The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


Rebecca H. Cort 




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


January 14, 2005




Required under the Rehabilitation Act of 1998, as amended


Goals 3-6







In accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1998, as amended, the Amendment to the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Services, effective July 1, 2005, is presented for your approval.
















































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)


Over the last several years, VESID and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) have worked cooperatively in setting the policy direction for the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services for eligible individuals in New York State.  VESID and SRC use a team approach to new policy development in which VESID functional units (policy, training, operations and technology) work together with SRC members to communicate on policy issues during policy development and implementation.


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


State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) Recommendations

VESID Response



SRC recommends that the VESID State Plan Town Meetings coordinate with other related conferences happening during the same time period.

VESID agrees. This year VESID held nine state plan meetings at the conferences and training programs of statewide organizations and consumer groups.  

To advertise the State Plan meetings SRC recommends that VESID use mailing lists compiled by other state conferences.

VESID State Plan public meeting information was included in the program brochures and agendas of the above meetings and conferences.


SRC requested that VESID management participate in each of the monthly SRC Executive Committee conference calls.

VESID is committed to providing this leadership and will designate a VESID manager to participate in monthly SRC Executive Committee conference calls.

SRC planning committee has concerns about college students with disabilities exhausting their Tuition Assistant Program (TAP) benefits because they are enrolled in college programs before they have adequate supports in place.  It was suggested that an “enhanced” TAP be explored.  This could be used to alleviate some of the pressure being placed on VESID to pay for tuition.

SED/VESID is committed to enhancing the success of students with disabilities in postsecondary education.  SED is advocating for the Regents legislative priority to establish a funding program to improve disability services at institutions of higher education.






State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) Recommendations

VESID Response


SRC suggests that there be an easily accessible database built to list vendor information – services, success rates, etc., including standards for consumer feedback, consumer earnings (where relevant) and success rate.

VESID agrees that this concept would be a powerful enhancement to the vocational rehabilitation system, and will take this recommendation into consideration as part of the Designing Our Future initiative.

SRC recommends that the VESID vendor approval process provide for informed and empowered consumer choice, personal responsibility, quality assurance, but does not limit the number of vendors.

VESID agrees that this concept would be a powerful enhancement to the vocational rehabilitation system, and will take this recommendation into consideration as part of the “Designing Our Future” initiative.

Develop a more comprehensive vendor selection process with clear standards.  Review and update Part 246 of the Commissioner’s Regulations to assure that requirements for the qualifications of vendors and service providers enhance the quality of service.

VESID agrees that this would benefit the vocational rehabilitation system, and will take this recommendation into consideration as part of the “Designing Our Future” initiative.

SRC requests that VESID provide a progress report on the “Designing Our Future” project at each Council meeting.

VESID will provide this update.

With regard to “Designing Our Future”, VESID needs to more effectively use public relations.  SRC suggests that Commissioner Mills issue a series of press releases across the State on the topic of “Designing VESID’s Future.”   The issue will be given more priority if it is expressed as a critical priority of the Commissioner of Education.  People will see high-level commitment from SED.

This recommendation will be seriously considered as VESID moves forward with the “Designing Our Future” initiative.

SRC, in collaboration with VESID and others, will develop a comprehensive position paper on employment.  This paper will include a variety of sub-topics – including postsecondary issues – and will include data to substantiate the information SRC members provided.  It will also clarify the supports needed to increase the employment of people with disabilities.


If SRC initiates this activity, VESID will provide supporting data to the extent feasible.

State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) Recommendations

VESID Response


SRC raised the concern that the Ticket-to-Work program could have a potentially huge impact on VESID’s resources because VESID provides services to ticket holders under regular case service monies, but VESID is at risk of not receiving social security reimbursement due to the complexities of the Ticket assignment process.

SRC requests an analysis of Ticket-to-Work funds that VESID has received, allocated, and funds not received, so SRC can assist VESID with advocacy for funding. SRC requests an analysis of the policy implications of not complying with Federal Transmittal #17.




VESID is in the process of conducting an analysis and will provide information to SRC and request it’s support of any policy, procedural or process changes that might be required to secure funding earned through success in gaining employment for Social Security Administration (SSA) beneficiaries.



The Quality Assurance Indicators (QAI) Committee delivered its recommenda-tions on the VESID State-level Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  SRC provided recommendations through the Workforce Linkage Committee related to the KPIs.



This input was considered in determining the VESID State-level Key Performance Indicators.

SRC conveyed to attending VESID leadership that the lack of personnel in VESID Central Office is problematic.  SRC will draft a letter to Deputy Commissioner Cort to address this issue.




This recommendation requires action by SRC before VESID can respond.

The QAI Committee would like to invite Cyberdata to a SRC meeting, to explain its process used to develop the Consumer Satisfaction Survey, and invite them back at a later date to speak about the results.


VESID is willing to invite Cyberdata to a future SRC meeting.

SRC recommends having consumer involvement in the training of new vocational rehabilitation counselors, including the 23 that were hired last year, and any additional hire’s in the next year.

VESID will take this into consideration in the planning of orientation for new counselors.



Comprehensive System of Personnel Development: Attachment 4.11(b)


VESID's Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) was jointly developed by a work group that included VESID management and professional staff, a representative of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), and professional staff from the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH).




VESID will ensure an adequate supply of qualified rehabilitation professionals by tracking all staff, and working to meet the needs of consumers by providing the most qualified rehabilitation professionals.  VESID tracks all its personnel through two data systems. The first is the New York State Education Department's mainframe computer based personnel system, which generates a monthly report describing the status of staff items, grade level, item numbers, position classification, and pay scale.


As of September 2004, VESID's figures in regard to adequate supply of qualified rehabilitation professionals are as follows:



Full-time Equivalent Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRCs)


VRCs not meeting CSPD standards


VESID Active Caseload


Ratio of counselors to consumers

1 counselor to every 168 consumers

Anticipated VRCs that VESID will need over the next four years due to retirement of current VRCs





VESID administers both the special education and vocational rehabilitation programs.  The CSPD function for vocational rehabilitation are carried out by VESID's Vocational Rehabilitation Training Unit, in collaboration with all other VESID organizational units.  VESID recognizes the need to address cross-system concerns that affect all staff.  For example, the coordination of meaningful transition services from school-age to postsecondary settings remains one of the most challenging aspects of program delivery, and is a high priority area for vocational rehabilitation and special education collaboration.  Several years ago, a joint memorandum of agreement was developed that outlined roles and responsibilities between vocational rehabilitation and special education.  SED and CVBH also share a memorandum of understanding regarding the transition of young adults with visual impairments to employment.  VESID and CBVH plan to continue their relationship within the CSPD context and other matters related to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  In addition, VESID continues to partner with other agencies to serve consumers, without overlapping our service.

          The chart below indicates that new referrals 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.










New youth referrals




Youth served




Youth employed as a result of VESID services





School districts whose students are in VESID caseload





School buildings within school districts





*Federal Fiscal Year


Description of and information on institutions of higher education within the State that are preparing rehabilitation professionals


There are currently seven (of which six are actively recruiting) 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 seven CORE accredited institutions (2004-2005)


Number of students identified with disability


Number of students identified as non-white


Number of students who graduated in 2003









As a function of VESID's CSPD plan to recruit, prepare, and retain qualified personnel, VESID has made significant progress in many areas.  While some of these innovations will not be fully implemented because of the current budget restrictions and staffing shortages in New York State, they have been developed and approved, and will be implemented as soon as possible.


·       VESID offers the Long Term Training Grant (LTTG) for CSPD, which covers the cost of college courses required for VESID VRCs to meet the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and CSPD standards.  The VESID Personnel Development Team provides mentoring to Long Term Training Grant awardees.  The grid below demonstrates the steady progress of staff meeting CSPD standards.   For academic year 2004-05 the status is as follow:










18 hrs Completed




CRC exam










·       All applications to the LTTG for college tuition support have been approved, so there has been no need to implement the approved strategy for prioritizing applications.  Nearly all applicants are completing their schoolwork on their own time, necessitating few requests for reduced work time.

·       VESID’s five year LTTG is ending in 2005, therefore further marketing of the grant has been phased out. 

·       As part of the distance learning cooperative established during year two of the LTTG, Hofstra, and St. John’s launched their on-line courses in 2003-2004.  Efforts were made to open these distance education classes to VESID and CBVH staff.  VESID’s intent is to develop such plans with all seven CORE institutions in New York State.  For 2003-2004 (year four of the LTTG), four out of seven NYS CORE institutions implemented distance education classes.

·       During 2004-2005, VESID will be evaluating the LTTG and its impact.  An evaluation consultant has been retained.  Awardees and their supervisors’ will be surveyed and asked to report on educational impact in general, distance education impact and supervisory impressions on the influence of graduate work completed and the VRC’s ability related to:


·       Comprehensive Case Management

·       Rehabilitation Service Coordination & Service Planning

·       Assessment

·       Job Analysis

·       Job Placement/Development/Coaching


Standard for VESID Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC)


SED/VESID will hire VRC professionals who have or are eligible to obtain certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).


If VESID is unable to recruit individuals who meet the CRC standard because the unique and specific service needs of a region limit availability of qualified applicants, VESID will hire individuals in the following priority order:


·       Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or a closely related field and no CRC.

·       Bachelor's degree (VR related).

·       Bachelor's degree with specialized skills.


Hiring preference will be given to individuals who meet national certification standards.

          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. VESID will work with Civil Service to review, as necessary, VESID's standard for hiring qualified VRCs based on agency and federal regulation and revise existing employment descriptions and standards to meet the above policy.

Staff Development


VRCs hired prior to
July 1, 2000

VRCs hired after
July 1, 2000

VESID will provide training and other incentives to each VRC, as mutually agreed, to move toward the standard. Support will be provided through In Service Training funds and the LTTG.

VESID will develop a strategy to ensure that individuals who are hired after July 1, 2000, and do not meet the national standard, will obtain that standard.



While it is the intent of VESID to hire and retain employees who meet the national standard, in some instances VESID may be unable to hire vocational rehabilitation counselors who meet the standard.  For example, in order to hire VRCs who meet the unique needs of regional offices (e.g., expertise in Spanish, communication skills, or expertise with persons who are severely disabled), VESID may need to recruit personnel without CRC certification. In these cases, VESID will develop a strategy to ensure that those individuals eventually meet the national standard.


VESID will address current and projected vocational rehabilitation personnel needs by ensuring that all its personnel will be adequately trained. To accomplish this goal, the following activities have been and will continue to be supported 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, choice, 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 support and 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 VRCs regarding policy and procedural changes that have resulted from the 1998 Rehabilitation Act Amendments, 2001 Federal Vocational Rehabilitation regulations and other federal and state laws and regulations relevant to the vocational rehabilitation process. Training provided from FFY 2003 to date included the following topics: transition training; training at a College or University; Order of Selection; Significance of Disability and Due Process; Social Security Benefits and Ticket-to-Work.  VESID also provided or sponsored training to staff on World of Work, Ethical Issues, Disability Awareness, Understanding Substance Abuse, Impact of Employment Benefits and Medicaid, Business for Self, Learning Disabilities, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Training was also provided on supervisory procedures.

·       VESID is implementing a cross-training pilot program between VESID and the Office of Mental Health (OMH) called RESPECT.  RESPECT stands for responsive, encouraging, sensitive, perceptive, empowering, caring and thoughtful.  Respect International is an advocacy, humanitarian, and educational non-profit organization, created out of the need of persons with psychiatric challenges to be treated with respect.  The program will identify action steps that local agencies and counselors can take to enhance collaborative vocationally related services to individuals with psychiatric disabilities.  In addition to VESID and OMH, local county mental health agencies and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services will participate, and jointly develop local action plans for improving vocational services to this group.  This is the culmination of negotiations among the state and local partners striving to develop better working relationships regionally.


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 are 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.

Results of Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs of Individuals with Disabilities and the Need to Establish, Develop and Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs:  Attachment 4.12 (a)


The 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act require that a needs assessment be conducted every three years to collect data about the rehabilitation of New Yorkers with disabilities, particularly those individuals from minority, unserved and underserved populations. VESID’s objective is to meet the needs of a racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse population within New York State, including those from minority groups, individuals in rural and urban areas, underserved and unserved populations and students in transition to work.  As part of its ongoing needs assessment, VESID also considers its consumers’ need for supported employment, the services available through other parts of the workforce investment system, and the need to develop and/or improve community rehabilitation programs. In conducting its needs assessment, SRC works collaboratively with VESID in executing assessment activities.


In 2001, VESID and SRC completed a formal needs assessment of unserved and underserved population in New York State.  This assessment was a study completed by the Center for Essential Management Services (CEMS), which completed a formal evaluation on behalf of VESID and SRC.  SRC, in conjunction with VESID, undertook a multi-year needs assessment to address concerns that certain groups may be less well served than others. The assessment used a variety of research strategies and data sources, including key informant interviews, comparison of census and VESID demographic data, survey data analysis, and focus group data analysis.


The CEMS needs assessment resulted in identifying groups from specific cultures and groups with specific disabilities that were underserved or unserved.  Potentially unserved or underserved cultural groups include Native Americans, Asians, African-Americans, Eastern Europeans, and Hispanics.  Potentially underserved disability-related populations include those who are deaf, chronically mentally ill, are dually diagnosed, have acquired brain injury, and degenerative conditions.  Other groups mentioned included older persons, students in transition, persons in rural areas, and persons who had involvement in the criminal justice system.


The CEMS report made several recommendations to SRC which sparked exploration with VESID on how to promote more effective outreach and services to the identified populations.  SRC’s QAI Committee generated several recommendations to improve services to the underserved and unserved populations identified.  These included using the needs assessment data on a local (district office) level, and following up with District Offices to find out current outreach and service practices.


During FFY 2004, VESID and SRC surveyed the District Offices for current methods of outreach and engagement of unserved and underserved populations.   As a result of this survey, several VESID District Offices were recognized for their efforts.  The Queens District Office was awarded by SRC for exemplary efforts in this area,

citing extraordinary practices to serve individuals with language barriers, deafness, brain injury and mental illness.   The best practices were shared among all offices.


SRC and VESID then developed a plan to conduct a more formal follow-up study of effective practices, and to carefully examine the service patterns, consumer characteristics and experiences of eligible individuals who received services but did not achieve employment.   SRC developed a grant application to the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), in conjunction with the Hunter College Rehabilitation Counseling Program and CEMS, but the proposal was not approved for funding.


Subsequently, Hunter College submitted a proposal to NIDRR to establish a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation, in partnership with CEMS, Syracuse University and several other universities across the country.  Funding for the RRTC was approved and Hunter had included a broad line of research that incorporated the previous proposal developed by VESID and the SRC QAI Committee.  Over the next three years, VESID and SRC will use this opportunity to implement a study as part of the broader needs assessment strategy.   The study will gather information to identify evidence-based best practices that lead to quality employment outcomes.  Specifically, factors related to consumer characteristics, counselor practices, and service delivery will be examined in detail.  Placement outcomes are influenced by a range of economic factors, such as the unemployment rates and the growth of local economies, and the influence of these contextual factors on the decisions of consumers and counselors will be considered.


The objectives of this portion of the needs assessment will be to:

1)    Describe best service and administrative practices by identifying exemplary counselors, and how their work and behavior contributes to high levels of employment success for consumers from diverse racial, ethnic and linguistic groups.

2)    Carefully review the management and organizational practices that support high performance in counselors, in terms of quality employment outcomes for consumers.  Identify and provide detailed descriptions to create clear, evidence-based management practices that promote positive outcomes for consumers.

3)    Develop a training program throughout the State to disseminate the best service and administrative practices to vocational rehabilitation practitioners and managers.

4)    Establish more consistency and greater accountability for quality services and outcomes.


VESID has made other operational changes to improve services to unserved, underserved individuals including individuals with the most significant disabilities. 


Recently, VESID completed a new contracting process for supported employment through community rehabilitation providers to serve individuals with the most significant disabilities.   In developing the request for proposals and through its selection of providers, VESID assessed the needs of consumers in each of the regions to make sure that awards reflected the needs of consumers with the most significant disabilities in that region.   The selection of providers was based, in part, on their capacity to serve individuals who may be unserved or underserved in particular regions, including individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, individuals with brain injury, and individuals with multiple disabilities.    As these new contracts are implemented, VESID will continue to monitor gaps in services and use this information for planning future resource allocations.


VESID is also updating its Unified Contract Services (UCS) contracts that cover many of the specialized vocational rehabilitation services provided by community rehabilitation programs.  Through the contracting process, VESID will provide “fasttrack” services to more effectively engage underserved populations, such as individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, through service providers who can assist VESID in gathering documentation necessary to speed the eligibility process, and support the development of the individualized plan for employment.   Previous needs assessment data indicated that individuals from unserved or underserved populations often never complete the application process, and have difficulty even applying for VESID services.  Greater availability of this “fasttrack” option will begin to address this issue.


VESID has also initiated a Designing Our Future initiative, a statewide process for designing a future vocational rehabilitation service delivery system that will:

·        Meet VESID’s quality standards while ensuring fiscal accountability;

·        Foster collaboration among State and community partners; and

·        Support personnel planning that allows for creative use of staff skills and regional partnerships.

Four teams have been established that include VESID field staff and external stakeholders:

·       Front End; 

·       Service Delivery;

·       Placement; and, 

·       Evaluation.


These teams have conducted surveys and focus groups to determine how services can be designed to meet the growing demand for services, deal with fiscal constraints, and achieve quality outcomes.  Representation on these teams has included individuals from SRC, the Client Assistance Program and the independent living centers.    The teams will be formulating specific recommendations to the Board of Regents and implementation of changes in VESID service delivery will be the result of decisions by the Board of Regents.


VESID, through Commissioner Mills’ involvement with the State Workforce Investment Board, has raised the need for greater partnership effort to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities by all workforce partners.  In cooperation with the NYS Department of Labor (DOL), VESID developed a work plan that has been adopted by the SWIB Systems Integration Subcommittee to examine how workforce system partners can better serve individuals with disabilities.  DOL, and SED have agreed to begin this process by sharing data and determining the extent to which people with disabilities in New York State are engaged with VESID, DOL and other workforce partners.   The level of engagement of people with disabilities in the employment market will be assessed as the first step in developing a more comprehensive workforce investment system strategy for increasing outcomes.


Finally, VESID is currently engaged in a substantial review of fiscal and procurement policies and fiscal practices to assure that all purchasing of goods and services complies with state finance law.   VESID relies on a wide array of community rehabilitation programs and other service providers to meeting the diverse needs of VESID consumers.  These changes in business practices will become routine in our relationship to these essential community partners.  Future changes and innovations in service delivery will have to incorporate these business practices to assure the fiscal integrity of the vocational rehabilitation program.


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


VESID estimates that during FFY 2006, 33,000 individuals with significant or most significant disabilities will be found eligible for VESID services. This number is based on the FFY 2005 activity, and reflects a slight decrease when compared to previous years.  Based on historical data reported to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), VESID estimates under Title l, that it will serve 102,500 individuals at a total estimated cost of $201 million. VESID estimates that of the 102,500 individuals served, approximately 11,706 individuals will be receiving supported employment services.  All of these individuals receiving supported employment services will be served using a combination of Title Vl Part B funds and State funds.


Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds: 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 2004, VESID’s total supported employment funding was $37 million of which $1,885,482 was Title VI Part B funds.  At present, Title VI Part B funds represent approximately 5.1% 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 Proposals (RFP) issued in the fall of 1987, through processes described in earlier State Plan submissions.  Final selections from among the top scoring agencies were made based on diversity of population, diversity of geographic location, and model or approach used.


VESID issued a new application for all Intensive Supported Employment services and for all VESID-funded extended services in the fall of 2003. That application resulted in new contracts effective July 1, 2004.  VESID now has 182 supported employment contracts compared to 130 in the past.  Most new contract providers represent previously underserved populations.


VESID combines Title VIB 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 include individuals with all types of disabilities within those served by VESID and 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 Development Disabilities (OMRDD), OMH, and CBVH which define VESID as the sole source for intensive funding.  Program evaluation includes reviews of statistical data from interagency quarterly report 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 VESID’s 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.


Providers’ performance and costs are reviewed at least annually.  Service renegotiations occur based on overall performance, including performance on projected outcomes agreed to by VESID and the provider. 


In addition, this year VESID has contracted with five organizations to offer ongoing training to supported employment providers to address the needs of a range of populations with most significant disabilities.   The training entities are located across the state:


·       The New York Work Exchange (NYC)

·       RRTI (Statewide – NY State Rehabilitation Association)

·       SUNY Buffalo (Western NY)

·       Northeast Career Planning  (Albany and Capital-Saratoga Region)

·       Consortium for Mainstream Employment and Placement  (NYC)


These are five-year agreements which started July 1, 2004.  These training entities will cover a broad range of topics necessary to sharpen the skills of front line job developers and job coaches, enabling them to work with a range of people with most significant disabilities, including individuals with severe and persistent mental illness.


VESID counselors perform case management duties for each consumer supported through Title VI Part B, including developing the Individualized Plan for Employment and monitoring its implementation.  Since the programs funded under Title VI Part B represent services to 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) 2005 - 2006


          Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998, requires the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Commissioner to evaluate State 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 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 participate successfully in postsecondary education.


Results:       The number of self-identified students with disabilities enrolled in institutions of higher education in New York State continues to increase steadily over the last nine years, from fewer than 25,000 in 1993 to 38,012 in 2002. With higher standards in place in schools and more students with disabilities ready and able to access postsecondary education, there is still a continuing need for campuses to be prepared to serve increasing numbers of students with disabilities.  Increasing percentages of special education graduates are planning postsecondary education. Of the 17,596 students with disabilities who completed high school in 2002, 48.5% had plans to pursue a four-year, two-year, or other postsecondary education program. While this rate in only slightly higher than the rate for 2001-2002, it represents a higher number of students with disabilities completing high school. Postsecondary education represents graduate, bachelor, associate, and non-degree college, as well as business and trade schools.


More self-identified individuals with disabilities are graduating with Associate and Baccalaureate degrees, and the rates of graduates are generally increasing, despite some variation in the Associate degree.  The graduation rate of Associate Degree candidates with disabilities decreased slightly, even though the actual number increased. In FFY 2002, 19.7% (2,993) of full-time, first-time students with disabilities in Associate degree programs graduated within three years compared to 23.2% (2,202) in FFY 2001. For the fourth consecutive year, the success rate and number of students with disabilities in Baccalaureate programs has increased. Students with disabilities had a 63.6% graduation rate for Baccalaureate degrees, representing a total of 1,559

students.  These numbers represent full-time, first-time entrants into Baccalaureate programs who graduated within six years from the same institution.


In FFY 2003, the average starting salary for VESID consumers who attended postsecondary education programs was $11.05 per hour as compared to the $8.20 per hour average salary for consumers during the same time frame who did not pursue postsecondary education.


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


RSA established seven national standards and indicators for state vocational rehabilitation programs. The indicators and data are presented below.


Results:  In FFY 2003, the number of individuals placed in jobs increased from the previous year.


Performance Indicator 1.1:  Increase in individuals achieving an employment outcome after receiving vocational rehabilitation services from VESID. This data only includes data reported for individuals with disabilities placed in integrated settings. VESID had an increase in the number of individuals achieving an employment outcome for FFY 2003.  In spite of severe economic restrictions and loss of staff across the State, the number of employment outcomes increased by 436 placements, going from 14,574 employment outcomes in FFY 2002 to 15,010 employment outcomes in FFY 2003.


The employment outcome numbers are influenced by many factors. VR  placements are affected by the overall economic climate, and the recent economic downturn has depressed the availability of jobs available to VR consumers. The continued high numbers of retirements among VESID counseling and other staff, and significant State and federal fiscal constraints have also contributed to the challenge of increasing employment outcomes.


It should be noted however, that in 2002, VESID and other workforce development partners assisted 17,365 individuals with disabilities achieve employment outcomes. By continuing to work closely with other workforce development partners VESID expects the overall employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities to increase.


          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 VR services will increase annually.


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 2003 is 57.7%, exceeding the national standard of 55.8% by 1.9%. Beginning in FFY 2002, individuals placed in non-integrated settings were not recognized as employment outcomes.


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


Results:  For FFY 2003, 91.2% of individuals obtaining employment through VESID earned at or above minimum wage, far exceeding the national benchmark standard of 72.6%.


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 VR 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 2003, 96.5% of the individuals obtaining employment through VESID earning at least minimum wage had significant disabilities. The national benchmark standard is 62.4%. 


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 2003, the ratio of hourly earnings for VESID consumers to all employed individuals in the State was .42. 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 VR consumers often use VR 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 earning of VESID consumers exceed the national benchmark standard.



          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 2003, 63.7% 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 increase of  .8% from FFY 2002. VESID's outcomes exceed the national benchmark, which is 53%.


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. The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities will at a minimum be the FFY 2003 rate.


Results:  In FFY 2003 the service rate for minority individuals with disabilities receiving VR services as a ratio is .89 for every 100 non-minority individuals. VESID continues to exceed the national standard on this federal indicator. The national standard ratio is .80.


VESID Goal:  All services for which VESID has responsibility will be cost-effective.


VESID has established the following criteria for this goal:


1.     Annualized first year earnings of individuals with disabilities placed in jobs by VESID.


Target: Annualized first year earnings of individuals with disabilities placed in jobs by VESID will increase annually.


Results: In FFY2003, individuals with disabilities placed in jobs by VESID represent $225 million in annualized first year earnings. This is an increase of $10 million from FFY 2002.


2.     Difference in percentage of individuals reporting own income as largest source of economic support between applications for vocational rehabilitation services and achieving employment.


Target: The difference in percentage of individuals reporting own income as largest single source economic support between application for VR services and achieving employment will increase annually.



Results: In FFY 2002 and FFY 2003, a lower percentage of individuals than in previous years reported achieving self-suffiency as a result of achieving employment. However, New York State continues to exceed the national standard for this federal indictor by over 10 percentage points.



VESID Goal: All services for which VESID has responsibility will meet high standards and continuously improve.  A VESID key performance indicator is customer satisfaction with VESID vocational rehabilitation services.


Target: 95% of respondents will express satisfaction on key questions contained in VESID customer satisfaction surveys.


Results: VESID has evaluated its performance against the RSA quality performance indicators as noted above.  Customer satisfaction surveys for vocational rehabilitation services will be administered in 2005 and results will be published at a later date.