What's New in RSA

CSAVR Fall 2021 Virtual Conference

The theme of CSAVR's Fall 2021 Virtual Conference is The Future of the VR Program: A Call to Action. On November 1, 2021, OSERS' Acting Assistant Secretary Katy Neas delivered a keynote and answered questions from the audience. On November 5, 2021, RSA delivered a presentation featuring: 

This Excel file includes the performance results and other data RSA shared during the presentation. 

(November 5, 2021)

RSA Publishes PY 2020 WIOA Annual Reports

On October 29, 2021, RSA published the PY 2020 WIOA Annual Reports for the VR program. In addition to information related to the characteristics and barriers to employment of the participants served the VR program, the national summary and State-level reports include performance results across the five WIOA performance indicators for the second consecutive year:

  1. Measurable Skill Gains Rate (participants during PY 2020);
  2. Employment Rate in the Second Quarter after Exit (participants who exited during PY 2019);
  3. Median Earnings in the Second Quarter after Exit (participants who exited during PY 2019);
  4. Employment Rate in the Fourth Quarter after Exit (participants who exited during CY 2019); and
  5. Credential Attainment Rate (participants who exited during CY 2019)

The sixth indicator, Effectiveness in Serving Employers (ESE), remained in pilot during PY 2020. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration will publish the ESE results in the title I and III program reports.

(October 29, 2021)

RSA Issues FAQs related to Criterion for an Integrated Employment Location in the Definition of “Competitive Integrated Employment” and Participant Choice

On October 29, 2021, RSA issued frequently-asked questions titled Criterion for an Integrated Employment Location in the Definition of “Competitive Integrated Employment” and Participant Choice, published as RSA-FAQ-22-02. These FAQs provide guidance and technical assistance to VR agencies and community rehabilitation programs so they may assist individuals with disabilities to achieve high-quality employment and exercise their informed choice about the type of employment to pursue, either with assistance from the VR program or from other community resources. While these FAQs do not change the Department of Education’s interpretation that has existed since at least the mid-1990s with respect to the criterion for an integrated employment location, they clarify and update a similar set of FAQs, issued January 17, 2017, entitled Frequently Asked Questions: Integrated Location Criteria of the Definition of 'Competitive Integrated Employment.' Therefore, OSERS rescinds the January 2017 FAQs effective as of this date. These updated FAQs take effect immediately upon issuance and will enable VR program personnel to better carry out the purpose of the VR program and allow individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment potential.

Additionally, RSA issued a Response to Significant Comments that addresses changes in the updated FAQs made in response to comments received on the proposed FAQs (RSA-FAQ-21-03) published in the Federal Register and that provided the public with a 30-day opportunity to comment (86 FR 13511 (March 9, 2021)).

(October 29, 2021)

ED and DOL Publish Joint Performance Accountability FAQs

On October 27, 2021, the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education (the Departments) announced that the Departments determined it is appropriate and reasonable for the Department of Labor to begin assessing performance for two performance indicators under WIOA title I and III core programs for PYs 2020 and 2021 in accordance with the phased-in approach to performance assessments described in RSA-TAC-20-02. The Departments, as permitted under section 503(a) of WIOA, have determined it reasonable to delay assessing performance for the purpose of imposing sanctions for the remaining performance indicators to ensure an orderly transition from the requirements of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to those of WIOA.

RSA issued this joint policy guidance as RSA-FAQ-22-01

(October 27, 2021)

Blind Americans Equality Day - 2021

By a joint resolution approved on October 6, 1964, Congress authorized October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day, which is recognized today as Blind Americans Equality Day, to honor the contributions of blind and visually impaired Americans. Please join RSA in celebrating and read President Biden's Proclamation

(October 15, 2021)

National Disability Employment Awareness Month - October 2021

Throughout October 2021, please join RSA in celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The theme for NDEAM 2021 is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion" and reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

(October 1, 2021)

RSA Retires Outdated Policy Directives related to Information Collections

On August 11, 2021, RSA issued Policy Directive (PD) 21-01 titled, “Retirement of Certain Policy Issuances.” This PD retires outdated PDs related to information collections that RSA manages for Federal formula awards. This PD does not modify or rescind any RSA policy guidance or technical assistance.

(August 11, 2021)

Upcoming Webinar: Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility and AbilityOne Programs

Join RSA on August 26, 2021 from 2:00-3:00 pm EDT for a webinar providing an overview of the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility and AbilityOne programs. The webinar will also provide information related to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. AbilityOne Commission and RSA. The MOU describes how these parties have agreed to work together to increase communication and understanding between the agencies regarding which opportunities are appropriate for persons who are blind to operate vending facilities under the Randolph-Sheppard Act and which are appropriate for placement on the Procurement List under the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act. Please email questions to Christine Grassman with RSA and register for the webinar here.  

(August 5, 2021)

ReThink VR Performance Update

Beginning in the Spring of 2019, RSA, CSAVRNCSAB, and VR agencies committed to rethinking the way we look at the performance of the VR program, improving results, and maintaining high expectations of both the VR program and individuals with disabilities. Through several meetings in the Summer and Fall of 2019, RSA identified strategies it will adopt to rethink how RSA fosters continuous improvement, enhances collaboration, and maximizes high-quality employment opportunities for customers served by the VR program. During the CSAVR Fall 2019 Conference, RSA presented its ReThink VR Performance Plan outlining 52 specific actions across five priority areas. A recording of the Fall 2019 presentation is available.

As of July 26, 2021, RSA has completed 41 of 52 actions, or 79 percent of all actions. The remaining 11 actions are in progress with expected completion dates in FFYs 2021 or 2022. 

  1. Performance Data: 9 of 10 actions completed

  2. Flexibility and Reduction of Burden: 4 of 4 actions completed

  3. Technical Assistance and Dissemination: 9 of 14 actions completed

  4. Monitoring: 8 out 12 actions completed

  5. Communication: 11 of 12 actions completed

(July 26, 2021)

Recent Funding Opportunities to Expand Access to Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

In July 2021, RSA celebrates the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landmark legislation created to ensure everyone has the right to take part in all aspects of life and community, including employment.

Developed through a multiagency collaboration around the ADA anniversary, this CIE Funding Opportunities Fact Sheet, published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, highlights new funding and flexibilities that provide significant opportunities to increase access to competitive integrated employment for youth and adults with disabilities. These opportunities are provided through the work of multiple Federal agencies providing services to individuals with disabilities, including:

  • Administration for Community Living (ACL), HHS
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), HHS
  • Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), ED
  • Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), ED
  • Social Security Administration (SSA)
(July 16, 2021)