Skip to main content

Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008 - 9:15am

sed seal






VESID Committee


Rebecca H. Cort   



VESID State Rehabilitation Council (SRC)



November 26, 2008



Goals 4 and 5











Issue for Discussion


The Regents will be informed about the roles and responsibilities of the VESID State Rehabilitation Council. 


Reason for Consideration


The 1992 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act require VESID to convene and administer the SRC. The Council serves as an important vehicle for communication between VESID management and key constituencies committed to improving employment outcomes for New Yorkers with disabilities. 


Proposed Handling


              This item will come before the Committee in December for discussion.  It was scheduled for discussion in November but due to time constraints it was deferred to December.



Background Information


              The New York State Rehabilitation Council gives advice and works in partnership with VESID to advance the principles articulated in Section 100 of the Rehabilitation Act that states: “individuals with disabilities and the individual’s representatives are full partners in a vocational rehabilitation program and must be involved on a regular basis and in a meaningful manner with respect to policy development and implementation.” The SRC and VESID partner to ensure that individuals with disabilities receive appropriate, timely, and effective services leading to integrated employment outcomes.


Pursuant to the 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, the SRC must perform the following functions in consultation with VESID and the State Workforce Investment Board:


  • Review and endorse VESID’s annual goals and priorities and evaluates VESID’s program effectiveness;


  • Assist in the preparation and development of the VESID State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation including review and assessment of annual amendments to the State Plan, new VESID policies, procedures, needs assessments, and evaluations relating to VESID’s program performance;


  • Prepare and submit an annual report to the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), the Governor, and the public on the status of VESID services and performance;


  • Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment of the employment-related needs of New Yorkers with disabilities every three years;


  • Assess and evaluate VESID’s program functions and performance relative to identified goals and the employment outcomes achieved by consumers of service; and


  • Coordinate SRC activities with those of other State councils such as the New York State Independent Living Council, the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, the Commissioner’s Advisory Panel, the State Mental Health Planning Council and the Statewide Workforce Investment Board.


The Council is comprised of representatives from the following voting members and a majority of these members are individuals with disabilities:


  • Parent Training Center
  • State Workforce Investment Board
  • State Independent Living Council
  • Community rehabilitation program service provider
  • Business, industry, and labor



  • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Disability advocacy groups, representing a cross section of physical, cognitive, sensory, and mental disabilities, etc.
  • Former recipients of vocational rehabilitation services
  • Native American Projects (Section 121)
  • Client Assistance Program (CAP)


In addition, other State agencies that provide employment and ancillary services for New Yorkers with disabilities participate as ex-officio nonvoting Council members. 


Attachment 1 lists the entire SRC membership and demonstrates the exceptional expertise and diverse perspectives represented on the Council.


Attachment 2 is the Council’s organizational chart highlighting the work of three subcommittees:  Policy and Planning, Quality Assurance, and Workforce Development. 


The following is a summary of the roles of each committee and highlights of recent efforts:


The Workforce Development Committee


              The Workforce Development Committee provides direction and recommendations to VESID and policymakers on strategies to advance employment for individuals with disabilities.  During 2008, the Committee provided VESID with substantial feedback on strategies for improving VESID’s capacity for developing employer relationships and effective employment placement strategies.  VESID is in the process of developing a web-based employer “Selectory,” identifying employers across the State that have had experience in hiring New Yorkers with disabilities.  The Committee was instrumental in assisting with the “Selectory” design considerations and implementation.  The Committee has also served as an active partner with WMHT TV, a public broadcasting station, to develop an employer-to-employer video production that will highlight the positive experiences of New York employers with hiring New Yorkers with disabilities.  VESID is also working with Mr. Wally Altes of WMHT’s Bottom Line program that broadcasts statewide and is widely considered to be required viewing for New York’s business community with a particular emphasis on the emerging technology sector.  The Bottom Line and WMHT have committed to the development of a special Bottom Line program that will air during regularly scheduled programming and target employers statewide, highlighting the merits of including New Yorkers with disabilities in their recruitment efforts and hiring.


The Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee


              The Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee (QAI) has primary responsibility to review and analyze the extent, scope, and effectiveness of VR services and program outcomes.  During 2008, the Committee provided input and feedback on


VESID’s consumer satisfaction survey report developed by the Center for Essential Management, Inc.  The Committee also provided critical input and feedback in several other areas of VESID operations and followed up on the findings of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Monitoring Report.  The Committee also aided in the development of the quality indicators associated with the two-year restructuring of VESID’s Unified Contract Services (UCS).  These quality indicators will go a long way in assuring that the broader set of UCS services available to consumers will actually result in improved employment outcomes.   


The Policy, Procedures, and State Plan Committee


              The Policy, Procedures, and State Plan Committee reviews, analyzes and advises VESID on priorities and policies consistent with requirements under the federal Rehabilitation Act.  During 2008, members of the Committee reviewed and advanced recommendations to VESID on the draft State Plan.  Committee members were active participants at various public forums held across the State where the public had the opportunity to comment. Committee members participated on several VESID work groups that were charged with the revision of key VR policies including: Disability Navigator Work Group; Referral and Application; Service to Groups; Youth and School Transition; Limited English Proficiency; College Policy; and Individual Plan for Employment Policy.




Regents are encouraged to communicate with members of the VESID SRC to learn more about their perspectives, to acknowledge the importance of their quality assurance function, and their efforts to promote the VR program.  As vacancies become available on the Council, Regents are encouraged to advance recommendations of highly qualified candidates who have a personal experience with disability.


Timetable for Implementation


Recommendations for new appointments will come before the Regents at the December 2008 meeting.















Attachment 1


Member Directory


Douglas Usiak, Western New York Independent Living Project, Inc. (WYNYILP)

Membership category: Statewide Independent Living Council


Susan Barlow, Parent Network of Western New York

Membership category: Parent Training and Information Center


Lisa Rosano, New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities

Membership category: Client Assistance Program


Patricia McKay, New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies

Membership category: Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor


Timothy Maggio, Action for Mental Health

Tina Conneely, Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group

Lisa Bayer, LDA Life and Learning Services

Francine Tishman, Abilities, Inc.

Membership category: Community Rehabilitation Program Service Providers


John DeCamilla, The Academy for Career Development, Inc.

Joan McGovern, JP Morgan Chase

Marianne Murphy, Cornell University

Howard Gross, E-Biz

Sidette Warren, The New York Foundation for the Arts

Membership category: Business, Industry, and Labor


Scott Ebner, Onondaga Case Management Services Inc.

Kathy Hoffman, Erie Community College

Kathleen Dollinger-Meyer, NTID Center on Employment

Susan Dooha, Vice-chair*, Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York

Connie Glover, Workforce Solutions Centers Fulton, Montgomery & Schoharie

Thomas Golden, Chair, Employment and Disability Institute, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University

Ernestine McElvene, Northeast Career Planning

Jeanne Ricigliano, Midwestern Transition Coordination Site

Kimberly Walters, AIM Independent Living Center

Membership category: Disability Advocacy Group


Frank Graziano, Enable

Membership category: Former applicant, and recipient of, vocational rehabilitation services




Jason McDonald, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Vocational Rehabilitation

Membership category: Native American Projects (Section 121)


Dora Lee Stanley

Membership category: State Education Department/Special Education



Membership category: State Workforce Investment Board


Rebecca H. Cort

Membership category: Deputy Commissioner, Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities


Michael Peluso

VESID, Council Liaison


Tobi Bickweat            

Patricia Mazzariello

Dennis Barlow

VESID Staff Serving as Committee Liaisons


Ex-Officio Member Directory


Maryann van Alstyne

Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped


Caroline Forsberg


University of New York


Rosemary Lamb

Commission on Quality Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities


Joanne Bushart

Robert Noble

Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities


Elaine Kost

Department of Labor


Nick Rose

Developmental Disabilities Planning Council


Doug Ruderman

Office of Mental Health

Attachment 2



Organization Chart