What's New in RSA

FFY 2021 MTAG

On January 19, 2021, RSA published the FFY 2021 Monitoring and Technical Assistance Guide (MTAG). Consistent with the requirement in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by Title IV of WIOA, to conduct annual reviews and periodic on-site monitoring of programs authorized under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act, RSA has collaborated with VR agencies in the development of this MTAG. The objective of monitoring is to support VR agencies and RSA in improving results for individuals with disabilities seeking high-quality competitive integrated employment by responding to the unique needs and challenges of individual VR agencies. Fundamental to this monitoring approach are values shared by RSA and its State partners. RSA is committed to these values as it partners with VR agencies in the conduct of monitoring to foster continuous improvement in outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Embodying these values, the FFY 2021 MTAG explains the process through which RSA will provide technical assistance to, and review the progress of, VR agencies in: 1) improving the quality of services for, and employment outcomes achieved by, individuals with disabilities, and 2) complying with requirements under the Rehabilitation Act. For more information about RSA's monitoring efforts and to view published monitoring reports, please visit Monitoring of the VR Program

(January 19, 2021)

FAQs related to Eligibility/Ineligibility of Youth with Disabilities Considering Subminimum Wage Employment

On January 12, 2021, RSA issued Frequently-Asked Questions: The Need for an Eligibility/Ineligibility Determination for VR Services for Youth Considering Subminimum Wage Employment Under Section 511 (FAQ 21-02). These FAQs support VR agencies in their continued implementation of the requirements for youth with disabilities under Section 511(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and respond to questions that RSA has received. Specifically, these FAQs address the application and eligibility determination processes under Section 102(a) of the Rehabilitation Act that a youth with a disability must satisfy when he or she chooses to pursue subminimum wage work (Section 511(a)(2)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act). As explained in detail through the questions and answers, youth who, through the exercise of informed choice, intend to pursue subminimum wage employment are not eligible for VR services because this outcome is not within the scope of employment outcomes allowable under the program.

(January 12, 2021)

PY 2019 WIOA Annual Reports for the VR Program

On January 11, 2021, RSA published the PY 2019 WIOA Annual Reports and notified the leadership of Congressional committees. In addition to information related to participant characteristics and barriers to employment, the national summary and State VR program reports include performance results for five WIOA performance indicators:

  1. Measurable Skill Gains (MSG) Rate;
  2. Employment Rate in the Second Quarter after Exit;
  3. Median Earnings in the Second Quarter after Exit;
  4. Employment Rate in the Fourth Quarter after Exit; and
  5. Credential Attainment Rate

The sixth indicator, Effectiveness in Serving Employers (ESE), remained in pilot during PY 2019. RSA will notify VR agencies and stakeholders when the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration publishes the PY 2019 WIOA Annual Reports, for the title I and III programs, that include the ESE results inclusive of all six core programs. The PY 2019 reports represent the third set of WIOA Annual Reports that RSA has published for the VR program; reports for PYs 2017 and 2018 are also available here

(January 11, 2021)

Notice Inviting Applications: Career Advancement Initiative Model Demonstration Project

On January 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education issued a notice inviting applications for FY 2021 for the Disability Innovation Fund: Career Advancement Initiative Model Demonstration Project (84.421C). The application deadline is April 7, 2021.

The Department intends to fund a multi-site model demonstration project designed to assist VR agencies, in partnership with other entities, to develop career pathways focused on career advancement. This competition will help VR-eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR participants in employment who re-enter the VR program, to advance in high-demand, high-quality careers, such as science, technology, engineering, and math, including computer science, careers; to enter career pathways in industry-driven sectors through pre-apprenticeships, registered apprenticeships and Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program; to improve and maximize competitive integrated employment outcomes, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion in society; and to reduce reliance on public benefits (e.g., Supplemental Security Income/Social Security Disability Insurance, and/or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and State or local benefits).

Please review the Federal Register Notice and the Application Package.  Information is also available on the NCRTM. RSA will conduct a pre-application meeting specific to this competition on January 28, 2021 at 2:00PM to respond to questions. Please register for the meeting here and email questions to 84.421C@ed.gov in advance. 

(January 7, 2021)

Active Participation of ECVBs with SLAs in the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program

On December 15, 2020, RSA issued TAC-21-01: "Active Participation of Elected Committees of Blind Vendors with State Licensing Agencies in the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program" in response to several inquiries from State licensing agencies (SLAs) and Elected Committees of Blind Vendors (ECBVs) under the Randolph-Sheppard Act seeking guidance regarding issues related to the active participation of the ECBV in the major administrative and policy decisions affecting the operation of the vending facility program in the States. While there is flexibility on how each State may fulfill its obligation to ensure that active participation occurs with the ECBV in the respective State, RSA provides TAC 21-01 to SLAs and ECBVs to outline the Federal requirements governing active participation and clarify Federal requirements for SLAs and ECBVs, including examples of major administrative decisions and policy and program development where active participation is required.

(December 30, 2020)

Randolph-Sheppard Report to Congress

On December 21, 2020, RSA transmitted the report on the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program authorized by the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936 to the Committees on Appropriations, pursuant to the congressional explanatory statement to the fiscal year 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L. No. 116-94), signed into law on December 20, 2019. This report summarizes RSA’s progress in the convening of arbitration panels in a timely manner, the review and approval of State licensing agencies’ (SLA) policy changes, and RSA’s work with SLAs to approve routine expenditures, including prior approval requests, associated with the program. The report also describes the technical assistance RSA provided to SLAs and blind vendors.

(December 21, 2020)

IDEA45

IDEA-45 logo - RGB - Large

November 29, 2020 marks the 45th anniversary of President Gerald Ford signing the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) into law. The 1990 amendment to Public Law 94-142 changed the law’s name to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Join OSERS and the Office of Special Education Programs the week of November 30, 2020 in celebrating 45 years of providing education, supports and services to infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families through the IDEA.

New resources and stories will be posted each day on IDEA45. Follow OSERS on Twitter to celebrate 45 years of IDEA.

(November 20, 2020)

CSAVR Fall 2020 Conference

CSAVR held its Fall 2020 Conference from November 9-13, 2020. RSA Commissioner Mark Schultz, RSA management, and other RSA staff delivered several presentations at the virtual conference. The following presentations are available: 

(November 13, 2020)

Summit Conference 2020

The 13th Annual Summit Conference on Performance Management Excellence was held November 3-6, 2020. RSA Commissioner Mark Schultz and Christopher Pope, Chief of the Data Collection and Analysis Unit, delivered the keynote. The video  and slides are now available. 

The virtual conference was a collaboration between the Florida Department of Education – Division of Vocational RehabilitationFlorida ABLE TRUSTProgram Evaluation and Quality Assurance Technical Assistance CenterRehabilitation Program Evaluation NetworkThe ABLE TrustThe Summit Group and NavigatorsWorkforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center; and RSA.

(November 6, 2020)

New Discretionary Grant Awards

In FY 2020, RSA awarded over $17.1 million in new discretionary grants to fund a variety of programs that assist State and other agencies to provide VR and other services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence, and integration into the community and the competitive labor market. Read more about these programs and the new grant award recipients on OSERS Blog

(October 21, 2020)