~~ADRS does not currently have a written agreement regarding services to American Indians. • Department of Youth Services (DYS): Alabama has a Department of Youth Services. This Department is established to work with delinquent youth. The expectation is that the services of DYS will prevent delinquent youth from eventually advancing to the adult correctional system. ADRS has a specialist who is very actively involved with DYS. This individual receives referrals on a regular basis from DYS and forwards those referrals to the appropriate field staff. ADRS has a written agreement with the ADYS • Department of Mental Health (DMH): The Agency maintains an ongoing relationship with DMH. ADRS serves numerous consumers with mental illness. ADRS works on cooperative initiatives to ensure services are provided to eligible consumers. ADRS maintains a relationship with the DMH Division of Substance Abuse and a network of residential aftercare service providers. ADRS is working extensively with the DMH to expand and improve the ADRS supported employment program. This includes efforts in the areas of Employment First, extended supports, and collaborating on grants. ADRS has a cooperative agreement with ADMH. (Page 176) Title II
The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services continues to stay abreast of national issues regarding community rehabilitation facilities through its attendance and participation in conferences of state and national significance including Alabama Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (AARF), Alabama Association of People Supporting Employment First (AL—APSE), Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), and National Rehabilitation Association (NRA). Collaborative efforts between ADRS Computer Services and the CRP section have recently developed computer- generated reports that assist the CRP section in tracking targeted CRP goals and outcomes such as numbers of individuals successfully employed, cost per successful closure, and average wage. (Page 186) Title II
The Alabama Department of Education, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of the Department of Veterans Affairs. This training is currently being offered twice a year in a collaborative effort between the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Alabama Department of Mental Health. APSE (Association for People Supporting Employment First) is sponsoring, and our state Chapter of APSE are also participating in CESP National Certification (National Certification for Employment Support Professionals). Project SEARCH, a statewide initiative to improve transition services for students with most significant disabilities began in Alabama in FY 2012 with two pilot sites. Alabama now has 11 Project SEARCH sites and we will continue to work to expand this transition program in our state. All sites have a state team member assigned to them to help with implementation and fidelity. Trainings take place throughout the year and the teacher and job coach both attend national SEARCH training as well. Cooperative Agreements between the Local School Systems (LEA’s) or Post-Secondary education (for youth programs) Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities, the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Supported Employment Community Rehabilitation Program and the local employer supporting the program are in place for all 11 sites. (Page 187) Title II
Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama Medicaid, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Alabama Department of Post—Secondary Education continue to work towards Employment First legislation. Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employment is an evidence- based approach to supported employment for individuals with serious mental illness. IPS, based on zero exclusion, competitive employment in the community, mental health treatment and employment services being integrated, benefits planning is included, job search occurs rapidly, employment specialist develop relationships with employers in their communities, job supports are continuous, and consumer preferences are honored. In 2014, Alabama applied for and was among 7 states that received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement IPS Supported Employment at 2 sites in the state. The grant is for 5 years during which time we will be looking at sustainability and expansion. Currently IPS is being implemented at Chilton Shelby in West Alabama (rural site) and Alapointe in Mobile County (urban site). (Page 187) Title II
Certificate Based Job Coach Training is collaboration between our agency, the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Department of Education, the Council for Developmental Disabilities, and Alabama APSE (Association of Persons Supporting Employment First). This training ensures consistency of service delivery for supported employment providers and provides access to the latest marketing and training techniques. Training is provided by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports. We offer this training twice a year to SE Job Coaches, School Job Coaches, Job Coaches employed by the Department of Mental Health and other community job developers and job coaches. This year, job coaches specializing in sensory impairments also participated in this training as we work to collaborate more closely with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) and their AIDB regional center staff located throughout the state. • Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities, Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama Medicaid, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Alabama Department of Post—Secondary Education have been working to secure Employment First legislation and continue to participate in the Employment First Leadership Mentoring Program Community of Practice through Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). These partners will continue to collaborate with human service agencies that work with people with disabilities and the workforce investment/development agencies to support the concept of Employment First. Additionally, several partners are participating in the Vision Quest training, offered through ODEP, to assist Alabama with options to infuse integrated employment into the Medicaid waiver, State Plan Options and increased collaboration to better serve consumers as they move towards integrated, community- based employment options. ADRS will collaborate with local school systems to improve transition services; ensuring students who are appropriate for SE services have access to community based Supported Employment providers while still in high school. SE providers will be active in the local high schools to present information regarding their programs to parents, students and staff. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in community- based assessments or begin the Discovery Profile before they exit school, to facilitate a seamless transit ion to Supported Employment Services. 2. •The GATE program (Gaining Access to Employment) is a training program that takes consumers from sheltered work or day habilitation and fully immerses them in industry training. This collaboration between the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Alabama Department of Mental Health began in North Alabama and now has 5 sites. The GATE program braids funding utilizing from both ADRS and ADMH (Medicaid waiver). Adults, who are long term consumers of day programs are trained in competitive integrated employment settings using job coaches for support during their internships. Consumers are paid wages while they intern, primarily in manufacturing settings. (Page 220) Title II
The agency has a state specialist overseeing the expansion and effectiveness of the agency’s supported employment efforts. Two additional specialists have been hired to assist with the growth and expansion of supported employment in Alabama in the last 2 years. This growth includes eleven 11 project SEARCH sites, the continuation of the GATE Project, IPS SE for individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse, and expansion of the Connections program for individuals with Autism. We are currently collaborating with the LEAs and training rehabilitation transition counselors on provision of services to students at an earlier age while in the secondary setting. This should increase participation of students with more significant disabilities and provide those services earlier. We currently have jointly funded pre-ets specialists contracts with secondary education for students with most significant disabilities. ADRS will collaborate with local school systems to develop and implement a transition initiative; ensuring students who are appropriate for SE services have access to providers prior to their exit from high school. SE providers will be active in the local high schools to present information regarding their programs to parents, students and staff. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in community— based assessments before they exit school, to facilitate a seamless transition. Many students with most significant disabilities are participating in our summer JET program which includes work -based learning emphasizing social skills acquisition, career exploration and paid work experience.
Training on Certificate Based Job Coach Training in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Department of Education, and the Council for Developmental Disabilities, and Alabama APSE (Association of Persons Supporting Employment First), The Network on Employment continues. This training ensures consistency of service delivery for supported employment providers and provides access to the latest marketing and training techniques. Training is provided by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports. (Page 226) Title II
ADRS continues to seek methods to increase participation of individuals with all types of disabilities in supported employment programs. Initiatives for improving transition services for students with more significant disabilities are being implemented. Since WIOA students with more significant disabilities are being referred and receiving services at a much earlier age. SE providers are providing Pre-Employment Transition Services to these students with an emphasis on work- based learning. We are procuring additional pre-employment transition specialist (jointly funded) to increase the likelihood of competitive integrated employment for students with more significant disabilities and expansion of innovative opportunities and collaborations including student led enterprises, participation in work- based learning at a younger age, and successful programs like Project SEARCH. We will continue to work with career and technical education to develop innovative programs that address internship and apprentice opportunities as well as certifications in employment areas, especially in high demand areas for our state. We will continue to work with Workforce development to identify and provide services to youth in the area, especially underserved youth and those with more significant disabilities. All these identified entities are a part of our Employment First efforts in Alabama. We are currently submitting 3 RFP’s for collaborations with Workforce Boards, Post-Secondary Education, and Alabama One-Stop Centers for internships and services to youth through expansion of Project SEARCH to youth in their areas. (Page 241-242) Title II.
Efforts continued to collaborate closely with Alabama APSE (Association of Persons Supporting Employment First)—The Network on Employment, Alabama Department of Mental Health, and the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities (DD Council), to provide training to staff, pre-employment transition specialist, skills training instructors, SE providers, IPS staff and other employment staff in Alabama that serve individuals with disabilities. Customized employment and Discovery are included in this training. ADRS continues to expand services within the state to increase opportunities for individuals to access to supported employment services. All counties in Alabama all have trained supported employment providers to serve consumers in their area. Many of our community rehabilitation programs provided paid summer work experiences that include job exploration, work place readiness, instruction in self-advocacy, in demand jobs in their areas, and paid work place paid work experience with employers in their local areas. Two additional staff members were hired as Rehabilitation Specialists for Supported Employment to assist the counselors and providers with quality supported employment and to provide training as needed to both groups. Additionally another state office specialist was hired to assist the statewide transition specialist. The addition of these specialists will help to assure that we are providing quality services to students, youth, and adults with more significant disabilities that require supported employment. We continue to include Discovery and customized employment in our bi-annual training with staff to assure better job matches, and more opportunities for internships and training to consumers requiring SE. The following initiatives have been implemented:
Continual training and consultation by state office staff on Supported Employment, Milestones, Discovery, Person Centered Profile Development, WIOA, IPS Supported Employment, Self-Employment, Pre-Employment Transition Services and Project SEARCH for transition students.
(Page 242) Title II
Collaboration continues with Alabama Association of Persons Supporting Employment First (AL—APSE) and Alabama Department of Mental Health to offer bi-annual job coach training to new job coaches, job developers, pre-employment transition specialists, skills training instructors, IPS staff, mental health staff and case managers. This training is conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University and provides instruction on best practices, innovative strategies and customized employment. For the last two years Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind sent local and regional staff personnel who serve those with sensory impairments.
We continue to provide the GATE Project for provider agencies who have consumers in sheltered work who are seeking employment in their communities. GATE was recognized by ICI (Institute for Community Inclusion) as an innovative strategy to move consumers from segregated employment to competitive integrated employment. It is a partnership with our agency, the Department of Mental Health and local employers. This program is embedded in the workplace and gives the opportunity for those who will require extra time and additional supports and training to learn a job. This unique program braids funds from the two agencies to secure the supports and training needed. (Page 243) Title I