Meeting of the Board of Regents | March 2008
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Rebecca H. Cort
Chapter 515 Annual Report on Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities
February 27, 2008
Goals 2, 4 and 5
Issue for Discussion
The Annual Report on Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities as per Chapter 515, The Laws of 1992 (New York State).
Reason for Consideration
To inform the Regents regarding the accomplishments achieved through interagency collaboration with the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Children and Family Services – Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped in the delivery of community-based employment services for people with the most significant disabilities. Working in partnership with individuals with disabilities, their families, employers, service providers and local education agencies, VESID has assisted over 24,700 people with disabilities to work in integrated employment during the State Fiscal Year 2006-07.
Time did not permit discussion of this item at the February Regents meeting. This report is being resubmitted to the VESID Committee during its March 2008 meeting.
Each year, VESID provides the Board of Regents with the Chapter 515 Annual Report on Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities.
The purpose of Chapter 515 of the Laws of 1992 (New York State) is to “stimulate the continued growth of integrated employment programs for persons with severe disabilities” (now known as individuals with significant disabilities). Through this legislation, persons with significant disabilities will be able to succeed in employment through a coordinated flexible service delivery system. Coordination of this service delivery system is set forth within the Memorandum of Interagency Understanding Regarding Supported Employment established in October 1999. Based on this Memorandum of Understanding, the following New York State agencies are collaborating to increase the entire range of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities:
- Office of Children and Family Services, Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH);
- Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD);
- Office of Mental Health (OMH); and the
- State Education Department, Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID).
These agencies have prepared this annual update of the employment outcomes achieved by their mutual consumers. VESID is the designated State agency to coordinate integrated employment outcomes under Chapter 515. In October 2006, VESID with the cooperation of OMH, OMRDD and CBVH, established the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team. This team consists of managers from each State agency and its purpose is to discuss program, data and funding issues. The team also facilitates cross-systems implementation and identifies opportunities for program improvements, particularly for supported employment services.
Supported Employment is paid competitive work that offers ongoing support services in integrated settings for individuals with the most significant disabilities. Supported employment is intended for individuals for who competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a most significant disability, and who need ongoing supports to maintain their employment. This employment outcome is obtained by providing intensive service and is maintained through the provision of extended service. The level of employment participation may be full or part-time based on the interests and abilities of the individual.
For supported employment services, VESID and CBVH provide the “intensive” services necessary to develop a job and train the person on the job until they can meet the demands of the position. These services generally include on-site supports from a job coach who works with the employer and employee to facilitate the adjustment to the work environment. This may include recommendations for accommodations to ensure the accessibility of the work site as well as assistance to the consumer to adapt their behavior to meet the employer’s needs. Intensive services can be provided for up to eighteen months if needed, but typically this phase lasts three to four months in most situations. Once the person completes this intensive phase of supported employment training and is able to meet the performance demands of the job, OMRDD and OMH provide follow-along or “extended services”, providing ongoing support to ensure the individual continues employment. For those individuals who do not qualify for OMRDD or OMH services, VESID and CBVH provide the extended services using State funds.
As State agency partners, our challenge is to close the employment gap between individuals without disabling conditions and individuals with disabilities. The employment rate for individuals with disabilities in New York State is 34 percent compared to more than 78 percent for individuals without disabilities (Cornell University, 2007). Meeting this challenge requires a comprehensive strategy from all of the State agencies charged with providing services to individuals with disabilities.
The State agencies will strengthen collaboration for achieving an increase in integrated employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. We will examine barriers to more effective employment services, identify evidence-based employment practices and implement strategies that will improve the overall performance of our employment programs. We will assure that the full array of employment services meet high standards for performance and result in successful employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities in New York State.
The Board of Regents continue to support VESID’s efforts to collaborate with other State agencies on the coordination of employment services for individuals with disabilities and continue to provide leadership for closing the employment gap.
Timetable for Implementation
With Regents support, the described activities will continue to move forward.