1. DOR Agrees to Fund Training for Client to Pursue Career as Makeup Artist
ML is a person with disabilities and requires services from the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) to reach her employment goal of becoming a paramedical permanent makeup artist. ML's plan is to focus her practice on paramedical procedures such as scar camouflage. DOR agreed to assist ML with training through an accredited private school in California. However ML discovered that the school did not specialize in paramedical permanent makeup. ML made a request to DOR to attend a private school in Utah that specializes in paramedical permanent makeup training, but her request was denied because the school was not approved by the Bureau for Private and Post secondary Education (BPPE). ML contacted the CAP program for assistance.
After reviewing DOR's own policy, CAP discovered that the BPPE only applied to out-of-state schools that offered online training to students in California, which the school did not. CAP also discovered that DOR can work with private out-of-state schools if they are approved by an accredited agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, which the client’s desired school is. CAP agreed to contact the DOR Team Manager assigned to ML's case and requested that they enter into an agreement with the school because it was approved by the US Dept. of Education, and because the tuition was less expensive than the private school in California that DOR originally recommended. As a result of CAP's advocacy, DOR agreed to fund ML's enrollment in the school in addition to lodging, transportation, and airfare so that ML could attend the school for her paramedical permanent makeup training.
2. Client Overcomes Barriers to Advanced Training
RG is diagnosed with multiple disabilities and went to the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) with several years of experience in the medical field. RG clearly communicated to her counselor that she was seeking training from the DOR to advance from a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) to a Registered Nurse (RN). The DOR and RG developed an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) together.
RG began taking the prerequisite academic courses required to enter an RN program. After completing these courses, the DOR stated that RG had completed her training and was ready to seek employment. Unbeknownst to RG, her written IPE stated an employment goal as an LVN, not RN. CAP represented the client at an Administrative Review, where the District Administrator agreed to fund advanced training from LVN to RN, as well as RN exam fees, application fees, licensing fees, and official transcripts.
The DOR also denied the client childcare services. CAP successfully represented RG in mediation. DOR agreed to fund childcare for RG’s two children during class hours, plus one hour for travel on school days.
3. DRC Helps Client Pursue Doctorate Degree
When it comes to beating odds, CM has beaten most of them. Her success story is one that will not only inspire but will show what a person can do when they are determined to succeed. CM reached out to CAP, distraught that her Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) was not being approved. While she already had obtained her bachelors and master’s degree, she was told that she would not be able to obtain a PHD because the DOR did not want fund to fund any further education. CM attempted to self-advocate for over five years, explaining numerous times to DOR that she wanted to have support in earning a PHD in Civil Engineering /Urban Planning. However, she was denied again and again based on the fact that she had a master’s degree.
When CAP stepped in to assist CM, we explained to DOR that having a PHD would help CM become more competitive in the job market. Since CM is African American, and a woman seeking to enter a male dominated industry, it was very important that she have as much education as her peers to be able to compete on a level playing field. After months of negotiations, meetings, and emails, DOR finally conceded. CM would be able to get her PHD. DOR also agreed to fund CM’s school applications, transportation, books, technology, private tutoring, employment coaching, professional resume writing assistance and all fees for licenses.
CM was accepted into her dream school to pursue her PhD in Civil Engineering /Urban Planning. After her final negotiation meeting attended by DRC and DOR, she began to cry and said it was out of relief that she could now finally obtain her education, thanks to CAP’s advocacy efforts.
4. Client Receives Assistance to Pursue Path to Clergy
JC is a client of the DOR with an IPE to pursue his education and experience in clergy. JC attended a certificate program at his church so that he could participate in an unpaid teaching opportunity at a seminary to develop his experience. His IPE included the DOR's support for a bachelor's degree, but after JC obtained his certification, the DOR said they would not support any further training and JC would need to look for paid employment. JC was concerned because he would not be able to work as clergy without further education. He contacted CAP for help.
CAP represented JC at meetings with the DOR to discuss his services. JC's IPE did not reflect his need to attend school part time as a reasonable accommodation to his disability. As a result, proposed timelines in his IPE had passed without him meeting the planned-for milestones. Therefore, his IPE would need to be amended and the timeline for completion extended.
CAP staff requested that the DOR support JC with obtaining a Bachelors and Master's degree at a private school, since the program needed was not available at public school. The DOR refused and said it would need to conduct a vocational assessment before providing any additional services. JC disagreed and CAP represented JC at an Administrative Review.
As a result of the Administrative Review, the DOR agreed to support JC's employment goal of Clergy and amend his IPE without any further assessments. The DOR also agreed to fund his training at a private school but unfortunately, the DOR did not agree to support a Master’s program.
CAP discussed JC’s right to appeal this decision, but he was happy with the outcome and decided not to appeal the DOR's denial of a Master's degree program. DRC provided him with advice about his options to pursue further training services from the DOR, should he change his mind. CAP then represented JC in negotiations with the DOR to finalize his IPE. His IPE includes application and transcript fees for his undergraduate applications, training services at a private school and employment services to be provided when he finishes his Bachelor’s degree program. The CAP also ensured that his IPE included his need to attend school on a part time basis due to his disability. JC is happy with the CAP services he received and looks forward to enrolling in college.
5. Client Receives Self-Advocacy Skills and Equipment to Pursue Employment Search
SN is a person with multiple disabilities. She has a vocational goal of nutritionist. The DOR supported SN in obtaining her master’s degree and is currently looking for employment. Unfortunately, the two-wheel scooter that the DOR purchased for SN was stolen, resulting in her being unable to travel for interviews and other job search related activities. The DOR referred her for a mobility evaluation to recommend a replacement scooter. Though she has used a two-wheel scooter for most of her life, the DOR's Mobility Evaluation Program (MEP) recommended a three-wheel scooter. She disagreed with this recommendation because the MEP previously recommended a two-wheel scooter, and her strength and balance had not changed since the last evaluation. Additionally, her DOR issued laptop was not working and the DOR delayed replacing the laptop. SN represented herself in an Administrative Review (AR). The AR decision said that the DOR would replace the laptop, but that it would only fund a three-wheel scooter. SN disagreed and contacted CAP for assistance in an appeal.
CAP contacted the MEP on SN’s behalf to clarify the recommendations in the reports. CAP also provided SN with advice to help her appeal the AR decision and to prepare for mediation. SN successfully advocated for herself at mediation and was able to obtain an agreement with the DOR to expedite the replacement laptop. The DOR also signed an interim agreement where they agreed to review an evaluation by SN's own doctors to determine an appropriate scooter. With CAP’s help, SN was able to successfully resolve her concerns.
6. Amid Pandemic, Client Reevaluates and Pursues New Career Path
SW has been a client of the DOR since 2014. He initially wanted to work in the Business Enterprise Program, a program that trains people who are blind to own and operate vending facilities in state buildings. After years of difficulty accessing the services he needed to enter the program, CAP assisted SW in developing a plan of action with the DOR to obtain the services he needed to prepare for the BEP training program admissions process. However, in March 2020, the BEP program closed due to COVID-19. Due to the lack of progress, unavailability of services and communication issues developed and the DOR told SW that it planned to close his case. CAP contacted DOR to prevent the case closure. At that time, SW had decided to reevaluate his employment goal. He has several years of experience in community theater and a degree in communications. He also previously passed the CBEST and has some experience substitute teaching. SW decided to he would like to pursue employment as a drama, theater, and communications teacher.
CAP represented SW in negotiations with the DOR to amend his IPE to his chosen vocational goal. SW will be able to work remotely as a substitute teacher while he works to obtain his teaching credential. The DOR agreed to provide him with the training and equipment he needs to work and study in a virtual format. SW feels his new goal is a better fit for him and is excited to begin his services and obtain employment in a field he is passionate about.
7. DRC Intervenes to Help Client with Employment Goal as Paralegal, with Provisions
AN contacted CAP after representing herself at a hearing with the DOR regarding disputes about reimbursements and services to be included in her IPE. Per the December 2019 hearing decision, the DOR was ordered to reimburse AN for out-of-pocket costs and to meet with her to finalize an IPE amendment for her vocational goal of paralegal within 60 days. Despite her self- advocacy efforts, the DOR failed to implement the order within the timeline. AN contacted CAP for assistance.
CAP represented AN in two IPE meetings to negotiate with the DOR on her behalf to obtain her requested services from the DOR. The DOR finally issued the reimbursement checks to AN. Additionally, with the support of CAP, AN was able to finalize her IPE amendment. The amendment includes the additional time for AN to obtain her employment goal and the provision of the following services: As needed travel costs for interviews, training and other VR-related activities; assistive technology and computer skills evaluation, devices and training; eye glasses; business and professional fees; and continuing legal education to maintain current certifications.
Through CAP advocacy, AN is now receiving the services she needs to achieve her employment goal.
8. DOR Agrees to Support Veteran to Become a Drone Pilot
TO is a veteran who worked for many years in the aviation field. In his role, he was responsible for supervising many employees. This, combined with his many other responsibilities, became overwhelming and exacerbated his anxiety disorder and depression. He decided to switch careers and applied to the DOR for support for his employment goal of drone pilot.
The DOR denied this goal, stating that because he had a Master’s in Business Administration degree, he was ready for employment. The DOR denied further training, offered only to help TO find employment, and threatened to close his case if he did not agree to this plan. TO decided to close his DOR case because he was being denied his informed choice with regards to employment goal and felt he had no other options.
After his case was closed, TO contacted CAP. We represented him at an Administrative Review to appeal the DOR’s denial and advocate that the DOR reopen his case and develop an IPE for drone pilot. CAP advocated that had the right to choose his own goal so long as it was consistent with his abilities, interests, and the positive labor market for drone pilots. DOR denied the request again, so CAP filed for mediation and fair hearing. At mediation, TO and the DOR still could not reach an agreement. However, a week after the mediation, DOR agreed to re-open TO’s case, develop an IPE for “drone pilot” in a self-employment setting, and assist him with developing a small business plan for DOR to review.
9. DOR Agrees to Support Client with Assessment, Job Coaching, and Assistive Technology Services
DH is a person who has been unemployed for many years. She is blind and has an intellectual/development disability. She was receiving services from the DOR to support her in a “homemaker plan.” However, due to the passage of WIOA, the definition of employment outcome changed, and the DOR would no longer support that type of plan. She contacted CAP because the DOR told her that her case would be closed if she did not decide on a new employment goal. She had a homemaker plan, but once DOR no longer supported homemaker plans due to a change in the law, her counselor chose a random employment goal instead, without engaging meaningfully with the client.
DH knew that she wanted to work, but did not know what type of work would be a good fit for her. CAP negotiated with the DOR and the DOR agreed to fund a two-week assessment at the Orientation Center for the Blind (OCB). OCB recommended job coaching and DRC advocated for DH to obtain this service from her regional center.
DH decided that she wanted an employment goal in customer service and worked with the DOR to develop an IPE that reflected that goal. The DOR also agreed to provide an assistive technology assessment, which recommended a MacBook Pro to accommodate the client’s blindness. The DOR agreed to provide that computer along with remote training on how to use it, in consideration of the client’s transportation limitations and the pandemic.