~~(P) Evaluation and Reports of Progress: VR and Supported Employment Goals (Goal 1 Objective 3 d)
SRC: Is there a plan to renew this partnership? CNA and nursing positions seem to be in high demand. It would be advantageous for DOL to pursue this further.
(P) Evaluation and Reports of Progress: VR and Supported Employment Goals (Goal 2 Objective 1a)
SRC: Can you please provide more specific data on the impact of the CEW and days to plan? It seems that if people need to wait a month or possibly two to attend the CEW it may create a delay in developing an IPE. The CEW seems to have become the standard practice for career exploration. Please elaborate on other tools that can be used as an alternative rather than the CEW. (Page 201) Title II
AGENCY RESPONSE: Section C (Cooperative Agreements) states the following: DVR does support staff involvement in the USDA’s AgrAbility project. In Maine, the AgrAbility project is administered by Alpha One, Goodwill Industries of New England and the University of Maine. The liaison to the project ensures that DVR staff is knowledgeable about AgrAbility and related resources. Grant funding for AgrAbility is ending during 2014 and DVR anticipates development of a fee for service agreement for AgrAbility services.
(d) Coordination with Education Officials
SRC: Without exception, once a DVR client, DVR has 90 days to develop the IPE. This cannot be contingent on the student leaving school as implied in this section.
AGENCY RESPONSE: The language in this section comes from DVR’s current Memorandum of Understanding with the Maine Department of Education. The MOU will be updated following the issuance of new regulations under WIOA.
(d) Coordination with Education Officials
SRC: DVR should not be determining the appropriateness of a referral. The onus of long term support should be on DVR not the school. (Page 204) Title II
SRC: Can you please provide more specific data on the impact of the CEW and days to plan? It seems that if people need to wait a month or possibly two to attend the CEW it may create a delay in developing an IPE. The CEW seems to have become the standard practice for career exploration. Please elaborate on other tools that can be used as an alternative rather than the CEW.
AGENCY RESPONSE: Training has been completed with VRC’s that if the CEW is determined to be the best tool to use to assist with career exploration, then they can write a plan for employment that includes the use of the CEW and or other exploration. VR is also using Discovering Personal Genius™ in conjunction with DHHS, or paying for it as a stand alone service if that tool is determined to be the best fit. VR also regularly refers for on the job assessments which can be included as part of someone’s plan. (Page 213) Title II
Provide information on the formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency: DVR will assist in transition planning and in the development of student’s individualized education program (IEP). For students eligible for services with an agreed upon vocational goal, DVR is expected to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) before the student leaves the school setting. In providing transition services, DVR will facilitate the use of available and appropriate community—based services. Services will be provided in the most cost effective manner. In recognition of the importance of promoting information sharing and in order to ensure an effective and timely system of referrals for DVR services, DVR requests that school personnel adopt the following process: When a student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) begins the transition planning process prior to entering ninth grade, the student and his/her parents or guardians will receive general information about VR services. This information will introduce VR and will inform the parents/guardians when it is appropriate to make a VR referral. When the student to be referred is within two years of school graduation or exit, the services offered by VR should be re—introduced at the student’s IEP or 504 meeting. Both the student and the parents/guardians should have an opportunity to receive materials outlining VR services and to ask questions concerning the referral. (Page 220-221) Title II
When recruiting or hiring new staff, Maine DVR gives preference to qualified individuals who demonstrate a current understanding of the labor force and needs of individuals with disabilities. Maine DVR supports staff to obtain and practice 21st century skills through opportunities for training through the Technical Assistance Centers and state and local workforce development partners. (Page 230-231) Title II
Since passage of WIOA and promulgation of the final rules, Maine DVR has worked to develop, adopt and implement procedural guidance, programming and training to support the identification and registration of students with disabilities who are eligible or potentially eligible for Pre-Employment Transition Services. Through previously established relationships with school districts and through outreach initiatives and pilot activities, Maine DVR has sought to offer Pre-Employment Transition Services across the state. According to data from the Maine Department of Education, during school year 2015-16, there were 9,3338 students with a disability enrolled in grades 9-12. An additional 2,993 students grades 9-12 were identified as having a 504 plan. This is a represents a small but significant increase over figures from the previous year. Maine DVR has targeted the problem of early exiters from VR services and is collecting data and implementing targeted initiatives for transition-age youth designed to engage youth with disabilities and get them involved in community-based work experiences -and other work-based learning sooner. (Page 236) Title II
State Plan Estimates for FFY 20 19 & 20 During FFY 2016, DVR determined that it could no longer serve individuals in OOS Category 3 due to lack of resources. The projected number of clients to receive services after being found eligible is 10,000 of which 6,000 are expected to be served under an employment plan. Since open cases in Category 3 will continue to be served, they are included below. The expected services provision by priority category was as follows: Maine implemented an Order of Selection for Category 3 on January 18, 2016. . The projected numbers of clients to be served under an IPE is 6000 in FFY 2019. The proposed case service budget is $8,400,000. The expected services provision by priority category is as follows:
OOS Category 1 55% $4,620,000
OOS Category 2 40% $ 3,360,000
OOS Category 3 5% $ 420,000 (this reflects those already in Category 3 at the time of the OOS implementation) Maine DVR projects FFY 2019 closures goals to be the following
OOS 1 55% 550
OOS 2 40% 400
OOS 3 5 % 50 Total: 1000 The projected number of clients to receive services after being found eligible is 10,000. (Page 238) Title II
Assistive technology services and assistive technology devices are provided to individuals with disabilities as determined by each individual’s vocational goal, and appear as prescribed services on the respective individual’s signed IPE. DVR services include assistive technology and assistive technology devices if required for the individual’s IPE, necessary for the attainment of the individual’s employment goal. DVR works closely with Maine cohorts, Alpha One and ALLTECH, assistive technology organizations which provide assistive technology technical assistance services as well as assistive technology devices. (Page 250) Title II
Many changes designed to help youth and adults with disabilities access employment education, job training and support services, have been made, including:
• Establishing a much larger role for public vocational rehabilitation (VR) as youth with disabilities make the transition from school to adult life. Public VR funds in the amount of a 15% set-aside, must now be used for transition services, specifically pre-employment transitions services that include job exploration counseling, work-based learning experiences, counseling on post-secondary opportunities, workplace readiness training, and training on self-advocacy. Each local VR office must also undertake pre-employment transition coordination activities and they must involve schools and workforce development system in these activities.
• Focusing supported employment state grants to VR agencies on youth. Half the money the state receives under these grants will now have to be used to support youth up to age 24 with the most significant disabilities to achieve supported competitive integrated employment. (Page 258) Title II
Objective: To reduce the average time in plan development (status 10) from 300 days in FFY 2011 to 240 days in FFY 2012 to 210 days in FY 2013 to 180 days in FY 2014 & FY 2015.
Strategies: a. Increase use of the Career Exploration Workshop, which has been shown to decrease case length time.
REPORT ON PROGRESS: Time to plan continues to drop across the state. At the close of FFY 2017, time from eligibility to IPE across the state was at 92.6 days, a significant improvement over past years. This trend continues into FFY 2018. DVR continues to use the Career Exploration Workshop (CEW) as a powerful tool in assisting clients to clarify their career goals. The 2017 Customer Satisfaction Survey found that 25% of clients surveyed had participated in CEW and they had an 87% favorability rating of the CEW. In training delivered during FFY 17, the DVR Director and Assistant Director offered examples for staff on how usage of the CEW could support more timely plan development. During FFY 17, the CEW was modified to allow for delivery of core elements during a 2-day administration. This approach was done to also allow for more frequent administration in the field and in more off-site locations. The goal of this is to increase easy access to the CEW for VR clients. (Page 266) Title II
BRS supports staff involvement in the USDA’s AgrAbility project. In Maine, the AgrAbility project is administered by Alpha One, Goodwill Industries of New England and the University of Maine. The liaison to the project ensures that BRS staff is knowledgeable about AgrAbility and related resources. Grant funding for AgrAbility ended during 2014 and DBVI uses AgrAbility services on a fee for service basis when these services are applicable to a client’s IPE. (Page 301) Title II
The purpose of this collaboration with DOE is to promote and establish a process that results in an effective working relationship between state agencies on behalf of, and with youth with disabilities, in order to gain the greatest benefit from their respective programs and services. Specific areas of collaboration include: consultation, technical assistance, transition planning, roles and responsibilities, financial responsibilities of each agency and procedures for outreach and identification in order to better coordinate and facilitate the process of student transition.
The MOU defines and strengthens the relationships with DOE and calls for identification of students with disabilities, both in Special Education and regular programs, in order to plan their transition before graduation from high school. The agreement focuses upon the needs of the individual student and allows for flexibility and professional judgment to be exercised by personnel. It also spells out the roles of each agency in referral, outreach, and the provision of service. The blindness—specific curriculum services that are identified in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 plans facilitate the achievement of the employment goal, which is further developed in the Vocational Rehabilitation Individual Plan for Employment (IPE). DBVI, the student and parent(s) develop the IPE, utilizing the interests, strengths, and needs of the student. (Page 303-304) Title II
Supported Employment Program — The Division has remained committed to assuring that individuals with the most severe disabilities receive supported employment services when this is appropriate. An Individual Plan of Employment (IPE) is developed that describes the services provided, the need for extended services, if appropriate, and an assurance that the individual has been able to make an informed choice in the provision of these services and the goal itself. (Page 337) Title IV