Meeting of the Board of Regents | May 2009
Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds
(Supported Employment): Attachment 4.11(c)(4)
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 2009, VESID’s total funding level for supported employment contracts was $36 million of which $1.3 million was Title VI, Part B funds. At present, Title VI, Part B funds represent less than five percent of the total funds VESID uses for intensive supported employment services. VESID will continue the operation of the supported employment services established under Title VI, Part B. These funds will continue to be used to supplement, but not supplant, Title I funds.
Supported Employment Programs
VESID developed a new request for proposals (RFP) for all intensive supported employment services and for all VESID-funded extended services for 2008, which will be issued in March 2009. New contracts will be effective October 1, 2009. The new RFP will continue the hourly based payment system, although VESID has begun to review other payment systems for supported employment including a milestone/performance approach. This approach may be implemented in future years after in-depth reviews with internal and external stakeholders.
Through the authority of Chapter 515 of the NYS Laws of 1992, VESID is assigned the responsibility for administering, establishing standards and monitoring the intensive service component of all supported employment programs in New York State. VESID also has the responsibility for the provision of extended service to individuals who are not eligible for such service through other sources.
VESID, with the cooperation of the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) and the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH) established the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team in October 2006 to discuss ongoing concerns with the implementation of supported employment intensive and extended services in New York State. The Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team consists of employment program managers from the respective State agencies. The Team meets monthly to discuss program, data and funding issues, facilitate cross-systems implementation and identify opportunities for program improvements.
During the past year, the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team worked on the following areas:
- Statewide Reporting System- changes were made to the New York Interagency Supported Employment Reporting (NYISER) system to enable community vocational rehabilitation providers to electronically complete VESID’s VES-416 Supported Employment Consumer Monthly Progress Report. The changes eliminated duplicative reporting elements for the different State agencies.
- Interagency Communication on Program Changes- VESID and OMH Central Office Management Teams met with OMH Regional Office Directors in Suffolk County to discuss OMH Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) implementation and its impact on aligning employment efforts, particularly related to supported employment.
- OMRDD Enhanced Supported Employment Initiative- OMRDD developed this pilot project which is designed to demonstrate innovative employment strategies for individuals who want to work but who have been unable to become successfully employed for a variety of reasons. OMRDD and VESID collaborated in developing specific sections of the RFP that will require close coordination between the two State agencies over the pilot’s five-year period. OMRDD invited VESID to participate in the periodic review of the project’s program evaluation which will assist both State partners in determining how each agency can improve employment services.
- APSE Discussions- The Team continues to include representatives from the Empire State Association of Persons in Supported Employment (APSE) to improve the quality and effectiveness of supported employment services. As a result, a process is being developed to assess the needs of persons with most significant disabilities for supported employment services through survey, public meetings, research and data review.
- State Partners Group- Based on the success of the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team, VESID convened a State Partners Group which invited other State agencies including the Department of Labor, the Workers’ Compensation Board, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, and the Commission on Quality Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. This group is looking at how to better align State partner resources and the use of strategies that would improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The State Partners Group has determined that it must focus on gaining a strong understanding of current labor market conditions within New York State and direct training and job placement efforts strategically toward those specific employment opportunities.
The State agencies will continue to enhance their collaboration and deliberate on revisions to the Supported Employment Memorandum of Understanding to reflect a renewed commitment and higher expectations for achieving integrated employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. These dialogues help to assure that VESID is meeting program needs for individuals with significant disabilities in NYS.
VESID combines Title VI, Part B and Section 110 funds to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities. Individuals served through supported employment services include individuals with all types of disabilities. VESID maintains agreements (Memoranda of Understanding and Integrated Employment Implementation Plan, Chapter 515 of the Laws of 1992) with OMRDD, OMH, and CBVH, which define VESID as the sole source for intensive funding. Program evaluation includes review of data from interagency quarterly reports 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.
Supported Employment Goals and Priorities
VESID’s Title VI, Part B program goals are 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 acquired brain injuries, deafness, multiple disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, significant learning disabilities and significant mental illness;
- develop quality programs that could be used for replication purposes; and
- establish successful supported employment programs that will provide technical assistance to other programs.
The discussions that occur in the Chapter 515 Interagency Implementation Team monthly meetings help to achieve the above described goals as well as meeting our challenge to close the employment gap between individuals without disabling conditions and individuals with disabilities. Program 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.
VESID vocational rehabilitation counselors 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.