted public forums in Juneau and Bethel. The forum in Juneau focused on developing meaningful opportunities for Alaskans with disabilities for employment associated with organized labor and trade associations. The forum in Bethel focused on developing meaningful employment opportunities, including subsistence, for Alaskans with disabilities in rural and remote Alaska.• Heard from Bethel community members interested in marketing native arts and crafts online.• Toured Yuut Elitnaurviat (The People’s Learning Center) in Bethel.• Heard presentations from: the State Independent Living Council on its interest to collaborate with the SVRC; DVR’s Community Rehabilitation Program specialist on how DVR is working to improve quality assurance of Community Rehabilitation Program services; the DVR chief of services, summarizing DVR’s team structure to support specialized populations’ service needs; and the new DVR Business Team on how it serves Alaska businesses.

This screen was last updated on Jul 24 2014 1:45PM by saakpittt

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Apr 10 2012 1:27PM by saakmcintoshj

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.

1. DVR continues to work closely with the Coordinated Resources Project (CRP) or the Anchorage Mental Health Court. The mission of the CRP is to divert people with mental disabilities charged with misdemeanor offenses from incarceration and into community treatment and services including mental health counseling and vocational rehabilitation as appropriate. The hope is to prevent further contacts with the criminal justice system.

2. DVR continues to collaborate with the Alaska Brain Injury Network, the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) programs, the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education (GC), Access AK and the Veterans Administration to support the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Center for Human Development BrainWorks project. BrainWorks is an innovative project that assists individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to successfully start and maintain a business and is part of a two-year research project funded by the Kessler Foundation. Participants in BrainWorks go through a customized self-employment process and receive assistance with identifying supporters, identifying a business concept, writing a business plan, preparing to launch a business, and maintaining a business. BrainsWorks projects were started in Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. As of September 30, 2013, four participants have launched their businesses and eight additional participants are preparing to launch with a total of twenty-one participants enrolled in the project. The next step is to formulate a sustainability plan so these services can continue without the financial assistance of this grant which ends December 31, 2013.

3. DVR is a partner of the Alaska Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Consortium, composed of eleven AIVRS grantees, with a current MOU and Contingency Plan in place. DVR continues to have representation on the Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation Executive Board, where the DVR Chief of Services serves as the Membership Chair.

4. DVR actively participates and has a cooperative agreement with the Alaska Integrated Employment Initiative which is made up of a consortium of agencies committed to working together to improve employment outcomes for youth and young adults with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities (ID).

5. DVR works with Access Alaska, Anchorage to coordinate case management services for individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury.

6. DVR maintains working partnerships with a variety of community providers and partner agencies throughout Alaska such as the Division of Behavioral Health and the Division of Developmental Disabilities to enhance the coordination, number of referrals and quality of services provided to individuals receiving supported employment services, adult basic education and independent living.

7. DVR is on the Alaska FASD Steering Committee. This is an interagency group including the Alaska Court System, Alaska Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Justice, Division of Public Assistance, Division of Behavioral Health, AIVRS programs, and DVR. The goal of the group is to increase the State’s capacity to help individuals with FASD to become successfully independent.

8. DVR participates directly on the offender re-entry initiatives occurring in Juneau, Anchorage and MatSu as well as a statewide re-entry committee. These efforts are intended to improve the transition of our inmate population going back into society especially as it relates to successfully finding and retaining good employment.

9. DVR continues to work with the Department of Administration, Division of Personnel and the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education and the State of Alaska as a Model Employer for Individuals with Disabilities. This work included completing an extensive survey of state employees to create a baseline of how many individuals working for the state self-disclosed they have a disability, as defined currently by ADA, and some indicators on how the State of Alaska is making reasonable accommodations for those employees. In addition, considerable progress has been made in expanding and improving DVR’s Provisional Hire program under the State of Alaska as part of this effort.

10. DVR continues to have an Interagency Agreement in place with the Department of Veterans Affairs VR&E to cooperate, coordinate and collaborate to create a powerful force within the rehabilitation community to increase vocational opportunities for Veterans of the military service is the United States, regardless of the level of disability by including DVR as a partner in a comprehensive system of case management. DVR’s Chief of Services attends monthly meetings with VR&E to strengthen collaboration and coordination of services.

This screen was last updated on Apr 11 2014 8:10PM by saakpittt

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.

DVR’s policy on Transition Services describes the VR counselor’s role and responsibilities in planning for and developing an IPE for each eligible student prior to the student’s leaving school. DVR’s Transition Coordinator further provided training to both special education teachers at the State’s annual Special Education Conference and VR counselors on their respective roles in transition planning. Various DVR staff communicates at multiple levels of special education professionals within the State. For example, the Transition Coordinator and the Assistant Chief of Rehabilitation Services communicate regularly with State Department of Education and Early Development special education staff while the VR counselors’ focus in on building relationships with the special education teachers. The SVRC representative on Special Education and transition provides input to DVR’s strategic plan and on the long-range transition plan developed by DVR’s transition coordinator.DVR implemented, in coordination with the Department of Education, the Secondary Transition referral form to provide teachers an efficient way to connect a student with the VR counselor serving their school. Teachers can access the referral form directly through a link on the Department of Education’s IEP form.DVR has cooperative agreements with all levels of educational institutions within the State including local school districts, the State Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), and the University of Alaska statewide system. The purpose of these agreements is to outline the responsibilities of all entities involved with either the transition from high school or the education of those individuals with disabilities.1. The Department of Education and Early Development, Division of Special Education (DEED) and DVR has an interagency agreement which is designed to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from receipt of educational services in school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services. The agreement includes:

  • DVR’s assurance of the development and implementation of an IPE for each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services before the student leaves school;
  • Designation of a regional DVR contact that is responsible for clarifying questions and concerns relating to the implementation of the agreements with local school districts;
  • DVR’s assurance that the core tenets, principles, and career goals stated in each student’s IEP will be incorporated into the development of their Individualized Plan for Employment. DEED’s Special Education Unit also provides funding for members of the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee to travel to events related to transition student such as the annual statewide special education conference.

2. DVR has memorandums of understanding or cooperative agreements with all of Alaska’s fifty-four school districts. The purpose of the agreements is to provide comprehensive, coordinated services to meet the special educational transitioning needs of students age 16 to 22. Through interagency planning the intention is to eliminate duplication of services, promote the most efficient use of resources, clarify agency roles and responsibilities, and offer quality transitioning plans thereby assuring continuous, well-coordinated services for young adults and their families. School districts are tasked with assuming responsibility for the education of students who experience disabilities through age 21. DVR is tasked with consultative services to school staff which can be accomplished through attendance of an IEP meeting and also providing vocational support for students engaged in employment. The agreements are managed through the office of DVR’s transition coordinator.The agreements address:

  • Referrals to DVR;
  • The assessment responsibilities of the schools and DVR;
  • The programmatic responsibilities each party has, such as the school’s role in educating the students with disabilities through the age of twenty-one and DVR’s role in providing technical assistance to the schools for IEP development and when appropriate, vocational support; and
  • The financial responsibilities of the schools and DVR, such as the school’s role in maintaining and formulating student’s IEPs in accordance with IDEA requirements and the role of DVR to provide and pay for transition services in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act.

DVR also has a Memorandum of Understanding between the Mat-Su Borough School District and the Mat-Su Service for Children and Adults to support the successful transition of the school district’s Next Step program form high school to paid meaningful employment. Desired student post school outcomes are to be attained through a sustainable, well planned and coordinated effort by the three entities. A guiding principle of the agreement is that it is not the responsibility of the student to fit into what services are available, rather it is the responsibility of the service agencies and providers to offer the services that fit the needs of the student. DVR authorizes supported employment, short-term job supports, job search, situational assessments and other services for eligible individuals as appropriate. Fiscal oversight is accomplished through systematic monitoring of authorizations for payment by management as outlined in DVR’s Technical Manual. 3. DVR has a memorandum of understanding with the University of Alaska statewide system delineating the responsibilities of each entity regarding individuals with disabilities who are served by DVR and who are enrolled as students within the University of Alaska statewide system. This includes fiscal responsibilities such as DVR’s payment for services outlined in the IPE such as tuition, fees, books, and interpreter services needed outside of class time and the University’s responsibilities to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. Additionally, both entities will collaborate on resources by sharing information about availability of funding for reasonable accommodations and seeking strategies to improve access to cost effective assistive technology and other reasonable accommodations. DVR’s fiscal oversight is accomplished through systematic monitoring of authorizations for payment by management as outlined in DVR’s Technical Manual. Programmatic responsibilities include each entities legal requirements, policies and missions.The agreement includes:

  • The roles of each party;
  • The financial and programmatic responsibilities;
  • The legal basis for the agreement; and
  • The method for resolving disputes.

4. DVR works closely with three local school districts, hospitals and CRPs to implement the national Project Search model in Anchorage, MatSu and Fairbanks. This has resulted in developing a collaborative internship model where youth with developmental or intellectual disabilities are provided opportunity to learn real job skills in internship positions set up throughout the three hospitals involved. The goal being obtaining integrated employment using the skills learned through the internships.5. DVR supports and participates in the Tapestry Postsecondary Transition Program through the University of Alaska Center for Human Development. The purpose of the program is to provide students (ages 18 to 21) with intellectual and cognitive disabilities a postsecondary college experience to develop self-advocacy skills, engage in career exploration and develop social skills that lead to employment in a career field or enrollment in a postsecondary educational program.

This screen was last updated on Jul 24 2014 1:59PM by saakpittt

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.

DVR has signed agreements with community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) to provide specific vocational rehabilitation services. Only CRPs who meet the qualifications described in the DVR Standards for Community Rehabilitation Programs and have a signed agreement with DVR are eligible to provide such services. The agreements are renewed every three (3) years. The agreement has recently been revised to include minimum training, education and experience requirements for the different services DVR purchases from CRPs. New policies regarding payment structures are in draft format and a strong CRP component has been incorporated into the annual case review process.

 The service provider application:

  • Requires a background check as well as the education and employment experience of all employees working with DVR consumers.
  •  Fees for services. 
  • Outlines the conditions and guidelines under which the division and the service provider will provide services for individuals with disabilities specifying the responsibilities of each party, the scope of services, the evaluation criteria, and reporting and billing requirements.    
  • Outlines standards for service providers including: organizational structure; personnel; fiscal management; health, safety, and accessibility; and indemnity and insurance requirements.  

 DVR’s CRP specialist is responsible for approving the agreements. Changes in key personnel and fees are reported to and negotiated with DVR. Following the principles of informed choice, information on the CRPs including their services and fees are available to DVR’s consumers and are posted on DVR’s internet.

This screen was last updated on Jun 24 2013 2:31PM by saakpittt

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.

Collaborative efforts exist between DVR, the Division of Behavioral Health, the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, the University of Alaska Affiliated program (the Center for Human Development), and the Division of Senior and Disability Services (DSDS) to provide extended services to those supported employment consumers leaving the VR program.

The Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education functions as the State Council on Developmental Disabilities and works to build capacity, plans for systems change, and advocates for change for people with disabilities. System change focuses of system changes include housing, employment, early intervention, special education, lifelong learning, independent living and inclusion in the community. DVR’s Assistant Chief of Rehabilitation Services is an active member of this council. DSDS maintains the developmentally disabled register which is in essence the wait list for long term support services. DVR is in the process of renewing a memorandum of understanding with DSDS.

The Mental Health Board and the Governor’s Advisory Board on Alcohol and Drug Abuse have combined to plan and advocate for policies, programs and services that help Alaskans who have a mental illness or substance abuse issues. DVR’s Assistant Chief of Rehabilitation Services is an active member of this board. In addition, DVR has an on-going commitment to quality supported employment services as evidenced by the recent formation and active participation in several cross-agency supported employment related initiatives such as the Alaska Integrated Employment Initiative. DVR has sustained the principles of the system change customized employment grant that focused on wrap-around services for the most severely disabled.

As mentioned in Attachment 4.8(b)(1), DVR is working with different organizations focusing on two groups which often require Supported Employment Services: those individuals with TBI and those diagnosed as FASD. The TBI service delivery system is focused on the BrainWorks projectwith a goal of self-employment. The FASD Steering Committee recognizes the long term affects FASD has on those affected and the increasing need of long-term supports..

This screen was last updated on Apr 11 2014 8:41PM by saakpittt

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

In FFY 2013, Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) served a total of 3630 individuals with disabilities, utilizing the staff of 98 full time vocational rehabilitation (VR) professionals. These consist of:

  • 1 Director
  • 1 Chief
  • 1 Assistant Chief
  • 5 Regional Managers
  • 42 VR Counselors
  • 28 VR Assistants
  • 1 VR Evaluator
  • 18 Administrative and Support Staff
  • CRP Specialist

DVR finds present staffing levels sufficient to serve all eligible participants. DVR experienced an average rate of turnover during FFY2013.

The State of AK Division of Personnel projects a high rate of staff turnover in the upcoming years, as 18% of DVR employees are currently eligible for retirement and 30% will become eligible within the next five years.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 42 2 12
2 Vocational Rehabilitation Assistant 28 2 8
3 Vocational Rehabilitation Evaluator 1 0 1
4 Vocational Rehabilitation Manager 5 0 2
5 Other Management Staff 20 0 5
6 ASL Interpreter 1 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

Educational institutions within the state of Alaska currently lack Bachelor and Master level programs in Rehabilitation Counseling. University of Alaska offers academic programs in related disciplines, such as Associate and Bachelor degrees in Human Services and Psychology, as well as Master of Education degree in Counseling. DVR diligently ensures that all employees are fully qualified to provide vocational rehabilitation services; those that do not meet CSPD conditions at the time of hire are mandated to enroll in rehabilitation counseling programs (full length or post-graduate certificates), offered via distance delivery through West Virginia University, San Diego State University and University of Kentucky.

In FFY 2013, 4 VR counselors participated in academic training; one VR counselor completed a graduate program; and one VR counselor successfully passed the CRC exam. DVR currently employs 40 VR Counselors, 90 percent fully meet the CSPD requirements. This represents a 3 percent increase from FFY2012.

 

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

 

DVR evaluates its personnel needs annually as part of the strategic planning process. The recruitment of qualified rehabilitation personnel has been historically challenging in Alaska due to lack of rehabilitation counseling programs within our university system, as well as Division of Personnel regulations, which mandate several unsuccessful in-state recruitments before out-of-state recruitment becomes an option. To overcome these difficulties, DVR has developed positive relationships with several Rehabilitation Counseling Education (RCE) programs to enable entry and journey level counselors to obtain the necessary qualifications through distance education and intensive on-the-job supervision. This strategy is effective with paraprofessional staff as well. DVR recruits from various entities, including tribal vocational rehabilitation and human service agencies, and offers paid and non-paid internships to rehabilitation counseling graduate students interested in relocating to Alaska.

In accordance with Title I of the ADA, DVR offers provisional hire to individuals with disabilities to enhance their access to meaningful gainful employment and to ensure community integration. Alaska relies upon educational institutions that deliver curriculum via distance education. Relationships with educational institutions fluctuate based on availability of long-term training grants and staff needs. However, DVR has developed a strong working relationship with West Virginia University (WVU), University of Kentucky and San Diego State University. In order to reach a wider applicant market outside of the traditional in-state recruitment, DVR vacancies are advertised with the University of AK Career Services Center, Rehab Jobs, and Pacific Northwest Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation (CCER). Qualified individuals are identified through the ongoing relationship with academic programs throughout the nation.

 

The state of Alaska does not currently mandate licensure for rehabilitation counselors; as a result, DVR has adopted the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) academic degree requirements as its standard. Strategies that DVR employs to ensure an adequate supply of qualified vocational rehabilitation professionals are:

  • Participate in local job/career fairs
  • Form an in-house training and staff development team
  • Offer paid and non-paid graduate internships
  • Support rehabilitation counseling as an employment goal for DVR participants
  • Support staff in fulfilling academic requirements to qualify for CRC
  • Seek out training to help staff achieve CRC recertification and professional growth
  • Utilize training resources and support of TACE and CCER
  • Arrange presentations to graduate level counseling students at the local university
  • Develop a career advancement system that integrates educational and credentialing required for initial hire and future promotion DVR successfully modified rehabilitation counselor position descriptions to comply with CSPD provisions/mandates.

As a result, those employees that do not meet the qualifying standard must now fulfill all academic requirements necessary to qualify for the CRC examination within six years of hire (for VRC I) or three years (for VRC II). Additionally these employees will receive more intensive supervision and ongoing review of all non-delegable functions (i.e. eligibility determination, plan, plan amendment approval, and closure). As part of DVR strategic planning process, an annual evaluation of the effectiveness of recruitment and training practices is completed; areas of improvement are then identified and incorporated into the plan.

 

Training and development is guided by issues identified during needs assessment, and takes into account budget availability, new federal initiatives, and outcome of program evaluation. Needs assessment involves individual/regional case reviews, client satisfaction surveys, consumer forums, performance appraisals, performance skill rating tools, employee development plans, Client Assistant Program annual reports, and supervisor/employee training needs surveys.

During FY2013, DVR staff participated in several conferences, including:

  • National symposium for individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing
  • Annual school on addictions & behavioral health
  • National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute
  • Statewide Special Education Conference
  • Annual in-service training focused on serving offenders
  • Elders in Training
  • Serving offenders with cognitive impairments
  • Full lives in rural Alaska

Other major training activities consisted of:

  • Ethics for rehabilitation professionals
  • Emerging Leaders Training
  • First lessons in supervision
  • Non-violent crisis intervention
  • Assessment tools
  • Disability Summit

Throughout the year, DVR staff participated in eighteen different continuing education, web-based brief workshops, including:

  • Medical Aspects of Disability
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Apples versus Androids
  • Aging and Disability
  • Medicaid Waiver

All new VR assistant staff participates in on-line training within their first year of employment, learning about:

  • History of VR
  • Basic Ethical Considerations
  • Navigating Sticky Situations
  • Developing Collaborative Relationships
  • Cultural Diversity

Training activities occur on a continuous basis and many are delivered via teleconference through CCER. Virginia Commonwealth’s Rehabilitation Research & Training Center publishes an electronic newsletter, which provides updates regarding relevant research efforts and is disseminated to all DVR personnel. VR counselors utilize the services of medical/psychiatric consultants to regularly update their disability-related knowledge. Evidence-based best practices and advances in the field, presented by the Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (IRI), National Rehabilitation Association, and the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association, are regularly distributed to the field staff. DVR leadership team receives regular updates from the RSA, and maintains active communication with CCER and Pacific Northwest TACE in order to keep pace with the changes in the field of vocational rehabilitation.

 

DVR employs a full-time staff member, who is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), to facilitate communication with the hard of hearing and deaf consumers/staff. The agency supports employees that are interested in becoming proficient in ASL to increase communication with hard of hearing and deaf participants. Tele-interpreting is widely used. VR counselors that serve this population are allowed to use the text message function as a form of accommodating their consumer’s needs. For individuals with limited English proficiency, DVR maintains a roster of employees fluent in various languages; staff may utilize the services of a professional interpreter when needed. DVR relies heavily on tribal vocational rehabilitation programs to educate state staff regarding culturally appropriate methods of communication with Alaska Native participants.

 

DVR consistently collaborates with the State of Alaska Department of Education on numerous staff development and training initiatives.

1. DVR Transition Services. DVR reaches out to students with disabilities throughout Alaska in order to foster their smooth transition from secondary school into vocational/academic training and into the world of work. VR counselors within each regional office are assigned to specific schools to streamline the referral process, ensure counselor participation in IEP development, and ascertain that all schools are informed of DVR services. Contact with schools is carried out at a minimum on a monthly basis. Rural and village schools communicate with DVR through their special education staff, as well as DVR staff that is assigned and travels to that particular rural region. The transition coordinator holds monthly teleconferences with all VR counselors involved in transition initiatives. These monthly teleconferences allow staff to share information, brainstorm ideas, and develop effective strategies for service delivery. Tapestry which is administered through the University of Alaska’s Center for Human Development (CHD), caters to young adults with intellectual disabilities with the goal of teaching them appropriate personal, social, and vocational skills in foster a successful transition to employment. DVR actively collaborates with CHD and other community agencies to ensure that these young individuals with disabilities access the full array of vocational rehabilitation services.

2. Statewide Special Education Conference. DVR strongly encourages counselor presence and participation in this annual conference to establish/maintain an ongoing dialogue with school districts and stay abreast of new developments in the field of special education (i.e. disability issues, assistive technology, classroom accommodations, new legislation, IDEA requirements, etc.). Five DVR staff attended this conference in FFY2013.

3. Special Education Director Conference. The DVR transition coordinator participates in this conference annually. The transition coordinator is a regular presenter at the conference and maintains a vendor booth, which offers special education professionals from the 53 school districts within Alaska a chance to learn about DVR services.

4. DVR’s transition coordinator is a member of the following youth boards: Center for Human Development (Tapestry Project) Governor’s Council on Disability & Special Education and the Integrated Education Initiative.

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2014 7:29PM by saakpittt

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 Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), as part of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, is responsible for the administration and operation of Alaska’s public vocational rehabilitation program. While DVR continually assesses its performance and the needs of Alaskans with disabilities, the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, Public Law 99-506, Section 101(a) requires each state vocational rehabilitation agency to conduct a comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA) jointly with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) triennially. The results of the CSNA are used to develop goals, priorities, strategies and actions for both DVR’s Strategic and State Plans.

Multiple data sources were used to inform the CSNA, including surveys; a review of local and statewide studies focusing on services and barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities; U.S. Census Bureau data; and the DVR management information system. The data collection and analysis portion of the CSNA focused on disability types, barriers to employment, rural Alaska, transition age youth, minorities, employers, gender, age, Job Centers as part of the workforce investment system and community rehabilitation programs.

1. What are the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of individuals with most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment (SE) services?

Summary/Discussion of Data Findings

DVR was able to provide the full range of VR services to all eligible individuals including those experiencing the most significant disabilities as DVR was not on an order of selection at any time during the CSNA study timeframe.

Ninety-four percent of the FFY2011 DVR participants were identified as having either a most significant disability (MSD) or a significant disability (SD). Also, 91 percent or 570 of those individuals exiting the VR program were MSD or SD and were employed earned greater than or equal to the minimum wage. This far exceeds the federal standard of 62.4 percent.

Individuals with cognitive and behavioral health disabilities were the most frequently disability groups identified as MSD at 55 percent and 36 percent respectively. Behavioral health and cognitive related disabilities were also the most frequently identified disabilities for youth.

Thirty-two percent (32%) of the individuals who have been sent a Ticket to Work certificate by Social Security have a behavioral health disability and 10 percent have a developmental disability.

At the end of June 2011, 420 individuals between the ages 18-64 were listed on the I/DD registry. Most of these individuals would require long term support services in order to maintain employment. Alaska DVR has adequate SE funds to meet the needs of all individuals who currently qualify for SE services. The demand for SE services could increase as more individuals are moved off the I/DD register.

DVR participants identified the primary barriers to employment as a loss of benefits (Social Security and Medicaid), physical limitations and lack of training, work experience or education (Table 7). While the respondents to the survey were not broken down into groups by severity of disability, the results can be generally applied across all participants. DVR staff and CRP’s (Table 8) identified the three primary barriers to employment as housing, behavioral health services and transportation.

DVR is a combined agency with an obligation to provide VR services to all Alaskans with a disability including those who experience blindness or a visual impairment. The vast majority of DVR participants who experience blindness are most significantly disabled. The data suggests DVR is providing VR services to this population adequately.

Needs/Concerns

• Ensure an adequate number of CRPs and/or DVR staff who are trained to provide benefit analysis (BA) in order for SSA beneficiaries to understand the impact of work on their benefits

• Lack of long term supported employment services

• Lack of behavioral health services in communities

• Lack of adequate and affordable transportation service options

• Lack of vocational programs/services in community behavioral health centers

• Ensure on-going support for services to individuals who experience blindness or a visual impairment Recommendations/Strategies

• Partner with other service providers to maximize resources and coordinate services for individuals who are in need of long term supported employment services

• Support efforts to establish vocational services from community behavioral health providers

• Represent the needs of individuals with disabilities to increase/improve housing and transportation services, such as serving on the statewide Community and Public Transportation Advisory Board

• Ensure benefits analysis is available • Continue to support the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and other efforts within DVR to ensure our obligation as a combined agency are met.

• Partner with the Division of Senior and Disability Services to improve the employment opportunities for youth with an intellectual disability and individuals with a traumatic brain injury

2. What are the vocational rehabilitation services needs of individuals with disabilities who are minorities or who are in unserved or underserved populations?

The CSNA analyzed data pertaining to individuals with a minority background as well as data by disability type, by age with an emphasis on transition age youth, by geographic areas (rural and non-rural), and by gender to determine if any group is unserved or underserved. In addition, a comparison of individuals exiting the program both employed and not employed after receiving services under an individualized plan for employment (IPE) were compared to determine any bias in the delivery of services.

Summary/Discussion of Data Findings

Individuals with a Minority Background

DVR is not under serving individuals from a minority background. DVR has consistently met the Federal Performance Indicator 2.1 which measures equal access to VR services. The U.S. Census Bureau 2011 American Community Survey estimates one-third of Alaskans who self-identified as having a disability are from a minority background. In FFY2011, approximately one-third of DVR’s applicants and those closed from an IPE self-identified as being from a minority background.

The population and DVR numbers by racial/ethnic group are very small for many of the groups, making broad generalizations about service levels inappropriate.

Rural

Rural Alaska was identified as an underserved area of the state in the previous CSNA. Due to the size of Alaska with much of it inaccessible via roads, rural Alaska encompasses an area larger than many states. DVR defines rural as a community that is not connected by road to a community with a DVR office or is at least 50 miles outside of a community with a DVR office. Based on this definition and the data analyzed, rural Alaska was once again identified as an underserved area. Rural Alaska presents challenges for all State agencies to serve.

DVR has counseling offices in the more densely populated areas of the State while providing VR services to the remote/rural areas on an itinerant basis. The eleven TVR programs have offices in most of the itinerant locations.

DVR’s data shows a seven percent decline in the number of the above defined rural DVR participants from those reported in the 2010 CSNA. For the same period, the Social Security Administration reports a 29 percent decline in Ticket to Work (TTW) certificates issued to rural Alaskans. TTW data is a strong indicator of where Alaskans who experience a disability are living and there appears to be a movement of TTW participants from rural to non-rural communities. This coincides with the data reported by DOLWD’s Research and Analysis Section which suggests a migration to the more urban areas of the State due to more employment opportunities and the availability of more services. DVR also acknowledges that the needs of Alaska Natives are closely aligned with the needs of rural residents in general.

Transition Age Youth

Youth transitioning from high school is a priority population as identified in the Rehabilitation Act, Section 7(37).

DVR has increased the actual number of youth served over a five year period by twenty-one percent while youth as a percentage of the entire number of DVR participants has remained constant at about twenty percent. The national average of youth served is thirty-five percent for combined VR agencies. DVR’s rehab rate for youth is the second highest in the nation for combined agencies. Therefore, while DVR percentage of youth served is below average, our success rate with youth is very high.

Data is sparse for students with 504 plans. These students quite often have significant health issues, yet do not have IEPs and therefore do not always come in contact with special education staff that is more familiar with the DVR and our services.

Needs/Concerns

• Rural Alaskans are underserved with many Alaskan Natives living in rural Alaska

• Transition age youth continue to be a priority population for DVR

Recommendations/Strategies

Transition Age Youth

  • Outreach to alternative schools and youth correctional facilities such as the McLaughlin Youth Center
  • Expand the DVR transition work group to include Section 504 students
  • Expand the DVR transition work group to include youth from the Juvenile Justice System
  • Include guidance counselors and school nursing staff in DVR outreach activities
  • Annually identify 504 coordinators and special education staff for each school
  • Explore developing a transition planning guide for 504 students
  • Maintain DVR presence at Special Education conferences and continue outreach to special education teachers
  • Develop a strategic plan for transition services o Research RSA’s emerging practices for youth services

Rural Alaska

  • Continue DVR rural work group to identify realistic goals for rural services; strategies for meeting these goals; and convey this information to VR field staff
  • Ensure funds are available for VR counselors to travel to rural areas
  • Maintain strong relationships with TVR partners
  • Train Job Center staff in rural areas on disability related issues
  • Work with partners to ensure rural Job Centers have AT resources reasonable to the area

3. What are the vocational rehabilitation services needs of individuals with disabilities who are served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system?

Under WIA legislation, DVR is a partner in the statewide job training and employment service delivery system. DVR is the only agency in the system whose primary focus is individuals with a disability. Job seekers including those with a disability can access this system through the Job Centers.

Summary/Discussion of Data Findings

Direct Service Delivery

DVR counseling offices are currently co-located in six One-Stop Job Centers. DVR counselors rely on rural Job Center staff when traveling to the outlying areas to identify potential referrals, and coordinate service. DVR surveys indicated that employment staff and VR counselors are working together collaboratively and communicating effectively in the non-rural Job Centers or where co-location occurs. The basis for positive relationships among Job Center and DVR staff is service to co-enrolled individuals.

Individuals with a variety of disabilities continue to access core services at the Job Centers such as job search, resume writing, internet access and workshops. Yet, as many Job Center staff know about DVR and our available services as those who do not.

Administration

VR program regulations at 34 CFR 361.23 and Section 121(c) of WIA, along with WIA implementing regulations at 20 CFR 662.300, require that a MOU governing operations of the One-Stop service delivery system in a local area be developed and executed between the One-Stop service delivery system partners.

Alaska has established the Alaska Workforce Investment Board (AWIB) as required under Section 111(b) of WIA that is charged with overseeing the statewide workforce investment system. Because the AWIB sets policies and makes decisions affecting cost-sharing among all partners in the One-Stop service delivery system, it is important to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) how DVR is represented on the AWIB and what impact the Board has on the state VR program.

Needs/Concerns

Direct Service Delivery

  • Job Center staff require on-going training on aspects of disabilities including AT and DVR’s programs and the services we provide

Administration

  • Partner agencies in Job Centers must have MOUs in place in accordance with federal statutes
  • DVR must be represented on the AWIB in accordance with federal statutes

Recommendations

Direct Service Delivery

  • Ensure Job Center staff are regularly trained or made aware of DVR and our services. This is especially true of Job Centers that are served by DVR on an itinerant basis.
  • DVR leadership team and managers continue to identify functional Job Center issues that require on-going work at all levels of the division including the Job Center integration committee and the local Job Center management teams.
  • Work with Job Centers to develop a means to provide information about DVR to individuals who self-identify as having a disability and who receive job training services through a Job Center
  • Develop a referral process to the Job Center employment networks.
  • Train DVR staff to use Job Center services

Administration

  • DVR administration works with partner agencies to develop required MOUs for local Job Centers
  • DVR Director works with the AWIB Executive Director to ensure DVR has appropriate representation on the AWIB in alignment with federal statutes

4. What is the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) within the state?

Summary/Discussion of Data Findings

DVR continually assess the need to develop and improve CRPs within the state. It is an on-going challenge. DVR approves CRPs to deliver vocational rehabilitation related services when there is no other agency available to license the service. Traditionally most of the CRPs are small businesses. DVR relies on CRPs to provide VR services to assist in the success of DVR program participants.

Needs/Concerns

  • More CRPs are needed statewide, particularly in rural Alaska
  • CRPs require on-going training including services to individuals with multiple disabilities or multiple impediments to employment Recommendations/Strategies
  • Market CRP as a career to current Direct Service Professionals through presentations at Full Lives Conferences and collaboration with the Alaska Alliance for Direct Service Careers
  • Maximize training opportunities for current CRPs such as expanding internet training • Provide staff training on CRP identified needs
  • Work with rural VR counselors to identify potential rural CRPs and continue to look for opportunities to recruit CRPs such teachers in rural areas
  • DVR continues to evaluate CRPs for quality services and areas to improve services to DVR participants
  • CRP specialist facilitates discussion between CRPs on promising practices, issues, etc.

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2014 7:31PM by saakpittt

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

The 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimate (Table S1810), estimates there are 48,882 individuals or 10.6% of the Alaskan population between the ages of 18 to 64 with a disability. In FFY2013, Alaska DVR served 2,145 individuals under an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) using Title I and Title VI, Part B funding. Of these, DVR provided 211 individuals with supported employment services under an IPE using Title VI, Part B funds.

DVR was not operating under an Order of Selection during FFY2013 as there was adequate funding and qualified staff to provide services identified in IPEs to all eligible individuals. DVR anticipates this availability of qualified staff and funding will continue during FFY2015. Throughout the year, DVR will continue to closely monitor expenditures and obligations in relationship to VR participant numbers as well as staffing patterns to ensure DVR’s ability to provide VR services to all eligible individuals.

Analysis of Funding: • DVR will continue to receive $100,000 through Project Search to supplant DVR funds to serve youth with developmental disabilities.

• The SFY2015 budget beginning July 1, 2014 has DVR funded at the same level as prior years for client services.

• During FFY 2013, DVR collected over twice the amount of Social Security receipts as in FFY2012. DVR has maintained this same level of reimbursements during FFY2014. Reimbursements are not expected to continue at this level.

• There continues to be adequate Title VI, Part B funding for supported employment services.

• DVR was able to obtain additional Federal funds through the reallotment process for use during FFY2013 and expects to request additional Federal funds to be used for FFY2015 VR services. DVR did not request additional Federal funds for FFY2014.

   

   

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Eligible individuals receiving services Title I $5,000,000 2,145 $2,331
Eligible individuals receiving services Title VI $400,000 211 $1,895
Totals   $5,400,000 2,356 $2,292

This screen was last updated on Apr 10 2014 4:10PM by saakpittt

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.

DVR and the State Vocational Rehabilitation Council (SVRC) including representatives of the AVIRS programs and the SILC, developed goals and priorities for the state vocational rehabilitation (VR) program during the strategic planning process. DVR’s strategic plan is tied to the three year cycle of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) with interim progress assessments regarding goals and priorities. 

The strategic planning process is comprehensive and includes defining the agency’s mission, principles, goals, priorities, strategies and measurements. Input for the development of the goals, priorities and strategies came from the CSNA; public comment taken at the SVCR’s quarterly meetings; ongoing consumer satisfaction surveys; and other program evaluation activities including the case file review, MIS reports and monitoring activities. DVR continuously monitors its progress towards meeting the standards and indicators and makes necessary adjustments to priorities and strategies as required. Specific strategies to achieve these goals and priorities are detailed in Attachment 4.11(d).

The goals, priorities and progress are reviewed quarterly by the DVR management team and discussed with the SVRC at their quarterly meetings. Adjustments are made as required. 

Mission

The mission of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is to assist individuals with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment.  

Guiding Principles

DVR believes in:

  • The empowering value of employment in an individual’s life.
  • Honoring and respecting each individual’s strengths, skills, choices, abilities and cultural identity.
  • Developing strong partnerships with Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation programs, schools, job-centers and centers for independent living.
  • Delivering high quality vocational rehabilitation services.
  • Employing and developing highly qualified and skilled rehabilitation staff.
  • The principles of stewardship in the use of public resources.    

 

Goal 1 - Service Delivery: DVR will deliver high quality vocational rehabilitation services to people with disabilities to assist them in obtaining employment consistent with their career goals.

This goal reflects DVR’s continued focus on improving the VR service delivery system with the priorities and strategies identified by the CSNA.            

Priority 1.1: Improve VR services to transition age youth

Strategies:

  • Explore the use of social media to connect youth to VR services
  • Design web page with youth focus
  • Analyze why and when youth are dropping out of the VR program
  • Participate in Project Search, Tapestry and Integrated Employment Initiative (IEI) grants
  • Through participation in the IEI grant, increase the employment hour of youth with  Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (IDD)
  • Connect with the DOLWD Youth First grantees
  • Research the use of Work Keys in school systems and use by employers
  • Outreach to alternative schools and youth correctional facilities such as the McLaughlin Youth Center
  • Expand the DVR transition work group to include Section 504 students
  • Expand the DVR transition work group to include youth from the Juvenile Justice System
  • Annually identify 504 coordinators and special education staff for each school
  • Include guidance counselors and school nursing staff in DVR outreach activities
  • Explore developing a transition planning guide for 504 students 
  • Maintain DVR presence at Special Education conferences and continue outreach to special education teachers
  • Convene focus group made up of youth with an emphasis on communication and engagement strategies
  • Develop a strategic plan for transition services
  • Research RSA’s emerging practices for youth services
  • Partner with the Division of Senior and Disability Services to improve the employment opportunities for youth with IDD or with a traumatic brain injury                  

 

Priority 1.2: Improve VR services in rural Alaska.            

Strategies:

  • Continue DVR rural work group to identify realistic goals for rural services; develop strategies for meeting these goals; and convey this information to VR field staff
  • Maintain strong relationships with TVR and Job Center partners
  • Train Job Center staff in rural areas on disability related issues
  • Work with partners to ensure rural Job Centers have AT resources
  • Develop partnerships with other state agencies providing rural services in Alaska
  • Identify locations and establish a travel schedule for rural areas other than the hub communities
  • Develop CRPs in rural Alaska
  • Establish qualifications for CRPs serving rural locations
  • Review MOA with TVR Consortium annually
  • Maximize the use of technology for the service delivery
  • SVRC travels to a rural location once a year
  • Ensure funds are available for VR counselors to travel to rural areas
  • Make use of video conferencing available through the state library system (OWL)
  • Continue to research uses of technology for long distance service delivery  

 

Priority 1.3: Ensure on-going support for services to individuals who experience blindness or a visual impairment

Strategies:

  • Continue to support the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (the Center)and other efforts within DVR to ensure our obligation as a combined agency are met
  • Continue Division support for the Blind Services Team
  • Maintain membership in Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the blind and Visually Impaired 
  • Remain active in the National Council of State Agencies for Blind  

 

Priority 1.4: Ensure in-house VR provided services are effective.            

Strategies:

  • Contract with the TACE to provide an overall analysis of statewide VR in-house services including the level of provision including statewide access, the overall effectiveness of the services and their place in the statewide WIA system
  • Review current statewide standards and modify/develop as needed: standards for workshops, definitions of services and level of services including use compared to capacity
  • Analyze the relationship of in-house VR services to case movement
  • Develop mechanisms for matching evaluation to outcomes
  • Ensure all staff have required knowledge for use of in-house services  

 

Priority 1.5: DVR will meet or exceed state and federal performance standards            

Strategies:

  • Research practices of other public VR programs in timely IPE development
  • Increase outreach to individuals with minority backgrounds
  • Outreach to the Asian community through the Anchorage Asian Alaskan Cultural Center
  • Chief of Field Services is liaison to the Alaska Vocational Rehabilitation Tribal Consortium    

 

Priority 1.6: DVR will purchase effective services from qualified CRPs            

Strategies:

  • Develop a mechanism for matching CRP services to outcomes
  • Share information with VR staff and CRPs for continued input and improvement
  • Ensure an adequate number of CRPs and/or DVR staff who are trained to provide benefit analysis (BA) in order for SSA beneficiaries to understand the impact of work on their benefits
  • Market CRP as a career to current Direct Service Professionals through presentations at Full Lives Conferences and collaboration with the Alaska Alliance for Direct Service Careers
  • Provide staff training on CRP identified needs
  • Work with rural VR counselors to identify potential rural CRPs
  • DVR continues to evaluate CRPs for quality services and areas to improve services to DVR participants
  • CRP Facilities Specialist facilitates discussion between CRPs on promising practices, issues, etc.              

 

Goal 2 – Staff Development: DVR will recruit, employ, retain and train the most qualified and highly skilled rehabilitation staff.

This goal reflects the value DVR places on well trained staff and the serious need for succession planning with the anticipated loss of key staff in the near future.  

Priority 2.1: Recruit and retain qualified staff.

Strategies:

  • Develop consistent statewide tools for evaluating employee performance, annual review, training needs and for promotional purposes
  • Maximize training funds to support VR Counselors in graduate level rehabilitation programs
  • Provide relevant training opportunities to staff such as Motivational Interviewing
  • Internships
  • Provide CRC credit for training
  • Develop tools and strategies to consistently deliver “Customer Service Excellence” at all levels to both internal and external customers  

Priority 2.2: Leadership development and succession planning

Strategies:

  • Support staff participation in leadership training programs such as Emerging Leaders, the National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute, etc.
  • Develop a succession plan
  • Make staff aware of educational and long range employment opportunities within DVR  

 

Goal 3 –DVR will provide leadership in the workforce system

This goal is intended to strengthen our connection to other programs that serve individuals with disabilities.  

Priority 3.1: DVR will maintain a leadership role in expanding vocational opportunities for Alaskans with disabilities            

Strategies:

  • Establish criteria for support and participation in new initiatives
  • Develop procedures for referring individuals exiting DVR employed who are SSA Ticket to Work (TTW) holders to Employment Networks (EN) using the Partnership Plus model. (Job Center ENs and others as they become available)
  • Ensure Job Center staff are regularly trained or made aware of DVR and VR services.
  • DVR leadership team and managers continue to identify functional Job Center issues that require on-going work at all levels of the division including the Job Center Integration Committee (JCIC) and the local Job Center management teams.
  • Work with Job Centers to obtain information on individuals who self-identify as having a disability 
  • Support the National Governor’s Association Chair initiative; “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities”
  • Partner with other service providers to maximize resources and coordinate services for individuals who are in need of long term supported employment services
  • Support the Employment First Initiative
  • Support efforts to establish vocational services from community behavioral health providers
  • Continue Chief of Rehabilitation Services participation in the Vets Success meetings
  • Continue support for DVR business point of contact to the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) National Employment Team (the Net)
  • Examine the role of DVR staff on boards, councils, and advisory groups
  • Seek membership or stronger representation on the Alaska Workforce Investment board
  • Support the State as a Model Employer (SAME) initiative and serve on the steering committee
  • Support the Integrated Employment Initiative and serve on the advisory board
  • Support current Project Search sites and serve on the steering committee
  • Support the Tapestry project and serve on the advisory board
  • Serve on the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education
  • Serve on the Alaska Mental Health board
  • Serve on the Statewide Independent Living Council
  • Serve on the Community and Public Transportation Advisory board
  • Serve on the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired board

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 24 2013 2:31PM by saakpittt

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Jun 22 2009 6:59PM by saakmcintoshj

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.

In FFY 2013, DVR:• was allocated $300,000 in Title VI, Part B funds;• spent $277,632 of Title VI, Part B funds and an additional $75,000 of Project Search monies to provide VR services to individuals eligible for Title VI, Part B funding;• served 211 individuals in supported employment (SE) plans;• closed 53 individuals rehabilitated; and• closed 31 individuals other than rehabilitated.For FFY2015, DVR understand that the President’s budget has combined the Title VI, Part B and Title I appropriations. If this is the case, DVR will continue to provide the required VR services statewide to individuals who qualify for supported employment services. We anticipate there will be adequate funding to meet the VR needs of all eligible individuals including those requiring SE services.Goal:In FFY2015, DVR will seek to provide SE services to 211 individuals and assist 60 individuals in obtaining competitive employment.DVR’s SE program is potentially available to any individual with a most significant disability who needs such services to be successfully and competitively employed. Supported employment monies are used for the time-limited services necessary for an individual to stabilize in competitive employment in an integrated setting.Priorities for the maintenance and expansion of SE services include the following:1. Emphasize community based, integrated employment settings with the Governor’s Council on Disability and Special Education, the Alaska Mental Health Board, community behavioral health programs and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (the Trust) to increase vocational programs within the mental health service delivery system.2. Pursue increased long-term state funding for SE; support efforts to reduce the DD registry.3. Explore opportunities for CRPs and other entities to become employment networks to provide long-term supports.4. Work with the community mental health system to increase and reinstate work related programs within community mental health programs statewide

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2014 7:32PM by saakpittt

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.

DVR is committed to expanding and improving VR services in Alaska in order to maximize employment opportunities for Alaskans with disabilities. To first identify needed improvements to VR services, DVR has implemented a continuous improvement model through strategic planning and data analysis. Efforts to expand the service delivery system include collaborations with other agencies that provide services to people with disabilities, especially for those identified as priority populations through the comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA). Strategic planning also gives DVR the opportunity to concentrate on the principles of efficient uses of personnel, technology, and financial resources.

Specific grants and collaborative efforts include:

  • Support the National Governor’s Association Chair initiative; “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities”
  • Partner with other service providers to maximize resources and coordinate services for individuals who are in need of long term supported employment services
  • Support the Employment First Initiative
  • Support efforts to establish vocational services from community behavioral health providers
  • Continue Chief of Rehabilitation Services participation in the Vets Success meetings
  • Continue support for DVR business point of contact to the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) National Employment Team (the Net
  • Seek membership or stronger representation on the Alaska Workforce Investment board
  • Support the State as a Model Employer (SAME) initiative and serve on the steering committee
  • Support the Integrated Employment Initiative and serve on the advisory board
  • Support current Project Search sites and serve on the steering committee
  • Support the Tapestry project and serve on the advisory board
  • Serve on the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education
  • Serve on the Alaska Mental Health board
  • Serve on the Statewide Independent Living Council
  • Serve on the Community and Public Transportation Advisory board
  • Serve on the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired board

 

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.

DVR’s policy on assistive technology (AT) states that AT devices and services must be expressly considered as a potential service for all applicants and eligible individuals as a component of the assessment to determine eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs and throughout the IPE service delivery process. AT is commonly thought of as an application to improve physical functions such as mobility, speech, and hearing with its potential also considered for assisting individuals with cognitive, emotional, or behavioral disabilities as well (for example, a memory or scheduling device to assist an individual with a learning disability with organization and recall). Because AT is constantly evolving, staff continually needs to reassess whether rehabilitation technology solutions exist.

DVR also has an expert on staff who assures that electronic communication used by DVR staff and participants is fully accessible to all, including those using visual aids and those who are deaf.

All VR counselors statewide have access to AT services and devices for the individuals they serve through statewide counselor/evaluator AT training; through statewide assessment services for AT from both in-house evaluators and services provided through ATLA as funded by a state grant under The Assistive Technology Act of 1998; and through services and devices available through the statewide Job Center Network. The services in the Job Centers are funded through the Disability Employment Initiative grant awarded to the AWIB. This grant includes training disability navigators and improves assistive technology capacity at each job center to better serve individuals with disabilities. Alaska DVR works directly with this initiative as a partner.

Specific examples of potential AT at different stages of the rehab process include the following evaluative questions and approaches:

Applicant

  • Are accommodations needed for the person to participate in the rehab process?
  • Is the applicant now using AT?
  • Would AT enhance, create or eliminate the threat of job loss or affect health for this applicant?
  • Would use of technology create an opportunity for this applicant that might otherwise not exist?

Extended Evaluation

  • Does a person with this type of disability generally need accommodations to complete a vocational evaluation?
  • Would providing technology offer the opportunity to explore vocational goals that would not be considered otherwise?

Eligible

  • What barriers does the disability create in working toward the vocational objective?
  • Review technology which the individual currently uses to determine if it can be used in achieving the vocational goal.
  • Would technology potentially assist the client in overcoming any barriers?
  • Does the individual have any concerns about the use of technology in working toward the vocational goal?

Plan

  • What previously unidentified barriers to receiving services does the disability potentially create?
  • What technology could potentially assist in meeting these barriers?

Employment

  • What barriers to searching or obtaining work does the person’s functional limitations create?
  • Will any reasonable accommodation be needed for the application process?
  • Does the individual have concerns about the use or potential need for technology in finding or maintaining a job?

Closure

  • Were possible barriers/problems that the individual faced clearly identified?
  • Does the individual have any concerns about using technology-related services?
  • Does the employer have concerns about technology use on the job?

Post-Employment

  • Have any "major life activities" or "essential functions" of the job changed?
  • If so, did this result in a need for change in technology?
  • Would technology potentially assist in overcoming these barriers?

 

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

The FY2013 CSNA analyzed the following groups to determine any underserved or unserved populations: disability types, age specific to transition youth and the elderly, location (rural or non-rural), minorities and gender. Data comparisons included five year data sets of DVR participants and national data from the US Census Bureau and SSA. The DVR data also included a further reporting of successful closures versus those closed unsuccessfully to ascertain a potential bias in the delivery of services.

Needs/Concerns from the CSNA

  • Asian Alaskans appear to be slightly underserved
  • Rural Alaskans are underserved with many Alaskan Natives living in rural Alaska
  • Transition age youth continue to be a priority population for DVR

Recommendations/StrategiesMinority Background

  • Outreach to the Asian population through the Anchorage Asian Alaskan Cultural center

Transition Age Youth

  • Outreach to alternative schools and youth correctional facilities such as the McLaughlin Youth Center
  • Expand the DVR transition work group to include Section 504 students
  • Expand the DVR transition work group to include youth from the Juvenile Justice System
  • Include guidance counselors and school nursing staff in DVR outreach activities
  • Annually identify 504 coordinators and special education staff for each school
  • Explore developing a transition planning guide for 504 students
  • Maintain DVR presence at Special Education conferences and continue outreach to special education teachers
  • Develop a strategic plan for transition services
  • Research RSA’s emerging practices for youth services

Rural Alaska

  • Continue DVR rural work group to identify realistic goals for rural services; strategies for meeting these goals; and convey this information to VR field staff
  • Ensure funds are available for VR counselors to travel to rural areas
  • Maintain strong relationships with TVR partners
  • Train Job Center staff in rural areas on disability related issues
  • Work with partners to ensure rural Job Centers have AT resources reasonable to the area

 

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

DVR continually assess the need to develop and improve CRPs within the state. It is an on-going challenge. DVR approves CRPs to deliver vocational rehabilitation related services when there is no other agency available to license the service. Traditionally most of the CRPs are small businesses. DVR relies on CRPs to provide VR services to assist in the success of DVR program participants.

Needs/Concerns from the FY2013 CSNA

  • More CRPs are needed statewide, particularly in rural Alaska

Recommendations/Strategies

  • Market CRP as a career to current Direct Service Professionals through presentations at Full Lives Conferences and collaboration with the Alaska Alliance for Direct Service Careers
  • Maximize training opportunities for current CRPs such as expanding internet training
  • Provide staff training on CRP identified needs
  • Work with rural VR counselors to identify potential rural CRPs and continue to look for opportunities to recruit CRPs such teachers in rural areas
  • DVR continues to evaluate CRPs for quality services and areas to improve services to DVR participants
  • CRP specialist facilitates discussion between CRPs on promising practices, issues, etc.

 

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

DVR met all the federal standards and indicators in FY2012. DVR strives for continuous improvement in all areas of the agency. To maintain and/or improve this level of performance, DVR continually monitors the data throughout the year for anomalies or trends.

Strategies include:

  • Formalize training for new staff on production goals and AWARE case management tools
  • Disseminate information to staff on a regular basis on production statewide and the their part in the bigger picture
  • Continually monitor current production and reports to ensure DVR continues to meet the standards

 

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

DVR counseling offices are currently co-located in six One-Stop Job Centers. DVR counselors rely on rural Job Center staff when traveling to the outlying areas to identify potential referrals, and coordinate service. DVR surveys indicated that employment staff and VR counselors are working together collaboratively and communicating effectively in the non-rural Job Centers or where co-location occurs. The basis for positive relationships among Job Center and DVR staff is service to co-enrolled individuals.

Individuals with a variety of disabilities continue to access core services at the Job Centers such as job search, resume writing, internet access and workshops. Yet, as many Job Center staff know about DVR and our available services as those who do not.

DVR will work to:

  • Ensure Job Center staff are regularly trained or made aware of DVR and our services. This is especially true of Job Centers that are served by DVR on an itinerant basis.
  • DVR leadership team and managers continue to identify functional Job Center issues that require on-going work at all levels of the division including the Job Center integration committee and the local Job Center management teams
  • Work with Job Centers to develop a means to provide information about DVR to individuals who self-identify as having a disability and who receive job training services through a Job Center 
  • Develop a referral process to the Job Center employment networks
  • Train DVR staff to use Job Center services
  • DVR administration works with partner agencies to develop required MOUs for local Job Centers
  • DVR Director works with the AWIB Executive Director to ensure DVR has appropriate representation on the AWIB in alignment with federal statutes

 

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.

Alaska DVR engages in an ongoing strategic planning process and data analysis, focusing on continual improvement activities to enhance services and maximize the number and quality of employment outcomes, especially for those identified as priority populations through the comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA). Strategic planning also gives DVR the opportunity to concentrate on the principles of efficient uses of personnel, technology, and financial resources to deliver quality rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities. Expanding and improving services remains an agency priority as the needs and demographics of individuals with disabilities evolve through the CSNA, data analysis and on-going surveys.

The strategic planning team includes VR fiscal people, VR managers and the VR leadership team, the chair of the SRC, a representative from CAP, a CIL director and a representative from the AIVR programs. The strategic planning process includes an annual face-to-face statewide planning meeting as well as quarterly progress reports with DVR staff and the SRC. The goals, priorities, strategies, performance measures and outcomes found in the strategic plan are developed using information from the CSNA, on-going data analysis from DVR’s MIS/case management system, satisfaction surveys and other program evaluation and quality assurance initiatives. The goals and priorities are identified in Attachment 4.11(c) (1). The strategies to accomplish the goals, to overcome the barriers, and to expand and improve services to Alaskans with disabilities are identified in this attachment.

Goal 1 - Service Delivery: DVR will deliver high quality vocational rehabilitation services to people with disabilities to assist them in obtaining employment consistent with their career goals.

This goal reflects DVR’s continued focus on improving the VR service delivery system with the priorities and strategies identified by the CSNA.

Priority 1.1: Improve VR services to transition age youth

Strategies:

  • Explore the use of social media to connect youth to VR services
  • Design web page with youth focus
  • Analyze why and when youth are dropping out of the VR program
  • Participate in Project Search, Tapestry and Integrated Employment Initiative (IEI) grants
  • Through participation in the IEI grant, increase the employment hour of youth with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (IDD)
  • Connect with the DOLWD Youth First grantees
  • Research the use of Work Keys in school systems and use by employers
  • Outreach to alternative schools and youth correctional facilities such as the McLaughlin Youth Center
  • Expand the DVR transition work group to include Section 504 students
  • Expand the DVR transition work group to include youth from the Juvenile Justice System
  • Annually identify 504 coordinators and special education staff for each school
  • Include guidance counselors and school nursing staff in DVR outreach activities
  • Explore developing a transition planning guide for 504 students
  • Maintain DVR presence at Special Education conferences and continue outreach to special education teachers
  • Convene focus group made up of youth with an emphasis on communication and engagement strategies
  • Develop a strategic plan for transition services
  • Research RSA’s emerging practices for youth services
  • Partner with the Division of Senior and Disability Services to improve the employment opportunities for youth with IDD or with a traumatic brain injury

Priority 1.2: Improve VR services in rural Alaska.

Strategies:

  • Continue DVR rural work group to identify realistic goals for rural services; develop strategies for meeting these goals; and convey this information to VR field staff
  • Maintain strong relationships with TVR and Job Center partners
  • Train Job Center staff in rural areas on disability related issues
  • Work with partners to ensure rural Job Centers have AT resources
  • Develop partnerships with other state agencies providing rural services in Alaska
  • Identify locations and establish a travel schedule for rural areas other than the hub communities
  • Develop CRPs in rural Alaska
  • Establish qualifications for CRPs serving rural locations
  • Review MOA with TVR Consortium annually
  • Maximize the use of technology for the service delivery
  • SVRC travels to a rural location once a year
  • Ensure funds are available for VR counselors to travel to rural areas
  • Make use of video conferencing available through the state library system (OWL)
  • Continue to research uses of technology for long distance service delivery

Priority 1.3: Ensure on-going support for services to individuals who experience blindness or a visual impairment

Strategies:

  • Continue to support the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (the Center)and other efforts within DVR to ensure our obligation as a combined agency are met
  • Continue Division support for the Blind Services Team
  • Maintain membership in Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the blind and Visually Impaired
  • Remain active in the National Council of State Agencies for Blind

Priority 1.4: Ensure in-house VR provided services are effective.

Strategies:

  • Contract with the TACE to provide an overall analysis of statewide VR in-house services including the level of provision including statewide access, the overall effectiveness of the services and their place in the statewide WIA system
  • Review current statewide standards and modify/develop as needed: standards for workshops, definitions of services and level of services including use compared to capacity
  • Analyze the relationship of in-house VR services to case movement
  • Develop mechanisms for matching evaluation to outcomes
  • Ensure all staff have required knowledge for use of in-house services

Priority 1.5: DVR will meet or exceed state and federal performance standards

Strategies:

  • Research practices of other public VR programs in timely IPE development
  • Increase outreach to individuals with minority backgrounds
  • Outreach to the Asian community through the Anchorage Asian Alaskan Cultural Center
  • Chief of Field Services is liaison to the Alaska Vocational Rehabilitation Tribal Consortium

Priority 1.6: DVR will purchase effective services from qualified CRPs

Strategies:

  • Develop a mechanism for matching CRP services to outcomes
  • Share information with VR staff and CRPs for continued input and improvement
  • Ensure an adequate number of CRPs and/or DVR staff who are trained to provide benefit analysis (BA) in order for SSA beneficiaries to understand the impact of work on their benefits
  • Market CRP as a career to current Direct Service Professionals through presentations at Full Lives Conferences and collaboration with the Alaska Alliance for Direct Service Careers
  • Provide staff training on CRP identified needs
  • Work with rural VR counselors to identify potential rural CRPs
  • DVR continues to evaluate CRPs for quality services and areas to improve services to DVR participants
  • CRP Facilities Specialist facilitates discussion between CRPs on promising practices, issues, etc.

Goal 2 - Staff Development: DVR will recruit, employ, retain and train the most qualified and highly skilled rehabilitation staff.

This goal reflects the value DVR places on well trained staff and the serious need for succession planning with the anticipated loss of key staff in the near future.

Priority 2.1: Recruit and retain qualified staff.

Strategies:

  • Develop consistent statewide tools for evaluating employee performance, annual review, training needs and for promotional purposes
  • Maximize training funds to support VR Counselors in graduate level rehabilitation programs
  • Provide relevant training opportunities to staff such as Motivational Interviewing
  • Internships
  • Provide CRC credit for training
  • Develop tools and strategies to consistently deliver “Customer Service Excellence” at all levels to both internal and external customers

Priority 2.2: Leadership development and succession planning

Strategies:

  • Support staff participation in leadership training programs such as Emerging Leaders, the National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute, etc.
  • Develop a succession plan
  • Make staff aware of educational and long range employment opportunities within DVR

Goal 3 -DVR will provide leadership in the workforce system

This goal is intended to strengthen our connection to other programs that serve individuals with disabilities.

Priority 3.1: DVR will maintain a leadership role in expanding vocational opportunities for Alaskans with disabilities

Strategies:

  • Establish criteria for support and participation in new initiatives
  • Develop procedures for referring individuals exiting DVR employed who are SSA Ticket to Work (TTW) holders to Employment Networks (EN) using the Partnership Plus model. (Job Center ENs and others as they become available)
  • Ensure Job Center staff are regularly trained or made aware of DVR and VR services.
  • DVR leadership team and managers continue to identify functional Job Center issues that require on-going work at all levels of the division including the Job Center Integration Committee (JCIC) and the local Job Center management teams.
  • Work with Job Centers to obtain information on individuals who self-identify as having a disability
  • Support the National Governor’s Association Chair initiative; “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities”
  • Partner with other service providers to maximize resources and coordinate services for individuals who are in need of long term supported employment services
  • Support the Employment First Initiative
  • Support efforts to establish vocational services from community behavioral health providers
  • Continue Chief of Rehabilitation Services participation in the Vets Success meetings
  • Continue support for DVR business point of contact to the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) National Employment Team (the Net)
  • Examine the role of DVR staff on boards, councils, and advisory groups
  • Seek membership or stronger representation on the Alaska Workforce Investment board
  • Support the State as a Model Employer (SAME) initiative and serve on the steering committee
  • Support the Integrated Employment Initiative and serve on the advisory board
  • Support current Project Search sites and serve on the steering committee
  • Support the Tapestry project and serve on the advisory board
  • Serve on the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education
  • Serve on the Alaska Mental Health board
  • Serve on the Statewide Independent Living Council
  • Serve on the Community and Public Transportation Advisory board
  • Serve on the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired board

Utilization of the Funds Reserved for Innovation and Expansion Activities

DVR sets aside a portion of funds allotted under Section 110 of the Act for development and implementation of innovative approaches to improve the provision of VR services, particularly for individuals with the most significant disabilities. DVR has used in these funds in the past and plans on continuing to use these funds in support of the SILC and the SVRC as well as any appropriate activities that would meet the criteria of innovative and expansive approaches to the delivery of VR services. The SVRC is a full and active partner in the development of agency policies, regulations and procedures. The SVRC collaborates with DVR to hold public meetings in different areas around the state each year. These meetings are another way for DVR to identify needs and to gather trend information for strategic planning. DVR also supports the SILC. The director of DVR is a member of the SILC and a DVR representative participates in the development of the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL).

 

This screen was last updated on Apr 10 2014 7:49PM by saakpittt

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

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

Goal 1 - Service Delivery: DVR will provide high quality services to all eligible individuals to assist them in obtaining employment consistent with their career goals.

Priority 1.Transition services for youth with disabilities Outcome for FFY2013:* Rehabilitation rate for youth was 61.2% which exceeds the Federal S&I 1.2 of 55.8%* 22% of all applicants were youth* 22.8% (137) of all those individuals closed rehabilitated were youth at application* 25.1% of all individuals participating in the VR program were youth at application* For youth closed rehabilitated, the average hourly wage was $11.12, well above the minimum wage of $7.75 and the average number of hours worked at closure was 28.4 hours per week.* DVR continued its emphasis on youth transition services in FY2013 with the hiring of a new transition coordinator

Strategies contributing to success:* Counselors in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Wasilla assigned as Project Search Counselors in high schools* DVR transition team includes all VR counselors assigned to high schools and the transition coordinator continues to meet monthly* Transition coordinator provides annual training at AK State Special Education Conference* On-going efforts to expand transition services to include Section 504 students and the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)* DVR staff participates in bi-monthly Job Corp meetings* On-going effort to maintain relationships with school district staff directly involved with students who experience a disability; Annually identify 504 coordinators and Special Education staff in each school* Continue to explore and expand the use of social media to connect youth to VR services* Participated in the youth focused Project Search, Tapestry grant and the Integrated Employment Initiative (IEI). The Tapestry grant is a postsecondary transition project managed by the U of AK, Center for Human Development. The IEI is a partnership with the Division of Senior and Disability Services to improve the employment opportunities for youth with an intellectual or developmental disability or with a traumatic brain injury* Maintained DVR presence at Special Education conferences and continued outreach to special education teachers* Continued to educate school staff on DVR’s mission as it relates to referrals * Updated web site with tools including a video for special education teachers* Provided on-going TA and support to the Tapestry and Project Search programs* Participated on AIEI management team and related oversight efforts with that initiative.* Coordinating meetings with both Office of Children’s Services and DJJ. * Spoke at state-wide video conference with DJJ. * Provided Discovery training to DJJ staff * New referral form & referral guidance for schools developed with a focus on 504 eligible students

Factors impeding progress:* Post-secondary students are often very transient* Youth have different communication styles than more traditional methods, i.e. anecdotal information suggests texting has become the preferred method of communication. DVR needs to determine best way to communicate to reduce number of youth who are lost after applying for VR services * Staff turnover in school districts

Priority 2.DVR remains off an Order of Selection Outcome:* DVR was not on an Order of Selection in FY2013

Strategies contributing to success:* DVR was able to maintain current staffing levels* DVR was able to take advantage of Federal reallotment funds * Aggressive filing of Social Security reimbursements * DVR continues to closely monitor expenditures and obligations

Factors impeding achievement:* None

Priority 3.Improving services in rural Alaska Outcome:* DVR remains committed to improving services to rural Alaska. The number of counselors assigned to travel on an itinerant basis has increased. Even so, providing services to rural Alaska continues to be a challenge for DVR. The 2013 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) identified rural Alaska as an underserved area.

Strategies contributing to success:* Continued partnerships with the AIVRS programs, the local Job Centers and other State agencies providing rural services* VR counselors are assigned to hub communities in Western Alaska and to other appropriate rural communities* Continued expansion of tools and resources that are not available in rural areas such as vocational evaluation tests/assessments for VR counselors to use when traveling* Rural services team continues to meet every other month* Transition coordinator assigned to rural services team * Travel funds were available for counselors to travel to rural communities * Piloting the use of the statewide OWL libraries video teleconferencing capabilities* Larger CRP expanding services for job placement and job search assistance to a rural community* DVR counselors participated in Rural Transition Camps * Trip planning/reporting tool developed for use by VR counselors* VR counselors and DVR staff continue to do outreach to develop new CRPs in rural Alaska* The SVRC continues to hold one quarterly meeting annually in a rural setting.

Factors impeding achievement:* Size of the state * Lack of services in rural Alaska* Lack of employment opportunities in rural Alaska* Census data suggest an out-migration from rural Alaska for people with disabilities to larger communities with more intensive services* Decline in applicants from rural Alaska, trend seen in Job Centers as well

Priority 4.Work with Job Center partners to improve services in job centers for people with disabilities Outcomes:* Job Center surveys report that people with disabilities continue to use Job Center services* AT services are available in Job Centers Local MOUs are in place between DVR and partners * DVR collaborated with the Employment Security Division (ESD) on the implementation of the Disability Employment Initiative.* DVR worked with and supported ESD’s effort for the One Stop Job Centers to become employment networks as part of the Ticket to Work initiative. Strategies contributing to success:* Strong partnership between ESD and DVR to support services to individuals with disabilities in One Stop Job Centers at all levels of both organizations* DVR staff is on Job Center management teams and attend meetings* DVR clients volunteer at Jo Center* DVR staff continues to make presentations on VR services at local Job Centers* Collocation of WIA partner agencies in Job Centers in smaller communities

Factors impeding achievement:* Staff turnover in the Job Center* Job Centers in rural communities are served by VR counselors on an itinerant basis

Priority 5.Enhance the VR service delivery system through the use of technology Outcome:* DVR has improved service delivery through the on-going exploration and the implementation of the application of technology

Strategies contributing to success:* iPads were purchased as an accommodation for DVR participants with hearing and other communicative impairments* Assigned a staff member the responsibility of researching and implementing new technologies* Expand the use of the Survey Monkey tool* Electronically send case files required for reviews* CRPs can apply on-line* Improved and expanded the functionality of DVR’s intranet* Expanding use of case management system to include and disseminate job ready information * Implementation of web-site specifically designed for special education teachers

Factors impeding achievement:* The vastness and geophysical characteristics of the State limits fast internet services statewide* Infra-structure does not exist for high quality video conferencing State’s band-width* Financial resources

Priority 6.Develop new CRPs and/or enhance delivery of CRP services Outcome:* DVR staff and particularly DVR’s CRP Specialist continue to work on developing well trained CRPs to meet our statewide needs* CRPs are a priority in the current Strategic Plan* Standards for CRPs have been developed and implemented * Collaborated with and supported University of Alaska Center for Human Development to develop a two tiered approach to the training and monitoring of CRPs for the provision of benefits analysis.

Strategies contributing to success:* CRP application process was revised* Pay rate ranges have been established for each CRP service* Minimum training, education and experience requirements have been established for each CRP service* New, measureable case review criteria have been developed for statewide reviews* DVR’s CRP specialist made a presentation at the Full Lives Conference* Local staff and regional managers work in the communities to establish new CRPs * On-going evaluation and improvement to the CRP component of the case review system

Factors impeding achievement:* Difficult to retain CRPs as most CRPs are single person operations* Primary CRP in the State specializing in AT services cannot meet the demand

Priority 7.Meet or exceed federal performance standards Outcome:* DVR achieved successful performance on Evaluation Standard 1 (employment outcomes) and Evaluation Standard 2 (equal access) as defined in 34 CFR Part 361.82. DVR increased its performance in FFY2013 over FFY2012 in five of the seven indicators: 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 and 2.1.* Both indicators 1.3 and 1.4 exceeded the standard in excess of twenty-five percentage points.* DVR did not achieve the same level as FY2012 for 1.1.

Strategies contributing to success:* Well trained staff* Resources to fill vacant positions* Adequate case services funds* Continual dissemination to staff of their role and progress towards meeting the performance measures

Factors impeding achievement:* Slowing job market to maintain level of successful closures

Priority 8.Enhance and streamline Ticket to Work processesOutcome:* Social Security receipts increased from $455,290 in FY2012 to $1,054,049 in FY2013

Strategies contributing to success:* Staff processing claims received additional training* Internal claims submittal process analyzed and streamlined* On-going efforts to automate claims and TTW tracking

Factors impeding achievement:* None

Priority 9.Assess service delivery system for individuals who are blind or visually impaired to ensure on-going support Outcome:* The 2013 CSNA showed that DVR was adequately serving those individuals who are blind or visually impaired. DVR provided services at level to meet the requirement of a combined agency.

Strategies contributing to success:* Blind Services team continues to meet and includes staff from the AK Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (the Center)* DVR dedicates Section 110 funds to blind services statewide* DVR supported the Center’s efforts to establish a benefits analyst* A DVR counselor is on the board for the Center* VR counselor assigned to Blind Services participates in community outreach on issues facing the blind and visually impaired* All VR offices are able to provide services to the blind and visually impaired

Factors impeding achievement:* The blind and visually impaired are a low incidence population, making it often difficult for the Center to have an adequate customer base* The vastness of the state with limited resources in outlying areas

Goal 2 - Staff Development: DVR will recruit, employ, retain and train the most qualified and highly skilled rehabilitation staff. Priority 1.Recruit and retain qualified staff Outcome:* DVR diligently ensures that all employees are fully qualified to provide vocational rehabilitation services; those that do not meet CSPD conditions at the time of hire are mandated to enroll in rehabilitation counseling programs (full length or post-graduate certificates), offered via distance delivery through West Virginia University, San Diego State University, and University of Kentucky. * In FFY 2013, 4 VR counselors participated in academic training; one VR counselor completed a graduate program; and one VR counselor successfully passed the CRC exam. DVR currently employs 40 VR Counselors, 90 percent fully meet the CSPD requirements. This represents a 3 percent increase from FFY2012.* Four VR counselors participated in academic training. One VR counselor completed her graduate education during this time period and successfully passed the CRC exam. * The Division employs 40 VR Counselors, 90 percent of whom fully meet CSPD requirements. This represents a 3 percent increase from FFY2012.

Strategies contributing to success:* Participate in local job/career fairs* Form an in-house training and staff development team* Offer paid and non-paid graduate internships* Support rehabilitation counseling as an employment goal for DVR participants* Support staff in fulfilling academic requirements to qualify for CRC* Seek out training to help staff achieve CRC recertification and professional growth* Utilize training resources and support of TACE and CCER* Arrange presentations to graduate level counseling students at the local university* Develop a career advancement system that integrates educational and credentialing required for initial hire and future promotion DVR successfully modified rehabilitation counselor position descriptions to comply with CSPD provisions/mandates.

Factors impeding achievement:* Educational institutions within the state of Alaska currently lack Bachelor and Master level programs in Rehabilitation Counseling. University of Alaska offers academic programs in related disciplines, such as Associate and Bachelor degrees in Human Services and Psychology, as well as Master of Education degree in Counseling

Priority 2.Provide on-going training opportunities Outcome:* DVR employs 40 VR Counselors, 90 percent of whom fully meet CSPD requirements. This represents a 3 percent increase from FFY2012.* DVR has a well trained staff providing high quality VR services as evidenced by DVR meeting all the standards and indicators

Strategies contributing to success:* Training and development is guided by issues identified during needs assessment, and takes into account budget availability, new federal initiatives, and outcome of program evaluation. Needs assessment involves individual/regional case reviews, client satisfaction surveys, consumer forums, performance appraisals, performance skill rating tools, employee development plans, Client Assistant Program annual reports, and supervisor/employee training needs surveys. * During FY2013, FY2013, DVR staff participated in several conferences, including: National symposium for individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing, Annual school on addictions & behavioral health, National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute, Statewide Special Education Conference, Annual in-service training focused on serving offenders, Elders in Training, Serving offenders with cognitive impairments, and Full lives in rural Alaska. * Other major training activities consisted of: Ethics for rehabilitation professionals, Emerging Leaders Training, First lessons in supervision, Non-violent crisis intervention, Assessment tools, and Disability Summit.* Throughout the year, DVR staff participated in eighteen different continuing education, web-based brief workshops, including: Medical Aspects of Disability, Traumatic Brain Injury, Apples versus Androids, Aging and Disability, and Medicaid Waiver.* All new VR assistant staff participates in on-line training within their first year of employment, learning about: History of VR, Basic Ethical Considerations, Navigating Sticky Situations, Developing Collaborative Relationships, and Cultural Diversity.* All new VR assistant staff participates in on-line training within their first year of employment, learning about: History of VR Basic Ethical Considerations Navigating Sticky Situations Developing Collaborative Relationships Cultural Diversity * Training activities occur on a continuous basis and many are delivered via teleconference format through CCER.* VR counselors utilize the services of medical/psychiatric consultants to regularly update their disability-related knowledge. Evidence-based best practices and advances in the field, presented by the Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (IRI).

Factors impeding achievement:* Lack of local training

Priority 3.Support leadership development and succession planning Outcome:* DVR worked with the TACE on succession planning* DVR sent staff to Emerging Leaders and the National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute

Strategies contributing to success:* Availability of funds

Factors impeding achievement:* Staff turnover

Goal 3 - DVR will distinguish its role in the workforce system and will leverage partnerships to maximize resources and support for employment of individuals with disabilities Priority 1.Partner with employers to promote the hiring of people with disabilitiesOutcome:* Provisional hire information is part of the training curriculum for State of Alaska Hiring Managers DVR worked with the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education (GCDSE) to support the State as a Model Employer. In FY2013, the State of Alaska was the single largest employer of DVR’s clients. * The DVR Business Team which is comprised of four field staff and the Assistant Chief of Rehabilitation Services continues to meet and respond to workforce development needs of Alaskans with disabilities by working directly with businesses in a progressive model. The Business Team also coordinates with CSAVR’s National NET system in identifying and working directly with businesses who identify an interest in targeting the hiring of people with disabilities.

Strategies contributing to success:* Supported the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education (GCDSE) survey of State of Alaska employees on the occurrence and type of disabilities* Local staff works in the community with local employers in both the private and public sectors to provide information about VR services including unions, Chamber of Commerce and the University system* Assign staff to participate in Walgreen’s national REDI project* Business Team created to network with employers* Staff attended job local fairs including those held for returning veterans Development of a Job Placement Specialist in our largest office* As part of the State as a Model Employer initiative, worked with the (GCDSE) to ensure provisional hire information was included in the training curriculum for State of Alaska Hiring Managers. * Support Project Search sites across the state* DVR staff serve on boards including the GCDSE, the state Mental Health Board and the Community and Public Transportation Advisory board.

Factors impeding achievement:* DVR is a small agency and does not always have the capacity to participate in all requested initiatives

Priority 2.Partner with other service providers to maximize resources and coordinate services especially for individuals who are in need of long term supported employment services and employment services from community behavioral health providersOutcome:* DVR is an active participant in new and on-going initiatives providing opportunities for individuals who often require long-term supports.

Strategies contributing to success:* Participate in BrainWorks in Anchorage and Fairbanks* DVR staff involved with community organizations such those developing a technology lab for children, the Fairbanks Native Association’s Women and Children Healing Center and local TBI support groups.* On-going discussions with Behavioral Health providers on requirements and success rates for placement* Outreach to the Division of Public Assistance (DPA) contractors for service coordination to joint participants* DVR staff participates in: the Deaf Education Board, DPA’s Family First program, the Citizen Re-entry Program, the Mental Health Court, the Youth Job Center, the Office of Children Services, Homeless Connect summit, the Veterans Stand Down summit, the Wellness Court and the Juvenile Mental Health Court* DVR staff is working with the Division of Disability and Senior Services to utilize the opportunities for work experiences and provisional hire

Factors impeding achievement:* DVR staff capacity* Priorities vary among agencies.

 

Goals and Priorities for the FFY2013 supported employment (SE) program:

1. DVR will provide SE services to 170 eligible individuals.

2. DVR will assist 50 SE eligible individuals to obtain competitive employment.

3. DVR will be able to provide all the identified required VR services to all SE eligible individuals.

4. Explore opportunities for CRPs and other entities to become employment networks to provide long-term supports.

5. Work with the community mental health system to increase and instate work related programs within that system.

6. Emphasize community based, integrated employment settings with the Governor’s Council on Disability and Special Education, the Alaska Mental Health Board, community behavioral health programs and the Trust to increase vocational programs within the mental health service delivery system.

FFY2013 SE Program Outcomes:

1. DVR provided VR services under an IPE to 211 SE eligible individuals.

2. DVR successfully assisted 53 SE eligible individuals in obtaining competitive employment.

3. DVR was not on an order of selection and had adequate funding and staff to provide SE services to all eligible individuals.

Strategies contributing to the achievement of the goals:

1. Adequate SE funding was available to DVR counselors.

2. DVR has continued to support and work with the Employment Security Division in the endeavor of One-Stop Job Centers to become Employment Networks.

3. DVR has continued to support Project Search.

4. The Alaska Division of Senior and Disability Services has continued to work to reduce the wait list for support services.

5. DVR has continued to work with the community mental health system to increase and/or to reinstate work related programs within that system of providers.

Factors Impeding the Achievement of Goals:

DVR met its goals for FFY2013, but continues to work to maintain a level of success and improvement of services.

 

DVR achieved successful performance on Evaluation Standard 1 (employment outcomes) and Evaluation Standard 2 (equal access) as defined in 34 CFR Part 361.82. DVR increased its performance in FFY2013 over FFY2012 in five of the seven indicators: 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 and 2.1. Both indicators 1.3 and 1.4 exceeded the standard in excess of twenty-five percentage points.

 

In FFY2013, Alaska DVR utilized innovation and expansion funds to support the State Independent Living Council (SILC) and the State Vocational Rehabilitation Council (SVRC) which functions in Alaska as the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC).The SVRC is a full and active partner in the development of DVR’s policies, regulations and procedures. The SVRC holds takes public comment on the VR program at their quarterly meetings. These meetings are typically held once a year in each of the three largest populations centers of the state (Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks) and one rural location. Statewide notification of the meetings is made through the State of Alaska’s public meeting and announcement system as well as being advertised in local VR offices. Individuals outside the meeting area are encouraged to comment either by calling in, faxing or mailing comments. DVR uses these comments as part of the division’s ongoing program evaluation which is integral to the strategic planning process and the comprehensive statewide needs assessment.DVR also supports the SILC. The director of DVR is a member of the SILC and a DVR representative participates in the development of the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL).Innovation and Expansion Activities for 2013

  • Support of the SRC: $50,958
  • Support of the SILC: $167,408

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2014 7:37PM by saakpittt

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

Supported employment (SE) remains a priority for DVR. DVR’s SE program provides opportunities for Alaskans with the most significant disabilities to achieve competitive employment in integrated settings with ongoing support provided by a variety of partners. These are individuals with developmental disabilities, severe mental illness and traumatic brain injuries for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred.

DVR provides a continuum of SE services and, in partnership with other human services agencies and programs, the continuing support that persons with the most significant disabilities need to develop, maintain and advance in competitive employment. DVR continues to work closely with other agencies and community-based organizations and groups to develop, refine and expand the availability of SE services throughout Alaska. Current initiatives include:

1. BrainWorks is an innovative project to assist individuals with brain injury in starting a business and is part of a two-year research project funded by the Kessler Foundation and is managed by the University of Alaska, Center for Human Development. Participants in BrainWorks will go through a customized self-employment process and will receive assistance with identifying supporters, identifying a business concept, writing a business plan, preparing to launch a business, and maintaining a business. Pilot projects are expected in Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks.

2. FASD Steering Committee. This is an interagency group including the Alaska Court System, Alaska Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Justice, Division of Public Assistance, Division of Behavioral Health, AIVRS programs, and DVR. The goal of the group is to increase the State’s capacity to help individuals with FASD to become more successfully independent.

3. Tapestry Postsecondary Transition Program through the University of Alaska, Center for Human Development. The purpose of this program is to provide students (ages 18 to 21) with intellectual and cognitive disabilities a postsecondary college experience to develop self-advocacy skills, engage in career exploration, and develop social skills that lead to employment in a career field or enrollment in a postsecondary educational program.

Quality of Supported Employment Services

In general, the quality of a DVR SE plan is evaluated to ensure it complies with defining the criteria of SE:

- Work is performed in an integrated setting that provides interactions with individuals who do not have disabilities, other than caregivers.

- The individual is receiving a wage commensurate with non-disabled workers doing the same work.

- The ongoing support needs and source have been identified.

- SE services provided to individuals are for the maximum number of hours possible, based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice of the individual.

- The individual and the employer are satisfied with the placement.

The quality of SE services is also assured through the establishment of formal service provider agreements between DVR and those providing the rehabilitation services and through regular program evaluation and review.

Scope of Supported Employment Services

DVR provides the full scope of SE services under an IPE to individuals with significant disabilities including person with psychiatric disabilities, behavioral health disabilities, developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries. DVR continues to work with the Governor’s Council on Special Education and Disabilities to stimulate and perpetuate SE services through components of the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant and with the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Senior and Disability Services to enhance and streamline the delivery of SE services across state agencies.

Extent of SE Services

Supported employment is integrated into the array of services and programs available to Alaskans with disabilities, including Alaska’s behavioral health and developmental disability services systems. Success in SE requires a partnership among the responsible state and community programs, consumers and families and employers. Long-term success continues to depend on the availability of funding. DVR is continuing to work with the Job Centers that have become employment networks to implement the Partnership Plus model for Ticket to Work Program recipients.

DVR has adequate resource to provide SE services to all eligible individuals who, because of the significance of their disability, require intensive services to gain employment and extended services to maintain employment. DVR provides intensive SE services under a place and train model until employment stability is achieved for a period not to exceed 18 months. The individual then transitions into the long term extended services needed for job maintenance. Extended services are provided by an agency other than DVR or though natural supports. A VR counselor must have a reasonable expectation that extended services are or will become available to the individual prior to developing an individualized plan for employment (IPE) to provide SE services.

Transition to Extended Services

DVR provides intensive training services to SE consumers for a maximum of 18 months. Special circumstances may occur where the VR counselor and the individual agree to extend the training in order to achieve the vocational goal on the IPE. Supported employment providers who do not receive extended support funding from the Division of Senior and Disability Services, use natural supports and non-traditional resources to provide extended support services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2014 7:39PM by saakpittt