THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

 

TO:

EMSC-VESID Committee

FROM:

Rebecca Cort 

SUBJECT:

Amendment to the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Services

 

DATE:

January 20, 2006

 

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 3 - 6

 

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

 

Executive Summary

 

Issue for Decision  (Consent Agenda)

 

In accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998, the Amendment to the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Services, effective July 1, 2006, is presented for your approval.

 

Proposed Handling

 

The Amendment to the State Plan will come before the EMSC-VESID Committee on February 14, 2006, on its consent agenda, where it will be voted on and final action taken.

 

Procedural History

 

Each year, the Board of Regents approves the Amendment to the State Plan that must be submitted to the Rehabilitation Services Administration by April 1.

 

Background Information

 

The Rehabilitation Act requires the Board of Regents to submit an annual Amendment to the State Plan outlining the goals, priorities and objectives in providing vocational rehabilitation and supported employment services to individuals with disabilities in New York State.  The attached report summarizes the content of the Amendment.  The complete document is in the Regents Office for your review.


Recommendation

 

That the Amendment to the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Services, effective July 1, 2006, be approved.

 

Timetable for Implementation

 

Upon approval by the Regents, the State Plan will be submitted to the Rehabilitation Services Administration for review and approval prior to April 1, 2006.

 

 

                                                                               

 

 

Proposed Amendment to the State Plan

for Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Services

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Effective July 1, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York State Education Department

Office of Vocational and Educational Services for

Individuals with Disabilities


SUMMARY OF THE AMENDMENT TO THE STATE PLAN FOR VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION AND SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2006

 

State Plan Process

 

The Rehabilitation Act, as amended, requires that New York State prepare a State Plan on the same cycle as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).  This document informs the public of the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilitiesí (VESID) goals, priorities and objectives in providing vocational rehabilitation and supported employment services to individuals with disabilities in New York State.  This five-year document, entitled State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Services, Effective July 1, 2001, was previously submitted and approved by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).  The Rehabilitation Act further requires that each state annually amend its approved State Plan in specific areas as requested.  The Amendment to the State Plan consists of specific attachments that must be updated annually as required by USDOEís Office of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). The content and format of the Amendment to the State Plan are based on the most recent guidance provided by RSA.   The Program Year 2006 State Plan continues to be an amendment to the five-year document since the Workforce Investment Act has not yet been reauthorized by Congress and no new guidance has been issued by RSA.  

 

            VESID, in conjunction with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), developed the Amendment to the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Services, Effective July 1, 2006.  The previous yearís Amendment to the State Plan (July 1, 2005) was used to solicit input and recommendations from the public on planned activities related to the vocational rehabilitation of persons with disabilities for the next year.

 

            The public comment period regarding the State Plan amendments extended from September 12 through November 11, 2005.   As part of the State Plan development, VESID solicited public comment on connecting individuals with disabilities to employment services and resources that lead to employment.  Discussion questions focused on career development, individualized planning of employment goals and use of community resources, as they relate to the content and implementation of the State Plan.

 

Public Meetings

 

To notify and inform the public about the meetings on the State Plan, VESID emailed flyers that gave specific details on the theme of the State Plan Public Meetings, dates, times and locations. The flyers were sent to consumers, community agencies, schools, independent living centers and support groups. VESID also utilized the newsletters, faxes and internal communication processes of several community rehabilitation providers and associations to advertise the public meetings.

 

VESID further advertised the public meetings through the VESID website.  Using Internet access, VESID created an interactive public meeting web page that was accessible to the public seven days per week, 24 hours per day.  The public meeting web page allowed individuals to review the public meeting themes, questions and background information and to electronically post their comments.  The page was redesigned this year and more than 50 comments, many detailed, were received.  This is a significant increase from previous years.

 

The public meetings were designed to provide ample opportunities for participants to review and discuss their ideas about VESIDís State Plan, policies, future direction, career development, individualized planning of employment goals and the use of community resources to achieve employment.  At each meeting, VESID provided a brief presentation on the State Plan and provided data and information related to the theme questions.  VESID staff facilitated the discussion, but public participants remained free to offer comments or recommendations on any part of the State Plan and its process.

         

            The comments and recommendations received during the public comment period were reviewed for incorporation into VESIDís Amendment to the State Plan.  Comments that were received, but did not directly alter the Amendment, are being shared with VESID leadership for consideration.   We will compile the comments and post a summary of these comments on the VESID website, along with a response from VESID related to the comments received.

 

Amendment to the State Plan:  Required Attachments

 

The following attachments describe VESIDís plans, policies and activities in a number of required areas.  The sections of the Amendment to the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Services, Effective July 1, 2006 include:

 

Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council; Response of the Designated State Unit; and Explanation for Rejection of Input or Recommendations: Attachment 4.2(C)

 

            Summarizes the advice of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) on the State Plan, policy development and general comments. VESIDís responses to SRC are also included. 

 

Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD): Attachment 4.11(b)

 

            Describes VESIDís activities that ensure an adequate supply of qualified rehabilitation professionals in conformance with its CSPD.  The CSPD calls for VESID to utilize the highest national standard, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), as the goal in recruitment and retention of counselors.

 

Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Service: Attachment 4.12(b)

 

            This attachment estimates the number of individuals that VESID will serve during Federal Fiscal Year 2006, and the cost for providing those services

 


Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds (Supported Employment): Attachment 4.12(c)(3)

 

            This attachment indicates that VESID plans to continue to fund supported employment services utilizing Federal VI B and other funds.

 

Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use of Title l Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities: Attachment 4.12(e)

 

            Describes VESIDís progress in achieving the goals and priorities, as required by regulation, and agreed to with the State Rehabilitation Council.

 

 


Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation

Council; Response of the Designated State Unit; and Explanation for Rejection of Input or Recommendations: Attachment 4.2(C)

 

 

VESID and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) work cooperatively in setting the policy direction for the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services for eligible individuals in New York State.  VESID and the SRC use a team approach to new policy development.  VESIDís functional units (policy, training, fiscal, operations and technology) work together with SRC members to communicate continuously during policy development and implementation.

 

This past year the SRC and VESID worked together to restructure the SRC, introducing a membership committee and encouraging more active involvement by SRC members. A two-day training was provided to all SRC members on the State Rehabilitation Council roles and responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act.

 

The table below provides SRC recommendations and VESID's response to each recommendation.

 

 

State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) Recommendations

VESID Response

 

State Plan

In light of last yearís success in gaining public participation for the VESID town meetings on the State Plan by holding these meetings at statewide conferences, the SRC recommends that VESID continue to hold these meetings at statewide conferences. 

In gathering public comments on the proposed State Plan, VESID held six of its seven public meetings at statewide conferences or organizational meetings. In addition, VESID posted an interactive web page to gather comments online for a ten-week period.

To assure that VESID gets stronger input from consumers in the State Plan process, VESID should also work with consumer organizations in planning public meetings.  Last year, approximately 250 stakeholders participated in the State Plan public meetings.  This year, SRC recommends that VESID strive to have 250 consumers participate in the public meetings.

Two of the public meetings were held at conferences that had strong consumer participation (The NYS Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services and the NYS Association of Independent Living). There was an increase in consumer participation at these meetings.  VESID recognizes that there is a continued need to increase consumer participation.  In the future, other methods, such as focus groups, will be considered.

Additional Advice Provided Throughout Last Year

The SRC requests that VESID provide quarterly SRC operating budget reports at all SRC meetings.

VESID agrees and will provide such reports at each of the SRC quarterly meetings.

The SRC recommends that the SRC work more closely with the Independent Living Centers and the statewide Independent Living Council

 

VESID agrees and supports the SRC in this effort. Effort will be more closely coordinated at the VESID Central Office level as well as linking the SRC, ILCís and NYSILC.  New appointments to the SRC include several individuals from the IL community.

The SRC highly recommends that VESID continue to be part of the New York State Education Department and will write letters to the New York State Legislature to maintain VESID within SED.

 VESID appreciates the SRCís ongoing commitment to quality vocational rehabilitation services as part of the mission of the State Education Department.

The SRC will write letters to the New York State Congressional Delegation listing concerns about the downsizing of RSA, the Technology Act and the Federal Block Grant proposals (ďWIA PlusĒ).

VESID appreciates the concern the SRC has expressed regarding these potential federal changes in policy and funding.

The SRC recommends continued involvement with VESIDís Designing Our Future efforts.

 

VESID agrees.  SRC Chair has requested that the Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee and the Executive Committee work on Designing Our Future activities.  VESID has been sharing information at the quarterly SRC meetings to keep SRC members informed. VESID appreciates the SRCís participation at the Designing Our Future public meetings that occurred earlier this year.  The SRC designed an evaluation packet for the SRC members attending the public meeting that were collected and reviewed for comment.

The SRC has restructured its committees from four to five committees as follows:.

       Executive Committee

       Membership Committee

       Quality Assurance & Improvement Committee

       Policy Procedures and State Plan Committee

       Workforce Development Committee

VESID believes these committees reflect the major responsibilities, functions and commitments of the State Rehabilitation Council and has assigned liaison staff as appropriate.

The SRC recommends that a two-day retreat be established for all members to receive training from Region II Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program (RRCEP) on the role of the SRC and to set a work agenda for 2005-2006.

 

 

VESID supported this training initiative for all SRC members. RRCEP was contacted and provided training on the roles and responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act. VESID staff provided an overview on vocational rehabilitation services in New York State, including the eligibility process.

The SRC recommends that two SRC members from the Quality Assurance & Improvement Committee and one member from the Executive Committee attend the RSA monitoring conference in Washington DC on August 24-25.

VESID supported and recommended the SRCís participation at the RSA Monitoring Conference.

 

Three SRC members, including the SRC chair, attended along with VESID leadership, including the State Director (SED Deputy Commissioner for VESID).

The SRC recommends that the SRC and VESID conduct an analysis of Ticket to Work as it relates to VESIDís current policy and procedures.

VESID is focusing its analysis on the recent Social Security Administrationís Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and its impact on VESID policy and procedures related to the Ticket to Work.

The SRC recommends that all VESID liaisons leaving the SRC provide a six-month transition period to help the new VESID liaison to learn about the SRC and its respective committees.

VESID agrees and will provide a reasonable transition period for VESID staff liaisons.

 Create a calendar with a legislative plan (developed last year) for education of consumers and State legislators about vocational rehabilitation issues. Include calendar for State Plan.

 

This is a SRC goal which VESID supports.

SRC recommends that the SRC member who serves on the SWIB be actively engaged with the SRC. 

VESID agrees and will work with the SRC to recruit a new SWIB member.

SRC motion to create an SRC ad hoc committee on transition.

VESID supports this ad hoc committee on transition and encourages the SRC to research and promote best practices.

Return the SRC meetings to a 1 and 1/2 day format to fulfill responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act.

 

Due to the level of teamwork anticipated to fulfill the mission of the SRC, the SRC voted to have quarterly meetings extended. This will allow for important committee work to occur prior to full SRC meeting. VESID has requested authorization to expend additional funding from State Education Departmentís Fiscal Management.

 Request to check dates with other State councils (CBVH, ILC), to look at opportunities for coordination.

VESID agrees that coordination with other councils can yield benefits in service and resource coordination. For example, VESID will facilitate communication between the SRC and the Commissionerís Advisory Panel on Special Education regarding transition issues.


Comprehensive System of Personnel Development: Attachment 4.11(b)

 

 

VESID continues to make timely progress in meeting all Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) requirements and in fulfilling its obligation to establish and maintain a comprehensive system of personnel development designed to ensure an adequate supply of qualified rehabilitation personnel staff.

 

Qualified Personnel Providing Vocational Rehabilitation Services

 

VESID ensures an adequate number of qualified rehabilitation professionals by tracking all staff who are working to meet the needs of consumers.  VESID tracks all personnel through the New York State Education Department's mainframe computer-based personnel system.  This system generates a monthly report describing the status of staff items, grade level, item numbers, position classification and pay scale.

 

As of September 2005, VESID's figures in regard to an adequate supply of qualified rehabilitation professionals are as follows:

 

  Full-time Equivalent Vocational Rehabilitation 

  Counselors (VRCs)

349

  VRCs not meeting CSPD standards

44

  VESID Persons with Open Cases (Status 02-24)

55,073

  Ratio of Counselors to Consumers

1:158

  Anticipated VRCs that VESID will need over the 

  next four years due to retirement of current VRCs

120

 

 

Coordination with Higher Education in the Preparation of Rehabilitation Professionals

 

There are currently six institutions of higher education in New York State accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) that prepare vocational rehabilitation professionals. VESID is working with these institutions to develop a process for the recruitment of students from diverse populations and to establish a curriculum based on best practices, research and development trends.

 

VESID has collected the following data regarding the CORE accredited institutions:

 

Number of students enrolled in six CORE accredited institutions (2005-2006)

217

Number of students identified with disabilities

52

Number of students identified as non-white

107

Number of students who graduated in 2004

63

 

Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel

 

As a function of VESID's CSPD plan to recruit, prepare, and retain qualified personnel

VESID has made significant progress in many areas.  During the 2005-2006 academic year, 159 of the 217 students, or 72 percent, identified themselves as individuals with a disability or non-white, a 10 percentage point increase from last year.

 

VESID is concluding its CSPD five-year Long Term Training Grant (LTTG), which covers the cost of college courses required for VESID Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors to meet the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and CSPD standards. 

 

Under the Long Term Training Grant, five VESID staff were in the process of completing their CSPD requirements. All of them will continue to be supported by VESID in this process via the new In-Service Training (IST) grant and all have plans to do so in place.  We anticipate that these individuals will meet the requirements by Spring 2013.

 

For the remaining counselors who do not meet the CRC standard, VESID continues to promote options for coursework and continuing education toward meeting the CSPD requirement.   VESID continues to take steps to ensure that vocational rehabilitation counselors meet the highest professional standard.

 

Personnel Standards: Highest Standard for the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

 

VESID will hire VRCís who have or are eligible to obtain qualification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).  Recently, NYS Civil Service qualifications for the VRC title were amended to match the CRC eligibility requirement.  All vocational rehabilitation counselors who are added to the Civil Service list for that title require:

 

       A current Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) certificate; OR

       A masterís degree in rehabilitation counseling, including a supervised internship, from a CORE (Council on Rehabilitation Education) accredited program; OR

       A masterís degree in rehabilitation counseling or counseling and notice of eligibility to sit for the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) certificate examination.

 

We anticipate that all VESID VRCís will meet the CRC eligibility requirements by FFY 2013.

 

In addition, outreach efforts for recruitment will be made through disability groups and associations (in accordance with SED/VESID Diversity Plan) serving minority populations. VESID will also work with institutions of higher education to expand their student recruitment efforts to reach students with diverse backgrounds.


Staff Development

 

VESID will address current and projected vocational rehabilitation personnel needs by ensuring that all its personnel are adequately trained.  To accomplish this goal, the following activities have been and will continue to be implemented for employees:

 

       In-service training funds provide for attendance at workshops, formal course work, agency developed and conducted training sessions and Rehabilitation Research Continuing Education Program (RRCEP) developed or sponsored training sessions. Training is offered in the fields of counseling, rehabilitation, medical aspects of disabilities, job placement, rehabilitation technology, diversity, informed choice, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 and other topics related to the field of vocational rehabilitation. All employees have access to these training opportunities.

 

       VESID will continue to provide training on rehabilitation technology and will work with RRCEP to develop relevant training programs.

 

       VESID distributes information received from a variety of sources including the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Materials, Arkansas Research and Training Center, Institute of Rehabilitation Issues and many other professional, educational, and private sources.

 

       VESID provides ongoing training to all VRCís regarding: policy and procedural changes that have resulted from the 1998 Rehabilitation Act Amendments; relevant federal and state laws; and evidence-based rehabilitation practices. Training provided from FFY 2004 to date included the following topics: college training, workers compensation, rehabilitation technology, renal disease, probation and parole, World of Work Inventory, computer security and CaMS (VESIDís electronic case management system), vocational trends, Social Security Work Incentives and Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS), VESIDís application and eligibility, self-employment, van and home modifications.  VESID also provided or sponsored training to staff on economic need, transition, Ticket to Work, diversity, marketing and placement, One-Stop partnering and employment tax incentives. Training was also provided to senior counselors through two ďSupervisory InstitutesĒ where rehabilitation issues were covered in depth for front-line supervisors.  In addition, several new staff trainings occurred, providing newer rehabilitation counselors with a broad overview of VESID policies and procedures.

 

       VESID is resuming a cross-training program with the Office of Mental Health (OMH).  This effort will focus on providing VESID counselors with an overview of psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery principles and evidence-based employment practices.  In addition, VESID will develop local liaisons to the OMH-funded vocational programs under OMHís pilot Personal Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) program.

 


Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs

 

To ensure that VESID adequately provides services to consumers who are not English proficient, have a cognitive disability or are deaf, VESID has professional staff able to communicate in the native language of individuals who are non-English speaking or who use other modes of communication, such as sign language.  When such staff is not available, VESID contracts with outside agencies and individuals for interpreter or communication services.  VESID also ensures that VRCs are aware of how an individual's cognitive disability might affect his or her ability to participate in the vocational rehabilitation process.

VESID requires the use of certified or State-approved interpreters for the deaf when sign language interpreter services are required in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services.

VESID also requires a specific communication skill level for vocational rehabilitation staff working with Spanish speaking consumers. VESID will continue to use these standards and make adjustments when appropriate.

Coordination with Personnel Development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

 

VESID administers special education, vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs.  The coordination of meaningful transition services for students with disabilities from school-age to postsecondary settings is a high priority area for vocational rehabilitation and special education collaboration.

 

The chart below indicates that new applications for youth (ages 14-21) have increased, as have the number of youth served and the school districts with which VESID is working. VESID continues to work closely with schools to enable the smooth transition of students with disabilities from school to work.  There is a slight increase in total numbers of youth served and in successful employment outcomes for youth.  Most promising is the increase in employment outcomes for youth, even though employment outcomes for all VR consumers have decreased.

 

 

 

FFY*

2003

FFY*

2004

FFY*

2005

New youth applicants

11,096

10,898

10,665

Youth served

28,776

29,304

29,441

Youth employed as a result of VESID services

3,392

3,264

3,585

School districts whose students are in VESID caseload

610

615

617

 

 

VESID has a number of VRCís across the State dedicated solely to transition.  In some offices, VESID is demonstrating a ďtransition teamĒ concept to assure better outreach to school districts and to students with disabilities.


Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Service:

Attachment 4.12(b)

 

 

VESID expects that during the Federal Fiscal Year 2007, fiscal and personnel resources will be sufficient to serve all eligible persons who apply for services. This expectation is based on VESIDís projections of Federal and State funding, referral levels, eligibility rates, service needs including persons with significant disabilities and staffing plans.  In meeting this expectation, VESID affirms that it will:

 

       continue to provide a full range of services to all persons currently receiving services;

       provide assessment services to all persons expected to apply next fiscal year;

       serve all persons expected to be determined eligible next year; and

       meet all statutory program requirements.

 

VESID estimates that during Federal Fiscal Year 2007, 28,670 individuals with significant or most significant disabilities will be found eligible for VESID services. This number is based on the FFY 2006 activity and reflects a slight decrease when compared to previous years.  Based on historical data reported to the Rehabilitation Services Administration, VESID estimates, under Title I, that it will serve 97,100 individuals, at a total estimated cost of $217 million. VESID estimates that of the 97,100 individuals served, approximately 12,600 individuals will be receiving supported employment services.  All of these individuals receiving supported employment services will be served using a combination of Section 110, Title VI B funds and state funds.


Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds (Supported Employment): Attachment 4.12(c)(3)

 

 

Federal Title VI, Part B funds for supported employment services were initially used to develop model programs to determine the most effective structure for supported employment and to determine what types of services and supports work best with different populations. However, Title VI, Part B resources do not provide sufficient funds to create additional new programs. For FFY 2005, VESIDís total supported employment funding was $41 million of which $1,871,781 was Title VI, Part B Funds. At present, Title VI B funds represent approximately 5.1 percent of the total funds VESID uses for intensive supported employment services. VESID will continue the operation of the projects established under Title VI, Part B support. Title VI, Part B funds will continue to be used to supplement, but not supplant, Title I funds.

 

Supported Employment Programs

 

Providers for supported employment programs were originally selected through an interagency competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) issued in the fall of 1987. Final selections from among the top scoring agencies were made based on diversity of population, diversity of geographic location and the service delivery strategy.

 

VESID issued a new RFP for all Intensive Supported Employment services and for all VESID-funded extended services in the fall of 2003. That RFP resulted in new contracts effective July 1, 2004. Those contracts entered the second year of a planned five-year cycle on 7/1/05. VESID now has 181 supported employment contracts compared to 130 in the past. Most new contract providers represent previously underserved populations.

 

VESID combines Title VI B and Section 110 funds to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities. The range of individuals with disabilities served through supported employment services includes individuals with all types of disabilities within those served by VESID and the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH).  VESID maintains agreements (Memoranda of Understanding and Integrated Employment Implementation Plan, Chapter 515 of the Laws of 1992) with the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH), and CBVH, which define VESID as the sole source for intensive funding. Program evaluation includes review of data from interagency quarterly reports submissions as well as on-site reviews, including consumer interviews. Successful and exemplary practices have been disseminated to the staff of the State agencies involved and to other project sites.

 

Each of VESIDís Title VI, Part B programs is designed to:

 

       provide services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who might not be traditionally considered appropriate for competitive employment;

       develop techniques for unserved and underserved populations, such as persons with traumatic brain injuries, deafness, multiple disabilities, autism, severe learning disabilities and mental illness;

       develop quality programs that could be used for replication purposes; and

       establish successful supported employment programs that will provide technical assistance to future similar programs.

 

Providersí performance and costs are reviewed at least annually. Service re-negotiations occur based on overall performance, including performance on projected outcomes agreed to by VESID and the provider.

 

In addition, VESID issued an RFP in 2004 for the provision of a statewide supported employment needs assessment. The contract was awarded to the SUNY-Buffalo Research Foundation. The results of this needs assessment will be utilized as the basis for a statewide RFP to provide the actual training to providers and VESID staff.

 

VESID VRCís manage the individual program of each consumer participating in intensive supportive employment. This includes developing the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and monitoring its implementation. The programs funded under Title VI, Part B represent previously underserved individuals.  Every effort is made to improve the project's performance through continuing technical assistance and service delivery improvements.

 


Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities: Attachment 4.12(e)

 

 

            Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998, requires the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Commissioner to evaluate State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies based on their performance on evaluation standards and indicators.  These standards were developed and published as 34 CFR 361.81 on June 5, 2000, and have been applied officially to state VR agency performance results beginning with federal fiscal year (FFY) 2000 data.  Performance on these standards is being used to determine whether a state VR agency is complying substantially with the provisions of its State Plan.  States that do not meet the performance criteria will be required, jointly with RSA, to develop a program improvement plan.

 

            The following results are based on the most recent data available on the federal performance indicators and the current published goals and priorities.  The innovation and expansion activities undertaken with Title I funds contributed to these levels of achievement.

 

VESID Goal: Individuals with disabilities will be employed in integrated work settings. 

 

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) established seven performance indicators for state vocational rehabilitation programs. The indicators and data are presented below.

 

Performance Indicator 1.1:  Increase in individuals achieving an employment outcome after receiving vocational rehabilitation services from VESID. This data only includes individuals with disabilities placed in integrated settings.

 

Results:  VESID had a decrease in the number of individuals achieving an employment outcome for FFY 2004.  The number of employment outcomes decreased by 1,184 placements, going from 15,010 employment outcomes in FFY 2003 to 13,826 employment outcomes in FFY 2004.   Ninety-four percent (94 percent) of these placements (see Performance Indicator 1.3 below), or 12,995, were in competitive employment.  This number of competitive placements is still greater than in FFY 2003 when only 92.4 percent of employment outcomes, representing 12,775 individuals, were competitive placements (i.e. at or above minimum wage).

 

The employment outcome numbers are influenced by many factors. Vocational rehabilitation placements are effected by the overall economic climate, staffing changes and modifications in fiscal processes. Retirements among VESID counseling and other staff, and state fiscal constraints also contribute to the challenge of increasing employment outcomes.

 

An analysis conducted by the State Workforce Investment Board, in cooperation with VESID and the New York State Department of Labor (DOL), identified that of the 84,365 VESID consumers in status 10 (eligible) or above (including all closure statuses) in calendar year 2003, 44,187 or 52 percent were recorded as employed during at least one quarter of 2004. This indicates that many more VESID consumers are participating in work activity than is captured by the Status 26 closure.  By continuing to work closely with other workforce development partners, VESID expects competitive employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities will increase due to both an increased capacity to capture data regarding work activity and an increase in employment options for individuals with disabilities.

 

            Performance Indicator 1.2:  Percentage of individuals exiting the vocational rehabilitation program who achieve an employment outcome.

 

Target: The percentage of individuals with disabilities achieving employment after receiving vocational rehabilitation services will exceed the national standard.

 

Results: Using the revised definition of employment outcome, the percentage of individuals with disabilities who achieved employment after receiving vocational rehabilitation services from VESID in FFY 2004 is 56.1 percent, exceeding the national standard of 55.8 percent by .3 percent.

 

            Performance Indicator 1.3:  Percentage of individuals achieving an employment outcome who earn at least minimum wage.

 

Results:  For FFY 2004, 94.0 percent of individuals obtaining employment through VESID earned at or above minimum wage, far exceeding the national benchmark standard of 72.6 percent.   This percentage also increased by 1.6 percentage points, which reflects an actual increase in the number of VESID consumers in competitive employment as discussed above.

 

Performance Indicator 1.4: Percentage of individuals having significant disabilities who achieved competitive employment. Individuals are considered to have a significant disability when they have a physical or mental impairment which seriously limits one or two functional capacities such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, cognition, work tolerance or work skills and whose vocational rehabilitation will require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time. 

 

Results:  VESID assisted substantially greater percentages of individuals with significant disabilities to achieve competitive employment compared to the national standard. For FFY 2004, 96.8 percent of the individuals obtaining employment through VESID earning at least minimum wage, had significant disabilities. The national benchmark standard is 62.4 percent. 

           

Performance Indicator 1.5:  Average hourly earnings of individuals employed through VESID who earn at least minimum wage compared to the average hourly earnings of all employed individuals in the State.

 

Target: The ratio of the average hourly earnings of all individuals with disabilities who achieve competitive employment to the average hourly earnings for all individuals in the State who are employed will increase.

 

Results: For FFY 2004, the ratio of hourly earnings for VESID consumers to all employed individuals in the State was .41. VESID results for this standard remain below the national benchmark, which is set at a ratio of .52.  This ratio reflects the relationship of hourly wages earned by individuals at the time of closure (typically 90 days after attaining employment) to the average hourly wage for all workers in the State.  The benchmark ratio of .52, which is set at just above half of the overall hourly wage, reflects that vocational rehabilitation consumers often use vocational rehabilitation services after very little prior work experience, and are at the beginning of their careers. The standard is a statewide ratio, which, in New York State, is significantly affected by earnings in the Borough of Manhattan.  If the Borough of Manhattan is not included in the calculation of the average hourly earnings for all individuals in the State who are employed, the average hourly earnings of VESID consumers exceed the national benchmark standard. 

 

Many VESID consumers are entering the competitive labor market for the first time.  If the average hourly earnings of individuals employed through VESID who earn at least minimum wage are compared to the average hourly earning of all entry level employed individuals in New York State, VESIDís hourly earnings exceed those of all workers at an entry level.  VESID consumers earn $9.41 per hour compared with all New York State entry workers earning $8.76 per hour.

 

            Performance Indicator 1.6:  Percentage increase of individuals who report their own income as largest single source of economic support from the time of application for VESID services to the time of successful closure in employment with earnings of at least minimum wage.

 

Results:  In FFY 2004, 63.5 percent of individuals with disabilities reported their own earnings as the largest single source of support from the time of application to successful closure. This was a slight decrease of  .2 percent from FFY 2003. VESID's result significantly exceeds the national benchmark, which is 53 percent.

 

Performance Indicator 2.1:  Comparison of service rate for individuals from minority backgrounds compared with that for individuals not from minority backgrounds. 

 

Target:  This indicator measures the rate at which individuals with disabilities from minority and non-minority backgrounds receive services.

 

Results:  In FFY 2004, minority individuals with disabilities received vocational rehabilitation services at a rate of 92 for every 100 (.92) non-minority individuals.  VESID continues to exceed the national standard on this indicator. The national standard ratio is .80.  VESIDís performance on this indicator has increased from .88 in 2002 and .89 in 2003.

 

Continuous Quality Improvements

 

            VESID remains committed to continuous quality improvement in vocational rehabilitation services.  VESID will use data to continuously evaluate the impact of its policies, procedures and practices on the achievement of quality employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.