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Committee Report | April 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011 - 11:40pm

SED Seal                                                                                   




Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES) Committee


Kevin G. Smith


ACCES-VR State Rehabilitation Council (SRC)


April 4, 2011


Goals 4 and 5




Issue for Discussion

The Regents will be informed about the roles and responsibilities of the ACCES-VR State Rehabilitation Council (SRC).

Reason(s) for Consideration

The Council serves as an important vehicle for communication between ACCES-VR management and key constituencies committed to improving employment outcomes for New Yorkers with disabilities.  The information provided will inform the Regents of the role of the SRC in the development of quality services to assist individuals with disabilities in the preparation and attainment of employment.

Proposed Handling

This item will come before the Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES) Committee in April 2011 for discussion.

Procedural History

The 1992 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act required ACCES-VR and all state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs to convene and administer a State Rehabilitation Advisory Council (SRAC) representative of VR constituencies and comprised of a majority of individuals with disabilities.  With the 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, the explicit emphasis on advisory was dropped and the SRAC was renamed the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and its role was modified to perform as both an advisor and partner in the development of policies and priorities for vocational rehabilitation.

Background Information

The New York State Rehabilitation Council advises, consults and works in partnership with ACCES-VR 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 ACCES-VR 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 ACCES-VR and the State Workforce Investment Board:

  • Assist in the development of ACCES-VR’s annual goals and priorities and evaluate ACCES-VR’s program effectiveness;
  • Assist in the preparation and development of the ACCES-VR State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation including review and assessment of annual amendments to the State Plan, new ACCES-VR policies, procedures, needs assessments, and evaluations relating to ACCES-VR’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 ACCES-VR services and performance;
  • Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment of the employment-related needs of New Yorkers with disabilities every three years;
  • Assess and evaluate ACCES-VR’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 Counselors
  • 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)

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

The SRC draws upon its diverse membership to provide a range of perspectives and constructive input into ACCES-VR’s goals and priorities, policy development and service delivery.  The mix of perspectives from parent training centers and P-12 special education representatives have served to refine ACCES-VR’s approach to support for students in transition from school to adult life.  Similarly, the views of SRC representatives from business, industry and labor along with those of vocational rehabilitation counselors and community rehabilitation programs have served to refine ACCES-VR’s focus on the needs and wants of employers and the requisite skills workers possess to be successful in the workplace.

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

The Policy, Procedures and State Plan Committee

The Policy, Procedures and State Plan Committee reviews, analyzes and advises ACCES-VR on priorities and policies consistent with requirements under the federal Rehabilitation Act.  During 2010, members of the Committee reviewed and advanced recommendations on ACCES-VR's State Plan updates.  Committee members were active participants at various public forums held across the State. Committee members participated on several ACCES-VR work groups that were charged with the revision of key VR policies governing:  Assessment, Limited English Proficiency, Youth in Transition, College Sponsorship, Substance Use Disorders and Supported Employment. The Committee also augments cross systems communication with the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC) and the Office of Mental Health's Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG).

The Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee

The Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee (QAI) is responsible for the review and analysis of the effectiveness of VR services and program outcomes.  During 2010, the Committee encouraged ACCES-VR to increase use of work-related benefits counseling to assist consumers of service with negotiating benefits systems and earnings.  The Committee also supported ACCES-VR's adoption of the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work Partnership Plus program and promoted enhanced access to federal performance data to support consumer choice in services. The Committee also encouraged increased use of data-driven decision-making in monitoring equity in access to services among minority populations and monitoring vendor performance.

The Committee worked closely with ACCES-VR's Policy Unit to establish State Plan goals and priorities.

The Workforce Development Committee

The Workforce Development Committee provides direction and recommendations to ACCES-VR and policymakers on strategies to advance employment for individuals with disabilities.  During 2010, the Committee worked closely with ACCES-VR's Workforce Development and Business Relations Unit on strategies for improving ACCES-VR’s capacity for developing employer relationships to promote employment placement strategies.  The Committee also served as a bridge between ACCES-VR and Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations development of a Make Work Pay website pay/index.cfm that serves as a resource for employers interested in hiring and supervising individuals with disabilities.


The role of the Council is critical to ensuring appropriate and quality services are available to all of ACCES-VR’s consumers.  ACCES-VR places a high priority on the recruitment of Council members that have extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the employment needs of individuals with disabilities.  The collective efforts of SRC and ACCES-VR will continue to ensure that the Council membership is reflective of New York State's diverse communities.

Timetable for Implementation

Recommendations for new appointments will come before the Regents at the May 2011 meeting and again in December 2011.